Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saturday, or: I have NO life

Two quick websites to share:

it's pretty cool, it has a list of the most nutrient dense, tasty foods that have healthful benefits, and they're all whole foods. It stands for Worlds Healthiest foods. You can also search a database of recipes by choosing the ingredients you want to include, and those you want to exclude. It'll pop up with a list. It's pretty cool, great resource for those who are somewhat health/nutrition conscious.

The other website is how I found, and I'm sure you've probably already heard of it

You make a profile, select your interests, install the app to firefox, and click on "stumble", it'll take you to a website based on your interests, and the ratings as ranked by other stumbleupon members.

Its a good way to find something new and interesting.

Friday, January 30, 2009

I love the internet

If it weren't for the internet, I'm fairly certain I would be more of a loner than I am now. Either that or it's socially crippled me by giving me an easy way out. But I'll assume its a blessing not a curse when it comes to networking.

Today, for the second day in a row, I have decided I want to go for a bike ride and in a matter of minutes, gotten 3 or 4 other guys to ride with me. Guys I wouldn't have known to begin with without the internet. Granted, I met one other fixed gear rider at school just by running into him, but in such a large community, it's often hard to find people you have things in common with. Especially for people like me who dislike so many people for so many different reasons.

Douchebags, all of them I swear.

Anyways, I realized today that I have made alot of contacts that have become friends, and important parts of my life, in one way or another through the internet.

I guess thats the world we live in, where it's normal to meet your girlfriend, and even your spouse, online. Where EVERYONE has a profile on at LEAST one social networking site (usually more like 2 or 3)

Granted, I wasn't really around (in this capacity) before the internet was manifested in one way or another, so I can't vouch for how things used to be. Where clubs, groups and communities had to actually meet at one physical location, at a set time in order to make any real contact. Maybe thats the key, maybe we, for the most part, are devoid of any REAL contact, at least in the sense that I'm referring to here. Maybe social networking serves to do little besides make us less social in the real world. Or maybe it instills in us a sense of confidence with the fact that we are connected with everyone at all times, and so the consequence of one faux pax isn't as dire as it might once have been.

At any rate, I can say right now that if it weren't for the internet (that great, mysterious lover and simultaneous monster) I wouldn't have people to ride with so often, and for that I'm thankful.

Here's to technological advances and collective societal nerdiness.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wednesday, or: The absolute worst timing

I messed up my ankle and foot pretty bad trying to ride backwards circles in the parking lot earlier.

I won't be riding for a couple weeks while they heal. This is possibly the worst timing I could imagine. So much for stress relief.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Lets make a difference

San Luis Obispo Food Bank

San Jose second harvest food bank

I'm thinking of organizing a food drive at Bike Night in February here in SLO,

Anyone have any suggestions/tips for how I would go about doing that?


My bike is my only comfort these days. I had a pretty crappy weekend, but saved it on Sunday when I went on a group ride with slofixed.

Something about getting out and mashing around town, or to the beach, just makes me smile, no matter how shitty other things may be going. Unfortunately yesterday I got two flat tires. One before the ride started (and I paid $13 at a bike shop for them to change it since I threw away my old pump), and once after the ride when I was practicing wheelies outside my apartment.

I met a guy named Joey who rides fixed gear and lives in my apartment complex, seems really nice. Also met a guy named Eric, supposed to try a new thai place with him next Sunday, if I can find some money.

Things went downhill with the ex. At least from my perspective. I'm sick of being stuck, and from here on out I'm done with it. It's a tough thing to do, because it basically means severing ties. That is, not talking to someone who for the past several years has been the first person I turn to when I have something weighing on me.

But then it's all a part of growing up. And it's time.

Brian (my roommate) had some friends up from King City this weekend, one of them showed me a mash up by Legion of Doom, my favorite hip-hop song (Slow Down Ghandi) and Hands Down by Dashboard Confessional mashed up into a surprisingly amazing mix: Hands Down Ghandi.

