Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ann Arbor, The 15th most lesbianish city in the US

Hot on the heals of being crowned 6th gayest city by the Advocate, Jezebel has named Ann Arbor the 15th most lesbianish city. We fall right between Philadelphia and Atlanta. There doesn't really appear to be any metric so it's hard to argue with a proclamation like that.

Update: This was originally from Autostraddle, not Jezebel.


Ann Arbor, the 6th gayest city

Ann Arbor 23rd gayest mid-sized city

The Beet Box on Kickstarter

Healthy fast food. Coming to a food cart near you?

UPDATE: Here are the links to the Kickstarter and The Beet Box's website.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Panda bowling

Here's a weird little video from Where you come to Not Get Famous. It features a panda bowling at Colonial Lanes. I hope it helps you fight your case of the Mondays.

[Flash 10 is required to watch video]

I didn't think the panda was going to pull off the spare.

In praise of Wolverine State Brewing Co.

Wolverine State Brewing Company is declaring a lager revolution. Besides continuing to brew their delicious bottom-fermented beers, they are expanding their tap-room and production capacity. I'm really glad this local brewery is doing so well. WSBC has done a great job building a great place in what would otherwise be an impersonal bit of strip mall. I can't wait to see what the new space will look like. Previously:

Beer Bellies at Wolverine State Brewing Co.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Detropia revisited

Over on DetHuffPo, Erik Proulx has a more in depth look at Detropia. He posts a link to an interesting interview with the documentary's directors Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing.

Here's my favorite quote, from Rachel Grady:

Initially when we went there, we were just looking for this Phoenix story. We were hoping there were people on the ground there that were really gonna just fix the place. But after spending a couple of years filming there and spending time with our characters we realized that was just a very dishonest story.
Really?!? I know that documentaries are kind of like essays and the film makers here are presenting a story. But saying the story of people on the ground in Detroit working to turn things around is a "dishonest story." Ugh. Here's an antidote of sorts:

9 Businesses from 4exit4 on Vimeo.

As Erik Proulx points out, Johnny Knoxville's 30 minute long commercial for Palladium Boots, Detroit Lives, paints a more accurate picture of both the decay and hope in Detroit. Shit.

Hat tip @briancors for the link to Detroit: 9 Businesses


Ruin porn: Dismantling Detroit

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Mix Marketplace

If you're looking for something to do this afternoon, you can always check out Mix Marketplace. The pop-up market has vendors selling local crafts and foods. Sounds pretty cool. You've gotta hurry though, Mix closes at 4 pm.

Get your sled on

We have snow today and we are getting a little more tomorrow. Monday it will all melt. Fortunately it's the weekend so there is plenty of time to get some sledding in before this batch of snow melts. Rather an produce any new content, I'm just going to share some links to other articles about sledding in Ann Arbor:

Guide to Ann Arbor: Sled-DANG! In A2 from Damn Arbor's very own Quinn Davis

Sledding on Arborwiki

Guide to the Ann Arbor area's best sledding hills by Ed Vielmetti

I will add this: Huron Hills is probably my favorite sledding hill. Also, there is a rumor that sledding is forbidden in the Arboretum. This is not exactly true. Sledding is just not encouraged in the Arb. Wink, wink. Enjoy this snow while it lasts. Also, gentle readers, feel free to share your favorite sledding hills in the comments.

The Hunt for Ann Arbor Graffiti

Hello, Damn Arborites! I'll be posting some Ann Arbor graffiti pics in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. (You can also follow me on Twitter: @dragonmgmt.). For now, here's one that's pretty well hidden.

It's in the alley behind the Amer's Deli on Church St.

The family the graffitis together stays together.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Americans Elect

As I mentioned in an tweet earlier, something's going down on the Diag right now. It turns out that it's this group called Americans Elect, a non-profit/pseudo-political party asking students to tell them what they wanted the political issues to be. Mostly, passers by seemed to be confused. Americans Elect is on the ballet in 15 states, including Michigan. They are choosing their candidate with an internet primary. It's no LaRouchePAC but...

