Author Archives: jakefowler

Davenport, Iowa

So we drove to Davenport yesterday to see Low. It took about six hours with stops, not bad, but enough to mess with our backs. I like roadtrips with Maura, we talked and listened to some new tunes on the way up – the new Jack White is pretty good! Once we got to town, we settled into our hotel, then walked around to check out the downtown area. The venue – the Racoon Motel, was right down the street from where we were staying. Next door to it, we found a record shop, Ragged Records, where we found a nice little haul.

We grabbed some dinner at the Front Street Brewery, and I checked the Racoon Motel’s Facebook page while we were waiting on our food. The show had been canceled due to a couple of positive COVID tests. We were seriouly bummed. I’ve been imagining hearing Low’s latest music live for months and we were just hours away from doing so. The show was rescheduled for another Friday in July, which we will make work. We figured we were here so we might as well make a night of it, so we asked our waitress about other spots to check out nearby. She did not dissapoint; there are some pretty great bars in downtown Davenport. First, we figured we should check out the venue since we had come all this way, so we grabbed a beer there, commiserated with the staff, and checked out the stage – it’s a small area; it’s going to be very loud (in July)! After that, we went to a bar with a perfect name: Devon’s Complaint Dept.

They mixed some great drinks, and the bar had a cool retro vibe. We’ve been trying to get out more lately, but I can’t remember the last time we went bar hopping! It’s kind of a shame that we had to drive all the way to Davenport, but the drinks were tasty and way cheaper!

Meanwhile, back at the hotel, we discovered that it was hosting a youth dance competition. There were many families with young girls in way too much makeup and glittery outfits. I’m sure they were having the time of their lives, but we didn’t particularly enjoy the noise levels. The hotel has a central atrium around the rooms; they were very loud and echoey. They were running around until pretty late, which was so much fun for us after a night on the town! We ended up playing Low’s latest album in our hotel room mostly to drown out the noise.

The next morning, I woke up early, as I always do, and walked along the Mississippi. It was a nice walk, though it made me wish that KC had more down by our river front. I never knew that Pelicans like to visit the river this time of year, but I saw several of them!

Pelicans on the Mississippi

While it was a huge bummer to have the show rescheduled, it was good to get out of town for a bit. I guess we’ll see you again in July, Davenport, Iowa!

Happy Birthday to Me!

Anyone that knows me well, knows of my love for both music and humor. No one combines these better than “Weird” Al Yankovic. In my mind, it’s not my birthday until I hear his “Birthday Song”. Sadly, the lyrics ring truer every year. If you haven’t heard it, or it’s been a while, give it a listen:

The contrast between what should be a happy, carefree day and the realities of the world and the absurdity makes me strangely joyful. 

American Greetings (sorry Hallmark friends) has an app out called SmashUp that allows you to send custom messages from celebrities to celebrate your friends and family. “Weird” Al just announced that he had several SmashUps available and I just had to check it out. The resulting video makes me incomprehensibly happy:

I’m not going to get too sappy and deep about being middle-aged. I really just wanted to share something that made me happy today. Maura and I are going to get out and about today to celebrate our birthdays. Our wonderful but somewhat anxious dog is in daycare and she’ll be there overnight so that we don’t have to worry about her and what she might be doing to the window blinds. I hope all is well with everyone reading this. It’s nice that Spring is finally at least trying to make an appearance and that, at least for now, the infection rates are staying low – which brings right back to the song at beginning of my post. We’re living in some strange times, but there are still ways to find happiness. 

Speaking of ways to find happiness, my wonderful wife surprised me today with tickets to see one of our favorite bands, Low in Davenport, Iowa. Their latest album, “Hey What” is an emotional powerhouse, seriously, chills and sometimes tears, every time I listen. I’ve been trying to imagine hearing them play it live but now I won’t have to! I can’t wait!! 

It’s loud, sometimes grating but the contrast between their beautiful voices and the loud distortion-filled music is amazing. Again, if you haven’t heard it, sit with it a while: 

Thanks in advance for all the birthday wishes on social media, texts, and calls! Hopefully, as we slowly rejoin society and get out more, we’ll see you all soon! 

