Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
This is not to say that Ann Arbor hasn’t suffered during the recession, because everyone from The Holy Rich Rodriguez (sorry Josh) to 50 Cent (not to be confused with the rapper – this is a homeless man that consistently asks for 50 cents) can tell you that it has. This is Michigan we’re talking about, after all. But with the University of Michigan around as the city’s personal buffer, I can’t deny that there’s a reason I moved here after graduation instead of, say, Flint.
But not all of us are so graciously touched by the great UM. Honestly, as a small-town, northern Michigan gal, the relationship Ann Arborites have with the university is almost creepy. It’s sobering to live in a place where people worship, hate, depend on, work for and spend their weekends with something other than God (again, I’m from northern Michigan). So, as the Damn Arbor derelict (I’m never letting go of that, you guys), I plan on discussing money-saving ways to live in this college town as someone almost completely unrelated to it, at least in a direct way.But for now, goodnight and GO BLUE!
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
A recent posting to Ann Arbor's Craigslist advertised for a small person to hide in the poster's backpacker-costume backpack, occasionally bursting out to startle unsuspecting fellow party-goers. If you are claustrophobic or worried about muscle atropy, worry not: the poster is a "reasonable person" and will not make you stay in the pack for the entire night.
I wonder if I can lose 60 pounds by Halloween.
UPDATE: The Craigslist posting has been taken down since the time of writing.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Is suspect 2 wearing Pioneer High School shorts?
With the suspects at large, it remains to be seen whether the Ann Arbor Police will live up to their reputation of always catching their man. According to the most recent U of M emergency Alert, the suspects were last seen in the area between County Farm Park and Packard.
More coverage: This Just In or Robbing Banks: What's Up with That?, Holy crap! Duck!
This raises the question: who the hell robs banks anymore?
I understand the appeal. Believe me, I do. Bank robbers are as firmly rooted in the American cultural subconscious as Moms and Apple Pie. We can all of us recite how they go down. The perfectly executed entry into the bank. Taking control of the situation: disarm the guards, gather the customers and employees in a central area. One of your confederates manhandles the manager in front of the vault. "Open it!" your coconspirator shouts, spittle hitting the inside of the mask that hides his true identity. The manager's sweaty fingers fumble at the combination dial. A few false tries (from the nerves) and it's open. Then the cash, the greenbacks, the dough is in front of you, lined up like soldiers on parade. And it's yours. A car or horse chase, a risky maneuver, victory and freedom snatched from the jaws of certain capture and defeat.
Except it never happens like that. Butch and Sundance were gunned down in South America. Granted, modern day law enforcement has grown somewhat more humane than la policía Boliviana of the nineteenth century (although the would-be Robin Hoods in Ben Affleck's The Town fared little better than did Mr. Cassidy and the Kid). So why do people keep robbing banks?
Maybe this is why:
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Saline School Board decides it's still OK to descriminate against students based on sexual orientation
More here and here.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Ragstock, the popular Minneapolis-based purveyor of recycled and vintage clothing is opening its first Michigan store today in Ann Arbor. The store, located in the long vacant first floor of 337 E. Liberty, is part of the retail chain's recent expansion into many Midwestern college towns. Ragstock is a bit like American Apparel but with some Midwestern flair and minus creepy Dov Charney. It's a great place to find cheep clothes, pieces for a Halloween costume, or a holiday sweater. If you do decide to check out Ragstock, make sure to print out one of these handy 25% off coupons.
Photo via: humbletree
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
A recent study found that Ann Arbor is the second most educated city in the country, with 72.9% of its residents holding degrees.
The hallmark of a civic culture that sure loves its book-learnin' or the product of complete, hegemonic gentrification? You decide.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Lets just get this out in the open: corn mazes are a lot trickier than they seem. Damn Arbor and company decided to check out the Chelsea Corn Maze to take in some fall flavor and because it had the worst website of the all the local corn mazes. (Editor's note: really really, that was our main criterion.) The maze is ten acres, which didn't seem that big. After two hours walking in circles through the maze, though, it seemed a lot bigger.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
There was immediate backlash. Many fans were angry that the new head coach was not a product of the old guard, which had been successful for so long. His offense was so much different than Michigan offenses of the past. He had a greater emphasis on agility in his players than size. Even along the offensive line, mobility came at a premium over mass. Michigan used to move the ball by overpowering you, Rodriguez wanted to give his athletes space to run around you.
The misdirection in his offense required a level of execution that he couldn't achieve in the short period of time he had to work with players who never played in his system before. If it wasn't a failure in play execution, the offense just looked slow due to lack of experience in the new system and a paucity of athletes designed for it. The spread offense we had seen at West Virginia was a long ways off. Many were calling for the coach to be fired after the 3-9 season, saying his system just couldn't work in the Big Ten.
His second season began with promise. He won the first 4 games on the schedule, including a high profile win over rival Notre Dame. The offense had improved from the year before. Everyone seemed more comfortable in the system. There were young, developing recruits who had the kind of athleticism that makes his offense work. Many of them showed flashes that year, however, the team was still young. Injuries and inconsistent play from the offense and a horrific defense kept Michigan out of a bowl game. Improvement was clear, but the results left more people wanting a new head coach.
