Thursday, December 27, 2012

The taxman cometh

Paid the property taxes on the house and cars today.

It was momentous day, people. This was the first time I had to pay so many of them. My car, the wife's car and the new house. So much money going out.

Sweet Jebus...

Now, before you begin to think this is some Libertarian rant against the gub'mint, let me finish my story.

Jackson County does a great job of breaking down where each penny of your tax payment goes and the list is pretty much a direct list of thing I find pretty damn important:

Lee's Summit School District - Yay schools!
City of Lee's Summit - Yay roads and water!
Metro Junior College - Yay higher education!
Mid-Continent Library - Yay libraries!

This, of course, does not event cover the health programs, which I think we could use more of, and the Blind Pension fund among others.

Bitch and moan all you want, I suppose, (or get in involved in your local government process). There is still no avoiding the taxman.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas from Lady Indiana

Indy says Merry Christmas!

We are still working on things like sit and stay, but she seems to be getting it pretty well.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012



When the Schultz Party of Four throws down, it typically involves costumes and A LOT of little kids.

Sure enough, the C and J Olympic-themed birthday party was not a disappointment. Myself, the brother and my wife, however, were the only adults dressed up prepared for our Olympic Glory.

This stoic show of patriotism cannot go with out hearing "USA! USA! USA!" being chanted in your head over and over.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Introducing Lady Indiana Ekey

Lady Indiana Ekey

Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce to you, the esteemed Lady Indiana Ekey.

The Librarian and I adopted her today from the Lee's Summit Animal Shelter. She was a rescue from another city, but has already made herself at home in our home.

She is a 5-month-old Lab/Boxer mix and has been nothing but a ball of energy since coming home.

So far we have done nothing but spoil her with toys, treats and a backyard that she seemed a bit timid in at first, but then opened up into full circling sprints.

Indiana joins our two cats, Hudson and Sawyer. They seem to be... well, slowly introducing themselves.

What curious is that when we met her for the first time in the shelter, the staff said we could not take her until she had been spayed (seemed simple enough). But as we were filling out paperwork and the vet took a look at her, she said Indiana appeared to have already been spayed.

Even more curious is that she has a small scar on her back. We know she had been exposed to people before she went to the shelter, but some of her mannerisms make me think she had a home that was less than ideal to begin with. Still, she has been super quiet and incredibly affectionate.

So let us welcome our newest member of the Ekey household: Lady Indiana Ekey!

Monday, November 26, 2012

HGTV and Popcorn Ceilings

HGTV hates popcorn ceilings

Ever since the Librarian and I moved into our new house, we have been on a steady diet of HGTV's home renovation shows. Of all the home projects and improvement tips they offer, there is one thing I have learned:


Whether it is Property Brothers, Love it or List It, House Hunters or House Hunters International. No one likes that ceiling texture. Did I miss the memo?

Of course, since The Librarian is watching these episodes in marathon fashion, we seem to hear it A LOT.

I mean, they really DO NOT LIKE that shit in any of the houses they remodel or buy.

What gives? I like my popcorn ceilings just fine. We have 20-foot cathedral ceilings in the living that, I think, would look weird with no texture. The bedroom is a 15-foot recessed ceiling that would look strange, too, I think. Maybe I can understand removing it from the flat lower ceilings in the guest rooms, but even then... it does not look bad as it...

Maybe it is because they are all Canadians...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

There is a lot of I am Thankful for this year. Most of all, I am thankful for this wonderful partner that I found. The amazing house we are now in and the many adventures ahead of us in the coming years.

Vegas Wedding

Turkey Up, team.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Aardvark Moving sucks

UPDATE 2: The war of words and email has come to a close. Aardvark Moving made good and sent us a check refunding our move. As part of the settlement agreement, they refunded our move and then paid us an additional $25 (the amount that insurance covered for the Xbox). 

This settlement also leaves open my option of going after the individual guy who stole the Xbox. However, according to the police, if and when this guy is actually arrested or brought before a judge is only speculation. So, who knows how that side of the situation will turn out.

In the end, Aardvark made good on the refund and The Librarian and I can put this to rest for now. 

UPDATE: It seems this blog touched a nerve with the manager at Aardvark Moving. After posting my review of the company and its handling of this whole situation, the owner decided to cancel the check they had sent to me as part of our settlement.

Yes, you read that correctly, Aardvark Moving cancelled the check they sent me to replace the xbox that was stolen by one of their employees. They have now effectively accepted no responsibility for the fact that one of their employees was a thief.


I have waited damn near a month before posting this. I kept thinking (hoping) that Aardvark Moving's manager and I would come to good place after one of his employees stole my X-box. It's a bit of a long story, but worth the read if you have ever done business with this group.

Moving Day

The Librarian and I were moving from our downtown apartment to our new house out in the 'burbs. Everything was set. We had hired Aardvark Moving to move much of our stuff from our one-bedroom into our new house. Things started well, then one of the movers decided to steal my X-Box.

Despite Aardvark Moving showing up late, the move itself seemed to go pretty smoothly. The three guys quickly got everything from the fourth-floor apartment to the truck and out to the new house. In all, it took no more than three hours to move everything.

Then I received a cryptic phone call from one of the movers. He did not identify himself at first and just point-blank asked if I was missing my X-box. I had not even gotten to the boxes we put in our basement and so I had to go down and dig for a bit to find the box. Sure as shit, the box had been opened, the X-box taken and then resealed and stacked with the others in a corner.

By the time I got back to the phone he had hung up. When I called Aardvark Moving's HQ and asked what was going on, one of the managers told me my X-Box had fallen out of the box on its own and broke. He said they were trying to figure out what exactly happened.

