Sunday, September 23, 2007

West Coast

Went on a ride yesterday up the west coast of Oahu, from Kapolei to Kaena Point (about a 55 mile round trip). After riding around the island a few weeks ago, this was the last unexplored major road for me on the island. I sure wasn't missing anything. Most of the roads on Oahu suck...covered in Heineken glass and full of potholes. The roads on the west side have even more Heineken glass and more dangerous hazards. There were several burned up cars that could easily pass for vehicle-borne IEDs, washing machines, bags of trash, stray dogs, etc...all along the side of the road and covering the shoulder. A group ride requires extra-vigilance for this crap, not to mention a bit of defensive riding is necessary to protect yourself from the folks that cruise these roads. The lead rider has to be on his toes calling out all the junk for the rest of the riders. At one point, we (a group of about 10) come up on a piece of fresh roadkill (a cat). The leader doesn't call it out. Most of the folks swerve to miss it, except the guy in front of me who rides right over the middle...his tires spat up a chunk of cat that hits the top of my helmet.

Wish I had the camera to get a picture of this other side of Hawaii. I'd bring it next time, but I highly doubt I'll do this ride again.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Left Behind: Chapter 3...coming to grips with the rapture

Chapter 2 left off with Rayford trying to land the plane. Chapter 3 picks up with Hattie prepping the passengers for landing. Really, there's no logical need for a new chapter here. I would've continued, as this is yet another chapter with folks trying to figure out what the hell's going on. Buck lands the plane safely in Chicago. O'Hare is hectic, so all the passengers have to walk back. Being the noble Captain, Rayford rejects the idea of riding in a crew bus...he'll walk with his passengers. Why wasn't this great man raptured? The airport's hectic, and Rayford and Hattie both are trying to arrange transportation to the suburbs. More and more stories about the rapture are told...which raises a couple of questions for me. Corpses disappear in the middle of funerals. Why are corpses being raptured? Why does God need the body? I thought the soul was the only thing of importance???? If corpses are raptured, then does God rapture up the remains of anyone that ever lived, indifferent to the state of decay? If someone dies in a horrific car accident moments before the rapture, is their maimed body raptured? If so, then does that person have to live with that maimed body when he's chilling with all the raptured folk? It seems that all children are raptured. Is there an age limit on the automatic rapturability of children? Since not all children develop the same, are the more advanced kids penalized with a narrower window of automatic rapturability? Back to the book....

Rayford and Hattie finally find a helicopter that will take them to the suburbs. The helicopter is crowded, so Hattie has to sit on Rayford's lap. Lahaye goes on and on about how much Rayford had wanted the slut Hattie, but now he feels "no emotional attraction". He mentions this 3 times. On page 53 in describing Hattie, Lahaye writes "She was beautiful and sexy and smart, but only for her age." I'm not sure what to make of that statement. We know that Hattie's young, but her sexiness would be less appealing if she was older? What's Lahaye trying to say here? He does make a big deal about the age difference between her and Rayford.

While all this is going on, hotshot reporter Buck Williams is checking e-mail trying to get in touch with his boss in New York. He gets an e-mail from his boss talking about all kinds of crazy shit...this is where Lahaye interjects all the crazy paranoid conspiracy stuff, to include:

1) "A mysterious Jewish Nationalist conference that has something to do with a new world order government."
2) Conference of Orthodox Jews "giddy over the destruction of Russia"
3) "leaders of all the major religions , from the standard ones to the New Agers, talking about a one-world religious order"
4) UN international "monetarist confab" trying to decide if we should go to one world currency

If you follow conspiracy theory, these are all things that Alex Jones and others try to warn the American people about. After throwing out all the conspiracy, Lahaye gives us some foreshadowing of his anti-Christ...some charismatic Romanian named Carpathia. The name seems a bit over the top.

Check this site out...Kirk Cameron proves there's a God in under 3 minutes without the use of the Bible or faith. Unfuckingbelievable!

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Noticed that my beer closet was full of empty bottles. Had a couple of options here...recycle, redeem for $.05 each, or start mass producing beer.

Brewed a Porter tonight. This is a repeat of one of my recent beers...probably my best beer to date.