That and I finally figured out which album "sunshine" by Atmosphere is on so I'm rocking that too.

Update: As I write this I'm sitting in my room sipping on coffee, getting ready to walk to school since I still have a flat tire. I am going to take the midterm I missed on Thursday (the professor is letting me make it up, such a relief).

This blog post is all over the place, kind of just needed to get back into the habit of writing so bear with me. Realized again last week how much I hate the bus, since it came late, and it was overfull, and I was standing there in between my quiet, awkward roommate, and a girl I can't seem to avoid. I mean I love the fact that we're finally getting some rain, I just wish that didn't mean I had to take the bus. I don't want to ride my bike through the rain and sit through class soaking wet, worrying about my bike rusting.

All this to say, I'm going to move forward today, for the first time in way too long. Thankyou all for the support through the past few months. Keep your fingers crossed for me.


I hope people can tell who that is. I'm gonna mass produce that in spoke card form & possible as a shirt.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

If only, if only if only

Thats exactly how I would look, 24/7, 365

if only I could grow a beard.

Went on a group ride with the SLO fixed gear group last night. Lots of fun, plus I learned of a new place to practice wheelies and skids and such. It's a hockey rink at Santa Rosa park, with super smooth cement. I ate shit doing a wheelie and slid across the ground but didn't get a scratch on me because it's so smooth.

But the guys in the group seem pretty chill. There's one guy that pissed me off from the second I met him, but then that happens alot. I tend to dislike douchebags.

Anyways, missed my first midterm of the quarter today, had to cook meat in my cooking lab, but it wasn't a total loss.

I'm gonna go waste more time in the parking lot.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

My one goal in life has now become

to go back to SF, bring a tripod, and shoot this exact same shot but in HDR. I think it could be epic (like braveheart).

3 days in the city of mash

I just spent the long weekend in San Francisco, enjoyed some delicious sushi and beers with the homies for Donta's birthday on Saturday night. On Sunday, I went riding with Henry, Sean and Donta's roommate, around the city. We went through the park, to an amazing track bike shop (american cyclery), through the haight, downtown and finally to the island. We spent like seven hours just riding and hanging out at the island, where I met this guy named Chris Fonseca, a film maker and fixed gear rider.

Watch this video:

SF Track/Fixed Night Edit from FonsecaFilms on Vimeo.

I had a great time up there, and any time there was downtime it meant it was time to hop on my bike and ride. I had been thinking lately about how I miss having people to go do spur of the moment stuff with, and this weekend was like a giant reset button. Honestly, I regret coming to cal poly instead of San Francisco state just because I love that city so much.

Anyways, all that to say that San Francisco is my favorite city. And I will post the few pictures I took later (they're all of the golden gate)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wednesday, or: The great getaway

I went on a bike ride from my apartment in San Luis Obispo to Port San Luis (near Avila Beach, about a 13 mile bike ride) today. I took alot of pictures and the weather was beautiful. It was a great way to get away in the middle of the weak for some time alone. Came back, focused, relaxed and in a great mood.

I saw a bunch of sea lions below the pier at port san luis, so I started taking pictures of them, leaned way over to get a shot of a couple directly under the pier, since they were all pretty far back from the edge and I couldn't get any clear shots. Anyways, as I was leaning over, my calculator and tire levers fell out of my backpack and nailed one in the back. They all started barking and a bunch of them jumped in the water and stared at me, they looked pretty pissed off. Anyways, I took alot of great pictures of them, but I felt bad interrupting their afternoon nap. Plus now I have to buy a new calculator. Check out my flickr for more pictures:

This is my flickr, just uploaded a bunch of pictures from my bike ride today, check it out. This is a very long link. That is all.

Here is the route I took, including the bike trail:

Map of my ride

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

And on a much lighter note

If you have a, and you like my radio player widget, click the "get widget" button underneath the player at the top of my sidebar. It'll take you to a page, where you enter your username, and select the station you want it to play (your library, your recommendations, or your neighborhood), and then click the get widget link, and select blogger. It'll install it automatically and your blog will have a nice soundtrack.