The Police Get Involved

The next day I get a call from the Blue Springs Police Department. The officer said she was investigating my "broken" X-Box as a theft. I had to make a statement at both Blue Springs (where Aardvark Moving is based) and Lee's Summit police stations since they were unsure where the crime specifically took place. What they did tell me was that they had video of the thief pulling my X-Box out of the moving truck when he returned to HQ and took it with him to his car.

At the time, the manager was extremely apologetic and seemed truly interested in getting a replacement since it was one of his employees that was involved. I will also give major credit to the one mover who turned his co-worker in when he suspected something was up. The manager and I started looking up what a replacement would cost and found a couple similar (same specs and storage) to my X-Box online for $350. The manager and I talked about it and he said he would get a check in the mail as soon as he finished the paperwork on his end.

Two Weeks Later

The check to cover replacement of my stolen X-Box arrived and it was half what the manager and I had discussed.

This was infuriating for a couple of reasons. First, this was not at all what we had talked about and agreed on. Second, when I called asked (I agree, I was a bit hot when I called. Even the folks here at the office could tell I was pissed). The manager kept pointing out that according to their own policy, he only owned my $10 based on the weight of the X-Box and that I should be "grateful" for the offer he made me. By the end of the phone call he said any additional money to cover the cost of the stolen X-Box would have to be approved by his boss, the owner.

At this point, he starts sending me emails pointing out that I could simply buy a used X-Box online for less than $150 (none of which matched the hardware of mine). Even better, he sends me a link to an Amazon site where he says I could buy my exact model and type of X-Box, only I would have to ignore the giant crack down the side of the casing and missing port covers.

The Bribe

As long as we were emailing back and forth, I kept hoping that the owner or the manager was finally going to come around. However, when the owner decided that Aardvark Moving had done enough, the manager emailed me reminding me that his company was only liable for $10 worth of coverage and, if I wanted to, I could go after the mover himself in court if I wanted to fully cover a replacement.

Through the whole process I had been pretty clear and upfront about my expectations and what I considered a reasonable replacement cost (especially considering I had fully paid for the move and worked with Aardvark Moving for three weeks now). When I told the manager that I would be posting about my experience and sharing my review of the company, he emailed me back offering me an addition $50 "to avoid any bad reviews of the company."

Ov vey.

I told him no, and said I would still be posting about this experience. Now, though, I am torn between a couple of options.

I have the thief's name and address from the police report. So, what do I do with that information? I ran a couple of background checks and did some research online. Not the most pious of individuals. There are no major crimes, but he does have a record.

There is always small claims court, I suppose. Or I could just go knock on the guys door and demand he give me my X-Box back. Of course, I could also do nothing and just wait for the police to pick him up on a traffic violation, then see him in court on the bench warrant.

The whole situation kind of sucks.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Just Vote

I wrote this post back in 2010 (midterms!), but I think it might be good to re-post during each election cycle. Tomorrow is especially exciting, at least to me, because I will be working at my local polling place as a judge.  How cool is that?

Anyway, I don't usually hide my politics. If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time, I am sure you know where I come down on some of the issues.

But who I support probably does not matter to you. Just get your ass to a voting booth on Tuesday.

Nov. 2012: Vote

Political endorsements are stupid. They are stupid for newspapers to do and they are stupid for blogs to probably do to.

So, instead of an endorsement I am going to implore you to just vote.

Vote smart.

Vote for the person who you think will bolster education initiatives in your community and state.

Vote for the person who sees the department of education at the state and national level as a vital part of what government can do right sometimes.

Vote for the person who will stop cutting away at higher education funding.

Vote for someone who isn't going to use their office as a pulpit to fire professors, discredit instructors or eliminate entire departments because they perceive them to be controversial.

Vote for the person that will fight to ensure that grants, scholarships and loans will still send millions of kids to college across the country.

Vote for someone who supports smart sex education that is based on mentoring and leadership not religious writing that makes you fear your body.

Vote for the person who who is not afraid of science, but embraces its nuances and challenges.

Vote for the person that will realize free and reduced lunches are a big part of a successful education policy AND that those programs should not stop after a student's senior year.

Vote for someone who sees education as a pathway to citizenship.

Other than that, I really don't care who the hell you vote for.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Damn you, Words with Friends

This is what a friend of mine called an Asshole Board. Not sure I will disagree with her on this one.

We both played defensively and right into the corner. I swapped tiles in one move, he then swapped tiles. Still not seeing a play, I swapped again not knowing that it would immediately end the game.

We locked up the board (as far as I could tell) with 26 letter left to go in the bag.

The Q, V and the G were the only letters I kept before swapping. I cannot remember what I had before that.

Now knowing the rule that the game kicks out after swaps, I would have played this differently. Well, here is to another day. My record still stads at 11-3 for the past two weeks.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

XKCD takes me back

I have loved the XKCD web-comic for years.

But this week, creator Randall Monroe found a way to throw me into a nostalgic state with his 'Click and Drag' piece of artwork. If you have not seen it yet, be sure to budget yourself a few hours before you head out on the adventure he has created.

In this cartoon, users can literally click and drag the last window around an enormous landscape where pirate ships sail the open water, rocket ships wait for blast-off and a people find extraordinary things in the ordinary corners of this world he has created.

What got me the most wrapped up in this comic is how similar the cave scenes are to something similar I used to draw in elementary school. On a single sheet of butcher block paper I would draw elaborate scenes of my own stick figure armies digging underground and discovering weird and wild things. Sometimes they would encounter mole-people. Other times they found treasure. Sometimes they would run into other stick-figures that were tunneling out of a near-by prison.

