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Tantrums, Not Sleeping, Migraines & New Shoes

27 Mar

Yesterday was the third day in a row Max (3) did not earn a good behavior sticker.  We’ve stopped trying to punish all the bad behavior since he’d be in permanent timeout due to the fact that he’s 3 and in full throws of the terrible tantrums and whatnot.  When Max has good behavior days he gets a sticker.  After 3 stickers I take him out for soft serve ice cream or the candy store or wherever he requests.  We are on par today for a sticker…TBD…still 2 hours left in his day…anything can happen.

Keep it together man.

Last night was the (I’ve lost track) night that Dodge (1) barely slept.  One night this week Kate gave up and brought him into bed with us and we all passed out.  He turned all the way around so his feet were in my face and then began stomping my nose as if it were a bass drum pedal.  Last night he just felt like screaming.  He is louder than my earplugs and sound machine.  The kid’s got some pipes I tell you what.  Its not his fault…he’s a baby, he has multiple teeth coming in, and he’s at that age where they go through serious separation anxiety.  Still…knowing all that doesn’t make it any easier at 3 AM when he’s screaming as loud as he can and you want to punch a hole in the wall.

Today is the second day of the migraine which began yesterday with visual auras and blank spots in my vision.  Always a good time.  When I get migraines it throws off the way I feel my body interacts with the world around me.  Sure…the splitting headache sucks and my stomach is all screwed up…but I have this overwhelming feeling like the air is too hot, things are closer than they appear, my appendages and brain are not communicating correctly, everything sounds funny, and I could swear there’s some dude in my peripheral just hunching over my shoulder.  Nope.  Just my peripheral is all off.  Claustrophobic.

So what’s the solution?  I bought shoes.  Boom.  Yes.  Vapid awesomeness.  Cost of shoes?  $21 including shipping.  Are they awesome?  I have no idea…I bought them online from JackThreads and they are blue.  All I know is I have a kid who hates everything, a kid who won’t sleep, a wife who hates me (we need sleep), I’m sleeptyping I’m so tired, I have a migraine, everything feels weird…and so I bought shoes online.

I don’t know if there is a moral to this story…wait…okay, let’s go with this:

“Eat more chocolate, buy cheap shoes, submerge yourself in water whenever you can, and somewhere…always…its happy hour.”


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From Label Whore to Polo Bore

19 Mar

YoungRyanThere was a time in my life when narcissistic sentences would erupt from my mouth like, “I don’t wait in lines.”  Or, “I don’t believe in black licorice.”  Or, “I only shop at Villains-Vault.”  While my hatred of waiting in lines during my 20′s and the taste of black licorice lead to many nights forcing my way into NYC nightclubs and not ordering Flaming Sambucas…I had to eventually stop shopping at Villains-Vault when I moved away from San Francisco.  Some of my favorite articles of clothing and accessories are from there like my handmade hoodie by Paul Frank himself, limited edition Vans, and of course my 1 of 500 white ceramic Nixon watch most people still identify me with.  I was a label whore.  I owned a black Armani suit that fit me perfectly and from that day forward I was convinced that Armani was the only label I would wear for suits…because…duh…it fits me perfectly.  Sunglasses?  Armani.  Jeans?  Armani.  Ties?  Yves Saint Laurent.  Shoes?  Vans.  Tee-Shirts?  RVCA.  Hats?  New Era fitted.  Dress shirts?  I picked out fabric and had them hand-tailored because my arms were so long and my neck and torso so skinny.  I was a 6’4″ 180 pound runway model turned actor, turned filmmaker, turned commercial producer, turned…

…turned into a 30-something father of 2 living in the Midwest with a closet full of stuff that doesn’t fit anymore and a spare tire around the waist.  Polos.  That’s whats in my closet.  Polos.  Lots of polos with logos of golf courses I’ve played like Bandon Dunes, Flint Hills National, and Royal County Down.  So many polos.  I must have over 100 polos in my closet right now.  On Friday my wife and I decided to go out on a date and I realized I barely had anything anymore that didn’t advertise a place I worked for or a place I’d been.  Friggin polos!  I’m wearing a polo right now with a logo on it!  Polos!

