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2016-366 Day 40 – Internet Presence II

So 4 years ago today I conducted a little experiment seeing where my name ranked in various Google searches. Seems like a fun thing to revive now that it’s 208 weeks later. All results as of 2/9/16. You can find the previous results here: http://www.onlytwopeople.com/blog/2012-366-day-40-internet-presence/

Matthew Worland
Results: 117,000 (2012: 1,440,000)
Highest Rank: 1.5 (2012: 1)
Percent of top 5: 60%
So apparently Google has changed how it finds and/or counts results, as I doubt 1.3 million matches disappeared in 4 years. Not that it really matters, as no one ever goes past the top twenty or so anyway. The top spot last time was my LinkedIn profile, this time it’s a listing of the Matthew Worlands on Facebook. I’m the first one if you click on it (although you can see next to nothing if you aren’t my friend), so it kind of counts? The second is my RateMyProfessor page, which has surprisingly jumped up in the last 4 years despite not having a ton of activity (I always tell my students there are only two kinds of people who post on that site, those who really hated the class and those who really loved it, so you have to be aware of the bias). The third link is for the Matthew Worlands on LinkedIn, and where my profile was on top in 2012 it’s fallen to fourth this year (The fact that there is a Matthew Worland whose job title is Disciple Superintendent made my night). The fourth entry is my office hours which was second before, and a different Matthew Worland’s twitter account rounds out the top 5. Actually, the only other reference to me in the top ten is my YouTube channel at number 9. Looks like I have more work before I become internet famous with my full name.

Matt Worland
Results: 95,700 (2012: 690,000)
Highest Rank: 3.5 (2012: 3)
Percent of top 5: 40% (2012: 40%)
The CAD drafter who was in first place got knocked to second as the other Matt Worland twitter account takes the top spot. The same LinkedIn and Facebook aggregators are in the top 5, as well as my RateMyProfessor page, which has some updated ratings since I posted this in 2012, but not many. My LinkedIn Profile picture also comes in 4th in the “images for Matt Worland” box.

disciplev1
Results: 1,340 (2012: 3,300)
Highest Rank: 1 (2012: 1)
Percent of top 5: 60% (2012: 100%)
My alternate internet persona takes a hit, as apparently several items that are the first version of something called Disciple have creeped in (you can read the origin of my screen name in the 2012 blog post). If I put quotes around it to filter out the Disciple V1 entries I still dominate the results, however.

New for 2016:
Doctor Worland
Searching for this mostly returns doctors in the Worland, Wyoming area.
“Doctor Worland”
This returns mostly the same, though there’s apparently a Doctor Worland in Medford, Oregon.
Dr Worland
Richard Worland in Virginia, Ronald Worland, the one in Oregon, Rick Worland teaches at SMU, and Nancy Worland is a vet in Oklahoma City.
Dr Matthew Worland
My RateMyProfessor and CSUN Office hour pages are the first two results for this search. Guess I should get back to making these assumptions fact.

Posted in Matt 2016-366, Matt General.

2016-366 Day 5 – At the Stadium

I read an article that talked about special moments in sports stadiums and it reminded me of this one time we went to Dodger Stadium and something happened that I’d never forget. Then I remembered that we lived in the internet age and I didn’t have to rely on my faulty memory because I knew I kept screwing up the details. So I found the box scores, then I found the highlights, and now I can actually get it right.

The Dodgers were playing the Mets in Mid-May 2009 (It was the 18th, so we were probably going in honor of my birthday, or at least my Nana’s birthday :)) The game had gone into extra innings as a 2-2 tie and arrived at the top of the 11th inning. The Dodgers pitcher got two quick outs and then allowed a single to the third batter. The fourth batter whacked the ball all the way to the center field wall and a hush fell over the crowd as the batter motored into third and the go ahead run scored. Well, except for the Mets fan in the row in front of us who was hooting and hollering up a storm and running up and down the half-empty row.

The preternatural calm persisted for a moment, until a few hushed murmurs began. Players on the field were pointing towards third base. Confusion reigned as the ball was relayed to third. The third baseman stepped on the bag and all eyes were on the umpire. A single raised fist punched the air. The runner scoring from first had missed the bag! The loudest cheer I’d ever heard erupted from the stadium, and I was certainly doing my part to contribute. Never had I heard any place go from so quiet to loud all at once. The Mets fan in front of us collapsed into his seat, face in his hands. The Dodgers scored the winning run in the bottom of the inning, and the resultant cheer seemed nearly as loud, but could not compare in the difference in magnitude the sounds of the stadium experienced on the first play.

I found the highlights on Youtube and wanted to see if it lived up to my memory. It had indeed.
https://youtu.be/1r5hh0dIQEc?t=21m28s (It starts at the batter before the triple, it’s only the highlights so I recommend sticking through to the end.)

Box Score
http://mlb.mlb.com/news/boxscore.jsp?gid=2009_05_18_nynmlb_lanmlb_1

Whenever I go to a sporting event, I always look for those things that are extremely rare or have never been done before. I always want to find moments like that one where 40,000 people (or probably 20,000 that were left in extra innings at that point) come together and experience something that will likely never be duplicated.

Hope all is well with you and you are enjoying these updates!

Posted in Matt 2016-366, Matt General. Tagged with , , , , .

Recipes #45-49 – A mash up because I am so behind on all of these!!

So Matt and I became a one and a half laptop household when the fan on my laptop decided to unceremoniously die a couple months ago. I say one and a half because we have Matt’s laptop that he got last Black Friday, and his old laptop that we got back in 2006 when he started grad school. And the truth is, I’m spoiled. The old laptop is…well…. old! So I have not had the same ability to blog at home, and let’s be honest here, I wasn’t that great with blogging before that either so… anyways, work has been insane and has not left me with the ability to blog there either. I’m behind!! The good news is, I wasn’t cooking in the interim either so I’m not *that* behind. Oh, wait… that’s bad too. I basically lost the entire buffer I had going for myself. The good news is I had a buffer! (If you’re keeping track that was bad news, bad news, good news, bad news, good news.)

In the interest of time, sanity, and the fact I barely remember cooking these, we are doing a quick bullet point catch up the 5 recipes I cooked a month ago ūüôā

Recipe #45: Toasted Ravioli

Website: http://www.plainchicken.com/2012/06/oven-toasted-ravioli.html
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Review: I made these for a quick dinner one night for Matt and I. We had bought this ravioli from Costco a couple weeks earlier, and that meant we had a ton of ravioli. Sadly, I had made it as the package directed the week prior and discovered it was not particularly good ravioli. This was a GREAT way to change (i.e. use) it up! Really easy and great texture. It didn’t make it heavy either. And best of all, it improved the less than stellar ravioli! To the point it was actually good!!

