Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Guess I had Chickpeas on my mind!

I prepared two dishes with Chickpeas two weekends ago. I didn't have much time to post it until now. Both the dishes use a recipe that is very similar to that of sambar. The difference between the first one and the second one is that I did not use coriander seeds in the latter, when preparing the spice mix.

The first one is called Chickpea Kootu (Chickpea chowder) and the second one is a Chickpea Eggplant Sambar. I added sauteed onions to the Chickpea Eggplant Sambar, although it is optional.
Taking it easy for the rest of the year and hope to enjoy life in the slow lane for a bit. So, let me take this opportunity to wish you a Very Merry Christmas/Holidays and a Very Healthy and Happy 2012.

See y'all soon!

Peace :)

PS. My mom used to make the Chickpea and Eggplant Sambar. I can say I learned how to make this dish from her :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Rawhide and rambling

Couple of more days before I on my family vacation for the year. In the meantime, I have been trying to complete all my work projects and home projects. I can't say I have ridden much, other than an occasional ride or two to work and to the stores.
Shaggy and Chaka are busy playing, "Dominator" and the cats are enjoying the fireplace and living the life! Part of me wants to take a bike with me on the vacation, but I am not sure if I will have enough room in the truck. I could always rent or borrow one at the destination.

I am not sure if I will have an opportunity to blog while on vacation. So, if I don't catch you before Christmas, have yourself a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

See y'all soon!

Paz :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Two in a row!

I started riding to work yesterday.

I can signal reasonably well with my left hand now. I am still undergoing therapy.

Hopefully, I will be fully recovered soon.


Paz :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Trailer Talk: Nov. 25, 2011

I do not have a kickstand on my Thorn and Brahma. However, Brahma the Brompton does not need a separate kickstand, as one can use the rear rack to "park" a Brompton.

When I don't have 64A, the cargo trailer attached to the MKII, parking it is quite easy. I simply lean it against a stationary object and lock the bike to the stationary object.  This stationary object is usually a gate or a bike rack or a lamp post.

I have considered adding a center kickstand to the MKII, but that's a topic for another post, really!

Today, I learned something new about parking the MKII with 64A attached to it. It may sound trivial for some of you veterans out there, but to me it was a valuable lesson.

When parking your bike (without a kickstand) with the cargo trailer attached to it, you may want to...
  1. Lean the bike towards the stationary object a lot --- more than how much you would normally lean it,  when you do not have the trailer attached to the bike.
  2. AND/OR Secure the bike to the stationary object (in this case the gate) tightly, so that the bike does not move forward/backward/sideways.

Taking these precautions this might eliminate the bike from moving, which can cause the loaded trailer to fall on your foot/feet, when you are loading it or securing your cargo. Believe me, trailer falling on your feet is no fun!
That's all the news in this edition of "Trailer Talk"! 

Have a Great Weekend!

Paz :)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Early Signs?

I cleaned out my closet, book/music collection this week and donated a bunch of stuff to Goodwill.

During that process, I came across these two photographs of me from 1993.

Early signs of a Long-term relationship with bicycles?

Too late now :)

Paz :)

Little Mail Carrier

Normally, I carry packages to the Post Office on my full-sized bikes. Through some recent experimentation, I have come to the conclusion that, for packages less than 15 pounds, Brahma is definitely a viable option.

Carrying a USPS Large Priority Mail box on the rear rack of Brahma is not at all difficult. However, it took me a while to figure out where to place my feet on the pedal, so that they didn't rub on the package on the rear carrier rack.

The other nicety is that I can take Brahma (with the packages on the bike) into the Post Office with me. I like it!

Paz :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I have a lot to be thankful for: a great wife, a great family, a great group of pets, a good job, a roof over my head, great bikes, great friends, etc.

I didn't always expect to have all these, but I am thankful for all that I have.

Happy Thanksgiving to you!

Paz :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Fall

Dear readers,
I fell off my bike a couple of weeks ago and haven't been able to ride much since then. I didn't break anything, but jammed my left arm into the shoulder socket. I am getting better, thanks to my therapist and I hope to ride more and post all about my experiences soon.

So, I will be talking to you soon, ok?

Y'all be safe!

Paz :)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Testing the limits

My arm is getting better. Chaka is not the only one testing the limits. I rode 5 miles yesterday. Today is rest day. I spent much of it cleaning out my closet and the garage. I also got rid of a bunch of older books and about two dozen computer cables and other junk.

I am off this week, so I will post more when I have stuff to share.

Have a Great Week!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Dysfunctional Relationship

After the fall last week, I went out with Brahma this evening. While I did not have any problems pedaling, I could not signal very well with my left arm. I only have limited mobility moving it sideways.

