No one is normal.


“I grew up in Manila, Philippines. Lived there the first twenty-two years of my life and then moved to the U.S. I moved to Los Angeles and stayed there for fifteen years and then moved to Cedar Rapids, IA.”

“Why on earth did you move to Cedar Rapids, IA?”

“I don’t know! [Laughter] I was persuaded. Let’s put it that way.”

Bo and Savannah

“When I helped out the homeless, I didn’t feel so homeless, you know what I mean? Because once you’re helping people out, you don’t think about yourself so much. You know? You think about other people and how do they feel. That made me happy inside.”


“How many grandchildren do you have?

“Five grandchildren and four greats. About to be five greats.”

“Do any of them live here in town?”

“No, don’t I wish. They’re all a long ways away.”


“For some time, I wanted to play with comedy, and I don’t know the venue on how I would like to do it. I’ve never tried to write comedy, so I don’t see it as that direction. I don’t know. I’d like to do life’s lessons in comedy form, the golden nuggets of life in comedy form.”


At that time, it was just me in a cell and Jesus Christ. He was asking me to do things his way. And I was hearing him, couldn’t see him, but I heard him.”

“Like, you really felt like you could hear him?”

“Exactly. I really felt I could hear him. And it was so uplifting that I could feel my pains being uplifted. I could feel the pain going away from all the regret and bitterness that I was carrying around that caused me to do the alcohol and marijuana.”


“She wanted to dye someone’s hair. I just wanted it, like, bleached. And then she’s like ‘Let me put some color in it.’ I’m like, ‘I don’t really want it.’ But she kept on bugging me. And we had all this colored dye that came with the color and the bleach. So we had all this extra dye that we didn’t know what to do with, so I’m like, ‘Okay.’ It was supposed to be right down the center, but as you can tell, it’s not. And it’s supposed to be red, but it turned out pink.”

Lee “Big Daddy” Kohl Featured Profile

“My doctor has me on a work restriction that will not allow me to pick up this guitar. And I’m like, ‘You might as well put a bullet in me!’ So, I just ignore the doctors and move on, and I tell them that. I tell them, ‘Look, if you want me to stop doing this, then I might as well kill myself.'” (Click image or title to see full-length profile.)


“I’m still real limber, even though my spine is deteriorating.”

“What’s going on with your spine?”

“I got sick from the flood, and it caused an infection in my body. It traveled to my spine. My lumbar 2 is totally gone. My lumbar 3 is deteriorating. It’s almost gone. And my lumbar 4 is deteriorating. They say they don’t even know how I’m still walking.”


“I think women just tend to not network as much as men. And they see that they’re not getting paid to network, so they think that they need to always be doing something that’s generating money. But expanding your network is going to expand your business. So, that’s why I think it’s important.”


“I used to have an exciting life. I used to work for NASA.”


“Yeah. Actually, I trained the astronauts on how to use the computers on board the shuttle, and that was interesting and exciting. I enjoyed that very much. I worked for NASA for about 15 years, and then I retired on disability, and I moved up here to be with my son. So, it’s kind of different, you know, being a stay-at-home person now, because I was a very busy person before.”


“I’m an entrepreneur. I’m an inventor. I’m a father. I’m a creator. As far as creative arts go, I call myself a product artist. I get pictures of designs in my mind and I just make ’em. And every vision I’ve had about how an invention would work has always worked.”


“I have a degree in English and Creative Writing from U of A, and I was doing social media management for car dealerships out in Phoenix, and then I got pregnant, and then just, things kind of headed south from there, and I moved out here for family. I had community service hours to finish up from some trouble I got into in Arizona, and I found this place. So, I was working in the food pantry initially getting my community service hours knocked out. After a while I talked to Martin and he realized I had a degree and had other skills to offer. So, I got a job here, which is really awesome. It’s like the last thing that I expected, but it’s really been helping me get back on my feet. And I feel like these are my people, so it’s cool to be able to help out in that regard.”


