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The Adventures of Steve


Saturday, January 3, 2004

The world probably celebrates New Year's more than any other holiday because it is completely secular and artificial. It goes beyond nationality and religion, and because of the Gregorian calendar, it has no astronomical significance other than it shows up some ten days after the Solstice.

I think the universality of the holiday makes it, in my book, one of the least interesting. All that happens is that people drink fizzy alcohol, festoon themselves with conical headwear, and, if they aren't single, make out in public.

From this point on, however, New Year's will be one of the best.

My Rancho Cordova posse, the Super Seven, began breaking up when I moved to Oregon. Wade followed me later after he met his bride. There's still five here in Rancho, and I try to connect with all of them whenever I'm here.

For New Year's Eve, I visited Steve Holtam's family and visited with them, Brandon and his girl and Wayne. I thought I'd bring up the subject of cell phones because there were enough technogeeks in the room, and within seconds, both Steve AND his wife Suzie had given me their old, unused phones to take away!

So I'll be going to Iowa with cellular phone in pocket. I started service yesterday and I have to say, it's kind of a blast. I felt much more mainstream today as I circled Sunrise Mall engaged in telecommunications, noting that there were several other guys on the same cell phone pedestrian track as me. Now I too can be in a room full of people, all of us talking to people not there.

On New Year's Day, David Chan of the Dean campaign called from Des Moines and I made arrangements with him for my Iowa stay. I also talked to Rog Borsellino and it looks like they're going to want me to do some volunteer team leadership for some of the "away teams." Sweet.

Later that day, we drove to Circuit City, looking for a cable to connect my phone to the computer. Dad pulled into a parking spot immediately in front of the door. It took about 45 seconds to learn that no, they carry no such part. Mom then suggested we spend more time in the store so to not waste such a good parking spot. So we wandered, and soon thereafter I heard Mom asking, "Would you LIKE one of these digital cameras?"

Being the good and wholesome son that I am, I answered honestly, telling nothing but the truth. So now I'll be going to Iowa with Sony PowerShot 72 in pocket. Thanks, Mom! I'll be spending a portion of the train trip rebuilding these chronicles to accept photos from the road--when I'm not taking pictures of the Rocky Mountains.

Yesterday I met with Greg, who I haven't seen in half a decade due to a believed but unverified rumor that he had skipped town. It didn't take long for the awkwardness to vanish and the normal conversation to resume. As usual, we talked about everything under the sun with a special emphasis on popular culture and psychology. He gave me his new CD (his band is now "Hive Collective") and I also scored a second copy that I'm going to mail to Jesse. I was glad to have Greg back in my life and I just feel so blessed to have so many fabulously good friends.

Last night, I visited Chris and he showed me his extensive Star Wars prop and costume collection. Turns out that Chris, not me, is the REAL Star Wars freak, the kind of guy that goes to the sci-fi conventions dressed like Boba Fett. I had no idea; I thought I was the crazy one.

Steve then broke out Conspiracy and Wayne, Chris and I spent the evening trying to knock off his spies. There were several times where I was a little confused about when I was, because it felt just like The Old Days, except there was an obnoxious three year old running around shrieking like a banshee: Steve's daughter Abigail. Now THAT was different.

Dad leaves tomorrow for Texas and I depart for Iowa on Tuesday. This phase of the adventure is wrapping up and I'll soon be undebarking in Iowa, doing what I can do for Dean's Iowa win. After the caucus there on the 19th, the plan is to return by Amtrak to Sacramento to begin phase three: east-coast remote job search. But I'm going to stay flexible with my two bags and my cell phone, and if I learn of some opportunity while I'm in Iowa, I'm going to pay good attention.

I'll finish up this entry with a bit of Uninformed Republican mail I received from Mark Madach, who I believe might be a Bike Friday customer, along with my reply. I had fun. Hope you do. See ya.

From: Mark Madach
Sent: Thursday, January 01, 2004 9:27 AM
Subject: howard dean

I'm embarrased that a commie draft dodger wants to be commander in chief. How can he lead with his resume?

