Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Celebrate May Day in Ypsilanti tomorrow

The picture basically says it all. There is more info and a schedule of events here.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Best campaign video of 2014: When We Catch the Ride by WeROC

The Washtenaw Regional Organizing Coalition has just released When We Catch the Ride. It's sung over Pompeii by Bastille. At first, I wasn't a fan, but there is something about the vocalist's resonant baritone that I find strangely soothing. Now I can't stop watching the video. Gentle readers, are there pro or anti millage campaign videos I should know about?

Transit Millage vote one week away

Election season 2014 kicks off May 6th with a vote on the the AAATA's 0.7 mil Transit Expansion Millage. Gentle readers, I'm wondering if you have any questions about the millage? If you have already made up your mind on the proposal, would you mind sharing your reasons? 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Mr. Badger

Saw this cool badger stencil on the bridge by the CCRB the other day. It would be neat if it were part of a whole series of woodland creature stencils. Someone should get on that. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Tweet your favorite journal article to @JSTORSupport for free beverage

Gentle readers, remember last December when our friends at JSTORSupport were giving away free beverages? Here are the details:

Anyone who is a student, faculty member or staff at U of M can Tweet their favorite JSTOR article to @JSTORSupport and they will bring you a coffee/tea/hot chocolate/lemonade/smoothie/whatevah.

They need to be in Ann Arbor, but don't have to be on campus.

This is happening today, and then Monday through Wednesday of next week from 8:30 am until til 5:00 pm.

You have to be one of the first two people to tweet @JSTORSupport each day to get the free beverage.

Borders gift card

My mom found this in my old room. I wonder if they will take it at te downtown Knight's Steakhouse. Do gift cards stay attached to the same building even after the businesses change?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

SouthTown, Ann Arbor's newest neighborhood

Gentle readers, as you know I am a big fan of naming neighborhoods. SouthTown, according to this new website, is the area north of Eisenhower and bounded by State and Packard. It contains the previously recognized Lower Burns Park Neighborhood. Also, from the SouthTown website:

SouthTown is a self recognized community.

The weaving thread that runs through SouthTown is a speckle of satire, and a shtickel of mirth.

The essence of this community can be communicated as a unique collective. A place to visit. A walkable neighborhood of homes and small, independent, locally owned businesses.

SouthTown is a space for commerce, arts, positive gatherings and ecologically regenerative development.

I applaud the naming of the SouthTown area, but it seems rather and heterogeneous. Perhaps folks will come up with names for the different regions of SouthTown. Current residents (and foremer) of the area, do you have thoughts on SouthTown and/or its microhoods?

H/T: Mary Morgan

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

David Sedaris at Literati

David Sedaris has been a fixture at the Michigan Theater, but price points make his appearances out of reach for some of us. It turns out, he's coming to Literati, this June. Tickets are obtained by buying copies of his paperback, when it arrives. This is big news for Ann Arbor, BIG news for Literati. 

Free Uber for two weeks

Uber is here. To celebrate, the company is giving Ann Arbor residents two free weeks of rides. Here are the details from their blog:
HOW DOES IT WORK? Download the Uber app and enter the code A2LAUNCH. Already Uber? The code works for you too! Text* A2LAUNCH to 827-222

To request a ride, toggle the slider at the bottom of your Uber app to choose uberX or BLACK. Within minutes, you’ll get a curbside pickup from your own private driver

Each rider will be eligible for 10 FREE Uber rides! (Up to $25 per ride)

FREE rides only available in Ann Arbor and end May 4 at 11:59 p.m.

Crazy show in the Arb tonight

Looks like there is going to be a pretty crazy concert at the amphitheater in the Arb tonight starting at 8:30.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday = Noodle-geddon

Today is noodle-geddon! Slurping Turtle and Tomukun Korean BBQ throw open their doors today, giving downtown Ann Arborites two new destinations to eat delicious Asian food. (Note: I know Tomukun Korean BBQ isn't noodle-centric like their Noodle Bar, but "Two New Downtown Restaurants Open Today" is a boring headline).

