Sep 28

Alrighty, kiddos, Adventurer Rich is looking for some help.  I have the gall to call myself “Adventurer” when I rarely, if ever, actually “adventure”.  Oh sure, I have my little adventures with Boy Scouts… and I consider my time spent amongst trailer folk at Walmart a semi-adventure… even daily life could be considered an “adventure (in “adventure’s” mildest form), but I never really truly “adventure”.  All of that is about to change…

I’m looking for your favorite websites.  You know, those wacky pages on the Internet that you visit on occasion (or daily… or every fifteen minutes…) looking for humor or advice or just a little escape.  I am not looking for social networking sites like Facebook or your E*Trade account or any site that requires a login to access.  I am looking for blogs and advice columns and fun places you like to visit.  I will visit these sites, pick the ones I like, chose random information from these sites, compile a list of links, post the links on this blog… and let the scavenger hunt begin!  It will be up to my loyal readers to follow the links, search the sites, find the information I am looking for, and return your answers to me  (seriously… this is gonna be a blast for all ten of you!)  There’s gonna be a prize and everything… don’t know what it will be yet, but I’m sure it will be relatively cheap and stupid… but YOU COULD WIN IT!!!  I won’t even charge you shipping to get it to you :)

So you’re wondering, “How can I help Adventurer Rich and submit my favorite website?”  Well, it’s all really easy.  Just comment on this post with a link to your favorite site.

1. At the top of the blog post, where it says “No Comments” or “6 Comments” or whatever, click on that link; this should automatically take you to the comments section of this post.  Under the incredibly long list of comments, you will find the section where you can “Leave a Reply”.

2. You will need to enter your name (please do not enter your real full name… ’cause it will be available to anyone and everyone on the Internet who ever happens to stumble across my site… enter your first name or a nickname or make up a really “cool” Internet name… like “Adventurer Rich”, but that’s already taken…)

3. You will have to enter your email address.  Please do enter your real, legitimate email address.  I will not sell or give away your address, but I may at some point use it to notify you of contest dates and such.  Your email address will only be accessible to me… and I’m relatively harmless…

4. Enter the website address of the site you would like me to check out.  If it’s your own site, SUPER COOL!  If it is the site of someone else, that’s pretty cool too:)

5. Please re-enter the address of the site you would like me to check out in the “message” section (this is the big box under the “website” box).  By putting this information in the message section of the site, everyone who visits my comments will be able to know your favorite site!  Also, please give me a very brief description of why I should visit the site (i.e. why you like it).

I have a few of my favorite sites in mind that I already plan on using for my scavenger hunt, but I need many more to make this challenging and fun :)  I have very few restrictions as to which sites I will or will not use, I just have to like it.  I do ask that the content of the site be PG-13 or cleaner.  There are a few young people who stumble across my site, and I don’t want to lead them into the world of porn and obscenity… I’ll leave that to Google.

I would like to have all recommendations entered by Saturday, October 2, 2010 at noon.  I will not consider any sites submitted after that date and time for this scavenger hunt.

One final way you can help out old Adventurer Rich is to hit the “Like” button at the bottom of this post if you have a Facebook account.  This will let all of your Facebook friends who are not my Facebook friends see this post and they too can contribute their sites!  I guess if you know how to “Digg This”, you could do that as well; I’ve just been too lazy to research a good plugin to add that feature to my site :)

Thanks for visiting my site… thanks for taking the time to read this post… and thanks for helping me start a true adventure :)

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Sep 23

Isn’t technology amazing?  Hasn’t it made daily life so much easier?  Nothing reduces stress like modern technology!

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First-thing on a typical Monday morning in Tech Support:

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Me: Thanks for calling tech support, how can I help you?

Little old lady on Phone (lol): My internet isn’t working.

Me: I’m sorry to hear that.  Let’s see if we can’t get it fixed for you.

Instant Message from new co-worker (im1): Hey, why would someone’s dealie tell them their network cable is unplugged?

