Monday, June 30, 2014

Lubbock: Food Truck Fans Have Spoken!

Hundreds line up on Sunday for an opportunity to sample food truck cuisine!

Will our city council respond?

If you did not make it out to the food truck rally, you missed droves of smiling people showing up to support the growth of small local businesses opportunity in our town. A huge success!

May you live in a place where the government is by the people for the people.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Good news, Lubbock Food Truck Fans! (Be there or be hungry!)

Food trucks legal in Lubbock?!!! Well, not yet, but the revolution seems to be underway, and you can join in on Sunday.

Lubbock Free Food Truck Event and Petition Signing

Sunday June 29th
Garden Ridge Parking Lot
4304 West Loop 289

May local businesses find a welcome in your town!

PS. Don't forget the Lubbock Downtown Farmers Market on Saturday!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Aquaponics and Tiny House on Lubbock Craigslist (Mini-post)

Okay, the aquaponics setup is a straight-up steal in terms both money and time-saving. Somebody jump on this deal and and don't try to talk the seller down!

And for you tiny house people who just don't want to be bothered with building, here is a turn-key option:

May green turn you green!

Aubade, Lubbock (Get out and ride!)

My favorite book to read over and over is Cannery Row. There are a hundred reasons why it is my favorite, and high on that list is that Steinbeck begins each chapter with an aubade. (An aubade, pronounced "Oh Bod!" is a song or poem that greets the dawn.) Imagine your favorite TV show, but some truly wonderful person at the TV station replaced the commercials with very cool, powerful, and relevant short films and you will have an idea of what he accomplished in adding those. Each chapter is a new day, and he starts it out right.

[Literary sidebar - feel free to skip this part like a bad commercial. Sweet Thursday is the sequel to Cannery Row. It has no aubades to speak of. It is best to read Sweet Thursday a few years after Cannery Row at a time in your life where you are very distracted and possibly drinking a little too much.]

[Cubicle worker sidebar - ditto. My office mate is in Seattle right now and keeps sending me photos from whale watching boats and mountaintops and such. Here is the window view from my cubicle:

(Look closely to find the Cannery Row cup and the money our family has set aside to see places like Seattle.)

Today, I needed an aubade.]

(Here comes the part where I turn this into a bicycle post. You knew it was coming.)

This morning I was headed to work on the bicycle and I had one of those great moments. I went west on 55th Street from Quaker Avenue. The road runs downhill (from the perspective of an overweight middle-aged guy on a bicycle.) In a few blocks I found myself coasting near one of our playa-lake parks. With our recent rains, everything is green. There were lots of standard birds and waterfowl, even a snowy egret. I pulled over and soaked it all in for a very short time, and I remembered what those aubades do for Cannery Row. And I was very thankful to be there on a bicycle, and I was very thankful not to be road raging it out with other traffic while driving a car to work.

May you experience your own aubade this week. Joy comes in the morning.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Another Netflix Recommendation, a Poem, a Thought on Hubris

Good stuff to be found on Netflix lately. I have eagerly anticipated Bidder 70 for some time now. And I finally had a chance to watch it yesterday. I have followed Tim DeChristopher for a while and have wanted to learn more about his story. He is a young man who found himself in a great postion to stand up for something he believes in, he took action, and he went to jail for it. What the film did for me was supply a better understanding of his motivation as an erstwhile environmentalist.
And it shined a light on how little I stand up for my own beliefs in this fight.

Without a villain,we have no need for heroes.

On a side note, "Ozymandias" (a Shelley poem) has been haunting me lately.

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away". 

And I have been haunted by the Pogo Earth Day poster lately as well.

We have met the enemy, Ozymandias, and he is us.

May you find yourself in a great position to stand up for something you believe in.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Your chance to see tiny houses from your not-so-tiny living room

The overactive brain has been rather pinballish lately. So I have been seeking background noise on Netflix. Yesterday I found some background noise so good that it became my foreground noise, snagit!

The background noise in particular is Tiny, a film I have been wanting to see for several months now. (You may remember a previous post about it.) It focuses (mainly) on a young couple in Colorado who decide to build a tiny home and the trials and triumphs they face. It also sidebars with several interviews of other tiny housers. Intriguing stuff.