Slurping Turtle is headed by mini-celebrity Chef Takashi Yagihashi and has won rave reviews for their Chicago location. Tomukun Korean BBQ is the add-on to the popular and delicious Tomukun Noodle Bar, offering communal dining.

My fearless culinary prediction: both locations will do great business and find themselves regularly busy for years to come. Tomukun has the toughest test of the bunch, having to overcome the haunted location (RIP @Burger, RIP Grand Traverse Pie Company) but those guys are smart.

Hooray for food!

Michigan Football Fandom Predictor

There was a really interesting opinion piece in The New York Times on Sunday looking at how childhood shapes which sports teams we root for as adults. The thesis: successful teams leave imprints on young fans that last well into adulthood. 

The study says the sweet spot for hooking youngsters is age 8-12. Win a championship during those ages and boys are up to 8% more likely to become lifelong fans. But what of the inverse? What if the team your dad and uncles and maybe older brothers follow when you’re eight years-old sucks?

Let’s argue that from 2005 to present (nine seasons), Michigan football has been inconsistent and pretty mediocre. Two 11-win seasons (2006, 2011), one 9-win season and a single 8-win season (which most Michigan fans would see as a disappointing year). Then three 7-win seasons, a five-win and a three-win (sorry, Rich Rod).

Totally Awesome Fest this week

TAF PRESS CONFERENCE 2014 from dirty bros. quality productions on Vimeo.

Totally Awesome Fest 2014 started yesterday with an Ypsilanti-wide Easter Egg Hunt. Here's some of what's coming up later this week. Via MarkMaynard.Com:


Ypsilanti District Library – Michigan Ave. Branch (229 W. Michigan Ave.):

9:00 p.m. Ypsilanti Library-To-Library Walking Tour w/ host Mark Maynard Poetry Eating Contest & Pie Reading Competition to follow at Water Street Commons Library


Electric Waterfall Castle (308 Washtenaw Ave.):

Doors at 9:00 p.m. 10:00 – 11:00 p.m. “Taco Tuesday Noize Nite”: one hour of simultaneous performances in each room of the venue (with snacks TBA) featuring Andara, Chemical Valley, Croidoid, DJ Homonormal Park, JAV, Magic Markers, MC Trashpedal, Ooze Dude, Princess Xanthipe, Thom Elliott, and more!


Voss Acres (4847 Merritt Rd.):

9:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. Outdoor Film and Pizza Pajama Party. Local films including “Telepathic Telephones“, Totally Awesome Fest 10: Totally Awesome Week Press Conference (Extended Director’s Cut)”, and “Surprise in the Woods” will be shown and free pizza from Voss’s Zas will be served.


The Ugly Mug Cafe (317 W. Cross St.):

6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Totally Awesome Patio Party

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Ypsilanti Egg Hunt

For the start of Totally Awesome Fest, Easter eggs were hidden around ypsilanti. There are still some undiscovered around town. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Garbage Disposal Love

My wonderful friend Sam found this sign in her neighbor's lawn. I would say garbage disposals are becoming the new box of chocolates. 

Friday, April 18, 2014


A new delivery service is coming to town. DrinkDrivers is for the lazier, alcohol-inclined person in all of us. If you get easily annoyed by the bar scene, or anxiety going into the same liquor store that called your bluff at 19, then this is for you. DrinkDrivers works as a website, or an iPhone app. Their FAQ stresses that these are legal dealings, and every driver can recognize a fake. Download it, and try it out.

Launch: 2014 Senior Exhibition

Tonight, senior art students are holding receptions for their cumulative thesis work. Art will be displayed at the state street Work gallery, the Art and Design building on north campus, and at off-site galleries like the Yellow Barn. Check out snippets of students work here, and make it to the galleries between six and nine tonight to meet student artists. Tomorrow there will be another reception at 325 Braun Ct, for an exhibition titled Womyn.

Cassidy Wasko
Paige Rutkoswki

Super Bang! tomorrow night

Looks like Vault of Midnight is hosting a super special Super Bang! tomorrow night at the Blind Pig. Should be a blast.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Uber is coming to Ann Arbor

Yesterday, @Uber_AnnArbor followed us on the Twitter. If you're interested in disrupting things, you can sign up to be a driver here. I think I remember seeing that Lyft was coming to the area too, but my 15 seconds of googling didn't turn up what I had hoped.

