This past weekend I set out to celebrate the beginning of fall in grand style. I publicly arranged an ambitious weekend itinerary, and am incredibly proud to announce that I succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.

Fashion first (original goal)

This was the easiest to accomplish. My entire wardrobe already contained an exultant symphony of browns and oranges. My attire reflected the fall season so acutely that I was often mistaken for a tree.

Common exchange:
Stranger: Hey, are you a tree?
Me: No, but I’d like you to leaf.

My play on words was greeted with endless laughter by everyone I encountered. It was so well received that I decided to write it down and mail it to the chuckle fuckles at Fox & Friends. It’s that damned good.

Leaf peeping (original goal)

I stalked a breath-taking specimen of a tree for about eight hours before finally settling upon the money shot. The terrain was unforgiving, and the weather crisp, but I persevered — you have to sacrifice for art. I bled until my soul was dry and in return I birthed a priceless photo that will never be replicated. I know for a fact that it will never be replicated because the tree was discarded into a dumpster shortly after becoming an ageless captive of my lens. Side lesson: Life’s short, trees.

Going bananas over apples (original goal)

I toiled over a hot oven in a poorly ventilated kitchen for an entire day in order to bake two exquisite apple pies. Did anyone in my household care about my efforts to bring some tasteful happiness to their useless lives? No. They all believe that apple pies grow on trees and that I’m some sort of apple pie fairy that picks them off and delivers them onto their plates. People are terrible.

Anyway, I guess the journey is its own reward, and I feel like I just won the Stanley Cup of journeying/baking apple pies.

King of football (original goal)

Thanks to a generous invitation from superfan/season ticket holder “P”, I attended Sunday’s Los Angeles Chargers game at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Even though I’m not a fan of either team, this was easily the most enjoyable NFL experience I’ve ever had. The smaller stadium that normally plays host to MLS matches provided an incredibly intimate atmosphere in which to watch live football. Unlike games at bigger stadiums where the players look small and the action is indiscernible, this felt as though you were practically on top of the field. In fact, you’re so close to the action that you can actually see Phillip Rivers get red-faced angry over seemingly nothing on every play.

The stadium felt mostly full even though it wasn’t at capacity. A majority of the seats are shaded so you’re not roasting in the insanely hot Southern California sun. There were no Raider fans around so the environment was safe and free of felony assaults.

There was a decent selection of typical stadium food available. Lines were surprisingly short at both food and booze stations. I went with my gameday usual — nachos (tortilla chips and a cup of nacho cheese) and a Diet Coke. And as usual, the cheese to chips ratio was abominable, a disease that plagues every stadium across the country. You’re handed a Costco sized bucket of chips and a thimble of nacho cheese. Somewhere in our nation’s history, nacho cheese at ball games became more valuable than gold bullion, and no one can explain why. It’s essentially just melted Velveeta. What the hell are you hoarding it for, stadiums of America? You literally give us only enough cheese to cover 3-5 chips. What on earth do I do with all of the leftover chips? If there’s ever a fan riot, all of those leftover chips will probably be used like ninja stars, and nearby ERs will be flooded with horrendous tortilla-based stab wounds (source: my dream journal). This is a dormant epidemic of violence waiting to erupt, and no one wants to talk about it. I’m tired of being the only one who brings this up.

BONUS: I also managed to check off Plan C, which was watching the fall science fiction blockbuster, “mother!” I won’t go into details about the movie, in case you choose to see it for yourself. Let’s just say that sometime deep into the film I started to take inventory of poor life choices that I made in the past that may have landed me in that movie theater at that moment. I concluded that purchasing a ticket to “mother!” a couple of hours earlier was the poor life choice that I made in the past that landed me in that theater at that moment. That’s some epiphanastic self-profiling right there.

Pumpkin spice everything (original goal)

This was the most challenging, and honestly, the one that almost killed me. It started nicely enough. Pumpkin spiced breakfast. Pumpkin spiced nachos. Pumpkin spiced sushi.

But then things started to get out of hand. I began putting a dash here and there on things where it didn’t belong — for example, on envelopes I was licking to seal, or around the rim of a coach’s whistle. Sometime during the weekend I even threw a couple of pounds into a jacuzzi in order to partake in a pumpkin spiced bath. Then I started to just straight up pour some onto the back of my hand and lick it clean like a dog in withdrawal.

Come Sunday night I hit the spice world equivalent of rock bottom. The last thing I clearly remember was snorting some pretty strong rails of pumpkin spice off a baking sheet with someone I hooked up with at Cinnabon. I awoke this morning with a raging sugar hangover, spotty memories, and covered in confectioners sugar. I’m having brief flashbacks of standing atop a mountain of baked goods and screaming, “I AM FOREVER!!!” But this might well have been a fever dream.

Don’t judge me, I used to be like you.