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Yup…it is cold and snowy (and a few things I saw on my walk)

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The above temperature is what we woke up to here in WNY. I know it is not nearly as cold as the Mid-West, but geeze ‘o man it is cold. I went out in it only briefly today (to split some logs for the wood-burning stove and then to the store fore a bottle of wine…necessities on both accounts), and no I did not ride a bike; I walked. It’s not that there is that much snow–we’ve had far more than this–but it’s the wind, the incredible wind, that makes it difficult when it is so cold. But at the same time it can be so very beautiful. Anyhow, on my short walk to the store I took a few photos and thought I’d share. And yes, as is usual custom in Buffalo, the bars stayed open and were quite full of revelers. So I stopped in for one on my way home.

 

Urban Simplicity.

Sometimes I Gotta Use My Feet…

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If you’ve been to this blog before then you know that I like to ride bicycles as transportation. A lot. And I often comment on how much more a person sees while on a bike rather than being stuck in a plastic and metal shell more commonly known as an automobile. Many of my photos, in fact, were taken while on my bike, which would be nearly impossible if I was driving a car. Well, to drop this down a few octaves further, sometimes I just have to walk…sometimes I just gotta use my feet. Walking, especially when there is no actual destination or time-frame, can be meditative for me; a great way to clear my head and/or think about things. Last night was such a walk. Armed with a camera and an iPod for music, and slightly fortified with a few beers in my belly, I went for a really lovely late evening autumn walk. And here are a few of the things I saw a long the way.

Urban Simplicity.

Sometimes I just gotta use my feet…

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If you’ve been to this blog previously one of the things you know about me is that I like to ride bikes. A lot. But sometimes nothing will do except using my own two feet and walk. Today was just that day. Autumn is my favorite season of the year and the weather here in Western New York has been so incredibly beautiful this past week that when I had something to do this morning I didn’t want to waste a minute of this idyllic day. And so instead of hopping on a bike, I walked. Here’s a few photos I took a long the way.

Urban Simplicity.

Autumn…

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“Just as a painter needs light in order to put the finishing touches to his picture, so I need an inner light, which I feel I never have enough of in the autumn.”
~Leo Tolstoy

Autumn has always been my favorite season. And yes, I realize that we are a couple weeks away from it’s official arrival, but these past couple days surly felt like it. It’s an introspective time for me; it always has been. I don’t know why, it just is. A sort of meditative melancholia, but in a good way (if that makes any sense). In the same way that spring brings renewal, I believe autumn does too, but in a different way. Things change…some things end and some begin. New schedules (my second year at seminary begins soon), new–or diminished–light in the sky, and a sort of preparation for things (both physically and spiritually) of what’s to come with the starkness of winter which will surely follow theses next few months. I had a sort of odd week at work, and a busy last couple of days, so I took a brisk and cleansing walk last night (which ended with stopping for a couple beers). It felt good to have the cool breeze on my face; it drizzled a little and that felt good as well. I could smell wood smoke in the air, and I too started a small but brief fire in my wood stove to take the chill off the house when I got home. The change of season feels good to me…needed. Anyhow, I thought I’d share these tow photos I took while walking; click either for a larger view.

“Aprils have never meant much to me, autumns seem that season of beginning, spring.”
~Truman Capote

Urban Simplicity.

Allentown on a Thursday evening…

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Though it’s not officially autumn yet it certainly feels like it today. It felt good. It was also the first day since last spring that I wore a light jacket. Many of you know–either by being a local or from reading this blog previously–that the Allentown that I mention in the the title of this post does not refer to the city of Allentown, Pennsylvania but rather to the neighborhood by the same name in the city in which I live, Buffalo, NY. Allentown, is small without doubt, something like 10 city blocks, but it’s culture is international. It is a village within a city, really. And it is both commercial and residential. The main thoroughfares–Allen Street and Elmwood Avenue, which intersect–are mostly (but not entirely) commercial, while most of the streets leading off of or intertwine to are mostly residential. It is a nice mix and I feel blessed to call this my home. I went out to purchase a bottle of wine this evening (which I am currently enjoying), and I brought along a camera and tripod (big surprise). And in the two city blocks walk to the liquor store (which is pictured here), I passed the following sights. A young woman playing a piano (when I asked her why she was playing her piano outside she stated simply that she liked to make beautiful music…and it was), multiple bars and restaurants (some of which are known for hosting international musicians, and some that…umm, well, let’s just say have reputations of their own, click here and here). I also passed a poetry reading and a mural dedicated to the late Spain Rodriguez (among other street art). As I took photos a few people came up to talk to me (this happens often), and one of the people was a guy about my age or maybe a little older who seemed a bit tipsy. He was an artist, he said, and had work hanging in galleries in Buffalo, New York City, and Rome. But still, he added, he liked to call this neighborhood home. I don’t know if he was telling the truth or stretching it. But what I do know is that all of this is within a 3 minute walk from my front door. And this is what I thought about on my brief walk home while the first chilly air of the season brushed across my face.

