A N N   A R B O R   I S   O V E R R A T E D . (a blog.)

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2003-11-23 - 2:27 p.m.

Today we launch Ann Arbor is Overrated at its new location, annarborisoverrated.com. We'll still be leaving up this site as we try to get our old entries over to the new site somehow. Leave your feedback on the new site!

:: 1 comments so far

2003-11-22 - 12:04 a.m.

A reader writes in with five reasons Ann Arbor doesn't suck:

  1. Dominos Pizza originated from Ann Arbor.
  2. Borders
  3. Andrew W.K.
  4. Iggy Pop
  5. Bob Seger

Were it not for the inclusion of Iggy Pop and Andrew W.K., we'd think he was being ironic (Borders? Now?) but that appears not to be the case. These may in fact be the five exports A2 is best known for, and, whatever else you may think about them, it's a pretty unpretentious list, considering their source. Salon even ran a piece recently that gamely tried to rehabilitate the "monumentally unhip" Seger on the basis of his unfussy "sturdiness."

:: 11 comments so far

2003-11-20 - 1:53 p.m.

Ypsi's becoming a pretty cool place lately. But don't worry - they've got a plan to remedy that. By rezoning the up-and-coming Cross Street area, they'll be able to attract "more families and fewer students." An Ypsi resident whose main problems are "noise and parking" supports the plan - what's cooler than quiet parking lots? "Landlords who rent to students," on the other hand, oppose it.

No students were quoted or acknowledged to have a perspective on the rezoning in the News article.

UPDATE: Seat of the Revolution may have the definitive take on this - Steven actually attended the planning meeting.

:: 15 comments so far

2003-11-19 - 1:38 p.m.

We were able to catch about 5 minutes of CTN this morning, and the Planning Commission was discussing some new development of condos and townhouses around Kingsley, which the A2 residents who spoke at the meeting generally opposed (except for an urban planning undergrad). One of the reasons given was that even though the units were to be sold, there's no guarantee they won't eventually be rented - and there goes the neighborhood right there. Does anyone know anything else about this?

And more armed robbery downtown.

Anyone who's interested in the proposed meetup should e-mail us (aaio @ annarborisoverrated.com) with times you'd be available (we're thinking Friday possibly) and venue suggestions.

:: 6 comments so far

2003-11-17 - 2:28 p.m.

Tune into the Historic District Commission on CTN right now - there's a heated discussion about whether the spindles on a stair railing of a house should be spaced the same distance as the spindles on the porch railing. Why do all the women on the Historic District Commission wear large theatrical hats? Is it really a good idea for someone wearing a brown faux-fur pillbox hat indoors to be making aesthetic decisions for our city?

Also, would anyone be interested in some kind of Ann Arbor is Overrated meetup?

:: 55 comments so far

2003-11-14 - 4:19 p.m.

Oh, boy. The veganporn.com posse wasn't impressed with our take on vegetarian marshmallows. For the record, we are not part of the "pro-gelatin" movement.

:: 15 comments so far

2003-11-14 - 3:55 p.m.

Ann Arbor was so much cooler five years ago - back when the AAPD had volunteers posing as students at parties giving out minor-in-possession tickets.

:: 8 comments so far

2003-11-13 - 1:28 p.m.

S'mores are hard to make - if you insist on vegetarian marshmallows and commercial graham crackers are "off limits in [your] house."

If you do make your own graham crackers, they just won't be authentically Ann Arbor without a quarter cup of wheat germ.

:: 19 comments so far

2003-11-12 - 2:07 a.m.

Today's Daily letters page carries a smarmy bit of self-righteousness about why students shouldn't bring cars to A2, confusing the issues of whether the city or the University should spend a lot of money on new parking spaces around campus and whether there's any reason to need a car ever. "There is absolutely, positively no reason for a student to come to the University with their car in tow," writes Neile Rissmiller. Living in Ypsi? Not wanting to get attacked at night? Not valid reasons. Besides, "walking and biking are fun."

We've lived in a place where cars really were unnecessary, and we know that being able to walk everywhere can truly be fun. We miss it a lot.

Rissmiller's viewpoint is echoed by a piece in the Old Fourth Ward's newsletter. The writer offers a few reasons why he doesn't need to drive:

  • He can walk to his lawyers' and accountants' offices.
  • His clients can park in his driveway and walk to the Gandy Dancer for a lunch meeting.
  • He can do all his grocery shopping at Zingerman's and various Kerrytown shops - buying all fresh foods instead of "frozen items for the next two weeks." (Cheap bulk food that keeps for a long time? Who would want to buy that?)