Tuesday, or: Here goes nothing.

I'm going to be as blunt and honest as I can about my thoughts and positions on the existence and/or nature of god. I really hope I don't push anyone away with this, and I know there is that potential, but I need to be straight up at this point. And don't take this as a challenge to any of your faiths, simply an explanation of where mine fails.

First, there are a few points on which I have seemingly irreconcilable differences of ideals when it comes to the Bible and God as he is described in it. These aren't "gray areas" either. My beliefs and attitudes aren't aligned even with a very liberal form of Christianity. Primarily, I cannot reconcile the existence of hell with the existence of an all-knowing, all-powerful, just and loving God. I can justify COMPLETELY any suffering people are subject to in this life, given the existence of heaven. It's similar to a young child scraping his knee, an example of relativity. What seems so horrible now will seem trivial given eternity. If the worst kind of suffering in this world was an itchy scalp, an itchy scalp would seem like a travesty, because subjectively, it would be the worst imagineable thing that could befall you. Although that may sound callous, I think it is fair to say that if one could spend eternity in bliss (heaven), memories of harsher times would fade. I mean, we're talking about an ETERNITY of unimageinable joy. Unfortunately, there's a flip side.

I can't use the same logic, or any logic, to explain why an all knowing god would create mankind, knowing full well that we would fall into sin. Or that an all powerful god would allow people to run a course that would doom them to an eternity of suffering. Think about that: spending eternity in a "lake of fire", where there will be no rest, all day and all night (Revelation 14:11). I cannot help but wonder, where is the all-loving nature of God in this? I can't think of any example of love that would condemn the subject of said love to ETERNAL, irreversible suffering. And while some claim that this system is the very definition of just, I beg to differ. This goes back to the all knowing, all powerful nature of God. If god knew that man would fall into sin as he was created, and that the consequence is hell, then god, by logical deduction, created men who he knew (and therefor intended) would go to hell.

Another point I couldn't reconcile is the changing nature of god throughout the bible. In the old testament, god was quick to instruct his people to kill nations who opposed them, men, women and children. Again, this doesn't add up to a loving god, especially considering that the people they slaughtered were destined to be cast into the lake of fire. I've done studies on covenant theology, and on dispensationalism, and neither of them answered to my satisfaction how gods nature could change so much from one of jealousy and wrath to one of grace and forgiveness. This was actually the first big thing that made me question my beliefs. The more I read the old testament looking for answers of how a loving God would command his people to kill men, women and children, the less sense it made. I didn't limit my search to my own understanding of the Bible either, I asked my friends, I asked pastors, no one had an answer. The best answer I got was 'there are some things we'll never know the answer to', and I couldn't accept that anymore.

This is a really tough topic for me, and I honestly wish I had convictions as strong as I once had, I just couldn't go on the way that I had, blindly accepting things that just didn't make sense to me. I feel that I can't accept an entire set of beliefs, regardless of my own observations and personal convictions being in opposition to some of them, and I can't arbitrarily reject the ones I don't agree with.

As far as my attitude towards Christianity as a belief system, I don't have any problem with what Jesus preached, and the example that he set. I do take issue, however, with a lot of the stances the church takes as an institution, and the fact that religion is mixed so frequently with politics.

The genocides that have been committed, the wars that have been fought, the discrimination that has been justified in the name of religion (not just christianity, but all religions), should be an example. By all means, adhere to your spiritual beliefs and convictions, but I don't think that people should make political decisions based on religious beliefs. In my mind, government shouldn't be a moral system, but one of law and infrastructure.

True, basic morality (murder, theft, rape etc) is required for a judicial system, but when the church starts operating in the political realm, it is a slippery slope. The catholic church went that route in medieval Europe, with disastrous, history altering results. That isn't the fault of Biblical christianity, but rather religion in the hands of corrupt (and we're all corrupt) men. The misdeeds of the church in the past never made me question my faith though, again I can understand them in terms of malintent and corruption, and recognize them as being seperate from the true nature of Christianity.

