Monday, December 28, 2009

Visiting Lincoln

Every time I come "back home" to Lincoln it is, of course, to visit family, friends and loved ones. But in addition to that I always have an agenda of things I like to do while here that I can't do anywhere else. And you'll probably notice that most of these things involve food. *blush*

First off I gotta get me a Runza. When you grow up with a delicious resource like this at your disposal, you never learn to truly appreciate it... Until you move away and can't have it any time the craving strikes you. Runza's aren't merely a food unique to Nebraska, they are a cultural phenomenon. I remember while in school our lunches would frequently include "Bunza's", a clever take off on the name "Runza" which is copyrighted so the schools couldn't actually SAY they were serving Runzas since they weren't purchased at the restaurant. To know a Runza is to love one. But what if you're not from Nebraska? Well this is a description of a Runza directly from their website... "Homemade dough made from scratch everyday — stuffed full of Choice ground beef, onions, cabbage, and secret spices—and then baked fresh and served hot." Now don't tell me that doesn't sound delicious!

Speaking of cultural phenomenons, I absolutely can NOT make a visit to Lincoln without getting myself a Cheese Frenchee. This delicious sandwich has stood the test of more than time, it's still around despite the restaurant that created it actually having gone out of business! That restaurant, my friends, was called Kings Food Host. In researching information for this blog post, I discovered that although Kings Food Host was founded in Lincoln it was not actually limited to Lincoln in location. Kings Food Host spread nationally to 17 states and at least one Canadian Province. Cool! So what, you ask, is a Cheese Frenchee? There are many recipes for them but basically it is a grilled cheese coated in a delicious crispy coating and deep fried. Sounds more like State Fair food if you think about it, all it needs is a stick! Well it's delicious enough to be Fair food, too. Although Kings Food Host no longer exists and hasn't for many, many years, I always make sure to visit Amigos/Kings Classic restaurants to satisfy my craving for my all-time favorite comfort food, the Cheese Frenchee.

What trip down food memory lane in Lincoln Nebraska would be complete with out mentioning Valentinos? Quite possibly the most widely known still operating Lincoln restaurant, Valentinos ships it's pizza's all over the United States. And they have locations in 6 states. As many of you may realize, I currently live in Minnesota and if you followed my Valentinos link, you have discovered that they do actually have Valentinos restaurants in Minnesota. But the closest one to me is three hours away. Not exactly a distance one would typically cover for a dinner reservation. So although I usually do visit Valentinos restaurants when I visit Lincoln, we go one step further and order half baked frozen Valentinos Lasagna and Pizza's to take home with us! Yum, yum! :-D

Growing up, my parents and I ate out-a LOT. One of the nicest restaurants I had the good fortune to dine at was Misty's Steakhouse and Lounge. Originally opened as "Club 63" in 1963, the Misty's name came about some years later when a small grill was replaced with a larger one and finally with the addition of a rotisserie the era of Misty's Restaurant was born, named for the owner's favorite song, "Misty". Today, Misty's is known for its exceptionally delicious Prime Rib steaks and support of Nebraska Cornhusker's football. Every Friday night during football season, it is known as The Home of The Friday Night Big Red Pep Rally. You haven't really had a good Prime Rib until you've tasted Misty's, trust me.

There are too many other good restaurants I enjoy visiting while I'm in Lincoln to give you a review of them all but I'll list some of them here:

Village Inn
Spaghetti Works
The Steak House
Tastee In and Out

and a couple that have not survived the test of time but deserve being mentioned are:

Alice's Restaurant (they used to serve the most delicious homemade bread)
Eddy's (located on the corner of 48th and "O" streets when I was very, very young)
Tony & Luigis (never actually visited this restaurant but it was VERY popular)

Thanks for following me down memory lane, I'm hungry!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Have added Kemagazine to my favorite blogs

Kemagazine is a smart and Savy source for Photoshop supplies and inspiration! Check out the newest addition to my blogs to watch list. --->

Creating a Realistic Wood Texture Using Photoshop

Found this wonderful tutorial through Twitter. Who says you can't be productive and have fun at the same time? Click the post title to get to the tutorial!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Now Watching Nebraska Sports Journal

I've added another blog to my watch list. Mosey on over to the right and check out The Nebraska Sports Journal. If you're a Nebraska fan, I think you'll enjoy his blog too!

