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

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Meet Blue Velvet!

I found Blue Velvet, the Bridgestone Carmel on Craigslist. A friend of mine and I drove to Denton to pick up, Blue Velvet and her mixte counterpart, which my friend kept. We were told the parents of the feller who sold us these bikes, bought them around 1985 (we have the original sales receipts and the manuals), but never rode'em, which was hard to believe at first, but on more careful examination, I have to wonder if that claim could really be a true one! Not a blemish on either bike! Given how little we paid for this bike and its companion, we got a very nice deal.
The tires do show some very minor signs of aging near the rim, but other than that the tires do hold air pretty well. They haven't lost any air pressure since Sunday night or whenever they were aired before that point. The tires are 27 x 11/4 Bridestones. The paint job is very original and quite lovely. It is a darker blue with some sparkle.
The mudguards look brand new. I ain't kidding.
Some kinda Shimano pedals, with a flat pedal on one side and provision for cleats on the other?
The gears were a bit sticky and the chain was dry as a bone. I lubed the chain and the various pivots and adjusted the Hi/Lo settings a bit to get the gears to move without sticking. Suntour 6 speed cassette in the rear and two chain rings in the front for a total of 12 gears. I haven't explored how well spaced or hill friendly these gears are, as I haven't taken the bike beyond a square block of where I live, just yet.
Does it say Carmel T. E. ? Touring Edition, may be? I can't figure out that font very well. What do you think?
The original saddle in mint condition. It is quite comfortable, though the Brooks lover in me, is pondering about the possibilities.
Big whopping rear reflector. I like it.
Quite possibly the original bottle cage! The original decal in great condition. If you look closely, you may see the discoloration in the exposed brake cable. Do you think it makes sense to wipe it with WD-40 to get rid of the discoloration (oxidation) and not change the cable, as long as it works well?
More stickers and decals, showing the country of origin and the type of steel.
The handlebar grips are spongy and soft. I think they may be the ones I want to replace first, if anything.
This afternoon, I took the new bike to The Bike Shop at Las Colinas for a overhaul/tune-up. The guys at the shop told me it would be $49.99, minus 25% due to the sale they are running right now, which I thought wasn't a bad price and so I dropped it off. The guy called me a few hours later and assured me that there is nothing wrong with the bike and that the bike is in excellent condition. He did say that he adjusted the gears a bit and charged me $16 and change (including taxes). I appreciated the quick turnaround, honesty and the savings. Thanks, guys!

So, that's the story in a nutshell. I will put the bike to test over the next couple of days, hopefully ride to work, if I can.

I would like to use this bike as a alternative commuter and for running errands. Let's see what the future holds :)

I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on what I should watch out for, which parts you would change if it were up to you, etc.

Paz :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Addition Hint!

There was a new addition to the family this weekend. Nope, it is not an animate thingy. Here is a hint:


What will you get if you combine the object/structure  in the first picture, that's used to cross the river, with the big object in the second picture? To solve this rather clumsy puzzle, you have to think like a "nerd" :)

I don't want to give it away...
More in the next post...

See you soon!

Paz :)

Image of Equal sign courtesy of

Image of Big Stone courtesy of 

Image of Big Question Mark courtesy of

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Stylin' with Brompton

Me and Brahma are getting pampered today. I haven't been to a professional salon in many moons. I managed cutting my hair on my own for quite a while. Today is different!
You can go almost into any store with a Brompton, as long as you can convince the store that Brompton is your Personal Mobility Device. That's precisely what I did to convince the people at the Salon today!

Hope you are enjoying your weekend!

Paz :)

Dogs Gone Hiking!

When I had a couple of days off recently, me & T decided to go hiking with the dogs. I had to drive a few miles to get to near BNTF.

Chaka and Shaggy, posing happily. They did not go for many long walks over the summer and they were ecstatic to get out.
As much as Shaggy tried to train Chaka and put her in her place, in doggy terms, she is in love with him. She can't leave him alone and he actually goes and hides in the closet sometimes, just to get a break :)

I suppose love works in mysterious ways. Awww - the joys of life :)

Have a Great Weekend!

