Monday, March 31, 2008

Kansas City Skate Plaza

When you're shy about taking pictures of people, I recommend going to a skate park. Especially when you've got a new camera that you dont really know how to use. The Penn Valley skatepark, aka the Kansas City Skate Plaza, is located by my office on 31st & Broadway, right behind the BMA building. Here's a few pictures from the cement.

































































Thursday, March 27, 2008

From me, to me

I decided it was hard to take pictures of my camera with only one camera and no decent mirrors around, so I remedied the situation.

Good lawd this thing rocks!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Me Pappy

My youngest sister, Abby, just had her first baby and my dad decided to go visit her last week out in Redlands, CA. Rather than flying like most people do, he decided to take the train and take some pictures and stuff for a little photo-journal.

For those of you wondering what real photography is like, you can see some here: I'll Take The Train, by Skippy Sanchez

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hedwig

Those of you who missed Hedwig at the Off Center Theater should be kicking yourselves. First of all, the theater is GREAT, nice and small and the show was simply great. If you’ve never seen the movie or heard of Hedwig, it’s most definitely worth checking out, especially if you like musicals about botched up sex change operations in East Germany.

It’s running until March 22nd, so you have about six hours to get off the computer and quit blogging about how bad your life is or surfing YouTube for videos of Obama’s speech and get down there to check it out.

Totally worth it, I promise.
Note: Grandma, you would probably not like it as there are homosexuals in the show and most likely in the audience, but they will not bite unless threatened.



Thursday, March 20, 2008

Neighborhood Businesses Part I: Wild Woody’s Happy Foods

My neighborhood is packed with businesses in various states of operation. Normally, I do my grocery shopping as Sunfresh, which sucks. They’re overpriced and pretty much generally assholes. Monday I bought grapefruits and they charged me over double the advertised price, when I challenged them, the cashier told me “These are the 4257s, you’re thinking of the 4450s.” Whatever lady, they’re all in the same bin, under the same sign. Needless to say, I didn’t win the battle, so I walked.

I’ve been desperate for a non-Sunfresh grocery store for months now & have tried several places. Last night was Wild Woody’s Happy Foods on 31st and Jackson. Not a great neighborhood, but worth the try.

The place was crazy. All the signs in the place were hand drawn and super sized. Stuff was stacked to the ceiling, bulk style; an eight-foot stack of baked beans, three-foot long tubes of frozen ground beef, ten pound sacks of ribs. It was great. Very very few name brands, mostly Sure-Safe and Value Save stuff. There was a whole isle dedicated to hot sauce and bbq sauce. The ‘birdcage’ was surrounded by glass that was covered with signs of all sorts, notices, threats, wanted signs and there was a long line of people waiting for the lotto tickets to be spit out at them.

Naturally, I had my camera in my pocket and snapped a few pictures, but it was making people quite nervous (big cracka taking pictures of hot sauce and tripe..). At some point, I realized that I was being tailed by an older white guy and two security guards that looked like they boxed gorillas for fun.

Long story short, I got bounced out of the place by the manager, but not before I got the stuff I needed (Cool Whip, grapefruits and hot sauce, non-related).

This was the first time I’ve been confronted for taking pictures and because I wasn’t in a public place, I kinda just had to take it with a smile and bow out graciously. For what it’s worth though, it was worth the trip and I’ll still probably go back, at least they didn’t try to steal from me like Sunfresh.


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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Big Red’s Green Footprint

I was totally unprepared for the shock of my first gas bill. I shouldn’t have been, for the past three months everyone I showed the house to said “I bet this house is a BITCH to heat.”

Well, apparently they know much more than I do about heating 3,500 square feet of hardwood floors and my first gas bill was high enough to make me sit up and take notice. So I decided to hit the drawing boards to find ways to decrease my energy consumption and reducing my ‘carbon footprint’ in general.