I never kept any of these drawing I did while in school because most always they wound end up finding a hidden nuclear bomb or would call in an air strike (I was only in the 3rd grade) and the entire scene would be demolished in a fury of pencil and pen lines.

Too bad, too, because I feel like I could put some of my right next to XKCD's and prove how well he tapped into the psyche of everyone else who did something similar to pass the hours as school when they were kids.

You also cannot ignore how much this cartoon is so much like a mirror opposite of Where's Waldo. While Waldo would hide in a landscape of constant activity and crowded masses, the XKCD characters are hiding in plain sight. Still, I would get the same thrill of finding one of these lonely cave diggers all alone as I did finding Waldo hiding in a sea of other Waldos.

Wild stuff.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

NBC's Revolution is stealing my style

First, someone from work emailed me...

Then my brother's former roommate posted it on Facebook...

Finally, two friends pointed it out to me...

Apparently, NBC has written a show based on me.

Since I don't actually watch NBC, I am assuming the synopsis of the show reads like:

This affable gang of civil war re-enactors gets lost while hiking and must make it back to Witch Mountain before their whiskey supply runs dry. (NBC) Wednesday 9 p.m.

Or something like that...

Of course, before you start accusing me of trying to look like every large bearded and glasses-wearing supporting TV star, might I also submit Exhibit B.

I mean, the guy DOES have his own post-apocalyptic flask (and I am also going to assume his own post-apocalyptic whiskey distillery). Here is a picture of me doing the most outdoor-y thing I could think of.

I just hope this guy does not turn out to be bear food sometime down the line... again, I assume there are bears in this show. But then again, it just looks like a lot of angry sword fighting and guns. Oh, and a show about a guy who looks like me while drinking — A LOT.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Changing the conversation at one Troy Library

Troy Library from Jennie Hochthanner on Vimeo.

I love this video as it walks through how one group decided to help support its local library. The conversation was being dominated by anti-tax groups that had become well-organized and were well-funded. The conversation was centering around the fact that the community's public library needed a tax increase to stay open.

Rather than talking about tax increases, this group refocused the conversation onto the importance of books and reading.

Cool stuff and an interesting reminder of how quickly good messaging can expand online.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

Required Viewing

A new semester means new students. And that means Freshmen College Students who need a quick reminder that their parents are no longer here...

... Seriously, keep your pants on while in class...

One of the Oddly Shaped Teachers

Friday, August 10, 2012

Reading between the lines at the KC Public School District

The Kansas City Public School District is a mess right now. There is no denying that.

Still, I'd like to think there are individuals within the district trying to steer the ship in the right direction and ensure that the students that are trying to be successful will be successful.

That is probably how this marketing flyer (originally made public by Tony's Kansas City) was conceived. I am sure there were good intentions from the folks who had a hand in creating it. But flyers don't fix a lack of accreditation or failing leadership.

Sure, any student in any high school who works hard, attends class and tests well is going to have a bright future. There are colleges across the country that will accept students from unaccredited schools as long as the student tests well and shows they are willing to work at a college level. Usually that work ethic and support network is build in middle and high school by a number of factors that relate to the management of the school district.

When KC lost its public school accreditation it meant that state does not have enough confidence that the district or the people in charge of the district are providing the tools necessary to build those support networks for those students to be successful.

Ultimately what the copy on this flyer should really say is:

"Sure you can be successful here if you are already motivated, supported by family or friends and have set achievable life goals. But if you don't have those things, then you are not going to find any of that at a Kansas City Public School."

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Just Vote

I wrote this post back in 2010 (midterms!), but I think it might be good to re-post during each election cycle. The primaries are especially exciting, at least to me, because it is the one time anyone and everyone can participate as a candidate in the whole process. If you have the signatures to be placed on the ballot, you get a chance. How cool is that?

Anyway, I don't usually hide my politics. If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time, I am sure you know where I come down on some of the issues.

But who I support probably does not matter to you. Just get your ass to a voting booth on Tuesday.

Nov. 2012: Vote

Political endorsements are stupid. They are stupid for newspapers to do and they are stupid for blogs to probably do to.

So, instead of an endorsement I am going to implore you to just vote.

Vote smart.

Vote for the person who you think will bolster education initiatives in your community and state.

Vote for the person who sees the department of education at the state and national level as a vital part of what government can do right sometimes.

Vote for the person who will stop cutting away at higher education funding.

Vote for someone who isn't going to use their office as a pulpit to fire professors, discredit instructors or eliminate entire departments because they perceive them to be controversial.

Vote for the person that will fight to ensure that grants, scholarships and loans will still send millions of kids to college across the country.

Vote for someone who supports smart sex education that is based on mentoring and leadership not religious writing that makes you fear your body.

Vote for the person who who is not afraid of science, but embraces its nuances and challenges.

Vote for the person that will realize free and reduced lunches are a big part of a successful education policy AND that those programs should not stop after a student's senior year.

Vote for someone who sees education as a pathway to citizenship.

Other than that, I really don't care who the hell you vote for.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Olympic Parade of Nations

Everyone has their own traditions. I am glad I was lucky enough to be introduced to this new tradition: The Parade of Beer Nations.

Our version of the parade of nations. #Olympics #USA!

That's right, as each nation walks into the Olympic stadium in the UK, we all pass around a six pack of beer from that country parading on screen. It's like a fun speed tasting of beer from around the world. In all we sped through about 20 different beers.

