Another Panhandle Disappointment…

The Union Bar in Gering Nebraska has its own little claim to fame: the Diet Burger.  The Nebraska Beef Council holds a “Nebraska’s Best Burger” contest every year.  The Diet Burger was one of  five finalists for this year’s coveted top spot.  Needless to say, it didn’t win, but still… a burger recognized as great in a state where cows are more populous than people has got to be good, right?

A tradition that my boys and I have is to go camping for a night somewhere local to give the wife a night with the house to herself.  We haven’t been able to do this for the last couple of years, but this year we just made it happen.  We planned on camping at a local campground on Friday night, cooking out that night.  Then, our big plan was to go to The Union for lunch the following day to try us one of these Diet Burgers.  I’m a big burger fan and am at a loss for anything other than chain and fast food burgers around these parts.   I haven’t had any burgers locally that have made me say to myself, “Wow, beef really is better in Nebraska.”

At first, my boys were a little hesitant going to a “bar” for lunch, but I had them so psyched up to try one of these burgers that I think it could have been served in an alley on East Overland and they would have been willing to go.  See, the Diet Burger is supposed to be a pound of beef and a pound of bacon mushed between two grilled cheese sandwiches.  Sounds like a heart attack waiting to happen, right?  Sounded like the perfect thing to split with the boys on the one “cheat day” I allow myself away from my stinking diet.

So, the boys and I camp Friday night.  We have a good time.  We do a little geocaching, we play with our new puppy (who joined us on our trip), we ate some campfire stuff, we played us a little UNO, and we talked about how cool eating that Diet Burger was going to be.  The next day, we pack up camp and head to The Union to top-off our adventure.

Now I was especially excited.  I have a lot of people who know me who complain that I never write about anything positive in this here blog.  They say stuff like, “Why can’t you focus on the positive” and “There are lots of good things around here to write about.”  So, I’m excited that I am finally going to be able to write about something in a positive light in the good old panhandle of Nebraska.   I’ve never actually seen one of these Diet Burgers, but I was imagining a monstrosity of meat and cheese just oozing with goodness.  I couldn’t wait to get a picture or two of the behemoth and attach them to my stellar review of the burger.  I haven’t been this excited about much of anything in the panhandle of Nebraska since… well… ever.

The boys and I stroll into The Union and take a small table by the front window.  Our waitress is a cute little blond gal with short shorts and a pleasant smile.  “What can I get you guys?” she asks.

I don’t even hesitate.  “We’ll take a Diet Burger,” I say, my mouth already starting to collect drool with which to help the feast of beef and pork that I am soon going to be devouring slide down my gullet.

The waitress got kind of a wrinkly look on her face and said “Oooh,” and I knew my dreams were about to come crashing down around me in small piles that somehow resembled mutilated unicorns.

“We don’t serve those on Saturdays.”

Suddenly, with her face all scrunched up, little blondie with the short shorts wasn’t so cute anymore.

She points to a little list of like 10 bar-food-type appetizer items.  “This is our Saturday menu.”

“Well…” I start, looking at both of my boys who, like me, are visibly fighting the onslaught of tears on the verge of exploding from their eyes, “… we really wanted the Diet Burger.”

“Sorry,” says blondie.

“Okay,” I said as I started to get up from the table.  “I guess we’ll go somewhere else.”

The boys and I got up and, stepping around the small piles of blood and unicorn guts, made our way out of The Union.  “Gering sucks,” I said to the boys as we climbed back into our car.  “You know, if Gering would merge with Scottsbluff, The stupid Union would serve Diet Burgers on Saturday.”

See, now I will never have a Diet Burger.  The Union pissed me off, and the ability to forgive isn’t my strongest trait.  It is completely within The Union’s rights as a small business in the USA to serve what they want when they want.  Maybe the Saturday lunch crowd (which may not exist… there were like two drunk dudes sitting at the bar — and that’s it — while we were there at right after noon) doesn’t deserve this “famous” local treat.  The Diet Burger is no longer “famous” to me… it’s dead. See, I also have rights… like the right to never set foot in there again.

We drove into Scottsbluff and went to the Original Submarine Sandwich Shop located in Route 66 Mart.  We got some 4″ subs, which are served on Saturdays, and although they weren’t as flavorful as I’m sure the Diet Burger would have been, they were seasoned with the extra saltiness of our tears…

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The Bloggess Wrote a Book… and I Read It…

Anyone who hasn’t read anything from The Bloggess is truly missing out.  She is one of the funniest bloggers in the blogosphere.

