Tuesday, April 29, 2008
brendon, impressive in his riding this weekend, foretells a hale ragby
things i love about this photo, beginning with dirty dick
the first-ever "kim west radio cycling show aggressive rider award"
Mrs. Karras spoke before Mr. Karras could answer the question. “We’re not sending him down the mountain in two feet of fresh snow just to get your newspaper! He might get lost; or worse yet, someone might see him.”
“Oh, he’ll be fine,” said Mr. Karras. “It’s easy to follow the road down to town and back up again. Besides, the kid will be so bundled up that no one will be able to tell who he is.”
Then, turning to Jack, Mr. Karras began to explain, “My copy of the Des Moines Register is supposed to be delivered to my mailbox at the bottom of the hill, but due to a glitch in that new-fangled computer system the newspaper is using, my copy gets delivered to the Mr. Kar Wash car wash in town instead.”
“I’ve tried to fix the problem countless times over the phone and through the mail, but they can’t figure out how to change the address stored by the computer,” continued Mr. Karras. “My newspaper continues to be delivered to, of all places, a business run by people who think intentionally misspelling a word like ‘car’ with a ‘k’ is clever. Do you know how annoying that is?”
“Intentional misspellings. It’s one of his pet peeves,” Mrs. Karras chimed in, shaking her head.
“The only solution the circulation desk could come up with was to offer to pay a local newspaper carrier to take the paper from the car wash and drop it off in my mailbox each day. I’m supposed to keep track and send them a bill in order to pay the paperboy,” grumbled Mr. Karras. “What a preposterous mess!”
“I’ll go get the paper and save you the trouble,” said Jack. “Just tell me how to get to the car wash.”
“Terrific!” exclaimed Mr. Karras and he leaped up from the table to find a suitable map in the drawer near the phone. Meanwhile, Mrs. Karras cleared the breakfast dishes and then went in search of warm clothes that would fit Jack.
Within a half hour, Jack was dressed and ready to go. His layers of clothing were warm, but still allowed him to move freely and could be opened or removed to keep Jack from overheating while he hiked. Mr. Karras went over the directions one last time as Jack fumbled with the straps of the snowshoes. Then, with a hearty slap on the back, Mr. Karras sent Jack out the door into the deep snow.
It didn’t take long for Jack to get the hang of the snowshoes as he made his way down the mountain. The snowshoes kept him on top of the snow, but every once in a while, Jack would get going a little too quickly and take a tumble. After a while, Jack found that he could take his attention away from walking with the snowshoes and enjoy the scenery instead.
The snow was fresh and deep all around, with fir trees standing straight and tall everywhere except for the cut of the road. Once in a while, Jack could see through a small clearing to the valley below and the mountains on the other side, majestic in their white robes of new snow.
The steepness of the mountain road gradually leveled off, and Jack soon found himself nearing the edge of town. Following the directions Mr. Karras had given him, Jack veered off of the road and along a creek that ran past the edge of town. A bridge crossed the creek a bit farther on, and Jack was able to scramble up the embankment to the snow-covered road above. Along the road, just a few hundred feet from where Jack was, stood the Mr. Kar Wash car wash, closed on Sunday.
[editor's note: i tried to find a photo of a closed car wash. this is the best i could do. sorry.]
to be continued... [a serial by little orphan dbax]
Monday, April 28, 2008
4--with the exception of brianna hantelmann, where were the des moines juniors?
Friday, April 25, 2008
well, goddammit, i'm TIRED of this crap. any wonder why i hate trails, and why i hate the official mentality that says we should have to ride on them? geebus, why do we put up with this shit? no WONDER jerks like SNOWDOG feel they can get away with it. need further proof? read this.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
i suspect our mystery man SNOWDOG envisions himself as the cold, frosted canine at left. in reality, however, i suspect most folks who have encountered snowdog think of him, well, kinda like the second photo: just some dick in a truck. we may have picked up his scent, by the way, and i would like to thank and congratulate the metro running community for not just stepping up to the plate, but running up to it in droves, by helping out and spreading the word about these posts and this menace to society.
a local station is prepared to run a story about the snowdog affairs, and we have some reliable spottings, so this chance encounter just might have a happy ending. we shall see.