May your tiny dreams be huge! (Or something like that.)

Monday, June 23, 2014

You Cheapos, Here Are the Electric Bikes for You!

Have you ever worked on a project for a while, looked around, and someone had already done the same thing slightly better than your unfinished version? That happened to me today - and I like it!

If you follow electric bike stories in the media, you see a lot of cool and high-dollar stuff. You get all excited, then you go to website and experience the shock - $5000, $7000, & $11000 bicycles that will make you faster and sexier cooler than everyone around you. And I am definitely guilty of re-posting some of those here, but at the end of the day, I figure you are a lot like me. Even if you have the means to purchase a $7000 bicycle, you are just too frugal or practical or cheap to do that.

So, I have been working on a list for us - the cheapos. I keep looking for e-bikes that cost $1500 or less. To be honest, I am way too cheap to spend $1500 on an e-bike, but I thought a few of you might push that envelope.

So, over the weekend, Electric Bike Report published an article about cheap electric bikes. They even used the word "cheap" in the title of the article!

So, here it is: Cheap Electric Bikes Guide

Alright all you cheap and/or broke wannabe e-bikers like me, commence to drooling!

May you find the cheap bike of your dreams!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

It looks like we have to move away from Lubbock :-)

(A red-eared slider)

"Yep, no tree-hugging, granola-munching hippie types here."
                                                                              Maria Scinton

10 Lubbock Stereotypes That Are Completely True

My wife shared this article about Lubbock with me. Strangely enough, I did live in District 3 until the boundaries were recently changed. I feel so lonely!

To be fair, one of my best live music memories was hearing Stubbs sing "House of the Rising Sun" while Guy Forsyth played the harmonica at Stubbs Barbecue.

For the record, trees are our one and only earthbound hope at having oxygen for future life on this planet. I plan to keep hugging them - not for their sake, but for all carbon-based life forms - even the people who are working so feverishly to destroy life for all in pursuit of temporary money. If you take out the trees and pollute the water - both of which we are doing at an astounding rate, you destroy all life. It is simple math. 

May the lesser prairie chicken live long and prosper, and may you as well.

PS - I am pretty neutral on the subject of granola.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Back on the Bike - and Seeking Motivation

(From the bike link below)

I talked myself out of it last night.

I checked the weather out and reinforced the idea this morning. 30% chance of rain at 5pm when I ride home this evening with fairly high winds.

Then I thought about the next few days and that there will be little if any chance to ride until next week. I thought about the fuel I'd burn instead of the fat I'd burn. I thought of the very expensive car repair this week. And I thought about the National Bike Challenge.

I pulled the bike out of the garage and headed to work.

It was windy. My average speed to work was 1.5 mph lower than my average and the 5 mile ride took 8 minutes longer than normal. The old hyperactive brain stayed mostly focused on the ride. And I am really glad I rode!

If you are seeking motivation to keep moving (like I have been), I hope these two links help:

The 20 Best Inspirational Cycling Quotes

2 Simple Steps to Happiness—for Life

May you find motivation and make something positive happen!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Cool things I saw in Lubbock this Weekend: Local Wildlife and a Cargo Bike

My lovely wife and I ran by the shop to pick up a few bikes to take to the swap meet, and this little fella was running around out there. It was my first horny toad sighting this year, and it did my heart a great deal of good!

(Learn more about these West Texas icons here: )

A very friendly gentleman named Paul Moore had this diamond-in-the-rough for sale at the swap meet.

Special thanks to Sun Adventure Sports for hosting the bike swap meet, and more special thanks to Brittany for my new Horned Frog t-shirt for father's day!

May you see cool stuff too!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Feeling Trashy - Go Zero Waste!

Devoted readers may remember back in April when we strived for a Day Without Waste here at Mesquite Hugger. If not, here are two of the four posts that came out of that attempt.

A Day Without Waste 1

A Day Without Waste 4

No, I did not accomplish the goal of having a day without waste, but I did come much closer than I had in the past, and I became hyper-aware of the amount of waste I do generate in an average day. We are trashy people living in a trashy culture.  (Go tell your mom you have been reading a trashy blog!)