Here’s a brief summary of what I thought may help:

  1. Move my bedroom from the 3rd floor apartment to a more traditional bedroom on the 2nd This enabled me to turn my 2nd heating system down to a chilly forty degree setting and lock the place up for the winter. floor.
  2. Installed a new idiot-proof programmable thermostat. Installation was not idiot proof, but I did get it after breaking the first one (luckily, Home Depot has taken the Army’s stance on asking questions).
  3. Changed nearly all of the lights in the house from regular ol’ bulbs to CFL’s. While not effecting the gas bill, it would effect the electric bill and just seemed like the right thing to do.
  4. Made a full-on attack of my basement situation. My basement, which doesn’t count to the square footage of the house because it’s not finished, consists of over 1000 square feet of open cold air, with pipes and ducts running around like Frankenstein’s lab. First, I insulated my hot water heater and my hot/cold water pipes. Secondly, I spent about two weeks insulating a massive duct that went from the heater, across the basement and up into the second floor. What a pain in the ass, but the effects were immediate. My whole house seemed to warm up & I was able to readjust my thermostat again.
  5. My doorless laundry room was freezing cold, due to the fixture that the dryer vent used to go outside. This coldness was basically making my refrigerator redundant in the kitchen. I attempted to seal it up with no success, so I opted to buy a heavy duty curtain to put over the doorway. The kitchen was warmer within minutes, and looking a lot nicer to boot.
  6. Got a recycle bin. This process was actually done by my neighbor, Alice (more on her when I’ve got time), but long story short, before I knew it, I had three of the suckers in my living room. Since getting the bins, I’ve averaged less than one bag of trash a week.
  7. Adjusted my shower situation. I was showering on the 3rd floor, which meant that the water had to run for nearly 5 minutes before warming up. Rather than moving the show down to the 2nd or 1st floor, I’ve made a concerted effort to shower at the gym as much as possible, which is disgusting. Sometimes I’m not sure if I’m really any cleaner after leaving. Either way, I typically shower there Monday-Friday after making myself sick on the treadmill before going to work. I used to use the ‘house’ soap, but I think it was just colored corn oil or something. This is probably the change that I’m least happy about.
  8. Built a WORM BIN!!! This may sound disgusting, but if you put a bunch of redworms in a Rubbermaid container under your sink in the kitchen, they’ll eat your veggie-type waste. This means, little to nothing goes down my drain any more and in return for saving the little pricks from the pointy end of a fishing pole, they give me potting soil.
  9. What good is potting soil without plants? In the past couple months, I’ve gotten several plants, big and small. A couple were purchased out of pure pity (I’m the Oskar Schindler of grocery store botany), but all are doing fine.

Today I got my gas bill & I was happy to see that my work paid dividends in the form of $100 lower bill, nearly a 30% decrease in one month, of course the amount I spent on insulation, plants, light bulbs and worms is significantly higher than $100, I feel good that it will pay itself off soon enough. If not, there’s a school nearby and I’ve got plenty of room to grow weed in the basement.







Friday, March 14, 2008

to who ever sales anything!!!!!!!!!

I love craigslist. A direct copy/paste:



to who ever sales anything!!!!!!!!!


Reply to: sale-606371024@craigslist.org
Date: 2008-03-14, 3:49PM CDT


I was on my way from Olathe Kansas to Kansas city mo.
To pick up a bed set from a man.
I told him that I was on my way to pick it up and he turned around and sold it to someone else.
I had two kids in the back seat that where crying we had made to Belton when he called.
Thanks so much Darrell:(
Please people if you say you will sale something to one person give them time to get there and don't sale it to someone else.






  • This item has been posted by-owner.
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

PostingID: 606371024

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Awesome Things That I Used To Eat: How To Secure Heart Disease And Obesity

Everyone thinks about their past in different ways, I’m no different. Not in the ‘got to change and get my zen back’ way, but in the ‘holy shit, I used to do what?!’ sort of way. The more and more I thought about the ways I used to punish my body, the more and more disgusted I’ve gotten. In keeping with my MO of providing people with fodder to make fun of me, I decided to write a brief story about what life was like for me back in college and my first couple years out of school.

During my second junior year of college (oh yeah, it was like that…), my roommate began doing web design for a local company. Anyone who went to college the proper way (ie, paid for it themselves) knows the amazing intricacies of the barter system. What did I have that could get me what I need? Namely, where did I work that could provide people with stuff. Cost me nothing; cost them nothing.

I worked third shift at a convenience store for a year on the corner of a major intersection in Hays, KS. The other three corners consisted of a Burger King, a Subway and a Pizza Hut. I got to know people that worked at all three and every night I would trade smokes for whoppers, pizza or subs. It was a great way to overcome my poor grocery situation on $6 an hour.

