30 Things to do before turning 30

i’m writing a list to avoid writing a cover letter. The World Cup qualifying games remind me that I will be turning 30 during the final tournament next summer. While there are a bunch of things I’d hoped accomplish by my fourth decade, here is a list of what I think I can actually get around to in the next ten months: 

  1. Volunteer
  2. Run a half marathon 
  3. Learn to cook one new meal 
  4. Brush up my Spanish
  5. Finish my novel
  6. Visit my new niece (coming this October!)
  7. See a game in Detroit 
  8. Plant a garden 
  9. Discover new local places
  10. Sing the National Anthem at a sportsball game
  11. Bike the Legacy Trail
  12. See the US Men’s National Team play
  13. Get a motorcycle permit
  14. Change my own car’s oil
  15. Learn a couple salsa moves
  16. Eat four new foods 
  17. Sell 50 books
  18. Paint all the empty canvases in my house
  19. Finish knitting a baby blanket
  20. Winterize the house before it snows
  21. Not drink alcohol
  22. Drink water nearly every day
  23. Avoid the Internet one day a month
  24. Convince housemate to get rid of his car
  25. Pay every bill on time 
  26. Not get bronchitis 
  27. Not purchase any hammocks 
  28. Brew beer
  29. Take photos with a camera
  30. Read 10 new books
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Is the coffee on airplanes decaffeinated or just extremely weak? Part I

A few times year a blog or magazine article titled something like “Top Ten Things the Airlines Don’t Tell You!” circulates, claiming to reveal all the horrors that go on behind the scenes in modern air travel. As prices for flights go up and amenities such as free checked bags are taken away, disgruntled travelers clamor to read and share the damning evidence. Most of these list simply regurgitate the same obvious tidbits (“If you are bitchy to the flight crew, they will likely give you shitty service!!”), but one “factoid” stood out to me:

Flight attendants only serve decaffeinated coffee. They want passengers to go to sleep and not bother them.”

This got me miffed. You can take away the free checked bags, tissue-thin blankets, tiny pillows, snacks, leg room, arm room, and head room. You can force me to pack all my belongings into a carry-on, take my shoes off, get a microwave scan and DNA swab. But if you serve me Decaf coffee, all bets are off.

I had to find out if this appalling claim was true. Continue reading

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How I felt the first time I went to Arizona

How I felt the first time I went to Arizona

Dry heat is one thing, but I was also dehydrated, which is a horrible combination. Don’t hate on Arizona: Hydrate yourself.
Via Chuckle-A-Duck

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Dang Random Acts of Kindness

…they make me all weepy.

via Neatorama

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Nothing will prepare you for how cute my god daughter is

The band applauds their biggest (well, big for her age) fan.

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Something to Keep my eyes busy while I knit

This is a livefeed of a drop of pitch expected to fall any day now. This is kind of exciting because pitch is a fluid that moves so slowly, there have only been 8 drops since the physicists at Queensland University started this experiment 80 years ago. Because the drops are so rare, no one has witnessed one. Now thanks to the power of video and the interwebs, think of this blob as the slowest lava lamp you’ve ever watched, with thousands of your furthest friends. 

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A bad sign for any team

Please excuse the pun in the title, but the Columbus Crew scoreboard caught fire. We can all agree that Ohio’s professional teams are cursed, right? I mean, where does this even fall on a scale of one to LeBron?

As a Sporting KC fan, I’m allowed to be amused because no one was injured. I’m also amused because they have an advertisement for  a shaving cream that leaves legs incredibly dry after use. Seriously, just use baby oil or conditioner.

Image via kckrs who got it from SoccerInsider

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Detroit MUST win tonight to make me happy

Don't suck tonight. Call me selfish, but at least a few hours of my life will be significantly dampened if the Red Wings miss the playoffs for the first time I can remember. This is the one sport in which I’ve lived a charmed life, free of the pitying looks that accompanied the 90’s Tigers, Lions and Fighting Irish. The Red Wings play in Hockeytown, for crying out loud. Don’t let them take that away like they took away the College Hall of Fame from South Bend.

