Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Thor & Thorena

There is one great mysteries of Lawrence, Kansas that will likely never be answered for me. On the sidewalk in front of our apartment on one of the block of sidewalk is written "Thor & Thorena." I've walked over it a thousand times and wondered what inspired it the day they laid the cement down on Illinois Street. My Norwegian heritage would love it if there was really a Thor and Thorena living around my neighborhood those years ago but I'll ever know for sure. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Double Rainbows: July 7th, 2014

Last time was sunsets and today we'll do rainbows. Today we also have our first guest photographer on the blog as these photographs of a double rainbow were taken by my father. This was the sky over Eau Claire, WI a few weeks ago following a rainstorm.

A double rainbow all the way! It truly looks like Eau Claire was under a dome that day. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Sunsets: October 11, 2013

The sunset on October 11th, 2013 taken somewhere between Eau Claire and Colfax, Wisconsin. You might notice a few cows in the foreground.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

KU's Memorial Stadium

Since we moved back to Lawrence after our time in Ukraine we have lived two blocks down from Memorial Stadium on the University of Kansas campus. This has led to some very interesting Saturdays when there were KU home football games but overall living right near the campus has been great.

The stadium dates back to 1921 and here is a postcard showing the original design of the stadium.

And as you can see it is largely the same structure today with a few additions that have been put on over the years. We will be back here in about a year for Laura's graduation ceremony. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Dollar Dollar Bills

One of the neat little oddities in Lawrence is a restaurant downtown on Mass. Street called Jefferson's. It's a part of a small chain of restaurants that are mainly located in Alabama. Were most business might frame their first dollar earned , Jefferson takes that to the extreme by having nearly all their walls covered with dollar bills that have been personalized by customers. The last time I was there I took some photos of the sections of the walls near our table to show what I'm talking about. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Viktor Yushchenko Election Pamphlet

While sorting through my papers I came upon a folder full of documents from our days in Ukraine. It had translated copies of my passport into Ukrainian, old copies of my debit cards, and other assorted papers I wanted to keep in good condition. Amongst those papers was a pamphlet for Viktor Yushchenko's presidential run in 2004. Laura was gifted this during our time in Kharkiv and as I collect political pins and such and this was one favorite things from Ukraine.

Yushchenko would be elected president and lead the so-called the Orange Revolution. He was nearly assassinated by poisoning during the lead up to the election. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

All That Remains

One way to look at my life would be through the things that I obsessively collected. Or more accurately the ebb and flow of the the things I obsessively collected. It started with baseball cards around fifth or sixth grade. That was eventually replaced with comic books a few years later. Comics gave way to music and CDs in my freshman or sophomore year of high school. Music stayed with me for a long time...through my move to Seattle where used music shops were everywhere. 

Toward the end of my time in Seattle my collection had reached its peak and as a move of 1,800 miles was approaching I realized it was time to shrink the collection as it was getting more and more cumbersome. I digitized nearly all of it and sold most of it on eBay and Amazon over the course of a year. I kept the ones that were important to me for one reason or another, be it a gift from someone or an album that had important emotional value. 

So as I prepare for another move, my CD collection fits comfortably in the bottom of a single box. If you ever saw my collection before you'll know who different it is. My music purchases today are nearly exclusively digital download or old school vinyl and I rarely buy a CD unless it's used at Half Price Books. I feel like I am the living embodiment of the U.S. music industry.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Meeting Rusty The Poodle

I've done many posts on the animals we ran into in Ukraine and Greece and so why not start one for the good old U.S. of A. This is Rusty the Poodle who is my sister-in-law's husband's parent's dog...got that?

He's a great old dog that keeps the two-year-old Stella in line. 

And wherever Jo goes, Rusty isn't very far behind. 

He is also very good at posing for photos. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Things You See Between St. Paul and Des Moines

Regularly driving between Lawrence, Kansas and Minnesota/Wisconsin you end up seeing quite a few odd things. During our latest trip we witnessed a car driving along the wrong side of the interstate and further down the road we saw this odd view coming towards us. Is that a cannon?

It sure was a cannon and the type that shoots clowns rather than cannon balls.

The El Riad Shrine Circus is based out of Souix Falls, South Dakota and have been around since 1888. Thanks for giving us a story to tell on our long drive!

Friday, July 18, 2014

William S. Burroughs' House

We're running out of time here in Lawrence so we are crossing off the things we should have done years ago, like finding a quiet side street which hosts beat-poet William S. Burrough's house. He lived here during the the later part of his life until he died in 1997.  

As a kid diving deep in grunge music in the mid-to-late 90's I only knew William S. Burrough's name as the poet that collaborated with Kurt Cobain on a track called "the "Priest" they called him."

