Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Whole 'Nuther Issue

I promised. I swore and oath that I would uphold the Blog, and over the past two months I have failed. I have failed not just you, but myself. I created this blog to help me account for my life, or the highlights anyway, and now I have let myself slip! Of course, I've had some pretty valid reasons! And you wouldn't be reading this if you didn't want to hear them...

Back in early-February, Ray and I were sitting in my basement having a grand old time on my webcam. Chatting with whom you may ask? The Elusive Billie; in her natural habitat no less! During the conversation we made plans and booked tickets for a short visit to North Carolina, crazy I know. Our time down in NC was bitter-sweet. The Billie who I had come to know and care for was there, but not in full. It seemed that she was excited to have us visit, but at the same time was distant from the Billie from Mackinac Island who I used to spend hours with.
Regardless, the NC Trip was a successful venture, we flew down without a problem (and on the cheap) and spent a fruitful weekend with some of the more colourful inhabitants of Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Arriving and heading almost immediately to a party we were a bit out of place, but Ray and I are masters of the social blend so by the end of the night we were already well liked. Prove it you say? Well Ana, Mike, Amy, Ray and I along with some others (who's names unfortunately escape me) all went to a local late-night breakfast-dive called Best Diner. Billie had long since gone to bed. That's right. Ray and I are Experts at Social Blending - or at least were with this crew.

The Trio. Ray and I had not been Informed this was a 50's Party until we got off the plane.
We improvised. Attempted... to...

Ray, Billie and Amy at 50s Party

After a late night eating good b-fast and crashing at Billie's place we got up to watched her Women's Lacrosse practice, yelling out names of the players as we overheard them - neither the team or the spectators (namely us) had any idea who the others were.
Nothing like a post-lacrosse-practice-breakfast (again?). This at another little - yet much more amazing - place. Ray and I and treated Amy to the Tri-Shake. Something we had invented. It's pretty sweet.
After breakfast and a town tour we had rousing game of bowling at the local Lanes...... and joined people downtown for dinner at Nathan Green's - a very cool establishment coined after the founder of Greensboro! It was everything I wanted in a brewpub and was just fantastic all around. In Greensboro for a while? Head to Nathan Green's.
Later, we started our party evening at an apartment with more Guilford people (one of which really wanted me I am quite certain) smoked some Blake-Cigars. Yea. They were good. and General Lee HadAGoodTime.
Apparently, at Guilford it's not long before every party becomes a dance party. This was fun and fine with me, I told the story of the time I Got Served and even danced a good long while. We moved this party back to campus before we were all too drunk. Ray and I grabbed our Mini-Keg - yea that's right. We'd bought a Mini-keg - and headed back to the apt's at Guilford. This party had dance majors so the dancing was noticeably improved. I was a bit intimidated, but their great attitude and the acceptance made it easy to join in. Now Ray, bless'im, doesn't do too much dancing, but after a few beers was doing well, and had even found himself a mostly-permanent dance partner! After another LATE night getting to know more of the Guilford peeps (and liking every one of them - what great people!), I retreated to Billie's and slept. Hard.

Morning brought Billie's pops- Pete, to Greensboro for a fancy Brunch at a truly excellent Southern establishment. Definitely, the most Southern thing we'd done all weekend. Heading back to campus Ray and I rebuilt Stonehendge in the little diag and then headed out with Billie to find a disc golf course that proved to be VERY elusive. Too bad we didn't have iphones, we'd have found it straight away. After over an hour of buying discs and then searching for the course we finally discovered it on a country road only to be turned away because of a Pro Tourny! Damn it! Ray and I would not be held down and Billie needed to do homework so we trekked back to campus so Ray and I could invent our own course. Our course was basically different angles of the same terrain over and over at different distances, but we had fun and killed an hour or so. Some of the Guilfords even came to watch for a while.
Our last night, we patronized a restaurant enjoying dinner & beer and chatting with all our new friends. The next morning we flew home! What a trip... and this was just what I can recall two months on!
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Returning from NC Ray and I were invited to a housewarming party; this was motivated by my friend Jen's desire for me to meet her sister with the goal that we'd hit it off. Arriving at a housewarming party with no gift in hand and no idea who 99% of the people were Ray and I did our best to socially-merge and succeeded fairly well. Shortly after arriving I met Megan, Jen's sister. She was very nice and quite pretty and Ray met Jess, Megan's friend. While a housewarming party is a very exciting place to meet new friends it was sort of an older crowd so we bailed and headed to a bar to get acquainted. Megan and I chatted while Ray and Jessica hit on each other. Ray even went to the dance floor again, he must have been smitten!
After a night out on the town and a 3am stop at Taco Hell we crashed at Megan's left in the morning and never saw them again. Crazy.

