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No Pants Light Rail Ride

Day 88/90 – Lunch with Stripes!

Day 88 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I got to have lunch with Stripes!

Stripes and Me!

Stripes and Me!

I met Rachel (aka Stripes) at the inaugural No Pants Light Rail Ride in 2009 and then we became friends as two of the co-founders of Improv AZ. (She got the nickname Stripes because she wore awesome striped knee-high socks at the first No Pants Ride.) We did some awesome shenanigans together like Welcoming a Stranger at the Airport, a Freeze at First Friday, and we were co-captains of part of the 2010 No Pants Light Rail Ride. Geez we had fun!

This is a freakin' cool kid!

This is a freakin’ cool kid!

And then Stripes moved to the east coast, got married, and had a baby. This week, they were all back in town because Stripes and her husband Paul were invited to give talks on computer programming. (Yeah, they’re wicked smart.) We met up for lunch at Carolina’s – Paul’s first time to this Mexican food Mecca with the best tortillas in Phoenix. I suspect they don’t have Mexican food like this back east.

It was so great to catch up with Stripes and meet her husband. I loved his 3-question test he gave each of his dates when he was still single:

  1. What’s the square root of 144?
  2. True or false: There is right way to put on the toilet paper roll.
  3. What do you do?

He and Stripes seem to be a good fit for each other. And they have the most adorable baby. In general, I dislike children (which I need to revise that to children over 6 months old) but this little guy was so cute and chill. I asked to hold him the moment I saw him. I love his big inquisitive brown eyes – always checking out his surroundings.

It was so great to see Stripes! It’s too bad my next trip back east won’t afford me enough time to visit them on their turf.

In case you missed it: Day 87 of the 90 Days of Awesome – Processing my grief and anger.

My Favorite Things 2013

Oprah used to do a “My Favorite Things” show every year so I decided to do the same, but without all the freebies. Sorry.

I reviewed my calendar and Yelp reviews from the past year and here’s my list of my favorite things. Everything on this list is something I use or do and enjoy. I’ve not been compensated in any way for including anyone in this post.

Working Out
2013 half marathon pre raceFavorite Phoenix Area Race: P.F. Chang Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon

Favorite Place to get Running Shoes: Runner’s Den

Favorite Place to Work Out: Arizona Canal

Favorite Device for Sore Muscles: The Stick

Favorite Place to get Fixed when I Break Myself: Endurance Rehab

Food
Favorite Doughnut: Buttermilk bar from BoSa Donuts (open ‘til 10pm)

0702131205Favorite Mexican Food: Jordan’s

Favorite Greek Food: Greektown

Favorite Indian Food: The Dhaba

Favorite Dessert for Lunch: Yogurtland

Favorite Food Truck: Jamburritos

Favorite Dessert Food Truck: Mamma Toledo’s

Favorite Ice Krem (Phoenix): Churn

Favorite Ice Krem (Scottsdale): Sugar Bowl

Favorite Place for Late-Night Eats and Work: Gay Denny’s

Life
0511131339Favorite Dog Park: Margaret T. Hance Dog Park

Favorite Place for Shirts with Custom Verbiage: Brand X Custom T-shirts

Favorite Site for Shirts with Original Artwork: Threadless

Favorite Snuggle Wear: REI Yoga Pants

Favorite Person for Fixing my Sore Body: Thomas Porter

Favorite Shop for Music Geeks: Central Music

Favorite Bookstore: Changing Hands

Favorite TV Show: The Big Bang Theory

Favorite Reality Show: Deadliest Catch

Favorite Place to Go When I Really Need to Escape: Firefly Room at the Phoenix Art Museum

No Pants Ride 2013 - Photo by Joseph Abbruscatto from Flickr (used with permission)

No Pants Ride 2013 – Photo by Joseph Abbruscatto from Flickr (used with permission)

Online
Favorite Webhost: Dreamhost

Favorite Social Media Platform: Twitter

Favorite Podcast: Savage Lovecast

Favorite Online Cartoon: Foamy the Squirrel

Favorite Site for Travel Suggestions: Roadside America

Favorite Site for Everything Else: Reddit

Events and Activities
Favorite Flash Mob: Improv AZ’s No Pants Light Rail Ride

Favorite Community Event: Ignite Phoenix

Favorite Place on a Friday Night: ASU Women’s Gymnastics Meets

Favorite Phoenix Geek Event: Phoenix Ultimate Geek Smackdown (PUGS)

Favorite Place to see Who’s Who in the Local Zoo: Local First Arizona Fall Festival

I hope you’ve enjoyed my list and perhaps it’s inspired you to try some of my favorite things. 😉

I Met Charlie Todd!

