Sunday, May 25, 2008


I have a little time on a Sunday evening, so here are some recent pictures. The first may need a little explanation. This is my front wheel that has a significant bend in it. It seems that I may have had a little accident. No, I didn't get hit by a car, and no, I didn't just tip over (did you know that studies on bicycle accidents show that nearly 60% of bike accidents do not involve a car or any other object?). I hit a pedestrian. I don't feel real good about that, but as I reflect on the event, I don't know what I would have done differently. I was just leaving school going through town. I was approaching a stop sign so I was checking for pedestrians and cars on the street I was about to turn on, then all of a sudden a lady stepped out from behind a car about 15 yards before I got to the cross walk. I didn't even see her before we made contact. She hit the right side of my handle bars which caused the front wheel to turn sharply to the right. That bent the front wheel as I went over the bars. I landed on my back, crushing the Tupperware which had held one of my lunches (an unfortunate loss). I totally missed my head, my helmet had no indications of an accident at all. She also fell down right next to the curb. I jumped up, as did she, and she was quite apologetic and seemed to think it was her fault. I tend to agree, but I know that I have a slightly biased view and whenever I think that I ran into a pedestrian, I think there should have been something that I could have done to prevent it. I mentioned to her that if she were to walk the 15 yards to the cross walk she probably could have prevented the situation. She then stood behind the same car, poised to jump out at the next passing cyclist. She was fine, I said I was fine because I didn't want her to feel bad (although $50 to fix my wheel was a little rough, but then again that's only a tank of gas). I jammed my finger pretty bad, but it's starting to bend pretty well now (almost 2 weeks later). I didn't lose a whole lot of skin and very few bruises. So besides the wheel and the Tupperware, I think it turned out pretty well.

It's amazing how you can take a picture like that and not even notice that your shadow seems to be the focus of the photo.

Yesterday we went for a hike. I was ready for a little break after comps, so we went up to Bridal Veil Falls and did a little 'hiking' (I'm glad my kids were looking for dirt when I said we were going for a hike, but unfortunately there was no dirt on this trail).

This is my wife with the baby. I like this picture. I wonder what they are looking at.
This is the Mugwump playing in a little pond at the bottom of the falls.
And this has to be one of my all time favorite photos. This is Six-Pence giving me a flower. I did a little cropping to get my foot out of the picture, but I like the contrast of the grimy little boy (notice dried mud on face and fingers) being thoughtful with what he could find.
Look at that, it was almost like a real post. I've had several 'shorts' recently, but should be able to really get going again in a couple more weeks.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Six-pence bedtime

This is the reason that we bought a new camera. I have been watching this happen regularly for months and have never been able to get it on video. Tonight I finally did. I hope it comes through all right. I hope others think it is as funny as I do. Anyway, enjoy.

Comps part I

After 8 hours of typing for part one of my written exam, this will be short.

Although someone left me an earring on the desk where I took my comps, I did not have to use it to jab my eyes out half way through. I feel that I did OK, but have some refreshing to do before orals in two weeks.

So here's what I did today. I rode into school. I picked up a computer and set it next to my lunches, water and snacks. I typed for 8 hours to answer 6 questions. 8000+ words and 12+ single spaced pages (that's almost 17 words per minute, which also included a little time to think and eat... OK, that's not great typing). I'm going home now. I need to get ready for part two next week. There are 7 questions next week... I hope the earring is still there.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

I know he's hard to understand, but I'm sure he is trying to say, "Happy Mother's Day". (I didn't mean for that to rhyme).

While I'm experimenting, I'll try Youtube as well. This one is from Six-Pence. He doesn't talk very loudly, so you may need to turn up the volume.

