Stormy Weather, Stormy Weather

I love Etta James’ voice. I could listen to her silky songs all day long. A large amount of her songs are topics that I don’t genuinely relate to, but it doesn’t make me appreciate the songs any less.

Her singing  “Stormy Weather,”  and tells of the despair and longing for better weather, which is the symbol that her man has come back to her.

The weather in Wichita Kansas today is intermittent thunderstorms, when I saw the sky today, her song came into my mind. RoaringSky

“Stormy Weather”

Don’t know why
There’s no sun up in the sky
Stormy weather
Since my man and I ain’t together
Keeps raining all of the time

Oh yeah, life is bad
Gloom and misery everywhere
Stormy weather, stormy weather
And I just can get my poor self together
Oh, I’m weary all of the time
The time, so weary all of the time

When he went away
The blues walked in and met me
Oh yeah, if he stays away
Old rockin’ chair is gonna get me
All I do is pray, the Lord will let me
Walk in the sun once more

Oh, I can’t go on, can’t go on, can’t go on
Everything I have is gone
Stormy weather, stormy weather
Since my man and I
Me and my daddy ain’t together
Keeps raining all of the time

Oh oh, keeps raining all of the time
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, raining all of the time
Stormy, stormy, stormy weather, yeah

 

The song “Stormy Weather” was originally a jazz instrumental piece written in 1933, written by Harold Arlen with Ted Koehler who later added lyrics. Sang first by Ethel Waters at the Cotton Club in Harlem. Later that year it was sung by many other artists. Now, years later, famous musicians such as Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington and Billie Holliday have also recorded versions. There was a movie made with the same name in 1943 with the song as its title track.

I still prefer Etta James’ version.

 

Stay dry out there Kansas!

Why ICT?

Do you know why it’s called ICT?

One of the first things I learned when I moved to Wichita was that some people swap the title Wichita and ICT, seemingly inexplicably to me. Then I learned, when Wichita Intercontinental Airport was being given it’s designation the FCC prohibited airports from having a name with the letters “K” or “W” in the call sign, thus ICT was born.

My official residence in Wichita, KS began last June. It took me some weeks to move here slowly and in loads driven down from Manhattan, KS: “the Little Apple” they call it. I knew since I was very young that Wichita was the famed “largest city in Kansas!”

First impressions of Wichita were that yes, it was large and I am seriously directionally challenged-often lost in this maze of a place. I had grown up in a place that for most of my life had no mall. To be in a city that had not one, but two! Wowza!

Quite a marvelous feat, I thought, to be able to support two whole malls and still not have them be the sole epicenter of shopping and livelihood. There was so much potential for varieties of food and to meet people of all sorts from around the globe (potentially mind you).

The magic and wonderment dwindled with robust rapidity. I could not and still can not find a satisfactory truly Greek restaurant in town to serve a magnificent Greek pasta. The political and religious diversity leaves quite a lot to be desired. My first solace was found at a restaurant, in a glass of sangria. I hadn’t had many glasses of sangria in my day, but dang it was mighty good and hit the olfactory nerves I needed hitting just then. The sangria was poured divinely by my server Bradley. Bradley didn’t make me feel like the sad lonely person sitting by herself in the middle of a summer day on a restaurant patio. He happily came out to make sure I was doing alright, and we made the best small talk I could have hoped for. Bradley became the reason I would return to that restaurant, and I told him if the food was better I would have gone to see him more.

Bradley is now on to bigger and better things than that first restaurant I met him at over a year ago. He has been my go-to guide since my relocation. I have been given hope that not everyone in Wichita lives in their own little bubble of a life and bemoans anytime they have to drive “all the way across town!”  

My dearest Bradley is what I would consider a Wichita native. He dislikes the label. Bradley is old enough to know what’s what and has had a less than easy life by most standards. For a time he was homeless in Colorado when he was still technically in his teens. Having divorced parents has put him in different homes across two states more than once, he’s not alone.

