Unlimited Obstacle Courses

My good friend Sam came to visit me a few weeks ago and I gave him a tour of my hometown.  Highlights of said tour included a Schnuck’s, both lakes, the Community Association, and a playground.

But not just any playground.

It is named “Zachary’s Playground” and it was Missouri’s first fully-accessible playground for children of all abilities.  It was built by an organization called Unlimited Play, whose mission is “to enrich lives by fostering the development of inclusive playgrounds that promote dignity, understanding and respect among children.” Can’t argue with that.

Check out Unlimited Play’s website to learn more about these amazing parks and find out where they are building next!

In addition to being fully-accessible for children of all abilities the park also accomodates 23 year olds who have trouble growing up.

As you might imagine, parents were slightly alarmed to see grown men running around a playground behaving almost exactly like this…

Sam and I–inspired by Michael, Dwight, and Andy–competed in a duatholon of obstacle courses: one short course (which was actually very difficult); and one long course (which made use of almost every piece of playground equipment in the park and was exhausting).

Without my girlfriend there to both support us and role her eyes at me (in the severe fashion that she has perfected over the course of our relationship) these obstacle courses would’ve seemed twice as difficult and half as much fun.  Also, I want to mention Sam’s girlfriend; who was greatly missed on this occasion and who would’ve been an equally avid supporter but would’ve also probably called Sam “obnoxious” at some point.

The results were as follows:

Short course: 1st place-Sam, 2nd place-Joe

Long course: 1st place-Joe, 2nd place-Sam

Being awesome friends: Tie

…Still No Job

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My grandpa had some really random stuff.

I’ve already shown that my grandpa was a fantastic bowler.  In that post I also hinted at some of the why-did-he-have-this? items found in my grandpa’s house.  I think I might have to make a reoccurring post that classifies the things found in his place.

Like this…

Attack of the Clones? More like, Attack of the 360 Pop Shove-it

My papa was an electrician for, well, for a long time.  This isn’t particularly important, but I feel it gives some context for the picture in case you thought perhaps he was the inventor of skateboards or the owner of a skate park or (help me out, anything to do with skateboards).  He wasn’t, but for some reason he had this.

Currently, this skateboard is being watched by 4 people on ebay.  If one of them doesn’t buy it there’s a good chance I’ll be testing my skateboarding skills for the first time since the 8th grade.

…Still No Job

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Today I told my dad that he owns too many 5 gallon buckets.

Did you ever build forts as a child?  I did.  It was a place for me to hide, a place to call my own, a place to nap, a place to make a mess, and a place to foster my love of architecture.

If it turns out that I’m still building them now what does that say?  That I’m childish?  That my idea of architecture is childish? Continue reading

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Pop, Lock n’ Penguin.

How many of you have ever played the game Trouble?  It’s a fun and simple game that requires almost no skill (unless you count being able to push a button as a skill).  You just pop the dice and move your pieces around the board until they’re all safe at home.  I think it’s pretty entertaining, but what could make it better…?

PENGUINS!!!!!!!

I’d like to thank my sister for the super graduation present. (though it is a bit late)

In case any legal types are reading I suppose I should make it clear that this is not in fact Milton Bradley’s Trouble but International Playthings’ Pop N’ Drop Penguins.

The game is essentially the same as Trouble except the pieces are penguins,

Which is just...just fantastic.

and there are certain spots on the board where the penguin pieces fall through the ice and into the chilly depths below.  Which–I feel it should be noted–would not be a set back for a real penguin seeing as they thrive in the cold water.  They would simply swim off and eat some krill.

I’m currently 3-0 having bested my sister once and my girlfriend twice.  I’m not going so far as to call myself King of the Penguins.  Well…not yet, or at least not publicly.

…Still No Job

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My girlfriend’s dog kinda looks like Falkor the Luckdragon from The Neverending Story

…Still No Job

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Today I ate a cicada.

As you might have heard, I’m intrigued by cicadas.  I can’t help but be curious about a bug that only surfaces once every 13 years, but I’m not a big fan of them or the noise they make.  I’m ready for them to go away and I’m prepared to do my part to see it happen.  My sister sent me a text with a simple question, “you want a chocolate covered cicada?”  My response was equally succinct, “yup”.

