The last couple days of Michigan were good. We went out kayaking on the Huron river that runs through Ann Arbor. It was pretty, despite running through the middle of town, mostly because it was lined with parks on either shore. Try as I might, I couldn’t manage to flip my kayak, either, which bodes well for future adventures. After kayaking we tried and failed to get sushi (the place was closed–again). We ended up heading home, puttered a tad, then started making dinner. We found some fresh, wild Coho salmon at Whole Foods for $10/lb and couldn’t pass it up. Plus, Ali had never had the parmesan-crusted spinach-mascarpone-stuffed salmon that we love so much, so we just had to make it. It turned out pretty damned well, but I did over-cook the salmon slightly. I blame it on the unfamiliar oven.

We then went out to Dominic’s, a local dive, to have some sangria in the early evening. Funny story about Dominic’s that Ali told me: apparently, there used to be two Dominic’s, but one was bought. The new owner was going to run it much as it had been, which is to say, a place to get pizza and beer. He was too cheap to get an entirely new sign, so he just took off the last two letters and added an ‘o’–Domino’s. And that’s where it all began.

When we got home we spent a shameful amount of time playing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. We didn’t mean to spend so long, but just after we’d finished two of the hardest missions in the game and went to save, the game crashed. And not only did it crash, it ate all the save games for GTA on the memory card. So we went from being more than halfway through the game to zero. I felt this was partially my fault, so it was clearly necessary to stay up until 2:30 regaining ground.

Sunday started late, and we headed out to pick blueberries. It was fun, if a little hot and thorny. I’ve never quite reconciled the taste and texture of blueberries. They are great, but have the inherent texture of soggy bran flakes. After picking, we went to the Ann Arbor rock-climbing gym, which kicked quite a bit of ass. It was huge, both in total square footage and height (55ft), considerably taller than Grand Ledge or, for that matter, Riemer’s Ranch. They also didn’t mess around on their ratings. I struggled up a couple of climbs rated at 5.11- that were a lot of fun but very tough. I guess I’ve been bouldering too much.

We headed home to turn our three pounds of blueberries into a pie. I was in charge of the crust and Ali did the filling. He succeeded, I failed. I suspect my downfall was a combination of two damning mistakes: first, I obstinately ignored proscriptions to use actual vegetable shortening (a.k.a. trans-fat, slayer of babies, raper of the Virgin Mary) when mixing the crust. I knew that it would make the crust “flake.” I knew that all proper pies used it. It was a sad example of when dogma blinds the faithful and causes them to do grossly immoral things. Compare my misstep to ethnic cleansing or the like. My second mistake was impatience. The evening was waning and we desperately wanted to make it out to the sushi place before it closed. So, instead of first chilling the dough overnight, then putting it in the pan, then chilling it some more, we just threw it in the freezer for 20 minutes. The pie still looked good; Ali has pictures which he should upload so I can demonstratively post them here. Taken on filling alone, the pie was delicious. The crust was a buttery oddity that I hope did not too much distract from the glory of the fresh berries.

After pulling the pie out of the oven, we were off to the best of the thirteen sushi restaurants in Ann Arbor, the name of which of course escapes me (Ali?). The important thing was that we had coupons. Hence, we ordered the $60 chef’s choice sushi boat, which came out on an honest-to-goodness little wooden boat (of which also I have a picture, but I’ll need to figure out how to get it out of my phone to show you). It took us a good hour or so to work our way through it all. The salmon was probably the pinnacle. We stumbled home with bulging guts, fuller on sushi than anyone should properly be, and playing GTA until the swelling had receded sufficiently to tolerate the addition of a slice of pie. Sleep.

On Monday we mostly wandered around downtown some more, and then I had someone I’d never met cut off almost all of my hair. I’m a punk rocker now, with potentially spiky hair that signals to all around me the latent rebellion in every move I make. I say potentially spiky because I do not actually possess the Crisco-like “product” necessary to make my hair dance and do tricks. But once I do, I know that before God and all that is Holy, it must be applied starting from the back and moving to the front. Amen. Hallelujah. I’m sure I’ll get a picture here for you of my new look soon enough.

I spent about nine hours on Monday night (made interminable by the fact my many planes were chasing the sun), getting in about midnight. Slept, woke, left at 8:45 to catch another few flights out to Texas. I’ll pick up that thread later.

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