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July 2007 -- September 2007 Permanent Archive
26 September 2007 (Misc Doin's)
Even though Erica Briggs has left her position as coordinator of Ann Arbor's getDowntown program, that job remains staffed by a member of the Totter Family, Nancy Shore. She's added a blog to the getDowntown online presence, which is a welcome addition to online resources on alternative transportation in Ann Arbor ... especially in light of the apparent dormancy of Scott TenBrink's blog, Carfree Ann Arbor.
Among the mayoral nominations to various committees and commissions made at Monday's Council Meeting, the recommendation that Shannon Brines be appointed to the Market Commission is noteworthy. Congratulations, Shannon. And thanks in advance for serving.
Finally, although she's not personally organizing the ride, Kris Talley will almost surely participate in the Washtenaw Bicycling and Walking Coalition's Ride around Town (RAT):
Ride Around Town : an alternative to Critical Mass
Our advocacy group, the WBWC, is providing a fall opportunity for civil action in the cause of promoting cooperation between bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists. Ride Around Town will be a bicycle ride through the streets of downtown Ann Arbor. We will not take over the road. Rather, we will ride in strict accordance with all codes applicable to the safe and courteous operation of a bicycle in the roadway (we will not ride on sidewalks). This ride is in the spirit of the ShareTheRoadA2 campaign initiated by GetDowntown, DDA and the Chamber of Commerce, but is not sanctioned by these groups. Our ride will take us through all four major business areas of the downtown (Main Street, State Street, South University, and Kerrytown).
Date: Friday, October 12. Rain or shine!!
Time: 5:30 PM
Location: Liberty Plaza Park
Required Equipment: bicycle (duh!), front headlight, rear light or reflector, bicycle helmet, light color clothing.
Recommended Equipment: safety vest, other reflective clothing or accessories, sidewall or spoke reflectors, bell, horn.
Route Map: provided at the start of the ride.
Post Ride: We'll meet at a nearby establishment for post-ride debriefing and liquid refreshment.
Registration: None! Just show up.
Ride Leader/organizer: Frank Schwende (schwende using the domainname sbcglobal-daht-net
25 September 2007 (Mulholland Sunshine)
Back in the spring when Royer Held visited the totter, he brought some Cherokee pole beans from Project Grow's heirloom gardens. I planted them, and I've been harvesting them through the summer when the pods turn from fresh green to dried brown. Yield so far is about 2 pounds of dried beans.
I enlisted the help of Heather, a neighborhood girl from up the hill, to count out 100 beans to be set aside for next year's planting. Not my fault if she grows up to be an accountant. The remainder I combined with my potato crop (seed potatoes for which Royer also supplied) and cooked them all up in my solar cooker for our annual block party.
The solar cooker is a recycled electric wall oven. Key design elements are the angled base mounted on a lazy-Susan, and the adjustable external reflectors. It does not track the sun automatically, which might disappoint Richard Wickboldt, who suggested to me such a feature might be worth exploring. Overall I'm disappointed that this particular design achieves only around 220 F, which is not adequate for baking cookies or bread. My first attempt at following Bryant Stuckey's suggestion to use it to bake meringue cookies failed--due, I think, to my use of a hand-cranked blender, as opposed to a whisk, to whip the meringue. The egg whites never really achieved that fluffy consistency I associate with meringue. Another factor that might have contributed to their failure was my use of brown sugar in place of regular white sugar.
I'll probably wait until next season to undertake refinements to the solar cooker. It might also be worth contemplating starting from scratch. However, I do very much like the ironic tension inherent in adapting to solar power an oven that used to be powered by electricity.
22 September 2007 (Library Update)
After Josie Parker rode the totter, I started paying a little more attention to what's going on at the Ann Arbor District Library. Patrick Cardiff's Mad Cows are just one thing I've noticed there.
Another is the acquisition of a volume by the AADL that includes one of T. Casey Brennan's comics, ACTOR Comics Presents, vol. 1. As a novelty, the AADL now offers an online 'virtual' card catalog, which simulates an actual physical card, and allows online library patrons to annotate the card! As a test, I annotated the ACTOR Comics Presents volume. Pretty cool. The only complaint I have is that the annotations are rendered in a variety of handwriting fonts, the majority of which look really, um, ... girly. You can refresh that webpage to see the different fonts cycle through.
