Tuesday, June 30, 2009

this old [blog]

finally blogging is starting to pay off...well sort of....

a fellow k-state graduate, friend, and blogger, jerad recently read my post about the construction work i did in kansas city. having his own project he needed help with here in wichita, he contacted me and asked if i could lend him a hand. wanting to make sure he was absolutely aware of my limited construction skills, i informed him, if he was looking for a skilled craftsman, i wasn't the best guy for the job. however, if he needed someone to hand him tools and cut boards, i could be useful. luckily for both of us, that's all he needed. jerod has been working on this project for a while, but needed some help installing a bar top, and a beautiful wood slat ceiling.

it was only three days of work, but once again, it was great to be out of an office and actually build. during the day, between cutting, sawing and installing, we discussed our love of mid-century modern design, talking about different architects, buildings and furniture. not only is jerad a talented designer, but he is also a very skilled craftsman. gleaning a bit of more knowledge in both of these area's from him, was well worth working in the 100 degree heat.

here are a few pictures i took during the installation, but please check out his blog studiobuild, to see more of the project.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


tonight is a sad night...

first of all...i finished a book...a book that took me six years to read.

secondly...i finished a book...a book that i've had with me for the past six years.

i finally finished "on the road", a process that's taken me an embarrassingly long amount of time. i bought the book in 2003, the summer i stayed in manhattan to work construction. with all my friends out of town, i thought reading this classic would help pass the time. i started reading, and made it a few chapters. however school started back up, and it soon found it's way to the shelf. months would pass, i'd find it, decide to start over, and begin the journey again. however, things would happen, school would happen, life would happen, and it remained unread.

during these past six years, i've taken several trips. the last item i'd always find myself packing would be my copy of "on the road", always thinking i'd have time to read it while on the trip. deep down though, i think i just packed it for the irony. it followed me to the beaches of san diego, where it's pages got filled with sunlight and sand, only to be brought back to the midwest, unread. it then followed me to the west coast during my internship. eight months later, when i moved back, it was still unread. it's been to the ninth ward of new orleans, the bars of austin, the sidewalks of chicago, the coffee shops of portland and the foothills of denver. always with me, always waiting to be concluded.

a few months ago, i felt it was time to give the images of sal and dean, that have been wandering the road in my mind for the past six years, some rest. two individuals struggling with the conventions of how society told them they had to live, and their own ideas of what it means to be free. i sat down and decided i was going to make it all the way through this time. not only did i take the time to comprehend every sentence, but i found a wonderful online study guide to aid my reading. after every few chapters i would go on-line to review the analysis and study the major themes.

for the past six years, sal and dean have been companions of mine, fitting nicely into a cozy spot in my [man-satchel] next to my sketch book. tonight i feel as though i said good bye to some dear friends. it seems only fitting tonight that it's raining. kerouac used the symbol of rain throughout the novel to suggest the passing of time, as i finished the book, dreaming and wondering about my own life, rain is hitting my bedroom window. rain which will then fall to the sidewalk below. those drops will flow through man-made pipes and channels until it finds it's way to the arkansas river joining all the other drops from all the other windows of dreamers and wonderers. after traveling through oklahoma and arkansas, it will join the mississipi. a river thick and muddy with the hopes and dreams of the whole country. they'll all eventually make their way to the gulf and become part of the endless sea. they'll evaporate into the air and form into clouds, clouds that will one day rain on wichita again...

maybe by the time those drops hit my window again, i'll have things figured out....

thanks for a great story jack.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

denver[beat city]

last week, my family and i traveled west to the city of denver to attend the graduation party of a good friend of ours. with the graduation party being on saturday the next few days were spent catching up with our friends who we hadn't seen in a while. home made barbeque was enjoyed, shows were attended and shopping ensued. our last day, however, involved something different. we decided to try out denver's light rail system and venture downtown! having brought along "one the road" as i'm now on part three, i tried to figure out if there was anyway to actually visit a few spots mentioned in the book. thumbing past pages and taking down notes of streets and landmarks, my search quickly moved to the internet where "google-ing the words "denver" and "beatnik" brought me to an amazing site! "denver's beat poetry driving tour"! an amazing source filled with exaclty what i was looking for!

with this website bookmarked in my phone, i was ready to take the tour! that morning we all rode the light rail train to downtown. arriving at union station, the ladies decided to hit the 16th street mall, the guys went to a sporting goods store, and i headed out to begin the tour. being on foot i couldn't follow the tour exactly or to it's full extent but i was able to take in a few of the sites mentioned. now although kerouac and ginsberg spent time in denver, most of the sites realted more to neal cassady, who was raised in denver, and was also the inspiration for "on the road's" character, dean moriarity.

my first stop was confluence park, where cherry creek and the platte river merge for a bit. now i'm sure this isn't what the park looked like in the 40's and 50's but this is the area where neal cassady and his father would take sunday trips and meet with other bums of the denver area.

