Friday, September 30, 2011

The Com or the .Com?

Either way, I'm happy to see the Ann Arbor A.V. Club is using an abbreviation for the (.)Com.

Bee graffiti

This is probably my favorite graffiti in Ann Arbor.


TEDxNicholsArboretum will be on Sunday, October 9th at 1-4 at the amphitheater in the Arb. The conference will focus on the nebulous theme of sustainability and features some pretty cool speakers. Two of them are friends of mine from my grad program. Jarett Diamond worked with a team of MS students and Corner Brewery to lower the brewery's ecological footprint. Kat Superfisky is an MLA student working to create beautiful, ecologically functioning outdoor spaces. Cara and Karl Rosaen from Real Time Farms, and Bena Burda from Maggie’s Organics will also be speaking. Looks like a pretty cool event.

You can register on the TEDxArb website, but act fast, because registration is limited to 250 people.

Housing in Ann Arbor, via the Daily

The Daily has an interesting analysis of potential neighborhoods for off-campus housing. Describing the Old West Side they say:
The area is great because it’s Ann Arbor at its finest: think free trade stores and older hippies.

The article also sets $300-$700 per bedroom as the "pretty good deal" price point.

Map via the Michigan Daily

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Forget Me Not

NPR has a ridiculous story on the pawpaw, which it names "America's forgotten fruit." Excuse me? Forgotten? By whom? Just because it's apparently trendy for yuppie kayakers in DC to pick pawpaws from the Potomac, the story casts pawpaws as some obscure fruit that's finally reached its cotillion. One thing the article gets right, though - pawpaw season is short, so don't let them pass you by until next year's "rediscovery."

Place that photo: Elegant Elizabeth

Seeing Queen Elizabeth II on my way to work is always the best part of my walk. She waves (for real, this thing does), she wears pearls and she is a lady, dammit.

The first dear reader to correctly locate this Lady in Waving (ha!) gets to be damned on our Twitter account, so leave your Twitter name with your guess below, if you wish (otherwise we'll just damn your damn name).


One of DA's good friends, Mr. Sanford Clydus Bledsoe III, is leaving A2 for the wet and wild Pacific Northwest (Seattle, specifically). I first met Sandy a few years ago and it's not an exaggeration to say that he's taught me more about the joys of espresso and bicycling than anyone. He's also one of the few people who can roll with my snotty remarks and fire one back without even blinking - a rare gift. We'll miss him.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Holy Basilosaurus Batman

I was walking past Gallery Project on Fourth Ave. yesterday and imagine my surprise when I saw a cast of a Basilosaurus skull in the back of the gallery. The picture above is not of a Basilosaurus but some modern cetacean; the camera on my cellphone is not great. Anyway, it was pretty exciting. Basilosaurus is one of my favorite prehistoric whale genera. Gallery Projects current exhibit is UMWELT (Subjective World) a collaboration between artists and scientists that explores the way animals perceive their world. Looks pretty cool.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do?

According to the Com, aggressive panhandling in and around Tripper's Alley has gotten so bad it drove local boutique Poshh out of business. OK, I might be exaggerating a little bit. Regardless there is only one solution the current crime wave, we need to find the 1871 Ann Arbor Police Department and bring them out of retirement. With such robust facial hair, I have no doubt they'd be able to clean up this city.

Photo via Ann Arbor District Library

Cheap eats in Ann Arbor

A few weeks ago an anonymous commentor asked us for advice on finding inexpensive food in Ann Arbor.
Please do an inexpensive restaurant review, and not just the Fleetwood. There must be some other places where you don't go broke just looking at the menu.

Well we all racked our brains and came up with the following list:
Jerusalem Garden, a staple of my high school diet, has great falafel
Sabor Latino has $1 tacos on Taco Tuesday. The hard tacos come with beans and cheese and are much more substantial than the shell tacos.
BTB's veggie burrito is under $4.
Kosmo Deli in Kerrytown was another staple during high school.
The Cloverleaf home to "two or three" eggs with hash browns for the same price.
Benny's Family Dining offers classic, inexpensive diner food. A favorite with both the elderly and hung over students.
\'aut\ Bar's Sunday brunch is pretty affordable considering the quality and quantity.
Bell's Diner is half all American diner, half Korean restaurant. EJ likes that you can order pancakes topped with an over easy egg at Bell's. I like the bi bim bop.

