John Roos

John Roos
coffee roaster, artist
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tottered on: 12 March 2008
Temperature: 29 F
Ground: concrete
Grounds: coarse
Wind: W at 12 mph

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Old Town Tavern

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Roos Roast Coffee

John Roos roasts every batch of coffee by hand, and bags it up in a block-printed bag with his own hand-crafted designs. So inside and out, every bag is a work of art. If you want to buy coffee and get free bicycle delivery in Ann Arbor, John Roos is your man.

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Books by Chance

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TT with HD: John Roos

michigan theater
Coffee is for the Drinking

[Ed. note: RoosRoast coffee will be available at the Ann Arbor Film Festival, which in 2008 runs from 25-30 March.]

HD: Alright, let's actually get some teeter tottering motion going! Hey man, let me down!! I've got to scoot back or you are going to be dominating this ride!

JR: Okay here we go!

HD: No, see, you're making the problem worse, because you're moving back.

JR: Oh, okay.

HD: Alright, this will be good.

JR: I'm too heavy!

HD: See, you have an extra cup of coffee in you. Quick question. You got a cup of coffee from ...

JR: ... Cafe Ambrosia ...

HD: ... just before we hopped on. Now, is that your coffee?

JR: Yeah, they brew my coffee.

HD: And so when you walk in there, can you just say, I'm John, I'd like a cup! Do you have to pay for it?

JR: Oh, yeah, they know me. Mostly I check to see how much coffee they have left, because I want to make sure if they need some. Get an order, get a coffee. Yeah, I really like those guys. For Ann Arbor, they have a great following ... [bus noise]

HD: Wow, the Link is really loud, hang on a second.

JR: It's a really kind of like a low-key cafe.

HD: So, you don't have the pay for your coffee when you get it from there?

JR: They always push my money back, but I slip them a buck or two. But pretty much, no. They're very cool like that.

HD: Before I forget, I wanted to make sure I shared with you this amazing coincidence, because this ride has been going to happen for a while.

JR: No doubt, man! I had to quit selling cars in order to get on the totter!

HD: [laugh] Now, now. But that very day that you sent me that e-mail was the day that I'd bought a new coffee maker to replace the one that we got as a wedding present.

JR: No way! That is so funny!

HD: Yeah, that same day. So in the interim, between the time that the old coffee maker died and I got the new one--this is an automated drip coffee maker from Braun, I figured the Germans know what they're doing ...

JR: ... big time. That's good ...

HD: ... I was using this French press. My one complaint was not really about the flavor, it was about just the volume. I mean, it was a little tiny French press.

JR: Not enough coffee?

HD: Really, just one big cup was all I could get out of it. So, what is your feeling about French presses as way to make coffee?

JR: French presses are an awesome way to make coffee. There's a few tricks. They make all different sizes. Actually one of my favorite coffee places that kind of inspired me to roast coffee seriously was Stumptown Coffee in Portland, Oregon. I don't know how they're doing it now--but seven years ago that's how they originally would make their coffee for everyone. They brewed it in a French press and then just poured it into those thermoses. And they had big French presses. But when you brew coffee with a French press you want to put the water just off boil into the French press, like half way full, add the coffee, then had the rest of the water.

HD: Oh, okay.

JR: You can even stir it a little, let it sit about four minutes, and then push it down.

HD: So, why is it important to put the water in, like half the water in first?

JR: Because for some reason the coffee seems to bloom better when you have some hot water above and below it ...

HD: ... [to passing cyclist] Hi, Rob! That's my neighbor.

JR: Hey, how's it going, Rob! Is that the book guy?

HD: No, that's not the book guy. [laugh]

JR: So it just helps the coffee bloom.

HD: Okay, to dump the coffee onto the water.

JR: A little water, a little coffee. Jake, who used to work at the smoke shop, taught me that.

HD: Who?

JR: Jake. He moved away, but he used work at the smoke shop over there. Yeah, he'll be back.

HD: Wow, the sun it is just peaking over the buildings now through the clouds, I'm glad we got the photography out of the way, it would have been a disaster. Okay, so, we are right here in front of the Michigan Theater and part of the reason for that is that you seem to have a closer connection to the Ann Arbor Film Festival than maybe other sponsors? I mean, you have T-shirts that have Ann Arbor Film Festival on the back, and your logo on the front. Part of the proceeds of some of your coffee classes, some percentage goes straight to the Film Festival?

JR: Exactly.

HD: Why do you love the Film Festival so much?

JR: Well, I mean, it's kind of part of the whole Free Speech thing that my coffee represents. The Film Festival is one of the the longest, oldest institutions in Ann Arbor.

HD: Is it 48 years this year or something like that? High 40's, I don't remember exactly. [Ed. note: 2008 is the 46th year of the Ann Arbor Film Festival.]

JR: It's 45, or maybe 48, I think. But I mean the fact is that a lot of stuff that was traditional here, has just sort of faded off. I mean, Ann Arbor is a place of tradition. And so this Film Festival, it's a really great think tank for all these types of people. People who make films, to me, are the ones who are actually--everyone has ideas, but these people are actually executing their ideas, and are getting them done. Like you. This is a killer idea, that someone might talk about, but who is going to really execute it? You did. You have a teeter totter on a bicycle, and you bring it down here in front of the Michigan Theater, at 8:30 in the morning. Most people would be like, He won't show! But you're here. [bus noise] The Film Festival is interesting like that, too, because all these people, they have looked at all these films. There are so many films that they don't take ...

