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Sunday, November 19, 2017

We're Off to See the Wizard

Holy %$& Toto... we're in Kansas!
Today was spent traversing the flat land known as Kansas. This was my first foray into the the sunflower state, and I believe it was a first for William as well. For meself, that's 46 states enjoyed, four to go.

I drove the first bits of the day, while William entertained himself photographing scenery, and birds out the car windows. Yeah he shoots birds now... I'm a good influence on him like that (Tee Hee).

Kansas is... flat.
Midafternoon a highway sign pointed out the exit leading to the Wizard of Oz Museum was nigh. HOT DAMN! We were off the highway and off to the Kansas uber-boondocks.
The quiet streets of Wamego, Kansas
"Oh Joy!", she shouted in her best Scarecrow voice.

Inside you try to get past the awesome gift shop
 The Museum was chock full of the 1939 Wizard of Oz movie memorabilia.

The first thing you see on entering the actual musuem exhibits. Soooo cool.

All the characters have lots of memorabilia and objects from the 1939 movie.

My favorite of the quartet
If he only had a brain
You best believe SHE was there too.
"I'll Get You My Pretty..."
Life sized rascals, including a Flying Monkey (which, as a kid, terrified me)
Lots & lots of Oz 'Stuff' was on display. Some quite beautiful

The guys get their wishes granted

Loved a massive quilt from which I couldn't bring myself to only show one of its squares
Witch & Flying Minky

This Tin Woodsman doll in guard garb is magnificent
The museum gives visitors the chance to meet the characters of Oz.
In fact, Dorothy & Toto greet you at the get-go

And here's me picking a fight with my favorite character, the cowardly lion. 
Other permutations of OZ were also displayed.

I LOVED Return to Oz, which bombed at the box office. I saw it with my mother. As the movie's end, I turned to my mother eagerly asking her, "Wasn't that great!"

My mother stared at me in amazement, asking in a slightly tremulous. startled voice, "You... you liked that?"

Ah! Those wonderful OZ memories, HAHAHAHAA!

The WIZ was there...
And even the latest, OZ The Great and Powerful
Loved the Wizard of Oz Museum and after ransacking the cool gift shop...

We departed the museum, drove back down the road a bit and hit the OZ Winery. We bought a few things at the winery, including some lovely chocolates. And yes, the wine is great, especially considering it is not the Napa Valley, but the main reason one should visit is to read the brilliant names of the various wines.

Come for the wine, stay for the labels!

Ok, Ok, I've totally gotten carried away here with a visit that was likely shorter than the time it takes to read this post. I know. I would post ALL my Wamego - but heck, here's one more.

Aww... he has 'heart' to spare

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Kansas City by Night - and a Visit with Dracula

Liberty Memorial at the WWII Museum in Kansas City
We settled down for a bit at sundown, by the WWII Museum. I've received texts, every other day
Yeah, that's right bitches, I got you for free now! 
from AT&T that I'd overused my data and then they'd charge me $15 for like a whole gig of data. I was about $45 in the hole cash wise. I whined about it to William. He listened, then got on my phone with AT&T and just like that, I got my $45 back, I was on unlimited data and I was getting HBO for free. HELLO! Is my neph awesome or what? I get too worn down to argue for myself and it was nice having someone go to bat for me. Thanks William!

One of a pair of sphinx on top of the war museum
The Sphinx hide from the horrors of WWII
Our BBQ lunch was long gone in our stomachs, so we decided to hit Yelp. We chose La Bodega - a Spanish Tapas Restaurant for dinner. Arriving at the height of the dinner service, an above and beyond kind waitress seated us at a table that was reserved for someone else at 7PM. The half hour was enough time for us to order and devour a dinner of Paella Valencia, Pan Plano con Salmon Ahumado (goat cheese, smoked salmon, capers, chives & balsamic glaze on flat bread) and big fat mushrooms thingies on a fancy sauce. Hey! There's plenty of  El Spanish chow & room at the table, so would you care to join us - via the magic of pieced together 'live' iPhone pix.

Yum! That was an excellent meal. Earlier in the day William looked at what Kansas City has for night time entertainment and he found something unique. So dinner finished, we drove through colorful night time Kansas City streets.

 Now check out, below, our entertainment site - a mall!  Does it look like a mall to you? It was like a Mall on Mars. Big, shiny and loads of parking.

Mall? Yes, a Mall!

We looked down on the orchestra from
our comfy chairs - yes, COMFY CHAIRS!

And what was in this mind blowing Mall? Well, for me anyway. A full sized theater at which there was a live stage Musical, and in the venue we had 'Music Heritage reserve tickets for, was - Nosferatu.

Why were we attending a 1922 Silent Movie? Because this performance came with a live Jazz ensemble playing music written to accompany Nosferatu. Geeze, I'd have thought that would be too cool for Kansas City but nope. Kansas City is beyond cool.

Seeing Nosferatu for the first time, with live music was amazing. It is easy to imagine how in 1922, the movie would have scared the crap out if its audience - even in 2017 the villain vampire Nosferatu is beyond creepy. I had wondered if I could sit still for 'live' performance of Nosferatu which was like being transported back nearly 100 years.

Here are about 2 and a half minutes of Nosferatu (SPOILERS!) so you can listen to all that jazz.

Yikes - if I learned nothing about my paternal grandfather from this brief stay in Kansas City is that KC is no po-dunk town. I believe the locals would like to keep the wonder of KC asw their own private paradise. The secret is that Kansas City is not the little cow town many think it to be.

UPDATE: Talk about NOT FAIR! Just now tickets can be purchased to see Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban WITH a live orchestra playing John William's score. I am overcome with envy - just shoot me now.