Me: How long has your Internet not been working?

Me: What dealie?

Instant Message from old co-worker (im2): I got a weird one.  this guy can’t see anything on his screen.

lol: It hasn’t worked all morning.

im1: I don’t know, the little dealie in the bottom corner of the monitor.

Me: What do you mean “can’t see anything”?

Me: So it was working yesterday?

Instant Message from boss (im3): Did you get that equipment ordered?

im2: the screen is completely blank.

Me: Did you have them check their network cable?

lol: I didn’t use it yesterday.

Me: What equipment?

Text Message from the wife (text1): Can u grab a gallon of milk after work?

Me: The blue screen of death?

im3: the routers for the Schergenrader installation.

Me: When is the last time you used it?

im2: What network cable?

Me: Yeah, how come?

im2: no, it’s completely black

lol: I haven’t used it for a couple of weeks.

Me: I don’t know anything about the Scherkenderfer installation.

text1: I have to pick the boy up from school and won’t have time.

Me: The network cable going into the back of the computer from her router.

Me: What do you see on your screen right now?

im3: Maybe I forgot to tell you about it.  I need you to order 3 routers, next day, for the Schergenrader installation tomorrow.

Me: Are you sure there is power to the monitor?

Text Message from the boy (text2): Can u pk me up aftr skwl?

im1: OK, I’ll have her check that.

lol: Nothing.

Me: I’d have to order in the next 10 minutes to get it guaranteed by tomorrow.

im2: she says it is plugged in.

im1: The cable is connected, but the lights on her router aren’t on.

Me: I thought your mom was gonna pick you up.

text2: Mom g2 p u milk or sumtin

Me: So, your screen is just blue?

im3: Yeah, we really need them.  I’d order them, but I have an appointment to get my hair cut.  I’m already late.

Me: The boy is asking me to pick him up

lol: No, the screen is black

Me: Your mom asked me to get the milk, she said she was going to get you.  Could you work it out with her and let me know what I need to do.  I’m kind of busy.

text2: wrtg a novel?  L2 txt. uradrk :)

text1: no, I’ll get him.  You need to get the milk.

Me: I don’t know if I will have time.

Me: Can you work it out with the boy?  I’m kind of busy right now.  Just let me know what you guys decide and I’ll do whatever that is.

Me: How about we try pushing the power button?

Me: How about we try pushing the power button?

Me: How about we try pushing the power button?

Me: How about we try pushing the power button?

lol: What power button?

im1: Power button on what?

text2: That’s the longest text ever. uradrk ♥

im2: Push what?

im3: Power button?  What in the hell are you talking about?  Just get it done!

Me: The power button on the monitor.

Me: Make sure the router is plugged in.

Me: The power button on the monitor.

lol: Well what do you know.  Looks like that didn’t get turned on.  Looks like my internet is actually working.  Thank you.

im1: Oh, hey, it was unplugged.  Seems to be good now.

Me: Your welcome.

text2: Mom get me, u get milk

im2: Yeah, the monitor wasn’t turned on.  All is well.

text2: I’ll get the boy, you get the milk… just like I first wrote.

Me: Great

Me: Great

Me: Great

Me: Great

Me: Great

im3: “Great” what?  Are you smoking something funny?

Me: No, I mean, yes, I mean… never mind.  I’ll get the routers ordered.  Then I can start going through my email…

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Technology SUCKS!!!   Man, I miss my Blackberry…



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Sep 22

Come on, who hasn’t busted a gut laughing at an inappropriately-timed eruption of flatulence?  We all have.  Think back to some of the great moments in history and think of how much cooler they would have been if someone had cut the cheese.

Reagan:  Mr. Gorbachev, TEAR DOWN THIS WALL! BLPPPTT!

Chuckles from the audience

Reagan:  Damn, if I’m not careful, I may end up taking out a wall or two myself!

