Archive for Nebraska

Nebraska it trying to kill me.

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , on November 10, 2014 by urbannight

It has taken a long time, but I think the magic number is 29.40.  When the barometer falls below that, I get a migraine, when it is rising I feel better.  The temperatures dropped but the barometer rose.  We were finally having cooler, fall weather, then we had a cooler and more miserable weekend.  Now it is snowing.  I supposed it is getting to be that time of year.  But this is silly.  The weather felt wrong nearly all year-long.  Maybe it is just me.  But I’ve tried to make an attempt to track the headaches and the barometer and it finally seems like a pattern.  And that is 29.40 ish.

Red Light Green Light – Driving in Omaha

Posted in Education, Life, Politics, Technology, Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 23, 2012 by urbannight

Both my roommate and I are not Omaha, or even Nebraska, natives.  The result is that we often complain about some of the driving patterns. 

The one I plan to highlight today is the manner in which drivers treat stop lights. 

 Lets start with your standard Green Light.  You have to wait a little while before going.  It isn’t that you have to wait to see if anyone runs it before moving.  It’s because you have to wait for the people running the red light from the side direction. 

Then you have the Omaha Green Light.  This is what most other people think is a yellow light.  Other drivers seem to hate me because I slow down and stop on a yellow.  Some places call it the hurry up and speed light.  That isn’t even an issue here.  Most Omahan’s treat it as just an extension of the green light. 

The Omaha Yellow light is next.  This is where the street light has actually turned red but anywhere from 2 to 6 cars will run the red light.  Always.  Every time. 

This is such a problem that there was an article in the paper once about La Vista ticketing people who ran yellow lights.  A yellow light is so that people in the intersection can get out of it before the red light but if you are not in the intersection when it turns yellow you should not move into the intersection.  Running a yellow light is the same ticket as running a red light. 

I already know this.  So does my roommate.  Of course, we are not originally from this area.  I guess Nebraska in general, or Omaha in particular, have strange drivers education programs.

On a related note, the police seem to treat them as optional.  I’ve lived in small towns where the police might turn on the lights to go through a red light and then turn the lights off again right after.  But this is the first place where I’ve seen so many cops just drive through the red light, no lights, no siren, no drama.  Just running the red light.  Red lights are clearly things that happen to other people.

No Not Honk At Me

Posted in Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2011 by urbannight

Do NOT Honk Your Horn at Me!

There is no law saying you MUST make a right turn on red. If the road is clear, and you came to a complete stop, you may make a right turn on red, but you are not obligated to do so.

If you are a bit preoccupied in the morning, and have something on your mind, and you stop at the red light and wait until the green, you are completely following the law and are not likely to cause an accident. (This was me this morning)

Now if you start honking your horn it does not make me go. It pisses me off. Some countries are aware of this reaction, and the fact that it is the most common reaction, and have actually passed laws against honking your horn at other drivers. If you honk your horn at me, I will most certainly wait for the light to turn green.

Now if you get pissed off because I am following all traffic laws to the exact letter and decided to pull around me and make a right hand turn around me on a red light, I believe that is actually an illegal move. (This was mister black car NE plate RVN (?) 797 [I think it was an N because after a while I realized I was repeating RV9 797 and that’s the only letter I can think off that would morph into a 9])

You are in fact the one who is more likely to get into an accident, or more properly, be the cause of an accident with some poor unsuspecting fellow.

Of course, I may be a little passive aggressive in not making a right on red if I don’t have to and someone it honking at me to do so. But this is Omaha and the city is notorious for bad driving.

Near work, there is a left turn lane that is for buses only. But cars use it all the time. Right in front of cop cars. The cops do nothing. When there is road construction and there is a ‘no left turn’ sign at the intersection, people completely ignore it on constantly turn left. The cops do nothing.

When you sit at an intersection and the light turns green for you to go straight across, you have to wait for between 2 and 6 cars still making left turns through the intersection. This city has more people running red lights than in any city I’ve ever lived or visited. You are driving down a busy, four lane road (in one direction) and someone in the far left lane decides he or she needs to make a right turn and does so, cutting off the other three lanes of oncoming traffic.

Lets not even talk about rain and snow. Okay, maybe I will. Rain seems to mean, “Speed up to get where you are going and out of it as quickly as possible.” You get to work and listen to the radio and hear of all sorts of accidents.

Winter is even worse. Every time it snows, it’s like Omahans have to totally relearn how to drive in the snow.

Every – Time – It – Snows.

Not each winter, each snow fall.

I’m from the mountains in North Idaho . At the first snow fall, I have to get the feel for it that one time. Then I’m good all winter long. I learned lots of tricks and methods to deal with getting around corners and getting unstuck and so on.

Most work better with a stick than with an automatic. Manuals are so much better for snowy areas than automatics yet for some reason, most people around here don’t drive them and when I had to replace my car with a used one, I couldn’t find a single used stick at all.

