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Better Know a Commenter: MightyMinx

Getting to know Royals Review commenter and Twitterer extraordinaire @mightieminx.

Minda, Mighty Minx, and Plus
Minda, Mighty Minx, and Plus

This week we sit down with the Mightiest of Minxes to better know our resident bilingual IT Manager/music aficionado.

While we're all much more than just being Royals fans, it is the tie that binds us. What brought you to the Royals' front stoop knocking on the door to be let in? Perhaps more importantly, why did you stay?

I wish I had a more interesting Royals origin story than I actually do, but mine is pretty mundane.

I grew up in a family that considers sports (except soccer) to be pretty worthless. I was aware of KU basketball as a kid because a lot of my friends were KU fans, but it really wasn't until I started living on my own that I really started to get into sports at all. I really started getting into football and college basketball during my years at KU back in the late '00s, and picked up Chiefs season tickets back in 2010. After that first NFL season and the following NCAA season, I was looking for something to fill the void until the next football season. That was when I started watching the Royals.

At first it was just a game or two whenever I happened to catch them on TV. In fall 2011, though, I got a job at a company that had season tickets at Kauffman. The team was still pretty bad back then, so I got a lot of free tickets over the next couple of seasons. I started becoming more familiar with baseball and with the Royals as a team. I picked up Fox Sports KC and started getting into the habit of watching baseball on the daily. It was then that I realized most of my friends didn't give a crap about the Royals, or baseball, so I started seeking out a different outlet to discuss the team. I'd already been reading Arrowhead Pride for a few years, so it seemed only logical to take a peek at Royals Review. I liked what I saw and from there I just kept falling deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole.

As everyone will soon know, you have an aptitude for the technical, but baseball is a sport that seems especially designed to scare off fans with its deliberate pace, odd rules, low scoring, and insular language. Has coming to baseball late in the game with little coming from your youth in the way of a foundation for understanding the game been an impediment at all?

Well, Josh, it absolutely has been an impediment. I spent a lot of time doing what basically amounted to studying the first couple of years after I took a genuine interest in baseball, reading articles on Fangraphs, books, learning stats, famous players, etc. There are actually still things about baseball that surprise me and certain views and concepts that I struggle with since I have no first-hand experience with the game. It wasn't until last year that I actually understood the infield fly rule, for instance.

These days I don't feel overwhelmed or anything, but I still feel like the baseball fan equivalent of a student driver in a lot of ways.

Standard dating profile questions: Age? Sex? Height? Hair color? Marital status? Kids?

Let's see... I'm a 27 year old woman, with plus height (6'2"). I'm naturally a brunette, but these days I rock that blonde look. I'm single, and I've got no kids.

Judging from what you said about your family not valuing sports, can we assume you never used your height for its logical athletic implementation on the basketball court? Has its benefit been primarily linked to being able to see at concerts, with the double-edged sword cutting back on airplanes? Were both of your parents tall?

Well, I went to private school until 9th grade that focused a lot more on fine arts than on sports. I played soccer outside of school for a couple of years, but it wasn't until public school that I was confronted with the genuine article of organized competitive athletics. I'm not sure why I didn't try to get on the soccer team, but it never occurred to me. I did get hassled into going out for the basketball team, but after the first practice with my terrible hand-eye coordination on full display, my basketball era was finished.

As for being considerably above-average height in general, It's definitely been a mixed blessing. It's not so great on airplanes, in the back seat of cars, or when it comes to dating. I actually get really self-conscious about my height just because I feel like I'm always on display towering above everyone. On the other hand, it's great at concerts, sporting events, and anywhere that requires standing, and especially standing out, in a crowd.

My parents are both pretty tall, as are my siblings. That being said, I'm actually the tallest between my brother, sister, and myself.

As a fellow tall, I feel your pain on the spatial issues related to height, but I have never had to deal with there being a stigma attached to my height because society is largely backwards and still painfully phallocentric. How has that inane double-standard played out for you on the dating scene?

Hah, I actually had no idea you were a fellow tall... how tall are you?


