TT with HD: Adam de Angeli
HD: Okay, totter end is guest choice.
AdA: Oh, well, I suppose I'll take this side. I'm closer to this side.
HD: It seems to be the most popular side. I think it has something to do with the fact that its natural resting position is higher but ... it's not like I've done a scientific experiment on it. ... Shall we mount?
AdA: Sure. I'm a little heavier than you, I bet.
HD: Oh, not that much heavier, though. Let's see how this works.
AdA: This is fine.
HD: Yeah, this is working alright.
AdA: Okay, cool.
HD: So do you remember the last time you've been on a teeter totter?
AdA: Not really. I think it must have been decades ago. But this is a very clever idea, though. The rocking motion, ... they say when you rock babies it hypnotizes them in a sense. So you get more honest answers from people ...
HD: I don't know if more honest answers, but it's a much more sort of relaxing environment ... depending on who you are, I guess. But for anybody who's willing to come and talk to me on my teeter totter, that's a high threshold, so for someone who's met that threshold, for that kind of person, then the up and down motion is going to be an asset as opposed to a detriment.
AdA: There's certain people who'd be scared to even get on a teeter totter.
HD: Yeah, one of the people who declined my invitation simply said, Teeter Totters make me nauseous. And I'm not sure if that meant the actual motion sickness. Or just to look at them, even. Maybe he's just disgusted with teeter totters in general. But I just took that at face value and said, That's a no. And I don't need to press the issue any further.
AdA: You can only speculate.
HD: So you mentioned in an email that you sent when we were setting up the time that you were familiar with our street, because you trained your dog to walk off-leash along here? Is there something about the street that makes it particularly suitable for training a dog to walk off-leash?
AdA: Yeah, well there's not very many cars. There's plenty of sidewalks. I live in Ypsi now, and there's hardly any sidewalks, which makes it kind of difficult. I haven't had my dog on a leash in over a year now, I think. He walks downtown Ann Arbor, downtown Ypsilanti, everywhere.
HD: What kind of dog is he?
AdA: He's a mutt. I think he's a Rott-Chow. But no one's really sure. He's got a Chow tail, he's got Rott features, but he's got a Lab face.
HD: Does he have a black tongue?
AdA: No, he doesn't. That's what everyone asks when I say he's a Chow. But no, he has a regular tongue. He has a funny under-bite, though, and nobody knows where that comes from.
HD: What's his name?
AdA: Captain Crunch.
HD: And that comes from ... the under-bite?
AdA: No, just from looking around the room for a name.
HD: And there happened to be a box?
AdA: Yeah, there was a box in the room. His bowl is decorated now with various Crunch brands.
HD: So do people ever chastise you for having the dog off the leash? I mean, this is Ann Arbor and, generally, people don't hesitate to let you know when you're breaking the rules.
AdA: Yeah, this one person actually tried to kill my dog a couple of times over it ... This is a long story, but ..
HD: That's okay we've got time.
AdA: So it's an apartment building. It's one of those outdoor entryways, where you have three rows of outside doors. And next to it is a house. They're both owned by the same company, this CMB Management Company. They both allowed dogs. And, you know, I let my dog out to pee and poop and, of course, no one could tell me you have to have him on a leash for that. I actually don't want to have him on a leash at all, of course. And this one person took issue with it. He's got a Chihuahua, one of those types of things where a larger dog 'is going to eat his dog' if he has the opportunity. Even though, he never lets his dog out, and when he does it's kept under his arm. And this was his concern, I guess. And he asked me nicely, Please can you just keep your dog on-leash in the backyard? And I said, You know, it's a back yard. It isn't like public property or anything. And I said something like, I'm sorry this is bothering you, but you're going to have to deal with it.
HD: So it's a shared backyard?
