Live Music Capital of the World?- Austin, Texas

It’s been several weeks since my Texas road trip and I have been thinking fondly back to portions of the trip. For my second post, I wanted to focus on Austin as that’s where me and my husband spent a good amount of time. I have to admit, Austin is probably one of my favorite cities I have ever visited in the US.

One of Austin’s first things I noticed and loved is live music. Austin was coined as the “Live Music Capital of the World” There is live music everywhere! We were walking on Congress Street, one of the main streets downtown. We heard jazz, metal, rock, country, and bluegrass to name a few. One night we listened to EDM music at an outdoor bar. It reminded me of a music festival I attended years ago. There was truly something for everyone.

Besides live music, art was another primary focus in Austin. I had an art mural list saved on my phone and it became this scavenger hunt of finding all the local art murals in the various parts of the city. Coinciding with the art murals, several stores sold local art. We couldn’t resist buying an art print featuring one of Austin’s more well-known art murals.

In between live music and shopping for art, there were other areas we explored. We drove to Mount Bonnell which provided a beautiful view of the Austin skyline. We toured the Lyndon B Johnson Library & Museum. I didn’t know anything about Presidential Libraries, but I was glad that we took the time to visit. I convinced my husband that we should stop at Austin Books & Comics which was one of the best comic book stores I have ever been to. I’m planning on writing more about this in a separate post.

Austin was an awesome city to visit. Austin is one of the cities in the US that’s growing so quickly and I can see why. I have Austin as a city on my list to revisit because there’s so much to discover. Compared to my road trip in March, I felt that this trip was slower-paced because we didn’t do as many stops. My last post will be up sometime next week where I will write about Dallas since we did a day trip there as well.

Oklahoma City – Austin Road Trip

I’m back from vacation! Me and my husband drove to Austin, Texas. Initially, I was going to schedule posts to release while I was out, but I ended up scrapping that idea and taking a week off instead. Similar to other vacation posts, I’m going to write three posts that summarize my trip. The first post is dedicated to a city we stopped in; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Leaving from Minneapolis, the fastest driving route to Austin is to cut through Oklahoma. You may be thinking, “why would you want to visit Oklahoma??” Oklahoma, like many states in the US, has the stereotype of being a “fly-over state”. As someone who eventually wants to visit all the US states, I was excited to be able to cross off Oklahoma from the list. Whatever expectations I had about Oklahoma, I was pleasantly surprised. Oklahoma City (abbreviated OKC) was a city I had a great time exploring.

Wheeler District – Downtown OKC

One of the first things we did was visit Wheeler Ferris Wheel. The Wheeler Ferris Wheel was the original Santa Monica Pier Ferris Wheel. It was purchased and now resides in a park outside of downtown OKC. Wheeler district was really neat. There was a full park with numerous trails on the border of the Oklahoma River. The area was in a warehouse district with a full view of the OKC skyline. Wheeler district reminded me of northeast Minneapolis which is our artsy area of the city.

Besides taking pictures at Wheeler Ferris Wheel, we walked around The Oklahoma City National Memorial. For those who are unfamiliar, on April 19th, 1995 a bomb went off at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in OKC. I wasn’t even a year old when this happened. I’m learning as an adult what happened that day and how horrific this event was. The memorial was beautifully crafted, but haunting. There were several chair sculptures that represented everyone who died that day. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to go through the museum, but if I’m ever back to OKC, I will make this a priority.

That’s OKC! I was not expecting to love OKC as much as I did. There’s a lot of history here, and local businesses to support. Sometime next week, I will post my Austin Texas travel recap.

Traveling to Texas – Road Trip!

Austin, Texas – image from Pixabay

I don’t know why I bother posting about my travel plans because they always seem to change. My original plan was to fly to Seattle in August for Emerald City Comic-Con. However, when I went to book my flight, I couldn’t find a roundtrip flight cheaper than $900. With flights being canceled left and right, I felt it was too big of a risk to make such a big purchase. I contemplated driving to Seattle, but it was 24 hours one way which would mean four days of driving there and back. It would leave barely enough time to explore Seattle plus attend Emerald City. In the end, I decided to go somewhere else. After much deliberation, I decided to plan a road trip to Austin, Texas as it was a city I had on my list to visit.

I’m thrilled to leave for vacation! My last trip was in March, so about 3-4 months ago. I was craving another trip. I find I get the travel bug every few months and it’s so satisfying to plan a vacation and have something to look forward to.

If you’re planning a vacation, let me know where you’re going in the comments section down below.