In connection with the AADL's contemplation of renovation and expansion, Doug Kelbaugh worked with the Library Board to conceptualize some possibilities for that entire block. Among these possibilities is the construction of a street that would split the block, connecting Fifth Avenue and Division Street. Proposed name of this new street: Library Lane.
Whatever the merits of the new street might be, I would like to weigh in against naming it Library Lane. The last thing this town needs is another name that can be 'squared'. The appeal to high-falutin exponents in naming is very much the lazy man's approach and it's therefore rejected here on T2. Besides, here in A2, regular ordinal numbers are perfectly serviceable street names. Indeed, we have fully embraced the notion of streets with numbers. So much so, that we've got both a Fifth Avenue and a Fifth Street, both running north-south within a half-mile of each other. Instead of Library Lane, I think that something with 'Fifth' makes the most sense ... just for the sake of consistency. We should just stick with what we already know. So I think 'Fifth Drive' would be a far and away better choice. And I'm almost certain that Larry Kestenbaum would agree with me on this. Or maybe not.
If not 'Fifth Drive', then perhaps 'Multiplication Street' would be an apt choice to create a reciprocal name balance for Division Street. The advantage here is that the debate over whether this new street would be one-way or not would be settled in the naming. Multiplication, after all, is commutative. And if the AADL were to set up some outdoor amenities along that street for people to sit and to rest their food and drink, a name for these amenities is near to hand: Multiplication Tables.
21 September 2007 (Mad Cows)
The Ann Arbor District Library's downtown location is currently hosting a herd of cows. Their corral is located on the third floor.
This one here has strayed right onto Teeter Talk. She was painted in oil on canvas by Patrick Cardiff. The exhibit of Patrick's Mad Cows will be hanging on the third floor of the Ann Arbor District Library through mid October.
When you climb the stairs to the third floor, head to the right and you'll see the collection exhibited starting on the west wall. It continues on the north wall and winds on around to another west-facing wall.
As the Library contemplates possible renovation and reconstruction of the downtown location, I would weigh in on the side of being mindful to preserve this kind of space that currently exists on the third floor, which serves as a gallery for local art.
19 September 2007 (Vandalism)
I woke up on Monday morning to discover that a vandal had struck the teeter totter, covering it with stickers bearing a curious alpha-numeric sequence: A2B3. I gave a call to a friend of the totter, Ann Arbor Police Detective Khurum Sheikh, and asked him to come out and have a look.
Detective Sheikh told me that based on the pattern of stickers, it was probably not the work of a solitary individual, but rather a networked group of vandals, who had collaborated via handheld mobile computing devices using a set of shared maps to place the stickers on the board. How he could tell that from the sticker pattern, I don't know, I'm not a detective. Hmmm, there's another Law and Order possibility: Sticker Victims Unit. Anyway, he suggested that I should type A2B3 into an internet search engine and see what came up. I was thinking I might do that after razor-blading these stickers off . But not any more. No time.
See, I'm not the only one the sticker-wielding vandals have struck. Check out this poor guy, whose laptop computer got tagged with a sticker identical to the kind that they pasted all over my teeter totter:
I think it may have been a dog that put this sticker
on my laptop ... a very friendly dog.
The Councilmember's canine theory would be more plausible if the stickers required licking to get them to stick; but
the backing paper that littered my backyard suggests that these were the peel-and-stick variety. In any case, there's no time to waste doing internet searches for A2B3 when there's probably
more of these stickers getting plastered on stuff we love here in Ann Arbor right now as you're reading this. Anybody
who's a block captain in a neighborhood watch program, now would be the time to spring into action. We need to catch
these criminoles before they do any more damage.
Postscript: The stickering turns out not to be the work of either a dog, or a networked
group of vandals, but rather of
a single person, Edward Vielmetti. The above account may have
been embellished a little. Like, for example, the Ann Arbor PD didn't waste any tax-payer dollars on my shenanigans.
And for heaven's sake, Ed's not a vandal. I mean, not that I know
of. But he did have the stickers made ... at the best place to
get stickers made. Ed revealed this plus insights into the
digital-analog divide, the best place for U of M football fans to park, and way more ... in
Folks with Twitter accounts may have already noticed that Ed Vielmetti's Talk was conducted aboard the Twitter Totter:
15 September 2007 (Joy in a Walnut Bag)
Teeter Talk readers who have savored every word published on the site will know that the teeter totter sits under the canopy of a black walnut tree. And this time of year, the nuts begin to litter the backyard, if I do not gather them up into one of the standard brown paper bags required for curbside collection. I've never thought of these bags as 'walnut bags', because generally I throw lots of leaves and twigs in there, too. But I suppose you could fill one exclusively with walnuts and call it a 'walnut bag' ... if you just had to put a label on it.