Right, I do have three kids. Here's the Mother's Day wish from number three. Again via Youtube, I think that's the way to go. Tell me what you think.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Out of time

This may be the last post for awhile. I am running out of time studying for comps. I have received my schedule and have just over two weeks before the first test. My first test will be 6 questions long covering exercise physiology, transportation planning and statistics. I have 8 hours to complete the test. The following week I will take part two, also lasting 8 hours and it will cover city planning, environmental health, more statistics and health promotion (seven questions total). I will then have a little less than a week to figure out my weaknesses and prepare for an oral exam. My understanding is that the faculty will review my responses and determine what they consider to be my weaknesses and then they will ask questions to bring to light my weaknesses. My job would then be to defend myself and my competency for becoming a PhD. I'm going to go study now... and for the next 5 weeks.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


This post would be for those who like to see pictures of my family rather than reading my rants. That would probably be most of the people who visit here. I'll rant again next week, if I have any time.
The new baby is getting bigger. He's just beginning to take on facial features that are not just baby features. And it's warming up so we can take him out of his bundle of clothes and actually see his face.
Six-Pence with a stuffed animal.
Mugwump is ready for battle. He has his helmet, a shield (lid to a pot) and his spaghetti scooper. It's hard to loose if you are armed like that.
Now the Mugwump is looking through his spaghetti scooper. For whatever reason, I sort of like this picture.
There's another picture of Jaguar. He seems to scowl a lot. I often wonder if he is scowling at me or the world.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


I always struggle to keep up on sporadic bloggers... I am one of them. Hopefully I will gain some consistency after June 5 (written and oral comps will be over). Today I had something that has been on my mind so I'm going to post, despite the fact that I should really be studying.

I'm a child of the 80's. Well, I was born in the 70's, but most of my childhood memories are from the 80's. I remember vividly the commercials on TV asking for donations to help the people of Ethiopia who were starving because of a drought that had lasted a long time. There were pictures of sad kids and mothers who looked really hungry. I never donated, but some of those images really stuck with me. Here in the Western world, we have it really well. I have never been deprived of food (except for long bike rides when I'm not bright enough to bring enough food to get me home).

You're right, I don't blog about Ethiopia or droughts in Africa. I blog about bike related stuff and simplicity. Today I'm going to add ethics to the mix and talk a little about ethanol as a fuel. For some time the US government has subsidized farmers who grow (or don't grow) crops such as corn. This keeps cost of US corn low and makes it so poorer countries can't compete with our prices (like most of Africa). Most Americans don't concern themselves too much with that idea because the subsidies do keep many farmers in business who would otherwise really be struggling. I don't know what makes US farmers better than Africans, but that isn't the point that I want to address today.

Currently corn prices are sky rocketing (along with other grains that can be used to make fuels such as bio diesel) and the farmers are in a better situation. I don't think the subsidies have stopped, but I could be wrong on that. The reason prices are rising is because we are developing technologies to turn these crops into fuel. While it may help us beat peak oil (which I think is approaching quickly), I think it could have some catastrophic consequences.

It's simple economics (I say that, but I'm really not an economist). Demand for corn is high because it is now not only a food, but also a fuel. So the prices go up for foods that contain corn. (try to find a processed food that doesn't contain corn syrup...there aren't many.) And this turns into a great ethical decision.

The free market economy that we live in allows supply and demand to regulate prices (with a little intervention). Now we have the wealthy who can afford fuel for their cars and the poor who can't afford food. Is it OK (ethical) for the wealthy to have luxuries that directly result in others starving? Oh, I just found a cool website. Put in your income and it will tell you how rich you are compared to the rest of the world. I'm in the top 13%. The next time you go to fill up hour car with gas, think that when you pull that nozzle out of the holder, you are pulling a cob of corn out of the mouth of someone who is hungry.

The big problem with the whole thing is that like many things in the US, the consumer will be distanced from the consequence of their consumption so that the consumer doesn't see the harm. I really think we need to get rid of that practice. How much would it influence your choices if you could see the landfills and the pollution and the division of wealth that come from our consumption? I think that it would affect many people greatly, but people don't want to worry about it (and the companies that produce stuff certainly don't want you thinking of it). It's that separation that keeps us making consumption choices that are bad for the environment and bad for other people.

Did I miss something on this, like I did with the China thing? I don't think so, but let me know if you disagree.