Yes boys and girls it is another beautiful day in the peach state. Lu and I walked to downtown Athens from our hotel and spent some quality time in a local Mexican restaurant where they mix the margaritas by hand. We sample several just to test the consistency. I like Athens. That is just a blanket statement but I stand by it. Very fun town. We enjoyed a few cocktails in the hotel and then slept well. Today we had several things to take care of and it all worked out perfectly. A good breakfast of Country fried steak, I would die if I lived down here. Everything is fried but you have to try it your in the south. I don't know if I have ever talked about the sweet tea line and my thoughts on it but there is such a thing. As you travel south you will hit a line where they will ask if you would like sweet tea. It is some where in Missery. Then as you get farther south they just quit asking. In Savannah I asked for unsweetened tea, they looked at me like I was sick. We made a nice ride up to Gainesville and found a spot to park. Guys I did not do as well on the parking space today. I parked at the 150 meter to go sign. We did the expo since I think if they took the time to set up I should do a run through then we watched the race on the big screen. It didn't take long before our friends the Danielson's showed up. We had a couple months worth of catching up and some talk about wine then the race was heating up. It was not a hilly stage so those all lay out about the same. There is a break of 4 or 5 then near the end the pack sucks it back and they all come in together. Today they had a hard down hill finish with a couple of hilly circuits. While we were standing there watching on the big screen Kevin Livingston walked up and stood by us. He is the technical director of the race. I asked him why they always have that Dave guy announce and he laughed. Then he said haven't I met you guys before. I said yes that we were from Iowa and that I had followed his career for since he was about 14. He said yes that Jason had introduced us the year before. The racers were drilling it for the circuits and they dropped some pretty stud riders. Jason was right in the mix so no lost time. I talked to him right after and he said that the finish was pretty sketchy. Talking to Terry Danielson, he said that is exactly what Tom said as well. We did some more catching up with the Danielsons and then we headed back to Athens. We had a couple of chores to do. Our friend Lisa designs play grounds and Athens has a huge one. We paid it a visit and took several photos for her. Then it was laundry time. There is only so much room on the big GS and it was necessary to hit the laundromat. Our time there made me think. First I hate it there and avoid it at all costs, that said this was a good visit. It made me realize that some times on these trips it is the people you meet that make the trip. The young guy that was running the place was a joy. He was maybe thirty years old and he owns a laundromat. He clearly worked his butt off and he knew 90% of the people walking in that place. He kept it clean and helped several of the people that came in. He was a motorcycle rider and had his crutch rocket parked out front. I was impressed and that says a lot at a laundromat. Now it is more Captain and the Daily Show.
PS I have been hearing rumors that there is a special guest mechanic at Open Shop night at my house tonight. Just remember all my tools need to hung back up where they belong. I will know if they are out of place.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
I read with interest the recounting of the run-in April 23 between a group of cyclists and the driver of a pickup truck with SNOWDOG vanity plates. Unfortunately, this isn't the first time that SNOWDOG has exhibited dangerous behavior.
Here are some examples from the running community. I fear that if we ask additional runners and cyclists, more incidents will surface.
All of these incidents have been in the neighborhood surrounding Westminster Presbyterian Church (Beaver and Franklin avenues). Many involve women. All are too scary.
Deb Bull, a long-time runner, had her first near-hit with SNOWDOG in January 2006 (not a typo). In 2008 alone, Deb has had two near-accidents with the same driver, who intentionally swerves toward runners. In one case she was running with Julie Howe. In another incident, Deb was running with Bill Brown. One of these near-hits occurred on March 8, which was reported to 911. Deb was encouraged to carry a cell phone so she could promptly call if this happened again.
After making a few calls to friends, it appears that SNOWDOG was probably involved with an attempted run-down of a group of women, including Ruth Jordal. The women in Ruth's group know it was a red pickup that aimed for them, but they didn't think to get a license plate. Yes, the same neighborhood, same behavior.
This is a rogue driver that we simply can't allow to imperil our residents--many of them my friends! Given the number of incidents, it would be most unfortunate if the city chooses to do nothing.
Does the city need more examples regarding SNOWDOG before taking action?
How will the city respond?
When will the city respond?
Please escalate this issue.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
...that these lovely creatures, known to most northern hemispheroids as "kangaroos" are actually "red necked wallabies." it's like learning that your favorite porn star is a bush fan.
i spoke at the monthly meeting of the des moines cycle club last night. my first chance to cash in on my new-found radio stardom. i sound pretty much the same, but i noticed that 1] i didn't curse as much as i like to; 2] that when i talk about things that get me worked up, like when friends and strangers are mowed down by motorists and spineless county attorneys refuse to prosecute, that there is a little recognition that at least i'll have a louder forum through which i can bang that drum; 3] that good things really ARE starting to happen here in des moines, things which i view as good [i'm still waiting for that jerk smithson permanently to close ALL his stupid bars downtown], and somehow--like zelig--i've gotten sucked into the vortex. it's pretty cool, actually. so thanks to the dmcc for putting up with my little rant.
