Sunday, May 09, 2021

Graduation for Ben and a Huge Congrats! Thank you for letting me Join you on this Journey.

Ben and John at Graduation for Ben Grad Day

Four years ago I became involved in mentoring for first generation college students at Washburn University through the Mabee Library. Through the process that was started I went to see Ben graduate on Saturday from Washburn University. I could not be more proud than I am to have Ben the past four years and see him graduate this weekend. It has been a pleasure to get to know Ben, see him progress through the semesters, and become a friend. 

Hopefully through the past four years, I was able to offer advice that helped in his college career. I told him from the start that I would not be one to rely on for help with homework, but if he needed to know who to talk to on campus, had questions about what to do, or just needed to talk, I was a visit or call away.

Post Graduation Picture of Ben

Congrats Ben! I look forward to staying in touch as you begin your post-college career. I am looking forward to our staying connected meeting every few months or if you need to just talk out something, you know I am available. 

Let the Camping Adventure Begin -- All Set for Our First Adventure


Picture of Our Tent Put up in Backyard
Carrie and I are ready for our first camping adventure. Carrie has spent the past few weeks since our initial test of putting up our tent (see Tent Set up and Happy Dog) back in April. Carrie has done a lot of research, we have our location selected, and our dates are set, she has ordered us air mattresses, pots, pans, and other odds and ends. We even have a lantern and lamps to wear on our heads.

I plan to document each of our camping trips taking pictures, posting updates, etc., upon our return. We are hoping to make this an experience that we do multiple times each spring. Eventually, we want to expand from doing camp sites in Kansas to camping in other locations and as a way to see the country and for the most part doing so rather cheaply. 

For our first camping trip, we are planning on a spot about 45 minutes from Topeka. We are doing two nights as it almost does not seem worth it to put up a tent and spend one night at a spot, so we are doing two on this first time. We are taking Oliver and I am not sure if he knows how excited he will be on this trip. All the new smells and all the places he can pee. The first site we have selected, as I am sure all sites, require pets to be kept on a leash. I am concerned about Oliver getting ticks or other insect bites, but he is current on his medication, so hopefully he will be alright. I think he will lose his mind as we explore our new camp site and process.

Any tips or recommendations that you have for camping?

Plans for Carrie and I are to play games, do a lot of reading, disconnect from technology (except for pictures), and exercise around the camp site taking long walks with Oliver. I think Carrie is excited for the cooking experience. I know we are both looking forward to the mornings and waking up to have a cup of coffee (which she bought camping coffee maker) and enjoying the mornings around our camp site.

Watch for future updates regarding our camping experiences and hopefully you will see more updates yet this year with other camping adventures. If you love to camp, where are your favorite camp sites? Any tips or recommendations that you have for camping?

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Graduation Day is Complete to Bring Closure to Completing Master of Arts in Leadership and Communication

Picture of John Celebrating Following Graduation
What a fun day! Graduation for Fall and Spring 2020 graduates occurred in-person on Saturday, May 1. What a wonderful way to bring in May and add closure to my time at Washburn completing my education. My time in the program officially ended in March February 2020. I remember I had a large final project to finish and a final presentation to give to end the program. It went very well and I was so glad that I was able to finish before work got crazy with COVID. It feels good to finish the program officially by walking across a stage, getting pictures, and celebrating with my family, friends, classmates, instructors, and staff from Washburn University. It was a special day and and so glad we were able to participate in graduation yesterday.

Congratulations to all the fall and spring 2020 graduates. We had a good showing with around 250 coming back to participate in the celebration. Congrats to the graduates for spring 2021 who will walk next Saturday. 

The weather was beautiful and got better as the celebration continued. Sunny but with a slight breeze although a few times there were slight wind gusts that blew off mortarboard for some. With guest limitations, I had requested four passes for guests. Carrie, Erin, and Greg were able to attend with Greg being a late add and I was happy to have them all in attendance. I could hear them cheering and celebrating.

Picture of Master of Arts Graduates
Master of Arts Graduates
(Pictured: Gene, John, Amber, Eileen, Lori, and Nicole)
We all met at 1:30 in the Dance Studio of Petro to get situated, robes, and ready for the event. Gene and I went up to another Master of Arts graduate office but who did not show up to walk to “borrow” some waters from his fridge. Thanks Bruce! We waited in the Dance Studio until almost 3 before they lined us up and starting the procession to Yager Stadium.

A production company was hired to do the filming and streaming of this graduation and they will do it again next week for the Spring 2021 graduation. They did a good job! Gene and I were most impressed with the drone that was used where they got some really nice shots of the graduates and the stadium from far off videos that look really good. 