This list is really only a start. Gentle reader, do you have a favorite place to dine on a budget? Please share it in the comments.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Apple picking

Apple season is upon us! Gentle readers, do you have a favorite apple orchard in the area? EJ's younger sister would like to go apple picking this weekend and we are looking for the best orchard around. Bonus points if you know where to get gluten free doughnuts, if such a thing exists.

Because you're mine, I walk the line

The Daily is back in full force after a little summer vacay. In his recent article, Walking the Line: How Ann Arbor balances old with new, Stephen Ostrowski writes about the changing face of downtown. It's interesting to see downtown development framed from a student's point of view. From the article:
"What makes Ann Arbor great is that it combines the character of a college town, a place you come to when you go out to school and fall in love with, with the access ... that perhaps a bigger city has," said Andy LaBarre, vice president of government relations for the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber. "It's a perfect mix."

Navigating economic waters while preserving a city’s identity is a difficult balance to strike — a feat that, according to Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje, requires dedicated maintenance and a well-reasoned approach.

“It’s always a challenge to keep moving forward economically while maintaining the culture and character of the city,” Hieftje said.

Susan Pollay, executive director of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, believes the city’s presence of chain and local businesses has long been well-balanced — labeling this mix one of Ann Arbor’s “great strengths.”

“It’s valuable to think of downtown like a forest or an ecosystem,” Pollay said. “You need old buildings and new buildings. You need big things and small things. You need national tenants who have the big advertising budgets, and you need the small independents to give you an identity. In a forest … it supports itself better by having a variety.”

No rollerblades

I saw this on the door to Oxford Housing. I wonder how long it's been since rollerblading in the residence hall has actually been an issue?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Dirty Wolverine Pop-Up Boutique open today

The Dirty Wolverine Pop-Up Boutique from ashdelajuice on Vimeo.

The Dirty Wolverine will be selling vintage swag from U of M and Detroit sports teams this evening from 8-11 at Foot Prints. Hopefully this will not be the last time the DW pops-up.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Kite Fest tomorrow in the Arb

The Center of Chinese studies and the School of Art and Design are hosting a huge Kite Festival in the Arboretum tomorrow. The Festival runs from 1-5 in the Main Valley.

Plus One

Damn Arbor is proud to have just celebrated its first birthday (and over 1000 posts, but that seems less exciting for some reason). I am going to presumptively speak for the rest of the DA crew and thank y'all for your feedback, tips, and comments. Here's to the next year!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Recycling on the Diag

Finally, there are recycling containers on the Diag. I'm not sure when they got put out, but I noticed them last night while on a burrito run.

Sidecar bike

Check out this bike with its sweet sidecar.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fungus among us

If you've been in the woods in the last few weeks, you may have noticed numerous huge mushrooms erupting from the soil or dead/dying trees. With extensive late summer rains, this year has been particularly good for many fungi. Some of these fungi are edible or even delicious. Here comes the disclaimer: eating the wrong mushroom can kill you. Really poisonous mushrooms are much worse that poisonous plants which are unlikely to kill you in small amount or with proper medical care. That being said, several species of puffball are edible:

Wikipedia says the giant puffball (Calvatia gigantea) is similar to tofu when cooked. There are several of these erupting around town.

Chicken of the woods (genus Laetiporus) supposedly tastes like, you guessed it, chicken. I think that's because it's kind of tough and flavorless. I nibbled on some of this one and while I didn't go into kidney failure, I do think it would have been better sauteed in butter with a little garlic.

Happy foraging!

Cruelty Free Zone

The debate over the execution of Troy Davis reminded me of one of the Michigan facts I am most proud of. Michigan was the first English-speaking government in the world to ban the death penalty for ordinary crimes (that is to say, non-treasonous crimes). One person was executed for violating a federal crime in Milan, MI, in 1937, but other than that no one has been executed by the state in Michigan since the 1830s. Indeed, Michigan's constitution has a provision stating that "No law shall be enacted providing for the penalty of death." We might be flyover country, but at least we're civilized.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Charlie Slick, Friday at Name Brand Tattoo

The Charlie Slick will be playing a show Friday at Name Brand Tattoo. This video gives you an idea of what the concert might be like:

I saw Charlie Slick play at Mark's Carts at the end of August. It was tons of fun and super entertaining. I have no doubt that this show will be similar. Doors open at 8 pm.