Paz :)

PSA: 1st Open Streets Festival in Fort Worth Texas

Tomorrow (and Oct. 30th) is Open Streets Festival in Fort Worth. I am planning to attend.
Hope to see you there!

Paz :)

Image courtesy of

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Simple Thai-ish Stir-fry

I have been busy with lots of different things and I have also been riding over the weekends, now that it has finally gotten cooler here in North Texas.
Last weekend, however, I made time to indulge in one of my real passions, again! You guessed right - I cooked :)

The dish I prepared was a simple Thai-ish stir-fry with Black pepper seared Tofu! I say Thai-ish because I didn't follow any specific Thai recipe, but I prepared it based on my own intuition of what the dish would taste like, had it been prepared Thai style. Or something like that :)

1 brick of Extra-Firm Organic Tofu
Finely shredded ginger - 2 Tbsp
Chilli powder - 1 Tsp
Curry Powder - 1 Tbsp
Coconut oil - 2 Tbsp
Coconut milk - 1 can
Garlic paste - 1 Tbsp
Coarsely-ground black pepper - 1 Tbsp
Asian stir-fry veggies - 1 pack
Cilantro for garnish (optional)

  1. Heat up the 1 Tbsp oil in a large skillet/wok. When the oil is hot, add the tofu and sear the tofu, adding 1/2 Tbsp of the garlic paste and coarsely-ground black pepper. Once the tofu is seared, remove from skillet/wok.
  2. Heat up 1 Tbsp of oil in the same skillet/wok, and stir-fry the veggies with 1/2 Tbsp of the garlic paste, the shredded ginger, chili powder and curry powder. Add the coconut milk along the way. Cook until much of the milk is evaporated.
  3. Add the seared tofu to the mix and stir.
Serve piping hot, with chili sauce with or without rice!

Bon appetit' :)

Bridge Not Too Far!

A while back, I wrote about the new section of Campion Trail was recently opened, in my other blog. When I wrote that post, the bridge across the Trinity River in my neck of the woods, had not been opened. But as of last weekend, it is open. There is still a bit of construction work going near the bridge, but the Campion Trail is now connected to the little trails along the canal (LTATC) where I live. So, now I can get on the trail in less than 2 minutes from my home :)
In fact, now I can take the BNTF (Bridge Not Too Far) to Campion Trail, instead of riding Valley Ranch Parkway, if I wanted to. There are pros and cons to riding the LTATC. One of them is that the LTATC is somewhat narrow, making it hard to pass pedestrians walking dogs, but nothing that can not be done with a little caution. If you don't want to be hassling with the rush-hour traffic, taking this path is a great way to go.
There is lots to see along the way, including members of the McCrane family!
And, lots of wondrous surprises from Ma Nature! You won't probably see this if you are driving in a car, but you are perhaps more likely to, if you are cycling or walking :)
Another view of the Campion Trail, looking southerly, towards Highway 635! You may notice some kids riding on the trail. It warms my heart to see this.
I came across two different Armadillos. One of them was shy!
But the other one wasn't shy! In fact, he/she was a daredevil. Came right up to me!
Came within a few inches of my feet!
And, acted as though I wasn't around! Without putting too fine a point on it, in fact, I was visiting him/her, in her neck of the woods!
Here is a better shot of the one that wasn't bashful!
And, another shot! I was very thrilled to see one so close. I don't know if they bite, but I wasn't too worried. They didn't seem hostile or anything.
That's not all you see around my neck of the woods. Here are the three turtle musketeers.
And, lots and lots of ducks and geese!
On a beautiful fall day, is there a better thing to do, than be outdoors and enjoy the splendid weather, cycling?
I hope you are having a great week!

Paz :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

PHD, Loves Bikes :)

I have decided to retire a couple of my shirts. Shaggy has found good use for them! I put one on Chaka too, but she tore it up :)
Paz :)

PHD = Professional Herding Dog