They've been painfully phallocentric. That's certainly one way of putting it. My dating experiences as related to my height have definitely been mixed at best. I've always been exceptionally tall - even back in junior high, I was already something like 5'10". You'd think I'd have gotten used to it as time went on, but if anything, the opposite has happened. I've dated so many shorter guys that I'm just tired of it. Unfortunately, tall women aren't the only women angling for the limited number of tall men... while it seems like a depressing number of those men prefer to date petite women instead of someone more, let's say, height appropriate? The whole thing is just frustrating. At this point, I am just trying to live my life and get everything else in order. I'm not desperate to find someone. The guy will come along at some point, I just don't worry about it anymore.

Right on. While many choose not to define themselves by their job, what do you do to make ends meet? For how long have you been plying that trade?

I'm an Information Technology Manager for a small business here in Kansas City. I love my job, the company I work for, and the people I work with, so I consider myself very fortunate in that respect. I've been working in IT in some capacity or another for over ten years now. It wasn't until four or so years ago that I got really serious about it, though.

Do you start every call with, "Did you turn it off and turn it on again?"

Sometimes I actually do say that to people... but it almost never lands. It just makes it better when it does, though!

Is there a fair amount of travel with the position? Is this a field in which you expect to continue working, or is there a different into which you eventually hope to transition?

I do get to travel quite a bit, to our other offices and our programs. Besides here, we've got offices in Chicago, San Francisco, and Minneapolis. If we had an office in Denver and Boston, it would be perfect! I'm actually going to Las Vegas in a month for our biggest program of the year, so I'm pretty excited about that. I have pipe dreams of doing other things, but in terms of real, practical careers, I'd say I'm pretty happy with the track that I'm on right now. I've made a lot of headway in the last few years, and I'm really excited to see what the future has in store.

In the pipiest of pipe dreams what alternate career path would you take?

Ooh, I think if it were strictly a question of what I would want to do if I could do anything? If income, education, and training weren't a factor? It's probably not a surprise, but I'd probably produce electronic music. I actually have dabbled in production over the years. I used to DJ a bit while I lived in Lawrence, too. I spent hours and hours fooling around in Ableton making mixes and just having fun. I'd like to make a career out of that, but I just don't have the patience to grind out to get to the point where I'd actually be producing quality stuff. Failing that, I would love to produce something creative... make films, act in plays, sing, direct, write. Something along those lines.

Other than having dabbled in producing electronic music, have you dipped your toes in the waters of any other creative endeavors?

Absolutely! Before I left private school I was actually very involved with fine arts; I took piano lessons for seven years, voice lessons for three or four, and was heavily involved in our school's music and drama department productions. I competed in a lot of voice and dramatic competitions, too, even winning a couple of them. I also have had some cursory explorations in writing, mostly short stories and such. Nothing that I'm too proud of, honestly. I think I'm a much stronger editor than I am an author.

EDC 2013

EDC 2013

Where do you live now, and where did you grow up?

I live in downtown Kansas City for the time being. I've been a Kansas City resident for about four years, lived in Lawrence for about five years before that. I grew up in Topeka, but was born and lived my first couple of years in the Beehive State.

The Beehive State? Do you have any memories of Utah? Is it as Mormon as Big Love would have us believe?

Utah! I do indeed, but only a couple of them are from when we first lived there. My dad moved back there after retiring a couple of years ago, and the rest of his side of the family all live out there, too... so I've been back there quite a bit over the years. I remember getting a cut on my eye from tumbling down the stairs as a toddler... I remember my aunt's dog "Pup"... I remember driving around in the old Ford pickup truck my grandpa had, and his old workshop in Provo... So yeah, there are bits and pieces, but honestly not much.

It's VERY Mormon, especially if you go anywhere outside of SLC. A lot of the notable cities in Utah are named for something that has to do with the LDS Church, they've got BYU, Deseret Industries, and there's basically a chapel every three blocks. Virtually everyone I've ever met in Utah is a member of the LDS church, and that isn't an exaggeration. I can't imagine living there myself, as a non-religious person, but it is a beautiful place to visit on the rare occasions when I do.

So there's a weird duality to the state of Utah, one to which I believe you can speak on both parts. If I remember correctly, you grew up Mormon before leaving the Church. What was the impetus for leaving the Church? How has this affected your life?

