Happy birthday, Brooksie!

Well, I did warn you what tonight’s blog would be about, so please dont tell me you’re surprised at this.

Yes, today, 107 years ago in Cherryvale, Kansas, a baby girl, to be named Mary Brooks was born. Of course, she is better known by her middle name, Louise. No, I have no idea if the city celebrates the day at all, or even acknowledges it, to be honest, but as far as I can tell (from the Cherryvale council website), both homes she lived at are both still standing, though I suspect they have been modernised a bit since then. Unlike Wichita, where the house she lived at, is supposedly long since gone.

As mentioned back in April, I did track down the address she was recorded at, as living in Rochester, a very plain apartment block, but which had one famous resident. And of course, I got to visit her very simple grave, just outside Rochester as well.

At the start of the year, I thought I would have been to Kansas by now, as well, but as regular readers know, thats been delayed till next year, so its still something I’m greatly looking forward to. Fingers crossed that things work out, and I get to Cherryvale, so I can see where Louise Brooks started life as well, but that will be reliant on someone else, as public transport to there is pretty much non existent!

But none of this will happen before May, thats for sure!

In the meantime, lets take the chance to celebrate that birth, 107 years ago, and toast the spirit that is now Louise Brooks.

Oh, a video, oh alright…

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Virginia Belle?

Yes, the fun thing about holiday plans is flexibility. And yes, in that sense I am flexible, only wish my body was, but you cant have everything! Well, I now know the dates I will be in the US, its just a matter of where. And no, its not a wide open contest, its either Kansas, or Virginia. Yes, I know, you thought I was going to Kansas, and I may well still be doing so, but… Oh, the dates, 21st-28th September, if you want to know.

Alright, this holiday was planned with the idea of teaming up with Kate again in mind. And yes, thats why we might have the change in plans! You see, Kate is not only great fun to be around, she’s very clever too. No, I dont know exactly what, I’m not that computer minded that even if she told me, that I’d probably understand it. Lets face it, as I’ve said before, I’m more into the computer controlling me, than me controlling the computer lol!

So, just at the moment, she’s busy on a project somewhere in the Richmond area, and getting away in September might prove tricky. So when she wrote to me the other night, and asked if I fancied going to Richmond instead, she was expecting the answer to be no. Funny thing is, and something she wouldnt have known, is that 13 years ago I visited Richmond, and had a nice time there, one of my first solo trips to the US in fact. I did meet up with someone that I’d talked to through the internet, got invited over, and went. No, it didnt come to much beyond the week, and a few months later, we drifted apart from chatting to each other. But it meant I got to see a bit of Richmond, and liked what I saw. No, I dont really remember much details, but…

So yes, I shot Kate down, I said yes, I wouldnt mind going back there, so just at the moment I’m waiting to hear where I’m going now. Lets face it, if I dont get to Kansas this year, I get there next year, and at my age, whats another year? I’m sure Louise Brooks will forgive me the delay, especially given the ‘nice things’ she said about Wichita in her time.

No, I cant see me in one of those Scarlett O’Hara type outfits, but I can dream. Personally I dont think it would make a pretty sight, but besides that…but it might be fun? 😉 Or will I just be a cute Kansas farmgirl, lets wait and see.

The video, a Roxy Music classic, and live at that. Yes, the obvious one

On The Train To Georgia

No, they arent, I should think its safe to say they got there by plane, especially given there is no train station in Wichita nowadays, and hasnt been a passenger service since 1979, but there is an airport. Yes, I’m talking college basketball, the March Madness, and the craziness that is the rise, and rise, of the Wichita State Shockers team.

Seriously, if you’d told me that one of the 3 teams from Kansas would be in the final four, they’d have been the last one I expected to be there, but all the same…First time for very nearly 50 years, back in 1965 when they last reached it, and plane travel was a whole different world.

In fact, when they started out, they werent expected to get through the first round, being in the lower half of the seeding, if only just. And even winning their first game, all it meant was the number 1 seed, Gonzaga, next in their section. They won again, and kept winning, all the way through to the final four. What has to be remembered is that they arent from one of the big conferences, and were just meant to play their part, then leave it to the ‘big boys’ to win the title. Well, they might yet, as they have the powerhouse that is Louisville in the next round, the favourites from the very start, so that should be it. But, in a one off game, well, who knows…?

I know, Louise Brooks didnt really hide her dislike for Wichita folks in later years, but she lived there for a number of years, which is why they, and the other Kansas teams have a soft spot in my heart. Funnily enough, one of the other teams in the final four, Syracuse, are from the northern end of New York State, where of course, her life was lived to its end. As both are underdogs to make the final, they probably wont, but it would be fun to see it happen, all the same.

Anyway, given the finals are in Atlanta, Georgia, I couldnt resist using this as the video

There might be some snow!

Yes, as I suspect many of my readers will know, I have a soft spot for the state of Kansas. Yes, it is for the obvious reason, as until September at least, I have never been to this mid plains state, in the heart of the US. But looking forward to getting there then, all the same.

