The Girl Who Ate Everything

Blogging about food and whatever since 2004.

When You Turn 23, You Get Rickrolled and A Giant Manatee

[Warning: THERE IS NO BIRTHDAY FOOD IN THIS ENTRY. That will come later. Maybe October at the rate I'm going. On the bright side, I'm 2/3rds of the way done with a real entry about food. That should appear soon.]

Last Wednesday was my 23rd birthday. It was pretty much like any other work day, aside from the breakfast at Shopsins Ed invited me to and the pile of apple cider doughnuts Erin bestowed upon me (people like feeding me; I can't refuse!). One moment I'm taking photos of food by the window of the Serious Eats office, the next I'm being whisked to the center of the room by a tall, male stranger wearing a tan trench coat.

And then he breaks into song. But not just any song.

WUT! Raphael took this photo. He's crazy like that.

"Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley. See, the trench coat isn't creepy; it's part of the authenticity of being Rickrolled. As my coworkers stared and laughed (and took photos...and maybe a video), a smile spread across my reddening face and stuck there for a few uncomfortable minutes until he went into the second verse, at which point the smile froze into something conveying both happiness and pure horror. "This song feels much longer than I thought it was..."

I was also repeating, "OMG WHAT IS GOING ON WHO SENT ME THIS?" over and over in my head.

And then I found out: it was from my Norwegian friends. Morten, Kåre, and Petter, the weegie trio that won't stop terrorizing the boppy even from across the Atlantic (my reasoning: Norway was boring that day). ;) Of course, I loved it. They threw me some red herrings that morning, but even if they hadn't I still would've though, "WTF IS GOING ONNN WUUUT." No one internally reacts to a Rickroll in an eloquent manner, do they?

need a snack
Kåre and Morten during our stay in Bologna. Unfortunately, no Petter, who I have yet to meet!

I applaud Morten, Kåre, and Petter for their group effort. They are truly three very strange (in the harmless sense), funny, and caring people with too much Norwegian Krone to toss around.

But there's more.

The Giant Manatee

This is not the giant manatee; it's a photo my brother took for my birthday. Aw.

When you tell people that all you want for your birthday is a giant plush manatee, you don't actually expect them to get you a giant plush manatee. But then one crazy person—let's call her Lee Anne—actually thinks, "Hey, I will get Robyn a manatee; a four-foot long manatee!" And then she'll recruit people on the intarwubs to donate to the Giant Manatee pool and...

Another gem from Raphael! And yes, this is me and the manatee.




Oh, so I didn't really tell you the story. This is how it goes:

Yesterday afternoon. I am sitting at my desk. Raphael comes over with a huge package

Raphael: You have a package.

Me: Huh?

Raphael: It's addressed to you.

Me: [Stares at label; yes, it is for me] Huh? ...Do you know what this is?

Raphael: Mebbe.

Me: [Confused, but excited. Reaches for scissors.]

Raphael: [Takes photos.]

Me: [Sees something fuzzy and gray pop out of the box.] AhhhhHHHHhHHHHH!! [Pulls out rest of gray fuzzy something.] AHHHHHH!!!!@#@!#!@#!@ [Head explodes. Face looks like this for the next five minutes: >_<]

Raphael: [Takes photos.]

Me, Lee Anne, and a giant chicken from our little trip to Sedona.

Lee Anne is handing over the names of ALL PARTIES thank you to anyone who took part in Manatee Pool 2008 (and anyone who would've wanted to, had you known about it). It was incredible, seeing that big fat manatee tail and flailing those huge nubs. Terrorizing my coworkers. I love it. I love it so much. And since I'll probably never have real children, I will cherish Giant Manatee forever.

So for my 23rd birthday, as far as non-food things go (because many people were involved in fooding things and they are not to be forgotten!), I got Rickrolled and became the proud mama of a giant plush manatee that could crush a baby. And even if you didn't send me a live Rickroll or bless me with giant plush toys, you still haz my luv.

This birthday is going down in history. Thank you for caring. :)

[Also, if you're wondering how I got the manatee home, I haven't yet. Because I don't know how to. I feel like a series of "Giant Manatee Rides the Subway" photos is in order.]


Marvo / September 3, 2008 2:06 AM

At first, I thought the manatee was farting. Happy Belated Birthday! The video of you getting Rickrolled was classic.

Mahar / September 3, 2008 2:40 AM

Happy birthday Robyn! I knew about the manatee---when I checked my mail 4 days too late. Crap.

Still, looks like you had a good one!


LishyWishy / September 3, 2008 5:59 AM

I've been a silent reader for .... eh... a long time now! (Your blog is awesomous!!)
Anyho, I decided to speak up today to wish you
Happy Birthday!!

Have you given the manatee a name yet? =]

Ulla / September 3, 2008 9:14 AM

I can not believe you are only 23! You are so talented! You are going to go far! I love your blog! Keep it up girl!