It all comes down to tonight’s game versus the no-hope Dallas Stars. Jimmy must be perfect, and our aging stars need to take their arthritis meds and (oh God don’t say it) out-shine the Stars. Once we’ve made the playoffs and Detroit’s reputation stays intact, then we’ll figure out how to inject some vitality into the AARP -bound Wings.

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I can’t wait for Lance to do this

Charlie Davies went back and hugged all the people who helped save his life and made it possible for him to return to the soccer field: 

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Customer communication done right

I was pleased as pie to receive the following email from Better World Books:

from:Better World Books help@betterworldbooks.com
to:4ambooks@gmail.com
date:Tue, Jul 19, 2011 at 4:30 PM
subject:Your order has been shipped!

Hello Patricia,
(Your book(s) asked to write you a personal note – it seemed unusual, but who are we to say no?)


Holy canasta! It’s me… it’s me! I can’t believe it is actually me! You could have picked any of over 2 million books but you picked me! I’ve got to get packed! How is the weather where you live? Will I need a dust jacket? I can’t believe I’m leaving Mishawaka, Indiana already – the friendly people, the Hummer plant, the Linebacker Lounge – so many memories. I don’t have much time to say goodbye to everyone, but it’s time to see the world!

Continue reading

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BBC 100 Books to read

I’ve bolded books read, italicized books not completed.

The BBC apparently believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here:

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

The rest after the jump…

Continue reading

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Time to start running

I was a runner once. People who know this always expect me to be good at running. It isn’t the same as learning to whistle or tie your shoes, you can’t just go back to 6:45 mile splits after years of laziness. I hadn’t even bought new running shoes in the three years prior to last month.

Blah, blah, blah. I want this shirt ($25), but only after I’ve started running again. I’ve already promised to start running, because that’s how I justified buying the shoes.

This time I will also do my best not to injure myself in the first month. Once I get back into the routine of running, I usually try to add on miles too quickly and end up with shin splints or Morton’s Neuroma. Then I stop running for six months or so.

Not this time. I am going to Brave the Run, and hopefully be wearing this shirt at a 5K by September.

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USWNT 2011 Kit

This will only hurt a little…

Don’t know if you noticed, but the FIFA Women’s World Cup Finals began over the weekend. The US team has a great chance of advancing pretty far, which is a welcome reason to celebrate after the disappointing loss of the USMNT at the Gold Cup.

An unfortunate thing I realized as I dressed to go to the Gold Cup game-watch: I don’t own any USA gear. No flag shirts, scarves, or hats of any kind. None of my clothing even combines the right colors of red, white and blue with the exception of a Guinness sweatshirt, which seemed to defeat the point. I have gear for Ireland, Brazil, the Red Wings, Tigers, Notre Dame, Kentucky and even Manchester City, but nothing for the US of A.  I had a settle on a blue *gasp* dress. It obviously brought no luck to our boys, so I’ve decided it’s high time I gave our country its own spot in my closet.

I’m a big fan of the current USMNT third kit (red! $70), but today the Dirty Tackle blog pointed out the unusual design of the 2011 Women’s kit. They suggest it looks like a nurse’s uniform, but I think it looks comfortable. I’d probably get the Away Jersey ($80), if for no other reason than I’d spill on the white with my first beer.

Sources: Dirty Tackle Blog,
              The Beautiful Gear blog

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Cavities

Sugar-in-the-raw vs. white sugar came up at brunch today, so I decided to look into it. This was the most surprising sentence in the Wikipedia Sugar page: 

…it is impossible to develop cavities in the absence of fermentable carbohydrates.

Wow! I love the word “impossible” when used somewhat scientifically.

To answer the original question, sugar-in-the-raw, or natural brown sugar, is made by not extracting as much molasses while refining. It is produced during the first crystallization of the sugarcane, while white sugar, or table sugar, is produced after the third boiling and crystallization.

Or something like that.

Natural brown sugar is different from the brown sugar we bake with, which is white sugar with molasses blended back in.

Cheaters.

(Confession: I thought white sugar was bleached like flour is. My bad.)

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Thursday Fun Post: Cheers!

Things to say while raising a glass: Cheers!

I knew a few of them, but am always happy to learn more.

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We Flashy: Kickstarter project I want to fund

I enjoy biking, but am sometimes afraid to bike at night, even with my sweet KNOG Frog Lights. Fortunately folks like We Flashy are making it easier to be seen on the road. Using industrial-grade reflective material, they are designing clothing that keeps you safe on the road, while still looking hip out on the town.