Place that photo: Barging ahead

Alright, well I have this weird feeling that this photo is way easier to see just because I saw it IRL, so let me explain: The above is a Guinness poster. And that's all you're gettin'!

We were trying to figure this one out though. Usually Guinness posters have some sort of wit to them, but this just appears to be two dudes doing the most terrifying job I can possibly imagine (those that know me know why), talking about how they feel like a Guinness. Well yeah, when I'm scared shitless, I usually want a stiff drink too.

You guys know the drill. And if you don't... well, I guess I'll just be nice and tell you. The first person to place where this photo was taken gets to be damned on our Twitter feed. So leave your Twitter name in the comments below along with your guess. Otherwise, we'll just damn your damn name.

Last week's PTP was taken at Mélange.


TEDxUofM 2011 Announcement from TEDxUofM on Vimeo.

The publicity campaign for TEDxUofM 2012 is upon us! There are promotional videos! There is yarn bombing!

The event is scheduled for April 8th. If you'd like to present, applications will be available sometime in February.

Alejandra O'Leary wsg The Greatest Hits

The Alejandra O'Leary Band will be playing their first show of 2012 at Plymouth Roc in Plymouth this Saturday. Their special guests, The Greatest Hits, made this little video to promote the show:

Greatest Hits Promo from Laura Thompson on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Global Scholars Lecture: “Disability Culture: An Ingenious Way To Live”

Damn Arbor reader, Jeremy Lapham, sent in information about a lecture at Rackham this evening: “Disability Culture: An Ingenious Way To Live." From the Global Scholars webpage:

Petra Kuppers is a community artist and disability culture activist, Artistic Director of The Olimpias Performance Research Series, and Associate Professor of English at the University of Michigan. She also teaches on the low residency MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at Goddard College.

Neil Marcus is a performance and visual artist, and poet. "Disability is an art - an ingenious way to live." This award-winning playwright, actor, poet, and performance artist earned national acclaim when he crafted his experiences as a man living with dystonia, into a powerful staged work. Since then, Marcus' passionate stance toward life has infused his artistic choices. Believing that "life is a performance," he has cast his creative net wide, participating in a range of diverse projects.

Sounds interesting. Thanks to Jeremy for sending this in.

Pure Michigan Rum

I've had an idea tumbling around in my head for a while and I've decided to throw out into the aether in hopes that someone snatches it up. It is Michigan's birthday after all. OK so here's the idea:

Pure Michigan Rum

Now, I'm not talking about the Pure Michigan advertising campaign. I'm talking about rum made from purely from Michigan ingredients: sugar beet molasses, the finest fresh water in the world, and yeast. Now I know New Holland makes rum, but it's made from sugarcane molasses. Michigan doesn't produce sugarcane, but we do grow sugar beets. In fact, Michigan is the fourth largest produce of sugar beets in the US. Think about it: locally distilled rum made from local ingredients. Could someone please start working on this?

Obama Tickets

I ran into Jacob Stanage and Natalie Georges this morning while I was walking into work. They were cold and tired after camping out since 10 pm last night. Nevertheless they were excited to have secured their tickets to see Obama tomorrow. Oh youth. Little do they know that the pre-party tomorrow at SELMA Cafe is the place to be.

Damn Arbor's undercover agent in the field, @DragonMgmt attempted to secure tickets this morning and sent in this report:


Obama in Ann Arbor this Friday

Happy 175th birthday Michigan!

For those of you keeping track, that's a double diamond plus single silver. Gentle readers, how will you be celebrating? I'm planning on heading down to the Ohio border and digging a moat.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Pedestrian study?

I saw these two people at the crosswalk on North University by the Museum. Looked like they were videotaping the crosswalk and recording something with data loggers. Was this a traffic study? A pedestrian study? I didn't ask because I was late to class.

Where's the love XKCD?

Here is today's XKCD comic:

Here is the comic's rollover text:
Suckville is considered by the Census Bureau to be part of the Detroit metropolitan statistical area, despite not being located anywhere near Detroit.
Common Randall, I can think of so many places that are more sucky than Detroit: Ohio, Indiana, the greater Los Angeles area, and most places in Oakland County.


