Brawl in the Library

By: Mr. Wilson on December 15, 2009
I'm a little surprised more Lincolnites don't get worked up over events like this:
Mario Kart BRAWL Tournament Students in grades 6-12 are invited to come to Walt Branch Library on Tuesday, December 15, 2009, from 3:30 to 5:00 PM to show your skills playing against other teens for PRIZES!
Doesn't that seem like the sort of thing that would get certain populations in a lather? A video game tournament isn't exactly a traditional city library activity, and "BRAWL" just sounds so violent! And yet I can't remember hearing anybody complain or seeing any astonished letters to the editor or anything. It must be difficult to be a librarian these days.

Translation Please!

By: Mr. Wilson on December 15, 2009
City Councilman apparently watched too many John Wayne movies over the weekend. How else can you explain his insistence that the City not "go hellbent for leather and do a slapdash job"? There's just one problem: What the heck did he just say?

They Said Yes

By: Mr. Wilson on December 15, 2009
Fantastic news this morning in that the City Council approved Randy Acher's plans for the block he owns just south of the Gold's building downtown. This despite opposition from the Downtown Lincoln Association, whose board members care less about Downtown Lincoln than their own interests in downtown. We've seen plenty of project proposals come and go downtown, so until the final nail is pounded I'm not going to get too excited over this. Still, it's fun to think ahead. Square-block parking lots have no place in a vibrant downtown. Mr. Acher plans to replace his lot with a hotel, apartments, an entertainment center, and a parking garage. That's a heck of an improvement. Now, as a certain gentleman from southeast Nebraska is prone to say, let's get 'er done, Mr. Acher.

Due Date

By: Mr. Wilson on December 14, 2009
Howdy all! What glorious weather we're having today, yeah? Today is a big project due date for me so I'm a little overwhelmed at the moment. That means I probably won't have a chance to post anything substantive today. Unfortunately, it also means no Where In Lincoln post since Mr. T is on a different continent and I'm supposed to be covering for him. But since I'm slacking off today, I'll make it up to you later. Make sure I do!

No Child Left in a Drift

By: Mr. Wilson on December 10, 2009
When it comes to winter weather, I can't help but feel like LPS takes No Child Left Behind a little too literally. Having just spent an hour on Lincoln's roads -- talk to Mr. T if you want to know why -- I don't see what all the fuss is about. I'm sure -- no, I know -- there are plenty of residential roads in need of some serious TLC from City snow plows. But is that enough reason to cancel school? I say no. More and more it seems like LPS administrators think that if some children will have a difficult time making it to school, nobody should go to school. That's a flawed mentality. My experiences this morning suggest that most kids would make it to class with a tolerable amount of inconvenience. That's good enough for me. As for the rest: if they want to fight hard enough to show up on time, great. If they want to take it a little easy and show up late, great. If they want to skip the day, great. That's up to the individual student, or more accurately the student's family. For many kids in Lincoln school is the best place to be on a cold winter day. Not having school is a huge inconvenience for them. It may mean they don't get as much to eat today. It may mean they don't spend the day some place warm. It may mean they spend the day with no adult supervision. I don't have a problem with Tuesday's or Wednesday's class cancellations. Today's closing, on the other hand, feels unnecessary at best, irresponsible at worst. Lincoln's kids should have been given the option of going to school today.

Who is Celebrating?

By: Mr. Wilson on December 9, 2009
I'm trying to figure out who, besides the County Board and Hunter Management, is celebrating the sale of Lancaster Manor. There was a time I could have been happy about it, but not any more. Not after all the bungling and the unanswered questions. If the residents aren't happy, the employees aren't happy, and I haven't found anybody in Lincoln who is happy -- the best I've come across so far is indifference -- who are the happy ones? If nobody is happy, will Board members have jobs after the next election? Or are locals so lazy when it comes to voting for the Board that they will have forgotten about this mess?

I Just Did That!

By: Mr. Wilson on December 9, 2009
I took a gamble last evening. Despite the windy forecast, I went ahead and cleared my driveway and sidewalks. I figured that would make for slightly less work today. Wrong. My sidewalks are completely blown over and I think much of my driveway actually has more snow on it today than yesterday. ::sigh:: I still love snow, though. Isn't this stuff awesome?

