The first free Bloomin’ Onion gift certificate is presented!

I called my dad on the phone in the barn and asked him: “Do you want that free Bloomin’ Onion gift certificate still?”

Dad: “What? Yes, I still want it. That’s where your mother and I are going next. By the way, we went to Olive Garden last night and our server may stop today … nice young girl, gave her the address. She’s from Honduras or somewhere. Wants to see the farm.”

Me: “Okay, great. But you still want the certificate? You won’t waste it, will you?”

Dad: “What are you talking about? I’m not going to waste anything.”

Me: Well, come to the house and get it.”

So, my dad came to the house and I formally presented the certificate to him!

Once again, thank you Outback!


Previous blog posts:

Outback Bloomin’ Onion Update!!!!!

As blog readers are aware on the night the Iowa Hawkeyes were announced to be one of the teams playing in the 2014 Outback Bowl, Sunday December 8th, I began a campaign … no, a quest to get a free Bloomin’ Onion!

My reason for requesting a free Bloomin’ Onion? Well, I’m a 4th generation onion farmer that also happens to be a very proud alum of the University of Iowa (M.A. 1990).

Soon after I initiated this blog and Twitter campaign to get a free Bloomin’ Onion Outback started to follow me on Twitter and gracefully obliged my request. In fact they did one better … they said they would send me 5 additional certificates to give away on my blog!

And today, December 23, 2013 … those certificates for free Bloomin’ Onions arrived in the mail!


So, in the coming days, when I’m not in a Percocet induced stupor … I have to come up with some sort of contest to award the free Bloomin’ Onion certificates.

Now, I may only have 4 to give away versus 5. The reason? Well, as my dad was driving to me to one of my recent doctor appointments this week I told him about my free Bloomin’ Onion quest. My dad is a huge fan of Texas Roudhouse but in the car he said to me:

“Well, I was thinking of taking your mother to Outback. One of those free certificates would be nice. That’s the best kind of onion to eat … free.”

Since my dad so graciously drove me to 3 different doctor appointments I am in no position to say no. So if he does still want one, he gets it. And then I will provide his review of his Outback dining experience. Brace yourself Outback, my dad is brutal when it comes to eating and dining experiences.

Look to this blog for an upcoming contest to award the other free certificates. Also I must once again acknowledge Outback Corporation for seeing the humor in my request and so graciously granting it.

I’m just kicking myself, as I said in one of my blog entries, that I set my sights so low, for a free Bloomin’ Onion. As I stated in one of my blog posts:

Now I wonder … do you want to send a deeply in debt onion farmer, his wife and two kids to see the game with complimentary tickets, airfare and lodging? You can also feel free to support my Crowd Funding campaign:

Maybe next time Iowa plays in the Outback Bowl Outback Corporation will feel compelled to send a struggling 4th generation small family onion farmer who is an Iowa alum and his wife and two sons who are diehard Iowa Hawkeye fans on an all expense paid trip to the game to watch Iowa play in a Bowl game (an experience non of our family has ever experienced)!

Also any support by Outback of my Crowd Funding campaign to pay for an editor for my unpublished memoir about life on the farm and Capitol Hill will be extremely appreciated!


Bill Braine’s blog entry and Crowd Funder Show update

A few weeks ago during my failed Kickstarter campaign my new friend Bill Braine wrote this fantastic blog piece about my project and campaign:

Bill is a fantastic writer and wrote a really nice bog article about my memoir and some of my past activities, including my $150K for a 50lb bag of onions on eBay ad:

I hope people can take a sec and read Bill’s blog entry. And then check out my new Crowd Funder Tv Show campaign. Unlike Kickstarter it is not “all or nothing” and the rewards are dollar for dollar gift certificates for places like Sears, Best Buy, Home Depot and Toys R Us. So, if you plan on doing any shopping at any of these locations you can essentially support my project for free!

If you support me you are helping a farmer that has done volunteer public policy work in behalf of his community for the past 17 years. You are doing more than just helping one person, you are helping a community and an industry!

Any and all help is very much appreciated! It means a great deal to me knowing there are so many avid supporters of farmers out there! Thank you!!!!!

