Thursday, June 28, 2007

Shakespeare on the Green

070628_191906.jpg 070628_222227.jpg

I had another great night in Omaha attending Shakespeare on the Green for their opening night performance of Love's Labour's Lost, which was a terrific production of the lighthearted comedy with a few modern updates here and there, particularly to the costumes, which I thought was very charming. I believe this was Vivian's sixth year of attending this open air theater, and I was so nice to share in the experience with her. We arrived early and got to share in a spot that Eric had staked out for us, and Viv got us some sandwiches and fruit to share. I brought the drinks. A juggler came around to amuse everyone before the performance as well. I had my cell phone to capture some of the fun, of course, and Eric got a few pictures of the whole lot of us with his camera.

Watching Shakespeare on the Green

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Prairie Cats at the Lauritzen Gardens

070626_192547.jpg 070626_203101.jpg

Viv and I celebrated our five months together by joining some of our Jitterbug friends at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha where the Prairie Cats were playing. It was awfully hot and humid outside, but that didn't keep over a dozen of us from working up a sweat outside dancing to their swinging tunes. We all had a great time, and I was quite happy to give Viv somebody to dance with this time around. Onion-Boy has his side of the story posted here.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Electronics Jinx

I have been having a nearly-endless series of problems with my electronic toys over the last couple of weeks, and it's starting to drive me nuts. Here are a couple:

  • My iPod decided to bite the dust. The drive seemed to have an infinite number of bad sectors and starts clicking irritably at me when I plug it in and try to sync it with iTunes.
  • My Lexar JumpDrive MP3 player stopped working. It won't turn on at all, even with fresh batteries. My spare JumpDrive whines that it's not formatted for FAT16, even though I reformatted it more than once just to make sure.
  • My DVD drive at work decided to stop responding. It won't even eject the tray. The system recognizes the drive, but it just up and quit on me.
  • An external FireWire drive with a bunch of videos decided to die on me. My computer only asks if I want to erase the drive when I plug it in, and my disk utilities (Apple's Disk Utility and DiskWarrior) won't even allow me to try to fix the drive. I took it into a computer shop and they were just as helpless. The drive isn't suffering from a hardware problem and it hasn't experienced any trauma. It simply ceased to be readable for no apparent reason. And no, I don't have a backup.
The worst problem by far, however, has been losing my digital camera and memory card reader. The last time I had them was last Tuesday when I used them to take some pictures at work, and since then they have simply disappeared. I've turned my apartment upside down, checked all around the office, and dug through the garbage in my car looking for them, but they're nowhere to be found. I'm starting to worry that they might have been stolen, in which case I'd be completely out of luck, but I'm still clinging to some faint hope that they're simply hiding in a crevice somewhere I haven't thought to look yet.

In the meantime, all the pictures that will be coming to you on my blog will be through the courtesy of my RAZR phone, at least until it follows the trend of all my other electronic toys and decides to stop working too.

Making up for lost time

070620_220434.jpg 070621_215753.jpg

Viv and I have been making up for lost time this week, and we've been doing things together every day since last Wednesday. We started things off on a date in the Old Market, getting some Mexican food and looking around some of the galleries in the Passageway. Afterwards, we went on a romantic carriage ride through the Old Market and I gave her an emerald I had been saving since the St. Louis Cookout. I was parched and stopped by a Cubby's for something to drink, and Viv naturally found the cheese section and was immediately taken by such unusual varieties as Red Leicester that one wouldn't normally find in a gas station / deli.

On Thursday, Viv came down to Lincoln to have dinner with Mike and Bekah, and we got to show them some swing dance moves on the nice, large wooden floor of their new house. They got to try a little east coast swing on their own, but weren't quite ready for a boogie drop just yet.

Friday was our Jitterbugs' Night Out, as usual, and we both took a role-reversal class where I got to follow and Viv got to lead, which was certainly interesting. This time, Viv could tell me what I'm doing wrong from a whole new perspective! On Saturday, I came back up for a dinner date to the Dundee Dell and then we caught the midnight showing of The Breakfast Club, which was a great movie from the 80s and especially enjoyable to see on the big screen.

