Saturday, December 23, 2006

Oh, the joy of driving

My brother flew out to sunny California a few days ago and gave me the keys to his brand new car. I have been cruising around town and enjoying the power of a spunky little engine under the hood. On the other hand, this wonderful experience has solidfied in my mind that I should never buy a new car. Curving around sharp corners and whipping around other cars is way too fun for my simple two-wheeled life.




Often, I take online quizzes to calculate my ecological footprint and usually I am pretty happy with the outcome. Driving around as much as I have lately almost doubles how many resources I use. So I am goign to stick with my trusty old Buick for the long trips and bike the rest.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The people I meet



I am sorry for the blogging hiatus, but last week was the week o' exam here at Michigan State. I have been totally oblivious to the world around me. I remember biking away from my last epidemiology final and realized that I hadn't given myself time to pay any attention to the people around me. It is that time of the year again when parents come to all the residence halls and pick up their children. This next month is usually odd for both parents and the new college students. There is a potpourri emotions in the air. People have spent an eye opening semester at college and feel reluctant to go back to their parents homes, while parents thought they would enjoy a peaceful house, usually start missing their children.
As a first year graduate student, this last semester was just as extraordinary first for me. There are just a few days of relaxation before I get back to the grindstone. Regardless, I am back to the virtual world of this blog.

peace and love

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Lock your bike





PHOTO: Autumn 2006

It is sad that people have to be so cautious of locking their bikes here in East Lansing, MI. As far as American cities are concerned, we have more than the average number of people biking around town. I have heard horror stories of people leaving their bike out for ten minutes and getting it stolen. I have been the victim of such crimes twice in my last six years as a student. Why can't everyone just follow the biker-code and not steal! I hate carying my bike lock around.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Silence of Good People

(Inducted into the National Civil Rights Museum)

It once was asked of Martin Luther King
How the progress of rights could be so long coming
His answer was not the evil of some
But the silence of good people

Although we may never arrive in the garden
The sin is not in failure, but never starting
My silent friend, it is you that I am speaking of
Of the silence of good people

We, we will not be silent
We, we will not be silent
We will not be silent

Although we have only hearts, bodies, and minds
Against guns and clubs, lies and threats and money
When the truth is released, each echo comes louder
On the voices of good people

We, we will not be silent ...

I've taken my place on the streets of our land
With my sisters and brothers by the tens of thousands
And I have sweet hope, because I can hear
The rising voices of good people

We, we will not be silent ...

Action

Re-action

We will not be silent.mp3

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Out of the loop



You may have heard of the much anticipated release of Playstation 3 this holiday season. It seems to be the ultimate gift for this year, even with it's $600 price tag.
Last year, when the Xbox came out people stood in like outside every possible Best Buy and Circuit City store to get there hands on the game consoles early, but this wasn't the motive for all the overnight campers. Some people cashed out on this 'pot of gold at the end of the rainbow', but putting it right up on ebay for anyone who may want to pay top dollar to get the system early. This year is no different, but like many other people I wanted to cash in on the game too.
So, for the last week or so I have been planning this out with my brother and reading all the in's and out's of getting the game system when it comes out and selling it on ebay.
Today, I noticed I had missed a few phone calls from my brother and I called him recently to find out that he is already in line . . . 30 HOURS BEFORE IT COMES OUT! I had no idea the effort involved in getting a Playstation earlier than others, nonetheless a $600 game system. I was planning on sleeping outside for the night and going home in the early moring with a new playstation 3, but there is no way I can sit in one spot for more 30 hour!
No biking
No running
just being still. . .
that would just be impossible, or maybe i am just bitter that I was the only person out of the loop.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

photo: Chai 2005


I was brought up in a culture where daily life is punctuated by people gathering around a pot of chai. Even the cricket matches have a designated break for tea. So, now that I am older, I am drawn to different types of tea from around the world. About a year ago, a friend of mine introduced me to gun powder tea. It is a green tea originally from China, although now it is seen all around the Asian continent. In English, it is known as gunpowder tea because every single leave is rolled to a small black pellet and as you steep these pellets they unwrap "exploding" with flavor.
I recently received a packet of this tea as a gift and I have been thoroughly enjoying it. If you get a chance to try this tea, don't pass up the opportunity.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Massive Change

Photo: NOT the MCA

I was in Chicago this past weekend to be with some old friends and to part take in the Halloween festivities (I was a rain cloud, by the way). I visited the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Chicago and if any of you are planning on going to chi-town definitely pay a visit because they have a great exhibit called Massive Change . I was taken aback by so many of the things I saw there. The exhibit is set-up with special attention to the smallest details. It shows how far humanity has come being more environmentally / socially responsible (massive change) over the years and where we need to go in order to survive the future. There are three sections to the floor plan; Massive Change in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Massive Change in the City and Masssive Change in the world.
One wall of the exhibit had a huge thermal map of to world that shows the solar quotient of all the countries. Interestingly enough, the majority of the poorest countries in the world get the most sun. They had a proposal for incorporating solar power in those countries and how helpful it could be. They also had a room that showed the evolution of the Segway. There were hundreds of other things at this museum but I should leave some of them for you to discover for yourself.

