Library, Neighbors, Townie Party

Friday and Saturday were uneventful.

Sunday I spent at the new library branch, sitting in their cafe area doing some work. They've got power, network, and nice surroundings, and if I get frustrated by something I can stand up and go browse a minute or two. I tied up one long-standing problem (which turned out to be due to a dumb networking configuration), and a couple other small things. After they booted us all out of the library at 6, I picked up a few things at Kroger, then walked home.

Meanwhile, Sara had been making bread and carrot halwa. We tasted a little of the latter (sugar! Yum!), then took the former to the apartment complex's summer potluck picnic. Which was surprisingly fun. The people were pretty interesting. A few we already knew, most we didn't. There were three French speakers there (two Belgian, one didn't introduce herself but must have been Canadian?). There was good stuff to eat and drink.

Streets are already blocked off and tents going up for the annual Ann Arbor Art Fairs, so the Monday before they have a "townie party". Food and drink, some good music, great weather. I got to talk to a few people I knew, and listened to some of the music, but for some reason wasn't really in the mood, so we passed on the food and drink, came home relatively early, and had some leftovers.


Every now and then I'll go to a doctor when I'm feeling really sick, but I don't think I've had just a regular physical since college or before. So I figured it was time. The guy I went to (at the University Hospital) seemed smart and helpful. He gave me some advice on my knees (which bother sometimes me after riding my bike), told me that I was healthy, and that I should come back at 40ish.

Oh, and a nurse also flushed out my left ear, which had been bothering me a little lately. Wow, I should have had that done a while ago--there was some disgusting stuff in that ear. Be thankful I didn't have a camera with me.

After that I went to Amers, got a sandwich, settled down in a booth, and worked for a few hours, till I was due to meet Trond and company at Dominick's.

roman de gare

Work today was lots of loose ends where I'd hope there'd be more of tying them up.

I rode my bike home, by way of the State theater--where I saw "Roman de Gare" with the french group. The movie is enormous fun as long as there are lots of loose ends and mistaken identities, but when the filmmakers finally tie it all up and give you what you want, it's a disappointment. It was for me anyway.

Riding back down division at a good clip, somebody made a right turn in front of me from the lane to my left. I shouted "yo!", which is all I can usually think of at such short notice. Maybe I should have followed and asked what they were thinking. Maybe not.

rhubarb pie

I was going to juggle, but we got rained out, so Tuesday we had a normal night at home. Sara made a rhubarb pie. Yum!

Normally we would have gone to our book group, which meets on the second tuesday of every month, but this time, somehow we both just forgot. Maybe I'll just start skipping that for a while.

Uncle Bruce

Sara's uncle Bruce died yesterday. We got to see him and his wife several times when I was near San Francisco for work. He'd often show us something--last time it was an unfinished documentary and a Buck Rogers episode--then pick up some tasty burritos and aguas frescas for us from a restaurant place down the street, and maybe go for a walk through the Golden Gate Park botanical garden. It's some sort of requirement with Sara's family that whenever they go someplace they always visit any local botanical gardens.

He'd been sick for many years. An afternoon nap seemed to be an absolute requirement, and he didn't travel (in part just because it would probably be incompatible with the afternoon nap). He seemed irritable sometimes. We'd heard vague things over the last year about his being in worse than usual health, but the call from Sara's dad yesterday wasn't expected.

Anyway, it was always fun to see him, and it's sad we won't have another chance.

New library, no more Top of the Park

The public library recently opened a new branch near us. Well, actually, they moved it. It used to be in a strip mall. Which sounds really tacky, but it was actually great--you could visit the library, the hardware store, the drug store, and a grocery all on the same trip. Oh, and get some ice cream for the walk back if you wanted. So Sara and I were a little annoyed about the move.

Anyway, we figured it was worth a look, so we walked over Sunday afternoon. The building is lovely. It's got a pleasant cafe area with convenient network and power.

I still don't like the location--it's not on my way anywhere--but I can see it being a pleasant place to hang out and work, so I'll probably be back.

Plus, they had a volume of Trondheim's "Little Nothings". Score! It's a collection of one-page, typically 4-6 panel cartoons done in watercolor about little events from his daily life. It would have been more fun to find it in the original French, but whatever.