AdA: Yeah, it's a shared backyard, and in fact there's no boundry between the apartment door and the house. So first what he tried to do is, he called Animal Control. And this Animal Control Officer comes and says, Was your dog off-leash in the backyard? And I go, Yeah, I mean he has every right to be. And the cop says, Oh no he doesn't, here's your ticket! I looked at the lease and the lease on our apartment complex clearly states that the dog must be kept on a leash, when off the premises, when on public property. I looked at the ordinance itself and it says that a dog must be on-leash on public property. So I say to the judge, It's really quite clear on this ...
HD: So you went to the trouble to go to court over it? So did you represent yourself, or ... ?
AdA: I fight every ticket and I never get a lawyer. Because it's just more money than it's worth anyway, you know? It's cheaper to pay the fine. So I told the judge, You know I'm looking at the law here and ... I don't see in the law here where it says anything about a dog having to be on a leash when it's in his own backyard. I mean it doesn't say anything in my lease about it either, so you know I think this is outside the scope of the law this ticket's been written for. And the judge says, No, I disagree, in an apartment complex a dog has to be kept on a leash, that's the law. But he didn't cite any law. So, whatever. So I had to pay a $100 fine for this ... And a couple of days later the dog gets incredibly sick and starts throwing up everywhere.
HD: Your dog or the Chihuahua?
AdA: My dog. And we don't know what to do at this point. He's really sick and he's puking everywhere. We figured maybe we'll wait it out, maybe he'll get better. And then, I guess it was around midnight that night, I discover that there's a can of anti-freeze that's been left in the parking lot in a really suspicious place. It was right under a ...
HD: ... so your theory is that this had been left by your Chihuahua-owning neighbor?
AdA: Well, that wasn't my theory at that point. We called the police. I was certainly suspicious, and I took the can of anti-freeze and said, Can you figure out whose this is, please, because I bet you anything it's the guy in apartment number I forget what the apartment number was. And the cop was, No, no, no. And I was, Well, can you please take my dog to the vet, can you help me, because we don't have a car and it's an emergency? And the cop goes, No, no, no, we can't do that, sorry! And he's also giving me a bunch of, Oh, I smell marijuana! I smell marijuana! And I'm like, Dude, my dog's dying here, can you shut up? And finally he lets that go. And about a week later, down the steps in front of the laundry room, on the outside of the apartment building, there's an entire knocked-over chocolate cake, not cleaned up at all. It was like a full ...
HD: ... so these are the classic things, the anti-freeze and the chocolate cake, that are sort of known to be bad for dogs.
AdA: Exactly. And the thing that was really suspicious about it, I asked everyone on the lower floor, if they had lost a chocolate cake. Certainly no one would have been going to the laundry room with a big chocolate cake.
HD: That's kind of an interesting conversation starter, Excuse me, have you lost a chocolate cake?
AdA: I really at this point was pretty sure, but I was looking up chocolate, is it really poison for dogs is it just a rumor? I wanted to be sure about this. It turns out that chocolate cake is one of the only lethal types of chocolate for dogs, because anything smaller isn't really enough to do it. And baking chocolate, especially, is not the same as candy-bar chocolate. So it was almost crafted to be like the lethal dose. It was knocked over, it didn't look like there were any bites taken out of it ...
HD: ... so what kind of icing did it have?
HD: So chocolate on chocolate. My favorite kind of cake happens to be chocolate cake, but it's gotta be white icing. The kind that's dense with sugar.
AdA: Yeah, I like white icing better, too.
HD: So anyway, back to the dog ...
AdA: Then the Animal Control Officer comes by again. And it's the same thing, Are you still letting your dog off-leash in the backyard? At this point I'm just fed up with it.
HD: Is this Officer Christopher?
AdA: I think so, the Animal Control Officer. As far as I know there's only one or two.
HD: I think they may have cut back from two to one. When I worked at the Humane Society, the Animal Control officer would bring us dogs from time to time, actually on a fairly regular basis. So the Animal Control Officer comes back and ...?
AdA: Yeah, We've been hearing reports that the dog is still being kept off-leash in the backyard. And I'm like, This is totally ridiculous! But I happen to also have been friends with people next door, who also had dogs, and a lot of the other people in the building had dogs. And we all went through this same thing, too, because all the dogs, they play together in the backyard. But this time, having a little bit more experience from my previous engagement in court ...
