Friday, January 23, 2009


i've always had an interest in airplanes. it started at a very early age. both my parents had their pilot's licences and would take me up, when i was only a few months old. along with that, growing up, most of my friends had parents that worked in the industry, so most of us had some knowledge of the planes our they worked on. couple that with my own interest in architecture, and the open house the kansas aviation museum hosted last thursday, seemed like the perfect event to attend.

i had visited the museum during a middle school field trip years ago, but remembered very little of it. i took off work early, to attend the event in the daylight. it's location is a little tricky to get to, and has the feeling of being tucked away from the rest of wichita. pulling into the parking lot, i had forgotten how beautiful the building really was, or maybe as a middle schooler just didn't care. it was originally built during the 1930's as wichita's municipal airport, and was crafted in beautiful art deco styling. i followed a few people into the entry. unfortunately it was not into the lobby, but a small room on the side of the building. entering, i had found that i had once again followed the above 65 crowd to the "hot spot" in town that night. i skipped the free appetizers, opting instead to take pictures of everything i could.

wondering around, snapping pictures, it wasn't hard to notice that at one point the whole place had been gutted. everything had been removed including the heating. wondering around, trying to keep warm, i overheard wonderful conversations. old men, telling their wives about what they had flown, or worked on in years past. i even had my own conversation with a museum volunteer that had worked in the building as a baggage handler when it was a functioning airport in 1953. after thanking him for telling his story, i ventured outside to get some shots of planes and the exterior.

leaving the building and walking towards the runway, there was an air of plane travel from years gone by. no awful seating, no lines, no metal detectors, no jetways, just a beautiful walk outside onto the plane. the whole experience made me want to find out more, so i started researching. apparently during the 1940's this had been the fifth busiest airport in the nation. with it not being possible to travel from new york to l.a. non-stop, wichita was the perfect spot to refuel before heading west over the rockies. it was also a hot spot for test flights during the war. during this time aviators such as charles lindbergh, amelia earhart, and howard hughes, spent time in the building, as well as actors like fred astaire, and bob hope.

finding all this out, as well as looking through my pictures, i really felt like museum, is a bit of a diamond in the rough. the potential it has to be an architecture, and historical icon for the city is unbelievable. i don't' feel like it's getting the respect it deserves in either field. hopefully one day, with a little patience and, unfortunately a lot of money, it could regain it's forgotten elegance, and become the jewel it deserves to be in this city.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

[diner] with friends

one of the little "kicks" i get in life, is watching a movie, at the same time of year, the film is set in. for example, i enjoy watching "planes, trains and automobiles" during the days leading up to thanksgiving, and watching "the sandlot" anytime during the summer. i also religiously watch "back to the future" on november 5th, which is of course the day doc brown invented time travel. one movie that usually finds it's way into my dvd player during this time of year is "diner". not only is it a classic "guys" movie, and is set in the late fifties, it takes place during the days leading up to new years eve. although i was late watching this flick this year, it was none the less enjoyable.

for anyone that hasn't seen "diner", the movie takes place in 1959, and is centered around six college aged friends that constantly hang out at an all-night diner eating gravy and fries and drinking cherry cokes, discussing music, life decisions, and women.

watching this film, i was amazed how much a movie made in 1982, about a group of guys in the 50's, reminded me of my own friends. much like in the movie, i met up with a few of my college friends over the holidays, and much like the movie our conversations centered around music, life decisions, and women. a few years ago, these conversations were held in the confines of our own "diner", a tiny bar in manhattan known as "rock-a-belly deli". there was a bit of all my friends portrayed by the characters on screen, as well as myself.

while watching, i was reminded why i felt this was such a great film. a whole movie devoted to hanging out with friends in the days before, jobs, families and responsibilities! the movie reminded me how much i missed my friends and the days at "bellies". a place where you could always find someone you knew. a place where we had our own table. a place where we could solve all the worlds problems...needed now more than ever with the current economic situation we're finding ourselves in.

when the movie ended i decided to "geek" out and research the movie. checking out facts and trivia from the movie, i came across the plot synopsis. upon reading it, i found that i had actually missed the entire point of the film! the movie wasn't trying to glorify guys hanging out having pointless conversation, but rather knowing when to put that time of your life behind you, and become adult. to leave the safety of the diner, and venture on with your life. the very situation my friends and i are in now.