Well, I suppose this is the end of my rant. Time to go.

Do Not Call it ‘Cajun’ and the Mayor’s Tax

Posted in Economics, Economy, Food, Life, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2010 by urbannight

This morning I went to try out Wheatfields.  A new eatery just a block away from home.  ‘New’ meaning it’s been there a year but I refused to eat there.  It used to be a wonderful European pastry shop with some soups and sandwiches.  You really went there for the desserts.  The building was sold and the owners forced them out because they wanted to charge a higher rent on the place.  So they brought in a regional chain.

The service was great.  My server was rather delicious looking himself.  Very pleasant and he went back to the kitchen to get me more seasoning for my soup.  I’ll get to the soup in a moment.

First, I’ll tell you about the half order of hot beef sandwich.  The potatoes were good with no lumps.  Since moving to Nebraska, getting mashed potatoes without lumps is a challenge.  They think that they much leave lumps to prove they used real potatoes.  I’m from Idaho.  Lumpy mashed potatoes is a sign of a lazy cook.  In grade school I could quickly use a hand masher and get smooth potatoes without using butter or a lot of cream.  I used about a table spoon or two of milk depending on the number of potatoes.  That’s it.  So the mash passed my standards.

The gravy was nothing to write home about.  But it was homemade beef gravy.  Not the super dark brown glop you often get on open faced hot beef sandwiches.  On one hand it was my father’s ordinary gravy.  On the other hand it was better than most everywhere else.  And I didn’t even need to add any pepper.

The beef was to die for.  It was an amazing roast that was shredded and put on the sandwich.  No slices folded together.  I thought it odd that it didn’t come with a steak knife.  Until I cut into it with my fork.  No knife needed for this sandwich.

I ordered a half order.  It was huge.  Half of the half order is now in my fridge for tomorrow.

They had two soups for today.  One was Tomato and Cheese.  I don’t like cheese soups in general and don’t like tomatoes.  I tried the other one.  Cajun Shrimp soup.  Let me count the flaws…..

1. The shrimp was salad shrimp.

2. Bland

3. Beyond bland into absolute lack of flavor.

The soup seemed to be a broth with a little bit of onion, some chopped carrots, and some cut tomato.  To this was added rice, salad shrimp, and some tomato paste.  There was supposedly some Cajun seasoning in there as well.  Cajun food is not normally bland.  Even if it isn’t spicy it normally doesn’t have a complete lack of any flavor at all.

I asked for some Cayenne pepper.  They didn’t have any but the kitchen sent me two little tubs of spice.  One had about 1T of cajun seasoning and the other had a chili power that was paprika based with some cayenne and some other chili in it.  I put half the cajun and a bit of the chili in it.  Better.  I then added all the rest of the cayenne and half of the chili.  MUCH better.

Rice, shrimp, and tomato paste does not make a dish Cajun.  Scaring the dish with the bottle of Cajun seasoning does not make is Cajun.  You have to actually USE the Cajun seasoning until it tastes like a Cajun dish before you can use the word Cajun to describe it.

Now you may wonder what a Mayor’s Tax has to do with this food rant.  If you are from anywhere near Omaha, NE you probably know where I’m going.  The new 2.5 % tax that gets added to your restaurant bill AFTER the state taxes.  So you also get taxed on the tax.  Different places have labled it differently on their sale’s slip.  I had to laugh when I saw that Wheatfield’s is labeling it the “Mayor’s Tax”.

People want to recall Mayor Suttle.  I understand the few people who are saying the economic and budgetary situation he inherited was not his fault. They are right.  But the people who want to recall him are not doing so because they think he created the situation.  They want to recall him because of his reaction to the situation.  The city council actually soften his ideas when they passed the budget.  The people of Omaha hated his ideas and plans once he got into office.  As much as people are screaming now, it would have been 2 – 3 times worse if the budget has passed as Mayor Suttle envisioned it rather than the way the council modified it and softened it.

The worse is, of course, the wheel tax.  People who live outside Omaha but work in Omaha now have to pay a wheel tax.  It will be collected via payroll deduction.  The issues is that these people are being taxed who have no way to vote on it.  No representation in Omaha.  There is a very large portion of couples who live outside the city and drive one vehicle to work.  But both will be charged the wheel tax on the one vehicle.  A person who happens to have two jobs in Omaha is going to get charged the wheel tax twice.  Once for each job even thought it is one vehicle.

People who live in Omaha already pay a wheel tax when they register their vehicle,  but only once per vehicle. Our wheel tax is going up as well and for less than the mayor wanted.  The city council lowered that amount as well.

The Mayor is very tax happy.  I understand they needed to raise taxes but he was going way out over the deep end about it.  The fact that Wheatfields now shows a ‘Mayor’s Tax’ on their sales slips seems funny and appropriate.