Thursday, May 29, 2008

jack and the magic bean bus

chapter 37

karras: 'okay, ragby, we've had a problem here.'
green: 'this is ragby. say again please.'
karras: 'ragby, we've had a problem...
we've had a short bus revolt.'

Kelby showed Jack in through the garage where they parked their bikes and then into the kitchen where Kelby dropped his nearly empty water bottles in the sink and took his cleats off. He showed Jack to the second bedroom and then left Jack to get settled while Kelby showered and changed into street clothes.
On his own in the second bedroom, Jack carefully took

the bag of magic beans out of his pocket and looked carefully at them. He had carried them with him for many months, and they had taken quite a beating. He had finally delivered them to Kelby as Sister Kim had asked him to, but Kelby didn’t want them. Jack didn’t know what else to do with the beans, so he tossed them into his duffle bag and left them behind for the first time in months.
Back in the kitchen, Kelby set out a quick snack for the two of them and then glanced up at the clock and said, “Uh-oh, its almost four o’clock. I’m supposed to meet someone at four and look at buying
an old school bus. We can finish the snack in the car.”
They hopped into Kelby’s car and were soon across town speaking with a man who had an old run-down school bus parked in a large shed behind his garage. At first, Jack couldn’t see how such a long vehicle could fit in such a short shed, but as they walked inside and their eyes adjusted to the dim light, Jack could see that it was a short school bus, not quite half as long as a typical full-length school bus.
Kelby and the man haggled over prices for a while until they reached an agreement and shook hands. Then Kelby made arrangements to pick up the bus the next day and take care of all the necessary paperwork.
In high spirits, Kelby didn’t head straight for home but took Jack out for
pizza and beer in downtown Fort Collins. Over supper, he explained the plans to paint the bus and then use it to take a bunch of friends out to Ragbrai in style. Kelby mentioned a lot names and Jack recognized
Mahk, Nick, Vong, Maria, Martin, and Vegas among them.
Kelby told Jack that he was welcome to join them, but Jack wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to head back to the state where all his troubles had begun. However, Kelby was persistent, explaining that Sister Kim wanted Jack to return. Jack decided to trust
Sister Kim.
The next weeks were busy ones as Kelby and Jack worked hard to prepare the bus for painting and travel. They had the engine overhauled, and the bus ran more smoothly after that, with clouds of blue smoke that weren’t quite as thick as before. The most difficult part of preparing the bus was installing a custom bike rack on the roof, but Kelby had a friend who could weld and was willing to put in the time to set it up.
The night before the trip, Kelby’s dad,
Larry, arrived and was so excited about the bus that he kept climbing all over it like a little kid until Kelby tossed him the keys and a credit card and suggested that he take the bus and fill it up.
When Larry returned, they loaded their bikes, bags, and tents on board along with food, coolers, and a lot of beer from local breweries. Kelby made numerous phone calls to double-check on pick up times for everyone they would be taking with them to Ragbrai. Much later than they had hoped, Kelby and Jack finished their preparation and were able to catch a few hours of sleep before getting an early start Saturday morning.
The Short Bus adventure was about to begin.

to be continued...

[a serial by little orphan dbax]

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

scratch and sniff

today's scent: lilac
it's the end of may, and my yard is beginning, finally, to smell like springtime.
i love this time of year...

joe biden has not just gone away

this is why i was proud to have supported him,
and why i still do.
[but not the top of the ticket now]

i could make this stuff up, but i have perfect strangers doing it for me!