Cool drawing of the Ypsi-Ann building

The Ypsi-Ann is one of my favorite buildings in Ann Arbor. In the building's first floor lobby, there's this nice drawing of the it.

Rock people invade the Diag

Over the last few days, I've noticed several rocks with googly eyes on the Diag. Has anyone else seen more of these guys?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Highlights from Ann Arbor's Community & Urban Forest Management Plan

Ann Arbor's 2014 Community & Urban Forest Management Plan is out! At 135 pages, it's definitely worth a read. Highlights include the annual value of Ann Arbor's urban forest (see above) and the usage of scientific names.

Via: Ann Arbor Chronicle

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Detroit Week on Grantland

Friend of Damn Arbor, Chris Primeau, has turned us on to Detroit Week on Grantland. Grantland, as near as I can tell, is a website dedicated to writing about sport. This week they are publishing a series of long-reads about Detroit in honor of ESPN's upcoming "30 for 30: Bad Boys." So far there are articles about Dave Dombrowski, Elmore Leonard, and Berry Sanders. I think I'm most excited for the article about entertainment wrestling.

Seeking furry friends in Ypsilanti

This missed connection pretty much speaks for itself:

furry seeking furry friend on Ypsi !! - m4w (Woodruffs)

I will be waiting outside Woodruffs for you! Meet in full dress and let's hang ten!!! Yeah

The best part is where he describes his hair as: "I'm a raccoon."

Monday, April 14, 2014

Boing Boing finds our local news hilarious

A day after our local news coverage became the topic of a NYTimes article, Maggie Koerth-Baker, science writer at Boing Boing has posted some choice photographs of the Ann Arbor News. Interestingly, she has posted photos of the print edition, which means she must have been in the area.

Detroit gaining popularity in Berlin

A good friend of me and EJ's, who is living in Berlin, posted the above picture to Facebook last night with the caption "Carhartt hat for sale in Berlin's new super trendy mall c. $50." When I asked her if was ok for me to post the Carhartt hat picture, she sent along the following picture of a bakery that is selling "Detroit Banana Walnut Bread:"

Here's what she had to say about the bread:

Went to chat with the owner about the "Detroit" bread, turns out he's from Madrid by thinks Detroit makes the bread sound cool.

Photo credit: H. Evans

Sunday, April 13, 2014

League of Women Voters April 7th Transit Millage Debate

For those of you who missed it, the video of the League of Women Voters' Transit Millage Debate at the AADL has been processed and uploaded to the Library's website. I have not had a chance to watch the video in its entirety, so why don't we watch it together? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. Also, here's the wording of the millage proposal from the Washtenaw County Clerk's website:

To improve public bus, van, and paratransit services—including expanded service hours, routes, destinations, and services for seniors and people who have disabilities—shall the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority levy a new annual tax of 0.7 mills ($0.70 per $1000 of taxable value) on all taxable property within the City of Ann Arbor, the City of Ypsilanti, and the Charter Township of Ypsilanti for the years 2014-2018 inclusive? The estimate of revenue if this millage is approved is $ 4,368,847.00 for 2014. This revenue will be disbursed to the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority and, as required by law, a portion may be subject to capture by the downtown development authorities of the Cities of Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, the Washtenaw County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, and the local development finance authority of the Charter Township of Ypsilanti.

The Daily makes the NYTimes

Guys, as local newspapers scale back coverage, colleges papers are picking up the slack, and the Times is on it!

Today's New York Times features an article about the Michigan Daily's breaking the story about Brandon Gibbons becoming "permanently separated" from the University of Michigan. The Times does a nice job using the fact that the Daily broke the story to illustrate the larger death of the American Newspaper.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Bitter Transit Now!