Oh, Outback tweeted me a couple of days ago … the free Bloomin’ Onion gift certificates are in the mail!

Go Hawkeyes!

Outback and The Crowd Funder Show!

Just got a Twitter message from Outback. They are putting in the mail today my free Bloomin’ Onion certificates! Look to this blog for a giveaway for the other 5 free Bloomin’ Onion certificates!

Thank you Outback!

My “The Crowd Funder TV Show” campaign now has 11 backers with a total of $500! A fantastic start! Help me keep the momentum moving forward … please back if you can and spread the word! When you back me you are supporting a worthwhile campaign and for every dollar you contribute you get a matching gift card from places like Best Buy, Sears, Toys R Us or Home Depot … essentially if you are planning on shopping at any of these locations in the near future it is like supporting me at no cost to you!

See this older blog entry for more details:

That posting also discusses the new website for my public policy organization that works on issues related to vegetable and fruit farming … Farmroot!

Farmroot will be a codified organization that will better help me help out the farming community, especially specialty crop farmers, in terms of the promotion of good public policy initiatives!

Finally, after much angst, pain and trepidation I visited my ENT Specialist’s office this morning and learned I have some sort of fungus in my ear, quite possibly black mold, a mold I actually sometimes get on my onions!

You simply can’t make this stuff up!

Update on Crowd Funding Campaign and my Bloomin’ Onion Quest!

Sadly, my Kickstarter Campaign has now failed.

Here is the message that I posted on the page to the 41 wonderful people that chose to back and support me on Kickstarter:

I want to first thank everyone that has backed me and spread the word about my project! I am extremely grateful. 

You are not just helping me get a book published, you are helping me to continue to do the public policy work my wife and I have been doing for the benefit of our community the past 17 years and what my memoir details. Our goal has always been to help out farmers, our community, our friends. That’s what the book is about.

I do have exciting news … my Muckville-hire an editor project now will be featured on the Crowd Funder Show. When you back me for every dollar you back you get a gift card from places like Best Buy, Sears, The Gap, Toys R Us or Home Depot of equal value. Total win-win. It’s like supporting me for free.

You have backed me on Kickstarter and I am very very appreciative of that, but if that campaign fails (Kickstarter is all or nothing) I hope you consider backing me on this program. Again, not only are you supporting a worthy cause you can receive a gift card worth the matching value of your donation at a place you will probably be purchasing soon from anyway.

Link for my blog article about it:

Finally, the new website for my new public policy organization that focuses on supporting specialty crop farmers, vegetables and fruits, is up … check it out:

Again, I am truly humbled by all of the support and appreciation shown for the work that Eve and I have done over the years!


One other update: Outback is not only giving me a free Bloomin’ Onion they re sending me 5 additional Bloomin’ Onion certificates! I will be giving them away via some sort of contest on this blog! Look for the contest to come soon!

Bloomin’ Onion campaign update … OUTBACK IS GIVING ME A FREE BLOOMIN’ ONION!!!!!!

So, as I was digging around the internet I found this article from SB Nation:

The article is entitled “2014 Outback Bowl rooting interests: Coconut shrimp vs. bloomin’ onion”

The article in part states:

Iowa’s playing LSU in the Outback Bowl, but the real story will be off the field! Way off the field, because nobody who eats bloomin’ onions will be in any shape to be playing any football for a while. Outback Steakhouse has the details:

Victory or defeat, everyone gets free eats Jan. 2nd. If LSU takes home the Outback Bowl trophy, Outback will give away free Bloomin’ Onions nationwide. If Iowa prevails, it will be free Coconut Shrimp for all. Just say “Outback Bowl” to your server on Jan. 2 to score the free app.

Simply lock eyes with your server. Hold your server’s gaze for some time. Grin. Signal for your server to come closer. Yes, just like that. Whisper in your server’s ear, like Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs, “Outback Bowl.” Choke down your reward.


A free Bloomin’ Onion … IF LSU WINS????????????????