Roomie was (and still is) a web designer. The barter system that he introduced us to was one to be reckoned with. In exchange for designing a bass guitar website for a guy we knew, this guy gave us food. Not just any food. Cliff was the maintenance man for Arby’s. After the first rollout of his website, Cliff brought over, to my house, six boxes of frozen Arby’s food. SIX BOXES!

This turned my house into an immediate food-lust-carnival. On any given night (or day, or morning for that matter) there would be two to five of us dumping piles of food into the Fry Daddy.

Everything was cooked in the Fry Daddy, grilled chicken breasts, chicken fingers, French fries, mozzarella sticks, BBQ pork, roast beef my the fistful, even apple turnovers. We never used the oven or the microwave. When we changed the grease once every five weeks, it had to be chipped out of the bottom with a fork.

After a few weeks, the linoleum in my kitchen was scarred and sticky beyond repair. My face was oily and I had gained some serious weight, though I didn’t know it at the time (or choose to ignore it). We started getting creative, mostly with condiments. I had a set of seven small bowls that we would line up and dump various dipping items into. Ranch (plain), Ranch with Tabasco, ketchup, horseradish sauce, bbq sauce, sour cream (yeah, we tuned sour cream into a condiment), Italian dressing, salsa, it really didn’t matter.

This gravy train lasted nearly six months. Every time our freezer started to go low, Brant would update Cliff’s website & within days, the fridge would refill itself as if through some sort of magic. Six months of only shopping in the salad dressing isle at the grocery store. The damage done to my arteries is scary to fathom.

That was an example of ‘group debauchery’ but I feel like punishing and embarrassing myself publicly a bit more by detailing some of the things I used to eat on a regular basis.

Three El Monterrey Chimichangas buried in cheese, sour cream and salsa. Twice a day.

Three toasted peanut butter & jelly sandwiches with Doritos in the middle.

Three grilled cheese with four slices of cheese, dipped in Italian dressing.

One whole can of Bushes Baked Beans when I felt like eating ‘lite’ (straight out of the can like a hobo).

One whole package of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls, with extra butter, straight off the pan they were cooked on.

Two crème filled chocolate johns, two apple fritters and four ‘plain’ donuts from Daylight Donuts.

For three years my Saturday work-day lunch at Adronics was three double cheeseburgers & an extra large French fries from Burger King.

One loaf of bread, microwaved with butter and KC Masterpiece.

Two beef and bean burritos and a sack of churros from Taco Bell. This was lunch for six months straight and was actually the only part of our freshman year dorm meal plan that I could stomach.

Two boxes of Mac n’ Cheese with pepper & Tabasco sauce, slightly undercooked.

A 1 lb. triple cheese burger, extra large fries and a cookie from Fuddruckers.

Up to two whole Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream in a single night of work.

Two Hardees sourdough thickburgers & one Monster Thickburger & curly fries.

I once at a whole cheesecake during the first quarter of a football game (I think watching football is probably worse than the cheesecake).

A snack at work for a while was a pack of zingers, a king sized Butterfinger and a diet Pepsi (the beginning of my health-phase).

Is it any wonder that when I weighed myself in 2003, for the first time in about five years, I tipped the poor, poor, innocent scale at 315? I had to start thinking of my body as a credit card; anything you do to your body needs to be accounted for at some point.

I weighed in this morning after doing 7.5 miles on the Stairmaster at 195.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Uncomfortable Fictional Conversations Part 1, Scene 1

Open of act, lights up in the middle of a conversation between four people sitting at lunch in a restaurant, possibly three coworkers and a consultant. Two eating lunch steaks (one with ketsup), one eating a fat burger, one eating a salad with lots of Tabasco.

Steak & Ketsup: "….as for the other side, I just don't know what the hell to think."

Steak: "It's definitely a tough situation, I'm glad I don't have to choose."

Fat Burger: "Well, they're so messed up, I'm not going to worry about it."

Steak & Ketsup: "I just have a feeling that if either of them wins, there will be an assassination."

Tabasco Salad: "What the hell?!"

Steak & Ketsup: "Well not me….I mean…not me…. They'd never come to Oklahoma…. and I'm not that kind of a person…."

Fat Burger: "Steak & Ketsup, would you care to elaborate?"

Steak & Ketsup: "Well, I just don't think our country is ready for either of those situations."

Tabasco Salad: "What exactly do you mean by 'either' of those situations?."

