thoughts and views of an Iowan Cyclist

Design February 26, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — iowacycle92 @ 1:13 AM
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It is what surrounds me everyday, yet I often forget how amazing it truly is.

As a professional graphic designer, I often find myself looking at the world in a slightly different light than the mainstream. I tend to see things as the individual parts, but all those parts working together to enhance either the message or the function of the whole. I often encounter people who look at design as if it were art, something that has no central message but rather is meant to be interpreted by the viewer in any way they feel it relates to their emotions.  So one might gather that true design is not subjective, but conveys a specifically objective message that cannot be interpreted in any other way than how the designer intended. Design is not intended to look pretty, but to grab the viewer’s attention and convey an idea or thought in as little time and as thoroughly as possible. When I look around at the world that surrounds me that’s often what I see, not that the picture on the billboard looks funny or cool, but what message is that image getting across and how does that relate to the product or service that the company provides. So often I use this deciphering technique with man-made design, yet it was not until recently that I realized I’m standing before the most perfectly designed message in history every single day.

I have had the opportunity to attend an event called the Truth Project over the past few weeks, a video series that is an overview of a proper biblical worldview. Last Sunday was the section that dealt with science and God’s creation, how infinitely complex His creation is yet how simple it is to understand when our eyes are open. After watching that program and letting all the information that it contained sink into the depths of my mind, I began to realize how amazing our world, and our God, truly is.

While I am at work, it takes me anywhere from several hours to an entire day to create a brand identity for a customer, and after that first rough draft several more days to finalize the design. I use some very expensive and state-of-the-art technology to assist me in my design, and still it is always a struggle to produce exactly what is in my head. Then I think of God creating the universe. He didn’t need any super computer or fancy gadgets to design the entire world, He merely spoke, and it was so. The entire universe was designed by God speaking, and it was right the first time, no revisions, no rough drafts, just perfect. I am so very grateful for how humbling that is, to think I am pretty top-notch for designing a logo, when God designed the entire world, from the smallest particle of matter to the immense expanse of space with all its mysteries. Yet whether it’s a logo, or all of creation, design is design.

As I said before, design always has a message, it is not meant to just be pretty, a logo might convey how a company operates, where they are located, or what they do. So I started asking myself, if I am a designer and I create something to convey a message, and God is a designer who created the entire world, what is the purpose or message of creation? I found Psalm 19 sums it up very well.

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.

There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.

Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world…”

So next time you look at the world around you, don’t just look at how pretty it is, but stop for a moment and listen. Open your ears to the heavens and the skies, listen to the deafening roar of all of creation declaring the message. The amazing glory of God and the perfect work of His hands.


DSNN: Death Star News Network December 17, 2011

Over the past few weeks, my life has been kept busy by a final project for my Web Multimedia class. This is the end result and I’m quite proud of it,  though I can definitely not take all the credit, Adam Mark worked very hard on this video and together we had a great time producing and editing this video. Enjoy

My YouTube Channel

Adam’s YouTube Channel


Ride Like a Kid! August 27, 2011

Filed under: Training,Uncategorized — iowacycle92 @ 7:30 AM
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Since I rode RAGBRAI this summer, I have come to the realization that I enjoy going full-steam race-mode for twenty minutes more than spinning at 12 mph for 5 hours. Okay, when I say enjoy I really mean I get much more satisfaction from cycling that way, which is what riding a bike is all about, having a good time out on the road and feeling good about it when you get back home, which brings me to my topic. For the last few weeks I have been riding pretty hard to get ready for winter, trying to stick to a training plan and all that stuff. After a few days, I found myself less and less enthusiastic about riding, and coming to the point of just giving up on the training plan all together. It’s often in the lowest of places that we can see most clearly. Riding a bike for me had become less recreation and more work, and that is when it came to me. I need to ride like a kid again. I needed to forget about my heart rate, cadence, average speed, what route to take, and just go for a ride because it’s fun. I think we could all use a little of this childish spirit, to do something because we love to do it, and not worry about how we do it or why, but just enjoy it for what it is. So get out there and act like a kid, then go back to work and the real world.


All the Lost Souls August 26, 2011

Last week I went for a bike ride that took me through one of the neighboring communities in the area. As I rode along the main avenue through town, something out of the ordinary caught my eye. I noticed first the large American flags on every light-post along the street, and then the small flags, arranged in perfect rows like little toy soldiers in front of every house. At first glance it seemed like a celebration, like the old news reels of New York City at the end of the second world war, and in fact one of America’s soldiers was returning home. But it was not to the sound of the Star Spangled Banner and the hugs and kisses of loved ones that he returned to, but the playing of taps and a twenty-one gun salute. Navy Seal John Tumilson was aboard that now famed helicopter crash in Afghanistan that claimed the lives of 29 others. They have returned home, their bodies to the grave, and their souls to eternity.

