Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A prize pack of deliciousness

I am a big fan of Japan.  Of course one of the primary reasons is that I lived there for 3 years as a child.

Part of my regular reading is two blogs written by fellow Blogger member Orchid64.  She has two blogs,1000 Things About Japan, and her snack food review Japanese Snack Reviews. However, one day on the snack blog she had a contest for her readers to win two snacks and a toy just by commenting on the post.  Surprisingly, I won. My wife and I enjoyed the crackers, and the gum is waiting for me to get a good picture before I do a taste and review.

If you are interested in the different facets of life in Japan you need to check out her 1000 Things About Japan blog to hear what it is like to live in Japan for 2 decades and what she will or won't miss when she finally moves back to the US.  There are also a few posts in the series that she made around the time of the March 2011 earthquake.  Very enlightening look at life in Tokyo from someone actually there instead of the FUD we heard from the news channels.

Thank you Orchid64, they were delicious!


Monday, August 29, 2011

Did they have a different box of crayons?

Like most everyone else in this country, I started school in Kindergarten.  I loved to color pictures.  Couldn't draw worth a darn, but I could color like mad.  I also remember that I was pretty good at learning my colors.  Especially the main colors of Red, Green, Blue, Black, and White. (I am a guy and we are generally limited to those colors after all.)

It seems to me that someone at my local store may have skipped that lesson in kindergarten since these loaves of bread are marked white, but my teacher told me that white wasn't that color.  Dunno, maybe I failed that class and they were too nice to tell me.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Natural painting

So I was thumbing through a few of the pictures that I have and thought I would post a picture I took in my backyard.

Enjoy the great sunsets we can get in the midwest...


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

WineStyles - Omaha

Last year I took a cruise and my uncle paid for the family to participate in a wine tasting.  He created a monster with that one act of kindness.  Since then I have been actively learning as much as I can about wine and the different types of grapes.  This led me to a new favorite place in Omaha where I could learn about wines, cheeses, beers, and other tasty treats, a place called WineStyles (

Located just west and north of 72nd & Pacific in Omaha, the shop is in a shopping mall with a large parking lot.  To see it from the outside you would never think that the location has wine, beer, cheese, and chocolate for all.  As a matter of fact, that is what makes this place to interesting is that you can enjoy a great wine one moment, and then partake of an incredible craft brew the next.

The store is run by Bob , a man with  a great story, and a love of wine.  Bob never fails to have a huge smile, and is very much like the old time shop keepers in that he always knows everyone and seems to know everything.  Visiting the shop is like going home for a family party.  It is not surprising to have offers to taste someone elses wine or cheese, and be included in the conversations even though you have no idea who these other people are.

WineStyles has several clubs.  There is the Wine Club, the Chocolate Club, the Beer Club, and a Cheese Club.  Bob and Jen do a great job of making sure that you know what you are having and that you like what you are tasting.  Their policy is if you don't like the wine, they will replace it.  I have purchased wine that turned out to be "cooked" (the bottle had been overheated by the summer weather and turned the wine) and Bob gave me a different bottle. I also had one that was just not to my taste and he gave me credit to find something else.

They have a wine tasting every Friday night that is only $5/person (free if you are a Wine Club member) that has 6 wines (3 white, 3 red) with all the details about each of the wines.  The best part of the tasting is not just the wine, it's the people who come to the tasting.  WineStyles has quite a few club members, and a good many can be found there on Friday nights.  It is not unusual to be offered a glass of an expensive wine that somebody else purchased or a slice of cheese, or a taste of a new beer.

WineStyles purchases loaves of french bread fresh baked by the Bread Oven every Friday.  There is a cold case filled with artisial cheeses, another with gourmet chocolates, a wall for beers, a wall for sauces and drink mixes.  But then there is the three wall of specially selected wines from around the world.  Organized by the "feel" of the wine (fruity, silky, bubbly, and the ever popular "if you insist"), you can easily pick a wine to fit your needs and taste.  Still not sure?  Just ask Bob for help and he will gladly help you sort out the options.

In addition to all the wonderful things already mentioned, they also do special events at the store.  One I recently attended was an Italian night where we had a wonder 4 course meal of italian favorites and tasted 4 different wines with the meal.  The special part of this event was that the person describing the wines to us was no other than the vinter herself.

The wines were from Santa Guistina and Gia dined with us and during the meal we really saw the passion that goes into each of the wines they make.  To this day we still prefer the sparkling white from their winery.  If you are a frequent reader, the you may remember the post I had on the Ortrugo wine they have. My favorite red from their line would be the Rosa d'Inverno, a wonderful Cabernet with a slilky texture and mild tannins.