Ruin porn: Dismantling Detroit


Sam's is my favorite clothing store. They have Levi's, plaid, sweaters, and hoodies. What more could you want?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

U of M bike town hall today

Parking and Transportation Services is having a bike town hall meeting today:
This event will give students, staff and faculty an opportunity to learn more about bike related projects underway at U-M, participate in a panel discussion, and provide input on future bike planning and programming. Sponsored by the Office of Campus Sustainability and Parking and Transportation Services.
The meeting is from 4:00 - 5:00 pm in the Vandenberg Room of the Michigan League. There is also free food.

Old Ann Arbor

@Dokas just sent in a link to an hour of silent film from 1939 Ann Arbor. From what I've seen, it's a lot like 2011's hit silent movie The Artist. My favorite part in the clip below comes at 4:05. A group of young women appear to be having a newspaper reading party. Without further ado, we proudly present We're in the Movies!:

Cross-post: check me out at Ms. JD

I am a Writer-in-Residence at Ms. JD, a national blog about lady-lawyering. Once a month, I'll post something noteworthy about my first job as an attorney in southeast Michigan. This month: divorce court as Howard Hughes. To wit:

Monday, January 23, 2012

City Place animation

Sometimes people ask me "Hey, why did they knock down all those houses by the Library?" To which I respond, "Haven't you been following the developments with City Place/Heritage Row/The Showdown in Germantown?" Kids these days. It looks like the developer of the property, Campus Village, has released an animated preview of the project. Check it out!

Wow, that looks like it could be anywhere in the US. Great work! To me, it was amazing how quickly the endgame came to the whole "what's going to happen to the houses on South Fifth Ave." debate. After de Parry sold his interest in the project in November, the years of back and forth between the myriad parties came to an abrupt end and the historic houses gone. There isn't much we as a community can do other than reflect on what happened. Moving forward, what are the lessons we can learn from City Place about the tensions surrounding development in Ann Arbor?

Obama in Ann Arbor this Friday

The Detroit News is reporting that Obama will visit the University of Michigan this Friday as part of a tour of swing states. He will arrive in Ann Arbor after spending Thursday night in Detroit. SELMA Cafe is on Friday morning. Does this mean President Obama plans on visiting SELMA for breakfast on Friday morning before his speech at U of M? Will this be part of some big announcement about a new federal local food initiative? Is Mr. Obama planning on "putting America back to work" building hoop houses? Our sources in the White House remain mum. We will bring you more on this story as it develops.

Photo by Sean Munson

Tree Town Sound, best YouTube channel in Ann Arbor

Tree Town Sound has just uploaded a bunch of videos to their YouTube channel. In the videos, host Matthew Altruda interviews some great local artists and they preform their songs. You should totally check it out.

More at Tree Town Sound (warning: music auto-plays upon loading the site).


On Friday I got the chance to visit, through school, one of Ann Arbor's entrepreneurship resources: Ann Arbor Spark. They've got a lot of different resources if you're looking to start your own venture. Check it out here, where you can see a list of their upcoming events and workshops.

Somewhere in Belgium there is a band called Ann Arbor

In Cloudy Water - Ann Arbor from Allographe on Vimeo.

You can't make shit like this up.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Stock Footage of Uggs

University of Michigan to Launch Google Apps March Fifth from WOLV-TV on Vimeo.

Why do so many local news casts feature an establishing shot of people walking around? This is about e-mail.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Pollution in Ann Arbor

The EPA recently unveiled a new website that lets you know the largest contributors to different greenhouse gasses across the country. Ann Arbor is listed to have two, the university and a landfill that closed back in 1992. The university is outputting over 250,000 mega tons of carbon dioxide, then what seems trivial, 101 mega tons of methane, and 149 tons of nitrous oxide. However, it’s only 42nd on the list of offenders in Michigan, with Michigan State up further on the list emitting 548,000 mega tons (which is to be expected since they have their own coal plant). It’s an interesting tool to see what sort of air you’re breathing in around you, and see it with some interesting graphics.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Newsfeed from WOLV-TV

Newsfeed Wednesday January 18, 2012 Top Story: SOPA/PIPA Protests from WOLV-TV on Vimeo.

