July 31, 2011

quote of the moment

people are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered.
forgive them anyway.
if you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
be kind anyway.
what you spend years blinding, someone could destroy overnight.
build anyway.
if you find serenity and happiness, others may be jealous.
be happy anyway.
the good you do today, people will forget tomorrow.
do good anyway.
give the world the best you have and it may never be good enough.
give the world the best you have anyway.
you see, in the final analysis it is between you and god.
it was never between you and "them" anyway.

-- mother theresa

sour cream raisin pie

omaha, NE

quote of the moment

"i hate the mississippi...its wild and filthy waters, boiling and eddying...how uncertain is traveling in this region of high pressure...i cannot help feeling a disgust at the idea of perishing in such a vile sewer to be buried in mud and perhaps too be rooted out again by some pig-nosed alligator.

-- frederick "cap'n feddy" marryat

July 30, 2011


my super sun protection worked SO well yesterday, and my skin healed SO much, that I've decided to ride in sweats again.  I didn't get them washed from yesterday, but I have hung them inside out all night

I accidentally left the GPS on on my phone last night and as a result had no battery to take pictures today...

in a way, I got lucky because this was the least scenic day so far...but out also brings up a new challenge...

2 days ago I realized I've been riding without lip balm of any kind...my brother and I happened to be in a casey's (the 7-11 of iowa) and I bought a blistex then, but her didn't hand it to me...repeated reminders have had no effect and as I sit here riding, out feels like I've ben sucking on a jalapeno for the last week...not a good sign.

I pull into another casey's and look at myself in the mirror...i look fine.completely, totally normal...

I touch my lips and they're unbelievably tender...and actually, it's only the bottom one..
I look closer, and then I see it...i have a second degree sunburn running the entirety of my lower lip...the whole thing is one, complete (yet thin) blister...now THIS,i wasn't expecting...even with as fair as I am, I haven't sunburn my lips since I was a kid...and this is completely a weird one, because even though it feels like I'm chewing on a porcupine when I make any facial expression, or talk, it's completely undiscernable on my face.

I get a stick of carmex, slather some on, feel immediately better, ads have a strong ride....toward the end,i start to drag a bit and stop at one of the RAGBRAI roadside vendors for a sno-cone...something about that just sounds right.

just like when I was 10, I get half grape, half blue raspberry, AND IT IS*SO* good.it's so god that I just sit and giggle on the grass...it's so good that I order another one and IT is just as good.

I loved these as as kid and I'd completely forgotten about them.it was before college, and sex, and stupidity, and career, and lack of raises, and friends getting rich and them not speaking to me. it was before econogeddon, and continual cars, and wives filing for divorce on my birthday.it was before  stammering on stage, agonizing for days about a present and then having to return it.

but it was during my schwinn pea picker days, and assuming my dad wasn't drinking at that moment, those were good times.  it was me and john verma playing the monopoly championship of the world (and him crying when I won).  it was watching heat lighting on sleeping bags on the lawn.  AND IT WAS 19¢ HALF GRAPE AND HALF BLUE RASPBERRY SNO-CONES AT HENDERSON'S.

I get up and ride as though I once won the tour, but forgot about it and moved on to better things.

we're over-nighting at boone -which also has a strip club- and (clothed) strippers meet us at the city limits (much to the dismay of many locals).

of all the cities we'd come to, this had the warmest welcome, so far....people on lawn chairs applauding as w pass...one kid runs out in the street and relays me a grape flavor-ice.

I get into camp giddy and fully amped up.

this I'll finish not only finish, I'll finish strong.

July 29, 2011


90 miles of ride had been too much, but not how you might imagine...and now I officially have my first legitimate problem of the ride...

in the last two days, the combination of humidity, my body hear and sweat had neem working my sunscreen off...even with repeated applications...as a result, I have extremely bad sunburn on the tops of my legs, just above the knee, the backs of both calves, my brow, and tiny exposure spots on my neck and wrists...it's almost second degree in all spots...i can't take another day our something seriously bad will happen.

(people always wonder why I wear long sleeve shirts when I ride...not as much of a mystery more...)

I don't smoke, barely drink and have never done an illegal or ellict drug in my life.  I have super longevity in my family...but the one place I have HUGE risk is skin cancer...the ONLY way I could be at bigger risk is to have more sunburns.

