Archive for the ‘2010’ Category

Week 13 – Target Field

Posted: April 16, 2010 in 2010, 2010 - 04 - April

I. Love. Baseball.  Too much.  My fiance Becky gets fed up with all of my Minnesota Twins talk.  So this year, she is especially in for it because the Twins are opening a brand new ballpark this year.  A professional outdoor baseball stadium; the first time the Twins have played a home game outside since 1981 (so the first time in my lifetime)!!!  Needless to say, I am WAY pumped!  So what did I do?  I spent around $130 on a ticket to go to the opening day game.  And I was able to go with one of my best friends who I get to see like three times a year, Trevor Maine.

It is a gorgeous ballpark.  The concourse is VERY wide so the traffic jams of people are kept to a minimum.  Along with a wide concourse, it has a constant, open view of the stadium so you can watch the action when you are waiting in line for your goods.  It has a LONG list of great foods (polish sausage, regular hot dogs, MASSIVE nachos, tacos, walleye on a stick, pork chop on a stick, asian wok, juicy lucys, Cuban sandwiches, etc).  The foul territory is very small, and smart construction make every seat feel pretty close with GREAT views.  Add all of the splendor of a new park to the fact that the twins started out the season 7-3, and you make for a very happy Daniel!  The Twins have been kicking ass, and I am not ashamed to say that a few tears were creeping into my eyes during the National Anthem on that opening day.  Sadly, ever so sadly, my camera has been having battery problems, so here are a few pictures I took with my cell phone.  I hope you enjoy.

I am the missing link.  I am a man-ape.  A grizzly mother fucker.  A lumberjack wannabe.  A fur coat walking.  Manbearpig.  Fuzzy-wuzzy.  Human Velcro pad.  (insert other name for a hairy male here).

Now, I am not the hairiest person in the world.  But I do have more body hair than most of my friends, and it is dark and course, so very noticeable.  A very attractive quality to talk about, right ladies?  Women pine for a chest covered in dark matter and a back that scratches you when you are trying to give your man a back rub…right?

Well, my fiance seems to be an odd person out in that regard.  She seems to think that it would be funny to wax off some of my body hair, a la 40 Year Old Virgin.  And to be honest…that did sound kinda hilarious.  Painful, but hilarious.  And I mean, this is a triple win for me.  I get to make an ass of myself (which I love doing); my fiance gets to cause me physical pain which makes her happy (just kidding…I think); and I get to be slightly more attractive, if only for a day or few.

Warning…sort of…the following pictures are (obviously) of me topless (though I am a dude, so no big deal).  But me being the self conscious person I am, I figure I should let you know that they are of some of my more unattractive qualities.  You are so warned.

Back pre-waxing.

The first strip of hair gone.

Back post-waxing

Chest beforehand

Chest after the one strip

Don’t I look oh so happy?

In retrospect, the back didn’t hurt that much.  The chest on the other hand…Becky described the noise that came from my throat as a child’s yelp.  I can’t disagree with that.

Getting back on track…

Posted: April 16, 2010 in 2010, 2010 - 04 - April

My ambition goes in and out of existence.  It has it’s own tides, it’s own work schedule.  I can’t control when I will have it, or when I won’t.  Sure, I said I would start posting EVERY Thursday night.  Yeah, that happened.

But luckily, my tide is turning.  Last night I saw the movie “Kick-Ass,” and it was, well, kick ass!  Yes, I know, very punny.  I am original.  And big surprise here, a comic book movie has helped churn my inner desires to start living life more.  When I saw the main protagonists give a speech in the heat of battle about how people in the world stand by while others get shit on, I realized it is true.  We all “wish” we could do more, but how many of us actually do?  This isn’t a new thought to the world; it isn’t a new epiphany for mankind by any means.  But it hit home for me.  And I want to keep it around for as long as I can (we will see how long this stretch of ambition lasts).

Now, I am not the type to do big, world-turning events.  But I am a very personal kind of guy.  That is why I want to be a teacher.  I want to help bring about positive change in my environment, but with a sort of one person at a time approach.  I am realistic; it is what I do best.  And so I have a mission to start making my friends happier people.  This goal is directed at one individual in particular (you know who you are), but why not aim to help every one of them?  Happiness is something that, generally speaking, comes easy for me.  I am lucky in that I can let shit slide, I don’t get frustrated easily, I have a bad memory so I probably forgot why I was mad about something in the first place.  So I want to take this bundle of happiness and try to live a more constructive life with the people around me.  It can be through simple things.  Complaining less, going with the flow more, offering a helping hand without a heavy sigh.  I don’t have it figured all out yet, I never do, but I think starting with an idea, and speaking it aloud, that it will help me define a new reality for myself.  I am hopeful that it will, at least.