Now Julie LaMendola paid a visit to the totter last weekend with four comrades from the Brooklyn Revue--that's right, all the way from Brooklyn, New York--and during the pre-tottering banter and general milling about, she spontaneously belted out the the following, which I pretty much accidentally recorded [play the audio snippet by clicking the tiny arrow]:
The poor technical quality of the recording does not mask the fact that Julie has a lovely voice.
But in that moment what struck me more than her voice quality was the lyric. So much so, that I asked bluntly: "Is that
an actual song??" And Julie said, "Yeah. Lucinda Williams." So I thought, Well, that makes me the dope. A few
minutes later, Julie declared that she loved the smell of the walnuts, and wielded her Iowan upbringing against the
skepticism of her comrades, who did not believe that the green balls strewn across the yard could be walnuts.
Now, I do a fair amount of fact-checking for Teeter Talk, and was surprised when I could not turn up any documents on the entire walnut web for a key word search of the terms, Lucinda+Williams+walnut. Long story short, there's a good reason for the lack of search results. Lucinda Williams fans, I do apologize. The actual lyric is not as I heard it [you took my joy in a walnut bag], but rather: You took my joy, and I want it back. Which is what a replay of the audio snippet will confirm that Julie sang. So her subsequent discussion of walnuts was unrelated to the song.
I followed up the afternoon totter ride with Julie and Dan (Ching Chong Song), plus Andrew, Darwin, and Eric (Creaky Boards) by paying a first-time visit to the Elbow Room that evening--where Creaky Boards led off the night, followed by Chris Bathgate, then Ching Chong Song, and Great Lakes Myth Society. That was worth the trip to Ypsi to hear them play. And if you care about the meaning of artistic originality, the Antifolk scene in New York City, how to get a handsaw through airport security, why people have backyard toilets, plus way more, then Brooklyn Revue's Talk is worth a read.
11 September 2007 (When Talk is Cheep)
After more than a hundred teeter totter rides with various people in and around our community, Teeter Talk has finally diversified to include other species. Today's edition is Chicken Chat,
images courtesy of Peter Thomason. The birds themselves transcribed the conversation, and I retyped it, which was a challenge, because their handwriting was worse than chicken scratches.
C1: Um, the two of us were riding. Do you mind!?
C2: I know, I know, but lemme tell you a yolk, I promise it's gonna make you laugh!
C3: Heh. I'm just clucking my sides already.
C2: No, seriously, that wasn't the joke, that was just a typo.
C1: No kidding, that wasn't a joke. Go ahead and tell your joke, or else get off this see saw.
C3: Right, otherwise put: Bit or get off the totter.
C2: Okay, okay, okay, here it is, here it is [laugh] oh man, this is so funny, here we go, okay.
Why did I cross the teeter totter?
C1: [sigh] Well, you haven't actually crossed it, but just to play along, I give up. Why did you cross the teeter totter?
C2: To get the other chickens to slide!! Wheeeeeee!
5 September 2007 (Curveball)
When I pitch a totter ride to a potential totteree, I try to throw the ball straight down the middle of the plate--by finding a way to direct their eyes to a computer screen displaying a previous Talk. I figure a link embedded in an email is the equivalent of a batting-practice fastball. My thinking there is the same as any hitting instructor's: see the ball, hit the ball. See the website, hit the website ... climb aboard the totter. I just figure if an invitee sees how the rides are documented, and sees that other people just like them have ridden the totter, they'll be less likely to be creeped out and more likely to join the fun.
But Mark Lincoln Braun didn't need to see anything beforehand. He thought enough of the very idea of the sheer adventure of riding a teeter totter with a whole bunch of different people, that he was on board with it. Without ever having seen this website. Without knowing how the rides were documented. Without knowing who I was. Without knowing anything more than: he wanted to support some guy who'd set out on an adventure.
That's the baseball equivalent of closing your eyes and swinging. But Mark pretty much hit the ball out of the park. Some readers might recognize Mark as Mr. B, the piano player who's appeared at 28 straight Ann Arbor Street Art Fairs. Others might recognize him as a hard-throwing amateur baseball pitcher until a few years ago. Still others may have seen a write-up in the Ann Arbor News earlier this year describing his planned 2008 crossing of the state of Michigan in a pedal-powered vehicle carrying his piano--with stops along the way for performances. Sure, all that is plenty interesting, but none of that is what currently occupies Mark's current focus. To find out what Mark's going to do up at the Mackinaw Bridge this weekend, read Mark's Talk.
