Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Setting the scene. Looks like they are getting ready to film a scene for Five Year Engagement at Old Town.

Goodbye Old West Side

You've been pretty good to me. Here is what I'm going to miss about living with you these past two years:
  • Living three blocks away from Old Town and Fleetwood
  • The inexplicable free wifi at Pizza Pino
  • Grownup picnics in Wurster Park
  • Riding my bike down William on my way home from work
  • Our basement constantly reminding us exactly where the Allen Creek floodplain is
  • Living a 5 minute walk away from the Y
  • Walking to Washtenaw Dairy as soon as the weather starts to turn nice
  • Hearing the train drive past at night
Old West Side, it's been a good run these last years. For now I'm off to explore some of Ann Arbor's other neighborhoods, but perhaps someday soon I will return.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Appleseed Collective are time traveling robots

Who knew? Also they need your money to go on a used vegetable oil powered world tour. Check out their Kickstarter for details.

Previously: Appleseed Collective

Grand Rapids rises

A few months ago, Newsweek listed Grand Rapids as a "dying city." So a bunch of Grand Rapidians got together to defend themselves. Like this:

Nothing screams victory like lip-syncing to Don McLean. You go, Grand Rapids.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Eat in public

I don't really get this stencil, but I like it.

Official Summer Reading List 2011: BCB

I was trying really hard to get a work of fiction in here somewhere, but it looks like I failed.

Jim Clark's Models for Ecological Data (aka The Elephant Book) is a really badass book. It is also a not the easiest read. I managed to slog through chapter 7 last summer in about 4 hours. This summer I'm going for the whole thing.

How to do Ecology is short, practical and well written. I've heard some of the big guns in ecology read it once per year.

During the summer, I spend a lot of time in the woods. I don't want to die in them, so I figure I should read this.

Official Summer Reading List 2011: Erika

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Beast loves Sugar

Perhaps Beast should get their blood sugar checked.

Damn Arbor Collage

We started a tumblr a few weeks back. We envisioned it as place where people could share their pictures of Ann Arbor and a way for us to make inroads into the tumblsphere. I think it's really starting to look nice.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Plan your vacation to beautiful Lake Barracuda

Water levels have dropped since Thursday.

The Great Flood of Oh-Eleven

Here are some photos from my bike trip through the flooded areas of town yesterday. This is the approximate spot in Riverside Park where I almost ran over a carp with my bicycle. Both of us were pretty startled.

I think someone misplaced the islands at Island Park.

If you have any stories or pictures from the Great Flood of Oh-Eleven, please share them.

Trailer for locally filmed Salvation Boulevard

How many places in town can you identify in the trailer?

Searching for Lake Barracuda

Have the storms and flood waters left you the proud owner of a new water feature? Make sure you name that sucker. I've christened my basement "The Swamp of Infinite Sadness." Also, the Ann Arbor Crowd Map is pretty cool.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Huron River is hella high

Taken last evening at the Arb.

Movie magic

It's a snowy day on Main Street thanks to Five Year Engagement.

Best sign ever

I love these "Share the Road" signs. They are a great example of Newspeak, always coming as a bike lane ends on a busy road. Perhaps they could be replaced by a silhouette of Samuel L. Jackson and read simply "Hold on to your butts."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ed's back!

Ed Vielmetti is back. I am very happy. I can't wait to see what he will be writing about.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


How come nobody told me that Washtenaw County had a new monthly magazine? Is it a local trend to start new print publications while other communities are losing papers?

Absolute Beginners

Absolute Beginners Pop Dance Party tonight at Woodruff's in Ypsilanti. Music starts at 10. Cover is free.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Breaking News: RAW Haus on fire UPDATED

We are getting reports that the former RAW Haus is on fire.

Update: There was a fire at the former RAW Haus, 715 Miller. The house and its neighbor (the WAR Haus) are unoccupide and undergoing renovation. Until 2009, the RAW house was home to a lovable gang of punk rockers and served as a local concert venue. In August of that year the residents of the house were evicted because its numerous code violations resulted in the home being condemned. Or at least that's how I understand the property's history. You can find more about the RAW Haus on Punkopedia and this Observer article.

Hat tip: My mom for texting me to let me know about this breaking news.

Bike Porn: NOLA edition

Reader, A2GastroBoy, sent in this picture of a slick green and white fixie seen on a trip to NOLA.

Made in Ohio?

In which Chipotle illustrates the difference between the almost-right word and the right word in downtown Ann Arbor. Local food? Absolutely. From Ohio? Ummm...