Loving Tattoos & Grafitti as Art

I enjoy Art. Not the visit a museum kind of art but the see it every day kind of art. The watch it pass by on the side of a train kind of art. And the admire it on someone's arm in the summer kind of art. I'm not certain what the proper term for this type of art is but I refer to it as "Urban Art".

To me Urban Art is the result of immense creativity in an environment of limited supplies and resources. It can be commissioned or freestyle. The fact that it is considered graffiti, destructive and is mostly unappreciated does not take away from the fact that, in my opinion, it is beautiful. As well as having some of their artwork featured in galleries, some urban artists are finally being recognized for the immense talents that they are and are now being invited and even paid to produce their artwork.

On the tattoo side, it's becoming more popular and even fashionable to show your "ink". Hollywood actors and now even actresses are proudly displaying tattoos, although I can't say if they are permanent or of the more temporary variety.

And speaking of temporary, you can't attend a summer festival anymore without seeing the popular Henna tattoo booths. Even simple designs done in the single color of Henna are beautiful in my eyes.

Because of their popularity, I'm surprised that online taggers haven't yet picked up on this trend and started incorporating some of this more urban artwork into the tags they are making. I'm certain it's only a matter of time. Remember you heard it here first, folks!

Got any amazing urban style artwork you've found? Got a source for some license free urban style artwork? Email me and if I post it on my blog I'll be sure and give you credit!


Thursday, December 24, 2009

A Story of Christmas Past

When I was a child I had more than a healthy belief in Santa Claus. This belief was tempered with a bit of childish cynicism as it is with most children but my belief was basically strong because of a few events that happened to me when I was growing up.

I was born the oldest of three children, two girls and a boy. My family wasn't always together but I believe my mother sincerely tried to give us as much as she could to make up for what we were lacking. We would take drives to admire Christmas lights and she always made sure we visited Santa Claus. Now like most children I was aware that not every street corner Santa Claus could be the real Santa so this was justified in my mind with the belief that each of them were Adults helping Santa out by appearing in public while he went about the business of fulfilling children's dreams.

One December my mother took my siblings and I to visit a Santa Clause who had set up a tiny hut behind a small bank. I remember waiting in line while other children went in before us. For this Santa, the parents stayed outside the hut while the children went inside to speak with Santa. Yea I know, it was a different time back then. Anyway, when it was our turn to go in, we did so and mom waited outside. I sat on Santa's lap first and he began by asking if I remembered a toy that I had lost a few years earlier. This toy had been left outside and forgotten where it permanently disappeared. I replied that I remembered it and he told me that he saw the toy had been left carelessly outside and alone so he had come by and collected the toy. He said he cleaned it up and gave it to a child that would not treat it so carelessly and would love it. I thought, if he's not the REAL Santa, how could he possibly know about this toy?! That caused me wonder for many, many years afterward.

During this time it was our family's tradition that on Christmas Eve we would have dinner and then gather in our family room to open presents. My Father would always take home movies of this event. We would set up a child's chalkboard, record the current year on the board and he would film this scene and then record all of us opening up our gifts. Sometime during the night, while all this was going on, there was always a knock on the front door of the house. We children allways eagerly awaited this knock because we knew when the door was opened it was always Santa Claus! Every Christmas Eve he would take time to personally deliver small plastic net stockings full of toys to us. Now I figured this had to be a Santa's helper because, after all, the real Santa would have been somewhere in the air at that time delivering presents but, still, I didn't recognize the person behind the beard so I thought he must be someone pretty "official". After all, he knew we didn't have a chimney and used the door!

Now this tradition went on for as many years as I can remember when I was growing up. After Christmas when I would see my neighborhood friends we would always trade stories of the gifts we had received and one year I mentioned the stockings that Santa had delivered and I related that he had done this for as long as I could remember. My neighbor friends responded with disbelief because they said that he had never visited their house, yet they lived right next door. I replied that perhaps he had to wait until they had gone to bed because they actually had a chimney and he couldn't likely go down the chimney while it was actually lit! Yet they insisted he had never left them anything similar to what my family had received from him and so he couldn't be a REAL Santa. This made me very determined and I decided to confront Santa the next Christmas Eve he visited my house. Well Santa ended up visiting my neighbor friends house that year. And he gave each of those children the same plastic net stockings he gave my siblings and me, I know because I watched him go over there with a feeling of satisfaction. And I watched with a smile as those children stared at him in wonderment and surprise as he handed out those stockings.