Ray, Jessica, Megan, & Weird Smiling Guy

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Also in February, Ray and I discovered Old Chicago's: World Beer Tour. 110 Beers, prizes and who cares what else, you get credit for drinking beer. We were in love. With it! Not with each other! gosh. crazy talk. Eric, Andy and George Visited and we enjoyed a great night out at the Claddagh, then the next day went to the Red Wings game... where unfortunately Eric didn't do us proud.



We frequented Old Chicago many times throughout Feb and March so I won't bore you with all the details, but needless to say Brock came once. It was pretty much amazing. Here are some results.
Who is going to be the best of the two? Let's duel.

Drawn on the comment card. Oh yea, we turned it in. Colorized later.

The newly implemented Quad-Shake. Awesome.
We got a bit silly; and scary.
Yea, scary.
Nice.

The culmination of a good night.

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Around the time of the NC Trip, I received an email from STA Travel. They are a student travel group based in Europe that does tours and flights all over the planet! So cool. They were looking for: The Ultimate World Traveler Intern 2008 to fill their ranks. I was noticeably excited. In fact so much that this was the catalyst that destroyed my blog posting for the next two months. I forfeited blog postings to focus my energies on creating a 3 minute video for STA Travel, due on March 1st. I posted mine a week early!



Needless to say I was on of only 10 people (as it turns out) to be given a phone interview. I was on Outreach with Dave at the time. It was a bit hectic and I think I could have done better, but I was honored to be in the Top 10. There were over 2000 applicants after all.

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About now you might be asking yourself, 'Why would Trace go through all this trouble to type all this out?' Well it's simple, by going back through it I get to relive it! It's actually pretty great. You should try it sometime!

Near the end of February I was able to visit one of my favourite places on Earth: Mackinac Island. Driving up early on a Friday we stayed at Mission Point Resort - in the winter I know! And hung out on the island causing General Mayhem and just having a good time. Unfortunately, my camera had finally broken, sorry old buddy... so I bought a new one, and it is amazing!

Mackinac, as always, is an excellent place to visit. A completely different environment in the winter however. We arrived on Friday, flew over into the new airport - saw Troy there, hiked into town and dropped our packs at Mission Point before heading back downtown for grub.





The VI was just as we remembered it, only less crowded and with much better prices. Relaxing and waiting for the rest of the gang to arrive we chilled out, no pun intended and later headed on a hike and then down to Sinclair's for some good old fashioned Pub Runner's time!! Yay!



The next day we spent on sleds, both traditional and motorized! I rode a snowmobile again, this time I got to drive a lot. It was tons o' fun! Sledding was crazy, I went down a very steep hill and almost seriously damaged my genitals on a shrubbery hit-and-run. It was horrible. I got to the bottom and just lay there. It was crazy. We hiked around the island, doing sleddings at various places, but eventually made it up to Fort Mackinac, everyone filming, shooting and having a good 'ol time. I even re-enacted 2007s Sledding at Fort Mackinac.



During the sledding, Joe had previously talked to me about his plans to ask Andrea a Question... The Question. I got on a sled and headed down, started rolling, and captured the whole Life-Altering Question... good for them!