Previously: An evening with Charlie Slick and Thunda Clap

It's paw paw season!

Holy crap. Paw paws are the best fruit ever. And they are the largest fruit native to Michigan. Get some if you can. They taste like a delicious bubblegum banana.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

See the Dodos TONIGHT at the Blind Pig

The Dodos are in Ann Arbor tonight at The Blind Pig. Last time I saw them they were including trash cans in their on-stage percussion repertoire. They put on a fun indie show so it would be worth it to check them out!

Get tickets here.

Simpsons stencil

Saw this on the bridge by the CCRB this morning. I'm not saying anybody should actually do this, but it would be pretty cool if someone started tagging "El Barto" in Ann Arbor.

Much ado about crossing

This sign is not accurate, it basically says it's illegal to run over people. While that is true, it is not a local law.

Police in Ann Arbor have started ticketing people who fail to yield to pedestrians preparing to cross at crosswalks. Over on The Com, people are fussing about how this will make it impossible to drive downtown and how the police are just going to write a bunch of BS tickets instead of catching the serial rapist. Here are my thoughts on the matter.

First, this ordinance doesn't really have that big of an impact. How many crosswalks are there in the city that are not part of intersections? Better yet, what is the ratio of non-intersection crosswalks to intersection crosswalks? If my memory serves me, a lot of these crosswalks are on moderately busy streets near schools and help make it so kiddos who are walking to school don't get plowed into by parents in a hurry to drop their kids off at said school.

Second, how about some freaking signage? Note the sign above on North University. It is not correct. Maybe someone should correct it. We have all those signs by highway off-ramps and major roads that enter Ann Arbor that say "Local ordinance requires stopping for school buses." We should have similar ones about the pedestrian ordinance. They could also put up signs 50 meters or so before each crosswalk that remind drivers of the rules. Perhaps if the city is incapable of deploying accurate signage, citizens could take it upon themselves to make educational signs.

Monday, September 19, 2011

City Place moving forward

Somewhere in here there is a great lesson about local politics, development, and bluff-calling. After years of back and forth bickering, local developer Alex de Parry is walking away from his planned City Place/Heritage Row development. The Com reports de Parry has sold his interest and site plans for City Place to an out-of-town developer.

To recap for those of you a little rusty on the whole Showdown in Germantown fiasco, de Parry wanted to turn 7 houses along Fifth near Williams into a low rise apartment. The first proposed apartments, the City Place development, was generally considered to be ugly as sin. de Parry came back with an alternate proposal, Heritage Row, which preserved some of the 7 original houses historic façades but also required designation as a planned unit development (PUD). Designation as a PUD would have allowed de Parry more flexibility with the development than the properties current designation as R4C (multi-family residential). Reactions to the Heritage Row proposal were mixed. Many in the neighborhood surrounding the proposed site still opposed the development. Some felt that de Parry was attempting to get the city to approve the PUD by threatening to build City Place, which if you recall, is hella ugly. Well, city council rejected the PUD designation for the properties. There was an invitation to resubmit revised plans, but it looks like de Parry is washing his hands of this whole situation. Can we blame him? On one hand some of the designs for City Place make it look like pretty terrible: 6 bedrooms with their own bathrooms off a central living room/kitchen with no windows for about $900/month per bed. On the other hand, sometimes when you are in a bad relationship, the best thing you can do is walk away. Maybe that's how de Parry felt.

Gentle readers, what's your take on this situation? Was city council right to reject the Heritage Row PUD? Should de Parry have resubmitted revised plans in hopes of building something less ugly than City Place?

Previously: Heritage Row

Forgotten trays

A small portion of the Arb's stash of abandoned cafeteria trays. I had an interesting conversation with an alum this weekend about the best places to go "traying" in the Arb.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Game Time

I am a terrible, terrible Michigander. Of my 27 years on the earth, 21 of them have been spent living in Southeast Michigan. The last three of which have been spent in Ann Arbor. I will graduate with two degrees from U of M. But until yesterday, I had never been to a UM football game.