BAM!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Photo: Autumn last year


Approach of Winter

The half-stripped trees
struck by a wind together,
bending all,
the leaves flutter drily
and refuse to let go
or driven like hail
stream bitterly out to one side
and fall
where the salvias, hard carmine--
like no leaf that ever was--
edge the bare garden.

William Carlos Williams

Monday, October 09, 2006

tag me

Photo: OSLO in detroit 2005

A few of my friends and I recently visited the local laser tag joint for a game of virtual war, with laser instead of bullets and big blinking vests instead of bullet proof jackets. We were in a room of 28 other kids all under 13 years of age and I could see the fear of death in all their eyes. As I walked in this dark room these kids started running to the 'bases". They had this two floor maze all mapped out. It wasn't much longer till I was back outside in the real world and the laser tag staff printed out a sheet data on all the people I tagged with my laser and so on and so forth. Unfortunately all of these KIDS had done way better than me in every category.

I am on a mission to get better at laser tag because these little rascals will NOT beat me next time.
wanna join me next time I go??


BAM SLAM!!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

babies

Find little khalid

I was listning to npr this morning and they had a quick blurb about this story.

Woman Shares Birthday With Daughter, Granddaughters

October 2, 2006 11:43 p.m. EST

Matthew Borghese - All Headline News Staff Writer
New York, NY (AHN) - A woman in New York now shares her birthday with both her daughter and granddaughters.
Rose Caracciolo was born in Queens on September 27, 1957. Twenty-one years later, her daughter Andria Hundley was born on September 27. Now, Hundley gave birth to twin daughters on the very same day, in 2006.
According to WCBS-TV in New York, Caracciolo wasn't there for the birth of her granddaughters. She was on her way to Mexico to celebrate her birthday.

VIA allheadlinesnews.com


What are the chances!
My Mom's birthday was yesterday, just five days ahead of mine, but we can't beat these September 27th babies!

Friday, September 29, 2006

can you dig it?

Photo: Jim's Trek is probably faster

I recently got a refresher course on the The Theory of Relativity and I didn't really even have to drudge through Einstein's On the electrodynamics of moving bodies . I love it when science teaches me lessons on the daily happenings of life. Einstein says;
For if the magnet is in motion and the conductor at rest, there arises in the neighbourhood of the magnet an electric field with a certain definite energy, producing a current at the places where parts of the conductor are situated. But if the magnet is stationary and the conductor in motion, no electric field arises in the neighbourhood of the magnet. In the conductor, however, we find an electromotive force, to which in itself there is no corresponding energy,

I had a problem with my computer recently and I was acting like the proverbial magent in motion and was only paying attention to the current around myself. I will spare you the time and not purse this drawn our analogy. My friends always critisizes me when I do this. But it wasn't until, late yesterday evening I noticed (at work)that there are people living in very close proximity to me and as I am engulfed in my annoyances they are trying to find food for their children and a safe shelter to rest their heads. It was a real wake up call. Sometimes the macroscopic frame of reference is the only way to look at things.

... just like the little magnet..... aaaaaahhh never mind.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

2nd Ramadan 1427

Photo: Saudi Arabia '04
Yesterday marked the first day of the month of Ramadan according to the Islamic calendar. I drove home just to get in the mindset of fasting and usually it is easier to do that with family. There seems to be a unique aura in the Muslim community around this time. People wake up before the sun comes up, food is cooked and we eat an early breakfast, people observe the religion meticulously and then of course the meal at the time of Maghrib (sundown). Although, fasting is the only obvious part of this month, there is a lot more to fasting than just not eating food.
Muslims use this month as a time of spiritual reflection and pay attention to the inside instead of devoting so much energy to the outside world. Once this month starts I am always amazed by how we tend to plan our days around meals and other worldly concerns. Then, one day all of that is gone and it is a lot easier to make a more spiritual connection with God. Food is not the only thing a muslim has to refrain from during this month. One must abstain from "food, drink and other sensual pleasures" where they may be readily available. One could be walking around the house and although no one else may be home he/she has to keep from eating food. This kind of will power strengthens their faith. Every year, when this month comes around I find a new way it makes me a better person.
I found this website about how non-Muslims can help fellow co-workers or friends during this month who may be fasting. The following is a list from this site.