HD: ... right. Yeah, the job of pre-screening ...

JR: ... and I in fact helped with some of the pre-screening. When I was selling cars. I would sit at my desk during the super-boring times, and then watch these short films that they had. And it's really hard work, watching all these different films. I mean, it's amazing, these guys ...

HD: ... honest assessment, now, is part of the reason it's hard work, is that some of them are just really not that great?

JR: Yeah, I mean, no! I was really impressed with the quality people are able to come up with nowadays, even the ones that don't make it. You know, ten years ago, you couldn't even touch this. Now with the technology we have, you can make a pretty incredible little piece. Since there is reality TV and all this stuff, people are more accepting of crappy films.

HD: [laugh]

JR: I shouldn't say that! Some of them are so far out there. It's all from your perspective. I mean, open up your mind, man. You don't have to be like, Oh, god, I hate it.

HD: Did you go to the Film Festival last year, to the actual screenings at all?

JR: Yes. But I wasn't here in the whole time, I was just in and out of the theater. I didn't see all the films. [to bus dis-embarkees] Good morning!

HD: Good morning!

JR: [to bus dis-embarkees] This is called Totter Time. Totter Talk? Teeter Talk!

HD: [laugh] Teeter Talk! You know, it's interesting, those new hybrid buses, they are just like a whole order of magnitude quieter. I mean, and they are still pretty noisy. Do you need to take that?

JR: No, no, no people are calling me, but I'm not taking any calls. No way, not when we're on Totter Talk.

HD: Do you remember the film from last year called Foggy Mountains Break Down More Often than Non-Foggy Mountains? Or I forget exactly the title.

JR: Explain to me what was happening in the film, maybe I'll ...

HD: ... [laugh] you know, I don't think I could. Last year was the first year I actually attended the Film Festival, because last year I said, alright, you know--for many of the reasons that you just described and talked about--I figured, you've got to go to the Film Festival at least once, you gotta give it a try. I mean, you have to support these institutions by going at least one time, for heaven's sake.

JR: Exactly.

HD: If you live in Ann Arbor for ten years and you haven't been once, then you gotta rectify that. So, I went there. I wanted to enjoy it, I was psyched, I was prepared to love everything. And they show you a collection of films at a time, because a lot of them are short enough ...

JR: ... a 'program' they're called. Like such-and-such a program.

HD: Right. And I enjoyed some of them. I remember there was this Japanese film about this insect collector, that I enjoyed it a lot.

JR: I saw that one!

HD: But then there was this film that I had really great hopes for, because the title, is a play on the title of an old banjo tune, Foggy Mountain Breakdown. And I like banjo music. I like banjo music, in fact, enough to try to learn how to play the banjo. So, high hopes and high expectations for multiple reasons. And man, you know, I had to walk out on it. Because it was just like an assault on the acoustic senses, there was a lot of just noise--and there is no other way to describe it. And visual noise. So I felt awful about that, but you know, I'm going to give it another try this year. I figure I'll go and and see if I can't have better luck with it this year. Because I figure, what's it cost you? It's not that expensive to go for one program.

JR: It's a good thing. Just walk out on the ones you don't like, and wait for the next one, because there'll be more. You know, film festivals, you can't just look at them like one film festival. There are so many. This is interesting that we have one here. And some people that put films in this Film Festival, end up making really great films later on--it's sort of a proving ground, you know?

HD: One final note about the Foggy Mountain Breakdown film, the judges of the festival totally disagreed with my assessment, because it was judged to be the Best Film of the Festival!

JR: No! [laugh]

HD: So I was like, okay, that certainly proves the old adage ...

JR: ... it's all perspective.

HD: It's all perspective, or perspective is in the eye of the beholder or something like that.

JR: This year they changed it a little bit where I am not supposed to sell stuff inside the Theater.

HD: Oh really?

JR: So I am just giving the coffee away. But underground T-shirt, cup, and any paraphernalia sales, we can just go outside the Theater and we'll take care of it.

HD: Is there a reason why they don't want to happen?

JR: It's some kind of non-profit thing with the Theater.

HD: Oh, so it's not a Festival thing?

JR: It's not the Film Festival thing, it's a Michigan Theater thing.

HD: Oh, so they got to make sure that they protect their non-profit status.

JR: Right.

HD: Got it.

JR: So we'll see what happens.

HD: That's understandable.

JR: Yeah, totally.

HD: Speaking of selling stuff, what exactly is this E-Z Vend system that you've got? [bus noise]

JR: How many people were on that bus?

HD: I don't know, I didn't see, it looks kind of empty. But from this angle now, you can't really tell. The rear window could be hiding a bunch of people.

JR: So, what was the question?

HD: You have this E-Z Vend system? How does that work exactly?

JR: Actually, that's moving to a new location. It's an E-Z Vend box. I call it the E-Z Vend 24-hour Coffee Box. And what it is, it's an honor system where when you know the combination, you can go get coffee anytime.

HD: Wow, so you can just put the money and, take the coffee ...

JR: ... take a bag or take however many bags you want. I keep the stock rotated in it. It's really great for if I leave town for a day or two, I stock it up, I'm gone, people call me and want to know where they can get coffee, and I tell them.

HD: So, it is it a bunch of one pound bags, or you have different sizes?

JR: Just one-pound bags.

