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Tuesday, October 25th, 2011
10:40 pm
Missouri Crossroads
Originally posted by koppenhaver at Missouri Crossroads

At twenty miles per hour, the windows are down and my seat belt’s off.  There’s a wake of dust behind me.  For two hours, I’ve had Missouri’s leaf covered Glade Top Trail all to myself.  It’s a beautiful road wending narrowly atop the Ozarks.  The hills are alive today.   It’s peak foliage season and the weather is perfect.  I’ve again stumbled upon one of life’s gems. 
Seek and ye shall find…   Or as Thoreau puts it in one of my favorite quotes, “Rise free from care before dawn, and seek adventures.”
Missouri, to me, is a crossroad.  Lately, a disaster crossroad of tornados, ice storms, and hurricane remnants.  But it’s also a cultural crossroad.  Seems the south and the west meet in Missouri.  Cowboy, redneck, and bible belters coexist here.  A few of the folks I came to see on this three day trip to Branson – both of whom are Missourians – agreed vehemently with my perception.  They were impressed by my one sentence digest of their state. 
My ride along Glade Top Trail was a fantastic way to start my morning, but was in sharp contrast to late last night.  On very little sleep, I transitioned from beer drinking Cardinal fan in a pub full of Missourians, to a quiet introspective seeker of geographic enlightenment high in the Ozarks.  Perhaps the stark transition from left brain to right brain produced the whopping headache which turned into the only negative aspect of my fantastic morning.  (OK, perhaps too much pub last night was the culprit.)   Regardless, a little head discomfort can’t diminish the great memories I’ve captured in the Show Me state.
I developed a liking for Missouri (and the Cardinals) long before this trip.  Now though, having cruised its byways and cheered with its fans, that relationship has been kicked up a notch. 

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011
10:24 am
4th Annual Indiana Browncoat Bash in Bloomington
On Saturday, Sept 17th, there will be another Bash in Bloomington! I've been to the last 3 & they are FUN!! It's free to attend, but there is swag for sale. Funds go to Middleway Houe in Bloomington, which is a shelter for battered women & children.

More details at
http://wildandbad.com/backwoodsbash or http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=180214548676812

If you come, please consider bringing a food item. We do a pitch-in picnic while watching DVDs, socializing, etc. :)
Saturday, August 22nd, 2009
6:52 pm
Japanese Fall Tea Party - October 3rd - Toledo, Ohio

Elaine’s Tea Shop Presents:
Japanese Fall Festival Tea
Date: October 3rd (Saturday)
City/State: Toledo, Ohio
Time: 1pm-3pm
Website: http://www.thetealady.com
Fee: Cost covers your tea, presentation, and food.
Hosted By: http://ohiokimono.wordpress.com/
RSVP: Required, as seating is limited. Please call 1-866-832-5239 (toll free) to reserve your seat.

Teas Included: *Japanese Sencha , *Kyoto Cherry Rose, *Gemmaichi are being offers in cordination with this event. These loose leaf teas come direct from the growers, and are mixed by hand for freshness, and quality. There is a large selection of other teas on location for purchase, and take home!

Finger foods: Fruit sushi (no fish, vegan friendly!), and other tasty treats are slotted for this event!

This tea party celebrates not only fall, but traditional Japanese culture which too observes the arrival of fall. This is a great chance to come out and explore a wealth of green teas, and traditional Japanese culture such as Geisha, and Kimono.

*****Kimono friendly event, dress up and come out! Or, get help with wearing your own kimono!****

Current Mood: creative
Monday, July 20th, 2009
8:35 pm
Crescent, Iowa

The pie might have been a Mrs. Smith’s for all I knew, but it didn’t matter. It tasted fantastic, especially since it was served to me at a diner in Iowa. Henry’s in Crescent to be precise.

In the corner was an old farmer multi-tasking: playing slots while watching All My Children. On another TV, the Action News at Noon was being broadcast from Omaha. Every few minutes they’d cut to the weatherman for an update, but the forecast wasn’t changing: rain was coming.

Everyone in Henry’s was wearing a hat except for me. I had on a golf pullover and felt a bit out of place. And I was acting funny too:

- Asking the waitress for a pen, then jotting down notes.
- Ordering onion rings and pumpkin pie, and asking that they be brought out together.
- Inquiring whether Henry’s sold hats. (“No”, said the waitress, “just shirts.”)

When done, grateful for my experience at Henry’s and to compensate for my funny behavior, I gave the waitress a hundred percent tip. She was surprised and thanked me twice. I’m guessing none of the hat wearers matched my generosity today.

Years ago, I started joking that my life wouldn’t be complete until I’d eaten pie from a diner in Iowa. It was a cool sounding statement, but it was more than just a joke. It meant I hoped to someday have the freedom to wander about the middle of America, and the fortune to satisfy a frivolous craving. And that’s exactly what Henry’s represented: freedom and fortune.