Can you see me now? Good.

Follow We Flashy on Twitter

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Analogy-shmenalogy.

Job hunt, take 139302841.

Work isn’t the cage
it’s the money we hold;
some people don’t mind
‘cuz their shackles are gold.

“They’re bracelets, mere trinkets,
and we know what’s ours,”
cry the imprisoned as
I stare through the bars.

Tho I don’t walk freely,
I will always refrain
from gilding the burden
Of my ball and chain.

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St. Totteringham’s day

The EPL season is winding down with little to celebrate. The same two teams are on top of the table, regardless of their uninspiring play. The middle of the table is secure; Liverpool climbed out of the basement so long ago that it’s difficult to remember that they were ever facing relegation. Plus, I can’t get too worked up for any of the the teams fighting to avoid the drop. I guess I wouldn’t mind if Blackpool hung around, but unless a back-room deal between them and the Red Devil Scum is formed, I’d say the Tangerines are as good as gone.

Manchester City is still in the FA Cup, which I attribute to my recently purchased Adam Johnson jersey. Their Premier League play, however… It’s as if they didn’t want it enough. They played decently against lesser teams, but when they faced the “big boys,” any offensive attack was abandoned. Hopefully this weekends FA Final will give me a reason to celebrate.

Which brings me to Arsenal.

Arsenal had a decent season with a couple exciting victories (12/17 v Chelsea comes to mind), but with those were some of mind-boggling losses and draws (2/5 v Newcastle: wow).  They will finish third in the league for the second year running, plus they didn’t bring home any silverware. Years like these there is only one thing left for the Gunners to celebrate: St. Totteringham’s Day.

St. Totteringham’s Day, also referred to as St. Totteridge’s Day falls on whatever day the Arsenal secure enough points to mathematically finish ahead of arch-rival Tottenham Hotspur. This year the Gunners celebrated it on May 7th when Tottenham drew 1-1 with Blackpool, but the bliss of St. Totteringham’s Day really lasts until the first derby between Spurs and Arsenal next season.

Note:
Graphic is based on St. Alban. He was one of the first British Christian martyrs and is a patron saint of torture victims, which seems appropriate for Arsenal supporters. He was decapitated.

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No Monkey Business

I’m not a PETA person, per se, but people putting apes in productions for profit plagues my principles. 


It’s unpardonable that poor, precious primates are pulled from their parents, pandered as pets, prevented from a proper upbringing, and then placed in a prison when it becomes impractical to suppress their prodigious power. 


I pronounce The Great Ape Pledge to be a praiseworthy program, in which I will proudly participate. 


And so should you. 


http://www.nomonkeybusinesson.tv/

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MCFC in the FA Cup Final

“My” team is going to a cup final. I’m not sure how excited I should be. It isn’t USA or Brazil in the World Cup, it sure wasn’t Notre Dame for the March Madness Cup (go with it…), and it sadly won’t be the Red Wings fighting for Lord Stanley’s cup. It’s the team that I only started following last summer, and for that reason I’m not sure I deserve to celebrate.

Before the EPL season started, I was drawn to Manchester City because they had Robinho. He was off the team before I even had a chance to buy his jersey. I figured once he was gone I’d go back to mildly supporting Everton; I like Tim Howard, they have a couple of Irishmen and their beer sponsor isn’t horrible. But then I started cheering for Man City. They were quick, albiet not as graceful as Arsenal or tough as Man U. Carlos Tevez, who I initially loathed on principle, is fascinating to watch when he’s in top form. I’m pretty sure their 9/25 win over Chelsea sealed my fate as a fan. It also didn’t hurt that I really like their kits.

So here I am, a new supporter to a band-wagon-able team. I bought a jersey and a scarf. Now what do I do?

Turns out, there’s an app for that. I mean, there’s a website for that: Bluffer’s Guide to Manchester City. I already knew most of the trivia, but I still think it’s notable. The team has basically acknowledged that they are so awesome as to attract new fans, and instead of pooh-poohing our newfound support, they are welcoming us with open arms.

via Pitch Invasion
Photo by Johnny Vulkan/

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