As Far As I Can Tell

Night Riding

It’s the absolute perfect night for moped riding. The cool night air allowed to wear my jacket and a stocking cap. The lights of the cars and streets seemed brighter and had more character than normal. I leapt over railroad tracks, cornered expertly, and smiled about the chill in my cheeks. Coming down the newly paved Oakland hill I stayed full throttle in the curves, my hat slipping higher on my forehead as I hit 40 and beyond.

This afternoon I sat in with Dan and Greg as they discussed some details on the possible new coffee shop in town. Dan and Bill are trying to start it, with Greg and Brian giving experienced advice and equipment help. I’ll be really excited to see it come to life, though it’s going to be a ton of work and money. If anyone can pull it off, those guys can. Kalamazoo is full of people who are willing to help out too.

I’m itching to start something large scale like that, but the timing isn’t right for me yet. For one, I don’t want to commit that much of my life to Kalamazoo. Secondly, I haven’t finalized the focus of what I want. Within ten years I’ll be running something like a bookstore with a design studio above it. Just not yet.



I, too, am bidding my time. I hope they don’t bite off more than they can chew. But I’m glad they have a good support network.

Posted by: miguel on July 29, 2003 9:27 PM

A bookstore with a large poetry section and a writer in residence.

Posted by: meredith on July 29, 2003 10:20 PM

Vinyl and CD Annex!!! woo!

Posted by: e_prime on July 30, 2003 11:28 AM

i’ve dreamed about similar things—Ro and I want to start a bookstore/performance space/gallery some day. She’s also talked about having a combined punk barber shop/performance space, which I think is a unique and rad idea.

Posted by: jim on July 30, 2003 1:11 PM

no really… it’s in the works… i promise this time.

Posted by: eric on July 31, 2003 7:57 AM

Really Eric? You should get in touch with me, I’d love to hear about the plan.

Posted by: simon on July 31, 2003 10:53 AM

most definately. i’m pretty busy with work… pulling double shifts this weekend and next week. i’ll snag some time with you though…

Posted by: eric on August 1, 2003 7:58 AM

Word Up

I was doing some hard drive organizing today and ran across some old photos taken during one of the first Moped Army meetings ever. The scene takes place in Dan’s bedroom at Moped Manor. The time is November 22nd, 1998. Despite that, we have the strange appearance of 1980’s hip-hop nerds.

Josh Dahl Josh Dahl, old school

Simon, Jason, and Josh During one of my more dramatic pompadour periods.

Dan Kastner Dan in his winning pose for Midgets on Mopeds

Speaking of Josh Dahl, he’s back in town. After showing the English a thing or two he’s back in Yankee country to stay. There’s a welcome home party tonight at John and Josh’s apartment. Check it out.



This blog is pretty interesting, will add a bookmark, thanks.

Posted by: Erica on August 17, 2004 4:59 PM

Pee Jokes Sell Water

All around Kalamazoo are billboards for Outhouse Springs bottled water. The ad campaign is saturating the town and has been getting on my nerves for a while. The metaphor taken on by the ads is that their bottled waster is urine. The slogan “#1, not #2” and other not so witty statements really started confusing me. Could this seriously be considered a good idea by some ad exec? In the already saturated market of bottled water did they really expect this approach to appeal to anyone outside of middle school?

As others and I started to expect, the ad campaign is fake. There is no product, and there never was. It’s a stunt paid for by Adams Outdoor Advertising to promote the effectiveness of billboard advertising. I guess it worked, but I’d be happier if they’d at least remove the sign visible from my apartment window.

Even weirder, I guess that they started making an actual product with the name.



yeah, i’ve been wondering about that. so fucked up.

Posted by: miguel on July 23, 2003 10:25 PM

Blood Drive

For the last week I’ve been at the Blood Drive Moped Rally in Seattle, Washington. A big thanks to everyone that organized and hosted the event; it was super fun. We rode roughly 30 strong all over Seattle, conquered the downtown hills, fought with repairs, and saw a rock show at the beach. It was well worth the long trip to meet new people and experience first hand the moped gang whose size threatens to overtake out Kalamazoo crew.

I’ve never driven that far in a car, and for the most part I enjoyed it. It’s awesome to see the landscape change from farmland to wasteland and then rise up into mountains before hitting the ocean. I drove as much as I could so I wouldn’t miss anything, though sleep forced me down for at least a few hours every night. The caravan consisted of my truck pulling a trailer and Dave’s parent’s van packed with people. We took the seats out of the back to make a sleeping area and packed the luggage in the trailer to save space. It was just the right amount of people that it wasn’t too cramped and kept the cost nice and low.

Here are a few photos, though you can expect a full photo gallery sometime soon.



The Mosquito Fleet hideout looks awesome, as though it is owned by bank robbers. That is tough.

Posted by: meredith on July 24, 2003 9:59 AM


Both CD burners in the apartment as humming away as fast as they can. I need to fill time, nearly 80 hours of it, while driving to and from Seattle this week. We take off for the Blood Drive Moped Rally early tomorrow morning. I’ve never been to the Northwest, and I can’t wait.



you’ll love it i’ll see you soon.

Posted by: Kevin Barrans on July 16, 2003 3:20 AM

Team Crazy

Two days ago Dan, Dave, and Miguel left for Seattle on mopeds. It was to be the greatest moped journey ever attempted. Yesterday I drove 13 hours in my truck to pick them up in Chicago…and Madison. While they didn’t make it very far, they did make good time. Amazing time really, considering how packed out their mopeds were.

At some points US12 turns into full on highway, which I didn’t realize. Dan described being caught up in the wind-stream created by the semis and pulled along, adding 10 mph to his speed. That must of been wild.

