Thursday, December 14, 2006

SNRE Winter Solstice Party

Yesterday, the 2006 Winter Solstice Party was held. So, with every annual event, many things were unchanged from time in memorium. (Well, for most of the years that I've been here, at least.) So, just to bore everyone reading this thing, I'll break down how it was the same:
  • Once again, it was in the Dana Commons.
  • Once again, the Ecotones (lead vocals again Kate Elliott) played the standards.
  • Once again, I was taking photos of people (although not as many people were telling me to, "Stop already!").
  • As part of a new tradition, the SNRE StuGov was distributing pre-purchased "MICHIGAN NATURAL RESOURCES" hoodies, and selling their surplus. According to Christine, there was a bit of a clamoring from people to get their hands on these hot little dealy-whos (that's my take on what she said, but I think I captured the assimilation desires of the students adequately).
  • Once again, good food was served. (This time, there seemed to be more meat dishes than before... ) It was well-attended by the first year students, and I could swear that people stayed for minutes longer than last year - a much less of an eat-and-run.
So now that the Winter Solstice (previously - before my time here - known as the "Paul Bunyan Ball") is done, what else is there to do? Well... there are exams for people who took courses with exams. There is the SNRE StuGov-organized happy hour at Leopold's on Thursday evening. There's the whole "getting-ready-for-holidays" followed quickly by the "getting-ready-for-winter-semester", and then the eventual nervous breakdown.

Until next post: "PEACE."

Thursday, December 07, 2006

December 7, 2006

Sixty-five years ago, a country that arguably no longer exists bombed a country that has drastically changed, causing the two countries to go to war against each other and their allies, and bringing the longest-serving leader of the bombed country to issue that now-famous (in America) phrase, "A date that will live in infamy."

But how famous/infamous is the day (12/07)? I looked up December 7th on Wikipedia, and found that...
  • 2048 years ago (apparently), Cicero died.
  • 230 years ago the Marquis de Lafayette tried to join the newly-formed American army as a major general.
  • 219 years ago, Delaware became a state.
  • 143 years ago, Richard Sears (founder of Sears) was born.
  • 89 years ago, the United States declared war on Austria-Hungary
  • 78 years ago, linguist Noam Chomsky was born.
  • 57 years ago, the Republic of China moved its capitol city from Nanking to Taipei.
  • 50 years ago, basketball star Larry Bird was born.
  • 41 years ago, Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras "dis-"excommunicate the other's office that had been in place for the previous 911 years (12 years before the Battle of Hastings took place)
  • 34 years ago, Apollo 17 (the last US lunar mission) took the "Blue Marble" photo of earth.
  • 31 years ago, Indonesia invaded East Timor.
  • 24 years ago, Galileo spacecraft arrived at Jupiter.
A lot of other stuff happened on this date, but I can't be bothered listing them. All-in-all, discussion of the bombing of a naval base in a far-flung territory of an up-and-coming world power by another up-and-coming world power happened. The "date that would live in infamy" appears to be as much as famous/infamous as any other day when the context of the year is removed. But this is obvious.

I don't think that the attack on Pearl Harbor is remembered in Japan anymore. Indeed, a search on the MSN/Mainichi News search engine, "Pearl Harbor" comes up with links to the movie, the wikipedia entry, and the online tour of the museum. As I said at the start of this piece, the nation of "Imperial Japan" no longer exists. It is effectively as dead as the nation of "National Socialist Germany". The fact that they both are called "Japan" and "Germany" are merely a recognition of the people that live there, rather than the political identity of that nation.

In this way, I would say that the understanding of the differences between Imperial Japan and modern-day Japan are a gulf that one would find difficulty shooting a cannonball over, just as the Imperial Japan of the early 1900s was a different country from the Shogun-controlled Imperial Japan from the early 1800s. One could similarly say that the United States post Civil War was a different country than the one that existed even two generations.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


My vote was cast at 9:50AM (or there abouts). Although there were many state positions up for election, I did not end up voting for all of them. I decided that I would not vote for races where there was only the maximum number of candidates up for the vote. Unfortunately, this meant that I didn't vote for five or so races, but I have found out that I am personally opposed to a person running unopposed. (Unfortunately, there was no option for R.O.N. - Re-Open Nominations.)