When Bradley was just two years old he made his first arrival in Wichita. Subsequently he has returned to reside here eight times, that he can recall directly. After many discussions, he and I have conceded that it is relatively less expensive to live in Wichita than a large portion of Kansas, assuming city living. I chatted briefly with Bradley this past week on his thoughts and opinions about Wichita, from a mostly Wichita-native point of view.

 

When I first arrived to Wichita, I genuinely didn’t a motorized vehicle. I didn’t need one in Manhattan- it’s a very small city. So, I was absurd in assuming that Wichita, being such a vast metropolis would be more commuter and bicycle commuter friendly. Public transportation surely! I was wrong, more than dead wrong, I should have done more research. Silly me.

 

According to BikeLeague.org which has the League of American Bicyclists since 1880, Kansas as a state ranks 46 out of all 50. (inwardly I’m fuming, how did Oklahoma outrank us?!)

Who did we “beat?”

#47 South Carolina

#48 Kentucky

#49 Montana

#50 Alabama

 

In the entire state of Kansas there are only a grand total of three biking friendly communities; Lawrence, KS, Manhattan, KS, and Shawnee, KS. Boulder, Colorado tops the list in Biking Friendly communities with a population of approximately one-third that of Wichita. On the same list on Kansas’ biking un-friendliness, there is zero biking friendly universities, which is not surprising but still astonishing to me. There are 36 institutions that call themselves a University, not including community colleges that could have gotten some sort of biking friendly label, and none have done so.

Bikeability in Wichita is near impossible unless your commute is fairly direct-route. I seldom see an actual commuter unless I’m up at the ungodly hours when the sun is yet to crest the horizon. The lack of biking lanes, proper road maintenance, signals and motorist knowledge of bicyclers rights makes this city a very dangerous adventure to attempt to cycle-commute. More power to those who can manage it, I salute you!

Bradley shares a car with his partner, but often is on his bicycle to and from work. He and I lament at length that the Wichita Transit System could make a world of difference in this city, if it were improved. Not only for traffic congestion! In Bradley’s words,

“If I could change something in Wichita it would probably be the public transportation system, ‘cause it just sucks.”

If the city were able to expand and increase the bus routes they have, then more riders would be inclined and able to utilize the system. I take the bus to school in hopes of making myself stay on campus to get more work done in a study-friendly environment. I also don’t want to pay to park or deal with parking space hunting. The bus that traverses campus is regularly crowded, especially in the morning and mid afternoons. Currently the East 17th Street bus does hourly loops. There is usually two buses going on the loop at any given time. The city buses have free wifi and are not nearly as bad as some cities have it, I do not suggest G searching for dirty bus photos. The buses can only hold two bikes on the racks mounted to the fronts. There is only room for two wheelchairs on each bus and often the East 17th Street bus is late. Too many riders, too many stops needed for them to get on and off, and the cycle perpetuates itself. No one wants to ride if they’re going to be late, so ridership declines.

On the other hand, I don’t enjoy taking the 6:20am bus as I am the opposite of a morning person. But I have to make sure I’m not late to my 8am course. If I chance the 7:20am bus I risk being late, I’ll pass on that embarrassment for the most part, thanks. I would love a city that was more accessible without a car, most biking paths are ones you have to either ride to or risk the city streets to get to. If I could have a public transportation wish in the world right now, it might include wishing people who rode the bus would get off when someone else pulls the stop requested signal, two blocks away from where they need to be and just get off and walk instead of adding seemingly twenty extra stops. And more buses.

I’m the minority on the bus, I am a college-aged female who happens to be caucasian of a very pale sort. The majority of my fellow bus riders are not my race. Where I grew up, I was also the minority in school and in my neighborhood. It almost feels like home. Almost. There is such a feeling of discomfort when my fellow bus riders would rather stand than sit in the politely empty seat next to me. Then I see a career-dressed younger white female who won’t move her purse for a toddler to have a seat. I feel that if bus riding were utilized by everyone more readily people could be happier with their fellow bus riders, happier with their city and the opportunities available to them even though they might live on the “wrong” side of town. I still ride with a hopeful mindset that the city surely isn’t as segregated as it has seemed for the past year.