Afterward, we trekked back to the hotel for a nap and some pre-party fun and then headed down to the VI again for some dinner pre-Pub Runners. Wow, was that a good night! I am really going to miss all you guys. I love Mackinac and everyone there, even when I get pissed off or rant or bitch. I love it. I'll miss you all a lot. A Lot.








During another exciting night out on the town there were rumors that the weather (which was worsening) would get us stuck here on the island on Sunday. Personally, I had nothing to do so I didn't care, others had a more negative attitude, but I chose to say, "Oh damn, we HAVE to spend ANOTHER day stuck on MACKINAC ISLAND. Darn. So awful a place to be."

I probably would have gotten punched, but everyone realized I was sort of right. We could be stuck somewhere crappy. The following day we were very much snowed in, or iced in really, so we spent the day dozing and drinking gluwine in the common area of the hotel trying to keep our spirits up and stay warm. We built a fire and went to the store for some snacks and spent the whole day talking and laughing as a group together. It was actually really great to just spend time without an agenda and no way to know when we could leave or what would happen next. After an entire day of just lounging though, we were ready to get off the rock, and luckily Peggy and her Brothers were able to come and get us on their snowmobiles and take us up to the airport bright and early so we could get back to the mainland and on with life.

What a trip!
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February concluded we me not getting the STA Travel Internship, though over the next few weeks I worked diligently to create and then re-create a video that I thought really captured my personality and told STA how great I could be. They picked a kid from Cape Cod named Pat. I don't really like his videos or his writing, but he won. Congrats man.

I also was working very hard on my Book. I've mentioned it many times so I won't get into it again, but I am almost finished now. Only 1.5 chapters to go and then editing time... My May deadline is looking to be a bit steep.

A Venice Spread

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As March commenced, I was asked to do some modelling for Bri...
...and then went to Eric and Katy's Housewarming! good for them! I hadn't seeen my kzoo friends in a while so I was pretty excited to get down there. Fiona had been to Alaska and returned that same day, so I got a quick hug before she headed out, but I would see her again no doubt. Jessica and Andy, two of my favouritest people were at the Housewarming and again invited me to live in Virgina nearby them... I have to admit it is a tempting offer. I do love the two of them and would really like to be able to just get out of here... I'm still considering it. Jessica also has a blog, which I frequent. Shout Out!



After the housewarming had ended I called my Broseph and we got together at the Bilbo's. It was great. Ray and Brock and I sang. I Believe in a Thing Called Love. It was great.

Just Listen to the rhythm of my hearrrrt!

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March wore on into the mid-Marchal area, and speaking of Marshall Erickson he's awesome. Check out How I Met Your Mother on CBS. It's amazing.

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As the Pope said once. "Let's see how badly we can fuck up people's St. Patties." And as he said it, it was done. We had a great time though, maybe because we weren't tricked by the religious doctrine the Pope tried to lay down. He's tricksy he is.

The night before St.P's Sandy and I went out on the town and met this girl that really liked bugs at Woody's and I saw my Williams-Sonoma manager. But the next day was to be the true test of our amazingness.

On St. Patty's weekend, had a lovely Mackinac Reunion Weekend here in the Lansing Area. Sandy Safford came down, and the Pub Runners were in town so we headed out to the Grand Ledge Opera House, watched the GL Parade, I had dinner with my family at OG, which then prompted me to actually look into getting a job there... and that changed everything...








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Next on my list of things to do was visit London, Ontario and hang out with my new buddy Jen! As it turns out London is a bit of a hole, but we had a good time anyway, just walking around and whatnot. We found some really good pubs and it was neat to meet in real life after we'd talked on the internet for so long! No we didn't meet through stupid eHarmony, it was a random facebooking by her via this blog actually, and eventually after lots of chatting we ended up wanting to meet up for a beer! It was strange to see her in person, but I'd say it was stranger to describe to the border official where and why I was coming to Canada...

