Monthly Archives: October 2010

Vala’s and Lisa’s 50th

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With fall well underway, and only a week or so left in October, it was high time for a trip to Vala’s Pumpkin Patch with a bunch of our mutual friends. The weather was just about perfect — sunny and cool with nary a trace of the “80% chance of rain” the forecasters had been warning us about. As such, there was plenty of room for us to act like crazy kids bouncing on orange trampolines. We also got to ride around on pedal carts, get lost in a corn maze, wander through the obligatory haunted house, and gorge on succotash without waiting around in line. It was a terrific time, and we got to see just about everything we wanted (except for a surprise appearance by The Godfather).

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That evening we celebrated our friend Lisa’s 50th birthday party at the Bancroft Market / Reception Hall in south downtown Omaha. Our Jitterbug and Classical Music disc jockey Ben Rasmussen appeared with his band Insignificant Other and covered a variety of 60s and 70s songs for our dancing enjoyment. I poured a couple White Russians for everyone and got stuffed on nachos, cake, and other hors d’eourves over at the snack table. A few hours of dancing wasn’t nearly enough time to burn it all off, but we still had a great time hanging out and being silly under nearly midnight.

Political Jabbing

P1000846 It’s election season once again, and I decided to drop by Bellevue University to check out a debate between 2nd District Congressman Lee Terry and his would-be opponent, Tom White. I went in with an open mind, already more or less decided on my vote, but I was somewhat disappointed when the “debate” quickly turned into an exchange of personal attacks. To be specific, all Tom White seemed to want to talk about was Lee Terry’s alleged conversation with a female lobbyist, much to the irritation of his wife in the front row and most of the audience. I’d much rather hear from each candidate what they’d do differently in Washington instead of why I shouldn’t vote for the other guy.

I have to admit one thing about Lee Terry — he’s awfully easy to run into in Omaha. He regularly holds coffees with Lee at local restaurants and hosts town hall meetings, which makes it easy for noisy constituents to come and complain to him about things. The one moment that stands out to me most, however, was when I bumped into him at Deitz music shop down on Cornhusker while doing some Christmas shopping. There’s something that makes you feel quite warm and fuzzy to know you can just run into your own congressman like any other human being, that he’s not walled off in some fortress of solitude back in Washington. He was buying his son a guitar for Christmas, so I didn’t do much other than shake his hand and say hello, but it felt good to know I could tell him what was on my mind as well.

Now if only I could bump into Ben Nelson the same way.

Pizza and a Costume Party

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We can had a couple select birthdays to celebrate last week. The first was on Thursday for Jon Paper, who threw a fairly impromptu dinner party down at Old Chicago in Bellevue. It was a great excuse to see a couple long lost friends and gorge on some giant deep dish pizza together.

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On Saturday, we celebrated our friend Jenny’s 30th birthday party in style — at our house! For the last couple of years, our mutual friend Hugh has been gracious enough to host Jenny’s birthday parties, but this year we gave him a break to worry about getting married and offered to have Jenny’s party at our house down in Bellevue.

As usual, it was a costumed affair, with many creative entries from our collection of crazy friends. Among the highlights were Lisa as her second childhood, Eric as a cop from Reno 911 (with extremely short shorts), Jon as God’s gift to women, Rick as a worm-ridden zombie, Frank as a big chicken, Merinda as a creepy doll, and Jenny with a Cookie Monster party dress. Vivian’s trying to keep her costume a surprise until this weekend. I came as Inigo Montoya, complete with long, curly tresses, rapier, and name tag. We hung around into the wee hours of “stupid o’clock” dancing and playing with balloons in the basement. Kevin also commented on the “crouching cauliflower, hidden broccoli” in the veggie tray, a phrase destined to become a T-shirt. (I still don’t get it.)

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We had plenty of food and drinks to go around, and we got to burn off most of them on the dance floor in our basement. It was the first time we got to use the tiled portion of our basement for any serious dancing, but it worked out pretty well, especially thanks to Dan Wondra’s Tailgater sound system. Of course, our dancing including a performance of Thriller out on the driveway, which seemed to go over pretty well.