Buses don’t run past 7pm on weekdays, on Saturday the buses stop at 6pm. There is no Sunday bus services. If you work in customer service, retail, food service or a labor job you are almost certainly working past 7pm on at least some weekdays and almost always are required to be available on Sundays. If Wichita was more realistic in their transportation for the public, I suggest asking the public which uses their transportation first, to meet the needs of the people, not the ones who have fat pockets.

In 2013 Wichita held a rate of unemployment at 6.4% and the median household income was just shy of $50k. The average ticket for a movie at Wichita area Warren Movie Theatres is $10. Going to the Sedgwick County Zoo for an adult runs $13.95 before tax. Going to a public golf course can run the gamut in prices, fees and equipment. The activities available for people to be social and enjoy the city are limited and can be quite costly. If the city as a whole wanted to be able to create more economic growth or simply satisfaction in the city we live in, the way we traverse the city seems like a good place to start in my mind.

For now, I’ll catch the 6:20am bus twice a week and deal with what I can. Maybe during my stay here things will change, I can only hope.

-K.

Two Jokers Double-Wit, #8 In the Boulevard Smokestack Series

Two Jokers by Boulevard Brewing Co. Kansas City, MO
Two Jokers by Boulevard Brewing Co. Kansas City, MO

As the label says;
Two Jokers Double-Wit
Malt Beverage Brewed With Spices, 1 pint, 9.4 fluid ounces, 8.0%Alc/Vol, Cost about $11

They say there are two sides to every story, and that’s certainly true of Two Jokers Double-Wit. On the one hand, it’s a revival of the classic Belgian “wit,” or “white” ale, with lactic fermentation providing a refreshing tartness. On the other hand, it’s a modern, uniquely American brew; big, flavorful, and spiced with cardamom, coriander, orange peel, lavender, and grains of paradise.
Look closely now: it is two jesters on the label, or a single beautiful glass of ale?

 

 

I love beer, unabashedly. Moreover I love trying new beers or drinking ones with amazing flavor combinations. I gravitate more towards dark beers in winter, and saisons/white beers in the summer time. There are dozens of types of beers and they can be considerably confusing. My opinion of the Two Jokers is as follows, again- just my opinion.

In glass it’s very cloudy and orange-tan colored. Not a spray tan orange, like dark earthy orange. The spices were more notable as they lingered in the after flavor.

Very deceptively light nose when first poured, after it warmed up it became a little more telling. But still was betraying what body was had when drank.

This brew was very tart, but not in the pucker-lips-after-sucking-a-lemon way. More like tart for a white beer which lends it’s flavors more towards bright citrus feeling but less big fruit flavors. The orange peel is the flavor that comes through most noticeably at first.

I would love another, but this is a limited release so I’ll have to cross my fingers!

My Newest Educational Adventure

As of this fall, I’m at my fourth higher education institution. Go me! Except that, after transferring changing majors and all in all being shuffled around; I’m still no closer to finishing my degree than when I left my community college in 2008. What a happy feeling that is, I’ll tell you sometime. It’s peachy.

My schools have always had something that wasn’t quite right for me. Or I couldn’t get away from work enough to be a good student. For the second time in my “college career” I’m not working a full-time job and I am instead making one more push to finish my bachelors. My first time not working ended after a paltry  four months of going crazy with idleness and boring courses.

So far, I am enjoying Wichita State for what it is. I was expecting the campus to be larger, and on my first two days on campus I passed my building, twice. I love that the campus is not large, my bad knee loves it more. I will say some people act as though the campus is giant, vast, massive or some other word for immense. It’s not.

Compared to the University of Kansas, where you cannot traverse the campus in time to have classes in consecutive hours, WSU is tiny. I actually attended Kansas State University, where the campus is smaller than KU but still seems fairly large compared to WSU. Size also had impacts on resources, the respective bookstores at each school were twice to four times the size of Wichita State. The bookstores also sold computers like Apple and Dell, supplies that weren’t branded with the school logos, as well as hundreds more books.