HD: So, the E-Z Vend location is changing, and your actual roasting location is changing, right? You're going to be up on North Main? Right next to that street that leads over to the river?

JR: Yes, Huron River Drive.

HD: Uh, wait a second. Not Huron River Drive, well, I guess if you go the other direction, but off of North Main, if you turn right.

JR: It's all the way down at the end.

HD: Just before you get on [US] 23. [Ed. note: It's actually M-14 HD is alluding to.]

JR: Right. It's 1342 [North Main Street]. This is going to be the new--How's it going? Good to see you!

Car Buyer: What are you guys doing? Raising money for RoosRoast?

JR: Yes! Give us money! No, just kidding. This is Homeless Dave.

HD: Hi, how are you.

JR: He's not really homeless. And, I'm sorry, Kris-tin, no ...

Car Buyer: ... Kris, that's very good! You remembered me this time! [to HD] I just bought a car from him.

JR: She is the nicest lady in the world. And Greg, her boyfriend or husband, is really cool, too. Listen, he's interviewing me for his website called Totter Talk.

HD: It's an interview website where all the interviews take place on a teeter totter. That's the gimmick.

Car Buyer: Were you just walking by, and you started to teeter totter??

JR: No, we've been trying to get this going for like a year.

HD: It's been brewing a long time, so to speak.

JR: It's been way brewing. Look at this, Kris, there's no cars involved at all. He brings this down here on a bike with a trailer.

Car Buyer: Really? Where from?

HD: Oh, it's not that far. Old West Side. Seventh and Liberty is the nearest main intersection. So it's a straight shot downtown.

Car Buyer: So, are you going to be here all day?

HD: Oh, no! And here's another alumnus of the teeter totter, Jimmy Raggett!

Jimmy Ragget (alum): Totter 2.0, huh? Awesome.

Car Buyer: Well, this looks like fun.

JR: It's very fun.

Car Buyer: It's good to see you!

JR: Yeah, good to see you!

Jimmy Ragget (alum): Is that your homemade trailer?

HD: You know, the basic trailer, I bought. But the front panel, I fabricated. And there's a back panel that goes on it to, that I made, for when I'm not hauling the teeter totter.

JR: Your name is Jimmy?

Jimmy Ragget (alum): Yeah, my name's Jimmy.

JR: Yeah, I noticed--how do you brake? Because I have one of those fixie bikes--how did you brake like that? did you just pedal backwards?

Jimmy Ragget (alum): Yeah, just my legs.

JR: Really?

Jimmy Ragget (alum): Just shift your weight.

JR: Oh, shift your weight, too! To the front of the bike?

Jimmy Ragget (alum): Depending on how quickly you want to stop.

JR: We should go riding, so you can give me a lesson.

Jimmy Ragget (alum): Well, see you guys, have fun!

Car Buyer: Bye, John!

JR: Bye, Kris!

Car Buyer: I'll try to buy a car in a few years.

JR: Listen, I'm not selling cars anymore!

Car Buyer: You're not?!

JR: No, I'm just doing like all coffee stuff, because it was too much work. But here's the deal, if you know anyone who wants to buy a car, I get a referral. For quality assurance purposes I will be your buyer's agent. Or whoever.

Car Buyer: Greg needs to get a different car.

JR: Let's bring him in. Bring him to me first, no dealership.

Car Buyer: He has a BMW and I just say, You should get a Subaru, because of the all-wheel drive in the winters. It's probably going to take him two years to make a decision, because he drives his cars to about 250 to 280 thousand miles.

JR: He might change that. That's the kind of number that can change.

Car Buyer: Well, the car will decide for him.

HD: Well you know, Jimmy works down at Ann Arbor Cyclery, so maybe you could get Greg on a bike!

JR: Yeah, there we go!

Car Buyer: Well, he needs to bike to Troy. I wish he could.

HD: That would be ambitious, but it's do-able.

Car Buyer: He would really love to see a train go in, is what he would love to see. If Jimmy can do that, or if you knows someone who can politic for trains to commute to that area, that would be great. But he works in the solar industry, so he's not completely ...

HD: ... evil? He's not evil, is what you are saying?

Car Buyer: No, he's not! He's a researcher, he's not just a consumer, so!

HD: Nice chatting with you!

JR: See you later.

HD: Man, see, that's--hey how you doing? Do you need us to move?

MT Sound Guy: Nope. Just came out to check it out.

JR: What's your name?

MT Sound Guy: I'm Scott.

JR: Scott, I'm John, this is Dave.

HD: Nice to meet you, Scott.

MT Sound Guy: I've actually been to your website. I figured if you had a teeter totter out here, I figured ...

HD: ... that it was the same one?

MT Sound Guy: Probably the same one.

HD: Either that are there is somebody copying my idea.

JR: [laugh]

MT Sound Guy: Exactly.

HD: You know, Russ Collins [director of the Michigan Theater] rode.

MT Sound Guy: Oh, did he?

HD: Yep. You should check out his interview.

MT Sound Guy: When did it happen?

HD: Oh, it was, you know, I don't remember exactly when. It was a while back.

Graphic Designer: What are you guys up to?

HD: We're doing a ride! This is John Roos. Roasts coffee, and sells cars.

JR: How's it going. This is called Totter Talk.

HD: Or, Teeter Talk

JR: Teeter Talk.

Graphic Designer: Tater tots?

JR: Tater Tots, Teeter Talk. See, it's an interview, where you ride the teeter totter.

