Welcome to meet the commenters TopekaRockChalkHawk. Wichita gets quite the beating on RCT but Topeka gets by unscathed. What do you like about Topeka?
Nothing. It just so happens that my mom's family is from here. Well and Jersey, but between you and me, I'll take Topeka. I'm actually not sure how Wichita has such a bad rep. By comparison, this city is so backwards. At least Wichita is an ever expanding city with roughly 3 times the population of Topeka. With that said, I'd probably stay away from that city too. It's probably the smallest capital city I've been to. The city is somewhat split in two by the Kansas River. You have North Topeka and well Topeka. All I usually tell people, is that North Topeka is like it's own city; not necessarily the good kind. There are some historical parts, like the Brown v. Board of Education Building, even can manage to find some old brick roads (yeah, not yellow) in the central part of the city. It's not all bad and the fact that it's somewhat smaller is appealing.
I think you have mentioned on the site that you moved around a little as a kid. What did your folks do, how big was your family? What kind of a kid were you?
Like some others I grew up as a military brat. My step-dad served in the Army so we were all over. Born in Topeka, but lived mostly in other states, I did live in Manhattan when I was in 4th grade, Junction City in 5th grade. We moved away from Kansas for a while and eventually settled back right before I started middle school. I have 3 sisters (2 on my mom's side and one from my dad's side) and I'm the only boy which apparently meant I was the favorite or at least in my sisters' eyes. Truthfully they're hard cases and I just learned how not to get in trouble. I was mainly the nerdy kid that played by the rules. Didn't stop me from staying out of trouble completely. I actually was bullied a bit, but fought back which landed me in some hot water at in elementary school once. Actually took a number of martial arts classes growing up. Let's see, I was the shy kid, but I was also a straight A student so I was often times put in situations by teachers to help branch out a bit. I had the opportunity to skip a couple of grades, luckily my mom thought better of it and realized socially that probably wouldn't have been the best.
What was your favorite childhood memory?
I don't have any particular favorite childhood memories. I remember many things from my childhood, good and bad pretty vividly. I remember my time spent in Germany as a kid ages 4-5. I can remember the preschool there and it strange to me that the bus that I rode was actually more like a city bus than a traditional school bus. The place I went had other kids from military families but my mom insisted on talking to us in German quite a bit. Halloween there was interesting, but I was too scared to enjoy it. They had many parades where they'd toss candy as we lined the street. The memories I probably am most fond of were probably of me playing baseball. I played up through high school. Not really that skilled, but I had speed. I was usually lead off with just the mission to get on base. Stealing second was my favorite thing to do. Got to the point where pitchers knew that's what I was going to do. I don't really remember being thrown out that much. Messing with pitchers leading off from first was sort of my thing. I remember a little league game where I had broken my glasses in pregame warmups. It was at night so yeah, that factored in. I managed to get to third somehow and on a wild pitch made my move towards home. The catcher who was probably twice my size was able to grab the ball and dove on me as I reached the plate. I ended up being safe but got pretty banged up. Good times.
What was high school like for you? You mentioned that you almost went to West Point. What other schools did you consider? What made you pick KU?
High school was different. I went to a school in a more rural part of the city; actually right on the outskirts of the city limits. So the population of the school wasn't all that diverse. It was one of the best schools in the city though so couldn't argue with that. If you saw me in school, I looked very much like the stereotypical black male which was the exact opposite of the vast majority of the kids there. I somehow managed to find a little group of kids in band that we all clicked even though I didn't play in high school. It was pretty fun though, did the debate and forensics thing which I wasn't really good at given that I suck at speaking publicly. I stuck mainly around local universities. When I moved back to Kansas right before middle school I hated everything about Kansas. To me, home was the place I spent the most time growing up and that would have been North Carolina. Since we usually only spent about a year in one place, I never really established a connection to any place. North Carolina was the exception since we spent about 2 and half years there. Because of that I really wanted to go to Duke or UNC. Actually began looking into each school in 7th grade while hating on all of the Kansas schools at the same time. After high school I realized realistically a local school would be better. Emporia State was a decent place, but the town was a bit too small for me. I actually settled on K-state originally as they accepted me into their engineering program. Was gonna room with a buddy from high school and everything. Last minute got a letter from KU. It was closer to home where I already had a job for some extra cash. Plus my ex went there and I was delusional in thinking that we'd work it out and would be easier there. It didn't actually become a fan of sports and things at KU until my roommate in the dorm (who was from Missouri) started converting me and took me to a football game. His brother was an MU grad so listening to them go at it was really funny. We ended up being the guys with the beer in the dorm and never managed to get caught though tons of other guys did. Not sure how that worked.