It's the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Best comment ever

This comment was left on Ben Houston's article Zombies and You: Surviving the Ann Arbor Apocalypse. I assume by they authorities, they mean the Washtenaw County Office of Zombie Preparedness.

Did we miss the Rapture?

Saw this on the Diag yesterday.

Brain Drain? Pshhh...

I've been thinking for months about the post I would eventually write when I finally, finally got a full-time, career-launching law job. The job would be outside of Michigan--DC, or California, or maybe Colorado--and the post would lament the exodus from this state of the young, smart people who know and love it. We've been talking about Brain Drain for a long time in Michigan, and I was gearing myself up to be a part of it.

So when I finally got a call with a Michigan job offer on the other end--while I was working at my high school job, the post-law-school reality I had accepted for myself--there was only one conclusion I could draw. If all the young, smart Michigan people are leaving, and I am undeniably young, and I am undeniably a Michigan person, and I am staying...well, drawn your own conclusions.

I'm moving to Flint in the next few weeks: where do all the cool kids live there?


Kids, just say no to velociraptors.

Utahraptor was way cooler.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

FFIH Japan Show in pictures

The FFIH Warehouse is located in a nondescript building near the municipal airport. Last night's Japan Benefit Show featured several visual artists and bands. All in all it was a pretty cool evening and it left me wondering: why don't we have more warehouses for artsy endeavors?

Ben Saginaw et al. did a great job preparing the space for the show.

Bike fixing station

Damn Arbor reader, Dan Singer writes:
The University of Virginia just got these.

Definitely seems like something we could use... You should post it and hope that someone who can make it happen sees it. I am just apathetic enough not to figure out who that important person is and send it to them.

Well so are we Dan! Anyone have have any experience with these sort of public bike fixing stations or opinions about them?

Seattle, we're coming for you

I read about Ann Arbor being rated as a gold walking friendly community on a friend's blog yesterday. This was immediately following my walk home from work where I heard a high schooler (from out of town) telling his friend to cross against a don't walk sign because "This is Ann Arbor, pedestrians have the right-of-way." Perhaps we have become too pedestrian friendly.

Mushroom season

It's spring and mushrooms have been popping up all over town.

I found this morel in the woods yesterday. And I saw these two new mushroom tags while walking home from work.

This one was in the alley by the Michigan Theater.

This one was in the alley by Sam's.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Bike Porn: Big Dummy

Saw this Surly Big Dummy outside Old Town earlier this week. With a cargo capacity of 90 kg this bike packs some serious functionality.

Motor City Mixer

Double shot of vodka, glass of ice, Faygo Rock & Rye.

Butterfly Festival

Looking for something to do tomorrow (Mindy Kaling, are you reading this?)? Why not check out the U of M Exhibit Museum's Butterfly Festival? It runs from 10-2. Activities include learning the differences between butterflies and moths, helping plant a butterfly garden and making your own butterfly wings. Though this event may be aimed at Ann Arborites who have not yet entered our readership, Damn Arbor fully endorses butterfly awareness. While you are at the museum, you can also check out the new basilosaurus exhibit!

Image via: Megan Mccarty

Thursday, May 19, 2011

An Ode to the Breakfast Burrito

I have a serious, long-standing food love in Ann Arbor. Sure, there are Old Town's sweet potato fries, the chocolate milkshake at Washtenaw Dairy, or the truffle pizza at Jolly Pumpkin. But I must pledge obeisance first and foremost to the Roos breakfast burrito at Taste Our Goods.

Perhaps this is because it's the perfect size and price - $7 for a filling, but not overstuffing, homemade burrito that I can get five days a week just five minutes away from my house. Or perhaps it's because the Taste Our Goods proprietrixes never balk when I request it. Or perhaps it's because it has just the right blend of eggs, sour cream, spinach, cheese, and avocado. I love mushy food, because I am a child, and the Taste Our Goods breakfast burrito is a perfect fix to my craving.

Darcy's Cart, of Mark's Carts, also offers a breakfast burrito, and I went there earlier this week to test it out - and see how it compares to the TOG edition. Their burrito is definitely larger - and an equivalent price - to the Taste Our Goods burrito. They also have multiple options - kimchi, bacon, potato, egg - all can be added or subtracted. So there's definitely more of a range than at my beloved TOG.

But I didn't love the Darcy's burrito as much as the TOG version - maybe because it's newer. The kimchi option is definitely an inspired, unexpected choice. And there's something to be said for making your own version. And yet: Taste Our Goods still has my vote. I hate to call myself a conservative, but there's something to be said for choosing the option you know and love.

Where buses spend their summer vacation

Transportation services!