On Treehugger today, there is a post that gives 10 steps for a 'zero waste' shopping routine.

There is a lot of great advice in there. Check it out to see if you are already practicing some of these or if there are some new ones you might want to adopt. And notice how nicely most of these would fit in if you are headed to the Lubbock Downtown Farmers Market tomorrow morning.

May your efforts not be waste(d)!

FYI, do not google "trashy" on your work computer. Not a good move!

Bonus Link: Stop Living in a Trashy Neighborhood!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Lubbock Alternative Shoppers: Mark Your Bike/Junk/Food Calendars for Saturday (June 14)

Check out those bikes!

The one I am excited about - Bicycle Swap Meet! I am trying to raise funds for an electric bike project and hope to take a vintage Schwinn cruiser some other cool stuff to sell.

Funky Junk Roundup  I will admit it, this one scares me a bit. It may be the word "bling" on the artwork, but words like vintage," "reloved," and "junk" bring me back around a bit.

And of course, the Downtown Farmers Market is happening again!

May you relove something in a good way!

Please tell everyone the Mesquite Hugger sent you!

Tesla in Texas - the Melodrama Continues (Not eating crow yet)

Two of the most-read blog posts on Mesquite Hugger are this one and  this one that deal with my doubts about Lubbock, or even Texas, becoming the home of Tesla's new and gargantuan battery factory.

Since then I have heard a few fairly reliable rumors that this particular snowball in hell is still quite solid. And I was able to tour a facility here on the South Plains that has the capacity, expertise, and location to actually appeal to Tesla on a real level. (And our tour guide mentioned that they were in high level talks with a very interesting car manufacturer.)

All that said, I am a pessimist wearing a very optimistic sweater. I just don't see it happening. And I would love to be wrong!

Our beloved  state governor, however, has been doing some serious courting. Thanks to Grist for publishing this article today!

May you have a wonderful day filled with good news.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A Beautiful Video about Building a Beautiful Electric Bike

Sigh...WAY out of my price range, but very cool.

Vintage Electric video

May you escape reality for a few minutes here.

Vintage Electric Bicycles website

Electric Transportation on Lubbock Craigslist Today 6-11-14

Over coffee this morning, Grizz mentioned a Wheego Whip for sale on Craigslist. Very cool little car. I haven't watched the resale values on the Wheegos, but after very little research, this one looks like a pretty good deal, especially considering that it is here in town and will not require shipping. It's strictly an around-town vehicle, but it should be cheap, reliable, and fun. Hmm.

The other two are electric bicycles. The Currie is very much an entry level electric, and the price is very high for used. I think you could buy the same bike new for less.

The EVGlobal is iffy on the market price, but it looks like a very solid deal for someone who wants a nicer (but dated) electric bike at a low price of entry.

May you come to know the joy of traveling on electrons!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Finding a Bike Rack in Lubbock

Cool Bike Rack at Red Robin

Something there is that does not love a wall
                                                    "Mending Wall" by Robert Frost

If Robert had lived in Lubbock, he might have written a followup poem that started with the line
Someplace there is that doesn't love a bike.

That place is definitely Lubbock. The people here find bicycles inconvenient obstacles to their runnings about. We have a few bike lanes in town, but those disappear when you get close to busy intersections - the place where we need them most.  We also have signs in town that announce bike routes. A bike route is apparently a bike lane without the lane. Hmm.

For me, one of the biggest cycling challenges is finding a parking place. I have found that spaces are easier to find as you get closer to Texas Tech, but I mostly ride to work and to shop, and that takes me away from Tech. When I ride to work, the options are mostly trees. There is a nice oak near the door where I enter, so that is my parking space of (reluctant) choice. I work near several businesses, but none of them have a bike rack. Strangely enough, there is a bike shop very close by, but there is no bike parking at the bike shop either. (???)
Ah, the oak tree

I rode the bike to Home Depot this weekend. Home Depot has an impressive bike rack - large and near the door. Very supportive to the tires. The challenge with their bike rack is that it stays buried. I often see bikes at the HD that are chained to the shopping cart corral, the handicap signs, and various displays. It's just easier than trying to get to the bike rack. It's a very mixed message. Do they want our business or do they just want to tease us?