My main problems with Christianity and with God as the Bible describes him are: the existence of hell, and the drastically different natures of God, that is, wrathful and jealous in the old testament, gracious and forgiving in the new testament and in modern times. I spent a long time searching for answers that would make those incongruities in my mind make sense, and I just couldn't do it. I'm ashamed to say that I haven't spent much time in a long time since then defining my beliefs or exploring my morality.

Currently I am operating under a few basic principles:

1. ALL life is sacred
2. There is a natural order to things, which demands alot of respect. So I try to live my life in such a way that I contribute to the lives of those around me, and leave things better than I found them. This is definitely a work in progress, and I screw up alot, but I try to make decisions based on respect and the outcome it will have on those around me. That includes my friends, my families, and people I've never met.
3. Honesty is paramount. Most of my principles can be derived from 2, including this one, but it took me awhile to figure out that regardless of my best intentions, honesty is always best. Again, this is something I struggle with from time to time. But then I'm not exactly a prime example of a good human being, just one thats trying to figure out how to be a better person.
4. This one is definitely a more personal code, but I feel that I'm cheating myself if I'm ever standing still. I feel compelled to continue to learn and enrich myself on a daily basis, and I don't want to lose that...ever.

That's me in a nutshell, and while I feel that there is a greater force at work behind the universe, I don't know if it's the God of the Bible, or the god of any religion. The thing that scares me the most is that I'll never know for sure, and the thing that comforts me is that regardless of that, I can recognize the difference between right and wrong, and I still have strong convictions and beliefs.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday, or: Not nearly distracted enough

Ask me a question. A deep question. Something that will require a deep, thoughtful response.

Seriously, someone please, give me food for thought, something to keep my pencil (errr... keyboard) busy.

Now listening to: Ben Gibbard - Line of Best Fit

Come kick it and ride with me in SLO

I always have a couch open. Not a very comfortable one, but hey one of us has to suffer for us both to have fun.

Bring your bike. We'll ride to the beach(es).

It's a must. All of you come spend a weekend down here. Or come all at once, so gas is cheaper.

no excuses.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

If you're on there, add me as a friend, my username is arthur_allen. has recommended some great music that I really enjoy lately:

I can make a mess like nobody's business
Joe Purdy
The Weepies
Kind of like Spitting
The good life
Joshua James

gooood stuff. that site is amazing.

Some prose from my old blogger

I looked at an old blogspot account I had for about a week back in 2006, thought I'd share a couple of them, I might have shown these to some of you back in the day. Younger, simpler times.


average american boy

he's not clean shaven,
he just couldn't grow a beard
he's no pretty boy
in fact he's pretty ugly
the nicest boy you'll ever see
but he never gets the girls
and he's content from 9-5
and sleeps from 10-4
he's forgotten all his dreams
sold for an iou
and when he is reminded
he shrugs and goes for a run
and thirty minutes later,
the memory is gone
and the only dream remaining
is his paid vacation time


Feb 13, 2006
90 minutes cut short

a b movie romance
with too many cheesy lines
and a cliche script
the cameras are rolling

but the leading lady called in sick
now the doctor says she might not make it
to the happiest of endings

fade to black
roll the credits

tell all the extras to go home
the wedding is postponed
and the groom is left alone


Feb 12, 2006
what happens to a little boy from a small town when he's told to be a man in a city that he hates

he sits on the trunk of his car
and lights another cigarette
at some God forsaken rest stop
between paradise and hell
the seat directly to his right
is unoccupied, so he keeps busy
telling stories and chatting with himself
his exaggerated honesty
is never quite a lie
he wonders where his life will lead
but he knows hes never quite alive
watching red sunsets and hazy skies
writing dozens of those damn songs
but he'll only sing when hes alone
and his OCD is kicking in
his room will never feel like home
300 miles from childhood
still further from his dreams
mixing aspartame and alcohol
trying to convince himself he's ok
now his eyes are tired
from carrying his heavy heart
it won't be long before he goes blind
she offered him her artwork
"a pictures worth a thousand words"
so he writes a dozen letters
kept in blank white envelopes
a constant reminder of that
familiar onramp buried in cigarettes
the ones he lights when he drops her off
and he swears he's not a smoker
he just hates the feeling
of leaving her behind

Saturday, January 10, 2009

New widgets

I made a station player widget, once it's approved I'll post the link, it's the one in my sidebar at the top.