High School Graduation – 10 Years Later

2012 was a pivotal year in my life. The Avengers was released which inspired me to start reading comics, the world was supposed to end thanks to the end of a Maya calendar, and I graduated from high school. High school is a period of time that I would never want to relive. It doesn’t mean that it was terrible per se, but it’s a time that I’m glad is over and done with. I wanted to take some time to reflect on how far I have come and where I’m at now.

In high school, I was a nobody. To be fair, my high school was huge! I think my graduating class was at least 900? There were so many people whom I had never met until I heard their names read at graduation. I didn’t stand out much in high school. I was in band through my senior year and it was one of my fondest memories. I tried marching band, but it wasn’t for me. I still have my alto sax at my mom’s house and I’m not ready to part with it yet. I went to prom with my friends and we took so many pictures. There were fun moments in high school that aren’t on the top of my mind.

When I think back to high school, I think about how shy I was. I hung out with my friends, but I absolutely hated being forced to talk to someone I didn’t know. High school was a period of time when I was insecure about who I was as a person. I think that’s completely normal for this time of anyone’s life. When I graduated, I couldn’t have been more thrilled at moving forward with my life.

As far as who I am now, I’m someone who is way more outgoing than I ever thought I would be. I would consider myself bubbly and social at work. I like talking to new people I have never met. I still need my alone time as I do find that I need to recharge in between any social interaction. Writing Bizarre Brunette has allowed me a creative outlet to discuss my geeky interests. I write because I genuinely enjoy it and I want to share my interests with others. I have come a long way from where I used to be.

Thankfully, I haven’t heard that my high school is doing a ten-year reunion. If you couldn’t tell, I have no interest in going to a reunion. I have all the close friends I would need and I don’t need to revisit a time of my life that has passed.

May the 4th Be With You – 2022 Plan Recap

Summer is in full swing and I couldn’t be more thrilled. I love the sun, the smell of sunscreen, and not needing a jacket every time I go outside. With the end of May, it comes my annual “May the 4th Be With You” recap. This month didn’t go exactly as I had planned, but I still think it was a great month regardless

Books and Comics

Unfortunately, I never received the rest of my Barnes & Noble order. I ended up missing Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray, Leia, Princess of Alderaan, and Star Wars: Darth Vader Volume #1. The only book that arrived was Resistance Reborn by Rebecca Roanhorse. It’s unfortunate because I wanted to have a big reading month and it didn’t work out.

Resistance Reborn takes place between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. The book centers around recruiting former allies to fight for the Resistance and an action-packed mission. Poe, leader of the Black Squadron, is tasked with retrieving a Resistance prisoner list and breaking a prisoner out of a secure First Order facility.

Resistance Reborn was an enjoyable read. I will say there was a lot of story build-up. For some, this might be boring to read, but I like all the information and context. The last 100 pages are where the action intensified. I rated Resistance Reborn 3 1/2 stars on Goodreads.

Regarding comics, I only finished Star Wars: Princess Leia Vol #1. I do have the complete run of Star Wars: Poe Dameron to read, but I didn’t finish it in May like I thought I would. I’m looking forward to the coming months because I have fewer weekends booked solid like I did in May. I’m hoping for some free Saturday mornings to read comics.

Movies & TV

I’m sad to say that I didn’t finish The Clone Wars. I did watch The Clone Wars on my drive to and from Milwaukee, so that helped. I’m now on season #3. I’m determined to finally finish the show by the end of the year. I didn’t get to re-watch The Mandalorian or re-watch The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, or The Rise of Skywalker. I still feel accomplished for the month and I’m invested in watching more Star Wars content by the end of the year.

Gaming

I did play through LEGO Star Wars The Skywalker Saga, however, my game glitched!! I am on the last episode, The Rise of Skywalker, and I’m forever stuck in light speed traveling to the next level. I looked on Reddit, and apparently, if you accepted a cargo side mission, the cargo doesn’t load at light speed, so you have to complete the cargo mission and it should fix the glitch. The problem is that I have no idea what cargo mission I accepted. I would have to go back and go through every individual side mission to figure out which one I accepted. Plus, this isn’t a guaranteed fix. There were some comments where players did this and it still didn’t fix the glitch.

I have invested so much time in this game that I’m so sad that I can’t even finish the story. The only hope that I have is if a patch is released that will fix my game save. I’m not willing to go through all the effort listed above and have it not work. I’m going to discontinue playing through the game which is such a bummer.

Since I’m done playing through LEGO Star Wars The Skywalker Saga, I’m going to go back to Jedi Fallen Order. I played through the game back in 2020 and I never finished it. I’m going to start over and devote the time to finishing the game.