Seeing this I immediately posted a comment to the article with a link to my initial blog posting about my quest to get a free Bloomin’ Onion:

I then took off for the Twitterverse and started posting replies to anyone that tweeted about this … including the author of the SB nation article and Outback.

A few minutes later I got a tweeted response … FROM OUTBACK ITSELF!

In fact, they tweeted to me multiple times. Here is the exchange:

@ChrisPawelski Everyone wins at the @outbackbowl! If Iowa wins, you get free Coconut Shrimp and if LSU wins you get a free Bloomin’ Onion

@Outback @outbackbowl Uhm … I don’t want shrimp. I want a Bloomin’ Onion. You need to read my blog to learn why. 

@ChrisPawelski But we can arrange a Free Bloomin’ Onion for you before game day. DM us your mailing addy #outbacksurprise

@Outback AWESOME! WILL DO! Thanks #Outback!

@ChrisPawelski Anything for a 4th generation onion farmer! Without you, there wouldn’t be Bloomin’ Onions

Link for the entire exchange:

So now I am getting a free Bloomin’ Onion and Outback is now following me on Twitter!

Thank you so much Outback!!!

Now I wonder … do you want to send a deeply in debt onion farmer, his wife and two kids to see the game with complimentary tickets, airfare and lodging? You can also feel free to support my Crowd Funding campaign:

LOl … just kidding! But all kidding aside … thank you Outback!

My arthroscopic knee surgery on my meniscus tear!

On Friday December 13th (yes, Friday the 13th) my torn meniscus in my left knee was operated on. This was my second surgery on this left knee. The first was 2008. As readers of this bog may recall on November 4th I posted an entry about my new tear entitled “Another meniscus tear” ( On October 24th I saw my Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. John Juliano. As my blog entry stated:

In October I scheduled an appointment with Dr. Juliano again (I brought him two red onions) and he ordered another MRI. In my follow-up visit (which this Thursday will be 2 weeks ago) he said that the MRI was not 100% definitive but it appears I have another tear. He suggested I try a steroid shot in my knee and see how that worked. If after the shot the pain is reduced I could skip the surgery but if not I could get the surgery.

Not only did the cortisone shot not work, it actually hurt. And since it hurt and I had prolonged knee pain post shot I ended up over compensating while bundling boxes, causing me to mess up my back and requiring me to see a massage therapist.

So, based on what happened post cortisone shot Dr. Juliano felt I should get the knee surgery. And I agreed. Now Eve was afraid that the pain and discomfort I felt was not so much due to a tear but was caused by instead arthritis in the knee. That, obviously would be very bad. I in fact saw Dr. Juliano back in 2010 about the discomfort I was feeling then and he felt it was probably arthritis as well. Obviously all questions would be answered as to what was causing my pain via the surgery.

The following are a series of photos that chronicle this event. The only thing missing are pictures of the actual surgery. I know pictures are taken so I asked Dr. Juliano if I could have them for my blog. He laughed and said no problem. I hope to get them when I have my post-op appointment where he removes the stitches.

When you first arrive at St. Anthony’s Community Hospital one of the people checking you in gives you a number. These number cards are very important according to the woman at the next step who registered me. She said “Jerry (the name of the older man that escorted us to the registration booth) is going to want that back when we are done … they are very important.”


Eve with me at the registration booth … “you aren’t going to be taking pictures all day are you?”


Papers to sign … lots of papers to sign ….


An official wrist tag!


In the prep area.


Eve tying up my gown … then the bad news … the nurse said I have to get entirely naked.


I anxiously explained to the nurse that tonight Iowa was playing Iowa State in men’s college basketball and for only the second time in the over 100 year history of these interstate rivals playing each other they are both in the top 25 rankings.

Me: “Do I have to take them off? Iowa performs much better and generally wins when I wear my black underwear.”

Nurse: “Well, we like to have patients remove all clothing in case of accidental release of fluids during the procedure. it’s easier to clean-up.”

Me: “Oh … I understand … I will just put them back on as quickly as possible for the big game tonight.”

Nurse (laughing): “Okay, understood, I think.”