Parking at the Depot

I know. I am just one of those whiny cyclists, but I am still in a better mood than you are. I read an article today that let me know that I am happier than people who drive cars and ride buses.

Happiness is a bike commute

May you easily park, and may you be happier than your commuting comrades!

Do you know a place in Lubbock that has great bike bike parking? Drop us a line (and a photo) at I would like to celebrate the businesses who encourage our patronage.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Oy vey - my smartphone guilt machine!

Am I?

I have a G+ app on my phone. Each time I open the app, a little graphic overlay pops up and unwittingly slaps me with a little jolt of accountability. It is a black oblong that states, "You're acting as Mesquite Hugger." It always begs a simple question - Am I really?

Saturday morning I did fairly well. I walked to the coffeehouse. I picked trash on the way there. I picked recyclables up on the way home. The coffeehouse in question serves their food and beverages on/in real dishes - not disposables. I did laundry on Saturday and used the clothesline for drying. I repaired a water hose that I found in the alley and hooked that up to the rain barrel. The worst thing I did on Saturday was drive the pickup on one short trip to the grocery store.

Real dishes - no styrofoam!

Friday, however, was a different story. I had two drinks served in styrofoam cups. I put a little over four miles on the bicycle, but I put more than seventeen miles on Lucy, my little truck. My dinner was served in a plastic-coated cardboard box that was handed to me in a plastic bag.

So, If I were to grade myself on a two-day average, maybe a C+ or so.

Yes, that episode of Cosmos really got to me. It is time for me to stop promoting carbon release.

May your grade be a lot higher when your phone prompts a little self-evaluation.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Lubbock this Weekend (June 6th and 7th, 2014)

The First Friday Art Trail is tonight.

LHUCA First Friday

The Downtown Farmer's Market really does kick off tomorrow morning.

Lubbock Downtown Farmers Market

May you find inspiration, health, and a good bargain or two!

PS - Say hi to Yellowhouse Lance and Kelle B from the Mesquite Hugger!

Keith, I finally watched this week's episode of Cosmos

Last night I watched this week's episode of Neil deGrasse Tyson's Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey on Fox. The episode is entitled The World Set Free. I have the whole season on DVR but had not yet watched any of them. This week's episode was on climate change, and I had been dreading it a little. Keith has been encouraging me to watch this episode in particular.

I go through periods where I binge on eco films and documentaries. Then I go through periods where I recover from the discouragement and hopelessness of those binges. Then I regain a measure of detachment to keep myself from getting overwhelmingly worn down and depressed. And I trudge forward.

Before starting this little blog, I sat down and wrote out what I hoped for Mesquite Hugger to offer and not to offer. Depression and hopelessness landed on the not to offer list. I want these thoughts, images, and links to offer excitement, inspiration, and solutions. There are plenty of outlets for finding news of the dark side, and I urge you to seek those out and to stay abreast of the latest eco outrages - you won't have any trouble finding them - but please come back here to find encouragement and a bit of mirth.

As for this episode of Cosmos, it was brilliant and not nearly as depressing as I feared. It offers a detailed but easy to understand breakdown of carbon's role in our world and in the atmosphere of Venus. And I would like for every thinking person on our planet to watch it. It is depressing to some extent, but it also offers thoughtful and intelligent solutions and hope for our future. And it calmly and simply blast holes in almost every climate denial argument I have ever seen. Please watch it.

(A little side note: it does tickle me that this episode was presented by the same network that owns and profits a great deal from feeding the black hole that is Fox News. But that is fodder for another blog.)

May we work together soon.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

For you neglected tiny house fanatics: Enjoy!!!

One piece of advice I have passed on to a number of newlyweds over the years is the importance of two words in their search for domestic bliss: separate bathrooms. (I love you, Brown-Eyed Girl!) If you have ever wondered how tiny houses and coupledom work, this Grist article may shed a tiny little solar-powered light for you:  Building a Tiny House with your Boo!