29 August 2007 (No place hotter than a seat on the totter)
When the next Congress convenes, Congressman John Dingell of Michigan's own 15th District will continue to chair the Energy and Commerce Committee. This puts him in the driver's seat to apply the brakes to global warming. Here's your chance to be a backseat driver. By signing this online petition you're adding the weight of your own foot to Congressman Dingell's as he hits the brake pedal.
Here's more background on the petition asking John Dingell to lead the fight against global warming.
22 August 2007 (Tunnel Run)
Ever wonder what kind of rush it must be to run through the Michigan Stadium tunnel down onto the football field? That's a thrill usually reserved for football players. Here's your chance.
Big House Big Heart 5K Run
Sunday, 30 September, 9:00am
One of the first totterees is in charge
of making sure the race
course is run-able. It's a course that takes runners on a quick tour of the south section of Central
Campus before sending them
through the tunnel of
the Big House, and down to the finish on the 50-yard line. Follow that link to register online or for
instructions to register by regular mail.
There's still time to train up a little bit so that you can look sharp when you're displayed on the gigantic scoreboard screen as you cross the line. Note to prospective totterees: don't even think of trying to schedule a totter ride that morning. I'm doing the tunnel run.
20 August 2007 (Let me eat cake)
A couple of weeks ago, I campaigned hard for a particular cake-and-frosting flavor combination to be a part of Greenpeace's welcome home reception for Congressman John Dingell. The official welcoming cake is shown here. Greenpeace's Rebecca Sobel certainly kept her part of the bargain, by having two small chocolate cakes with white icing available to snack on for the folks welcoming the Congressman home. Mmm mmm, cake.
I figured whoever made that cake shaped like the state of Michigan would be fun to totter with. Pastry chef and owner of Decadent Delight, Bryant Stuckey, proved me right. Bryant served up his own personal take on the best kind of cake, offered some advice on low-temperature confections that might be suitable for my newly-built solar oven, and provided the strongest validation to date for the basic principle of the teeter totter: balance. Read the section of Bryant's Talk where he discusses weighing ingredients.
The windmills (fashioned by Rebecca Sobel) adorning the cake are worth a mention, mostly for skeptics who might wonder if Michigan is windy enough for wind-based power generation to be feasible. Based on my bicycle ride up to Lansing last Friday to see a Lugnuts baseball game--where the whole way I battled a steady north-west headwind of 20 mph, with gusts up 35 mph--I have to say Michigan has at least some days when it's plenty windy. I've seldom had a more unpleasant time on a bicycle.
For breakfast the next morning, I was looking to replace the extra fuel I'd burned the day before, and figured I couldn't go wrong with biscuits and gravy. What a disappointment Tony's biscuits and gravy was. The gravy's consistency was whipped such that it would form a stiff peak. Without the little bits of sausage, I don't think the white material covering the biscuit substrate could have been identified as gravy. What I was served seemed more like biscuits frosted with something gravy-like.
Which brings us right back to cake. It looks like all the cool kids get their cake and cookies from Decadent Delight. Guess which two totterees Bryant is baking a wedding cake for in the next couple of weeks.
16 August 2007 (The Karl Rove connection to Ann Arbor)
Two days ago, Karl Rove, Deputy Chief of Staff to President Bush, announced his resignation, thus effectively rendering moot the question posed in the video embedded here, which stars two totterees.
Clips from that video were included in the segment produced by CNN reporter Jeanne Moos, which aired the day of Rove's resignation.
After watching that YouTube clip, I think most readers will agree that the interrogative, "Where's my turd blossom?" has never been posed with such poignant sweetness.
The answer? Those petals seem to have gone swirling right down the toilet. But it seems to me we were due a courtesy flush quite a while back. Hope someone remembers to jiggle the handle.
15 August 2007 (Michigan Daily)
Jessica Vosgerchian, Managing News Editor, and Emma Nolan-Abrahamian, photographer, from the Michigan Daily, paid a visit to the totter last week, which resulted not in a Talk, but rather in a nice write up of Teeter Talk, which appeared in Monday's edition.
