Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Always look up

The first time I met Sean Beaver we only talked about kites.

I had been hired through the college to handle marketing and advertising for the Kite Festival they hold here in the Spring. Now, in its fourth year, they were looking for a little outside help to get the word out.

"I have never needed kites more than I do right now," he said in that meeting in January.

There were about 20 other people in the room and I was probably the only one who did not make the connection.

You see, Sean's brother was shot and killed as he was walking to work back in December 2009. The news made headlines as cops vowed to catch the killer and the community rallied around him and his family for support. But at that first meeting I had no idea that gravity of what he was telling me.

I would never dream of asking clients if I could write about them here, but Sean's message and the work he is doing is far to important, I think, not to share.

It would have been easy for Sean to shut off from this city and what it had dealt him and his family. Instead, as the president and mastermind behind the Kansas City Kite Club he became more involved and has continues to work everyday to maintain the largest kite club in the Midwest.

Not to mention Sean continues to sew and build all of his own kites, some as big as two-stories houses, by hand. Seems some in the city are starting to recognize his work as it flies overhead.

But outside of all that, Sean said just this week that as temperatures are rising and the winds are picking up he couldn't be happier outside flying one of his kites.

Although we talk about more than just kites these days, his message is still the same:

"When you are flying a kite you have to look up. That's what's important," he said. "No matter what."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Roll On

The Dorothys

The Dreadnought Dorothy's celebrated their 100+ point victory at Saturday's bout at Municipal. I have been to several bouts now with the Roller Warriors and this time I was a blown away by the crowd.

In the past I have always been able to stand on the floor and watch fairly comfortably. On Saturday, though, more than 3,700 people filed into Municipal to watch the Dorothys, Susans, Vixens and Knock Outs so I was relegated to the upper decks. Not a bad spot to sit and watch things unfold.

The Bout

The Dorothy Rookies Bubonic Peg and Ira Gash that I'm following (let's be honest - stalking) even got serious playing time in the bout.

The next home bout is 0n April 24 where they will be adopting a Big Lebowski Theme... this can only end with spoiled White Russians and tears.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Movie Monday

Because the internet is infested with Kittens. I give you dogs... filmed at 1000 frames per second.

Friday, March 26, 2010

K-state moves on.


Hopefully, the deli where this depressing/uplifting art hangs can now replace it with something a little more fitting than "Yay, we don't suck as much anymore!"

My brother kept texting me last night about the AWESOME purple beer being served in Manhattan. I am more disappointed by the fact that he is hanging out with someone drinking Michelob Ultra...

purple beer

I am sure K-state fans are waking up this morning with a hangover and their teeth stained purple...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Playoffs?! You wanna talk about PLAYOFFS?!!


Yes, we can make all the jokes about how KC has not had a professional team in the win in the playoffs for nearly a decade...

And we can talk about how KU and MU have both taken a nose dive in the NCAA tournament...

Mavericks playoff game 1 from Mike Ekey on Vimeo.

Instead, I am going to focus on just how fun the Missouri Mavericks have been in their first season. Not only is the team in the heart of the Playoffs in their FIRST season, but the players were also cool enough to stick around after the game last night and sign autographs and talk with fans...

The game also gives me a chance to post a few of the photos I took through the season:

hockey GOAL

Vandermeer scores in a shoot out.

hockey fireworks

Opening ceremony introducing the players.

hockey bench

Check out photos from other photographers at the games.

We will see you Wednesday at (ugh) Hooters in Independence to watch as the Mavericks take on Mississippi once again in the best of three series.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Movie Monday - Illinois State @ The MVC Tourney in St. Louis

Because it's better to post a video two weeks late than to never post it at all.

Illinois State At the MVC 2010 from Mike Ekey on Vimeo.

It was my first time at the Missouri Valley Conference in St. Louis (March 4-7). Not a bad way to spend the weekend. Redbirds made it to the Final Four and lost to Wichita State. The WSU then lost to Northern Iowa... I think many of you know who they are now...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Little reminders that help no one.

Had my first round of classes this past weekend and found most people were fairly receptive to some of the ideas I was pushing. The whole weekend class experience waqs pretty great and I hope to eventually do it again once I work some of the kinks out of my own curriculum.

Along with basic technology and computer skills for some, I also had one section where I got to talk about using online tools to find a job. Essentially, I was teaching an hour-long course in personal branding.