i was just going through the in-box at the orphanage, and these things rose to the top of the pile. unsolicited does NOT equal unwelcome. in fact, i LOVE hearing feedback, good and not-so-good. we read it all:
"mr kim-just a quick kudos on how cool your radio show continues to get. week after week, it's another fun thing for us bike folks to listen to. and bill and jeff, what great guys to hear talk about their paths to cycling geekdom. keep up the good work!!i WILL call in sometime.....but when i tried last night, i couldn't get through.......maybe it's the podcast.....?"
dear listener: you need a special phone to get through to me during the podcast. it's very expensive, but i know someone who can get you a deal!
"oh, i know, that podcast is MOST confusing. i thought that was your home # and you were always there. suddenly i feel as if i've been slighted. and yes, i WILL listen live on sunday and hope several folks call in with good questions. looking forward to it."
dear listener: see how easy it is to communicate in cyberville via voice over podcasting phones?
and this from a young female listener in the land of maize and gold, or yella, or something:
"I too am a listener and I listen live when I can. Just go to the radio station's website when Kim's show is on in your area--it's on at 7 in Michigan on Sunday. Then just hit streamlining and viola you'll have Kim West live, which I admit freaked me out a little b/c I've never actually met Kim so I had this preconceived, imagined voice which was the exact opposite of what I heard on the radio. Kim, you sound like a refined NPR spokesperson and whenever I hear your voice your mustache is immediately gone and your hair is cut neat and I couldn't possible imagine you wearing a devil costume and chasing girls. I suppose living in Iowa will do that to a person, I mean look at Brokaw...Hope that helps! --huge fan in michigan
yes, i am a graduate of the "carl cassell school of how to sound like carl cassell on the radio" and the mustache and devil costume? i fear you have me confused with someone else.
but DO keep those cards and letters coming! the orphans and i read them all, and in the winter,they burn well in the fireplace. we have a fireplace on the intertubes, and each email we forward to it make the fire burn brighter. i love the intertubes.
and this just in:
how cool is THAT to hear in your in-box. thanks, folks.
sincerely and seriously.

a familiar face in the crowd at monday's crits

i promised i wouldn't identify him, but a certain mr. "m," seen here hanging at the miller stand, who is touring the the states scouting the american race scene, granted me a few minutes of his time, and you'll be hearing it as soon as he gives his okay--only on the kim west radio cycling show.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

wanna be heard? THIS IS IMPORTANT STUFF!!

The Des Moines Area Metropolitian Planning Organization (DMAMPO) will hold two important public meetings on Thursday, May 29, 2008, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Roosevelt High School Library, 4419 Center Street, Des Moines, Iowa.
The first meeting will cover the goals and objectives that are in development for the update of the Horizon Year 2035 Long-Range Transportation Plan (HY 2035 LRTP). The DMAMPO strongly encourages any interested citizens to attend this meeting. Your input is critical at this stage of the planning process and input received will help to guide the future of our metropolitan area.
Citizen Transportation Congress
Immediately following the Horizon Year 2035 Long-Range Transportation Plan (HY 2035 LRTP) goals and objectives meeting, the DMAMPO staff will hold the seventh Citizen Transportation Congress
At this time, interested citizens will have the opportunity to comment on other transportation issues throughout the metropolitan area.
This is a great opportunity to voice your opposition to unneeded, expensive projects like the proposed NW 26th Street Interchange and MLK Extension and the Northeast Polk County Beltway. It's also essential to re-affirm public support for expanding public transit service, passenger trains from Des Moines to other cities, adding bike lanes to existing roads and encouraging pedestrian-friendly connections and other sensible solutions that will allow us to drive less and save money at the pump.
Thursday, May 29
6:30 pm
Roosevelt High School Library
(On the south side of the high school facing the freeway, and just northwest of the 42nd Street interchange)
4419 Center Street
Des Moines
This is your chance to speak up, be heard, and help facilitate change in Central Iowa. We encourage you to attend the meetings, ask questions, and voice your opinions. Please join other Des Moines area residents in the long-term commitment to create healthy, vibrant communities for future generations.
The goals and objectives will provide an overall guidance for the continuing development of the HY 2035 LRTP and the physical development of the metropolitan area's transportation system over the next thirty years.
Written comments on either meeting may be addressed to the DMAMPO, Merle Hay Centre, 6200 Aurora Avenue, Suite 300W, Urbandale, IA 50322-2866.
i can't get there until after 800 pm--won't SOMEBODY please be there to speak up for the bicycle crazies among us out there?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

jack and the magic bean bus

chapter 36 - follow the yellow brick road?

