Saturday, October 30, 2010

Just watched the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear online.

At this time, there are no numbers about turn-out at this rally. However, it seemed (because there was no Reflecting Pool to get in the way) a lot more well-attended than that one held at the end of August. The numbers will likely come out later.

I really thought that the closing statement by John Stewart was really quite powerful -- and I'll try to link to it, if one gets onto YouTube (and is relatively stable there, too).

Webcams from the Washington Monument appear (at this time) to be disabled, so I will just share this shot taken from the traffic cam at Pennsylvania Ave and 7th St of people beginning to leave the rally:

Now, that's a lot of people. I really do wish that I was able to go.

UPDATE (November 2, 2010): According to CBS, the rally attracted roughly 215,000 people. This was much more than the estimated 150,000 expected attendees that Comedy Central used when ordering the port-a-johns, and much, much more than the CBS estimate of Beck's Rally to Restore Honor of 87,000.

To the left are side-by-side photos from the CBS website contrasting what the numbers mean. As you can tell, the Beck rally was held in front of the Lincoln Memorial, complete with the Reflecting Pool, which meant that it had roughly 3/4 the space as the Stewart rally would have. (Which means that -- if the Beck rally was able to fit an additional amount of people packed to the same density as people found on either side of the pool, there would have been roughly 116,000.) In addition, the Beck rally has a lot of green visible in between crowd members, while there is much less green visible in the Stewart rally. (Let's estimate that the Stewart rally had roughly twice the density of the Beck rally, so if Beck was able to pack in the same density of people in the same length of the Mall -- including having people in the area of the Reflecting Pool -- there would have been roughly 232,000; which is within the same range of people as at Stewart's rally.) Therefore, while both Beck's and Stewart's rallies appeared to peter out at roughly the same place (the Washington Memorial), it doesn't mean that the numbers were anywhere close, since Beck's rally surrounded the Reflecting Pool, and the Beck ralliers were not packed in as tightly.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Funny juxtapositions

Over at, one has the opportunity to vote on which of two signs are "more sane". Sometimes, you have some really funny juxtapositions of signs, which still requires that you choose whether apples are better than oranges.

The following seemed rather incongruously linked:

Go on, try it out.

UPDATE: Sometimes, the Hitler references just come up perfectly. This one's like a blackjack deal!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Storm front: splitting the difference

I'm happy to split the difference on this one: a storm front to the south and a storm front to the north. Still, I don't think that we're out of the woods quite yet...

Large stormfront on its way...

There's a HUGE stormfront coming toward Ann Arbor. It should be here in the mid-afternoon.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Moving offices

The English Language Institute - wherein I have my Graduate Student Instructor (aka "Teaching Assistant") position - is moving from a rented space at 500 E. Washington (off-campus) to West Hall (on the Central Campus). I went over there to look at where my new office will be.

Yeah, I know that the name on the door isn't mine, but as you can also tell, the space is still under renovation. It should all be ready in 2 weeks' time... We'll see, though.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Two-day trip to Ludington

Took a two-day trip to Ludington with B. and T. to see the fall colors, drink some microbrews, and enjoy the UMich "Fall Break."

I rented a ZipCar (although we went WAY beyond the miles/day), because insurance and gas are included. Of course, getting up to Ludington required some fuel pit-stops.

And on the way up, we took M37 through Newaygo, with a small detour over to the Croton Dam. I did summer work on the Muskegon River, from the dam down to the mouth of the river during the summers of 03, 04, and 05. It was fun to see the dam again; it brought back some memories.

We finally made it to Ludington, and went out to the Harbor to see Lake Michigan. (Sorry, no photos of the Fall colors on the trip up; someone had to drive...)

We also took a trip up toward Ludington State Park, but because I didn't have a parks passport, I decided to park along the road, just shy of the park entrance and walk around on the beach at that point. Lots of driftwood, fine, and wind...

Going back to Ludington for dinner, we stopped at the Jamesport Brewery for some nice microbrews and cod sandwiches. (T. had a steak sandwich au jus, but decided that she wanted mustard instead of jus.) The beers were tasty, but with a few miles to drive back to the hotel, I wasn't ready to down several pints.

The next day, we stopped along the White River on our sojourn back to Ann Arbor. The leaves were falling like snow and the colors were fading from brilliant to barren.

For lunch, we stopped by the Founders Brewery in Grand Rapids. (The Brewery is behind me as I took this photo, as was the sun...) I like this photo, because at the present time, the only ZipCar availability in Michigan is in Ann Arbor. ... and yet, there is a ZipCar (anomalously) in one of Michigan's cities...

We ended back in Ann Arbor, taking time to go grocery shopping, and I also went that evening to Mr. Stadium to do about 4 week's worth of laundry. But that's a different story (without photographs, which make it that much less interesting, and that much less likely to be shared).

Replaced front brake pads

My bike's front brakes were making a metal-on-metal, "shink, shink, shink," sound, so I took my bike in to Great Lakes Cycling and Fitness to get the pads replaced.

Turns out that they were well past due on the replacement, with one of the pads worn almost down to nothing.
Dead brake pad

Good thing that the store is on my way in to town.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

October = fantastic lighting

There are a few reasons why I like October:
  • the return of dark, hearty beers,
  • cooling air temperatures, allowing me to be less sweaty after cycling, and
  • really warm lighting that is fantastic for photography.
Since I can't really share the love of dark, hearty beers at this time, and I don't think that I really want to expand on the benefits of being less sweaty when starting work, I'll focus on some recent photos that I took that made great use of the autumnal lighting. Some of these are from around Ann Arbor's downtown and others are from Saginaw Forest. (It should be pretty obvious which are from where.)












Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Since July I've cycled...

I've been participating in the CLIF 2 Mile Challenge since early July of this year (about two months after the challenge started). However, even though I started late, now that the challenge has reached its last month, I find myself in 24th place overall (among a few thousand). It appears that I'm near the front of the pack in my group (people with less than ~1000 points), and it's unlikely that I'll make up enough ground to catch up to that lead group by the end of the month.

But what has it all amounted to? Well, at this point, I've logged 740 miles, which is roughly a one-way trip from Ann Arbor, MI to Omaha, NE or a round-trip from Ann Arbor, MI to Bloomington, IL. Of course, this includes all the weekend trips that I've taken, as well. Therefore, if you look at only my commuting miles (8 miles per day, 5 days per week), by the end of the month, I'll have added another 120 miles, which (although I know that I shouldn't count chickens before they hatch) means that I'll get to around 850 miles cycled since early July.