Just think of how much more laid-back the Soviet/US relationship could have been over the past couple of decades if Ronnie had passed the gas.

Even famous movies could have added a little humor and/or drama by adding a toot or two:

Frankly, my dear… BLPPPTT!

I may actually sit through Gone with the Wind if the gas bomb got dropped.

Darth Vader: If you only knew the power of the Dark Side. Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father.

Luke Skywalker: He told me enough! He told me you killed him!

Darth Vader: No. I am your father.

Luke Skywalker: No… that’s not true! That’s impossible!

Darth Vader: Search your feelings. You know it to be true… BLPPPTT!

Luke Skywalker: HAHAHAHA!  Okay, you are my father… BLPPPTT!

Just think, we could have avoided the entire Ewok disaster if Vader had shared this revelation through spontaneous expulsion and he and Luke could have lived happily ever after.

Yeah, farting is fun.  However, I remember when I was a kid, farting was kind of taboo.  Oh sure, as a young boy, my friends and I would fart like it was going out of style.  We’d fart on things and at things and over things and through things.  We’d fart into jars and screw on the lid to see what the farts would smell like weeks later.  We’d hold each other down and fart in each others faces.  Farts were one of the most enjoyable free things I can remember from my youth.  But intentionally farting around adults was kind of avoided.  Even if you had a squeaker sneak out, you became embarrassed and usually asked to be excused or apologized… if you couldn’t blame it on the dog.  Nowadays, things seem to be different.

My boys fart all the time.  If they have a bout of gas, they happily and proudly share their orchestral analosity with anyone who is willing to listen… which is no one… but they share anyway.  Once one of my boys starts farting, it’s only a matter of time before the second starts.  It’s like their  flatulence is contagious. If their mom isn’t home, I seem to catch a case of it myself. There the three of us will be, farting and laughing and having a good time. The sad thing is, a fart party can never end well. The worst ending to a fart party (which I have never experienced myself… seriously… I’m being honest… NEVER!) is when one of the farters seems to have run out of gas.

Get that… see what I did there… gas… fart… “run out of gas”…hahaha.

Anywho…

Even though the fart-party guest has no more “toot” left in the trumpet, he is usually pretty sure he can squeeze… out… just… onemore… fart. Something gets squeezed out, all right, but it isn’t a fart, and the party is immediately over.

Another way a fart party can end is when the scent of the festivities actually begins to fill up the room. When the smell of butt-breeze is all you can smell, the party is pretty much over.

Forcing out farts can lead to stomach aches, and stomach aches lead to a not-very-fun ending to a fart party.

Fart parties often lead to someone trying to “light one up”, which is never a good idea.  I have seen more than one butt get burned by some idiot trying to create a rear-axle flame thrower.  This never ends well… but always ends funny.  Even if someone ends up in the emergency room, the laughs never end.  Imagine walking into an emergency room and having to answer the “what exactly happened?” question from the doctor.

The final way a fart party can end poorly is by a female walking into the room.  Usually, a female walks in, the party’s over, period.  However, sometimes there are some good-natured females who can appreciate a good fart party.  This is a sad commentary on the human condition.   If a female attempts to join in the party… stop the party immediately.  There is just something soooo very not funny about a chick farting!

Of course, maybe I’m being a little immature about the whole chick-farting-thing.  I just wrote an entire blog post about farts… so questioning my maturity should be par for the course.

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Sep 15

I have come to the conclusion that the negative attitude I hold toward all things Nebraska is starting to have a negative impact on my health.  My family has an ongoing rivalry with heart disease, and heart disease seems to be winning.  All of the males (and some of the females) on my dad’s side of the family have battled high blood pressure and I am no exception.  I can actually feel my blood pressure rise when I get stressed, and I am constantly getting stressed.  The stress gets so bad that, once it kicks in, I can’t concentrate.  My thoughts flutter around my head like moths around a campfire.  If I try to pull those thoughts into my psyche to concentrate on, the thoughts, much like the moths, burst into flames and are forgotten.  The feelings of hopelessness then descend in waves, and I actually begin to question my sanity.  Ever felt like you were going crazy?  Not a good time.  Stress makes me feel like I’m going crazy.