My majors have been Journalism, Communication, Apparel and Textile Merchandising, and now Integrated Marketing Communication. So far, I’m optimistic. I dont have to take nearly as much math or economics, and the course offerings seem genuinely more interesting than I’ve had before.

In one of my communication courses at WSU the students were given the opportunity to ask the Director of the Elliott School of Communication a few questions and pick his brain on stuff we might want to know.

I have never met the director of any of my other schools programs, let alone I doubt they’d allow anyone to record them, even if it was a communication class!

Matthew Cecil Ph.D. Director of Elliot School of Communication, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS
Matthew Cecil Ph.D. Director of Elliott School of Communication, Wichita State University, Wichita, KS

“If I had all the money in the world to change this program I might not make it the size of an OU or something like that i like the size we are but I would certainly improve our facilities…We have great facilities now but they could be a lot better.”  

 

 

 

 

The Director of the Elliott School of Communication is Matthew Cecil, Ph.D.. During his talk he emphasized being diverse and knowing that we would have to adapt as we enter the fields we want to go into. The Elliott School has some new projects in the coming months that could offer a greater amount of experiences for it’s students, which will be exciting to see how those work out.

“The key to succeeding in the field of Mass Communication is being adaptable also understanding what you’re learning today is not necessarily what you’re going to be doing in 3 or 4 years…”

Coming from so many other programs, I have a certain amount of comparison to offer. Other schools are very structured, rigid and unwavering in the curriculum they require you to obtain, even if it has little bearing on what you want to do. At every other program I’ve been in they required an internship, or two. With Kansas State’s Apparel and Textile Merchandising program, they were changing the curriculum when I left, to require two internships. Typically internships in the fashion or retail industry are unpaid. As well as typically being the worst internships, you’re worse than an office aid and having to work all sorts of hours. I was also not able to get any sort of credit for the retail marketing that was my day job.

Subsequently, I didn’t have a lot of chance to actually get significant progress towards that degree program. It was mostly impractical and only would work if I was willing to take out even more exorbitant student loans, or have family money to pay for it (which I didn’t and don’t).

What I have found that like about WSU first off was they have emphasized that they work with students and employers before they leave school, so that real world experience can be obtained early. It seems like common sense, but often is not available at large universities. Experienced Based Learning makes a world of difference, especially when students might not be 100% sure that they want the degree path they’re in line for. In a lot of the courses there are also real-world applications to what is learned. Not all, obviously, but quite a bit can be transposed to the work force.

I am hopeful that I’ll actually be able to finish this degree and move on to a post grad soon. But for now, I’m enjoying the campus and the curriculum. Maybe I’ll get over the fact that they built a multi-million dollar student center and didn’t bother to add bowling lockers eventually. Until then, I’ll be elsewhere.

-Kate Steele


My Weekend With uberX, Underwhelmed {detailed at length}

Uber Has Arrived

Uber has caused quite a stir in many cities. Legal and municipal battles, along with some entire countries have plagued the company from launching, thriving and providing affordable accessible taxi services. Wichita, KS was one of 22 New Cities to have uberX launched over the Labor Day Weekend.

The promotion that was unveiled alongside the new cities that were launched;

“New and existing users of Uber could get your first five rides Free (up to the value of $25 each) through the 1st of September (Except Norman, OK).”

Suggested rides were to a stadium for a football game, a ride home from the campus library late at night, dinner with friends, and taking a little extra time to before having to drive to class (I assume this means avoiding a parking debacle).

Having ridden in UberBlack- the fancy version of Uber- in other cities such as New York, NY and Chicago, IL and generally knowing how the operation worked, I was mostly hopeful. Uber works, in any of its forms the same way; you download the app for your phone, create an account with a viable credit card or PayPal (prepaid debit cards do not work), and then select on the map where you’ll be for your pick-up. For some who don’t know, the service is meant to be immediate. Riders cannot reserve a car for tomorrow morning to the airport. Riders cant (well, shouldn’t) say “Oh give me an extra few minutes, not quite ready!” However, if the car is estimated to be 22 minutes away, you clearly have a little time. By hitting “Request” you are accepting to be picked up thus beginning your transaction, if you change your mind you are allowed to cancel your ride.

