Monday, July 20, 2009

General Update:

So I have some GREAT pictures from the 4th of July, but unfortunately I managed to leave my camera somewhere that night- and though I know where it is, I still dont have it. SO GET EXCITED, I will post those soon.

Ive been here just about 3 months, and I thought this might be a good time for an update about how I am suggesting to my new surroundings. I had sent a message to my friend Joe to let him know how things were going, and I think it was a good summary about my experiences so far, so I have reprinted it here:

"Hi Joe,

I am really liking it out here in Kansas City! The Midwest suits me, I think. When you live in California, you think you can never like it anywhere else, but this move has made me realize that people are the same everywhere, and that every place has good food, fun places, etc. but just different (except Topeka…never go there!) I never went to the beach much anyway....

The biggest changes: beer (EVERYONE here drinks coors light or bud light as their beer of choice, this is busch country!) parking (when there is ‘no parking’ , they don’t paint the curb red, they just put up a sign. What’s so hard about painting a curb red! This is going to get me in trouble one day...) burritos (there aren’t that many, Chipotle is often your only option) and relationships (people get married very young here- about 50% of the couples I have met in my age range are married, and this is really trippy. I don’t think any of the people in my circle in California are even engaged! This is taking some getting used to...)

Culture shock wise, that is really about it! People are so nice out here, I go to a lot of Royals games and Irish pubs, Im learning to love BBQ, Sonic Burger, and frozen custard, and Im getting used to the crazy weather. Living here is really inexpensive, so my VISTA dollars go a long way, and I am having a great time! The museums are wonderful, and there is a lot of culture and history here.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Welp, I havent been so good at updating this blog, but that is because I havent been great about taking my camera with me around town. The last few weeks I have been doing a lot better with the pictures, and guess what, I had some visitors!

Kailyn, Ruey, Scout, and Maya:

On their way to Bonaroo, this gang stopped in to Kansas City for a night or two! They were able to witness some serious midwestern thunderstorm weather their first night here, so know I have a sympathetic group to call when things get real crazy out here. We went to the Plaza and Westport and saw some KC fountains, and then in the evening Tom took us to some classic KC BBQ at Aurthur Bryants, followed by a Monday night gay bar crawl. Pictures!

Westport coffee shop. We played some cards.

Plaza fountain.

Penguin statues on the Plaza.

The After shot at Aurthur Bryants.

Tom at the juke box and Kailyn playing pool at Buddies.


Later that week, my mom came to town to attend her uncle Keith's 80th birthday party in Kennard, Nebraska. Of course, since it was my mom, we did a lot more than that while she was in town. We went to several museums, many a restuarant, and did lots of shopping.

The party in Kennard was great, it was wonderful to meet so many relatives I didnt even know I had! Pictures!

Some lanturns over brush creek on the Plaza.

Mural at the entrance to the Harry Truman Library.

In the Nelson Atkins Art museum.

One of my favorite places in Kansas City, the restaurant in the Nelson Atkins.

On the drive to Kennard...

Beautiful downtown Kennard!

Relatives and non relatives...

Party entertainment, Kennard style.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Royals

I thought it was time to update about some of the fine things Kansas City has to offer its citizens and visitors, when I realized that I had only really done one activity enough to actually comment on it. And that would be attending Kansas City Royals games.

I have been to four so far, and I have lived here about a month. The first person I met on the plane to my training in Albuquerque, Tom, is a big fan, and I have been tagging along with him and his buddies.

That's tom's head in the corner. Notice the clipboard, he keeps score. Tom luvs the royals.

Tailgating is where it is at. The key is to really suck up the beers before you go into the Stadium so you dont have to buy beer inside and so you are sober by the end of the game. I really think that the Sharks are missing out on a lot of fans by not having a tailgating parking lot. Turns out, though, I am horrible at the bean bag toss.

Tom at the grill.

They have just redone the Kauffman stadium for this season, and it is quite nice. Lots of fountains, of course, because it is Kansas City (there are fountains everywhere here.) Turn out has been pretty good, I hear, for the Royals, likely because they are actually doing pretty well this season, and because people want to se the updates to the stadium. Harvesters may be having an employee event on the Bud Light Party Deck within a few months, which will be a blast if it happens.The screen, seating, fountains, etc. behind the outfield are all new. Love the crown on the screen.

The party deck. Someday I will make it.

This is all to say that if you come and visit me, expect to go to a Royals game.

Friday, May 8, 2009


So I have been at my job for two weeks now, so I figured that it would be a good time to talk about Harvesters and what I am doing there.

The Harvesters website really explains the scope of their work better than I could. As the areas only food bank, we serve nearly 60,000 people a week in 13 or so counties. This is why the organization works with hundreds of food pantries, has 100+ employees, and the most bombing facility ever:

I am working a 200,000 square foot office/warehouse facility that was once a computer shell manufacturing plant. This place is really cool, and certainly the largest and fanciest non-profit offices I have seen. My office is upstairs in what my department calls the "Ivory Tower", and I have a great view (which I took a picture of but apparently accidentally deleted it.)

View of the atrium from the landing outside my office.

A view from the entrance of my department, the chair facing the camera is mine.

This page lists the four large special events that Harvesters hosts each year, and I will be working a lot on these events. I will also be doing something called prospect research, which is really neat and a little creepy at the same time. Basically, I will use public records to 1) assess an individual's wealth, and 2) determine if they would have interest in donating to Harvesters. So far, I have been training, sending out mailings, and entering lots and lots of donor data.

