Friday, March 25, 2005

Downtown Ann Arbor = Freddy Beach's Downtown *2!

Since I found out about my internship being extended through to the end of August, I have been riding high all week long. Yet, in spite of this good news, there are issues that have to be tackled, as I realized that I had misread a key part of the lease that I hold at the house at which I currently reside. It turns out that it ends at the end of June, instead of the end of August, as I previously thought. Oops.

Luckily for me, that gives me plenty of time to scope out the plentiful sublets coming open, as the school year at the University of Michigan draws to a close. Tomorrow, I check out a house (maybe two) that have are offering rents of $300 a month for the summer, considerably less than the $425 a month I currently pay (which is a bargain considering the neighbourhood I live in!). Not only would my rent be much lower at these places, I would be located at the outskirts of the downtown area, putting me within a 5-10 minute walk from all bars and restaurants (contrast that with the 30-45 minute jaunt I face to get downtown from my current abode). Also, I would be a 5-7 minute drive from work, much closer than the 12-15 minute commute I currently make. Considering gas may hit $3/gallon this summer in A2, that would be a definite advantage.

I may be posting this on a Friday night, but fear not, I haven't surrendered my social life this Easter weekend. Tomorrow night, I head out to a bar I haven't been to before, the Heidelberg, to catch a band I saw two months ago. They kicked my ass, and I hope they'll do it again!

Have a good one all!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Internship Extended! + Adventures In The Big Cit... Watch Out For That Crater In The Road! Ahhhh!!

It's been two weeks since I last spoke via the interweb, so I'll start with the most important stuff first.

I have had my internship extended here in Michigan until the end of August!

I am obviously thrilled about this turn of events! It means so many things. It means that I'll be getting four more months of experience in the field of ergonomics with the best ergo firm in North America, and arguably the world (Humantech). It means that the best firm in North America has cast a vote of confidence in my abilities as a young ergonomics professional. It means spending the summer in a city that I have grown to love, in spite of the greyness that Michigan winters can thrust upon the hardiest of folks. It means many things, and it's only beginning to sink in!

As for the smaller stuff, I ventured into the Detroit suburbs two weekends ago. I've been here long enough, and I hadn't ventured east of Ypsilanti at that point, so I figured it was time to get out and experience Greater Detroit, home to roughly 6 million people! So I headed east on I-96 towards Detroit on a sunny Sunday afternoon, planning to go as far as Livonia, a Detroit suburb recently ranked as the second best place to live in America.

I crossed into Wayne County from Washtenaw (my home county), and the roads instantly went to crap. Now, the roads in Michigan are in bad shape by default, but there were so many potholes on this freeway that it was like driving across a minefield! What was even crazier that there were people passing me on this freeway doing 90-100 miles an hour (150-160km/h) (the speed limit in Michigan is 70 miles an hour [120km/h]; I was doing about 75-80 miles per hour[125-130km/h]). Needless to say, police and highway funding by the government here is sorely lacking.

Now at this point, I had no idea where I was. The freeway had turned into an urban canyon (two concrete walls with fence on both sides), and all the exits only denoted the cross streets, but no city/suburb names. I figured that it would probably be a good idea to get off the freeway and soon, as I didn't want to stumble into a bad neighbourhood.

So I get off the highway, and find a Marathon gas station. I go into buy a map and to figure out where the heck I was. I enter the gas station, and I find out that the cash counter was barricaded from counter top to ceiling with an anti-theft plexiglass shield! I asked for a map, and directions to get to Livonia. Getting back to the car, I quickly figured out that I was in a suburb called Redford Township, and that the cross streets at which I was currently located was roughly 1/4 mile west of the city limits of Detroit proper!

Aside from being a little freaked out at first, I was also relieved that while this city has its bad spots, it's not as bad as people hype it up to be, as the neighbourhood where I had stopped was your average middle-class suburb. As long as common sense is exercised (lock your doors while you drive as well as when you leave your car, don't go into the city alone after dark, don't flash money or valuables about you), chances are you will be fine here.

Finally, I will be going to a concert at a club called the Heidelberg on Friday night, and on Saturday or Sunday I will be heading into the suburbs of D-etroit again, this time to Novi, Auburn Hills, Pontiac, etc.

Also, next week: I'll finally get my first film developed and then the pictures scanned, with the pics going up here shortly thereafter!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Riding Around In The Blue Rocket On A Typical Saturday Afternoon With Nowhere to Go In Particular ... Sounds Like Fun!

Hey everybody, it's been a while since I last posted, mainly due to the fact that I have been rather busy, and being tired at the end of a long day saps my will to write.

Anyhow, I've been doing some driving around the past couple of weekends. Went to Ypsilanti (you're forgiven if you don't know how to pronounce or spell it), a small city on the western edge of Detroit's urban sprawl last week, and today I drove out to Dexter and Chelsea, two towns within 10-20km west of Ann Arbor, from which many people who work in this city commute. They are all nice places overall (Ypsi's a bit of a tough town, think St. John), but the overridding feature of all these places is that it is flat and uninteresting from a geographic point of view. It definitely makes me appreciate the sights we have in Atlantic Canada, many people take them for granted.

Next week, I'll head out to Livonia, one of the bigger Detroit suburbs (I hear it has a pretty big mall, so that might be worth going to see), and sometime in the near future, I'll go up US 23 to see Flint (hometown of Michael Moore!) and Saginaw.

As far as weekend hijinks go, I went to a martini bar last night called Goodnight Gracie to see a jam band called Smokestack. It was a good show, but I still prefer JSB, as their jams tend to have a little more structure. I didn't end up getting a martini by the way, as they started at $6.75! I am cheap.

Well, I'm off to cook up some delicious frozen pizza for dinner. Pizza, whatever would I do without ye!