I could sit a day out...that's certainly the safest...but I didn't drive 1000 miles to watch other people rode bikes...

the big problem here is I need a radical solution...i need something BETTER than "adequate protection"because my skin needs to rest and heel.

so I'm going to try an idea...

i decide to buy a pair of cycling liners and wear my track suit bottoms...while it's true that the temperatures have been tickling 100, I'm used to the "covered with clothing" concept in the heat (i never even wear shorts any more) AND I've been doing a lot of sauna and stream time since living in vegas, so my heat tolerance is pretty high.

yes, it'll make me look like a 1970s 8th grade retard, but it MIGHT mean I can ride with much lesser risk.

and it'll become real obvious, real fast, if it's a bad idea.

10 minutes into the ride, it's clear I've picked a winner.  the first 5 are hour, but once I started sweating, everything cooled fast.  I'd bought some 50 SPF t-shirts on a whim at cabella's and it's EASILY the most comfortable cycling top I've ever worn (including all jeery's).

the ride today is ultra senic, with a ton of great sights...in fact,i shoot so much, my camera starts to run low on battery.

I get into carroll and have a long conversation important with am info booth volunteer...most of it centered around the fact that carroll uses an image of the las vegas strip tip advertise their city on their web site...since the woman I'm talking to is a school teacher, during the majority of the conversation I'm  asking questions like, "so would you say teaching children devotion, our plagiarism is more important?"

by the end, she's laughing so hard she's crying ... my first contact with a person of ANY type today since when you're dressed like a muslim bike rider, you are shunned like plague carrying vermin.

I go to taco john's for infinite drink refills and hear from my brother for the first time in nearly 2 days...

when he does up, I'm shaken to my very core...

he looks *TERRIBLE*.  easily the worst I've seen EVER.he's red as a chery tomato...he's irritable, mildly incoherent and dull...it's a combo of sunburn and heat prostration, to be sure, but there's something else.

I'm not sure he should be riding tomorrow, but I'm not going to stop him.

so in the conservation of weather parity, on b1 sites had moved forward, one had moved back.

nobody said this was going to be easy, but only in my worst dreams did I think it might be this hard.

July 27, 2011

2011 RAGBRAI day 2

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Jul 27, 2011 9:37 PM
Subject: 2011 RAGBRAI day 2
To: <blog@gmail.com>

with a ride this short, the key day is day 2...and you don't know anything until you wake up...

maybe the day before has been to harsh and you're just going to cronenberg on the first incline...our maybe it's all going to be cakewalk.

today was the day with the most vertical gain of the entire ride...about a mile, so if things could go bad, in would probably be here.

I slept 6 hours straight -and while it was shorter than my preferred 9- it was still solid.

mounting my bike was easy, with no saddle soreness of any kind...my combination of 5 advil during the day along with 2 generous helpings of bag balm, seemed to be doing the trick.

overall all the riding was a breeze...i started off solid and got stronger as the heat climbed...

I ran into my brother at the one stroke Ice cream place and we rode a bit together.  when we pulled into kimballton (i think) and along with the town pull-out-the-stops-for-ragbrai antics, they had a constitution quiz...i told the iowa high school sweeties that my brother and I would take the test together in collaboration -- the same way the constitution itself was done.

we missed 4 of the dozen or so, fairly difficult questions.  being hot, tired and exerted doesn't help...nothing else could explain why I choose jefferson as the father of the constitution over madison.

but we were split on the last question...it was a question of what collective rights were granted by the bill of rights and my brother and I disagreed...i noted that to the proctor, and it turned out *i* was right, but my brother with the political science degree was wrong.

we were given a free constitution for partaking in the event...i forced that document on my brother, saying he clearly needed to study more than I did...and *I* took a US flag pin.

I asked if missing that many questions meant I would have my passport revoked....problematic since I had to go to italy in november.

they got remarkably serious "no! no! no!"

then I asked if my test scores were going to be sent to homeland security...it was right about here that they more-our-less quit talking to me.

our "group leader," the pal of my brother's, has set us up and some mildly higher-brow camps, but when I pull into atlantic, there's no hint as to where my bags would be picked up to carry them forward, AND one of my shoes also managed to completely delaminate a sole.