The store is open every day of the week and you can always stop by for a glass of wine from their ever changing menu.  Bring a meal and relax with friends and, if they aren't busy with customers, Bob or Jen.

If you are interested in a nice place to share a glass of wine or beer, and meet new people you owe it to yourself to stop by and meet Bob and Jen and enjoy a new taste.


Monday, August 22, 2011

It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature!

OK, in this case it was not fooling with her as much as getting in her way.  Recently one of the salesmen where I work was driving back into town and ran into a severe thunderstorm rolling through our fair city.  Unfortunately this storm was pushing 60mph wind, heavy rain, and tennis ball sized hail.

Needless to say things did not go well for him since he was driving a little Honda Accord, not a M1A1 Abrahms tank (although his gas mileage was much better than said armored vehicle).

The result is a vehicle with the sunroof and back window blown out, a windshield that looks like he tangled with a pitching machine, and enough dents that it looks like a angry teenager went postal on the car with a ball peen hammer.

To give you a better idea of the damage, I have attached pictures.

All I can say is that I am so glad I was snug at home looking out at it.


Friday, August 19, 2011

And people fall for this?

The Hormel company gets credit
for the meat-like product. Not me.
I get a lot of spam.  Somewhere in the neighborhood of 300-500 pieces per day.  ( I have a lot of email addresses, and some are over 10 years old.)  I sometimes read them for the comedy value because the attempt to part my hard earned money from my wallet is frequently done with such total lack of knowledge.

I can be a bit of a "grammar nazi" sometimes, and so reading the following spam had me rolling at the keyboard.  Sadly, there are actually people who fall for these scams all the time (see here and here).  One of my favorite sites is a place that actually scams the scammers, and it is amazing how easy it can be.

I have attached the latest version of thier emails.  Enjoy the light reading, but be careful not to strain your brain trying to follow the poor english.


Central Bank of Nigeria
Tinubu Square, Victoria Island,
Lagos - Nigeria
Office of the Deputy Governor
From the Desk of:
Attention: Beneficiary,
This is to inform you about your email success in our computer balloting held on 1st Feb 2011. It was an internet draw by the combination of the International Monetary fund’s (IMF) and the Microsoft words. However, your email address was approved as one of the winners hence you are being contacted. This is a Millennium Scientific and a promotional program aimed at encouraging internet users; therefore you do not need to buy ticket to enter for it.
As a matter of fact, account normalization of your banking details has been delayed by International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Financial Services Authority (UK). This has made it necessary for your payment to be programmed into HSBC Visa A tm Debit Card. The total fund in question is $8,300,000.00 this is the first part of the Payment of which the balance will subsequently be paid into same account.
The Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN), working in relationship with HSBC London and also Leeds Bank in London has concluded to issue you a VISA CARD with which you can access your Star prize /beneficiary amount$8,300,000.000 This card center will send you an ATM card which you will use to withdraw your money in any ATM machine in any part of the world, but the maximum is Twenty Thousand United States Dollars ($20,000.00) per day. So if you like to receive your fund in this way, please let us know by contacting the ATM payment department and also send the following information as listed below:
1. Full name and full country name
2. Phone and fax number
3. Address where you want them to send the ATM card to (P.O box is not acceptable) 4. Your age and current occupation.
You are advice to contact the director of ATM CARD payment officer for more directives, Director, ATM payment department Rev Steve Jones Email address,
The ATM card payment center was mandated to issue out $8,300,000.00 as part payment for this fiscal year 2008 to you so bear with us. Also for your information, you have to stop any further communication with any other person(S) or office(S) to avoid any hitches in receiving your payment.
Note that because of impostors, we hereby issued you our code of conduct, which is (ATM-811) so you have to indicate this code when contacting the card center by using it as your subject.
We anticipate your total compliance to this message immediately.

The email sent from: ALHAJI. MUSA USMAN

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The cosplay post

My trip to Comic-Con this year was short and interesting. I only went Thursday and I was not prepared for the crowds, and had to leave early so that I could reset. But I did get a few pictures of the attendees that dressed in costumes.

The the uninitiated, the dressing in costumes representing characters from movies, comics, and anime is called cosplay. The work put into many of these costumes is amazing. Many of the costumes are hand made and have many hours of work involved in the creation. The costumes are frequently themed around upcoming or recently released movies, as evidenced by the large number of Captain America themed costumes.

