26 August 2010

Third Week in August 2010

Monday night I continued with Bible study at Sarah M.'s house. It was mostly a recap of what we had covered the previous week, so not much new to report. Tuesday I went out to Ted & Wally's for ice cream with Teri, I had a triple scoop of something coffeeish. Wednesday I cleaned for the party.

Thursday game night at CJ's, it was also his birthday, and his sister Amy was in town. He grilled, we ate, then we played games. We played a new game, To Court the King, I liked it (meaning I won), it's a (potentially) fast moving dice game that reminded me of Dominion. We then played Betrayal at House on the Hill. Tony (Trevor) was the betrayer, that so and so. We ended up defeating him rather handily, from a lack of understanding what the haunt actually was.

Friday after work I met Brianne and her family at a wedding in Elkhorn. Brianne was in the wedding party, and I can say was a very nice reception, and the bride was super friendly.

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Just a few of the scenes, if you'd like to see them all, they can be found here

Immediately following the wedding, I went downtown to the last five minutes of the Jitterbug dance. Okay, it was probably more like about fifteen minutes. The dancing bug is very infectious, and I had to get some more in. Later when I got home, my intention was to sleep so I could be well rested for all of Saturday's party. Yeah, that didn't happen, first I ate something, then I laid down. I got back up out of bed to mention something about the planning, and I forgot to go right back to sleep. It was 0345 or so before I got back down. Sheesh.

Saturday morning dawned early (0915) and I got up and was working on a project that will become apparent once you finish reading my whole post. At 1030 I decided it was late enough to start cutting the lawn for the party. Evidently it wasn't late enough, I woke up Merinda. It was a little sweaty getting the lawn ready, but by 1300 or so it was all done and I went to work on other things. Finally around 1500 all the prep for the party was done, and next on the agenda was to pick up Kevin at 1630. Nap time, right?

Well, I laid down and maybe got ten minutes sleep when something woke me up, I called Kevin and got roped into taking him to Spirit World. So we got there and we were looking at all the beers, when I started talking about Point Special Lager and how it was the beer that got me to actually start drinking beer. Before then I had only had macro brews, this beer was different, it actually tasted good. Once I discovered beer could actually be tasty, I learned to drink for the taste of it, rather than any 'other' motive. I grabbed a six pack of Goose Island 312, and was wrapping up my dissertation, when Kevin couldn't find one of his favorites, Red Stripe. So we asked one of the gentlemen working there about it, and he couldn't find any. So then the guy says "If you like Red Stripe, you might want to try Point Special..." Ah, nothing like instant beer cred. Kevin ended up getting ((I will insert beer name if Kevin ever tells me what it is)). We then spent the next 30 plus minutes tracking down four 20 pound bags of ice, and then arrived at the party at about 1705.

The party started a little slow, but it got rolling pretty good pretty fast.
It started with everyone hanging out on the deck and in the back. Photo credit: Matt

Carrie's Wedding, Nothnagel BBQ, & Mass Chaos/Lindy in the Park 53 of 118 - Brianne
There were plenty of nomz, in fact if you come over any time in the next week you can probably get free food. Photo credit: Brianne

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Carrie's Wedding, Nothnagel BBQ, & Mass Chaos/Lindy in the Park 55 of 118 - Brianne Carrie's Wedding, Nothnagel BBQ, & Mass Chaos/Lindy in the Park 62 of 118 - Brianne
There were indoor games, outdoor games, playground games, and Rock Band games. In case you're wondering, I dared Amanda to go down the middle slide, don't worry, you're not brave enough to do it. Upper left photo credit: Matt, Bottom two photos credit: Brianne

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Of course, there was dancing! Left photo credit: Matt, right photo credit: Sarah

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A game of Twister started later in the evening and we discovered... Photo credit: Matt

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...there is no dignity in this game.

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Things began to get a little strange, we'd like to blame alcohol, but really, we're just odd people to begin with. Photo credit: Matt

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You have a fan, a camera, silliness is just bound to happen.

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Finally it was late and as seems to happen at Nothnagel parties, a pile of ladies ends up on the couch.

Somehow it still took me another two hours to get to bed. So, I took a bunch of pictures, you can find them here. Matt took a bunch of pictures too, he didn't put them in a set, but you can start here and click 'older'. Brianne put hers all in a big weekend group, so you can click here and go forwards (and see pictures from the previous wedding, and the soon to follow Mass Chaos and Lindy in the Park), and finally the picture thief Sarah put up a bunch of pictures from the party, it's kind of a highlight reel with some originals, you can find them here.

