List Completed

The tasks that i’ve completed off of my list

Weekend in Dallas

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The Drive

Since I’m new to Texas there are a lot of cities on my list that i want to visit with Dallas being one of the top of my list. So when I had the opportunity to go to the State of Search Conference I was excited to have the weekend to check out the city.
Early Saturday morning Molly and I got up, jumped in the car and headed out to Dallas. On this ride Molly introduced me to a podcast called “Serial” which is a narrative documentary where the host Sarah Koenig is reviewing a murder case to see if the person convicted could be innocent. It is really good and made the drive fly by.
Serial Podcast

Dallas Aquarium

When we got to Dallas our first stop was the Dallas Aquarium, which was so much better than I expected it to be. When you first walk in it is to an open room with birds, monkeys, and all sorts of other animals moving around not in any kind cages. There is also a waterfall that drops down a couple stories into a pond where you can see giant fish, turtles, and ducks. I’ve never seen such a cool open concept with so many animals intermingling together.

How the aquarium is set up is that you start off at the top floor and as you work your way down you see the animals from different angles. So you seem them from above the water and then beneath. Probably my favorite part was walking through the shark tank where they actually swim around you.

Museum of Art

After the Dallas Aquarium we headed over to the Dallas Museum of Art to check it out, mainly because it was free. I liked this museum because they had a section where you could create your own art which was fun. Molly and I did sketches of each other and did some other crafts.

We also got to see lots of art from all over the world from different centuries. I was surprised the size of the modern art collection like the panda bear chair.

 

Perot Museum

The next day we went to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. We watched the Panda movie that shows how China is working so hard increase Panda’s back to the wild.

Perot Panda Movie

 

The rest of the museum had a lot of hands on exhibits that we got to play on including the giant leap frog out front.

 

Reunion Tower

After spending all day at the Perot Museum we headed over to Reunion Tower to get a view of the Dallas skyline. We found out that a tour of the tower cost about $20 a person, but there is a Wolfgang Puck restaurant on top with the view as well. So we opted to go to the fancy restaurant where we ordered appetizers, for what the tour would of costed, and took in the view as the restaurant rotated around to see the full view of the skyline.

 

See all the trip photos on Flickr. 

International Balloon Fiesta

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international balloon fiesta 2014

Heading To The Fiesta

It was Thursday afternoon and with Molly as my trusty sidekick and navigator headed out towards New Mexico. We thought that leaving at 3:30 would save us from the notoriously bad Austin rush hour traffic…… but we were wrong. So we put on the Tina Fey audio book “Bossy Pants” as we cruised towards Lubbock Texas.

We got there around midnight and were able to stay with a friend of Molly’s for the night. The couple we stayed with was the Thiels, an older farming couple with a giant framed photo of the pope on their wall and the sweetest people I’ve ever met.  We actually arrived at their home before they did because they were at the Paul Mc Cartney concert. Which we heard them rave about until one in the morning and then went to bed.

We woke up in the morning and Mrs. Thiel was kind enough to make us breakfast and told us tales of her running the farm. We then headed out and drove the rest of the way to Albuquerque.  We finished up the Bossy Pants audible book and started a new book called “The Maze Runner”.

Checking Out Albuquerque

We got to Albuquerque around lunch time and grabbed some quick Mexican food at Anita’s which had bomb chimichangas! After lunch we dropped our stuff off at a friends house and headed over to the Sandia Peak Tramway, which is the longest tram in North America.

The goal was to take the tram to the top to watch the sunset and then come back down. It seems that everyone had the same idea because when we got there it was a 2 hour wait! So we waited and watched the sun go down while waiting in line and then took the tram to the top. It was a beautiful view but when the sun went down it was really cold. So we only walked around for a few minutes and then waited in another really long line to get back down.

Balloon Fiesta Time

(Check Out All The Photos / Videos )

The fiesta was scheduled to start at 6:45 so we awoke at 6 am and headed out to the balloon fiesta. The traffic was RIDICULOUS! I’ve never seen a highway backed up for so many miles. I was able to wiggle my way through a lot of traffic, but it still took us like an hour until we could finally park. Despite getting there later than expected we were able to make it in time for the mass ascension. Which is when hundreds of balloons take off!

It was a crisp cold morning so we grabbed some hot chocolate and walked around while balloon after balloon would fill up and take off. It was so amazing to be able to get up close to the balloons and even talk to the people operating them. After a couple of hours all of the balloons had taken off and were flying over down town Albuquerque.

When all the balloons were gone there was not much to do until later in the day when they all come back. So we spent some time going through the souvenir tents & eating a collection of carnival food. Also to fill time they had a wood carving competition going on. It was amazing to watch them take these massive tree stumps and transform them into beautiful pieces of art.

After all this I wasn’t feeling too well so we headed back to the apartment we were crashing at for the night, but decided that we would go back again the next day. 6am Sunday morning came and we knew the drill. We got up and headed back towards the Balloon Fiesta, but knowing how bad the traffic was we took the frontage roads and were able to bypass 80% of the traffic!

The 2nd day the balloons were delayed to take off because it was too windy. After a couple of hours they were cleared to take off and all of the balloons rushed to fill up and take off. This was a big difference from the day before where each balloon took their time getting ready to take off. Sadly the although the balloons all got ready to take off none of them did, but it was still a completely worth going.

We then loaded up in the car and made the long road trip back to Austin.

SXSW Adventure

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SXSW Logo

What is SXSW?