I keep trying to contact everyone possible as I go through the notions out buying a new pair of shoes (not nearly as cool as my purple and orange northwaves). 

the cell service here is terribly blocked up, thanks to the rolling city that's moving with us...AT&T customers aren't working at all -- and it's REALLY pissing off all the snooty Iphone users.

finally I realize, hey man, I've got all my camping stuff right here...I'll just camp.

so I do.

ignoring local fare, I opt instead for pizza hut...something about unlimited ice tea and air comforting sound really really good right about now.

our waitress is named "mistery," and I ask her if that's a real name, or if she's just picked out something fake because she's hot, doesn't want people to know her real name and had intentionally misspelled so it would look "real."

not only is it her real name (her parents wanted a son and hadn't picked a boy's name), she thinks this comment is absolutely hilarious and gives us the shockingly better service than anyone else in the joint (even going so fat as to give) my ice tea in a to go cup).

as we left she said, "i really appreciate you guys paying attention.  I get customers in here every day who don't even know my name."

I don't know how that's possible.  her name tag is on her right boob for chrissakes...

...and I'm not even a boob guy.

July 25, 2011

day 1 RAGBRAI pix

RAGBRAI 2011 day 1

the topography of IA is such that the bumper portions are near the rivers...that means that the beginning and end days tend to be the hardest.

65 miles of rolling hills, with about a mile of elevation gain total was the order of the day...

I slept terribly last night...three hours, interrupted...but even so, that was three hours more than I got before the big ride in 1998 AND I had to cross the cascades in the snow that day...

relatively speaking, this should be a snap.

even though I was awake, involuntarily, at 05:00, through a series involving lazing in bed, repacking/experimenting with my bag and the most ignoble of sins, not knowing where the luggage truck actually was, my brother and our mutual friend (richard - who also happens to be my brother's brother-in-law) didn't hit the road until 07:45.

we rode packed together for a bit, but it wasn't long before richard and I had split from my brother...and then before we became split from each other.

10,000 people is a massive number and the focus of many people is either food, music, drinking, our some combination thereof.

riding in the pack feels like being a single leg on a millipede and you have to pay constant and continual attention to people near and in front of you.

I've ridden the vast majority of my life solo... and it's not that I don't know how to ride in a pack (I'm actually pretty good at it) it's that psychologically it washes me a little bit.

after downing a sugar pepsi, and two granola bars, pre-ride, i made my first stop several miles in to have a "breakfast bowl" -- scrambled eggs, sausage and hash browns (covered with cheese), chased by a yogurt/granola parfait, and washed by two bottles of gatorade.

and then it wasn't much further down the road before I pulled over for free beer.  yes it's true that I barely drink -and don't drink beer at all-, but when else am I going to get endorsed booze on this ride?

the fact that it was 10:30 in the morning had  absolutely no bearing on my answer.

from there, it was rolling hills, (state fair winning) honey lemonade, a few bottles of water (including some donated by evangelical christians) and GREAT homemade ice cream (made by gasoline-powered one-stroke engine stirrers).

my brother and I ran across each other twice...once in a random convenience store and once after I'd paid a visit to "mr. medicine man" top up my sunscreen.

the end of the rode for hotter and we began to get a mild head wind...the last 15 miles were nothing more than a hopeful, tiring slog.

hitting town also brought on the confusion of, for the second time today, not knowing where the luggage truck was...this resulted in a 1 mile, 15% grade and completely unnecessary detour.

I set up my tent like a zombie...negotiated with richard and my brother over food -- finally deciding on the easy answer of pizza hut...in between making runs to charge my cell phone and replace my now-nearly-completely failed shoes.

but all that AC?  and all that ice tea?  it's what the doctor ordered.

hot showers were 5 bucks, but I ciudad get a cold one with a swimming pool admission...which is what I did.

grit off -including the salt that'd developed from the ride- and some dermal osmosis was the right answer.

so was bed.

July 24, 2011

RAGBRAI prelude

as you know all too well, dear reader, I avoid posting items of a personal nature...but for reasons I'm not entirely clear on, I've decided to post the bicycle trip thread of the following week to here...

normally this diatribe would go over to wenderbender, but I'm thinking of folding that entire operation over here--especially since jetblue had canceled all you can jet....so I might was well see how that feels.

hopefully this isn't a sign of me getting completely out of hand..if so, and I ultimately end up posting pictures of myself flashing gang symbols while drunk, do my readership a favor and just kill me...in fact, I'll go one step further -- kill me if you think that *might* happen.

having said all that...

my brother and I have talked about riding the register's annual great bicycle ride across across iowa (RAGBRAI) for years...since this is year is the 39th, we've probably considered it like something since the third or 4th year...

for reasons I'm not clear on (and don't actually care about), a bunch of people b1-67er did the american lung association big ride across america (the big ride) with have decided to do this year's RAGBRAI...and THAT is reason enough for me to give it a go...

