Small Living…

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“Step 1. Buy land up north.
Step 2. Buy a yurt.
Step 3. Surround it by alpacas or goats… I am thinking goats.”

I’ve heard of yurts before, but I’ve never been too interested in them. That is, until I read my friend’s–Elizabeth–Facebook status update. In one of the comments that followed, Liz confessed that, “having a life that is simple would be peaceful. Unplugged and uncomplicated.” What truly astonished me was her next sentence: “It kind of makes me doubtful of what I want.”

As a child, I used to make huge mansions and grandiose cities from Legos. However, what I enjoyed playing with the most were the small and simple houses where a tiny Lego man would live all by himself with only the essentials. Now, as a young man, I aspire having a high-paying job that could sustain a luxurious condo equipped with state of the art computers, home entertainment systems, appliances, and so on. However, what I enjoy dreaming of the most is living (along with a dog) in a small hut in some faraway mountain with a stupendous scenery.

As I browsed the web for pictures of yurts, I ran into Designboom’s Tiny Houses. It listed various types of, well, tiny houses! My favorite house from the list is probably the Micro Compact Home (M-CH). I can easily picture this house right in the middle of some vast and beautiful land. The best part is that it’s roughly $46,000 USD. This leaves one with enough money to invest into purchasing a nice piece of land with a killer view. I’ve never wanted to admit this to myself, but “it kind of makes me doubtful of what I [really] want.” Maybe that deep innate desire to live as simple as possible is not too far-fetched.

Some more insane tiny houses:

Log House

Garbage Truck House

The Mentor of the counselor…

 

I love music. You could say it’s what makes the world go round. Music is everywhere. There is something mysterious about music. You’re feeling under the weather or just gloomy, you turn on your radio… and there it is the perfect song to lift your spirits, and make you feel alive. One thing I’ve always loved about music is how simple it can change your mood. Back when it was affordable to take road trips, my mom would put the radio to Delilah. People from around the nation would tune in to her. I personally believe she is the best disc jockey out there; not like techno or club dj’s but radio dj. Delilah has this way with her audience. She gives them this sense of security. She has a simple soft voice, like a comforting mother, as she gives genuine heart-felt advice.

Delilah gets calls in all the time from people either wanting to play a song or just good old fashion advice. And the song is the icing on the cake. Any problem you have whether its dealing with the loss of a loved one, to getting married to your true love; Delilah has the perfect song for you. And the song is always the perfect song like it was meant for you at that specific moment in time.

Ramen to the Rescue…

Let me tell you the story of a simple guy who lived very humbly. He was checking his email when he the phone began to ring.  His friend’s sweet and gentle voice instantly greeted him. She told him she was driving down for a job interview; and that she would take him up on his offer to visit him at any time. The simple guy was glad to hear that his good friend would take some time off her busy schedule to visit him.

However, after the simple guy hung up the phone, he realized that he was running on $12 for the rest of the month. Earlier that month, he sent a large part of his money back home for his mother’s medical treatments and the rest was used to pay his rent and bills. He couldn’t even afford to take her out to a descent restaurant! Luckily, he remembered what his mother told him before he moved out, “cook simple, affordable, but healthy my son.” With this is mind, he remembered several recipes he’d stumbled upon online. He knew all of his friend’s favorite dishes consisted of salmon, so it narrowed the list down to two affordable dishes–he still had two frozen salmon fillets in his freezer.

Dish #1: Salmon Ramen with Fresh Vegetables

Ingredients:

  • 2 Ramen bricks
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, cubed
  • 1 cup carrots, julienned
  • 1 cup zucchini, julienned
  • 2 cans (6.5 oz each) salmon (the “low sodium” kind), drained and broken into chunks

Preparation:

  • Heat the butter in a saucepan and add the chopped onion.
  • Saute the onion for 2 minutes.
  • Add milk, cream cheese and 1 flavor packet.
  • Cook and stir until mixture is smooth. Do not boil.
  • Add carrots, zucchini and salmon and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook the pasta with the flavor seasoning packet lasts for 3 minutes.
  • Drain the liquid.
  • Add ramen noodles to the salmon mixture and vegetables. Mix gently and serve immediately.

This dish seemed perfect: the sweet and gentle flavor of the dish matched his friend’s voice. However, he knew that she was making a big change in her life. For this reason, he decided to further motivate her bravery and boldness with…

Dish #2: Ramen Noodles with Chilli Salmon

Ingredients:

  •  1 pack ramen or instant egg noodles
  • 750ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 pieces skinless salmon fillets
  • 1 red chilli, sliced
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • soy sauce
  • ½ bunch coriander (I call it cilantro), chopped
  • 1 lime, quartered

Preparation:

  • Cook the noodles following the pack instructions and divide between 2 noodle bowls.
  • Heat the stock in a deep frying pan and when it is simmering, slip in the salmon.
  • Cook for 2 minutes
  • Add the chilli and spring onions and a dash of soy and cook for 3 minutes or until the salmon is firm to the touch.
  • Lift a piece of salmon into each bowl and divide the broth between them.
  • Add some coriander to each and squeeze over some lime or lemon juice.