One note: Iowa lost to Iowa State that night by 3 points. My son Caleb and I are convinced the loss is due to my not wearing the back underwear during my surgical event.


The bed!


Behind the bed “Code Blue.” You always hear it in the movies … I wanted to start shouting “Code Blue” out, along with “Stat” but I didn’t.


My favorite sign in the hospital … where is the “Comfortably Numb” designation?


It took a while to get the iv inserted. As I explained to the nurse, it always does. I have small veins. When I had the intestinal blockage back in 2008 for my intestinal blockage they actually had to put it in my hand. The nurses couldn’t get it into my arm. I told her she did a fantastic job getting it in my arm. She laughed.


A selfie in bed.


Dr. Juliano came in and said “so, we are doing the right knee?” I paused for a sec with my jaw dropped and he laughed and said “gotcha.” He then marked the left knee. I like that!


As they were about to roll me in they finally put the hat on me. I told Eve she had to take a pic and she obliged!

I was then rolled out to the operating room. The anesthesiologist administered the anesthesia via my iv as we rolled down the hallway. I thought to myself that I would stay awake as long as possible and make a mental note of when I started to feel drowsy. I was rolled into the operating room and I do not remember anything after I entered the room.


I awoke post surgery in the operating room and the nurses were still cleaning up. I was then rolled back into the prep room and Eve was waiting for me there. They brought me cranberry juice and a roll to eat. I felt fine. No negative effects from the anesthesia and I wasn’t expecting any because I had been put under twice before and both times I experienced no nausea afterwards.


At this point Dr. Juliano came in. The good news, there was no sign of arthritis in the knee. The bad news, the tear was much worse than he thought it would be and the operation took about an hour longer than expected (surgery was over 2 hours). He said based on what this tear looked like it was not likely a repetitive injury from working the inching pedal/brake on our smaller barn forklift. Something more traumatic caused it.

I do so much stupid stuff on the farm I couldn’t even begin to isolate which stupid action on my part led to this. He didn’t rule out a repetitive action totally, but said it was highly unlikely.

He said I needed to keep everything dry until Monday, and then I could remove the ace bandage wrap and shower (I’m going to get stinky) and on December 23rd he’s remove the stitches and do his post-surgery evaluation. Eve then asked him when I should go back to doing physical labor. He was sort of surprised by that. To him it was a no brainer, a few weeks, mid January at least. Eve then told him when I had the surgery done last, back in December of 2008, the day after my dad called to have me shovel snow. He laughed and said that I should be doing any shoveling anytime soon. “Don’t ruin my work, the most you should do for a few weeks is sit at a desk. Make me the bad guy.”

I have two rare genetic blood clotting disorders. A couple of years ago I tested positive for one positive copy of Factor V (Leiden) mutation and I tested positive for one copy of the prothrombin gene. So Dr. Juliano said instead of taking 1 daily aspirin (which is what I normally do) I should take 2 daily aspirin for the next 5 days, to avoid a blod clot.

The nurse then brought an ice pack. I was given instructions on a series of post operative exercises to do and told to ice the area the next few days. I was still a bit dopey and only remember half of this stuff.


My lovely and extremely patient nurse.


When I sat up after getting dressed I was hit with a wave of nausea … I did not expect this. I told the nurse and she said it’s too bad I didn’t feel it before they removed the iv because they could have given me some anti-neausea stuff in my drip. I had brought my promethazine with me, fortunately, so I took one. It is one of three pills I take in a cocktail for acute headache relief. It prevents and controls motion sickness, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.

This time it didn’t work. I felt nauseous all during the drive to the Florida Pharmacy to get my pain meds and all the way home. When I would then lie on the couch I felt a bit better, though as I started to doze off I started to experience some serious gerd. Three or four times material started coming up on me. I also had a terrible headache. So, I took my cocktail of promethazine, tramadol and cyclobenzaprine. Because I took those I only took one percocet for my knee.

Despite all of those drugs, and all have warnings for drowsiness, I only fell asleep for a half hour or so.

Have I ever mentioned I have a very high tolerance for pharmaceuticals?