But this personal anagnorisis has nothing to do with the 52 adventures of this year.  Well, not necessarily.  But the newly kindled passion and drive that I am currently feeling makes me want to start posting again.  I have still been going on adventures, I just haven’t been writing about them.  Time to change that.

Here is my playlist as of now. I won’t lie, it was fun receiving these and I would love to get more feedback.  So if you haven’t responded yet, feel free to send me an e-mail (d.amborn@gmail.com) with a song that reminds you of me and an explanation why.  So, in no particular order (actually, I randomized the playlist on my iTunes and here is what came up)…

TMNT Theme Song
Three Dog Night – Joy to the World (Jeremiah was a Bullfrog)
Daft Punk – Around the World
Beat Crusaders – Hit in the USA
Lucky Boys Confusion – Mr. Wilmington
Garbage – Only Happy When it Rains
Jefferson Starship – Sarah
Michael W Smith – Friends
Tenacious D – Wonder Boy
311 – Down
Bon Jovi – Livin’ on a Prayer
Less Than Jake – The Ghosts of Me and You
Fall Out Boy – Graft Theft Autumn (Where is Your Boy)
Five Iron Frenzy – You Can’t Handle This
Brian Setzer – Jump Jive n Wail
Anal Cunt – I Just Saw the Gayest Guy on Earth (thanks, Jamison)
Reel Big Fish – Good Thing
Daft Punk – Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger
Billy Idol – White Wedding

As of now, I have two comments: Firstly, I am kind of surprised by the fact that none of my three favorite bands made the list.  And B of all, two people chose Daft Punk songs; I didn’t realize that I listened to them enough for them to become synonymous with me somehow.  Kinda cool though, since they are a sweet band.

I know that wrestling isn’t the most popular sport, which is a huge shame.  But I grew up with it.  My father was a wrestling coach, my older brothers wrestled (I didn’t, but I didn’t play any sports).  And recently I have gotten back into watching it.  So this past weekend, I went to the National Wrestling Championships with my father and two brothers in Omaha.  And that was by far the most exciting weekend of sports I have ever personally witnessed in my entire life.  I know many of you may not watch or care about the sport, so I will spare the details, but needless to say, some of the wrestling was so intense that Jayson Ness from Minnesota’s match made the #1 play on Sportscenter Saturday night.  When have you ever seen wrestling covered on Sportscenter?  Never!  And this match was so amazing that it made #1.

Anyway, if you want to watch the last take down of the match, watch the top ten plays at http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=5015113

About two years ago, a friend of mine did a psychology or sociology or some such project that she asked me to participate in.  It was kind of an interesting idea, and I started thinking about it recently.  And ya know what, why not do my own version of this project as an adventure.  I love making playlists of my music, so that is how it will come into play.  But for this project to work, I need the help of you.  Yes, you.  The person reading this.  Even if you barely know me or don’t like me.

What I ask of you is to think of a song, any song at all, that for whatever reason makes you think of me in some way.  Maybe the lyrics remind you of a childhood event we had together, maybe it makes you feel angry and you hate me, maybe we sang the song together on a roadtrip together.  Whatever the reason, whatever the song, please tell me.  And after a week’s time, I will compile the songs together and make a Daniel Playlist.  Feel free to post the songs as comments on here, or e-mail me at d.amborn@gmail.com.  Oh, and please explain why you selected that song.  Don’t just say, “A Whole New World,” without telling me why, cause that would leave me with many questions.

Thanks for your help in this adventure!

Well, this week I did have a pretty exciting evening out with some friends.  We went to this AWESOME restaurant called Chino Latino for a friend’s birthday.  About 20 people or so there, and the main course was a roasted pig.  As in, they roasted the ENTIRE pig.  I tried some pig cheek, skin, lots of weird parts.  It was very delicious.

But that isn’t what I consider my adventure for the week to be.  Nope, my adventure this week was all about failing.