Urban Simplicity.

A beautiful evening and an anti-auto rant…

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Cool photo, right? I took it while on a walk this evening. It looks sort of Star Wars-esque, doesn’t it? You’d never know that I took it while in the heart of the city. Anyhow, I had gone for a long walk tonight to clear my head (walked the length of the Elmwood Village here in Buffalo, from Allen to Forest and back again) and twice (yes twice) was almost struck by a car while crossing an intersection while the driver blindly turned while chatting on a cellphone. The first time it was so close that by the time the car stopped I had instinctively put my hand out (as if that would have done anything) and my hand rested on the hood of the car while its bumper pressed against my leg (no joke). There are too many cars on the road and too many people on cellphones while driving. Does every adult American really need a car? Two adults in the house…two cars; five adults in the house…five cars. Does every trip—no matter how long or short—really require a car? There are other forms of transportation. Sorry for the rant, but I had not one but two close calls tonight while I was simply out for a walk on a beautiful summer’s eve. I’ll put down my bullhorn now.

Urban Simplicity. 

A Few Things I Saw While Walking Today…

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Urban Simplicity.

A Walk at Dusk…

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Urban Simplicity.

Thoughts on Vehicles and Personal Transport

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vehicle
–n
Any conveyance in or by which people or objects are transported, especially one fitted with wheels.
It’s interesting, I think, how some people are just baffled. Okay, I’m often baffled on many things myself, but what I’m talking about is that people are stunned–sometimes rendered speechless momentarily–when I tell them that I voluntarily choose not to own a car. Some (many) are convinced that it is impossible to get by without a car…this is the car-centric society in which we live. Here are two brief examples of conversations I had today; the first one was with a co-worker.
She: So Joe, are you going to get another vehicle?
Me: I already own multiple vehicles.
She: You know what I mean.
Me: Yes I do, but I’m serious…and actually I hope to never own a car again.
Moment of speechlessness, then a quick succession of questions.
She: But how will you get to your sister’s houses (who all live in the suburbs), to the airport or train station when you travel, to the grocery store in the winter.
Me: Buffalo Car Share to my sisters; taxi, bus, or another ride to the airport or train station; and bus or bike in the winter; but mostly bike and walk to everything else.
Our conversation ended soon thereafter, but here’s another example; this took place as I was coming out of the health club and unlocking my bike. There were two guys sitting in chairs nearby.
He: Hey buddy, what type of bike is that…it’s pretty interesting looking?
Me: Thanks, it’s a Torker Cargo-T but based on the Batavus Delivery Bike
He: What’s with the large racks?
Me: It’s for carrying stuff; this and another bike, which is larger and can carry even more stuff, have enabled me to go car-free.
He: You mean you don’t own a car, you do everything by bike?
Me: For the most part, yes.
He: Wow, that’s awesome. I’d love to do that.
Me: (thinking this to myself but not saying it aloud…You can if you really want to, then) Thanks, have a nice evening.
And as I pedaled home it was drizzling a little. It has hardly rained at all this summer so it felt good. Really good. Normally I try to avoid the rain, but I didn’t tonight. At one point I was stopped at a traffic light and just stood there straddling my bike in the light drizzle, being conscious of how it felt as it landed on my face and bare arms. I realize that going car-free is not for everyone (and may not even be permanent for me…we’ll see how I fair a WNY Winter), and I’m certainly not trying to cram a car-free lifestyle down anyone’s throat…I only talk about it if people ask me (except on this blog, where you can close the page or un-follow if it bothers you). Anyhow, as I pedaled home and felt the light rain on my body I felt like an active part of my surroundings, not a passive one. At that very moment it felt good to be on a bike coasting slowly in the light drizzle. I am grateful for many things in my life, and at that very moment this was one of them.

