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Monday, March 31, 2014

pop-we Dinner Club Reviews Twisted Fork

Twisted Fork Grilled Chicken Plate.
This month population-we™ (pop-we) Dinner Club foodie Randy wanted something twisted as he chose the Twisted Fork located in the historic Old Market (1014 Howard St.) in Omaha, NE. They claim that their food is American comfort food with a Cowboy Twist. Blending Midwestern hospitality with cowboy bravado. The menu came about by a collaboration of chefs from restaurants located in Omaha, NE., Saint Paul, MN., and Frederick, MD.

When you walk into the Twisted Fork right away you notice the large bar along the left wall. The back of the bar is adorned with mirrors backing the selves, which are aligned with the assorted liquor bottles. On each side of the shelves there are televisions. As you pan your vision across the dining room, you will see chandeliers hanging from the ceiling and mirrors along the walls. On the left side of the room beyond the bar on the wall is couple wooden deer heads.

The menu is an interesting combination of sandwiches and entrees; from steaks, Cabernet Marinated Bleu Cheese Filet to Chili Relleno to Cowboy Breakfast Burger. I decided on the Grilled Chicken Plate which you have a choice of basil cream sauce, BBQ, or wild mushroom sauce served with vegetables and white truffle risotto. I ordered the dish with the wild mushroom sauce.

After compiling the surveys from the other pop-we Dinner Club foodies the club scores Twisted Fork a 3.7 star average on a scale of 1-5.

Atmosphere/Decor –
Twisted Fork Apple Crisp Dessert.

Cleanliness – 3.75

Wait Staff – 4

Menu – 3.75

Food Presentation – 4

Food Portions – 4

Food Taste – 3.75

Cost (was the cost worth meal?) – 3.25

Noise Level – 2.75

Overall Experience – 3.75

For more information regarding directions, catering or Twisted Fork, visit their website at

Fellow population-we™ readers, if you've been to Twisted Fork 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.

-population-we™ blog post by Brian Brown
© 2014 population-we, LLC 
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Monday, March 24, 2014

pop-we Founder & Omaha Foodie Named to New Role at Dishcrawl

I am a foodie. But I'm not alone my wife is a foodie too. The Brown's could be considered an authority on food. Indeed, we are true foodies who love to make homemade meals and anyone who follows my wife on social media knows we eat out often.

Most already know about our population-we™ (pop-we) Dinner Club, which has been around for four years. Our club's taste, which is very similar to The Brown's, encompasses fine dining, chain restaurants as well as mom-and-pop cafés and dives in Nebraska. Past reviews can be found here.
Announcement sent out on social media.

That's why I'm reaching out to pop-we readers to share with you our next foodie adventure. Earlier this month, my wife signed on for a new role. Meet Dishcrawl Omaha's new Ambassador my wife and founder of population-we™, Becky Bohan Brown.

Those readers not familiar with Dishcrawl, the startup creates dining experiences and events to satisfy anyone’s craving. You can find your local Dishcrawl Ambassador, like Becky, leading you through progressive dinners, prix fixe dinners, and other fun food events! From culinary experiences in real life to great stories about local culture online, Dishcrawl spans 250 cities across the U.S., Canada, and soon the United Kingdom. To begin your food adventure, visit

"If you're interested in joining Dishcrawl Omaha on a foodie outing in the future -- you're always welcome to come Dishcrawling with us." Becky said. "Plans are to Dishcrawl at some past pop-we Dinner Club stops too. So, stay tuned and until then, Bon appétit!"

Visit www.Dishcrawl/Omaha for details. Also, a copy of her very first Dishcrawl Omaha event on April 9th is highlighted below:

A delicious dining adventure through three culinary experiences this April

Omaha, NE – In 2013, Omaha’s very first Dishcrawl was held in historic Downtown Old Market. Next, Omaha foodies will travel up the road to Midtown. Midtown Crossing at Turner Park is urban living redefined, a 15-acre, urban development in the heart of Omaha’s historic Midtown neighborhood. Built around a revitalized Turner Park, the million-square-foot development includes condominium and apartment units as well as more than 220,000 square feet of restaurants, retailers and entertainment venues. Join Dishcrawl and other foodies just like you and dine at three very different restaurants in this trendy Midtown neighborhood. Your taste buds won’t be disappointed!

On Tuesday, April 9th at 7 p.m. Dishcrawl Across Omaha will tour Midtown Crossing. Chefs of three restaurants invite you to explore a dining adventure through their culinary delights in the heart of Midtown. Come eat with neighbors and friends--all while making Omaha foodie history. Don’t wait, reserve your ticket now! Reservations are limited, but still being accepted at here.

