Derek Donovan’s ‘Stuff I Like’: A swell trail, an old-school gym, captivating sci-fi

Thomas Jane is a space-faring gumshoe in SyFy’s “The Expanse”
Thomas Jane is a space-faring gumshoe in SyFy’s “The Expanse”

Here’s what Derek Donovan, community engagement editor for the The Star’s opinion pages, is into right now:

Impact Elite Gym


Nobody ever looked at me and wondered whether I can deadlift 500 pounds. (Spoiler: I can’t!) But I never feel out of place when I’m working out next to the super-friendly powerlifting team weeknights at locally owned Impact Elite on North Oak.

This isn’t your gym if you’re the type who chats on the phone while lazily paddling an elliptical. Impact’s two stories offer just about anything you can think of to torture yourself, from its huge open Astroturf room packed with tires, sleds and kettlebells to its oldest-of-old-school weight room.

Line Creek Trail


I love distractions. Line Creek Trail fits that bill a little too well when the Saturday sun is shining but chores really need to be tended to at home. Still, I can never be mad at myself when the trail wins and I end up wandering and coveting my fellow Northlanders’ dogs passing by.

Bonus: There’s an incredible, otherworldly echo when you make any kind of sound in the trail’s tunnel under Barry Road a little to the east of Green Hills Road.

Buffalo Mane Barber Shop

I’m one of those people who gets their hair cut maybe six times a year. I can always count on Buffalo Mane, next to Anthony’s at Grand and Admiral boulevards, to get the job done right. I schedule online with Michael or Justin, depending on availability. Neither one has ever sent me out the door unhappy.

Korg Gadget


I’ll be forever grateful to my parents for their sacrifices in sending me to top-flight piano lessons. But what I really wanted to play was the synthesizer — and even a bare-bones model started at about $1,000 when I was a kid. Today, longtime synth manufacturer Korg makes Gadget, an iPad/iPhone app that gives you 18 virtual synthesizers, drum machines and effects units that sound exactly like the real deal. And it’s $39.99 (on sale for $19.99 as of this writing, in fact). If there’s a sound I can dream up, Gadget can produce it.

“The Expanse”

Despite being smack in the middle of the “Star Wars” generation, I have little interest in most science fiction. But the intrigue, acting and special effects of SyFy’s series “The Expanse” are all worthy of a feature film.

Based on the novels by James S. A. Corey, the show (airing 9 p.m. Wednesdays) is set in a future where mankind has taken to the solar system. Astropolitical tensions arise among Earth-dwellers, the Martian military and the “Belters” — the social underclass who were born in the asteroid belt and struggle with Earth-like gravitation — when a scraggly crew led by Thomas Jane and Steven Strait comes into contact with a bizarre alien life form. I was hooked from the first episode.

“Silver Eye” by Goldfrapp

The constantly evolving British duo Goldfrapp’s seventh studio LP, released March 31, is their most cracking yet. After the gorgeous but extreme minimalism of 2013’s “Tales of Us,” Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory have unpacked their drum machines. Lead single “Anymore” is the most infectious single of 2017, and try getting its Tatooine dance party video out of your mind. Return to form? Goldfrapp never got out of shape. “Silver Eye” is proof.

Derek Donovan: 816-234-4722, @KCStarPublic