So New: In Which I Go To First Friday (20 of 90)

FirstFriday

I’ve always lived in cities where artists were everywhere. Austin, San Francisco and Boston. I’ve even arranged most of my big travel around the writing and art.

And yet. I’ve never really indulged in the artiness of the towns I’ve lived in.

Until now. Tonight I went to First Friday, the art galley walk in downtown Indianapolis on Massachusetts Avenue, one of the main hipster streets in the city. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. But it turned out to be amazingly fun.

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So New: In Which I Complete My 1/2 Marathon (17 of 90)

February 4, 2010.

That’s the day I quit smoking. Thirty-three weeks, 2 days, 9 hours and 52 minutes ago as I write this.

I was tired of feeling sluggish. I was tired of being a fatty. I was tired of not feeling my body. I was just tired. So I decided it was time to quit.

I knew I needed to two things to succeed: Commit lozenges and an exercise regiment. The lozenges were easy. Just go to Wal-greens. The regiment required a bit more mental toughness.

Fortunately, I was an athlete of some sort in a previous life so I feel comfortable in the gym. Unfortunately, I travel often and didn’t know if I’d stick to my routine as I jetted across the planet. But I did. Nearly every day I was supposed to run, I did. In Texas, Iowa, Nebraska, California, Ohio, Indiana. In Berlin, London, Sheffield, Northampton and Brighton.

And that’s when everything changed.

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So New: In Which I Head to Ft. Wayne to Run a 1/2 Marathon (16 of 90)

I’ve got my game face on.

Or I had it on earlier today as I was preparing to leave for Ft. Wayne (a city I said I’d never visit for some personal reasons that I’ve clearly since left behind) and the Fort4Fitness half marathon tomorrow.

I’ve been looking forward to this particular race since I signed up for it a few months back. It’s the first timed race – the first chance to see where I stand in terms of my time and training – of my emerging running career.

(I figure since addicts refer to their drinking days as the drinking career, I can refer to my running as a career too. It seems only fair.)

I’m not sure I’ll be able to hit my goal tomorrow – 1:47:00 for 13.1 miles – but I’m going to do my level best and that’s all I can really do. I have a secondary goal in mind but there’s not way I’m going into this with that on my brain.

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So New: In Which I Meet Twitter Friends at The Wellington (15 of 90)

Throughout the past few months, I’ve met a random assortment of people through the magic of the Internet and networking.

I’m actually quite comfortable in cyberspace. Twenty-six years online will do that. (Great gobs! That’s a lot of years.)

It’s one of the main ways I find new friends and make new acquaintances as I move through life. So tonight was fun for me: I had the chance to bring together three of the folks I’ve met at a great little place called the Wellington Pub down in Broad Ripple.

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So New: In Which I Go To The Jazz Kitchen + The Hoosier Park Racing & Casino (13 + 14 of 90)

Last night, I journeyed into the city to catch some swing music at The Jazz Kitchen, a cool little dinner/dancing joint on the edge of Broad Ripple.

I’ve been stoked about visiting here since I came across it a few months back (before my 90-in-90), but the timing wasn’t right. Also: while I love jazz, I find it hard to really motivate myself to get out and about for it.

When I saw swing music nights on Tuesday, though, I jumped at the chance. I’ve oftentimes felt I was born at the wrong time. I would give anything to be 20 in 1920, although I suspect I’d have ended up on the wrong side of the law.

But that’s neither here nor there. I even convinced my friend Megan to join me for the evening. We spent the hour drive chatting and laughing, the 2 hours at The Jazz Kitchen noshing on great food and plotting, and on the way home I convinced her we needed to do one more thing.

We live about 15 miles from The Hoosier Park Racing & Casino complex, a weird mix of electronic gambling and the ponies nestled into the God-liest part of area. I find that hilarious. For many reasons. And I simply must support that. (Although I don’t spend money gambling so my support is more of a theoretical one.)

On the way home, we stopped off for a quick look-see around the place. It’s hard to describe the place in any way that makes sense, but let me just tell you this one thing:

Megan and I were the only ones smiling. (And not just because there is free serve yourself fountain soda available throughout the place.)

The night was definitely full of win on so many levels. We had great conversation, the music rocked, the food was pretty good (especially the fruits and cheese) and the casino was a definite topper. There is almost no doubt I’ll be going back to watch some sporting event there at some point.

(You can read my Yelp review of the Jazz Kitchen here.)

So New: In Which I Attend My High School Reunion (12 of 90)

I could write all night about the reunion on Saturday, but sometimes words are just inadequate. Let me simply say this: when it’s time for your high school classmates to return, make sure you do it. The world is a big, bad, lonely place filled with lots of uncertainty and cold. But home – not matter how disconnected you may think you are – is always there.

So now: a few memories from tonight’s reunion. (The entire photostream is here.)

***

Twenty years ago, we played on the best baseball team in Cincinnati. (As in, we were ranked #1. That ain’t metaphorical.) Then we roomed together in college. We still look good.

