Brian Brown Nebraska Realty Ad

Support the population-we™ Movement here...

Monday, June 24, 2013

pop-we Dinner Club Reviews Firewater Grille

Firewater Grille in Omaha.
This month population-we™ (pop-we) foodie Sue thought we should go for some island flair. So, our dinner club went to the Firewater Grille, located inside the Comfort Inn at 7007 Grover St., in Omaha, NE. When you arrive you immediately notice the outside patio, which has some nice propane fire tables. To get to the main entrance of the restaurant you need to walk through the lobby of the hotel. As you walk in you notice to the left there is a funky tiki hut style bar, there is also a stage for bands, along the back wall. Several flat screen televisions appear around the bar and restaurant areas. The bar area seems way bigger than the dining area.

Our party of 12 was sat in a back corner by the kitchen. It was a mix of a booth, a corner seating section and chairs with cheap plastic tables. The corner booth seat had a boot print on the vinyl from where someone was standing, probably adjusting the television above the bench.

I decided to try the Jamaican Jerked Short Rib. The short rib was big like something from the Flintstones. Unfortunately, that was the best part, as for being a Jamaican Jerk--it really did not have any flavor to it, also it was dry and fatty. I was really disappointed, as I am fan of Jamaican Jerk; too bad it was more like beef jerky. The dish was served with rice and vegetables, which were good. Another foodie ordered the Mango Cheese Cake, not sure how they made it, as it was rubbery to where you could bounce a spoon off it.

I believe the Firewater Grille is somewhere you could hang out for cocktails; as they did have good $3 Mai Tai’s and a relaxing outdoor seating area. Overall, I just would not recommend the food.

After compiling the surveys from the other foodies the pop-we Dinner Club gives Firewater Grille 3 star average on a scale of 1-5.

Atmosphere/Decor – 3
Jamaican Jerked Short Rib.

Cleanliness – 2.5

Wait Staff – 3.5

Menu – 3.25

Food Presentation – 3.5

Food Portions – 3.25

Food Taste – 2.75

Cost (was the cost worth meal?) – 2.75

Noise Level – 3

Overall Experience – 2.75

For more information regarding directions or Firewater Grille menu, visit their website at

Fellow population-we™ readers, if you've been to the Firewater Grille leave us a comment and tell us what you thought?

Want to do this yourself? To review how to start your own dinner club, visit our January post about doing just that. Remember it is a template; tweak it to fit you and your friends’ tastes. pop-we Dinner Club: good food…good friends…good times.
Firewater Grille on Urbanspoon

-population-we™ blog post by Brian Brown
© 2013 population-we, LLC 
If you enjoyed this post, make sure to leave a comment, 'Pin' or 'Like' it.

Pin It

Monday, June 17, 2013

pop-we Highlights 2013 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha

The hottest ticket in town!
The 2013 College World Series (CWS) will be played in Omaha, NE at TD Ameritrade Park from June 15 thru June 24 or 25, if necessary. There will not be a repeat this year as last year's champion Arizona finished 34-21 and did not garner an invitation to the tournament of 64. The final field of eight does include some regular visitors to Omaha such as LSU, Oregon State and North Carolina. It also features Indiana which is the first representative from the Big 10 since 1984.

The first game Friday has 48-18 Mississippi State against third seed 50-11 Oregon State. Mississippi State earned their ticket to Omaha by beating Virginia 11-6 and 6-5 in the super regional. Oregon State lost to Kansas State 6-2 in the first game of their super regional then bounced back to win 12-4 and 4-3.