My whole thesis is built around the idea that job-seekers need to do more than just print off their resumes and hand them out like candy. They need to show they are connected with their industry and constantly learning to do new things to stay relevant. Basically, they need to have more about themselves online than just a few Drunk Party Pics posted by their idiot friends.

And I walk them all through how to do this professionally and safely... not to mention for free.

Still, there are some who have been whipped into a froth by Chris Hansen and are convinced the internet is full of nothing but Terrorists and Pedophiles. Their fear is that by posting ANYTHING online, they will sucked into the computer and never seen from again.

"But, wait, hold the phone... if I post my name on the Internet, then people will steal it and use it to stalk me." (actual question/comment from a student)

Remembering all the open records tools I used in my journalist days, I reminded her that without even turning on a computer, I could find out her home address, phone number, home price, utility bills, voting record, political contributions, kids names, what school they go to, tax records, how many and what kind of cars she owned, and (if she used a public library) what books she reads...

Sometimes, I should just keep my mouth shut.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Movie Monday

Because babysitting adults is indeed much more difficult than babysitting children. Here is your movie to keep you quite for the next 4 minutes.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sunset on the week

Kansas sunset

Wild week comes to an end.

Conan O'Brien is coming to town and I managed to score tickets. Seems he has sold out all 30 shows he has planned across the country. From what the inter-webs are reporting, he is giving all the money he raises from the tour to the old Tonight Show staff, which will be traveling with him.

Don't forget: On Saturday I will be at MCC-Longview all day kicking off my free computer learning classes.

The whole day is designed to offer free classes and resources to Baby Boomers, but since I am focusing on computer training any age group would benefit.

Hopefully I can use this workshop as a model to show that older communities (especially in the urban core and immediate surrounding suburban areas) need this kind of a resource readily available for free.

Babysitting the Student Media and Senate

Back in my old firebrand journalism days I thought I was pretty hot shit with my Student Media Credentials in 2004.

When the Student Senate tried to impeach the Student Body President for underage drinking there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth (admittedly created by the paper itself). The situation only got worse when entire Senate announced it was going behind closed doors to make its decision.

Accusations were thrown around about how our First Amendment rights were being stifled... free speech was being choked out...lawsuits were pending for this egregious attack against the student media and, in the end, the students themselves... Then things really got out of hand.

Police were called to handle security and beat back the wild-eyed reporters that were trying to break into the closed meeting.

With the threat of a billy club across my skull if I attempted to cross the police barricade, I stood outside and waited with the Vice Chancellor and director of student activities — who had come out to watch the fireworks of what was supposed to be a physical beating of the Student Body President...

Being intrepid, and slightly retarded at the time, I cornered the two staff members and began grilling them about why they were allowing the Senate to make a mockery of our fine institution.

"No comment."

Only they did not just say 'No Comment.' The two senior leaders were flat out blowing me off. Not because they were hiding anything or cared one way or another how things turned out.

"It's like watching them play adult." the Vice Chancellor said to me a few months later when I had moved on from the student paper

The staff that oversaw all the student activities had met before any student meetings or police were called. They knew what the outcome was going to be (no matter how the Student Senate voted). So no amount of huffing and puffing from the students newspaper or the Senate was going to rattle them.

"You were playing your part in the whole thing and we were not going to stop it," one staff member told me when I asked about it here recently

At the end of the day, they were still in charge and they knew on Monday morning next week they would still come to an office and continue to watch the students play adult...

Fast forward to our current debacle in Lawrence:

The Student President there has proposed the idea of cutting — and even eliminating — the fee students pay that goes to the student newspaper. The fee is collected each semester and makes up about $83,000 that goes to the University Daily Kansas each year (from what the UDK was reporting).

He has an axe to grind with the student paper and the student paper is a bit defensive when it comes to money — as all print publications have in the last decade.

Tempers are flaring. Chests are being pounded. Indignation is running rampant

Sure, we could get into a lengthy argument about the meaning and use of student media and its practical applications in education. Or, we could resort to citing court cases that forbid cutting funding from student media on the basis of like or dislike. We could even go so far as to talk about the financial pit we would sink those working reporters and editors into by cutting their salaries.

Instead, the one piece that everyone seems to be missing is that the Chancellor and student staff have the final say. And they have already made their decision.

Their plan is already sketched out in neat university letterhead. Whether the fee gets cut was already been decided by someone with a higher pay grade.

The students senate can pout and vote until it's blue in the face and the newspaper can run editorial temper-tantrums, but both, just as college organizations have done for years, playing adult.

And everyone has their part to play.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Donate! Attend! DRINK!


