Monthly Archives: June 2012

Multi-Tasking


A recent article flittering its way through Facebook land had the audacity of proclaiming the ineffectualness of multitasking. Even with a quick Google search I found multiple articles claiming the death of multitasking. What once was considered a skill is now looked at as doing multiple things mediocrely.  I’m thinking that this is a media no news story. How many people really do one thing at a time? I don’t even think I could. I have always been a multi-doer. Many days I have a running chat window going with someone while I edit photos or write a blog or work on design projects. I’ve been known to dictate a list to my husband while we drive. With the twins out of school for the summer I often find myself writing blogs on a notebook while watching them swim in the pool. Today was the king of multi-doing. Today I would drive the twins (and their bikes) into town, park at their grandparents, let them ride their bikes on streets I need to cover for City Saunter. We will eventually make our way to the park at the front of Scott’s Woods to play for a bit. Afterwards we will continue on non Sauntered streets until I reach a section that I also need to take notes on for the Lansing Walkability Audit. And in my perfect world the twins will be hydrated, fed and eager to assist me with my measuring and observing. Ahhhh genius! I’ll give you all a moment to get a tissue to wipe the tears of laughter from your eyes.

First off it took an extra hour to hook the car-bike-contraption thing onto the car. It is now noon. We didn’t eat lunch but we did have a late breakfast. I decide to go anyway. Twenty minutes later we arrive in Lansing at Grandma and Grandpa O’Meara’s house. Grandma’s not home, but Grandpa greets us and sends us on our way. The kids on their bikes are the perfect way for them to travel while I walk. We don’t usually get very far if I make them walk. On their bikes they don’t even complain when we go down one block and turn around to head up another street. They easily make their way through the neighborhood listening obediently to instructions to stop and look for cars. Using my map to successfully navigate our way we make it to the park successfully. After a short stay we were off again. I knew at this time it would have been best to make our way straight back to the car. I didn’t. I pushed one last task onto our little group of travelers. Out onto Pennsylvania Ave. I pulled out two clip boards stuffed with papers and instructions.  We began check boxing specific information about intersections and sidewalks. I really had hoped that using the measuring tape to measure the ramps at every intersection on a busy street would have been a blast for the kids. It was not. We completed about 3 intersections and two blocks of sidewalks on the odd side before the twins had their melt down. It’s fine. We were at Pacific and I hadn’t walked that street yet. In a few blocks we were at my in-laws’ street. The twins made the turn and were heading the last three blocks to their house. My dilemma was walking one more block to connect my Pacific walk and complete that section or stay with the twins. I’d watched the twins carefully make their way in this neighborhood for over an hour. Despite not being use to riding bikes in neighborhoods, I trusted that they’d be just fine. They turned left and I quickly continued walking the last block of Pacific. Alone I was able to really enjoy the last length of the walk but my true peace didn’t hit until a saw two bikes, one boy and one girl, parked out in front of grandma and grandpa’s house.

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The Eastern Edge

                

I was ready to proclaim domination over the east side of Lansing. I was rechecking my map to guarantee I had in fact walked most of the eastern side of Lansing when I saw it. I checked again. I pulled out another map. It was on there too. I opened Google Maps. It must be true now. There was a section on the eastern side of 127, my ultimate eastern edge boundary guide line, that was in, without a doubt, part of Lansing. It was positioned east of 127, north of Grand River and west of Coolidge. I don’t know how I skipped over it! On my way into town for Lunch with a Purpose I stopped at the old Holiday Lanes bowling alley (it’s being renovated) on Grand River and headed to this almost East Lansing section.

Once within the residential part of this neighborhood, it was obvious that this neighborhood was at one point in time the conjoined twin sister of Groesbeck. The homes are very similar in style with large colonials with pillars or the typical split level built over a two car garage. As with the Groesbeck area, a section of this neighborhood also pays for the state’s advancement by having a 70 mph highway in its backyard. This side didn’t get the 12 foot grey colored walls like the other side of 127. It’s a quaint little neighborhood, yet quiet it’s not. This surgical separation that allowed US 127 to run through the middle of a decent neighborhood abscised this east side as the smaller, less protected, more isolated section . For some the isolation from most of the city creates an almost retreat feeling. Yards grow right up to the road as there are no sidewalks in this section. However, very few cars passed me while I walked in the road. The lack of sidewalk wasn’t really a concern until I walked out onto the very busy Coolidge Rd; the Lansing side had no sidewalks. Just across the street, on the East Lansing side, a utility worker spent the entire time I walked cleaning and edging the sidewalk. There was a worn patch in the grass where I walked that showed evidence that I wasn’t the only walker on this path. It might have been those trying to get to the bus stop just north of Grand River.

Slipping back onto the inner neighborhood streets I again noticed how undisturbed this area looked. In this section the trees were gloriously over grown and provided a wonderful canopy, unlike many city street trees that have been ruined by recent road and sewer repairs deeper in the heart of Lansing.

So this is the eastern edge of Lansing and I walked it, finally! Now that I have sought out this section I have almost walked all the east section bordering the eastern edge to Clemens and south to 496. There is one little section south of Kalamazoo and north of 496 I haven’t completed yet, but I read a great article about the Land Bank offering parcels of land in this area for Urban Gardens. I think I’ll check that out soon!