New York State Paid Me to Remove My Truck from the Road

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Yup, it’s true. Many of you know that I recently sold my truck, and after being car-lite for many years I am finally car-free (I did recently join Buffalo Car Share but haven’t used it yet…haven’t used a car in more than a month actually). Anyhow, as if the savings from the true cost of car ownership weren’t enough, New York State sent me a refund check for un-registering my truck. A few weeks ago when I turned in my plates the nice woman at the counter told me I would likely receive a check in the mail because I had almost a year left on my vehicle’s registration. Honestly, when she told me this I just sort of shrugged it off…yea, right, like the state is going to give me money back for this, I thought to myself. Well, I stand corrected. The proof is above. And it’s interesting that in the past month or so that I have not had my truck I haven’t really missed it (obviously it’s much easier this time of year while the weather is nice). And while I enjoy the benefits of physical exercise and the peace of mind riding a bike or walking, a side benefit is that it’s a lot easier on my wallet…and that makes me happy.

Urban Simplicity.

The Perpetual Motion of Life, a Favorite Gandhi quote, and a Who Song

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“As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.”
–Mahatma Gandhi 


I’ve mentioned a few times on the origins of this blog, but in the event I’ve yet to bore you with it I’ll state it again because sometimes I veer off course. A little over four years ago I started this blog as a sort of public diary on my efforts to simplify my life (read the first post here). And while I’ve always been an avid cyclist one of the ways in which I planned to simplify was to bike even more (and drive less). I have, I believe, been successful. One of the original names of this blog, in fact, was going to be, My Two Mile Island, and that I would ride a bike within a two mile radius of my house instead of driving, no matter the weather. This has bee mostly successful also. I mention this because I’ve been reflecting lately–on this blog, but mostly my life–and some of the twists and turns it has taken. And I mention all this because I’ve been thinking of my motives for going car-lite and now car-free (yes…ta da…I finally did it…sold the truck yesterday). And sometimes I really question myself…am I a bit nuts (well, yes, but I mean really). Here I am 50-years-old with creaky knees and a sometimes aching back–and I can afford a car–but I choose to voluntarily give up car ownership. Why, I wonder, am I doing this…I mean really…why? So I mentally listed some of the reasons, and here they are in no particular order.
Going “green,” or doing it for the environment. I list this first because this is what most people think when I tell them I am car-lite or car-free (“oh, that’s so great…your going green, I wish I could do that”)….but, believe-it-or-not, it is actually low on my personal list of reasons. Yes, of course I want to do good things for the planet (I really do believe we are destroying it, not just with cars but in so many ways), but that’s not the only reason I choose not to own a car…it’s not even the main reason. Like any good American the main reasons that I choose to be car-free are for selfish reasons. Money is a big one. I am tired of the insurance payments, high gas prices, and never-ending upkeep and repairs of a car. Health is also a reason–but not the main reason–I like the fact that I burn calories and not gas when I walk or bike. But here is the real and main reason–the top of the list–on why I choose to go car-free. Drum roll please….because I like to walk and ride bikes more than I like driving a car. It makes me feel free.
For much of my adult life I’ve felt this way. When I was a teenager living in the suburbs I would sometimes leave my car parked in the driveway to save money and hitchhike the 5 miles to work (money for beer and marijuana was way more important at the time). This of course was when hitchhiking was viewed as semi-safe and people would actually pull over to give a stranger a ride. I remember how free I felt walking down the road with my thumb out thinking I was some sort of character out of a Jack Kerouac novel. 
And when I became a bit older and moved back to the city I again was car-free. For the first 5 or 6 years my future (now ex) wife and I were together we we car free. I would bike, take a bus, or walk to work. Walking was, and sometimes still is, my favorite form of personal transport. Sometimes when I walk and am in deep thought I’ll arrive at my destination and not remember much of the walk…sort of like I meditated my way there.
Will I stay car-free permanently? I don’t know. I hope so, but I can’t be sure. We had a really mild winter this past year, but I have to admit it is a lot easier dealing with the extreme winters on foot when you’re in your twenties rather than your fifties. But still I plan on giving it a try.
The top of the two photos is an image of a bumper sticker I put on my truck a couple years ago. It is actually what caught my eye as the truck pulled away; the last thing I saw of the truck. Interesting, I think. A sort of mock evolution…an ape to a bicyclist. But I really think it’s a good metaphor for life in general (mine and yours)…life is in constant motion and evolution. I am certainly not the same person I was 5 or 10 years ago, or even just a couple years ago. It would be impossible; I’m in a different stage of life than I was a decade ago. Things change and so do we. 
So for now I plan on giving this a try, who knows what the future holds. And this is what I was thinking about as I was riding to work this morning with the cool but damp spring air on my face and in my ever-thinning hair. I felt free, and a song by a similar title–one of my favorite Who songs–kept ringing in my ears, especially the opening line….“I’m free, and freedom tastes of reality.”