I’ve known about Charlie Todd and Improv Everywhere since he uploaded Frozen Grand Central to YouTube in 2008. I was fascinated by their creativity and boldness from the start. I went back and watched all their videos and read all the blogs from their missions – it was captivating. I subscribed to their YouTube channel and I joined the now-disbanded “Urban Prankster Network” online.

Charlie Todd and Me

Charlie Todd and Me

Charlie and I have exchanged emails and messages over the years after I helped co-found Improv AZ and I started digging into the legal issues surrounding flash mobs and pranks. He was always friendly and helpful, but since we lived on opposite sides of the country, we never met in person.

A few weeks ago, I got a note from Charlie saying that he was debuting his film “We Cause Scenes” at SXSW. The film follows the story of Improv Everywhere from the beginning to where it is now. I love this story because Charlie didn’t start out trying to create this group. He was just a guy who was having fun with his friends and he embraced the opportunities that allowed it to grow into his career. I was so excited. I immediately put his film at the top of my SXSW to-do list.

I met Charlie about an hour before the film in the convention center. When I saw his familiar face, threw up my arms, and screeched, “Charlie Todd!” I gave him a big hug and chatted for a few minutes before claiming my spot in line. It was so great to meet him in person but because we’ve been conversing for years, it was like seeing an old friend.

The movie was fantastic. If it comes to your city, go see it. It’s a great story.

During the Q&A after the movie, Charlie announced that Improv Everywhere was doing an MP3 Experiment in Austin. I of course rearranged my schedule so I could go. We were given a place, a time, an MP3 to download, and we were told to wear a certain color shirt and bring an uninflated balloon. You’ll have to wait to see the video to see what we did, but we had a blast. It was so great to do a mission with my prankster brothers and sisters.

I give my friend Jeff Moriarty a lot of credit for helping me become the person I am today. If he hadn’t organized the first No Pants Ride in Phoenix, there never would have been an Improv AZ and I wouldn’t be a flash mob attorney and blogger. Watching Charlie’s movie reminded me that I have to give him a lot of credit too. He was the one who came up with the idea for the original No Pants Subway Ride and he was the one who decided to invite the world to participate in 2009. If he hadn’t done that, he wouldn’t have given Jeff his launch into the official prank/flash mob world.

So thank you Charlie. Without you, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

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No Pants Light Rail Ride 2013 – Me & My Shadow

My law school alma mater holds an annual networking auction to raise money for its pro bono activities. Local lawyers and ASU law school professors offer opportunities to network – usually lunches and letting students tag along to hearings and depositions. Since I can’t be normal, I auctioned off the opportunity for a law student to shadow me at the 5th annual No Pants Light Rail Ride – participation mandatory.

I was tickled when 1L Michael Ortiz, someone who has never participated in a flash mob before, purchased the item and came along for this year’s ride. He agreed to be interviewed and share his thoughts about the experience.

Mike & Me on the light rail platform, Photo by patrickem from Flickr

Mike & Me on the light rail platform, Photo by patrickem from Flickr

Why did you bid on this item?
I was interested in meeting you and getting a better understanding of what an intellectual property attorney does. When I saw that the No Pants Ride was mandatory I interpreted it as a challenge and experience which would take me out of my comfort zone.

How did you feel before the ride?
When I woke up the morning of the ride, I was already nervous. As I drove to the meet-up point I started to feel a bit anxious, but as soon as I saw some pantsless people already assembled at the light rail stop, my anxiety and nervousness disappeared.

What was your initial reaction/thoughts/feelings about being pantsless in public?
I think knowing that others would be pantsless as well made me more excited to take my pants off. I wasn’t nervous at all and I thought it would be more fun than anything. The sight of numerous pantless people is something else, and the feeling of camaraderie among us pantless folk made the entire experience even better. In all honesty I felt pretty comfortable in my underwear; it wasn’t nearly as awkward as I had thought.

What were some of the highlights from the ride for you?
I think the best moments were witnessing the reactions of people getting on the light rail filled with people wearing no pants. Some of the best reactions were people trying to NOT act surprised. Drinking beers with fellow No Pants Riders was also a highlight for me. It was one of the best experiences I have ever had.

