Thursday, May 31, 2007

Get Well, Viv!

For all of you who know Vivacious Vivian, she's been feeling sick for the last couple of days and she had to take half a day off from work today to stay home and rest up. She's made a post on her blog about it, so be sure to drop by and tell her to "get well soon!"

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day Weekend and the B-52s

It was a beautiful Memorial Day weekend here in Nebraska, the perfect time for picnics or enjoying the great outdoors. I spent most of my time in Omaha, predictably, enjoying the nice weather with Vivian and some of our mutual friends.

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On Saturday, after a hearty breakfast of bacon and egg burritos, we spent the afternoon with a couple of Vivian's co-workers and their families at a cabin in a beautiful little recreation area near the Platte river. We got to walk through some lush green forests and check out some of the monster catfish living in the river and in a nearby lake. We also set up a bonfire with deadwood, grass, and boxes of Natty Ice, and we roasted some milk jugs to hear the strange chirping sounds they made as they boiled down to a stub. I got plenty of pictures and video to share, of course.

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After an enormous dinner of smoked turkey and beef brisket, Viv and I went up to Papillion for a free B-52s concert to celebrate the opening of the Shadow Lake mall! I've been a fan of the B-52s for years, and there's nothing quite like doing the Lindy Hop to Love Shack. Our friends Dan and Sara even got to be on TV as the camera crew from channel 3 spotted them dancing and decided to grab a few minutes of it for the ten o'clock news.

Playing Outburst Corey and Ben shrinkwrap John's car

After the concert, we drove back up to west Omaha to visit our friend Hugh for his housewarming party. We got to stuff ourselves even further with chips, veggies, and Jenny's watermelon cake. Some of the guys decided to arm wrestle downstairs while the girls played Outburst. Then Corey and Ben decided to shrinkwrap Jon's car.

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On Sunday, I got to go to church with Vivian at the Bellevue Christian Center. Afterwards, we grabbed lunch from the Baker's deli to eat down by the Gene Leahy mall for yet another afternoon of Lindy in the Park. Viv and Dean got to take turns leading each other, which was very cute to see. We got ice cream again from Ted and Wally's (the green tea ice cream had real tea leaves in it!) to cool off after the dance, and then Viv and joined Terra Nova for a picnic in Elmwood park that evening to say goodbye to the group for one last time.

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On Monday, I got to make Vivian a breakfast burrito before she and Jenny headed out for a long day of bike riding. Soon I hope to acquire my own bike so I can join them next time. I spent the rest of the day with my brother Nathan as we munched on Subway sandwiches and watched GalaxyQuest. We got a bit of rain during the day and toward evening there was a beautiful rainbow overhead afterwards. It was a touching little end to a very lovely weekend!

Of course, no weekend this big would be complete without a couple home movies, courtesy of my little Canon Powershot:

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Pick the spam!


Viv won a "spam bank" at the 80s party last Friday, and that inspired a game this morning: "Pick the Spam!" Read the following subject lines of actual "spam" e-mail messages I received today and try to determine which kind of spam they are! Here are your choices:

  1. Drug pusher (Viagra! Cialis! All spelled with 1337 garbage to try to fool your spam filter!)
  2. "Pump and dump" stock scam (those four-letter words on the "pink sheets" assured
    to drop like a rock once you buy them!)

Are you ready? Here we go!

  1. A horner which hanceville
  2. ALERT: to excellent
  3. As kewadin between frenchville
  4. do whichever is paid
  5. Finally found this here
  6. her mernard on milanville
  7. Might be great to us
  8. REPLY ASAP: qhuman
  9. To each marks
  10. URGENT: Or concept


How did you do? Check your answers below:
1: b, 2: a, 3: b, 4: b, 5: a, 6: b, 7: a, 8: a, 9: b, 10: a.

Monday, May 21, 2007

80s Night and the Secret Bridges


It's been another fun-filled weekend out here in Nebraska. On Friday, the Jitterbugs had an 80s themed dance for Jitterbugs Night Out. Viv, Jenny, and I went shopping at some thrift stores last week for vintage clothes, and a bunch of us were all decked out in our totally radical outfits for the dance. Viv won first place for her outfit and got a coveted Spam Bank as her prize!