Henry’s was just the first of three points of interest I was aiming for today. When I realized business was taking me to Omaha, I began researching possible side trips.

After Henry’s my next stop was the Ice Age. Thousands of years ago, when ice covered the middle of America, a tremendous amount of silt accumulated beneath the glacial grind. When the ice receded, this silt was lifted by the prevailing winds and deposited on the eastern shore of the Missouri River. In some spots the silt piled up more than 200 feet. These piles, known locally as the Loess Hills, are a prominent geographic feature in an area otherwise flat as a skillet.

A few miles north of Henry’s on the Old Lincoln Highway is the 1,000 acre Hitchcock Nature Center. A climb to the top of the observation tower was a fast way to absorb the scale of the Loess Hills which stretch more than 200 miles along the Missouri River and can be as much as 10 miles wide.

Leaving the hills, I headed for another geographic peculiarity. North of Omaha an 800 acre oxbow lake was formed about 50 years ago by the meandering Missouri River. This lake and surrounding land is now the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge. Instead of an observation tower, there’s a series of gravel roads leading to various viewing points. At the Missouri River Overlook, where I stopped to take some pictures, ranger Larry Klimer and I struck up a conversation. Enthusiastic and genuine, ranger Klimer had interesting answers for all of my questions, which focused mostly on the river and Lewis & Clark.

Unfortunately, our discussion was cut short when the rain arrived, as predicted by the Action News team. After a quick wet handshake, Klimer and I set out in opposite directions. It was time for me to head to my downtown Omaha hotel. My points-of-interest tour had come to an end.

Or so I thought…

For dinner, I was craving pizza and beer so I wandered several blocks and came upon Old Chicago Pasta & Pizza on Harney Street. I sat at the bar and immediately fell into an hour long conversation with a friendly and inebriated couple from Council Bluffs. They were regulars at this place and on a quest to complete the World Beer Tour, which involves ordering all of the 110 brews offered at Old Chicago’s.

They were proud and knowledgeable of the Omaha area and provided some passionate insight. Though I would have been perfectly content to dine alone, I enjoyed the company. It was an unexpected fourth point of interest and a nice way to end a really cool day.
Saturday, July 18th, 2009
10:22 pm
Dragon Boat Races - Toledo Ohio July 25th

The Partners In Education Great Maumee River Dragon Boat Festival is an experience like no other! Join us July 25, 2009 starting at 8:00 am, as we paddle, cheer, race and celebrate to fund learning opportunities that help educators and their students reach their full potential!

Date: July 25, 2009

Website: www.partnerstoledo.org/dragonboat.html

Location: International Park (downtown Toledo)
@ The Docks
Toledo, Oh

Monday, June 29th, 2009
1:15 pm
Springfield Underground
In the 1950's, Henry Griesemer began mining limestone from his farm located along historic Route 66 east of Springfield, Missouri. His mining technique, known as the "room and pillar" method, left behind vast open areas underground. By the 1960's, over a quarter million square feet of open space one hundred feet below the surface of the ground had been created by the extracted limestone.

In an extremely wise and resourceful business move, Mr. Griesemer began renting out this storage space. Due to the constant temperature underground, it made for an especially ideal location for food storage. And so, Kraft Foods became the first, and to this day still, the biggest tenant. Rail cars routinely drop off large shipments of cheese to age in Mr. Griesemer's man-made cavern.

But Kraft is not alone in utilizing this storage facility. Several food companies have taken advantage of the reduced costs of keeping their products cool more cost effectively underground where the air temperature stays a constant 58 degrees.

In a technologically advancing world where uninterrupted digital communication has become so important, computer servers have also been finding a home under Mr. Griesemer's farm. And that's precisely what afforded me the opportunity to partake in a guided tour of what is now known simply as Springfield Underground. A software company that my employer has contracted with wanted to show us first hand just how secure our new computer server was.

It was an impressive display of security. In addition to being located 100 feet below ground and completely surrounded by solid limestone, no less than 5 security gates need to be negotiated before reaching our server - some gates with air lock systems; others requiring fingerprint verification. Further, the number of back up layers guaranteeing an uninterrupted electrical feed to the server was equally impressive.

Limestone continues to be mined from under the farm that the Griesemer family still owns. And so, storage capacity of Springfield Underground continues to grow. As their website declares, it's now 2.2 million square feet and expanding.

It was a great tour and once again reminded me that the opportunities provided by my profession to travel this country and see cool places like Springfield Underground will never be taken for granted.

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009
11:21 am
Fun Promotional Team Members Needed!
Across the Nation Talent and Staffing are looking for some experienced and professional talent to add to our database nationwide. We have both model and costume character work occurring nationwide with popular and recognizable clientele and costume characters, that you know and love!