I’ve Made a Decision

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Before I get to mentioning the decision let me first explain the above image. That is a new rear spring bracket I purchased today for $80 for my truck. I’ve mentioned many times on this blog that I am not car-free but am car-lite. Anyhow, the above bracket has to replace the rotted one on my late model truck by this Monday before the month ends and my annual inspection runs out. But before it can be replaced a section of the frame–which has rotted–has to have metal plates welded on for support. I’m not sure how much this will cost, but likely more than I’m guessing.

Anyhow, to get to the decision. Once I have the truck repaired I plan on selling it and….drum-roll please….finally go car-free once and for all. I’ve done it in the past (but not for some years) and will do it again; I’m nearly there already. I’ll do a test run of being car-free through the summer months and see how it goes. The aggravation and true cost of car ownership has finally outweighed the value–to me–of owning one. I’ll bike, walk, take public transportation (as I do now, only more), and likely join our local car share so I’ll be able to use one if I need to get somewhere quickly or out of bike range.

It’s interesting, that when I first found that I needed this work done on the truck I was stressed about it (and still am, actually), but in a way it is also freeing…it is what finally pushed me to make the decision. Everything, some say, happens for a reason.

Urban Simplicity.

A Few Test Photos…and a few words, too

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I just purchased an inexpensive used camera from someone off craigslist today. I now have three cameras and none cost more than $99US. This is not meant to be a braggart’s statement, but just to reinforce that one does not need a $500 camera to take good pictures. Anyhow, and this is interesting, I think, how they all function differently and that they are each better at some tasks than others (obvious, right?). The smallest of the three, a little palm-sized point-and-shoot takes the best close ups…yup, that’s right, most of the close up pictures of flowers on this blog were taken with a camera that is small enough to be hidden within the two palms of my hands. The new used one I purchased today seems to have the best zoom qualities, which will be interesting. All the pictures in this post were taken with that camera. The seagulls above, for example, were likely 1/2 mile in the sky, as was the church steeple below (I love that one). The one below that is of the Bubble Man of Allen Street; he was a half block away and 3 floors up. The fat pregnant stray cat below…well, how could I not take a picture of her if my camera was already in my hand. And the bottom picture is a silhouette of Allentown at dusk with pink sky in the background, the last scene I saw before entering my house. I like this camera.

Urban Simplicity.

Four Photos of Flowers (and how they inspire me)

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It’s interesting. I like many adults have suffered from sleep problems for most of my life. It’s rare for me to sleep more than 6 hours. But every so often I do. My body crashes. Last night was one such instance. I went to bed around 1:00am–which is late for me–and didn’t wake until nearly 11:00am this morning. It was disorienting to say the least. And I’m not sure what it was–the long sleep or the grey and rainy day–but I woke with a feeling of melancholy. Not anything too heavy, just enough to put me in an introspective mood. Seeing that I woke too late to go to church, I read the NY Times on line while I had coffee and then went out for a long walk in the drizzly weather and took photos. I took a bunch of them–of all sorts of things–but am only showing some of my favorites; the flowers. I find it interesting in that when taking photos it forces me to look at–contemplate–the thing I’m pointing the camera at. The one above, for example, is a flower on a tree…who knew that inside its white leaves was hidden such beauty. Or the one directly below–a dandelion–on any other day these are the nemesis to my garden, but when viewed up close, through the lens of a camera, it is beautiful. Anyhow, it’s likely that the brilliant color of these flowers on such a grey day has added color–inspiration–to my spirit. And I thought I’d share. Click any for a larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