It is also a stark reminder that some countries (I am looking at you China and France) are just TERRIBLE at brewing beer. The consensus was the Austrian beer (a grapefruit wheat beer) and the U.S. beer (Free State Stout) were the favorites of the night. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

VIDEO: Nick Offerman is my hero

Have I ever mentioned how much I love Nick Offerman. Oh, I have? Well, allow me to once again state it.

Here he is taking a few huge bong rips with his wife Megan Mullally and Community/Mad Men's Alison Bree while he promotes his new movie. That Offerman, fellow can really multitask.

Of course, it is also almost as funny as Offerman reading tweets from teen popstar.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Chick-Fil-A is crap

Folks, let's all take a collective breath before we begin tripping over ourselves as we condemn Chick-Fil-A for being disgustingly evil when it comes to its politics. 

Chick-Fil-A made no bones about what kind of an organization they were when they would close up shop on Sundays so we might all honor The Lord in our own non-chicken-eating ways. They also were pretty brazen about only hiring "Christian, values driven Americans"(1)

When I was working at Ye Old Paragraph Factory in 2007, I covered the opening of the Olathe Chick-Fil-A as a feature for the business section. Mind you, this opening included a DJ, an all-night campout and all the free gross bits of lamp-warmed chicken you could eat.

There was no secret back then that Chick-Fil-A took a less than liberal stance on tolerance and equality.  But, holy hell, that did not matter to the crowd of people in Olathe that summer night.

I will admit that I have no master taste when it comes to chicken... but I will never see the reason why so many people get so rabid about greasy chicken and pickles on a bun.

I'll say it: The food there sucks. Chick-Fil-A sucks.

While I am at it, Backyard Burger and Culver's food is also crap.

You heard me!

(1) Actual words on their employment application at the Olathe, KS, store.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A conversation worth having about gun policy

When the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank into the Gulf of Mexico, it did not take long for people to begin publicly questioning our drilling policies and regulations. When the Sago Mine exploded killing 13, everyone jumped to addresses the failures in safety mechanisms at the mine. But when dozens of people are killed or injured in a horrific shooting in a Colorado theater, or even a congresswoman from Arizona and others gunned down at a public events, everyone wants to stifle the conversation about what is responsible gun policy in this country.

Even when I tried to ask the question among friends, I had a finger wagged in my face accusing me of "politicizing" the tragedy.

But isn't this a discussion worth having?

The crux of my argument does not lie in some talking point about banning all guns for the safety of society. It lies in the idea that most of the people screaming into the night about the Second Amendment are rarely the people who, I think, would be willing to deal with the real fact that they are advocating that they should be able to kill another human being.

Buying a gun and declaring that you will carry it with you at all times is not just a line being drawn in the sand of constitutional fights. It is declaration that you, the gun owner and carrier, are willing to kill another person when push comes to shove.

And if you do not think that killing another human being would not alter you to the core, then we truly have a disconnect in the on-going debate about gun control.

I feel the debate being had in this country would be completely different if the people in the pro-gun position of this argument could honestly answer the question "Are you OK with the fact that you might kill another human?"

Even the people we train to professionally kill other people are having a tough time dealing with that responsibility. This is not a weakness or a flaw. It's just a human trait.

Asking these questions and hoping we can fix a problem staring us in the face is not disrespectful to those who died in Colorado. It makes their tragedy a moment that could possibly shape us into a better country and move forward while honoring them.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Back in action and posting photos like a fool

Siesta Key.

Florida was fantastic, getting back to work... not so much. But we won't bore you with the detials of what happened at ye old (jr) varsity.

Instead, check out this kickin' vacation photos from Florida!

Powdery white beaches with crystal clear water and enough Old Crow bourbon to keep me nice and sauced for an entire week of fun in the sun.

There were many highlights. Like feeding the Flamingos.

Feeding the Flamingos!

A sunset boat ride in the Gulf of Mexico.

Siesta Key Sunset


Wading out into the Gulf

Fireworks on the beach.

4th of July on Siesta Key

Parasailing and jet skis.

Parasailing at Siesta Key

And hanging out with this little lady.

Sunset cruise

All-in-all Sarasota was a hell of a vacation and we are definitely planning to return sometime in the future.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Oh, hai! Mike and The Librarian are not in right now...

Oh hai!

I am a Manatee, also known as a Sea Cow... but don't bring up the whole weight thing, some of us are a bit sensitive.

Anyway, I just wanted to say hello for myself and good-bye for Mike and The Librarian. You see, in their haste to get out this Fire-Kissed Hell-scape known as Kansas City, they did a pretty piss-poor job of letting everyone around them know they were leaving town for a week and a half for their Honeymoon/Vacation...

Yeah, I know, pretty awesome, right?

They will be kicking it Bayside Summer style on the sugar-fine sands of... Oh, well, I probably should not actually tell you where they are going... god knows they don't want the unwashed masses of this blog tracking them down and ... well, you're The Internet... you understand.

So, while I assume they will be doing nothing for 13 days. Except for this:

I am, still, going to have to respectfully ask everyone here to Back The F--- Off.

Do we have an understanding? Don't make me swim up there and flipper the crap out of you... I will. Excellent. In the meantime I am sure we can be good friends for the next 13 days just fine...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Robster lives in Australia

As many of you might remember, Robster the Rock Lobster was one of my LEGO creations when I competed in the LEGO Master Builder Competition back in January.

Robster then made his way to the big LEGO/Aquarium display in the Crown Center shopping mall.

Now he is living it up on the coast of New Years Island in Australia... sort of.