Looks like Twenty Pound Carp has decided to weigh in on the May 6th Transit Millage. Unlike other non-ichthyoid ballot question committees, Bitter Transit Now isn't afraid to ask the tough questions on everyone's mind: Do transit millages make voters smellier?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Psych Rock at Arbor Vitae

Tomorrow night there is a show at Arbor Vitae, the venue hidden on state by Ashleys. I endorse this event because people I adore will be playing. You can check the facebook event here or I have a beautiful little blurb below.
"Join us as we get toasty with some psych and garage at Ann Arbor's favorite arts loft. Come one, come all for a night of distortion, delay, and debauchery with...
Mexican Knives (detroit garage and surf)
Heaven's Gateway Drugs (deliciously trippy psych from Fort Wayne, IN)
Buffalo Coven Party (your local psychedelic blues explosion)
The Idiot Kids (Punk+Dance=awesome)
& DJ Dickslap will be crankin out the 90's jams for your booty shakin pleasure pleasure!
Doors@9pm, Bands@9:30pm. $7 336 1/2 State St, Ann Arbor,
Check out the video flyer!
Come get freaky..."

Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra fundraiser

The Tower Inn Cafe is hosting a fundraiser for the Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra this Monday 5-10 PM in the afterglow of their French Connection Concert at Towsley Auditorium on Sunday.
Dine on the Tower Inn Cafe Cuisine between 5pm-10pm and 20% of your check will benefit the YSO! The attached flyer must be printed and presented to participate in the Dine and Donate Campaign. 
Enjoy Karaoke provided by Stoo's Karaoke between 7pm-10pm $2.00 per song - 100% of the proceed's benefit the YSO.
 More information about the fundraiser can be found here.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Michigan FIRST Robotics Competition State Championships at EMU this Weekend

Tonight the FIRST Robotics Competition State Championships kick off tonight at EMU's Convocation Center, featuring 64 of the top teams in Michigan battling it out to see who will advance to the World Championships in two weeks. The competition April 10-12.

Skyline High School's Eagle Imperium Team 3322 squad is one of the 64 teams advancing after qualifying at the Howell District competition two weeks ago. I wrote a story for Concentrate Media on their team preparing for competitions this year that you might enjoy (click away).

The Skyline robot will compete against a bunch of other robots in a game called aerial assist that's basically passing and shooting big exercise balls over goals and smashing into other remote-controlled robots. It sounds awesome and there's no way I'm missing watching this live.

The teams are listed by team number, not high school, so it's tough to see which other area high schools might be competing. It looks like Pioneer, Huron, Ypsi Community and Dexter failed to advance to States (though there's a chance I'm wrong). The Grand Blanc High School EngiNERDs enter the competition with the best district score, so they're pretty much the Empire. Root for the underdogs! Go tech kids, go!

Why does Dennis Dahlmann oppose the Transit Millage?

Some folks have noticed that some Anti-Transit Millage signs have sprouted up at the Old Y Lot that Dennis Dahlmann just purchased. Why would Ann Arbor's premier downtown hotel owner oppose the expansion of the AAATA's bus service? Honestly, I do not know. What I do know is that if the millage passes, it will cost Mr. Dahlmann and his various businesses in the AAATA area a good deal more in annual property taxes. Mr. Dahlmann (1) owns 18 properties in Washtenaw County. 16 of the properties are within the AAATA Millage Area: one, the old Ypsilanti Train Depot is in the City of Ypsilanti and the remaining 15 in the City of Ann Arbor. Those properties have a combined assessed value of about $22 million (2) and a taxable value capped at just under $17.3 million (3). This means that if the transit millage passes, Mr. Dahlmann's taxes will go up about $12,000 per year. Now, that might not seem a lot for someone who owns nearly $25 million of property in the county. However, if we calculate the net present value of the future cost of $12,000 per year over a 15 year time horizon using a discount rate of 4% (4), we get $139,000. So from Mr. Dahlmann's point of view it may be worth it to spend up to 139k to defeat the Transit Millage. Then again, Mr. Dahlmann may not be acting selfishly, perhaps he wants to save us from an expansion of public transit and all the convenience it brings. Nobody really knows except for Mr. Dahlmann (5).

