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Day Forty-Nine: Miranda

Comments

Demeanor -- Chardonnay-like: extremely white; an acquired taste, but rewarding
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "It's strange that you'd ask me that, given that we are best friends and have been for thirteen years (and counting). Anyway, it's pretty good."
Response to my threat to quote the ridiculous things she said in her blog entry -- "Don't count my quotes before they're hatched. From my brain."
Snapshot --

On our walk to the OG, we passed a peaceful creek where some ducks were happily nibbling on the fresh algae. I reflected on the beauty and tranquility of nature even here, in the midst of the world's brightest and noisiest city. As I was about to share these feelings, Miranda, completely unprovoked, screamed gibberish at the ducks and they flew away.

She looked at me smugly. "Yeh. I scared those birds what good."

--

True to her bizarrely-phrased response to my contractually obligated question, Miranda is, indeed, my best friend of thirteen years (and counting). She flew all the way from Austin, Texas, our hometown, to be the final date for my blog! She's funny and complicated and is responsible for my being the man I am today more than any single person I could name, save for my immediate family. Thanks for dining with me, bro - I love you very much.

No homo.

0 more dates to go. I'm...I'm free...

Today's pasta was
The End

The End

The End
Tri Colored Vegetable Penne pumped chock-full of Shrimp Fritta, accentuated with a generous portion of Pesto Alfredo
Comments

Since the invention of pasta, there have been five dishes that were rated the most scrumptious, the most pure. This one left them all behind.

Pictured here is The End - fin.

Day Forty-Eight: Sarah

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Demeanor -- Champagne-like: sparkling
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "This is my first time here. Actually," she adds, fruitlessly attempting to wrap the linguine around her fork, "this is my first time eating any long pasta at all. Harder than it looks."
Lifetime average of bachelor's degree accrual -- 1.0 every four years
Snapshot --

"Yes, I am a sexist. I would never have a female doctor."

I'm taken aback, but also impressed that she can say something so controversial with such candor. "Why?"

She shrugs. "Women are too emotional."

--

I am sure that I'm not the first person in Sarah's life to describe her as a renaissance woman. While it's easy to be wowed by her education or penchant for riding a motorcycle in four-inch heels, to leave a picture of her at that is selling her criminally short. Smart, ambitious, witty, and fiercely honest, she was a fascinating conversationalist no matter the topic. Whether we discussed the biological basis of the different ethnicities in aliens, private World of Warcraft servers we've hosted, laboratory work dress code, or children's fiction, Sarah never missed a beat and was simultaneously very polite to our waitress, which I always take as a sign of good breeding.

1 more date to go.

Today's pasta was
Two Legs Bad, Four Legs Delicious

Two Legs Bad, Four Legs Delicious

Two Legs Bad, Four Legs Delicious
Chicken Pomodoro tucked away inside a agglutination of Rigatoni, excellently sprinkled with Italian Sausage
Comments

This dish combines cow, pig, and chicken into an entire farm on a plate. I'm a vegetarian when I'm not doing this blog, but this sort of thing really reminds you why people eat meat in the first place. Animals are tasty as heck!!

Pictured here is Two Legs Bad, Four Legs Delicious - all pastas are equal, but some are more equal than others.

Weekend Trip - Las Vegas

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The final city on the final days of my blog! Las Vegas is a lot more family-friendly than I expected it to be. The casinos all have kids running around in them, and the homeless population was generally amiable and did not threaten to stab me. The AirBnB I stayed at featured two amazingly cute dogs who sat like this without being posed, and a cat who liked to watch movies with me.


Luna and I engrossed in a Michael Douglas thriller

I spent hours wandering around through the downtown nightlife, then lost $10 on my lucky number at roulette and quit gambling forever. Mouse over this pic for the action shot!

"wow"

The Olive Garden is large, clean, and well-staffed by friendly employees. One of them said "I can tell he already knows about our menu!" to my date, which either meant she knew about the blog or was calling me fat. She was otherwise super nice so I'm gonna go with the former!


The highest-rated Olive Garden in Las Vegas, according to Google!

Day Forty-Seven: Cristina

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Demeanor -- Sauvignon Blanc-like: zesty, herbal
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- ((gazing upon her unfinished plate of pasta)) "I...I'm not sure what happened here. I'm sorry."
Most bizarre final project for school -- highly sexually-charged advertisement for Chipotle, which unfortunately has been taken down from the internet. I assume this was due to some sort of dual copyright claim/violation of youtube's anti-pornography policies
Snapshot --

((seeing the basket of breadsticks)) "Are these for me?!"

--

Cristina found my blog through a post I made nearly a month ago on Reddit that was immediately downvoted into invisibility by the hardcore faction of anti-Olive Garden extremists who push a clear and consistent pro-Macaroni Grill agenda. It's blatant censorship like this that disrupts truly free speech and will eventually lead the community to Voat! One day! Soon! Right, guys??

Man, Cristina, if you're reading this, I'm sorry. What a horrible opening paragraph. Let's start over. When she's not on Reddit, which I swear I will never mention again on this blog, she tutors kids on subjects of all sorts and plays the bass guitar! She has a great sense of humor, and I appreciate her commitment to a chain restaurant - not just on an intellectual level.

2 more dates to go.