I am undergoing therapy to bring about a functional relationship with my left arm.

If I feel brave, I will try riding to work tomorrow.

Have a Great Week!

Paz :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fall?

As though I spooked myself, I fell off my bike last night. It was raining and I couldn't see the muddy patch, I suppose. I have hurt my left shoulder, but not broken. I am undergoing Chiropractic therapy and I am off the bike for a bit.

I will resume posting soon as I am able.

Be well, y'all!

Paz :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Scenes from the first Car-Free Streets Festival in Fort Worth, Texas!

Below are some photos (minimal commentary) from the First Car-Free Streets Festival in Fort Worth!

I rode the TRE from South Irving to Fort Worth.

It is just as easy to carry coffee in the water bottle holder of the Bromtpon T-Bag!
I ran into another bicycle commuter on the TRE. This guy wasn't going to the festival as I was, but was headed to work. He had a decent ride, a Marin, with disc brakes, mudguard and all.
I saw a some bikes at different stations.
The T-bus that runs on Natural Gas! I wanted to take a photo through the open door of the train, but the cigarette smoke on the platform got to me :(
Possibly, the world's largest ceiling fan? :) I found this at the T&P station in Fort Worth. I was a bit bothered to see ash trays at each of the tables though. So, was the fan there to disperse the yucky smoke or was it there to keep the people cool? I can't believe they allow smoking in public places, still :(
More bikes, locked-up at the TRE station! To me, the red Cannondale looks more securely locked-up than the scooter.

I rode from the T&P station to Magnolia Avenue, where the festival was. The roads were more or less deserted, quite possibly because of the festival and the street closures!
I stopped by a side street, where there was Kids Bike Rodeo. I chatted with Nicky Stevens (Trinity Bicycles), who was conducting the event. There were a bunch of kids, including a couple of Nicky's, riding around in that area.
Here is Nicky, with his adorable child!
As you can tell, Brahma went to the festival with me :)
There was live music at the festival. Live and it was played by a cyclist, who hauled the equipment on his bike. Yay!
There were a bunch of booths, promoting different stuff. Here you can see the infamous "Water Booth"!
Right next to the "Water Booth", was the Jenga Booth. Man - this thing was ginormous and looked totally fun!
I met Christina of Bike Friendly Arlington and her cool Surly. The Surly was a practical, well-equipped bike!
I call this Moi Monet :) The blue wheel and the turf were added by someone else.
Cool Barber Shop and a nice street light to go with it!
Pedicab - yowza! Now, if only they spelled my name correctly ... :)
Quite possibly, the coolest tandem I saw that day!
Skate Jam - ya!

Cyclists do get hungry!
I forget the name of the establishment, but you got the door # and it is on Magnolia Ave! This guy has good eats and he asked me to bring my bike in. Need I say more?
Close-up of the cool tandem!
Got some yoga and some Beatles to go with it...good vibes y'all!
That's all folks :) I had a good time!

Paz :)

DART Vader - Part Deux

As promised in my last post, I called DART first thing on Monday morning and filed a formal complaint reg. DART Vader. I was asked several questions, including:
  1. A description of the incident
  2. The location of the incident
  3. Time of the incident
  4. Route # of the DART bus
  5. Bus # of the bus DART Vader operating
I provided the operator all of the above except #5, the existence of which I did not know about until PM pointed it out to me. However, as I strongly suspected, DART were able to identify the driver based on the location, route number and the time of the incident.

I was told that a the incident would be reported to the particular region to which the driver belonged (depending on the route #) and that the CSR (Customer Service Representative) would call me back on/before Nov. 14th regarding the outcome of the investigation. However, the CSR went on to add that I may not be let know the actual disciplinary action taken against the operator by the CSR and that I would have to contact the Legal Department, if I needed that information. I was provided a reference number.

I wasn't expecting a callback from DART until next week or so, but surprisingly enough, I got a call back from DART today. I was informed that:
  1. Corrective action has been taken by DART
  2. The operator has been "advised" that his/her behavior was unacceptable and that it will not be tolerated
  3. A Field Supervisor has been assigned to the case and this Field Supervisor will ride on the bus to make sure that the operator behaves like he/she is supposed to behave
  4. Mystery Riders may also be added to the bus(es) that the operator drives
  5. It has been made clear to the operator that any such a behavior in the future will be dealt with very strict disciplinary action
Well, folks - I was happy to hear that than nothing at all from DART. Assuming DART told me the truth, they are possibly doing the right thing. At least, it is a step in the right direction.

The most amusing thing I learned from DART is that DART Vader is a female. Actually, for some weird, possibly irrational reason, it bugs me...

