Dennis on the Road

Friday, August 01, 2008

No Sleep in Brooklyn

It's been ages since I've written anything on this blog. Sadly, I've been writing very little, and Facebook is where my pictures go these days. With little travel and no racing, the primary topics for posts, the inspiration hasn't been there. (I really should be writing about education, but I don't think a blog is the right place for that.)

But coming to Brooklyn has given me the spark of inspiration to write this post that few will likely ever read.

I'm nearly 40, and sadly, this is my first time in Brooklyn. It's exactly the paradox I expected, at once inviting and friendly, and simultaneously hard on the newcomer. If my first hours here are any sign of what is to come, I'll be experiencing both extremes in spades.

From Laguardia, I began testing my navigation and transit skills. With lots of questions, I figured the bus, two subways, and walk to the hostel recommended by Yuji and Momo. After dropping my stuff off, Yuji, Momo, and Youme came to pick me up for a late dinner.

Yuji wins the prize for one of the most interesting people I've known. Two summers ago he pedaled up from LA on a piece of shit Huffy most folks wouldn't ride around the block. He ended up staying w/ me for over two weeks and was adopted by the Oakland cycling community. With everyone's help, he rode away on a bike suitable for the journey he would undertake, riding up to Alaska and taking a right turn to cross North America. He arrived in NYC intending to stay for a couple weeks. But he fell in love with Momo, settled in, and 6 weeks ago Youme Pace came in to this world. (Yep: the name is a contraction of first and second person pronouns with the middle name being the Italian word for Peace.)

We walked to the restaurant where they were both working when they met. For most of the friends there, it was the first time meeting Youme. We were greeted like rock stars and fed what is, by far, the best food of this trip so far. The night was wonderful and would be reason enough for this journey. It also helped to balance out the hell of the next couple hours.

I walked back the the Glenwood Hotel. The website promised a quirky, basic, but "safe and clean" hostel. At $30 a night in Brooklyn, my hopes weren't high, but I figured I would only be in and out for some sleep and shower, so the budget route was the way to go. What I found was hell! As soon as I walked to my "room" (in quotes since it was actually a partitioned 8'x5' box in a huge room taking up the entire floor. The "walls" of the rooms were about 8 feet high so every sound of a warehouse of people, all of whom seemed awake and talking at 3 AM would come in.) There was no window. No fan. The temp in my space approached 100 degrees in the middle of the night. Being drenched in sweat was no fun. The prospect of showing in the one communal stall shared by the 50 or so people sleeping on that floor was gross, but the bugs were the final straw. Not just one or two, but a whole army of little critters, came out when the light went off. I turned the light on, picked the bugs out of my leg hair, went on line to find another place, went to the street, and hailed a taxi. A 3 AM escape. While searching for a new hotel on-line, I jotted a quick review of the Glenwood.
Like another reviewer... I wish I had read the reviews posted here. The only good thing about this place is that it has wireless so I can write this. It is 3 AM. I am dripping in sweat. There is no fan, no air, no breeze, only humidity and noise. TV's and conversations are loud enough to render my earplugs useless. DON'T COME HERE. I came here to save money, but now I would pay anything to escape (which I will tomorrow.)
After sleeping in late, my adventure began again. My 1 mile walk from the hotel to the restaurant where Yuji now works was exactly what I had pictured Brooklyn to be. The day was already hot, guiding me to what ever side of the street had the most shade. I stopped in a friendly neighborhood cafe and picked up the Village Voice. Such a simple pleasure, but thoroughly enjoyable, especially w/ a good education section.

This was followed by another delicious Japanese lunch and an even longer and hotter walk, finally taking an air conditioned break near in a cafe near Prospect Park to write this. Now it is on to Sydney and Deberah's house for a Wedding Eve celebration.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Scraper Bike

I'm sorry I've been so bad about up-dating the blog over the summer. Many of you know that I've taken on an exciting and huge new responsibility as the founding principal of the Alternative Learning Community. As a result, I've had to retire from racing. I especially appreciate the support of my BPG/Montano Velo teammates and sponsors in this transition.

Meanwhile, don't give up on this blog: despite the long silence, I haven't.

So... It looks like I'll be trading in my Cervelo for a Scraper Bike.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Sachi's up to it again...

I've posted my friend (and former housemate) Sachi's work here before. And like her other films, this piece about a reading program for Nepali children living in poverty, is inspiring and insightful. Click here for the link to this PBS Frontline World short documentary.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

She would kick ass in bike polo

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Proud to represent the BPG!

This month’s Velo News features a full page article about the uniqueness of our team’s title sponsor, the Berkeley Patient’s Group. Although it is filled with innuendo and cheap jokes, it begins to make a point. (Plus it’s great to see our picture in VN!) We’re happy with the press.

But here’s the genuinely heroic story of our sponsor. Etienne believes in the cause of sick people having legal access to marijuana so much that he nearly lost his own liberty and a lot of money. This is why I’m proud to race for BPG as my title sponsor. Etienne fuels my motivation to take a stand on this issue, although I’m sure there are some who think that in my profession I should just keep quiet about it. If you don’t have time or inclination to read the whole article, scroll down to Etienne’s testimony.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Quinn again

Ain't he cute? New nephew Quinn w/ his Great Grandma Guike.

Monday, May 07, 2007

What the Heckman!?!?!

Way to go Mark!!!! Always good to see one of my Grand Rapids oboe-jammin homies at the top of the podium!!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Quinn represents

My newest nephew, Quinn, representing The Town!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

RIP Ru-dog

I heard the sad news today that Rufus passed away. RIP you crazy dreadlocked pouch. I'll miss you.

Every dog has his 15 minutes of fame (nice blurring of cliché's, huh?). Here is Rufus'.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Bike polo on the air.

This is a must-hear! Whether you've experienced bike polo or haven't a clue about it, click here to hear a Northgate Radio piece about what I do most Thursday nights. (Forward a few minutes into the program, past the news and the piece about recycling scavengers, for the piece on bike polo.)

Post your thoughts.