Tuesday, September 13, 2011

KC, Lawrence, & Topeka

From Wichita, I was going to drive to Salina, then Topeka, then Lawrence, then KC, then LINCOLN. But in the end, I didn't go to Salina at all and went straight into KC and met up with a long time skate pal and little brother of a girl I liked in high school..... BRETT COX. He suggested FUD since it was fairly close to his work and he likes it. I was blown away by the menu..... So much to choose from.
Brett and I dine at FuD! soooo good.
I went with 2 tacos that were out of control.
Brett and his NINJA commuter.
It was refreshing to catch up with Brett and hear how he offsets his boating habit by commuting on a crotch rocket. Sounds like he's eating pretty well and exercising....not skating so much, but that's ok. I have great memories of skating at the MARPLE Skatepark with Brett and Brodie.

Dan in front of Escapist in KC.
I always feel so honored to meet vegan skate shop owners. Dan is a long time vegan and we met last year at CROSSROADs but have been trading vegan restaurant tips for years. We even got to skate together on this trip. The rain cut it short, but it was fun nonetheless.  Skating in KC was the next day..... so after Escapist, I visited Studio Skate Supply on my way into LAWRENCE. today was the day the BARN ramp was a go.

On my way into town I stopped by and met Rod at White Chocolate and grabbed a bite to eat at the Tenth Street Veg Bistro.

Tofu marinara custom plate  !  local Lawrence tofu

I met JP Redmond at the Lawrence Skatepark....  THIS IS MY BEST MEMORY of the LAWRENCE PARK.....wait for it at the end....

JP got a couple lines.....on the mini ramp. This is what I could muster. Then we drove out to BARN ramp.

Mike Crouch and Joel the BARN owner
JP had set up the session and I had called my longtime skate comrade, Mike Crouch. Wasn't sure if he'd show up.... It turns out he's elusive in his older age. I hadn't seen him in years...like at least 15 years, so I was completely elated when I saw him get out of a car with who turned out to be Justin Shiney and Dirty AL. I tried to get Andy Brayman to join us but that didn't work out. We skated the barn all evening and I'm sad to say that I got no useable footage of Mike....none that would do him justice anyhow.... JP killed it all night. Here is one of many sick lines.
Joel, the owner, was hurt so he just hung and told us story after story.  I drove back into town with MIKE. Slept in his driveway and kicked it with his family in the morning.
Mike's kid and dog were fun to hang with.
Andy loves the bowl at Penn Valley

I'd set up a skate date with Andy Brayman in KC, so I picked up Dirty AL and we were off to KC to skate for the day.  
Penn Valley Skatepark in central KC
This is the park where we met Andy and Dan from Escapist... It looked like ran from when we pulled up, but it held out for about an hour.  I got this clip of AL, but no current footage of Andy or Dan.{these classic clips will get you acquainted with their legend status}..the rain came too quick. It was rad hanging out with AL for the day. I'd heard so much about him from Steve Andel. Steve actually called that afternoon and the two were reunited over the phone.
Dan Askew recommended  - the Blue Koi
Scallion pancakes!!!!
Noodle and tofu
Grabbed lunch with Andy and Al before Andy had to get off to the studio. We caught Dan getting lunch to go as we rolled up. AL and I walked around the hood and found a vegan bakery, but I was stuffed from Blue Koi.
It's good to know where MUD PIE is now....next time I eat there.
We dropped back by ESCAPIST and Dan sorted out a session at Sean Malto's TF since the rain kept coming. I'd seen a few pics of the place and it was all very cherry.
Al nosepicks Malto's mini ramp
The lay of the land at Malto's indoor.

I dropped Al off in Lawrence, got some food at THE MERC, then dropped in on Brett's sister, AMY.

Quinoa salad at the MERC

Amy's lego DEATHSTAR
And I ended the night at Pat and Char Brazil's in Topeka. My mom went to college with Char, and Pat introduced my dad to my mom. So I've known the Brazil clan all my life. It was great catching up and talking about old times. Char made a great vegan dinner for us that evening!
Pat and Char Brazil
next up....SKATE THE STATE in NEBRASKA.....