Sunday morning the alarm went off at 0900, and I said 'huh?' I managed to roll out of the rack and get to church on time. It was an amazing service and inspiring experience, you can read about it here.

I ran home, uploaded some pictures, then headed down to Lindy in the Park with Merinda and left over food.

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Lindy in the Park has a new location, and it's not as big, but it's cooler ... literally ... more shade. It's at 11th and Farnam. Photo credit: Matt

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I experimented with one of the settings to get some good 'portraits'. Both Megan and Jenny make good 'models' for different reasons.

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By this time I've learned the timing of my camera, so I can hit the button correctly to get shots like this. I want someone to get a shot of me doing a transfer jump with Katie, I think she's about four feet in the air.

On Thursday I found out that CJ was going to be running a new Pathfinder game. It's based on D&D 3.5, so it contains a lot of familiar elements. This game took place on Sunday night. For the first time in years I am actually going to 'role play'. Since I have moved to Omaha, I have consistently played a healing cleric, mostly because no one else wanted to or didn't know how to. I have also played spell casters on occasion, for the same reasons. However this time, I'm actually going to play something different, with a backstory and a personality that isn't just me pretending to be a cleric. The other people playing are Ben and Chris. Ben is playing a shadow sorcerer, and Chris is playing a monk. I am playing an Inquistor, and it's going to be fun, and maybe I'll learn how other people think. Probably more to follow on this.

19 August 2010

Second week in August 2010

Monday night after work I began a Bible study at Sarah M.'s house. We're studying the Gospel of John, and I thought it went very well. I almost used a different word there, but I thought I might sound too much like Jillian. It appears that we are going to focus not just on the Word, but the why's and what's in context. The first challenge, read the Gospel of John through in one sitting.

Tuesday night after work I hurried downtown Omaha to see everyone's favorite acoustic band, Insignificant Other play outdoors in the 100°F plus heat.

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It was so hot out that they brought a cooler of ice water for the people watching, that's class.

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Despite the heat, people still danced.

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As I walked to my car big storm clouds blew up down south, I got a few shots like this, Maeg got some better ones from a different part of town.

After the show the band and the fans went to Ted and Wally's. I got a triple scoop with Cinnamon Coffee on the bottom, Red Raspberry in the middle, and Vanilla Cappuccino on the top. You can see all my pictures from the event here.

Wednesday was a catching up day, and Thursday was an extra Jitterbugs dance at the Joslyn Museum. I can't pass that up at the price it was ... free ... oh, and I got some great shots!

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The sun was behind the sculpture, I was able to capture it without having any one element overwhelming any other ... in other words, I'm really happy with this picture, and hopefully it was a result of planning a good picture. Regular readers may notice not so much whining about my camera lately.

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I liked these dancing pictures I took pretty well...

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...but Brianne rocked it out on her camera too. Photo credit: Brianne

Friday night we planned a dinner at the suggestion of a friend who ended up doing something else ... but it's okay. We went out to Blue, had sushi and a good time. Afterwards we headed up to Jitterbugs and danced.

Saturday morning I was up early for the ALS Walk. When am I ever going to learn to be 'on time' for things like this. Anyways, I was so 'on time' that I had nothing to do for about an hour, but this year, I brought the camera!

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I actually liked quite a few pictures I took, you can see them all here. Saturday afternoon I played some more Dragon Age: Origins on XBox. I'm not very good a video games, so getting through one can be a challenge, and that sure wasn't going to happen in an afternoon. Saturday evening I headed over to Markus' going away party. I got a chance to sit with him for a few minutes and discuss faith while everyone else did the social thing. If Markus' does get through seminary, the future of the church is in good hands.

Sunday I headed out early and went to church for Mass Chaos #17 and the Saint Stanislaus Polish Festival. Mass was quick and we headed out to eat. Polish food could use some color, but it sure tasted good, and we all ate too much.

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The chances of anyone actually remembering why we did this are pretty slim, and for the record, I was the only one of the four of us who actually has any Polish blood, but I'm pretty sure we're all proud.

You can see all my pictures from the Polish fest here. The only other thing that was remotely interesting was I got a hankering for Alvarado's after 2100 and went and got some.

