It’s just so difficult to get us all together for a photo these days!
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It’s just so difficult to get us all together for a photo these days!
Just a quick note that my right knee has been hurting for a couple of weeks now. I was pushing off while skateboarding using my right leg, and it was angled a little crooked and I heard/felt a pop come from the knee area. That night it really swelled up and hurt, and the next day it was really difficult to walk. However, it has been getting better and today (two weeks after my injury) I went for a run. It was only about two miles, but felt great and the knee didn’t hurt too much. I really want to keep in some kind of shape while my knee heals fully, and I was going crazy not being able to run. I have, however continued to skate, but just practicing carving bowls and pumping – nothing where I might twist my knee.
And just if you are wondering, the reason I pushed crooked is because when growing up, I always skated “mongo”, which means I pushed with my front foot. This is not the preferred way to push, so I am switching to normal. In fact, when I am skating during my injury, I will push mongo as there isn’t much chance to injure my knee further.
In other skateboard news, I got some new wheels! They are very fast! Maybe I will post again about those new goodies.
I came across this cover of Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You”. I really like it! Especially the bass. It’s pretty great.
Last month when we visited my brother and nephew in Hawaii,they showed us some pictures from when they traveled to Japan. In some of the photos, they were skateboarding around the city and it looked so cool and fun! So, when we returned home to Texas, I decided that I wanted to get a new board and skate more. And… it would be cool to skate with my sons too! I bought each of them a new skateboard, and I upgraded my old setup with a new deck and wheels.
The setup that I was using was actually a strange combination of 7.75 inch wide deck, some Gullwing trucks and Vision wheels, circa 1995. The deck was given to us as a wedding gift from Mariko’s friend. So, that was a real frankenboard. I decided to first upgrade the wheels with softer and wider OJs (so smooth!), and then followed up with a 9 inch wide deck which I found at Fast Forward. I was surprised that that store had a deck in the size and shape I wanted (the tail is flat)! However, I had to get rid of the graphic on the bottom, so I took the orbital sander to it and smoothed it out to the wood. That layer of wood was actually stained a bright pink! Not my first choice of color, but I think it actually looks kind of cool especially with the translucent blue OJs. I am covering up the pink slowly with stickers though!
The top of the deck was stained red, and I knew I wanted to customize the top and put clear tape on it. I think that it is such a great opportunity to customize your board, rather than just slapping black tape over the whole thing. I must be in the minoirty though, since only longboarders seem to care about the tops of their boards. Anyways, I went with a large seal design from a chop (hanko or stamp) I got in Hong Kong many years ago. And for fun, I put a small sticker up top that I found in Osaka. It’s very otaku.
I was so happy when Bay and Koa said they also wanted to customize their boards! Bay painted two white stripes on top, and “No. 1″ since it is his first skateboard. Koa went with a hexagon pattern for his griptape. They both turned out great!
We are fortunate to live near a city-owned skatepark, and i’s really nice one! There is a street section, a small pool, and a large pool. Since the kids are pretty much total newbies, we started out practicing a lot at their school parking lots and basketball courts. But now we also like going to the skatepark and practicing going down the small ramps. We also go into the bowls and practice fakeys and pumping to keep up the speed. It’s so much fun! As for myself, I’ve been able to get over halfway up the side of the deep end of the pool. I still can’t drop in, but I am improving every time we skate, and so are the kids!
I’m really glad that the kids are enjoying it. I hope they continue for a long time! And inspired by Kevin and Taylor, we want to bring our skateboards when we travel!
A nice thing has been happening at my office: Food Trucks! Once in a while we’ll have a food truck parked outside the building some of them have really interesting lunch selections. A few of the trucks have served what I’d call fusion food, which is a combination of two (or more) types of food. For instance, I had some bulgogi quesadillas (combining Korean and Mexican cuisines). It sounded like a great combination and I was excited to try. I expected it to be delicious!
At first, it did taste yummy, but about halfway through I kind of just wanted bulgogi with rice, or a regular quesadilla. This dish reminded me of some kind of concoction you’d make from leftovers. For instance, say I have some leftover bulgogi from a restaurant, but I don’t have any rice to go with it. However, I do find some frozen tortillas so I substitute that for the rice. In the case of the bulgogi quesadillas, I didn’t feel the combo was better than the original foods, which have been “perfected” over many years already. I did enjoy the quesadillas (the bulgogi was yummy!), but felt like it missed the mark a bit.
On the flipside, I tried the “Kimchi Fries Burrito” which was AMAZING! I think the ratio of flavor leaned towards the Korean side of things, with the fries reminding me of the potato you sometimes get as a side dish at Korean BBQ. The tortilla and cheese were probably only about 10% of the taste. I’m guessing I enjoyed the Kimchi Fries Burrito more than the quesadilla because of the fact that it was more true to one side of the combination rather than a 50-50 split.
So I guess what I realized is that with fusion food, as with all other things, you really need to try before you form an opinion. Also, the more I think about it, I tend to like the extremes of things and if you are going to do something, go all in.
