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Greenie Green?!

Hey Team,

Here’s a quick story since I still haven’t been in one place near an outlet long enough to compress this week’s video.

I jumped off the bus at about five o’clock this morning in Chicago several shades shy of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and decided to meet up with a friend for breakfast before making my next move towards Huron, South Dakota.

Since I had about an hour and a half to kill before Julianne would be up for work I thought, “Why bother taking the metro when I can just walk and explore a piece of the city I’ve never been.” After scoping a map near a metro stop I accosted the nearest security guard for directions to Halsted Street. He seemed really hesitant to tell me where it was and kept asking me for the address I was trying to get to but finally gave in.

After walking for about an hour I finally started to think I might know where I was. Which coincidentally is nearly the exact same moment a toothless man in dirty clothes walked up to me and said, “Do you know where you are?”

“Yeah, this is Halsted St!” If you know me at all you know More >

Yoga and Booboo

Hey Team,

I scored another new experience yesterday! Apparently it’s this fancy new type of torture called “yoga.” (I think it’s French for “intense muscle pain.”) I wish I could have filmed some of it for this week’s podcast, I’m sure you all would have enjoyed watching the pain in my shaking limbs being telegraphed via the permanent grimace attached to my face.

Also, I should add, never in my life have I felt more mechanical. The room was filled with graceful folks of the opposite gender doing balletic (The little red squiggle says I made that word up…I say, “Fine, so be it. It’s STILL a good word.”) poses while I went on about practicing a terrible impression of a street performer with cerebral palsy doing the robot.

Still, painful or not, it was a new experience I’m glad I was a part of (read: survived). It’s probably not something I would take the time to do again. It was a little boring and I found it difficult to slow my brain down despite the careful breathing but more importantly I’ve already experienced several other ways to thoroughly embarrass myself through this trip.

For example, if I had a home and the More >

What the?!

Hey Team,

Thanks everyone who wrote or called in yesterday about that wacky hacker redirecting my site! Here’s the update: Everything is ALMOST back to normal. The Forum is probably toast for the foreseeable future. And I’m thinking of making #51 “Kick the hacker’s door in, steal his computer and leave a note that says, ‘It’s tough to hack without a computer…it’s tougher to hack without hands. Don’t let it happen again. Signed, Amtrekker.’

We’ll see.

I’ve been driving for almost 24 hours now and I JUST got in to Chicago. I’m going to go curl up in a ball in Union Station and close my eyes for a few hours. Then I’ll tell you guys about what happens when an Ohio State Trooper pulls you over for going 83 mph in a 65 zone and says you have to go to jail if you can’t come up with $130.

Until then…

I’m done.


How would YOU come up with $130 with NO notice?

Yeah, I was at a loss too.

How-to: Travel on a Dime

Hey Team,

Ever stop and ask yourself, “How the crap am I going to get from New York City to Louisville, Kentucky without any money?”

Yeah, me too.

So here are a couple tips. First: craigslist. In the rideshare section you should hunt down an awesome family that is moving to Colorado from Long Island to restart their lives. Make sure they are driving two cars (preferably a big box truck and a Toyota Forerunner).

Now, at some point, the Forerunner ought to run out of gas by the side of the freeway despite the gas gauge (or gasometer as I like to call it) insisting a quarter of a tank exists.

When that happens I highly recommend running a mile in freezing weather during a light snow flurry (that stings your eyes with every step) to make it to the nearest gas station, where you can borrow a gas tank and catch a ride back to the downed vehicle with a reluctantly nice guy, thus saving the day in a VERY minor way.

I would also like to recommend that when you make a pit stop in the middle of the night to rearrange drivers you might want to watch one of the cats you More >


Hey Team,

If you’re ever in the mood to order the most labor-intensive drink you could possibly purchase at a coffee shop…go for the chocolate milk. If it’s anything like the experience I had today, you will not be let down.

I was at this little place by DePaul University in Chicago with my old college roommate, Allison, and her law school friend, Julianne, when I decided I had a hankerin’ for some chocolaty goodness.