HD: ... you knew that if a ticket was issued, you were going to be out $100.
AdA: Actually, it'd be double at this point, because they double every time you get one.
HD: Oh, really?
AdA: Yeah, up to $500. So this time, I said, No, he was not off of a leash in the backyard, he was off a leash in the people next door's backyard. It's their backyard, they have dogs, they don't have to keep their dogs on a leash in their backyard. My dog is friends with their dog. And he walks off a leash when he's in their backyard. He's on a leash when he's in my backyard. And the cop's like, Well, you gotta be kidding me! And I said, Well, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it. And the cop comes back a couple of weeks later and says, You know, the City Attorney decided to issue a fine. The City Attorney, Robert West, this would be the first of many times I've been to court with this guy. So I went back to court and that was my story and I really stuck by it. In court, I brought up the anti-freeze. I said, I had the anti-freeze, I asked the cop to identify it, I told him whose fingerprints it would be, he could get them off the guy's door knob. The police refused to do that. I had literally a dying dog here and ended up having to wake up the same people, the people in that next-door house who ended up taking him to the vet. So I actually have some evidence of this stuff. I've taken photographs, I've talked to everyone in the building, I've gotten signed statements saying none of them had a chocolate cake, etcetera etcetera. The City didn't want to go after this whatsoever. However, based only on this one guy's claim, which I disputed from the beginning, based only on this one thing, the one complaint, with no evidence whatsoever aside from the complaint, the City's issued me this ticket for this. There's no evidence of this whatsoever! So Robert West, the City Attorney, says, So you really are sticking by your story that your dog was not off his leash in his own backyard? I said, Yes, absolutely that's my story, and I'm sticking to it. And the judge found me innocent and that was the end of that. But obviously, I couldn't stay at that place any more.
HD: So you moved out of there pretty soon after that?
AdA: Well, yeah, the lease was going to be up anyway. Actually, I may have moved out before that second hearing.
HD: So now the dog is happy and off-leash over there in Ypsilanti?
AdA: Yeah, the people there are nice. You know, some of the neighbors are like, Keep him on a leash! Keep him on a leash! But he doesn't bother anybody.
HD: So do you own a leash, in case you'd have to put him on a leash for appearances' sake?
AdA: Yeah. My girlfriend doesn't like to walk him off of a leash, because he doesn't listen to her as well as he does to me. Most of the time, I'll just keep it in my pocket and just never take it out. It turns out that Animal Control Officers are the only police in Ann Arbor that can actually issue the leash-law citations.
HD: Oh, really? That's useful to know.
AdA: Yeah, the other cops really can do nothing, except say, Keep him on a leash! Keep him on a leash!
HD: Well, let's talk about The Planet. Before we got on the teeter totter, we talked about the name. This place where you used to live was, I guess, nicknamed Planet 827 based on the street address, and you just took that for the name of the store?
AdA: Well, it worked out nicely on many levels. The original name of the old place, you know, it was 827 West Huron. Some people started calling it Planet 827, because it really was a different place from anything else I'd ever seen. Certain rules of Earth did not apply at that place. The other reason that we called it The Planet was not just to bring back the memory of the fun times we had there, but also because obviously we have global issues that we wanted to keep people's minds on and The Planet sort of ...
HD: ... captured that.
AdA: Yeah, unfortunately, though we've had a couple of benefit shows during our hard times and the name, Save the Planet, has come up and I think that 'Save the Planet' just sounds a little cheesy. But, you know, oh well!
HD: Yeah, I saw a flyer over in the South University area that said, 'Save the Planet' and I thought, I wonder if that's somebody who's trying to save Planet Earth or save the store.
AdA: It's actually both. The Clean Water Action people, use that little slogan, too. But I don't think they're really ... I mean I'm sure they're doing a little part. But I've worked for these sort of democratic fund-raising organizations before, and most of the money is squandered. Most of the money actually goes to pay the people who are collecting the money.
