A question to ask when you lock your bike

Yesterday I chased a bike thief down my block.
Let me begin my story. I was home sitting on the couch watching some awful afternoon TV movie when I noticed outside my window someone in the yard next door. Then I noticed the fellow reaching over the fence. My first thought was that he was putting trash in my recycle bin. Then I remembered I moved the bin to stop people from throwing trash in it. Second thought was ‘is this guy stealing my tomatoes?’ And in an instant I realized he wasn’t aiming for my tomatoes, the bastard had his hands on my roommate’s piece of shyte bike.
I screamed stop kept screaming as I grabbed my keys and headed to open the door and stop him. By the time I got the gate door open the thief was two doors down and had just fallen off the bike leaving it on the sidewalk. He ran down the block and just turned the corner heading towards New Jersey Avenue when I realized I was looking at a man on foot and not a man on bike. I was still yelling at the top of my lungs as I debated for two seconds about unlocking my bike, chasing him and trying to play bicycle thief polo with his head and my u-locks. But I chose to grab my roommate’s bike and put the stupid thing back in the yard.
I then did what my roommate should have done. I locked the bike in a way that makes it ‘harder’ to just lift and ride off with, I locked the rear wheel to the frame. I used one of my locks, and moved my bike inside as it was without it’s normal 3 locks. Then I called the roommate and relayed what just happened and fussed.
The almost stolen bike is a piece of crap, which should have been its own anti-theft device. But it is a device that cannot work alone it needs a lock. A properly locked lock. It would have helped it said bike was locked to the fence, which it was not. Short of that it would have helped a lot if said lock was locked to a wheel, which it was not. Instead a newish $35 Kryptonite lock was locked to the frame and nothing else.
Where it was on the frame may have made biking on it difficult, making for a harder ‘quick’ get away. Add to the fact the bike is heavy and only one speed and no hand brakes, running on foot may have been better if you want to get away from an angry black woman.
So kids, when you lock your bike, look at before you turn your back and ask, can someone lift it and ride away? I got 3 locks, so the answer is, not unless they throw it in the back of a truck.

Fall garden

Cutting board tomatoes 1
Originally uploaded by In Shaw

It must be tomato time, because they are all over the place. Well all over the place in the yard. Though 2 of the 6 backyard tomatoes plants were complete duds (no fruit), The front yard tomatoes have been making up for it. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been bringing my overflow tomatoes to work and giving the to co-workers.
The San Marzano Roma tomato plant has been obnoxiously fruitful as of late. After grabbing the mail I will notice some tomatoes ready to be freed from the vine, which are then deposited on the radiator in the entryway. I had about a dozen of the sometimes rudely shaped fruits sitting on the radiator, when I figure it’s time for sauce making.
My method is simple. Wash tomatoes. Cut off bottom blossom rot (a problem part of the potted tomatoes). Remove seeds. Cut in half or several pieces. Throw in pot. Add water as needed. Heat on low. Find something else to do while it turns into pasta sauce mush. Throw in salt, maybe remove skins, or not. Maybe add garlic, cream, herbs, or whatever I feel like, or not. Cool. Label. Freeze.
As the tomatoes are doing their thing, I’m planting seeds for winter foodstuffs. Pretty much beets, leeks, garlic, and onions. The arugula and coriander were sown earlier and I expect them to serve me through the winter like they did last year. I’ll see if the parsley will last.

