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Homo urbanus

8/20/07 10:05 pm - Chopper!!

Originally uploaded by h.reijm
Meet my new dog! Chopper is a 3 yr old American Bulldog runt (54 lbs) that I'm adopting from a breeder. They are going to breed her this fall then want to find a good home for her, so she'll come to Brooklyn with me this winter. I spent the weekend with her in Detroit and she is soo sweet and awesome. She already has a champion show title and a weight pull title (she's pulled 23x her own weight) and she's also a great long distance runner.

She's independent, protective, and loyal already and is incredibly smart. We went on a run together and this guy started tryin' to make conversation like "What's your dog's name? And what's your name?" kinda thing and she just gave him the stink eye as we kept running along. She rules.

Plus, she's as cute as a button. Click the pic for more photos. I can't wait to take her to Brooklyn. I totally miss her already.

8/5/07 08:29 pm - Sunset over Bellingham

More sunset over Bellingham
Originally uploaded by h.reijm
Just returned from a weeklong trip on the West Coast. Detroit and I spent about 4 days in Seattle and the Skagit Valley and then I went on to spend a few more days in San Francisco. The weather was perfect in the Pacific Northwest and one of the highlights was taking a flight in my brother-in-law's new 4-seater plane over Bellingham, the San Juan Islands and Skagit Valley. He's become quite the successful criminal defense attorney in Bellingham, WA, and has also been working on getting his pilot's license for the past several years, hence the new toy.

The view was unbelievable. Even though I grew up in this area, the beauty of it still strikes me every time I visit home. And for D, it was even more stunning, he having never seen any of it before. It was such an amazing view and very cool to be in that little plane.

The Bay Area was also a lot of fun. I was there for a financial training and then stayed an extra couple of days to see friends, which was great. I met new kids, new dogs, new partners, and went on a lot of pretty morning runs in San Fran. I'm impressed with the topography there and even more so given all the bicyclists around.

Alas, I'm glad to be back and excited to get on my bike in the morning. I'm such a nerd.

7/25/07 08:04 am - Racing is addictive

Racing in Central Park
Originally uploaded by h.reijm
Now I get why people love bike racing, why they drive out of town 5 hours to race, why they spend thousands of dollars on bikes and equipment and make funny excuses to do so. I'm loving this racing stuff.

I've done multiple bike races two weekends in a row. The first was a stage race in Auburn, NY. The race was great and it was nice to hang out with a bunch of teammates, but for the women racers it kind of sucked. It was an open field which means that the 9 of us in my category (Cat 4) were racing against women who were Cats 1, 2, and 3 and semi pro. So the competition was pretty strong, which made it hard to place and therefore hard to get upgrade points. But it was a learning experience, and definitely a workout. There was a time trial, a criterium (more fun than I expected!), and a 40 mile road race over the two days. All were pretty brutal and fun.

This past weekend I raced in Central Park, again an open field, and got 7th, which is the highest I've gotten in the CP races. I was taking a drink at one point and one racer started attacking off the front. A fellow racer on another team said to me, "Wrong time to take a drink, babe!" What a stupid thing to say especially because I ended up chasing down the attack and beating the commenter in the end anyway! On Sunday, I raced in Union Vale (outside of Poughkeepsie). It was a 30 mile road race and I got a flat at mile 20. Another woman lent me her CO2 cartridge and I had to pull over twice after that to fill up my tire (the support car with extra wheels was nowhere to be found). By the time I got to the finishing climb the tire was flatting again so I just eased up it to finish, surprising myself by getting 12th (out of 24) despite the flat! I was hoping to do better since this was only a race against other Cat 4s, but shit happens. When I looked at my computer afterward, I had clocked 47mph on one of the descents. Wow, that was fun.

Plus, my back tire is kind of ruined at this point, so it gave me a good excuse to get new nice looking red tires to match my red bike!

Now I'm on a racing break until labor day weekend. Off to Seattle and SF (bringing Detroit to meet the parents, eek!) next week.

6/29/07 10:03 am

In 1954, Brown v. Board of Ed declared segregation unconstitutional.  Yesterday, the Supreme Court declared integration unconstitutional.  Orwellian?  At best. 

"The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race," said Chief Justice Roberts.  That's nice, Justice Roberts, but how do you then explain the disparities in resources and achievement between schools in African American and Latino communities and those in white communities?  And why is it, then, that your fellow conservatives are opposed to equitable funding for inner city schools compared to suburban schools?  Does this make any sense at all?

Justice Kennedy's majority opinion, in favor of the decision, but also in favor of other ways that schools can integrate student bodies is a little confusing to me.  I'm not sure what impact that will have.  Anyone?

6/27/07 10:17 am - Things that make getting up at 4am on Wednesdays worth it

1.  It is so quiet and peaceful outside, the loudest noise is when I click click into my pedals and take off.

2. Little to no cars- It's the only time I can safely cruise at upwards of 25-30mph on streets like Dekalb Ave, Canal Street, 6th and 8th Aves.  Canal Street feels especially triumphant, since its otherwise hell to bike across to the West Side Pathway at any other time of day.