 

Recipe #46: Lasagna Soup

Website: http://www.macaroniandcheesecake.com/2011/11/lasagna-soup.html

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Review: The theory behind this one was a lightened up version of lasagna, less noodles means less carbs, less calories. And it was good, and tasted…well sorta like lasagna.¬† It certainly didn’t have the body of lasagna and I don’t think it would satisfy a lasagna craving. It was still good though! The best part, however, was putting the garlic cheese croutons on top! Why have I not thought of putting those in soup before?!?! Other than that take away, for a non-lasagna lasagna option, I think I’ll stick with The Pioneer Woman’s Bowtie Lasagna

 

Recipe #47: Apple Brie Bites

Website: http://dancingbranflakes.blogspot.com/2012/10/brie-and-apple-crescent-rolls-and-word.html?m=1

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Review:¬† I love Brie. To be fair, I love most cheese. Brie is a favorite though, particularly brie baked with honey, dried fruit, and nuts. I saw this spin on it and thought it would be great for a girl’s night. I bought the brie, and as occasionally happens with life, plans fell thru and girls night never happened. Finally it reached a point where I knew I needed to use the brie because it wasn’t going to make it much longer. So I made a couple just for me to test the recipe. They were quite good, not quite as good as some other versions I have had, but still yummy. Plus you can change up what goes inside, I think I might prefer dried cranberries over the apple, for example. My main issue was I wouldn’t serve them for a party or anything, they aren’t the prettiest little packages:

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But they are easier than cutting into a wheel of brie and having it go every where. So I guess the question is, what is more important, presentation or functionality? For me, I think, in this case, it is presentation.

 

Recipe #48: Tomato Avocado Salad

Website: In the time since I made this recipe, it appears that that blog has been shut down…
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Review: I made this when I was home sick one day back in May. I wasn’t that hungry but knew I needed to eat something. Sadly, the blog containing recipe that I used has since been taken down. If I remember right it was:

Avocado
Cherry tomatoes
Cilantro
Olive Oil
Lime Juice
Salt
Pepper

Very simple. For the dressing I would use 1 part lime juice to 2 parts oil. Think tablespoons not cups, you don’t want it drowning, just coated. It was a nice lunch with some crackers. However, it was a week later when I made this again for our Bible Study BBQ that it was truly awesome! I added some roasted corn and use jalapeno infused olive oil. It was delicious!! And it got rave reviews from friends.

 

Recipe #49: Avocado Chimichurri Bruschetta

Website: http://www.vegetariantimes.com/recipe/avocado-chimichurri-bruschetta/

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Review: This one combines one of my favorite things ever, avocado, with one of my favorite foods ever, Chimichurri. My favorite breakfast is actually sprouted wheat sourdough toast with avocado, lime juice, and hot sauce, so this is a great take on that for me. I didn’t care for this particular chimi recipe, but I would add avocado to the recipe I posted here previously. So the concept is delicious!! This is a great breakfast….well for me. ūüôā

Posted in 100 New Recipes, Jess General. Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , .

2013-52 Week 25

I’m just about done with my book for May (and it’s not even the end of June, progress!), but I can give you the review already since it’s pretty straightforward and I want to talk about it in reference to this blog. The book is I Remember Me by Carl Reiner and is essentially a memoir in bits and pieces. See, he had already written his memoir – a book called My Anecdotal Life (which I have not yet read) and this book is apparently all the information that suddenly fell out of his head when he turned ninety. So instead of a flowing narrative the book is instead just jumping from memory to memory, which in no way diminishes it in either interest or amusement. I know the bit about being ninety not only because he mentions it in the book, but also because Jess and I went to see him in Los Angeles when he came out to promote his book in late April.

Reiner

I’ll admit I was a late addition to the Carl Reiner fan club, most of my previous experience with him came like most of the people my age, in the Ocean’s 11 movies. Jess, however, had grown up loving the Dick Van Dyke Show among other things, so it was she who suggested we go down and pick up a Mother’s Day gift for her mom (in the form of a signed book) while we were at it. The night turned out much like the book, interesting and funny to no end. His memory, cleverness, and wit are impeccable for a man in his ninth decade of life, and we also discovered that Mel Brooks had dinner at his house every night . . . whether Carl was there or not!

What does this have to do with the blog? Well it struck me about a third of the way in that something about the book was familiar. I realized that the writing style and format was actually much like my blog posts! You know, if I was only a million times funnier, more interesting, and knew a bunch of famous comedy legends. However you look at it though, I’m essentially reading a ninety year-old man’s blog in book form, and it’s really good. Not sure what the next book will be, but hopefully it will be of similar quality.

Actually, this post is going to have a bit of a theme, which is “Things I did with Jess and never got to write about.” Actually, that’s slightly misleading going into the next topic, as I did mention it briefly last week, and Brian, Dennis and Tim also accompanied us. Some of you might remember this picture from way back in Week 18, when I was heading home from Ragnar:

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Well, it inspired Jess to look into the area and hot air balloons, and she discovered that the Temecula Balloon and Wine Festival would be happening at the very beginning of June. A small party was organized and we decided to make it a day trip, so rather than seeing the balloons take off early in the morning we would go for the afternoon and then partake of the evening “glow”, where the balloons would light their flames with music at dusk. It seemed unique and would probably make for better pictures, an important consideration when you’re friends with a bunch of shutterbugs.

Tim drove us down and the drive was largely uneventful, Temecula is a bit under two hours a way and we didn’t encounter any serious traffic. We took a detour through what was promised as “beautiful wine country Temecula”; a promise we were prone to disbelieve. While we expected vast swaths of dirt, we were instead presented with some nice fields, beautiful wineries, and, well actually there were some vast swaths of dirt, as well as a suspected meth lab and a pot farm. Actually, before I impugn the reputation of Temecula more unfairly I will point out that as we stopped at a stop sign I looked to our left and declared “Pot farm!” When everyone else turned to look they saw what I did, row after row of pots for planting, and even a stack not unlike stacked hay bales off to one side. After navigating the entryway and finding some parking, it was time to head into the festival.