There really is no excuse. I enjoy live sports. I've watched UM games on TV before. I have the appropriate clothes. But it always seemed like too much of a pain to get my act together to buy a ticket off of another student, go to a tailgate, find someone to go with, spend three hours at the game, etc. But since this is almost certainly my last year living in A2, it seemed like now or never.

After building it up for so long, I thought that going to yesterday's game against EMU might end up being an anticlimax. Not so. Between the weirdly cult like chants and gestures, the great weather, and the fact that we both won handily but played erratically (defense... sigh), it was actually about as thrilling as one could expect. I'll leave the expert analysis to my co-writer Josh Stoolman, but it's certainly not hard to see what the fuss is all about.

Hummingbirds versus swallows

Is this hummingbird propaganda? It looks like the hummingbirds are winning.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cats Cats Cats

Saw a few of these cat stickers pop up around town recently.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Kickball is the New Grassroots

Ann Arbor has two kickball leagues – the Ann Arbor Small Business Summer Kickball League (AASBSKL) and the City of Ann Arbor Recreation and Education league.

Only one is relevant.

Founded in ’07 by Sanford Bledsoe III the AASBSKL is now in its 5th season and boasts 14-teams [see below for list]. The champion of the tournament last year was the Ghostly International. Sava’s Cafe and the Fleetwood Earls will face off Sunday, September 18th @ 5pm Veteran’s Park for the 2011 championship.

The organization and ethos of AASBSKL is DIY all-the-way-down: the umpires are volunteers (they meet at Old Town to discuss unanticipated aberrations in play that test their judgment); kids and dogs are never far; disputed calls are resolved, for better or worse, vis-à-vis a consensus model of decision-making; the teams line up and high-five after games (an impressively civil thing little kids do); people laugh, smile, drink-smoke-smoke, and talk shit.

Bike lovers

I've seen these bikes separately before. It's good to know they know each other too.

Via: Plus Minus Times Divide

Monday night at Markley

Mary Markley Hall, late Monday night -- A confused, hungry student exits the main entrance to find two different pizza delivery drivers.
Pizza House Driver: Did you order a pizza?

Student: Yeah for Jess?

PHG: [Looks through pizzas] From Pizza House?

Student: Ummmmmmm

PHG: [Points towards Happy's Pizza delivery driver] Maybe from that guy?

Student: Yeah that guy!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

New Law School Spaces

Last week the Law School opened two new spaces - the Robert B. Aikens Commons and the Kirkland & Ellis Cafe. Or, as I like to call it, the Kirkland & Ellis KafE.

The shock of the new has worn off to some extent, and I'm fairly fond of the new spaces. True, the upper level of the commons still reminds me of the panopticon, but somewhat amazingly it's connected to nearly every part of the school that you'd want to get to. No longer do we need to run around like rabbits in a warren to get from the Law Library to State Street. I haven't had a chance to sample the food at the Cafe yet, but I'm sure it's standard pre-fab university fare.

The new spaces begin a big year for the Law School - the new Academic Building, South Hall, will open in the winter term. Right now it still resembles a fortress, to my mind, but we'll see how it turns out in a few months.

Oktoberfest Block Party at ABC

Ladies get out your dirndls, fellows grab your lederhosen and head on down to the Oktoberfest Block Party at ABC. It's tomorrow and Saturday in front of Arbor Brewing Company from 5-11. There will be beer and brats. Oh, and did I mention POLKA! There will be so much polka your feet will bleed from dancing so much! Until last Oktoberfest I had never polkaed. I had such a great night drinking and polkaing and stomping on bystander's feet. Do yourself a favor and head on down to Oktoberfest. You won't regret it, unless you are one of the victims of my foot stomping. I still need to polish my polkaing a little bit.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Earth Tones--The Concert to Get Spotted At

It ain’t a concert to benefit the environment without some local singer-songwriter duos and an experimental acoustic roots band. This year, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters (Michigan LCV) is taking it to The Ark for a night of pure Michigan with Earth Tones.