Good things come to those who wait. We saw glimpses of it in his first two years, but now see what a Rich Rodriguez offense looks like with all the pieces in place. We have, arguably, the most exciting player in the country in Denard Robinson running one of the best offenses. It's a different sort of euphoria than watching the good teams of the past. Wins are not expected based on a tradition already in place. We are watching a coach try and establish a new winning tradition. We never know what to expect. The uncertainty brings an added level of excitement to every game. Can this offense work against the toughest teams in the conference? Do we have a coach who can get us back to the top?
The season is far from over. The toughest games remain on the schedule, but it is becoming clear why we hired this guy. The image of what Michigan could be when we hired Rich Rodriguez is, at least on the offensive side of the ball, the reality. However, last season Michigan started out with an identical record. It was a loss to Michigan State that started the collapse. I guess we will see this weekend just how far this team has come. I have never been more excited to go to the Big House Saturday. Go Blue!
Picture of Bo Schembechler from AnnArbor.com
Picture of Rich Rodriguez with Denard Robinson from the Detroit News
Quinn has been anticipating the arrival of buttercup squash in our Sunseed Farm share for weeks. She says it's because buttercup squash is so hard to come by. It's always spaghetti squash, she says, or, even worse, the tantalizingly similar butternut squash. But never buttercup squash.
Or so Quinn says.
(I suspect the excitement centered around the eponym of the vegetable, Buttercup, an oversized, yellow, stuffed hippo, beloved by our college friends. Pictured above.)
The most amazing thing about cooking at my house is that I chop up a few apples, wash some broccoli, convert fresh sage measurements to apply to the dry sage we have available in our kitchen (roughly two to one), and all of a sudden there will be a delicious dish that keeps me fed through mid-week.
That's what happened here. Quinn and I were in the kitchen cutting vegetables on a rainy Saturday evening, Garrison Keillor was crooning sweetly on the radio, and then, magically, there was a mustard-colored (misleading cue, as it did not taste like mustard) stew-like meal.
Best eaten as leftovers on Monday after a morning in court. Sit on the kitchen floor, pour yourself a nice glass of grape juice, and chat with Quinn, who is wearing a red-and-black flannel hat with earflaps.
What I learned: sage conversions. And that you can eat the stem and leaves of broccoli.
Here are the ingredients Quinn used:
chicken broth (soup base)
Monday, October 4, 2010
Despite recent actions by a certain assistant attorney general, the University of Michigan came in 5th in Gawker's list of top colleges for gay students. The article cites the excellent musical theater program and the numerous athletes who may, at some point question their sexual orientation. Gawker is pretty harsh on Ann Arbor though, saying "Do you know how cold it gets in Michigan? Also, there's not much to do in town off-campus, but with a campus this large, it shouldn't matter." I might have to disagree with Gawker on that one.
Photo via AA.com
Sunday, October 3, 2010
I was particularly struck by Byrne's take on the Mies Van der Rohe townhouses in Lafayette Park and the dual nature of the neighborhood that seems to have characterized Detroit throughout its development and decline. Lafayette Park, which I've written on before, has some of the most beautiful, retro-modern residences in the city. But it also has its apartment tower, Lafayette Towers, a glass-steel monster that garishly dominates that city quarter's skyline. I have some friends who live there; it offers beautiful views of the city - from its interior.
Like Detroit, Lafayette Park is split between beauty and attempted utility. Townhouses and tower, and what Byrne dubs a "proto strip mall."
The same can be said of the wide avenues and parkways of Detroit that its planners, politicians, and automotive oligarchs opted for in lieu of public transportation and downtown density. The automobile was king and the city's face was shaped according to its whims.
Now many of these sometimes nine-lane roads remain largely empty, even during the day. Things can get a little hairy come rush hour depending on where you are, but for the most part the veins of the city are wide open spaces.
This emptiness and freedom from the cars that were once the city's lifeblood have been a boon to bikers. Detroit hosts its own regular Critical Mass events and other writers have covered the burgeoning cycling culture of the city. One of my law professors bikes from Ann Arbor to Detroit once a week by way of one of the still-beautiful parkways. The trip takes just over two hours.
David Byrne touches on some of this in his post. However, there is another Byrne-on-a-bike story that I like even more. I quote it at length:
“You drank too much and fell off your bike” could be the title of a drawing by David Shrigley. But in this case, it actually happened to me after meeting Shrigley for dinner and drinks. While riding home, C and I were briefly separated. Upon reuniting, my tire slipped on the cobblestones of West 14th St., and I remember lying in the street, looking at oncoming headlights and rolling towards the curb so they wouldn’t run me over. Two cops approached and looked down at me. “Have you been drinking?” they asked. Probably a typical question in that neighborhood at that time of night. “Yes, I’ve had a few drinks,” I replied. “But I’m hurt.” I managed to get up by myself and retrieve my bike (no help from the NYPD, though one of them asked if I was David Byrne) and it wasn’t until later, when I was in bed, that the pain made itself truly known. I wondered how I would ever even get out of bed. The next day I went to the hospital and x-rays revealed two broken ribs — numbers 3 and 5, way up high. They're healing now, little by little, and I was told that in 3 weeks I should be OK.Brilliant. The first chapter of Bicycle Diaries is available for free download.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Introducing a new feature (a feature): Damn Arbor's guide to Ann Arbor. With this feature we will attempt to provide a useful guide for the discerning graduate student/20-something living in this fine city.