Cobain provided the backing musical improvisation with  Burroughs reading his poetry over the top of it.

The nearly 10-minute long track was recorded in Lawrence and during one of Cobain's visit this famous photo was snapped. It's hard to believe that Burroughs would outlive Cobain by four years.  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Visiting The Love Garden One Last Time

Laura and I will be moving to Atlanta at the end of July and so in these last few weeks I'm visiting my favorite locations one last time. The best record store in Lawrence is the Love Garden and they are famous for having animals that live in the store. We're talking two Record Store Cats and a Record Store Dog as well. When I visited the store Sam was taking a nap on the dollar bins.

I bought some supplies to get my record collection ready for the move as well as a pin set in honor of the animals that live at the Love Garden. I've been eyeing these pins for years and had to get them before leaving Lawrence. 

Here are two of the records I picked up...A Righteous Brothers with the Bros starring off into the water while on a dock...

...and The Association who went a little crazy on the image fading on their cover.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Touring Lambeau Field

Back in June I got to take a tour of Lambeau Field for the first time. I've been to the stadium many times either just to take photos or to visit the Packer Pro Shop but I had never taken a stadium tour before. I had also hoped to visit the Packer Hall of Fame but it turned out that this summer it was temporarily relocated away from Lambeau as they are doing construction on a new Hall of Fame and Packer Pro Shop.

Here's some of the construction you can see while walking into the stadium. The construction should be done by the start of the season.  

Before the tour I stopped by the Pro Shop and saw this great display of Cheeseheads. Do a little research later I was surprised to find that the origin of these hats comes from the Milwaukee Brewers rather than the Packers

On to the tour which turned out to be exactly as I had hoped, run by two retired old guys that really really loved the Packers.

We go to go up to one of the high-priced executive boxes to view the field from above. While we were touring the ground keepers were mowing the field which is done every two days.

I entitled this photo "The loneliness of a Green Bay Packers groundskeeper."

We also go to go into the bowels of the stadium..."Player Entrance" this way...

...the home locker room is behind these doors. We didn't get a chance to see it for ourselves.

Players come out of the locker room and down through this hall to directly out on the field.

And as we walked onto the field they played recorded crowd cheers and the announcer's voice announcing the team's arrival onto the field. It was amazing to be able to be on the field after all these years. Well, we weren't on the field as really on the side of the field. If our guides mentioned it once, they mentioned it 10 times, we couldn't walk out onto the field.

They had these signs to remind us as well.

But while we were checking out the acoustics of the stadium by chanting "Go Pack Go" and listening for the echo all of a sudden someone started walking across the field. Our two guides looked at him and started making a move to intercept him and I imagined both of them tackling him like Clay Matthews in the middle of the field but thankfully they realized that that was the groundskeeper we saw earlier in the day mowing the lawn.

And of course it wouldn't be a Packer tour without poking some fun at the Vikings...although they are going to have to change this when the new Vikings Stadium which will have a fixed roof rather than a dome.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Wittenberg, Wisconsin's Packer Mural

In the middle of Wisconsin, in the town of Wittenberg you'll find Hanke's Sentry Foods...

...and on the side of that grocery store you'll find a wonderful Green Bay Packers mural. I noticed it as we were driving through town headed towards Nueske's, the great local meat market.

There's a lot to take in there so I'll break it down into smaller sections. First we have Don Hutson in the original navy blue and gold jerseys which founder Curly Lambeau borrowed from his alma mater Notre Dame.  

Next we have Curly Lambeau with his curly hair and the statue of Vince Lombardi this is in front of Lambeau Field. 

Cheeseheads and Jordy Nelson make an appearance. 

Next we have a Packers center with a strategically placed security light. 

Next we have a giant sized Donald Driver doing the Lambeau Leap along with what I think is another Donald Driver wearing the away jersey. 

The last section highlights the long standing tradition of having Packers players ride kid's bicycles as they go back and forth between the training facilities and Lambeau Field. Here's a great collection of photos showing Packer greats borrowing mountain bikes through the years. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Graffiti of the Bridges of Madison County

Two common themes of this blog are graffiti and bridges. The two merge seamlessly while we visited the Bridges of Madison County. I visited the Bridges previously during a family vacation in the 1990's and I remember being surprised to find "Where's Clint?" spray painted on the inside of one of the bridges. I don't quite understand it myself but many people treat the bridges as we did in Kharkiv and use it as a way to express your unending love for someone...or Justin Bieber...

...or the movie "Bridges of Madison County"...

...or maybe some free form poetry...

...or maybe you've come a long way to Iowa and you want to express itself...

...you can't go wrong expressing your love for the troops...

...or you can always draw a graffiti classic but not quite the right way.