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I like running and science and I have no idea what I'm doing with my life. So I'm writing a blog or something.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Taylor Swift Canadian Road Trip or "you drove all the way to Canada for just a concert?"

Haters gonna hate (hate hate hate hate), but yes, we drove all the way to Canada to watch Taylor Swift put on a show.  And it was quite a show.  Taylor knows her audience and knows exactly how to make them love her even more than they already did before.  Taylor's audience is primarily pre-teen girls, but also includes literally everyone else.  There was a group of hipster millennial dudes sitting next to us (complete with man buns, mustaches, and/or plaid shirts) who bought Taylor t-shirts and sat through the whole concert.  They never once stood up or sang along, but they were not there with girlfriends or sisters who dragged them along, so I stand by my point that everyone is a fan of Taylor Swift.  Which was why SNL's Swiftamine sketch was so ridiculously spot on.

Taylor is tall, thin, blonde, and gorgeous with a host of famous friends.  She is immensely talented and rich and has a stellar fashion sense.  Yet she somehow convinces you that she's just another awkward, nerdy girl with boy troubles who loves her cats (that last one is unarguably true, though).  She relentlessly uses social media to show just how down to earth she is (just check out her tumblr scroll down past her bad blood and world tour hype and see her respond to/reblog fans).  She even mentions social media on tour and talks about how much she loves learning about each and everyone of us because we're not just fans, we're friends!

Back to the concert though.  We sit through trivia and behind the scenes videos of her music videos and recording sessions.  We see her smiling and peppy and an absolute joy to work with.
People were still filing in throughout Shawn Mendes' songs.
Her first opener was a 17 year old, Canadian artist named Shawn Mendes who became popular though Vine.  All of those facts I had to google because I have never heard of this kid before.  But the little girls in the audience went crazy!  Four of them behind us sang along to every song, concentrating so hard on the stage down below that they looked positively morose.  He sampled Eminem and Plain White T's, both of which were perhaps lost on his audience, but appreciated by my group.
Vance Joy was up next, who we saw play at last year's 94.7 Electric Christmas show, and was great, as expected.

Then, the Taylor Swift experience began.  We may have been in Vancouver, "but we start[ed] our journey in New York."  Bright lights, sparkly costumes, dancing and strutting, video backdrops- it was solid entertainment.  Every audience member got a wristband that lit up in time with the music which was actually really cool.  She sang most of the songs off her new album plus a few throwbacks.

A little over halfway through, Taylor brought out a "surprise" special appearance.  If you've paid even a little attention to her world tour, you'll know that she's had special guest appearances by everyone from Jason Derulo to Walk the Moon to the US Women's world champion soccer team.  Our guests were Nico and Vinz, a duo from Norway who had a huge radio hit earlier this summer (Am I Wrong) which they sang with Taylor.
Sorry for the poor quality- I only had my phone and took very few photos-
I was too busy singing along and being mesmerized by all the bright lights.
During each costume change we got videos of her friends (girl group Haim, supermodel bffs, Lena Dunham, Selena Gomez, and her best friend from high school) all talking about how awesome it is to hang out with TSwift.  In between songs, Taylor also shared some girl-power monologues about believing in yourself and not putting up with stupid boys and how great each and everyone of us are.  It's no wonder little girls love her and, despite her costumes being little more than lingerie at times, why moms seem to like her as role model for their impressionable daughters.  The girl in front of us was practically in shock from happiness, constantly taking pictures and videos and hugging her friend and her mom and screaming "I love you Taylor Swift" periodically.  And her actions were hardly the minority opinion (I mean, even we drove 15 hours and crossed a border to see TSwift).  I was impressed by the costumes and the signs, most of which lit up, and how people were eating up everything she said, as if she didn't tell every audience they were the best.  Every last detail was carefully planned to make you love her.  But despite the timed winks and smiles and hair flips and "ad libs" on stage, she really is a great performer and a talented musician.

Taylor Swift ended her show with, of course, Shake it Off, complete with fireworks.  It was fabulous and I still have a bulky wristband that will light up when I shake it to prove it.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Top Ten Carl10

For the sake of remembering, I thought I'd record my top ten memories from my 5-year reunion.  But first I'm going to list the bottom four:
  1. Three people who were a huge part of my Carleton experience were not there to share in the fun.
  2. Goodhue bathrooms- I do not miss the communal bathroom situation in the dorms.
  3. The beer provided was awful.
  4. The worst 5k I've ever run, which may have had to do with too much of #3...
But really, no part of the weekend was actually bad.  Overall I'd say it was amazing and exhausting; just one emotional high after another.  So here's my top 10 favorite moments/activities from last weekend in no particular order:
  1. Sharing the beer Kevin and I brewed with our class.  My favorite part of brewing (and cooking for that matter) is sharing what I made with friends having them (hopefully) enjoy it.
  2. Constantly seeing and spending time awesome people I hadn't seen (at least very often) in 5 years (so many hugs!).
  3. Being reminded just how beautiful Carleton is. The Chapel, the buildings, the sign, the Arb, the Turbines... Plus the weather was gorgeous, the clouds were huge, and everything was so green.
  4. Tubing down the Cannon River (how did I never do that when I was living there? So relaxing and so much fun!  And my tube had cup holders for beer, and what could be better than that?).
  5. Hanging out with chemists at the Cow out on the deck with some good beer and free sunglasses.  Getting golf cart rides there and back from the cool student workers wasn't half bad either.
  6. Touring the new wind turbine (we got to go inside!).
  7. Re-visiting Wang's Corner with a few of my Geo-in-the-Field classmates and finding out current students had read my Comps, which is either exciting or embarrassing (TBD once I dig it up and re-read it).
  8. Frisbee! (because this is Carleton, after all).
  9. The Ten Talks which I almost didn't even go to and was glad I did because my classmates are amazing and interesting and inspiring.
  10. Dancing and partying and general merriment every night!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Beer and Running; or: a disjointed life update with pictures!

From the Turkey Trot
last November.
I seem to be partaking in a lot of beer and running recently, and I am perfectly okay with that.  Especially because I now have sweet penguin tights to run in.  And I could drink in them too, I suppose.

Thanks for the photo,
Amy's snapchat!
I've now tripled the amount of beer I've ever brewed, first spending Valentine's day by myself making a delicious, hoppy, 9% IPA, and then brewing a yet-to-be-tried single hop ale with my friend Kevin to bring to our 5 year college reunion later this month (hell yeah #Carl10).

Surprisingly not blurry since we were running when I took this.
Also I think I look a lot like Amy in this picture for some reason.
Well, more like her than usual.

We also adorably raced Bay to Breakers as Calvin and Hobbes.  A lot of people didn't know who we were, which makes me sad for todays youth who will never know the wonders of Calvinball, Hamster Huey and the Ooie Klabooie, or Spaceman Spiff.  Calvin and Hobbes is easily my favorite comic strip.

Then for Memorial Day weekend, I went to Colorado with Amy, Abe, and Scott and visited Lauren, Grant, and Colin and it was awesome and we drank lots of beer and ate lots of food and ran the BolderBoulder 10K and watched the Giants beat the Rockies and got rained on and it was awesome.  I also got a hole-in-one in mini golf, learned a challenging drinking game called four quarters, and saw dinosaur fossils/trace fossils.

Mike had run 50 miles at this point.
My cousin decided to run a 100 mile race for some insane reason, and my mom, sister, and I helped pace a 25 mile chunk of it, mostly in the dark.  I don't know what makes people want to go through that- but Mike finished it and I am incredibly impressed and also sore from the measly 12ish miles I ran with him.