As I was compiling my list of adventures that I could take in the coming 52 weeks, I realized that even though I haven’t been doing them regularly or blogging about them, I still have been living a nice life of adventure since my last post in April 2010.  So, a quick recap of the last bit of my life…

I overcame my fear of horses in late May, 2010:

I got married August 7th, 2010:

I went skydiving in early October, 2010:

I went on a zombie pub crawl in late October, 2010:

I tailgated MANY University of Minnesota gopher football games during the 2010 season:

Went on a Mega Bus adventure to Chicago in January 2011:

Went to a professional rodeo looking like this in early February 2011:

Went on a snowboarding weekend to Lutsen, MN in late February 2011

Went on my honeymoon and got to pet a penguin in April of 2011:

Took a tequila shot with a SCORPION INSIDE OF IT in June of 2011:

Got a geek tattoo:

Got foul line, first row seats to a Minnesota Twins game on September 20th, 2011:

Well, that is about it.  I am pretty sure I did some exciting stuff after September of 2011 (such as brewed my own beer!) but I can’t find any sweet pictures to go with it.  But looking back at what I’ve done, I’m excited to see what will happen in the future 🙂

When I attempted this last year, I came up with a wide-ranging list of adventures.  I think in total, I only did 12 adventures.  12 out of 52.  Twenty-three percent.  That kind of sucks.

So here, I look back at the original list of adventures that I didn’t complete as well as some new ones.  The list is currently well over 50, so I hopefully will be able to achieve my goal!  But please, suggest new stuff anyway!  The more ideas I have, the less likely I am to fail.  Also, PLEASE join me!  Adventures aren’t as fun alone.

Food and Fitness

  • Make a five-course dinner for a party of eight people
  • Go to one of those classes where you cook meals that can last you a week
  • Give up caffeine for a week
  • Give up soda for at least a month
  • Be vegetarian for a week and make all of my own meals
  • Run a 5K
  • Climb a mountain
  • ….find a mountain to climb
  • Canoe a long stretch of river
  • Stop just watching The Biggest Loser and start being the Biggest Loser
  • Take some form of fitness classes (thinking yoga) two-three times a week for a month
  • Ride a bike for some crazy long length of time, like 50 miles or something
  • Find a plethora of new, delicious restaurants that are off the beaten path
  • Go to a wine-tasting…and hopefully enjoy it
  • Join an intramural team of some kind?
  • Eat a worm, ala the children’s book

Twin Cities and Minnesota

  • Go sail boating on Lake Calhoun
  • Go to Al’s Breakfast
  • Go to a sports event that I normally don’t
  • Go dog-sledding up  in northern Minnesota
  • Take my lady for a night on the town that isn’t simply dinner and a movie
  • Donate blood two or three times this year (can’t start until July due my getting a tattoo last year)
  • Take an early-American skills class at Fort Snelling (maybe blacksmith?)
  • Pick apples at an orchard
  • ROAD TRIP!
  • Be a Minnesota Twins season ticket holder’
  • Go on more brewery tours (maybe find a distillery too?)
  • Take a photo with every Peanuts statue in the Twin Cities in a single weekend!

Crazy or Relaxing

  • Look fear in the face and win (aka – whales)
  • Get a tattoo with a group of friends
  • Learn to dance
  • Spend a day watching classic films
  • Get hypnotized
  • Defeat all Mega Man NES and SNES games within one week
  • Watch a butt-load of Ken Burns documentaries
  • Babysit for at least three of my friends children for free
  • Get duct-taped to the ceiling

Man-power

  • Listening day (no talking)
  • Shut-it-off day (no electricity)
  • Get more involved with my friends lives and show them I care
  • Don’t spend any money for a week

Creative Outles

  • Create and send postcards to long lost friends
  • Actually finish and publish (if only online) one of my stories
  • Maybe send one of the stories to an actual publisher
  • Learn to play Legend of Zelda songs on the recorder I bought three years ago
  • Try to put together that “Crazy Kids Sayings” book I have compiled notes on’
  • Buy a type-writer, and use it to write letters to all of my family members
  • Also type out thank you notes to people who’ve influenced me in my life
  • Make photography inspired, or other unique, birthday cards for people

Out and About

  • Go to a high school sporting events and cheer loudly
  • Go to a Minnesota Wild game (have never been, and I LOVE hockey!)
  • Go to a professional baseball game at a stadium I’ve never been to
  • Plan an amazing bachelor party (watch out, Trevor)
  • Go to live dog or horse race
  • Attend a film festival
  • Get all snazzy and go to the ballet, opera, or some such event
  • Volunteer at a shelter or something
  • Go to a museum
  • Go to a non-Valley Fair amusement park
  • Attend a religious service of a religion not my own
  • Go to a beer festival (maybe Bockfest in New Ulm, Feb 18th, 2012)
  • Attend some kind of comic book / sci fi / geek convention…dressed up
  • Visit a friend in a far away city
  • Visit something crazy and ridiculous, such as “Largest Ball of Twine”
  • Visit another country (probably Canada)

In my eyes, my list so far is pretty varied and fun.  But please, let me know what you think of these ideas.  Also, feel free to invite yourself along on them.  Or tell me new ones I should do (whether solo or with you).

I am not sure what my first adventure will be.  But I need to complete it by Saturday night, post it by Sunday night.  That is the deadline I am making for myself.  Finish by the Saturday, post by the Sunday.

And…I’m back.

A good friend of mine, that I truly don’t talk with enough, has convinced me and several others to have another year full of adventures.  Some of you may know or remember, but I did this thing in 2010 with her and several other people called The Year of 52 Adventures.  And it was bomb.  I will admit that I didn’t complete the full year, which is sad, and kind of obvious due to my last post being in April of that year.

But this past New Year’s Eve, I was looking around on the interwebs for a good quote to post about this new year of 2012 (which I don’t believe will be the last, cause Marty McFly went to the year 2015, and since when has Back to the Future led me astray?).  The quote I found was by one of my favorite bands of all time – Incubus.  “Kiss your lover’s lips, and know that fate is what you make it of.”

When I first read it, I chose it for the, “Kiss your lover’s lips…” line, cause that’s what you do when the clock strikes midnight.  But then I started thinking about it…this past year wasn’t my best.  I wasn’t the best student at graduate school, probably hurt my friends at times, and I know I for sure had my failures as a husband.

But you know what?  Fate really is just what you make of it.  If there is one thing I learned growing up, it was that I was the best around.  Nothing’s gonna ever keep me down (sweep the leg)!  I need to start believing in that.  And not in a cocky, broseph kind of way.  But in a realistic “Why can’t I achieve what I want if I put my heart and effort into it” kind of a way.

I’m a big believer in gestures, in the feeling, meaning, and spirit behind something often being more important than how the actual events transpire.  And I believe that this kind of a declaration of myself can help me get over that personal hump and start taking steps towards being a more awesome kind of person; the kind I want to be.

Let’s go.  Let’s get it started.  And in the words of  Matrim Cauthon, “Let’s roll the dice.”

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.