You remember correctly! I was raised as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, though I certainly don't identify myself as a member now. My history with the Church is a complicated one. Up until I was about 12 years old, we (my nuclear family; mom, dad, little sister and little brother) went to church every Sunday, and it was just the way things were. I never really enjoyed it very much, but it was just the thing we did on Sunday. My parents split up in '99, and after that things started to change. I didn't realize it at the time, but the congregation was very negative towards my mom and very supportive of my dad, since he had basically goaded my mom into being the one to file for divorce. As a result of that, she stopped going to church, which meant that my siblings and I also stopped going, at least when we weren't with my dad. During the every-other-weekend I was with my dad those first couple of years, we still got dragged to church. A couple of times that was literally being dragged to the car to go to church.

My heart was never in it, and now that I'd had a taste of not going, I just wanted more. At first that's all it was--Church just wasn't fun, it was boring, I didn't want to go. As I got older though and started to explore the actual beliefs and ideas that form the foundation of the Church and Christianity as a whole, I started to feel like it wasn't really for me in any permutation. I went to a parochial school until the 9th grade, so I wasn't yet able to escape religion entirely, but around the age of 14, I finally cut ties with the LDS church for good. In the next couple of years, I was expelled from that parochial school, started going to public school, switched churches to one that most of my friends from that previous school attended, and slowly started pulling away from that church, those friends, and organized religion as a whole.

By the time that I was 16, I had basically stopped visiting my dad, lost touch with all but a couple of those previous friends, and essentially separated my life from religious entanglements. It was rough at times, having to adapt to a secular life, finding new peers, new ways to occupy my time, but looking back it was all very much worthwhile. I certainly wouldn't have developed into the person I am today were it not for the departure I was able to make from religion. It hasn't been all sunshine and roses--I don't think my relationship with my dad will ever fully recover. Him and his entire side of the family (the Utah side, obviously) are all still intensely dedicated to the Church, and so it's become very much an "us versus them" in my family. They view my mom as this evil person who turned us away from faith and salvation, when really she had nothing to do with it. Any encounter I have with my dad or any of his brothers or sisters inevitably becomes about "when are you coming to church", "when will you realize the mistake you made", "we would love to have you back at church", it just dominates every aspect of our relationship.

Maybe it's a misconception borne from the fact that polygamy is so closely tied to the church's history informing my question, but did it seem like the Church was predisposed to favoring the male in the situation regardless of who filed for divorce? Is divorce frowned upon by the Mormon Church enough for them to basically drive your mother from the congregation in shame?

I don't know that polygamy necessarily played a part in it, but yes, I got the impression that the Church was definitely more likely to come down on the side of the husband than the wife. My mom wasn't the only person I saw get that treatment either. It didn't even seem to matter much when it came out that my dad had been seeing another woman for years, and that she was my mom's childhood best friend from Brazil. They still saw her as the "bad" one because by then she had turned away from the Church, which was worse than any adultery in their minds. I'd seen divorces where both people stayed active in the Church and it worked out OK, but I think that's probably not the most common outcome.

Going back to polygamy though, that reminds me of a funny story that I have about my uncle (dad's brother). Some time in the mid-'90s, my uncle bought 160 acres near Tecumseh, KS and moved there from Utah. He had just married a Brazilian woman who he met through my mom's family, and she was pregnant with their child. They moved onto the 'farm' and still live there to this day. However, in all that time, he has done virtually nothing with the land. About ten years ago, I asked him why he kept all this land if he had no intentions of doing anything with it. His response was that he kept the land because after the Church assumed their rightful position as the inheritors of the Earth, he wanted to have enough land to build a house for each of his wives to live in and raise children. That was his genuine answer--completely serious, without even a hint of sarcasm or irony.

What did you do to get expelled?

It wasn't just one thing. It had been coming down the pipeline for years; increasingly non-religious and inquisitive child becoming more open and brazen about that distrust of religion, at a Christian school. It was just a matter of time. Combine that with the fact that many of my friends who'd been trying to keep me 'in the fold' so to speak found themselves transferring to public school, and I just kind of got sick of it all. I started phoning it in as far as school work went, my grades started slipping, and I started openly contradicting my teachers on virtually a daily basis. Once I got to high school, they'd had enough. The 2nd week of the 2nd semester of my freshman year, I was handed my walking papers and kindly asked to leave. They said it was the "best thing for everyone," and honestly I think it absolutely was. The rest of that year was rough on me, I won't lie about that. Going from a school with an entire K-12 student body of under 300 to one with almost 500 in 9th grade alone was one hell of a culture shock. I found my way in the 10th grade though, and from then on it was pretty smooth sailing. Looking back, I don't think I would do anything differently.