Thursday, September 22nd at 7:30 pm, you can bust a move with singers-songwriters May Erlewhine & Seth Bernard, Jay Stielstra Trio, Chris Buhalis, bluegrass band Dragon Wagon, and the all-female Detroit roots-country quartet Stella!.

And, for all you political wonky enviros, your $40 ticket ($10 for students) will get you the chance to rub shoulders with Former Congressman Mark Schauer who will be honored at the event. Schauer is now the National Co-Chair for the BlueGreen Alliance Jobs21! Initiative.

Don’t know much about Michigan LCV? Well, you know how some politicians don’t think much for clean water, air and protected land? This group works to make the environment a priority in Lansing by educating lawmakers and the public, electing environmental champions into public office, and holding them accountable for their votes and decisions. It’s a damn important line of work that needs a little lovin’ and music from the Ann Arbor community to make its voice loud and strong all the way up there in Lansing.

Purchase your tickets here
*Students, e-mail to obtain discounted tickets.

Goodbye Borders

A shot of the former Borders store. It's strange to see it so empty.

Cory Doctorow is coming

That's right, THE Cory Doctorow, the one that floats through the blogosphere in a hot air baloon, kilometers above the tag clouds, is coming to Ann Arbor. He'll be in town for the Penny Stamps Lecture Series as part of a panel on Futurology.

Screenshot via: Boing Boing

Art Prize

There is a perennial debate in the Damn Arbor's main office about whether Grand Rapids is "cool" or not. I think things like Art Prize are pretty cool. The gauntlet has been thrown. Anyway, Art Prize starts September 21 and runs through October 9.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Roses on the Diag

Saw this by the flagpole on the Diag yesterday. A September 11th memorial I imagine.

Ann Arbor 23rd gayest mid-sized city

Motown to Tree Town has an interesting article breaking down the Williams Institute's analyses of the 2010 Census results for same-sex couples. MT2TT focuses on the Michigan specific data. The article is totes worth a read. Notice the Keweenaw Penninsula and Isle Royale. Even on the national map, they look surprisingly gay.


And the fly fishers of Ann Arbor groan in agony. From the Seattle Times:
As hair extensions, the feathers can be brushed, blow dried, straightened and curled once they are snapped into place. Most salons sell the feather strands for $5 to $10 a piece. The trend has become so popular a company online even sells feather extensions for dogs.

The craze has also left hairstylists scrambling to find rooster saddle feathers, as fly shops hold onto a select few for their regular customers. The businesses will now ask if the feathers are for hairdressing, said Shelley Ambroz, who owns MiraBella Salon and Spa in Boise.

"If you go in and you're a woman, they won't sell to you," said Ambroz, who started to eye her husband's fly-fishing gear after stores ran out.

"He told me to stay out of his feathers," she said.


411, get it?

I'm pretty excited about Sava Lelcaj's new market babo. It'll be located on the first floor of the 411 lofts Washington and Division.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mixed Signals

I live on a block bordered by four one way streets that all go in different directions, which is infuriating at times. Going south on Main requires three left turns, for example. That's nothing, however, compared to the sight of seeing cars going down one way streets the wrong way.

In Kerrytown, this seems to be a more common occurrence than should be normal. While walking towards Zingerman's, I spotted a car going east on Catherine just before the Fifth Street traffic light. From that direction, cars can only go south on Fifth - not straight, and not left. But the car first tried to go through the traffic light, then tried to go north on Fifth, and finally figured a way to get back the right way. But not until a few cars had to be careful not to get into an accident.

I lay most of the blame on this at the feet of traffic engineers, because we have a fairly counterintuitive system of one-way streets in parts of A2. Unlike NYC, for example, where almost all of the streets alternate one-way. we have some parts of town that are just one-way, some that are mostly two-way, and some where the streets change, or point in opposite directions (e.g., Madison at Packard). Drivers have a great deal of responsibility to not only read the signs but look at how traffic ahead of them is flowing. But the city could have tried harder to have some consistency in its traffic pattern design.

The Onion is out

The print edition of the Onion is here. It's great, except for the crossword, which is way too hard. A.V. Club Ann Arbor has a map of where you can find all of their boxes.