11 August 2010

First Week in August 2010

Monday and Tuesday were kind of chill days. Wednesday was a fairly crappy sick day. I did manage to get up and in the late afternoon and head to the zoo for Shannon's birthday. It was nice to visit Madagascar with her and the kids. After I got home, I started getting ready for the road trip on the weekend, and that's what I finished on Thursday, I mapped out my driving path, and finished packing up.

I was leaving after a half day at work, and Stacy was riding with me. I knew a couple facts, I like to map out my driving plan for maximum efficiency, and everyone else would be leaving around 1000. My plan was to pull in and have everyone wonder how I got there that fast. Work came to an end, I headed downtown, got Stacy loaded (or her stuff), and we hit the road at 1331. Stacy laughed at me because I had the gas stations we would be stopping at all planned out in advance, and it was probably well deserved laughing. However, my plan worked, I didn't arrive much after everyone else: 305 miles in 5:11 with two stops.

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Here is the view from our camp.

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After we set up, we took a few minutes to eat, then went to check out the river ... the first thing we saw was a wild Matt in it's natural environment.

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In a recent survey, only one out of every three ladies wanted to stand in a river.

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Jenny got us lost walking back to camp, well not really at all.

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After we got back, Jon decided to experiment with Mento's and Diet Coke.

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Later on after some frisbee, we took a short walk to see the sunset, we were a little late, but it was pretty.

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The girls did a dance I didn't know to a song I didn't know.

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When the sun sets, you have to have marshmallows.

Then the real show began. There were no clouds, no moon, no light pollution, our campsite was at 2200 feet in a valley, and we had clear, dry air. The milky way was prominent across the sky. We moved away from the fire and sat out watching the stars and shooting stars. I couldn't get enough, so I woke up at 3:45 and walked around for a half an hour. The big dipper sat low in the northern sky, I tried to get a picture of it, but the results were questionable at best. I don't know when the next time I'll see all those stars like that and I cherished the moment.

Saturday dawned beautifully, it was supposed one of the hottest days all summer long, but wasn't bad at all when we got up.

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I'm not for being awake at sunrise, but if I have to be, I'll take this.

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We were all ready to go and in place by 0815.

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We reached our starting point by 0915 (yes, Stacy, I'm not mentioning that)...

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...and we we're off. Five canoes; Jon and Ross, Stacy and Anne, Me and Jenny, Chris and Heather, Matt and Vivian, and one kayak with Keith in it.

First stop: a ridiculously cold waterfall that they made me get under twice to get the picture.

Second stop: Smith Falls...

...Matt, Vivian, Jenny, and I walked up to the falls while everyone else ate ... Photo credit: Matt

...peanut butter and jelly. It tastes better when you are really really hungry. Photo credit: Matt

Back on the river, we canoed for a while, then we decided to relax. Ross and Jon met up with Anne and Stacy, then Jenny and I joined them.

Then the excitement began. Anne was holding the ropes to the canoe on either side of her, and got tired of it, so she tied off the boats in the back of their canoe. Keith then came up behind us in the kayak and he got tied off too. So there we were happily floating down the river enjoying the day and generally goofing off. We saw Chris and Heather on the side by another waterfall, Keith tried to stand up in the kayak, and spun it over. It's only a couple feet of water so there was no danger, but now we're dragging a kayak full of water behind us, which Anne was trying to untie, and we're all looking back ... I turn around and see we've drifted to the side and we're headed for a log that was sticking out into the river.

"Untie us, untie us, untie us! We're gonna flip!" I yelled at Anne as we tried to paddle quickly to get the canoes away.

"I can't, it's too tight." she said, trying frantically to get the knots untied, until crunch, we hit the log. Jenny and I tried to push off of the log quickly, but when it became obvious it wasn't going to work, I grabbed my camera and got out. Kersploosh! There goes my shoes, and Jenny's camera (which was waterproof), and other stuff! I put my camera in one of the other canoes, grabbed my shoes and threw them at Heather who was sporting a classic 'what-do-I-do?' look. Jenny was fine, and the only thing we had left was to struggle to get the entire contraption onto a shelf that was only under about four inches of water.