The Mississippi State Bulldogs are led by Head Coach John Cohen. Their top seven hitters are Hunter Renfroe (.360), Adam Frazier (.359), Alex Detz (.323), Brett Pirtle (.306), Sam Frost (.295), Wes Rea (.288) and C. T. Bradford (.287) with Renfroe leading the team with 15 home runs followed by Rea with seven. Their top three starting pitchers are Kendall Graveman (7-5, 3.14), Jacob Lindgren (4-3, 4.18) and Luis Pollorena (6-3, 4.32) with Jonathan Holder being their main closer with 18 saves. In the 2013 MLB draft they had seven players taken: Renfroe (Padres, 1st round), Frazier (Pirates, 6th), Graveman (Blue Jays, 8th), Chad Girodo (Blue Jays, 8th), Evan Mitchell (Reds, 13th), Daryl Norris (Tigers, 22nd) and Pollorena (Rangers, 23rd). This is their ninth CWS appearance and have not won the championship.

The Oregon State Beavers are led by Head Coach Pat Casey. Their top seven hitters are Dylan Davis (.343), Andy Peterson (.329), Michael Conforto (.320), Kavin Keyes (.318), Beay Day (.313), Tyler Smith (.311) and Ryan Barnes (.299) with Conforto leading the team with 11 home runs followed by Danny Hayes with six. Their top three starting pitchers are Andrew Moore (14-1, 1.36), Ben Wetzler (9-1, 2.11) and Matt Boyd (10-3, 2.13) with Scott Schultz being their main closer with 10 saves. In the 2013 MLB draft they had seven players taken: Wetzler (Phillies, 5th round), Boyd (Blue Jays, 6th), Smith (Mariners, 8th), Hayes (White Sox, 13th), Schultz (Marlins, 17th), Daniel Child (Phillies, 18th) and Jake Rodriguez (Astros, 19th). This is their fifth CWS appearance and they won two championships.

The second game Friday has 48-14 Indiana against 51-12 Louisville in this year's battle of the seed busters. Indiana knocked off seventh seed Florida State 10-9 and 11-6 in their super regional. Louisville upset second seed Vanderbilt 5-3 and 2-1 in their super regional to advance.

The Indiana Hoosiers are led by Head Coach Tracy Smith. Their top seven hitters are Dustin DeMuth (.389), Kyle Schwarber (.376), Scott Donley (.361), Michael Basil (.315), Sam Travis (.313), Casey Smith (.309) and Will Nolden (.301) with Schwarber leading the team with 18 home runs followed by Travis with 10. Their top three starting pitchers are Aaron Slegers (9-1, 2.13), Joey DeNato (9-2, 2.76) and Kyle Hart (8-2, 3.01) with Ryan Halstead being their main closer with 11 saves. In the 2013 MLB draft they had three players taken: Slegers (Twins, 5th round), DeMuth (Twins, 8th) and Halstead (Twins, 26th). This is their first CWS appearance.

Shot down first baseline at 2013 Men's College World Series.
The Louisville Cardinals are led by Head Coach Dan McDonnell. Their top seven hitters are Ty Young (.339), Jeff Gardner (.335), Coco Johnson (.333), Cole Sturgeon (.327), Sutton Whiting (.315), Kyle Gibson (.301) and Nick Ratajczak (.285) with Gardner leading the team with nine home runs followed by Johnson with eight. Their top three starting pitchers are Jeff Thompson (11-1, 2.00), Chad Green (10-3, 2.29) and Dace Kime (6-1, 3.07) with Nick Burdi being their main closer with 16 saves. In the 2013 MLB draft they had seven players taken: Kime (Indians, 3rd round), Thompson (Tigers, 3rd), Young (Rays, 7th), Johnson (Marlins, 11th), Green (Tigers, 11th), Cody Ege (Rangers, 15th) and Adam Engel (White Sox, 19th). This is their second CWS appearance and they have not won the championship.

The first game Saturday has 57-10 top seed North Carolina taking on 49-14 North Carolina State. North Carolina battled South Carolina in their super regional winning the first game 6-5, losing the second 8-0 and clinching it with a 5-4 victory. North Carolina State swept Rice in their super regional 4-3 and 5-4.