The Bloggess is actually a woman named Jenny Lawson.  She recently had a book published, a memoir of sorts, that I just finished reading.  One of the funniest books I have read… ever… and I highly recommend it.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir)

I’m not much of a book reviewer, so I’m just gonna tell you what I liked (and didn’t like) about the book.  I like Jenny.  She’s freaking nuts… literally.  She has some phobias that seem so “out there” that it is easy to laugh along with her and her story.  Her upbringing made her unique, and contributed to her being absolutely insane.  I actually laughed out loud while reading this.  It’s always nice to be able to laugh at someone with deeper issues than the ones roaming the inside of your head, isn’t it?  Well, that is, until you realize that your own phobias and issues might be a little different than Jenny’s, but are they really any less bizarre?  Of course they aren’t!  We’re all freaking nuts; Jenny just captures it better with words than most of us can.

I’m going to be honest, I bought Jenny’s book because, in the furthest recesses of my mind, I have hoped that this little blog of mine will somehow turn into an actual career writing for a living… somehow.  I don’t know how, but somehow. And here is one of my favorite bloggers, and she has done it.  She has reached a pinnacle that I think many people who blog hope to obtain.

I bought Jenny’s book to support a fellow blogger.  There seems to be a community, a sense of fellowship, amongst bloggers.  Of course, this is another community that I don’t quite fit in with.  In fact, I don’t even know how one gets to that community.  There are all kinds of bloggers who recommend each other and comment on each other’s blogs.  I have commented on several, and I have never had that action reciprocated.  So, I just keep doing my thing… you know, bitching and whatnot…

Jenny, in her book, writes of her circle of blogging friends.  She writes about rich women, and how she thought that she would never be able to fit in with them… and how she ends up kind of fitting in with them.  That was one part of the book I didn’t care for.  I, too, hate the rich… but I don’t imagine finding myself on a golf course with a bunch of doctors or lawyers having a gay old time.  That, in my mind, would be… uh… gay?

After reading Jenny’s book, I decided that I should maybe try to follow her style a little.  I feel like she has a very similar sense of humor to mine, she’s just a hell of a lot funnier.  And she writes “f**k” a lot… and “vagina”.  Maybe I’d be funnier if I wrote “f**k” and “vagina” more — or at all.

Anyway, you should really check out her book.  It’s f**king awesome, and it smells like vagina…

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40… a partially positive reflection :)

Yeah, after the pity party of my last post, I thought I should list some of the things that I have going in a positive direction in my life.  After all, if all I do is gripe, God may see fit to throw a little Job-action my way to wake me up… and I ain’t ready for that 🙂

God is good.  He sent his only begotten Son to die for my sins, and that’s pretty cool.

I have a wife whom I love and who loves me.  Yeah, believe it or not, she loves me!

I have two sons that I would die for… when I’m not wanting to strangle them because almost all they do is fight with each other with the sole intention of driving their mother and me insane.  I have to remind myself that they are gifts from God and I need to cherish them… which I do.  I’d also cherish a little brotherly love from them from time to time 🙂

I have (finally) a decent house.  I wish we wouldn’t have had to waited this long to get a decent place, but patience is a virtue that God is trying to teach me (of which I am, I believe, a horrible student.)

I have a job that doesn’t suck (finally.)  I like what I do, I feel like I make a difference in the course of our business, my boss is easy to get along with and my coworkers (although the most eccentric group of coworkers I have ever worked with) are all good people that I, for the most part, get along with.

I like snow.  It is cold and pretty and it covers up the imperfections of the dead earth created by fall.  I really like snow and am thankful for it.

Nebraska isn’t really that bad.  Ok… yeah, it’s pretty bad, but things could be worse; I could live in Texas.

I have good friends with good senses of humor (have to have a good sense of humor to be my friend or I’ll drive you completely stinking insane!)

I love my dog, Buffy.  She is AWESOME!  Beagles rock… even 10-year old ones that shed like there’s no tomorrow.

Life is, for the most part, pretty good.  Now that I got the sentimental crap out og the way, I can get back to the griping.

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Rocking the Podunk; Deaf Pedestrians and Egypt Central!

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a really good concert.  This is very surprising considering the fact that I live, literally, in the middle of nowhere.  Most concerts that come to this area are country performers.  For example, this past summer for a couple of the big fair-type events, the performers that were brought in to entertain the masses were LoCash Cowboys, Terri Clark, and Jaime Fox.  I know, I know, if you are anything like me, you’re thinking to yourself, “Who?”  No clue, can’t help you with that one.  All I know about the previously listed performers is that they perform country and I have never heard of them.  You will notice that I refer to them as “performers” as opposed to “musicians” and that I refer to the style of performance as “country” and not “country music”.  I think of country much the same way I think of the Barney theme-song; technically, it may be considered “music”, but no one with the intellect above that of a 4-year-old really enjoys it much.  Just my opinion.