Google and LEGO teamed up to create an awesome online drafting program that lets you play with LEGO bricks from the comfort of your computer screen at work. The added bonus is that the plots you build on are based on ral locations in Australia and New Zealand (Gizmodo says they will be expanding to other locations as the project catches on).

The 32-stud plot and limited lego selection might seem like a buzz-kill, but it actually forces you to be a bit more creative in the e-building process.

Give it whirl and try it out. It's not like you are actually doing anything at work anyway...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

AMC Mainstreet takes ball, goes home.

Things got a bit tense last night at the AMC Mainstreet.

The wife and I had heard Wednesday night was going to be the last night the AMC and the Marquee bar would be open. So, we decided we should head down for one last drink. It had been our movie house for the last couple of years. It was just down the street from our apartment and was a great place to go while downtown, but you were still just far enough away from the P&L douchbags that you never felt crowded. Plus, free live swing music and dance lessons!

The Wife and I also had a couple of friends that worked the theater and the bar and we knew they would be working that night, too.

Now, don't get me wrong, I am excited that the spot will become an Alamo Drafthouse. I had been to their Austin, Texas, location before and was blown away by the whole experience there. I can only imagine what kind of movies and programming they will bring to downtown KC for a couple of cinefiles like The Wife and I.

It also turns out that Alamo had already been in touch with staff at the Marquee and had offered to keep most all of the current staff on board as they make the transition in the next couple weeks to the Chsterfield (the new bar name).

Good on you Alamo!

Hearing that news, I figured there would be a bit more of a welcoming vibe on the final night. However, our overly dramatic memorial service for a theater bar was cut short when AMC managers blocked us as the door and told us they were closing even earlier than anticipated that night. The kitchen staff had started refusing food orders and a number of other staff members were just abandoning their posts on the final night. They seemed pretty determined to not give us our final drink at the bar.

Despite what this foul blog might portray, I am not a complete idiot. I know AMC is looking out for its bottom dollar. Money is what has driven its most recent decisions, not community. Still, I can't be the only one who has a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth following the past couple of month's worth of decisions by AMC. The new powers that be at AMC will have a big assignment for its new PR folks.

Oh well, not a whole lot of love lost on the AMC front, I suppose. I am little peeved that I just renewed my Stubs Card. This means I now have to head to the suburbs to redeem whatever points I have remaining.

UPDATE: (For a bit of perspective) If the fact that my biggest complaint in life is that some international company has closed down my local theater chain and bar, then I think I have to follow this post with a #FirstWorldProblems tag — yeah, that seems about right.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Vegas Wedding Weekend, Part III

I swear this will be the last Vegas Wedding Weekend post. Still, DAMN we look awesome in this photo.

Bad-ass Las Vegas Wedding

Tyler Freear was our photographer for the non-wedding part of our Vegas Adventure and he did a phenomenal jobI just got his photos earlier this week in the mail and printed off some for some of the Father's Day activities

This one of the whole wedding party mugging in front of the Vegas sign might be the single greatest photo (outside of the waving photo) from the weekend.

I know... wedding overkill on the Blog. But let's be honest... since my mom is the only one who really reads this blog, I think you know you can expect more photos in the future.

Friday, June 15, 2012

KITTENS! SEO! Top 3 reasons I will be a famous blogger

The brothers pointed out that the best way to become famous on the internet is with Cat Videos.

This is nothing new.

So I present to you, video of the kittens my brothers found. I am really kind of concerned they are not cashing in on this goldmine they stumbled on and now keep safely tucked away in the basement.




Friday, June 08, 2012

Vegas Wedding Weekend, Part II

Vegas Wedding 2012

When it comes to weddings, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas has this thing down to a science.

The chapel was nice. The piano player was great. The minister, although tiny, was amazing. The flowers were awesome and the staff made sure everything went off without a hitch and was friendly and worked non-stop to ensure The Librarian and I were happy.

Vegas Wedding 2012

The Librarian was simply stunning as she walked down the isle with her father for the first time. It is great to see all the photos now since at the time everything was kind of a blur.

If anyone ever asks for my advice on how to do an amazing wedding. I am pretty sure I will just point west and blurt out, "Get thee to Vegas."

Be sure to check out the rest of the wedding ceremony over on the Flickr page. Tyler's photos of of from the Vegas sign will be coming shortly. From the previews I have seen online, they are — again — AMAZING.

Vegas Wedding Weekend, Part I

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Vegas Wedding Weekend, Part I

MGM Pool

It is hard to pick the most representative photos of the entire wild Vegas Wedding weekend. Is it the one of our families all standing round The Librarian and I outside the chapel as we wave like fools? Or is it the one where the Michael Jackson impersonator is hugging The Librarian after an epic show at New York-New York? Maybe it is the many photos of free drinks, shots, novelty beverages and alcoholic slushes that passed through out hands during the weekend...

Whatever photo you happen to think represents the weekend best, all I know is that it was easily one of the best weekends of my life. Not only did I get to marry my best friend, but I got to do it in one of most fun and exciting cities.

Vegas Wedding @ New York-New York

It was also amazing to have so many wonderful family and friends there to support us and cheer us on as The Librarian and I took the plunge and got married. Without them, the weekend out not have been as memorable as it was.

With so many people taking photos, I am sure more will be posted here, over on the flickr page and on Facebook as they are emailed to me.

Stay tuned as I will be posting more photos from the wedding itself and the rest of the weekend.

Vegas Wedding @ Belligio

Monday, May 28, 2012

The wedding rings

The Wedding Rings

The Librarian and I are gearing up for the final days before our Vegas Wedding expedition.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

An announcement

In a little more than a week, I will be getting married in a shiny ceremony in a desert known as Las Vegas. I cannot tell you how excited I am not only be getting married, but also to be back in Vegas with The Librarian.