Original gravity was 1.055.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Left Behind: Chapter 2

Chapter 1 was action packed...we had a war, near-adultery and a rapture. Chapter 2 picks up with the immediate aftermath of the Christian disappearance. Everyone's still trying to find out what happened to all the missing people. Rayford's having trouble communicating from his aircraft, but he finally gets in touch with the Concord. He learns from the Concord that almost every airport in the world is closed, except for Chicago. All aircraft are landing at Chicago...this is probably due to the fact that real Christians don't live in Chicago, as that's the only place with enough employees 'left behind' to operate an airport. News continue to report the disasters in the world. Buck Williams thinks he has a great story with all the disappearing people, so he somehow rigs up the airplane phone to work with his modem. Lahaye goes into a lot of detail here, with about a page or so discussing modular connections and such. It's interesting how Buck has little trouble rigging up some communications while Rayford had a lot of trouble with the plane's communication systems. Finally the aircraft plans to land in Chicago, and Rayford thanks the passengers for remaining calm. The next line in the book had me puzzled "...although he had received reports of doctors on board who handed out Valium like candy." (Page 34) That was interesting...didn't know that doctors kept M&M like quantities of Valium on hand, just in case there's some crisis like the rapture. I guess doctors that aren't raptured up may carry them. Any truth to this Keith?

In case you don't know a lot about the rapture, here are some answers to frequently asked questions from my good friends at

Monday, September 3, 2007

Dick Evans Road Race

Yesterday I rode the Dick Evans 112-mile Road Race. This is the biggest cycing race in Hawaii with about 200 riders lining up to start. Sunday was a great day for racing with only a few moments of rain at the start and light winds...that's a rarity for some parts of the island, and since the route is 'round the island' some bad weather is to be expected. We started at 5:45 am in Hawaii Kai at a controlled pace (20mph) with full police escort through Honolulu and the Pearl Harbor area. At about the 30 mile mark, the official vehicles move out of the way and the race is opened up on a short 2-3 mile climb that sorts out the contenders from the rest of the pack. I thought about charging up the climb with the lead pack and then falling back with a slower group...would've been cool to see how far I could've gone, but I didn't want to burn out. Instead opted for the more sensible strategy of finding a handful of teammates on the climb, then riding with them for the rest of the race. About halfway up the hill about 5 of us from my team linked up and started working together. It was good to have them around, since I knew they'd all pull their fair share. After the climb and the folowing 4 mile descent to the North Shore, we'd formed a group of about 20 folks from various teams. Things got a bit more complicated, as about half the guys were doing all the work. We flew through the North Shore and before long we were down to a group of that point I only had 2 teammates, and I felt like popping off the back. The pace was tough...we were probably only a couple of minutes behind the lead pack. At around 70 miles, as I was struggling at the back of the line, teammate (and my ride to the starting line) Dave was up near the front when the ead guy dropped his water bottle. Dave hits the bottle, then flies off his bike at 20mph headfirst into a telephone pole. Needless to say, that ended our charge as a few of us stop to make sure Dave was OK and call an ambulance. That was the second headfirst crash I saw in this race...there were plenty of folks falling down when the peloton was all together at the beginning, but this was by far the worst accident I saw. After we confirmed the ambulance was on its way, we took off again...eventually latching on to a slightly slower group of about 15-20 riders. This group had a lot of passengers with only a handful of us doing any work. At one point, it seemed that teammate Corey and I were the only ones working, so I decided to ratchet up the pace on a couple of hills to drop all the passengers. Eventually we end up linking up with another teammate on this nasty 2 mile hill at the 100 mile mark. The hills began to take their toll on my legs and at the 107 mile mark I got a massive cramp in my calf...I waved goodbye to the guys and decided I just needed to do what I could to survive. The cramps shot up through both legs, then I started having troubles with my chain...luckily I was able to get the chain back on the ring just by shifting. If I had to get off the bike, that would've been the end. A couple miles later on the Mokapu climb, I got my legs back and started closing in on the guys...couldn't quite close the gap. I was still able to finish strong at 5:56...very satisfied with this time, since I just started riding again back in May, and really didn't focus on the longer distances until July. This ride was 40 miles longer than my longest ride of the year. If I had another month or so of training, I really think I could've hung with the peloton for most of the race. Too bad I won't be here to ride next year...hopefully there will be a few bike races before I deploy. Of all the events I participated in this year (3 x triathlons, 1 x duathlon, 2 x running races, 1 x swamp romp, 1 x metric century), this was definitely the most fun.