Someone she worked with had actually taken the time to catch a bunch of these bugs, boil them, remove their wings (apparently they don’t taste good), and cover them in chocolate.

Some of you might be saying, “Well Joe, how are we supposed to know that’s a cicada? It could just be a chocolate covered peanut.”  Good question.  It’s called trust.  Moving on…

So it turns out that cicadas are high in protein, low in fat, and contain no carbs–talk about a great meal!  Well, that’s before you cover them in chocolate, but I doubt I would have been able to stomach one of these things if I hadn’t been able to imagine it was just a peanut.  But I figured if not now I’d have to wait until the 17 year cicadas come up 2015.

Next stop, Fear Factor!

To answer what I’m sure is the first question on folk’s minds–it tasted like chocolate.  The only difference was a slight aftertaste, but altogether not bad.

Oh, yea.  Well, this face wasn’t made because of the taste.  It was made because of the texture, which was something like…exactly what you would expect a boiled, chocolate covered bug to feel like.  In a word: exactlywhatyouwouldexpectaboiledchocolatecoveredbugtofeellike.

…Still No Job

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Will college be the best 4 years of your life?

I think a lot of thoughts.  It’s just who I am.  For awhile now I’ve been thinking about college and the severe transition that leaving was.  My thoughts have Optimus Primed into a sort of philosophy.

Have you ever heard someone say, “college is the best 4 years of your life”?  I have.  I’ve heard it a lot and I believe it’s bologna.

First of all, I’ve already proved the “best 4 years of your life” theory wrong because I went to college for 4 1/2 years.  So the timeline is clearly off.  But the length of time is not necessarily important, and it’s not the point that I have an issue with.  Because it turns out that college was the best 4 1/2 years of my life.

…so far.

That’s the big point here…so far.

I can’t wrap my mind around why everyone says that college is the best time of your life.  Sure it makes sense for some people to say it.  For the purposes of this discussion people fall into one of three categories: they haven’t gone to college yet; they are in college; or they’ve graduated.  If you’re not even in college yet then I suppose you say this because you are looking forward to it.  People in college say this because…well, because it certainly is the best time of your life.  (So to anyone reading this who is currently in college, live it up, I’m not trying to say it isn’t awesome)

But the thing that confuses me is why people who’ve left college say it.  Are you people really that unhappy?  Hmm.  Why don’t you tell your wife or kids how you feel?

"Do you love us daddy?" "Well sure I do champ! But not as much as I loved that time I bonged 6 beers in a row."

If college really is the best 4 years of everyone’s life…the most we have to look forward to…the happiest we’ll ever be, then why isn’t graduation just a mass suicide?

"When your name is called please come forward to receive your diploma and your Kool-aid cause it ain't gettin any better."

Seriously, that’s a depressing thought.  Am I to believe that the absolute best time we will ever have is from age 18 to 22ish?  I looked it up and the average life span for an American born in 1987 is 74.8 years (Google makes everything easier).  So for 52 years after college we’re just going through the motions and thinking about a time when we had so little responsibility that we spent our time caring about things that really don’t matter?

"Do you guys remember Greek Jam?"

Well I say no.  There’s no way that college can be the best it gets.  I’ll admit it was the best 4ish years of my life, but I plan on the next 4 years being even better.  And then (here’s where it might get hard to follow) I want the next 4 years to be even better than that.  And–if you can guess–the next 4 should be better still.  That way I’m having a kickass time my entire life.  Sure I’ll remember the good times, but I always want to have even better times to look forward to.

Some might argue that in terms of average-awesomeness (yes, that’s a real measure) the 4ish years of college are more fun than any other 4 year period in our lives.  I can certainly understand that argument, but I still don’t believe that it has to be that way inevitably.  Only if you let it.

After graduation I allowed the misguided mutterings of so many to make me feel like I was past my prime.  Don’t let that happen.

To steal a line from Sir Paul and that band he was in, “Got to admit it’s getting better, getting better all the time.”  Sure I have no job and I miss college, but at least I’ve got my family, my friends, and a smokin hot girlfriend who makes me sandwiches.

I’m just getting started.

…Still No Job

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