I like the organization a lot and I love my department. I am really looking forward to this year with them!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Road trip, day 4.

So, my last day of the road trip was on April 17th. I woke up later than I intended, but considering I had driving through 2 time zones the previous day, I didn't do too bad. The first thing I saw when I woke up at the Amarillo Ashmore Inn was Fox News on the television in the continental breakfast room and this:

I was out of Texas by late morning, and on to Oklahoma. I am being completely serious when I say every building I went into when I was in Oklahoma (3 total) had one of these in it:

Oklahoma also had the most elaborate "welcome" signs of all of the states I drove through:

Especially when compared to Kansas (sorry Tom):

Kansas was very pretty and green, and exciting because it was the home stretch. Here is the first Kansas City sign I saw:

Right when I was reaching the 60 mile mark from Kansas City, I had my first car problem of the trip, and I blew a tire, in the middle of nowhere Kansas. I was really lucky, because a Kansas Highway patrol officer was driving behind me, and he pulled over, changed my tire and put on my spare, and then pumped up the spare with the bicycle pump I had packed in my car. I then drove 30 miles to Ottawa, Kansas where a nice young man at the Walmart sold me a new tire, and changed it for me. While I was wandering around the Walmart, I saw this:

In case you cant make it out, this is an entire aisle (both sides) of fake memorial flowers, right in the front of the store. Just memorial flowers, the regular fake flowers have their own aisle in the back of the store. Only in Kansas.

I finally made it to my apartment at about 9pm.

Flash forward, and I am writing this in the 3rd thunderstorm I have seen in Kansas City in the 6 total days I have lived here (I spent four since I moved in Albuquerque.) Lots of lighting, much more than in California.

Tomorrow is my first day at work. I will take pictures.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Back from VISTA training

So I am back from my 4 day VISTA training in Albuquerque. I am too tired to really post about that now, but more info about that as well as the last day of my drive will be posted soon.

Let's just say that a year of poverty was totally worth the training experience, and that boys from Oklahoma really know how to have fun.

Mike Gumbs from Oklahoma, Tom Atchity from Kansas City, Matt Sweeney from Chicago serving in New Orleans, myself, Samee Shirazi from OK city, and the unforgettable Larry Washington from OK city.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I made it!

I am here. I arrived last night, a little late, after a small incident involving a blown tire. But it all worked out thanks to a conveniently located Kansas Highway Patrol officer, a bicycle pump, and some friendly Walmart employees in Ottawa, Kansas. Since arriving I have been unpacking, eating, and hanging with my roommate Mandi-jo. Tomorrow I plan to be much more productive. Not only will I go and buy some furniture, but I will give a more thorough update.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Days 2 and 3

Yesterday I left Havasu heading for Albuquerque. Because of heavy winds, part of I-40 (somewhere between Flagstaff and Gallup) was closed, so I turned around to go back and stay the night in Flagstaff, where, incidentally, it was snowing. I spent the day and night there, which was lovely because Flagstaff is a nice town. Today I needed to make up time, so I drove through 3 states and 3 timezone and landed in Amarillo, where I am very tired and there is lightning. I will bring up more details later, but for now, pictures!

Some serious highway engineering in Arizona

A burger joint on a small town along route 66

Then shit got crazy! Snow on the road, approaching Flagstaff

After passing Flagstaff, coming to the road closure, and heading back, I went to the train station.

View of Flagstaff from the Lowell Observatory, where Pluto was discovered.

Start of Day 3. View from a roadside Indian trading post, Arizona.

Cool rocks.

Made it!

Pretty roadside view

More pretty

Made itTexas terrain, quite a change. As I approached the thunderstorm, the sky turned this evil looking color.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My drive, day one.

Today I started to four day drive to Kansas City, on the southern route (interstate 40) which is the old route 66. Historic! I am 1/4 of the way there. I drove from San Jose to Lake Havasu City, Arizona, home of the London Bridge. This took about 9 1/2 hours. Only I would drive 25 minutes out of the way to stay in the town with the london bridge, which is actually kind of abandoned and really earie, at least at 5:30 on a tuesday. My favorite things about Havasu so far: free happy hour drinks at the Hampton Inn bar. Tomorrow I think my destination is either Albequerqe or Santa Fe, with a possilbe detour to the Grand Canyon!

Some pictures:

Desert. Lots of desert.

Most of what I saw: The road ahead, the road behind.

Tractors next to me at a red light, Wasco, CA.

I saw several trains, which was exciting. I love trains.

Arizona! I drove over the Colorado river, and then I saw this sign.

The London Bridge. There are apparently Nazi bullet holes in this picture, but I cant see them.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Step one: leave santa cruz.

I have completed step one. Well, kind of. I have moved all of my stuff out of the city and I am currently based in San Jose, but today I returned to present in a Professor's class about my internship and say goodbye to everyone still here. This, of course, was not well planned as no one is free until later. Hence the blog update. Things are going well with preparations for the Kansas City move. I have:
  • an apartment to move to.
  • a pile of boxes that may in fact fit in my car.
I do not have:
  • a route, as the weather is not settling in the Utah/Colorado/Wyoming area.
  • any money from the government to finance this move. I need to call about that.
JP and the cat have relocated to Oakland, right by the giant Whole Foods, where he will work as a substitute teacher, in am attempt to rake in the cash. We will see.

This week, for me, is appointments, day trips, good byes, and phone calls. Next week should be much of the same. The following week, I leave!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

here i go...

I will be using this blog to record many new experiences I am about to have. These will be:
Pretty exciting stuff! I leave on my trip in 27 days. Start the count down.