“Locals and visitors alike will appreciate this true culinary adventure, a mouthwatering multi-plate tour featuring three chefs in Midtown Omaha showing off their talents,” says Dishcrawl Founder, Tracy Lee. “Dishcrawling is a fantastic way to bring the community together with local chefs who are bringing exciting new things to our culinary scene.”

This adventurous dinner is only $45. Drinks may be purchased separately.

Foodies have the chance to win free tickets online by telling us which Omaha restaurant you love on Facebook ( or Twitter (@dischcrawloma). Must hashtag #dishcrawlomaha to be entered.

Contact Information: Becky Bohan Brown
beckyb [at]
Dishcrawl Omaha | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram


Register today, because seating is limited for Discrawl Omaha's April 9th Midtown Crossing event. Fellow foodies, in the future if you can't decide where to eat turn to pop-we Dinner Club or a Dishcrawl in your town for help. Bon appétit from The Brown's!

-population-we™ blog post by Brian Brown
© 2014 population-we, LLC 
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Monday, March 17, 2014

Q and A about Bibliotherapy from the Author of Tolsoty Therapy

This is for all the people who would like help to find reading material to improve their sense of well-being. Lucy Horner is at your service. The English Literature major born to a farming family in South East England knows firsthand how bibliotherapy or reading therapy combined with professional therapy helped her with her symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Her book Tolstoy Therapy: A Fiction Prescription is a resource about literature that can help with depression, anxiety, loneliness, and more. Her definition of bibliotherapy is "the use of skilled writing and fiction to help you through difficult situations, feelings and thought-processes." She recognizes that people may still need professional therapy and medication.

Her goal is to help the reader develop their own bibliotherapy toolkit. Lucy has said in the section of her book explaining the toolkit that she “believes that bibliotherapy is more than simply recommending somebody great books as you need to apply it to your wider life and fit it into your daily routine for the long-term.” Rereading and memorization are important to the regimen.

Horner also continues her fiction prescription at her blog Tolstoy Therapy and also invites readers to share their perspectives of literature that has helped them. In addition, she shares relevant information about the benefits of bibliotherapy. Here is a link to a post.

Dr. Deborah Serani is a best-selling author and practicing psychoanalyst who recommends bibliotherapy to her clients.

As someone who lives with depression, she found bibliotherapy to be empowering. She believes that reading therapy can help people through traumatic experiences.

When I approached Horner, about doing a Q & A, I was not aware that she was launching the web site I also found out that she has a crowdfunding campaign that will end on March 28th regarding social media components. We will discuss this more in the Q &A

I enjoy being able to “pick the brain” of English Lit majors such as Horner and am particularly grateful for the added dimension of conversing with someone who is also involved with Lit therapy. Horner shares her insights in the following Q & A.

Q: I am aware that you have had a successful course of treatment for PTSD. Can you discuss some of what did not work for you personally of the various treatments and which type of treatment worked for you?

A: Of course. I started off with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), but it felt too traumatic for me to start off with. Above all, this was due to the emphasis on talking things through. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR therapy) was much more successful in my case, as it simply required me to focus on my feelings while a therapist 'reprogrammed' memories. This involved him asking me questions while I focused my eyes on a moving light, but two other options involve listening to sounds or following the therapist’s hand from side to side. It's quite hard to understand EMDR and see how it could possibly work, but a few months after treatment there was a noticeable difference in my symptoms!

Q: You have discussed how reading Tolstoy has been instrumental in your recovery and that you continue to read Tolstoy during your free time. Can you share any of your feelings about the author and his works?

A: I first read War and Peace as a teenager, and it was precisely what I needed to deal rationally with my anxiety and focus on the beauty and meaning of life instead. Tolstoy is an author, who covers so much ground in his writing, and I’d say that his books are often more like lessons in life than stories. The Death of Ivan Ilyich is a guide to living well in the limited time we have left, while War and Peace - Tolstoy's masterpiece - is a book that can perhaps teach us more about life, love and meaning than any other novel could of March so that she can take her new web site to the next level and add

Do you read in a different mode when you are reading for your well-being than you do as an English Major preparing for school work?

A: I try to approach texts I read for my degree with an open mind and a goal to find characters I can relate to, but with time deadlines and assessments this is often difficult! However, if I think a novel I’ve studied deserves more of my attention, I’ll often return to it for pleasure at a later date. One great example of a university text I’ve returned to and absolutely loved is The Waves by Virginia Woolf.

Q: What are some of the benefits of bibliotherapy? Why do you think fiction works well?

