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).