Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dare: Michelles at Michelle's

Dare: My second dare was to gather people named Michelle in front of the old Michelle's restaurant/candy shop downtown. (Sadly, it's been closed for several years, and nothing new has gone into the space.)

It sounded cute and fun until I realized . . .

I don't know anyone named Michelle.

Almost. The only Michelle I know currently lives on the other side of the country. This presents a certain amount of problems, since the dare didn't include the cost of flying a Michelle across the U.S.

I put off my dare, figuring a solution would come to me. It was Nia (Sara) who suggested pictures of people named Michelle. Then I just got busy, until last week, when Nia called me and said, "Let's do your dare on Thursday!"

So on Thursday, Nia pulled up in the driveway. I grabbed my one Michelle picture and a jacket and ran out the door. That's when the thunder and lightning started.

The rain held off for the most part, only sprinkling while Nia and I hurried from our parking spot a few stores down. When I stood in front of Michelle's, I felt very vulnerable holding a metal picture frame while lightning flashed way too close for my comfort. (Which explains that not-so-thrilled expression on my face.)

We were never in any immediate danger, as Nia could tell you, but I'm always very jumpy about thunder and lightning. Having my picture taken outside during a thunderstorm was a scarier experience than eating peas!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Dare: Take Cookies to a Nun

This turned out to be surprisingly easy and productive, if a bit nerve-wracking at first. Google informed me that there's a center for women recovering from substance abuse run by Sisters of the Good Shepherd close to my apartment. I called them up and the nun who answered had no idea how to handle my bizarre request to drop off cookies on a Saturday night, so she gave me the cell phone number for Sister Marguerite, the manager. Sister Marguerite was extremely friendly, and accepted my proposition, agreeing to meet me at the administrative office, so I bought some cookies at a nearby grocery store.

She gave me helpful directions, and even left the gate open for my arrival.

When I was about to leave she asked if I had any questions for her, so we sat down in her office and chatted about the homeless shelter some Stanford friends and I are planning to launch in the next few years. She promised to call if she came up with any potential contacts for us. She was very astute, and intuited the dare I had been given when I asked to take a picture with her. She seemed to like the idea of Dare Us To Move when I explained myself :). Thank you for sending me on this quest, Sara, and for getting all of us moving, David.

P.S. I'm planning to email the picture of Sister Marguerite and I to Sara, who gave me the challenge, but I'd rather not post the photo online, because I forgot to ask her if that was okay with her.

Dare: Face Your Fears (Part Five)

Part I: Eat Something You Haven't Dared to Eat.

When I walked into Crepevine, this dare was the last thing on my mind. I started scanning the menu in my usual fashion, reading the ingredients of each option until I found one that displeased me and hastily skipping to the next prospective dinner. After a minute, I noticed to my dismay that I was nearing the end of the list with only a pittance of meals having survived my rigorous filter. I perked up when I realized that made this the perfect restaurant to try something I wouldn't have dared to eat. Reversing my algorithm to seek out the least tasty item on the menu, I succeeded far more rapidly. The Florentine Savory Crepe contains a total of 3 raw ingredients that I would eat on a less masochistic day: spinach, jack cheese, and the crepe shell itself. They just happened to be the three mildest ingredients and succumb to the villainy of of mushrooms, glazed onions, and, my newfound arch-nemesis, cottage cheese.

I foolishly gulped down all of the tasty carrot juice before starting on the monster crepe, leaving no safety valve by which to wash out the taste.

Just the sight of cottage cheese makes me cringe.

But I would not be deterred.

And though it was painful, I can now say with certainty that I need not taste cottage cheese again for another five years.

Yum incarnate rewarded my conquest.

Part II: Meet Someone You Haven't Dared To Meet.

While I've had a plethora of fantastic opportunities to complete this dare on account of interactions with fellow bus and metro passengers and pedestrians, I make a habit of avoiding carrying my rather expensive camera through one of the less safe neighborhoods of San Francisco. All this to say, that this dare was far more deliberate than the previous one. With my camera swinging against my chest, I rode my bike up and down 3rd Street, which had provided no end of interesting characters unlike most people I typically interact with. After 45 minutes of failures and lacks of courage, I heard a lot of singing and locked my bike to the support of a nearby tree. It turned out the singing was coming from a Baptist Church, but there were some guys chatting in Spanish outside the building next door, so I asked them what that building was. They explained that it was an Alcoholics Anonymous, so I asked if everyone was welcome. They said yes, so I headed in and started chatting with Jorge, who was lounged on half a row of chairs near the back. He opened by asking how my day had been in Spanish, which made me realize that this AA was intended for Spanish speakers.