It is raining today. One hopes that this does not unduly affect election turnout.

I have just come into work, and found out that I am one of only two people here. Since the IFR is part of the Michigan DNR (and the majority of people here are state employees), no one is here, since all state employees are given this day off to go vote. I approve of this practice, and feel that there should be some way for the state to allow this to happen for all citizens. I was discussing this with the other person here - Tom - and came up with the idea that it would be grand if private business was not allowed to take punitive actions against a person who could provide standard proof that he/she was out voting on election day. (Of course, this raises the question of what immigrant workers would have to do on election day...)

Finally, I watched the History Channel's program on Carthage. I didn't know that the city of Carthage was so greatly fortified. The show was a great one, and I hope to see the one next week about the Maya.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Snow Falling on UM

So, there was recently a small flurry of white stuff falling on campus. Like what fell last night, this did not stick. But is this the start of the winter? (Answer: of course it is, you dope! Autumn is the doorstep into winter; the START of winter, if you will.)

Snow on the ground.

Okay, so there wasn't a lot of snow that stayed on the ground by the time I got to the bus stop at 9:20 this morning. However, there is likely to be more tonight.

Currently, the temperature is a nice (!) 37F, but - with the wind - apparently feels like 25F. With the sun out, I think that this weather is really NICE! Ahh... Autumn - the hopefully-slow decline into winter.

I noticed one thing while waiting for the bus this morning: people do really odd things while driving in their cars. I know that this is something that shouldn't be too difficult for me to realize, but it just struck me as odd. There was one person driving with one hand, while shading her eyes with the other, driving along at 40mph, apparently mostly blinded by the sunlight reflecting off the slick road. Another person was blithely (blindly) driving along at a similar clip while applying lip gloss while looking into the rearview mirror. (Apparently, she felt that looking intently into the mirror would save her from the blinding rising sun while driving eastward.

Well, enough of that for now. I expect to have more snow photos tomorrow (I might actually post them as well).

Saturday, October 07, 2006

SNRE Campfire

The 2006 SNRE Campfire went off without too much of a hitch. Things got to a slightly late start, but there was a well-attended water relay race, followed by 16 cross-cut saw teams. Because Burt didn't do his schpiel this year, Jim put together a presentation. I felt that it was a good first try, but needs a few more iterations before reaching perfection.

I was surprised that no one other than me decided to actually feed the fire (after all, this was SUPPOSED to be a campfire event). Still, in the end, it was "all good". The hotdogs were plentiful. The desserts were tasty. The company was all good. And photos were taken...

Josh, Jay, Oracha, Yuka, and Tong

Hans fights off Sara's attempts of scuttling his waders.

Damon and Solomon attempt to beat their previous cross-cut sawing time. However, they only barely managed to beat 2 minutes. (The winning time was 1:05.) Sarah sits on the log, staring blankly into space (seemingly oblivious to the rusty saw tearing through wood not even a foot away).

Jim gives a (humorous) presentation of the SNRE experience.
Dan, Tom, Jennifer, and Sarah "serenade" the crowd with guitar, drum kit, cello, and bongo.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


Late September winds and rain are making me tired. Or maybe it's my lack of food (and lots of coffee) creating a physiological imbalance leading to fatigue.

And the weather is breezy.
Leaves are blowing,
And the skys are grey.

Your's truly's tired,
And he wants to sleep.
So hurry up Mr. Clock,
Read 5 P.M.

Okay, so more bad lyic translations (apologies to the original Summertime lyrics), but that's what my head is currently spewing out.