The next morning, Jack chatted with Mahk over breakfast and got Kelby’s address. At first, Vegas was going to drive Jack up to Fort Collins, but at the last minute they found that the truck wouldn’t start. It would take a day or more to get the truck repaired yet again, and Jack wasn’t willing to wait, so he decided to ride his bike for the sixty-mile journey from Boulder to Fort Collins.
Mahk was very good about providing Jack with directions and information about which roads would be the best. [click each strip to enlarge and to learn the pathway to happiness here on earth]

Then, Jack spent some time rearranging his duffle bag so that he could carry everything comfortably during the ride. His magic beans were still tucked safely in the SIDI cleat bag in his pocket.
With a wave and a thank you, Jack set out on what he hoped was the last leg of his journey to find Kelby in the great mountains of the west. The ride to Fort Collins was very flat compared to the mountains looming to Jack’s left. He passed easily through Longmont, Berthoud, and Loveland, taking time to stop and buy food and drinks when he needed to. The money Jack had earned over the long winter months made life so much easier now.

Not everything was easier, however. Jack had to deal with the awkward duffle bag slung over his shoulder, and he had to keep shifting its position on his back as he rode along. The strap was cutting into his shoulder, and the bag left a huge sweaty spot on his back. Jack also found that he missed his old bicycle, which he had lost in Iowa City months ago. Jack’s old bike was a nice, lightweight racing bike that fit him perfectly, but it was long gone. The heavy clunker he was riding now probably weighed three times as much.
By mid afternoon, Jack had reached Fort Collins, and after some brief confusion, he managed to figure out Mahk’s directions, which led him to
Kelby’s doorstep. At least Jack hoped it was Kelby’s doorstep. The address matched the one Mahk had given him, but no one was home.
Rather than attract attention by waiting on the driveway, Jack decided to ride around a little bit and find a nice park where he could relax. Then he could come back in a few hours and hopefully find Kelby at home. But just as Jack turned to leave, a cyclist coasted up the driveway and stopped right in front of Jack.
“I’m looking for Kelby,” Jack said tentatively
“You’ve found him,” said the cyclist. “What can I do for you?”
Jack let out a sigh of relief. His quest was at an end. “I’ve brought you the magic beans from Sister Kim,” explained Jack as he pulled the SIDI cleat bag from his pocket.
Kelby hesitated. “The wha?”
Jack looked at the bag and then at Kelby and realized how ridiculous he must have seemed, riding a clunker bike and just showing up in Kelby’s driveway, announcing that he had brought magic beans from Sister Kim. Then he looked back at the bag again and saw how beat up it was. Jack had been traveling with it in his pocket for almost eight months, through all sorts of weather and adventures. Today’s ride provided just one more set of foul conditions for the beans, soaking in Jack’s sweat from the bicycle ride.
Kelby smiled and shook his head. “You know what? Keep the beans. Sister Kim sent me a letter last fall saying that you would arrive sooner or later with coffee beans, but I think you should just keep those.”

Then Kelby continued, “Look, I just finished a training ride and I have to get cleaned up to go see someone about buying a school bus. Come on in and I’ll show you where you can put your stuff."

to be continued...
[a serial by little orphan dbax]

snake alley 2008

"the spit hits the fan"

when we last visited beautiful snake alley, in late may, 2007,
fans were dispersing after another fun-filled day of racing and race spectating. the cooler was emptied and getting dragged up the hill, farewells were being biddened, and payouts were being received.