Of course, my summer semester at Park will also be starting at the same time (still exciting, but less so).

I figured, with such a momentous life occasion, I could call the professor (several weeks in advance) to ask to have work released early for me to complete sooner or to get an extension for the week's work. I already saw the syllabus, so I knew I would only need to find a work-around for a couple discussion pieces and the homework/readings.

The conversation was pretty productive. He seemed resistant at first, but then we came around to a plan that would give me the homework and reading early to complete, but then I would get an extension on the discussions (since those are driven by what the other students in the class post online).


Until he drops this bomb at the end of the conversation:

"Oh, by the way, just to make sure everything is on the up-and-up, send me a copy of the newspaper with your wedding announcement, just so I know."


Not exactly sure which part confused me more... that part where he thinks that my Vegas wedding will have a traditional wedding announcement... or that people still read the newspaper for wedding announcements...

I decided to look up what the local Paragraph Factory charges for wedding announcements and found myself looking at prices of $200-$1,000 to announce my love in the printed pages.

I think I will just buy a copy of the Vegas daily news and get a photo with The Librarian and I holding it up at the chapel...

That should do the trick...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A graduation speech that is worth a damn

The best advice on writing, creativity and life I have ever heard has only come from science fiction writers.

This is not to say that non-science fiction writers are full of crap... but rather that of the science fiction writers I have followed for years all seem to be the only ones coming up with brilliant things all the time when talking about how they have stayed creative.

God know recently I have felt the same way Gaiman does when it comes to success and happiness. I like to think we both get the same screwed up face as we wait for that man with a clipboard to show up at our front door and say, "It's all over. We caught up with you. Now you have to go get a real job." (Watch it at the 7 minute mark).

Watch the whole thing if you get a chance. It is pretty inspiring and it makes me want to go back see if I can find old copies of Sandman somewhere.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hello, Instagram, nice to meet you.

Get ready for a barrage of Hipster-rific photos and faded snap shots that I will shamelessly call art and post in every corner of the internt.

Is the internet truly ready for my out-of-focus cell phone photo genius? I am not sure either...


Monday, April 30, 2012

Jill Biden visits MCC

Jill Biden Visits MCC

Jill Biden, Vice President Joe Biden's wife, stopped into Metropolitan Community College's Health Science Institute to talk about the Mo Health Wins program and several other grant programs hosted by MCC.

It was a fun event. Biden even surprised some of the students who were standing outside the HSI building with signs when she jumped from her SUV and crossed the street to shake hand and talk with everyone who had gathered there.

Jill Biden visits MCC

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Bring your child (or pet) to work day

Seems everyone is bringing their children into the office today. Had I known I would have brought this guy into the office all day:

Hudson licking his chops

Of course, when co-workers would scoff and say "That's a your cat not your child..."

I would then look at them right in the eyes and shout,


Then I would utter something under my breath about how they were racists and why can't they just accept my family the way we are...

Yeah, that would be fun, too.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

VIDEO: Weird Al plays Jon Hamm in bowling... why not.

Best parts:

Weird Al sings "Bowling" over and over to the tune of the Mad Men theme song.

Vincent Kartheiser (Pete Campbell) heckles show creator Matt Weiner by saying "The Kardashians get better numbers than you!"

"Hey Jon, I really liked your role as Gorgeous Guy #2 in that one episode of Alley McBeal."

"I think banana peels are hilarious jokes," Jon Hamm.

"No matter how good you did with the account, Mohawk Airlines does not exist today!" Pete Holmes heckling Vincent.

"Is it douchey to invite people to beat them in a game where he is clearly a semi-professional? I say yes,"  John Hamm. "It would be like me inviting people to a masturbating contest," Pete Holmes

Monday, April 23, 2012

Another successful Flights of Fancy kite festival

With the new job duties MCC and volunteer wrangling at the festival, I did not get a great chance to take a lot of photos or any video at the kite festival.

Photographer Bret Mavrich was out getting all the good stuff on film, though.

Despite light winds, the campus still had more than 15,000 people on campus throughout the day enjoying the weather and even flying their own kites. Honestly, I still think it was a huge success and I heard really no complaints at all through the day.

I did manage to snap this photo on my phone just as my favorite mega-kite made it airborne.

Flights of Fancy kite festival 2012

The new MCC Public Relations person did, however, get a ton of great photos from the event.

MCC-Longview Flights of Fancy kite festival... and now the countdown begins for kite fest 2013...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Robster the LEGO Rock Lobster returns

LEGO Rock Lobster Kansas City

The Librarian stumbled on this awesome find during a photo shoot at Crown Center.

Sure, it might look like an average display advertising the new Sea Life Aquarium, but look closer... closer... lower right... getting warmer...

LEGO Rock Lobster Kansas City


It's the return of Robster the LEGO Rock Lobster.

Robster was my first-round creation at the LEGO Brickfactor competition back in January. More than 200 LEGO fans from five different states competed to be named the LEGO Master Builder for the new LEGO Land Discovery Center opening later this month.

After the competition, LEGO reps said they might be using some of the models for displays in Crown Center, but I never actually thought Robster would survive — especially considering the number of other amazing sea creatures that came out of the first round.

I am just going to go ahead and assume this is what a parent feels like when their kid grows up to be an astronaut or a doctor or a dinosaur.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Here we have my hero Ron Swanson talking about getting married in Las Vegas in a video for the Human Rights Campaign's marriage equality efforts.

This video officially wins the Internet.