It was good to see the family at the end. Carter and Jack seemed to enjoy themselves, especially all the post race snacks.

Sonya was excited, 'cause she got to take this picture of THE BACHELOR. Although I'm in the foreground, I'm just a prop. My goal for the day was to give him 'the look' similar to what Lance Armstrong gave to Jan Ullrich during the 2001 tour. Thinking that I probably wouldn't see him on the road, I managed to do that at the pre-race rider's meeting...when the guy next to me turned around and asked him a question, I turned around as well to give a quick stare down.

Here's a partial team photo...some of the guys had a really good day. As a team, we finished 3rd overall.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Left Behind

Picked up one of the great novels of our generation last night, Left Behind. It's sold over 60,000,000 copies...those are big numbers, only Harry Potter comes close. After years of mocking, yet fearing, Evangelical Christianity, I felt it was time to read something produced within the cult...err, I mean faith. Instead of reading another book or watching a documentary produced by someone from outside the faith, I decided to pick up a book written by the evangelical movements' Hemingway, the great Tim Lahaye. Finding Left Behind for 25-cents at a used book sale helped me come to this decision as well. Let me tell you, this one's a page turner. I zipped through Chapter 1 last night and could've kept on reading, but stopped for fear of getting sucked in. Thought I'd provide a recap here:

Chapter 1:

Starts on a Trans-Atlantic flight with the story of Rayford Steele. As you can see from the Wiki entry, he was born 42 YBR, which makes him 42 at the start of the book. Rayford's a married airline pilot, that lusts after one of his flight attendants (Hattie Durham). From what I can gather, Hattie's a real slut Rayford goes to church occasionally, but he's turned off by his wife who has become a big time evangelical, always talking about the rapture. At this point in the story, Rayford has never cheated on his wife, except for one "nekking" incident where he got wasted at a company holiday party.

Running parallel to the Rayford lust story, we've got the story of hotshot reporter Buck Williams. Buck just returne from Israel, where he interviewed some great scientist that was able to make sand fertile. Apparently that was all that was needed to make Israel a peaceful land and economic power. "The Holy Land bacame an export capital, the envy of the world, with virtually zero unemployment. Everyone prospered"(page 8)....such vivid prose. I almost believe it. While Buck's there in Israel, at a military camp. Russia gets jealous and invades Israel, with the help of its staunch allies and military powerhouses Libya and Ethiopia. Motivation for the attack is unclear as Russia appeared to be jealous and wanted to "dominate and occupy the Holy Land" while at the same time they "made it clear their mission was annihilation." (page 10) In the next paragraph, we get an idea why Buck Williams is such a hot shot reporter and an example of the great metaphor used by Lahaye. "To say the Israelis were caught off guard, Cameraon Williams had written, was like saying the Great Wall of China was long."....beautiful. From here, Lahaye gives an account of Russia's attack, one where they launched a sneak attack with a shitload of "Migs" and every ballistic missile in their arsenal. Somehow they were able to get everything up in the air and cover the long distance to Israel without anyone detecting it. This must be the greatest feat ever accomplished by airpower and the worst intelligence failure ever. Despite all the firepower, nothing's destroyed...apparently God shot down all the airplanes and caused "anything atomic and explosive to erupt high in the atmosphere."

Now we shift back to the airplane. Rayford's flying the plane, and finally decides he's going to make his move and bang Hattie. So, he leaves the cockpit, and she comes running scared. Apparently people are missing. She doesn't know what the hell's going on, but he knows the rapture just happened and they've all been 'Left Behind.'

To recap: Guy's looking to commit adultery, massive attack on Israel, then rapture. Lahaye comes out swinging with an action packed first chapter.

If you don't like reading and want to get in on the Left Behind action, pick up this video game.