~MANAGER SPOTLIGHT~

Kathleen is a manager at the Santa Ana Westfield Mainplace mall Olive Garden, where I spent almost every weekday night for the past seven weeks. Since tonight was my last night at this OG, she sent me off in style with a brand-new pasta t-shirt (in awesomely creative packaging). She's a great person and every employee I asked had nothing but positive things to say about her! Thanks for putting up with me eating all your pasta, Kathleen!!

Today's pasta was
Ravi Ollie Kickflip 360

Ravi Ollie Kickflip 360

Ravi Ollie Kickflip 360
Mezzaluna Ravioli lovingly saturated in Chicken Pomodoro, tossed with Meatballs
Comments

Bro! That chain is off the hook! I am, of course, referring to the Olive Garden.

Pictured here is Ravi Ollie Kickflip 360 - this pasta is a max combo!!!!

Day Forty-Six: Audrey

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Demeanor -- Merlot-like: velvety, intense
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "You're putting me on the spot!! Just kidding. I knew you were going to ask that. I tried to think of, like, a funny quip, but I've got nothing. I really like it."
Banter skills on three hours of sleep -- Surprisingly on-point
Snapshot --

"Yeah, I read your entire blog. I'm not afraid to say that. If someone thinks that's stalker-ish or whatever, they're not the type of person who I'd want to be with, anyway."

--

When I found out that Audrey was a professional photographer, I was really excited that she could maybe teach me how to use my camera. She was able to tell what an aperture was, how long to expose things, and what the optimal shutter speed for a slow-moving plate of pasta would be. Unfortunately, neither of us could figure out how to change any of those settings on the camera itself, so it all ended up being a purely academic exercise.

Audrey also has a genuine interest in people, which is always pleasant to find. And it's hard not to like someone who appreciates Taylor Swift, even though she's not quite on my level of fandom. But then, who is?!

3 more dates to go.

Normally I wouldn't allow this sort of tomfoolery, but I was moved by her explanation: "I really feel more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it, y'know?"

Deep, man. Also, she said that I could post this one for the official record, so no harm done.

Today's pasta was
Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore
Meatballs flawlessly glazed with Pesto Alfredo, settled on a blanket of Rigatoni
Comments

Something about this pasta evokes the striking hewn-from-the-living-rock sensation of America's greatest national treasure. Legend has it that the Golden Pasta Pass, which can be redeemed an unlimited number of times for Neverending Pasta Passes, is buried somewhere deep within the monument. The only question that remains is who among us is brave and handsome enough to go forth and claim it? I just hope that someone other than Nicholas Cage gets it.

Pictured here is Mount Rushmore - it belongs in a museum!!!!!!

Day Forty-Five: Alycia

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Demeanor -- Cabernet-like: popular, bold
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "Honestly, it's like my second family. I love it here. I dream about this job."
Most unexpected possession -- A homemade positive-energy voodoo doll
Snapshot --

"So," I ask, "were the other employees jealous when you told them you were going to go out with me?"

"They said not to do it. They think you're a serial killer."

I don't know what I expected, but it wasn't that. "Why?!"

"You're here every day, you bring a new woman every time, and they never come back. Where do they go?!"

--

I've never met anyone who exemplifies the 90's-era slogan of Olive Garden ("When you're here, you're family") quite like Alycia. Extraordinarily friendly, upbeat, and charming, she's a natural-born hostess who improved every one of the nights I saw her. I was thrilled when she accepted my invitation to be one of my final Olive Garden dates.

Most of my dates last about an hour, sometimes an hour and a half if refills are ordered. Dinner with Alycia was two and a half hours long - she's so easy to talk to that one completely loses track of time. I'm sure that she'll go on to have a very happy and fulfilling life!

4 more dates to go.

(she's doing "air bass")

Bonus - Staff Spotlight!

I also had to ask for a selfie with a few other treasured members of the Santa Ana mall Olive Garden's staff - our server, Lindsey, and our host, Bryan. They, along with Alycia, all deserve recognition for their contributions to Olive Garden's reputation. Whatever these folks are paid, it's not enough!

Today's pasta was
How Do I Turn That Off?

How Do I Turn That Off?

How Do I Turn That Off?
Asiago Garlic Alfredo covered in Meatballs, gently placed upon a deep well of Rigatoni
Comments

It took me a month to learn that a harsh flash doesn't cast food in the best light (heh), and another 10 months to learn how to turn it off on my camera. I figured I'd do one more bad photo of good Olive Garden food as I wrap up this year's blog, y'know, out of nostalgia's sake.

Pictured here is How Do I Turn That Off? - I've ruined many a neighboring table's meal with that flash.

Day Forty-Four (1): Missy

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Demeanor -- Muscat-like: Acerbic, astringent
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "Um...indifferent? Do you ask everyone that?"
Tough crowd -- laughed way harder at the fact that I had a second Olive Garden date lined up immediately after hers than she did at any of my jokes
Snapshot --

"Totoro is overrated. I really prefer Princess Mononoke"
-Missy, sealing herself away in my Friendzone™ forever

--

Missy does "pretty much everything" in her employ at a local movie theater, even making drinks! I don't know what kind of movie theater serves cocktails, but it sounds like a pretty chill place. I'd recommend it, if I had thought to ask her the name.

Sassy and no-nonsense, Missy does not suffer fools gladly and has no reservations about pointing out hypocrisy where she sees it. This made dining with her a uniquely rewarding experience!

5 more dates to go.

Today's pasta was
Volume One

Pasta Combination Selector