Brad_Steve 

The LHHS girls rushed the photography corner.

TheGirls

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So New: In Which I Attend a HS Football Game as Part of My 20th Reunion (11 of 90)

Twenty years goes by quickly. More quickly than you might imagine.

I’ve lost many of those years to alcohol. That’s not a particularly telling insight. It’s not even particularly unique, either. We all lose track of what’s important from time to time.

Mine just spread out a few extra years.

But I’m trying very hard to put those days behind me. To re-make my life the way I’d always intended it to be. And that means re-connecting with my past. The me of 20 years ago. The fresh-faced kid from Loveland. Before life and the world came calling.

I’ve stayed in touch with many of my friends from school, which to be honest is many of the people from my class. We were a small, tight-knit group. I wouldn’t begin to have enough time to talk about all of the people who – after years of sporadic talk – offered kind words, time, or written notes in the earliest and roughest days of my alcohol recovery.

No matter where I go in the world or what I do, Loveland is a part of my soul. Burned into the fiber of who I am. As are the people who made up the town.

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So New: In Which I Interview the (Co) Founder of Twitter (10 of 90)

I left Wired in 2002.

There were jobs in between. A book. MIT. But I really built my career at Wired and I’m beginning to realize exactly how long ago 8  years is in modern time. Not to ruin the ending, but it’s a long time.

These days, I’m a professor at Ball State University, nestled in tiny Muncie, Indiana just about an hour northeast of Indianapolis. It’s a wonderful life. I love my students. I love my colleagues. I even love my administration.

But I do, on occasion, miss being in the middle of things. I miss chasing stories. I miss covering the world of emerging technologies as they smash into the culture. I miss being on the pulse of the Next New.

So I was thrilled on Friday to have the chance to interview Biz Stone (@biz), the epically cool co-founder of Twitter.

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So New: In Which I Run With A Socially-Networked Friend (8 of 90)

I’ve always been a solitary runner.

I enjoy hitting the road unencumbered. I love the feel of the ground against my feet. I love the sounds of nature around me. I love the solitude.

But there’s more to running that simply clearing the mechanism. (Not to go all For Love of the Game on you.)

I joined DailyMile a few months back at the behest of my pal Austin, with whom I’m training to do the Ultra Marathon. The site has two purposes: track all your training and connect you with other athletic types. It’s a social network for running geeks, mostly.

Truth be told, there aren’t too many Muncie runners on the site but I’ve been able to connect with my friends across the globe. That’s been good enough for me. But I did stumble across someone who was moving to the area and looking for advice on where to run.

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So New: The Indy Fringe Theater + Chathams (6 + 7 of 90)

I’ve been itching to hit the local theater scene since I returned from London. My summer re-invigorated the storyteller within me, but I’ve been slow to embrace him again.

No so.

I purchased two tickets (living aspirationally) to see a one man show, “They Call Me Mr. Fry,” which chronicles the first year of a teacher in South Central, Los Angeles.

The show, at the IndyFringe, was solid but I was really sold on the venue. The small building – it looked like a house transformed on the first floor into a theater – is exactly the kind of cool DIY life that everyone should experience at least once (a month).

(Aside: next year I’ll attend the IndyFringe Festival, a week-long celebration of theater along Massachusetts Avenue, which I now recognized as the place to be in Indianapolis. If you aren’t in Broad Ripple.)

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So New: The Indiana State Museum (5 of 90)

This weekend, I decided to eschew my normal football watching for a bit more of the culture of my new town. Or, the culture of the biggest city near my new town.

On Sunday, I headed to downtown Indianapolis to the Indiana State Museum to see “Odd Indiana,” a collection of strange pieces the museum has collected throughout the years.

I’m not sure why I wanted to see that. My former student Jen writes about things like this and I guess after reading her blog for the past few years, it’s not just part of my sub-conscious.

The “Odd Indiana” collection was small, nothing that was going to take up my day. (I did, however, watch an episode of Bride and Groom, a program where real-life couples got married on the air. One couple, obviously, was from Indiana.)

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So New: The Indianapolis Greek Festival (4 of 90)

Festival season where I’m from involves lots of Catholics, beer and gambling. At least that’s the way I remember it. Every summer, we’d bounce around from neighborhood to neighborhood, hanging out at the festivals where our friends went to school. Or where we figured we might run into friends. Or where we just ended up.

Other than that, I haven’t spent much time at neighborhood festivals. So when a friend asked me if I wanted to go to the Indianapolis Greek Festival, I jumped. That it was in Carmel, where I spent the first four years of my life, made it ever better.

Upon entering, we were given raffle tickets to win an iPad. We looked at each other and pocketed the tickets. Neither of us wanted to be in that raffle. We successfully made it past the dessert tent (although we returned after splitting a Gyro and purchased four — FOUR — desserts, which we mostly ate) and watched the third and fourth graders dance.

In fact, that seemed to be a large part of the day. Watching people dance. And eating.

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