Detroit: My Impressions So Far

Before I came to Detroit, there were a lot of people who constantly cautioned me on what they thought Detroit had become. I will admit, even myself I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I came down here. I had heard all the stories of the crime rates in Detroit, the abandoned neighborhoods and buildings following the recession, or even the general state of disrepair Detroit is in. You don’t have to look too hard on the internet to find sources on the internet that would mislead lots of people as to what Detroit is really like. Also, living near Detroit, you don’t have to go too far to find abandoned buildings.

 

Abandoned Building Near Corktown
Abandoned Building Near Corktown

The truth is that Detroit got hit hard during the recession. There’s no shortage of issues that have to be sorted out as Detroit rebuilds for the future. However, in my perspective, I feel like Detroit is no different that any other big city. Any big city has areas with higher crime rates than the norm, and every big city has areas that you just don’t go to.

But like many big cities in the USA, there’s a ton of things that don’t get shown to balance out what some of these cities really have to offer. For example, there are tons of State Parks and Metro Parks surrounding Detroit. It’s a different type of wilderness that I’m used to, since I’m coming from the Rocky Mountains, but there’s lots of nature surrounding Detroit. There’s lots of paved bike paths for riding bikes and longboards, along with trails for cross country bike riding in the Metroparks and State Parks. Looks like I need to hurry up and get my bike fixed up so that I can start taking advantage of the good weather!

St. Clair Metropark
St. Clair Metropark
Lake St. Clair
Lake St. Clair

I’ve been told by locals that lots of events happen in the summer. There’s lots of music festivals that happen during the summer, a beer festival (though that’s not so much in the summer, it’s in October), and lots of classic car shows, such as the Woodward Dream Cruise (I’m excited for this!). A couple weekends ago, there was a RedBull skateboarding competition right in the middle of downtown Detroit! I was a real treat to see some of the best skateboarders in the world battle it out in competition around a course that was designed to take advantage of the street features of Hart Plaza.

The Elite in the Skateboarding World Right in Detroit
The Elite in the Skateboarding World Right in Detroit. Participating was Ryan Sheckler, Chris Cole, Ryan Decenzo, Curren Caples, Alec Majerus, Torey Pudwill, and Youness Amrani, just to name a few.
Showing up to watch RedBull's Hart Lines
RedBull’s Hart Lines

When my parents were visiting, we took a trip to Detroit Institute or Arts. I think this is a hidden Gem of Detroit. I don’t feel like it has the same kind of publicity that some of the major art galleries have around the US, such as the Metropolitan museum in New York, or the Art Institute in Chicago (please don’t harsh on me too badly, I’m not an Art person and I’m sure there’s more notable museums I could have mentioned).

Diego Riviera Mural
Diego Riviera Mural at the Detroit Institute of Arts
Van Gogh Self Portrait
Van Gogh Self Portrait

I’ve hardly scratched the surface of the many things that Detroit and the surrounding area has to offer, but from my perspective, there’s lots of Detroit that gets overlooked in the media frenzy that only focuses on the difficulties Detroit has suffered in the recession. Whether it’s the great lakes nearby, the close proximity to Canada, the up and coming food scene, or the massive scale of manufacturing, there’s a lot to explore.

While I’ve only been here for 5 months, I can say that Detroit has a lot to offer and I’m looking forward to the journey ahead! Lots more to come!

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A New Beginning

It’s hard to believe that just a short 5 months ago, I was saying goodbye to my home back in Calgary, Alberta. I was saying goodbye to family and friends as I planned on starting fresh in a new city and a new country on the other side of the continent. A lot has happened since I took that first step towards a new life.

In just 5 short months, I find myself in Dearborn, Michigan (just outside of Detroit, for those that need a point of reference). I’ve started a job in the automotive industry, which is completely new to me. My previous work experience was industrial construction and oil and gas, so this is a big change for me.

Detroit Skyline from Windsor
Detroit Skyline from Windsor

 

During my settling period here outside of Detroit and during my time injured, I’ve had a chance to think about what I want to pursue as a hobby, or for fun. My previous job didn’t give me much time to pursue hobbies outside of work, considering I pretty much lived on a construction site, so I’m looking forward to the opportunity to start taking on a few projects.

My problem is that I have a tendency to start personal projects that eventually get put aside to collect dust. My plan for the blog is to hold myself accountable to the projects I want to pursue. The idea is that I’ll be able to give updates on what I’m doing. Maybe if I’m lucky, more than just my parents will find something of interest.

So what have I got planned for myself?

DSLR Photography

I enjoy taking photos and I’ve wanted to get more into photography. I got a decent version of photoshop that I have yet to learn how to use. While many could argue that I can get just fine photos with a point and shoot, I want to try and get better quality photos with the chance to do a bit more tweaking to the photos. Plus, many DSLRs these days come with 1080p video, so I wouldn’t mind learning how to do some filming as well.

My plan is to write about taking photos and some of the things I learn about using DSLR cameras. Also, you are the lucky audience that gets to see my photo showcase! And if you don’t want to see photos, well…too bad. You get to see them anyways. Aren’t you glad you decided to participate?

Robotics

As an engineer, I’ve discovered myself fascinated with micro-controllers and robotics. Sadly, I didn’t take the opportunity to learn more about them during my degree, as I chose to shy away from electronics related courses. My background is mechanical engineering, so mechanics made more sense than electronics.

While it might seem masochistic to consider electronics as a hobby, the possibilities are endless in terms of what can be made with a basic understanding of micro-controllers.

As I get further along, I’ll refine what my plans are for specific robotics projects. There’s a lot to be learned, the tough part is picking a place to start.

Homebrew beer

Back in Calgary, I had ventured briefly into homebrew beer. With Michigan being a hotspot for microbreweries, there’s a lot of potential to engage in homebrewing.

I’ll share my setup process, along with the recipes and the techniques I use for homebrewing. Ideally I’d like to gain a decent set of recipes that can be improved upon as I refine the process.

Also, in the future, I hope to delve deeper into the methods of making a kegerator, or in other words, a mini fridge that’s retrofitted with a draft tower for nice draft beer.

 

Along with my projects, I’ll likely chat about life from time to time, whether it’s the joys of living in a new place, the new places I discover from time to time, or my plans for hopefully purchasing an impractical sports car or classic car in the future. These are the initial plans for the blog and they’ll likely change as time goes by. So without further adieu, I hope you enjoy reading about the numerous adventures (or mishaps, depending on the situation) I’ll be writing about. Enjoy the blog!

Welcome to My Broken Skateboard!

My first post on yet another attempt to start a blog!

The blog is meant to be a view into my lifestyle as I experience a new city, working in a new industry, and pursuing new and exciting challenges.

Enjoy following along as I describe my experiences in my numerous facets of life, whether it’s hearing me complain about being injured, discussing new projects I’ll take forever to start, or just general life observations.

Hope you enjoy the blog! I’ll put up more details as I start to get things sorted out.