“I’m the founder of the Chrome Divas of Cedar Rapids. We are a women-only motorcycle organization that is involved in benefits for women and children in our area. So, we’ve done a lot of work for Waypoint, H.D. Youth Center.”


“What do you like to try? Or, recently what have you tried?”

“I don’t think I’ve done anything recently. I guess at one point, there’s this app called Duo-Lingo, and I was trying to learn Portugese. And then, I have a ukulele, so I tried learning that for a little while. Recently, I don’t really feel like there’s much. Maybe that’s why I’m kind of feeling in a rut-ish. You know, because I’m not.”


“So, can you tell us about your outfit?”

“Um, these boots are pretty killer. They’re Sorels. So, I can be in the snow. […] They’re really comfortable. The shirt, I made.”

“Do you make a lot of your clothes?”

“Some. When my youngest was born I stayed home for like 3-4 years, and I had way more time to get back into sewing. And I knit, so I try to knit my own socks and stuff.”

Roller Derby Refs

“You want our real names or our derby names?”

“I think I’m going to have to get both.”

“I’m Ken, or ‘Kent C. Forshette’.”

“Mark, or ‘Drop Dread’.”

“Adam, or ‘Shylent Bob’.”

Ken: Yeah, it’s kind of hard to get him to speak up.


“What book were you reading?”

“Super Crafts to Make.”

“Oh, you like to make crafts. Have you made any good crafts lately?”


Mom: “Origami bunnies. We have a whole forest of them at our house right now.”


“What do you do for fun?”

“Hang out with the kids. Go to plays with the family occasionally. I do a lot with the Kids On Course nights at school. I read. I do have a small roleplaying group that I get involved with every now and then, but other than that I’m usually at home, so it’s whatever is on the schedule for the kids.”

Cedar Rapids Knitting Group

“I supposed it’s a fairly female, but we have had some men join. I don’t know why all of them have been named Dave. We may have had one non-Dave member; I’m not really sure. But in terms of at least women […] it winds up attracting a completely diverse group. I mean, the types of people I’ve met knitting, the different professions they have, it’s never the same.”


“Are you the type of person who has gone out and read all the books on pregnancy?”

“No! The books terrify me, and so does the internet. Even the few things I see, like on Facebook, the family sites or the parenting sites, I can’t read them, because it’s pretty negative. I’d rather go to my friends or my family.”

Alan – Riley’s best friend.

“Has anything exciting or interesting happened in your life lately?”

“I just turned 21. Thank you. It’s a happy time.”

“Where do you go to have fun in Cedar Rapids?”

“Um, I’m still learning, but my go-to spot before I turned 21 was always Chili’s. I love Chili’s. Can’t get enough of it.”

“Like the restaurant, Chili’s?”

“Yeah. It’s awesome. Great food.”

Riley – Alan’s best friend

“We’ve been best friends since our freshman year of college. He lived on the same floor my brother lived on. My brother was a senior when we were freshmen. Coe [College] was really good about us being able to walk around and meet new people during the first week of orientation, and I don’t know, we’ve been together ever since.”

Alan: “Best friends since.”


“I feel like Cedar Rapids is a lot more hipster than I expected, that’s what I like about it. Like all of the art festivals I’ve seen.”


“I recently went to AirFX, the trampoline park. One of my childhood dreams came true and it was awesome. Best hour of my life.”

Dylan – Greyhound Cafe

Dylan: “I try to know people’s names and learn about the people that come here. It’s interesting, fun. We get a lot of regulars.”

Matt: “A lot of people remember him from his other job because he’s made a lot of awesome drinks for them.”

Emily: “Yeah, we’re very honored to have Dylan as part of the team.”

Emily – Greyhound Cafe

“I clearly love working for Greyhound, for Matt and Pete. They’re just really respectful owners, and they’re always trying to improve things, and they’ve got a really great sense of humor.”