I’ll tell you this about the first part of the festival, it was hot! And, unfortunately, when you are not a drinker like I am, there is precious little to distract you from that fact. We did have a great time wandering the grounds, however, listening to various bands, sampling various fair foods (including the popcorn from last week), getting alternately hit on and insulted by a drunk guy (oh wait, that was just Jess), wandering around obscenely expensive motor homes (“Wait, it gets 5 miles to the gallon and the gas tank is 150 gallons? So it costs six hundred dollars to fill up? And it costs more than my condo? Sold! . . . Wait, no.”), and just generally goofing off and awaiting the balloon glow at night. Once the sun started going down the balloons were brought back from their morning voyages and set up in a circle at one end of the park. I once again got to have some fun with panorama standing in the middle of them all.

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And as the sun went down, we were treated to a great show that really put a bow on the whole day (we are going to ignore the fact that traffic out made old-school Dodger Stadium look like an empty freeway). Here’s the best I could capture a part of the experience.

Before:
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After:
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We are making plans to go back in the future, although we now know to avoid the middle part of the day and focus on the evening, perhaps by staying down there next year.

Oh, oh, I almost forgot, I can share my requisite crappy cell phone video (actually it’s not that bad) with you!

The final event we attended Jess discovered and through hard work and determination managed to secure us tickets. The tickets were for a showing of Joss Whedon’s adaption of Much Ado about Nothing, which, though it was in limited release at the time, is only some what exciting. What made it really exciting was that Joss and some cast members would be doing a question and answer session at the end of the show. The showing started at five on a Friday in Westwood, so we took a half day, headed down the 405, and got there in plenty of time. This would have been prudent on a normal Friday in Los Angeles, but wound up being extra necessary as the President was in the area and there was a shooter at Santa Monica College that day too. We actually watched the FBI’s mobile command center drive by as we got off the freeway (yes, it was actually written on the side of the large truck that drove by). Safely ensconced at the mall, we wandered a bit and then found our seats as showtime was about to begin. At this point we didn’t know what to expect, as we had found out that there would be a couple additional showings with Q&As at another theater after ours (we were at the Landmark, the others were at the Arclight).

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It wasn’t nearly as dark as my camera makes it look. Anyway, the movie was fantastic, especially comedically and I would recommend it to even the most Shakespeare-averse. The actors nailed it, the setting was wonderful, and the style was just right. I could go on and on but I’ll just tell you to see it and let the movie speak for itself. As the credits rolled a moderator from a website I should really be remembering came out and then introduced Tom Lenk, Clark Gregg (Agent Coulson, woo!), Amy Acker, Joss, and Alexis Denisof (who easily steals this movie, absolutely awesome). This is what they looked like from where we were sitting:

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Jess managed to get a little bit of enhancement using the special settings on her phone camera:

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They wound up answering mostly scripted questions from the moderator, only taking two from the other side of the audience, but the questions were well structured and the answers insightful, so it was a great time. (Woo!) I wish my memory was good enough to relate everything that happened (yet another difference between me and Mr. Reiner above), and we were slightly disappointed there wasn’t an appearance by Nathan Fillion, but Joss and the cast made the night amazingly special. It was over far too quickly, but we certainly had a blast.

We had spotted a small restaurant across the street that looked interesting, so we decided to head there after the festivities were concluded. It was a small house (I kid you not) called the Apple Pan (okay, I just found the Wikipedia page, which is kind of nuts) consisting of a single counter that rings an exposed kitchen. Known for their hickory burger (and Lord knows I can’t resist a hickory burger), we walked in and had to stand against the wall waiting for a counter seat to open up. Thankfully one did within fifteen minutes and were able to order some dinner. The burger was very good and, of course, we had to try the pie, which featured an excellent home-style crust. In all it was certainly an experience to have, but not a place I’m going to make a trek out to on a regular basis (especially due to the limited seating).

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To give you some perspective on this picture, we are looking diagonally across the restaurant and the corner is about five feet behind our backs.

One thing we talked about briefly was, if we ever moved out of California (or even away from Los Angeles), how we would miss unique experiences like these on a regular basis. The great thing about LA is that things like movie premiers and book signers have to come to you, and you just have to keep your eyes (or twitter) open to find them. Other places may not rate so highly as a stop over for authors and directors. Not a make-or-break item, but certainly a consideration should we ever think about relocating.

And with that I think I’m caught up. Looks like I’ll have to find some more interesting things to do. What’s that you say? I have a Monty Python themed birthday party to attend this Saturday? Seems like it has already begun.

Weight Low: 226 Loss: 4 lbs – Running Yearly Mileage: 213.5 miles (+0 miles) Last year-to-date: 187.5 miles – Words-to-date: 45555 (+1781)

Posted in Matt 2013-52, Matt General. Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , .

2013-52 Week 24

Well that was an interesting week! We left last Thursday for my grandparent’s place in Grand Junction, Colorado to meet up with all of their children and grandchildren to celebrate their joint 80th birthdays and 60th wedding anniversary (spread out from April to June). Originally we were going to head back Monday, but Jess managed to finagle some coverage for her office and we were able to stay through when the majority of people left on Tuesday morning. I will say this, I’ve always like my family, however, I am extremely impressed that we could all go four days in fairly close proximity with not only no major blowups, but everyone seeming to come out of the experience liking each other more. And major props to my cousin Kyle’s girlfriend Jill, whose first exposure to the family was all at once (she is Canadian, so that probably helped, take that how you will).

We drove up and back, as is our wont, in a rental. Last time we did this around Thanksgiving we got a Chevy Cruze that we liked a lot for the various features. This time, however, we had a Toyota Corolla, which was nice enough, but it didn’t have some of the features we liked on the Cruze. I missed the digital speedometer and the in-steering wheel cruise control, which I could use to adjust everything in one mile increments whenever speed limit changes arose and wound up being very convenient. I have since found that ability on the Toyotas, but it just isn’t nearly as convenient when the readout isn’t digital. Another problem reared its head about fifty miles into the trip, a persistent buzzing when we went over 60 miles an hour, coming from the ceiling on Jess’ side. We had enough around Baker and decided to trade it in when we got to Vegas. Of course, this prompted the car to stop doing it around the time we hit the state line, which wound up being just as well as we couldn’t find the location the GPS pointed us to in Vegas and we didn’t want to spend too much time there.

