Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Porteurs and other bike obsessions.

The Bully Porteur

In February of 2009, we went to the North American Handmade Bicycle Show. With all the 2 wheeled eye-candy there, I was more than overwhelmed and came home with only a wool cap and a bunch of swag.

A few weeks later, I got a call from my erstwhile ride companion and mechanical guru, Christi, at Acme Bicycle Company. "Come see this."

She had put together a steel track frame. I said that I would like something that would t

Yaktrax Rule!

We had an icestorm last night, yesterday. Since I can, I took off work today and will work Saturday instead. I had almost forgotten about the Yaktrax I purchased nearly 2 years ago. With the delusions of reference that we all often seem to have, we haven't much of a snow or ice since then and I hadn't even taken them out of the box.

Of course, despite the icestorm, the dogs still wanted to walk this morning. Laurie had taken the 2 pair of Yaktrax out yesterday and I put on my boots and took the Yaktrax outside and easily put them on my shoes, probably could have done it with gloves on. Not a hint of slipping on the ice covered stairs, driveway or sidewalk. If only, I could have them on my bike.

On Job Hunting and Job Having

So... in January, I changed jobs leaving my position at Whole Foods Market. I simply had run out of things that I wanted to do there.

I always have wanted to work with computers or at least since the internet came into my life. In 2000, I pursued Java training with PVI, which closed its doors as I was nearing completion of my training and certification. I spent a few months trying to find a job and learning to write code again, ending up temping at an insurance company processing health insurance claims. I worked there until their claims backlog was caught up and then went to work at Sprint, also as a contractor.

I had a position lined up in the IT Department at Sprint, due to start one Monday in August. The Federal court had another idea, summoning me for jury duty that same day. I waited until the next week, to my chagrin, not getting picked for jury duty or the IT position at Sprint. I ended up working, as a contractor through the temp service, for the Fleet Administration department.

It happened that around the block from the Sprint office where I worked, Whole Foods Market, was opening their first store in the metro area. I applied and was hired as a cashier, part-time. I would leave Sprint a few months later to work at Whole Foods Market. I went full-time on the Seafood Team.

Years went by and I was elected the Team Member Awareness Group representative, applied for In Store Systems Coordinator a number of times, became a part-time shift leader, tried my hand at Produce specialist (buyer) and finally landed my dream position there as Store Systems Coordinator, where I stayed for about 5 years.

The company grew, merged with its principal competitor, acquiring a store about a mile from my house. I went to work there as Shift Leader/Marketing Coordinator/Back-up Systems Coordinator. I was in my own neighborhood, seeing my neighbors at work, in a human scaled store, supported by a the resources of a giant corporation.

Then the FTC stepped in, fighting the merger. WFM was forced to put a number of stores on the market, including my store. It was sold to the scion of a well-to-do architect, who didn't operate the store for an entire year. I returned to the suburban store in a deep funk, resenting many of the over-privileged customers who I served. I tried different positions, working as backup specialist in the Prepared Foods team and getting thrown under the bus by a team leader who resigned not long after that. I went to the Customer Service and was driven out by a sociopathic team leader.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Banh Mi, My Way.

So, I've been out for dinner a few times lately and had a vegan/vegetarian Banh Mi and thought "NAGAM" (Not as good as mine.) I make no claims to being anything but a decent home cook. I doubt that I could earn a living as a line cook at a decent restaurant, though, given enough reps, anything is possible.

But I do make a tasty Banh Mi at home and I thought I'd show my method. Here is the start, Central Soyfoods' Hickory Smoked Tofu, Portabello Mushrooms, Daikon Radish, Carrots and  Baguette from Farm to Market Bread
Mince a  good sized clove of garlic or a few small ones and  put into a shallow bowl or baking pan. Get a piece of lemongrass and beat it with the dull side of a cleaver or chef's knife. I once told a team member to use the back of a knife and found him holding the knife by the blade. Anyway, put the beaten lemongrass into the pan/bowl. Peel a knob of ginger and grate about the thickness of 3 nickels into the baking dish.