A: Artists put their thoughts, fears, memories and dreams down on paper, and there’s little that hasn’t been put in a book before. If we’re feeling a bit depressed, we can find an author - or character - that has experienced similar problems and be reassured that we’re not alone. Fiction can also act as a ‘simulation’ of real life, meaning that we can follow in the footsteps of characters we admire and who we wish to be like. Personally, I approach fiction as if it’s an archive of human experience that I can learn from and apply to my own feelings and problems.

Q: I have had the opportunity to read from your online book where you give your fiction prescriptions. It was very reasonably priced in U.S. Dollars. Is it so reasonably priced in other currencies? Will it continue to be at such an affordable price?

A. Thank you! As my main aim in writing my eBook was to help others apply bibliotherapy to their own lives, I’d like to keep it as affordable as possible. It’s much more of a guide, based on my personal experience and love of reading, than a money-making venture!

Q: You have said that the beauty of poetry and the rhythm of poetry can have a beneficial impact on the reader. I started falling in love with beautiful rhythms several years ago. As you may recall from an earlier exchange, I very much like the ending of Robert Frost's poem "Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening". There are scripture versus that really resonate with me. I particularly like the sound of Isiah 50:4 “The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned.” Do you have other suggestions that I might like?”

A: I love the verse you’ve quoted so much, thank you! As with the ending of the Robert Frost poem, I try to memorize lines of poetry that have beautiful rhythms and a calming influence on my emotions. Another great line is by William Blake and goes as so: “The Angel that presided o’er my birth/ Said ‘Little creature, form’d of joy and mirth, / Go, love without the help of anything on earth.’” It’s a great piece of poetry to read and remember that life isn’t all about struggling along and feeling anxious.

Q: I have enjoyed some relationships between a person and a therapist or maybe a mentor in literature and in the movies. One example that comes to mind is from Ordinary People by Judith Guest. Do you have any other suggestions?

A: I also have an interest in such relationships, and I love the example you’ve given. Something I’ve covered quite a lot on Tolstoy Therapy is the teacher-student relationship in The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Charlie, the Protagonist, has suffered from trauma and doesn’t quite fit in at school, and his English teacher mentors him and helps him integrate with his classmates (or at least gives him the confidence to do so). A primary way in which the teacher does so is by recommending Charlie great books, which is one of the reasons why I’ve read the novel so many times!

Q: You have a crowdfunding campaign as you are taking your work to the next level. What can you tell us about your future goals? When is the deadline to donate?

A: Yes, I believe that bibliotherapy should be free and accessible to everyone, and for this reason I’ve recently set-up LitTherapy, a website to find book recommendations for all manner of problems and feelings. The reason I’m now crowdfunding is so I can hire a developer to help me make the website more social and interactive (functions to vote books up and down, add books to the site, create your own bibliotherapy plan, etc.) With my student budget, there was only so far I could take the site myself!

My ambitious target is to raise £1000, but even if I don’t reach this amount before the deadline (on March 28 2014), I can use all the money I raise for the project.

Q: You seem very open to suggestions from readers of your blog for books to add to your list. What is a book that was suggested by a reader that has improved your well-being?

A: Yes, I love receiving suggestions from readers! My idea of bibliotherapy involves readers sharing their favorite books so others can discover them too, and I’m hoping to allow this on LitTherapy if the crowfunding is successful. One of my favorite book suggestions I’ve received is The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, a superb novel that I know has helped a lot of readers with anxiety, depression, and a desire to find deeper meaning in life. I know it helped me a lot in my own life!

Q: You have said that your symptoms from PTSD are managed and that you prefer to have your symptoms managed but not completely gone. Can you explain this? What is it like living with managed symptoms compared to more severe symptoms?

A: Before my PTSD was diagnosed, I suffered from a lot of nightmares, flashbacks and feelings of high anxiety. I was unsure what was wrong with me, and I often took my confusion out on myself. After my diagnosis I felt less confused, but I still suffered from a lot of panic attacks and disturbed sleep.

My symptoms got a lot worse when I was going through therapy, but in the end - when I found myself having the courage to get out my comfort zone and approach everyday tasks without high levels of anxiety - it was definitely worth it. Nowadays I experience the occasional wobble when my symptoms are triggered, but I feel I can deal with them effectively and not let them take over all aspects of my life as they used to. As my PTSD developed when I was a child, it become almost part of my personality and who I am today, so I wouldn’t want it completely gone, if that makes sense. However, the key to this acceptance is feeling in control of my feelings rather than them controlling me!

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share?

A: I think that’s about it, thank you for thinking of such interesting questions!

Thank you, Lucy Horner for your insights and for your services! From what I have read from Horner’s book, blog and web site, I find her to be very charming and insightful. Her writings are therapeutic in their own right!