Invasion of the Crow

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I’ve posted pictures of crows before but am finding them ever fascinating lately. And tonight–after just recovering from a cold and feeling I needed some air–went for a walk on a foggy evening at dusk and took a few more photos. I’m not sure if I’m just noticing them these last couple years but they seem to have multiplied in our area (or possibly migrated) by multitudes. At dawn and dusk in certain areas of the city they are virtually everywhere..hundreds–thousands–perched on every possible thing or flying from one to another. And caw..cawing to each other in their own special language. What I think is really interesting (and a bit scary) is how smart they are…here’s a little info from the PBS website:

New research has shown that they are among the most intelligent animals on the planet. They use tools as only elephants and chimpanzees do, and recognize 250 distinct calls. One particular talent they have been discovered to possess is the ability to recognize individual human faces and pick them out of a crowd up to two years later – a trick that might make even Hitchcock shiver with fright.

And let me just reiterate one sentence:

One particular talent they have been discovered to possess is the ability to recognize individual human faces and pick them out of a crowd up to two years later. 


I’ve been taking pictures of these birds for the last couple of years and only recently learned of their above said intelligence…but have always felt like they are looking back at me. Look at the one above…sort of makes the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up…hopefully they realize I am their friend and not foe.

To read a bit more about them at the PBS site, click here.

Urban Simplicity.

A Solitary Walk (Playing with Angle and Light: Three Street Scenes)

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I like to walk; it clears my head. When I’m on a bike I have to pay attention to my surroundings but when I walk I can do just that…walk. Tonight I had some thoughts that were troubling me so I thought I’d go for a brisk walk on this chilly (32F/0C) and wet February night…OK, I stopped at a local tavern for a couple beers also (that helps clear my head, too…or maybe it clouds it, whatever). Anyhow, and as usual, I brought a camera with me. I also had my small tripod…in order to get clear pictures at night it’s essential my hand doesn’t shake. What’s interesting is the angle at which these photos were taken…about 10 in./25cm. off the ground. The tripod I use I originally purchased to use on my bike, but tonight I was walking. It gives it an interesting perspective, I think. Anyhow, the walk was good…and the beers were better. As usual, click any photo for a larger view.

Urban Simplicity.

A Few Things I Saw Today

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I’ve used this comparison before but have to mention it again…you see a lot more when on a bike than in a car but you see ten times that when you walk. Because, like a car, when you ride a bike you have to stay in control–or at  least keep the bike in control lest you fall. But when walking, especially in a neighborhood that is familiar to you, you can walk somewhat aimlessly and take it all in…and that’s just what I did today. I have a couple things laying heavy on me–concerns and decisions to make–and one of the best things to help level my thoughts (besides prayer and meditation) is a good contemplative walk. I really believe that there is art and beauty all around us–even in the middle of a city–and that all one has to do is look. Anyhow, these are just a few of the things I saw today on my short walk (a mile each way) to the health club.
I saw the above squirrel–rather, he saw me first–as I approached it at the corner of  Delaware and Summer Street. It darted from in front of me, forgetting the chestnut it was chewing, then came back–looking at me the entire time–to retrieve it before scurrying onto the fence to finish it’s consumption. He was, I’m guessing 30ft/9m from me–truly taxing the zoom on my little point-and-shoot camera–but I’m sure he was watching me out of the corner of his eye. I watched him for a moment and wondered if he ever worried about money or paying bills or about anything for that  matter. Likely not. His concerns are honed to where his next chestnut is, how secure his shelter, or if there are any predators about.
The photo directly below is the shadow of a fence very near where the squirrel was sitting; the light seemed just right at the moment I was standing there.
The next photo below, and in the middle, is of a flower I’m sure I saw while in full bloom (I walk/ride this route often). In the height of season it was I’m sure, white, fluffy, and full of life. But now, brown and withered, it still stood defiant of it’s decay. T
And the most bottom photo (and this is my favorite) is a little hidden gem in the city. I’ve photographed this path before and in all seasons though not this close up (meaning I walked down it a bit). It’s a private path (a rear entrance to someone’s home) but to me it looks like it could be somewhere in rural Europe. What’s interesting is that it is located on Summer Street in the city of Buffalo.
Walking is good for your physical health but also good for your mental/emotional health, at least for me it is. So the next time you feel anxious or need to work something out internally, go for a walk, you’ll be amazed at what you see in your own neighborhood…but don’t forget to bring a camera.

Urban Simplicity.

