The Adventures of Ren LaForme and the Grand 27

My friends Tara and Hannah exchange the gift of a series of challenges every year on their birthdays. Last year, they let me in on the fun. 

In honor of my 27th birthday, here are 27 challenges I must complete before Oct. 4, 2015 (a year from the date they issued the challenge). Acts toward completion are listed under each one. Assistance is encouraged... I'm not doing well so far.

  1. Take someone under your wing (no, not literally)
  • Attend four musical concerts 
    1. Brand New at Jannus Live on Oct. 26 
    2. Will Johnson at Craftsman House on Feb. 18 (Thanks, Andy, for arranging this show.)
    3. Neutral Milk Hotel at Ruth Eckerd Hall on May 4
    4. Darius Rucker at MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater (Thanks, Taylor, for plotting.)
  • Attend a performance of The Florida Orchestra
  • See a Broadway show in Tampa
  • Travel two places you've never been before, one out of Florida
    1. Went to Miami on Oct. 22 to Oct. 23 to give a talk at the LAB Miami
    2. Went to Nashville from March 16 to March 18 for a work trip
  • Perform five acts of kindness toward strangers
  • Read 20 new books (I swear there are more I forgot to write down)
    1. Your Fathers, Where Are They? And The Prophets, Do They Live Forever? by Dave Eggers
    2. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer 
    3. Authority by Jeff VanderMeer 
    4. Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer 
    5. The World of Ice and Fire by George RR Martin
    6. How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
    7. Early Bird by Rodney Rothman
    8. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    9. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Thanks, Julia, for the recommendation.)
    10. The Invasion (Animorphs Book No. 1) by K.A. Applegate (throwback!)
    11. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson (Thanks, Tara!)
    12. Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed (Thanks, Katie!)
    13. The Pharmacist's Mate by Amy Fusselman (Thanks for the free books, Roy!)
    14. On Writing by Stephen King
    15. The Little Book of IDEO (Thanks, Allie!)
    16. The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin
    17. The One Day by Donald Hall
  • Make a video with Ming and Finn
  • Ask someone a question you always wanted to know the answer to, but were worried about asking
  • Did this one a few times. ;)
  • Help Tara memorialize Dardenne
  • Tattoo!
  • Eat an entire meal you caught/created yourself
  • Drink at five new-to-you bars with historical significance
  • Hotel Floridan Bar in Tampa on February 26
  • Falling Rock Tap House in Denver, Colorado, on May 6
  • Take pictures with three famous people you meet
  • Cookie Monster at ONA (The voice actor/main puppeteer for the past 13 years was there, too.)
  • Fly a kite at the beach
  • Flew a sweet whale kite at Pass-A-Grille Beach on April 18. Thanks, Katie and Jamie, for supplying the kite. And thanks, Katie, for this incredibly flattering picture of said flight.
  • Talk with a different accent for one entire day
  • Choose your top five beers and host a tasting
  • I'm self-limiting this to top five easily attainable beers (in the Tampa Bay area). The spirit of this challenge seems to be to share good beer with more people, so I want to make sure it's all within reach. I'll share these at my birthday party on Sept. 19.
  • Surette Provision Saison by Crooked Stave
  • Wild Night Honey Cream Ale by Swamp Head
  • Cream and Sugar Please by Cycle Brewing
  • Rapp Gose
  • The rest and a tasting date TK
  • Catch the sunrise and the sunset on the same day
  • Introduce ten people to a new song or Internet video
  • U Guessed It by OG Maco 
  • Give Hannah an assist on her list
  • TKTK
  • Plan a special surprise for your wedding day (honor code)
  • Revitalize a blog or podcast
  • Started a new podcast with Jamie and Ben that's better than anything I've ever done.
  • Watch four classic movies you've never seen before
    1. Roman Holiday (Gregory Peck, Audrey Hepburn) on March 29
    2. Re-Animator (So campy! Thanks, Joel, for the rec.) on April 15
    3. Fantasia (on some random night when I was drinking. Seriously never watched this in my adult life.)
    4. Cinema Paradiso (Thanks again, Katie) on September 13
  • Take the Florida train somewhere
  • Keep a book or computer bookmark of inspiration for work
  • Write your life's bucket list
  • Picnic at a park in Tampa
  • Visit the Tampa Yuengling factory
  • Done