Unfortunately, the only thing they had in their drink case was organic chocolate milk and thanks to my unnaturally strong “cheap bastard” streak that’s where things went wrong.

“Is this the only chocolate milk you have?”

If it had have been a dog behind the counter it would have tilted its head sideways and let out a short whine. Instead I just got a look that quickly and efficiently said, “What the hell are you talking about?” without ever requiring the barista to open her mouth.

“I’d just like regular, average, in-organic chocolate milk…I like that tang that rBGH gives it. Plus, I’m cheap.”

“Well I suppose we could mix you some chocolate milk back here. It would be the same price but you’d get quite a bit more.”

“Awesome!” Things were More >

Bee Careful What You Wish For

Hey Team,

I just did something that falls firmly into the amazing category. I beekept! (Beekeeped? I think I’m making up words again.) It was a little creepy…but a lot awesome.

The dad of one of the guys I met at the ten-year reunion in Illinois keeps bees as a hobby. So I was just over at his place plundering the Hymenoptera palace. It was quite the experience, in more ways than one.

After getting suited up in some hardcore beekeeping garb I was handed a smoking can with a billows attached, a paintbrush and a pry bar…that’s when I started to think maybe I was just getting screwed with. But without a trace of a smile on his face Tom (in his own beekeeping paraphernalia) started walking me down the hill toward a ring of white boxes.

“This one right here should do,” Tom pointed with his gloved hand. “Just blow some smoke in the hole”

I THOUGHT, “That’s what she said!” But what I SAID was more like, “Okay.”

Apparently the smoke (from the can with the billows) makes the bees think there is a fire and they shift from “protect the hive” mode to “get the hell out” mode. And according to Tom, More >


Flying Fire and Fireflies

Hey Team,

It’s been a HUGE week. #30, 33, and 38 all down the metaphorical drain! I’ve got a story about #33 all lined up for tomorrow. But today, for your viewing enjoyment, is a little video we’ll call “Mission: Firefly!” Enjoy.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player. var WT1_1 = { params : { wmode : "opaque", allowscriptaccess : "always", allownetworking : "all", allowfullscreen : "true"}, flashvars : { file : "http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amtrekker.com%2Findex.php%3Fxspf%3Dtrue%26id%3D49", volume : "80", bufferlength : "5", controlbar : "over", 'logo.hide' : "false", shuffle : "false", playlist : "bottom"}, attr : { id : "WT1", name : "WT1"}, start : function() { swfobject.embedSWF("http://www.amtrekker.com/wp-content/uploads/player.swf", "WT1_1", "437", "522", "9.0.0", false, this.flashvars, this.params , this.attr ); } } WT1_1.start();

And here’s the link if the video gives you wacky PCs any trouble.

Okay, looks like my work here is done!

Brett. Want to keep living vicariously? I know what you could do!

Don’t let me stop you.

God Bless Hamerica

Hey Team,

What a fantastic week! I’ve been up to my glaucoma-ridden eyeballs in mid-western experiences. Not the least of which has led to yet another objective being crossed off the list. I’ve spent the last couple days experiencing the definition of “obscure small town festival.” Welcome to the wonderful world of “Hog Days” care of Kewanee, IL!

In the last several days I’ve seen carnies with shirt stains outnumbering their teeth, I’ve seen locals out-carny-ing the carnies and I’ve participated in something called the “Hog Wallow.” I even have the shirt to prove it. (That means I’m up to four! Time to start worrying about backpack space.)

Here’s the rundown: Hog Days manages to cram everything you would expect to see in any movie set in the mid-west into three days. There was a parade, a hog kissing raffle, a flea market and even mud volleyball.

After much deliberation (and despite the insistence of the family I’m staying with that I include everything they’ve said and done in the last two days in this story) I’ve decided to focus on just one aspect.

The highlight of my weekend came when I met Jean, one of the crafts people with her own booth at the More >

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