Gillian / September 3, 2008 9:55 AM

For my 23rd birthday I asked for Veuve Cliquot and got a dotty teapot. After your success I plan on asking for the elusive perfect 2nd hand army coat which'll fit without drowning me.

You have proven that dreams can come true!

p.s. As I'm based in the UK for some reason I always heard your voice in my head in a British Northern accent. Whilst being a blatant fact, you having an American accent came as quite a shock.

Happy belated birthday!

Yvo / September 3, 2008 11:55 AM

Yay! Happy birthday! Glad you liked the manatee! And holy crap you're 23... I feel olllllllllld~! And you eat so much better than I do... jealousy is rearing its ugly old head! Hehe :)

plume / September 3, 2008 12:06 PM

Happy birthday Robyn!

I wanted to tell tou that I got to Paris for a week of holliday and I finaly got to taste Ladurée and Pierre Hermé Macarons (and many other things).
I liked the Hermé best.

roboppy / September 3, 2008 3:41 PM


Susan: Thanks!

Marvo: Ohh, that's what that is? Manatee farts. ...Makes sense. He farts a lot.

Mahar: It's the thought that counts. ;) U WANTED ME TO HAVE A MANATEE!!

Julie: That can be a t-shirt: I Survived the Rickroll. I BARELY survived!

Mel: Thanks!

LishyWishy: Thanks for delurking. :D As for a name..nope, not yet. I'm partial towards "Giant Manatee." Or maybe "Squeaky."

Amy: Thanks! YESSSSsss I can't wait to take photos, although it should be later at night with less

Ulla: Thanks! At first I thought your message said that I was going to fart. So you might have to take back your statement...;) Juuust kidding!...kind of!...

Gillian: Keep on dreaming. That's my new motto. ...Not really...but I'm sure it's someone's motto.

I wish I had a British accent. I FAIL!

Nick: OMG I AM ENJOYING SO MUCH! I hope you get to meet him someday. Hehehehee.

Eskay: Ahh I FEEL SO OLD.

Yvo: Thanks for bringing me manatee happiness! You should meet him someday! I should arrange a manatee party.

plume: Thanks! And I'm glad to hear you approve of the Pierre Herme is the best. :)

Danny: And it came from a website called! I must see what other big stuffed animal treasures it holds..

shukumei: Thanks! Manatee is powered by awesome.

Angeline / September 3, 2008 5:25 PM

Conan O'brien has a feature dedicated to a giant manatee (probably NSFW, not porn or anything though). If you click my name you can see it.

My favourite is Mantee Spears 1.

Can't wait for the birthday fooding post!

Morten / September 3, 2008 8:41 PM

I'm glad I contributed to a memorable birthday, which is pretty much how Kåre described his idea of the Rickroll (- That ought to be memorable, don't you think).

Now all we have to do is figure out a way to improve on this for your next birthday...

Dee / September 3, 2008 8:58 PM

Ohhh, 23 so young!! I remember my 23rd to be the best year of my life!! So far :) Happy birthday Robyn! Im heading to NYC next month, so I will once again browse through your archives- and that of Seriouseats for your awesome recommendations :)

fannio / September 4, 2008 1:01 AM


I like the name "Squeaky." It's basically the perfect name for a giant plush manatee. Basically perfect. Happy squeaktastic belated birthday, Robyn!!

Tina / September 4, 2008 6:07 AM

Happy belated birthday! I'm glad you LUV the manatee! :D

I didn't know it squeaks but it's an awfully cute feature. [two thumbs up] Probably I should stop by tomorrow at SE and meet your fairly new, delivered child. LOL.

doll / September 4, 2008 10:13 AM

Oh wow Robyn, happy 23rd! We're the same age now! Have lotsa cake for me ;)

Don't stop blogging dear, yours is my absolute fav! =D

Emily / September 4, 2008 12:16 PM

This sounds like such a perfect birthday, from the Rickrolling to the manatees (and you haven't even talked about the food yet! haha). I didn't even know such giant manatee plushies existed... I've had a thing for manatees since I did this huge project on them back in like 2nd grade, so now it looks like I gotta be on the hunt for one too!


April / September 4, 2008 6:54 PM

Robyn, you don't know me but I read your blog all the time...all the way from Honolulu no less! Found you through "A Passion For Food", though I don't know Kathy either. Anyway, I think you're swell so I wanted to wish you a "Happy Birthday"...or if it's late, just a "Happy Day"! Maybe one day our paths will cross but until then I'll keep on reading!

roboppy / September 4, 2008 6:59 PM

Angeline: HAHAA OH MY GOD I love Conan! I vaguely remember hearing about this site but never visited. What a fool I was.

Morten: Next year...somehow trick me into going to Cincinnati.

Molly: ...oh my god...I knew I was forgetting something! ;_; NO GELATO! OH CRAP!!