Newsfeed is probably my favorite show on the channel.

Making Michigan more business friendly

“So far we’ve rescinded nearly 400 obsolete, confusing and burdensome regulations.” -Rick Snyder, 2012 State of the State Address
Michigan Radio's Environment Report had an interesting piece yesterday about RySny's push to overhaul the State's regulatory framework and potential implications for environmental laws. Broadly speaking, I am a fan of environmental regulations. As a society, I believe we benefit greatly from lives that are more free of toxins. Here's my idea for making Michigan more business friendly: let's overhaul (or get rid of) the State's burdensome alcohol distribution laws. As we saw in Alan Torres' awesome documentary Beer People, many of Michigan's microbreweries believe our current alcohol distribution laws hurt their ability to do business. So Rick, if you are reading this, how about fixing our distribution laws, before gutting environmental regulations?

Turquoise Jeep concert at the Blind Pig

Music comedy is a niche genre, and few artists have been able to make serious headway in it. The more famous groups of today would be Tenacious D and Flight of the Conchords. Both of these are known more for punchlines and the songs themselves being a joke, but a relative newcomer, Turquoise Jeep, lives in the joke. The entire label itself is devoted to the art of satire and making fun of the current pop and hip-hop movement. They release really funny videos that feature their caricatures wholeheartedly devoted to the joke. It’s obvious that everything they do is a joke, with songs like Smang It and Stretchy Pants, but their videos show little in the way of them revealing they think it’s a joke. With fake facial hair and over exaggerated expressions, they highlight the things other artists take so seriously in a comedic way. On Saturday, the members of the label are performing at The Blind Pig, which is sadly sold out now. If you want to see some of what you will be missing, go to their YouTube page and check out some of their videos. Fair warning, most of them are explicitly inappropriate. Above is Did I Mention I Like to Dance?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Gender Neutral Housing at U of M

The University of Michigan is now offering Gender Neutral Housing. Looks like an important step for providing a safe and inclusive campus. I wonder though, if gender neutral housing is an option for cis-hetero and otherwise non-genderqueer kids the text in the screenshot above makes it seem like it might not be.

(This is new, right?)

Ruin porn: Dismantling Detroit

Hard to believe there is still more ruin porn waiting to be made. Hot on the heals of Julia Reyes Taubman's ruin porn/coffee table book, Detroit: 138 Square Miles comes Dismantling Detroit--a documentary from the makers of Jesus Camp! The film documents the work of "scrappers" who recycle the metal bits of old factories. From Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady's piece yesterday in the Times:
Detroit lost 25 percent of its population between 2000 and 2010, and now, broke, finds itself on the verge of a possible state takeover. Yet visual reminders of a better time both haunt and anoint the residents here. The past is achingly present in Detroit, and the way its citizens interact with the hulking, physical remnants of yesterday is striking.
Look, we all get it, Detroit has seen better days. I also believe it has seen worse days. I am tired of documentaries and article and books and photo essays that only focus on the negative things that are going on in Detroit. It seems like a lot of times they are made by people who come in from outside of the area to snap some pictures of sad abandoned buildings so they can go back home and tell all the world about how bad it is over there in Detroit. It is in accurate, irresponsible, and cheap to only portray the city as an abandoned wasteland. Anyway here's the video from the NYTimes. By far the best part is the Deathly Hallows tag at 0:15 seconds into it:

Hat tip: Michigan Daily

PSA: No guns in the Dental School

Remember kids, if you are going to the Dental School, leave your sidearm at home.

How Michigan cities got their names

Pure Michigan has a cool series of articles on the origins of the names of some cities in Michigan. I particularly like the entry for Bad Axe:
Bad Axe

While surveying Huron County in 1861, Rudolph Papst and George Willis Pack made camp and found a badly damaged axe at the site. The camp became known as Bad Axe Camp after a sign Papst placed at the camp and near a trail. When he returned from the Civil War in 1870, he founded a small city in the place of the camp. It was called Bad Axe.

Hat Tip: Megan

Place that photo: Quit wining

I'll take the whole wall!