Paz :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

7-1 = 6!

I got some downtime this weekend and I decided I would spend it cooking a bunch of dishes for the upcoming week. Here is a presentation of all items prepared today. I did not make the Chappathi from scratch. They were store bought. Hence, the 7-1=6 :)
I prepared the following dishes:
  1. Stuffed Egg Plant Curry
  2. Spicy Stir-fried Cabbage
  3. Stir-friend Carrot and Green Beans
  4. Spicy Mashed Taro Root
  5. Potato Yogurt Gravy
  6. Onion Sambar
I think I made enough of each of these items for lunch for two people, to last a week. I think it will last at least that long.


Of these six, #1, #2, and #6 are repeats, although the preparation of the Stuffed Egg Plant Curry is slightly different and I will point out the changes below. I have provided links from earlier posts for #2 and #6.


#3, #4 and #5 are adaptations from another great cook's website. I have provided links for these as well.

Stuffed Egg Plant Curry 
The preparation is very similar to that of Egg Plant Podi Curry. There are some exceptions:
  • Do not cut the egg plant into four pieces each as in the Egg Plant Podi Curry recipe, but splice them as shown below instead.
  • Soak the spliced egg plants in tamarind juice (take 2 Tbsp of tamarind paste and dissolve it in water; make sure you can immerse the egg plant in the water --- that's how much water you need).
  • After the spice mix is prepared, stuff each of the spliced egg plants with the spice mix.
  • Follow steps 2-7 of the Egg Plant Podi Curry recipe. In between steps 5 and 6, add the tamarind juice in which the egg plant was soaked to the pan and cook until the egg plant is tender.
Finished product!
 A fine close-up of the preparation!

Stir-fried Cabbage: I added lots of onions and garlic to this stir-fry!
Potato Yogurt Gravy

Boiled Taro Root
Use a potato masher to mash the lentils and the taro root together.
Finished product! Tastes as good as it looks!!
Potato Yogurt Gravy

Spice mix preparation for the gravy!
Finished product...yummy delicious :)
Carrot Green bean Stir-fry
Onion Sambar --- I love this stuff!

Bon appetit' :)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Harassment by DART Bus Driver aka DART Vader Part I

This is the latest and greatest harassment by a Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) motorist yet.

I was headed out East on Valley View Lane this afternoon. Around 1:58 PM, I was riding in the right lane on Valley View, closer to the intersection of Josey Lane and Valley View Lane. In my rear view mirror, I saw the DART bus behind me, but didn't think much of it, as this is not abnormal vehicular behavior. I have had DART buses trail behind me, especially if there was a bus stop close by. In this case, there was a bus stop coming up, a few meters ahead of me, so I didn't think much of the DART bus's presence, in the same lane as I was, behind me.

And, suddenly, I hear a rather loud, "Beep, Beep", only this time the honk was not from a private vehicle, a private citizen's car or a truck, but the DART Bus Driver was honking at me. I was a bit puzzled, but I kept pedaling.

But, then I heard the honking again and the bus got closer to me. I felt threatened! I pulled out my camera and started shooting pictures in succession.
Soon as I started taking photos, the bus driver seemed to back off! I was still not sure what the intention of the driver was: was he gonna run me over or was he done harassing a law-abiding citizen, operating his vehicle on the road in a lawful manner?
So, in order to ensure my own safety, I pulled into the strip mall right across from the Autozone on Valley View Lane, which is a few meters from the bus stop. From there I shot the picture below.
Next, from my "safe haven", I called 911. I hate to waste tax payer money, but I had no other option, in this case, except to file a Police Report. A police officer from  Farmers Branch showed up in a matter of minutes and I told the officer what went on. The Officer ensured me that I had every right to be on the road as did the DART bus driver, provided me the police report number and then left in the general direction of the DART bus. The Police Officer also went on to suggest that I should also contact DART regarding this.

As seen from the pictures above, the driver of Eastbound Bus # 535, was the one who harassed me.

I will be contacting DART first thing on Monday morning, both in written and by phone.

I have been honked at private citizens of DFW, which I think is ignorant. Now, I have been harassed by the very public transportation, which I am trying to promote. I don't get it.

What am I missing here? I thought DART would have educated their operators regarding the rules of the road, but clearly I am wrong! Apparently, DART's operators aren't taught what they need to know, before they are given the keys to vehicles, which in the wrong hands could potentially be lethal weapons.

This is a serious matter and I certainly hope that DART will do the right thing!

Please stay tuned for updates.


Chandra E
Dissatisfied Tax Payer and DFW resident
League Cycling Instructor # 3059