When events like this involve someone from my local community, I remember that these “foreign affairs” this country is involved in come at a cost. I think we all need to ask ourselves one question…why? Why does this country feel obligated to pursue these war’s overseas that cost American lives. Why are we still in Afghanistan even after the man who brought us there is dead, and to what end do we still occupy that country? Are we there to build schools and roads, to bring “democracy” to a people who have repelled every attempt of westernization since the early 1900’s? The people of Afghanistan do not want democracy, or freedom of any kind, all they want is to be left in peace to fight among themselves as they have for centuries. We Americans mistakenly think that since we have freedom in this country, though we have less and less every day, that other counties want our system of government. Our concern should not be for the well-being of other countries, but our own. Our President has stretched this country’s military presence so far and wide across the globe, costing us billions if not trillions of dollars and many hundreds of American lives, that this country is about to implode upon itself. One look at the history books and it is clear that we can not sustain this course of action and hope to remain afloat much longer. From Rome to Great Britain, history is full of empires that involved themselves in too many country’s affairs, and it didn’t end well for any of them. Our founders knew their history when they wrote the documents that established this union, they tried to make sure that the power to declare war was left up to the congress, where it would have to be voted on by the representatives of the people, not decided by one power-hungry dictator. ( US Constitution Article 1, Section 8 )

If we want to preserve this country for which so many have fought and died, then we need to bring our military home. We can no longer afford to be the nanny police for every little country that is struggling with internal affairs. Would our founders like the way we try to babysit for all these other countries? I think if they did we would still be drinking tea and singing God Save the Queen.


The Battle Continues April 22, 2011

Filed under: Iowa,Uncategorized — iowacycle92 @ 10:52 AM
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I am constantly reminded that I am not in control of the weather. Earlier in the week the temperature was well into the mid 60’s. This morning it snowed. It seems that as soon as I get into a routine with riding and training for RAGBRAI, the weather has an identity crisis. I looked out the window this crisp, spring morning, and tried to think of a way to make an analogy out of this atmospheric change, and I came up with this. Weather is like a battle and we are the deer. Allow me to clarify. Think of the warm and cold weather like two opposing factions of a mighty battle, the warm holds it’s ground in the south while the cold finds refuge in the north, and Iowa is the no-man’s land. Each storm is a battle between these mighty foes, at times the warm holds the “front” line, while at other times the cold gains the high ground. The battles that result from these engagements can become quite fierce, with the blinding flash of the cannon that can be seen for miles and the resulting window-rattling boom that rolls over the prairie like a tsunami. Their bullets flood our rivers and sometimes dent our cars, and the smoke from their guns fills our skies to the point that the sun ceases to shine. We are at the mercy of the these two mighty forces and there is nothing we can do when the battle ensues but take cover. But when the battle is over, we dare to venture forth from our shelter to graze and find sustenance while we can, and we become oblivious when the battle does not rage. But when we hear the boom and see the flash, to cover we go, like little deer hiding in the woods. So all we can do is hope that the major engagements don’t come our way, but in the meantime; the battle continues.


Small Town Humor. April 8, 2011

Filed under: Iowa,Uncategorized — iowacycle92 @ 8:43 AM
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It’s the small towns that often have the best stories, and my small, Iowa community is no exception. All that I am about to relate to you took place around the turn of the century, when today’s sleepy little town was a thriving, booming rail-road town. During this time, the local physician was a man by the name of Dr. O’Keeffe, an ex-military man who during the summer always dressed in a white suit and Panama hat, a very disciplined and tidy man. Well Dr. O’Keeffe would always get into jokes and pranks with the local undertaker, a man by the name of Bert, who just loved to antagonize the poor doctor. Now Dr. O’Keeffe had a beautiful Buick that he just loved, and the boys would sometimes go and put axle grease on the door handle, which just drove Doc crazy, to get dirty grease all over his hands. Well one day, Bert and the boys went one step further. They went and put grease all over the seat of that pristine Buick,  and when Dr. O’Keeffe jumped in his car, he got grease all over his white suit.

Oh, Dr. O’Keeffe was so upset. He knew that Bert was the one behind this, so he hatched a little plan. Now Bert also had a furniture store besides the undertaking business, and was such a heavy drinker that sometimes he would pass-out from being so drunk. So the next time Bert passed-out, Dr. O’Keeffe put his plan into action. He quietly stripped all of Bert’s clothes off while he was asleep, and tied a big red ribbon around Bert’s middle, so as to cover the important bits. Then he put Bert in one of his own caskets, with the lid wide open, and rolled him out into the front window of his furniture store. So the next day, when all the ladies and townsfolk were going about their business, there lay poor Bert, naked, asleep in his own casket, for all the world to see.



A reflection on Iowa April 7, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — iowacycle92 @ 10:10 PM
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I would like to start a little discussion here, by posing a question. What is your favorite thing about Iowa?
Even if you don’t live here or think that Iowa is where all the potatoes come from, your thoughts are welcome on what makes your state a great one.