On a side note, check THIS LINK out if you have time. It's an interesting call out on YouTube for people to speak a list of words in their own (presumably local) accent. Some are funny, but I would say that the word list doesn't do a good enough job of exploring the differences in accent. Still, the idea got a lot of apparent interest, and several responses. (I think it's interesting that there seemed to be a not insignificant number of East Asian descent respondants - all living in different places in the world.) One interesting meta-comedic (I think this is the correct word I'm tryign to use) response was an East Asian doing an FOB-like response.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Farewell Bernhard

Bernhard: have a great vacation and hope your work goes well. Sabrina and I will have to visit you von Zeit zu Zeit.

Sabrina, Bernie and Dan (looking much like stage crew members) at the very end of the night.

Mark (sitting), David, me and Bernie. (The flash was too bright.)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Tao's new motobike (with sidecar)

Tao got a motorbike (with sidecar) from the Chinese Army. Apparently, it was never really used from the time it was built in the mid-1960s. The bike (with sidecar) is based on a Soviet design, which was (itself) based on a BMW design from the 1930s. Last night, we all got a short ride in the side car (or on the rider seat) for a turn around town.

K takes time to ensure that Tao's noggin stays put.

Terry and K await the return from the gas station fuel tank fill-up trip.

Terry, K, and I have just run over Dan! Oh, no, Terry, keep your eyes on the road!

Tao gives a lift to Emily and Jen.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Toledo Speedway evening.

On Friday, I went with Terry and Dan to the Toledo Speedway to watch several "Figure 8" races. While not a Demolition Derby, per se, the various cars, cars-with-trailers, and school buses were likely never to be raced/used after that night. Therefore, demolition was always a factor hanging in the air. One point from that evening that I realized before even getting there was how out of place I would be; that I would be about as invisible as the full moon on a clear night in the open prairie. I was right. Admittedly, I could have taken some trouble in making myself a little less conspicuous by taking off my hip-worn camera bag, wearing a ball cap, and putting on a different t-shirt (say, a Michigan one). I didn't care to do so. Well, it meant that there was always a little bit of a shock that I would be there - talking with the people as if nothing was amiss (the look on the face of the girl working at concessions was priceless - I wish I had my camera available).

I would have taken more photos of the race action, but for two problems:

1. There was a large fence blocking access to the speedway proper (which is a good thing, in case a large piece of vehicle were to be propelled in the general direction of the stands) that reflected all the light from the flash, making photography difficult, and

2. There was a very nice, but very persuasive police man making sure that no one got close to the afore-mentioned barrier, especially during the course of a race.

So with those two caveats known, please accept my paltry slection of photographs, taken during periods of a race that involved a brief pause:

Large construction vehicles removed buses too battered to continue further in the race.

The "Chris, will you marry me?" bus wins the final race of the evening! (We all later discussed the point that it would likely be all downhill for the racer from this evening.)
The motor-madness crowds all try to find their way out of the Speedway, all at once. We decided to go to the Speedway's bar (yes, the motor speedway has a place for you to drink before driving home) in order to try and wait out the mass exodus of cars before returning to hippy-dippy Ann Arbor.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

No rain.

No rain today, and little indication of rain in the near future, however, gray skies go on and on:

Gray Skies (apologies to Irving Berlin)
I was happy, just as happy as I could be
Ev'ry day was a sunny day for me
Then good luck went a-charging out my door
Skies were clear but they're not clear anymore

Gray skies
Crying on me
Nothing but gray skies
Do I see

Cawing a song
Nothing but corvids
All day long

Never saw the clouds building up high
Never saw things going good-bye
Noticing the days hurrying by
When you're all gray, my how they fly

Gray skies.
Sunshine is gone.
Nothing but gray skies.
From now on!

Anyway, there were a few students this morning playing on a large see-saw, raising money for charity. Also, I saw some fungi growing on the side of some railroad ties that used to form the platform base of an outdoor art installation (see below)

There was more rain yesterday than I thought!

OMG! It actually got up to 2,500 cfs! More than double my prediction! Look at that response time, and then look at that quick flushing of the system. (Perhaps we had some overnight rain that caused the rise in the morning, or perhaps there was a dam release at Argo...) Hmm....