ALSO, I was looking at amnesty international's site, reading about the issues at stake in the Gaza conflict, and stumbled on a petition urging Obama to stay true to his word to shut down guantanamo bay and scale back the patriot act. It's the primary reason I voted for Obama, so I already signed it. Thats the "100 days widget" in my sidebar at the bottom.

Click here to read a little about Guantanamo

If you agree that it needs to be shut down, please sign the petition. The pentagon is already working on a plan to shut it down and hold hearings for those imprisoned there. Those found guilty will be transferred to other, legal, detention centers.

Saturday, or: Grocery blogging

I'm in Gilroy for the weekend, didn't take me long to come back. I didn't bring my bike, rookie mistake, now I'm sitting at home wishing I could be riding around town.

Ah well, Monday will come soon enough. Farmers market was amazing, definitely taking my camera next time. I had something called a "grilled calzini".

It's exactly the same as a calzone, only it's cooked on a grill over an open fire. I took one bite, just the crust, and it was one of the most delicious bites of food I've had in a long time. It tasted like a dense focaccia, unbelievably savory, with just the right blend of herbs. Then I got to the filling, roasted eggplant, zuchini, onions and red bell peppers, again with just the right blend of seasoning. There was also fresh mozzerella and aged parmesan, delicious. I'm going to try and emulate the crust the next time I make calzones, and the filling gave me some ideas too. I always use some variation of mushrooms in my calzones, but usually they're drowning in some kind of sauce, but this calzone featured more of the fresh ingredients, which was eye opening.

I made chili last week, a big batch (alot bigger than I had thought it would be), and froze most of it. It is some of the best chili I've ever had. I have a serious weakness for chipotle. The recipe as best as I can remember was this:

Saute in olive oil:
One whole onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced

Add all of the following and bring to boil in stock pot, lower heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes:

1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes with jalapenos
1 4 oz can of chopped green peppers
1 14 oz can of spicy vegetarian refried beans
1 14 oz can of black beans
1 14 oz can of pinto beans
1 14 oz can of kidney beans
Hominy to taste (I got a big can but didn't use very much of it) corn would've worked well as a substitution
2 chopped chipotle peppers

Chili Powder
Onion Powder
ALL TO TASTE (I just kept adding it in small amounts and kept tasting, I'll pay attention to the amounts next time)

I cooked cornbread to complete the ultimate cold weather meal, and garnished the chili with some fresh cilantro, sour cream and sharp cheddar

Enjoyed my delicious meal while watching No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain.
Perfect way to start the quarter.

I also had my first food lab this week, cooked chocolate chip cookies, but the lab should be interesting. Basically I cook something new each week in a professional kitchen, fun fun fun.

I've decided I'm gonna keep experimenting in the kitchen and post my recipes/results in here.
And of course they'll all be vegetarian (maybe some will even be vegan), but I guarantee delicious results regardless of your dietary choices.


P.S. If anyone has any suggestions for possible crust recipes/adaptations that match the description I have above (dense focaccia texture, savory) please share them with me

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Anyone want to flip a few houses with me?

To be significant

This is a continuation of my original thought in my first post on here, about life being a book, and us scrambling around trying to be the hero, or antihero. The idea here is that so many people have this idea that the ultimate goal is to form some sort of legacy with the time we have. To be remembered is a universal desire, and so people all around the world try every day to make an impact.

True, the chief goal of each individual day might be survival for alot of people, but many people, especially in a society such as ours, where our basic survival needs are met much more readily, are trying to achieve the next step. To be significant.