...and it suddenly made sense to me why this movie is a classic.

Monday, January 05, 2009

the year in pictures [2008]

year four for [the year in pictures] post.

once again, another year has ended, and it's time to pick ten photos that in some way represented the year. looking back, i'm disappointed in myself. i didn't take nearly as many photos as i should have. as i searched through various folders looking for photos to use. it occurred to me, this year was a very [internal] year for me. i didn't take many long trips, and i rarely had my camera with me. maybe it was just my way of trying to live "in the moment" and not behind a lens, or maybe i was just lazy. this year seemed less about the "big trip" and more about the continuation of discovering new friends and experiences in and around wichita.

my disappointment in the lack of photos didn't last long, because i realized i still had a lot of wonderful memories of 2008, just not very many pictures of those memories. are those [un-captured] experiences any less important, of course not...but in the end, i find myself wishing i had some photographs to look at, and not just digital images on a screen, actual, tangible, photographs! i'm a little digital-ed out. that being said, this year, i'd like to take more photos, as well start developing them and placing them in actual albums.


the first project i managed broke ground january of 2008. the site consisted of an old farm house with several barns near by. with everything needing to be cleared, all the buildings were slated for demolishing. the week before work began, i took my camera out to capture as much as i could before it was lost. walking through the old structures, i fond old mason jars, dated wallpaper, and letters from the 1960's. there was a lot of beauty on that farm site, and i felt incredibly guilty for being apart of it's destruction, but i was also thankful for the pictures it provided before it disappeared.


whether you were interested or not, it was hard to escape politics this year. even here in central kansas, we were visited by several candidates. i attended campaign speeches by barrack obama and mike huckabee. this photo was taken while listening to barrack obama speak in el dorado.


i enjoy playing the guitar, although i hardly play in front of people, and have never played in front of a group. it's strictly a hobby and stress reliever. in march, a friend visited me for a whole day of guitar playing, and beer drinking. although my fingertips were sore to the touch by the end, it was a great day.


two of my friends graduated from college this year. knowing my love of photography, they asked if i would take some "senior" photos of them. all day, i tried different poses and stances, but nothing seemed to look natural. finally, near the end of the day, i simply had them jump in the air, and sure enough it turned out to be their, and my, favorite picture.


my love of coffee grows stronger every year. the past few months i've even ventured into enjoying the pure-ist taste of straight black coffee. one weekend, while in kansas city, i had to stop and visit the famous "broadway cafe", the westport coffee shop that put the starbucks next door out of business. this picture seem to capture and exude the warmth of a coffee shop, and the coffee was fabulous as well.


in may, we took a family trip to colorado to attend a graduation. the whole tribe loaded up into the family truckster just like the old days. wanting to make the most of this small vacation from work, i told everyone we would try and find a few roadside oddities. as it turns out goodland kansas has the worlds largest easel holding up a replication of vincent van gogh's sunflower's. it was nothing short of amazing.


i purchased another vintage bike this year, a little older, and a lot nicer. this bike really lets you know what it is to ride a "coaster". it's a joy to ride. not only does this bike now give me options on what to ride, it also flung me deeper into a new hobby. keeping with using names mentioned in "decemberists" songs, this one received the name "miranda".

festival_sunset_9.27.08my one, planned and organized, extended vacation this year was to the austin city limits music festival. there's nothing like sitting in the hot sun, getting sweaty and dusty, while listening to amazing music, to make you forget about work for a while.


getting the chance to meet neko case, and watching her perform was the highlight of the acl festival for me. i'm not sure what it is about her music, maybe it's the lyrics, or the tone of her voice, but it never gets old.


the first project i managed finished construction in the summer, however this photo was taken after all the landscaping had a few months to settle. i was very pleased with the way it turned out, but better yet, the client was extremely happy. the whole process reassured my desire to become an architect. now, is this building as beautiful as an old abandoned barn nestled amongst long forgotten farmland? maybe not. but i'm learning fast that destruction is just as important as creation in this field. hopefully we always replace beauty with beauty.