Be aware of your surroundings

Even as a blogger I do value the MSM (main stream media*)for reporting on things beyond my general vicinity and digging deeper on things that are going on around me, but lately I think MSM has lost its ever loving mind. The message I’ve been getting is that nobody getting lent any money, my bank is going to go bust, and the world as we know it is going to end.
Take a deep breath and try to match that with what you can ascertain yourself, match that with what is going on around you. I know Poets and Bustboys just opened up a location this week near the Shiney Swanky Safeway, a Safeway mind you with a nut bar, a counter just for nuts. That does not signal a bad economy. Yes, there are foreclosures and short sales on my street. However, several of them involve investors, and there are many more failed flips several blocks around. Their stupidity, bad judgement, and poor cash flow makes me as sympathetic to them as I am to SUV drivers who are suffering due to the high cost of gas.
My bank, unless they are lying to me, is not going to shut down. I belong to a credit union. A boring, fuddy duddy, pain in the butt to get to, non-sub-prime credit union. And the credit union is still offering car, boat, student and house loans, as well as Wachovia, were I keep my food/mad money allowance. When the Wachovia branch at Dunbar and Penn Quarter shut down or cut back, then I’ll be concerned. I also own some shares of Wachovia, but their value is pretty much the equivalent of dinner for two at Equinox.
I also have stocks (also the equivalent of dinner for two at a good restaurant, tax, tip and wine included) in Pepco and Washington Gas. I’ll worry about them if I can’t have lights and there is no heat this winter. And we all have no light or heat then the price of the stocks are the least of our worries.
What of development in Shaw? Well considering all other sorts of other things can stall that, like the developer saying the community can’t agree on what design of ugly the library should be, being one example. Or a crazed puppet-regime ANC, throwing a wrench in the works. Or Jemal doesn’t feel like it. Or insane taxes on an arts venue.
Take a deep breath. Take a good look at your surroundings. Take off your ipod buds and hear what’s going around you, on your street, in the store as you shop. Get off the damned phone and be observant, factor in that people are still driving (like maniacs), they are still fixing up their yards, or still ignoring them like before. People are still walking around, going out, still illegally parking, still doing stuff that does not signal the end of the world.
If you are aware of your surroundings not only do you reduce your risk of being a crime victim, you also may keep yourself sane.

*If I fall into the jargon abrev. trap bring my attention to it.

Haunting the hood

Despite the fact that the individual in question moved, well his mother moved, a month or so ago, he still haunts the block like he still lives there. The individual is a teenager who hangs out with the crowd of other males wandering the streets. Occasionally, they will hang in one spot.
They used to hang out in the yard of the house where he used to live, but the owner put up a no trespassing sign, well something more detailed than just “NO TRESSPASSING” but with the same gist. This helped when calling the cops because before, the cruiser would slowly drive by, look at them, then speed off. Big whoop. Now the sign is there in the window, they don’t hold court in the yard no more.
Last night they opted to hang in front of B. and IT’s house. I was home playing CIV III when I heard the crowd. I came out because I was concerned. Sometimes B. leaves his bike out on the sidewalk. He locks it, but they were all leaning in the spot where he leaves it. So I came out and decided that my yard needed attention.
I don’t care for confrontation, unless you’re on my fence then I’ll say something, and so I did not speak to the crowd. I just puttered. Visible, noticeable, puttering. If needed, I could have engaged in my impression of loudmouth bubbie lawyer and get on my cell and scream like a crazy person. It is my front yard and I can do whatever the hell I want. Just then some neighbors came walking by, an end to their evening constitutional and we had a chat while the group of young men sauntered away. Seconds later, another neighbor came out and we gave a friendly holler at each other. We stayed out there till the crowd had settled down on the other, deserted end of the block.

Buy a church for your new home

This place has been on the market for a while and I do wish I could find a non MRIS picture, but 1641 4th St NW is up for sale. According to a 1957 study of NorthWest 1 churches, it served as a house church. That’s sort of like a storefront church, but instead of a store, worshipers used a house. Up until last year or two years ago, a small sign reading “Faith Temple” was near the door of this house.
A few years ago, I swear there were more of these little house churches around the hood. I remember years ago walking around 1st and Bates and hearing a woman preaching, well saying words loudly in a rhythm similar to preaching. That’s gone now. There is a house church on the corner of 3rd and P. The building looks nice and seems to be well kept every time I pass by. I do have a pciture of that.
The Redfin ad for 1641 4th St, the former Faith Temple, says it has the original wood floors and looking at the pictures it looks like it has a lot of original stuff. I can see how the layout can serve a small number of people.
Now that I think of it, I have attended an Eastern Orthodox service in a converted rowhouse in Columbia Heights. While there I was paying more attention to the fact they had chairs, than the normal, non-churchy windows. Depending on the size of the congregation, a house can work for worship purposes and neighbors like it if worship does not require drums, electric bass and amps.