The Master of Arts Graduates Following the Ceremony
Master of Arts Graduates
Following the ceremony, we went to the north end of the stadium to take pictures. Eileen and Amber were in every class I took during the program. Gene I had in a few classes and I believe the same for Lori and Nicole where they were in a few classes with me. I know I enjoyed having Amber and Eileen in the classes so we could discuss, meet, and worry about the various papers, projects, etc. throughout the four years. I recall having various lunch meetings with them, or asking to have a meeting with Dr. Routsong to discuss a question or two about a paper. I also remember some late nights spent working with Amber, Eileen, and others that did not attend to finish projects. I recall the first semester when I started this program I spent nights and weekends working on the paper(s). It was a fun process and I would encourage others thinking about going back to school to do so. This was a good program to complete as it was 100% on-line and I could complete at my own pace which was nice as I recall a few times needing to finish before the course officially ended for vacation or other events, so that made it nice to have some flexibility in the program. 

The graduation ceremony was broadcast live in the stadium and then also to YouTube. If you would like to watch the full graduation, you can do so at this link. I enjoyed the day and happy to be done. I recognized some others that were graduating that I did not know had completed their undergraduate work which included one of our former student workers, Allison, and then Josh from ITS also graduated, so I was able to talk to them both and congratulate them both.

The video clip below jumps straight to where the Master of Arts group is recognized and walks across the stage, so you can see me and fellow graduates of the program walk in the video below.

Following the ceremony, Carrie, Greg, Erin, and I went to find a place to celebrate. We had planned to drive to Lawrence to eat there and hang out, but decided to remain in Topeka. We tried Blind Tiger but as you would expect, it was packed, so we ended up at Happy Basset on 29th Street. We called Brenda and she came out to meet us for a drink before we headed to we had planned to be another bar and food, but ended up going to Yuki Restaurant of Japan so we had a full celebration where they cook on the table. It was a perfect end to a perfect day! Following dinner, we went to Sheridan’s Frozen Custard which capped off a perfect day.

Picture of Me Being done
Thanks to Carrie for her willingness to read over my papers before I would submit them to be graded. Sometimes she would not know or understand the content, but she was always willing to read them over and provide corrections. 

I relied on my Mom to proof read almost all of my papers and I appreciate her doing so. I know a few times we had issues sharing them remotely so that she could review and provide corrections, but it was appreciated. I also have to say thanks to my Aunt Jane who proofed a paper one summer when she was visiting. 

Thanks to Greg, Erin, Joan, and Eddie for encouragement as I went through the various classes.

Thanks to our instructors and specifically Dr. Routsong, Mr. Peterson, VP Mazachek, Dr. Schnoebelen, Dr. Pilgram, and countless others… Thanks to Communication and Leadership Departments for your help and encouragement. 

Finally, I would like to thank Eileen, Amber, Gene, Bruce, Sarah, Miranda, Lori, Nicole, and others not mentioned from the various classes where we interacted and exchanged discussion posts to complete our projects. The countless projects we worked on in group sessions, thank you for making the process enjoyable. Congrats on your completion of Master of Arts!

Listen to Artists Planned for the 2021 King Biscuit Blues Festival via Apple Music

King Biscuit Blues Festival 2019

The King Biscuit Blues Festival 2021 is planned for October 2021. The Biscuit is Back! We missed the King Biscuit Blues Festival last year and glad it will be back this year. Each year of the Biscuit, I try to listen to the acts that will be playing the main stage. The past few years, I have created a playlist in Apple Music where I can listen to the various artists who will be on the main stage.

KBBF 2019 Group Picture with the Guys
Using the main stage line up, I put together roughly two songs from each artist listed as playing the 2021 KBBF.

So, join me in listening to acts for the upcoming festival and reflect back on past arts from prior festivals. 

We will see you at the King Biscuit Blues Festival October 6 - 9, 2021.

YouTube TV App on Short Leash for Roku with Contract Disputes Between Google and Roku #Roku #YouTubeTV #Google

Roku and YouTube TV Battling it Out

Earlier this week I woke to find an email from Roku regarding YouTube TV possibly being pulled from the Roku services. This lit up a firestorm of complaints via Twitter and Reddit of people complaining. Roku says it is Google (owner of YouTube TV) not acting fairly which is why Google is pulling YouTube TV from the Roku service. Effective Friday, April 30, YouTube TV is no longer on the Roku to add for new customers or if you happen to remove the app it is not longer in the Roku store to add it back to the account. Until Roku and Google come to terms, it appears from the message received from Roku that streaming will continue, but do not remove the app from your Roku device as you will not be able to add it again.