our hero--the devil--had received his due, and he was happy.
may 24, 2008, was another race day, overcast, a little on the chilly side, but a dry day, filled with hope and anticipation. but little did our hero know what danger lurked inside the hearts of evil men.
our hero's alter-ego, kim west,

mild-mannered radio reporter for a major metropolitan sports radio station, the daily blabber, walked the route, greeting old friends, renewing acquaintances, making new friends and contacts in the seemy netherworld of race promotion and officiation. i tell you, kim's met a lot of strange people in his life, but these race officials and promotion types are the lowest of the low. there's just something about them--never smiling, never a kind word for anyone: just clipboards this, and obscure rule that.

little did mild-mannered mister west suspect that his view of these "people" would change FOREVER in just a few short hours...nor did he suspect that

precious bodily fluids would, once again, play such a critical role in the course of world history!!
kim west sat and observed the morning's races: the juniors [did the bus carrying all the juniors from des moines get lost--AGAIN???], the cat 4 women, the masters [gee, you mean we DON'T take that first right turn?]. throughout the morning, countless spectators asked west if the devil would make his annual appearance? one fellow even said, "you kinda look like him, but not really, not when you get up-close. he's much better looking."
i wanted to scream. but i am a mild-mannered traditionalist; and the devil never works before 100 pm. kim DID have a 1000 am fat tire, though. thanks, fryguy.
so the afternoon races begin, the devil has appeared, kim west has disappeared, as he always does ["gotta file a race report"].

the media swarmed, anxious for this year's sound bite from hell. the devil reportedly told media that he was from hades, nebraska, a small town just outside beaumont, and near carhenge.

as advertised,

a devilette appeared. two, actually [thanks, caitlyn--who managed to annoy her father earlier in his race].

ever the hang-out for the rich and fabulously wealthy, the stars came to the snake, to "hang" with the devil. just one of the many [dogbait, mr and mrs rat and family, the ruddicks of boulder, mr kellogg, and many many more], but the cream of the crop of this year's tifosi was long-time race fan, and a favorite of all,

flava dav

showed, sans posse of flavettes.

dav was more animated than usual, due in large part, the devil suspects, to two things: his new corporate partner, amgen/epo, and his cunning ability to keep his hand out of the cookie jar.
during the 30+ race, the action got hot, and the verbal barbs from devil's bend were flying. apparently, one such barb found its target.

this sorry sap, in the 30+ race, must have taken offense at something the devil said . . . lap after lap after lap. always a master at finding one's weak spot, this barb festered quickly, and erupted [after a couple laps of evil looks], HE SPIT ON THE DEVIL! i, er, the devil, could tell that he was about to break. his ego wouldn't allow him to smile or joke, but he knew he was hurting. so on one particular lap, after AGAIN befing offered an ice cold frosty barley malt, he turned back and SPAT at me, er, the devil.

immediately the OOOOOOOOOOOssss broke out, as others had watched with much amusement as this drama unfolded, lap after lap after lap.

one of those who watched, although not in amusement, was former iowa district rep, noted videographer of one of the most exciting solo victories in iowa state criterium championship history in pella, 2006, and brother of the cloth, the downright reverend rick paulos, proving once again the hydrophobic qualities of "the cloth" in which we both enrap ourselves. click on and study closely the photo of the devil and devilette: you'll notice not only lowell kellogg, friend and former teammate of the spitter, but also the downright reverend himself. yup, a couple laps after the spit flew [it fell short of its target, by the way], the spitter rode by and, pointing at lowell, shouted out "lowell!"
mm hmm. just as i suspected: another damned cheesehead conspiracy. lowell tried to play it down, but WE know the truth.
oh yes, we KNOW the truth.
post script: the spitter was DQ'd, came up and took the beer that i'd, er, the devil, had tried so hard, risking all, to offer during the race, and, after talking with lowell for some time, offered an apology to the devil.
like THAT will undo what has been done.