Monday, September 12, 2011

the end of WICHITA........

It's looking like this will be my final WICHITA post. No theme, just some random photos and thoughts....

Kerry's dogs. Mr. Darcy and Mr. Collins
Bianca's BLT.....scrumptious
Bianca made so many terrific meals. I was blessed that she looked out for me so keenly. Thanks, B!

the first mulberries of the season.
 I really didn't want to leave Wichita before the mulberries started dropping. And the last few days that I was there, they started to get ripe. This was the first good batch that I stumbled upon on Second Ave near Oliver.

Lucy at BLUEGRASS night at Donut Whole.
I wish I could have spent more time with LUCY Alfonso. She was packing for her move to ALBQ while I was there. One fine evening I met her and some of her pals at the DONUT WHOLE to hear an all woman BLUEGRASS BAND from Lawrence. It rocked. One of Lucy's teenaged gal pals opened the show.
Lucy lived 2 blocks from my sister, so one day Kelly, Patrick, and I walked down and raided her mulberry tree.
The mulberry bounty from Lucy's tree.
Brodie and I got out to another disc golf course in DERBY. He ended up having to get his disc out of a tree. It helped to take his shirt off.

I left town on a Thursday, so that last WED I rode down to get a batch of donuts for the road. Turns out the cops nabbed a bike thief right in front of the DONUT WHOLE. Actually, the bike thief dumped the bike at the donut shop and ran off on foot. They nabbed him in the alley a few blocks away. The cop I spoke to was so hyped on adrenaline!

I can't tell you how long this batch lasted.....I honed in on my favorite... lots of vanilla frosted....
My last batch of KANSAS donuts.
self portrait at the wig store.
the FREE BOX made an appearance at the HK show
I took many fine memories with me as I hit the road the morning after the HK donut show. It had been a little over 3 weeks in Wichita; jam packed with good times. Lots of remembrances, lots of connections with old family friends. I spent my first 18 years growing up there. When will I get back again?

next stop KC.....

Friday, September 9, 2011

FARKEL factory

Like I mentioned in the last entry, Julie Thompson, introduced me to the game of FARKEL in the late 90's. Since then, I've shared the game with countless friends and routinely refered people to this site....

When I first got my original POCKET Farkel the offices were in Salina, KS. Then a few years back, I looked on the site and saw the contact info was listing Derby, KS, as the home of Farkel. While back in Wichita, I looked again and saw they'd moved to Wichita, and the address was only blocks from THE DONUT WHOLE> I called and was told that they don't have official times for tours, but to come on down when ever I wanted. I tried to coordinate with Julie and her kids, but that proved tough to make work. So Brodie, Zep, and I stopped by the factory after a trip to eat donuts.
a non descript office building...check Zep's reflection.
Zep and the front room display of every farkel they make.
It took a few minutes to get the tour situated. Turns out they don't have too many fans beating down the door for tours. But soon, Charlie Potter, aka Mr Farkel, came out and showed us around the facility.
Charlie and my OG set from 1994
I showed Charlie the set I've been playing with since the 90's. He was mesmerized and you could tell he was taken back in time. After minutes of thorough inspection, he determined that it was from their 2nd run of games ever. He was adamant that I stop playing with this set and save it for posterity and he let me choose a new game for free.
my new set!
Zep inspects the die backstock.
Charlie spent 45 minutes showing us around and explaining the course of the company. He elaborated on the strictness of certain licensing agreements and how he has to deny BIG BOX stores order attempts.
Zep chose GOLF farkel
My pal, Hannah was heading off to AFRICA for two months and wanted a set, so I got her two sets and fired them off in the mail. I have yet to hear about African Farkel adventures. I've seen some waterfall pics, but come on, Hannah....where are the farkel pics?

next up.... the final Wichita post....

the JULIE THOMPSON experience

Julie Thompson turns out to be one of my oldest friends. She lived up the street from us on Parkwood when I was in grade school. She is a year my junior and her brother, Louis, is a year my senior. Sometime around 1978 Louie and I burned down her backyard. Julie and I went to a school dance together as pals when she was dating my skate buddy Jeremy Sturgell through some of high school. She wound up at CSU with her soon to be hubby, John Fitzthum. They lived in Carbondale after graduating from college. They first taught me how to play FARKLE in Carbondale back in the late 90's. And she soon sent me my first pocket Farkle game. I would drive to COLORADO or Kansas at least once a year back then and would always stop in and visit the Fitzthum's. {as with most of my married female friends, it feels more normal to use maiden names} Two funny and good natured kids came their way....and then a move back to Wichita came around 2008. Maybe it was earlier.