When the simple guy’s friend arrived to his apartment, she was delighted by the zesty aroma that cheerfully caressed her nose. She enthusiastically hugged the simple guy while saying, “I’m so glad to see you again!” He was shocked at first, but with a smile emerging on his face, the simple guy asked his friend: “Are you hungry?”

NOTE: In order for his meal to be somewhat healthy, the simple guy used air-dried instant ramen noodles and did not use the seasoning packet that comes with each noodle brick. This lowers the fat and sodium contents. Also, Maruchan is not an air-dried instant ramen brand; the logo just looked nice.

PhD in Counselling…

I’m a quote man. Growing up with Jamaican parents, you seem to become swarmed with quotes. For every detail of life there is a quote that my parents have told me. From the simplest thing as how to behave like a gentlemen, to the most complex as love (the birds and the bees); my parents almost instilled quotes in to my brain. Its kinda like an arranged marriage: the person you’re forced to marry at first you don’t really care for them butlike Alex Rocco says, “Appreciation grew to respect. Respect grew to like. And like grew to love.” Well, maybe not that extreme but you get the point. Quotes grew on me and I use them quite often now.

You see them in just about all my posts if not all of them. One thing you get from using quotes is, it gives a simple impression that you are somewhat intelligent or knowledgeable about what you are talking about. Most of my friends come to me when they have a problem. Not that I don’t have problems of my own, but they seem to trust my thoughts, almost like Oogway Kung Fu Panda.  When I use quotes to express my thoughts, my friends get a feeling as if I were a psychiatrist/counselor.

Some of my favorite quotes:

“What is love? In math, its a problem. In History, its a battle. In science, its a reaction. But in my heart , its you.” -Unknown

“A wise person hears one word but understands two.” -Yiddish proverb

“Greatness is measured by the set backs you’ve over come in life.” -Patrick Willis

Stripping Down to Essentials…

Several weeks ago, my judo sensei (teacher)–Scott–talked a group from our judo class into running. Ever since then, we’ve been training for several running events such as Tough Mudder, Walt Disney World Marathon, and so on. During one of our night runs, Scott sensei recommended all of us to read Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall–let me mention it was an excellent read. One of the many topics Born to Run covers is minimalist/barefoot running–a rapidly growing style of running. To be honest, I find minimalist running quite attractive. I’m not one myself, but Scott sensei’s been running with minimalist footwear for nearly two-and-a-half years and, so far, it’s worked out well for him.

Before any controversy may arise, let me make one thing clear from the beginning: there’s a lot of debate in the running world weather minimalist/barefoot running is better than shod (your typical running shoes) running or not.  I AM NOT SAYING MINIMALIST/BAREFOOT RUNNING IS BETTER THAN SHOD RUNNING. My only intention  is to highlight the simplicity of running with minimalist/barefoot footwear.

In an introductory video of the new NB Minimus, Ultramarathoner  Anton (Tony) Krupicka said:

“My philosophy of running–and even life–is stripping down the amount of gear to the very essentials. The main piece of gear as a runner is the shoe: it’s the point of contact between you and the ground […] If you can make that as natural as possible, I think it enhances the overall experience of […] running.”

Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe said, “less is more.” With a similar philosophy, Anton’s quote says that increased foot sensory perception is achieved through less gear (minimalist/barefoot running styles). I find it most fascinating how the intricate human foot is able to continually adapt to its surroundings when it’s in is most “primal” and simplest state.

There’s a time and a place for everything. Shall we spice things up now?

86…

Takumi Fujiwara (藤原 拓海)?

The Legend of the 86 (頭文字)?

Mt. Akina Pass (榛名山)?

What do all of these questions have in common? Drift, Toyota Sprinter Trueno AE86, Tōge (form of drifting). Drifting is more of a driving skill: it’s a technique where the driver deliberately over-steers–causing loss of traction in the rear wheels–while maintaining control from entry to exit of a corner. It is simply amazing to see a car almost magically lose total control and yet manage to regain it before crashing.

Toyota Trueno is one quintessential drifting car. For many drifting enthusiasts, the Trueno became very well known through Initial D. Initial D started out as a manga but rapidly evolved into a long-running anime series that put a simple Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT-APEX (AE86) on this pedestal that is now untouchable by any other car.

Tōge/Touge() I think Touge is a simple way drifters can compete or just enjoy the scenery. There are three simple aspects to Toge: cat & Mouse, grip gambler, and time attack . Cat & Mouse is basically a simple game of chase: one driver has to chase and overtake the other or if the car spins out/crashes, the other wins. Grip gambler is almost like a drag race except there are turns involved. First one to finish wins. Lastly, is time attack which is pretty self-explanatory: the idea is to have the quickest time from start to finish.

Where I live in Florida, we have Formula Drift. For us FD is the closest thing we have to Touge. Every once in a while we will have an amateur event, but FD is the biggest.