Steak & Ketsup: "Well, you know… one's a …. woman... the other's a …. negro… and I just don't think we could cope with that."

Jump to Tabasco Salad's inner monologue:

"First of all, you're obviously that kind of a person, except maybe a bit too chicken to ever act on anything. Second of all, I doubt you ever call a black person a 'negro'. In fact, I doubt you ever even call them 'black people' behind closed doors. And thirdly, when you say 'we', it infers that I'm a part of 'we' and I don't appreciate it. I think everyone knows that when you say 'we' in that sentence, you mean 'I'. Plus, you are sweating profusely while talking about this 'situation', which makes me think that you may find it actually arousing to think about. Yummy"

Tabasco Salad (out loud): "Can someone pass some more Tabasco."

Scene End

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Culture KC-style

Me Pappy and Me Step-Mudda came to town from sunny downtown Wichita for the weekend and the three of us got into some serious trouble, Kansas City style. We started out with a trip to Casa Mesa for good stuff that’s hecho en Mexico, headed to Original Juan to find stuff to burn our tongues and headed to the Nelson-Atkins for a great new photography exhibit called In The Public Eye. I have to say, I love art galleries, but there’s nothing that can compare to looking at pictures from famous photographers with a pro in tow. On my own, I tend to make comments like

“I could do that.”

“You can almost see nipples.”

“Enough landscapes.”

“That’s not even in focus.”

“Wow.”

My dad knows stuff people. Not just embarrassing-slash-incriminating stuff about my past, but real stuff about real things in the world and it was great to hear him dress me down about some photography. Kind of like a quick sax lesson from Coltrane, though not musical and not on drugs and fairly white.

I do have one negative-ish thing to say about the Atkins. CHANGE SOME OF YOUR OTHER ART AROUND! I get it, you have a fairly lifelike statue/sculpture of a guard. Grandma showed me that when I was five years old, all that’s happened to it in the following 25 years is that it moved to a new wing.

Enough.

We rounded off the evening by going to the Music Hall to see the State Symphony of Mexico which was totally amazing. There’s something about seeing a section of violin bows flowing like water then, in the next minute, bouncing like soldiers marching with guns pointed to the sky that just sends you to another world.

I should also give props to downtown KC for Saturday night. There was shit going on down there folks. Sprint Center had the Big 12 basketball tournament going on, though I thought Garth must have been back because there were some serious cowboy hats swaggerin’ towards the doors. The car show was going on at the convention center. The Municipal Auditorium was either getting ready for or recovering from the nations 25 women’s college basketball fans in the Women’s Big 12 Tourney (I couldn’t tell). Throw in the symphony and downtown was buzzing. It was nice to see so much action, and so many sports and auto fans in such a close proximity (ie, away from my house…)

All in all, great weekend.

Because I’m lame and lazy, rather than linking stuff in the body, I’ll just put a bunch of related links below as well as a few pictures from the weekend. Sorry to disappoint, but they’re from me rather than the old man.

Enjoy!

http://www.harriman-jewell.org/Events/ssmexico.htm

http://www.kansascityautoshow.com/

http://www.kcconvention.com/

http://www.big12sports.com/sports/w-baskbl/spec-rel/big12-w-baskbl-championship.html

http://www.nelson-atkins.org/











Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Excuses Part I: Home Repairs Part I


I have written very little lately and that’s mostly due to a very hectic travel schedule and the fact that I’ve been keeping myself quite busy at home. I recently got my very first gas bill and after I recovered from the shock, I came to the realization that my house is 97 years old and holds heat like a butterfly net with a rip in it.

This has lead most of my most recent home-based activities to be centered on my basement, what I have decided is the central problem to my heating issues. Mainly the fact that I’ve got literally hundreds of feet of ducts running to and fro with no insulation around them, specifically one that goes diagonally across the whole basement and up to the second floor. Rather than filling the basement up entirely with spray-foam and just sealing the whole mofo off, I decided to try my hand at wrappin’ ducts, which shouldn’t be confused with rapping ducks, which would be much cooler and probably cheaper.

So, over the past couple weeks, I’ve learned (the hard way) how to seal holes, wrap insulation and secure it into place. While my swearing has probably increased a bit, my overall satisfaction at doing something good to lower my bills and lower my carbon footprint a bit is equal to that of getting to dress up like this (purely for safety purposes of course).