The North Carolina Tar Heels are led by Head Coach Mike Fox. Their top seven hitters are Cody Stubbs (.366), Landon Lassiter (.361), Colin Moran (.343), Skye Bolt (.330), Brian Holberton (.309), Michael Russell (.304) and Chaz Frank (.298) with Moran leading the team with 13 home runs followed by Holberton with 11. Their top three starting pitchers are Kent Emanuel (11-3, 2.93), Hobbs Johnson (4-1, 2.62) and Benton Moss (8-1, 3.78) with Trent Thornton being their main closer with eight saves. In the 2013 MLB draft they had six players taken: Moran (Marlins, 1st round), Emanuel (Astros, 3rd), Stubbs (Royals, 8th), Holberton (Astros, 9th), Johnson (Brewers, 14th) and Frank (Blue Jays, 20th). This is their 10th CWS appearance and they have not won the championship.

The North Carolina State Wolf Pack are led by Head Coach Elliot Avent. Their top seven hitters are Trea Turner (.378), Jake Fincher (.327), Bryan Adametz (.298), Tarran Senay (.291), Grant Clyde (.278), Jake Armstrong (.267) and Brett Austin (.258) with Senay leading the team with eight home runs followed by Turner with seven. Their top three starting pitchers are Carlos Rodon (9-2, 3.19), Ethan Ogburn (5-3, 2.70) and Brad Stone (3-2, 5.28) with Grant Sasser being their main closer with eight saves. In the 2013 MLB draft they had two players taken: John Easley (Marlins, 23rd round) and Anthony Tzamtzis (Rays, 32nd). This is their second CWS appearance and they have not won the championship.

The second game Saturday has 44-17 UCLA taking on 57-9 fourth seed Louisiana State. UCLA advanced to Omaha by sweeping fifth seed Cal State Fullerton 5-3 and 3-0. LSU won their super regional by sweeping Oklahoma 2-0 and 11-1.

The UCLA Bruins are led by Head Coach John Savage. Their top seven hitters are Kevin Kramer (.279), Eric Filia (.278), Pat Gallagher (.277), Trent Chatterton (.260), Brian Carroll (.259), Pat Valaika (.257) and Brenton Allen (.247) with Valaika leading the team with five home runs followed by Kramer with three. Their top three starting pitchers are Nick Vander Tuig (12-4, 2.37), Adam Plutko (8-3, 2.35) and Grant Watson (8-3, 3.22) with David Berg being their main closer with 21 saves. In the 2013 MLB draft they had seven players taken: Vander Tuig (Giants, 6th round), Zach Weiss (Reds, 6th), Valaika (Rockies, 9th), Plutko (Indians, 11th), Allen (Nationals, 20th), Kevin Williams (Marlins, 29th) and Ryan Deeter (Brewers, 32nd). This is their fifth CWS appearance and they have not won the championship.

The Louisiana State Tigers are led by Head Coach Paul Mainieri. Their top seven hitters are Alex Bregman (.380), Mason Katz (.366), Raph Rhymes (.343), Sean McMullen (.317), Christian Ibarra (.315), JaCoby Jones (.299) and Mark Laird (.297) with Katz leading the team with 15 home runs followed by Bregman, Ibarra and Jones all tied with six. Their top three starting pitchers are Aaron Nola (12-0, 1.68), Cody Glenn (7-2, 2.41) and Ryan Eades (8-1, 2.79) with Chris Cotton being their main closer with 16 saves. In the 2013 MLB draft they had nine players taken: Eades (Twins, 2nd round), Jones (Pirates, 3rd), Katz (Cardinals, 4th), Nick Rumbelow (Yankees, 7th), Will LaMarche (Tigers, 9th), Ty Ross (Giants, 12th), Cotton (Astros, 14th), Rhymes (Tigers, 15th) and Ibarra (Pirates, 32nd). This is their 16th CWS appearance and they have won six championships.

Play ball!

(Editor's note: Again this year population-we™ and Baseball Me Love team up to bring CWS fans a glimpse into the elite eight making the trip to Omaha. Good luck to all the teams!)
- population-we blog post by John Bohan
© 2013 population-we, LLC
If you enjoyed this post, make sure to leave a comment, 'Pin' or 'Like' it.