In order to try to alleviate a little of the stress I feel in my life, I decided to focus this entry on something about the panhandle of Nebraska that actually makes me happy.  That’s right, I’m going to try to find a positive angle to follow on something.  Finding something in the panhandle that I don’t perceive as completely sucking is not easy, but I’m going to give it a shot.

Nebraska is known for its beef: marbled, corn-fed beef that practically melts in your mouth.  If you want a truly great rib-eye steak (perhaps the best rib-eye on the planet), and you want to experience that steak in a truly Nebraska-esque setting, there is only one place to go…

The Oregon Trail Wagon Train.

Oregon Trail Wagon Train

The Oregon Trail Wagon Train is a local landmark.  It used to be known as “Gordon Howard’s” until the Howard family sold it.  I’m sure that most folks are familiar with a chuck-wagon-style cookout.  Many of the touristy places in the West and Midwest have these kinds of cookouts, but most of them serve crap like barbecue beef or barbecue chicken… you know, the shredded stuff that goes on a bun… and with most of them, you are paying for the experience (because the food sucks).

I remember going to the Flying T chuck-wagon supper last summer near Rapid City, SD.  It was over $20 per adult, the food was not impressive, and the portions didn’t come close to filling me up.  The staff was kind of rude and barked orders to the paying customers (which, I guess, is supposed to be part of the charm).  There was some good-old country music after the meal (if you like good-old country music… which I don’t) and the band tried to hawk their CDs the whole time.  I love Rapid City… the Black Hills are one of my favorite areas to visit… but I will never go back to the Flying T.  There are much better places to eat in the Black Hills.

Anywho, back to a good chuck-wagon meal.  At the Oregon Trail Wagon Train, the ambiance is pretty rustic.

Oregon Trail Wagon Train,Nebraska,panhandle

They have a horse-drawn wagon and they take you for a short ride.  Usually on the wagon ride, the driver will point out spots in the vicinity that were actually part of the Pony Express trail. It’s pretty cool to think that Pony Express riders used to actually ride so close to where you are about to enjoy your heavenly steak.

Oregon Trail Wagon Train,pony express

The “cowboy coffee” is plentiful and is cooked over an open fire.

Oregon Trail Wagon Train,Cowboy Cofee

When you get to the botton of your cup, you get a mouthful of grounds… which is the way it should be.  If you ain’t chewing your coffee, it ain’t real cowboy coffee.  All of the food is cooked over wood coals from a real fire… as opposed to a fake fire, I guess.  The boiled potatoes and the green beans are cooking in these funky, homemade-looking metal structures, and the “grill” is loaded with fire wood.  When they light the wood, you know that good times are getting near.  See, this is the thing with the Oregon Train Wagon Train: you pay something like $22 per adult (same as the Flying T), but you are actually getting an honest-to-goodness rib-eye dinner that exceeds the quality of a steak you could get in a fancy chop house.

On my last visit to the Oregon Trail Wagon Train (which was a couple of weeks ago), there were a crapload of grasshoppers.  I happened to notice a spider hanging in her web on the eave of one of the old buildings.  I figured that, since my family was about to dine on some good grub, I would treat the spider.  I grabbed a grasshopper and threw him into the spider’s web.  Honestly, I didn’t figure the spider would mess with him, but I went back about fifteen minutes later and found the following:

Oregon Trail Wagon Train,Spider eating grasshopper

Oregon Trail Wagon Train,Spider eating

I showed the kids (the wife refused to look) and they thought it was gross.  You can actually see where she has her mouth attached to the hopper.  You know she injected her venom into the hopper, waited for the venom to start dissolving the workings inside the exoskeleton, and is now sucking out the juicy remains.  Awesome!  The kids didn’t really think so… not right before dinner.  Still, I thought it was pretty cool.