When I grow up, I want to have a bunch of rooms that just have TONZ of one thing. I'll have a clock library, where every inch on the walls is taken up by tickers, a wine library like you see above, heck, even a library library. And I'll force people to live in the rooms, and there will be secret cabinets all over the walls so you can have real things in the room with you, but when you close the cabinets... LIBRARY!

If you think you know where this photo was taken, you should let a gurl know and write it down in the comments. First person to guess correctly will be damned on our Twitter feed, so feel free to leave your Twitter handle. Otherwise, we'll just damn your damn name.

Last week's photo was taken in the Arb, right by the troll hollow and fairy woods (we are real people that live in a real city).

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Local SOPA protest

Local musician Charlie Slick just tweeted that he will be taking down his website to protest SOPA. Currently, it appears CharlieSlick.com is still up.

Folk the Police

This looks like it could be pretty cool.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lightning Love - Girls Who Look Like Me

Ypsi's indie-pop darlings, Lightning Love, just posted this video on their Facebook. I'm pretty excited to hear their new EP.

From the bowels of the CTN archive: MurderLochen

The year is 1993 and a mysterious killer is offing members of Pioneer High School's marching band while they are at their summer band camp. Think Are You Afraid of the Dark? meets Salute Your Shorts. Via CTN:

Yesterday's Emergency Financial Manager protest

I was going to try to post a nice roundup of other sites coverage of yesterday's rally and march to RySny's house, but the Chronicle has beat me to it! Here is a nice video they linked to:

Marshmallow Shapes

For the low price of just $1, who wouldn't love Meijer's über generic Marshmallow Shapes?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Winter time-lapse

Check out this cool evening time-lapse of Ann Arbor. I like the eerie glow from Jimmy Johns.

NightLapse Ann Arbor from Trevor De Jong on Vimeo.

Pi Omega Omega Pi

I saw this house on Catherine the other day. At first I thought, I didn't know there were any frats with four letters in their names. Then I thought, oh... I get it.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Trumpeter swans in the Arb

Great news everyone! The trumpeter swans (Cygnus buccinator) have arrived in the Arboretum. Trumpeter swans are North America's largest bird and the world's largest waterfowl. I saw two adults and two juveniles feeding down in the Huron River just a few minutes ago.

The native trumpeter swan can be distinguished from the invasive mute swan but the color of its bill: trumpeter swans have a black bill; mute swans have an orange bill.

Nova Atlantis at Le Pop

Of all the paintings and sculptures at the pop up gallery opening on Friday, this was by far my favorite:

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Game on, Minnesota

I kind of like how Lake Ontario gets thrown in there, even though we don't really have anything to do with it. From thehairpin.com.

Where is our award?

Dear Current Magazine:

If you'll recall, back in June your readers voted us the "Best Local Blog" in Washtenaw County. I am writing to inform you that we still have not yet received our framed award certificate. Earlier this week, I noticed that Frita Batidos had their award for best new restaurant displayed nicely behind their counter (see below). We would really like our award so we could start displaying it was well. Please contact us at damn.arbor@gmail.com so that we can make arrangements for delivery, we would greatly appreciate it.


The Damn Arbor Team

Friday, January 13, 2012

Place that photo: Trolls vs. Yoopers

If you're trolling the internet today, you should probably quit hatin' and do what real trolls do: Be trolls. 'Cause if you did, then you would get gifts from people that just like the fact that you are a troll. Nobody is going to give you nice gifts in white boxes with pink ribbon around them just because you're ornery and think that bullying on the internet is different than bullying in real life.


Anywho, this lil box of whateveritwasbeforehand was left for the trolls. Yeah, yeah, it says, "Thanks! From Troll Jimbo," but you guys: Troll Jimbo is probs just another troll, admiring his fellow troll. Either that or a person that is sadly confused, and believes themself to be a troll.

If you can place where this photo was taken before anyone else, we will be a-damning you on our Twitter feed. So! Please leave your Twitter name down below in the comments, along with your guess. Otherwise, we'll just damn your damn name. Surprise.