Vaccinated!

I am in line to get my second dose of the Moderna vaccine. The process has been pretty smooth both times. I was done in less than an hour last time and the line is moving pretty well this time.

It feels good to get this done. Hopefully we can put all of this behind us soon and get back to something resembling what we were used to.

The Big Five Oh

So today is the last day that I’ll spend in my Forties. Tomorrow I’ll officially be old. I remember think I g that Thirty was old when I was a kid, but that target kept on moving the older I got. Fifty seems like the age that it stops moving.

I don’t feel old most of the time, though I did hurt my back pretty bad last week by simply sitting down. I’m not having a mid-life crisis. I feel pretty good about what I’ve accomplished so far, even though I got a bit of a late start with some poor choices early on in my adult life. I still have some big goals to achieve as well.

I’ve been thinking lately about how to give something back. I’ve been getting more involved with opportunities outside of work, helping others with things that I’ve learned in higher ed IT. It’s unique, especially at an art school. It feels pretty good to be able to give back this way and I hope to do more.

Anyway, here’s to many more years of learning, growing, and becoming more myself.

It’s been a while

Hello and welcome to my first post in quite some time! It’s been a crazy year to say the least. I can’t believe it’s already been a year that we’ve lived with this pandemic. I honestly feel very lucky. I’ve had some family and friends get COVID-19, but no one I know has died of it, yet. We seem to be nearing the light at the end of the tunnel to some extent. I know more and more people who have received at least one dose of a vaccine. I myself got my first shot a little over a week ago and I get my second at the beginning of April, on April Fool’s in fact. I got mine a little early because at the beginning of all of this, it was determined that I have kidney failure. My nephrologist at KU Med is great and has me on a drug that seems to be slowing down the decline. He doesn’t think I’ll need a transplant for five to ten years. But I will eventually need a new kidney. As many of you know, I’ve dealt with my share of medical issues, so this didn’t surprise me too much. It sucked learning about it at the beginning of a pandemic that put me at a higher risk if I did catch it, but other than that, it’s under control and pretty symptomless.

Again, feel pretty lucky. I’ve had several friends who had much more serious medical issues over the last year or so. I won’t name names, but they are all fighting and working hard to overcome. I admire them for sure. I don’t envy them. I realize that all of this is really just the beginning, it comes with getting older. Maura and I will both turn fifty (50!) at the end March. I remember when I thought thirty was old! I never really thought much past that when I was young. I don’t feel fifty, though I’m not sure I know what fifty’s supposed to feel like. I did hurt my back doing nothing in particular the other day, so maybe that’s what it feels like? Besides the kidney thing and maybe a few extra pounds, I’m pretty healthy. What do you call a dad bod if you’re not a dad? 

As I said, it’s been a crazy year. I’m grateful to have a job that allowed me to be flexible, I’m grateful that KCAI is doing okay. Enrollment was down a bit as many students decided to take a gap year due to COVID-19, but it sounds like many of them will be returning next Fall. I’ve never felt busier there than I have for the last year or so with so much remote work happening and other projects not taking a break. It’s been a good year. I took a lot on, but I managed to finish most of it – one of the biggest projects will be completed tomorrow, if all goes well! 

I look forward to getting my second shot, Maura getting her and finally being able to get back to something like what we had taken for granted for our entire lives. I’m sure many changes will be more lasting, and maybe that’s a good thing. I will certainly think about many things differently. I think it will take me a while to be comfortable around large crowds, especially indoors. Not that I was ever comfortable, but I was able to tolerate it. I do miss live music. We’ve seen a few live streaming shows – Gorillaz was awesome! –  but it’s not the same. I look forward to traveling, but again, I’m going to be a little more aware of the spaces I’m in and who’s around me. 

I know that we’re not out of the woods yet, but I do have hope that, as Biden said, family and friends will be able to gather by the Fourth of July to celebrate.