by the way, i scored a couple town and country bikes yesterday from a guy who is new to the kollective family. one for a woman in elkhart who desparately needs one, and one to replace the one that was stolen from the orphanage a couple weeks ago. the dogs and i WILL be in the beaverdale parade for the third consecutive year this fall. what a great place, eh?
be cool today.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
regular readers know that i have two grandkids, nyla kim, and jabari charles, with whom i spend thursdays, playing grandpa, or "papa" in the language of the little scallions. since august, 2004, i've not been there maybe seven or eight thursdays, max. i'm missing another one this thursday [i'd hoped to be covering the tour of georgia, but instead will be playing fake patient at dmu], but over the course of her life, i've done my best to make little nyla a tree-hugging hippie: a dyed-in-the-cotton bleeding heart liberal, who is kind to strangers [mindful of "stranger danger," she asked the other day if it was okay to talk to a particular person on the street, and, after being assured that it was, she went straight up and chatted], is an ardent obama supporter, and is--in the truest sense of the phrase--a tree-hugging little hippie.
since before she was able to walk, we would walk up to trees--either in her yard, on strolls around the block, while on our hours-long rides with the burley, at my house, and while visiting other folk's homes--at give them big, sincere hugs, and thank them for all the shade and oxygen they provide, for standing out all winter long in the freezing cold, and during the harsh rain and wind storms. before she leaves my house, before getting in the car, she'll run out to my maples and give them each big hugs, and thank them. she even hugs the dwarf lilac bushes by my sidewalk.
it came as no surprise to me [though a great delight, obviously] that as she and her mom were walking around the block today, the following exchange took place:
i felt as the non-custodial father must feel when he has the kids on saturday afternoon, from 2 to 4 pm, and wants to take them to the zoo, the amusement park, and the ice cream shop, only to learn that they really just wanted ice cream.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
optimism reigns in smoke-filled rooms
Friday, April 18, 2008
I was tuning in the shine on the light night dial
Doing anything my radio advised
With every one of those late night stations
Playing songs bringing tears to my eyes
I was seriously thinking about hiding the receiver
When the switch broke 'cause it's old
They're saying things that I can hardly believe
They really think we're getting out of control
(CHORUS) Radio is a sound salvation
Radio is cleaning up the nation
They say you better listen to the voice of reason
But they don't give you any choice 'cause they think that it's treason
So you had better do as you are told
You better listen to the radio
I wanna bite the hand that feeds me
I wanna bite that hand so badly
I want to make them wish they'd never seen me
Some of my friends sit around every evening
And they worry about the times ahead
But everybody else is overwhelmed by indifference
And the promise of an early bed
You either shut up or get cut up,
they don't wanna hear about it
It's only inches on the reel-to-reel
And the radio is in the hands of such a lot of fools
Tryin' to anaesthetise the way that you feel
* * * * *
seriously, i had no idea.
A strange sight greeted Jack as he made his way down to the kitchen. There, on a mat in front of the sliding glass doors that looked out over the valley below the house, sat Mr. Karras in a pretzel-like position.
“Pull up a mat, kid,” said Mr. Karras cheerfully. “You are just in time for the Half Lord of the Fishes pose.”
Jack looked doubtful.
“Don’t be a stick-in-the-mud,” added Mr. Karras. “You’ve got enough stress in your life that some good old fashioned yoga would do you a lot of good. Now unroll that extra mat, and I’ll show you how to do the Cat-Cow Stretch. It’s an easy way to start.”
Jack dutifully unrolled the extra mat in front of the window next to Mr. Karras and got down on all fours beside him.
“Imitate what I do,” instructed Mr. Karras. “Now curl your toes under, drop your belly slowly and look up toward the ceiling. The movement should start at the base of the spine and end with your neck. Good, that is the cow pose.”
Mr. Karras continued, “Now release your toes and relax your feet, round your back and drop your head until you can see your belly button. Okay, this is the cat pose. Very good, kid. Now repeat while you inhale and exhale through each pose.”
Jack followed Mr. Karras through different poses and stretches until Mrs. Karras began to put breakfast on the table. Then, while Mr. Karras rolled up both mats and set them aside, Jack stood up with a half sigh-half yawn and felt better than he had in a long time.
Along with a plate of scrambled eggs and toast came a dubious looking drinking glass full of thick, dark red juice. “Drink up, kid,” said Mr. Karras, finishing his own glass and smacking his lips. “That glass contains three servings of vegetables run through a juicer. It has all the vitamins you’ll need in a day. It’s good for you.”