Keep in mind, as with most things in life, you’ll pay a fee for canceling fee, according to Uber’s website; if you decide to cancel your ride AFTER 5 minuets of placing your request. However, if we expect your driver to be more than 5 minutes late (based on the current ETA), you may cancel without penalty. The minimum fare in Wichita, KS is $5, so that is what you would be charged. Just the same as in a big city, if you get in the cab you have agreed to pay the base fare. The drivers are also allowed to decline your fare. This fee was not charged to riders during this promotional weekend to my knowledge. 
Uberfares
Fare break down for Wichita, KS.                 Fares vary by location

This past weekend I attempted to utilize all my free-to-me rides to the fullest. To test out uberX and see how it shapes up compared to the rather deplorable Taxi service we currently have in Wichita. I’ll say right now, I was less than thrilled with uberX.

My adventure started on Friday Morning. I have a singular dreaded class, Math at 10:30am. Trying to take the Wichita Transit System, typically I have to get to the bus stop or transit station an hour, usually an hour and a half before my class actually starts for the day.

On Friday, August 29th I got up around 9am, and before even getting ready to get ready to being a person I checked uberX. One car was available, one lonesome car. And it was less than 4 minutes away, fantastic! So I jump in the shower,  do what I needed to do, and check uberX again (remember, no reservations immediate only).

No cars. Not a one. I hit the little car symbol which allows you to send out a “request” into the internet ether and it comes back with a little message that all cars are busy.IMG_0241

Well, hell. I’m now late for the bus that would get me to class on time. Don’t get me started on the bus systems issues. So, I decided “to hell with it” and go back to wallowing in bed. It’s not like I want to go to math anyways.

After about 30 minutes of doing nothing of consequence, I decide to check again. Bam! A car, but it’s 18 minutes away. At this point, it’s just about 10am. Though it’s all my own experiment and I still want to go through with it. I request the car, the phone then buzzes saying your driver is on its way, and you can watch the little car icon travel like a very poorly made video game. Instead I scramble; why can’t I find my shoes? Crap, 12 minutes away! Did I put deodorant on??  Gotta put the contacts in, don’t forget to see! Only 4 minutes away, gah!

The plus side to this feature is you can see exactly which way the driver is coming, so you can be on their side/direction of the road. Other security-type measures are that you are told what type of car they’re driving, the plate numbers, and a small photo of the driver. I shouldn’t have to say, but if the person in the photo is not who pulls up- DON’T GET IN THE CAR!

This did not happen to me thankfully, but it is as though the photo is one someone probably would use on a dating site. Sure, it’s them but a “better” them than their every-day selves.

My first driver was David, a middle-aged-looking white man, driving a well-kept Cadillac STS. I did need to contact him as he was driving because my address/pin/location on the app was not quite right. Riders and drivers are allowed to communicate only as the ride transaction is occurring turns out. As it is, I reside in the Oldtown are of Wichita it can be cumbersome to locate precisely where someone is. He found me with relative ease, and upon my entering his Cadillac he said he could have gotten out and let me in, unexpectedly gentlemanlike behavior, I said it was no problem as it was already toasty outside. Then the troublesome part came, I was headed to campus but he’s not familiar with it, pretty much knows nothing. And of course the academic buildings actual addresses are a complete mystery to me. He plotted the course in his uberX issued iPhone and we took the most “direct” route which is also the most stoplight laden route. I did tell him I’m going to class, but lied and said it started later than it did, since it was my fault I was late. As he drove, I asked him lightly probing questions about his thoughts about driving for Uber. He seemed content with the company and hoped the frequency of the day would keep up for him. We managed to make our way to Hubbard Hall, only 7 minutes late. He texted me a “Thanks and hope you have a great day (MisspelledFirstName)!” to which I attempted to reply, then uberX texted me that contact is not allowed after the trip is completed. Fair enough, I found this more comforting actually, if they can’t actively try to talk to a stranger.