The Deception of Restaurant Week

A2's Restaurant Week (January edition) starts on Sunday and runs through next Wednesday; you can find more information here. Yet it's a bit of a misdirection to treat Restaurant Week as a rare opportunity to enjoy local restaurants at relatively cheap prices.

First of all, Restaurant Week tends to not be much less expensive than regular dining - and much harder to obtain reservations. Certainly some participating restaurants like the Earle or Pacific Rim do present more affordable options, but others - Cottage Inn? Jazzy Veggie? Sava's? - are pretty inexpensive to begin with.

Second, Restaurant Week can rely upon discounted food prices and high volume preparations to make Restaurant Week economically feasible. The most upscale places don't want to lose too much money during Restaurant Week, so they can cut corners in other ways. You may not be getting the quality of food or service that you'd have otherwise.

Even at the higher end restaurants, careful planning and menu choices (plus some saving up, of course) can make Restaurant Week unimportant in the scheme of things. But if you do decide to go, remember to tip beyond what the bill might say. Just because you're eating cheaply (or cheaper) doesn't mean the waitstaff has to lose the money, right?

Pop up gallery opening tonight

Happy Friday the 13th! Celebrate by checking out Nova Atlantis, a pop up art gallery by Charlie LaCroix Art Brokerage. There will be music. Looks pretty cool.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Weather in Ann Arbor

Tonight and tomorrow there is a slight chance that we might experience some exciting weather. At the very least, we may see a little snow. If you are like me, you might find yourself at a desk and unable to walk out side and check the weather on your own. What follows is my comprehensive guide to compulsively checking local weather via the internet. I hope you find it illuminating.

WeatherSpark--Do you like well designed graphs? Who am I kidding, of course you do. It's always good to check out how the probability of precipitation changes throughout the day with this site.

Look how pretty these graphs are

The Diag Cam--From high up on Shapiro, the Diag Cam lets you see what the weather is like on the Diag at any given moment.
Check out the campus in the 1940's:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How to deal with cars parked in bike lanes

Generally, Ann Arbor's automobile drivers are pretty good about not parking in the city's bike lanes. Apparently though, it is an issue in Vilnius, Lithuania. There the mayor came up with a novel solution to the problem:

Maybe City Council could create an ordinance that says the Mayor can cut your car door off if you door a cyclist.

Hat tip Shak

The Hero Dreams, a short student film

Holy Crap! A student film, shot on real film!

The Hero Dreams from Rory McGuinness on Vimeo.

I'm really digging The Hero Dreams and its rough/low-fi style.

It Came from Detroit

It Came From Detroit is a documentary about Detroit's garage rock scene. Looks like a pretty cool movie. Someone should work on setting up a local screening.

Via Mission Mission

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fun with .gif animation

Check it out, I made a .gif animation of the Water Sculpture:

Has anyone come up with a better name than the Water Sculpture for this yet?

Here's another animation I made:

Braun court looks pretty nice with those blinking lights. Gentle readers, have you made any cool .gif animations of sights in Ann Arbor?

Ann Arbor, the 6th gayest city

Ann Arbor is the 6th gayest city in the country according to this formula from the Advocate.

G-Rap also made the list earning the number 10 spot. It's possible that the Advocate's formula is a little flawed--Salt Lake City earned the top spot and San Francisco and NYC didn't even make the list.

Strictly platonic

I check Ann Arbor's Missed Connections fairly regularly. Partially, I do it to find good material for posts. I also am astounded that so few of the missed connections are directed at me. Yesterday I decided to check out the strictly platonic section and found a gold mine of crazy-ass posts:

Can you guess which one is my favorite?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Experimental Voice Box Programmer tomorrow night at the Blind Pig

Somewhere in the swampland that is the Michigan-Ohio border lives the man behind Experimental Voice Box Recorder. He is a self described "jaded rocker" who prefers to remain anonymous and is addicted to Jolt Cola. His music sounds like the lovechild of punk and nerdcore. EVBP contacted me a few weeks ago to ask if I was willing to cover his show tomorrow night at the Blind Pig. I said I would be delighted to go. Not only am I getting a free show out of it, but getting an email entitled "press" made me feel like a "real journalist." No though, I'm a little worried that this might be an elaborate ruse to steal one of my kidneys. Nevertheless, I remain undeterred. I will go to the show and meet the mysterious man behind EVPB. Excelsior!