I have a feeling that lessons have been learned, and it will be done again with greater success. Good try guys.

Team Crazy



Simon, it never ceased to amaze me what a good friend you truly are. Thanks for coming to get us and losing an entire day of work. And, yeah, I might still try a trip like that again some day … but using the lessons learned.

Posted by: miguel on July 11, 2003 11:48 AM

props to you for trying. fucking awesome. someday i’ll have a moped and we’ll ride as a foursome. jim p.s. simon. it always makes me smile when you say ” must of been” instead of “must have been”. *wink*

Posted by: jim on July 13, 2003 2:37 AM

America doesn’t deserve a birthday party

This forth of July weekend has been lazy. I’m up as early as I’ve been in a while, so I guess this whole week has been pretty lazy. With neither Meredith or I having a set schedule, things tend to get pushed later and later in the day.

On Friday I went and saw Spellbound in Grand Rapids. It’s a documentary about the national spelling bee, following a handful of children as they win their regional contests and study for the big day. It’s really interesting to see the variety of background that all the kids come from, and the different reasons that they and their parents, do this. This movie about spelling manages to be funny, insightful, and suspenseful. See also: NYTimes Review, Trailer.

Kalamazoo has been reduced to just one movie theater. Two if you count the UA in Portage, which plays the same movies as the Kalamazoo 10 anyway. Since Hollywood’s latest and greatest only rarely excite me, I’ve searched out the alternatives:

  • K-College European Film Series — Every Wednesday this summer, and I think they’re free.
  • Kalamazoo Film Society — Don’t be fooled by the lack of publicity and absence of roadside announcements; they’re still showing movies every month.
  • UICA Grand Rapids — Less than an hour away, and showing a full schedule of fairly new independent/foreign films.
  • WMU Film Society — Once school starts they show a movie a month at the Little Theater.
  • Arts Council — Not specifically for film, but worth noting.

Fright night was spent hanging out at Meghan’s Grandma’s house. She has a spot on the lake where the fireworks were all around, and a pool and hot-tub to soak in. I think I’m going to get a pool membership from the Radisson Fitness Works downtown. I’m not much for formal exercise, but I think I’d like to wake up and go swimming in the morning.



um. i think america deserves a birthday party.

Posted by: miguel on July 8, 2003 2:43 PM

I don’t.

Posted by: simon on July 8, 2003 2:55 PM

that’s too bad. because for all its faults (and yes, i realize that this country has many faults), america has many things worth celebrating. chicago, for instance? i like to think of july fourth as a time to celebrate those attributes (mlk, jefferson, lincoln, paul robeson, etc). perhaps if we spent more time celbrating the good things about america — and reminding ourselves that we must strive to increase those parts of “the dream” — then things might be better in the long run. so, yeah. happy birthday america! from one first generation immigrant who’s thankful for educational opportunities most people never have, economic opportunities most people dream of, freedom of expression that few other countries enjoy, separation of church & state, and even rock’n’roll, hip hop, blues, jazz, and all the rest. woohoo!

Posted by: miguel on July 9, 2003 3:05 AM

I’m hungry

Yesterday was a classic example of trying to find something to eat in Kalamazoo after 10pm. First, we tried the BBQ Pit, whose sign said “open” and whose listed hours implied they’d be that way until 11. Once inside the unlocked door, they told us they closed. Turned down from the only place to get a veggie burger in town, we tried Jimmy Johns. It’s not that great, but it’s quick and fairly healthy. Since school is out of session, they were closed early too.

We ended up at Bilbo’s Pizza on campus. This place seems to be run by college freshmen who have never had a restaurant job in their lives. Oddly, we were carded at the door. I know it’s a brewery as well as a restaurant, but the bar is downstairs and normally they keep the two pretty separate. The next unpleasant surprise was when the band started playing. It seems that Bilbo’s now has an open mic night.

So we waited for our pizza in silence, our voices drowned out by the band who was trying too hard, and too loudly, to nail that “angst ridden yet soulful” sound. When the pizza came it was so greasy we left nearly half of it on the table.

Why is getting tasty food at a reasonable price without listening to bad music so damn hard. I want vegetarian cuisine at a good price. I don’t want to drive too far to get it, and I want the atmosphere to be as good as the food. I want new restaurants opening up all the time, and a list of places in my city that I’ve never been to, but always wanted to. I want ethnic neighborhoods full of little restaurants showing off their culinary skill, and introducing me to foods I’ve never tried before.

Every time I eat I miss Chicago.



Me too. Sorry I re-located our unit away from the city we both love oodles.

Posted by: meredith on July 3, 2003 12:10 PM

there’s a new portuguese restaurant downtown you probably haven’t tried. it’s next to cony island whatsitsname.

Posted by: miguel on July 3, 2003 1:27 PM

Chicago misses you eating here.

Posted by: ivo on July 3, 2003 3:46 PM

Fuck it! Let’s start a goddamned restaurant!!! If Chicago can have so many *hot spots* of cuisine… why can’t Kalamazoo have ONE! I’m not vegetarian or vegan, so I don’t find that I have a problem locating food I can eat… but food that I WANT to eat is a different story all together… and at a reasonable price… that’d be nice as well. e.

Posted by: Eric on July 4, 2003 4:23 PM

Dan and I had the same problem yesterday for breakfast, and we wound up eating breakfast at Bilbo’s on campus as well. My breadsticks tasted like chemicals.

Posted by: lauren on July 5, 2003 12:09 PM

mmm chemicals. perhaps the garage can also be a coffeeshop/eatery? jim

Posted by: jim on July 6, 2003 1:56 AM

As far as who can tell?

Chicago, IL

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