A Little Snow and a Big Sky

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This morning when I woke I was somewhat surprised to see there were a couple inches of snow on the ground. It really changes my short commute to work…how I ride a bike. Interestingly, for as big and heavy as the Mundo is, it is not my favorite bike to ride in the snow. In this this light snow it isn’t difficult, but in the really deep and heavy stuff it can be tough to maneuver. That said, this area of the world has had it really easy this winter, by this time of the year we’ve usually had at least a couple lake effect snows. I’m not complaining, just an observation…but I have to admit I have been liking the cold air…it feels refreshing to me; bracing (and you don’t sweat while riding). To give you an example, take a look at this photo I took exactly two years ago today…the bike was parked in nearly the same spot as the one pictured above is. Anyhow, I worked another split shift today, and on my return to work in the evening I chose to walk rather than pedal. And on the way I was taken by what a beautiful winter sky was overhead…it looked so big to me as clouds rushed past. Here’s a photo.

Urban Simplicity.

James the Incredible Human iPod (and an additional photo)

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So this is interesting. I had just left work after working a split shift. I didn’t face a stove all of the day but much of it. When I came outdoors the fresh air felt good and it felt good to be on foot, but I was surprised to see that there was a combination of snow and rain…we haven’t had any real snow this year. As I was walking down Allen Street I noticed how the light shone off the wet sidewalk and I had my camera with me so decided to take a couple shots. Being on foot, opposed to being on a bike, I had to set the little tripod on the ground, which gives it an interesting perspective. Anyhow, as I was taking the photos a guy appears out of seemingly nowhere…shows up in the frame and just sort of posed there with his bike. I look up from the camera and he says to me, “You ever hear of the incredible human iPod?” “Um, no.” I reply. “Then you can’t be from around here,” he says. “What’s your favorite song,” he asks. And without waiting for a reply he says that he knows I like Fleetwood Mac because everyone likes Fleetwood Mac, and he starts singing One Winged Dove as loud as he could…he’s singing it in the picture above. To make a long story short, James walked with me for about a block or so while we talked about riding bikes in foul weather, and it was then that I noticed he had two flat tires and he asked me for money (I had none with me otherwise I would have given him some). The interesting thing is that he rode up to me (on two flats). I didn’t notice it at first because, as I mentioned earlier, he just showed up in the frame. But after getting home and uploading them I could see him approaching on his bike like an apparition (in the upper left photo he’s in the distance and the upper right he’s a blur while getting off the bike). I just find it interesting that I–being interested in bicycles and taking photos–have this guy just show up and step in front of my lens and pose with his bike. One never knows what they’ll see when on bike or foot. Also, I thought I’d share the below photo I took yesterday…Days Park at night (click either photo for a larger view).

Urban Simplicity.

A Few Images Through an Inexpensive Lense

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This post is twofold. Firstly, it is another in the theme that when you walk or ride a bike you witness so much more than when in a car (yes, I know I’ve been harping on this lately but it is important in my daily life), and in the case of myself–or anyone–it offers near-countless opportunities to appreciate the beauty around and capture some of it in pictures. After a crazy-busy day in a hot and bustling kitchen the last thing I want to do is hop in a climatically controlled and comfortable car (though now-and-again I have to)…what I want to do is get outside and walk or ride a bike. And when I do this and look around at all the beauty as I walk and ride it is–to me–like nature’s own therapy…a person does not have to live in a rural setting to see nature, it’s all around, and it is entirely free. This brings me to my next topic…the camera. While I have always been interested in photography and used to use 35mm cameras, in recent years I’ve been using inexpensive point-and-shoot cameras.Yes they have their limitations (many limitations, for sure) but what’s awesome (besides their price…the current one I use cost $99US) is that they fit in your pocket; when you need it just pull it out and snap away (I believe neighbors and co-workers are finally used to me taking pictures of what I cook or what I see in my front yard). And to help the limitations of an inexpensive camera there are plenty of free or nearly-free editing software available. Two of my favorites are both open source and can be found here and here. Often I don’t see the beauty around me, especially if I had a really busy day and I’m feeling cranky, so I have to force myself to look…to look at what is directly in front of me. And it is right in front of me an all of us–always–all we have to do is look.

“The kingdom of the Father is spread out upon the earth, but people do not see it.”
The Gospel of Thomas, verse 113

 Alright, I’ll get down from my little soapbox pulpit now…to see a few more photos that I’ve taken recently, while either walking or riding a bike click here, here, here, or here; click any photo for a larger view

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