3. The smell- Some flowers or trees or fruits or something smell amazing in the park, as well as the first pots of coffee at many restaurants that I pass by.  

4. The 4-6 elder Chinese ladies who walk backwards over the Manhattan Bridge as I'm heading back to Brooklyn at around 6:45am.  

5. And of course, the amazing coaching we get from our former Irish cycling champion and trying out different sprinting, attacking, and other racing techniques.  Way fun even though my legs usually burn a bit for a time after.


6/5/07 08:52 pm - Megachurch broadcast in the hospital waiting room

Megachurch broadcast in the hospital waiting room
Originally uploaded by h.reijm
During my recent stint at the hospital, I came upon this TV broadcast of a megachurch surmon. I couldn't believe how many people were in the audience. It was like a rock concert or a sports event or something. Pretty impressive.

6/5/07 11:56 am - Office plant

I just noticed there are 3 little mushrooms growing in the plant that sits on the desk in my office. 

6/4/07 11:50 am - FBF TT 6-3-07

FBF TT 6-3-07
Originally uploaded by h.reijm
I placed 2nd in the Women's Cat. 4 group at the Floyd Bennet Field Time Trial on Sunday (that's me on the left). That was after getting only about 4 hours of sleep since my roommate really wanted to have a party on Sat. night. I don't plan on making that a regular habit, though the party was pretty fun and it was great to see chunklet there.

It was my first time at Floyd Bennet Field. Even though I've ridden out that way many a time, I'd never been inside. Sort of a cool place to ride around if you can dodge the remote control airplanes.

5/5/07 07:14 pm - Subway nasty

The other day I was on my way to Coney Island.  Detroit and I were on the train and and the only other people in our car were 3 teenagers, two women and a guy.  At one point, D looked over and one of the girls was popping a zit on the other girls face.  Shortly after, we saw the popper wiper her hand on the wall above the seat.  Damn, that was nasty.  Times like that I realize how gross this city's surfaces are.

What's the worst thing you've seen on the subway recently?

4/13/07 04:06 pm - Long lost

Originally uploaded by h.reijm.
Sorry for the absence, y'all. Life's way too busy, but all in all, I'm kinda loving it. My time pretty much consists of work, school, bike training, and Detroit. It goes something like this:

I wake up at about 5:30 every weekday morning to do my bike workouts. (I wake up at 4am on Wednesdays to join teammates in Central Park). I try to be in bed by about 10:30pm. On the weekends, I do more and have finally started to actually race. I. Love. It.

I have classes two evenings a week, after work. I really like both of them, and the best part is that these may well be the very last classes I take ever. I'm done with coursework after this semester when I move on to my dissertation proposal and 2nd exams.

I think I've decided to do my dissertation on land tax/use policies and politics of race in Baltimore, Buffalo, Philadelphia, and Detroit. I plan on taking a look at the redevelopment of vacant property in a neighborhood in each city (Middle East, West Side, North Philly, and Midtown/Cass Ave, respectively). I may boil those down to just 2 cities and 2 neighborhoods, but not sure yet. And I think those are the right neighborhoods, but I'm not totally sure about that yet either. But, I'm working on my proposal this summer so all that will come together.

Work has been busy, but really interesting. I've been doing a lot of field research around the rise in mortgage foreclosures and it's been interesting to be involved in this topic from a community development perspective. I'm getting a little sick of my boss and some of my coworkers (who sometimes forget that even though they are 50+ years old, that they are not in high school anymore), but there's also a lot of great people around, too.

And, I've been spending a lot of time with a really great person in Detroit, and he here. He's awesome and has an 130lb American Bulldog with whom I love going for runs (and 20+ stair repeats!). I've been loving getting to know Detroit and think it's really a pretty great city with a lot going on historically, culturally, artistically and design-wise, etc. Economically, not so much, but there's some possibility there, too, I think.

Remember way back when I had the endoscopy? Well, the only possible diagnosis I got was IBS. It got a lot worse starting in March and I was in a lot of pain many afternoons and evenings. Finally, I pulled out all the stops and have been making all these changes to my diet. This includes eating a lot of soluble fiber, like oatmeal, cornmeal, white rice, root vegetables, white flour, potatoes, semolina pasta, chicken and turkey breast, and fiber supplements, and avoiding things like caffeine, dairy, beer, red meat, and wheat, and having to be very strategic about when to eat most fruits and vegetables (after eating soluble fiber foods). Amazingly, I've been better, so I'm sticking to it. Honestly, I feel pretty great physically. I can't believe that I am totally off caffeine! Yes, I miss coffee, but have been satisfied with lots of water, juice (sometimes mixed with either protein or fiber supplements), and herbal tea. I feel a little wussy about all this, but have been really feeling a huge difference. For instance, this past week, I was living off about 4-5 hours of sleep because I had a midterm and a lot of other schoolwork. And yeah, I was tired, but I felt great compared to other similarly busy sleep-deprived times in my life. It's strange, really.

Well, that's the essay update. Onward.
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