Would you do a flash mob again?
Definitely!

What’s your advice for anyone considering participating in a flash mob?
I would say that there is no other experience like it; you meet awesome and fun people, make memories that are unforgettable, and you get a rush that lasts long after the flash mob has ended.

I had a blast hanging out with Mike at the No Pants Light Rail Ride. I’m glad he enjoyed the experience and that he got to see what it’s like to be an organizer of the event. I was pleased to see that the next batch of law students has some open-minded people in it who want to challenge themselves outside the academic arena.

You can check out more pictures from the 2013 No Pants Light Rail Ride on Flickr and via College Times, Phoenix New Times, and AZ Central. The video from the ride is expected to be released soon on Improv AZ’s YouTube channel. If you live in the Phoenix area and want to participate in a flash mob or prank with Improv AZ, please add yourself to our email list and you’ll be kept in the loop on our upcoming shenanigans.

Going Pantsless was the Best Thing I Did in Law School

The best thing I did in law school was the 2009 No Pants Light Rail Ride in Phoenix, Arizona. The people I met there opened the doors to the opportunities that made me the lawyer and the person I am today.

Photo by Jamey Peachy

Improv Everywhere has been doing the No Pants Subway Ride since 2002. In preparation for the 2009 ride, they invited everyone to organize No Pants Rides on the same day in cities all over the world. Jeff Moriarty conspired with a small group of his friends to do a ride on the newly opened light rail in Phoenix. I was a first-year law student and really a nobody in my school and the greater legal community. I didn’t know Jeff back then, but I saw the event on Facebook and signed up to do it with some of my friends.

On the day of the ride, all of my friends who were supposed to do the No Pants Ride with me chickened out. I wasn’t surprised. I said, “You guys all suck. I’m going without you” and I headed out to Tempe to meet my fellow pantsless riders. I figured Jeff had to be a cool guy for organizing the ride, so I purposely stood next to him on the ride and chatted all the way to our final destination.

The rest is history. I can show you, in 7 connections or less, how participating in the 2009 No Pants Ride led to some of my best professional opportunities and experiences.

No Pants Ride >>> Establishing Myself as a Legal Expert

  • Many of the people at the 2009 No Pants Ride are involved in blogging. This inspired me to have a blog.
  • Jeff Moriarty helped me create UndeniableRuth.com in January 2010.
  • I wrote, and still write, weekly posts about legal issues.
  • My posts demonstrated that I have a unique voice and competence in certain areas of law.
  • I parlayed my expertise into opportunities to write dozens of guest blog posts; provide quotes for news articles and blogs; participate in TV, radio, and podcast interviews; and give presentations at conferences.

No Pants Ride >>> Sponsor A Law Kid  

  • I met Jeff at the 2009 No Pants Ride.
  • Jeff is the creator of Ignite Phoenix. He encouraged me to apply to be an Ignite presenter.
  • I was selected for Ignite Phoenix #5 to present Frosting the Law.
  • Kade Dworkin was one of my fellow presenters at Ignite Phoenix #5.
  • Kade had a podcast in 2010 called Meet My Followers where he interviewed his Twitter followers.
  • One of Kade’s guests was Jason Sadler, founder of I Wear Your Shirt.
  • I Wear Your Shirt inspired me to create Sponsor A Law Kid, that funded part of my final semester of law school in 2011.

No Pants Ride >>> Paid Blogger for Attorney at Work

  • A group of us from the 2009 No Pants Ride founded Improv AZ to continue to do flash mobs and pranks in Phoenix.
  • Planning events with Improv AZ sparked my interest in flash mob law.
  • I asked Ari Kaplan whether this might be a viable niche.
  • Ari used my interest in an article for Law Practice Magazine in the fall of 2009.
  • The editor of the magazine, Mark Feldman, loved it. He continued to follow me and blog.
  • When Mark created Attorney at Work with Joan Feldman and Merrilyn Astin Tarlton, they invited me to be one of their professional bloggers in 2011.

And that’s the tip of the iceberg. I can show how the No Pants Ride led to making some of my best professional connections, writing my first book, developing an interest in podcasting, and meeting some of the most wonderful people in my life.

The 2012 Global No Pants Ride is this Sunday, January 8th in at least 56 cities. If there’s a ride near you, you should go. You never know what will come out of it.

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