Break Out! Of Humdrum and Handcuffs

What better way to spend a weekend than by being kidnapped?

Not really, I promise. This weekend I had an awesome time visiting friends and realizing that just because I love my job doesn’t mean I don’t get burnt out. Sometimes, you just have to spend a weekend doing something different. So this weekend I visited some of my best friends up in Birmingham. Most of the weekend was spent playing video games (those who know me know my love of games. Best way to unwind, ever!), but Saturday evening my friends had a real treat planned for me!

redpearlFirst we went to a fantastic Chinese place called Red Pearl. I would never have found this place in a million years. It was inside an Asian Supermarket, way off the beaten path, and it was amazing! After all the twists and turns to get there, we walked in the door of a typical small Asian market, the smell of real Asian food (not the silly Americanized stuff) smacks you in the face right off the bat. You turn the corner and discover a gorgeous restaurant, the clank of dishes and the babble of workers setting a more familiar tone. Once seated, looking around, it was too pretty, and almost reminded me of the Chinese mob. Kinda in a good way, like we were watching a Bruce Lee movie and cool stuff could go down if we looked at someone the wrong way. The food was out quickly, and tasted amazing, and I simply couldn’t eat it all, though I tried my level best.

gameentranceAfter Red Pearl, it was time to be kidnapped! My Birmingham friends have been playing these Break Out games for a few months. Each of them has a different theme, like Casino Royale, Museum Heist, and even one with Aliens. For my first game, we decided on Kidnapped, where we started blindfolded and handcuffed to a bed. An audio clip of a psycho killer informed us that we had one hour to break free, or he’d be back to finish the job, and the timer started. Before I’d even gotten my blindfold off and my glasses on I heard one of my friends find and drop the handcuff key. We were off to a great start. Once free of the handcuffs, we were able to turn on the light and check out our prison. It was a tiny, concrete block room, with a metal desk, a bloody sink, and the bed we’d been chained to, as well as several, and I mean SEVERAL, locked boxes. Each box had a different type of lock on it, and there were clues scattered everywhere. The hour flew by, and we even got stumped enough to ask for a clue from our game master once. Which surprised me. Out of the seven of us playing we had 2 electrical engineers, a server administrator, a police forensic person, a school teacher, a university student studying accounting, and, well, me.¬†Though, I feel like my artsy self was at least good at noticing clues. That’s something, right?

Well, we managed to break out in 47 minutes, thanks to the great team work that went into each puzzle. The time really flew by, there wasn’t a single moment where we were twiddling our thumbs. It was an incredible game from the set dressing to the puzzles. I was throughly impressed, and really want to see these types of break out games spread into small town areas like Opelika. I already have some great themes to suggest.

steelcityLike the adrenaline of only having 10 minutes until our psycho killer came back wasn’t enough, my Birmingham friends took us to another icon of Birmingham: Steel City Pops. If the one in Auburn is even half as good as that one, it’ll do just fine. Fantastic design, and phenomenal ice pops, and I was loaded up on sugar and adrenaline. I didn’t go to sleep for a while that night.

Now to my actual point. There was one, I swear. At Baker Street, we believe in Big Ideas from a Small Town. Living in a small town gives me the ability to go to a park and maybe not even see anyone but birds and squirrels, and I like that. It gives me places to sit and think and doodle and get better at life without having to share that with strangers. But every once in a while, even designers need to shake up their weekend to break out of the same old same old. I feel like¬†people think artists are magic and we can just always do amazing things. We really can’t, without getting amazing things put back in.

So, in a nutshell, that’s how I break out of a rut. I go get kidnapped.

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