How non-Muslims can help during Ramadan:

Companies, schools, hospitals, etc. can help their Muslim employees, students and patients during the fast of Ramadan in a number of ways:

Since the employees are on a fast, they might find it more difficult to handle strenuous tasks. Assignment of lighter duties in some cases would undoubtedly be deeply appreciated by Muslim employees.

"Special consideration can be given to such things as requests for vacation time, the need for flexible early morning or evening work schedules and lighter homework assignments." For example, working the day shift during Ramadan would enable the employee to break their fast in the evening with their families, and to attend evening prayers.

"It is also very important that Muslim workers and students be given time to attend Eid prayers at the end of Ramadan. Eid is as important to Muslims as Christmas and Yom Kippur are to Christians and Jews."

"Hospital workers should be aware that injections and oral medications might break the fast. Patients should be given the opportunity to decide whether or not their condition exempts them from fasting." 2

A small token such as an Eid card or baked goods given to a Muslim co-worker or friend during Eid ul-Fitr would also be greatly appreciated. These cards cards are available from Muslim bookstores, or can be sent online. 4

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Death ride 2006

Headin' East
This past weekend my friend Jim and I left for Ann Arbor, MI from East Lansing, MI on our bicycles. It was about a seventy mile ride and we flew through it. I had recently watched the movie Cars and it made me think that although highways are efficient, people miss out on such beautiful scenery as they cruise at 75mph on I-96.
After a much needed shower and a great night of sleep I biked on to Rochester Hills, MI (another fifty miles). Thanks to American Automobile Association I was able to call them up for a nice route avoiding the highways. Most of the trip was empty roads and peaceful scenery. We biked by many horse stables, kennels, farms, lots of cows, very small down towns and by lots of corn.

I also want to plug the this wonderful website (via maggie)
Bikely
Anyone can draw out a bike route and share with others. I have a few routes on there and will soon be adding this last long ride.

BAM!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Le Miewx



Le Miewx ran away!
but then we found her.

Sometimes we need to loose things / people to realize what is missing in our lives.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sunflowers




My neighbours keep playing ice cream truck music on a keyboard. It has been like this for two days now.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Ride for Ruth

Photo: Sorry, It is a little blurry. SLR camera + Biking + middle of busy chicago road = HARD


This past weekend, three of my friends and I biked 70 miles North from East Lansing, MI to Alma, MI. The ride was dedicated to Ruth, who passed away recently at the age of 89. Until two days before her death she was riding her bike. In her memory, her granddaughter organized this ride.
Six hours after our departure we arrived at our destination to sleep the night in a little motel. The next day, we rode fifteen more miles to meet the whole family at their farm. Everyone had their helmets on and were wearing the same shirts with Ride for Ruth across their chest.
People have unique ways of remembering things. Some people sit at a coffee shop and sip on an espresso to recall something they don't want to let go, while others would rather talk to a loved one about their memories. Ruth's granddaughter chose to take three good friends on this ride. There is something about the perpetual motion of biking that it takes you to a trance-like state. After about twenty or thirty minutes you thoughts started flowing.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Gingeraid


A perfect drink for the hot summer sun

INGREDIENTS:
2 (12 fluid ounce) cans or bottles ginger ale
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups prepared lemonade
2 cups ice


In a large punch bowl, combine the ginger ale, sugar, lemonade and ice. Stir to blend well and serve


VIA drink.allrecipes

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Fly Away

PHOTO: Pigeons in Turkey. 2006


I heard on NPR this morning that in Lebanon 98% of the casualties have
been civilians. Also, more children have died in this war than
soldiers fighting in the war.On top of it all, Israel is still pushing for more

BBC article

"Nearly 1,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in the
conflict, the Lebanese government has said. More than 100 Israelis,
most of them soldiers, have also been killed."

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Smelly Dog or 007?