HD: Well, we had two guys with clipboards from Clean Water Action come around recently, and my new policy since I started teeter tottering is: anybody who comes to the door with a clipboard gets an invitation to the teeter totter. And until they ride the teeter totter, I'm definitely not going to give them any money. I'll sign whatever they have to sign, or in the case of Clean Water Action, their deal is they like you to write a letter and they come back around later and pick it up, which I'm happy to do, with a computer that's a five-minute kind of deal. But you know, No money for you, if you don't ride the teeter totter! So I figure if they're not willing to do this thing for me, then I'm not willing to do that thing for them. So continuing, though, with The Planet. How many of there are you? I counted like six in the profiles that you have on the website. Is that the ownership group? Or how is this thing even structured? Is it an S-Corp?
AdA: It's actually a Limited Liability Corporation, but aside from what's on the paper, what actually happens at the store is totally different. I mean it started out as a cooperative action. Before we had any money for doing this whatsoever, it was just something we did in and around in our spare time. And at this point it's just been so difficult. I've pretty much taken on the unwanted role of being like the guy in charge of this place. Because for one thing, a lot of my personal money is on it. And also just because, there's so many things to keep track of. We started out, we were paying everybody actually real nicely. Everyone was making $9.00 an hour. Plus you know discounts and stuff. Now at this point, it's like mostly volunteer help. But, you know, we're just doing what we can. But I'm not going to let go of that place.
HD: So you passed your one-year anniversary, though. That's a milestone that a lot of operations never reach.
AdA: Yeah, totally. We did stick it out for that long. We're thinking right now, because rent is really high on South University and our lease is about to be up anyway, the offer has been put out, and this is a scoop for you by the way, there's talk that we might move into the Natural Canvas. The invitation's been extended ...
HD: ... and that's on North Main?
AdA: Yeah, that's on North Main. It's a concert venue slash tattoo gallery, plus piercing studio, art studio. They do all kinds of crazy stuff there. And we think that moving over there might be a nice change. We thought that being on South U. would be the perfect location because it's so close to the University ...
HD: ... right, you'd suit the demographic ...
AdA: ... well, actually, if anything, we had to create the demographic. Because, really, this part of town over here is a lot more supportive of our message than the campus is. So it might actually be good that we might be moving over here to the North Main side.
HD: So what would the time frame be?
AdA: Probably in the next couple of months. I mean if it happens. It's not set in stone, but it's a strong possibility. I think we've got enough loyal supporters and enough people that just enjoy the place, that if we moved over there, there wouldn't be too much of a thing to make sure people knew about it.
HD: When when I had Dan Izzo, who owns the Improv Inferno, on the teeter totter, he said that one of the questions that he wishes people would ask him, but that he's rarely asked is, Why should I come to your place? And so I made a mental note to make sure to ask that kind of question in the future on the totter. So why should I come to The Planet? Or why should anybody go?
AdA: Well. It's hard to describe in any simple sense. I guess because The Planet is the only business I know ... and there's certain info shops and there's you know political groups and collectives etcetera etcetera, ... but there's never been, I think, a business to challenge the status quo so abrasively as we're doing right now. I really can't fit it into a short statement what's going on in the world right now, but partly: The Constitution's been shredded. Bush is like the most evil man to ever set foot inside the White House since possibly his father. The economy is falling apart. They're telling us lies to go to war in Iran. The same lies they told us to go to war in Iraq. The globalists are pushing for a global government. World police are being trained. Detention camps are being built in the United States. Torture, eco-cide. It's just as awful as you could imagine it being. But we're not seeing it from the mainstream media. We certainly see it from the more radical media. We definitely pull out all the stops, ...
HD: What if I don't care about any of that stuff? Is there anything for me at The Planet?
AdA: Oh sure! I mean, there's books, videos, entertainment, clothes, jewelry ... even if you don't care about politics. I think the fact that so much of the stuff we get is made locally, and what's not made locally then it's still made in unionized or in otherwise non-sweatshop conditions ...