Miscellaneous Star Wars Content

I’m adding a section for the “miscellaneous” Star Wars content that I listened to or discovered this month. Thanks to Anakin + His Angel I discovered the Youtube channel, Always Believe. Always Believe is hosted by Ash and Bryan who share their love of Star Wars, Disney, and Marvel. I love their channel! They are both in their mid-30’s and I like to see people carry their interests as they get older. I’m genuinely excited to see when they release a new video and I like listening to their videos while I do various chores or tasks throughout the day.

While I’m at work, I discovered two Star Wars podcasts to help me get through the day. The first is Force Toast Podcast. Force Toast is hosted by Alyce and Laura and they are based in Chicago. They talk about Star Wars content, and Star Wars trivia over a drink. The other Star Wars podcast I found was Star Wars STUFF This is more of a Star Wars news podcast versus Force Toast being a casual Star Wars chat. Both podcasts I can see myself listening to throughout the coming months.

Overall, I think this was a successful Star Wars month despite some challenges I had. I do want to carry more Star Wars throughout the year as I find that once May ends, I find I don’t discuss Star Wars nearly as much. I do want to add Star Wars books to my TBR (to be read pile) along with continuing my re-watch of The Clone Wars. Let me know what Star Wars content you’re reading or loving in the comments down below.

Frolicking in Fargo – Day Trip

For Memorial Weekend, I knew I wanted to do a trip somewhere. Originally, I wanted to fly to Arizona as there was a convention happening the same weekend. While that sounded fun, I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough time to see everything I wanted to in the few days I was there. Instead, I suggested to my husband to explore Fargo. Fargo is in North Dakota right along the border of Minnesota. It’s only a 3 1/2 hour drive, so it’s easily doable in a day. While Fargo isn’t on the same level as Arizona, I still had a blast.

I’m not sure what I expected for Fargo. It’s easy to say that North Dakota is known as a boring state to live in or to drive through. Fargo was a nice city! The downtown area has several cute shops, restaurants, bars, and art murals. I wasn’t expecting Fargo to be as artsy of a city, but there were murals everywhere. My favorite mural was a Mario wall that was on a side alley downtown.

Gold Coins are not included.

Besides art murals, there were so many ice cream shops. I’m not usually an ice cream fan, although the ice cream shop we stopped in was cute. The Silver Lining Creamery was right in the heart of downtown Fargo. I was impressed with the amount of ice cream options there were. I tried a vegan oreo ice cream made from coconut milk. To be clear, I’m not vegan, I simply like trying plant-based foods. It was delicious! The one thing I would say is that the coconut flavor was prevalent, so I wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t like coconut.

We ended our trip by stopping at a few breweries. The first brewery was DCR Brewing located downtown and then driving to the second brewery, Drekker Brewing Company. Drekker was packed! It was a gorgeous brewery with multiple levels and outdoor seating. It was a beautiful day throughout Fargo, so I could see why the brewery was so busy. My husband has seen Drekker at various beer festivals he has gone to but hasn’t been able to sip their beer. It was a cool place! I would have loved to spend more time there, but we had a 3 1/2 hour drive home and I didn’t want to get home too late.

Driving to Fargo was a fun day trip. I would say a day trip was the perfect amount of time. It got to a point where we were running out of things to do. As far as my next trip, I still have my eyes set on Seattle in August for Emerald City Comic-Con.

“Camping” at the North Shore

Minnesota is the US state known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” Minnesota has such beautiful areas of the state and one of those places is The North Shore. The North Shore is about 2 1/2 – 3 hours away from the Twin Cities and it’s right along Lake Superior, one of The Great Lakes. For reference, The North Shore is the northeast tip of the state. Our friends like to visit The North Shore once a year and this time I decided to come along.

You might be wondering why I’m putting quotations around “camping”. The reason is me and a friend ended up getting a hotel room because we aren’t big campers. I have been camping a few times before, but it’s simply not for me. I like hiking, canoeing, and kayaking, but I prefer indoor plumbing. It worked out perfectly! My husband camped outside which he loves, it’s simply not my preferred way to enjoy the outdoors.

Throughout the weekend, we drove through various small towns along Lake Superior. One town is called Grand Marais and it’s about 30-40 miles from the Canadian border. My husband is a big fan of a brewery up there called Voyageur. Voyageur had an upstairs patio and it was heavenly to sit, have a pint, and goof off with friends in the sun. The day before we also stopped at another brewery that was on my list called Castle Danger. I have always drank Castle Danger beer, but I never had been to the brewery.

It was such a fun weekend! It goes to show that you can do so much exploring in the state or area you’re from. Our friends were talking about making this an annual trip and I’m all for it. The North Shore is calling me to come back.

Blue Milk Beer – May the 4th

May 4th is always a fun day. I love scrolling through social media and seeing everyone express their love for Star Wars. I knew I wanted to spend the day celebrating Star Wars but wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do. I discovered that Dangerous Man Brewing Company brews a special Star Wars beer called “Blue Milk (Blue Razz Milkshake Ale)” along with playing the Star Wars films throughout the night. I convinced my husband to come with me, so I didn’t have to go by myself.

Dangerous Man Brewing Company is a brewery in Northeast Minneapolis. I have been to Dangerous Man once before, but it had been a while. As we arrived, I noticed that there were several Star Wars banners hanging on the ceiling. I wasn’t surprised to see that the taproom was packed. The line fortunately was pretty short when we got there. I knew right away that I had to try the Blue Milk beer while my husband opted for a lager.

I’m open when it comes to beer. I don’t mind trying pilsners, lagers, fruity beers, and sour beers. I will admit that I was apprehensive as to whether I would like Blue Milk. I’m not a big fan of Blue Raspberry-flavored things, however, this had a mild flavor. It was smooth, fruity, and light. I let my husband try a sip and even he thought it was pretty good. My husband hates fruity beer, so for him to say it’s not that bad is a big compliment.

Besides Blue Milk, Dangerous Man had special Star Wars-themed stickers to pass out. I took one as a souvenir. It lists Blue Milk with a few Storm Trooper helmets on some of the letters. Unfortunately with the taproom being packed, we only stayed for one beer before leaving to go to another favorite brewery of ours nearby.

This was a relaxed way to celebrate May 4th. It sounds like Dangerous Man does this every year and I would be open to making this a ritual. Let me know in the comments how you celebrated May the 4th!

May the 4th Be With You – 2022 Plan

May the 4th be with you! May the 4th has a special place in my heart because I’m a big Star Wars fan and I look forward to this month every year. Every May, I dedicate the whole month to Star Wars. I wanted to share my official plan for this year as far as the books I want to read, the shows I want to watch, and the video games I want to play.

Books and Comics

I have three books on my list to read for the month of May. The first book is Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray. This book highlights Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan before the events of The Phantom Menace. I have a soft spot for the prequels, so I like that more of the Canon Star Wars books are taking place during this era. The second book on my list is Leia, Princess of Alderaan (Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi) by Claudia Gray. This book focuses on Leia as a sixteen-year-old girl who starts to begin her dive into the fight against the Empire. The final book on my list is Resistance Reborn: Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Rebecca Roanhorse. This book focuses on Rey, Finn, and Poe before the events of the final movie in the trilogy. This book has mixed reviews, so I’m going into reading this book with a mindset of wanting a fun adventure between the trio versus this being the best book I have ever read.

As far as comics, I have three graphic novels on my list: Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol #1, Star Wars: The High Republic Volume #1, and Princess Leia Volume #1. I have a few comic book store trips planned this month, so I may pick up Star Wars comics as I see fit.

Movies & TV

My number one priority is to finish Star Wars: The Clone Wars. I typically only watch the show during May, but we shall see if this is the year where I finally finish it! Besides The Clone Wars, I do want to do a re-watch of The Mandalorian. There’s also The Book of Boba Fett and Bad Batch. My focus this month will be on the Star Wars TV side of things, however, I would consider doing a re-watch of Episodes VII, VIII, and IX. I did a move re-watch a few years ago, and I don’t think I made it through those three. I know for a fact that I haven’t watched The Rise of Skywalker since I saw it in theaters, so I may add that to my list. There’s so much content and such limited time to watch it all.

Gaming

This should come as no surprise since I wrote about this recently, but I’m still going through LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. I’m at the end of episode III right now. My goal would be to complete all episodes by the end of the month, but that seems like a huge task. I do have Jedi Fallen Order on my list to play as well, however, I don’t think I will have time to complete both games.

May the 4th be with you and don’t forget that May 5th is “Revenge of the Fifth”!

Peepin at the Peeps Exhibit – Year #2

For Easter, I go to my husband’s family outside of Milwaukee. One of our traditions is to go see the Peeps Exhibit at the RAM (Racine Art Museum). The first year we went, my husband thought it wouldn’t be that great, but he was pleasantly surprised. This will probably be a tradition for us as each year brings new art submissions. I wanted to share a few photos from this year’s Peeps submissions.

After completing the exhibit, you can vote for your favorite submission. The winner wins the “Golden Peep” I voted for the Prince-inspired art while my brother-in-law voted for the Godzilla-like dragon. This exhibit is always a blast and I can’t wait to go again next year.