RequestUber

My ride home, early afternoon, was driven by Michael. Who is an older white man with a scruffy white beard and a large microphone on his ear/face, in an ‘okay’ Dodge Grand Caravan (yes, a van) that had that well smoked-in aroma. Michael turned out to also not have many, if any, teeth. As I tried to talk to him, I can only kind of make out what he was sort-of saying. He seemed nice enough, and wanted to talk freely, I let him. He is a cab driver by trade, worked for years in Houston and a few years in Wichita for a cab company. He genuinely knows the short cuts. He told me of a passenger he had that was watching the GPS unit, and was getting concerned because he wasn’t going “on the line,” to which Michael said he had explained himself. The GPS finally caught up and the passenger then realized the way Michael was taking was rather a lot faster.

Same distance (give or take 0.25mi) in relation to where I was and where I wanted to go:

David’s fare #1, Michael’s fare #2

UberRide2uberRide1

I wouldn’t mind riding with either of these men again, but Michael shaved almost a dollar and a half off and could fit more passengers. David’s ride was nicer, cleaner and offered more courteous service. I’m sure it would have been less difference if I had been at a different building on campus. Though not by a great amount.

 

Another feature is if the address you submitted for your pickup, isn’t quite where you are, you can text or call the driver. These are insanely helpful when you’re requesting a ride on campus. Did you know most Wichita State Buildings are really hard to find, when you’re not a student/Wichita native? People standing by the side of the road often could confuse the driver thinking they are the fare, when that person is in actuality waiting for the parking/campus shuttle. Contact between driver and fare/rider is disabled after the transaction.

Though there has been a few issues with this as well… though maybe it just happens more obviously with taxi services?

My critical nature is not out of nothingness. I have also been a rider in Wichita taxi cabs; ABC and Best Cabs Inc. Actually, I have to take that back. I attempted to ride ABC. I called 5 hours ahead of the time I because needed a ride when I was leaving work at approximately 9:45pm. Subsequently when I got off work, there was no cab. No call,  no message saying they had waited and left- nothing. As most women don’t want to wait in the dark creepy parking lot alone, thankfully of my new-to-me coworkers offered me a ride home. Low and behold almost an hour after my requested ride time, I got a phone call asking if I still needed a ride, I did not. With Best Cabs Inc. I took one to the airport at 5:30am one morning, after calling the evening before and arranging it. The ride was fine, except the heavy smell of smoke (I’m asthmatic) and the loud Gospel radio station playing. Mind you, I also didn’t ask to turn it down, for fear of scaring him with my abrasive unpleasantness (I am the opposite of a morning person).


I was taking these cabs because I moved to Wichita, without a vehicle. Without a vehicle?? Outrageous! Preposterous! Simply unfathomable! Actually, it wasn’t all that strange where I had lived before. I got around on a bicycle, groceries, work, dining, shopping. And I loved it, I really did not want to buy a car.  I curse you Wichita and your bike-unfriendly ways! But alas, I digress.


My Saturday was considerably more hectic in my uberX utilization. I had a dinner/drinks thing planned with a friend of mine. The scheduled start time was 6pm, I started checking for an available uberX around 5:20pm. It was a miserable game of Refresh, Refresh, Request? Nada, Refresh, Refresh… Finally about 6:40pm I caught a driver, fumbled about with the map quickly and hit ‘Request.’

Less than 2 minutes later, I get a message saying my driver had declined the fare. He was about 5 minutes away, which was completely frustrating. So, I went back to playing the crappy game, a few quick blips were gone too fast for me to “tag.” About 6:55pm I got one! Only 19 minutes away! I took it, he showed up a few minutes early, I’m guessing he got some good stop lights considering the street he was coming down. His name is Matt, his picture is a lumberjack bearded face of the very-red hair variety, in person he was much less axe-murderer looking. I can’t quite recall what his vehicle was, but it was a 4-door sedan, well-kept and very clean.