Official: "Where are you headed this evening?"
Me: "Visiting a friend in London, Ontario."
Official: "How do you know this Friend?"
thinking it would be pertinent not to lie or eschew the truth in this case, I was as honest as possible.
Me: "We met on the internet." and when that was met with an odd look. "On facebook actually"
Official: "I see, have you met this friend before?"
Me: "Not in person, but on webcam we've talked many times over the last few months"
following another odd look she continued with her normal questions before letting me through...

All in all London was a good trip, a long drive though, and we talked about doing it again! Arriving back in Lansing I had to get packing for Texas the following weekend!! Now do you see why I was too busy to blog?!

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I never really thought much of Texas. I didn't really like it much when I was younger, but then again, when I was younger I couldnt go to the bar, or see anything for myself. We could drive but we were only 17 (my cousins and I) so we really had limited options. I decided long ago for this very reason that I could never again date someone under the age of 21, as it severely limits your ability to enter bars. Severely.

Indoor waterpark amazing.

I flew down with Gma, Mom and Dad, and met Nancy and Roy at the hotel; and by hotel I mean family fun extravaganza. The Great Wolf Lodge had a waterpark in the hotel, and it was HUGE. Of course I went I took my Swimsuit to London, Ontario just in case there was a pool or a warm bathtub I could sit in. There wasn't btw, but I take my suit everywhere.

We'd all gone down because Tom and Kandice were going to tie-the-knot. The wedding was set for Saturday, we'd arrived Thursday late, so Friday was spent enjoying the company of family and hanging out around Grapevine and our General Area, of Texas.

Thursday night, I hung out with TJ, Tom and the rest of Tom's friends who I had always heard so much about but never before seen. It was interesting to put faces with the names I had been hearing for years and many of them were exactly as I'd thought they would be. We hung out late into the night making our own fun at Tom and Kandi's Apt.

During the next day, Friday, we had to hit up the waterpark. The guys all came over and we found ourselves in sea of little kids and pre-teens with their parents. We were the strange Twenty-somethings in suits running around the wave pool, which was only 5ft deep and trying to to touch the bottom so it would be more fun. Even the lifeguards were just kids.

The water slides were amazing. I MEAN. AMAZING. I wish I could have taken video of them, because they were great. One was like a drain where you go around and around and around into the middle, another was a huge cone that you shoot into and fly up the walls and back and forth until you come out the other end. It was just awesome. We spent like 3 hours in the waterpark.

Before the wedding on Saturday we went to the Fort Worth Zoo, which was a great time. It's a fairly large zoo, though shaped like Cuba, with all the entrances and exits at one end. Like any real Zoo, it has an old fashioned train, but unlike most, it wasn't free. So we hiked back to the gates after a few hours of Zoological-entertainment... Zoologitainment?




The wedding was only 12 minutes long and the ceremony was 3hours minus the 12 minutes, we only had the reception place until 10. It was still great though and we managed to do the Numa Numa dance just as the first dance with the bride and groom was ending. Yes, it was panned.





Monday I got back on a plane and flew north again with gma, mom, and pops. I was supposed to start at the Olive Garden monday, but I wouldn't make it in time.

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Over the next few weeks, I would spend every waking moment working for Olive Garden, Williams-Sonoma, or just trying to study for my OG tests. I haven't even been to Burgerama in a month. Nor have I mentioned burgerama in this blog. If you don't know. Go to the Riv on Thursdays. If you do know. See you there.





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Yea, so this is the end. Last weekend I hung out with Megan C. a different Megan from earlier in this post, she's pretty cool. We hit it off I'd say. I'd like to go into more detail but I think I am getting bed sores from my computer chair from typing this post. We bowled, we ate and we drank. It was a nice weekend. you may have noticed the details have sort of, slipped through on some of these sections. I assume by now most all of you have stopped reading anyway, but if you have great job. You've made it here is the end. The end.