Well, outside of our intentional side trip, that is. When we were at the Balloon and Wine Festival in Temecula we ran across a booth that was selling some really good popcorn. The company is called Popcorn Girl and they have two physical stores, one in Las Vegas. Since we were on the way through, we figured we’d stop by. It did wind up being about twenty minutes out of the way (and also sporting a missing Hertz), but we eventually found it tucked into a strip mall. In addition to our festival experience, we watched a Food Network profile on the company and found out they made a blend of their fruit flavors called Cornfetti, and it was determined that would be a fun thing to take and inflict on the family. The vast amount of other choices, however, left us dumbfounded for a little bit. We told them about finding them at the festival and were informed that, in a funny coincidence, the people just before us had mentioned the same thing and that, no, they don’t actually go to any festivals. Kind of weird, since the people in Temecula were definitely portraying themselves as part of the business, but the store employees swore up and down that they didn’t. It was still the same popcorn (verified by several taste tests) and we finally left with a giant bag of Cornfetti, another giant bag of Denver (our favorite, white cheddar and caramel – not on the same piece of popcorn), a small bag of Loaded Baked Potato (eerily accurate, but a bit hardcore), and another smallish bag of something called Puppy Chow (which had sweets and pretzels all mixed up and coated in powdered sugar, wound up being a bit too sweet at times). Loaded up on popcorn and a currently non-buzzing car, we set back out and made it to Colorado in the late evening.

The weekend itself went by very quickly, featuring many great conversations, several trips around town, a great party, and many great meals. It was wonderfully relaxing and energizing at the same time, though I don’t think I could quite do justice to everything that happened in mere words. My cousin Melissa and her parents put together two great books of pictures and letters that they gave to Nana and Grandpa, one serious and touching, the other funny “outtakes” or embarrassing pictures from various sources.

One other fun thing we got to do with our extra day was take a trip out to the Colorado Monument, a winding road through the mesa with plenty of viewpoints at which to stop and take pictures. Since this is pretty much the only part of the trip I remembered to take pictures of, I thought I should include some here.

To start with, I had a lot of fun with the panorama feature up there.

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Per the results of a discussion we had (two of my cousins are still in college), if there are two people in the picture you can’t call it a “selfie”. I don’t think we figured out the term for it (I lean towards “dualie” if it’s two people), but here’s Jess and I on the mesa.

Matt Jess Mesa

I also started playing around with my camera settings and discovered that HDR, a setting that takes the picture at several different settings then averages them together for the final image, works pretty darn well.

Before:
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After:
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By the way, that is a formation called the “Coke Ovens”, a name which we intended to research but never did.

I have a bunch more I’ll probably put on Facebook, but we did have one other funny story. In a bit I didn’t remember from my previous visits (which I’ll admit where a WHILE ago), there is one area where the rocks look like a mummy (well, more accurately a sarcophagus, but I’m being picky here) . . . I’ll let you judge for yourself, though that’s not the funny part.

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Anyhow, that point also happens to be an echo point (as indicated by the sign), and I used my umpire voice to yell to the heavens and get a response.

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Apparently my doing so caused the sky to open up, as right afterwards we got caught in a cloudburst with a cold wind. We ran back to the car in case there were any lightning strikes (not an uncommon occurrence on the mesa), which sadly ended our fun with the echoes. Appropriately, however, what were the final words echoing through the canyon as we ran away? “Strike Three!”

Okay, I lied, there was one other thing I remembered to take a picture of on the trip.

Hawaiin

Actually from our first stop of the trip, the food court store was a little confused how to spell, apparently.

I could go on about the whole experience, it truly was a wonderful time with some lifetime memories (not Lifetime, no drama). Congratulations Nana and Grandpa for setting such an awesome example, and to my family for being so awesome.

In more pedestrian news, I have returned to a spate of doctors appointments, trying to get a handle on my esophagitis and bad knee. It turns out that after such a lovely weekend with the family I come home to find that I have been lied to all this time and that I am actually adopted. How else to explain the fact that I apparently have a mild peanut allergy when my mother eats nothing but peanut butter and jelly when left to her own devices? My visit to the allergist was largely inconclusive, but I can reassure my father with the fact that they no longer drive nails into your back to do allergy tests. Nope, they just stab the underside of your arm with a bunch of plastic needles coated in various allergens.

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I have a treatment plan, however, and the doctor seems very familiar with my condition, so at least that’s moving in the right direction. As for my knee appointment, today, well I have my first MRI to look forward to now (though it is mainly to rule out the tearing of any ligaments) and it’s back to physical therapy for me. I don’t care, though, as long as I can run and do karate again when all is said and done.

Weight Low: 226 Loss: 4 lbs – Running Yearly Mileage: 213.5 miles (+0 miles) Last year-to-date: 183.5 miles – Words-to-date: 43774 (+2013)

Posted in Matt 2013-52, Matt General. Tagged with , , , , , , , , , .

2013-52 Week 23

It’s been a particularly busy week for reasons that I’ll be better able to talk about in the next blog post. In a small preview I’m able to say this much, one of the balls in the air finally landed, and I’ve been accepted into the Doctoral program at CSUN! I had pretty much given up, as I thought they would have decided towards the end of the semester, but I got the phone call on Thursday letting me know I was selected for the program. Still some other things to sort out, but this is pretty exciting!

Since I just finished my book for April last night (I know, I know, I’ll catch up), I figured it was time to give you my long overdue book reviews for March and April. Then Jess reminded me that I should talk about our little excursion to Westwood to see Much Ado about Nothing with a cast and crew question and answer session last week, so I figure why not make it a media week? (Actually, this is me from the future, and Much Ado will have to wait a week.)

So, to review, in January I read The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, and in February I read The Fifth Assassin by Brad Meltzer. In March I decided to go back to the real life analysis area and picked up a book I hadn’t read yet by an old favorite of mine Outliers, by Malcom Gladwell. I’ve read two of Gladwell’s other books (The Tipping Point and Blink), liking one (Tipping Point, not really my area of interest) and loving the other one (Blink was fascinating and Jess and I still talk about some of the concepts to this day). I’m pleased to report that Outliers landed much closer to Blink than Tipping Point on my scale. The basic idea of the book was to debunk our common narrative of successful people being self-made super-human mortals who do everything on their own. Rather Gladwell presents many examples that success is more often the product of fortuitous timing, cultural advantages, and/or many, many hours of practice at a given skill. You might have heard that it takes ten thousand hours to become an expert at a given field, and this book delves deeply into that idea.

A bit more commentary on writing style, as that’s going to be important when I talk about the April book. I find Gladwell’s style to be easy to read, informative, and usually pretty funny. I recognize the fact that he cherry picks his examples, but it’s hard after seeing the sheer number of them throughout the book not to agree with his premise. I would be curious to see if someone could put together a book of counter-examples. I also discovered the fact that Jess and my fathers were born at a prime time to be computer millionaires like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, but they spent their time surfing instead (okay, to be fair they didn’t have access to the early technology that Bill and Steve did). Actually, regarding that last parenthetical aside, you should read the book just to see how ultra-fortunate Mr. Gates was in his opportunities and training.