I have to apologize for some of the blurry pictures, I was taking them very fast sometimes.

From here I am going to leave you with the pictures and let them speak for themselves.


Monday, August 15, 2011

On the subject of friendship.

Unlike most of my posts, this one is not about something I have seen as much as about something I realized.

When I was in high school I had several close friends, but one I had that was the closest. He was the antithesis to my somewhat reserved personality. I put on a good front and can be somewhat gregarious at times, but T is the life of any party, and if there is no party, h makes one up. I have many great stories about our adventures, and most will never be repeated in a venue that is permanent such as the Internet (remember kiddies, one it's on the web, it's forever.)

At some point about 17 years ago we lost track of each other and it took the wonders of the "Intarwebs" to find each other again. He was now a long way away and living comfortably with wife and kids. Recently we celebrated the 25th anniversary of our high school graduation, and that brought T and his wife (whom I also knew really well) to town for a visit. I was headed out of town for work, so we only had one night to catch up, and as the night progressed I realized just how much I missed having a friend like him around.

That's when I realized that some relationships are so important that you just need to make that effort to stay in touch no matter what. I am very much a visual person and staying in touch with friends usually means that if I don't see you very often I will probably lose touch with you as well. Not sure how to get around that without putting reminders on my calendar to call people once in a while. :D

Whatever it takes, I am thankful that I have a few friends around me locally, and just as thankful that I have several friends around the world that are willing to put up with my intermittent contact.

Thank you all for being a friend.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Six phases of a project

Sometimes you stumble on moments of greatness on cubicle walls. This was definitely one of them...

You know it's true.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Do what with my candle?

Recently I went to San Diego and as usual kept an eye out for those innocent things that we all see that can easily be misinterpreted.

I was walking through Old Town San Diego, a beautiful state park that maintains its look from the beginning the city (if you believe that running water, electric lights, and cheap chinese chotskies are authentic) and I came across this sign.

Even my wife had to pause and bite her tongue on this one.


[BTW, this is post #50! I did not realize that is was coming up this fast.]

Monday, August 8, 2011

A frosty moment to relieve the pain

I climbed into the truck this evening and the thermometer rudely informed me of the temperature outside. I say rudely because when it reaches a certain temperature and humidity you just don't want be reminded that it is bloody hot out there! The worst part is that this was not the high, but rather it was about 4 degrees cooler than the high.

Sooo, I thought I would put up a reminder that summer is almost gone and we have the following to look forward to in a very short time.

Enjoy the cool thoughts, for soon we will be begging for the heat.


Friday, August 5, 2011

I had a problem...

Once upon a time I had a problem sleeping. mostly the problem was that I couldn't stop sleeping. I would wake up in the morning and be good to go for a bout 2 hours, then BAM I was groggy and ready to sleep. I would grab a caffeinated drink and be up for a few hours more and it would happen again.

Several times I was caught sleeping at work, right at my desk. It was embarrassing and I did eventually find out that I had a sleep disorder and now I have it under control. No more sleep deprivation and no more falling asleep at the drop of a hat. Movies were a rather big pain since it was dark and I was sitting still.

However, I also developed a problem with caffeine during that period. I drank tons of it all the time, and once I discovered that I could by cases of Red Bull at the local membership warehouse store I drank even more, all in a useless attempt to stay awake.

Sometimes there is just too much of a good thing.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

From the mind of an evil tech...

A long while ago, a friend of mine performed an upgrade on his daughters computer without her knowledge. My friend, being quite the prankster, decided that it would be funny to prank his daughter before telling her that she had a new computer.

He told the young lady that he needed to take the computer to get something for it and took it out the truck. As he did he "noticed" something in the yard and set the computer down on the driveway behind the truck.

After dealing with the "something" he then proceeded to climb into the truck and back out of the drive way. His daughter, realizing that the computer was still behind the truck, was horrified and cried for her daddy to stop, but alas it was too late.

He quickly put the drive back in gear and drives forward, parks it, and jumps out to survey the damage. Nope, the truck is fine. Ah, but the poor innocent computer is toast. And the daughter is distraught because her precious computer is now a pancake.

He took her inside and as they enter she notices that there is a computer in her desk, but not the same one she left, a nice shiny new computer. One that truly does not resemble that metallic pancake in the driveway. She beats her daddy for that one, while he laughed and laughed and laughed.

Yes, Virginia, there is an evil tech.

(No this was not me. Yes this was a true story.)