While I was playing with the spider, the wood on the grill had been started.

Oregon Trail Wagon Train

Now we were just waiting for the fire to burn to coals and the steaks would go on.  There are some pretty cool things to check out while you are waiting for the steaks to start cooking.  There is a path you can follow that takes you back to the North Platte River.

Oregon Trail Wagon Train

Usually this area is kind of mosquito-infested, but this late in the summer, I guess the mosquitoes had other things to do.  There is a little fort for the kids (of all ages:) ) to check out.  You can actually climb up into the watch tower and check out the grounds.

Oregon Trail Wagon Train

There is a old black lab that hangs out (except she seems to disappear at meal time) and she loves to have her belly rubbed (if you are so inclined to rub a dog’s belly… which I am).

Oregon Trail Wagon Train,Nebraska

There are a variety of old tools attached to the sides of the out buildings that are kind of fun to check out.  The Oregon Trail Wagon Train also has a small gift shop and a small bar attached to the gift shop, so you can buy some overpriced, low-quality toys and nick-knacks right before you start downing the brews.

Oregon Trail Wagon Train

Oregon Trail Wagon Train

I usually avoid the gift shop and the bar.  Why pay for a beer when there is all of that free cowboy coffee to chew on?

For the more sportsy people, there are a couple of horseshoe pits.

Oregon Trail Wagon Train

Oregon Trail Wagon Train

Oregon Trail Wagon Train

Yeah, I guess horseshoe tossing ain’t really a sport, but this is Nebraska, so horseshoe tossing is right up there alongside tumbleweed chasin’, cow tippin’, and sheep… uh…

sheep,nebraska,scared,nervous,oregon trail wagon train

… shearing?  Besides, tossing a shoe from time to time can be kind of fun.

If you run out of things to do and are feeling a little bored waiting for the steaks to go on the grill, there is a multitude of spiders which I am sure would love to find a juicy grasshopper in their webs :)

Oregon Trail Wagon Train,spider

Finally, the fire has burned down to coals, the coals are raked out nice and smooth, and the steaks get thrown on the grill.

Oregon Trail Wagon Train Coals

Oregon Trail Wagon Train

Oregon Trail Wagon Train,rib eye steaks

Every time I have been to the Oregon Trail Wagon Train, the guys in charge of grilling the steaks seem to have a beer in their hands.  Every time.  And dinner is served 7 nights-a-week all summer long.  I wonder if they are hiring?

The dinner bell rings, we all get in a line, and we proceed by the grill.  They ask you how you like your steak done, and you get it exactly how you like it.  You then get a heaping spoon of green beans and a large, red boiled potato.  You help yourself to the available condiments (from which steak sauce is absent… and you better not even think about asking for it) and make your way to a table.  Waiting for you on the table is a freshly baked loaf of the best sourdough bread in Nebraska.

After you gorge yourself on a hearty meat and potato meal, you head to the ice cream counter and get yourself a cone filled with delicious home-made vanilla ice cream.

Oregon Trail Wagon Train

While you are licking your dessert, you are directed to the campfire area where one of the steak cookers (half-baked on beer) will lead the entire dining group through several sing-along songs that are usually silly and probably quite fun (if you go for sing-alongs… which I do not).

Oregon Trail Wagon Train

Oregon trail wagon train,Bayard,Nebraska,panhandle

We usually leave after a song or two and head for home, quite satisfied.

I promised myself that I was not going to bitch about anything at the Oregon Trail Wagon Train.  This chuck-wagon-cookout is the best cookout-type place I’ve ever been to, and I am trying to manage my blood pressure.  However, I am know for breaking promises… and it goes against my nature to not complain about something, so I’m gonna complain about the flies.  The Oregon Trail Wagon Train is out in the middle of nowhere.  You can see Chimney Rock from the cookout site, which is also in the middle of nowhere.