There are a lot of things from my college days that I am proud to call my own.

Sure, there was the swimming pool of booze and catapulting things into the ravine next to our house and harassing Greek kids passed out in the street. There was even a weekend I drove across the Rocky Mountains just to crash a funeral....

But out of the hazy four years I called myself a student, it was my time with STRIPES that I still talk about most fondly and fairly lucidly.

STRIPES was the sober-driver program on campus that in only 4 years had given more than 50,000 free rides home to students keeping their drunk asses off the street.

Sure, it started at Texas A&M, but we still have the largest and most used program in the country.

I actually got involved with the group by accident. See, I was one of those kids that, before discovering the magical whimsy of Booze, spent my weekends in my dorm room watching movies or playing Halo. So, when the hot red-head down the hall was knocking on my door asking for new volunteers to help out that night I said yes.

As a volunteer - and all the way through the ranks as its Director - I have to say this one was of the few activities I truly loved. (It was also my first step into non-profit marketing and management, which I have turned into a career four years later)


I don't mean to wax too poetically here, so I'll get to the point:

Back in 2006, we were a 10 car operation with about 300 volunteers and thought we have reaching the Zenith when we were given the keys to a brand new office and operations center... But the program has only grown and gotten incredibly technologically savvy.

That means we need your help...

In April, STRIPES will be holding its first Fundraising Gala and Silent Auction. I am inviting you, my slack-jawed reader, to attend this inaugural event with me and help out the STRIPES program.

Saturday, April 10
Columbia, Mo
6 p.m. - Reception and Cash Bar
7:30 p.m. - Dinner and Silent Auction

Let me know as I will be organizing a carpool and place to stay in Columbia for that night.

If you cannot attend but would still like to donate, shoot me an e-mail: ( It is an incredibly great cause (and all your donations are tax-deductible).

Donate! Attend! DRINK!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Humping the St. Louis Arch

The Arch

The St. Louis Arch.

It is picturesque. It is historic. It is...

Humping the Arch

...awkwardly sexual for some people...

Monday, March 08, 2010

Monday Movies

Because if you want original content all weekend and on Monday, then read a Mommy-Blog...

Friday, March 05, 2010

Roger Daltrey/The Who

Roger Daltrey

I am probably one of the few who really enjoyed seeing the The Who play the halftime show at the Superbowl. In fact, I remember pulling the remote away from the host of the party and cranking the volume while yelling at people to shut the hell up and listen to the music (I know, always the social butterfly).

So, I enjoyed seeing Roger Daltrey open for Clapton on Wednesday. Granted, it was just him and a lot of his vocal skills have mellowed. Although, it was interesting that Simon Townshend, Pete Townshend's little brother tours with Daltrey as lead guitar.

Still, I am to young to have ever seen the original Who play live so most everything I know is from their live shows that were recorded many Loony Moons ago.

Roger Daltrey

And Yes, I still get a thrill up my leg when they crank up the opening synthesizer riff for Baba O'Riley

Click though for more photos from his set.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Eric Clapton @ The Sprint Center



Eric Clapton can rock an arena. The show was HEAVY on the Blues and guitar noodling by Clapton. But when you can offer several 10-minute, face-melting guitar solos, then you, sir, go right ahead...

I was a little disappointed that he did the unplugged version of Layla and not the hard-driving wonky one I have no problem blasting in my car.

Still, as I said last night, our 30-year nightmare ended as Clapton did finally admit to the Sprint Arena that he shot the Sheriff...


...The mystery continues as to who shot the deputy.

Click through for more photos. Also, Roger Daltrey opened the show. I'll have this photos up tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

It's here!


That's right, swine, my mystery package finally arrived. And, no, despite what some my denser readers might think, it was not the Phone Book.

Today, I finally opened up my newest decorative item to class up my apartment (which is really just the room over the garage at my Mom's house). They are a series of prints by Brandon Schaefer that are, well, bad ass.

He has done art for a ton of art covering other movies, but since Ghostbusters is my favorite and is being revived in my family I figured these were well worth the impulse buy.


My plan is to frame them individually but use them to fill one whole wall. With frames and about an inch in between, it will be enough art to fill a 3-foot by 5-foot wall — once I get a wall from which to hang such bad ass art.

Results so far have been mixed. The Roommates think I'm crazy. Others have had a bit different reaction.
"It is a handsome addition to any living space. The panties of your female visitors will instantly drop at the door."
Appreciated, Mr. Moxey, a man of uncontrollable taste and class.

Monday, March 01, 2010