For my April selection I didn’t really have a book in mind ahead of time. There is another Gladwell book which is a collection of his articles, but I didn’t want to read the same author in back-to-back months. Seemed lazy. Nothing else really jumped out at me, and it was already a bit into April at this point. I finally took seeing the same book recommended in two different places as a sign I should give it a shot, which is how I wound up reading the entirely uncharacteristic (for me) Life after Life by Kate Atkinson. A fiction novel which follows a woman named Ursula Todd who is born 1910 and who is reborn every time she dies (and let me tell you there are a lot of ways to die in the early to mid-1900’s) with only a hazy, deja-vu memory of her previous lives), which I thought was an interesting idea. It wound up, for me, being a better idea in theory than in practice, as keeping track of what happened in various lifetimes turned out more to be a chore than something interesting and was part of the reason why it took me so long to finish the book. Well, more accurately, so long for me to pick up the book between sittings. I recognize that this is mostly due to a flaw in myself, one I’ll cover in more detail in the next paragraph. Overall though, I’d recommend the book if you have an interest in life in England during the early to mid-1900’s with a twist, but not if you’re intrigued by alternate-history Hitler assassinations, as you are teased with in the beginning of the book, as it plays almost zero part in the novel.

So why do I say there was a personal issue which hampered my enjoyment? Well, about halfway through I came to recognize a simple fact: if this book had been set in the United States I would have been far more interested. The constant references to England’s geographical areas and landmarks had absolutely zero resonance with me, from the rural area where the main character grows up to London during World War II. Also the English affections in the language of the book often pulled me out of many scenes as I tried to determine what they meant. I just found the book a little too meandering, as I wasn’t enjoying it enough to appreciate the exploring of the world. Also it didn’t seem that the “rules” about how things worked remained consistent, and I’m a stickler for rules. All in all I suppose it was a good experience to stretch out my reading tastes a bit, but not one that I’m going to repeat soon. It also put me behind on my schedule, but not nearly enough that I can’t catch up.

I have definitely been enjoying this reading resolution, as it’s let me get back into a good habit that I had largely transitioned to online materials. I feel it’s good to maintain some paper-based reading, there are some studies that indicate it just works better. I don’t know that I necessarily put that much stock into the differences being that great, but old-fashioned sometimes just seems right.

Weight Low: 226 Loss: 4 lbs – Running Yearly Mileage: 213.5 miles (+0 miles) Last year-to-date: 177.5 miles – Words-to-date: 41761 (+1092)

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Recipe #44

Last weekend, Matt and I went with a couple of friends to the Temecula Wine and Hot Air Balloon Festival. It was fun, ridiculously hot, but fun! We walked around, shopped, and sampled some local wines (Temecula is known, not just for Indiana Casinos apparently, but also for¬†their wines. Who knew?). We¬†waited for the hot air balloons to return for the evening Balloon Glow, where the balloons are inflated, but tethered, and they “fire up” together. After dusk, the flame lights up the entire balloon and it is really amazing to see.

Balloon Glow Dennis Lew

One thing that they apparently added this year were Wine pairing and Beer pairing sessions where high-end chefs prepared dishes that were paired to local winery and microbrew selections. I would have loved to participate in one of these, but $75 a ticket was a little rich for my taste.

Like I said, it was oppressively hot while we were there, and we reached a point where we were melting so we decided to stop in a shaded, grassy area to rest a bit. As we all basically collapsed onto the ground, I started to read the little booklet they had given us when we walked into the festival.

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I was pleasantly surprised to find that in that booklet were printed the recipes for the wine and beer pairings! I started to look through them and came across one I KNEW I had to make when I got home. Have you ever run across one of those? That you knew you just had to make? I couldn’t wait to try such an involved recipe that was from a professional chef that was brought to a festival such as this one…I have gained a lot of confidence in my cooking over the years, and with the recent conquering of frying, I couldn’t wait to challenge myself again.

Recipe #44

Sriracha Ketchup

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As with any recipe, it’s important to gather everything you need….

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As you can see I added in the ketchup, and then the sriracha…

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I admit, I put my own twist on the recipe and decided to branch out a bit. I mixed it with a spoon instead of the rubber spatula that was called for.

After about 30 seconds, my hard work finally paid off!! And I was ready to impress Matt with my new culinary levels. I accompanied the sauce with hot dogs that were infused with cheddar cheese, encased in puff pastry shells.

The sauce was distinctly tomato with a hint of sweetness, followed by a distinct burn. It was … pretty darn good actually. And Dad, before you ask, it was to be paired with the Leffe.

So see, when you stretch and challenge yourself, cooking is a lot of fun!

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2013-52 Week 22

It’s the beginning of June and I missed it in May, so it’s time for a two month catch up in the Resolution Update! This is where I get to tell you all of my resolutions are in the process of crashing and burning. Don’t worry, it should be more fun than it sounds (I hope).

1) One blog post (longer) every week this year – With a few new epics, the two-parter on Ragnar and “Why I Game” mainly, I feel I’ve been doing a better job at writing some of the longer posts for which this format was meant. Then I have other weeks were I just wrote a few paragraphs on Saturday night. And then I made the mistake of looking at Google Analytics today (or maybe my mistake was turning on the analytics) and I had to remind myself that I’m not doing this for the page views (thank goodness). I will say that Jess has been doing markedly better with her recipes, as people are actually finding them via Google. Maybe I should be writing a food blog too. ūüôā And if you want to know why I’ve had James Brown’s “Living in America” stuck in my head the last few days, well you should go read her longest piece to date. – On Track.