Well, we guess that settles that.

And we don't always agree with Ari Paul, but his column about the Borders strike gets it right, as well as finally providing a way to distinguish between the U Party and the Students First Party (we had always gotten them confused.) Students who rely on these alternate means of transportation, a Students First representative he quotes in the piece points out, are often forced to work near campus - and it's not always for a fair wage.

Also, you may have had problems reaching this site lately. We are thoroughly dissatisfied with Diaryland and we're in the process of moving to another server.

:: 12 comments so far

2003-11-10 - 12:36 p.m.

We were expecting the letters to pour in about Joel Hoard's anti-A2 screed, but evidently, comparing the Indian prime minister to Gandhi's killer proved more controversial for the Daily. Nevertheless, one disgruntled student and lifelong A2 resident took issue with the slam on Tree Town. Oddly, she seems to think that the column was mainly about the unfriendliness of U of M students, though, and points out that "the University is only one part of Ann Arbor." Don't we know. While the U "has an arrogant attitude," she writes, getting some distance from it will allow you to "see how friendly true Ann Arborites can really be."

But don't try to get that distance in a car, at least according to Heidi Herrell. In a Daily story about parking, the outgoing councilmember stresses that "I think it is the city's hope that students won't bring their cars" to A2. We don't remember her advocating putting a grocery store within two miles of campus or having buses run later than 9 p.m. during her tenure, but it's probably just an oversight on our part.

The city's gunmen don't seem to be feeling the parking crunch - they're targeting businesses downtown more and more. Einstein's Bagels on State Street was held up at gunpoint yesterday. "Robberies downtown used to be unusual, but we've had several this year," says an AAPD detective.

:: 27 comments so far

2003-11-09 - 3:59 a.m.

Another installment in our "chains are okay as long as they're upscale boutique chains" series. The new Schakolad store on Washington Street has attracted nothing but positive attention, even though, as the News points out, it's "the sixteenth franchise in the United States." The store sells "hand-dipped, European-style truffles and molded chocolates that are made in-store." Points for the first reader who walks by the store and tells us their slogan, which we can't recall - something about how "Schakolad" is the sophisticated way to pronounce chocolate.

Not that we want them to do badly - that would just be schakoladenfreude.

:: 6 comments so far

2003-11-07 - 3:14 a.m.

Here's a soppy farewell to A2 from a student who departed six years ago. He lauds its now-mostly-defunct "three independent pharmacies," as well as "independent video stores, burger joints, book shops, bars, music stores, groceries, movie theaters, radio stations and coffee joints."

"True, some cynics pop up, slap rough epithets on our fair city - call it provincial, pretentious or pompous," he concedes. "But notice they don't leave. They, too, have something deep inside of them that makes them stick around." We'd never really thought of grad school as something deep inside us.

:: 15 comments so far

2003-11-06 - 3:28 p.m.

Ypsi's way ahead on this cool cities thing - they actually asked their residents. Here's what one blogger had to say. "Ann Arbor is very un-cool, contrary to what mayor Hieftje may believe. Young professionals resent nursery environments." We already have quiet time in A2, but where's our government-supplied milk and cookies?

She mentions anti-sex-shop laws as an example of nursery rules. This post on the News' online forums characterizes those who opposed the greenbelt on affordable housing grounds as free-market libertarians who are being hypocritical by thinking that they "deserve to live" in Ann Arbor despite not being able to afford it and will "cry out when smut shops open in their neighborhoods." Got all those assumptions?

:: 5 comments so far

2003-11-06 - 1:11 a.m.

The Daily offers some behavior guidelines for "scenesters" at rock shows. Clip and save in case you ever have the opportunity to go to a show. We hear that they have them in some cities.

:: 5 comments so far

2003-11-05 - 1:42 a.m.

Well, perhaps someone reads this weblog.

Of course, it is possible to come to the conclusion that Ann Arbor is "a small town that masquerades as the ultra-hip center of the universe," characterized by "overt smugness," "decrepit apartments" and "a seemingly perpetual string of burglaries," without ripping us off. In fact, we're unclear on how anyone could come to a different conclusion. But if the meme continues to propagate, we may have to change our name.

:: 31 comments so far

2003-11-05 - 12:10 a.m.

The first ward results, according to A2 public-access:

Robert Johnson: 1545
Rob Haug: 371
Rick Lax: 618

Even if they added their votes together, it wouldn't help. Damn, damn, damn.

:: 3 comments so far