HD: ... yeah, on your website, it says that for, I guess all your merchandise, and in particular for people who are looking to do consignment operations, that they have to demonstrate that their stuff is certifiably sweatshop free.
AdA: Well, we've been a little more lenient than that. If we people are making things themselves, we'll take their word on that. If a guy brings in a whole bunch of hemp stuff, I'm assuming he's not importing it from China. One of them I actually know. I've seen him making the stuff out on the Diag himself on a summer day, just stringing up hemp. So I'm pretty sure that's legit. A lot of people who bring in the glass jewelry and stuff ... there's a whole community of glass blowers in Ann Arbor, and I'm sure they know each other. I think it'd be a little obnoxious to say, You can't prove to me you didn't import that glass from China so ... that would be a little tough. It's more in dealing with the bigger corporations. Like when we first opened up, there were so many companies that we were looking at. Then when it came to the question of, How do we know you're not running sweatshops? some of them were like, Phthht! I assure you I'm not running any sweatshop! And I'm like, Well, your prices are like a quarter of what they are for everybody else. It's kind of hard for me to believe that you're manufacturing these clothes that are going to retail for 50 bucks and you're selling them to us for only five. I mean if you have no evidence that you're not a sweatshop I'm kinda going to have to assume that you are.
HD: So how does The Planet's division of labor work ... as far figuring out which companies are legit and people figuring out accounting and margins ... what's your speciality?
AdA: At this point, we all just do everything. My focus, in particular, is so frazzled that what is in front of me at that very particular moment is what I do.
HD: So a putting-out-fires kind of mentality?
AdA: Yeah. Like in a given day, I've got my new blog, you might have heard of, I try to spend a little bit of time on that ...
HD: ... this is the Ann Arbor Media Watch?
AdA: Yeah, as I call it. I really want to get more people involved in that. I don't want it to be a solo effort, either. So there's that. Then there's all the web sales and tons of stuff to package and put in the mail. There's receiving things. Then there's the banking and accounting. Taxes. And then there's cleaning the store, of course. You've got to do that once in a while! And putting up sales and signs. Yeah, it's actually quite a task.
HD: So stuff like, there was an author ... Dunbar-Ortiz, that you had for a book-signing, meet-and-greet, ... who made ...
AdA: ... yeah, the Critical Moment Collective organized that, actually.
HD: So as far as your having to go make the overtures and introduce yourself, that was somebody else who did that?
AdA: Yeah, we were really grateful that they took care of so much organizing on that. Mostly all we did was put up flyers and signs, post notes on our website and email lists and stuff. And order the books. But the Critical Moment really put that together. And it was really cool, too. The whole front of the store was jam-packed with people. We had every chair full. People were sitting on the floor and standing up in the back.
HD: You mentioned the blog that you run. I guess I didn't realize it at the time I scheduled you and Larry Kestenbaum as successive guests, but you've got this online 'conversation' going, ...
AdA: ... actually, it's not really going anymore. Maybe he's been saying things but I haven't really gotten back to that in a while. Again, that's just one of those things ... One weekend, when there wasn't much stuff in the Michigan Daily, I decided to poke around other local web logs and see what the talk was. And I was on Ann Arbor is Overrated ... and a long time ago some people posted some things about the store and I issued a rather nasty rebuttal, ... , in response to some things that Peter Honeyman said about the store and a few other things and it got into a bit of an argument. Kestenbaum was noticing it, and posted something on his blog about his skepticism of the skepticism ... of the official story of 9-11. I launched into a tirade about that because I think exposing 9-11 is one of the most important media projects there is right now. More than the stolen election. More than Israel-Palestine. More than the lies about Iraq. Because 9-11 is contained within itself. We should have seen it before with Iran-Contra, of course. Because it's the same thing that Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz was saying. The guy who was in charge of the death squads, I think in Nicaragua, maybe it was Honduras as well, but John Negroponte, he was the only guy who could give them authority to kill Americans who were down there. And sometimes he did. He's now the guy running the death squads in Iraq. I mean these people really are total psychopaths. And if they have the inhumanity to kill American people as a pretext for their global agenda ... and certainly to think that the evidence isn't there to show that that's actually what they did ... the evidence is everywhere ... So Kestenbaum sort of took some of the more loopy conspiracy theories, because, of course, there are going to be loopy conspiracy theories out there and said, You know, this is what these people are thinking and it doesn't make sense! And I said, Well, what about this, what about that, what about this ...