We walked from there back to North Campus, took a bus back downtown, then sat on the lawn at Top of the Park for a while. We moved up partway through George Bedard's set, then for the end sat down on the steps of the Rackham building, behind the stage, for the rock-star-eye view of the crowd. Fun! But also the last night. So from now on we go home, make dinner, and fall asleep at a reasonable hour.

latin bands

I got a slow start Saturday, did a little work in the afternoon, then met Sara again for Top of the Park.

The second band was a 12-piece latin band. Fun music! And fun to watch all the dancers, too. (Me, I just stay seated and wiggle a bit when the spirit moves me. It's safe for everyone concerned.)

The latin jazz band before was great too.

July 4th, parade, NOMO

The Ann Arbor 4th of July parade isn't the most thrilling; the bulk of it seems to be businesses with their vehicles decorated, and politicians throwing candy. But that also means that if you take 5 minutes to fill out a form, they'll let you march. The juggling club hadn't done it in a few years, so I figured maybe we should give it another try.

And it was reasonably fun. There were seven of us. We were in the back, though, so the front was already finishing before we started, and we didn't really get to see the rest.

I worked most of the rest of the day, then met Sara for Top of the Park later.

Somebody in the Top of the Park sound booth really likes bass that makes your chest vibrate. Which is fine sometimes, but it sometimes seems to come at the expense of the other instruments. And at the NOMO show Friday night it grated at first--the songs were built on these repetitive 8-beat units, with the bass part not necessarily the most interesting part (though their bass player did seem really good).

But, for whatever reason, I got over that eventually. I really enjoyed the last few songs, and for the very last song the came down into the crowd and played in a circle with everybody crowded around them, which was magical.

kernel summit, Mr. O, TotP

Hey, look, I got an invitation to the annual linux kernel summit, which is in one of my favorite cities, Portland, this September.

Curious what makes Trondheim's "Mr. O" click, I've been killing some time trying to figure out how to draw little O guys that look like they have different expressions, or are doing different things. It's suprisingly subtle--a line a little astray and it changes the character of the whole thing.

Top of the Park continues, so we've been spending more time than usual outside. Tonight a pretty good rain came through, though, so after my French thing at Sweetwaters I made a dash for the bus and came home.

Continuing the French movie spree:

  • A Bout de Souffle: The library had a new edition with a bunch of extra interviews and stuff. I get the impression Godard was a bit of a jerk. And probably not as smart as everyone claims (who is?). I still like the movie, though I'm nto sure whether it's because of the stuff they did or the stuff they didn't bother to do.
  • Pierrot Le Fou: Ditto.
  • Poupées Rousses: Not worth a second watch, it turns out. There's some good bits, but it didn't add up to much. The explanation of the title at the end is a bit of an anticlimax. (Looking for the perfect woman is like opening russian dolls, you see, with each new one you wonder if it's the last. Huh.)
  • Ridicule: Regular guy goes to Versailles looking for a grant for a swamp-clearing project. I liked the fact that he wasn't just an innocent rube: he actually finds he's *good* at the court games. Sara and I both enjoyed it.
  • Le Vieil Homme et L'Enfant: A jewish boy's parents send him to the country to hide him from the occupiers. The grandfatherly host is a wonderful, warm character, but completely in thrall to antisemetic propaganda. The actor who plays him (Michel Simon, also star of Boudu Sauvé des Eaux) is fascinating.
  • Rêves de Poussière: Mining for gold in Essakane was a dirty, dangerous business, I guess. Really beautiful to watch. Reviews all warn that it's very slow, and I'm normally a pretty impatient movie watcher, but I felt like it flew by.


Wednesday night we the Sun Messengers, and then stayed for the movie, the 2007 version of Hairspray. The ratio of minutes spent in song-and-dance routines to mundane minutes was high. I liked it.

Thursday I went to my book group. There were only three of us, not quite enough to keep a conversation going, but it was OK. Still, I was jealous of Sara, who got to see Laith Al-Saadi.

Next time that group meets it's for something I recommended, "Mr. O", which is thirty 1-page 60-panel stories (layed out in a tiny 6x10 grid) about a little stick-figure O attempting to cross a chasm and repeatedly failing.

I think they may kill me.

Then it was the top of the park again tonight. The first band ("Money Mark") was good. The second ("The Mason Jennings Band") bored us both, so we went home.


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