Julie gets me. Not many people do, especially my long time Kansan friends and acquaintances. I can't explain it.... we have our similarities and we have plenty of differences.... but she just gets me.  She's a doer and knows how to have fun. Far from stuffy, she's gracious, understanding, and accommodating. She knows her limitations and plans accordingly. I'm blessed to have her in my life.
Julie at the 911 call center tour

 Julie is a busy gal and this trip it took me a week or so to connect. We had a brief visit at JOHN BROWN's - their new restaurant and bar. Last visit I was able to introduce Julie to Bianca. They have kids around the same age and tend to get into unusual activities. Since I was away, they'd both joined 4H. John Junior has been the most enthusiastic about it; Zep, not so much. Julie invited me to go on the 4H tour of the local 911 emergency call center!
John Junior was in his element on the tour.
Impersonating an emergency management professional
After Johnny had his many questions answered on the tour and we all got a tour of a storm chaser's vehicle out in the parking lot, we went for snacks at THE DONUT WHOLE.

Not too long after the 911 call center tour, I got the call about a boating adventure. Julie's neighbor and good friend, Kate, has a speedboat parked at El Dorado Lake. It's a 45 minute drive out there and we just had to be back in time to get the kids from the school bus in the mid afternoon. We were brainstorming about who else could join us, and the best I could come up with was Tammi Reeves.  I didn't think it would happen, but, Julie has a way of making things happen. I hesitate to say that Tammi and I dated briefly when I was in 8th grade. I can't remember squarely if we went STEADY or just dated a few times.... regardless of the specifics I LIKED her at one point in my life. She's married with children now and  it was fun to hang with her after so many years.
half a day on a BOAT. julie, kate, and tammi
It was cloudy when we pulled out of the slip, but soon after, the sun came out. The water was chilly, far from OCEAN cold, but still chilly. Julie and I tried out the 3 person TUBE first. It was a gas until we hit a wave and both got ejected at top speed. Ragdoll anyone? At least we didn't smack heads in mid air, the way I heard Kate and Brian Martin did one fateful day.

Julie can water ski
Julie got out the water skis and showed me how it's done. It took me a few times to get up but I finally did. I hadn't been dragged behind a boat like that since I was in second grade. Remember Mrs. Clinton.... ?  Those trips to her ranch in Oklahoma were the last time on water skis for me.
thanks for a great day on the water, KATE & Julie
Julie's mom & dad, Sally & Tommy, used to live on a boat in the Caribbean, but now they live pretty close to Julie in Vickerage. They have a pool and are very stoked when people come over and use it. I had an open invite to go swimming when ever I wanted. Best thing is that they do have a diving board.
Solo afternoon at Sally & Tommy's
This trip I was able to reconnect with Julie's brother, Louie. He has two kids and Brodie and Zep and I got in on a wild afternoon at the pool. This shot was a quiet moment.
lounging poolside
That first day I linked up with Julie at John Brown's, was actually a meeting of the Back Alley Girls. At that time I was invited to Kirstie Alley's home in Wichita to watch her perform on Dancing with the Stars. Her Wichita residence is right across the street from John Brown's. So on that Monday night, we met at the restaurant and walked over to Kirstie's place. Wichita has a lots of Kirstie fans and a lot of them were there as well as the local news. YES> I felt out of place, but tried to blend in.... as i was one of the only males in attendance, besides the camera guy for the news. As strange as it was, I so glad I was able to experience it.

And finally, on my last night in Wichita, Julie rallied her troops and came down to the DONUT WHOLE to see my band, HK, perform. Thanks for the support, Julie..... looking forward to seeing you next time.
Johnny and Henry with their FREEBOX findings.
Robbie Canova's kid on vocals!!

next up.... the FARKEL factory tour

Monday, September 5, 2011

kansas continues....