We all grow up and of course we realize that Santa needs help because in reality he's a spirit. The embodiment of Christmas in human form. So one year I finally asked my mother about that Santa and that year. She told me, after that trip "Santa" had to make an emergency trip to the store to replenish his supply of plastic net stockings because he ended up being short after that unexpected trip to the neighbor's house. You see that Santa was actually my Grandmother's boyfriend visiting all of her Grandchildren and delivering those stockings on her behalf. So when I asked him to visit my neighbors, that was unexpected and naturally he didn't have enough stockings left for the grandchildren he had not visited yet. Of course I now regret making Santa run short of stockings for that year but the memory of the look on those children's faces is still bright in my mind. And it still brings a smile to my face.

These are some of my favorite childhood memories and as I am now a parent, it has made me ever more determined to keep that same magic and wonderment alive in my own child's heart. I think I've succeeded. He is now 13 years old and has told me he will testify to any one of his friends at school that Santa really does exist. I believe him because I've heard it for myself. He is very convincing, too!

The magic of Christmas in a child's heart is more valuable than any possession they will ever receive under the tree and it is the most precious gift I can give.

Merry Christmas everyone!


Now Following CoffeeBreakDMV

I've added another Blog to watch and I hope you'll enjoy reading it as much as I do! CoffeeBreakDMV is a twitter friend and she writes delightful Blog posts. Please check her Blog out on the right sidebar! --->

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

OMG Johnny Depp is back!

How wonderfully scary can Johnny Depp be? Do you remember him as Edward Sissorhands? There's your answer. Edward Sissorhands was the first Johnny Depp movie I remember seeing, though this was not his first movie appearance. As a matter of fact he didn't start out to be a movie actor at all!

He started out as a front for a few garage bands, one being named The Kids which actually opened for Iggy Pop. According to IMDb it was his first wife, Lori Ann Depp, who sparked his interest in acting when she introduced him to actor Nicholas Cage. Depp's first movie appearance was Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), but his star didn't skyrocket until his role on "21 Jump Street", a popular TV-series in the mid 1980's. It could be argued that the 1990's belonged to Johnny Depp when he landed the title role of Edward Sissorhands, a brilliant collaboration with director Tim Burton.

Fast forward to today and his current Tim Burton collaboration, Alice in Wonderland. The story is a continuation of Walt Disney's original childhood story. Alice, now 19 years old, returns to the magic world in which she adventured as a child where she reunites with her friends and learns of her true destiny. You can read the whole synopsis here but continue with caution as it does contain spoilers. ;-)

If you want to watch the official trailer, click on the link to this post. It'll take you directly to IMDb and a gallery of 9 trailers to whet your appetite until the movie is released in March of 2010. I, for one, can't wait! Can you?

Thank you to my major source of information for this article, IMDb and my inspiration, Diana Adams and her delightfully inspiring article Alice Returns to Wonderland with Johnny Depp.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Nebraska's Ben Nelson pimps his vote, feels backlash

I posted a few days ago and openly asked Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska if he could separate himself from his history with the Insurance industry, he answered by pimping his Health Care vote to his fellow Democrats in return for the federal government paying 100 percent of Nebraska's Medicaid tab indefinitely. He might call it a brilliant move of compromise getting the most possible for his state but others call it bribery. “Is it appropriate for the federal government to do a special deal for one state to get that senator’s vote and every other state will incur financial liability?” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina asked. Still others might call Senator Graham and other Senator's negative reactions "Sour Grapes". Perhaps they are regretting blindly opposing the bill instead of playing it "smart" as Senator Nelson seems to have done. History will be the ultimate judge in this ongoing saga but for now we'll have to wait and see. Never before do I remember so much wrangling and cajoling to get a bill passed that will ultimately do the country's citizenry good. Perhaps that's because the last time historic legislation such as this passed, I was not yet born.

References: NYT Prescriptions and CNN Politics

Update: NYT Prescriptions Blog is now reporting "10 Red states Now Questioning Nelson Deal.

Now Following The Political Carnival...

I have met a lot of nice people on Twitter and learned a lot of good information. One of my favorites have been GottaLaff and her blog "The Political Carnival", in fact I've added a feed to her latest posts on the right side of my blog page ---> over there.

This warm and funny Blogger & Twitterer shares intelligent and timely information that just must be read. Please surf on over to her site and browse through some of her posts. I'm certain you will agree and come to enjoy her posts as much as I have.

Have a great day!