Nor have I ever experienced what the Americans term a winter storm. I’ve seen plenty of snow passing through the Rockies in February, but that was already on the ground, I never saw it falling. And alright, as my dear friends in New England would tell me, a foot is nothing really! Talk 2 – 2.5 feet over there I gather, before they regard it as a winter storm lol! And yes, I saw a lot of snow falling in Rochester last April (yes, the same week I will be there this year), but that was only on TV, from the relative warmth of Seattle.

But even so, for us Brits, the 14 inches dumped on Wichita only a few days ago, is a mind blower for us. It breaks down totally over here when its more than 2 inches, let alone over a foot in one go. And now, apparently, only a few days later, Kansas has had another massive snow dump yet again. This video is actualy more of a warning for Kansas City (not even in Kansas), but he does mention the state, so…

And yes, I’m linked (like/friend, whatever at Facebook) to Cherryvale Council, in Kansas, and yes, I gather things have been pretty bad there, and I suspect Wichita is much of the same. Irony is, by the time I go in September, the temperature may be hitting 100! I think that might melt the snow lol! So alright, though living there might be a form of heaven for me, I’m not sure I’m entirely missing the current weather there, all the same.

Needless to say, all my best thoughts go out to the people of Kansas at present.

The video, well some might say its apt, some might not, so…

Magic In Manhattan

No, not that part of New York City, this is about the real Manhattan, you know, that one in Kansas! 😛 The one with the brilliant college football team! Yes, those Wildcats, who won the Big 12 Divisional title on Saturday evening, or more strictly, Sunday morning my time. Now there is one more big game for Klein, Snyder and the other heroes, the BCS Fiesta Bowl against Oregon at the beginning of the New Year in Arizona. Hopefully it will be a duck dinner for the Wildcats, but Oregon are good too, and it wont be easy. One thing for sure though, it wont be low scoring!

No, I’ve no real true connection to the Wildcats, any more than when I was rooting for the Bluejays in the basketball in March, its just a Kansas thing for me. Hey, if Wichita State continue to do well in the basketball this winter, I’ll shout for them too. Yes, its a Kansas thing for me, pure and simple, blame Louise Brooks if you must for that, plus the fact that not one of the colleges is that close to Cherryvale lol! 😛

But how can you not be inspired by the stories of a coach that retires, then returns a few years later, and a quarterback who just doesnt seem to want to stop playing, and of a college team that used to be one of the worst in the land, but now… 🙂 There are a few other heroes too, but they are the main two for me. Yes, its annoying, but for that crazy loss to Baylor, they might have been in the Championship game, possibly against Oregon, if they hadnt lost to Stanford in overtime. So its ironic, they still get to play each other, if not for the biggest prize of all.

One thing is for sure, I’m looking forward greatly to my first visit to the State of Kansas next April, and to seeing Wichita at least. I’m not sure if there are any Brooks landmarks left there (I know the family home is gone, but thats it), but it will be fun discovering the city at least. Any more than that of Kansas, not sure at present, wont know that until the New Year, but fingers crossed I get to see more, though no idea where. Well, I think I might get taken to Cherryvale if that does happen, but otherwise… 😉 Manhattan is a bit in the wrong direction though for that, especially as my possible companion has Oklahoma connections, so would head south, not north from Wichita I suspect.

Right, the video. Well, unless you support one of the other Big 12 teams (sorry, Kate), you can enjoy a celebration of a magical year for the Wildcats. Hey, even if you do support one of those 9 teams, try and enjoy this anyway.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RwjKQLaI1o

Bring on those Ducks lol!

Being Boring

A comment that generally sums up my social life perfectly, I have 2 weeks of real fun, and even that is pretty quiet by most peoples standards. But this year at least, there is generally one event, the Works Christmas Dinner to break up the quietness, but this year, I’ve gone crazy, got 2 other dates out in November too.

It all starts on the 1st of November, when some lucky lady gets to see her favourite actress (well, one of them at least) in probably her best known film. Yes, Louise Brooks is coming to Leeds, well, the film Pandora’s Box is at least, for one glorious night. To finally get to see the movie in full will be quite something, though seeing bits of it, without an OMD soundtrack might be a bit strange lol! No, I’m not dressing up flapper style, because I wll be heading there directly from work. Oh alright, I almost certainly wouldnt have done anyway, but at least I’ve got an excuse for not doing so! 😛

But yes, I’m hoping some do so, all the same.

Later in the month, on the 24th, I head back pretty much to the same place in Leeds, the Grand Theatre, though then it will be in the Theatre, not in the side cinema. Its a dear friends birthday, and we are all off to see Oliver. I might dress up slightly more for that though, as I wont be working, its at the end of my week off on holiday in fact. Well, strictly I’ve got the Sunday off too, given my job, but besides all that… But no, it wont be a Victorian style dress and corset lol that I’ll be wearing all the same!

Then on December 6th is the Works Christmas Dinner, also in Leeds! Is it ironic, its the only time of year I actively bother to socialise with those I work with? Not that there are many other chances, but anyway…Its somewhere new this year, which is why I’m giving it a go, should be fun, I hope. Who, me, posh frock, 4″ heels, oh absolutely…not! Just not my style, and besides, my knees are not a sight to reveal to anyone, too much surgery done on them for that! Plus they would object strongly to me wearing heels anyway, even without the ridiculous height they would make me. So yes, nice blouse, nice trousers, flat shoes, and lets leave it at that.