Friday, May 23, 2008

in it until the convention?


an alarming post you should read before your next trail ride

or, "there are shitheads EVERYwhere."
i received an email from a listener at my radio show address, and posted it on my radio show blog. it's rather disturbing, and you can read it here.
bottom line: be careful no matter WHERE you ride.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

jack and the magic bean bus

chapter 35 - the birth of the bus

Vegas and Jack pulled into Boulder just after sunset, and although Vegas seemed slightly lost the entire time they drove around the city, he eventually pulled into a parking spot and announced, “We’re here.”
They got out of the truck and Vegas motioned for Jack to follow as they cut across the street, down an alley, and emerged

in a big pedestrian mall called Pearl Street.
As they made their way through the crowd, someone rapped on the window from inside a deli and started waving and pointing at Jack but then did a double take and acted embarrassed about something.
A little farther down the street, someone shouted, “Hey!” but when Vegas and Jack turned, the person apologized and walked away.

Vegas eventually found the pub he was looking for and ducked inside, with Jack right behind him. While Vegas scanned the tables looking for familiar faces, a waitress touched Jack lightly on the arm and thanked him for the massage the other day. Jack turned in surprise, and the waitress nearly dropped her tray while trying to explain that she had mistaken Jack for someone else.
Jack had been on the run since the previous September, but he hadn’t been chased for months while he stayed in Vail. He had almost forgotten what it was like to constantly be looking over his shoulder, but the strange reactions of so many people around him were really starting to set Jack’s nerves on edge again. It was as if everyone knew Jack, or at least thought they did at first.
Eventually, Vegas spotted the people he was looking for and led Jack over to a side table

where they pulled up chairs and sat down. A waitress brought two more mugs and another pitcher of beer, and after everyone had greeted Vegas, their eyes shifted to Jack and stayed there.
One after another, they introduced themselves. “Hullo,

my name is Mahk. I mistook you for Vong at first. Are you a relative of his?”
“He sure looks the part,” said the second person, with a slightly different English accent. He added,

“I’m Nick. Glad to meet you.”

“And I’m Martin.” added the third person in a phony Australian accent.
Jack was already a bit rattled and seconds later, he let out a yelp when a young lady snuck up behind him and covered his eyes shouting, “Guess who?” Jack spilled his beer while trying to escape under the table before Vegas caught hold of him and convinced Jack that everything was okay. The young lady turned out to be another friend,

named Maria, who later explained that thought she was sneaking up on Vong.
As is typical when an outsider joins a group of old friends, Jack was on the fringe of the conversation for much of the evening as the others caught up on this and that, but Jack’s ears perked up when they began talking about Ragbrai.
Mahk mentioned that Kelby was in the process of purchasing a suitable vehicle, and Jack moved from the fringe of the conversation to the center of it while trying not to sound desperate. “Do you have Kelby’s address?” Jack asked Mahk.
“Not on me, but back at the house I do,” Mahk answered. “You guys are welcome to stay there if you need a place.”
“Yeah,” said Vegas, “That would be great.”
This was too good to be true, Jack thought. He relaxed for the rest of the night and actually enjoyed hanging out in the pub, listening to the others tell stories on each other. When it came time to leave, Vegas got some directions from Mahk, and he and Jack brought the truck over to

Mahk’s house for the night.
to be continued...
[a serial by little orphan dbax]

des moines ride of silence

the des moines ride was well-attended, estimates were over 100, i think. we were led by sergey motorny, who somehow survived what could have been fatal injuries nearly a year ago inflicted by a motorist who, to my knowledge, has thus far faced no legal consequences.
i had my little video camera with me and have posted on mytube five little pieces. if the shaky, hand-held results make you queasy, close your eyes and listen. some of the comments of other riders, and the silence, is pretty good.

links are:
part 1: here
part 2: here
part 3: here
part 4: here
part 5: here
[i apologize in advance that i spoke too much in some places in these videos]

she'll reveal her ass, but...

