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Game night at Rascal’s Fun Zone June 21, 2017

Posted by Kenny Norman in south.
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For one of our most recent game nights, the lady in charge planned a trip to Rascal’s Fun Zone in Whiteland. That’s a bit far for me, so I carpooled with her and everyone else met us there. It was honestly worth the trip! The place had a large indoor electric go-kart tracks and a decent-sized arcade as well! Outside there were bumper boats, two courses of mini-golf, and two go-kart tracks. There’s enough for a second run here. I hope we make one. We didn’t have time to do everything here, so we started with the outdoor stuff…for all I know, the next time we go to Rascal’s, it may be cold.

Scott, John, Nathan, and I did a round of mini-golf. We did that first because the sun was setting and light matters more in mini-golf than it does in go-karting. The course was fairly straightforward and easy to follow, though I would have preferred signs and numbers near the holes. It wasn’t super difficult to get a par 3 or 4, but it was just difficult enough that it wouldn’t be easy, if that makes any sense. Scott and John were very close, but Scott barely won. Also, those two and I all got a hole in one at some point! The staff gave us suckers for competing. Major points to the employees, by the way. They were very competent and efficient. They knew everything about the facility that we needed to know, and they ran the place very smoothly. We didn’t wait in long lines, have any problems, or have any malfunctioning machines. Also, the building was INCREDIBLY clean…much cleaner than I would have expected for this type of facility. Next, we tried both go-kart tracks. One was a large loop, and one was a whole two-level figure-8 track. We did the loop first. I didn’t find that one as fun, but the carts ran smoothly, the track was slick, and the employees kept a watchful eye to unjam my friends when a few of them collided and spun around. Next was the two-level figure-8 track. I found that MUCH more enjoyable.

I got one of the lead cars and I easily overtook the two guys in front of me. I also did the same to the guy in last place. My friends say I got the best car of the bunch. They also say I drove like a maniac, which, considering I learned that from them the last time we went go-karting, I took as a compliment. After that, it was 10:00 and the place closed at 10:30. We played a few arcade games, most notably skee ball and Deal or No Deal. It was odd how the skee ball machines calculated points differently. Scott got a higher score than I did, but somehow he got fewer tickets. Nathan and I played Deal or No Deal. He kinda got screwed by not taking the deal at the end and opening a personal case of very few tickets. I did the opposite- I took the deal at the end of 75 tickets, but my personal case had 100 tickets. There were several other arcade games available that looked interesting, including duckpin bowling, but we were nearly out of time. About the only thing I didn’t like was that it was hard to get a decent prize for only 122 tickets. I feel like my tickets went further at Greatimes or Dave & Busters. Oh well. I split the candy I won with the guys as a thank you for a great night. We even had time to do a few games at the lady in charge’s house after Rascal’s closed! Overall, I like Greatimes a bit more, but I’d do Rascal’s again. I hope we can do so before summer ends, or at least before it gets cold outside.

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Dinner at Tian Fu May 14, 2017

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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Bridget, Ebony, Lauren, and I had dinner at Tian Fu at 86th & Michigan Road on Indianapolis’ northwest side. I had seen the place several times, but I’d never been. We checked it out and thought the food was pretty good. The wait staff seemed to have limited English, but they knew to clear plates, take orders, and get drinks. Everything was done correctly, and the manager even got personally involved on several occasions, not because we complained, but because he actually cared enough to make our experience there enjoyable. I got chicken egg rolls and wonton soup as appetizers. The chicken egg rolls really didn’t taste like chicken and weren’t that special. They didn’t taste bad, per se, but I probably won’t order them again. The wonton soup was MUCH better, and it came in quite the large bowl! I’ve had better wonton soups, but I WOULD order that again. For my entree, I got chicken & shrimp with broccoli. Oddly, it was the same price as chicken & broccoli. Anyway, it tasted wonderful, and it was covered in a sauce that was sweet, but not TOO sweet. It provided a nice accent to the taste, and it went well on my sticky rice too. Finally, when Ebony couldn’t eat her honey banana dessert, I finished it off. They had different criticisms about it; I thought it was just right. It had a crunchy thin layer outside with a gooey thick layer inside. It was mostly banana, but I could taste some honey. All in all, while Tian Fu wasn’t the best Chinese food I’d ever had, I enjoyed my meal there, and I give it a solid B. Also, their menu is quite extensive, so I have plenty of alternative entree options for my next few visits.