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On Saturday, Viv came down to Lincoln for an afternoon lunch at the Secret Bridges. Around two years ago, I was playing with Google Maps and followed a route through Lincoln where some railway tracks used to run. I found a spot in Wilderness Park where there were a few old train bridges, so I walked own there one day to explore. The beautiful old forest and the creek running underneath the bridge were so beautiful that I decided to draw a comic about them. I finally got to show Viv the same spot on Saturday. In the picture on the right, she's walking up on the mound where the train tracks used to run through the forest, and on the left you can see the bridge in the background as we sat to have lunch in a small grassy clearing.

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On Sunday we had another busy dance down at Lindy in the Park. I got plenty of cool pictures. Afterwards, a couple of us got to run down to Ted and Wally's for ice cream, and then Vivian and went home to shower before heading off to the last-ever Sunday night service for Terra Nova.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Jim's Birthday Bash!

A bunch of us gathered in Papillion yesterday to celebrate our friend Jim's birthday at the Papio Fun Park. It was a great time, and I got to feel like a little kid again with all the cool stuff they had for us to do there.

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We got to have a race in some go carts to start the evening off. My 6'2" frame was crammed into a tiny red car meant mostly for little kids, so I wound up looking a bit silly and lagging behind for most of the race. Afterward, we got to play some Laser Tag and worked off some of that sugar rush we got from all the cake.

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And speaking of cake, we had two for our dear friend, Jim. Naturally, though, eating it wasn't nearly as much fun as using it as a deadly weapon against everyone we could find. I had to defend Viv as Olin advanced on her with a fistful of chocolate cake, but it was all in good fun. We probably got more cake on our clothes and the ground that a party full of five-year-olds. There's nothing quite that to make you feel like a kid again! If the good folks at the Papio Fun Center are crazy enough to have us back, I'm going to have to try the miniature golf, batting cages, and some of the other activities they have here.

Jim's birthday group photo

Happy Birthday, Jim!

Video Update!
I filled up my entire 1 GB memory card with pictures and some video of our antics on Wednesday night. I put a few choice clips up on YouTube for your amusement:

Monday, May 14, 2007

Lindy in the Park

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We aren't even halfway through May yet, but it sure feels like summer. I took Viv on a date last week while the weather was perfect, eating outside and walking along the river by the Gene Leahy mall. On Sunday, I got to experience Lindy in the Park, a free dance hosted by the Omaha Jitterbugs every Sunday on the Gene Leahy mall. We got to dance outside for three hours as the temperature started pushing 90 degrees. We had a strong breeze the whole time, so I didn't get nearly as drenched as I do on Friday nights at the Eagle's Lodge.

It felt great to have a dance right outside in the fresh air, and I got plenty of pictures of all the fun we had. I also have some video!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Geek-out weekend

Me and Margot Kidder! Me and my comic book!

As some of you may have heard, this weekend was Free Comic Book Day, and a book I helped put together was available at comic book shops across the country. I headed up to Omaha with my brother, Nathan, and we joined Vivian to crash a couple comic book shops and check it out. They were all sold out at one shop, but at the second one we visited they had one copy left on the shelf that I could grab and show off for the camera. I also met Margot Kidder, best known for playing Lois Lane in the Superman movies. I got her to autograph my DVD and bought an autographed picture of her for Viv. I also asked if she'd seen the new Richard Donner cut of Superman 2, and she said she loved it, and it was much better than the one by that "other" director.

After the comic shops, Nathan, Viv and I went down to Bellevue to join Ben, our friend from the Jitterbugs, and watch Spiderman 3. It was pretty good and had a significantly different feel from the previous Spiderman movies, but I'll wait a while before passing final judgment. After the movie, the four of us joined Eric "Onion-Boy" to stuff ourselves with Mexican food at La Mesa to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

Playing D&D Playing D&D

After dinner, we crashed at Eric's place for an impromptu game of D&D. Since Nathan and I had never really played before, we didn't tend to argue too much during character creation and we got the game started up in a relatively short period of 90 minutes. It was a pretty fun time. My character was a halfling rogue with a whole lot of dexterity and would have come in very useful if we needed to pick locks or disarm traps. Unfortunately, we were mostly killing dire rats, wolves, goblins, and an earth elemental for the entire campaign, so Nathan's hack and slash barbarian proved to me a bit more useful (at least when he wasn't trying to mount and ride the wolf, which only wound up getting some amazingly unlucky damage in some very private regions).

We drove on home an hour or two after midnight in the middle of a torrential downpour. A few of the streets in Bellevue were flooded, but we made it. At least it wasn't quite as trecherous as the weekends of snow we'd suffered through last year.