It turns out that Emma, who went nearly aerial to capture the image published with the piece, is the niece of this totteree. And Emma hails from the same neighborhood of Brooklyn to which this totteree was planning to move shortly after his ride, having lived several years in Ann Arbor.
The appearance of that piece in the Michigan Daily's online edition provided the added bonus that I finally have some material to give some balance (and that's what this project is all about, eh?) to Karl Pohrt's comments for some promotional literature I'm working on:
What People Say about Teeter Talk
"This is hometown Dada media at its best."
Karl Pohrt, Shaman Drum Bookshop owner
"Wow ... how creepy is that?"
Dan, Michigan Daily reader
11 August 2007 (Happy Birthday)
During this tottering lull, Teeter Talk readers are encouraged to peruse the list of totteree links in the left sidebar and identify any Talks they might have overlooked. One totteree whose Talk was--judging from the total number of page views--not overlooked by many people, is celebrating his birthday today. I spoke with T. Casey Brennan on the phone last night, and he reported that he's turning 59. So if you see T. Casey hanging out in front of Beaner's or someplace else, wish him a Happy Birthday.
In that phone conversation with T. Casey, he related an anecdote from what he figured had to be at least as far back as the spring sometime--when the Link bus was still running--about a bus ride he shared with another totteree, who displayed the decent good manners to introduce himself. Hats off to readers who can guess the identity of that totteree without peeking. To see how that totteree fights the good fight in ways sometimes unseen and subtle, by refusing to preemptively surrender to vandals--of bathrooms or of the internet--have a look at this.
31 July 2007 (Last Day of July)
One day last summer, this guy came around our street and asked if he could take a picture of our garage. He had a client who wanted a garage built, as best I recollect, and he had researched recent similar projects had been granted a zoning variance. Ours came up on the list--a slight variance on the setbacks had been granted. Anyway, I was happy to show him around the garage inside and out ... mostly because it was a perfect opportunity to show him the teeter totter. Which I did. But I didn't really try to push him to take a ride. In retrospect I must have been a little off my game, because the hardest part is to get people into the backyard. Once they're in the backyard, and have sighted the totter, it should, theoretically, be easy to hammer the deal home.
At any rate, this guy gave me his card, and I squirreled it away with the rest of the business cards I've collected over the years. This summer, Chris Buhalis stopped by for a totter ride and revealed on the totter that several years ago he had driven to Alaska with Doug Selby of Meadowlark Builders. At the time, that name combination sounded vaguely familiar. Rooting around in that pile of business cards turned up the card you see here. Same guy! Well, I figured that was a good enough reason to try to lure Doug back to my street for a totter ride. And he did, too. Doug's Talk covers the Alaska trip, green building practices, Avery House, and fertilized eggs.
30 July 2007 (Unliklier Fisherman)
Teeter Talk stuck with the topic of fishing this week. Local playwright Al Sjoerdsma wrote a one-act play called Gandhi Goes Fishing a few years back. But incredibly--as Al revealed on the totter--he's never been fishing around these parts. We talked about Al's plays, Art Fair, and the like. Al and I also talked briefly about his specialist's knowledge of a particular comic book superhero. Read Al's Talk for details.
Or if you already know Al, and you'd like to take the online Superhero Personality Test on his behalf to see if you can replicate the results that I achieved, then knock yourself out. I filled in answers based on what I learned about Al in a half hour of tottering, but it's possible that the results may have been skewed by subconscious inclusion of my own traits.
Results for HD: You are Gandhi
29 July 2007 (A Piece of Cake)
Greenpeace's Project Hot Seat is hosting a Welcome Home reception for Congressman Dingell at his Ypsilanti office Monday, 6 August from noon to 1pm. From the Project Hot Seat Website:
We'll have a "Welcome Home" cake, along with a big gift of handwritten letters, postcards, and photos to show him how much we care about global warming.
When I see a call for citizen participation like this, my first question is: What kind of cake?
So I sent a query to the organizer with exactly that question.
from: Homeless Dave
date: Jul 28, 2007 2:21 PM
subject: cake for Dingell
I know it might strike you as a silly question, but what flavor cake and icing will the Welcome Home cake for Dingell be?
If that's as yet to be determined, I'd like to weigh in on the side of chocolate cake with white icing. In fact, if you can assure me it's going to be a chocolate cake with white icing, I guarantee that I will attend. Which is not to say that I won't attend unless it's chocolate cake with white icing. I'm just saying I love chocolate cake with white icing.