2) Lose at least 20 pounds – Unfortunately the knee injury has take its toll, and I’m just recently getting things back under control. It turns out that having a runner’s appetite and not running will do bad things to you weight-wise. I had to shut down karate too as I just can’t jump or do a proper back stance with the way things are now. Next appointments are in mid-June, so I’m just going to have to focus on being really good until then. – Behind.
Current Loss: +3 lbs – On pace loss: -8.33 lbs

3) Run 400 miles – Thankfully I built a large buffer in the first few months, although that might have possibly caused my injury so maybe not. Hopefully whatever the problem is can be quickly cleaned up and I can get back on track soon. I actually did two short runs this week for the first time since Ragnar, a one mile run without tape and a two mile run with it. While I could complete them I’m not certain what I was doing could be called running, more of a speedy hobble since bending my right knee to any appreciable degree isn’t easy. As Jess has said often, I don’t do being injured well, but since the symptoms only really occur when I’m trying to run or go down stairs (basically put pressure or compress the joint) it’s been a little easier to deal with as it’s out of my mind a lot of the time. It has gotten bad enough that I’m considering swimming on a regular basis for exercise. – Ahead.
Current Mileage (Through May): 210.5 – On pace mileage: 166.67

4) Write an average of 500 words a day – Again, the epics helped and I am ahead of my modified goal of 250 words a day because of them. I don’t see reaching the 500 word mark, but who knows, maybe I’ll get inspired. Oh, and I wound up taking a No Credit in the online English class I was taking and blowing off the last two months. I just got tired of the lack of feedback, the lack of communication outside of the monthly couple thousand word screed complaining about his job and how certain students weren’t doing things the right way while then saying the majority were doing fine (then why complain to everyone, just deal with those students individually like a grown up), and the general lack of effort this professor put into his class. By the time I wrote the class off two months in I had gotten one grade out of seven projects (a perfect score, mind you) and I didn’t want to deal with it anymore. Not that the professor noticed, as doing any amount of work outside of posting the assignment and writing the occasional rant email was far beyond his interest. I’m just thankful that I had the option of taking it Credit/No Credit; I pity the poor students there that were taking the class for an actual grade and were hoping it would be useful in their life. Oh, and did I mention that in the two months I was in the class the professor did ZERO teaching? It was simply read this section of the book and then do this project. The man was basically stealing money from the University. Sorry, I should stop now . . . – Behind and Ahead.
Current Word Count (Through May): 39231 – On pace word count: 75000 – Modified on pace word count: 37500

Pardon me for the brief interlude here, but this seemed like the best place to put this aside since I just finished complaining about another professor. I got my latest evaluations back and think I scored my best ones yet as all of my scores averaged over a 6 (out of 7) with 95% of the class saying they would recommend me to their friends and that I was a very good instructor. In the past I have had a few comments and they have generally had a theme (one year was “I wish he taught all my classes”), but this year I got comments from half the class and they ranged to all areas of the class (mostly positive though). I did have one student who put all ones (I can infer this from the results sheet and the last comment in the packet, I don’t get their actual evaluations) and left a near unintelligible comment complaining about my lack of computing knowledge. I really have no idea what class they were attending, but considering every other student in the class gave me a 7/7 in “The instructor appears to know the subject matter well” category it’s obvious they were in la-la land. That being said, it is of course the one that is sticking with me, although the main thing that might be bothering me is that I didn’t pick up on this student or their attitude in class (although I had several students who didn’t attend class all that often, so it might have been one of them). I suppose I should just counter it in my head with the last part of another student’s comment, “He was never unable to answer a question.”

5) Read a book a month – Ah, now this one is totally on me. I’m almost done with my April book, which I went out of my comfort zone and have thus struggled a bit with setting the time aside for it. I have my May book all picked out and anticipate it going faster, but seeing as it’s June obviously I have a bit of catching up to do. Thankfully this will be the easiest one to catch up on, as I built a lot of buffer into this resolution. Oh, and as for why I’m having problems with the April book, I’ll keep you in suspense on that one until I do a book review on it. I’ll just say that it’s more a problem with me than the book for now. – Behind.

In all it’s been a rough two months for my resolutions. June might get a little better, but I don’t see things truly turning around for another month. I will say that I’ve certainly had an attitude adjustment and that these setbacks are not getting me down nearly as much as they might have in the past. Not entirely certain to what I should chalk that up, but I’ll be thankful for it anyway (and I’m sure Jess is too).

As for random updates, allergist appointment is also in mid-June as the next step in trying to figure out my esophagus issues, all the tests run by my regular doctor came back negative. I haven’t heard back from the Doctoral program but have to assume by this point that I didn’t make it in, there’s just not enough time left before the next semester that I can see them not having at least sent out the acceptance letters by now. And finally I have a new mystery opportunity that I would appreciate your prayers on, but I can’t say much more than that at the moment.

I don’t say it enough, but I really want to thank those of you that do read all of these updates. I hope to make them at least somewhat interesting and appreciate that you care enough to check them out regardless.

Weight Low: 226 Loss: 4 lbs – Running Yearly Mileage: 213.5 miles (+3 miles) Last year-to-date: 175.5 miles – Words-to-date: 40669 (+1438)

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Mexican Fiesta! Recipes 40-43

So, on Cinco de Mayo, I might have gone a little crazy… okay, really crazy. We love Chevy’s Fresh Mex, but the nearest one is a 30 minute drive from here, so we rarely go. I had found a bunch of recipes online months ago but hadn’t tried them… for some reason, instead of trying them, oh…one at a time… I went for 4 in one afternoon. I tend to go on cooking binges when I’m stressed and Cinco de Mayo weekend was at the start of pretty much most stressful month I have ever had at work….but that’s another post.

First up:

Recipe #40: Crock Pot Refried Beans

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I mentioned in a previous post that since my mom’s stroke over 2 years ago, I’ve lost my taste for certain processed foods. Something that I’m sure is¬†psychosomatic, but it’s there nonetheless. One of these has been canned refried beans. I found this recipe, and despite my lack of faith in the crock pot, I decided to try it. And I am so glad I did!!! These were delicious! All you need is dried pinto beans, water, chicken bouillon, half an onion, garlic salt, and several hours. Once the beans are soft, you add some butter and use one of my all time favorite kitchen gadgets, the hand blender, to smash them up. I also added a bit more garlic salt to taste.

These were the second best beans I have had (First belonging to Las Fuentes in Reseda, CA). I will absolutely make these again, reduced though as we¬†had apparently refried beans for 50… we ate a lot of mexican food that next week. Also, I used what I learned from this recipe to make some awesome “refried” black beans using canned black beans. I¬†only¬†drained off maybe half the liquid and used the blender to smash them with some garlic salt and cumin. They were yummy and Matt really loved them.

 

Recipe #41: Chevy’s Salsa

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This was very similar to another salsa recipe I tried last year, but less heat. You roast the tomatoes, onions, and peppers in the oven before pureeing them with some garlic, salt, and pepper. It was okay salsa, but it was missing something and seemed a little flat. Matt suggested some lime juice and that did brighten it up a bit, but it still wasn’t right. Chevy’s really does have the best chips and salsa, and while Tostitos Cantina Chips come close, I still haven’t found a salsa that can match Chevy’s.