Warehouse show tomorrow

Ran into an old coworker last night at Old Town. He said I had to let y'all know about the show tomorrow night at the FFIH Warehouse. The event is a fundraiser for Japanese earthquake relief and will feature nine bands and numerous visual artists. Cover is a donation and half of all sales go to benefit survivors of the earthquake and tsunami. Door open at 4, but bands wont be taking the stage until "like 9:00." Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dharma Initiative

I think we all know how this will end.

In case of Rapture

This Saturday is the Rapture. Apparently. Fortunately there is Safety Maps, a website that allows you to make a distribute emergency maps. I've made one to share with you, gentle reader. In case of Rapture, let's meet at Old Town. I've made one for a zombie apocalypse too, but I'm not sharing that one.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Ravens Club

The Ravens Club opened last Friday the 13th, and while the Damn Arbor crew was forestalled from having drinks that night, I made it back over the weekend to scope out the newest watering hole on Main Street.

"Watering hole" is probably too informal for this swank-aspiring lounge. I've been referring to it as an opium den or "Grange without the lights on." It's definitely not a place to spend the night, unless you've got a lot of cash to kill, but it's probably good for a quiet drink or two outside of prime hours. I had two pretty good whiskey drinks, although a friend's egg white based cocktail left something to be desired.

We'll see what happens next with Ravens - it might muscle in on the Felix or even Grange crowd, but I suspect that its prices are too high (and its ambience too scattershot) to make an impression on students, even graduate students. It definitely has a unique vibe on Main Street though, even if it's hard to know what exactly that vibe is trying to be.

MarkMaynard.com Awards

Where can you find the best smelling waitstaff in the greater Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area? What's the best place to see weird shit go down? These are difficult questions. Thankfully MarkMaynard.com is taking suggestions for its newly created MarkMaynard.com Awards.
So, right now, I’m looking at a crumpled-up napkin full of notes that I’d written on Friday night. It’s not by any means an exhaustive list, but these are the categories my friend and I came up with after swilling a few tankards of beer. If you have ideas for others, please leave a comment. [note: Some are in poor taste. Rest assured, they would not be asked if we actually went forward with this competition.]

Best Bacon
Best Urinal
Best Fried Chicken
Best Glory Hole
Most Neglected Property
Best Place to Discipline a Child
Best Store for Shoplifting
Best Place to Be Alone (Masturbating)
Best Place to Be Alone (Non-Masturbating)
Most Clearly Marked Safety Exit

I'm glad Mark is willing to tackle such difficult issues on his blog. I suggested worst smelling waitstaff, best bridge for Pooh Sticks, most phallic building and least phallic building.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mindy Kaling is coming to Ann Arbor

Mindy Kaling from NBC's The Office is looking for things to do while she is in Ann Arbor filming Five Year Engagement. Do you, gentle reader have any suggestions for her? I suggested Fleetwood and Old Town.

Getting ready

Mani Osteria and Bar is set to open this week, as this picture of a man painting its sign would support.

I asked him--gently, as he was perched four feet above the ground--if I could take his photo. "Of course," he said. "I probably wouldn't have noticed." Constant vigilance, sir! Protect yourself from Ann Arbor street bloggers! You are never safe!

Official Summer Reading List 2011: Erika

As I graduate from law school, study for the bar and generally settle into the life of a new unemp-lawyer, there is thankfully one thing I can afford to do: summer reading! Yes, I have already darkened the door of the downtown AADL three times in the past week. I ripped through "One Day" and "Bossypants" in my post-exams cleanse--huge disappointment and timeless delight, respectively, though I would have gobbled up anything to get the taste of the tax code off my palate--so I will not be including them in my Official Summer Reading List 2011. In no particular order, and I can't promise that I won't go off script, here are the books that are slotted to whisk me away from my stressful-but-happy summer.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Why you should watch tonight's City Council meeting

Tonight (and every first and third monday) is the much anticipated Ann Arbor City Council Meeting. You should watch the meeting, which will be on public access and streamed live. We have upcoming primary elections and watching the incumbents is a great way to figure out where they stand on "the issues" and what those issues are. Juliew is on vacation so there might be a little less tweetentary tonight, but rest assured gentle reader, we will be watching and tweeting.

Councilfest 5-16: Design & Budget

Patrons of the late, lamented Arbor Update will remember Juliew's handy City Council agenda summaries, which permitted access to the coming Monday's Council agendas without the need to delve into the City's Legistar portal. May the tradition continue.