Young RyanI can remember sitting on the beach in Hermosa with a buddy about 10 years ago commenting on the odd things our older generation wore.  Powder blue shorts with knee-high socks!  Tie-dye.  Above-the-waist slacks.  I came to the realization that everyone hits a point in their fashion where they say, “This is it…I’m comfortable!”  From that point on they no longer buy new things, keep up with fashion trends, or evolve.  They just replace things in their closet’s inventory as needed.  It made me laugh to think that one day I’d be an old man wearing New Era hats, hoodies, Vans, chain wallets, and dark sunglasses.  Who would be the Wilford Brimley of our generation?  “Hi, this is Ryan Seacrest and I’ve got diabetes!”  Doesn’t sound right without that Wilford Brimley accent.  “Die-a-beet-iss.”

Sherpa DadThe truth is that as we get older we seek clothing that is more comfortable and stop caring so much about what we look like.  I’m married…who am I out to impress?  Seriously…nothing impressive going on here anymore.  Just a bunch of southern facing man breasts, a receding hairline, and a propensity to throw my back out if I stand up too fast.  I like to wear boot-cut jeans these days from Seven For All Mankind along with a pair of Eccos and an untucked polo.  That’s my jam.  After work I like to slide into a pair of basketball shorts and the loosest fitting tee shirt I can find that covers my crumpled paper looking stomach ripples of fat that appear when I lounge on the couch.  Kate and I call this look “fat pants.”  I rock it on the daily.

So as I stand in my closet looking for something to impress and only see labeled polos looking back at me…I find myself saying much less narcissistic things in my 30′s.  Now I say, “I think I’ll swing by Target and see if they have some polos without logos on them.  Maybe I’ll grab a bag of black licorice while I’m waiting in line to check out?”  Whoa!  Take it ease Rhino…take it ease.  The truth is I moved away from NYC, LA, and SF for a life in Wichita, KS.  Why?  Start with the first post on this site and read forward from there.  This is the 400th post and it felt appropriate to reflect back and recapture what So Long Freedom was all about in the beginning:

“So long sleeping in…

So long tennis shoes…

So long freedom.

My journey into fatherhood, corporate America, and responsibility.”

Ryan GlassesFunny that 400 posts ago in 2010 “So long tennis shoes…” was part of the plan for this ongoing article and made it into the tagline.  “Hello polos.”  (The polos say, “Hi.”)  If we still lived in NYC, LA, or SF I bet I would still be wearing RVCA shirts, New Era hats, chain wallets, Vans, and so on…and I’d look pretty funny to current day me in my slacks and polos…because people don’t dress like that here, not people my age.  Actually, most people my age here wear suits or are much less casual than I am and wish they could wear polos.  (The polos are chortling)  So maybe I have to amend my Hermosa Beach hypothesis and include geographic location into the fashion equation.  You wear what is comfortable and indigenous to your area.  For me…I guess that means polos by day and tee-shirts by night.  Maybe its time I switched things up a bit?  Maybe I should rock the short-sleeve button down shirt look?  Not the plaid “hipster” look…but the “guy in his 30′s who likes the sophistication of a button down but doesn’t like to feel sweaty so he wears short sleeves” look.  Yeah.  Maybe that’s my new jam!  Pretty sure Target carries that look.  Its time to reclaim my casual look!  I have great formal wear!  I don’t care what I look like when I’m lounging!  I need a new casual look!  (The polos are giving me the stink-eye)  Don’t make any sudden movements…the polos are getting restless and I think they might be forming an alliance with the khakis to start a rebellion.

Shhhhhhh!  Don’t make the khakis angry.

So…with my 300th post I encourage you to share this site with friends, subscribe if you haven’t already, and join me for 400 more posts:

“So long classic 20′s narcissism…

So long polo shirts…

So long…hmm…<blank>…hello future.

My journey into fatherhood, corporate America, and responsibility continues!”


Wearing what I want at the launch party of Harvester Arts (Co-founder)

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Harvester Arts Launches

28 Feb
Harvester Volunteers

Harvester Volunteers

Two years ago, my wife Kate and I set out to create something in Wichita, KS that would bring visiting artists to this city.  We called it *asterICT and the mission was simple:  “To break down barriers between contemporary artists and their audience by inviting emerging artists from a broad range of disciplines to Wichita, KS for performances, exhibitions, workshops, and casual conversation.  *asterICT brought contemporary arts to the community on an intimate level so artists and audiences could engage with each other and mutually benefit from a shared artistic dialog.”  Two years later, Kate has taken this project and founded a fully operational nonprofit arts organization with her business partner Kristin Beal…and Wichita is abuzz!  Tonight Harvester Arts officially launches.  Instead of me fumbling over how proud I am of the work Kate & Kristin have done to make this organization a reality, I’ll turn things over to Lindsey Herkommer of KMUW Public Radio and the F5 Newspaper:

Harvester Arts — Wichita’s newest art space — opens this Final Friday. They are kicking off their first Final Friday with a disco-themed shindig, and announcing the winner of their logo contest selected from a local open call.