Graphic Designer: Oh, yeah? You guys come in on the bikes?

HD: Yeah.

Graphic Designer: How far from?

JR: Dave, what is it, like ...

HD: ... what was the question?

JR: How far did you ride here on your bike?

HD: Oh, it was like a mile. So it was not strenuous.

Graphic Designer: Okay, so.

JR: It's all human-powered.

HD: Last weekend though, I was over in Ypsi with it, so that was kind of ...

Graphic Designer: ... how heavy is the see-saw, er, the tater tot, er, the teeter totter?

JR: Teeter totter!

HD: Yeah, let's use the right word, c'mon!

Graphic Designer: Yeah, I know, we've got to get the terminology correct!

HD: It's a teeter totter, dammit. How much does it weigh--you know, I don't know how much it weighs. I would guess something around 200 pounds. You definitely feel it pulling it on the bicycle trailer, that's for sure.

JR: Did you come in on a bike?

Graphic Designer: Bus.

JR: Oh, that's good!

HD: Which bus did you take?

Graphic Designer: U of M--yeah, the blue bus.

HD: Are you a U of M student?

Graphic Designer: No, I'm an employee. Staff.

HD: Oh, okay.

Graphic Designer: But I live over by Huron Parkway, Huron High School. So I take the bus.

HD: I can hook you up with the teeter totter ride--not this morning, but some other time whenever you'd like.

JR: It's really fun. It's kind of like surfing.

HD: Except that you're not standing up!

JR: It's like surfing when you're waiting for waves. It's the waiting for waves part.

HD: Oh, okay.

JR: When the water's moving and a little bit wavy and you're bouncing up and down ...

Graphic Designer: ... did you build this yourself?

HD: Yep.

Graphic Designer: And what kind of shop you have?

[Ed. note: from here until the next break is a separate conversation centered on JR's end of the totter.]

Shadow Art Fair patron: Do you guys do this often?

JR: No, well, Dave does, this is what he does for his whole situation. I roast coffee. So he's interviewing me, and I'm going to have my coffee here at the Michigan Theater for the Film Festival, so it's kind of like we're tying all this together.

Shadow Art Fair patron: Cool.

JR: [to Scott, the Sound Guy] Did you have my coffee last year when you were here?

MT Sound Guy: Probably. I've worked the Film Festival for years. So.

Shadow Art Fair patron: What coffee is it?

JR: It's called RoosRoast.

Shadow Art Fair patron: Oh, yeah, I met you before, then.

JR: Yeah, you look familiar, where did we meet?

Shadow Art Fair patron: It was at the Shadow Art Fair.

JR: What's your name?

Shadow Art Fair patron: Andrea.

JR: Andrea, nice to meet you.

Shadow Art Fair patron: Nice to meet you, too. And what's your name?

JR: John.

Shadow Art Fair patron: John. Okay. Cool. Is this a promotion, then, for the Film Festival?

JR: No, Dave has a website, where he interviews people, but instead of interviewing them just sitting at a table, he has a teeter totter. And he took on this name Homeless Dave, because people just thought he was homeless, but he's really not.

Shadow Art Fair patron: Interesting.

JR: And we decided to do this in front of the Michigan Theater today, because the Film Festival is coming up. Where do you work?

Shadow Art Fair patron: I work at the University of Michigan here.

JR: You just walk around with short sleeves all the time or what?

Shadow Art Fair patron: It's so warm!

JR: So you work at the University and you're just over here, what ...

Shadow Art Fair patron: ... just getting some coffee and working on some homework.

JR: Oh, good! Cool. Well, that's awesome that you came over.

Shadow Art Fair patron: Yeah definitely, I was just curious. I was trying to check you guys out for a while. And I couldn't put two and two together, so.

JR: Crazy, beard, yeah.

Shadow Art Fair patron: A little bit. We should see more of these.

JR: I'll put some stuff on my website about it, so you should check it out. These are the official totter gloves!

Shadow Art Fair patron: Okay! [laugh] What is your website?

JR: It's Do you want a card?

Shadow Art Fair patron: Sure, why not. Thanks.

JR: There you go, nice to meet you.

Shadow Art Fair patron: You, too. Have a good time!

JR: Alright!

[Ed. note: from here until the next break is a separate conversation centered on HD's end of the totter.]

HD: I don't really have a shop, I have a garage. I did the best I could with the tools that I have.

Graphic Designer: So a SkilSaw, or what?

HD: A circular saw, and I've also got a table saw. And a drill. And beyond that, really, I didn't really need anything else. Screws and wood.

Graphic Designer: It looks like you did a nice job. So do you exclusively bike around?

HD: Pretty much. My wife and I share a car, so I have access to a car. But for this particular enterprise I'm trying to make it completely human-powered.

Graphic Designer: So, is this an installation piece?

HD: No, I have a website called Teeter Talk, it's an interview website, and the one gimmick is that all the conversations have to take place on the teeter totter. So, I got a permanently-anchored one in my backyard, that's what I started with.

Graphic Designer: Have you interviewed any people that you are very excited about interviewing , like, you know, noted individuals?

HD: Well, Bill Clinton was here a couple of years ago for the commencement address, and if you go to the website, you will see a picture of him on the teeter totter.

Graphic Designer: You got him on the teeter totter?

HD: Well, there's a picture of him on the teeter totter is what I'm saying.

Graphic Designer: So, Photoshop?