Another old map of Michigan

Here is another cool old map of Michigan. This one from the public domain Picture Map Geography of the United States. Via the Northern Virginia Community College blog.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Great Plateau of Michigan

The Northwestern Territories of the United States - From Dr. R. Brooke's General Gazetteer Improved, Johnson & Warner, 1812

There's a curious feature on old maps of Michigan and the Northwest Territory: a large plateau in the central Lower Peninsula with a ridge of mountains extending south through Indiana and Illinois. According to the Philadelphia Print Shop, where I downloaded these scans, the feature was first found in maps of the area from the late seventeenth century.

The Upper Territories of the United States - From Carey's General Atlas Mathew Carey, 1814

It's curious that the error remained in maps for over a century.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Ypsi's best blogs

I currently follow two blogs based in Ypsilanti: markmaynard.com and Michigan Exposures. I really like them. I was wondering gentle readers, if you had any suggestions for other Ypsi blogs I should be reading.

Flint Crepe Company

Welcome to Flint Crepe Company, where any combination of ingredients can be thrown together, wrapped in a pancake, and called a meal. This little number contains black beans, sweet potatoes, salsa, peppers, cheese, heirloom tomatos, sour cream--that's right, Mexi-French fusion, made with local Flint ingredients. Delish!

There's some pretty racy stuff on the "savory" menu: salmon and cream cheese, Farmer's Market sampler, apples and carmelized onions, other things I would never think to tumble up in a crepe, which I know best filled with Nutella. (This was my main foray into French cuisine during a trip to Paris five years ago.) Flint Crepe Company also offers a vegan and gluten-free menu.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Place that photo: A cabbage in the rough

Mon petit chou est gelé! I never really got that whole thing where the French used the word 'cabbage' to mean cute or darling - until now. So adorbs! It's just all wrapped up in its own thing, try'na keep out the cold. It reminds me of a kid whose overprotective parents have wrapped them in so many layers that they can't put their arms down (arms = leaves on the side, duh).

It's time for place that photo! If you can guess where this wintry cabbage is holding out, place your guess in the comments below. If you're the first to guess correctly, a-damned you will be on our Twitter account, so be sure to leave your Twitter handle! Otherwise, we'll just damn your damn name.

In other news, who knew cabbages were so hearty? Besides, y'know, farmers?

ACLU Files Suit Against Domestic Partner Benefits Ban

The ACLU filed suit yesterday against the State of Michigan regarding the domestic partner benefits ban that Governor Snyder signed into law last month. The complaint was filed in the U.S District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, and you can read the complaint here.

Don't wear loud hued leggings

Over on brain pickings, Maria Popova, has unearthed a list of 41 don'ts for female cyclists. The list was originally published in a 1895 edition of the New York World, a newspaper. Here are a few of my favorites:
Don’t faint on the road.

Don’t wear a man’s cap.

Don’t race. Leave that to the scorchers.

Don’t wear laced boots. They are tiresome.

Don’t imagine everybody is looking at you.

Don’t go to church in your bicycle costume.

Don’t wear a garden party hat with bloomers.

Read the full list here.

Via Mission Mission

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Appleseed Collective video

Check out this awesome new video from the Appleseed Collective. They just posted this recording from their Kickstarter funded upcoming album Baby to Beast. You can support their Kickstarter campaign here.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

An empire built on burritos

The Com is reporting that the partnership behind BTB, Good Time Charley's and Alley Bar have just acquired Live at PJ's and Goodnight Gracie. The trio plan to revamp the clubs which they describe as "failing" businesses. So far, I have been fairly pleased with the previous BTB ventures. Let's hope this horizontal consolidation improves the local night life options.

Trends for 2012

I've thought long and hard about this. I'm fairly confident that these will be three emerging trends this year:
1. Acid wash jeans will make a comeback, particularly among undergrads. Will they replace leggings? Don't be ridiculous, leggings are here to stay. That said, don't be surprised to see flocks of students on the Diag decked out in acid wash jeans come this fall. Next year, be on the look out for acid wash jeggings.