For the past nearly three years, I have been a teacher without a license.  I have taught English as a second language in Japan for a year, and for close to two years I have been a preschool teacher for 3 and 4 year olds.  But my desire has been to go back to school (or alternate license program) and get my teaching license in elementary education.  This year, I applied to a variety of graduate programs, Teach for America, and St. Paul Teaching Fellows, all with the desire being to further my career in one of my dream jobs.  And it just so happened that this week, I would hear back from every program I applied to.

I didn’t get accepted into a single one.

School always came easy to me.  Theater was something I excelled at and that drove me.  I love playing board games, video games, etc.  And I am damn good at those things too.  So failure is a hard thing for me to swallow.  Not really at sports (since I suck at them in general, I accept losing in that regard).  Maybe it is because I have two older brothers who always won when I was younger.  Maybe it is my stubborn nature.  But success has usually a part of my life.  I am not trying to talk myself up or anything.  There are many areas of life where I suck (again, look at sports).  But in the aspects of life where I tried to achieve success, I usually did.  So to have a multitude of programs all tell me that I am not good enough at the moment to move forward with this dream of mine, that fucking kills.

But after talking about these events with my fiance, and thinking about it, I can’t change their minds.  At least, not at this moment.  All I can do is keep moving forward.  One step at a time.  Maybe take a few more classes in college to bulk up my educational experience.  Volunteer at an elementary school, or try to get into substitute teaching.  Maybe next year, apply to twice as many programs.  All I know is that I can’t give up on my dream.  I need to keep reaching.  One day, I WILL be an elementary school teacher.  And the moment I walk into my classroom for the first time, that feeling of euphoria for me will make all of this hardship worth it.

Now, just cause I have a positive outlook doesn’t mean I am ok with their decisions, haha.  I am pretty pissed off at the world right now.  But that is what friends (and beer) are for.  And Spider-man…and my fiance Becky.  And a few more things…like snow boarding, heavy metal music, the Nintendo Wii…man, there are lots of things at my fingertips that can cheer me up.  I think I will go do some of those things.

Week 6, 7, 8

Posted: February 26, 2010 in 2010, 2010 - 02 - February

I have been failing at posting on these adventures lately.  But I have been doing them.  I just have become lazy, to be honest.  So here is a short post about the past three weeks, and I am making the dedicated statement that I will now post once a week (the week I do the adventure).

Week 6 was sort of a revisit of Week 1 – The Jucy Lucy.  There is a dispute that the place I went to, Matt’s Bar, didn’t invent this lovely burger.  Some people claim that the 5-8 Club (a restaurant about three miles away) made the original.  Well, I don’t know who made it first, but I thought I should check out which one tastes better.  So Tom and I went to the 5-8 Club and got out our taste buds.  And, hands down, Matt’s Bar’s Jucy Lucy was better.  Above and beyond better.  Not to say that the 5-8 Club makes a bad burger, far from it.  But it didn’t have a unique flavor.  And to be honest, the meat and cheese was kind of dry, not befitting it’s name.  Now I could have just gone on a bad night, but still, with the knowledge that I have, I will always recommend Matt’s Bar over the 5-8 Club.

Week 7 took me to pond skating.  I have been ice skating before, but always in a rink.  I found out not to long ago that there is a great link of three small ponds that have ice skating on them.  So a crew of friends (my fiance Becky included) took off to see if pond skating is much different than an ice rink.  And it is.  Without a Zamboni, and the natural cracks and bumps of the ice, it was a more raw, unique kind of skating.  And since we had a crew of friends, it was a great time.  Made me feel more Minnesotan, especially with our state representing the Winter Olympics so epically.

And Week 8 took me to a place where I have been interested in but intimidated by also.  But two good friends of mine gave me the confidence and encouragement to go.  I went to a gun range.  I have been pheasant hunting before (once last year) and I admit it was kind of a rush.  So the opportunity to fire a hand gun also interested me.  But I am not a hard core believer in the whole “right to bear arms” second amendment thing.  Conceal and carry kind of scares me.  I think the availability of hand guns causes more problems than makes people feel safe.  But at the same time, firing it in a controlled, safe environment was a hell of a lot of fun.  At first my aim was hit or miss (bad pun, I know) but after an hour or so of shooting rounds, my aim and confidence grew by miles.  I know I will never buy a handgun.  But I will probably go back to a gun range and shoot there.