Slice the tofu as thin as you can, between a quarter and a half inch. Put the slices in the baking dish and sprinkle with tamari sauce. Stem and clean the mushrooms and sprinkle them with tamari too. You don't have to drown them. They'll manage to absorb the sauce and garlic and ginger and flavors. Grate a little extra ginger over the top of everything. Let it set at room temperature for the length of an album, go do something else for a while. If you want to let them go all day, put the dish in the refrigerator, covered, unless you want everything to smell like a

Chinese restaurant for a long time.

You should make the slaw or pickle at this time. I like the daikon and carrots grated on the large grater, not the one you used for the ginger. Add something green and cabbage-y, like cabbage or collards or kale. We had homegrown bok choy, so that went into mine. Chop it into small julienne strips, like you would for slaw. I also had some kohlrabi, so I grated that into the pickle. Sprinkle some plain rice vinegar or lime juice onto the mixed vegetables and let it chill for 
Split your baguette and spread on the top slice a mixture of Veganaise and Sriracha or hot sauce of your choice. Spread some Earth Balance on the bottom. Besides being tasty, they keep the bread from getting too soggy.
Grill the tofu and mushrooms over a hot grill until the mushrooms go soft. Slice them into thin slices as soon as you can handle them.

Put a layer of tofu and a layer of cooked mushrooms on the baguette. Top that with as much of the pickle as you like. A few sprigs of cilantro are nice, but not required, as are a few slices of jalapeno.

As you may observe, I couldn't wait to dig in before I took a picture. Enjoy.

Monday, December 12, 2011

My life without drinking lasted for 2 months, until I felt like I actually wanted a beer, rather than "this is the time I would usually have a beer, so I'll have one".  Fine distinction but one with which I am comfortable. I'm making some changes to my life gradually, shifting out of my comfort zone to make my self more comfortable.

Monday, September 12, 2011


So a couple of weeks ago, I gave up drinking. I don't know if its going to be for the rest of my life or a little while but I had gotten to the point where it just didn't appeal to me anymore. I was drinking some when we were in Estes Park, some good, very good beers, and it almost felt like a chore. I'm not sure what precipitated this feeling. I know it has been coming for awhile.

Part of it is my dietary switch to the Engine 2 diet awhile back that has helped me lose weight and makes me a lot more sensitive to the second and third beer I was drinking. Without all the carbs and grease in my system, the sauce just hit me a lot harder, leaving me feeling lousy and I don't want to do lousy anymore. I want to soar. I want to run and bike and ski and be at my best. So  like Dean Wormer said, "Fat, Drunk and Stupid is no way to go through life, son."

I talked to a co-worker who quit drinking and he is half my age. I didn't talk to him in depth about it. (Not that I'm capable of in-depth conversation about anything, with anybody, without squirming.) I did ask him if he attends AA meetings, though and he said, (I may misquote) "My problems are my own, I don't need to share them with anyone." Pretty much my sentiments, too. I've had more than 30 years of drinking and I may be done, now. I've really honestly never felt like it was doing me any good, though. 

Sometimes, it's brought me out of my shell. My shell is thick. On the other hand, things that I've done under the influence, have made me feel ashamed. There was a time I was driving the wrong side of the highway and the only thing that saved me from being banned from driving was the then lax enforcement and a murder not too far from there at Kansas University Medical Center. Countless stupid drunken escapades and scrapes mark my life. I don't want to be that guy anymore.

So, I'm taking it one day at a time, like the cliche' goes but I think those days are behind me. The mystery that concerns me is what's ahead.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Late to the party, I purchased an iPod last month. After much consideration, I determined that the Classic 160gb best met my needs. As much as I'd like the internet connectivity of the Touch, I need the capacity of the Classic because our long term goal is to decumulate, to coin a word, so much of our stuff that takes up space. The beauty of it is that I can upload CDs seemingly at random and the iTunes interface will organize it for me.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Getting close to another year's end.

Lord, is it cold! It always comes as a rude shock when winter starts to come around here. I've ridden to work twice in the last week but come into the store with my hands barely functioning. Laurie has taken a knife to a couple apple juice bottles to make fairings. She's also modified a worn pair of wool socks to make hand covers. I'll get the Bully Porteur going again and be on the road.

My new position at Whole Foods entails being there in the morning, often at 6AM which means getting my ass on the road before 5AM. I'm going to try to make that work because I actually do enjoy riding that early and very much enjoy the ride home at 2 PM.