Jack took a careful taste. He thought he could sort out the flavors of tomato, carrot, and maybe even cucumber. The vegetable drink didn’t taste bad, but it didn’t exactly taste good either, so Jack gulped it down as quickly as possible and then moved on to the rest of the meal.
“I don’t suppose we’ll be able to get the newspaper today with all this snow,” said Mr. Karras after breakfast. “The towns down below will be cleared and plowed right away, but it might be a few days until they reach us up here in the mountains.”
Mrs. Karras replied, “It can wait a day, can’t it?”
“Not when I’m so close to breaking this story wide open!” exclaimed Mr. Karras. “And we don’t know what kind of danger Jack is really in. It’s very frustrating to know that my copy of the newspaper is sitting down there in town, just a few miles away.”
“I’ll go get the newspaper,” volunteered Jack. He was just as anxious as Mr. Karras to get to the bottom of the scandal.
“Excellent!” beamed Mr. Karras. “You can use my snow shoes. It should only take you a few hours to get there and back.”
“Where is ‘there’?” asked Jack. “Is the newspaper waiting at the post office or something?”
“Actually,” said Mr. Karras, “you’ll find my copy of the Des Moines Register newspaper waiting at the Mr. Kar Wash car wash.”
to be continued... [a serial by little orphan dbax]
from the orphanage in-box: $3.35/gallon
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
The truck driver returns foaming at the mouth screaming, blah blah blah “you fucking puke”, blah-blah-blah, “you messed with the wrong fuckin guy!, blah-blah-blah, “you don’t pay taxes with that fucking thing!” blah-blah, “you ever fuckin do that again I’ll pick your ass up and throw you in the back of my truck and drive you to the police station!”, blah...”you ever put your bike in front of my truck again I’ll run you down!”
Nice that he threatened me with kidnapping and murder for riding my bike on my side of the road. Is it ok to just go around threatening to kill people?
Other notes: I guess it was labeled private drive on one end of the development. I looked at his plates and he was a volunteer fireman. I think I am going to buy a little mini recorder to carry so I can record conversation like these.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
click here to listen. [i fixed this link!]
click here to read my benefactor's blog.
and tune in sunday night, 600-700 pm,
AM 1460, or kxno.com
call me at 866.333.5966,
or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, April 14, 2008
dear mostly reverend--
Here's an account of the training race I did. On Sunday, I woke up early for a training race that I was going to do here in Hamburg. They're called RTF's (Radrenn Training Fahrt) While riding there with my friend, I asked him how many people might show up. Now, I was expecting it to be like a typical training race, and I had a ballpark figure in my head of around 100. And he replied. ''Well, with the nice weather, maybe a thousand.'' ''Holy Shit,'' I said, ''Is that normal?'' ''Yeah, it's still early in the season, there's usually more in the summer.'' A thousand people. No, a thousand bike racers on open streets, some of whom take these RTF's very seriously. They take crazy risks: running red lights, dodging tractors on narrow roads, and every thing else dangerous, all for the sake of their own pride. They can't let their buddy beat them, right? To do these RTF's, you're supposed to pay 4 euro, and then you get a number. Well, I didn't pay the entry fee, but I have two legitimate reasons. 1. I didn't have 4 euro 2. I didn't feel like paying for a race in which there was no actual finish line. That's right, race numbers, but no finish line. I was a little confused but I just put it in the ''funny things to remember'' part of my brain and started riding my bike. So, since the ride/race was on open roads, I just started riding conveniently on the same course as this event was about take place. When, I looked back at a group of a 1000 bike riders behind me, you can understand my bewilderment. So, I did what any bike rider would do when they are about to get caught, I started riding fast with them. The ride was split into three distances, 60, 110 and 150 kilometers. There were less than confusing signs on the road showing the direction for all of them, and you could choose whatever distance you like. Everyone in my group opted for the 150, none of us wanted to be the pussy that didn't do the extra 40 kilometers. So, we rode fast and it was fun, and after 50k or so, I saw a red sign with the letter K and 200 meters. In my raced out, brainwashed mind, I instantly assumed it was some sort of sprint and reached instantly for the drops. But to my surprise, we turned into a fire station and an awesome spread of everything lovely. Bread, fruit, granola bars, cake, juice, water... All free and delicious for us. Before ride was over, we had made two more stops like this one, and I had had four rosinen brötchen with nutella. Awesome. I really enjoyed my first RTF, it's a little less stressful than doing UCI races in Belgium. Hopefully, I'll be able to do some more of them later on. -Andy