The odd flip-side of the coin is that while Utah (at least to a godless outsider like me) appears stifling on a personal level, there may not be a more spectacular state visually. For you, what points in Utah should not be missed?

I'm right there with you. I always say when people ask me that I would never move back to Utah, but it's a beautiful, wonderful place to visit. There's a bevy of natural wonders, festivals, State Parks, and National Parks that are well worth exploring. There's the obvious ones like the beautiful ski resort in Park City, the Sundance Film Festival, the Bonneville Salt Flats, and the Salt Lake City Temple, which is notable even if you aren't a member of the Church just for how gorgeous of a building it is. There's also the popular parks like Zion, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, and Arches National Parks, but there are a great deal of lesser-known parks worth visiting, too. In no particular order, Cedar Breaks, Dead Horse Point (overlooking Canyonlands), Dinosaur National Monument, Natural Bridges National Monument, Capitol Reef, Monument Valley, Rainbow Bridge, Lake Powell, and Mount Timpanogos are all wonderful attractions well worth visiting. I'm very happy to have been able to visit every place on that list at least once, and some many times more.

I'm not much of an outdoorsy type--I don't really like camping, I don't hike much, and I don't spend a lot of time in the great outdoors. That being said, I wouldn't hesitate to make a trip out to any of these places and go camping, hiking, or what have you. They're really a very awesome collection of some of the best that our little rock has to offer.

What is your educational background/area of study?

My educational background is... scattered. I went to KU for several years, but studied something different each semester I was there, literally. I left in 2011 with no degree and no formal study in IT beyond the two-year degree I'd gotten from a technical college while I was still in high school. I've done several seminars and boot camps for IT in the years since leaving KU, but I've yet to buckle down and go back to actually get a Bachelor's degree.

What paths did you start down, scholastically speaking, only to figure out that they were not the field of study for you?

Hooooboy... Let's see, my original major was Theatre & Film, which I then switched to Political Science. Over the years, I switched between about a half-dozen CLAS majors, concentrations, or "interest codes"... let's see, I did stints in English, History, Philosophy, Pre-Law, Pre-Med, and during a particularly misguided stretch, Strategic Communications. I basically tried something different every semester I was there for about five years. It wasn't until a major life-changing event in 2011 that I actually took stock of things and realized I needed to stop dodging destiny and running away from a career in IT. I was so desperately afraid of being branded as a typical "IT geek" or "Nick Burns" type that I tried pretty much everything else I could think of before I finally woke up and smelled the roses.

While I'd love to ask what turned you off of an English or Film/Theater path, that's clearly not the question to ask here. What was the life-changing event? How did it manifest itself in your Come to IT Jesus moment?

Well, it wasn't so much anything to do with IT. This is kind of a long story, but the short version is that in September 2011, the house in Lawrence where I was renting an apartment burned down and was declared uninhabitable. Virtually everything was a total loss. I was thankfully able to save my laptop and some other key possessions since they were in my work bag which I grabbed when I left the house. However, as a result of that I withdrew from KU and moved in with my uncle in Shawnee. I was working part-time with an IT VAR in the Lenexa area at the time, and after taking some time to consider what I'd accomplished up to that point and where my life was going, since I basically had a clean slate, I decide to give a career in IT an honest, 100% effort for the first time in my life. I approached them, laid out the situation, and asked if they would be able to find a place for me to come on full-time. They did, so I came to work there and, after several years, ended up running their service department. I never have gone back to school because I was fortunate enough to already have a multitude of certifications, a degree from a technical school, and many years of on the job experience to call on in my new role. That fire basically changed the course of my entire adult life--if it weren't for that I might still be bumming around Lawrence trying to figure out what the hell I was going to do when I grew up, not realizing that I already had.

With the understanding that obviously baseball and the Royals are an area of interest for you, what other hobbies and interests do you have?