Monday, June 10, 2013

pop-we Reviews Clinton Festa's Ancient Canada

When Jorge Mario Bergoglio who is known for his humility and compassion chose the papal name Francis in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi, I thought of my friend Clinton Festa. After all, he patterned the amiable and gentle Lichen with him in mind for his fantasy and paranormal novel, Ancient Canada

In addition to weaving philosophies of St. Francis of Assisi into his novel, Festa has seeds of other philosophies embedded throughout the book. This cerebral adventure where the flora, fauna and histories are vividly described is a real page-turner. As much as I wanted to see if everything would work out in the end, part of me did not want my journey to end. Rather than recycle plots and commonly used fantasy creatures, he developed all of his characters. Even their supernatural powers are straight from his imagination.  The format of the chapters is also unique but you have to read to almost the end to find out why this is significant. Festa is a pilot by profession and the influence of his trade is evident in the book. Each chapter is packed with information to ponder. Fortunately, the author is accessible by email to answer any questions. While I have enjoyed his willingness to explain the background and even symbolism of the novel, there are some aspects that I prefer just to speculate about at this time.

Festa has shared the following (shown in italics below) about the writing process of Ancient Canada and how he was influenced by St. Francis of Assisi.

If reading an epic is a journey, writing one is an Odyssey. There are countless directions to choose, research to do, and fates to decide. Lichen is a character that would teach the main characters of Ancient Canada, Marigold and Lavender, an entire worldview. Successful epic fiction creates its own immersive universe with original cultures, language, games, history, and geography. 

Shortly after moving to the capital of York, Lavender and Marigold are exiled by Polaris, the political and religious leader of their alternate Canada. They are thrown into the wilderness where they encounter a creature called the Lichen, a large hermit made up of a series of rocks and parched plants.  The Lichen serves an important role as the springboard to the epic. Sisters Lavender and Marigold don’t know where to go or what to do. They don’t yet know they’re about to begin their journey, but they know they've been rejected by the leader of the faith that formed them. From a writing standpoint, their encounter with the Lichen needed to replace old beliefs with new ones that they would rely on for their travels.

Initially, I thought the right thing to do as a fantasy writer would be to create an original set of beliefs.  Thankfully, I never even tried. While life was happening on the side, I was discovering Francis of Assisi through my church, St. Francis, run by Franciscans. Growing up I of course had heard of him, but thought of Francis as the guy who talked with furry animals. Those stories were perhaps good for a child, but obscured the level of voluntary suffering he endured for poverty and justice. I didn't realize he was a man who walked barefoot in the snow because not everyone could afford sandals, and he therefore considered owning them an offense to the poor. If the way you live your life is an art form, he was the one of the greatest artists in history. I found a world of inspiration, and the Lichen became based on Francis. I was very grateful it worked this way. The themes dovetailed perfectly with the rest of the story, and I became the one-trillionth writer or artist to be inspired by Francis.

If Ancient Canada withered on the vine and were read by none, I would have still been very fortunate to find a deep well of inspiration and wisdom through the writing process, which is a research process.  If one or more people read it and discover St. Francis through the story, they’ll enter a lineage that includes Tolstoy, Gandhi, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. among countless other men, women, and probably a few furry animals.

I was raised Catholic and attended parochial schools, yet St. Francis of Assisi is one of the few saints that I am familiar. It sounds like my initial impressions were similar to Festa's. I do feel an affinity towards St. Francis of Assisi especially since my grandfather lived for the last two years of his life in the welcoming environment of New Cassel Retirement Center in Omaha, which is affiliated with the School Sisters of St. Francis who embrace the saint’s teachings. I am grateful to Festa for opening my eyes to more of St. Francis of Assisi’s teachings and so much more.

In closing, I would like to share the following quotes by St. Francis of Assisi, which also embody his values.

1.  "For it is in giving that we receive."

2. "If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men."

3. "We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen apart, and to bring home those who have lost their way."

4. "Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where these is hatred, let me sow love."

5. "It would be considered a theft on our part if we didn't give to someone in greater need than we are."