I did what I had been doing, and asked him how he was feeling about working with uberX, to which he tells me he’s had about as many cancellations as he’s had actual rides, so he’s not very happy (my fare on this ride he’s giving me turned out to be just under $8, I doubt that made him very happy either). He said one person was 3 blocks away when they cancelled his fare. He was confident it’s because they weren’t paying. Meaning, the people getting free rides also got free cancellations. After being annoyed by this, considering I had been trying to get a driver for so long, I was pretty shocked by this considering people were getting Free Rides, I was assuming they were of course since uberX had only launched the day before in Wichita, I suppose you could have used up your 5 rides in one day, maybe?

Matt also tells me a few things he had to do to be allowed to drive for uberX. He aced the background check, by of course not having any crimes on his record. Assembled vehicle information and then had to get his intended “cab” professionally detailed. Apparently, since the time crunch of the launch weekend, Uber didn’t actually require him to submit the documents before the weekend. So he was given a go-ahead without any formal “sit-down” training or meeting. Though Matt told me he had driven a cab before and didn’t need the training, he had expected more. He also told me about the history of Uber trying to get into Wichita, city council battles and people with the powerful pockets knocking it back for a while. Until people with more powerful interests allowed it to go ahead. He was hopeful it would catch on more. When I exited he had already been “pinged” for a few rides. Saturday night, people want to party!

Oldtown Wichita, KS
Oldtown Wichita, KS

During my drinks/dinner thing, I occasionally checked my Uber app, for the most part there were only one to two cars available at a time. Closer to midnight it showed what seemed to be 3 to 4 cars driving on top of each other which was odd, until I had realized it was in Oldtown (bars, bands, busy). I had some fantastic conversation until the wee hour of 1am, to which I couldn’t get a car- again. My friend knew what was happening so he didn’t mind my lingering. Finally I got an uberX, yet again on the other side of Wichita 18 minutes away. It seemed to take longer than 18 minutes but as my friend and I had been drinking adult beverages, I was dependent on the ride by then.

My final driver was Gordon, a younger white guy with a four door hatchback something. His photo he had a goatee and sunglasses, as it’s obviously night-time, it’s not really resembling him. He admitted he didn’t know the area I’m in very well, so I gave a general idea of how to get where I’m headed. And once again, I inquire as to his current endeavor. He seemed ambivalent, said they had been busy but he too had suffered a lot of cancellations (at this time I realize it’s him who cancelled my fare earlier, I don’t tell him). I did ask if he knew how many drivers they had in Wichita, and he told me what he was told by the Uber rep. That he was not allowed to release that information. My only guess for this reasoning is so you know where and who your competition is, you might be able to sabotage them? Gordon also said he had been using his friend’s phone to watch where the other drivers are. And confirmed my suspicion that at least on that night, he only saw 4 at most at one time.

My ride with Gordon
My ride with Gordon

By the time my 6 minute ride was over, Gordon had also been “pinged” for another fare. He just had to figure out how to maneuver in Oldtown parking. I bade him good luck and good night.

 

On Sunday I did random inquires of people I was just ‘around’ and what turned out to be a well-known service in some cities, is still pretty much unknown in Wichita among twenty-somethings. Very few people knew of it, fewer still knew that Uber had come to Wichita. Understandably it was early yet, but building “hype” around something seems pretty commonsense to anyone who has done ANY marketing.



 

I think Uber could be amazing in Wichita. So amazing I might be able to live without a car once again. But for now, its going to need to quadruple it’s drivers and make sure they are keeping up appearances as their site promises.
I was expecting Prius’s, Ford Fusions, Nissan Leaf’s but got regular every-day rides, suited me fine. 
The rating system is genuinely taken into account, and all my rides got 4 or 5 stars. I will probably use them again, when time is less of an issue. But I will also be keeping tabs to see how many cars are live on the app. 
My immediate hope is that they keep adding drivers but that Wichita Transit also ads on more busses and routes so that there can still be less and fewer cars on the road in this giant city. 
A gal can dream, can’t she? 
-K. Steele IMG_0255

 

 

 

Shaking With Anger, Was It or Was It Not Assault?