HD: ... yeah, it's all there on the web, documented in it's full-blown glory with citations of citations of citations.
AdA: Yeah, I just think the 9-11 thing just blows everything else out of the water. Because if you're researching this stuff, you're going to come across stuff about the Israeli spy networks. You're going to come across some stuff about the New World Order. And you're going to come across stuff about globalism, and figure out how it's actually working. And that's really what's needed right now. Henry Herskovitz, for example, he'll always be on point on the Israel-Palestine issue. But a lot of people are simply not going to care about that. No matter what. Because people are worried about their own lives right now or whatever. But 9-11, obviously it shows that America is in peril. And for that reason people ought to stand up and get interested in this, because it shows that their lives actually are in danger.
HD: So as best I can tell, though, you and Larry share an interest: this IRV system of voting?
AdA: Yeah, I really wanted to go to that IRV meeting [at which Kestenbaum spoke]. I think it was two days ago. I think Instant Run-off Voting is not only something that is totally necessary for any real democracy, but there's no excuse for not having it right now. It's absolutely ridiculous, this notion that if you're voting for a third party, your vote's being wasted, your vote doesn't count. How is that okay?
HD: I don't know that much about it, but my understanding is that it would be a fairly computer-intensive exercise to do on any large scale. And once it's a computer exercise there's all these issues of security, so it's not as simple as, Oh, let's do it! There's a technological challenges.
AdA: The thing about that, though, is that we had Instant Run-off Voting before [in Ann Arbor]. We had it in 1975 when the City approved a measure and it existed for about a year, then I guess the Democrats realized it wasn't doing them any good to have people voting for a third party first and Democrats second. They had a poorly-attended election and had it cancelled back out again. But I mean, no, you don't need a computer to run a process like this ... it probably would be a little more time consuming for a voting results standpoint. But it certainly seems like a worthwhile thing since the Democrats have a monopoly of power in the City. And I certainly wouldn't want to vote for any Republican, but you know a monopoly of power in the hands of anybody is bound not be a good thing.
HD: So do you know of anybody running for City Council other than standard Democrats?
AdA: I really haven't been following much on that subject, unfortunately. Last year we were joking about running The Planet for City Council.
HD: The whole Planet?
AdA: Yeah, like doing it sort of like how Michael Moore did the what was it called, Fichus for Congress, where he ran a plant for Congress.
HD: Oh, I didn't follow that.
AdA: The plant actually won.
AdA: And people started doing this in other cities, ... apparently some Republican was running unopposed and Michael Moore ran a fichus plant, on the grounds that it would be better than any Republican. The fichus plant actually won the vote, but of course, they wouldn't allow the plant to take office. You know it [running The Planet] was sort of a tongue-in-cheek thing, kind of semi-serious, making a statement about corporate personhood. One of the reasons we set up The Planet as a corporation, as opposed to a collective or something is that it's our way of saying, Fine if we're going to have this system, we can even still beat it at it's own game, you know? But that never actually took off. It seemed like it was going to be a bad idea and probably a ton of effort. So we just never actually did it.
HD: Back to the possibility of the new space on North Main. You mentioned that space would include some kind of performance venue?
AdA: The details are still sort of sketchy, because the thing we'd be doing is moving into where the Natural Canvas now has it's performing venue. And Chad, who's like the proprietor of the Natural Canvas, is looking for a second place, which could be sort of a performance house. Which is something that we definitely want. Because if we're going to move into there, our store and our store stuff will become what is now the performance area in that place. ... at The Panet right now, we have a big room in the back and we show movies every Wednesday night ...