Chimney Rock,Nebraska,Bayard,panhandle,Oregon trail wagon train

When you are in the middle of nowhere and you cook-up good grub, you are going to be invaded by flies.  And I’m not talking about a few flies, I’m talking about flies of horror movie proportions.  The setting is great, the food is awesome, but you are going to spend a large portion of your time waving flies away from your plate.  I guess this doesn’t bother me too much.  The food is worth the waving, but I kind of wish the owners of the Oregon Trail Wagon Train would do something about the flies.  I don’t know what they could do, but if they could find something, I would not have a single bitch about the place :)

If you ever find yourself in the panhandle of Nebraska, I have a couple of things to let you know.  First, I want to apologize that you are in the panhandle of Nebraska.  Second, if you find the time, check out the Oregon Trail Wagon Train .  It’s out of the way, but worth it.  Besides, the entire panhandle is out of the way, and your here, so you might as well eat some good grub!

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Sep 14

A few months back, I received the obligatory notice from wonderful Scotts Bluff county that my property had increased in value (which means my taxes were going up).  My property value goes up every year, no matter the condition of the house I’m in or the neighborhood in which I reside.  This seemed strange to me this year seeing as how property values have been falling all over the rest of the country.  I decided that this year, I was going to protest the increased valuation of my property.

Now, like any sane individual, I want the value of my property to increase.  Increased value of property means that when I finally find the will and way to leave the Craphole of Nebraska, I may actually make money on the sale of my house.  However, times are a little tough around here, and paying out more taxes doesn’t exactly fit into our budget.  So, I figure that until the economy actually turns around and this area starts to grow (which means NEVER), I shouldn’t have to pay more in property taxes.  I didn’t figure that the jerk-wad commissioners of Scotts Bluff County would reconsider the increase in the value of my property (it is a well known fact that you never win with them), but at least I figured I could get an explanation on how in the hell they felt my property could be increasing in value in crappy, low-wage Nebraska in the middle of a recession.

I filed the papers at the county courthouse.  When I handed the petition to the clerk, she looked at me like I was crazy.

“You plan on protesting the valuation of your house?” she asked

“That’s the plan,” I said.

She chuckled… and I knew this was not going to be fun.

I was given a date to appear before the commission like a month later.  I arranged my schedule and, a month later, went before the county commissioners.

I showed up for my appointment about 5 minutes early.  The commissioners meet in a small room on the second floor of the county building.  I climb the stairs to the second floor and step into the room.   Inside, the commissioners are sitting on their pedestal seats from which they can look down on everything else in the room.  Fitting.  And they are munching away on sandwiches.  I notice a sign-in sheet on a table just inside the door to the room, and I jot down my John Henry along with the time of my appointment.  I glance up at the commissioners to see if I can get any kind of inclination as to what I an supposed to do next.  They are all busy staring at their sandwiches, so I just go back in the hall and grab a seat outside.  I’m not comfortable around strangers, especially strangers with power.  Plus, I hate public speaking, especially when it is going to be to a group of people looking down at me.

After about 15 minutes, I decide something doesn’t seem quite right, so I peak back in the room.  A couple of the gods do me the favor of looking down at me from on high and then turn their attention back to their sandwiches.  I go back out in the hallway.  My appointment was supposed to be at 7:00 pm.  I showed up at 6:55 pm.  It is now 7:15 pm, and there are now 2 more people sitting in the hallway waiting for their appointments, which are after mine.  I peak my head once again into the small room and they are still eating.

“Uh, am I supposed to wait in the hall, or should I wait in here?”  I ask.

One of the gods , disgruntled by the fact that I am pulling him away from the stinking sandwich it is taking him 20 stinking minutes to eat, says, “You can wait in here.  We’re running a little late, just getting some supper.  It’s been a long day.”  I actually believe he may have spoken to the sandwich.  How dare a peasant such as myself speak to him directly while he is renewing his power with the regenerative, almighty tuna fish.   I grab a seat in the room.