Photo: My nephew

Most parents put a lot of thought into naming their children. I met a lady today and her daughters were named Passion, Precious, Princess, and Pierre. As a child grows up they realize their assigned name and move through life usually without much protest. This concept always makes me wonder if we really like our names or are they just another part of life we learn to accept. Not to compare having kids with owning gerbils but, when I first got my gerbils I had a lot of trouble trying to give them a name. How was I to know if the gerbils would like me calling them by a weird human name. For about a month to satisfy my friends inquiries I told people they were called "1 and 2". As time went on, I got beyond this phase and started calling them Boris and Yeltsin .
My friend recently mailed me an article on BBC's website discussing Malaysia's recently publication discussing undesirable names. Apparently, this list was published after many Malaysian's applied to change there names. Names like "Hitler, Smelly Dog, or 007" made it on this list.

Friday, July 28, 2006

nostalgia

Photo: Faisal Mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan. 2005


This is a passage from the book The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini about my hometown in Pakistan.

If Peshawar was the city that reminded me of what Kabul used to be, then Islamabad was the city Kabul could have become someday. The streets were wider than Peshawar's, cleaner, and lined with rows of hibiscus and flame trees. The bazaars were more organized and not nearly as clogged with rickshaws and pedestrians. The architecture was more elegant too, more modern, and I saw parks where roses and jasmine bloomed in the shadows of trees.
(name) found a small hotel on a side street running alone the foot of the Margalla Hills, W passed the famous Shah Faisal Mosque on the way there, reputedly the biggest mosque in the world, with its giant concrete girders and soaring minarets. (name) perked up at the sight of the mosque, leaned out of the window and looked at it until (name) turned a corner.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

News

Some of my family is here in the from Pakistan, so I have been driving back and forth from school. Most of the time I have NPR playing in the background, as I make these one and a half hour trips. Lately, it has been hard to blog about anything because all I hear is bombings on the other side of the world. There was a program on NPR about how infrior US news is compared to Arabian news. They seem to be a lot more comprehensive, atleast as far as this war is concerned. So, I decided to include Pakistani news in my NPR listening regiment and I agree with whoever made that comment on the radio. I am sure it is no comparison to Arab TV, but it is definitely a lot more involved than what I could have been watching on CNN.

John Steward also "slam[ed] the lebanon coverage". Although satirical, he makes such a good point about what it takes for us Americans to "feel" what is going on in the middle east.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hills to the Heights

Photo: The little things

I have been apartment hunting like a fool lately and I have had to drive all to all these places. The bike has not been getting as much love as usual. So, Yesterday I decided to go on a longer ride from Rochester hills, MI to my aunts house in Sterling Hts, MI. They were having a bbq there but once I got there I couldn't stop thinking about the ride back. I jumped on their trampoline for a bit and then headed back home to Rochester. It was about 28 miles of perfect weather and cool wind in my face. On my route there I took a really busy road and learned from my mistakes. For the trip back I found this freshly paved road and it was a much faster trip.
I had made this trip to Sterling hts in my car countless amount of times and if I never biked it, I would have never realized how beautiful it could be.

My Iman was talking about how we are always striving to be faster. Most of technology tries to improve things we do so we can do them quicker. Sometimes it is soothing to slow down just a little bit. . . . but not too slow, because walking this trip would have been brutal!

I feel a little better for the Jim and Khalid Death Ride 2006.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

phishy


Photo: Candle in old apartment


Every summer I listen to a lot of Phish

people make fun of me for it

but I am all out of "give a cares"




snap

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Le Mieux






I never thougth I would admit this, but living with a cat is so wonderful. Most of my childhood we had a dog and a cat was never even an option. This is Veloria even though I like to call her Le Mieux (The mieow). It is so wonderful to cuddle with a cat when I am watching tv and a wonderful distraction when I am reading. Although, I will always hold a special place for dogs in my heart, I have recently made some room for cats too.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

clipless yay




My days of biking with Chacos® are almost over. I recently went clipless . I feel so freakin' connected.


PS

RIGHT PEDAL: righty tighty and lefty loosy
LEFT PEDAL: righty loosy and lefty tighty

Saturday, July 01, 2006

biking in the roch.


PHOTO: upper west side, Manhattan, NY NY


Rochester Hills, MI

I have been back home for the past couple of days for a family gathering and I have noticed that people in Rocheter are not used to bikers. Of course you will occasionally see a cute old couple biking along a path but not as often as one should. Especially because we have such smooth and wide sidewalks. Yesterday, my cousin and I biked over to Cold Stone but I had to pick up some film on the way. So, I asked her if we could swing by CVS. In East Lansing, I usually take my bike in every store and no one says anything. Of course, I did the same at this CVS without a thought. But I got the weirdest looks and got yelled at for brining a bike in the store. I don't think shopkeepers should be allowed to asked someone to keep their bike outside if they don't have a bike rack already set up.

