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Archive for July 2013

Omaha Blues

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Here we are at the end of July. This time ten years ago I had embarked on my first solo road trip, traveling east to visit my friends Leah in Oxford OH, Steph in Dearborn MI and Scott in New Haven CT. I returned home for a few short days before moving to Omaha NE to student teach during my final semester of college. I shared an apartment with two ladies who were also student teachers from UNI.

Sometimes I would go out with Annie and Rachel. We had a knack for finding new restaurants to eat at on Fridays. Sometimes we were joined by a couple guys from UNI who were also student teaching in Omaha. Once in a while we’d go out to a bar or club, or go see a movie. We attended a midnight screening of “The Evil Dead” at the Dundee Theater on a Friday night, which just happened to be Halloween. I remember thinking “Annie is going to like this and Rachel is going to hate me for making her watch this” and I made sure to sit between the two. Turns out Rachel broke out in laughter several times while Annie shriveled her face at the screen. I clearly didn’t know my roommates very well.

Sometimes I went out on my own. I liked going to the Dundee because it was one of those older one-screen theaters that often showed independent films like “Northfork” and “American Splendor”. I also caught some good movies at the local AMC on 132nd, such as “Thirteen” and “Lost in Translation”, one of the best cinematic experiences of my life. Very much a “right place at the right time” sorta thing. Once in a while I’d hit up a bar like the 49’r (right next door to the Dundee). One time I stopped in the Ranch Bowl on 72nd St, an oddly wonderful mix of bowling and live music. During November and December I took to ransacking the selection of quality movies at the Hollywood Video branch a few blocks from our apartment.

Anyway… Viet and I have been brainstorming places to see next month and I considered Omaha as part of a road trip that might also include Kansas City and Des Moines. I did a bit of internet sleuthing into the places I used to frequent a decade ago (the cause this nostalgic entry) and learned many of the places I fondly remember from my time there cease to exist! The Ranch Bowl was torn down to make way for a Wal-Mart (typical), the 49’r torn down and replaced by CVS, and I was unable to find any listing for a Hollywood Video branch near Wright Plaza (near as I can remember it being located when I lived there). The Dundee is still “open” though currently closed for renovations.

It’s sad knowing the few places I can remember with any fondness from my time in Omaha no longer exist. It’s not on par with a favorite hangout closing (like Little Italy did, or if the same fate should ever befall the Panther Lounge), but it’s still a bummer.

In my mind, Omaha looks better in the rear view mirror. I know I didn’t have the time of my life when I lived there but over time, like most things, I tend to gloss over the things I didn’t like (such as the early hours and other aspects of student teaching) and only remember the things I did like. But I feel no strong desire to revisit the city. The places I liked going to are gone and no one I knew there lives there anymore. I suspect one of the teachers I taught under may still be around and we had a good rapport, but we haven’t kept in touch at all and I have no reason to seek her out.

Maybe this segues into why I don’t write online much anymore. Writing about my day, or an aspect of it, an interesting anecdote (interesting sometimes only to myself, I suspect) or whathaveyou, is a form of nostalgia. And I guess I’ve gotten so good at living in the present (when I’m not thinking about the future) that I don’t devote any time to recollection or reflection. Not sure if that’s a good thing or not. Food for thought.

On the bright side, the Spaghetti Works in downtown Omaha is still open. Thank god for that.


Written by camcarlson

July 31, 2013 at 9:46 PM

Posted in Cinema, Travel

Tagged with , , , ,

“We’re going to get you.”

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So I caved and went and bought the “Evil Dead 2013” DVD today. I scoured the nets ahead of time but was unable to determine if another version would be released in a special edition ‘book of the dead’ case, like the first two films were (both of which I own, natch) even though I’m sure at some point in the future an uncut/NC-17 version will be released (given that they’ve double- and triple-dipped on all the previous Evil Dead films) and that would be a good time to do a ‘book of the dead’ case styled on the one featured in the new film.

So, as a consolation, I went with the Target steelbook edition. It’s pretty, but the disc inside is Blu-ray, which immediately presents a problem as I don’t own a Blu-ray player. However, it also comes with a “digital” copy I can stream online. So I’m going that route for now. If, in the future, an uncut/NC-17 edition with or without a ‘book of the dead’ style case is released, I’ll probably pick it up. Despite all my efforts to declutter my DVD collection, I’m still a sucker for gory packaging.

So with this item in hand, I’m set for an Evil Dead marathon in the near future. I think I’m going to subject Viet to the first two, then the 2013 version, and if he has any interest, follow up with “Army of Darkness”, the only entry in the series I’m lukewarm on. Reminds me of the ‘machete order‘ of watching Star Wars, which I’m also currently subjecting Viet to, though we saw IV, V, skipped Ep. II and went on to III. Not sure if we’ll watch II or not before watching VI. Meh, neither one of us likes listening to whiney teenage Anakin.




Written by camcarlson

July 16, 2013 at 7:13 PM

Where there’s a developing thunderstorm over every aisle

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Written by camcarlson

July 9, 2013 at 10:16 PM

Posted in Cedar Valley