Town-skipping carpet?

See this post on the New West End Blog about the closing of Shayani Oriental Rugs on Main Street in Ann Arbor. I don’t really know if these folks are right or not, that this would be a better location for a bar, restaurant, coffee shop, etc., than for a bank. All I know is we bought a nice rug for our living room from these people back in August, and had we somehow been able to wait a few months, we would have probably saved 60-80% on it. Oh well….

My barbers have a web site

That is Arcade Barbers, which is in the Nichols Arcade in Ann Arbor. The web site even comes with a kinda cheesy Flash intro page. Interestingly, this place now has wireless Internet access in there. I haven’t had a chance to use it yet because the last couple of times I’ve gotten my hair cut (including today) I haven’t had to wait. But I can imagine it coming in handy….

Bombadill’s makes the Eastern Echo

There’s a nice little write-up about Bombadill’s Coffee House in Ypsilanti in EMU’s student paper, the Eastern Echo.

I’m actually in Bombadill’s right now, certainly the best coffee shop in all of Ypsilanti and my choice of a coffee shop destination when:

  • I really have to get down to work instead of merely “hang out” and/or people watch;
  • When I need a reliable Internet connection and I don’t want to be at home (I say “reliable” because some of the coffee shops I go to in Ann Arbor have spotty at best WiFi and because if something doesn’t work here, I know the people behind the counter well enough to ask them to fix it);
  • I’m meeting someone from EMU for something (for example, I actually taught a class that met here in Winter 2005– a great idea); and/or
  • When I’m in the mood for the Chicken Chili (which, since today is Tuesday, ought to be on the menu for lunch).

But I still don’t have Ypsi in my veins the same way that Pete does.

Anyway, c’mon down and check the place out.

New Gym Thoughts

Annette and I changed gyms this summer. We had been members of the One On One Athletic Club, which we had joined after we moved here in ’98. For a variety of different reasons I won’t go into now, we decided to move our athletic activities to the Washtenaw County Rec Center. This has been a move that has been interesting in a bunch of different ways:

  • The Washtenaw County Rec Center is significantly cheaper than One On One– SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper, like a third of the amount we were paying in dues.
  • The WCRC has a pool, which Annette likes plenty.
  • The WCRC has plenty of the things that I like to do: the eliptical machines, the bikes, the weight machines, etc. They also have an indoor track that is pretty nice, too.
  • The locker rooms at the WCRC aren’t all that great. This has been more of an issue for Annette than me since I have yet to use the WCRC locker rooms (so far, I do my thing and come home to get cleaned up), though it makes me think that the women’s locker room at One on One were better than the men’s locker rooms.
  • The “Beautiful People” are not members of the WCRC. This is interesting because at One on One, I was certainly one of the more “flabby” and middle-aged members, especially in relation to the kept wives (who, while middle-aged, did nothing but exercise), the students from U of M, and the muscle-head types. In contrast, the WCRC definitely caters to the senior set. It is not at all unusual for me, pushing 40, to be the youngest person in the work-out room, sometimes by 20 years. A lot of folks with walkers and canes, which is good I guess– hey, they need the exercise too, right?– but passing them on the walking track can be kinda tricky.
  • There are no TVs over the treadmills and eliptical machines at the WCRC like there were at One on One. On the down-side, I kinda miss watching the news or whatever while working out. On the up-side, they don’t play any thunka-thunka-thunka music in the place (I think the old people would throw fits), which means I can listen to my own music on my iPod.
  • And I guess in the end, the WCRC is not making me any skinnier any faster than One on One. I don’t know what to make of this yet….

Parking in AA

Some time back, I complained about the parking vaildation situation with Borders in downtown Ann Arbor, since they now require you to actually buy something to get parking validation and they will only give you an hour worth of parking. My bitch/complaint (basically) was where else can I get parking? Well, thanks to a helpful comment from someone named Kyle, now I know. I was sorting through some old email messages and I thought I’d post the list that he posted earlier to my blog here this afternoon.