Anyway, so I promised to have some photos of people walking through the torrential downpour. Obviously, these people were rather more optimistic than I was first thing in the morning (or else, they had their umbrellas stolen at some point during the day. (Unlikely, though, since I have been seeing people each day that it has rained (the past two days, as you can see in the graph) have not carried umbrellas. (As a side note, I have a feeling that today will have some rain, too, but I have not seen students wearing raincoats or carrying umbrellas... Not to be overly-critical, but sometimes you have to wonder if peopl really have a deep-seated desire to become completely drenched.) If you want to see a short video of how bad the backwater gets, check it out here.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Lots of frickin rain!

Lots of rain right now. I expect there to be a very quick response in the Huron River today (considering how much of a leap happened yesterday when there seemed to far less rain). If you look at the below graph of river discharge in the Huron River at Ann Arbor, you can see that over the course of a few hours of heavy"-ish" rain, there was a four-fold increase in discharge (unfortunately, I don't have the rain gage data for yesterday). I would expect that today's rain will create a discharge of over 1000 cfs (9 times greater than the median discharge of the day - of course, I do understand that a single day's anomalous weather has little impact on the median value of a series, but it is still amazing! For this reason, this calls for some expletive! OMG!!!
Also, there will be photos of people running through the rain, and (if I can figure out how to put up some short video) a clip of people trying to wade through or pursuing a futile effort to walk around a large puddle that blocks the entire pavement. (It always causes a problem when there is a lot of rain, and becomes downright deadly when the weather turns cold enough to freeze puddles into a vast plain of slippery death.)

Friday, September 08, 2006

First social event

The first social event of AY06/07 got off to a decent start last night with many people showing up at Burns Park for some keg goodness. There were many bike-riders there, indicating where the SNERDs were (as opposed to the hundreds of other people at the Park). I dont' know how many people were there, but it seemed like about 70 people showed up (at at $3 per person, that was more than enough for covering the keg). Luckily, the weather held up quite nicely, and people played frisbee, walked dogs, and stood around bs-ing around the keg (most of the people fell in the last category). Thanks to Lekha for letting me use her Nalgene for some beer (since I didn't bring a cup, nor did I want to use one of the few cups provided for people such as myself). After the keg, we went to The Grizz for some food and (some of us) more beer. Unfortulately, some of us (Neil) forgot their ID, and so could not get any Grizzly Peak goodness. Ah, well.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Biostation Orientation was fun.

The UMBS Orientation was quite fun. Many from the incoming class attended, and I think they all had a really good time. So, now you get to see some photos of the UMBS during the late summer (there were no blackflies this year, so that was nice).

Thursday, August 31, 2006

How did you get here? Help me figure this one out.

It appears that I'm getting a lot of traffic to this page (I'm writing this on Jan 11, 2010), but I can't figure out why. Could you please leave a comment below indicating what search brought you here? It's really a puzzle to me.


Monday, August 28, 2006

SNRE Orientation

Leaving tomorrow to help with the SNRE Orientation. Happily, the Biostation has been reinstated as the destination, and (happily) I've been asked to help out again. Strangely, I find myself the "old hand" for going up to the Biostation, as the staff going up are newer than my stay with SNRE. (Maybe this is Fate's way of making me realize that I must accept the nice little cardigan she has already knitted for me.) Anyway, look for photos from that here (or other places where I post these things).

I really hope that people actually read the e-mails that Karen sent out vis-a-vis what to bring/not to bring. It always seemed that there were a number of people who got to the Biostation and thought, "Holy CR@P!!! This is not what I expected from my concept of Michigan!" (Since many people seem to equate Michigan with the auto industry; Robocop; or Eight Mile. All of which are actually just "Detroit" which is the same as equating Japan exclusively with Tokyo; California exclusively with LA; New York exclusively with NYC; you get the idea.)

As Michigan's tourism board is trying to get people to realize: Michigan is much, much more than Detroit. Okay, I don't know why I generally end up with a rant when writing in my blog, but maybe it's not such a BAD thing... (Or maybe I just am settling down from drinking up a large cuppa joe.) Writing about such banal things in a blog makes me think about a specific Girls with Slingshots webcomic. (It's not mine to distribute, so just click on the link and find it - and many other funny strips.)