HD: ... you've got open mic ...?
AdA: ... yeah, we've got open mics on Tuesdays. Although we've been having those in the front of the store lately. It's kind of more pleasant up front, you know?
HD: Just sitting around amongst the merchandise?
AdA: Well,you know, we take the tables and chairs out of the book section. And someone sets up turntables and spins records and we have a little PA system we set up ...
HD: ... so people come and they play their original tunes and whatnot ...
AdA: ... we've had all kinds of crazy stuff happen on Open Mic night. We've had people free-styling, we've had Krishnas come and sing, ... playing on drums, people bring their acoustic guitars ...
HD: ... is there a cover charge for that?
AdA: Except for when we have a benefit show for ourselves, we never charge cover for anything. In fact, all of our shows are free ...
HD: So do you have a benefit show coming up any time soon?
AdA: No, one benefit show we had ... was at the Natural Canvas several months ago it was our anniversary. We charged I think ...
HD: ... I was going to ask if you had some sort of anniversary celebration ...
AdA: Yeah, it was our anniversary back in November we had a show at the Natural Canvas that was really cool. And, hearing that our financial times weren't very good, the Toasters not Torpedoes, who play at the store, ... almost on a monthly basis ... they're a really great band ... they're a punk band ... they just decided they were going to tell people they were going to charge 3 bucks to get in and give us the money. So they did that. Actually, February is a very busy month of shows. I think we've got a show this Friday, this Saturday, next Friday, next Saturday, next Friday and Saturday after that. Another one on the last Friday.
HD: And these are all at The Planet?
AdA: They all start whenever the band shows up, but that usually comes out around 9pm, when we usually get started.
HD: Is this bring your-own-beverage-type affair?
AdA: No. Actually it's funny. In the past we bought waters and pops to make money at the event, but then we ended up forgetting to and drinking all the water and pop ourselves. But no, being a store, and being that our shows are all ages and free, we can't have any alcohol in the place at all. That's one thing some people don't like, there's no drugs, no alcohol, no cigarettes ... So if we went into the Natural Canvas, we'd have room for our store stuff, but not for that actual extra back space. And Chad says he's getting calls for like five bands a week to play at the Natural Canvas. Definitely the issue that's out there is, I have to come up with another place to have our fun at, you know? The natural idea would be: the house next door [to the Natural Canvas] is a punk house, but they've stopped doing shows at their house now and they're trying to be a house not a concert venue. But they are actually dual-zoned for commercial and residential purposes. So, maybe we can get them to change their minds or something. I don't know. The future is unwritten, you know?
HD: So at one point you guys were recording stuff in the basement?
AdA: Yeah, that was at 827.
HD: Is any of that stuff on offer for sale at the store?
AdA: The music we made there? You know, I still have a lot of it at home. I actually haven't done anything with it. I guess, I actually could. I've written a few tunes. Aaron, who's works at the store, ... he's one of the bands that's playing on Saturday ... most of the stuff we recorded at the Planet 827 is just ... I just don't think it would sound professional enough to really release. We actually recorded some really good guitar samples and things. I've given the artists their master tapes and stuff. I never thought to go back and release it at the store. I probably could have done that!
HD: Maybe for the new location. So you got anything else on your mind?
AdA: I'm so all over the place!
HD: I neglected to wish you a Happy Groundhog Day.
AdA: That's right! Oh yeah, that actually is on my mind! This is too warm! Don't you agree?
AdA: Usually, when you have warm spells in the winter I think, Oh good, global warming! ... just kind of joking about it, but now this is outrageous!
HD: Actually, the very first teeter totter guest was Rene Greff, and she set a cold-temperature record. I have one guy who doesn't want to ride until he can set a new cold-temperature record. I think I'm screwed for ... the rest of the spring, because I don't think we're going to get that cold again.