entry is through a lottery system, but most people get chosen (it may even be true that if one person on a team gets chosen, all people get chosen)...

ultimately, the method doesn't matter...we learned several weeks ago that out group had been chosen.

the ride's something on the order of 400 miles spread across 7 days.  in colorado terms (where I learned to ride) the terrain would be considered dead flat.

it's also hot and humid.  I heard on the radio on the way in to greenwood, IA  this evening that the temperature will run from 85-100 tomorrow.  I have no idea what the humidity well be, but there's been extensive flooding in the immediate area, so 85%+ is a safe bet.

you may wonder what all this means to me...

there's a blog posting on the RAGBRAI web site from a week ago friday that said "if you haven't started training yet, you're too late."  on the very day that was posted, i had not ridden my road bike in a decade.

I have, however, ridden it 5 times since then.

I asked king feddy what he thought my odds of completing the ride were, and there was this long, pregnant pause. l-o-n-g.  not his normal surfer I'm-rich-but-I'll-act-like-I'm-not pause, but something closer to how-EXACTLY-do-i-tell-my-mom-her-boobs-look-saggy-in-that-dress pause.

but 4 key things come into play here.

1. I am the world's greatest armchair athlete.  I can sit around, do nothing, and then fare well in a ride like this.  I've climbed MANY 14,000' peaks.  I've swam from alcatraz twice.  I rode my bike 4x before riding across america.  after that, I didn't ride for a year newbie I did ride the rockies.  and then I didn't ride for a year before I did the next ride the rockies.

2. the reason I can do this is partially due to freak physiology...i have super-longevity on my family...my testing heart rate is 45 bears per minute...and...

3. stuff like this is 95% a mental game and 5% equipment.  when you've got a forehead the size of mine, mental games aren't that tough.

4. oh yeah, AND I'm actually in pretty good shape right now.  I do something aerobic at least three days a week.  I do pushups (out more) two days a week..

now it's true that, aside from wearing a chain out and replacing it, I have never tuned this bike.  and it's true too that my cycling shoes delaminated the first day I rode them last week.  and it's also true that my ultegra sifters swallowed my rear derailleur cable for completely unknown reasons...

but I honestly don't think I'm being *overly* hopeful when I say that I'm not expecting troubles.

this ride is gigantic.  10,000+ people.  the mere size of the ride will dwarf many of the towns we ride through.  it is a plague of locusts that is welcomed by town businesses, but shunned by the townsfolk forced to deal with a busload of lycra clad 20-somethings in a pink school bus with a reindeer on top, along with 9,970 others.

my original plan was to post a map here of my exact location as I went...but the technology is just a touch too complicated...and you have to be careful or (just like 24hotv 2) technology will dominate the center and completely take over.

focus is important.

I'll probably be on the road in a little more than 8 hours...

...and I'm the last to bed...

...this won't be the last time this happens on this ride.

July 23, 2011

wind turbine blade

york, NE


kearney, NE

July 22, 2011


grilled artichoke, fried pickles and brie with mushrooms; edgewater, co

underpass graffiti

golden, co

July 20, 2011

black widow in my garage

las vegas, nv.

didn't take the time to get a nice clean shot.

July 19, 2011

trivia of the moment

the odds of any american male developing cancer in an invasive site: 44%

odds that this cancer will kill him: about 50/50

source: american cancer society

3 views of buildings

black and white, color negative and natural color with a mild zoom; las vegas, nv

July 18, 2011

awning and light fixtures

las vegas, nv

gerber daisy with lily grass

las vegas, nv

lobby view

las vegas, nv

trivia of the moment

to this point in time, 45,000 americans have applied to be astronauts; 330 have been accepted.

-- associated press

July 14, 2011

thrill of the moment

playing rip off (my favorite classic video game) with bo3b (my
favorite video doubles partner) at california extreme (my favorite
geek fest).

July 13, 2011

wall mural

mojave, ca


mojave, ca

July 12, 2011

small cactus in sepia tone

san jose, california.

Ice cream flavor of the moment

"late night snack" at ben & jerry's

vanilla beam ice cream with a salty caramel swirl & fudge-covered potato chip clusters...remarkably good.

color negative wall mural

san jose, ca

Haiku of the moment

Writing as I walk - voice recognition working - living the future

July 11, 2011

wrist band

for ca extreme expo; santa clara, ca

July 10, 2011

pinball back glass

santa clara, ca

pinball back glass detail

santa clara, ca

pinball machine back glass

santa clara, ca