Writing about webcomics, I am further reminded of what reminds me of my current daily grind of modeling. (Thank you PHD comics.) This comic and this comic also remind me of what I sometimes find myself doing (thanks to Commissioned Comic). Okay, enough with the procrastination from work... Back to modeling in [Awww...] HEC[k]-RAS.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Siddartha Gautama ≠ Hotei

On the left is a picture depicting the Buddha, Siddartha Gautama, during his time of fasting. As you can imagine, the depiction of an emaciated spiritual leader would not have had as much of a "draw" to potential supplicants who habitually suffer from starvation, and may be looking for a benevolent spiritual savior. Still, if you want to learn more about the history of Siddhattha Gotama (aka Buddha), then I would suggest that you check out Osamu Tezuka's 8-part graphic novel of the Buddha's life.

It is just a little pet peeve of mine that people in the US and Europe all associate the Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) with the recharacterization of the Chinese Bo Dai Luohan/Shinto god Hotei (shown on the right), which - except for tertiary characteristics - are not very similar at all.

To many Americans (and possibly Westerners in general), there is little to no understanding of who the Buddha was, to such an extent that many equate a Chinese Taoism-derived deity with an historical person from northern India. To put this in analogous terms, this would be like saying that the Christian God (the Father, as depicted famously on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel) was interchangeable with the Greek god Zeus.

Admittedly, the depiction of God in the Sistine Chapel is based on a Classical patriarchal figure, most commonly characterized by Zeus, however, most people would be able to say that the old man painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is not Zeus.

To complicate things just a little, though, in East Asian Buddhism (i.e., in China and Japan), many Taoism-derived deities, including Hotei, were folded into the Buddhism of those regions as Bodhisattvas. However Bodhisattvas are not the same as the Buddha, and Hotei was and remains a completely separate individual from the Siddhartha Gautama. This really shouldn't be too difficult to understand, especially given the ways in which characters found in Western mythos are derived from different roots. Good examples are the names of the archangels (whose names and features were derived from Babylonian mythos) and the Norse mythology, which is an amalgamation of two different Germanic pantheons, named the Aesir (with the famous gods Thor, Odin, and Baldr) and Vanir (with the less-famous gods Freyr and Freya).

But all you have to do is just look at the statues depicting the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, with one deity-cum-Bodhisatttva (Hotei). They are different entities.

Rant over.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

It's our turn for hot weather soon.

Okay, so it isn't as hot as it was in California. It isn't the record temperature, either (that was set in 1940 at 98F, if you can't see the picture). However, this is a slightly disturbing feature. I don't think that people in Ann Arbor are really prepared for temperatures in the mid-90s. Hopefully the forcast of lower temperatures in the next week are right. Otherwise, it will be problematic for many people in a town which is not known for having a lot of airconditioning.

Of course, as our Enlightened Leader, the Great Decider, global warming is not a subject of imminent concern. That means that, according to the Great Enlightened Decider, this cannot be global warming (since it is happening "imminently", as it were). Since it is not global warming, this slight uptick in the average weather be something we shouldn't worry about. Therefore, we should just get us some watermelon, sit outside with a glass of iced tea, and have not a care in the world!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Fart Fair DONE!

Fart Fair is done yet again. And yet again, I have not purchased any pieces of fart. I DID pick up a pair of speakers at a friend's yard sale, though. Although I am moving in about three weeks, I figured that the purchase was well worth the price and slightly increased moving volume.

The photos of the vast sea of people descending on Ann Arbor on Friday was dwarfed by what showed up on Saturday. Amazingly all gone by Saturday evening, the town was jam-packed with the Upper Midwest's finest. Never before had I seen (or mentally acknowledged) the vast numbers of large people in Walmart shorts and t-shirts, walking about under the sun.