Oh, they have tried to bring some good old rock and roll to our area, but they seem to usually fail miserably.  They either bring in acts so washed-up that it’s not even funny (think Pat Benetar) or they bring in those sudo-classic bands.  You know the kind of bands I’m referring to:  Credence Clearwater Revisited where the only original CCR musician is, like, the drummer, and the drummer did not CCR make.  Or, one year they brought in someone with a name like Classic Rock Greats, which was like the guitarist from Air Supply, the drummer from 38 Special, a bassist from The Alan Parson’s Project, and a lead singer named Bob who they picked up from a cover band in Des Moine… or something like that.  Anyway, they are bands that do not interest me.

Needless to say, I was ecstatic when I learned that Egypt Central was going to be opening for Deaf Pedestrians… in Crap-pile, Nebraska.  I was STOKED!  I wanted to see this concert more than anything I have recently desired.  Now, I’m not a major follower of either of these bands, but I have heard music from both of them, and they kick some serious booty.

I feel obliged to mention the local cover band that opened for Deaf Pedestrians and Egypt Central: Six Shot Lullaby. There… I mentioned them. Just kidding. They really weren’t bad for a cover band from the Podunk… plus the lead guitarist actually came out into the crowd to try to get people into the concert… and he was kind of big and scary… and I live in the same town as him… so Six Shot Lullaby kicked butt, Mr. Guitarist Dude.

Now on to the main acts. Neither of these bands have hit the “Big Time” or had a “major” hit… you know the kind: the song that keeps getting airplay on the adult contemporary station play after play because it was featured in a Super Bowl commercial for Geico where that stupid British lizard gets his heart broken by the sizzling supermodel who decides that “size” really is important as Rob Thomas sings his ever-loving heart out while a full orchestra accompanies the whaling guitar of a past metal-great-reduced-to-Super-Bowl-half-time-status-hero (no offense to Aerosmith, but doesn’t this define them:) Man… I hate that kind of music!

Both Egypt Central and Deaf Pedestrians, however, are amazing talents with tunes you may have heard (unless coloring pictures of Baby Bop has given way to music time and it’s time to sing along with Taylor Swift until teacher says it’s time to lay down on the blankie and take the nappie before recess).
The Deaf Pedestrians (or ‘Deaf Peds’ as they are lovingly referred to by their fans) were the headliner for the show. If you have never heard of this Texas-based band, please click the videos following to get a feel for their greatness.  Seriously, both of the bands I’m talking about are from southern states where I would expect nothing more than country-crap could escape the borders… yet these two rock?!? And from Texas… the Deaf Peds may seriously be the best thing to come out of Texas since… uh, given the lack of anything great to have ever come out of Texas… the Deaf Peds may be it! Deaf Peds have a semi-hit with “Hail to the Geek.”

They actually had a real-life video with (my favorite song of theirs) “15 Beers.”

The Deaf Peds also have an almost-brand-new cd out entitled We’re All Gonna Die.
This CD rocks. My favorite tune on this disc is “”Doomed To You”, but “We’re All Gonna Die”, “Tick”, and “I Hate This Place” (plus more) are well worth gracing the presence of your ears’ time:) The Deaf Peds were near-perfect… ‘near’….

The only thing that could have made the Deaf Peds better than they were would have been if they would have picked a less AWESOME band than Egypt Central to open for them!  The Deaf Peds played a flawless gig.  Very entertaining.  The problem was that their opening act, Egypt Central, was a high-energy, get-the-crowd-involved, in-your-face act that leaned more toward metal than the Deaf Peds quirky alternative hard rock.  Egypt Central has spent a little time opening for acts such as Korn and Disturbed… so they know how to ROCK! The crowd was too pumped to calm down and enjoy the more intricate styling of Deaf Ped’s music.  People actually started leaving during the main act, which is disappointing.  It will be hard to get any bigger-named acts to come to Podunk,  Nebraska when word gets around that crowds disappear during an acts performance.

Anyway, Egypt Central has a semi-hit with the awesome “Taking you Down.”  Here is a video someone created for the song with some pretty cool fantasy CGI stuff.

Even better was the band’s final song, which is a little less intense than some of their other stuff but is the kind of song you would expect to get some serious radio airplay without turning into drivel! I was waiting for this song the entire show and was pretty stoked that this is how they wrapped things up. The song in “You Make Me Sick,” and it rocks way more live than it does recorded, but here you go:

I really hope that the rapid fan-disappearance doesn’t discourage the local radio station (and others) from bringing in more contemporary, non-country performances. I’m tired of all the country crap coming this way. However, I feel a little bad about the comparison I made of country fans to 4-year olds… so I’m throwing in some typical country to make country fans feel at home on my blog:


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