Yoga may be the Christmas Present of Your Future

Right now I’m just posting on whatever the Bloomingdale blogs are posting.
Anywho, the Yoga District is hoping to open its Bloomingdale studio sometime in late October. I translate that to mean November or December as I don’t underestimate the things that will get in the way (DCRA?).
The website for Yoga District is pretty good. You can reserve classes on-line and there are a variety of classes for different levels. The fees seem reasonable and you can buy passes. Not really clear if you can buy passes for someone else and give them as a gift.
First Street NW is getting all nifty and stuff. There is Big Bear, and Windows (with its new fancy-schmancy menu), add the Yoga studio and you’ve got yerself something there. If you could throw in one vintage consignment clothing shop you will complete the hipster vibe.
Come on Bloomingdale, you know I love you.
PS- I’m not ignoring Baraki, I’m just not sure what vibe it’s aiming for.

Street Sense Shin-dig

And for all those that don’t know, Street Sense is a nonprofit newspaper about poverty and social issues and it’s sold by homeless and formerly homeless individuals throughout the DC area. Our mission is to empower homeless people with a voice and income and educate the public about issues not often covered by the mainstream media. You can find out more about us at www.streetsense.org.


Movin’ On Up

Street Sense’s Third Annual

Silent Auction & Reception

October 2, 2008, 7pm

Josephine Butler Park Center,

2437 Fifteenth Street, NW

Tickets start at $25 a piece for access to the auction, endless appetizers, beer and wine, and great fun with Street Sense vendors, board and staff.

For more info or to buy tickets, visit http://www.streetsense.org/auction2008.jsp

Windows Cafe Gettin’ All Fancy

Bloomingdale’s Scenic Artisan has reported that the cafe is serving real food:

1. California mixed greens, shaved organic fiesta fennel, oranges, pinenuts, artichoke and balsamic vinaigrette. $8.95.

2. Pesto Canadian fresh salmon over saffron couscous. $11.95

3. Roasted Portobello, roasted red peppers, chevre, artichoke omelet with potato hash. $8.95.

4. Capalleni Angel Hair pasta with chipotle clam sauce. $8.95.

5. Grilled chicken breast topped with pepperoni, mozzarella on a rosemary focaccia. $8.95.

Soups $2.95:

roasted red pepper & tomato
cream of potato

I’ll admit the nothing to write home about food was one of the reasons that kept me from Windows. The other reasons were I would have to cross 2 major roads to get there and it was too far. I’m going to have to check them out.

Do it for the old people

I swear there are certain promises and proposals that get hoisted up the flagpole that supposedly wave you through, “affordable housing”, “senior housing”, youth something or other. I gather you propose these things and certain rules no longer apply to you and thus you get away with all sorts of foolishness. Yesterday I wandered by a site that, according to the historic papers I had been going through (1985-1999), should have had housing and job training. That site has none of those things in 2008. I’ll have to look to find out what the heck happened or why things didn’t happen.
According to our friends in Mt. Vernon Square, someone is suggesting a boatload of foolishness under the flag of elderly housing. There are requests for zoning variances for 1238 and 1242 New Jersey Avenue. According to Si’s letter (seen here) the owner is suggesting that he going to building housing for the elderly, despite making the previous elderly tenant run for her life when 1242’s structure failed and collapsed. Take a read of Si’s letter, she’s a bit more clearer about this than I.

Addition: If you are here from the DC Blogs link a list of candidates is found in my comment here.

How’s it looking on your block?

Housing that is? I can read the Post about regional and national trends but what’s happening on your block? Mine? A few houses up for sale, a few more houses getting rehabbed and there is the confusing tale of one foreclosure that I can’t tell who all the players are without a detailed playbill. One of the houses getting rehabbed was a foreclosure, but that was a case of an investor who spent too much on the property. And now that one of our more louder drama prone neighbors has relocated, a loudmouth lawyer with a cell phone is the only thing that stands between me and peace and quiet.
Also on the housing front, down in the Hanover region of the TC there is to be a permament housing shelter for 17 homeless women on 57 O St. NW. According to the mayor’s press office:”..the Dunbar Apartments, the first permanent supportive housing project for women funded by the Fenty Administration. The project will not only provide apartments for chronically homeless residents, but comprehensive support services as well.”