Just to be clear, I'm not just making up an affinity for chocolate cake with white icing on some kind of capricious whim, just to be a wisenheimer ... as this link will attest.
Looking forward to finding out the flavor.
And here's Rebecca's reply
to: Homeless Dave
date: Jul 28, 2007 6:26 PM
subject: Re: cake for Dingell
Good to see passions surface about anything.. especially cake and icing.
I had not begun to think about the flavor of this cake. I will tell you, the cake will be shaped like the state of Michigan, with the 15th district highlighted, and little wind turbines scattered around the mitten (especially in the thumb). I shall also, at your request, purchase a chocolate cake with white icing, but this is a bargain, new friend Dave. I will bring the cake - you bring 2 friends. An extra cake for two more bodies that want to stop global warming.
More yumminess to spread around. Think we have a deal?
To sugary goodness,
I know a lot of people, but I'm not sure that there's two people here locally
who would agree to be labelled as my
'friend'. So even if you don't consider me to be your 'friend', I'd sure appreciate it if some Teeter Talk readers
would show up to this event
on 6 August from noon to 1pm at
Congressman Dingell's office.
It also wouldn't hurt to find Rebecca and thank her for the brilliant choice of flavor on the cake.
By AATA bus from Ann Arbor, you can get there starting from the Blake Transit Center on Route 3 at 11:18am arriving at the Ypsilanti Transit Center at 11:55am. There are no transfers, and it's and end-to-end ride, so you can just get on the bus and when it stops, get off. The return trip on Route 6 leaves the Ypsilanti Transit Center at 12:47pm.
For folks who might resent whatever influence I might have had on the flavor decision, I'm sorry if you don't care for this somewhat arbitrary enforcement of my own personal café standards.
23 July 2007 (Unlikely Fishermen)
A commenter who posts under the alias Parking Structure Dude! on a couple of local Ann Arbor blogs revealed recently that he fishes the Huron River--although his style is a little different from the gentleman depicted in this photo, who was fishing at the Broadway Street Bridge last Saturday, just before Liz Elling came through on her swim down the length of the entire river. I'm hardly a scholar of the collected corpus of PSD's comments, and there's nothing I can recollect that would lead me to conclude that he was not a fisherman. Yet I found his revelation mildly surprising.
A review of previous Talks for mentions of fishing revealed that literal fishing has never made it into a conversation on the totter. If someone like PSD is a fisherman, I reasoned, perhaps I should start trying to work the topic into some Talks and see if I could get anyone to, ahem, bite.
Kyle Campbell did not disappoint. He spent four years in Madison at the University of Wisconsin studying finance and Spanish. And going fishing! He didn't have far to go, because he lived within sight of the water.
Kyle's future home in the Midtown Detroit area is not as close to water as his student housing in Madison was. But it's definitely where the action is. And he's one of the people making the action happen--as Development Manager with DeMattia Group. He just held the grand opening of the Willys Overland Lofts in Midtown last month. Kyle already lives in the neighborhood, across the street from the project, and when construction is complete on his unit in December 2007, he'll be moving into the Lofts. To prospective buyers of the other units, I can say that based on this tottering style, Kyle would make a great neighbor. He'll give you a tour of Midtown. He might even tell you his favorite place to fish for walleye these days. Or if you don't want to buy a new Loft, just to learn the location of Kyle's secret fishing hole, you can get a general idea by reading Kyle's Talk.
19 July 2007 (Boomerang)
The knock I heard on the door last Wednesday afternoon made me wish that I'd installed a door bell instead. Why? Because when I answered the door standing there flashing me a peace sign was Patrick Cardiff. And if it'd been a doorbell ring I was responding to, I coulda said, "You rang?" And he coulda said back, "That's right ... boomer-rang."
What he had to show me was a gift he'd crafted that combined his passion for creating custom boomerangs, and my enthusiasm for teeter totters. That's right, what's pictured here is a totter-rang.
Sure, a teeter-totter-shaped boomerang is quite a sight to behold, but does it fly? You bet it does. We headed straight to Allmendinger Park, where Patrick patiently gave me a basic boomerang throwing lesson. He announced at the beginning that we would stay until I had completed a throw and catch. Under an hour later, I'd achieved a throw-and-catch sequence.
That pretty well made my summer, right there. Thanks, Patrick, for the thoughtful gift of the boomerang, and for the hours of fun it will surely bring in the summers to come.