Murder Mystery

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Last Saturday Night, Vivian and I had the chance to participate in a Murder Mystery party hosted by our mutual friend Kaleb. He hosts an elaborate murder mystery party every year in October, so we were quite happy to be invited. The theme of this year’s party was based on the movie Bladerunner, with nods to several other science-fictions films including Terminator, Aliens, and even Total Recall (among others). The event was hosted in the Old Market Lofts in downtown Omaha, so Vivian and I got to enjoy some Japanese cuisine with a spectacular view of the city from the rooftop.

Vivian and I were “security officers” for the event along with Ben Cass, and we got to piece together a fairly detailed story that was in essence one big piece of interactive fan fiction. Other players included Onionboy as CEO of Cyberdine, Merinda as a nosy reporter, and Lisa as a wealthy German socialite. Part of my role was to manhandle one of the guests who had a big mouth and had to be made an example of in front of everyone on the ride up to the rooftop. Then I had to attend to our host, Kaleb / Tyrell CEO Vincent, as he gets shot and then almost figures out that he’s a replicant. As the story slowly unraveled, I was able to figure out most of the key plot points just in time to blab them to a few other people, potentially losing my chance to win any of the prizes Kaleb handed out at the end of the night. I was able to complete my “goal” of proving my loyalty to former Tyrell CEO Eldon Tyrell, who I was able to determine was now a female clone played by Kaleb’s mom.

It was essentially a night of grown-ups playing “make believe” and honestly couldn’t have been more enjoyable. My only regret is that I decided to shave off my goatee in order to achieve the “serious cop” look I felt was necessary for the event. Now when I look in the mirror, I feel like an extra from Super Troopers. Oh well — at least it’ll still work out for the Halloween costume I plan on donning Saturday night.

More on that later.

Photos above courtesy of Onion Boy.

Fun with friends and on the farm

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Vivian and I have had another fun week enjoying the fall weather and spending time with family and friends. On Wednesday, we had a random game night with our Journey Group from CCC. We played some croquet in the courtyard of the Greenfields apartments out in West Omaha, where Nick and Lisa live. We had to fight off some terrible, carnivorous mosquitoes and then scratch and itch or two upstairs while playing a few cutthroat rounds of Apples to Apples.

On Thursday, we continued our September birthday celebrations with Vivian’s parents, carrying on the tradition of eating ribeye and a bloomin’ onion at Outback Steakhouse in celebration of Vivian and Jack’s birthdays (which are two days apart).

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We’ve been having some gorgeous autumn weather this week, so Vivian and I enjoyed the great outdoors on Saturday. We dropped by the Farmer’s Market in downtown Omaha in the morning, buying a peach pie, some swiss mushroom brats, a bottle of homemade root beer, and a few other tasty wares from local vendors (including a yummy peanut butter and banana cupcake).

Afterward, we dropped by Gifford Farm in Bellevue, which was having an open house fundraiser. Vivian’s mom has been working there for sometime, so we dropped by and got to visit some of the animals on the farm, including baby chicks, a ferret, a turtle, a leopard gecko, pigs, chickens, horses, and several other animals. We also got to sit inside a makeshift planetarium and learn about astronomy later in the afternoon. Now I can find the north star if I ever get lost in the woods.

P1000489.JPGThat evening, we finally made it up to Blair again to take part in one of our friend Dennis’ many movie night events. (It seems like our schedules have always collided in the past.) We had some pulled pork and a few glasses of wine before settling in to watch Back to the Future Part 3 and Smokey and the Bandit, both movies I’d seen a while ago but had mostly forgotten about. Vivian had never seen Smokey and the Bandit before, and it was fun to watch the antics of Burt Reynolds and Jackie Gleason in what was essentially was one long car chase. The third installment of Marty McFly and Doc Brown’s adventures in time also turned out to be a little more interesting than I remembered.