I explained that I'd had a long day, and he asked where I was from (Alabama) and whether I had problems with alcohol (no) or drugs (also no). "I'm actually just here to meet people," I stammered, to which he shrugged a "that's cool." The service was just starting, and I had a meeting at the same time, so I bailed promising to return next week when I had more time. Jorge informed me it would be same-time, same-place.

I didn't feel like it would've been right to take photographs at an anonymous meeting, so I snapped a shot of the entrance. (I also falsified Jorge's name.)

Part III: Summarize au Haiku.

Cottage of the mind
splurging bitterly enchains
our dour existence.

Dare: Haggis and Haggis and Haggis, Oh My!

Unfortunately, some of my friends know me a bit too well, specifically that I'm a picky eater who does not easily try new foods. So Mrs. Burklin dared me to not only try haggis, but to eat at least ten bites. I first tried it in Glasgow as part of another dare, but I was not impressed. It was like a mushy, spicy meatloaf made of sheep innards. Fortunately, Scotland has no end of ways to prepare haggis, and just like the South back in America, Scotland loves deep frying.

So I had haggis fish 'n' chips style! And yes, french fries are called "chips" over here. As it turns out, the haggis was not only edible but enjoyable, and if I ever go back and don't feel like trying out some other Scottish dish, I know I'll be going back for more haggis. And just in case you have any doubts, here's my "clean" plate!

And as you might observe, yes, I had ketchup with the haggis. To complete the dare, here is a little limerick:


I went to a café for haggis,
and thought there was something amiss.
But the meat was superb
so the truth could disturb
naught of my sheep innards' bliss.

Dare: Link Goes to Scotland (The Scottish Milk Bar)

When MangyCat dared me to go to a Scottish pub and order a glass of milk, I'm not sure that she realized just how perfect a dare that was. For those of you who are not video game nerds, allow me to explain. One of my favorite games is called The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, in which you play a hero named Link, who always wears his green garb and a sword. As it is a kid-friendly game, they never make any direct references to alcohol. This does not stop them from including a bar in the game. Instead, the bar serves milk which Link can use to replenish his health! So when Mangy asked me to go order milk from a pub in Scotland, I immediately made the connection to the game and carried out the task with pleasure!

Here I am with two of my flatmates at the William Wallace, a great and friendly pub right by campus. We asked to take a picture of the place, and immediately the bartender offered to take a picture with us behind the bar, so that was awesome! Unfortunately, they didn't have any milk, but we had a good time nonetheless.

Dare: Face Your Fears (Part Four)

A picky eater in Scotland dared to eat what he's never dared to eat before, that's me. So of course the natural choice is Scotland's iconic dish: haggis. That's it above on the top left of the plate, the nasty ground up excuse for meat. I say that, but it wasn't all that bad once I got past the bit that it's made from sheep innards. It was actually quite a bit spicier than I had imagined, which ended up being my mine complaint. I won't say I liked it, but I did manage to down it as the next picture proves.

Next I had to meet someone I had never dared to meet. Although I am rather introverted, there hasn't really been anyone I've seen so far whom I haven't dared to meet. Well, except this one time. There's this hill right by campus, Dumyat Hill, and I was having trouble finding a path going up it because I simply didn't know the way. So I ended up walking straight up the steep side through the sheep pasture. And quite a few of them had horns, and they eyed me warily as I climbed. Fortunately they didn't give me too much trouble, except once or twice they looked like they might come at me. A week or two later, I decided to fulfill the dare by going back and daring to meet the sheep! Unfortunately, as I found out, the only reason they had eyed me was because they were getting ready to run. So I took the part of the American tourist running around with his camera trying to get a picture with the sheep. I couldn't find any friendly ones, except this young lamb who hadn't yet learned to run from me, so I got a picture! But just as I was about to try and add myself in, his parents bolted and so he followed them. Nevertheless, the picture below has no zoom, and you can see the lamb just getting up to run off. But our brief meeting was rather pleasant.

Of course there's something poetic about meeting and eating the same animal, so I came up with the following haiku to tie it all together.

American Tourist

I met with the sheep,
took a picture of the sheep,
and then I ate him.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dare: Give a Gift

Dare: “I dare you to give a gift to a randomly selected stranger with a child (for the child). ($10 pledge)”

I must say that this dare was a blast of fun--especially picking out the gift. What I chose was one of those fuzzy black posters that you colored with markers and on it was a scene from the movie Cars. Some of my fondest memories from my childhood are of coloring posters like that on road trips in the car.