AS OF AUGUST 1, 2005

Business Name Location Service Provided
A Therapeutic Connection 206 S. Main, Ste 201 Professional Massage/Bodywork
Abracadabra Jewelry 205 E. Liberty St. Jewelry store
Absolute Title, Inc. 2450 W. Stadium Title Insurance Agent
Acme Mercantile 111 W. Liberty St. Retail
Aerostrategy 202 E. Washington St. Technology firm
Afterwords Books 219 S. Main St. Bookstore
Amadeus Restaurant 122 E. Washington St. Restaurant
American Title 425 S. Main St. Title Insurance
Ann Arbor Architects Collaborative 210 E. Huron St. Architectural firm
Ann Arbor Art Center 117 W. Liberty St. Gallery
Ann Arbor O’Hair 217 S. Fourth Ave. Hair Salon
Ann Arbor YMCA 350 S. Fifth Ave. Fitness Ctr/Child Care/Youth Program
Annekes Hair Station 221 S. Main St. Beauty Salon
Ark 316 S. Main St. Concert house
Aunt Agathas 213 S. Fourth Ave. Bookstore
Bank One 125 S. Main St. Private Client Banking Svcs
Bella Ciao 118 W. Liberty St. Restaurant
Bella Nina Day Spa & Salon 203 N. Fourth Ave. Day Spa
Bennett Optometry 117 S. Main St. Optical Exams/Sales
Blue Nile 221 E. Washington St. Restaurant
Busy Hands 306 S. Main St. Retail
Cappellos Salon 255 E. Liberty St. Hair Salon
Charles Schwab & Company 101 N. Main St., #130 Financial Services
Chris Petersen Jewelers 306 S. Main St. Jewelry
Clearweave Corporation 219 S. Main St., #203 Web Design
Colombia Asset Management 202 E. Washington St., #500 Financial Planning
Conor O’Neill’s 318 S. Main St. Restaurant
Dataspace 122 S. Main St. Data support systems
David Milling & Associates 208 W. Liberty St. Architects
Deruyver Properties 122 S. Main St., #350 Financial Planning
Diamond Bullet Design 315 W. Huron St., #140 Website Design
Dispute Resolution Center 110 N. Fourth Ave. Mediation
Downtown Home & Garden 210 S. Ashley St. Retail

Business Name Location Service Provided
Dream On Futon 303 S. Ashley St. Retail Futon Store
FCB Associates 206 S. Fifth Ave., #175 Real Estate/Management
Fiegel’s 320 S. Main St. Clothing/Consulting/Financial Advising
Fluent Inc. 220 E. Huron St., #470 Footwear Sales
Footprints 217 S. Main St. Footwear Sales
Frog Prince Studios 215-1/2 S. Main St. Photography
Gardner & Associates 201 S. Main St., #802 Legal Services
Generations for Children 337 S. Main St. Clothing & Toy Retail
Genetics Squared 210 S. 5th Ave., Ste A Biotech
Graphic Art Wholesalers 224 S. Main St. Picture Framing
Hoi Polloi Boutique, LLC 333 S. Main St. Women’s clothing and accessories
Inovo Technologies 202 E. Washington St. Technology Services
John Schultz Photography 206 S. Main St. Portrait Photography
Key Bank 100 S. Main St. Bank
Kim Moore, PLLC 116 E. Washington, #100 Law Firm
Kiwanis Club 201 S. First St. Rummage sales
Lord –Aeck & Sargent Architecture 213 S. Ashley St., #200 Architecutral design & planning
Matrix Gallery 111 S. Fourth Ave. Art Gallery
MAV Development 350 S. Main/305 Detroit St. Real Estate Property Management
Menlo Associates 212 N. Fourth Ave. Computer software & training
Metamorphosis 121 E. Liberty St. Salon and spa
Michael T. Murphy Photography 206 S. Main St., #201 Photography
Miki Japanese Restaurant 106 S. First St. Restaurant
Miller-Canfield 101 N. Main St. Law firm
Nancy Hart, Ph.D. 202 E. Washington St., #400 Psycho Therapy
Nicolette Boszik Interiors 122 S. Main St. Interior Design/Furnishings
Northwestern Mutual 124 E. Washington St. Insurance
Pamela’s Day Spa 249 E. Liberty St. Salon and spa
Patricia Melnick 202 E. Washington St., #200 Psychotherapy
Peaceable Kingdom 210 S. Main St. Gift Shop
Performance Network 120 E. Huron St. Theatre