Sabrina's aunt and uncle came in from Cleveland for Saturday, and, after taking us out to dinner, we all went to see Sabrina's cousins' baby (now three weeks old). As expected, little Dylan has more hair (sticking up all which way), and his nose is less squshed than previously. Also, he turned out to be more responsive than before, tracking his mother's voice as she moved around the room. I'm sure that I will have my own photos of baby to share, so I will (still) hold off on posting them.

My bro is coming to MI in August, so it will be nice to hang out for some little bit of time before he becomes a practicing professor at William and Mary.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Rain makes my office sticky.

The rain this morning cooled the city down. However, it also increased the humidity. My office is now a cool sauna of just pure pleasure. (Please note the sarcasm dripping off that statement just as easily as sweat is dripping off my forehead.)

I am thinking how nice it would be to A) close off the doorway to the perpetually-hot scale room, B) have insulation in the roof to decrease the amount of midday heating, and C) have an air conditioner cool off the rear attic offices.

The temperature is likely to reach the upper 80s in SE Michigan. Yum... "We're having a heat wave, a tropical heat wave. The temperature's rising, it isn't surprising, the attic certainly can, heat up."

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Fart Fair 2006.

Ann Arbor art fair is started. Already I have been out and about perusing the many pieces of schlock-art available for purchase. Occasionally, I find a diamond in the rough, but (like diamonds), I cannot afford them. (Nor would I really know what to do with the stuff.) So, as always, I end up walking around the streets looking at the stalls much like I was at a museum of "Art-of-Varying-Qualities." As in years' past, these artists are a little touchy when it comes to having photographs taken around their pieces of work (as if I would really be able to reproduce a woven hat based on a photograph, or a fresco made of faux plaster), so no photos for now. However, I think I will take some of the larger installations that are less likely to be purchased, and more likely to be photographed by people in general.

The weather is cooler than it was a few days ago, but the general trend seems to be keeping it up in the mid-80s or higher. (On an historic side note, London apparently reached record temperatures of 93F, and over 100F in the subways. This was reported to have been warmer than Rome or Madrid. Who says global warming is an issue? Oh yeah, I do.) On the note of weather, large gusts of wind two nights ago cut the power to my block. It was not restored for over 20 hours. Luckily, yesterday was not as hot as the day before, so my fridge contents were not subject to a slow bake over the course of the day.

I have a small hidden desire for large gusts of wind to bring about much chaos at the myriad of art fair booths. It would be interesting to photograph the artistic carnage...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

GIS rasters are annoying.

I don't know who came up with the saying, "Rasters are faster, Vecters are 'correcter'..." but I want to get that person to explain why this is the case. I'm having so many projection errors with all the different rasters I'm working with. AAAARRRGH!!!

I know that one of the reasons is due to ArcMap's current inability to project vector features into raster features using the Michigan GeoRef coordinate system. (This is highly annoying, since everyone seems to want to use MIGeoRef.) Another problem is coming with the orthophotos, which have just recently decided to not line up with my TIN or vector features! Annoyances are mounting, and my urge to hit something hard is also increasing (mitigated and frustrated by the knowledge that pounding on the computer will do more harm than good).

Must... breathe. Let the anger out. Think upon calm thoughts. Look out the window. Pray for rain. Get a cup of coffee... Something... other... than... anger... (It is, after all, only a computer program, and can only work with the data it is given, and the parameters within which it is supposed to work. There is no need to get angry with an unreasoning machine that is merely reacting in a manner consistent with its programming. And, yet, GIGO really does get on my nerves.)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Today is the start of the Naadam festival in Mongolia. It brings us to think about history, and the changing of the entire Old World by Genghis Khan. A celebration of a bloodthirsty warrior/father of a country, and near deific constant leader of the Mongolian peoples. In 2000, I took a trip to Mongolia during Naadam, and it was an amazing celebration of horsback races, wrestling, archery (from horseback), and traditional singing. So many of these practices migrated with the Mongols to where they conqured, including Japan. Although I'm not a historian (meaning that I have no proof of this), I strongly believe that Japan and Mongolia are closely related, both as a people, as well as specifics of culture. Japan was invaded twice by Mongolia, and it is difficult to imagine that nothing had "rubbed off" on Japan from those invasions. Two that come to mind are the saddle and horseback archery. The Japanese saddle and the Mongol saddle were very similar. In addition, the creation of a horseback bow came about after the Mongol invasion. Luckily, the penchent for goat and sheep meat didn't stick with Japanese culture. If you have never had pressure-cooked goat or sheep, let me tell you that it has a lot of fat, and even after being cooked at super high temperatures, it is still very very tough. Additionally, boiled blood sausage is not a big point of interest in Japan (nor is butter tea and yak's milk). We must be thankful for the small blessings in life I suppose.