Frankly, I need a few more Internet wins today.

If I hear one more person say my "style of writing is too personal." Or my "writing is not indicative of academic effort." Or "I am assuming you were dunk when you wrote this." I just might punch a giraffe in the ankles.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Zombies in the Library

One of the projects I was enlisted to help with here in the last couple of months was a video project for Mid-Continent Public Library's Teen Summer Reading Project.

The Librarian and her co-workers came up with the idea of turning a horde of zombies into book-loving library patrons. Hilarity (and dancing) ensues.

We had fellow librarians and some of the local teens star in the clip promoting the reading program. I thought it turned out pretty nice. It gave me a chance to practice some of my video shooting and editing skills and it gave the Librarian a chance to act as the Creative Director over the whole project.

We shot the whole thing on a borrowed Canon 5D and used the Smithville Library branch as our location.


Monday, April 09, 2012

Kite festival, new job, wedding plans and more

(YAWN) Good God what day is it?!

April 9? Oh shit!

Are you telling me I have been asleep at the wheel for two months? Well, no wonder nobody visits this dump anymore. It's hard enough keeping you all focused for a week on something — let alone keep you around for almost two months without something to read...

Well, let's dive right into this hot mess.

2010 Flights of Fancy Kite Festival

Flights of Fancy kite festival

That's right, team. The mega kite festival I co-manage is coming back for its sixth year at MCC-Longview.

Sean Beaver and the Kansas City Kite Club will be flying kites the size of a house.

Every year we have more than 15,000 people on the campus lawn taking in the all-day show and picnicking with their family. KC Parent called the festival one of the best in the region (Woot!) and MARC even featured us in its 2012 Public Safety Calendar, which featured major festivals from Missouri and Kansas.

If that is not enough to get your rocks off, then check out some of the photos I have taken at past festivals.

10 a.m. - 5 -p.m., Saturday, April 21

The New Job

Well, it's not really a NEW job — as that might indicate I have left the college. I am still with Metropolitan Community College AND I am still working in the marketing and public relations office, but rather than handling the marketing and PR for one campus, I have now been "specialized"...

No, seriously... I am now the Web Marketing Specialist for MCC (woot!). The new title means a new office location (downtown at HQ) and few new tasks to keep me busy.

In the next couple of months, the college is going to transition to a new content management system that is supposed to help us iron out some of our... (ahem) website issues. In the past, anyone could submit changes to the website and most of the time they would go unchecked. Now, though, with the new CMS I will be the one checking all the updates. This could either go really well or end in my screaming death from the rooftop... either way (woot!).

Wedding Plans

The #EkeyElliott #VegasWedding at the MGM Grand is moving forward (and getting dangerously close).

The chapel has been reserved, non-Elvis officiant booked and flowers ordered. Even the pre-wedding paperwork has already been filed with the county courthouse there to help expedite the process when we land in Vegas.

(Then again, I suspect this is not the first wedding handled by the good folks in Las Vegas, Nevada — just a hunch.)

Sarah on the Stratosphere

Anticipating the big day, The Librarian and I have even started wearing our rings.

Superstitious? No...

Ready to be married to my bride? Yes.

Although, The Librarian refuses to tell me what her dress looks like. She says it's not so much for superstitions, rather she just wants to surprise me when she comes walking down the aisle.

The clock is ticking. Tick-Tock. And we are inching closer to the wedding day and the big reveal.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Secretary Sebelius visits MCC's Health Science Institute

Sec. Sebelius visits MCC Health Science institute

It was a fun visit for MCC and the folks at the Health Science Institute. U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (and former Kansas Governor) Kathleen Sebelius was in town today to talk about the digitizing of health records to help modernize the health industry.

The pannel that spoke with Sebelius included a former students from MCC, professionals in the Health IT world and physicians that all spoke about how upgrading their patient record systems helped them and helped their patients in the long run.

Sec. Sebelius visits MCC Health Science institute

I did have to admit to my fellow PR folks today that I missed the days when I would throw myself into the scrum of other reporters to ask a visiting VIP a question or get into positon for the best photo.

When you are on the PR side, your subject tends to stand still a little longer and pose for more of your photos. Sort of...

Sec. Sebelius visits MCC Health Science institute

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day dinner

I would say it was a great success. The future wife seemed quite pleased.


The scallop recipe is nothing new. I bath the raw scallops in orange juice pat them with a little pepper and then wrap them in bacon. Stick in the oven at 400 degree for about 15 minutes.

And asparagus is asparagus... garlic, onions... bake until tender.

The potato gratin and the steak recipe, though were two new ones that I found on Pinterest.

Yeah, I Pin... you wanna fight about it?

The steak recipe was incredibly simple, but since we are raised from a young age that steak goes only on the grill, it seems almost sacrilegious.

You sear the steak in a pan with butter... just enough to add a bit of a nice brown crispy shell in each side. Then put the steak in the oven at 400 degree for about 15-20 minutes. It comes out a perfect medium rare.

The potatoes I found online and can go in the crockpot (which is becoming my new favorite kitchen tool).

Slice the potatoes, add a cu of sour cream, can of cream of potato, package of shredded cheese and crockpot it on high for three hours.

Add gren onions and pepper.

The dinner itself was so good, I think I managed to convince The Librarian that we should name our first kid Chewbacca...

Friday, February 03, 2012

FRIDAY VIDEO: 5-year-old identifies brand logos


This is something that probably only marketing people and mothers of 5-year-olds will appreciate/be terrified by.

A graphic designer sat his daughter down and asked her for her first impression of several MAJOR brand logos.