After that, my social life should get back to its nice, quiet self, excluding Christmas Day dinner out with the others from here, but that wont be a wild occasion anyway.

After that, should be nice and peaceful until ‘Mary Brooks’ hits Wichita in April, and I doubt that will be that wild lol. Even if Kate and I do end up doing a tour of the area together, well, it wont be wild. Livelier maybe, wild, probably not! 😉 Just a shame I cant get an ID (or the like) in that name for the trip, that really would be fun. Sadly, not going to happen.

Anyway, the video, you can take this title whichever way you like about my social life, its certainly something the Pet Shop Boys leave to the imagination lol!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zC8OVs8k__A

Holiday, Part 2

And here for your edification is the rest of the week

Wednesday 19th

Much better weather greets us, I’m delighted to say. We meet up with James, and head out of Albany. The only comment I get as we head north on I-90 is that, no, we arent going to Rochester lol, anyone would think it was a well known fact I was a Louise Brooks fan, or something! Yes, for those who dont know, thats where she is buried. I will get there, but next September, under my own steam. In fact, as a signpost soon gives away the game, we are heading somewhere apt for 2 baseball fans, Cooperstown, and the Baseball Hall of Fame. Seriously, its quite some place, and if you have any interest in baseball, try and get there some time. I managed, with a little help from James in distracting Kate, to get her a little gift. Back to Albany, say our goodbyes to James, and settle down for rest of day.

Thursday 20th

The day we head back to New England, and again, I know where we are heading, Foxboro. Yes, where some NFL team called the Patriots play lol. Most of the day was a straightforward long dostance drive, so I wont say too much about that. In the evening, we head out to Patriot Place for a meal, and so Kate can impress me with the stadium. It works, the stadium is impressive, it has to be said. Then the fun starts! We go to a Toby Keith restaurant (no, name didnt mean a lot to me, but to US folks…I gather it does), and order our food. As a good Kansas loving girl, seeing an item on the menu that seems apt to eat, I order it, and enjoyed it. Kate ordered something else, but guess what, they bring 2 of what I ordered! Hilarity ensues, but credit due, before long, her correct meal arrives, though I had already started, as sense, and Kate told me to. But no, thats not the end of the fun. Given its now dark, Kate sets the sat-nav to get us back to the hotel, even though we have a pretty fair idea of the route. Halfway back, we want to go one way, sat-nav wants to go another! So, unwisely as it turned out, we listened to the sat-nav. Ended up in the entry way to a High School! Yes, we eventually convinced the sat-nav to take us where we wanted, but…modern technology is a wonderful thing at times lol!

Friday 21st

Back to Patriot Place, this time on a shopping and sightseeing trip. We both do some shopping, and then head to a ‘proper’ burger place for lunch. Yes, proper in the sense they grill it in front of you, as you order it, not any sign of tired pre-wrapped food here! Absolutely lovely it was too. Then I got inducted into the world of the Patriots lol, at the Pro Shop, and an excellent display called the Hall, over 2 floors. Not only, but mainly Patriots stuff, college, high school, and teams of the past from New England also get covered here. Oh, and I get to see 3 Superbowl trophies too, quite a sight. I also get to ‘try on’ a Superbowl ring at a display point. Yes, I was able to slip my ring finger in it, and for Kate to take my picture ‘wearing’ it. I could also nearly slip another finger in it too, to be honest lol. The evening, we head out for our final meal together, first place we try, very full (and I mean, very full!). Second place, not much quieter to be honest. We eye up a Japanese place, and I say as long as I dont have to eat Sushi…I didnt, had a very nice meal with noodles, and glad we ended up there. Back to hotel, said our goodbyes, as Kate was off early next morning, and I was being collected by shuttle to go back to the airport about midday.

Saturday 22nd.

I get up about 7.15, Kate’s car is still there, so thought I might get to see her off yet. By the time I’ve been to the little girls room, she’s gone, so I didnt. From here, for a while it gets boring for the reader, breakfast, packing, all those tedious things lol! Just after 11.45 I head out to the lobby, thinking I’ll be ready when the car gets there. Wrong, its already waiting, with a cute label over the door with my name on it. I felt a proper lady as he held the door open for me, and put my bags in the trunk. Again, after getting to the airport, nothing all that exciting or noteworthy happened.

As I said before, but will say again, so many thanks to both Kate and James for making the trip so wonderful. Thanks to Fenway, and Kates AO for letting her loose for the week too. Next big holiday, next April, part 1 of what I’m calling the Louise Brooks Memorial tour. LB may not have truly loved Wichita,, but part of her life was spent there, and I want to go take a look. Not sure if there is much of, or any indeed any trace of her left there, but I’ll have fun finding out anyway.

Right, part 2 musically, is a summing up of how most of the British Summer has been. This is so old, I cant find a live video for this!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XcfGCf7UGSg