City Council - Monday, May 16, 7 pm
Full agenda

  • Public hearing on increase in taximeter rates
  • First reading of ordinance to create a design review board for downtown development
  • Resolution to amend parks funding plans to provide for maintenance from General Fund
  • Resolution to allocate $1.16 million to nonprofits for human services
  • Resolution to amend Neighborhood Stabilization Program budget, including allocation of $33,292 to Avalon Housing for demolition of existing properties for Near North project
  • Resolution to approve fee increases for park facilities
  • Resolution to adopt budget for fiscal year 2012

Gotta catch 'em all

Pokemon stencils from First and Liberty.

Bike Porn: no brakes

I've never quite understood the appeal of brakeless bicycles. From an objective standpoint, being able to stop seems like a desirable quality to have in vehicles.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Mark's Carts Overview

Along with Mr. Connor Barrie, I've spent some time at Mark's Carts over the past week. It's a great addition to the food options, since we don't have a lot of good options. I'm definitely looking forward to trying more of it before I take off for DC for the summer, especially the breakfast options (breakfast burritos at Darcy's Cart? Yes please).

The Lunch Room: The vegan cart, which makes all of the food theoretically suitable for me to eat, as a vegetarian, but I'm always a little suspicious of vegan food. I'm not sure why. But the Asian-inspired items were pretty good, and the summer salad was especially refreshing on a hot 80 degree day.

Darcy's Carts: I love Latin American food, but I won't eat most of it (see above re: vegetarian). I had an amazing $2 black bean taco for lunch (after waiting in a long line to order - usually a good sign). It was a little tough to eat, but really well seasoned and spicy.

Debajo del Sol: Another meat heavy option; I had the patatas bravas (fried potatoes with sauce). The key to patatas bravas is the sauce, and this sauce, while good, didn't blow me away. I was a little surprised that they offer paella, which seems to me like the antithesis of lunch cart offerings, but maybe it's worth it.

Let us know what you've liked at Mark's Carts, too. A few more options are opening up soon, and there will also soon be seating and shade between the carts area and Downtown Home and Garden.

Bike Porn: black and green fixie

Spotted in front of of Charley's on Thursday.

Wikipedia Brown

Ran into David Julius Caesar Salad selling his poem writing services on Main Street the other evening. EJ and I purchased a poem entitled Wikipedia Brown. You can read the poem below:

Friday, May 13, 2011

Hotel Embassy or Embassy Hotel?

It has been suggested that Ann Arbor's new Justice Center is one of the ugliest buildings in America. I worry that with all this attention being paid to Ann Arbor's newest ugly building, we may be neglecting our older, classic ugly buildings. While we must acknowledge the alien spacecraft that has descended upon our much beloved giant upside-down wedding cake (yes, I mean City Hall), this cannot come at the expense of paying attention to all of Ann Arbor's ugly buildings. Case in point: the Hotel Embassy (or is it the Embassy Hotel?).

Suspicious package

ATF agents directing traffic

I saw the AFT agents, US Marshal's and AAPD blocking off Fourth and Liberty in response to a suspicious package while I was riding to work today. It turns out that the package in question was a promotional item for the movie Thor. More importantly, can you find Homeless Dave in the picture above?

Homeless Dave sighting

We're back!

That was a harrowing few hours.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Zombie survival team

From Ann Arbor Craigslist's missed connections:
Let's hunt zombies together. - m4w - 26 (Sidetracks, Ypsilanti MI)
Me, at lunch with a colleague, in jeans and a blue polo.
You, our server, attempting to convince me you'd be a good fit for my zombie survival team.

I didn't get a chance to hand you my card, but I liked your gumption. Next time I'm at Sidetracks, hope you're there.

Look's like someone out there is taking Ben Houston's article pretty seriously.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

PSA: Don't date hipsters

I realize this is somewhat specific to the Sco, but I think the general message is universal.

Hat tip: Mission Mission

I'm loving this

I love this ad on the Com's crime map. Talk about playing into people's fears.

Hot new flavor for spring: guava frozen yogurt at Lab

This afternoon my friend Allan sent me this message:

As you know, I'm no longer in Ann Arbor. I loved it there, but I had to move on to bigger and better things. Nevertheless, I still follow Lab on Tumblr, and when they announced yesterday that one of their new frozen yogurt flavors for spring is GUAVA, I nearly lost my mind. I love guava! And I love sitting in that cafe all afternoon eating frozen yogurt and using their lightning-fast wireless, and watching the world go by out front! And look how good those swirls of yogurt look! I miss that place!
Whoa! Pretty convincing. Even more so when you know that as far as Allan goes, Lab's frozen yogurt has to compete with the dramatic San Francisco ice cream scene!

Check it out for us. We'll be in Dolores Park wishing it got warmer than 65° once in a while so we didn't have to shiver while having frozen desserts.

[Photo by Lab]