6. "Each one should confidently make known his need to the other, so that he might find what he needs and minister to him. And each one should love and care for his brother in all those things in which God will give him grace, as a mother loves and cares for her son."

7. "Even though I had committed but one little sin, I should have ample reason to repent of it all my life."

- population-we blog post by Barb Bohan
© 2013 population-we, LLC
If you enjoyed this post, make sure to leave a comment, 'Pin' or 'Like' it.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Creative Writing II: 'The Bait'

I wrote the following creative writing story some 23 years ago of an encounter between a SCUBA diver and a few fish. The goal for the assignment was to write a character sketch from a picture (shown below). Today, Brian and I are avid SCUBA divers! May 2013 marks our second year of diving; we both are PADI and SSI certified open water divers, as well as belong to Greater Omaha SCUBA Club. So, after a recent shark tooth dive trip to Venice, Fla. (I'll blog on that later), and several encounters with fish on our dives, I decided to share the story below with fellow population-we™ readers.

The Bait
The puked greenish fish hesitates before lunging forward to devour probably its easiest catch of the day. One eye rests upon the waving piece of meat and the other curiously scans the man grasping the bait. The fish ponders the thought of attempting to snatch the prey from the strange looking creature.

Alfred, a month old Hagfish, happens to be new to the stony shallow coral. He's out exploring on his own the river notches, clefts, canyons, and tunnels when he unexpectedly came upon an obscure looking creature. Stunned at first, Alfred didn't know what to think of the strange creature's appearance. He had never seen a beast with tentacles jolting from its mouth that curiously connected to a blue hump on its back before. The beast spoke with echoing gurgling sound followed by the materialization of bubbles. Like an octopus, the beast had two strange arms and unusual sized webbed feet. As Alfred stared into the creatures eyes, he could catch a glimpse of his own curious reflection and then noticed two buggy eyes staring back. 

Alfred wasn't the only fish that noticed this peculiar kind of species swimming around. Lance, a Kingfish, that looks like an oversized Yellow Angelfish with a bad attitude, is hovering over the strange creature, trying to get a better view. Ralph, a Stickleback, with food always on his mind, swims over to investigate what curious edibles the beast is holding. All of the fish had one thought on their mind and that was what was this beast doing here.

The creature lunged the meat forward towards Alfred but he countered that action by jerking backwards. Now the seaweed and algae covered rocks flew through the water because of the commotion. The onlookers watched attentively now as ever, because of the creature's sudden hasty movement on their friend. Alfred, feeling a little unsure about this situation, floated a couple feet away planning his next counterattack. To Alfred's long scaly appearance, the man appeared to be a blue mammoth-sized beast, who had entered their domain. Alfred closed in on the beast for the kill. Yes, he decided to take the bait. The aroma was too strong and the circumstances too sporty for him to turn away now. Alfred threw a couple cold glances toward Lance and Ralph warning them to stay away from the beast.

Alfred wouldn't have thought twice about seizing the opportunity to snatch the meat from the man again, except for the voice of his mother nagging him in the back of his head. She would always lecture Alfred not to take food from strangely dressed creatures. Remembering his mother's wise advice, he backed up slowly, turned around, and started to swim home to his mommy. He didn't look behind himself, but in the background Alfred could hear the faint cries of Lance, whose stomach undoubtedly got him in trouble for good this time.

I hope you enjoyed my high school creative writing story; in fact, I earned an "A" for the assignment. Who knew I would some day, along with my husband, take up the sport of SCUBA diving. Read additional SCUBA diving posts at Finding Inspiration at Sea and [Earth Day Edition] pop-we Highlights Greater Omaha SCUBA Club's Project AWARE Efforts. Also, watch in the week's ahead for a blog post on our May 2013 Florida shark tooth dive. Keep Diving!

-population-we™ blog post by Becky Bohan Brown
© 2013 population-we, LLC 
If you enjoyed this post, make sure to leave a comment, 'Pin' or 'Like' it.

Pin It