Archive for the Ramblings Category

judgment day

Posted in Bicycles, Ramblings on June 28, 2010 by jmadams13

Stuff, stuff, stuff, things… One of the things that constantly plays on my mind and emotions is the the need to judge one another on the the materials and ‘things’ we own, will own, or even to an extent, what we want to own. Notice I say own, not have. Own in the since that there is a monetary value. I have many things in my life, but not all has monetary value. You cannot place value on happiness, love, family, and joy.

One example that stands out the most is transportation. What you drive, how far you drive it, and how much it costs for your preferred mode of transportation. A common question I receive is almost word for word “your ride a bike to work and for errands… can you not afford a car?” Depending on the person, as if I can tell if they will be able to have a semi intelligent conversation or not, my normal response is “you think I’m poor because I have made the CHOICE to go by bicycle…” Or something of the like. If I feel they will just continue to judge me, I will say something like “yup, too poor, you must feel better now, pointing out that I travel by different means.” This normally gets people tongue tied and I leave with the satisfaction that I will get exercise and be able to enjoy nature a little more because of the choice I have made.

I am not saying I am a argumentative person, or have a ego complex or feel superior than anyone because of the choices I make in my life, I just feel its disgusting to judge someone based on what they drive, or don’t drive. Most of the time, my comments start a conversation and discussion on why I have made this choice, and most of the time, I feel I have been able to educate someone on bicycle advocacy and safety regarding automobiles and bicycles sharing the same streets, as in my town bike lanes and for the most part, even shoulders are non-existant.

Regardless of why we commute by bike, or even use the bicycle as the main mode of transportation, either by choice or by necessity due to financial situations, why should anyone judge a persons situation or reasonings just by the image of us on a bicycle for something other than for recreation. As an example, I have a friend who has a very well paying job, three automobiles, including two $40k BMW’s, who commutes to his job on a bike that cost him around $100. Should we assume he is rich when he is in his car, and poor when he is on his bike, or makes less then me because the bike I use for 95% of my transportation needs (not only commuting, but all needs) costs closer to $2,000? Should we assume that I make more than him, or that I’m only kinda poor, but he is really poor? I think not. By the way, and not that it matters, just proves a point, he makes much more than me. What matters is that he make a choice, either for personal reasons, or by necessity. That choice was his, and only his.

The public sees a bicycle as transportation for the destitute. I think its time we change that. Our choices are our choices, and they really only matter to us. Coffee Shop Dan I call him, a local bicycle commuter has a decent job, even owns his own company, commutes by bike. I don’t know his financial situation, why he rides what he rides, or why he rides at all besides he says he enjoys it. My point? The only way I “judge” him, and I use that very loosely, is that he is riding his bike, and not driving his car the 2 miles to the coffee shop, like many many others do. I do not judge them either for driving, but if they ask me why I ride, I hope they listen. If one person listens, that is maybe, just maybe, one more person that will consider using a different mode of transportation. Even if just for a short errand for the morning paper, grocery store, ect… Those are the baby steps, that one day for some will turn to a jog, then to a run. If I have educated just one person, then I have done my job, as the next time they see a cyclist, hopefully there will be no judgments passed.

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A minimalist approach in the kitchen

Posted in fosters, Ramblings with tags , on June 26, 2010 by jmadams13

Notice I didn’t say food, or cooking. That is a different conversation and practice all together I will go into in another time. This discussion, is regarding the tools used. Lets say for the sake of simplicity, in our kitchen is a oven, range, microwave, and a toaster oven. With these four cooking devices and the items listed below, most any items can be cooked. I will also not go into the “eating” utensils, including bowls, plates, flatware and drinking vessels. All of these items should be in any kitchen, and are the perfect example of multi-use items.

The tool list is as follows:

2 qt Stainless Steel pot and lid

10″ Cast Iron pan

10″ Chef knife

5″ paring knife (can also be used when eating, another amazing multi-use item)

Wooden Spoon

Metal Spatula

7″ Spring Loaded Tongs

5″ Stainless Steel sauce pan

10 qt Stainless Steel stock pot with lid

Stainless Steel colander

Stoneware roasting pan

8″ whisk

One argument I get is mixing has to be done in a large mixing bowl. This can be done in a serving bowl, again a multi-use item found in most kitchens.

With these simple items, most any item can be prepared and served. Eating forks and spoons can be used in the preparation. With these few items in the kitchen, food in itself will become simpler.

Simple food can be just as good, if not better than the more complex recipes. Take the “Escoffier,” 75% of these have less than 5 ingredients, including spices, and almost always salt. Its about the method, preparations, and “chemistry” involved.

This is the first part in a multi part series on my views on food, eating, and living. Stay tuned for more…

100 things

Posted in 100 things, Ramblings on June 12, 2010 by jmadams13

In thinking about downsizing many things in my life lately, and after a few conversations with a few people, and one old family friend I recently connected with on facebook after at least 14 years, I have been contemplating the 100 things challenge. To limit myself to 100 possessions. I know that this point in my life this is not feasible. I will begin the downsizing effort, and have already sorta began in selling off some bicycle equipment I no longer need, and donating three large bags of clothes. But as a start of the thought process I thought it would be interesting to see what my 100 things list would be like at this point. Would be interesting to see how my priorities change over time. I will list 10 things at a time, as they come to me. Some items will be “grouped” and I will explain the reasoning behind said grouping. Also, a few links here and there as inspiration.

Inspiration link of the day.  The blog that got us all thinking

To get things rolling: 1 – 10

1.) 4 Cup Coffee Press and a small grinder. Grouped because one is useless without the other. And, as this is my list, I can make the rules, lol.

2.) Macbook

3.) Surly Cross Check. This will also be grouped with 5 20oz water bottles, tool roll, and a handful of essential tools needed for basic maintenance. these items grouped together as they can be carried and stored on the bike at all times. Also grouped will be helmet and cycling shoes.

4.) Small toolbox, inside the essential tools, lubes and greases, bolts, and small spare parts needed to maintain my bike. I do most if not all of my repairs, but will take to the local bike shop if a tool needed is not in this box. A lot of thought will go into this.

5.) iPod touch, grouped with soft case and earbuds.

6.) SMall toiletry bag, inside body wash, wash cloth, toothbrush, toothpaste, mug soap in baggie, camel hair shaving brush, straight razor, deodorant. Body wash can be used as shampoo as I shave my head close most of the time.

7.) Low Top day hikers/walking shoes, Vasque brand

8.) Rafters Sandals

9.) Medium backpack with laptop sleeve

10.) One set spare tires. Pair counts as one item.

I will add that I will not put anything on this list I do not currently own. The point of this exercise is not to obtain any more, but to rid my self of the excess. Some items, like to toolbox will need to be gathered from items I already own, that are not currently together, but I already have in my possession.

I may “theme” these ten item posts. Like clothing, kitchen items, ect… for the purpose of future reference.

absence

Posted in Ramblings on May 29, 2010 by jmadams13

As you may have noticed, I have been absent for a while.  Not for any particular reason, just lack of things to say.  Maybe its my adult ADD acting up.  Nothing has changed.  I still commute by bicycle daily, enjoy the time I have with Aimee to the fullest, and still take note of all that life has to give me while trying to keep things simple, and as you have heard me say before, can be more difficult than it sounds.

I apologize to my readers, and will make every effort to post a real entry as soon as I find a worthy topic.  Maybe the Landis scandal, or the oil spill, or maybe something different.