 

Recipe #42: Chicken Flautas and Recipe #43: Pepper Jelly

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Frying has been something that has scared me for many year. After gaining more experience and confidence, and Matt’s lovely gift of a heavy duty dutch oven for Christmas, I have slowly been trying frying, first making these wings (which were AWESOME. Highly recommended!).¬†That had honestly been what was keeping me from trying this for awhile, that and the pepper jelly which was a necessary side dish.

Both of these recipes were AMAZING! As in, thinking about them right now is making me frustrated that I don’t have any to eat! The flautas were fairly simple to make, even with the scary frying. I added corn to the mixture because I thought I remembered that Chevy’s did as well and it wasn’t in the recipe. Correct or not, it was a good addition, adding some sweetness. Matt was SO impressed with these and said they were ever better than Chevy’s. We did make these again the next night since I had tortillas and filling left, this time though we brushed them with oiled and baked them. They were good, the filling is identical so you keep all those flavors, but they weren’t as good. For me, the appeal to flautas is the blend of textures, the crunch giving way to the more chewy when you bite into it. You don’t get that with baking them. So I’m very happy I have kicked my frying fear!

The jelly? Okay, totally honestly, the pepper jelly is WHY Matt and I order the flautas. It’s sweet, spicy, sticky, and all around amazing. We adore the stuff! This recipe, is a SPOT¬†ON replica. My only comment is that it might have needed more gelatin as it was a little more runny than Chevy’s but that didn’t matter because it tasted AMAZING! I knew it was promising when I put it aside to cool and caught a whiff¬†and it smelled SO GOOD. So good, that¬†I called¬†Matt over to show him how excited I was.¬†Waiting¬†for it to cool was a test in patience. Thankfully, having experienced the culinary napalm that is¬†liquid sugar (that sucked, let me tell you),¬†I was willing to take the time to make sure it was cooled sufficiently. Then I resisted eating it with a spoon! I really need to figure out what else to put it on!

I’m so happy that I now have these recipes. Matt said it was the best meal I have ever cooked for him! I can’t wait to make them again. Although,¬†I probably won’t make them all at the same time again…except for the flautas and jelly because that is just required by law.

 

 

Posted in 100 New Recipes, Jess General. Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

“Flash Mob”

Here is the clip I was “in” on last night’s America’s Got Talent, “my scene” is from the 1:00-1:15 mark. I’m waving one of those little flags next to a really BIG flag on the right in the back. You can’t see me, but I am TOTALLY rocking that flag and the dance.

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While I am writing this on April 23rd, I’m not allowed to post it until June 5th… so I just want to get as much down now while it is still fresh!

Last week (mid April when you are reading this) a friend, Debbie, asked if anyone would be interested in doing a flash mob with her. ¬†(Side note, I met Debbie last year and she is so much fun. She is my friend Cathy’s T.’s sister and they were the reason I did my first mud run. So I don’t know how she learns of all these random fun things, but she does and she is truly a hilarious and beautiful person that I’m so glad that I met!) ¬†I answered her with a resounding….Maybe…. I have tried to do the flash mob thing once before and backed out. I have always been a behind the scenes person. Oddly enough, I have often been praised for my public speaking skills both at work and in school, even once being asked to represent in a speech tournament. My response, “I have to work.” “I didn’t tell you when it was.” “Oh,…I still have to work.” While I can apparently function, rather well supposedly, with only my blushing to the color of a tomato to betray my terror internally, I just mentally¬†haven’t been able to handle the anxiety, losing sleep for days before.

While I waited for Debbie to forward on the information, I was thinking about the flash mob,¬†about my backing out of one previously, about that struggle about how who we want to be differs from who we are. I want to be the type of person that does things like that, that doesn’t freeze up wondering what people are thinking, I always have. So why do I let me stop myself? In the middle of my self-psychoanalysis, a quote came to mind: “Do one thing that scares you each day”¬†~ Eleanor Roosevelt (While this quote is widely attributed to her, and she did have much to say on the topic of fear, there is no actual proof of her ever saying this. But it’s on the internet so it must be true.)¬†And that was the point¬†I decided that I would do it, what was the worst that could happen?

Debbie wasn’t sure she could find a sitter, so we ordered 4 tickets in my name, just in case. Sadly, the sitter did end up being a issue and she wasn’t able to join us. And this meant I had 3 tickets to find homes for. So I drafted my friends Laura, Caitlyn, and Gidget for the task.

Oddly enough, I have not seen Laura in several years. We went to high school together and I probably spent more nights at her house than any other than my own in those 4 years. She always gave the BEST parties and many of my happiest memories involve her. Her and her husband moved back to Cali a few years ago, but outside of¬†a couple of¬†dinners, we just haven’t made the time to see each other, but we were staying in touch on facebook. I don’t know why she popped into my head first as someone that would do this with me, but she did and I’m so happy she did. I also loved that she excitedly¬†said “Sure!” before she even knew what she was signing up for. So our little reunion was certainly a random one.

Caitlyn is my “honorary brother” Ryan’s little sister, which in some weird way make her my little sister. At least that is how I feel about her. We have also become friends in our own right over the past several years, even if she does love to make me feel old. ūüėȬ†Caitlyn is a talented singer and does choreography for her church, so I knew she was in if she was free. My only worry was that she would¬†make the rest of us look bad since she actually knew what she was doing!

Finally, I recruited Gidget, she teaches at CSUN and she has the honor of being the only person for whom I break my “No work friends as facebook friends” rule. She is honestly one of the most fun and creative people I have ever met. She truly loves life and that beauty comes through in everything she does, whether it is her teaching (at which she is truly gifted) or¬†her little handmade cards and gifts that give Martha Stewart a run for her money.

All three of these women had one trait in common that I knew I needed. All three of them would pull¬†the outgoing part of me, wherever it was, out into view. More importantly, none of them would let me back out, hide, or get lost in my own head. (It’s dangerous in there) So that was our little posse.

Laura, Caitlyn, and I met earlier in the morning for breakfast, knowing that with these things calories would be important and scarce at the filming. Gidget was meeting us down there as she had to book it to an evening class and we wanted to make sure she would be able to make it. We were supposed to all meet at the Universal Lot, after a little confusion on how to find the correct gate, we were finally in a growing line of cars to pull in to the lot.