Zip City trip March 14, 2017

Posted by Kenny Norman in south.
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About a month ago, upon my return from Florida, one of the ladies at work mentioned this place on the South Side that had a bunch of stuff to do. I told my friends about it, and last week, Lauren said we should go there this past weekend. I was especially excited, as I hadn’t seen Lauren since the Christmas Party. I got off work a little bit early, but because I had to get gas on the way home, meet Lauren at my house, and then go all the way across town, we didn’t get there until 5:20. Unfortunately, the catch of Zip City’s three-hour package is that the activities start on the hour. (Luckily, we snuck in a few zip line rides at the end until 8:20!) There was a lot to do there, and Lauren got a $10 off student discount! Also, Zip City is cheaper than Sky Zone is, and there’s SO much more to do. There were zip lines, trampolines, rock climbing walls, an arcade, a laser tag arena, and a soccer field, though we only did the first three. The trampolines were fun, though we took a break after our first run at that. We then headed to the zip lines, where, admittedly, we spent most of our time. We kept saying we should try the other things, but we kept going back to the zip lines. They were the best part of the place! Unlike the zip lines at Go Ape, which let you crash into mulch when you land, the zip lines here let you slowly decelerate. After a while, we went back to the trampolines one more time, and then we tried out the rock climbing wall. I hadn’t rock climbed in a while, but the walls at Zip City were easier than the ones at Climb Time! I made it all the way to the top, and instead of having to rely on a spotter, I just let go and the harness let me down. Lauren only got about 6 feet off the ground, but she did better than the last time we were at Climb Time. With rock climbing, you have to lead with your arms and have upper body strength. Admittedly, I used to do pull-ups and other upper body exercises in karate. We then went to the zip lines one last time. The guy getting us harnesses put them on us and he said all this up and down stairs is too much for him because he’s “getting old.” We asked him how old he was and he said he JUST turned 19. We laughed, and this guy thought we were both 21-22. Lauren turned 25 in December, and I’ll be 28 by the end of March. Zip City had so many things to do, and given the price, which is quite reasonable for the amount of activities involved, I can safely say we’ll be back there again soon!

First time at the Cheesecake Factory December 29, 2016

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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So I went with Blake and Mandi to the Cheesecake Factory tonight. I had never been, although several people, including my favorite cousin, have gone on about how good it was. After not seeing Blake and Mandi in a year, they asked me to go to dinner there. I was curious about the place, so I said yes. Oddly enough, they did not take reservations. There was a half hour wait, and the line was out the building and into the mall. I did enjoy the nice selection of cheesecake they had at the front counter. Our waitress was very prompt, attentive, and knowledgeable about the menu. While they did have a few cheap options under $10, most of those were sandwiches and they didn’t look too appetizing. They had a whole menu page of chicken dishes, which I enjoy. I got the chicken and biscuits, which also had mashed potatoes, carrots, peas, and mushrooms. I honestly picked this dish because it looked like the most food for the money. I DID get full, but the entree cost $18. Personally, I think it was about a $13 dish I would have paid $15 to eat…but $18 is a bit much, even for a fancy “date night” place, as Mandi calls it. I also decided to try their cheesecake, as that’s what they are known for. Again, it was wonderfully delicious red velvet cheesecake, but I think it should have been a $5 slice, and not an $8 slice. It was also a bit darker inside than I would have liked to see. It’s a nice place, and the food is good, though I consider it a bit overpriced, and I’d only go back if I had a coupon of some sort or if someone else was paying. It’s charming, and the service and wait staff are nice, but not a good value for the buck.