How and when did you find RCT?
Not sure how I found RCT. Probably one of the days I was sick of reading the comments and things on KUsports.com and I found a number of little blogs and things. I think it was actually linked in the comments one day. I lurked around for a long time. I wish I could find my first post cause I'm sure it was really inspired stuff.
Did you want to follow in the steps of your family and go into the military? Why or why not?
I actually spent most of my time as a youth wanting to be a pilot. I did tons of research on different aircraft. Course many outdated now, but I loved the F-14 Tomcat. I even did little presentations on them for school incorporating the math around the designs way back when. Just the things that go into making an object like that work and all of the tech and minds behind it is just crazy to think about. I always thought my eyesight would be an issue growing up so I thought next best thing would be a jumping out of the planes. We spent a number of years around Ft. Bragg in North Carolina home of the 82nd Airborne Corps. That was the group my stepdad was apart of for a time. Ultimately, I decided a military career wasn't probably my best move. Technology always interested me and seeing how things have changed over time was more my calling. When I started school, my goal was to get my degree in Computer Science or Computer Information Systems. Didn't work out so much, but I've learned way more over the years than I would have imagined, most by happenstance. Getting into IT now just seems like things have come full circle for me a bit.
What do you do for work now? Is it something you find fulfilling?
I work for a retirement savings and income company that is based here. My job is really to help establish group retirement plans for companies here in the states; mainly school districts and governmental entities.\. We work with our sales staff to get employers signed up. I handle getting the new plan info coded on to the systems and handle moving their plan assets from their previous company to ours. It can be interesting, especially when you have a plan with upwards of $7-8 million in assets that you have to handle. Funny enough, I just accepted a position in the IT department with the same company assisting with run support for various systems that are used within the company. IT is always where I wanted to be so it works out.
If I were to visit you in Topeka, where would you take me and what would we do?
I have no idea where we'd go. Probably one of the local bars. I'm not a huge bar person, but karaoke night can be fairly entertaining. There are a few places locally where you can catch some live music, usually a coffee shop, and that's always nice to. As long as it isn't 60's night.
What has been you greatest success and biggest regret?
Success and regrets, hmm hard to say. The only regret I really have is that I didn't finish my degree. Though leaving school actually put me on the path to become the guy I am today, so I can't really complain too much.
Anything else we might not know about you.
Random tidbits....let's see. I have three tattoos (yup, they're awesome). Uhh, recently divorced. I've been a gamer my entire life though less the older I've gotten. I still play though when I find I have some free time. I like college sports games and RPG's. I used to be a fairly decent artist back in school, but it's been a while since I actually felt like drawing anything. Or I'd start and get bored and give up. I played the guitar in middle school and started learning the play bass. Never did anything with it though. I originally started working on designing websites for local companies when I was in middle school using HTML. Now it's so damn easy to create a website. But back then I made some money so that was fun.
Age - 30
Height - I dunno, 5'10"?
Facial hair - Yeah, small mustache and goatee
Any pets - One cat named Boots
What kind of car do you drive - 2006 Chrysler Sebring
Corrective lenses - yup
Hair style - mm short
Favorite movie - Top Gun/Tombstone
Favorite tv show - Big Bang Theory
Favorite drink - mmm if I was at a bar and didn't know what to get my default is midori sour or amaretto sour. Yup, anything fruity tasting that I can barely taste the alcohol works.
Favorite band - Queen
Favorite food - Pizza
Favorite non KU team - Royals
All time favorite KU player - Thomas Robinson
First concert - B.B. King
First w-2 job - Footlocker
Best athlete seen play live - Andrew Wiggins