Harvester Arts, comprised of Kate Van Steenhuyse (Founder and CEO), Kristin Beal (Co-Founder and COO), and Ryan Gates (Co-Founder and Advisor), is dedicated to artistic cultivation and community engagement. This trio is making the second floor of Bluebird Arthouse, known as the NEST space, their creative home.

The aim of Harvester is to cultivate critical dialogue and new work in Wichita. This will be put into action in two phases.

Phase 1: they are looking beyond the city limits to bring nationally recognized artists to Wichita for a two-week residency. A residency provides artists dedicated time and space to they can experiment with their practice in another context. In these two weeks, artists will be introduced to our city, and we, in turn, will be introduced to their creative process. Harvester residencies will take place quarterly — a nice touch that sets them apart from the rapid rotation of monthly art exhibitions — and the first artist-in-residence will be revealed at their Final Friday disco party.

Phase 2: Harvester will organize satellite exhibitions beyond the NEST space in an effort to reach broader audiences and generate critical dialogue. These exhibitions will be the local response to the artist-in-residency, and an essential component to foster thoughtful conversation and encourage more risk taking in creating new artwork.

The local responses can take many different forms, and the community engagement can be as simple as some old fashion Midwest hospitality. Take the artist to lunch. Show them the sights. Let them borrow a book. Other ways to respond can be through art, writing, scholarly discussions, spoken word poetry … whatever we want, as long as we respond. Much of the success of the Harvester enterprise rests on us — the community.

Harvester is set-up as a non-profit which distinguishes them from commercial galleries. Since commercial galleries are concerned with making sales, they often submit to mass appeal and display art that lends itself to being a commodity. Harvester is not bound by these conventions. Instead, they will focus on installation and performance art — two types of art that have difficulty in the mainstream and do not lend easily to commodification. Both of these genres have been around since the 1960s and are widely accepted in contemporary art, yet are sorely underrepresented in Wichita.

In Ryan Wright’s article for the Wichita Eagle, he states, “[Harvester's] goal is simple — to bring nationally established artists to Wichita to do two-week residencies and create new work, which will give local artists an opportunity to respond through creation of new work of their own.” While I agree with his synopsis of the mission, the goal is far from simple. This is a big undertaking with many moving parts: hosting an out-of-town artist, displaying their work in NEST space, assembling satellite exhibitions, and orchestrating community engagement. Each of these components plays an important role in addressing some of Wichita’s largest challenges facing the local art scene.

We have arts reporting, but we lack critical engagement with the visual arts. We also have many art exhibitions, but the recycling of old artwork is embarrassing. We have a bad habit of showing the same work year after year, venue after venue, and giving each other a pass when it happens (I’m guilty of it, too). Local artists that developed a niche style are too comfortable and continue to make new work that looks the same as their old work from decades past. Critical dialogue and critical writing — with multiple perspectives — is necessary to move forward and foster new work.

Harvester Arts is set-up to address these issues with a positive, community-friendly approach. By mobilizing the community around artist residencies, we will have opportunities for rich discussion, creative experimentation, and a chance to push Wichita to a national level. Let’s take that chance.

To read the article on F5 or read more of Lindsey’s articles please go to

Photo Booth

Photo Booth

So if you are in the Wichita area come party with us (and the few hundred who have RSVP’d) as we kick things off with a gallery showing of the over 40 logo design submissions we received, the awarding of a $500 prize to the winning design and the new face of Harvester, the reveal of Harvester’s first visiting artist, a showing of our 5,000 square foot space and a party for the ages with bar, heavy hour devours, DJ, and a celestial realm photo booth sure to transport you to a heavenly state!

Havester Launches Friday, February 28th 2014, 8-11 PM.  924 W. Douglas - bluebird Arthouse 2nd floor NEST Space.