Depending on who you are, her responses are cute, terrifying, intriguing or educational.

Working in this field, I am fascinated (I have watched the video several time) by not only the number of logos she recognizes, but also how she associates them.

The Republican Party logo is a "Circus Elephant."

The Panera Bread Co. logo is "Coffee."

She knows GE because her grandpa worked there.

I'd be curious to hear what parents think of this video, though. There has already been some outrage by parents who believe we over commercialize our kids... The Disney and McDonald's logo might be good examples, as she was able to identify those in a heartbeat.

Still, it was interesting that she was able to make the connection that the McD's M looked like french fries is kind if intriguing...

What do you think, moms?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Boulevard Chocolate Ale hunt

Boulevard Chocolate Ale 2012

Only Boulevard would give me a legitimate reason to leave work at 10 a.m. to buy beer.

I got my bottle. The liquor store was rationing and only letting people get out with one bottle at a time.  At 10-bucks a pop, I figured one was more than enough.

Monday, January 30, 2012

VIDEO: Kansas City LEGO Challenge

It took me a while, but I finally got around to downloading the video from the camera.

Here is my Round One (Animal Theme) video. Enjoy it and its 30 minutes of Lego glory.

There is a few more videos of my talking to the judges and building in Round Two over at the Wednesday Weekly YouTube Page.

Big thanks to Miss Mia Cole for shooting video all day for me. I did not realize she shooting the ENITRE 30 minute round until afterward when I started reviewing the clips.

That, team, is what we call commitment.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Diversity: more than just an old, old wooden ship

An Anchor Man joke? I know, pretty juvenile... but considering a white, suburb-raised 20-something male is about to talk about Diversity, I thought it seems right.

There are far more intelectual and lofty publications out in the world that deal with diversity in higher education and I don't exactly think I am going to contribute any new thoughts or idea.

Still, I wanted to share at least something about this new Master's class I am taking through Park University. The class itself is an introduction to public policy and government management. It's the starter class for the larger Master's in Public Affairs and Administration.

As we went around the room introducing ourselves we were supposed to say our name, where we are from and what our future plans were with the MPA from Park.

Out of the 12 students in the room, I was the only white male.

Now, this is nothing new. When I worked in the Kansas City's Northeast neighborhood this was pretty typical. In Brooklyn, I lived and worked in a predominately Caribbean neighborhood. Even at the Community College the level of diversity (while not ideal) is pretty high when compared to some suburbs in the region.

No, what was fascinating to me was where everyone else was from:

Five of the students in the class are from Saudi Arabia.

One student is from Azerbaijan.

One students is from Africa (I regret not being able to hear from what country specifically).

All of them had roughly the same story; they came to the U.S. specifically to get a Master's Degree in Public Affairs and then would be returning home once they graduated.

Most of them said they worked for the government in their respective countries (or worked for a type of NGO) and that they would be returning to that job when they returned home.

That is quite a move to attend a private university in the middle of the county.

I did not want to be rude or insensitive, but as a marketing guy, I wanted to just pick their brains about what drew them to Park or even Kansas City. How they found the program or even how they made the decision to up-root home and family (one guy had enrolled with his wife) to come to Missouri for two years.

I mean, I thought traveling to the Park campus just across the river was going to be a chore every week (luckily I am at the downtown campus just a few blocks from my apartment).

It is already a wild ride as we talked about how different students don't see the freedom of speech as one of those untouchable rights. Even to hear someone talk about America's "drinking problem" raised a few eyebrows (we were talking about the constitution's amendments and recent hot topics).

Buckle up, team, because I get the feeling the ride on this old, old wooden ship is going to be a lot of fun.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

LEGO Brick Factor KC: building like a top 40 champ.

LEGO Brick Factor KC 2012


With more than 200 LEGO builders from five different states competing for the title of Master Model Builder, it was an intense day of building.

Even though I did not make the cut for the final 10, I managed to get into the semi-finals with the top 40 builders from around the region. With that badge of accomplishment, I feel like I represented well this weekend.

The competition itself was a blast. It reminded me of the old high school debate days. Saturday, like back then, was filled with about an hour of intense competition and then a lot of sitting around waiting for judges and results to be posted.

It was great to have not only family and friends, but also a small contingent of blog fans come out to support me as I competed.

For Round One we were told the theme was Animals. Most every had about 30-45 minutes to think about what they wanted to build.

LEGO Brick Factor KC 2012

The only problem with planning ahead was that you did not know what bricks you were going to be dealt. Judges even mentioned that they put relatively basic bricks to see how creative the contestants could be.

For 30 minutes you have to not only build a model that will impress the judges, but you have to also interact with the crowd that is gathering at each table.

LEGO Brick Factor KC 2012

With so many red bricks in my first round draw, I thought a ROCK LOBSTER would be fun.

LEGO Brick Factor KC 2012

I finished the lobster pretty quickly. So, I started asking the kids watching my table what they think I need to add. Some said I needed sand for him to live in, other said food. The finished product.

LEGO Brick Factor KC 2012

Round Two was even more insane as the crowd was bigger and the competition included 39 other incredibly good builders. The theme for this round was to build something we thought represented Kansas City or the Midwest.

I thought I could play off the City of Fountains motif.

LEGO Brick Factor KC 2012

Of course, it would not be a KC Fountain without a bum wading around in the pool.

LEGO Brick Factor KC 2012

Like I said before, I missed the final cut but was still pleased with how I performed all day. Plus, the final 10 all had some amazingly creative models and it will be interesting to see what they put together in the final round.

I have A TON of photos from the LEGO event on my flickr page.