17 July 2007 (Totteree Update)
A couple of tidbits from last night's Ann Arbor City Council meeting related to some totterees. First, the mayor nominated Councilmember Joan Lowenstein to replace Rob Aldrich on the Board of the Downtown Development Authority. And the mayor nominated the City's Public Services Area Administrator, Sue McCormick, to serve on the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority Board. The mayor noted that Ms. McCormick would replace Nancy Shore, whose service on the AATA Board is ending in connection with her new position as Director of the getDowntown Program, a job she'll be taking over from Erica Briggs.
16 July 2007 (Manchester Chicken Broil)
If you live in Ann Arbor, and you're looking for an excuse to get the heck out of town to escape the Art Fairs, try the Manchester Chicken Broil this Thursday, 19 July from 4pm to 8pm. A tip of the hat to anyone who can say without peeking which previous totteree bought a BMW motorcycle at the Chicken Broil one year. I went last year for the first time, just because he mentioned it on the totter. And tottering schedule permitting, I'll be there again this year.
In connection with the rollout of new storm water rate
system that is tied to the amount of impervious area on residents' property, the City of Ann Arbor website
now includes a storm water user interface under its my property link.
Type in your address and you'll be presented with a 'storm water' tab that displays an aerial photo of the corresponding
property with red cross-hatched highlighting. The red-highlighted areas denote the parts of the parcel that the
photography has identified as impervious. Actually, type in any address if you want to see how well your
I was bracing myself for battle with the City, in case my parcel was analyzed incorrectly. But, somewhat disappointingly, the aerial shot of my property provided by the City did not analyze anything in the backyard as impervious ... as this doctored image does.
9 July 2007 (Extraordinary Vegetables)
On arrival at the totter venue a few weeks ago, Chris Buhalis described doing some carpentry work with Dick Siegel on a house across the street that used to belong to Lauren. Here's a close-up of the knob to the screen door to that house. Want to know who painted the door that color? It was the totter guest from last Thursday, Amanda Edmonds, who originally got to know Lauren on the swing dancing scene and was helping her get ready to sell the house.
Lest this arouse suspicions among regular readers, I'd like to clarify that potential totter guests are not required to undergo a rigorous screening process that requires having performed work at Lauren's previous home, or at least have some previous acquaintance with Lauren. I had no idea that Amanda knew Lauren, or that she had painted that door, until after she'd locked in a totter time. I knew of Amanda not as a painter of screen doors, but rather as the founder and director of Growing Hope, which many Ann Arborites might think of as the Ypsi non-profit that will sell you a rain barrel if you want to get a $1.75 quarterly credit on your storm water bill.
As you'll discover on reading Amanda's Talk, Growing Hope will wrangle you a rain barrel, but the future they envision for themselves is way more enterprising than just rain barrels.
In addition to directing Growing Hope, Amanda's own enterprises extend way beyond painting her friends' screen doors--a glimpse of which can be explored on Amanda's Flickr site, or her amepix website. Instead of just glimpsing online, though, you can inspect greeting cards imprinted with Amanda's incredible vegetable close-ups, live at the third edition of Shadow Art Fair starting at noon on Saturday, 14 July at the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti. Also on offer at Amanda's table will be buttons like this one, with a variety of different slogans and images.
1 July 2007 (Ordinary Vegetables)
Regular readers might remember that Matt Callow was going to spend two weeks in June 2007 as the Artist in Residence for the Glen Arbor Art Association up around the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. A short while ago, just before Strange Fruit arrived in Ann Arbor, Matt began posting some of the photos taken during his residency. They're way spectacular.
Looking at them reminded me that I still had one roll of unexposed film I had bought for the matchbox pinhole camera that Matt helped me construct at the Ann Arbor District Library workshop last February. So I loaded up the matchbox in preparation for Strange Fruit, but figured I'd practice on the Cherokee pole bean patch in the front flower bed. Royer Held from Project Grow gifted me the seeds to those beans. What I like about the photo is the parallel-ness of the various linear components and how they interplay with the skewed angle of the watering can spout, but which is again parallel with the large tree branch in the left background.
After warming up my shuttering reflexes with these ordinary vegetables, I headed off to Top of the Park to shoot Strange Fruit. I suppose I might have aimed the thing a bit more precisely, but to get any result at all is, for me, somewhat of a miracle. The orangy color around the top edges is likely due to a light leak. It was bright bright bright sun that day.
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