Spotting Sakura November 7, 2016

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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After Covered Bridges, Ebony and I needed somewhere to eat. With our beloved Perkins, our usual after-Covered Bridges dinner spot, destroyed, we opted for Sakura off 71st & Keystone. I drive by this place literally every week and wonder what it’s like in there. When we got there, we had to park at the closed vet’s office next door due to insufficient parking. We got inside to find out that it wasn’t too crowded and we were seated immediately. I had a teriyaki chicken entree for $12. I really thought it would be a lot more expensive than it was, and I’m glad it wasn’t. Thankfully, they didn’t skimp on the portions. I almost had to resort to a to-go box, which Ebony actually used. The chicken also came with rice and vegetables, all of which were wonderfully tasty. The flavors were interesting. I have a hard time describing just what they added to their teriyaki sauce to make it unique, but it works. I feel like I got a good value for the money. The wait staff wasn’t the friendliest, but they WERE rather prompt and checked back frequently for drink refills and plate removal. I recommend this place and I hope to go back again. As I said, I drive by this place literally every week and therefore, I should be able to go back sometime soon.

Louie’s Wine & Dive September 18, 2016

Posted by Kenny Norman in downtown.
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I had a nice time with Jenn at Louie’s Wine & Dive on Mass Ave today. Mass Ave is an area I rarely frequent, but Jenn frequents it quite often. However, she’d never tried the place. Luckily, parking on Mass Ave is free on Sundays. Jenn was also nice enough to call ahead to make sure it was an “all ages” place, and it was! I got there at 9:35 and we sat outside, which was nice because for the moment, we were the only ones there. Jenn also said it was noisy inside, and it was quiet outside. The ideal setting for breakfast. Our server was nice and attentive, and the menu was quite simple. I chose to get an omelette with ham, macaroni, and cheese on the inside with potatoes as a side dish. The only modification I made was to remove the tomatoes from the omelette. It was delicious, to say the least. Everything tasted fully cooked, fresh, juicy, warm (but not burning), and the portion size was filling! It was probably the best omelette I’d ever had. The potatoes were a bit salty, but that aside, they tasted creamy, rich, and chewy! I’d recommend their breakfast menu and I’d like to try it again sometime.

Return to the South Side, October 26, 2013 October 28, 2013

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The I-65 highway construction was finally completed around October 15. Therefore, I planned a night to go with Kate to Greenwood Park Mall. We haven’t done that since July 30. I asked her where she wanted to eat and, surprisingly, she said Ryan’s, which I am, of course, cool with doing.

Kate came to my house at 6:00 and my dad built a fire for us in the living room to briefly enjoy. Kate said she needed help getting new tennis shoes, because her old ones hurt her feet, as well as new khakis to comply with a dress code at a church where she would soon be volunteering. Surprisingly, she only owned jeans- no khakis. As I am the reverse, she knew I’d be the person to ask about buying khakis. We left for the mall at 6:20 and got there about 6:50. Since we’d be at Ryan’s later, which is on 31, we took 31 to get there instead of Madison Avenue. Therefore, we parked by the JcPenney entrance instead of the Sears entrance. It was warmer than we expected; we needed hoodies but not our winter coats.

We had about an hour and a half to enjoy the mall. I grabbed a directory and kept Kate away from Hollister and American Eagle, as per her request. Our first stop was Aeropostale, where the selection was so bad that you’d think I were at the Castleton Square Aeropostale. I almost gave up when I saw an XL striped V-neck T-shirt for $10. I decided to get it. It’s so hard finding XL anything there- and some of the clothes didn’t have any left in large; just small or medium. I also saw khakis over on the girls’ side of the store and told Kate; luckily, they had some in her size. She went to try them on and I got in line, but when Kate wanted me to look at how the khakis fit her and the woman ahead of me in line was buying $100 worth of clothes, I bailed and told Kate that the pants fit her nicely around the waist and didn’t drag past her ankles. And as an added bonus, they were only $20, which is good for any new pair of khakis. She bought those and then we both took a few cologne/perfume samples before heading to Payless.

When we got to Payless, we had trouble finding 6 ½ wide in women’s, but we had a nice girl helping us. She was a very skilled sales associate, and she owned the pair of shoes Kate wanted, so she was able to tell Kate all about them. Kate didn’t much like the color (gray and light blue), but when I told her it was already 7:47, she bought them and we went onto the next stop.

Kate and I got a quick pic outside by the Greenwood Park Mall sign like we always do. The photo came out somewhat blurry.