I follow other sports, NFL football and college basketball in particular, so that's a big time sink for me during non-baseball periods. Outside of that, I really enjoy traveling and music, especially electronic dance music. I love music more than I think I've ever loved another person. I really enjoy reading and keeping up with new movies. I'm a typical girl in that I love shopping, clothes, and makeup... and especially shopping for clothes and/or makeup! I used to be an avid beer drinker, to the point where it was a hobby, but these days I much more enjoy a glass of wine or a nice bourbon. I'm still kind of a college kid at heart, too, because I love tailgating and playing drinking games as much as I possibly can. As much as I try to deny it, I also have some dorky hobbies, too. I like playing board games, and I've been spending an incredible amount of time playing MLB: The Show these past few months. In fact, as I write this, I am playing some silly Javascript text-based RPG called "Kittens Game". I won't describe it, but feel free to Google it. Be warned, though - it's a time sink.


You're speaking to someone who has always assumed that I would need to (a) like dancing and (b) be rolling to enjoy EDM. Convert me to the form. What is it about EDM that gets you going? Who are the present-day gateway artists that could appeal to someone that came of age in the '90s and can still look fondly back on acts The Chemical Brothers or The Prodigy or Orbital (or further yet to Kraftwerk) but has tuned out for nearly two decades? Is this your primary area of musical passion, or do your tastes branch out significantly past EDM?

Well, to be fair, I do LOVE dancing and I do LOVE rolling, so you're not necessarily wrong.

I'm not sure it's something I'd be good at converting other to just because I literally grew up on dance music, even going back to listening to Pure Disco CDs all day with my mom when I was a little kid. I love the beat. I love the rhythm. It's just something about that compulsive sense of movement that it instills in me, I can't get enough of it. I'm not a huge fan of the current trend where it's all about "the drop", because to me that detracts from the song and the production as a whole. I love (and have seen live) all three of those acts, and have a fair bit of Kraftwerk in my music library, too. Without getting into a big name-dropping situation, there's a lot of acts that are still producing that could be great 'gateways' for a newcomer along the lines of those mainstays. My bread and butter though, is trance music. I also have a strong affinity for progressive house, but trance has always been my true love. Artists like ATB, Ferry Corsten, Armin van Buuren, Arty, Mat Zo, the list goes on... that's what I really love.

EDM is absolutely NOT my only musical passion, though! I grew up both singing and playing piano, so I have an appreciation for the more conventional iterations of music, too. I have a deep-seated love affair with Canadian female singer-songwriters / indie pop bands that is inexplicably specific but very special to me. I spent a lot of years going down the rabbit hole of indie music and pop in general, so I've got a lot of favorites in that spectrum, too. The first concert that I ever went to without my parents was Damien Rice and The Frames at Liberty Hall in Lawrence... the first concert I went to EVER was Elton John. I don't have a record player, but for some reason I own both the score to the movie Solaris, the Steven Soderbergh version, and Steve Miller Band's Greatest Hits 74 - 78 on vinyl. During the year 2014, I drove to Tulsa, then drove to Denver, then flew to San Francisco (alone) on NYE, all to see an Australian band called Cut/Copy. So... I'd say my musical tastes are probably more diverse than some would guess.

Coming from someone who's seen The Frames, Swell Season, and Glen Hansard solo (and their violinist Colm Con Mac Iomaire on a small show during SXSW this past year), getting to see Glen Hansard front a band for your first unaccompanied show must have set an unreasonably high bar for anyone who followed. As a fellow crazy concert-goer, what's the farthest you've traveled for the sole purpose of seeing a band?

Oh, absolutely! I was front row for the show, too, so it was even better. I actually had never heard of The Frames or Glen Hansard at that point. I was there solely to see Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan, but I can't recall in my entire life being more surprised by an opener that I was unfamiliar going into the show. Their performance was almost better than Damien Rice himself. It was a great way to be introduced to such a talented group of musicians. I don't think I saw a show that I enjoyed more until I went to Red Rocks in 2007 to see Daft Punk.

