a slightly warmer michigan

I’m in Michigan (Ann Arbor in particular) this weekend visiting Ali at UM and generally having a blast. I left midday Thursday packed only in my fabulous green duffel bag (such a perfect size!). I brought with me just one book: Quicksilver, the new Neal Stephenson book set (mostly) in 17th century Europe. My goal was to plow through as much of it as possible, at least enough to make it to what Leslie claimed was the better half. I did indeed finally make it out of courtier’s and Royal Society London to the Grand Turk’s siege on Vienna, which was laden with harem girls, ostriches, and Hedwig-style genital mishaps. Hopefully the going won’t be so slow from here on out.

Yesterday we mostly spent climbing. We didn’t actually climb until after spending a few hours locating sunglasses, nailclippers, and lunch. Then we spent about 2.5 hours on a 1.5 hour drive because of some lovely traffic jams on the way out to “Grand Ledge,” which pretty much describes the climbing place. It had quite a few routes on it, but it was pretty much just a ledge. Optimistically 30 ft tall or so, no bolts, all protected by affixing webbing to the trees at the top then hiking down and toproping. Still, it was a lot of fun. The rock was very soft sandstone, wet in places and with lots of water seeping through. This was good in that it wasn’t hard on your hands, and it was very sticky where dry, but it also meant that a lot of it was muddy/dusty/an annoying combination of both. We ended up trying 5 or 6 climbs each. The highlights were a nice little crack that needed only foot jams (5.10, I think), and a cool, very easy roof that might have been overrated at 5.10 called “Doug’s Roof.” Ali did an admirable job of making incremental progress, well past the crux to the big, overhanging jug-haul that is the second half of the climb. We bugged out at about 7pm and headed back in for dinner.

Dinner was going to be seared ahi burgers, but we were rebuffed by a 1hr wait for a table, so ended up at Arbor Brewing Company, a brew pub down the street. I had a mediocre black bean burger and some excellent beer. First, a pint heifeweisen that was cool and lemony and delicious. Then, we got the 10-beer sampler and plowed through it heroically. The most interesting thing, I thought, was a smoked beer, which was really more than anything else like drinking canadian bacon. Try it if you get the chance.

We stumbled on from there to a cafe with live jazz for coffee/chai, then on to a cute little independent video store where I picked out Glengary Glen Ross for the evening’s denouement. Ali did not seem pleased after I inflicted it on him. Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

8 thoughts on “a slightly warmer michigan”

  1. yeah, i think that happened several times. Which was it, which was it… something a bit ultra-violent yet still funny…

  2. There are at least two things I like in a movie. a) Not being constantly reminded of how stupid people can be; b) Some closure, good, bad, evil, sad, I just want something other that the credits rolling. Best in Show lacked the prior, and Glengarry Glen Ross lacked the former. That said I liked Glengarry Glen Ross about 10x more than Best in Show.

  3. Dude, Best in Show rocked. I’m sorry you have no taste. 🙂 Who was it that inflicted Fierce Creatures on us? Was that you, Ali? Or was that Phil?

  4. That would be me… I am forever sorry, and now consider us even… Now who subjected me to pi more times(1) than is normal in a college career?

  5. i didn’t like best in show the first time i saw it. of course, i had just had my wisdom teeth out and was puking into my open wounds…but i liked the movie the next time i saw it!

  6. So maybe the second time around won’t be so torturous…. I don’t think I’ll be running out to get anytime soon though.

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