Photo via: @ryanjstanton

(1) And his various corporations: Dahlmann Florida Corporation, Dahlmann Apartments Ltd, Dahlmann Liberty, LLC.
(2) Assessed and taxable value were calculated from County records. I used MapWashtenaw to search for "Dahlmann" in order to identify parcels owned by Mr. Dahlman and his various corporations.
(3) For the purpose of these calculations the assessed and taxable value of the recently purchased Y Lot was assumed to be 1/2 the purchase price of $5.25 million.
(4) I used this web-based annuity calculator for all the hard math. (5) In all fairness, I don't know if Mr. Dahlmann placed the signs on his property. The signs could have been put on the old Y Lot by someone else.

Knight's Steakhouse is open

Knight's Downtown Steakhouse opened yesterday. I didn't get a chance to check it out, but here's A2GastroBoy's review:

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Sometimes I like to pretend these cranes are a family of sauropods. The big red one in the background is the mother browsing on leaves at the top of a tree. The one in the foreground is a baby, doing whatever baby sauropods do. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Knight's Steakhouse almost open

Knight's steakhouse, the first new reassurance to open in the old Border's Building, had a soft opening last night. The interior of the place is really looking great. I can't wait to try it. Having something open in the Border's Storefront really brightens up that corner of downtown. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Hot new look for summer: rollerblades

In the last two days I have seen three people on rollerblades. You know what that means: rollerblades are in this summer. Will we see a resurgence of other 90s trends? Only time will tell. 

Are you registered to vote?

On May 6th, residents of Ann Arbor, the City of Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township will have the chance to vote on a 0.7 mil property tax that would go to fund expanded bus service. If you reside in one of those three municipalities and would like to vote in the election, you have until 30 days before the election to register update your registration. You can register to vote at any Secretary of State's office or the City Clerk's office. 

Fool Moon tonight

Fool Moon, Ann Arbor's annual luminary parade, is tonight. If I were you, I'd find a good spot to camp out along the route and watch the luminaries as they pass by. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

How to have an inspiring Wednesday if you're not seeing Obama: Take Back the Night

If you're unfamiliar with Take Back the Night, all you basically need to know is 1) all Justin Timberlake's people needed to do is Google the damn thing to realize how awk his song was gonna sound and 2) it's a march/rally/protest against rape and other forms of sexual assault. I know, I know, sounds like a downer, but it's more like a battle cry, and everyone ends up all smiley and happy and huggy, plus consent.

Here's what's going on this year:

  • Outgoing Mayor John Hieftje will be speaking
  • The MC is Beth from the S3 Safe Sex Store
  • Author and survivor Samantha Soward will be there to speak and basically be as inspiring as the sun FINALLY being here
  • Detroit's Ashley Franso will be a-singin'
  • Detroit Tap Repertory (which includes EJ and myself) will be a-tappin'
Plus a bajillion other things.

This thang starts at 7 in the Rogel Ballroom of the Michigan Union and then takes to the streets to protest (which is the best part - people start coming out of the dorms and coffee shops to join the march).

Seeya there, fools.

In bloom: silver maple

The silver maples (Acer saccharinum) are starting to bloom. These wind pollinated flowers are born in tiny clusters at the ends of branches.

Like most wind pollinated tree species, the silver maple deploys its flowers before it leafs out in the spring. This is so that the trees canopy does not interfere with optimal pollen spreading. Also, like many wind pollinated flowers, these ones are not particularly showy. What they lack in showiness, the make up for in audacity. The pompom like appearance of these flowers comes from the fact that they are literally just dangling their male-bits (stamen) in the wind. Again, this helps them spread their pollen farther.

Silver maple is a fast growing tree native to river floodplains. Its seedlings require nearly full sunlight. It flowers so early in the season so that it can quickly grow and disperse its seeds before the canopy closes.

For those of you keeping track, last year I posted about silver maples blooming on April 1st. Though, based on those pictures, the flowers were a little farther along at that point.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Obama ticket line

There are tons of students queued up to try to get their hands on one of the 900 tickets to see President Obama tomorrow. Looks like a clever student brought out their dorm room mattress to rest on while waiting in line all night. Here are some students who successfully navigates the line and obtained tickets: