the accidental cyclist

Mine, mine, mine, it's really all mine now.

After waiting for a sale that would never come, I went out and got my new bike last week. The local bike shop sold out of the model I wanted so I had to call around until I found another shop had one in stock and it was $20 less. Yay! After taking it out on a few rides I realized that I needed bike stuff, badly. So off I went and picked up a helmet, blinking tail light, moisture wicking short-sleeve riding shirt as well as boxers, and a smartphone holder at my local REI (still a dangerous place for me even with my newfound miserly powers). I learned on my first two rides that I really dislike being circus freak sweaty and prefer a drier feel. I kind of forgot how mentally challanged most CA drivers are which is where the helmet and blinking red taillight come into play. I'm hoping this is a case of have not need, and save the helmet the duty of saving my bacon. The smartphone holder is waterproof and keeps my phone safe while allowing me to still interact with it. This allows me to not have to reach into my pocket while riding to work with the bike ride tracking app (Strava) I use as well as being able to play Ingress

Since I hadn't ridden a bike since I was a kid I'll offer a few Am-Tips (amateur tips) which I hope might help out anyone looking to ride again. First off I rode the thing like I was ten years old. I went balls to the wall when I should've been pacing myself. I got real dizzy halfway when the thought dawned on me and I slowed down. After that things got easier and the burning in my legs subsided. However I needed the help of a few beers and aspirin to coax the soarness completely away. The other thing is, if you happen to get a bike with 21 gears be sure to read up before going out and trying them all out. This was a major contributor to my pain from the first ride. Turns out even though you have 21 speeds you can't actually use every single one of them. Technically you should only be using about 13 of them because you'll stretch your chain based on the angle of the gears. There are volumes of info explaining this in better detail so I'll leave it for you to find as needed. Luckily my mistakes took place on the first ride allowing me to have a smoother time of it on the second one. I even doubled the distance. Can't wait to ride w/the beagle this winter out there. The major coup is that I'll be saving gas money on market runs while keeping the healthy activity up. 

On the emotional and/or mental side of things. I fucking LOVED it!!! The kind of freedom it invokes in you is unsurpassed. I get that it's just a bike ride, but you reconnect the kid with the adult in you in an unexpected way. I suppose this feeling might be magnified since I'm also crashing with the folks this summer. You can't help but feel like a kid no matter how old you are when in the precense of your parents I guess. It's one of those physical activities that allows a Zen state of mind where you can really focus thought. Ok getting way too inner something here. Sorry, choke me in the shallow water before I get too deep.

She was extremely unhappy about
not breaking them in today.

While I was there I found a drastically reduced set of the Ruff Wear XXS shoes with Vibram treads for the beagle. They released the new line of shoes Summit Trex just like they said last April in I've got dreams and were priced at $55. The prior model of Grip Trex shoes I found were only $18, and in her size. Baby's new shoes were scored! 


now you're cooking with ???

Up until now I've been half planning my mobile life as if resources will remain intact. I know at some point, even in this lifestyle, that I will most likely have to live it on leaner ground. My current form of cooking is based on using prepackaged fuels of one sort or another. I'm aware of all the cool little gadgets out there that utilize renewable sources to cook with but none of them seem to suit my needs. I even purchased the Jetboil as an alternate means to cook with, but to be frank I use it mostly just to heat water for my tea. That hardly fills the need for prepackaged fuel free cooking. I had my eye on the lodge dutch oven, but the amount of natural fuel I would need fuel it would most likely have me violate some sort of gathering law. While the Biolite Stove is really neat I came to conclusion that it falls short for what I need after seeing it in action. 

Recently a very good friend of mine turned me onto something that's been around for a very long time. The brilliance of its simplicity can't be matched. You'll quickly recognize how it's been imitated on its base operating principal, but more impressed at how clever it was implemented with the original version. From my understanding this has only recently made it's way into the US market. Despite how new it is, it has demonstrated that it is worth more than it's weight in gold. So without further delay here is the Kelly Kettle.

This is the large model.

The model I've been drooling over is the medium sized kit sold on Amazon.com which I'm about to order now. The part at the bottom is where all your fuel goes. Twigs, pine cones, or anything that burns. The mouth at the top is where you can add more fuel. The angled mouth at the top side is where you can add water to be boiled. The kit includes an apperatus which fits on the top allowing you to place a pan/pot to cook with. Since I'm something of an avid tea drinker the ability to boil water while I make dinner is a plus. I mean in addition to all the applications of boiling water while cooking off the same flame. Can't wait for mine to arrive!



What is it that drives others to do this? I mean especially when one is happy already. Several friends have attempted to set me up, well before I had left even Texas and returned to California. The answer, at least in my case in part, is my friends hope to anchor me here on a more permanent basis. Even my sister has lined someone up. Seriously though, what is it that drives one to do this? I've never even felt the slightest urge which makes the whole concept alien to me. I don't mean to sound unappreciative of the thought and effort behind it.

It took me a long time to put things into perspective after my last breakup. I even swore off dating just as a means to get my head into a better space with the intent to resume again later. After I got to that better head space I had learned that I really enjoyed being single. I'm better at it than any of my past relationships. I think I just suck when it comes to relationships. Oddly enough there's a direct correlation between my attempts to be a better partner and my worst relationships. The ones I didn't care as much about were the ones that were more fun and at least ended amicably.

Starting sometime last year I've had a friend whose been trying to set me up. Here's what's transpired thus far. The first girl was deported to Canada because of a mistake her mother had made years ago in the paperwork, and she was Asian. Her ethnicity has no bearing other than it struck me funny that my friend chose her of all people to set me up with. Kind of like we were the only two Asians she knew. The second girl is a mutual friend and bat shit crazy. My sister is a friend of crazy girl and can verify the veracity of my claim. Sissy also laughed at the suggested pairing. The third girl is a coworker of said friend's boyfriend and I even received a picture this time. Honestly, the girl is pretty and all but I spotted the crazy eyes on her so that was an absolute no. I don't know how to describe crazy eyes other than you can tell that there's something (very) not right based on the look in their eyes. 

As if that wasn't enough. Ever since I got back my dad has been trying to get me to the local Chinese newstand to meet a girl who works there. In his case I think he's just jonesin for more grandchildren.

And then sissy (sort of) enters the fray. She's been taunting me about meeting a friend of hers whom she says I would hit it off with and were it not for some difficulties in her life, that we should date. This kind of thing always sends a clear and concise message to me. She also said that she's my type which is funny because I've never really had one, but she swears by that statement. Now I've dated all kinds of girls from all walks of life. They've never shared any physical or personality characteristics other than being female. I'm kind of proud of that because I feel it important to love anyone for who they are and not what you want them to be. Then the picture comes out. At this point I gotta give in because she really is every kind of pretty I've ever liked. And the eyes were of the kind and sweet variety. I haven't met the woman, yet. I'm almost a little afraid to because I think sissy has pegged me pretty well. 

Whatever the case what the future intends for me only time will reveal. I'm happy and life is good!


be like water

In recent years I've done a lot more planning, with a more successful execution of said plans than in the past. Nothing is pefect and there are always unexpected setbacks to be overcome. This success partly comes from what I'd read in Bruce Lee's books on the philosophy behind Jeet Kun Do. The philosophy of remaining fluid became a great lesson when I entered the ever changing IT support field. Life also reminded me to not plan too rigidly when I had forgotten, sometimes gently, sometimes not so much. The lessons held this time and I've been able to complete each stage of this lifestyle change successfully. I'm very aware that I'm in what some consider to be the infancy of my plans, and that life might kick my ass again. That's life.

Despite how creepy I believe some craigslisters to be, it's still a great resource for stuff. Especially free stuff! I found a guy giving away one of those industrial plastic 55 gallon barrels there this week. Why would I need 55 gallons of water? Normally I kind of wouldn't, at least not all at once. Here's why. My rig is classified as a price point travel trailer by the manufacturer and was made with only a 10 gallon freshwater tank on board. Because of this I carry two 5 gallon expandable containers to make up for the smaller tank. Odd thing is the grey is 15, and the black is 9 which leaves me with about a 14 gallons of leeway before being full. The veggie garden plans dictate that I'm going to need a lot more water. Hence the free barrel, but also having an extra source of water is never a bad thing. It's a little bit bigger than I need, but I won't be filling it until I reach my destination. I won't even fill it completely if the refill point is close enough. However I'm keeping my eye open for a 25-30 gallon square tank which would sit better in my truck bed. I'm hoping to trade the barrel for it. We'll see what craigslist turns up between now and go time.