I gave the security guard our tickets and ID, being somewhat familiar with lot security protocols after countless visits to my dad, but the guard¬†seemed confused. Finally saying, “You’re part of this “flash mob thing?!”¬† No one left anything for any of you, go park over there somewhere” and pointed to 5 minute parking. We parked illegally, because they ran out of actual 5 minute parking since they were just filtering everyone over to the same holding pattern, and I jumped out to go wait at the guard booth. We had a call time of 11am, but it was only 10:40 so I wasn’t worried yet. We also received an email that morning saying that we had until 11:30 to get to the location. Somehow, Gidget managed to get her pass quickly and was already parked.

It was becoming readily apparent that no one had made security aware of this event and they were not happy about it, trying to run the massive influx of visitors on top of normal studio traffic and executives needing to get to meetings. Finally, about 40 minutes later, we had passes in hand and drove off to find real parking. At this point, we were nervous that we might be cut but I was banking on the fact that everyone was held up, not just us. After going up 7 floors of a parking structure, we finally found a spot and it just happened to be right next to Gidget! So all 4 of us dashed off to the elevator and then our awaiting shuttle.

After some standard paperwork, we were given sun block and bottled water and told “It will be just a few minutes.” Again, being familiar with studio life, and theater, I knew this meant, get comfortable. Sure enough, around 1pm we finally started to move into position to be taught our dance routine. It was at this point I started to realize something…

There are two definitions of “flash mob”. 1) the videos you see on YouTube, where a group shows up in a public place, does a performance out of no where and then disappears again. Definition #2 is what it was originally used for, not necessarily a “performance” but just a way to call a large group of people to one spot at a certain time. We weren’t going to be in the park¬†or even in the audience surprising people, we were a giant casting call of background actors. So, while I cannot now cross “Be part of a flash mob” off my bucket list, I can still cross off “Be on TV” and “Be part of a large choreographed routine”.

As an interesting side note, while we are speaking of lists and goals, going in I was trying to keep my head in check and have fun. That meant not taking myself too seriously. I told Matt, “My only goal for today is ‘Don’t end up on YouTube!’ ” As in, don’t go viral, don’t be on Good Morning America on June 6th as “Worse Flash Mob Dancer EVER”. That was my only goal. Amusingly enough, after we all met up and started talking, we found out that Gidget had said something nearly identical that morning as well!! It became our motto of the day, any time we messed up or something we’d yell, “Don’t end up on YouTube!” Later on, they gave some of us small US flags to wave while dancing, and the goal list was becoming “Don’t end up on YouTube” “Don’t stab anyone with a flag”. Then, later when we were asking to run as part of the dance, we were told by “our choreographer”, “When you run, go *around* the tumblers. Do not run into a tumbler, this is potentially deadly. Got it?!” Okay, list was then amended to “Don’t end up on YouTube”, “Don’t stab anyone with a flag”, “Don’t kill the tumblers”…at which point Caitlyn yelled to me, “Okay now this list is getting hard!!!”

The array of people there was astonishing. There were young college students, church groups, grandmas and grandpas, hipsters, etc. They wanted a diverse group and they certainly got it! We all loved talking to different people, listening to conversations, and just in general getting to know people you never otherwise would have.

For the next three hours, we danced, reset, danced again. Rehearsed it a little differently. Changed locations, did 4 more takes. We had technical difficulties and glitches, and lot of laughs. Sure, there were people getting cranky, it was a hot day, but PAs were handing out cases of water. The whole crew was awesome and took amazing care of everyone. I think as long as you understood that was what filming entails, countless takes and resets, then you had the right attitude to participate. That¬†15 second piece you “saw me” in took over 4 hours of filming.

Physically, though, it was EXHAUSTING. The routine we learned was maybe 30 seconds, we just did it over and over again. When you weren’t dancing, you were standing, which was worse. Not unexpected, but tiring and hard on the back. I have a new appreciation for people that do things like that daily. Oddly, the most exhausting aspect was the enthusiasm, we needed to be UP and smiling and cheering each time, despite the repetition. Even if you are having fun, making sure you really, really, really look like you are having fun every take isn’t easy. My cheeks hurt from smiling so long.

We finally “wrapped” at about 4:20 and Gidget dashed off to her class. Laura, Caitlyn, and I were starving so we hit the nearest In n Out. Can I tell you that a Cheeseburger Animal Style and a chocolate shake NEVER tasted so good?! I had to stop myself from eating every last bite, even if it was well earned. By the time I got home, I think I talked to Matt for about 20 minutes and then fell asleep. I was apparently out so cold that he decided to let me be and didn’t wake me for our Bible study that evening.

All in all, it was a great experience. I got to share it with¬†3 awesome ladies that all bring out something in me I wish I had more of. We got to be part of something completely random and unique. And hey, we were “On TV!” (for the right reasons). It wasn’t an easy day, and as I write this paragraph on April 23rd, every muscle in my lower body is cramping up, but it was worth it. And hey, I did something that scared me.

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This part I’m writing on June 5th… and is my “reaction” to seeing it.

I got a little worried last night when I was telling a friend where to look for me in clip and I said “Nick is dressed like James Brown and we are dancing in a street” “I think I saw that last week.” “What? No, they said season premier?” “No, I saw that last week on the Voice.” So, even though I had been following the AGT website to see if they used it as a commercial, I hadn’t checked recently. Some quick Googling told me she was correct, it did air last week as a promo during the Voice. Watching it on ET’s website, I got a little deflated. They used a different camera angle so you couldn’t see anyone, not entirely surprising, but sad combined with the fact that it aired last week and I missed it. There was no promise it would air again last night. That was the most disappointing.

Originally,¬†we’d planned¬†to record it at Bible Study and watch it there after we ended, but now¬†I wasn’t sure what would be there to watch. Even though Brian sweetly did record it, I didn’t mention it and left without reminding anyone to watch it. We got home and fired up the DVR, I was thrilled to find that it DID air before. I DID get to see myself on TV…sorta. I know I was there!

And while they didn’t use any of the aerial shots that would have totally included Caitlyn, Gidget, Laura, and myself, instead focusing only on the host (what? he doesn’t get enough air time as is!?), that wasn’t what this was about. It wasn’t about being seen on TV. It was about stepping outside of my comfort zone. It was about doing something I was scared to do and shutting down all those voices in my head that said “this is what other people will say about you.” It was trying to close the gap between the personality I sometimes wish I had and thinking I can’t have. And all of that was done that day before the promo even aired.

One final thought on being lost in the crowd: Talking to Belen, I told her, “There is an upside. They didn’t use that one take where I totally forgot to smile!”

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