SXSW (South By Southwest) is when a few huge festivals happen in Austin Texas over the space of a two weeks! Officially they have Music, Film, and Interactive, but they also have comedy, education, and more coming I’m sure. To get an idea of what its about check the YouTube video



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Get A Parking Ticket

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It sure didn’t take the long for the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) to welcome me to their great city! I kind of knew how aggressive they could be from watching the reality show Parking Wars. Even with this research I was not prepared for my first parking violation in Philly. (more…)

Bust A Move At Battle Of The year

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Break Dance Beginnings

BOTY_USA_Flyer

 

It started back in middle school, when i first saw some other guys break dancing. As soon as i saw what they were doing I knew i was going to be hooked! I would practice before wrestling workouts, on the weekends, and my parents even bought me some break dance tutorial videos on VHS. I fell in love with the whole bboy culture of graffiti, dress, and of course  break dancing!

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Go Surfing

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So i figured that since I love to wakeboard, snowboard, and longboard how hard could it be to tackle a surfboard? So when I was in San Diego with my friend Blake I thought that I was going to be a natural surfer and pick it up without a problem. It was amazing cause Blake lives 3 blocks off of Pacific Beach, so we just walked down to the beach and rented our boards and wetsuits just next to the beach. Couldn’t believe that we got everything we needed for 3 hours for just $20!

So as it turns out surfing is way different from any of those other boards that I’ve tried. For starters I wasn’t prepared for the all the paddling and i swallowed so much salt water I couldn’t taste anything for the rest of the weekend.

It was the 4th of July weekend and the beach was packed, even more packed were the waves of surfers! We both basically got ran over by people several times by other surfers. It was kind of scary.

After no luck from trying to ride the big waves and almost getting run over I had to move closer in and finally got up on a couple of waves and cruised them out for a bit. Success! Don’t know if i like it better than the other boards but it was definitely worth trying.

Ride A Real Bull

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I heard from my friends Brian Nicodemus and Bryce Parker about this little secret in Marana, where you can pay $20 to ride a real bull! Every other Friday night they hold a mini rodeo for bull riders to practice bull riding. How could I pass up this opportunity? To ride a real bull for only $20’s!

When I arrived at the rodeo early i walked up and signed my life and personal well being away to ride the beast. It would be about 2 hours until I ride. I met up with Brian and Bryce’s friend CJ Brewer who gave me some spurs and started telling me strategy on what to do. Cj only had enough gear for one person so we were going to have to share the equipment between rides. That was until I met my rodeo coach Dustin Gonzalez a 15 year old with a fiery personality that matched his ginger hair. He was hurt so he wasn’t riding and was letting me use his gear. He showed me how to warm up my rope and some advice on how to ride a bull. He basically put me through Bull Riding 101. His coaching was amazing, too bad i didn’t record that. This youtube video was the best i could find.

Everyone around me knew that it was my first time and kept asking me if I was nervous, scared, or crazy. I guess I was little of all of them, but i actually wasn’t that nervous until I got onto my bull, “Desert Storm”, and felt how strong and massive He is! They strapped my hand to his back so tight that it was going numb. They asked me if I was ready and I said “Lets Do It!” Just like cliff jumping, once you jump theirs no turning back.

$5 Parking, $20 To Register, Riding A Bull Is Priceless from Ben Beck on Ben’s Bull Ride.

Once they flung open that gate , Desert Storm was out of their with me flailing on his back! He headed straight for the far fence, bucking me the entire way. Once we got to the fence, he turned abruptly which made me think that he was going to squish me into the fence! So I grabbed onto the fence to pull me off. That was my 6 second adrenal rush! I got a great cheer from the crowd and the announcer. I also got a good bruise on my arm from grabbing onto the gate, i guess your not suppose to do that. One things for sure its an experience and a rush that I will never forget!

Sit in A Dumb & Dumber Heart Jacuzzi Tub

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Who hasn’t seen Dumb and Dumber and not wanted to chill in a heart shaped hot tub?

Back in college we were in New Jersey and the only request we had for a hotel was that it had to have a heart shaped jacuzzi tub. We found one in the shady part of town but it was worth it! If you really want one they have them for sale but I’d say you try one at a hotel first. Whatever the price of the hotel the pictures are always priceless!

Run the Rocky Stairs

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In Philadelphia people don’t see “Rocky” as a fictional character, he is a living legend. I can’t tell you how many people went off raving how great he is and how much he did for the city. After telling us all this the locals told us where the statue and stairs of Rocky were, and we were off to see them.

It was so much fun to see the statue and even more fun to run the stairs! I felt like Rocky, only thing missing were some cow carcasses to punch.

Rocky Steps from Ben Beck on Vimeo.

Trapeze Flying

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This story starts back in December of 2010, I was looking for Christmas presents for my brother and his wife who live in Seattle, so me being “Frugal Ben” went to Groupon Seattle to see if their were any good deals for them, and I came across this deal for a Trapeze Class at Emerald City Trapeze.

I wasn’t sure if Nate and Erin would enjoy doing it but I really wanted to do it myself, so onto “The List” it went. I didn’t think this goal would come true so quickly, but I was able to come to Seattle to visit the family.

So as soon as we got a chance Dave, Hi-d, and I all went to the trapeze place. It was fun from the get go. The other girls in the class were shocked and hilarious while attempting to match Hi-d’s flexibility.

After the stretching and quick instructions we started hitting the trapeze. The goal the whole time was to be hanging by your knees with your arms out extended by the 3rd swing so that the guy on the other trapeze could catch you. It’s harder than you think, but the whole experience was totally worth it! A lot of fun.

Soon enough this might be me and I’ll be traveling around with my friends Barnum and Bailey to a town near you.

Ben’s Trapeze

 

Hi-d’s Trapeze

 

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