thirty-fourth new thing...

my love for carly smithson is well documented in this journal and in several of the new things i have already accomplished. also well documented in this year long journey, my love of concerts. for the thirty-fourth new thing, i found a way to combine these two loves (you got peanut butter in my chocolate! you got chocolate in my peanut butter!) into one awesome (slightly unrealized) new thing. so, for the most recent installment of the 52 new things, i attended my first concert meet and greet.

as the AI tour progressed, word got out that the idols were signing autographs for those waiting at the venues. with each successive city, more and more fans began lining up outside the venues waiting for the idols to arrive. the stop here at the gwinnett center was a full month and 20+ shows after my previous idol show experience in san diego. when i showed up at 9AM (yes, that's right, 9AM for a show that stared at 8PM) there were already several people milling about. so i did the most natural thing, i found the people who looked the nicest and the most like they knew what they were doing and latched on for dear life. it just so happened that they all happened to be archie fans. (go pork chop!)

we were all excited and chatty (very uncommon for me), extolling the virtues of our chosen idols with each other. i received condolences for carly's early ouster (damn straight 6th lace was too soon!) and i sang archie's praises from my previous experience in SD. and of course we all came bearing gifts. i had a lovely wrapped hardback version of rilke's "letters to a young poet" that i mentioned in my fan letter and a half gallon of the beacon's world famous iced tea. and my famous carly sign, all the way from my living room to the california coast and back again.

i enjoyed my day with the archie fans and the dreadheads and the cookies. we hung signs and as the time passed got more and more excited about the prospects of chatting with the people we had been voting for on tuesday nights less than 6 months before. one o'clock came and went. two o'clock came and went. and then, before three, we received the bad news. no signings before the show because the idols would be filming a satellite interview from the venue with larry king during that time (you bastard!). the gifts would be delivered and we could watch the interview from outside, but no meeting and no greeting.

and so ended my attempt to meet carly. but i did make some fun new friends in the process. and i had killer seats to witness, yet again, the best voice from american idol ever.


thirty-third new thing...

this new thing represents one of the more important of all the fifty-two new things. not because it took a lot of planning. or time. or money. or even effort. this new thing allowed me to return to one of my favorite eateries in one of my favorite towns for the first time in three years. and i couldn't have done it without by buddy lisa. so i start this discussion of the thirty-third new thing with a shout out to the best chaperon a girl could ever have. thanks lis for keeping me in check and keeping it in perspective. for my thirty-third new thing, i went back to the beacon in beautiful spartanburg, south carolina and had sweet tea for the first time.

ahhh, the beacon. the scene of some of my fondest memories of my times in the palmetto state. isn't it funny how sometimes you remember certain events and places in rose-tinted ways? well, that's how i remember most of my time in spartanburg. don't get me wrong, it's a lovely place, with a quaint small town college feel. through no fault of its own, it became this touch point of some things i needed to let go of but couldn't. so i new this year i needed to make some new memories, without the baggage.

enter my memories of the best double cheeseburgers a-plenty in the south. and the sweet tea. i had heard much praise around the beacon's sweet tea, but, i myself, have never been an iced tea drinker. now, hot tea and i go way back. iced tea, not so much. i remember joking with my parents back in the day that i must have been adopted because i didn't like sweet tea, john wayne or war movies. now, i have learned to love big jake, i can fake my way through a war movie (especially if you put kate beckinsale in it), but iced tea and i had yet to see eye to eye. so, i figured it was time to cross that final hurdle. and what better way than with the world-famous beacon variety.

lis and i arrived at the beacon full of excitement but with empty bellies. after a quick perusal of the menu we started the ordering process, answer the command to "caaaallllll it" before walking and talking down the line. while the hamburger was way bigger than i remembered, the onion rings were way limper than i remember, and the old man wait staff was way flirtier than i remember, the iced tea ended up being a bit of let down. but c'est la vie. at least now i know.