I bought the gift a few weeks ago after getting out from a conference. I didn't know what I wanted to buy at first that would be a good choice but when I saw the posters I knew instantly. Since then school has kept me extremely busy and by the time I got out it was late in the day and hard to go somewhere where I would feel comfortable asking a parent and any kids I had been seeing were never a boy in the right age range. Yesterday I finally had the time so me and my best friend drove to the local Barnes & Noble (yes, a lot of cool people go there--and she wanted to grab a book anyways). We got there and I headed straight for the children's section and the first people I encountered was a mom and her son. I asked her if he liked Cars and when she told me that he loved them, I went on to explain about Dare Us To Move, my dare, DuTM's vision, and ask if I could. Turns out, she had just taken him to see Cars 2! Talk about perfect timing, right?

Here's to a happy boy!

Dare: Give Time to Health

Dare: Volunteer 10 hours of time to HealthQuarters Ministries in Colorado Springs. The founder and CEO is an author named Dave Frahm who is also a naturopathic doctor. ($100 dare)

This dare came to me from one of the amazing ladies in my Arbonne success line.

HealthQuarters’ website
says: Since 1994 HealthQuarters Ministries has helped thousands of people regain their health both physically and spiritually. Specializing in alternative medicine HealthQuarters Ministries educates those who want to take control of their own health while implementing any diet and lifestyle changes necessary.

I completed this dare with three visits. On the first, I did a lot of typing to get lists of symptoms ready for their website.

On following visits, I was able to create a few sign-in documents for future volunteers and community service, a spreadsheet for them to track the hours people are donating, and also get those symptom lists uploaded onto their website so Carrie, the office manager, can link them to the pages.

I love a dare that gets us out into the community, where we are not only helping CleanPlace but also helping others. I had fun lending my hands (quite literally), and it was great to learn about their ministry.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dare: Face Your Fears (Part Three)

I'm a pretty adventurous eater these days, so I couldn't really think of anything that would be a challenge (that I could afford). Once upon a time, though, I was a ridiculously picky eater. I didn't like much of anything, and I would spend hours sitting at the dinner table across from my father as he urged me to just swallow the bite I'd been holding in my mouth. One of the foods I really didn't like was peas, and I've never gotten over it. One of my usernames is even "ihatepeas." I stopped eating them as soon as I was old enough to pick and choose what I put on my plate.

So I ate peas for my dare. And not a small amount, either. Frankly, I did not enjoy myself. I had to drink a lot of iced tea to get the mushy taste out of my mouth.

I think you can tell by the look on my face that I wasn't converted to a love of peas. Here's my haiku to commemorate the event:

little balls of ick

bursting into mushy green

and I still hate them.

For the second part of my dare, I waited until the weekend of my cousin's wedding because I knew there would be a number of people I didn't know. At the rehearsal dinner, I happened to meet Sharalynn, a very nice young lady who is dating my other cousin. She lives in Philadelphia, and she sings opera. How cool is that? (The opera part. I have no idea what Philly is like.)

Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of us together. But I do have this haiku:

ambushed by grandmas,

she smiles and says she sings, but

we don't get to hear

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Dare: Into the Fire

The Dare:
I dare you to sing "Into the Fire" with one other person (if you can find one) loudly on a fairly public street corner in Tokyo.

I couldn't find anyone else, so it was up to me and me alone to complete this dare.

It is hard not to stand out as a blond-headed, 5'9 American here in Japan. I've tried to avoid acting or appearing too foreign--but then along comes a dare that involves singing on a street corner.

Well that is a good way to stand out.

Most people here would never think of singing in a public place, so I guess it was up to an outsider to make a little noise for a good cause.

I chose one of my favorite corners (by one of my favorite convenience stores), cleared my throat and started to sing. At first it was difficult to sing anyway but softly, but as I kept singing my voice kept getting louder. Instead of embarrassment, I started to feel enjoyment.

"Climbing higher and higher and into the fire we go..."

It was a little amusing to get stares from school children, or the smiles of toddlers as they passed with their mothers. All in all it proved to be a fun experience, despite having to stand out even more than I already do.

- Telpe

Monday, July 4, 2011

Dare: Operation Baby Pic

The dare (from my parents of course) was to post the above picture of myself as my Facebook profile for two weeks, so I uploaded it to Facebook today.