If you spend all of your spare time snapping puzzle pieces together and plotting your next Lego village, then maybe it is time for you to build a tiny house using a CNC - the Foundhouse. I found this article on Treehugger.

And for those of you who have been jonesing for me to post more tiny houses, here is a site where your tiny house dreams can run free: Tiny House Talk.

May your tiny house dreams live large!

Where is Buckminster Fuller when we need him most?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Lubbock Power Wheels Racing Update and a Smidgen of Michael Martin Murphy

Since we decided to have a Power Wheels Race (for us big kids) life in my family has gone stark raving mad!

  • A house burned down
  • A roof blew off
  • Someone tried to make the garage a drive-through
  • lots of drought
  • lots of rain
  • a rain barrel workday
  • the truck and fence were spray-painted
  • work has been crazy
  • four different hospital visits
  • phenomenal woman #2 graduated and had two parties
  • some little guy started running away from home
  • our race organizer was evicted by the man
  • the electric motorcycle broke down (again)
  • we went to a scooter rally
  • a neighborhood cleanup
  • a few of us have gone off the deep end once or twice
  • mother's day
  • Easter
  • and then there's the really bady stuff I keep trying to block out.

Another clip for my wife - this one from one of my favorite movies: Bubble Boy. (The ice cream truck kharma scene would not play - Snagit!)

All that is to say that there has been very little progress on the Power Wheels racers. We did figure out the power delivery set up and reinforcement for Swartzy's Barbie Jeep of Doom and Keith was gracious enough to weld up the frame for Toni's Vixen Viper. But, it has gone very slowly.

Today on Instructables - I love Instructables! - I ran across an Instructable for building a very sweet evil Power Wheels Jeep.

May the wheels on the pw go round and round soon, Snagit!

Happy Birthday (Almost) to the Sierra Cub!

I heard on the radio this morning that on this date in 1892, the Sierra Club was founded. So, I did a little research and found out that the actual birthday is May 28, (Not too far off.)

If you are interested in conservation and beautiful natural places here in the U.S.A, the Sierra Club offers a rich history in preserving the natural beauty that surrounds us. I am very thankful for the work they have done and continue to do. When I hear mention of the Sierra Club, American heroes like John Muir, Ansel Adams, and Theodore Roosevelt always come to mind. If you are unfamiliar with the Sierra Club, please take some time to get to know their works at

If you want to know of a little connection to Lubbock, please check out page 30 of this Special Places of Texas pdf.

If you want to see some 1928 American beauty through the eyes of Ansel Adams and friends, check out this slide show. I love the image on Page 13.

If you are unfamiliar with John Muir, his legacy, or his beard, start on this page.

May we be blessed with people who work tirelessly to preserve this beautiful planet that preserves us.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

National Bike Challenge Update: I am in 3rd place!!!!!

Back on May 1, I announced here that I had joined the National Bike Challenge. So I thought I'd throw out an update. First, I am still alive! And my rankings seem pretty darned impressive: I rank 189th in the state of Texas and I am ranked #3 in Lubbock! At one point I was ranked 3 and 4, but a very nice website administrator helped me straighten that one out. (I am #15,522 in the nation.)

When you don't know the whole story, numbers can be very impressive. This little graphic will illustrate a little more realistic view:

Yep, there are only three of us in town. And the other two have contributed 94% of the local miles.

Even so, I am very happy with my contribution. ([es, Dear, I am becoming the Sue Heck (Check out 3:40 to the end) of the bicycle world.]

First, every day that I do not drive a gasoline-powered vehicle, I believe the world and its inhabitants are all healthier. And there is one less reason for BP to be drilling in the Gulf again. (Have I mentioned that !@#$% BP is drilling in the Gulf again?)

Second, I just had a 30-minute workout on a bike in which I have invested less than $10. (Awesome garage sale find!) I burned roughly 400 calories getting to work and I just had a 200 calorie breakfast. The math is definitely working out for better health for this overweight 45-year-old. (Provided that I do not have a run-in with an Escalade or an F250.)

Snagit, it feels good to be a mesquite-hugging dork today!

May it feel good to be you today as well!

PS - there is still plenty of time to join the National Bike Challenge! Here is your chance to take me down a notch or two and make the world a better place!