...not her assets?
in straight talk land, this is straight [above],
but this is crooked [below]

i guess this is the same standard that the GOP applied to theresa heinz kerry, right?

i didn't see THIS one coming

man, i thought that shit really worked.
now what am i gonna do with all THIS crap?
speaking of all this crap, i failed to notice that my last post was #1000 in a series of dog knows how many daily sermonettes. well, let me be the first to congratulate me on such perseverance. i am one damned formidable blogger, let me tell you that. and i intend to keep on blogging until the lady in the pant suit tells me to stop.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

ted kennedy

Sen. Kennedy Has Brain Tumor
Associated PressMay 20, 2008 1:13 p.m.
BOSTON -- Sen. Edward Kennedy has a brain tumor.
Doctors for the Massachusetts Democrat said tests conducted after Sen. Kennedy suffered a seizure this weekend show a tumor in his left parietal-lobe. The usual course of treatment includes combinations of radiation and chemotherapy, but Sen. Kennedy's treatment will be decided after more tests.
The 76-year-old senator has been hospitalized in Boston since Saturday, when he was airlifted from Cape Cod after a seizure at his home.
His wife and children have been with him each day but have made no public statements.
His doctors said in a statement released to the Associated Press that he has had no further seizures, is in good spirits and resting comfortably.
Copyright © 2008 Associated Press

i first met ted kennedy in iowa city in 1980, when he was running for president and i was a grad student/photographer with political connections, and had the task of covering all the many candidates who came to town. ted came to town with son patrick and niece caroline, and the marathon day began. it was crazy, and yet his heart-felt words never seemed veneered or false. when i finally posed with the senator at the end of the day for my photo, as i put my arm around his back, i felt the massive back brace that helped him stand erect all his days. as my more recent bout of back pain showed me, maintaining such a happy public demeanor is no easy task, and i'm a recluse, not a member of camelot.
the senator has a tough row ahead of him. i dread the sick shit that rush and lesser pinheads will spew forth at this time.
my thoughts are with him, and his family.

Monday, May 19, 2008

fence straddlers, listen up!

in a perfect world . . .

...television really WOULD be better.

god, i HATE the register's website

they told me they'd improved it, but i refused to believe them.
i was right...
i learned last tuesday or wednesday that kyle munson had posted a couple videos pertaining to bicycles. one was related to an interview conducted by brian duffy about the kollective, and the other was kyle's own harrowing experience riding his bike to work from slater last week. i tried--spent over 15 minutes--to find the damned things on their new and improved website, but gave up. a friend sent me the links. i tried just NOW to play them before posting them, but IT WAS TAKING TOO DAMNED LONG!!! so here they are, without my prior screening.
1--the video about the kollective
thanks to both kyle and brian for their work and the coverage. i certainly don't hold you guys responsible for the register's website. unless you ARE responsible for it!!!
--tip of the chewed-off fingernail to st. robro
--the balance of the finger to the register's "webmaster"
[i don't know if it's significant, but check the length of the url for these things--they're longer than kyle's ride!]

hold your swerve: here comes the straight talk express!!

it's monday; that means another week of mccain lies are headed your way.


by the way, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's most likely a republican. but don't take MY word for it.

monday night kollective rides

just a gentle reminder that beginning tonight at 530 pm, a group ride will be leaving from the des moines bike kollective at 617 grand avenue in downtown des moines.
it will be for everyone, as it is by my definition a "recovery ride" as all monday rides should be. that means a less than 20 mph [32 k/h] pace.
we'll ride through town, most likely on actual city streets, and perhaps continue on into the actual country. the actual route won't be announced until i get down there and figure out wind directions and all that, but right now, my desktop weather tells me the wind will be shifting from sse to sw from 500 to 700 pm, so it's a safe bet we'll be going somewhere south.
this will be loosely organized, if at all, so i don't want to hear any bitching about it. that being said, it will be an enjoyable ride.
and it won't be held NEXT monday, because we'll all be in rock island watching or racing in the pro 1,2 quad cities crit; the rides will resume monday, june 2.
spread the word...