خالد ابراحيم

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Monday, June 19, 2006

green green green

PHOTO: grass makes it way through. e.lansing,MI
I have been in NYC for the last week or so and blogging has definitely taken a hit because of it. I drove here and worked with Kevin at Xeroflor for the first few days. Xeroflor installs green roofs on top of both commercial and residential buildings. They donated a beautiful greenroof for a residence in Manhattan. The roof will be on Good Morning America and in Good Housekeeping magazine. I found a short story about the people we worked for on Good Housekeeping's webpage, but keep your eyes open for pictures of the roof (maybe even one of Kevin and I flexin' muscles). Also, check out this site to learn a little more about what a greenroofs, and maybe you can even put one on your house.
It was nice to have free meals and a hotel (even though the room was just about a foot wider than the queen size bed, I have no complaints). Today, I will be visiting a school around here and I hope it is everything I have expected.


much love/thanks to X for the accommodations.

Friday, June 09, 2006

garden 2006

I took this picture in Istanbul, Turkey on a street with a bunch of gardening stores.

I finally planted my vegetable garden and it looks beautiful. I was able to find some organic plants at Uncle Luke's in Rochester. Learning from last years lessons, chicken manure works like a charm. Granted the weather in Michigan was perfect for gardning last year, I have the give some credit to the chicken poop. A few years back deer ate almost all my plants. So, I use a mixture of rotten eggs to keep away deer and rabbits. Unfortunatley, I got some of this stuff on my hands and I don't know how to get rid of the smell. eek

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Cherries, spice and berries






These are some of the pictures I took at the Bazaar District of Istanbul. The middle picture is from the famous Spice bazaar, near Eminönü. The 'Kiraz' cherries rivaled Traverse City Cherries.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Blue Mosque

Today, I went to the the Friday prayer at the Mosque here in Troy, Michigan. It was just a week ago I was sitting in a mosque in Istanbul and a younger guy was translating the sermon in broken English for me. Regardless of what happens before or after the actual prayer it feels good to know that every muslim in the world speaks the same exact arabic words when praying. No matter what country I am in I have a sense of belonging at the Mosque. Turkey's mosques are famous for their beautiful architecture. Although, the pleasure people get from praying is dependent on the strenght of their faith it is an added bonus to be standing in a beautiful mosque with even incredible acoustics. It is such a wonderful feeling to be in a muslim country and hear the call for prayer five times a day. No matter where I was or what I was doing, a mosque was never more than a 3 - 4 minute walk. The Blue Mosque is named after it's blue polished tiles.



This is the main entrance to the mosque













Click on the picture to enlarge it and you will see the beautiful caligraphy of the Quran on the walls




I prayed Asr (4th Prayer of the Day) in the first row at this mosque. Through those front windows you can see lots of trees and the water. It was an absolutely incredible view.



Thursday, May 25, 2006

Aya Sofia

It is hard to compose a blog post about my trip to Turkey. I saw so many beautiful things that one post would limit the details of my adventures and some sights were so amazing that I might as well steer away from translating them into words. One of the most beautiful buildings I visited on my trip was Hagia Sophia (Turkish: Aya Sophia).




In 537 AD, this building was erected as a church and in 1453 it was converted into a mosque by Mehmet the Conqueror. Ataturk turned this mosque into a museum in 1935 and that is how it stands today.




As I walked in the enormous main doors it took my pupils a few seconds to dilate. As soon as I could see, I was awestruck by the beauty of the architecture. Many people refer to this as the eight wonder of the world. Inside I saw an interesting mix of Christian and Islamic art. In this picture on the ceiling there is a beautiful mosaic of Mary and Jesus and above and below the windows there is Islamic calligraphy of the names of Allah, Prophet Muhammad svt and the first four Caliphs.
At the main entrance they took my tripod so I had to ask around for people who were able to sneak theirs in. Flash is not allowed, so I am thankful to the German lady who let me borrow hers.




This is where the Imam stands when leading prayer, directed towards Ka'aba (Mecca, Saudi Arabia).



Prophet Muhammad (svt) in Arabic calligraphy




Abu Bakr (ra) was the first Muslim Caliph and the closest friend and companion to Prophet Muhammad (svt).




When the Aya Sofia was a Church this is where to Empress stood to attend the service. This balcony overlooks the whole church and is high above the main floor.





In the foreground you can see some of the domes of the Aya Sofia and the blue mosque is in the background. The Blue Mosque was built to outshine the Aya Sofia .....


Blue Mosque coming up in the next post


BAM

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