HD: I'm just sayin, there's a picture of him on the teeter totter. But there's local politicians, and business owners, some high-profile people, a lot of just completely, relatively anonymous folks, who happen to be doing something fairly interesting. The only criterion, though, is a willingness to ride with me. So for a lot of people, that's of very low threshold. For some people that's an impossibly high threshold.

Graphic Designer: That's interesting. Are you interested at all in psychology, or? Or let me think, what makes that threshold? What is that?

HD: Yeah, I don't know. And I mean all lot of people would be quite happy to ride, but they wouldn't necessarily volunteer to ride, they would need to be asked. Which is something I totally understand. So I try to ask people explicitly, as well as having a sort of generally open invitation.

[Ed. note: from here until the next break the conversation includes the entire totter.]

Graphic Designer: So is that a shotgun mic so that when you're interviewing, it ...

HD: ... yes, and I've got a backup sound system over there. I haven't really perfected the recording process. I think ideally, I'd like to have the teeter totter wired, like underneath, ...

Graphic Designer: ... what you need, is like handles with the microphone right there, so that you could ...

HD: ... oh, handles for the teeter totter?? No, no, no.

Graphic Designer: Oh, yeah, that's ridiculous. [laugh]

HD: That's absurd.

Graphic Designer: That is absurd.

JR: That's crazy!

HD: You know that nice, clean aesthetic of just a simple, clean board, I mean ...

Graphic Designer: ... I understand! Less is more here.

HD: Actually, there's a structurally sound reason for not having handles. If you have handles, that fixes the position, which means that you would have to engineer away to adjust the pivot point.

Graphic Designer: So you couldn't interview obese people, or?

HD: Right. You'd have to ...

JR: ... I've got some walrus fat, here.

Graphic Designer: You've got some Buddha going on?

HD: So you would have to engineer the pivot point in a different way.

Graphic Designer: Gotcha.

JR: So, what you think, back to the interview, or?

HD: Yeah, back to it.

Graphic Designer: Yeah, sorry, sorry.

[Ed. note: HD veers off from an opportunity to focus back on John Roos by re-engaging the Sound Guy. There's no particular reason for that.]

HD: So, do you work at the Michigan Theater? You came out of there.

MT Sound Guy: I have been on staff here for years, yeah.

HD: So you can out to just ...

MT Sound Guy: ... I suspected it was Homeless Dave, I just came out to see why you were in front of the Michigan Theater today.

HD: We are talking about the Film Festival, actually. I don't know if you are aware of it, but John is one of the bigger business boosters of the Film Festival.

MT Sound Guy: Right. I met him actually last year at the Festival--we talked. I've been a part of the Festival and the Theater for many years. So I'm a fan. I'm a fan of the Festival, of fan of the Theater, of fan of your website. It's all good.

HD: Good deal. Dustin!

[Ed. note: from here until the next break is a separate conversation centered on JR's end of the totter.]

Graphic Designer: So are you guys like a duo?

JR: Not really, we're just like Ann Arbor friends and we cross paths between art shows.

Graphic Designer: [audio not discernable: general subject was 'art'.]

JR: I'm more of a painter, but I started this coffee business, where I use all linoleum block graphics for my bag prints, and then I roast coffee. So I have like a small micro-roaster.

Graphic Designer: And where?

JR: It's in Ann Arbor here out on Main Street. Also I sell coffee at art shows and stuff.

Graphic Designer: [audio not discernable] ... what are you going to do with your life, you're like a sculptor, there's no money in art!

JR: Believe me, man, that's why I started roasting coffee. I don't even know if there's money in that, either.

Graphic Designer: There is. Coffee is one of the biggest ...

JR: ... I want to get a coffee cart, because I don't think the ... [audio not discernable]

Graphic Designer: [audio not discernable: general topic was location of an unnamed coffee shop.]

JR: Ambrosia?

Graphic Designer: Ambrosia, right. Ambrosia is a cool place.

JR: Actually, they brew my coffee.

Graphic Designer: Oh, sweet.

JR: Actually where is your office?

Graphic Designer: It's up above Kinko's ...

JR: ... oh, cool.

Graphic Designer: And my boss, her husband [audio not discernable: mentioned was Zingerman's coffee.]

JR: Oh, really! So you're getting your coffee at Zingerman's? Now, did you move here, or are you from here?

Graphic Designer: I moved here from Virginia.

JR: Where's your accent? It's busted. [laugh]

Graphic Designer: [audio not discernable: general topic was geography, Colorado, Virginia, and how that relates to American dialects.]

[Ed. note: from here until the next break is a separate conversation centered on HD's end of the totter.]

HD: Dustin! Good to see you! So now we've had a couple of alums of the teeter totter drop by this morning. So you're back in town for a while? On a semi-permanent basis, or what?

Dustin Krcatovich (alum): Yeah, yeah. Semi-permanent is a good way to put it. I'm pretty sure it's going to be at least until August. After that, I think it might be a little longer than that still. But I'm still not sure how much longer.

HD: You are not necessarily committed to this area, then.

Dustin Krcatovich (alum): Right. My girlfriend is from Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

HD: It's warm there, I hear.

Dustin Krcatovich (alum): That's a plus. That's an even bigger plus for her. I don't know, now that it's March, it's starting to affect me. Prior to that, I was like, Well it's Michigan, it's winter.

HD: Yeah, Michigan, you kind of expect the weather in the winter to be snow and ice all the time. We didn't start March really well.