I've traveled all over in pursuit of music that I love, but I think the furthest I have ever gone was when I went to see Armin van Buuren in Vancouver on his Armin Only Intense tour back in 2014. It was two days before my birthday and I had friends in Seattle that also wanted to go, so we all met up in Seattle and drove to Vancouver for the weekend. It was an amazing show and a really fun weekend that went off flawlessly, so I would absolutely do it again. As I said though, I go all over. I flew to San Francisco to see Cut/Copy on NYE in 2014 after seeing them earlier in the year, once at Red Rocks over the summer and once in Tulsa in the spring. I try to make it out to Red Rocks at least once a year, and I've been pretty good about doing that since Daft Punk back in '07. I've traveled to Chicago for concerts on numerous occasions, other venues in the Denver area, Dallas, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Miami, Omaha... hell, I've even driven to the cesspool of Saint Louis just to see a good show. I definitely have a different outlook than most people when it comes to traveling just to see a band. For me, I grew up not being able to see the music I was crazy about for SO long that I still see it as something I'm almost obligated to do when the opportunity comes along. I'm also fortunate enough to have my health, a great job, and no entanglements... so if I hear about an amazing show happening in Chicago this weekend, I have the means to go and very few reasons not to, so why not do it? That's ultimately what it comes down to for me, that question of "why not?', and more often than not, the answer has been to just bite the bullet and do it. It's rarely, if ever, been the wrong decision.


The Postal Service at Red Rocks in 2013

Same page on traveling for music. How far and wide have you traveled?

Hey, great question! As you've probably gathered by now, I travel a lot. I love to drive, and as a corollary to that, I have driven to many places. I've actually been to every state in the contiguous United States, save Maine. I recently literally flew around the world, starting at O'Hare and landing back there one month later.

That was one hell of a trip. Besides North America, I've been to South America, Europe, and Asia. I would LOVE to visit Rabat or Tunis and I've got some friends in Johannesburg, so I'm hoping to scratch Africa off there sometime. I would also absolutely love to visit Melbourne and Sydney to knock Australia off the list, too. The place that I have wanted to visit the most that I've yet to make it to is probably Vienna, Austria? I'd have to think about that one for a while, but that would probably be it.

Where would you urge everyone to visit that they have likely not been? Where in your travels sticks out--good or bad--as being especially memorable?

I actually was really impressed with Seoul when I visited, and Bangkok is a lot of fun... but the place I'd recommend that seems to get a lot of flak is Brazil! I obviously have a very different experience than others since I'm half-Brazilian and fluent in Portuguese, but it really is a wonderful place to visit. I can't wait to go back there next year. My mom lives in Sao Paulo now, so it will be especially fun because I haven't spent a lot of time there. We mostly visited and hung around Rio de Janeiro when I've been there in the past.

Haha, I have had hilariously bad times visiting Canada, that probably sticks out the most. I've been there twice, and both times ended up getting detained at the border because of poor planning on my dad's part. The first time was when I was 11, and we took a day trip to Windsor. My dad had taken my cousin and I up to Lansing for a week or so while he was working, and on Memorial Day, we took a jaunt over to Detroit and crossed the border. The only problem was that my cousin is from Brazil, and we didn't have his green card.... so getting him back into the US was a bit of a kerfuffle. About 5 years later, my dad took me, my brother, and sister to Niagara Falls and we went over to the Canadian side for the day. Once again, we ran into trouble on the way back because my parents are divorced, and my dad neglected to notify my mom that he was taking us out of the country. Soooo, we had to sit and wait for them to get in touch with my mom and the whole thing was a hot mess. Travelling with my dad is simultaneously the source of my deep love of driving and road trips, but it's also a source of a lot of frustration. I could probably write a novel using all the crazy experiences we've had travelling together over the years as the source material.

Fluent in Portuguese and half-Brazilian? Judging by your surname and the fact that she lives in Brazil now, I feel safe in assuming it's your mother who is Brazilian. What does she do in Brazil? How many times have you been? How would you recommend others travel there (cities, sites, landmarks, cuisine, etc.)?

Yep, it's my mom alright. She moved back there about a year ago after she accepted a position with Colgate-Palmolive. She is key member of the finance team for their South American group, which is the largest outside of the North American group. It's a tough job, and she works LONG hours, but I think she really enjoys being back in Brazil and the work she does. The first time I was able to visit was back in '93 when I spent the summer (it was Winter there) with family down in Brazil. My grandmother came back to the US when we came back at the end of summer and has lived here ever since. That was the beginning of what has eventually become a full family emigration from Brazil. One uncle followed suit in '95, an aunt in '99, and the other uncle somewhere around '03.