-population-we™ blog post by  Barb Bohan
© 2014 population-we, LLC 
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Monday, March 10, 2014

Take a Stand Against Cyber Bullying

To start I'd like to applaud Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the other technology forums in their initial efforts to combat bullying. They acknowledged that the problem exists and has evolved to a new level in the cyber communities. Facebook has taken the approach to establish a HUB where their users can specifically report bullying. Twitter and Instagram have taken a less direct approach to have them reported as abusive users.

Yet I believe that it is possible for the companies to take a proactive approach to dealing with bullying. The software exists when red flags can be raised if certain words are used. Rather than rely on the victim to muster the courage to report their attackers protocols should be in place for the sites to contact the victim and attackers if certain keywords are used. There would be some who believe this would squash freedom of expression but direct, premeditated attacks should not be included under that heading. 

These technology forums have been used as a tool to advance a growing culture of hate. The flawed philosophy of sticks, stones and words has been around for years. The right words can cut deep. A single individual is capable of inflicting much psychological damage and that is increased exponentially when there are multiple attackers piling on as a pack.

That is the mentality that has developed in cyber space where people feel they have the right to attack any one for whatever reason. Even celebrities are not immune to such attacks. Jimmy Kimmel highlights this situation for comedic purposes with his Mean Tweets segments. Yet that raises the question as to why someone would follow someone on Twitter or join their Facebook page just to say venomous things.

A recent story in the news revolved about several people launching a campaign of hate against someone who shared the same name as their intended target. Rachel Canning was the recipient of the attacks and she was able to spin the situation to raise awareness and funds for autism. She also made the effort to personally scold some of the attackers for their actions against someone they did not know from the safety behind their computer. One hero that has risen above the situation and created something positive.

The idea of wearing the white hat or black hat has been around for years. There is no denying that those that embrace the bully culture have chosen to wear the metaphorical black hat. It really is a situation of black and white. The difference between right and wrong. A problem that must be dealt with wherever it arises.

-population-we™ blog post by John Bohan
© 2014 population-we, LLC 
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Monday, March 3, 2014

Ice Fishing in Western Nebraska

Family and friends ice fishing in western Nebraska.
I don’t believe I’m the only one who feels the winter of 2013-14 is dragging on unnecessarily. With that statement, you might assume I’m not much of an ice fisherman, and you would assume correctly. I know the recent record lows had some ice heads real excited, so I joined them and took the opportunity to travel with some friends in search of fish.

We ventured out to western Nebraska and fished areas that none of us had ever seen before. We have friends in the region, and they had been having decent success. When we arrived to fish Sunday morning, we found nice, clear ice, easy fishing conditions and little to no wind. We also found a fair amount of fishing pressure, which we believe had an adverse affect on the fishing. Combine that with high sunny skies, and the fish did not seem eager to cooperate most of the day. When evening approached, the bite really picked up. At the end of the lines were mainly walleyes and perch, but we also managed a few channel catfish up to five-to-six pounds. Always fun on an ice rod! My friend’s son lost a real nice walleye right under the ice, and it was estimated to be in the 24-27 inches range. Most other fish were in the 14-16 inches range.

We returned on Monday and were treated to even better conditions. Little to no wind and plenty of sunshine once again. At one point, we were shedding hunting coats like they were going out of style. In contrast to the previous day, the high skies did not seem to bother the fish. We had considerably better success, with quite a few walleyes being caught, and some real nice perch up to 13 inches. I was the one losing a nice walleye this day, and it looked to be 20-22 inches. With the favorable conditions, we needed to exercise more caution on the ice. Finding three to four-inches of ice directly adjacent to nine-to-10 inches really reminded us to be careful. There were several flurries of activity during the day, with packs of walleyes roaming for food and being very aggressive in their search. Most fish were enticed with a particular jig style tipped with minnows and minnow heads.

As the fishing continued to improve, the same could not be said for the weather. The front arrived in full force, and if you weren’t sitting in your shack, you almost needed to run to catch it. My friend’s 13-year-old son Jacob beat us all in the final 45 minutes by landing five walleyes in a row.

This was a very welcome change of pace for my friends and me. I have been fishing the Tri County canal system lately, and quite frankly, it’s been tough. A couple of friends and I have been struggling to find the active walleyes and saugers in their usual haunts. The nice thing is, that will change soon. With March and St. Patty’s day just around the corner, the fishing is sure to improve quick, weather conditions permitting of course. The last push for good ice fishing is on right now. Enjoy it while you can, and stay safe.

-population-we™ blog post by Brian Robinson
© 2014 population-we, LLC 
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