Dustin Krcatovich (alum): No, we did not. Although, I've heard it comes in like a lion ...

HD: ... yeah, and there is that expression. What kind of coffee are you drinking there?

Dustin Krcatovich (alum): Ambrosia, whatever fair-trade they have.

HD: It could well be that gentleman's coffee, right there. He's John Roos, of the RoosRoast coffee.

Dustin Krcatovich (alum): There's a pretty good chance. I know they have flier up by them. It's good coffee. I kind of got spoiled by Portland, because it's kind of like the coffee capital of the country right now.

HD: Do you remember the name of any of the coffee shops there?

Dustin Krcatovich (alum): Yeah, the big deal one, the big deal roaster was Stumptown.

HD: You know, that's hilarious, just about twenty minutes ago John explained how Stumptown roasters in Portland, Oregan, was what inspired him to actually roast coffee.

Dustin Krcatovich (alum): Yeah, and they are really good. They're kind of taking it to the point where there's a backlash in Portland. I think the thing that bothers people is that any reputable cafe, or almost any reputable cafe in Portland almost, at this point, needs to serve Stumptown Coffee ...

HD: ... so if you don't have Stumptown and then you're not even worth ...

Dustin Krcatovich (alum): ... right. The one kind of like punk rock alternative, there's a guy who roasts beans in his garage or back yard and delivers by bike.

HD: Does he really?

Dustin Krcatovich (alum): It's called Courier Coffee. And that was my favorite cafe.

HD: So does he have a trailer that he hauls the coffee in, or just in a pouch?

Dustin Krcatovich (alum): Yeah, a little wagon basically.

HD: Like that one?

Dustin Krcatovich (alum): Akin to that. It's a little ...

HD: ... hey, nice to see you.

P (former HD colleague): What's up?

HD: Right now, I am! And now I'm down! And now I'm up again!

P (former HD colleague): Is it a fund-raiser?

HD: Actually this is a for my interview website. All the interviews take place on the teeter totter.

P (former HD colleague): This is very cool. Does the teeter totter move around town?

HD: It absolutely does. I use that trailer over there.

P (former HD colleague): Neat!

HD: It's good to see you!

P (former HD colleague): Do you want me to send down some students?

HD: Maybe not this morning, but sometime else.

P (former HD colleague): Alright, well, let us know.

HD: I'm just about to wrap up and head home, because I don't want to block the sidewalk!

P (former HD colleague): It's very cool!

HD: Thanks.

MT Sound Guy: You should come back during the Film Festival, actually. That'd be kinda fun. That's unofficial. From me. Because I'm unofficial, I can't really speak for the Theater. But it'd be cool if you came back. I think the Film Festival would probably enjoy it.

JR: You should just conduct constant--but how would you keep up with all the data? You would need somebody else to just dictate.

HD: As long as you have it recorded this just a matter of listening back. I use voice recognition actually. I listen in one ear bud and then re-voice into the microphone and it does a pretty decent job. It's saves a lot typing.

Graphic Designer: So you're transcribing it?

HD: Yeah.

[Ed. note: from here until the next break is a separate conversation centered on JR's end of the totter.]

JR: So you rode the totter recently?

Dustin Krcatovich (alum): [affirmative]

JR: Nice.

Dustin Krcatovich (alum): Two or three years ago.

JR: Nice. Did it change your life?

Dustin Krcatovich (alum): Any notable event changes one's life. I don't know to what degree. You were saying you're a coffee roaster?

JR: Right.

Dustin Krcatovich (alum): You said something about Portland, Oregon. I used to live in Portland.

JR: So you're familiar with Stumptown?

Dustin Krcatovich (alum): Painfully.

JR: They use French presses, or they used to. That's how they brewed their coffee. It's really stout and good. I love that coffee.

Dustin Krcatovich (alum): You ever have their Hollow Mountain blend?

JR: You know, I used to just go in there and get my cup of coffee and work on other stuff. Here, there's not really a cafe like that here. Stumptown was more like a getting-it-done kind of cafe for everybody. But this is cool, the cafes here are great. Maybe a coffee cart to start off. I've been saying this forever. I just quit my job of four years selling cars.

Dustin Krcatovich (alum): I wish you the best of luck and I will certainly support you.

JR: Really? Great.

Dustin Krcatovich (alum): I go to Ambrosia every day. It's kind of my habitual ...

JR: ... they actually brew organic coffee from me. Their coffee's good, for sure. Ambrosia's probably the best cafe.

Dustin Krcatovich (alum): I agree. Actually, I have to cut this conversation short, because the person who has the key for my work ...

JR: ... oh, right, man.

Dustin Krcatovich (alum): What's your name?

JR: My name's John.

Dustin Krcatovich (alum): Dustin.

JR: Nice to meet you.

Dustin Krcatovich (alum): Nice to meet you, too. I'm gonna take off. I'll see you later.

HD: Thanks for stopping by.

[Ed. note: from here until the next break is a separate conversation centered on HD's end of the totter.]

Graphic Designer: So are you Homeless Dave because you don't have a home?

HD: Somebody mistook me for a homeless guy once.

Graphic Designer: So did somebody stuff a couple of dollars in your cup or something?

HD: It wasn't quite that bad. [Ed note: HD inspects Graphic Designer's business card, which features the word 'surgery' prominently enough that HD initially misses the graphic designing part.] Surgery! You know, I'm looking for like a specialist in colorectal cancer to ride the teeter totter. There's a long back story. But you're not a surgeon? You're a graphic designer?