Havester Launches Friday, February 28th 2014, 8-11 PM. 924 W. Douglas – bluebird Arthouse 2nd floor NEST Space.

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The Adult Word Game

18 Feb

266754_10150360126988835_2560311_oAs my youngest son Dodge gets ready to turn 1-year old, I am amazed at all the words he is learning.  He’s got the basics like, “Dada, Mama, hi, bye-bye, uh-oh…” and such.  Last night I taught him to clink glasses and say “Cheers!”  He’s working on “brother” but much to big-brother Max’s disappointment…Dodge finds the cat way more interesting.  So what is the “Adult Word Game?”  Its simple.  My wife Kate and I are very active in our community and therefore are privileged to get to attend a plethora of parties, functions, and events.  In these events we have grown up conversations about things like the state of the local economy, last year’s drought and how it will affect the cost of meat, current art shows, and how to make donations to our non-profit.  These functions often have an open bar (or cash bar) which to me is the green light for adult fun.  We spend all day saying things like, “Hitting is no-no which is why we are having a timeout. Do you need to go poo-poo or pee-pee on the potty?”  When you speak like this all day it is hard to transition into sentences like, “The city of Wichita is economically expanding outwards and needs to reach its boundaries, thus drawing businesses back to the central business district to create a thriving epicenter for the population.”  You say a sentence like that and the next thing out of your mouth is, “Now if you’ll excuse me…I have a few bottle of Dada-juice (beer) and need to go pee-pee.”  Not cool.  The “Adult Word Game” helps you bridge the gap.

Prior to going out, as Kate and I stumble over plastic toys and put on the ole fancy clothes, we pick a word to be the word of the night.  The word has to be obscure…obscure enough that it wouldn’t come up in regular conversation but not so obscure that it comes across as offensive or weird.  Bets can be placed on how often you think you can say it but to win:  You have to say it the most throughout the night.  Here are the rules:

  1. The word has to be used in proper context
  2. All tenses of the word are allowed (i.e. past, present, future, plural, etc.)
  3. The opponent must be present when the word is said for the word to count
  4. The word must be said to a stranger in conversation with eye contact
  5. If you can get the stranger to repeat the word without asking it is double points
  6. Using a word as a non sequitur is not allowed and results in a loss of point
  7. Whoever has the most points when you get in the car wins

Its a simple game but wildly entertaining.  It gets really fun if you include another couple so there are 4 players.  Now, instead of wondering how the sitter is doing or why your kid pee’d on the ottoman…you’re trying to figure out how to work “imprecation” into a sentence.  FYI, “imprecation” is when you insult someone by calling upon a higher power to curse someone.

Meow Game

Meow Game

This is not the “meow” game from the movie Super Troopers…which is amazing and should be used as less formal gatherings.  This is something you play in a more upscale setting.  Often the winning number is 2 because how do you work “megalomania” into a conversation with the Governor of Kansas?  (Some of you got that joke)  Then there are nights where a word thought to be embarrassingly impossible becomes legendary.  For us it was The Night of a Dozen Chortles.  I was on fire!  I got “chortle” into a conversation twice, caught myself “chortling,” later commented how I had “chortled” earlier, and even got 2 repeats for a score of 8!  Kate worked in 3 fantastic ones as well throughout the night but the dagger was at the valet when he asked if we had a good time and I replied, “We chortled all night long.”  Boom!  Winner-Winner Chicken Dinner!

The McGurk Effect Video

The McGurk Effect Video

The next word was selected this morning and it will debut at a party/gathering still TBD (you can’t do it every time you go out).  The next one is “McGurk” as in the McGurk Effect.  It is a perceptual phenomenon that demonstrates an interaction between hearing and vision in speech perception.  In layman’s terms…remember in middle school when you’d mouth the words “Olive Juice” and it looked like you were saying “I love you?”  McGurk Effect.  Don’t go around whispering to everyone “I wanna vacuum.”  Not cool.  The McGurk Effect makes me laugh every time because of this video of a guy saying “ba-ba-ba” over and over and over again.  When he switches over to “fa-fa-fa” visually while we still hear “ba-ba-ba” our brains auto-correct due to the visual data and we actually hear “fa-fa-fa.”  My hope is to get lots of people at a fancy party saying “ba-ba-ba.”  Almost as fun as “McGurk.”

