Corporate bonding, zombies, and fancy cheese

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Image courtesy of seamsoeasy. Licensed under CC BY SA 2.0.

Living in Atlanta as an adult can be strange (,” she retitled her blog). I’ve been here since I was 12–I just passed the 10 year mark–and it is so, so easy for me to feel stuck here when I run into teachers at festivals or OKCupid matches me with my middle school academic bowl teammates*. Atlanta is a large city, but my own personal inertia makes it hard for me to break out of old behaviors and hangouts. Add to that the fact that many folks I went to high school stick around town into adulthood, and it’s easy for things to feel a little more small town than they have any right to.

I’ve been trying to move away from that, and this weekend seemed like the perfect time to do so. The weather this weekend was a particular, lovely kind of early autumn–mid-70s, a little breeze, bright sunlight and everything still green (which in Atlanta is no mean feat: we’re a city an ent would feel at home in). We’re lucky to get a month of it each year–six weeks if we’ve been very good–and it seemed like a crime not to be out and about in the city. Soon enough it will be cold again–or 90 degrees, Atlanta weather is fun like that–and we won’t be able to be outside.

I started by walking (slowly) a corporate 5k on Thursday night, the first I’d ever done. My company, knowing what motivates its employees, had a keg of beer for us to tap into at the end of things (or, in the case of a few of my more adventurous coworkers, at the beginning of things). It’s always funny to see everyone at the company together in one place, as we all wind up pairing off into shifts like high schoolers. Perhaps not surprisingly, most of the runners that we fielded came from the crew that works 6am-3pm every day. My own people–the late-night crew, who have exactly the sorts of personalities and health habits that you might expect of people who are basically nocturnal–did no such thing. I was perfectly happy to amble along with the smokers in the group, so it suited me. Continue reading

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So Long and Thanks for All the Fish

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Saturday night, I attended the closing party for the 280 Elizabeth Street location of Dad’s Garage, the theater where I’ve been taking improv classes. On the one hand, it was bittersweet–I have been going to this theater since I was 12, and it is weird to see your hometown change. On the other hand, the party was insane.

Before we even wandered into the party, my friend and I had our first encounter of the evening: as faithful readers may recall, a few weeks ago I hit on a will call volunteer via Twitter at this very theater. Because my life is fun, he was in fact working will call for this event. Awkward banter was exchanged, we were set up with wrist bands, and my friend and I wandered inside. (The boring conclusion to the Twitter bro story is that he seemed to have a lady friend at the party, so, uh, whoops.)

A kindly volunteer, seeing my friend and I wandering around after we had come in, oriented us to what was happening: the main stage had turned into a four-table flip cup tournament moderated by Lucky Yates (who had a bullhorn because reasons), the part of the theater that had previously been offices had been transformed into a sweet black lit dance floor, and the back corner of things had been turned into something with a sign proclaiming it “The Bone Zone.”

“It was Lucky’s idea,” she said. “Don’t go in there. You’ll get pregnant.”

With that somewhat ominous warning (which we did heed), we headed off to wander. For the first hour, that was most of what we did–we’d wander into the dance floor, see that it was still empty, and wander back to watch flip cup or read some of the wall graffiti that was being added to the building. (Since the place is being destroyed soon, vandalism was encouraged so long as it didn’t involve punching through walls, because no one likes an electrical fire.)

Between the dance floor of people looking slightly uncomfortable, the flip cup tournament up front, and the dedicated portion of the theater for semi-public theater sex havers (or people doing cocaine, I have no idea), the whole event basically served as a reminder that frat parties pretty much never totally leave you. Unlike a frat party, however, the beer was good and the floor wasn’t even really that sticky. Continue reading

Nonfatal Embarrassment

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Image courtesy of Stew Dean. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Recently, I’ve been taking an improv class. When I tell people about this, it sometimes seems to strike them as slightly adventurous, which makes me laugh. I am anxious about many, many things in the world, but never has being on stage been one of them. Heights, my own failure, smalltalk? Yes. Stage? No.

So, when I graduated, I decided that I needed a hobby that wasn’t drinking beer or crying on cars (an actual search term that led someone to this blog today–hello, whoever you are!), I settled on two things that I already knew I liked: class, and theater. The fact that I am not a particularly good actor (and am by far a worse improvisor) was immaterial. I dropped a chunk of my paycheck, and got myself a slot at Dad’s Garage for the next eight weeks.

Three classes in, I can say that I’m pleased with my decision. I’m firmly in the bottom quartile of the class in terms of skill, but I’m trying to build adult skills like not wanting to vomit on my shoes in embarrassment every time I do something asinine. Improv class is great for building your realization that–to paraphrase Merlin Mann–if you screw up, it’s okay, because no one’s going to eat you.

I was telling all of this to two of my friends on Friday night in the middle of drinking a mid-range hefeweizen, when I looked up from my seat and nearly spat out my beer. Standing next to my booth was my improv teacher. This shouldn’t have come as a shock, given that we were maybe two miles from the theater where I am taking the class, but it was still unexpected.

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One Week Out

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In the Venn Diagram of things that are both terrifying and true, the fact that I just meandered through my first post-graduate week is pretty firmly in the middle of the circle. And it wasn’t even like I had a boring, quiet week to help ease the transition–I managed to attend the (lovely, tasteful) wedding of a (lovely, tasteful) friend, pack the vast majority of my belongings, and haul my life across town.

So that’s been fun.

But in between assembling furniture and crowding six to a hotel room in south Georgia, a weird thing has happened. I’ve begun to gather glimpses of my looming adult life. The end of moving is in sight, and that means that soon enough I will have substantial free time in the mornings. I could take up running! Or sit in my local coffee shop and flirt with baristas before work! My tiny studio, which seems Parisian if you click your heels together three times and just believe, is within walking distance of Atlanta’s largest park, most famous art museum, and (to my knowledge) only botanical garden.

Y’all, I signed up for an improv class. On weekends. To expand my social circle. Truly, this is a brave new world. Continue reading

Parties and Nail Polish and Drinks, Oh My

It’s nearing finals week, which of course means that I spent most of the weekend the hell away from campus. Currently, campus smells of dispair and freshmen who are freaked out since they didn’t do any of the course readings. Given that the only final exam that I have is during the very last slot, a week away, this is not anything that I need. So instead I experimented with having friends and hobbies and a social life again, which was exciting.

Friday morning involved some unusual (for me) on campus time. One of my final research projects for the semester involves measuring tiny pieces of rock to learn about cognitive evolution, so I spent most of the morning in an on-campus computer lab, using very expensive software to make very accurate calculations of just how statistically insignificant my sad little undergraduate rock measures are. These are things that I am fairly certain are significant, so I got to have the always-fun experience of writing a paper conclusion that basically boiled down to, “next time, maybe don’t have undergraduates do this.” The glamour of science!

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