Depth of Field


As I drive through Lansing, zipping past houses and businesses, I realize it’s completely impossible to stop and focus on any specifics of the city. Part of my goal for City Saunter was to get out of the car, out of the parks, off the river trail and really change my point of view while in the city. When I walk I am able to see much better the true make-up of Lansing. I pass by thousands of store fronts and porches and see how they focus their attention on their environment. Yet there is still another element of familiarity missing by just walking by. Recently I intensified my focus and journeyed into two establishments on my walk. The first was Decker’s Coffee and the second was Kelly’s Downtown. The reason for venturing deeper into two of Lansing’s popular watering holes was an invite from Michael McCallum of Rebel Pictures. Now Michael has the kind of charisma that when he asks if you want to meet up to talk about an activity he’s involved with your answer is when and where. Michael is our local film producer, successfully using the Lansing area to create award winning films. When I last caught up with him he was on location at Arties Filling Station shooting his feature length film Buffalo, now in post production. On today’s outing not only did I enjoy a smooth coffee from Decker’s but I also was given the opportunity to screen two of Michael’s short films; “Momento Mori” and “Small Town Fireworks”.

Michael and I strolled from our slightly chilly patio seat at Decker’s to seek out a quiet location (and an electrical outlet) to begin the viewing. Kelly’s Downtown was the perfect spot, not just for the use of power but also because Kelly’s was one of the locations Mike used to shoot “Small Town Fireworks”. Inside Kelly’s I met Jeff Kelley, the owner. Despite not wanting his photo taken by me he was willing to portray a believable bartender in one of Michael’s short films. This is one of Michael’s secret weapons; pulling talented friends and family from the community to bring believability into his scripts. As the first movie started it was hard not to smile at the noticeable Lansing landmarks; the Silver Bells street ornament, Michigan Ave., The River Trail, even Decker’s Coffee. It makes me feel like I somehow have a bit of ownership in these creations. The actor, Cody Masalkoski who stars in “Memento Mori”, is someone I have run into around town quite a few times. Sitting at the bar with a drink in his hand, is Michael looking very much like the actor whose portrayal of “Allen” in “Small Town Fireworks” made me laugh, feel compassion for and finally, at the end, well I guess you should find out for yourself.

On Sunday, yes Sunday, 7:00 p.m. June 24, 2012 at our very own Kelley’s Downtown, Michael McCallum will be hosting a Short Film Premiere party featuring both “Small Town Fireworks” and “Memento Mori”. It’s a great opportunity to check out these locally produced films. To top it off Sam Corbin, who portrays a memorable musician in one of the films, will be providing live music for all those who attend. This is a great chance to support quite a few local talents as the proceeds will help get these films into numerous film festivals.

It’s a Race


More Dragonboat photos here
I was late. The meeting started at 9:00 a.m. and it was now 8:30 a.m. By car it would normally take me only 15 minutes to get into town. However this day I decided to ride my bike for my Dragon Boat meeting. I raced from Haslett, through East Lansing, into Lansing and finally, only ten minutes late, my destination; Cooley Stadium. Since joining the Dragon Boat committee I’ve participated in a handful of meetings. I will be the site coordinator during the event and I am also helping put together “Land Cruises”; meetings held at public locations where our volunteers, teams and location patrons can actually grab a paddle and practice. We hope to also bring in the dragon boats so folks can check them out. We hope these events will help inform the public about forming teams (by June 15) and the actual event during Labor Day Weekend. I am also a committee member for Ignite Lansing.
I am helping organize the volunteers for this event. It’s really extraordinary watching these great events come into existence. I love participating with these groups. I enjoy the brainstorming for the next great location, theme or way to publicize the event. Both of these events were inspired by a person or a couple of people who decided they wanted their specific event here in Lansing. They trusted that our city, full of creative and generous people and businesses, would be able to pull it off. I’ve participated in festivals like Capital City Film Festival that operated at a level equal to other well established festivals its first year.

This year I will be photographing Dirty Feat.
It’s another festival put together by a handful of energized people. Last year in Old Town I ran into two of the organizers riding around on their bikes putting together stopping points for their race; two guys, on a bike. At today’s meeting it was the City Saunterer on a bike, a Lansing Center Events Manager, a Lugnut manager, a retired police detective and a dragon boat leader standing in a circle on the stadium grounds. We talked about where we could park the dragon boat, how many reserved spots we would need to fit it (7). We talked about how we’ve all talked to people who seem a bit confused by the boat part of it. I’ve had people ask how they put the boats together or that they couldn’t do it because they don’t have room to store a 20 person boat. We’ve decided that just offering up detailed information will help people understand that the boats are being rented from the American Dragon Boat Association. Essentially if you can find 25 people who would like to participate then we will supply the boats, life jackets, training and steering person. You can download an application here. And learn more here!
So the race is on! The race to create fantastic festivals, the race to keep Lansing vibrant and exciting and the race to get this summer of festivals going!
Where I walked

Here are a few more festivals and summer fun:

Festival of the Sun
Festival of the Moon
Scrap Fest
Turner Street Outdoor Theater
Common Ground
Michigan Mosaic Music Festival
Dirty Feat
Ignite Lansing 5.0