Friday, December 18, 2009

Graphic Christmas Goodies

You find a lot of interesting and valuable information on Twitter and Twitter lead me to a gold mine of Free Photoshop textures so I'm going back to my roots with this post.

Being an aspiring graphics designer I know you can never have too many textures at your disposal and when the price is "Free" how can you not indulge yourself? Head on over to WebDesignLedger to grab these yummy free textures! Treat yourself to a little graphic Christmas Candy, click below!

The Best Free Texture Packs of 2009

Thank you to @cheth for leading me to this treasure.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Can Nebraska's Senator Nelson separate himself from Insurance?

Click the post title to be taken to the original article inspiring this post.

"Mr. Nelson, a former state insurance commissioner and insurance company executive, said he would not support a provision ending the industry’s limited exemption from antitrust laws...". He has stated that he is aware his constituents in Nebraska are struggling with the current state of health insurance but one wonders if Mr Nelson can seperate himself from his Insurance ties of past in order to help the people he represents. Well Mr Nelson?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Frustrated Geek no more.

This is actually a re-print of my comment to an excellent blog post by Liam Cassidy. You can view his original article by clicking on the Title to this post.

I agree with what you are saying except for the "Normals" perspective.

Not long ago I was a Geek in Normals clothing because I hadn't made the jump to smart phones yet. I had been eagerly waiting for the iPhone to come out but when it did and it was only offered on AT&Ts service I was extremely disappointed. After all, I live in a rural small town community and am at the mercy of the coverage maps. To add to that, I had convinced my family to dump our land line phones many years earlier. As you can see, coverage is essential to us. As the years went by coverage increased as providers merged until finally Alltel was purchased by Verizon. Now the infamous "There's a map for that" campaign was in full swing and, although it did frustrate me at first, it actually spurred me toward AT&T. After I had thoroughly researched both companies I came to see that the lack of 3G coverage doesn't effect my ability to make or receive my precious phone calls. I will still be able to connect with my friends, family and business associates. So I made the leap and finally have myself an iPhone. I'm loving every minute of it too I might add. And so this has been my story. So you see, there are still some frustrated Geeks in "Normal" clothing out there they just need the right opportunity to change their clothes. ;-)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Inspiration & a Second Chance found on Twitter!

I've met a lot of nice as well as interesting people on Twitter. Of course there are those annoying people who are constantly trying to sell you something, but just like in Real Life, you learn to sort through them. Today though I came across a story that is truly inspiring and uplifting so I'd like to share it with you. Here's a small preview and please click on the excerpt title or my title to be taken to the whole story...

A Year Ago.

...Right as the holiday season hit in 2008, I learned I would be laid off after New Year’s. As a result, I don’t recall much of last year’s holidays. My family was around me, but I was absent and overwhelmed. Every day was spent looking for work, but not in the usual way. Instead, I used the time to develop and share some ideas; including formalizing this blog, taking it from a blog I called DrFuzzy to a something more business-like...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Twitter Quotes

People use Social Media for many different reasons. Personally I use Twitter because I enjoy reading what different people have to say on current events and trending topics. The following are some recent posts by Tweeple I follow:

"People judge you by your actions, not your intentions. You may have a heart of Gold, but so does a hard boiled egg." - @angels510

"The only lightless dark is the night of ignorance and insensibility" - Helen Keller - posted by @calbidrez

“While they were saying among themselves it cannot be done, it was done.” --Helen Keller - posted by @alibrownLA

"McCain: "I know how to catch Bin Laden." What are you gonna do? Crash your plane into him?" - @OTOOLEFAN

"Hey, why don't we put Emancipation up to a vote & let states decide on that, too?" - @OTOOLEFAN

"When ppl throw stones @ U, U can do 1 of 2 things..Throw stones back @ them OR U can p/u the stones & build Urself a castle -TerranceHoward" - posted by @michaelstrahan

In the times of text messages and social media, there are a lot of seemingly nonsensical conversations that take place. Words are shortened to save on characters and it can be difficult to understand what the poster is attempting to communicate. I don't think that has to be the case. The above posts were made with a limit of 140 characters and each of them are well thought out, perfectly understandable and beautiful in their own way. To those who say social media is the downfall of the English language, I submit that social media encourages rather than discourages creative use and a greater understanding of the English language.

Just my 2¢

Samples of my Stock Photos

I have a DeviantART account where I store stock photographs. These are free to use for any non-commercial purpose. You may tube them, use them as backgrounds or textures. All photos listed in my "Stock" folder Here are available for use.