We got to Blondie’s and I got a pumpkin spice cookie. Those things are delicious, though I think they’re only available for a limited time. I didn’t recognize any of the employees though.

However, at Maggie Moo’s, I recognized them and they remembered me. I guessed the total of my small strawberry ice cream with Butterfinger in a waffle cone to be $3.20. Kate burst out laughing.

After that, ice cream in hand, we went to Old Navy. I had a coupon where you had to spend $25 to get $10 off, and then I had a 10% off coupon. Therefore, I had to spend $27.50 before I got discounts. I went to the clearance rack and started pulling down all the men’s XL T-shirts that looked good. The hardest part about that was not getting strawberry ice cream on clothes I hadn’t yet paid for! The Greenwood Park Mall Old Navy has a HUGE men’s section with a varied selection- both in that they carry a wide variety of items and almost every item comes in my size. I got eight T-shirts before I saw cargo khakis were on sale for $20. I could use a replacement pair for the cargo khakis I got paint on. So I got a pair of 34 x 34s and got a changing room. Kate was nice enough to wait for me. I was prepared to find out I was too fat for a 34, but no…the waist fit perfectly! The shocker was my legs were too short for a 34! I went back and got a 34 x 32 pair, which was good for waist AND legs. However, now that I had pants, I knew I couldn’t afford ALL the T-shirts; just the ones that would get me to that magic $27.50. So I got three T-shirts, and the girl at the cash register was really nice, making THREE attempts to let me combine the 10% off and $10 off coupons. That’s part of why I love this particular Old Navy so much: in addition to the wide men’s selection, the employees happily and diligently attempt to let you combine coupons. The girl kept apologizing for taking so long. I just laughed and said, “Hey, if you can combine the coupons, then it’ll be worth the wait. I’m not complaining.” She did, and I spent $19 there- pretty good for pants AND three t-shirts. After that, I saw it was 8:20, so we needed to hurry and get to Ryan’s before they closed at 9:00.

We got to Ryan’s at 8:40 and each paid $14 for dinner and sodas. Normally, I go there when I have coupons, but I haven’t gotten any coupons for a while and I haven’t been to Ryan’s since September 1st. It’s safe to say I missed the place. I had a FULL first plate with mashed potatoes (best item there), carrots, ham, shrimp, orange chicken, French fries, and broccoli. It all tasted wonderful and I got a second plate of it soon after, followed by ice cream and apple pie for dessert. Our waitress was really nice, giving Kate and me both Sprites before we asked and even giving us “$1 off” coupons for a future visit. It’s not a big discount, but it’s a big thought. Now, Ryan’s adjusted their hours for the fall: they close at 9:00 on the weekends instead of 9:30. Consequently, Kate and I were there almost an hour past closing; despite this, the wait staff was all “come back and see us again,” “glad you enjoyed the food,” “have a great night,” “Can we get you anything?”, and “let us know if we can do anything else.” Oh, and they asked us our permission before disassembling both the hot food bar and dessert bars. Talk about service! We felt guilty we didn’t leave a bigger tip, and we left stuffed. STUFFED.

Kate got me $10 of gas for $3.13 per gallon at the Speedway at 31 & Epler before heading back to my house. We sat by the fire and played PS2 video games until almost midnight.

All in all, it was a WONDERFUL return to the South Side. I missed that place so much.

24th Birthday event ideas December 4, 2012

Posted by Kenny Norman in miscellaneous.
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Hey people!

OK, so this isn’t for almost 4 months, but I’ve started thinking up ideas for by 24th Birthday Event. I figure that while it may be early to plan the event, it’s not too early to think up ideas. Typically, there’s an activity followed by dinner at a restaurant. Two of my friends had good ideas- Sky Zone (a trampoline place) and Super China Buffet (my 2nd favorite restaurant), but those two aren’t close to each other. For my 21st Birthday, my friends and I went to Woodland Bowl and Tomo. For my 22nd Birthday, we went to X-Site and Perkins. For my 23rd Birthday, we went to Climb Time and Greek’s Pizzeria. So I ask: what are some good activities and restaurants in Indy to do for my 24th Birthday that I haven’t done yet? (No bars, please.)