So remember meow, kids are the only ones who get to have fun!  Next time you are at a party with a bunch of megalomaniacs and you want a few chortles, try the “Adult Word Game” for fun…but don’t get caught, or strangers may start tossing imprecations your way!  Enjoy meow!

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“No Offense But…” The Offensive Religious Liberty Bill

13 Feb

I am so sick of the term “No offense.”  It’s up there with “My bad,” but worse because people think that if they say “No offense” they can then say something offensive to you without ramifications.  It doesn’t work that way.

“Don’t freak out…but I’m pretty sure that tiger is about to eat you.”

“No offense…but I think your face is stupid.”

“Was that rude?  My bad.”

These days I often get them from non-Wichita State fans when they flat-out insult me or my team.  Last weekend a 20-something kid at a party asked me if I went to Wichita State games since I lived in Wichita.  I told him how I hadn’t missed a game since I moved here.  He replied, “No offense…but what do season tickets cost…$4?”  Thanks you smug little sh*t.  This from a kid who goes to a D-III school tied for 5th in their league.  I can understand that I guess because he’s young and engulfing alcohol rapidly in hopes of hooking up with another 20-something drunk chick who won’t notice his cauliflower ear from rugby…but I don’t get why KU fans have taken to insulting us Shockers.  Most recently KU’s Rock Chalk Blog tweeted, “No offense to Wichita State fans, but Bill Self is simply a better coach than Gregg Marshall.”  When I tweeted back, the blog and its fans pounced on the opportunity to squash me with insults…then the Rock Chalk Blog deleted all their tweets after the Wichita media pointed out their inappropriateness.

Most recently a number of friends from more liberal states have taken to emailing me, tweeting me, and tagging me in Facebook posts with a common phrase, “No offense…but your state sucks.”  This lashing out is in response to the “Religious Liberty” bill (2453) that passed in the Kansas House and looks to pass the state Senate as well.  <sigh>  This one hurt.  I can understand basketball teams quibbling over who’s better and lashing out at the other team’s fans…but this bill makes me ashamed of my state.  If it passes it gives businesses the right to refuse service to same-sex couples by claiming it is against their religious beliefs…and the government would support it.  It means a restaurant could deny service to a couple for being gay.  It means a hotel could kick out a couple for being gay.  It means a landlord could evict a couple for being gay.  It means Kansas is going to pass a bill condoning government sanctioned discrimination.

I personally support gay marriage and feel homosexual couples should have the same rights as heterosexual couples.  That’s me.  I also believe in religion, something bigger than me, and the goodness of community awareness.  I do not support using religion to discriminate against another group.  I do not support using religion to set laws that negatively affect the lives of citizens.  I do not support this bill.  Republican State Rep. Charles Macheers says he wants to put Kansas “on the right side of history.”  Who says its right?  Who decides what is right and wrong?  I know the answer (at least his answer) is “God.”  What about those of us who think we are about to be on the wrong side of history?  What about those of us who believe in God, believe in acceptance, and separation of church and state?  Macheers and Governor Brownback feel they know what is best for all of us and our difference of opinion is proof that we need more anti-gay laws to help right this infestation.

Being gay is a choice…right?  Like how I chose my hair color.  Like how I chose my skin tone.  Like how I chose to be a male.  Choices.  I don’t ask religion to understand homosexuality I just ask it to practice a little of what it preaches…acceptance.  You don’t have to like homosexuality, approve of it, agree with it, or feel comfortable with it…but its still happening and its going to continue no matter how many laws are created.  Many of my friends are homosexual and let me tell you…they respect the sanctity of marriage better than most of my heterosexual friends!  No offense…this bill sucks.  (See what I did there?)

I will fight this bill.  If it passes I will work to have it vetoed.  If it is not vetoed I will work to create safe havens for homosexuals in Kansas.  You do not have to agree with homosexuality but discriminating rights is unconstitutional and I will not stand for it.  Sorry friends, family, and readers who disagree.  I always preach to my students to be careful what they say online because it is a very public forum and Twitter courage will bite you every time…you don’t come across as who you really are.  This is me.  This is really who I am.  You won’t like me when I’m angry.

Voice your opinion to your representative at or sign the petition at

Sign the petition today and join the fight against discrimination.

Sign the petition today and join the fight against discrimination.


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