Is Damn Arbor too edgy for you?

Do you enjoy reading about goings on in Ann Arbor but dislike the sometimes-cynical, often-edgy tone of Damn Arbor? Well fear not citizen, according to a site called Ann Arbor's News there is a new blog in town. Dagnabbit Arbor, a blog that says "eww to edgieness." From the article:
Unlike the co-authors of the similarly-named Damn Arbor, who insist they “are to be feared,” Dagnabbit writer Ted Knab says he doesn’t want to scare anybody. “The name basically says that it will be like Damn Arbor, sort of, but without that hard edge and all the ferociousness, you know.” Knab said when he logs on to Damn Arbor, he feels “a little overwhelmed, like as if they are being like all fiery, and they even have a picture of flames right there at the top, so that makes me feel pretty overwhelmed and stuff.”

Sounds like a good read.

Ypsilanti Food Co-op shirt sighting

Check it out! An Ypsi Food Co-op shirt being worn in San Francisco's Dolores Park.

Photo by Vic Wong via Mission Mission

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Missing cat

Saw this posted by the Geddes entrance to the Arb. I cut off the top in my picture, but the cat's name is Mini.

Entrepreneurship on the Rise

Entrepreneur and real estate kingpin (and U-M Law School alumnus) Sam Zell has made a major gift to the Law School, establishing the Zell Entrepreneurship and Law program (ZEAL). The program will both create a new clinic at the Law School (bringing the number of clinics to a baker's dozen of 13) and increase curriculum offerings focused on entrepreneurship. It's designed to complement other programs at the University, including the Zell Lurie Institute at the Business School and the School of Engineering's Center for Entrepreneurship. Start planning your IPO, kids.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Homegrown Festival

In case you aren't going to the football game and are looking for something to do tonight, the Homegrown Festival is going on from 6-11pm at the Kerrytown Farmer's Market. It features:
  • Delicious, creative food sourced from Michigan farms, made by some of our area’s best local chefs
  • Local libations from fine Michigan purveyors: beer, wine, mead, kombucha and hard cider
  • Rockin’ good music
  • Project Grow’s heirloom tomato tasting
  • Awesome demos
  • Lots of Michigan food, farm, sustainability and community info
  • Kids’ activities
  • Local handmade crafts and goods
  • Silent auction
  • Dancing, games, and fun!

Pre-gaming with Pat

Check out last week's episode of Pre-gaming with Pat via

In the Big House

Listening to Pop Evil's In the Big House leaves me speechless.

Friday, September 9, 2011


This is the third year in a row that Festifall has caught me unawares. I walk out of my building onto the Diag expecting a normal Friday afternoon and am greeted by every single student organization imaginable. I am astounded by the size of the student body at U of M.

The Night Game

I have been in this city a long time and it is rare to see Ann Arbor preparing for a game as early in the week as this coming Notre Dame game, the first night game in Michigan Stadium history. If you walked by Rackham you may have noticed the ESPN Gameday setup or passed bars with instant classic ND v Mich games playing. While ND was picked to be a contender this year, before a massive flop at home, Michigan is a relative unknown leaning towards mediocre according to the "experts." Tradition holds a great deal of sway in the sport and these two storied college football programs playing their first night game in history generated enough buzz to get the national media out here to set up camp. This game is always big, but being the first night game here has made it even bigger. I don't know what it is about starting at dusk, but it just gets everyone more excited. I hope it's not just because of the extra four hours people had to consume booze. That would end poorly for everyone.

Tienda la Libertad

Went to Tienda la Libertad last weekend to pickup some Mexican cheese. Not only did they have some great prices on produce, but they also have a little restaurant in there and a few tables now. I didn't get a chance to try their tacos, but I'm hopeful this is the beginning of a general improvement in the quality of Mexican food in Ann Arbor.

Also, I really like that Faz' Pizza is advertising in Spanish on the side of their building that faces la Libertad.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pop vs. Soda: the Great Debate

What did you call a carbonated soft drink in your home town? Pop vs. Soda is attempting to plot regional variation in the usage of "Pop", "Soda" or (shudder) "Coke." At the national level "Pop" is narrowly beating "Soda." Go to to share your preference. As the site says "People who say 'Pop' are much, much cooler."