After about 5 more minutes (apparently my time is of no consequence to the earthly gods), we begin.  I am asked why I feel my property value should remain the same.  I go into a well prepared rant about all of the things wrong in my neighborhood.  I speak of the ills of the drug-infested trailer park from which I am only a couple of blocks.  I speak of the lack of county and city services available in our “rural” area.  I also go into the lack of decent paying jobs available in the panhandle, as well as the high per-capita crime rate and the impact the recession has had on our area.

“How, in such an impoverished area, with such a high crime rate and such a low quality of life, can the value of real estate be going up?”  I really feel like my impassioned speech may have hit the mark!  I really feel that I may have a chance of making a winning argument!  My hopes are starting to rise as…

“I haven’t heard anything here to overturn the evaluation,” says one of the jerk-wads.  “I make a motion to accept the county assessor’s appraisal.”

“Second,” says a second jerk-wad… a little too quickly for my taste.

“All in favor,” says the head jerk-wad.  Every single jerk-wad on the commission voted to piss me off, and I hate every single one of them every bit of my propensity to hate.

“That’s it?” I squeak.

No one even bothers to look my way.  They are too busy sealing the fate of my tax-hike to notice my peasant-like presence.  I pick up my crap, all of the notes with bullet points and other various garbage, and walk for the door.  As I reach the door, I hear one of the jerk-wads say something to me, but I just keep walking.  Screw ’em all.

So, that’s it.  Until, like two weeks later, I receive a letter in the mail from the county commissioners.  The letter informs me that, for a mere $25, I can appear before the commissioners again to re-protest the valuation.

ARE THEY CRAZY!?!  Or, better yet, DO THEY THINK I’M CRAZY!?!

As I write this, I can actually feel a growing pressure in my chest.  If I were to take my blood pressure right now, I’m almost positive that just seeing the actual reading would send me into cardiac arrest.  Apparently the county commissioners of Scotts Bluff County think that all of their constituents are meth-heads and can easily be conned out of an additional $25.  Why would I want to go through having those jerk-wads make me wait again, look down on me again, and vote against me again?

SERIOUSLY!?!

Home ownership is part of the American dream, right?  Many of us slave away for the right to proclaim that we truly own our home.  Once that mortgage is paid off, we own our house and no one can take it away from us, right?  If you really believe that you can possibly own your house, you are an idiot.  Don’t believe me?  Try paying off your mortgage and then never paying your property taxes again.  You will quickly find out who truly owns your house… and it ain’t you.

I think I had better call it a day before I’m found on the floor, clutching my chest and needing someone to call 911.

breathe… breathe… in through the nose, out through the mouth...

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Sep 06

Sometimes, I am able to step back from my own perceived issues and take a look at the issues of someone else.  No matter how bad you think you have it, there is someone else who can evoke feelings of pity from you.  Such is the case with Mr. Jimmie Van Zant.

In the panhandle of Nebraska, there are few choices for entertainment.  Very seldom does musical entertainment that fits my likes find its way here.  On the 3rd of July this past summer, one of the local bars made a very lame attempt at bringing some “rock & roll” to the panhandle.  The area is flooded with extremely lame cover-bands, so this bar thought it would bring in a person with a semi-famous last name so that person could perform hit songs!  YEAH!… right?  Except this person really has no claim to fame himself.  He is riding the coattails of famous relatives of his which makes him and his band a… uh… cover-band.

Jimmie VanZant

Every time I see this, I have to laugh.  I’m not laughing with you, Mr. Van Zant, I’m laughing at you.   Jimmie is performing hits… by his first cousins.   Hahaha!  Seriously?!?  How lame of a promo is that?

“I’ve never really amounted to much of anything, but my cousins had some success, so I’m gonna be performing some of their songs.  Come see me perform, ’cause I got famous cousins!  And I ain’t talking about 2nd or 3rd cousins… these are 1st cousins!”

