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Miami, Minnesota, and Dallas: How I spent my 20’s

August 8, 2017
A view of Bank of America Tower from the Omni in downtown Dallas.

This week I undertook the humbling task of reviewing all of my blog entries. 

This blog stretches back to my freshman year of college, so there are a lot of great (and not-so-great) memories archived in these pages.

Here’s a look at how I spent the last decade or so, from Miami to Minneapolis, and then down to Texas.

Miami Beach

We start in Miami — there were long days in the library, bad drag shows, and misadventures in Little Havana.

Then there was the move to Minnesota, where I started law school and lived in a frat house during my first semester.

Things got interesting when I moved to my first ‘adult’ apartment which was an utter shitshow:

Rodent infested apartment in Whittier.

Rodent infested apartment in Whittier.

I eventually became the caretaker of the building, and things got even stranger.

Minneapolis Blizzard

We had a lot of snow, including an ice storm that made for an unexpectedly exciting date, a storm that trapped my car, another that trapped Halver’s car, a storm that trapped us at school, plus a legit blizzard

Classes were fun, the quotes were amazing, plus I spent a lot of time eavesdropping on ridiculous conversations at coffee shops that sometimes got super awkward. (There was also a time when a woman got run over in front of my favorite Dunn Brothers.)

Other random events that happened around this time include:

Oh, and unexpected igloos! Lake Calhoun Igloo

There was a trip to Wisconsin, including protesters, a trip to Miami, exploding soda machines, and a gas explosion on the way to work:

A gas explosion in Minnesota on the way to work.

On that same highway, I had another bizarre incident involving rescuing a mother from heat stroke.

Oh, and more snow.

I was also very accident prone — including getting shot, (plus awkward bullet removal and followups), slicing my thigh open, and almost losing a finger

Finger accident

Almost losing a finger at the dog park.

Life in Minnesota wasn’t all gore and explosions however:

I eventually moved to Northeast Minneapolis, which was my first post-law school apartment and roughly coincided with my first full time position at Thomson Reuters.

I got to experience the epicness that is the Minnesota State Fair, including horrifying butter sculptures.

Pictures of the great Minnesota get together.

Pictures of the great Minnesota get together.

There were also excursions to Bemidji, Rochester, the boundary waters, Eagle Mountain, and Grand Marais.

Split Rock Lighthouse

Oh, and back to Miami, of course — for a Christmas in the Wynwood Arts District.

Wynwood Walls

There was also:

I also hit up Chicago Gay Pride in 2012 and 2013

Chicago Gay Pride

Plus Iowa City Pride, which wasn’t as grand but featured Alaska.

Alaska thunderfuck

Alaska performing at Iowa City Pride.

2013 was a busy summer which saw me rehoming my large dogs and moving to St. Paul.

Downtown Saint Paul at night

Night time dog walks around the Mississippi River in Lowertown, St. Paul.

The Cathedral of St. Paul, Minnesota

An exterior view of the Cathedral of St. Paul, in Minnesota.

St. Paul was eventful:

Lowertown Drunk Homeless Man

An intoxicated man falls down in the middle of Mears Park in Lowertown, St. Paul.

Phaedra Simone at Beyonce Brunch

Phaedra Simone performs on stage at Flip Phone’s Beyonce Brunch in Minneapolis.

Peaches at Twin Cities Pride

Peaches at 2015 Twin Cities Pride Concert in Loring Park, Minneapolis.

I visited Dallas on a work trip while living in St. Paul and eventually decided to move down south via spreadsheet

There was one last Minneapolis gay pride, long goodbyes, and then an epic trip down.

Mit and downtown St. Paul

Mit overlooking downtown St. Paul at the outlook.

Chiweenie in the Lowertown Loft

Gunter the Chiweenie n my empty apartment at Lowertown Lofts in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota

I eventually made it to Dallas, and immediately met a ton of interesting people in the gayborhood (including the upstairs dog.)

Gunter at Happy Hour

Gunter at Happy Hour in iLume. He’s unamused.

I quickly explored Dallas (including nearby Highland Park) and experienced my first Dallas Pride.

Cirque apartments Dallas

Cirque apartments in Dallas, near the American Airlines Arena and downtown.

Highland Park Mansion

A dramatically lit mansion in Highland Park.