From: Steve Ransom []
Sent: Thursday, January 01, 2004 10:14 AM
To: 'Mark Madach'
Subject: RE: Howard Dean and George Bush

Hi Mark---

Hi, I don't remember where I know you from... did you just find my Web site and decided to let me know what you think? If so, I'm a little confused.

When you say "commie draft dodger," are you referring to Bush or Dean? I can't tell, you didn't specify.

Dean was deferred from serving in 'Nam due to a back injury.

Bush, scored 25 out of 100 in 1968 in a qualification test for the single pilot spot in the Texas air guard. He was able to leap over the heads of thousands of more qualified pilots with a little help from his rich daddy, Senator George Bush. For a confession from the guy who made the call, see

My dad served in Nam in the Air Force and he agrees with me that a back injury is a better reason for dismissal than having a rich daddy.

Mark, also take a look at how Bush treats our military. He says "support the troops" but then he cuts pay to troops, cuts travel benefits, cuts the VA. He hands more and more money over to the giant contractors to make things we don't need. (Look up the Virginian class submarine if you want.)

Dean has promised to keep military spending levels as high as they are now... which is quite a lot. He just intends to get the money back into the hands of G.I. Joe, rather to some cigar-smoking military contractors who overcharge on every turn.

Thanks for your opinion, but I still think I'm making the right choice.

---Steve Ransom
Redefeat Bush in '04!


All of the Adventures of Steve

   Episode 1: In which Steve leaves Eugene and arrives in Rancho Cordova.
   Episode 2: In which Steve visits the Jelly Belly factory and gets a haircut.
   Episode 3: In which Steve gets a cold, a big box, and a seat on a train.
   Episode 4: In which Steve receives shiny new toys and loyal old friends.
   Episode 5: In which Steve departs for Iowa and rants a bit about why.
   Episode 6: In which Steve takes a trip to Des Moines.
   Episode 7: In which Steve gets really involved.
   Episode 8: In which Steve starts hobnobbing but is haunted by Arne Baker.
   Episode 9: In which Steve becomes a groupie and is informed that we all have love in our hearts.
   Episode 10: In which Steve becomes a media whore.
   Episode 11: In which Steve takes on Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine and Michigan.
   Episode 12: In which Steve is pitted against Fort Dodge, Iowa and seven vans of unruly Texans.
   Episode 13: In which Steve learns that all his hard work wasn't enough to put the candidate back together again.
   Episode 14: In which Steve does nothing.
   Episode 15: In which Steve reaches a decision and attempts to get virtually hired.
   Episode 16: In which we thank the good doctor for all he did.
   Episode 17: In which Steve suits up for a new life in the Cap City!
   Episode 18: In which Steve starts to realize he’s not in Eugene anymore.
   Episode 19: In which Steve switches from job seeking to home seeking.
   Episode 20: In which Steve starts to learn some things via the error side of trial and error.
   Episode 21: In which Steve experiences his first blizzard.
   Episode 22: In which Steve contemplates his next move.
   Episode 23: In which Steve prepares to switch gears... again.
   Episode 24: In which Steve spends a week in a hotel with four thousand teenagers and then gives his 30-day notice.
   Episode 25: In which Steve reminisces about his 10 weeks in Columbus while waiting in the wings.
   Episode 26: In which the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
   Episode 27: In which Steve changes everything.
   Episode 28: In which Steve finds Brood X, gets a teeny crush on a fellow trainee and learns where he's going, approximately.
   Episode 29: In which Steve starts to see how politics really works.
   Episode 30: In which Steve writes a letter to Kelly, executive director of the group that fired me.
   Episode 31: In which Steve spends a tentative week commuting to work in Maine.
   Episode 32: In which Steve learns he's just one piece on the board.
   Episode 33: In which Steve settles in for three months of intense campaigning.
   Episode 34: In which Steve is deep into the final countdown.
   Episode 35: In which Maine wins, the nation loses and Steve heads home.
   Episode 36: In which Steve doesn’t do much more than comb the classifieds and update his Web site.
   Episode 37: In which Steve slips into a normal life.

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