2. Gourmet mini doughnuts made from local ingredients will eclipse cupcakes. Let's be honest folks, in our hearts, we've always known that doughnuts are better than cupcakes. This year our beloved doughnuts will become the new "it" confection.

3. Boomers will become a punch line. If you need an example of what I mean, check out this clip from Community.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Eat all the tacos

Looking to start the new year off right? Why not pack on a few more holiday pounds at Taco Tuesday tonight?

Photo via alovelylifex

Local New Years Resolutions

Top 10 New Years Resolutions for Ann Arborites. Via News of Ann Arbor:
10. I will use my real name when posting to annarbor.com or other local news sites.

9. I resolve to spend less time, emotion, and intellectual energy on the intricacies of Michigan football.

8. I will not mention any business, event, or anecdote from Ann Arbor that is more than 10 years old unless it directly pertains to the conversation I'm having.

Read the rest.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Too much fun

EJ and I came upon this scene while walking home from New Years brunch yesterday. It's almost cliché--brand new iPhone 4S lying next to an empty bottle of Jägermeister. The phone was in working condition thanks to its case so we turned it over to U of M DPS. We recycled the bottle.

Ann Arbor's new Automatic Vehicle Location map

If you love maps and/or snowplows, then you are going to love the city's new web-based Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) map. Check out the screenshot from last night, you can see snowplow 4577 has its plow down and is traveling south on Pontiac at 31 mph. Pretty freaking cool right?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Saul and Patsy: a review

I am now twice delighted by Charles Baxter. The former University of Michigan professor responsible for whipping up the full-bodied and lusty "Feast of Love" whet my appetite once again in a darker take on the modern-day love story in "Saul and Patsy."

The place Saul and Patsy settle down to start their lives--he as a teacher, she as a loan officer at a bank, both, shortly, as parents--is decidedly not Ann Arbor. Despite a reference to the Fleetwood and a drunk driving accident on M-14, the listless atmosphere of the fictional Five Oaks does not evoke any of the urbanity, culture, or there-ness of our beloved university town. Rather, Five Oaks is decidedly not-there, marginalized even by supporting characters in the novel. Part of the charm of this love story is Saul and Patsy's determination to preserve themselves in the face of the brutal obscurity of the place, to make Five Oaks "there" for themselves. In this way, "Saul and Patsy" expounds on a theme that Charles Baxter wrote so effortlessly in "Feast of Love": that is, love as the hero, as the Divine, the white knight, that which will transcend the narrative and lift us from our dreary circumstance. However, in "Saul and Patsy," Baxter hints at the less savory implications of a life made worthwhile through love.

First, love as hero: Saul is a flawed man, and Patsy a flawed woman, and the shortcomings of their life together are manifest, and familiar to most. That romantic and then familial love convincingly thrives in a story that dwells so thoroughly in its characters' neuroses and second-thoughts and existential crises, that the love comes in the same breath as these neuroses and second-thoughts and crises, is what makes Baxter's writing on this topic so authentic. "Kiss me, and you will see how important I am," Sylvia Plath writes, and Saul and Patsy pick up the cue.

But if love is divine, it is devil too: if it is Saul and Patsy's love that rescues them from the bleak indifference of their middle America setting, its lack condemns everybody else. This unimportance, this purposeless, is embodied in the person of Gordon Himmelman, Saul's aggressively unremarkable former student who becomes obsessed with Saul and Patsy only to commit suicide on their front lawn, and who is then mourned by no one but his aunt (with the possible exceptions of the titular characters). Should Saul and Patsy have extended their bliss, their secrets of survival, their sense of purpose to this sad, lost, young man who so desperately needed it? Could they have? Baxter meditates on the smallness of transcendent love in the face of social ills. Love in the style of Saul and Patsy is not democratic: under the logic of love, paradoxically, there is an inverse relation between to the number of people you kiss and how important you are. If everyone is special, then no one is. The strength of the novel is in Saul gently making peace with this incompatibility; that is also its greatest frustration.