070624_151113.jpg 070624_151558.jpg

On Sunday, we went to church together and stopped by Lindy in the Park for another afternoon of dancing together. It was a much better crowd this time around as a countless number old friends seemed to show up, including Liya and multiple Sarahs. Afterward, Viv and I toured the Omaha Arts Festival and checked out some of the many paintings, sculptures, and other things being sold on the streets downtown. It was definitely a fun-filled week, and now I'll just have one day to recover before heading back up to celebrate our five-month anniversary together!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Five years later...

Five years ago, I graduated from college, bought a car, and struck out on my own as a graphic designer in Lincoln. I also got a new drivers' license to go with my new address and my new vehicle. It expires this month, so I had to turn it back in to the DMV and get a new picture taken. Since the last one was taken, I'd lost over 100 pounds, gotten contacts, and grown a goatee, so the old picture was a little out of date. I've been kind of embarrassed by it in the past, but I think I'm going to miss the surprised I looks I got from cashiers and clerks when I had to show them my ID.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Welcome back Viv, and Happy Father's Day

Dear Blog,

How have you been? I hope you've been well. Did you have a good week? I've had a good weekend here in Nebraska. Vivian came back early from her trip out west, and it was so good to see her again. They both took loads of pictures on their trip and I'm hoping we can get them on Flickr or Photobucket soon and share them with you.

IMG_2716.jpg IMG_2707.jpg

To welcome Viv back home, we headed down to her best friend Eric's house to eat chicken and roast some marshmallows with some of our friends. Ben kept falling over in his chair because the ground was still so soft from all our recent rains.

IMG_2722.jpg IMG_2723.jpg

On Sunday, Viv and I went to church together and then stopped by Lindy in the park, which was sadly very uneventful since most of the Jitterbugs were likely off celebrating Father's Day. Speaking of which, afterwards Viv and I went by her parents' house in Bellevue for dinner. Her dad grilled some delicious pork ribs, and Viv and I got to schuck some corn together for dinner. Afterwards, Viv got to cream the three of us at Skipbo and then we looked through some of the photos she took on her trip.

It was a great weekend overall, Blog. I wish you could have been there. Take care of yourself, and we'll see you again soon.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Viv's Trip out West

Vivacious Vivian and her roommate Jenny have been on a week-long trip touring the American west this week, and you can read some of her updates in her blog this week. Viv just gave me a call from this exact spot and left me a voice mail message as she walked across four different states.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

St. Louis Cookout: Day 4

IMG_2659.jpg IMG_2670.jpg

The cookout is finally winding down as everybody gets packed up, checked out, and ready to head back home. After many hugs and long goodbyes down at the hotel after breakfast, the rest of us went to the Kolters' house to hangout, get some pictures in the shower, and watch some Batman cartoons. A little later, we packed our things up again and head out to the Sunrise cafe for one last greasy lunch together. We did plenty of drawing and even a "napkin jam" as we waited for our food, and then we all shuttled off to the airport to make our way back home once again.

It was an amazing weekend seeing a bunch of old friends, a couple new ones, and getting reconnected to this web comic community that I'd been missing for the last couple of months. It was great seeing you guys again, and I can't wait to see you all next year (or hopefully sooner!)

Saturday, June 9, 2007

St. Louis Cookout: Day 3

IMG_2541.jpg IMG_2551.jpg

The main event is finally here! The hotel catered our event this year with loads of hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, coleslaw, and baked beans for our "cookout." Members also brough tin more chips and soda than we could possibly consume, as well as salsa, fudge, and loads of rather potent candy from across the Atlantic courtesy of Hogan. We watched a couple of the meetup videos I had brought from our previous get-togethers in St. Louis and Toronto, and afterwards we played several rounds of Smash Brothers, Lego Star Wars, and had some sword fights with foam bats.

IMG_2584 IMG_2586.jpg

Of course, we also had to get a giant group picture of the nearly fifty different people we got to show up for the event. Then once the picture was done everybody piled on K-Dawg.

IMG_2577.jpg IMG_2602.jpg

A great time was had by all. Legostar and his girlfriend Amanda/Ajoy got to build their dream home (out of Legos), and our favorite camwhores Tynan and Laemkral got to pose for us all. Of course, we also had other "special moments" including the kiss between RKolter and Vorticus, but we'll spare you the pictures and video from that episode.

