Kit FitzSimons

Auction and Adventure

Tenth Week: Attend A Tasteful Affair Every year, for the past 22 years, community sponsors have hosted A Tasteful Affair, “an exciting evening of dining and entertainment to support the Ronald McDonald House of Chapel Hill.” I’m not really the target demographic for this sort of thing (later in the evening, when the least impressive donations were over $100, my cheeks turned red and my eyes turned floorward), but hey, Trying Something New that incidentally takes me out of my comfort zone? That’s kind of what I’m all about. There are three basic pieces to A Tasteful Affair: Food, Silent Auction, and Stagecraft, although, to be honest, those are the three basic pieces of 86% of all charity functions**. A Tasteful Affair puts the silent auction on a long table in the center of the room and surrounds it with two dozen local restaurateurs showcasing snack-size portions of their best menu items, while up on stage, a band plays (This year, the band was Too Much Fun, not to be confused with the quantifiably less fun band fun.). O Hai! It’s emcee Ron Stutts! It’s just not a Try-Something-New column without Ron. Everyone gathered in the Blue Zone at Kenan Stadium, milling about as screens around the room listed auction items with no bids. While this approach did have the unfortunate side effect of singling out specific high-minimum-bid items...

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Energy Drink Test Drive: Water Edition

This is the second segment of my multi-part investigation of non-Red-Bull energy drinks (you can read the first segment here). Certainly, I’d much rather being drinking a can of my favorite ostensibly-strawberry-flavored synapse stimulant, but you know what they say: Needs must when the Red Bull drives. With all the energy juices out of the way, let’s get to the most exciting of all energy drinks in this: Water.The source of all life. It comprises 50-60% of your adult body, depending on if you trend more male or female. It makes the funnest balloons. And because everyone these days is health-conscious AND in dire need of a quick boost, water is the perfect delivery system for all that guarana extract you’ve got lying around the house. Guarana, for those of you not in the know, is not just my favorite word to use in a rap, e.g.: My rhymes have more energy than solid guarana. I chew up wack rappers like a verbal piranha. Rake ‘em over the coals like I’m stoking a sauna. Make ‘em feel more outdated than roadside Americana. No, it’s also an Amazonian berry whose seeds contain twice the amount of caffeine found in coffee beans. Which explains why people would naturally assume it’s an awesome energy supplement and drop it in creatively-flavored waters for your drinking pleasure…although not, as it turns out, mine. Test...

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To Fair Is Human

Ninth Week: Go to the North Carolina State Fair People are often shocked by the things I haven’t tried. This one actually resulted in my boss giving me homework. When I said I had never been to the State Fair, my boss Megan gasped and demanded that I buy and eat an ear of corn. She also said I wasn’t allowed to come back unless I watched the pig races, where they make the pigs race for a Cheez Doodle. I promised I would make sure to visit both while I was there. I asked another coworker if she needed anything from the Fair, to which she replied, “The only thing I need is for you to promise me you’ll stay away from the fried foods.” I laughed at her**. As I walked out the door, Megan called after me: “Ear of corn! Cheez Doodle!”*** and I was off on my grand adventure. After a mere 35-minute drive (I went in the middle of a weekday, so traffic was not a problem), I arrived in Raleigh and took advantage of the Free Fair Parking waaaay down the highway from the fairgrounds. I probably could have parked for free closer (because, again, it was a weekday), but I was in a hurry to begin my epic voyage, and I didn’t want to waste time looking for a space.****   A...

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Energy Drink Test Drive: Green Tea Edition

I am an energy (and experience) junkie; there is nothing better than being “rarin’ to go” for as much of the day as possible. This is possibly why I’ve been told it’s simultaneously so fun and exhausting to be around me for extended periods of time. I’m a natural joker, ranter, and mover, and those traits only get more prominent when I’ve had an energy drink…which I usually have. Now, I’m an old-school Red Bull man. Red Bull sponsored a 24-hour improv marathon that I watched in 2002, and so my sleep-deprived mind on some base level connected Red Bull with successful comedy. And, these days, space-diving. But hey, it could be that I’m missing out on the most amazing energy drink out there just because of a self-imposed Red-Bull rut. Obviously, there’s only one solution: Heck yeah, green tea! A well-documented source of natural energy (or at least, it’s well-documented on a bunch of energy-juice bottles), green tea is different than regular black tea in that…well, in that more people have researched the health benefits of green tea. Regularly drinking black tea seems to prevent/stave off strokes and heart disease, but green tea contains major anti-oxidants and more natural energy boosters, which are words that look good in neon letters on the back of a bottle. Test Drive 1: V8 V-Fusion + Energy (Peach-Mango) Total duration of energy:...