Graphic Designer: I'm a graphic designer, yeah. I would be hard-pressed to be able to recommend you the surgeons. The surgeons probably wouldn't dig on this too much.

HD: Not their thing?

Graphic Designer: Well, I was photographing an O.R. last Thursday, and that was really stressful.

HD: For the surgeons?

Graphic Designer: For me.

HD: Oh, because the surgeons were ...

Graphic Designer: ... it's a totally different culture. You know, it's really hierarchical, and they're still really entrenched in the hierarchy, and it's very rankist, and ...

HD: ... so graphic designers rank where?

Graphic Designer: Oh, I don't know that we are even on the totem poll. [laugh] They don't understand us.

HD: So were you actually photographing an actual surgery?

Graphic Designer: Yes, it was a triple-A: abdominal aortic aneurysm.

HD: You know, I can understand why surgeons might be a little like, We have a guy open here, stay out of our way.

Graphic Designer: Yeah, no, he was sitting there talking to his resident, being like, Put your finger right here to keep the blood from spurting out.

HD: Wow.

Graphic Designer: So it was interesting, it was really interesting.

[Ed. note: from here until the end, the conversation includes the entire totter.]

HD: Wow--hey, let me down--but if you come across a colorectal cancer specialist who asks you, you know, steer them my way.

Graphic Designer: Yeah, you put that out in the universe and sometimes that stuff will come back around, you know? You never know.

JR: Right, it does!

Graphic Designer: It does. But I think you guys are doing a good thing. I don't know what it is ...

HD: ... we are on the side of good and not evil. I think that's pretty clear!

MT Sound Guy: That must be the evil side then! I figured you know if you guys are on the good side, if you know what I'm saying.

HD: Oh, I get it, is this an allusion to Borders?

MT Sound Guy: No. It's an allusion to just the street.

JR: I think there's a big revolution of change going on. People are not wondering whether there's global warming are not. People are sure that Bush did a terrible job for four years.

Graphic Designer: Four years??

JR: I mean eight years, sorry, whoops.

HD: But the guy who owns the Weather Channel, didn't he file suit against Al Gore. Or maybe that was a fake news headline.

Graphic Designer: It's funny when you can't tell the difference the fake headlines and the real ones.

HD: Yeah, but I thought I saw that on like Yahoo News somewhere recently, like in the last week, that the owner of the Weather Channel had sued Al Gore for propagating the 'myth' of global warming. I'm not sure what stake the Weather Channel guy has.

Graphic Designer: Does he own the weather?

JR: I think he's leased it! [laugh]

HD: ... if the weather is consistently warm, why would you need the forecasts any more. It's like, Well, it's just going to be warm.

Graphic Designer: It's just going to be warm, right. Well, I gotta go graphic design so you guys have fun teetering and tottering.

JR: Hey, do you do web design on the side at all?

Graphic Designer: I hate free-lance. If you need some help, let me know.

JR: No, I'm thinking of someone else. People are always asking me and I can find anybody who does it, so.

Graphic Designer: I would do it, but I hate the money thing. Like with a set gig, I don't have to be ...

JR: ... right, the money person.

Graphic Designer: Yeah, the money person.

JR: You just do the work, get paid. That's a great thing.

Graphic Designer: Sometimes, I'll do websites for friends and be like, Just don't even bring the money.

JR: Big mistake! Just kidding.

HD: You deal with the currency of like beers?

Graphic Designer: Beer would be good.

JR: Or coffee? You don't drink coffee!

Graphic Designer: Maybe my wife. My wife is a coffee fanatic, so ...

JR: ... how about tea? Maybe Arbor Teas could get you some tea, those guys.

Graphic Designer: No, but the thing is, especially with like web design, it incorporates too much. I'm great with the visual part of it, but like the technical back end, people are like, I want drop-downs! and whatever, and when it gets on a server that doesn't have the technology or whatever, blah blah blah, and I'm like, I don't know! And they're, like, Well, why don't you know, aren't you a graphic designer? And I'm like, Yeah, I am graphic designer ...

HD: ... you can make pretty pictures.

Graphic Designer: Exactly. And if your pictures don't work on the web, well, too bad. And then they're like, Well, I'm not going to pay you!

JR: Oh, my god, no.

Graphic Designer: So, with this group [with my set gig], there's programmers, there's graphic designers, there's money people. And we're moving into this place--you were talking about this big change-- moving to this place where one person can't be like Ghengis Kahn and have the biggest ego, and rule everything.

HD: What??

Graphic Designer: Sorry!

HD: You just gotta pick the right field, because I absolutely do that for the teeter totter--I am the kind of the Kahn of the totter.

Graphic Designer: But if you don't have the teeter, you can't totter!

JR: You're right, man. That's a good realization.

Graphic Designer: Well, no, it's like the world is getting so integrated that you can't ...

JR: ... you can't work alone anymore. [bus sounds]

Graphic Designer: You can't, you just can't. And I think this same thing is happening, where we can't pretend to be nations that much longer, because if we pretend to be the imperialists that we are too much longer, everybody is just going to not play ball with us.

JR: I hope you got all that because I couldn't hear it.

MT Sound Guy: Those were authentic bus sounds. Those were great sound effects, I love that bus sound effect! Very realistic!

HD: We'll see how it sounds. I might have to say 'obscured by bus'.