On the ubiquitous FB this past evening, I was shaking with an anger so raw. I’m in a few Nerdfighter groups, to which the purpose of the group is ambivilent, mostly where nerds and nerd-sympathisers can commiserate over the love for Doctor Who, Harry Potter and the like. The original purpose of Nerdfighters was to “Decrease World Suck,” be that by promoting good causes or helping people feel less alone in this vast universe. It is up to the individuals what they do to lessen the

This evening I’ve been posting furiously after I read a very very disturbing post of a young woman’s date she went on. I do not say this lightly; It was less a date more of a near rape.

She said that her date was dismissive and talked down to her, also forceably held her hand. That’s where the “light-ness” stopped. She says he locked her in his car, terrorized her by speeding and not following traffic laws. Locked her windows and when she needed to look up directions to her home he wouldnt allow it.

At the end of the terrorizing, came the assault. She did not want his advances, and he continued physically contacting her. He forced his hands on her legs as well as he forcably kissed her while she had persisted that she was not interested.

She said she was trying her hardest not to be a lump on the floor she was wrecked with anxiety and that feeling you have when you’ve been violated.

Her nearly immediate reaction was to blow it off as “not serious” and she didnt want to “tattle-tell on him.” I’m so very annoyed and angry and furious and I want to shake her and say, “What makes you think you’re worth less than a human being should be!?”

I had to point out that her predator has probably done this before, and will probably do it again. He needs to be reported and stopped. My insistance was that this was not normal, why is it becoming semi-normal?

Why do females feel the near constant need to have some form of physical violence deterrant on them? Pepper spray that’s pink, tazers that are bejewelled. If you desire one you can procure them here.

For every college female
For every college femalestungun1

Pink is the emphsis for the upcoming Breast Cancer Awareness. WomenOnGuard.com has quite the assortment, even Dooney & Bourke holsters for them.

If a person, male or female says NO once to anyone the person they declined, is not allowed. It doesn’t matter if she had a low cut shirt, high heels, tight jeans or shiny lips. We women are not asking for it. 

Who taught her ‘date’ that it is acceptable to terrorize the person you were with? To make them afraid for their life and safety? Where is this learned?

I feel like I need to start an after school club for boys to teach them how to behave on dates(LGBTQ friendly), and then another one for young ladies who need to know when they should call the police because a forced kiss is assault. I’m saddned and worried as this continues, will women ever feel truly safe?

In March of 2012 the Director of the United States Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women was interviewed by Forbes Magazine, the interviewer asked the Director the following;

Rahim Kanani: How would you characterize the landscape of justice today with respect to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking here in the United States?

“Although violent crime has decreased nationwide, the crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking still devastate the lives of too many women, men, youth, and children.  Since then-Senator Biden brought national attention to crimes of violence against women in hearings in 1990, we have learned more about their shocking prevalence.  One in every four women and one in every seven men have experienced severephysical violence by a current or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend.[1] Stalkers victimize approximately 5.2 million women and 1.4 million men each year in the U.S, with domestic violence-related stalking the most common type of stalking and often the most dangerous.[2] One in ten 9th-12th grade students were physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend in 2009 alone.[3] One in five women and one in 71 men have been raped in their lifetimes, and nearly 1.3 million women in the U.S. are raped every year.[4] The statistics are sobering – even more so with our understanding that these types of crimes are often the most underreported.[5] Many victims suffer in silence without confiding in family and friends, much less reaching out for help from hospitals, rape crisis centers, shelters, or even the police.”

It’s a very good article, but I’m still baffled that there not had a significant for-the-better change in the last two decades it seems. The social impact of these numbers are astounding.

I’m still angry, the young woman is still stressed and yes, it’s nearly 4 am as I write this CST time. I will stay up for for hours on end to make sure this young lady knows she was not to blame, should feel absolutely no shame and that she knows people out there are good and care that she doesnt feel like less of a human being because of some jerk.

Kanani, Rahim. “DOJ Director on Violence Against Women in the United States.”Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 08 Mar. 2012. Web. 24 Aug. 2014.

A native Kansan, making my way through the humidty and muck and always being awesome!