We would love to add you to our database!

More info HERECollapse )
Monday, June 15th, 2009
10:40 pm
Middle of the road
I am from the midwest (as I'm sure many of you are ;-) ) and I am thinking of taking a few days off but keeping it relatively local. What are some of your favorite midwest places to visit? I am from Wyoming, so I'd like to keep it out of my home state if possible (pleasee no recomendations for devil's tower AGAIN.)

Sweet. Bud.
Monday, December 15th, 2008
4:45 am
Have a Dickens of A Christmas


It’s going to be a really, really old-fashioned Christmas at the Ohio Historical Village.

The village, a recreation of a mid-1900s county seat, is hosting its annual Victorian Christmas. Events include Dickens of a Christmas, Dickens of a Dinner and Dickens of a Mystery. There also will be a Christmas Brunch.

During A Dickens of a Christmas – 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 12, 13, 19 and 20 and noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 21 – Ohio Historical Village visitors have a chance to meet characters from Dickens novels; learn how to make holiday treats and traditional Christmas crafts; and hear caroling by the Ohio Village Singers.

Thursday, September 25th, 2008
5:50 am
Hi everyone,
I am an independent screenprinter in Minnetonka area, and I'd love to share my little Etsy shop with you. I made this one smaller so it wouldn't clog up the community. Take care, almost Friday!!

Buy Handmade
Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008
12:18 am
Serenity screening in Bloomington Sun, Sep 28
For the 3rd anniversary of "Serenity," there is a screening of Serenity at The Cinemat in Bloomington (corner of 4th & Walnut Streets). $3 admission with all profits being donated to Middleway House, a battered women’s shelter.

There will be a silent auction (cash or local checks only), prizes, a singalong, prize for best Sereniverse costume, etc.

TDBrown always throws a good shindig. You don’t want to miss it!
Friday, September 19th, 2008
2:30 pm
Last chance to get smashed!

Saturday night, Oct 4th, come see the last roller derby bout of the 2008 season!

If you've only found out that Louisville even HAS roller derby, it's not too late to come out, check it out, and support your local homegrown rollergirls.
Wednesday, September 10th, 2008
3:50 pm
Hey guys!

Please come to this show and support Arms of Atlas!
They're a very talented band and they're REALLY nice boys.
Check them out here: www.myspace.com/armsofatlasmetal

Pleasepleaseplease come! [That's what she said.]

Anyway, for tickets, please e-mail ksacco2@uic.edu
It's more expensive at the door, so if you're on the fence, just go! <3

Photobucket Image Hosting</a>

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008
5:48 pm
if your'e lucky enough to not miss this...
One of my favorite bands called the 88 will be playing before the White Sox vs Blue Jays game this Wednesday September 10 at U.S. Cellular Field in Chi at 6:30pmish. I am so jealous that I can't be there myself but I would hate for anyone else to miss them. They're so so so good. I found out about them cos they were that band that played in the opening credits of "You, Me, and Dupree."

I'm wondering if i'll be able to watch them online when they appear earlier at 8am on WGN Morning News. Just in case, could someone DVR it and post the video on line? pretty please? i'll be your best best best friend.

Check out their video. they're so good:
Thursday, September 4th, 2008
8:56 pm
Most fun in the Midwest, this Saturday!

Participate in the costume contest at half-time, and you could win free tickets to bouts!
Monday, August 25th, 2008
1:47 pm
Mercury Players presents The Full Monty
Mercury Players Theatre is proud to open it's 2008-2009 season with the hit musical comedy The Full Monty! Read more...Collapse )

Current Mood: excited
Saturday, August 16th, 2008
11:44 pm
1:23 pm
Sweet kitty in need
I'm from NW Indiana and recently have been taking caring of an injured stray.  I was planning on adopting him myself, but when I took him to the vet he tested positive for feline leukemia.   I have two healthy indoor cats and no spare room in which he can live so I'm hoping to find him another home.  He is a very loving and patient 12-24 mo yr old male who was likely an indoor cat previously and has demonstrated excellent litter box skills.  He needs an equally loving home where he can rest and recover in a clean environment.  If he can fight off the infection from the wounds on his back paw he'll have a better chance of fight off FeLV.  I am willing to transport him anywhere in Indiana, southern Michigan, northern Ohio and Chicago areas.  Please contact me at cedaravenna@yahoo.com or (440)623-0789

More pictures can be found here: http://cedarravenna.livejournal.com/11743.html
Info on his condition can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feline_leukemia_virus
Saturday, June 14th, 2008
11:58 pm
web designer looking for work

Simple Cell Arts was started with the basic philosophy that good design should be simple to both navigate and update, and that things like flash and pre-loading get into the way of the both the person we are working with and his/hers customer base.

we also believe that in this ever changing modern world that a webpage should be extremely adaptable and that the ability to be quickly updated is just as important as the layout of the site.

most of our pricing is upfront , and if we cannot do something you want or need we will tell you as soon as we realize it and either do research on how to do it or suggest someone who can. we do this so that you the customer will be satified with the finnished product, and we would rather admitt to our limits than have you be dissatisfied with the end product.