As a side note. I kept track of a lot of things like water consumption and waste disposal on each trip. In comparing notes recently I learned that I reduced both on my last trip. This was all prior trips before my last combined together. For those keeping score the last trip was nine days, and total combined priors to that was 14 days. Those trips also took place during the winter months with the recent one in summer.


the houseguest

So maybe I'm spending too much time with the family. At this point my parents have already started to drive me a bit mad with all their idiosyncrasies. These are the very things I've spent the last several years unlearning while living away from them, or anyone else I knew. It's not regret speaking. I'm very aware of and happy to regain some of those lost moments you miss when you're living a few states away. However, I can see and feel how different I am now compared to who I was then. It's odd how much you can change when you're not influenced (directly or indirectly) by those who've known you for so long. I mean to say friends as well as family. Some family and friends have treated me based on this growth accordingly (and vice versa) while some have not. Despite what this stay is doing to my psyche, it seems to be improving that of my parents. Mom is thrilled that there's someone whose helping her out around the house and can also fix things when they break. Dad is just happy he can watch his Chinese kung fu novelas (mostly) undisturbed.

There've been a few changes regarding project desert veggie patch. It's still going to happen. I'm simply shifting ideas on how and where. Nothing was written in stone to begin with, so no biggie. Why the shift then? In short, the welcome mat was never out as I had mistakenly thought. So the location of the farming community is out as I will not be going there. Instead I'm switching back to my original plan which was in an entirely different geographic location to begin with. Less resources there, but the challange is still accepted. I believe the garden will be easier to manage since I'm planting for only one. Well, ok, planting for two since the beagle is fond of certain veggies herself.

While I'm still here ... I'm almost ready to start tearing down the gazebo but have a new problem I need to solve. Where to dispose of the leftover wood? I found a few places that handle this kind of recycling but they want me to pay $30 per load. It will take me at least three trips, and I'm not willing to shell out $90 for disposal. I'm still looking into alternative solutions and will commence with dismantling it once said inexpensive solution is found. In other news the backyard no longer smells of dog urine; it's completely gone and you only smell fresh soil. In order to get my mom kickstarted on maintaining a garden again, I took her shopping to the local garden nursery where she picked up some nice flowers to spruce up the front of the house. She went the extra mile and even picked up some of those solar powered led lights for the pathway.


it's august, wait what?!?

I was aware that the end of month was fast approaching but had kind of stop keeping track since arriving here. Now it's August and I can't believe that spring ended, and we're already a little more than a month into summer already. The weather has been blissfully mild here, at least compared to what I endured while living in central Texas. That being said, I am already looking forward to vacating this major metro area as soon as the weather cools to somethign livable in the nearby deserts. I miss it dearly and really need to recharge my batteries.

Earlier today I connected with a friend whose "living out there already" and gather some preliminary info on starting a desert veggie garden. She's been living there for over a year, and as a local has amassed the kind of resource information that's crucial to make this work. To be honest she was a touch skeptical about the idea when I presented it but was swayed as I explained it in greater detail . My excitement level was bumped up when she agreed it could be done, but also found a way to up the ante. She brought up the desire to setup a wood burning oven. That put me over the top because I love cooking in as many old fashioned ways as is possible. Food simply tastes the best that way to me. I'm hoping to build, or if they build one before I arrive, at least get to use a brick oven to cook with by the time I make it out there.

I'm a little ahead of myself so let me take a step back. Our discussion was pretty long and involved. The first challange involved composting in the desert. Based on the lack of moisture and lack of certain elements it will have to be fed and maintained differently than a traditional one. Still, the discussion was uber productive and set us on the right path towards making it happen. The surroudning area also happens to be the bed of a large farming community which I believe will grant us access to more resources. If not, I'm ok with that and am looking forward to creative ways of making what we have work for us.

Challange accepted.