Week 5 – Polar Plunge

Posted: February 1, 2010 in 2010, 2010 - 01 - January

One of my earliest best friends in life was Richard Cypher (this is a fictional name I am using to hide the true identity of my friend because I am not sure if he wants me to talk about him on an online website).  For the first many, many years of my life, he was like a brother to me.  I spent more days and weeks than I could ever remember over at his house, playing night games with Richard, his brothers and sisters, and the other neighborhood kids.  Over time, I grew apart from him (as we all have from many childhood friends).  But the few times I have seen him since school, he still always manages to put a smile on my face and make me wish that I had kept in better contact with him throughout these past years.

Richard has Down Syndrome.  Growing up as a kid, I didn’t know what that meant.  All I knew was that Richard was one of my best friends.  He was one of the guys.  As I grew older and started to experience the world more and as I understood people with special needs more, I have to admit that I started to notice his disability.  And in middle school, when we cognitively started to have larger gaps between us, I did notice as well.  But I also didn’t care.  He was my friend and that is how I treated him.  I am so so so glad that I grew up with him in my life because he helped me realize that yes, people are different.  We learn differently, we all have different abilities and skills, different capacities to love and touch others.  But the biggest thing I learned from Richard isn’t that we are different.  I learned that just because you are different doesn’t mean you are less than others.  Different isn’t bad at all.  In fact, it is our differences that make the world go round, that make life unique and enjoyable.

I have Richard to thank for my current job.  I currently am a preschool teacher at a school where around 45% or so of the children have special needs of various kinds.  The love that Richard taught me to have for all individuals has allowed me to truly thrive and just down right love this job.

Needless to say, the special needs community means a lot to me.  So when I found out that I could do something insane and crazy, and at the same time raise money for the Minnesota Special Olympics, I jumped (literally) at the chance.  How did I do such a thing?  I did a Polar Bear Plunge.

For the past month I have been raising money and awareness for the Minnesota Special Olympics.  This culminated with me participating in a Polar Bear Plunge at White Bear Lake on Saturday, January 30th.  I had no idea this event was so popular.  At this one jump there were around 800 participants.  And in order to jump, each person needs to raise a minimum of $75.  So that is a MINIMUM of $60,000 from this one event.  And the Minnesota Special Olympics has thirteen jumps organized this Winter.  With the kind of dedication and craziness that we Minnesotans have for all things Winter, I can’t even conceive how much money these events will raise for such a wonderful organization.

I dedicated my jump to Richard.  Thank you, Richard, for helping me become the person that I am.

I also want to thank my brother, father, one of my other best friends, and one of my cousins for coming to the event with me and supporting me there.

Here are some pictures of me at the plunge.  Sadly, a mid-air picture of me wasn’t taken by my father or friend.  But there was a professional photographer there.  The pictures he took will be uploaded onto his website in the coming weeks.  And if he got a great picture of me, I will surely post it here for all to see.  Until then, enjoy these wonderful pictures.

Week 4 – Lifestyle

Posted: February 1, 2010 in 2010, 2010 - 01 - January

I wouldn’t say that my life is going in the wrong direction.  I wouldn’t say that I am out of shape.  I wouldn’t say that I am lost in the world, that I am misguided, that I have my priorities mixed up, or anything of the sort.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t try to improve my life and lifestyle.

That cliche saying, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it,” is sometimes just bullshit.  My life isn’t broken.  But parts of it, I feel, should be fixed.  For example, as I said, I am not out of shape. But that doesn’t mean I am in shape.  I can do something about that.  I can easily adjust parts of my life to work towards getting into shape.  My relationship with my fiance isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination.  But I can make it better.  I can be a better man for her.

My week 2 adventure of looking at my relationship with my fiance made me think about doing that with my life in general.  My life is drastically changing in front of my eyes.  Sometimes, I need to pull a Ferris Bueller and just look around, enjoy the things I have and love the fact that I am a very blessed human being.  But at times, I need to keep chugging along with it so I don’t get left behind in the dust.  I need to adapt and change so that I can continue to grow, so that I don’t become stagnant.  And if I start making the changes now, at the beginning of the year, the rest of these adventures will be more meaningful to me.

This week was another thoughtful one for me.  I put many, many hours into thinking about how I can change as a person to make not only my life, but those around me more fulfilling.  Not very exciting at the moment, but if I can stick with my plans, the excitement will grow in my everyday life.