Amazon announced a new e-reader, the Kindle Voyage. It looks so great, and of course I want one. But for $199? That seems pretty steep… so as I look at the current Kindle lineup (the dedicated e-reader, not the Fire tablet), my choice would be the Paperwhite. Bay has one, and the backlight is so great and convenient. If you don’t know, I have a Kindle Keyboard – it’s the one that has keys on the bottom. I still love it because the battery lasts forever. And it has something the others don’t have: speakers and a headphone jack. It’s a really nice feature actually… I have a bunch of nice classical piano and guitar mp3s on the Kindle, and it’s great to have that play softly as I read.
In short, the new Kindles are cool, but my old Kindle is still chugging away, and shows no signs of slowing down.
Our friends opened up a new café! Please visit Sa-Tén sometime!
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I’m pretty lucky that I live on the edge of the Texas Hill Country, which has some really fun roads to ride. This morning I rode Route 1431 from our house in Cedar Park to Marble Falls, then up to Park Road 4, which goes past Longhorn Caverns State Park, and then on to Inks Lake State Park, where I took these photos. It was so much fun, that I turned around and rode the same way back home, and made it in time for lunch! It was a total of about 150 miles round-trip and a fantastic way to spend a Saturday morning.
My friend Maggie, at the young age of 34, just found out she has a twin, and now it’s up to all of us to help her find them!
I love a mystery!
Please share this photo!
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I took the photo above early in the morning when I was taking a walk from our hotel room to the outside onsen. It was probably about 6am and Mariko and the kids were still asleep, and I could have just stayed in bed as well but I really wanted to make the most of our stay so I made the sleepy walk along the path.
One of the things I am trying to do is to be more active. By active, I don’t mean exercise, but rather if there is an opportunity to do something, I want to take it rather than just stay in and relax. The problem I’ve had in the past is that it is difficult for me to get started doing an activity. Once I am actively engaged in that activity, however, I almost always have fun and it is worthwhile. But just taking that first step has been a barrier. I’m not talking about a large project or adventure, but more like daily things. For instance, I always remember my brother Kevin would ask me to go golfing, but I would be hesitant to go. I’m not sure why, but I would rather take the “safe” option and stay home. But of course when I went golfing, I had a lot of fun and couldn’t wait to go again. Kevin mentioned something about that… how I should just get off my butt and go. (Not his exact words)
Back to my vacation… I arrived at the outside onsen and joined several other guests to enjoy watching the sunrise over the mountains, which was a pretty dang cool thing to do! But it didn’t stop there… after I returned to the room and changed into my regular clothes (and the family was still sleeping), I decided to go on a short hike. The hotel we stayed at has a few trails of varying lengths that start near the entrance so I took a short one, which led to a small stream and waterfall. I thought I might see a few other guests on the trail, but I ended up not seeing one single hiker. (I found out later that there was a longer, guided hike that left earlier.) The hike itself was good, but it was already starting to get muggy and I was constantly in motion trying to keep the mosquitoes at bay, and spider webs out of my face. However, I am glad I went for the hike. It was a new place that I would probably never go to again, I got some exercise, and I created some lasting memories.
I’m glad that I am making decisions that lean towards taking action rather than ones that follow the “safe route”. We only live once, and thinking of all the possible memories and experiences that we are missing makes me a little sad.
If that doesn’t put the finest point on it you’ve ever seen/heard, I don’t know what does.
in 2011 I visited Osaka and had a super-spicy curry at 上等カレー near Tsukamoto Station. It was soooo hot that I was in a daze. Mariko and the kids said I was crying, but I beg to differ! My eyes were watering, yes, but that is different, isn’t it? Also, I had a sort of hiccup due to the extreme heat and it hurt to breathe too quickly. My facial muscles were slack. Take a look at the photo below and see for yourself.
Regardless of how each of us recall that meal, the memory of it is a great one, and I wanted to experience the same spiciness during this vacation as the one in 2011. So I asked Mariko if we could go to the same curry shop, but she said there was a branch of the same shop near where we would be that day and that we should go there. Sounded good to me! Outside the shop is the ticket vending machine where you choose what you want to order, and put in your money. We noticed that there was no options for spiciness level and that kind of set off some alarms. We ordered the regular curry and saw that there were bottles of chili powder on the tables so you can adjust the level of spiciness yourself. I added a few dashes, and it still wasn’t as hot as it was in 2011. Back then, the cook just asked us how spicy we wanted it, and I told him “very spicy”. But now, the self-serve chili powder just wasn’t cutting it! I added several more dashes of powder, but it wasn’t getting any hotter – I think I maxed out that chili powder’s capabilities. I was pretty disappointed.
The curry itself was pretty tasty, but I was hoping to have the same experience as before! So, for the next time, I asked Mariko to do a little research so we can visit a curry shop with super spicy curry, just like the one in 2011. In fact, we might try the Tsukamoto shop again, but I don’t know if they will just have the self-serve chili powder which would be disappointing.
Just for reference, if you are familiar with Coco Ichiban Curry, where they have a spiciness level 1-10, I normally will order the level 10. I’d say the curry in 2011 was probably a 15+.