Now, one thing you will notice in the picture below is that Dr. Juliano obviously applied iodine all around the surgical area on my leg. Standard procedure of course. Unless you are a sadist. A couple of years ago I passed a small amount of blood. The medication that I was taking at the time for my headaches had one side effect of potentially casing kidney stones. I went to see this urologist in Middletown … Dr. David Cohen:

This jerk, and I don’t use that term lightly, did a cystoscopy on me. What is that you ask?

I asked to be given a local anesthetic for the procedure. he flat out refused, though I repeatedly asked him for it. He said to em “the procedure doesn’t last that long, doesn’t hurt and you don’t need it.” Eve wanted to walk out and leave but I just wanted to get through with it. After waiting a half hour he did this minimally though still invasive procedure with no anesthetic. He also did no iodine swipe before it.

Why did he refuse to give me a local anesthetic? Your guess is as good as ours.

The procedure was terribly uncomfortable, no, it hurt when he did it and I had pretty strong pain while urinating for about a week afterwards. He gave me no pain killers post procedure.

Well, back to the now!


As you can see in these photos I had two friends to comfort me, Chloe on my legs and Bauer on my chest. Chloe, who is a fat cat, actually at one point jumped onto my knee.

My scream was deafening.


These photos are taken the next day. I am doing my leg exercises. Thank the Lord for percocet!


Another image of my knee, wrapped tight.


Resting post exercise.


I always have to score some sort of trophy post big event … whether it be a placard or name card or in this case … those special hospital socks with the grippy stuff at the bottom!



Look for this blog for future updates on my knee and eventually for photos taken during the procedure by my doctor!

In the meantime … I have to do this … please check out my Crowd Funder TV Show campaign which currently has 4 backers!

The segment will be coming shortly I will promptly post it once it is available! This campaign is not “all-or-nothing” and supporters get dollar for dollar matching gift cards from places like Best Buy, Home Depot, Starbucks and Sears. Talk about win-win … if you plan on doing any shopping at any of those locations it’s like supporting me for free! If you backed me on Kickstarter I hope you consider backing me on The Crowd Funder TV Show campaign! And I hope you can spread the word!

Please also check out my new Facebook page devoted to my memoir “Muckville: Farm Policy, Media and the Strange Oddities of Semi-Rural Life.”

And finally the website for my new farming public policy organization that will focus on specialty crops, Farmroot, is up and active. I think it is fantastic … check it out:

Oh, it is now been 6 days since I contacted Outback Corporation about getting a free Bloomin’ Onion after it was announced Iowa would play in the 2014 Outback Bowl. How can they refuse gong a 4th generation onion farmer who is an Iowa graduate a free Bloomin’ Onion?

It’s not as if they haven’t given away free Bloomin’ Onions before:

Come on Outback … do the right thing!

Updates on Outback and my Crowd Funding Campaigns and other stuff!

On Sunday night I e-mailed Outback for a free Bloomin’ Onion and promptly blogged about it!

It’s now Wednesday and no response from Outback Corporation. Do they hate Iowa fans, or onion farmers, or just Iowa graduates who happen to be onion farmers?

Here are the two contact links I used … feel free to contact them and demand they give a free Bloomin’ Onion to the 4th generation onion farmer who is a University of Iowa graduate! Ask them why they don’t support onion farmers who are Iowa grads!

I now have 4 days left on my Kickstarter campaign:

39 backers pledging $1,627 is pretty fantastic but Kickstarter is “all-or-nothing” so it appears pretty unlikely I’ll make my goal of $5,000 in 4 days. hey, you never know … but many thanks to all that chose to support my project!

In the meantime my Crowd Funder TV Show campaign now has 4 backers!

The segment will be coming shortly I will promptly post it once it is available! This campaign is not “all-or-nothing” and supporters get dollar for dollar matching gift cards from places like Best Buy, Home Depot, Starbucks and Sears. Talk about win-win … if you plan on doing any shopping at any of those locations it’s like supporting me for free! If you backed me on Kickstarter I hope you consider backing me on The Crowd Funder TV Show campaign! And I hope you can spread the word!