For crying our loud.  Don’t you just feel for Jimmie?  I do.  I feel really bad for him.  He had first cousins in two bands that are icons of Southern Rock… and the biggest fame he could find is riding their coattails like 30 years later.  Poor dude.  My way of thinking leads me to believe that if he really had any talent, his cousins could have got him on with Lynyrd Skynyrd or 38 Special… not left him hanging only to cover their hits 30 years after the fact… at a dinky bar… in the-middle-of-nowhere Nebraska.  I realize that Jimmie may have been to young to perform with the great bands during their heydays, but as far as I know, both Lynard Skynyrd and 38 Special still tour.  Of course, maybe Jimmie just wants to do his own thing.  Why play with the actual bands that had the hits when you can cover their songs and promote your 1st-cousin-status.  Oh well.

Even more pathetic than Jimmie Van Zant is his opening act.  The Driving Dynamics have quite a reputation around these parts.  They are, after all, the “longest running rock & roll band in Nebraska”.  I think Larry Soto is actually the founder of this group… and he still plays… and sings.  Yeah, if you are thinking what I am thinking, the dude has to be like 90-years-old.  That has to be entertaining.  I’ve heard that Larry is like the only one of the original members who still plays.  I guess he either fired the rest, they quit to enjoy the fruits of grand-parenthood, or they have died of old age.  You can only imagine how exciting one of The Driving Dynamics’ shows must be.

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old rockers,driving synamics

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Looking at the current band members according to the band’s website, Larry plays guitars and does vocals.  The Dynamics also have two additional vocalists and a drummer.  Three singers, one guitar and drums… and apparently a tape player playing bass, keyboard and whatever else is needed.   That’s gotta suck :)  But the old Germans love this group, apparently because, even at 90, Larry makes the gray-hairs swoon.

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fans,old rockers,driving dynamics
Larry took this picture while looking down at his multitude of fans

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Yeah, western Nebraska ain’t known for its music scene…

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Sep 03

Everyone has probably already seen the following videos, but it struck me as I watched them on a Yahoo! News earlier this week… these are SO like life.  In this first video, the poor running back gets an awful pitch from the quarterback.  He gets turned around and begins running the wrong way.  You can tell he is trying to veer back in the right direction, but his momentum and the players on his back prevent him from gaining positive ground.  Yet, the little whipper-snapper just keeps plugging away.  He is giving it his all.  He is trying to make a positive outcome out of a very negative situation.  He is an optimist.

With a certain realization, he becomes desperate. He tosses the ball to no one and suddenly he is either the biggest optimist on the planet, or he has come down from the ozone to join the rest of us and realized that all of that effort really wasn’t worth it. Whichever the case may be, I highly doubt he was much of an optimist for the next few days (or years… or decades). Welcome to the real world, Sparky.

This second video shows why sometimes, just sometimes, it’s better not to succeed. The Otters have this game in the bag. The field goal is well short of the mark. YEAH us! We win! We have succeeded! All of the hard work we put in finally paid off! A big “V”!

Caught up in the momentum of “victory”, the young optimist goes into celebration-mode… a bit too early. He forgets the fundamentals of his “profession”. In less than 4 seconds, he goes from probably one of the happiest moments of his young life to utter horror. Watch the clip again. After Mr. Prep spikes the ball and the other dude scores the touchdown, you see Mr. Prep falling to his knees and grabbing his face mask in utter disbelief. You can almost feel his stomach churning, can’t you. You can almost feel his tears running down your cheek, can’t you? “WHAT DID I JUST DO?” HAHAHA! See how easily one stupid mistake can undermine all of that hard work? See how easy it is to disappoint many people by losing your head for one brief moment?

I guess the positive is, if there is a positive to be found, in both of these videos: you can find your own success through the miserable failings of others. Be on the lookout for someone else to make a huge mistake, because therein may lie your huge opportunity for success. If you can’t find success on your own, wait for some poor sap to screw up for you.

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