I appreciate the fact that Roku is going to keep the YouTube TV as long as Google does not pull it from their services (per the email from Roku), but it is frustrating that no matter the service provider, these disputes occur and have a huge impact on us the customer. I get it that the companies are doing this to make a profit but it seems like they lose sight of why they are in business... that is for us the customer.

Later in the day on Friday, April 30, I received a message from YouTube TV covering their tracks and placing blame back on Roku. Ah, the fun of contract disputes!

If Google does pull the YouTube TV app from the Roku service, Carrie and I will be lucky as we have Apple TV in our family room we will be able to use to watch YouTube TV. The rest of our house, we have three other Roku devices and if Google pulls the app, we would lose the ability to watch YouTube TV in those other rooms. Frustrating! Hopefully it does not come to this but I would not be surprised if this were to occur. 

 Read Message from YouTube to Roku Customers via YouTube Blog.

Are you impacted by Google, Roku, and YouTube TV decisions? Or, is another company contract dispute impacting you and your ability to view your favorite shows, sports, or other entertainment?

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Finished Watching Movies Nominated for Best Picture and Ready for Oscars


Carrie and I finished watching the rest of Oscar nominated best picture movies last night. We had planned to watch them well ahead of Oscar night, but two movies were $20 and we were hoping they would drop in price before the big reveal. As I mentioned back in March (see Oscars post), we had watched half of the movies and needed to finish up four before the big night. 

Final Four Watched Movies

The movies were good, but they were not my favorite of the best picture category. Here are each of the four we watched and to finish out the category.

Mank was rather boring the first part of the movie. I might have fallen asleep during the first half of the movie, but the second half I found interesting and kept me awake. I am not sure that is a good standard for a movie where I fell asleep the first part and then stayed awake the last part of the movie. The cinematography was really good shot in black and white added flare of the movie. Although, really, I forgot it was filmed in black and white that I was watching. 

Minari we watched the night before. The story of a Korean family that moves to Arkansas to farm covering their struggles to make farming work. The story covered the family of four and a grandmother that joined the family. The movie was entertaining and in good company of the other best picture nominees.

The Father was one I was interested to see since the nominees were announced. The father forgetting most everything was uncomfortable to watch at times and numerous at other times. Overall, it was a sad movie and interesting to watch how the father was portrayed. 

Promising Young Woman was one of the movies I was not sure what to expect. As it turned out, the movie was good and shocking. A story about a woman who had something bad happen to her and seeks out revenge was a fun ride to see how she did her revenge. 


I think Nomadland is going to win best picture. The movie is getting all the buzz and it was very well done. The movie I like the best was Sound of Metal which as I stated in previous post (see Oscars post) it was a close tie between Sound of Metal and Judas and the Black Messiah, but I think after watching all of the nominated movies, Sound of Metal is my favorite. 

It was fun being able to watch all oft he movies the past few weeks. I look forward to next year resuming our marathon movie watching in a theater (I hope) as I really like watching all of them in one or two weekends. Congrats to all of the nominees and congrats to the winner of this category and all Oscar categories.

A Year Later... A Celebration of Graduates from Spring and Fall 2020 on Washburn Campus

Photo by Emily Ranquist from Pexels

A year after completing my Masters in Communication and Leadership, I am going to be able to walk to celebrate the accomplishment. I believe the majority of my class is planning to walk, so it is going to be an exciting day. I ordered my graduation regalia and have it ready to go.

Graduation day is set for Spring and Fall 2020 graduates for Washburn University. We will be walking on Saturday, May 1 at 3 pm in Yager Stadium (with the rain backup date being Sunday, May 2). COVID protocols, the guest list is limited, so keeping my guests rather small. Not to mention it is a year after I graduated, so I did not want to cause too much of a commotion invites. I told Carrie she did not need to attend, but she is planning to attend. 

It has been nice leading up to this graduation event that I did not have papers, projects, or exams to complete as graduation approached. I love the idea and that Washburn University is celebrating accomplishments of so many from Spring and Fall 2020 that could not participate in graduation. 

When I graduated a year ago, I was at home watching a virtual greeting from Washburn congratulating all the graduates. I took a picture and wrote about it back in October (see Graduation from October 2020). I am looking forward to celebrating what my fellow peers accomplished and being able to celebrate with them in proper style.

Congrats to the Spring and Fall 2020 graduates. Congrats to the Spring 2021 graduates that will be walking on May 8.