Anyway, happy Naadam!

Friday, July 07, 2006

A sight you probably won't see again.

The destruction of the old business school building (to make way for the new Ross School of Business building) lets you see the back side of the School of Economics. I like taking these sorts of photos, since it shows a view that will likely never be seen again. It is also the only way that I could get the whole length of the Econ. Dept. without either stitching photos or investing in a wide-angle lens and then correcting the image with Photoshop.

Econ. Dept. as seen through the rubble of the old Business School

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Pinkney Outing

So, Saturday was warm, threatening to be in the mid-90s in Ann Arbor. It was time to get out of my concrete pad, out of town, and over to Pinkney! Cris Turney had sent out an e-vite, and so I met up with people I hadn't seen in a while, and people I haven't met at all. In all, I think there were over 20 people that showed up during the day. (Most didn't last until 5PM - I didn't last too much longer than 5PM.) It was good.

Apart from the requisite "lying-about-reading" and food grilling, there was also the lake swimming and lake frisbee!

Unfortunately, we learned that Pinkney has a "NO ANIMALS" and "NO BIKES" policy. The first command is a bit of a question for me, since we (humans) are animals. Of course, I'm sure the DNR were meaning the second definition: "An animal organism other than a human, especially a mammal." However, I also question if they will enforce the third definition: "A person who behaves in a bestial or brutish manner." Somehow, I think not... We were there long enough for the DNR to enforce the law upon the dogs we brought... and the bikes we brought, too.

Now, the issue with bikes I don't understand. If the statement was "NO BIKE RIDING" then I could understand the intent. However, with bikes costing up to $1,000 being ridden in from Ann Arbor, people might want to have them close-at-hand, rather than trusting to a lock, chain, and rack.

Going home, I learned that the US tied with Italy in their second game of the World Cup, and that Ghana beat (!) the Czech Republic. USA has a chance (perhaps a slim one) to get to the second round! Ahh, the wonders of World Cup Soccer. Just keep us hanging on.

Anyway, don't we SNERDs look so happy sitting out at the lake? (Don't worry, everyone in the photo had slathered on enough sun screen to keep themselves from turning lobster-red, I'm sure.)

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Cutting down the old elm tree

The elm tree that stood just outside the Dana Building's Diag-side entrance is no longer there. After having one of its major branches lopped off last year, the grounds staff have decided that it could not be saved, and so toppled it this afternoon.

A tree will not be planted there until the fall. Hopefully it will not be another maple or oak (as there are plenty around the campus already). The UM forester I talked with made a mention about some disease-resistant elm trees that are being cultivated, but the Diag planting design was not his jurisdiction.

Although I am not a "plant" person, it is still sad to think that there will be a large gaping hole in the Diag's "canopy" near the Dana Building. Hopefully Prof Moore will not have too many issues with glare as the summer progresses.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Rainy day in April.

"Drip, drip, drop little April shower, Beating a tune as you fall all around."

Okay, so the film Bambi didn't make the showers seem so cold as they made today. (Well, cold as compared to yesterday - personally, I think this is nice weather, although my plants would be wont to disagree if the could.)