Feminists Wearing Makeup

When Damn Arbor's Quinn Davis is not blogging, or doing real work, she writes for Adios Barbie. She is also a feminist who likes to wear mascara. From her most recent (and most excellent) article on Adios Barbie:
It was the spring of my sophomore year, and I had just dipped my toe into the pool of feminism. It was exhilarating. Every word I read felt like someone else was describing me – to myself. I finally understood why things didn’t feel quite right when middle-aged men commented on my appearance. I got how fourteen-year-old boys learned to have the gall to look me up and down whether I stood alone or with my parents.
And – most importantly, at least in this piece – I saw how the desire to wear makeup was socialized into me as completely and concisely as a cult.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but my foray into feminism was the start of the disintegration of my relationship with Snap Crackle Douche. It helped me realize what a crap-tastic situation I was in. However, at the time of the Cosmetic Conundrum, the full realization was just a glimmer in my eye.
“If you’re such a feminist, how can you buy into the very things that are used to oppress women?” he asked.
To tell you the truth, I had no idea how I could. I mean, I liked wearing mascara. When I put it on, my eyelashes were transformed into these incredible, feather-like things that made me feel like a magical being. I was a friggin’ unicorn. Bam.

The whole article is really worth a read. On a side note, I am impressed by the number of times Quinn is able to work the word douche, or some form of it into the article.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

SOS: Save our Sign

Apparently the Beer Depot has run afoul of the city's sign ordinance and historic preservation laws. They are trying to restore or replace their classic neon sign after it was blown over during a wind storm in April of this year. From their Save our Sign blog:
...the reason the sign couldn’t go back up was that the sign didn’t meet the “height, size and setback requirements of Chapter 61, the City’s sign ordinance," the ordinance also specifies that “no nonconforming sign shall be repaired or erected after being damaged if the repair or erection of the sign would cost more than 50 percent of the cost of an identical new sign.” This meant that if the cost of restoring the sign were less than half the cost of an all-new replacement, we could probably get approval. The problem? We probably could have fudged numbers, but lying is wrong, and any honest sign company will tell you that there was no way those numbers would work in our favor. So we got a “nay” from the city. On their behalf, they did this without making us jump through all the clerical hoops involved.

Personally, I would like to see the sign back up. What do you think gentle readers? Is this the end of the age of neon signs in Ann Arbor, or is there room in our skyline to preserve classic signs like the Beer Depot's?

Photo via: mediageek

Hat tip: Jessica French

The Moth in MI

Two Moth events are coming up later this month. First, at Detroit's Gem Theater on Monday, September 19, the Moth will hold a GrandSLAM featuring winners of the last ten StorySLAMs. And on Tuesday the 20th, a StorySLAM will be held here in Ann Arbor, at Circus. Tickets are $5 at the door. Doors are at 6, and the stories will start at 7.

Public Services

Tad Friend's article in last week's New Yorker regarding the proposal to privatize civic services in Costa Mesa, CA and terminate city employees that may have led to the suicide of a 29 year-old Vietnamese-American maintenance worker got me thinking. It's easy to complain in Ann Arbor, especially regarding local government and its services. I myself am sick of the noise of City Hall's construction, the stretch of Fourth St by the senior citizen's palace that screws up my suspension, and the fallen tree from Saturday's storm that was lying in the road for days.

But my esteemed co-author Mr. Connor Barrie pointed out to me that things here are actually quite good. If all we can complain about is the lack of Christmas tree removal, maybe we need some perspective. What do y'all think about the state of city services in A2? Obviously it could always be better, but are we living in the lap of (civic) luxury?

Match by Match and Alejandra O'Leary show tonight

Awesome local bands Match by Match and Alejandra O'Leary Rock n' Roll Band are playing at Woodruff's in Ypsi tonight along with 10 Degrees Above Parallel and 3773. The show starts at 9:00 pm and cover is $5. Check out Damn Arbor's reviews of MxM and Alejandra O'Leary's most recent albums:
Match by Match: American Crowbar
Alejandra O'Leary: Broken Mirror Baby

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A.V. Club Ann Arbor is now up and Running

Ann Arbor's very own A.V. Club is up and running! And according to pictures posted on @AVClubAnnArbor, the Onion news stands have been delivered. What exciting times we live in.