JR: Why don't we get smaller buses, like cut those suckers in half?

Graphic Designer: Not what were they doing down in Brazil, they were making them like five long.

HD: Oh, you mean like the articulated buses?

Graphic Designer: So how many are they doing?

HD: I don't know, I mean, I haven't heard of more than just two.

Graphic Designer: Jaime Lerner--what was the mayor's name that was doing the good work in Brazil?

HD: I don't know.

Graphic Designer: I think it's Jaime Lerner.

HD: Jaime Lerner. That doesn't sound like a Brazilian name

Graphic Designer: He speaks like a Brazilian. I was listening to an interview by him yesterday.

HD: So he is pioneering big, long buses?

Graphic Designer: Yeah, I think he is.

JR: You gotta save this this for your totter talk, man, for your totter ride. I'm just kidding, I'm joking.

Graphic Designer: [laugh]

HD: [laugh] We should make sure that we don't miss anything that you had on your mind while we are out here!

JR: No, I think we got it, pretty much already. I guess the--I like collaborating, I can't do it alone!

MT Sound Guy: Let me give you my card.

HD: Oh, you have been mentioned on the teeter totter!

MT Sound Guy: Oh, have I?

HD: I believe by Will Stewart. You know Will Stewart?

MT Sound Guy: Yeah, I'm the guy who ran Top of the Park for ten years, so I know all the musicians. I've been here for 16 years.

HD: When Will was on the teeter totter I think he mentioned you in the context the sound at the Michigan Theater.

MT Sound Guy: Yeah, well good! I have been the sound guy here for years. And I have sound-guyed at the Top of the Park and have been booking the Top the Park. Although I've stopped that now, because I'm working on my own music.

HD: Well, you know where you can get yourself the teeter totter ride, right?

MT Sound Guy: Good, well, thanks, Dave, I appreciate that. If it's of interest to you I'll come teeter with you at some point.

HD: It would be nice to get that 16-year perspective. You did say 16 years, right?

MT Sound Guy: 16 years here. Ten years at Top of the Park. Although I just left there.

HD: But in Ann Arbor total?

MT Sound Guy: Oh, in Ann Arbor for a long, long time.

HD: Oh, longer even than 16 years?

MT Sound Guy: Yeah I have been around since before then. Well, nice to meet you.

JR: Hey, nice to see you, Scott. Thank you very much for coming out!

MT Sound Guy: Hey guys, it's been fun, hopefully we will see all you guys at the Film Festival!

HD: At least for one program!

MT Sound Guy: You should do one bounce out here, actually. Talk to Christen McArdle, who is the director of the Festival. Do one bounce-around.

HD: A 'bounce-around'?? Is that what you said???

MT Sound Guy: I know. My use of terminology is truly insulting. I am ashamed and I'm walking away.

Graphic Designer: He said 'ride', and that is just as bad.

MT Sound Guy: I don't know, man, you are bouncing around, and it is beautiful!

JR: I do love to bounce around, you know!

Graphic Designer: I said 'see-saw', and got snapped at!

HD: There's no bouncing allowed. There's no bouncing on the totter.

MT Sound Guy: That's why I'm walking away, man. Obviously, I can't hang with you guys. I don't know the terminology!

HD: Yeah, you're not cool enough, you're not even close to being cool enough with your 'bounce around'.

Graphic Designer: Are you going to write a book of lingo?

HD: Of teeter totter ettiquette.

MT Sound Guy: And you have to read the whole book before you're allowed to get on. Do not put your feet on the teeter totter!

HD: There will be a qualifying exam.

JR: No handles!

HD: [to Graphic Designer] Actually, now did you follow the whole funding crisis with the Ann Arbor Film Festival? They ran afoul of some guidelines.

Graphic Designer: What was it--the National Endowment for the Arts? Was it that?

HD: No, I think was a state-level issue. And the guidelines that they ran afoul of said something like you can't, there was no ...

Graphic Designer: ... was it nudity, or something like that?

HD: Explicit sexuality. And there was something about the cross specifically--not religious symbols in general. And acts of defication.

Graphic Designer: Ooooh, pooping. I read that book, We All Poop.

HD: Right. Everybody Poops.

Graphic Designer: Oh, okay, yep. Everybody does.

HD: So I was thinking, the same guidelines pretty much work for the teeter totter. I don't want anybody defecating on the teeter totter.

Graphic Designer: So like nudity would be out??

HD: That's been talked about before. The mayor of Ypsilanti, he said something that suggested to me that he was advocating for nudity on the teeter totter.

Graphic Designer: For himself, or for somebody else?

HD: For somebody else, I believe. And it turned out that wasn't maybe exactly what he meant. But I mean we clarified that.

Graphic Designer: But sometimes things that are really cool in your mind are not so cool in practical terms.

HD: Being nude on the teeter totter doesn't sound cool, even in my mind. It sounds cold!

Graphic Designer: Right now, today, Yep.

HD: Well listen, let's wrap this thing up.

Graphic Designer: It's nice meeting you guys!

HD: Yeah, nice meeting you.

JR: Nice meeting you. Now get the hell outta here! [laugh]

HD: You know I can hook you up with a ride some time.

Graphic Designer: You know, I want a bouncy-bouncy on a see-saw.

HD: No, you're not allowed to have a bounce-around on a seesaw.

Graphic Designer: I'm outta here!

JR: Go make some graphic design, man.

HD: Okay, let's hop off this thing!