And it's so easy to feel insignificant, just looking around at the world and trying to wrap one's head around the fact that there are literally billions of other people out there, just like you, can be discouraging. But each of those billions of people is constructing a legacy by simply being a decent human being to their friends, their family, their neighbors, and to strangers on the street they have nothing in common with. The good samaritan comes to mind.

This same desire to be significant, to be someone, ties back to the feelings of frustration that I mentioned in my post yesterday. There is nothing that makes one feel more insignificant than going to work and doing a job that has absolutely NO application to one's life. My favorite essay by Thoreau is titled "Life Without Principle", in which he urges his reader not to do a job that he isn't passionate about, surmising that selling your whole day away to someone else's ends, some great "industry", in order to put food on your table, is worse than starving. I would assert that doing your time in the dispassionate labor force in order to get yourself to a place where you can do what you love on a daily basis is an acceptable means to an end, though I agree with him that it seems a crime against oneself to embark on a career that doesn't inspire passion. The term "9 to 5" comes to mind.

With that in mind, I'm going to ride my bike to farmers market now, one of my favorite activities. The term "breath of fresh air" comes to mind.

Thursday, or: The Addict

This beautiful bike has become my antidrug. Maybe more appropriately, it's become my drug of choice. I get all jacked up on my way to school, mashing up the one hill between me and class, and then I sit through my classes, thinking about nothing else except the next time I can get my fix. I can't feel anything anymore unless it's the burn in my quads as I sprint in and out of traffic, flipping the bird or spitting on any cars that cut me off, and cutting them off right back. And of course the simplistic rush as I coast down a hill with no cars in sight, just me, the road and the open air.

p.s. This is the much more tame alternative to an original blog of a sexual nature about my bike.

Current music selection: Does It Offend You, Yeah?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

My attention span is shrinking. Its getting tougher and tougher for me to focus on any one thing for a good length of time, which is causing alot of areas of my life to suffer. I've got my fingers crossed that it's a passing ailment, and I'll wake up one day and be able to buckle down and write all the scattered thoughts I have throughout the day and make them make sense. Or that I'll be able to sit down and study for more than an hour at a time (a rare occasion lately). Or that I could be at a job longer than a month and not get bored out of my mind.

It seems depressing to me that people with good work ethic are usually the people who can put up with being bored 8 hours a day, doing a job they have no real interest in. I can't wait until I graduate with my degree and become a registered dietician, so I'll actually care about my work. The quote "do what you love, and you'll never work a day in your life" comes to mind.

Until then am I doomed to toil in monotonous misery, struggling to make ends meet (and right now, they definitely don't)? The words "nose" and "grindstone" come to mind.

At the same time it's pathetic that the worst I can complain of is being bored. Even if my finances aren't looking so bright, I still have a roof over my head and food in the cupboard (although most of it is the roommates). And I have the benefits of modern medicine, I'm getting a great education, I live in one of the most beautiful areas in the world, let alone the state.

As problems go, mine are usually of my own making, and I'm ashamed of it. I let things get to the point where they're hardly manageable anymore (i.e. dirty dishes piling up out of the sink so that I can barely move the faucet to fill it. Letting my laundry get so backed up that it takes a full two days to finish washing and drying it all. Ignoring the fact that my bank account balance is low, and letting an autopay bill overdraft it, costing me alot more.) It's really sad that I realize all of this about myself, but still lack the initiative to break it.

At any rate, I wish my demons didn't look so much like me, and I'm still hoping that one day I'll wake up a changed man and solve all my problems once and for all.

More likely I'll have to work at it for awhile. So here goes nothing.

Wednesday, or: Our lives are nothing more than picture perfect fiction

And really all we can do is do the best we can to become heroes, or at the very least anti-heroes, not expendable characters in our own stories. And how do we do this? By living a life rich with principle, by exploring our interests, discovering our passions, and pursuing them with our utmost existence. To make a life, not a living, and to make connections with people we meet along the way.