Raspberry Season

From now until the first hard frost (usually sometime in October), it's raspberry season and the Ann Arbor area has some great pick-your-own options. I recently went to the Berry Hill Farm in Dexter (12835 N. Territorial Road) about a 20 minute drive from downtown AA.

The farm is basically run by an older couple out of the garage of their house, with the berry field being their backyard. That said, don't expect a small patch of raspberry bushes. The farm is sizable and offers five different varieties of raspberries as well as blackberries. My favorites happen to be the Dinkum and Jacelyns.
The picking conditions are great right now and I recommend checking out the farm. All varieties of berries are $2.75 a pint. It can be a bit buggy, but they also supply bug spray!

School's In!

Ah, the promise of a new school year. The hopes that this year will be different - that all the plans hatched over the summer will come to fruition in our new and improved academic lives. Of course, it's all a farce, but I for one am still hoping that my resolution to get up at 8 AM every day and swim every night will come to pass. Readers: do you have any big plans for this coming year, academic or otherwise?

Pot protest

If recent crackdowns and court orders on Michigan's medical marijuana industry stand, who will pay for all the ads in Metro Times and Real Detroit Weekly?

Getting to know Ann Arbor as a Grad Student

Welcome to Ann Arbor new graduate students! It is a wonderful city. Incase you cannot talk to people in your program or use the internet on your own, Rackham has produced this video that tells you about Ann Arbor.

The sad thing about Rackham's Videos is that they have high production value, but feel completely emotionless and sterile.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Ann-Arborizing the State of Michigan

Hot new game for fall: adding an alliterative name to all Michigan cities. @a2chronicle came up with this game last night around midnight. Some of my favorites so far are Yvonne Ypsilanti and Gus Grahrapids. Feel free to add your own creations in the comments.

An evening with Charlie Slick and Thunda Clap

Saturday's show at Mark's Carts with Charlie Slick and Thunda Clap was totally awesome--quite possibly the best show I've seen all year. Anyway, they put on a great, high energy performance. You should totally see them if you have the chance. Here are some of my pictures from that night:

Charlie Slick and his homemade spin art machine.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

University of Michigan most sex-friendly college in US

According to a survey put out by, students at the University of Michigan have the most sex-friendly attitudes in the US. That's something we can all be proud of.

Go Blue!

A big silver maple on Miller Road that fell in last night's storm.

Brunch Options Reduced!

Frita Batidos, owing to a lack of consumer demand, is discontinuing their brunch service as of this weekend. Today's the last day to get your Cuban omelette fix - I recommend it wholeheartedly.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Will spill oil for food

From the alley behind Frita Batidos.


Yes that's right people. Students are back in town, fall is sort of in the air when it isn't 92 degrees at a 8 PM. That means football begins today. Avoid Main St and State between 1 and 3:30 and 7 and 8:30 unless you love football or love road rage traffic. A preview substance that will resemble cliff's notes of mgoblog's wonderful coverage of the position groups and outlook...after the jump...

Friday, September 2, 2011

Party bus party. The BTB Party Buses are getting all nice and clean for the big weekend.

Alejandra O'Leary CD release party

Local artist, Alejandra O'Leary is having a CD release party for her new album Broken Mirror Baby tomorrow at Crazy Wisdom. I recently received a copy of the album and have really enjoyed listening to it. Broken Mirror Baby has a dreamy, etherial quality reminiscent of early 90's alt rock. There is a simple sincerity in the ablum that takes me back to 1994 when I was a 4th grader staying awake at night with my ear pressed against the radio. I don't really know if I can explain it better than that. The music on Broken Mirror Baby is rich, but not over produced. The songs are catchy and well put together. Check out the track When Will They Learn?:

Something about this album reminds me of Polaris, the house band on Pete and Pete. Maybe it's the subdued guitars, or the clairity of the vocals. Regardless, you should attend this CD release party tomorrow night. Doors open at 8:30 for this free show.

Angry little guy

Saw another tag of this guy on Main Street the other week.