Dear Mr. Acher

By: Mr. Wilson on December 8, 2009
Dear Mr. Acher, If your project is torpedoed by the City, I respectfully request that you instead bulldoze the parking lot and saturate the ground with RoundUp. Bonus points if you surround the entire block with ugly recycled fence sections and tacky "No Trespassing" signs. A community that can't find a way to make work a project such as the one you've proposed deserves nothing more than a giant, barren patch of dirt and mud. Respectfully, Brent C. Wilson P.S. If the project is approved by the City but it falls through on your end in such a way that the folks who oppose it can say "I told you so!", I reserve the right to flick a booger at you. It's only fair.

An Update on Mr. Wilson

By: Mr. Wilson on December 7, 2009
Hi folks. I apologize that the posting frequency has dipped around here. I'm approaching an important deadline with work and spare time is sparse. I've spent far more hours than I like to admit in this basement man-cave of mine. So what's the big project? I am writing something called Calendar and, not coincidentally, it's a calendar module for ExpressionEngine. Believe it or not, despite all the years ExpressionEngine has been around nobody has written a dedicated calendar module yet. I have thought about this project for years, even starting it and making good progress a couple times. But I never had the time or resources to finish it. Then Mitchell Kimbrough and Paul Burdick from Solspace came along and said "If you build it, we will pay", or something like that. So I got to work. That was around October 1st. At that point Calendar became important, but it still wasn't my top priority. It was just another project, until a couple weeks later. At that point Calendar received escalated priority thanks to ... well, I can't say why, but Calendar became top dog for me. It also received an internal due date of December 14. And thus began a series of late nights. Calendar is currently in what I would describe as "alpha" status. By next Monday it should be in an advanced beta stage -- not finished, but close. If all goes well the public release will come relatively soon after that. And that's what I'm up to. I know most of you aren't interested in the nuts and bolts, but I will probably show off the final product one of these days. Now ... back to the cave!

Poor Art Majors; That’s a Lot of Hours at Starbucks

By: Mr. Wilson on December 3, 2009
A great big "Yikes!" to the news that the average student debt load for folks graduating from college in Nebraska is right around $20 grand. News like that really wakes me up to how lucky I was to make it through both an undergraduate and graduate degree program with far less debt than that -- debt which included living expenses and which I paid off in full this fall. And to think I pondered going to Washington University where $20 grand would have looked pretty darn nice after four years. I wonder what college will look like by the time Robbie gets there?

Tell Us About: Capital City Grill

By: Mr. Wilson on December 3, 2009
The folks behind Taste of Lincoln made a trip recently to Capital City Grill, the newest restaurant in the former La Paloma / Brazen Head / Magnolia / etc. location in the Haymarket. Apparently it was fantastic. They're working on a review now. In the mean time, have any of you been there yet? What's the buzz around town? I sure hope this isn't yet another case of a great restaurant going away thanks to a good but cursed location.

A Bug Bite I Quite Like

By: Mr. Wilson on December 3, 2009
The Wilsons ventured over to Skeeter Barnes (56th and Old Cheney) last night for what turned out to be one of my best meals out in quite a while. I have long been a Skeeter fan, but for whatever reason I hadn't been there in many months. Last night's three meat combo of pork, brisket, and chicken really hit the spot for me. Meanwhile, The Missus went with a "cup" -- really a good-sized bowl -- of their chicken chili, a spicy seasonal dish she craves year-round. And Robbie? He grazed, sampling a little of just about everything. The worst thing about Skeeter Barnes is that when I have a craving for barbecue, I have to decide between it and several other great barbeque options throughout town. The wealth of good options is certainly a good problem to have.

Speaking of Malls…

By: Mr. Wilson on December 1, 2009
Speaking of malls on O Street, Gateway just finished some renovations. They removed the former Disney Store location -- walls and all -- so that now it's all open from the carousel to the department stores on the north end. I suppose open space is less tacky (and more flexible) than an empty store. Speaking of empty stores, despite the various vacancies throughout the mall Gateway doesn't feel unpleasantly empty. It's still active and reasonably well-maintained. It feels to me like the mall is just a tiny boost of momentum away from picking up steam again.
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