Sunday, May 28, 2006

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

You are what you eat (or don't eat?)...

Many of you know that in the past couple of years I’ve become increasingly aware of what food I like. Not to say that I’m a picky eater in the normal sense. I love trying all sorts of new foods, and to that respect I’m very open. What I am now rejecting quite emphatically is all the garbage that the FDA allows to be in our food. Food used to be simple, not pumped full of preservatives, hydrogenated oils, and mounds of salt. It has now become difficult to go to a normal grocery store and buy foods that haven’t been bastardized by additives, many of which would not exist outside a lab. America’s children are getting fatter, there are all sorts of new ways of getting cancer and heart disease, people are getting more stressed out, and people everywhere are complaining about not being “in shape”. Well, right, they’re not in shape. And it goes beyond food, but food is a big part of it. I saw a statistic on tv last night that stated less than 25% of American children eat a home cooked meal at dinner time. People dig boxed up fast foods over cutting up a vegetable or baking a loaf of bread (neither of which take much time at all, by the way). This particular program was actually focused on school lunches, which in most places are a disaster health-wise. But not according to the FDA. America proclaims how wonderful it is in all facets of life, but in many areas we are content in setting the bar dangerously low in the name of economic efficiency. I say cut it out! Support your local food co-op/health foods store (if someone in your town is smart enough to run one, and enough locals smart enough to keep it in business). Or if you live in a larger community, check out Whole Foods Market. Sweet place. Buy organic, or at least natural foods. Your heart will thank you, and you’ll even find that you actually feel the difference in your daily routines. I’m not just blowing off steam, I’ve found it true in my own life. And yes, I know that buying organic foods is actually negative to the area I’m living in (tons of factory-style farming happens in the Red River Valley), but you know what, just because something is good for the economy doesn’t automatically mean it meets the greater good of the people, and the earth that my grandchildren someday have to live in. I’ll stop ranting for now, but the point is, I think people have reached a dangerous point in their eating, and it’s not at all hard to see. Change it.

Breaktimes at TR...

I’ve been out west of town to Turtle River State Park a couple times so far this spring, and it’s been refreshing. It’s not a big place, but nonetheless can remind you that the world is not entirely covered in prairie with no known deviations in elevation. I forget sometimes living in this town. The first time I went out was a singlespeeding venture on the 1x1. I’m sad to say the looong winters here tend to make me somewhat of a fat-feeling man come spring, cuz the gear I was pushin’ last fall sure felt tough this spring. However, the ride was definitely enjoyed, and I’ll have to try and make some regular trips out there now that the weather is not continually foul. The second time I went, it was on foot with Alison, and our friends Jess and Chris. It was surprisingly nice to slow things down from the regular biking pace and do some hiking. The park seemed a little bigger, and I saw a lot more wildlife than normal. I going to have to say that hiking/backpacking is just as much fun for me as riding at this point in my life, which in the past I never would have said. There’s a poem at the beginning of The Complete Walker IV (blogged about previously), that states:
Shall I walk,
Or shall I ride,
Ride, pleasure said,
Walk, joy replied.
I agree that both are good ways to get out of the humdrum hustle of busy everyday chores and enjoy what’s outside. Don’t spend your whole life toiling…

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Quote from One on One Bicycle Studio (a respectable urban MPLS bike shop) blog-

most over-used phrase in America: "it's a really good bike." most under-used phrase in America: "no it ain't!"

heh heh.

Another General Update

Time for a blog update, I suppose. Life has been busy and still at the same time lately. Busy trying to figure out what in the world to do next concerning future career or school issues, and still in not really working all that much. I’ve actually been working at the bike shop just about as much as I’ve been flight instructing, and I’ve found myself enjoying it. If I could be a professional bicycle mechanic and support a family, I’d have my decisions made by now, but that’s just not an option in today’s world of money being so necessary. School is looking like a descent option right now, and my choices have been between pursuing and MBA or Airframe and Powerplant aircraft mechanic certification. Being a mechanic would probably be more fun, but it would be pursuing another round of school that would land me in another specialized career in which my employers take advantage of my skills, going along with a cut-throat industry that the government baby-sits (it’s infrastructure, so they won’t let the bankrupt companies go), and I’ve already played that game. I think I’m about done with that. An MBA would open up options with in many industries, not just the rotten one I’m in. I could apply for jobs ranging from managing corporate flight training departments, to marketing management at REI, or something else wild. Either way, change is overdue for Ben Jensen right now.
As for the relaxing side of my life, I’ve been entertaining myself again with my fixie project, which never gets finished. I’ve been converting/building/repairing/fabricating this bike for almost two years now, and you’d think I’d have it done by now. I guess that’s what happens when you refuse to spend money on a freebee bike, and wait for the random parts you need to accumulate, or to figure out how to construct alternatives. Last night I spent a little time cutting steel in my apartment for some chainring spaces I need (not too late of course, I wouldn’t want to be the irritating neighbor type- had too many of those over the years). There’s a few random little cheap parts that I need to finish ‘er off, but I think working at the bike shop again will help. I’ll probably have to stop being cheap and just finish it. Then I can show up to the shop in true mechanic style on a bike no one realizes as being friggin’ sweet, even though it clearly is.
I’ve also been thinking about making another change in my stable of two wheeled friends. My Trek 8000 has always been two small of frame for me, so now that I’ve regained my dangerously sweet discount at the shop, I may just sell it to turn around and get something new (and probably full-suspension and disc brake equipped) for the same price. Mmmm. Don’t know for sure if that’s the plan, but it may be nice idea. I’d have to investigate what rides are available that would suit me.
I’m toying with the idea of doing a 12 hour mtb race in Mandan this June. I’ve browsin’ the ND Cycling Federation website lately, and I think I may have to try the Race to Sunset, since it’s home turf. I’d have to convince some riding buddies to take the trip too, but if it worked out I’d think it would be fun. I sure don’t plan on winning, but I’d like to break through the mental barrier I’ve had for so long with racing. I know I don’ have the lung capacity necessary to be very competitive (I’ve got pectus excavatum for those of you that don’t know), I’ve always thought that the whole atmosphere of bike racing is great. Folks that dig riding going all congregating to go all out and have a good time. We’ll see if I make it to Mandan in June.
Anyhow, I have schools to research.