AdA: Yeah, it's a little scary. There's all kinds of movies and conspiracy theories about the government having the ability to manipulate weather. But I think that's a little too far-fetched for me. I do sort of wonder what the explanation for this weather is, though.
HD: I figure I might as well take advantage of it. As long as it's warm in the first days of February, get outside, do some teeter tottering, running around, cycling around ...
AdA: ... it's definitely warm enough to ride a bike.
HD: I noticed you rode here. Do you ride all the way from Ypsilanti, or do you do the bike-carrier on the bus?
AdA: I've done both. In the summertime, I almost always just ride my bike. In the winter, I've mostly been taking the bus. Partly because I'm getting out of shape. I can't use the freezing-cold-weather excuse on a day like today. But today I took the bus. It was a little bit faster. But riding from here to Ypspilanti is great and compared to the bus, it probably doesn't take that much longer.
HD: Do you take Washtenaw straight up the gut?
AdA: I take the 3 to get here and the 4 to get back, because the 3 doesn't run later in the evening.
HD: But if you're doing the whole route by bike? What would be your bike route if you didn't have the bus?
AdA: I go down Geddes, I dip into Gallop Park, ride Gallop Park all the way through to Dixboro Road, take Huron River Drive around St. Joseph's Hospital, and then head up towards Leforge, and my house is off Leforge. ... ... When I was pioneering the trail, I took it past Dixboro and it ends up turning into a place, where I sort of got lost in the woods, there's this ... nature trail. It's a really beautiful trail, this kind of marshy area around the brook next to the river. And eventually it dead ends. And I noticed I was pretty far away from the railroad tracks that I was kind of following, because my house is not too far away from the tracks. And I said, Hey this is kind of a direct shot, you know? But then it sort of dead-ended. So I ended up finding the tracks, ... , there's like this little brook that goes through it and the tracks are right there. And you climb up and you get onto the tracks, but then riding a bike on the tracks is pretty horrible, ... it's like a mile of either riding a bike on railroad ties or those enormous rocks, which must be the worst possible terrain to be riding a bike on, so it was a mile of that ...
HD: ... that's what your front shocks are for ...
AdA: ... and finally wound up on Superior Road, from there dipped back onto Huron River Drive. The shame is getting back here, you have that enormous hill coming out of Gallop Park. Going up that hill on Geddes Road to campus, that's awful. That's probably why I take the bus when I'm coming back here, because I don't want to deal with that ... At least I'm not driving a car anymore.
HD: So you don't have a car at all?
AdA: It's the best decision I ever made. ... cars are completely inefficient. They're actually the slowest way to travel. Walking on foot is faster than taking a car, believe it or not. Ivan Illich did a study ... back in the 70's ... called Energy and Equity. And what he did, he calculated how much time people spend not just in their cars driving, but in parking, paying tickets, getting the car registered, taking it to the repair shop, just every time-associated expense associated with having a car. As well as how much you have to actually work to pay for your car, to pay for your gas, pay for the insurance, to pay for the tickets, to pay for damages, to pay for this that and the other thing. And it came out that the average American man spends, I think it was 1500 hours a year, close to 4 and a half hours a day driving a car, or gathering the resources to drive a car.
HD: Sounds like a modern variation of an argument that Henry David Thoreau made for walking as opposed to the railroad. He said the fastest way to get someplace is to start walking now. I don't remember if that's Walden or if it's one of his other pieces. But I have this vague recollection of that kind of argument coming from Thoreau.
AdA: The study ends by saying it's 7500 miles you get. So it works out to 5 miles an hour. So not only are you not going fast, you're also destroying the environment and wasting a lot of time doing it!
HD: Hmm, but five miles an hour, I mean most people couldn't maintain that as a walking pace.
AdA: But on a bicycle ...
HD: Yeah, okay.
AdA: Sometimes the cargo thing becomes an issue, but I mean, take a cab! 20 bucks for a cab ride is so much less than what you're paying for a car everyday ... ... ... my butt's getting sore!
HD: Yeah, I feel like taking your picture and calling it a day.