Dee: I hope this year is awesome! Annnd I hope you have a good time in NYC. So much to little time.

Maya: Thanks! There are lots of crazies out there; I'm sure you can find em!

Fannio: SQUEAK SQUEAK SQUEAK! It does work. Thanks. :D

KnittyOtter: I HAZ A HUGGLE, thanks!

You should totally rickroll someone. A good life goal, eh?

Elizabeth: Thanks!

Tina: The squeak was such a good surprise. ;) It speaks!

Doll: Thanks! I need more cake.

Christina: Thanks!

Emily: OMG, manatees make life COMPLETE! You should get one. :D

Brock: Thanks! Food and fun...comin soon as I'm not lazy anymore.

Jenni: Plush toys are enough to complete a birthday. Or ANY day. I will hug my manatee now.

April: Happy day works too, thanks! ;) I might visit Honolulu next year (with Kathy!) so perhaps our paths will cross. With SHAVE ICE.

bionicgrrrl / September 4, 2008 8:41 PM

i think my friends would have gotten me a stripper, but looking at "your" creepy rickroll guy, i don't know what's worse! your friends are hilarious.

happy birfday!

Kawaii-Ne / September 4, 2008 9:19 PM

Hi Robyn, like some of the others, ive just come out of the woodwork to wish you a happy (belated) birthday =] I really do enjoy reading ur blog but u cant think of how frustrating it is to read about ur awesome fooding experiences to know that i dont have the same opportunities here in Australia (i live in a rural city) >_

Angeline / September 4, 2008 10:10 PM

I like to think the Rickroll guy (Rickroller?) used to have a really lucrative career, perhaps in advertising and gave it all up to pursue his passion for Rick Astley.

That or you were in fact Rickrolled by Rick Astley himself.

Elles / September 5, 2008 1:19 AM

HEY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! I actually just turned 23 today sept. 5th as I am writing this! coincidence... I think not !!

Peggi / September 5, 2008 3:53 AM

Happy Birthday Robyn! If I can haul a fully-dressed stuffed koala from Build-a-bear around Sea-Tac after missing my flight home and spending 5 hours in the bars waiting to catch a flight out, then you can take manatee home :) - hopefully far more sober than I was!!!

roboppy / September 5, 2008 10:24 PM


Kawaii-Ne: Thanks for de-lurking! But too bad about rural Australia...;_; I hope I can bring you the occasional slice of tasty food through THE INTERNET.

Angeline: When you have a passion, you can accomplish...anything.

Elles: Happy birthday to you too!

Peggi: Oh, it'd be so much easier if I were drunkzorz.

Clare: Thanks! My manatee thanks you too. ..(squeak)

junglegirl808: OH MY GOD HE WALKS GENTLY UPON THE EARTH..this is true. He is so gently. aww. AWW OH GOD MANATEES!!!

Kristen / September 6, 2008 12:20 AM

Hi Robyn! Like many others I have been lurking for a long time, but just coming out of the woodwork now. I don't at all remember how I found your blog, but I thoroughly enjoy reading it :)


I'm from Minnesota, so if you ever want to visit the MN State Fair (the ultimate in deliciousness on a stick...and not on a stick) I can give you some pointers, or even show you around :D

Sue / September 6, 2008 3:14 AM

Happy Belated! YAY SQUEAKY haha, I love the drawings on your whiteboard in the photo of manatee hugging :D

Eunice / September 6, 2008 11:02 AM

I'm very late but better late than never. Haaaappppy belated birthday, Robyn!!! *virtual hug* And what a wonderful huggable sqeakable gift of a manatee you've got. :D

Kathryn / September 6, 2008 5:01 PM

I'm so sad that I didn't get to contribute to the happiness-inducing manatee. BUT I'm glad that you enjoyed it so much. =) Happy Birthday!!

roboppy / September 8, 2008 6:42 PM

Kristen: Whyyy I would LOVE to visit the Minnesota State Fair! I want to gorge on things on sticks! :) Alas, I know nothing else about your state besides what I've seen from the Mighty Ducks movies.

Sue: Thanks! The drawings on my whiteboard (not all done by me, although...mostly) give our office that certain spirit of insanity.

Eunice: Thanks! Manatee squeaks hello!

J F: But he tried so hard to be Rick Astley..that's what counts!

Kathryn: I feel your manatee-giving spirit. IT'S COOL!!

ila: Thanks! I have endless fun with MANATEE.

Kate / September 10, 2008 7:29 PM

Happy way belated birthday! I have been slacking on my blog reading haha. Where exactly do you buy a gigantic manatee...:)

SuperChomp / September 12, 2008 9:46 AM

Birthday awesomeness! Surprise manatees must be the best kind of manatees, ne? Glad to hear you had a fun day ^^

Robbin / April 8, 2010 1:21 PM

My name is Robbin and I happen to be known for my love of all things manatee. I think there's something in our name that causes this!

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