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Spinal Destination

Eighth Week: Visit a Chiropractor. I don’t make it a habit to criticize my younger brother in public, but I will say his posture is atrocious. Not Igor-bad*, but definitely bad enough that, at family dinners, I actively place one hand on his back and one on his forehead and manually straighten his slouch. I have seen far too many old men with St-Louis-like spines to sit by and let my brother sink into the same fate. Well, they say turnabout is fair play, so, when I recently tried to jog from my desk out to my car and my spine felt like a clanking stack of Coke cans, I decided to take my friend Ted’s advice and visit a chiropractor. I’m fully willing to accept that my posture is terrible; they say sitting behind a desk is one of the worst things you can do to your spine… …this might trump it, I suppose…   …so perhaps all of my threats to my brother of what he’ll end up looking like if he keeps slouching** had been the setup for a hilarious joke where my own mangled spine was the punchline. Ted recommended Dr. Charles Hecht, whose office just happens to be two blocks from my office, and I immediately set up an appointment. The first thing he did was explain why, contrary to popular belief, chiropracty*** is...

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In Need of Candybiotics

Normally I talk about how awesome it is to try something new, but today, I’m here with a cautionary tale about trying something old. This is the tale of the Jumanji Twizzlers. A quick refresher on what Jumanji is: The rhyming cards, each read when flipped, Suggest that Seuss wrote half the script. A villainous board game (and Bonnie Hunt/Robin Williams “star vehicle”**), it waits for some unsuspecting person to find it, play it, and release the evil jungle magic within. However, since I’m not as prone to opening mysterious board games that wash up on the beach***, the evil jungle magic had to bend itself to my weak spot:   Twizzlers. One of the huge resealable two-pound pouches that locks freshness in. Like we used to eat at Camp Anawanna. Unfortunately, these Twizzlers DON’T make mouths happy. Only this particular bag didn’t just lock in freshness. Let’s turn back the clock to November 2007, when I came down with an annoyingly persistent flu-like virus that completely floored me. My sister bought me a bag of resealable Twizzlers to cheer me up. No, not healthy for me, but hey, I was sick, and I wanted to feel better in some quantifiable way. So I had some, sealed the bag, went back to cowering under the covers and, eventually, got better. February 2008 came around, and, as I was straightening...

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The Unbearable Lightness of Boeing

Sixth Week: Sitting in the Cockpit of a B-17 Bomber There are, I admit, some perks to being in media. The first is I have near constant access to professional recording equipment for those times I feel like recording a rap. The second is that I know what Art Chansky’s going to be controversial about before anybody else** does. And the third is that, every once in a while, I get Media Access to a special event. It’s how I got to go to opening night of PlayMakers’ Noises Off last season. It’s how I had an all-access pass to the Town of Chapel Hill’s Fourth of July Ceremony***. And it’s how today I wound up in Sanford at the Raleigh Executive Jetport for The Liberty Foundation’s Media Day at the B-17 Bomber, Memphis Belle. Lots of bombs dropped, Lots of Nazis downed, Lots of gams shown. Actually, let’s be clear here: this is not THE Memphis Belle, made famous by the 1990 movie starring Matthew Modine, Eric Stoltz, and a pre-Disney’s-Hercules Tate Donovan. No, this is “The Movie Memphis Belle” made famous by playing Memphis Belle IN the 1990 movie. Oh, AND it’s actually a Borate Bomber converted INTO a B-17 Bomber for the film because there aren’t enough B-17s left in the world for Hollywood to get their hands on****. Also, they’ve done extensive repairs to keep...

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I Second That E-Motion

Fifth Week**: Cinemagram. Now, I enjoy a good app as much as the next guy, but I’ll admit I take to them a little slower than most because I don’t have an iPhone. My Droid 3 has a pull-out keyboard, which is awesome, but it gets cool apps the same way middle children get ‘new’ clothes (i.e. months or years after they’ve stopped being new, and only as hand-me-downs from big brother). Luckily, I also have an iPad 2 (a 30th birthday present to myself), so I can use any iPhone app I want, as long as I don’t...

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ST:TNG on the Dock of the Bay

Fourth Week: Fathom Events. I’d never heard of them before, but they’re a nationwide cinema-event coordinator. Monday night, they were in a bunch of Raleigh theaters celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation with a making-of documentary and two remastered episodes. Now, I don’t consider myself a diehard fan of ST:TNG (although, it is my favorite of the various incarnations, and, as you can see, I’m on an acronym basis with it). I mean, sure, I watched it on Spike TV during that long and awkward month I spent glued to my couch in between jobs,...

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8-Course is 8-Course, Of Course, Of Course

THIRD WEEK: I cook. I do. Not as often as I or my bank account would like, but I have been known to produce pretty unexpectedly awesome stuff from the kitchen when I put my mind to it (cinnamon burgers and Pineapple Thingie to name two).   But one thing I’ve never done is made an X-course meal, where X is some number larger than, say, 3 (appetizer, entrée, dessert. Done.)   So, Monday at noon, I emailed 6 friends and invited them to an 8-course dinner at 830PM. After sending invitations, I decided on the 8 dishes that...

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