I now have a Facebook page devoted to my memoir “Muckville: Farm Policy, Media and the Strange Oddities of Semi-Rural Life.”

And finally the website for my new farming public policy organization that will focus on specialty crops, Farmroot, is up and active. I think it is fantastic … check it out:

Wow … that’s lots of updates … arthroscopic knee surgery coming up Friday … hopefully I will be able to post lots of fantastic pics … will be asking the Doctor if I can only have a local so I can stay awake and take some neat surgery action photos!

We’ll see … though I doubt my wonderful and long suffering wife will allow it!

Updates on my Crowd Funder Show campaign and Farmroot!

While my Kickstarter Campaign picked up another backer it appears it will not succeed with only 5 days to go. It was close, and the backer support was tremendous, but with Kickstarter it is “all or nothing.”

On the other hand my The Crowd Funder TV Show campaign has picked up a new backer and is moving forward!

It is not “all or nothing” and it has some fantastic rewards for people that support me …. dollar for dollar matching gift cards from places like Sears, Home Depot or Best Buy. So if you plan on doing some holiday buying or post holiday buying at any of these locations please consider supporting me. You are essentially able to do it at no cost to you … and you are supporting a worthwhile cause … funding my endeavor to hire a professional editor for my first draft memoir “Muckville: Farm Policy, Media and the Strange Oddities of Semi-Rural Life.” Once again, all contributions and any other support, including the passing along information about this campaign, is very much appreciated!

On another note, the website for my new public policy/advocacy organization that focuses on issues surrounding specialty crops, or vegetables and fruits, Farmroot, is now up and active!!!!!

Please feel free to check it out! Check to the issues page, the about us page, and feel free to spread the word!!!! look for exciting news regarding Farmroot to be appearing soon!

Finally … it has now been a day with no response from Outback regarding my quest for a free Bloomin’ Onion from them because Iowa is in the Outback Bowl and I’m a 4th generation onion farmer and Iowa graduate … I will keep everyone posted on this!!!!!

Iowa to play LSU in the Outback Bowl … and I want a free Bloomin’ Onion from Outback Steakhouse!

It’s official … Iowa will play LSU in the 2014 Outback Bowl!

The last time we played LSU was in the 2005 Capital One Bowl and we sent out coach Nick Saban as a loser at LSU in until the Iron Bowl this season was one of the best endings to a college foot ball game … evah!

But this year we are playing them in the Outback Bowl on January 1, 2014 … that’s right, the Outback Bowl which is named after the Outback Restaurant chain. One of their signature items is the Bloomin’ Onion:

Now here is the deal … I’m a 4th generation ONION farmer and a very proud graduate of the University of Iowa (1988-1990, M.A.) … and because of these two things … I WANT A FREE BLOOMIN’ ONION!

Tonight, shortly after the announcement was made of the fact that Iowa was selected to appear in the Outback Bowl I sent the following e-mail to both the Outback Bowl website and the Outback Restaurant website (screenshots of both e-mails below). Let’s see how these guys respond … I will keep you all posted!

Text of e-mail:


My name is Chris Pawelski. I am a 4th generation ONION farmer from Orange County, NY

see my blog:

and my current Crowd Funder campaign:

I also was a student at the University of Iowa where I earned my Master of Arts Degree in 1990. I am a diehard Iowa fan! Just look at all of the Iowa clothing I am wearing in the photos in my blog and in the various stories I have appeared in over the years in the media.

That being said … being I am both an Iowa graduate and a 4th generation onion farmer I would hope you would be inclined to provide me with a complimentary free Bllomin’ Onion, being that Iowa will be one of the teams in the 2014 Outback Bowl (

I will be posting about this quest to receive a free Bloomin’ Onion in my Muckville blog some time tomorrow (December 9, 2013). I can send you the link upon request.

Thank you for your time and attention.


Chris Pawelski

University of Iowa graduate and 4th generation onion farmer!

PS: Feel free to support my The Crowd Funder Show campaign to raise enough money for an editor for my memoir “Muckville: Farm Policy, Media and the Strange Oddities of Semi-Rural Life.” All contributions are very much appreciated!