Friday, June 8, 2007

St. Louis Cookout: Day 2

IMG_2459.jpg IMG_2484.jpg

We've had another busy day here in St. Louis. Vorticus started off giving signature backrubs during breakfast, and then eight of us decided to go downtown to see the Arch.

IMG_2476.jpg IMG_2477.jpg

I had been up inside the arch once before when I was a kid, but this was a first-time visit for most of the members of our group. The crowds were much thinner than the last time I was here, and we got our tickets and rode to the top fairly quickly.

IMG_2467.jpg IMG_2468.jpg

Down underneath the arch, we had some fun trying to get pictures of both us and the monument at the same time.

IMG_2482.jpg IMG_2491.jpg

After seeing the arch, we stopped by a cafe downtown to get some lunch. We had to stop by a few of the Internet kiosks to let a few of us check in online at the forums. It was quite hilarious to see how the lot of us, despite traveling from all over the country to meet-up in person in St. Louis, drove right back into our online worlds.

Back at the hotel, Dave managed to injure himself at the pool by kicking the ladder. It required a trip to the hospital to get 19 stitches for his foot. He also had a hairline fracture on one of his toes.

IMG_2504.jpg IMG_2519.jpg

That evening, we gathered our funds and ordered a couple dozen pizzas for the group. Then Legostar gave a bunch of us a swing dance lesson at eight o'clock. There's nothing quite like being able to go swing dancing on a Friday night with a bunch of my buddies from the online world. Then Lego and his girlfriend Amanda demonstrated a few other dances for us, including Lindy Hop, Balboa, and the Masochism Tango.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

St. Louis Cookout: Day 1

IMG_2367.jpg IMG_2394.jpg

I'm spending a four-day weekend in St. Louis meeting up with around fifty different web comic friends from Comic Genesis. The hotel has free wireless Internet access, but that doesn't include access to e-mail, so unfortunately I won't be able to respond to anybody who e-mails me until I'm back in Nebraska. I am able, however, to share pictures of the antics happening here, and I'll be loading pictures gradually into my Flickr account as the fun unfolds.

I flew down this afternoon and had a late lunch with everybody at the Sunrise cafe, which was the same little place we'd eaten before we all left last year. Then we returned to the hotel to crash in Mr. and Mrs. Kolter's room for some sketching and other stuff as the rest of the group started to arrive.

IMG_2426.jpg IMG_2455.jpg

That evening, Sonic was giving away free root beer floats, so we all drove down to get some at the drive-in. I took off with Fading Aura afterwards to get some frozen custard from Ted Drewes, a landmark place here in St. Louis that has been around since 1930 or so.

Saturday, June 2, 2007


Viv has been feeling better since last week, but please keep her in your thoughts and prayers over the next week as she prepares to go on a trip out west with her roommate Jenny. Drop her an encouraging note on her blog and let her know you're thinking of her, because I know it helps.

We've had another fun-filled weekend in Omaha, the highlight of which was the Junetoberfest cookout held at the "The Lazy Onion Ranch" courtesy of our friend Eric / "Onion Boy." Both Cliff and I had our cameras out and were taking pictures of as many of the antics as we could while we were there.

IMG_2282.jpg IMG_2273.jpg

No cookout would be complete without a good water balloon fight! The super-resilient balloons Eric bought proved to be too durable for casual combat, however, and tended to bounce off our opponents before bursting on the ground. Carol kept of stocked with a steady supply of projectiles. Eric also got a slip 'n slide for more water fun, but it managed to break after just two or three turns.

IMG_2303.jpg IMG_2309.jpg

As soon as we got dried off, it started to rain! I brought out my 'brolly and Viv held it over Carol as she grilled the meat. As soon as the rain let up, we were treated to the musical talents of Erin and Micah as they played us a few songs of their guitars. Eric also joined in providing vocals for a song with Micah that she had written for them to sing together for us.

IMG_2319.jpg IMG_2297.jpg

No party would be complete without a little karaoke, so Takeshi took the microphone with Mac the Knife, and Eric and Viv took after Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald with "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off." We have some great musical talent in the Omaha Jitterbugs!

IMG_2339.jpg IMG_2334.jpg

As the evening wound down, we lit up a campfire to toast some marshmallows. Viv and Ben both broke out their cell phones to see if we could download a couple ghost stories via Google.

Video: My highlight reel of the day
Pictures: Mine and Cliff's