after a quick stop at the barnes & noble (site of the worst. parking job. ever.), lisa and i headed back towards home. but not before making a quick stop at a rising public comprehensive college in the upstate. after breaking into the football stadium to take some pictures (and almost getting locked in the football stadium as a result) we left south carolina behind. with a souvenir of a half gallon of iced tea and some new, non-baggagey memories.

thirty-second new thing...

ok. let's blow through a couple of these. no long winded exposition needed. for this new thing, i took advantage of a once-every-four-years event and advancements in technology. for my thirty-second new thing, i watched three new olympic sports.

the 2008 summer olympics may have been ruled by this dude, but for me, the games have always been about the obscure sports that we otherwise never get to see. so this year i decided to make a concerted effort to at least try and follow sports i had never seen before. with the time change between the east coast of the US and the east coast of the far east, that took some finessing. nothing like a handball match with no commentary on my laptop at 2AM. good times.

speaking of handball, i followed team norway through to their gold medal victory over reigning world champion russia. i'm not gonna lie, i started watching handball for these girls, but i stayed for the sport. these women are nuts! tackling each other, hurtling a hand-sized bouncy ball at a small net, flying through the air like a sugar glider. crazy. i still don't really understand the fouls, but i do understand passion. congrats gro.

next on the list was rowing, specifically the women's eight medal race. team USA pulled this one out by just over 2 seconds and there was much celebrating-- hugging and smooching included-- in response. uhmm, traditionally i don't think of rowers as hot, but i might have to reconsider my previous conclusions.

finally was one of my favorite new finds, women's sabre. and this year was a good year for the home team. the USA swept all three medals in this event. while my girl sada jacobson (woot! dunwoody!) only took home a silver, i will definitely be watching more fencing in the future. in fact, i might be taking classes. now that would be an interesting new thing. looking forward to vancouver in 2010.

thirty-first new thing...

as they say, it's beginning to look a lot like christmas. i don't know if i will be able to catch up on all my blog entries before the end of 2008 melts in to the beginning of 2009, but i figured it's time to start trying. so let's go back, way back to end of july (eeekkk! that's a long time ago) where we will find the next new thing hanging out in the bluegrass state. for my thirty-first new thing, i went on my first business trip.

as part of my job, i often assist our president and vice presidents prepare for presentations on various and sundry education topics in one of our member states. this go round, the prez was prepping a presentation on the education pipeline in kentucky for the statewide business organization. now, our fair leader has been around the
 hallowed halls of academe for some years, with much practical experience to show for it. but try to get the man to make a powerpoint and it's like he becomes the first part of an idiot savant.

as the week of prepping wore on, the guy became more concerned about his ability to run a 20 minute, 12 slide presentation alone. so at the 11th hour it was decided i would accompany him to, well, basically press a button every 2 or 3 minutes. sweet!

welcome to louisville! and the view from my comped hotel room. i arrived on a tuesday afternoon, reviewed the presentation for about 20 minutes with my boss, enjoyed a free dinner in the hotel sports bar (honestly, drinking beer and eating chicken fingers with the guy who can fire you "at will" is a little awkward...but i can't say no to chicken fingers. or beer.) and then was on my own until the next morning. so i called up my dear friend bec and met her and her fiance (now husband! my how the time flies...) for chips and salsa at the local mexican place. bec came up to the hotel room for a little bit after we dropped then-fiance, now-hubby brad off for his overnight ER rotation so we could talk about the proposal and the wedding...both super low-key, just like her. it was good times.

the next morning, i arrived down stairs in time for a bagel and coffee before sitting with the tech guys (word of advice: always make friends with the computer/tech guys if you use any type of technology for your job. if they like you, things are more likely to run smoothly) at the front of the room so that i could, well, really just press a button. behold, the clicker...

so apparently, bill gates uses the same device. and the laser pointer works from a mile away. i wonder who in the world decided to figure that out? the presentation went off without a hitch, i patroned the hotel sports bar yet again (apparently i can't say no to sliders either) before heading to the airport and then making my way back to the atl. it was a whirl wind trip and i missed the roo (shout out to curt for staying with the pup overnight on such short notice), but i got my name on a presentation and i might be asked to be a companion button pusher yet again.