 

Alyssa Edwards at iLume Dallas

Alyssa Edwards at the Dallas Gay Pride iLume block party.

I also adopted Ingrid, got my first Texas driver’s license, and popped up to Boston to see Aaron and James finally tie the knot.

Gay Wedding Pierce House

James Sanna and Aaron Kraemer getting married in Boston.

Back in North Texas, I did all of the usual touristy things:

Gunter at White Rock Lake

Gunter at White Rock Lake

Cowboys by the Fort Worth Stockyards

Cowboys by the Fort Worth Stockyards

Pink Flamingos at the Dallas World Aquarium

Pink Flamingos at the Dallas World Aquarium

Swiss Avenue Dallas Mansion

A house at the very end of the Swiss Avenue Historic District.

African penguins at the Dallas Zoo.

African penguins at the Dallas Zoo.

Austin, Minnesota, a new job

I made it down to Austin, which is pretty, and then went back to Minnesota for a work trip. I also left Thomson Reuters after seven years and adopted a very early new work schedule.

We also saw snow, but nothing on the Minnesota scale.

Snow falls in front of the Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas.

Snow falls in front of the Omni Hotel in downtown Dallas.

Texas State Capitol

The Texas State Capitol building in Austin, Texas.

Events upon events in Dallas

Ken Bone Halloween Costumes

I wasn’t the only one who dressed up as Ken Bone for Halloween.

Willam performing on a hover board.

Willam performing on a hover board.

The end of the St. Patrick's Day Parade near SMU in Dallas.

The end of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade near SMU in Dallas.

Easter in Lee Park and Pooch Parade in Dallas

Women with a whole litter of chihuahuas during the Easter puppy parade.

iLume Pool Party

The iLume Pool Party on 4th of July weekend.

Other events that I made it to include:

The drag brunch cast at Urban Cowboy Saloon, Fort Worth, TX.

The drag brunch cast at Urban Cowboy Saloon, Fort Worth, TX.

State Fair of Texas Big Tex

Big Tex at the State Fair of Texas.

Tillman's Roadhouse relaunch party in Bishop Arts, Dallas

Tillman’s Roadhouse relaunch party in Bishop Arts, Dallas

Erika Jayne performing in Dallas

Erika Jayne performing at Brick Nightclub in Dallas, Texas.

Fort Worth Gay Pride Parade

A drag queen poses at the end of the Tarrant County gay pride parade.

Crime, violence, and that damn pitbull

Life in the gayborhood was full of good friends, dogs (with questionable manners), tennis and brunch. But my love affair with the gayborhood started to wane around the time that I moved into my second apartment in ilume.

The gayborhood had a crime wave that involved several attacks. I also experienced the downsides of living in a club district, such as unconscious people in the streets, sidewalks caked in vomit, trash and drug paraphernalia, and constant weekend fights, including two assaults in front of Havana nightclub.

Other noteworthy events around this time include coming across a dead body on the dog walk, a fight downtown, the time the dogs and I got chased by a pitbull (which is hilarious in retrospect), the Pulse shootings in Orlando, and the ambush shootings downtown.

Oak Lawn Pulse NIghtclub Memorial

The Dallas gay community rallying after the Pulse nightclub shootings.

Katy Trail in Dallas Suicide

A reporter at the scene of a suicide near Katy Trail.

Watching the Dallas Shootings

Watching a Facebook livestream of the downtown Dallas shootings.

Things fall apart

As neighborhood began to feel more dangerous, things were also going to hell in my apartment building — a wave of ratchet new tenants resulted in constant police raids and most of my friends moving out. There were homeless people living at the pool, trashed hallways, and unsavory people roaming the halls.

The building and property also deteriorated badly, including filthy dog parks and the collapse of the building facade.

The property owners attempted to correct course, but eventually gave up and sold the building.

ilume park small dog park

ilume Park’s small dog park, covered in poop.

Police and an ambulance at iLume Park.

Police and an ambulance at iLume Park.

iLume Park Building Collapse

The front of iLume Park was shut down after a brick facade fell off of the front of the parking garage.

Departures 

We eventually left the gayborhood as well and moved to Far North Dallas. The rest of the summer was filled with non-stop studying and long commutes.

Our new suburban digs are only temporary however, because our time in Dallas is coming to a close — more on that tomorrow!

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