Friday, May 30th, 2008
4:47 am
Restaurant Review: Kihachi (Columbus, OH)

Boasting one of the finest menus to be found in Columbus, Kihachi is a nestled away in a most unexpected location -- a nondescript strip mall just off I-270 near Sawmill and Dublin-Granville Rd. Don’t allow appearances to deceive you, it is absolutely great. With quality of such high caliber, one would expect to find a restaurant of this sort in the heart of downtown or in the likes of NYC heavyweights with expensive furnishings and astronomical prices to match. Fortunately for us, they spare the pretense and focus entirely on inspired dishes expertly crafted from only the freshest high quality ingredients. Due to its unassuming exterior, finding it can prove a bit difficult (even if privy to the lore), but once found, a treasure trove of culinary delights awaits you.

Much like the outside, the inside of the restaurant is rather modest. The décor falls somewhere between traditional, minimal, and elegant while the restaurant’s small size makes for an intimate dining experience. There are many tatami rooms lining the walls, two tables in the center of the restaurant that can seat four, and a sushi bar that gives a front row show of the masterful chef in action.

Many of the old favorites are listed on the menu such as a various sushi rolls, soba noodles, teriyaki, and tempura, but what really makes it exciting are the specials and menu items that most Americans would be unfamiliar with. With this particular visit, my party and I ordered primarily from the specials menu written entirely in Japanese. The courteous and attentive staff was more than willing to translate and describe each dish in full, mouthwatering detail, so there was no need for intimidation. Out of the eight or so specials, we ordered four and a few other items from the regular menu.

First up was the bluefin toro roll special. As mentioned in a previous article, toro is one of the finest cuts of sushi. We received 12 pieces. Each roll contained quite sizeable chunks of tuna with visible lines of fat (a very good thing). Nicely chewy and had a melt-in-your-mouth buttery texture. Soy sauce be damned, it was so fresh that I was reticent to use any at all.

Chris ordered a cod special. The fish was squeezed and pressed into balls. The texture was dry with a dense center and had a grainy, somewhat powdery feel in the mouth. None of us had ever tried anything like that before and didn’t quite know what to make of it. While the taste was far from bad, it was just new and strange to us.

Next came one of the highlights of the evening: braised pork cheek. Being my first experience with pork cheek, I wasn’t certain what to expect. As pictured, the presentation was lovely. It was served with red onion, cherry tomato, and shaved celery. The meat was warm, had just enough fat, and was ever so delicious. Now having tried it, I would say pork cheek is somewhat similar to pork belly, or tontoro. In addition to the meat itself, what really made this dish was the glaze. It was sweet and tasted of maybe honey, or fig? I couldn’t quite place it. Whatever the glaze, this is a new favorite of mine.

We had a few rounds of tempura. From the regular menu, we had two orders of the veggie and an order of shrimp and what appeared to be Asian broccoli from the specials. Pretty typical of tempura that could be found at most Japanese restaurants, there wasn’t anything that greatly set it apart. Breading was nice and crispy, and the tempura dipping sauce was pretty good. It appeared to be made from ginger and stock.

Still hungry, one of the lovely ladies with us ordered a chicken dish. Continuing the theme of high quality ingredients, the chicken was said to be free-range. That is always a plus and often unheard of in restaurants. It was prepared very well with a light breading, tasty seasoning, and was nicely moist.

And finally, highlight of the evening #2: snapper sushi. Photos of this dish do not give it justice, the presentation was beautiful and the taste much the same. It was garnished with painstakingly thinly sliced lime wheels. The snapper was just stellar with its subtle seasonings. It was sweet, tangy, and somewhat woody with just a touch of spice from the Japanese peppercorn. Attention was paid to every detail in this dish, it was even served with its own specially blended citrus and soy sauce. After the first order was finished, Chris promptly ordered seconds. In retrospect, I wish there had been thirds and even fourths.

With the night drawing to a close and completely satisfied with our meal, we decided to end the evening with dessert. They had a few options to choose from, including green tea ice cream, but we ultimately decided on two orders of pear custard. As with everything else that evening, it exceeded all expectations. The custard itself was very delicate, both in texture and taste, and while good on its own, was excellent paired with the fruit served with it. Certainly, a perfect ending to a perfect meal.

If you enjoyed this, be sure to check out our website LifeEpicurean.com or subscribe to the lifeepicurean newsfeed on LiveJournal for all the latest content. Thanks for reading!
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