Business Name Location Service Provided
Pointe Care Services 2020 S. Seventh St. Home Care Services
Renaissance 350 S. Main St. Retail
Republic Bank 122 S. Main St. Banking
Salon in the City 119 W. Washington St. Hair Salon
Salon Vertigo 328 S. Main St. Hair Salon
Salon XL 208 E. Washington St. Hair Salon
Schlanderer & Sons 208 S. Main St. Jewelers
Second Heaven Salon & Spa 328 S. Main St. Hair Salon
Selo/Shevel Gallery 301 S. Main St. Gallery
Seyfried Jewelers 304 S. Main St. Jewelry Sales
Smith Haughey & Rice 213 S. Ashley St. Law firm
Standard Federal Bank 201 S. Main St. Banking services
Strategic Wealth Management 214 S. Main St., #202 Financial
Susan Miller 202 E. Washington St. Psychological services
Tabor Hill Wine & Art Gallery 115 W. Liberty St. Retail Wine and Art
Urban Jewelers 215 S. Main St. Jewelry Sales
Van Goor Architects 116A W. Washington Architecture firm
Vie Fitness & Spa 209 S. Ashley St. Fitness & Spa
Voila Boutique 211 S. Main St. Retail
Westside Book Shop 113 W. Liberty St. Book Store
Wireless Toyz 200 E. Washington St. Retail-cell phones
Youth Empowerment Project 255 E. Liberty St., #273 Youth Services

AS OF AUGUST 1, 2005

Business Name Location Service Provided
Arcadian Antiques 13 Nickels Arcade Retail-antiques
Barbara Nesbitt Emerick, DDS 625 E. Liberty St. Dental office
Borders Books & Music 612 E. Liberty St. Books/Music Sales
Center for the Education of Women 330 E. Liberty St., 2nd Flr. Counseling Services
Charles Beard, DDS 625 E. Liberty St. Dental office
Christian Science Reading Room 306 E. Liberty St. Book Store
Cottage Inn 512 E. William St. Restaurant
Crystal Clear Expressions 220-222 Nickels Arcade Intuitive Counseling
Dascola Barbers 304-1/2 S. State St. Barber Shop
Datmap 211 S. State St. Software Development
Dickinson Wright 301 E. Liberty St. Law Firm
Dollar Bill Copying 611 Church St. Printing
Dr. Barbara Lahood 400 Maynard St., #806 Psychological Services
English Language Arts 219 Nickels Arcade Language training/consulting
Great Lakes Team Apparel 309 S. State St. Sportswear-retail
Intervarsity 203 Nickels Arcade Counseling (non-profit)
IPS, Inc. Nickels Arcade Real Estate
John Leidy Shop 601 E. Liberty St. Gifts
Kate Beauchamp 320 Thompson St. Massage Therapist
King of Queens Restaurant 1235 S. University Restaurant
Lifetime Nutrition 328 Thompson, #203 Nutrition Consulting
Maison Edwards 11 Nickels Arcade Retail
Mark Kassof & Co. 527 E. Liberty St., #202 Marketing Research
Mark Wanless Electrolysis 527 E. Liberty St. Electrolysis
Mediation Training/Education Ctr 330 E. Liberty St., #3A Mediation & Consultation
Michigan Theater 603 E. Liberty St. Entertainment

Business Name Location Service Provided
Middle Earth 1209 S. University Gift Store
New Age Salon 347 Maynard St. Hair Salon
Nexcess Net 304-1/2 S. State St. Software/Web Hosting
Professional Clinical Massage 328 Thompson St., #202 Massage Therapy
Red Hawk 316 S. State St. Restaurant
Sadako Japanese Restaurant 1321 S. University Restaurant
Shaman Drum 313 S. State St. Book Store
State Street Alterations 336 S. State St. Tailor Shop
Structural Design 275 E. Liberty St. Structural Engineering
Studio Sixteen 16 Nickels Arcade Jewelry Store
Totoro Japanese Restaurant 215 S. State St. Restaurant
University Flower Shop 7 Nickels Arcade Flower Shop
Van Boven 17 Nickels Arcade Retail Shoes
Village Corner 601 S. Forest Ave. Party Store
Wayne Collquitt, DDS 625 E. Liberty St. Dental office
Wazoo Records 330-1/2 S. State St. Retail-records
Zanzibar 216 S. State St. Restaurant

I got your fairy door right here, pal…

I really like Ann Arbor, so you won’t usually find me bitching about its pretentious, richy-rich, trendy, and snobby ways. Leave that kind of cynicism to these guys. Sure, I like Ypsilanti just fine, but I also like the idea of living near (and, someday, perhaps in) a city with safe and clean streets, art, good restaurants, arty film options, great book stores, good coffee shops, nice parks, etc., etc.

