A weekend in Ann Arbor: museums, food, films

This past weekend, I headed up to visit Chris and Liz in Ann Arbor MI.  The plan for the weekend was to go visit urban ruins within Detroit (last time, we went to experience the INSANE standard of living differentials block to block).  I have long found urban ruins, but particularly industrial ruins, absolutely fascinating – so this was an exciting prospect!  Unfortunately, it was raining to Noahide levels all weekend, to the point that Detroit had river flood warnings Saturday evening into Sunday late morning… so that means we would likely be intruding on vagrants or homeless folks in those buildings if we went exploring.  Thusly, we decided to postpone the exploring for a different weekend later this summer.

SO.

The immediate first experience upon my Saturday morning arrival was meeting their new puppy Tyus (so named for a Duke basketball player, I was told).  Tyus was waggly and urinated by way of excited greeting – he is a YOUNG puppy!  Certainly cute though:

Tyus, the new puppy at the home of Chris and Liz

Tyus, the new puppy at the home of Chris and Liz

Pinch-hitting, I asked if we might explore a couple of the museums in town at the University of Michigan.  We headed over to their surprisingly well-stocked museum of archaeology.   From the ancient Near East to Imperial Rome, this little building had two sizeable floors of artifacts and displays of all sorts.  As I understand it, all of these were dug up (grave-stolen? Indiana Jones’d??) by U of M types over time, which itself is cool.  It was a bit weird to see a child mummy, although I was pleased that the curators had attempted to set up the mummy as the burial was intended to have been over eternity.  As a matter of fact, they had done CT scans of the mummy in the 1990’s and found that the child had 6 fingers on one hand, which made that spooky corner of the place a little spookier….

From prehistoric to ancient Roman, this little archaeological museum at U of M was loaded with gems

From prehistoric to ancient Roman, this little archaeological museum at U of M was loaded with gems

We subsequently walked over to the art museum at the University, dodging the near-constant rainfall as we went.  The art museum was the site of a wedding reception and some INCREDIBLY poorly-behaved people in said party.  That said, artwork for the past ~60 years is just annoying bullshit much of the time anyways… so they were like a really loud, building-spanning exhibit, in their own way!  The coolest part of the visit was the gallery of pro-coal World War I propaganda.  I don’t typically associate mining coal with victory over the Huns (or even the need for such a victory at this time), but the artwork had its intended effect on me.  I hope to do MY part in contributing to the steam locomotives of our federal government here on out!

An impressive campus, and thankfully devoid of undergraduates for the summer

An impressive campus, and thankfully devoid of undergraduates for the summer

We later had dinner at the Jolly Pumpkin, which was 1) run by and for disgusting hipster pigdogs; but 2) entirely delicious and delectable.  Creamed zucchini soup spiced with cumin to start; and a lamb + fried egg burger and a picked squash as the main course = super tasty.  The smarminess of the waiter and his “well THIS beer is ONLY made locally by artisans” and accompanying sneer detracted a bit from the experience, but fit with the foul and unholy hipster decor, I suppose!

The balance of the weekend was spent on a cinematic adventure.  We went and saw Mad Max: Fury Road in the theater and were entertained.  I liked it overall, but the guy in the red pajamas with flamethrowing heavy metal guitar did and still does make me very mad.  On Sunday, we got to screen the 80’s-tastic Kung Fury (not for the faint of heart… or those with a pronounced aversion to some SERIOUS mullet action).  We also got to screen the 1/3 Norwegian landscape showcase // 2/3 sexy Land Rover Defender 110 advertisement, also called Trollhunter – and it was actually VERY good.  It is a found-footage (sort of like the Blair Witch Project) but is actually engaging and good (entirely UNLIKE said Blair Witch Project) movie, one on Netflix and well worth your time to at least read about, if not screen.

All told, a fairly relaxing and definitely enjoyable weekend in Ann Arbor with good friends!! I look forward to the urban exploring of Detroit to come, next time I go up there.

Finally, in terms of my vehicular portions of the trip, the car performed beautifully (like, unreasonably well given JUST how bad the rains were + how bald the tires on the ‘Ru are).  Not a single loss of traction or moment of hydroplaning in semi-swampy road conditions.  The fuel economy I experienced went down a bit from the last fill-up, likely due to going ~75 or 76 mph with the flow of traffic into stormy winds AND with the roof basket on the car.  While the fuel efficiency fiend in me dies a little each time I realize the loss of 1-2mpg from the roof basket… it will eventually have permanent lights and radio antennas installed onto it, so it isn’t really a removable fixture….

Subaru MPG chart - a little bit of variance going on, I am hoping this will stay steady as time goes on and with new wheels.

Subaru MPG chart – a little bit of variance going on, I am hoping this will stay steady as time goes on and with new wheels.

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