It hasn't been writer's block, but I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed on how to organize all my great KANSAS memories and photos.....I've put it off long enough, so I've decided to jump in and just get to it.... not being too careful about organization... I strive to make up for it in descriptive detail.....

Bianca and Bianca 15 years her junior
 I spent most of my nights sleeping in the van parked on the side street next to Bianca and Brodie's home in the College Hill area of Wichita, right on the expansive park that runs through that neighborhood. I spent most of my days hanging with Bianca and Zep.... Then Brodie would come home from work and we'd eat dinner together and get up to some sort of activity from there. They lovingly provided me with a key to the place and I had free reign to come and go as I needed. This was a centralized location from which I could ride my bike easily to my sister's place, the skate shop, donuts, the health food store, the post office and more. They live two blocks from Will's school so that made it super easy to join him for lunch and or some post lunch soccer.
Zep and Brodie built a fire pit while I was there.
  Typical post dinner activities included trips to the Orange Leaf for ice cream, lots of netflix movies...appropriate for the whole family, and some fireside chats by the fire pit. There was talk of getting to the DRIVE IN, but that never came to be.
I initiated Brodie to the game of disc golf.
Brodie loves playing real golf.
Zep and I walked the real golf course while Brodie and his workmate played 18 holes. A few days later, I had Brodie out on the disc golf course. And a few days after that, Zep's home school PE class met for disc golf.

In addition, after getting Brodie some suitable shoes at ENDLESS, we got him back on his skateboard. Brodie and I have been skating together since 1987, but in the last 10 years his talents have been lying dormant. A child, a wife, 2 dogs, a new love of flyfishing, and just not having any of your old buddies around to skate with anymore can sap your enthusiasm to ride.  After paying a visit to our oldest mutual skate buddy, Jeremy Sturgell, we popped over to EDGEMOOR to skate the newer prefab skatepark that sits atop the old banks that we used to skate in the 80's. Here we have BRODIE laying into his 1st back smith grind in 10 years.    And here we have me doing the same tricks I've been doing for years on the same slippery metal mini ramp.

The Derby Skatepark
Brodie and I also got to check out the suburban Derby skatepark. I personally had the most fun here than at the other 3 Wichita skateparks. Brodie started getting familiar with corner grinds again.

the GREEK special of the day @ D'Sozo's
 I took Phil, my 1st boss to D'sozo's. And we went to D'sozo's for Mother's Day Brunch, but I also shared many meals with Brodie and Zep here as well as meals out by myself. They have limited hours, but always a special of the day that is worth checking out. OHHHH and their vegan pizza's are phenomenal. I don't even need to say vegan pizza, because the whole place is all VEGAN. It's truly an exceptional find in the middle of Kansas.
gluten free pizza at D'sozo's
Max is the other cat that lives at Brodie and Bianca's.
I very randomly stumbled onto the BIKE CAVE a community/cooperative bike shop. After just learning about it on the web, I was at Panera on the wifi and chatted up some dude on a bike and turns out he was on his way over to the BIKE CAVE so he showed me where it was and ended up giving me the mini tour.

HK played a show at the DONUT WHOLE
 I had to jump through some hoops but was able to set up a show at the DONUT WHOLE. Up top is the homemade flyer to help promote the show....Down below is the lion with all my vegan donuts in his mouth.

Week #2 of vegan donuts.
Speaking of music... performing... and heavy metal music...... I ended up having two epic band practice sessions late night in the parking lot of what used to be GESSLER's drug store. It's now Watermark Books, but when I was a child and lived 10 blocks away, it was Gessler's drug store and I used to spend time in the basement looking at Hot Wheel cars and up on the main floor perusing their massive candy aisle. I firmly believe that the nostalgia and childhood memories of that place and parking lot added to my overall glowing band experience there. I'm sure my performance bummed out the outdoor patrons of the wine bar a block away. But at the same time, many passing cars and a few late night pedestrians got a rare look into what an HK show can be like. joyous.....

UP NEXT - the julie thompson experience!