It is SUPPOSED to get back up to the 60s tomorrow. Let's see. Until then I'm going to enjoy the wonderful cool day that is somewhat remeniscent of a Scottish grey.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Sunny Days

Last Saturday, I went to a "PrEaster" Party at an old friend's old house. The photo looking like something out of a JCrew catalog is just a regular graduate student sort of "porching" behavior that is common in the sunny srpingtime. (In case you are interested, you can find all of your clothing needs with JCrew, but probably at a higher cost than you would want to pay as a graduate student).

On a bit of wandering around later, Keith and I bumped into Shinsuke, and (while talking) saw an Isetta pull up at the A2 farmer's market. It's such a nice little car, in the sense that it provides something akin to an enclosed motorcycle on four wheels. The door placed on the front of the body made me wonder if such a car would be amenable to parallel parking, since an inconsiderate driver might back up close to the front of the Isetta, making it impossible access the door. Also, the length of the Isetta appears to be about the same as the width of most midsize cars, and definitely shorter than the width of most SUV's. Of course, this might just be too tempting for an over-zealous traffic warden to ticket...

Finally, Keith and I ended up at the rope swing out at West Park. The photo doesn't do justice to the drop-off that one swings out over.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Weather: Sunny.

There are art installations on the Diag this week, courtesy of the MLA students. Yay! Art! Distraction! Learning! Multi-disiplinary multi-media learning tools!

The following descriptions match up with the various projects (however, they will not likely match up with my photos, since Blogger and I don't get along very well).

ROOTed (front of Dana and Randall)

Jennifer Austin, Erik Dayrell, Susie Mattke-Robinson, Mary Walton

Beneath the surface, the roots of a tree provide stability, strength, and life. Were these roots visible, you would see they reach out far past the trunk of the tree, extending well beyond the canopy. They would bleed their imprint onto the ground, making clear the connection between the life of the tree, the earth around it, and our place rooted in nature. Media: Broadcloth, wire.

Dioxin Exposure! (front of Dana)

E. S. Bauer, S. M. Layton, M. S. Jastremski

Dioxin is a dangerous chemical produced primarily by waste incineration and burning coal to generate electricity. It is present to varying degrees in nearly all life on earth, humans included. Dioxin Exposure! does what its name implies; it amplifies something that is all around us, even inside us,
but that we never see. For more information on Dioxin, visit

Wind at Work (next to Hatcher Library)

Brian Chilcott, Amy Hiipakka, Britt Olsen-Zimmerman, Joel Perkovich, Ja-Jin Wu

The Wind at Work installation is intended to reveal that clean wind power becomes a sculpture in the landscape, rather than a scar as left by traditional fossil fuel extraction. Our intention is to promote the simple beauty of these forms in a bright and joyful space.

Shrine of the Once and Future Forest (front of Tisch Hall)

Jennifer Dowdell, Dave Laclergue, Carrie Morris, Zhifang Wang

Inspired by "The Once and Future Forest" by Leslie Jones Sauer of Andropogon Associates, this shrine mourns human-induced threats to forest diversity. The project encourages consideration of the history of introduced diseases, pests, and invasive species in North America. Playing off of current concerns about the emerald ash borer and the hemlock wooly adelgid, the shrine intends to expand awareness of a long and catastrophic history of similar disturbances, and the inevitability of future epidemics if preventative policies aren't established.

Flux (front of Angell/Mason Hall)

Katherine Foo, Tao Zhang

This installation speaks to the complex energy network that lies underneath the earth. The exponential mathematical relationship of its form expresses the intrusiveness of human beings' patterns of resource use.

Highlighting Diversity (tree wrappings)

Michael Yun, Holly Zipp, Yasuhiro Ishihara, Alicia LaValle, Amy Beltemacchi

We are surrounded by the solidity and permanence of trees but their inherent familiarity can make them invisible to our eyes. Wrapping tree trunks with a simple swath of color highlights the diversity and immutability of the trees. A sequence of horizontal bands at eye level emphasizes a line on the landscape and brings unity to a space which is otherwise experienced disparately. Each color corresponds to the tree's botanical family. We hope to deliberately connect our community to the landscape with this simple act.