After that '93 trip, I wouldn't be back until my senior year of high school when we went down there for a month during winter break. I was there for Christmas and NYE, which was absolutely mind-blowing. Look up some videos or photos of the NYE party at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, and you'll be blown away. It's essentially a party on the beach with millions of people and everyone wears white, so it's just a sea of white and there's fireworks, booze, music... it really is amazing. We also spent two weeks at a resort in Salvador which was probably the most beautiful beach I have ever seen in my life.

I wouldn't be back in Brazil until last year when my mom moved back, but I was able to visit her there last year, and I think I'll be making a couple of trips down there this year, and we're talking about doing NYE down there again next year, which I'm really excited about doing.

I honestly don't have a lot of recommendations there in terms of tourist attractions because it's such a different experience as a local. The obvious things, the Sugar Loaf Mountain, the statue of Christ on the mountain overlooking Rio, Copacabana Beach, and Ipanema are all solid attractions. I think between Rio and Sao Paulo, I would prefer Rio, but Sao Paulo is where my mom lives now, so that's where I've been most recently. It's a bigger city, the biggest in South America, I think. The food is absolutely delicious, though, and I can't recommend it highly enough. Feijoada, the rodizio grills, and my absolute favorite non-alcoholic beverage in the world, Guarana, as well as my favorite alcoholic one, the Caipirinha, all hail from Brazil. They have an awesome bar scene in Rio and there have been many nights where I would go out with my cousins who are still there and stayed out dancing all night and literally watched the sun come up while sipping coconut milk fresh from the coconut while an awesome ocean breeze rolls in off the waves. It's wonderful.

What's the best thing you've read in recent memory? Describe it as though you were trying to convince someone else that they should read it.

The best thing, eh? So I'm assuming it doesn't have to be a book, which is good because I haven't read a great book in recent memory. It's probably not a secret that I really loved Grantland. I'm still surly about it being shutdown. I was, and am, a big fan of Brian Phillips. So, it should come as no surprise that the best thing I can remember reading recently was an article that Brian posted towards the final days of Grantland about Andre the Giant. My favorite writing is eloquent, informative, and inviting. As an added bonus, I like reading things that clue me in on things I wasn't aware of before. Brian's piece on Andre is all of these things. It's a great example of what Grantland did really well, and why I will miss it.

We all have a long list of stupid shit that we've done. What's the dumbest thing you've done?

Does it have to be the dumbest thing that actually had a negative outcome? ...because the dumbest thing I've ever done actually turned out to maybe be one of the best decisions I've ever made. At the time though, it seemed pretty dang stupid. The year was 2009. It was summer, and I was in a funk because none of my favorite EDM producers or genres were ever featured here in the Midwest. It turned out though that a massive music festival was taking place in just ONE WEEK in Los Angeles and would feature so many of those producers that I'd been dying to see for years. I made the impromptu decision to go, bought a plane ticket and a ticket for the festival, and flew out there. Alone. Knowing exactly ONE person in all of Los Angeles. Fortunately for me, it ended up being an absolute blast and I've been back to that festival five more times and am planning to go again this summer. I still think back sometimes to how badly it could have gone, and how questionable the series of decisions that led me to be at that festival really was. Yikes.

Describe yourself in three sentences or less.

I'm going to cheat here and just post my Twitter bio because I'm lazy.

"Practically impractical, consistently inconsistent, with 80-grade height. Fueled by about 99% #Chipotle. Love my #Royals, #Chiefs, and #Jayhawks! #TranceFamily"

What Royals Reviewer would you be most interested to meet in person? Why?

Well, I've had the (good?) fortune of meeting several RR-ers already! The vast majority of them have been great people and great experiences. I think, at the risk of pandering, the one I haven't met that I would most like to meet would either be Phil (of course), or Josh. Phil just because he's such an interesting character with so many stories to share and such a place in RR lore, and Josh because I think we'd get along really well, not to mention it would be another Kevin that I can scratch off my list!