a short distance from the park is a bar called "my brothers bar". not only is this denver's oldest bar still serving drinks in it's original location, this also happened to be the bar where neal drank a lot and hence racked up a tab, which he later asked a friend to pay for, in a letter neal wrote from a clolorado reform school. the bar was incredibly quaint with a copy of the letter from neal framed on the wall. i sat at the bar, got some local history from the bartender and a few locals, and ate lunch.

after lunch i met up with the rest of the guys, and we walked along the sidewalks of 15th street until we reached larimer, a street where neal spent the better part of his youth. the tour suggested taking a look at the 15th block of larimer. at this location most of the buildings have been preserved, and represent a little more of what denver would have looked like in the 40's and 50's. with the shops and stores located on the street now, it was hard to believe that in cassady's day this represented the "skid row" of denver. i almost felt bad enjoying a gelato from one of the stores......almost.

after this stop we wandered over to 16th street and meet up with the rest of our party. it was suggested that we start heading back towards the train, to try to avoid the afternoon rush. so although i only took in a few of the sites on the beatnik tour of denver, and i'm sure my family and friends thought i was geeking out hard core, there was something enjoyable about physically being in the places portrayed in the words of the pages.

Monday, June 08, 2009

[construction fantasy] camp

hello muddah, hello faddah
here i am at [construction fantasy camp]

manual labor is entertaining

they say i'll work outside when it stops raining.....

well....my little endeavor into construction ended the other week. in all seriousness it was great getting out of an office setting. not only was i able to learn a bit more how objects are actually put together, but i also had a chance to work with two individuals, who are incredibly talented and hard working, and i'm lucky to be able to call them friends.

i worked on a variety of projects over the past six weeks, but i thought i'd share with you a few select projects i was able to snap photos of.

-built exterior entry stairs.

sanded and stained the entry door.

finished installing the interior wood wall.

cut an access hole requested by the hvac guys.

waterproofed the master bath shower basin.

install a toilet.

formed and poured a concrete counter top.

and last but not least, painted a handicap parking stall in the garage...(required by code)

Sunday, June 07, 2009

hazards of [love]

months ago, i discovered the decemberists would be playing kansas city. unfortunately for me, it was on a wednesday night. purchasing a ticket would mean a mid-week, 6 hour jaunt to k.c and back, giving me only a few hours of sleep, but i gave in...i mean, it's the decemberits! now as we all know, i had been working in kansas city the past six weeks, so fate, being the mischievous and magical creature she is, had me right where i needed to be to enjoy the show!

from the opening act to the last song, the entire show was amazing! i'm not sure if it's the lyrics or the chords, but something found it's way in. the songs serenaded my soul and tugged at my emotions....that thing all great music should do.

they played their new album "hazards of love" in it's entirety, from beginning to end. i haven't read all the lyrics, so i don't exactly know what it's about, but i have a strong feeling it has something to do with love...and the hazards sometimes associated with it.

and i like that...

Thursday, June 04, 2009

the [recess-niks]

the other week i traveled to the majestic and storied city of portland. it wasn't exactly a vacation, since i had nothing to vacate from, so we'll call it a trip, a trip with a purpose, i along with a group of guys, i spent the better part of my college years with, went to witness and enjoy the wedding of a friend.

we all had plans to arrive in the city of roses on friday. with portland having a wonderful public transportation system, we all made our way from the airport to downtown via train. we assembled most of our group while enjoying coffee at stumptown coffee roasters. after catching up and taking in a heavy dose of caffeine, we hit the sidewalks, familiarizing ourselves with the city. walking downtown we found our hotel, the ace, a little "vintage-mod" number located on stark street. well designed and beautifully minimalistic, our three single beds fit snugly into the room leaving just enough space for a corner sink. our communal bathroom was located down the hall. we dropped off our bags and continued to take in portland. our days consisted of late morning brunches, followed my lengthy afternoon conversations on sidewalk bars and river front parks. occasionally we'd wander into a used book store or architectural icon and take in what it had to offer. nights would be spent finding a restaurant to enjoy that could, or would, accommodate our group . tucked neatly into the middle of all that, we attended our friends wedding. a beautiful ceremony, that followed the customs and traditions of south canara.

maybe it's because part II of "on the road" was fresh in my mind but the entire weekend had undertones of kerouac and his "soul-searching", "anti-materialistic" beatnik entourage. we left our unemployment status's and cities behind for a few days and traveled out west, where conversations over coffee entailed future plans and dreams. frustrations were vented, thoughts were discussed, decisions were analyzed, memories were retold, laughs were contagious. between the lattes' and lagers, we experienced portland as well as non-locals could. there's a wonderful feeling about not knowing anything about a place and throwing yourself into it. with friends, you can make it though any situation, and usually with more laughs. we might just all make it through the recession in the same fashion.

"all of life is a foreign country" - jack kerouac