But this fairy door thing is really freakin’ stupid.


As has been discussed in this AAIO post and elsewhere, so-called “Fairy Doors” have started to appear at stores in the main street area. Above is a picture of one at Sweetwater’s, a coffee shop that I would go to more often if they had wifi access in there.

(Slight Update):
This is where I found this picture in the first place; if it doesn’t show up in your browser, check there.

Okay, I guess this is just something kind of stupid and cute. Whatever.

But then today, in today’s “The Talk About Town” column in The Ann Arbor News comes this conjecture/threat:

Who knew, when fairy doors started appearing outside businesses in Ann Arbor’s Main Street area, that they might become a tourist attraction? Ann Arbor’s Helen Bucella-Costa e-mailed her sister-in-law the link to our story on fairy doors. Now that the sister-in-law and a niece are visiting from New Jersey, there’s a fairy door tour on the itinerary. To prepare for their visit, Bucella-Costa contacted The News asking for known fairy door locations.

“It’s wonderful,” says Bucella-Costa. “This could turn into something like the (painted) cows in Chicago. “It’s even better than the cows because it appeals to people’s imagination, too.”

Good Lord, that’s all we need: busloads of sisters-in-laws tromping up and down Main Street, studying their maps to the fairy doors, stooping over to see the oh so cute little non-doors, laying on the concrete to get their pictures taken next to them (“Move to the left, Helen– your head is blocking it all out”). Maybe there will be little mini fairy doors (??) for sale right next to the mini versions of those cows in Chicago (or, God forbid, those weird Herky the Hawkeyes that were in Iowa City a couple years ago) at one of those “fine art” stores in the mall. Gosh, I can’t wait.



Next year, maybe there will be another place to drink beer in Depot Town

Check out this post on Mark Maynard’s blog about a beer garden coming to Depot Town. Sounds promising and fun, though I still don’t have a very clear sense of where said beer garden would be located. And besides, you can drink beer outside (and inside) at The Sidetrack right now.

By the way, about that link to The Sidetrack web site: I just spent a few minutes browsing it, and if you get a chance, I’d encourage you to take a look at the “Dear Linda” section, supposedly written by Sidetrack owner Linda “Frenchie” French. A hoot and a half.

The Sidetrack burger is #19!

According to this list of “The 20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die,” the “famous burger” at Ypsilanti’s very own Sidetrack Bar and Grill.

The Sidetrack does indeed have a very good burger; I mean, I don’t know if it’s a must eat before you die (that’s a mighty high standard), but it is what I often get when I go there.

I think such a memorable hamburger is really based on atmosphere and place and such, so for my money, the “best burger” is actually at the Hamburg Inn #2 in Iowa City. But back in those days, I didn’t think a whole lot about calories, fat levels, cholesterol, etc. Like I said, it’s a lot about time and place.

Damn you, Borders parking validation…

We went out to dinner tonight and followed it up with a stop at American Spoon for the excellent gelato. Dinner was at Palio, which was the first time we had been there, actually. Pretty good stuff.

Anyway, while the family was finishing up the gelato at American Spoon, I ran across the street to Borders to get my parking validated. I am accustomed to doing this when I am in this part of dowtown and I have to park in the deck there. If you buy something in the store, they will validate you for two hours. If you don’t buy anything, they will validate you for one.

Or, more accurately, they used to do this.

I went up to the register and the young person started into a well-rehearsed speech. “I’m sorry, but we no long validate parking without a purchase. If….” When he got to this part of his speech, I picked up a piece of chocolate at the register. “Oh, well thanks for doing that,” he said.

“When did you guys started to do this? And where is this posted?” I asked.

“Yeah, it sucks, doesn’t it? It’s posted here,” he said, pointing to a completely unreadable piece of paper posted far behind the register. “They’ve posted it for us but not for anyone else.”

“So, can I still get two hours if I buy anything?”

“No, just an hour now,” the kid said. “They told us it had something to do with competition from other places giving validation.”

“No one around here validates parking.”

“Really?!” said the kid, realizing that once again the corporate line from the Borders managers lied to him. At least I think they lied to them; to the best of my knowledge, there is no other restaurant or store or anything that validates parking in town. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, please.

Anyway, this will make me think twice about the need to go into Borders the next time I have to park in the deck. What’s the point?