So in the end, the total cost was one pair of sunglasses (Jenny's), a half a water bottle (which was humorously recovered), and a whole lot of pride. Anne blamed herself for the debacle, but really we should have been paying attention and not let her tie the canoes off tightly. Yes, Matt and Vivian missed all of this.

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Five minutes later, we were all smiles!

We swapped up the canoes at this point, I was with Stacy, and Anne was with Jon, Chris and Heather were still together, but then Jenny took the kayak, which left Ross and Keith in the last boat, but that's not what they were doing when we got to the next spot. We looked up ahead and saw Vivian yelling at us to come here, so we did. It turned out to be the swimming spot.

The water was actually over our heads in this one spot. I was 'assisting' Jon get in the water here. Photo credit: Matt

We all jumped in at once. Matt has video of this, and more of me picking up Anne and chucking her in (sorry about the lost sandal), can't wait to see it. Photo credit: Matt

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There were 'rapids' on the other side of the swimming area.

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Jon found a deep hole, I don't think he'll drown.

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After about 45 minutes we were back on the river...

...and finished in about 45 more. Stacy and I finished first ... of course then everyone else said it wasn't important, but that's just because they weren't winners like we were. We got cleaned up, sat down around the camp, and we were all quickly napping. I woke up, got some dinner, and we sat around the fire and then out looking at stars. Then sleepy time.

Sunday dawned and we packed up. Our plan in our car was the opposite of how we got up there, we were going to take our time getting home. Stacy (and everyone else) wanted to go to Snake Falls, so I agreed. We headed off to Valentine first, and then twenty more miles to Snake Falls.

Okay, it was worth the trip. We had the place completely to ourselves...

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...except for one interloper.

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There was a little shelf behind the falls you could stand on...

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...so I did, and took this picture of Chris, and several others.

Matt has a certain way of catching the worst pictures possible. Seriously, I'm only jumping four feet, how can I look that dorky? Photo credit: Matt

We then drove back to Valentine and ate lunch at the Subway. This is where everyone split up ... well at least Stacy and I were going to take our time for certain. Our first stop was Long Pine, Nebraska. The story here is that back when I worked for the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad in 1989-93 I was dispatcher for the line that ran from Fremont (USA) to Chadron, Nebraska and then up to Belle Fourche, South Dakota. It was all such a mystery, Nebraska out to the Sand Hills. In my mind, railroading is romanticized anyway, and no more so to me than thinking about how these small towns in Nebraska were (nearly) only tied together by railroad running through them at one time. I know that I caught the railroad bug late in the life of the Cowboy Line, but I am happy that I had a little piece of it for a while.

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The train 'station' behind me and the crew quarters (making assumptions) to the right.

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Stacy stands on the old rail line, now a bike trail.

We left Long Pine and hit the road again. We only went about ten miles when...

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...inside jokes are so much fun.

About ten miles more and it became obvious that we were going to run into a storm.

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The rotation in the upper right picture wasn't fast, but you could definitely look up and see it. Check out the face in the clouds in the lower left picture.

We got through the storm quick enough, but it chased us half way across Nebraska. We went through Stuart at about ten to twenty minutes in front of when the official storm report says they got hail there. The gas station picture was in Atkinson, we went through O'Neill (the sirens sounded there), and all the way to Neligh, where there was wind, rain, and lightening.

Our next stop was in Neligh. Stacy lived there at a much younger age, so we were looking for a park she remembered as a kid. We didn't find that, but we did find a washed out bridge from the flooding earlier in the year. We also found a way to get turned around and drive the wrong way out of town. Our next stop was in Battle Creek, to take a surprise picture for Sarah M. Next we stopped at Culver's in Norfolk, cause you gotta have ice cream. Our final stop was in West Point. When we were out earlier in the summer for Mass Chaos, Deacon Kevin talked about the flooding, so I wanted to see it for myself.

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So I 'made' Stacy take this long walk across a field to look at the flooding on the other side of this dike ... oops, no river, no dike, railroad bed.

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Stacy wanted see what it was like to be really tall.

Then we were home. I got a tragically funny stripe of sunburn on my tummy that makes me laugh every time I see it. It was an awesome vacation, and a big big shout out to Jenny for putting it all together. If you want to see all 317 pictures I kept from my trip, check them out here, Matt posted a herd of pictures too, you can find them here. I know Anne took some pictures, but they aren't available yet, and neither are Jenny's. Watch Matt's YouTube video too. What a great weekend!