Monthly Archives: May 2011

Things I wish I had written: May 2011 edition, A-G

May is almost over, and as always there is more I wish I would have done than was actually done. Some notes on things not written, in the hopes next year will bring another May (chances are good) and that I'll have some of these May stories written before then.

a2b3. I would have loved to have written meeting non-summaries for every lunch meeting, capturing at least who was there, what the question was, how long it took to introduce everyone, how many people where there, and who the new people were. Some of this should be ritualizable, with a clipboard and a form?  (Noted: printable sign in sheets; Crowdjuice, for signups in advance with a social matchmaker function.) 

Ann Arbor City Council. Every month I read the news, and there's always someone referring to some document but not producing it for inspection. The story that needs the document, in this case the map, is the maps for the proposed marijuana ordinance; I tracked them down but haven't published them yet.  (School buffer zones, a2docs)

Arborwiki. Every month deserves at least one wiki posting, and this month I find myself wishing I had written down the simple rule of copy editing with wiki: always link to anything in boldface or caps, and if it doesn't exist, make it exist by fixing the spelling or creating the page.

Blogger's Secret. This section is not sure whether it's a whole weblog or just some random notes, and if it is a weblog it should certainly be written with the thought that there's some non-zero byproduct from the work. The message is simple (write twice a day about one thing), but that's a heck of a lot of work to keep up and do anything else.

Chicago. Why do I have a whole Chicago category, but don't get there more often? One or the other of those should be fixed. (And ask, since Detroit is so much closer, why the Detroit category is not more full; ditto Lansing.)

Community Television Network. I'd love to have told you about the time I spent getting trained to use the equipment there to produce some good old-fashioned public access television shows, but somehow the training hasn't happened yet.

Coworking. There's a very good story about how various coworking spaces are the same and how they differ, but to tell it right I want to visit more of them. I do need to also write more about the Workantile Exchange, the downtown coworking club I am a part of.

Dioxane. Our favorite plume generates slow-moving controversy, when data about how it is being monitored becomes less accessible.

Farmers Market. I'd love to post pictures every week, and I want to get to the Wednesday night market which starts June 1.

Fishing, floods. There were stories of people running into carp on bike paths, people fly fishing for carp, and more hot carp action during the latest Huron River floods. Pictures please!

Great Weird Ideas. No end to them; the question is managing them, or at least corralling them so that you can set them aside and get back to the modest ordinary tasks that you need to for the day. Thus this wish list stops at the end of this section, ignoring H-Z for now.




Recipe: Coconut-potato curry

This recipe is good for those days when you have dinner that might be postponed for a long time. The curry can be served quickly, but if you leave it on the stove longer the potatoes turn into a kind of delicious curry gravy for the garbanzos. We served it with greens, and it would have been good with a side of cauliflower as well.

Coconut-potato curry.

  • 2-3 lbs potatoes, boiled, with 1 cup cooking water reserved
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Oil for frying
  • curry powder, to taste
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 cans garbanzo beans, cooked and drained and rinsed

Prepare potatoes by boiling them until done. Reserve some cooking water.

While the potatoes are boiling, fry a chopped onion in some oil on low heat. When the onion smells nice but is not brown, add the curry powder and cook, stirring, until fragrant.

Add the coconut milk to the curry mixture and stir until well mixed. Then add the garbanzoes, and cook covered on low heat.

When the potatoes are ready, add them to the garbanzo curry. Cut the potatoes into smaller pieces if they are too large. Keep covered, and add up to 1 cup potato water if the mixture gets too dry.

Bo Biafra: “the invisible paw of the International Wolverine Conspiracy has taken down Tressel”

The Columbus Dispatch broke the news this morning that Jim Tressel has resigned as head football coach at Ohio State University. A Sports Illustrated cover story details troubles with Tressel's leadership of the program, culminating in an NCAA investigation.

For balanced reporting from Columbus about the football program I always turn to Bo Biafra, front man for the Columbus based punk band the Dead Schembechlers. Biafra knows the story with the Wolverines; it's best to have a "holy rivalry" with Michigan, and thus every problem in Columbus with the program gets blamed on the "New Wolverine Order", the "International Wolverine Conspiracy", or the "Mainstream Michigan Media".

Entrapment of Tressel a fait accompli as soon as Dead Schembechlers drove out Rich 'The Weasel' Rodriguez. We promise massive retaliation.

With that I bring you their hit "Rodriguez Is A Weasel".

Previously on Vacuum: Bomb Ann Arbor Now.

What do you tune into during severe weather?

I get all the news I need from the weather report. Here's where I get the weather report from.

Twitter, to chat with people who are also in their basements. The local hash tag is #miwx for severe weather. I have a list @vielmetti/weather that I follow for the news.

Weather Underground for radar and forecasts and what not. I like the classic version of the user interface, which is busy and deep and which I know well enough to navigate. The minimalist mobile version of the site is starkly unbusy and works fine even on a relatively dumb smart phone.  

SKYWARN, the local ham radio emergency weather channel. The local repeater is N8DUY, located near I-94 and M-14 in Scio Township, available at 145.150 Mhz or via the Radio Reference relay online. This is the single best source of real time news during events.

The DTE Energy outage map is good for tracking storm damage starting about 30 minutes after the storm has gone through – you start to pick up which power outages will take a long time to fix. Note in this map below from Sunday, May 29, 2011, that the storm damage near Lansing ends at the DTE boundary; that doesn't mean there isn't more storm damage, only that I don't have a map of the other.

Picture 22

Television, which we don't have for over the air reception. WDIV Channel 4 "Click On Detroit" has useful email weather alerts and a Detroit JustWeather page, and WXYZ Channel 7's #backchannel on Twitter always has good chatter from the news desk there.


AM/FM radio. Locally the best bet is WWJ "News radio 950", with traffic and weather together on the 8's; it's intended to be listened to while you are driving, and they do talk

Weather band radio, which speaks in a synthesized scary voice. There are receivers that only turn on when there is an alert in your area, but I don't have one. Details from National Weather Service Detroit about the network of weather radios in the area.

Weather facsimile. Again, never have managed to do this, but if you have the right radio you can decode faxes with weather maps on the that are broadcast over the air. Also known as WEFAX, the technology dates from the 1920s. Details if you are good at such things from National Weather Service marine forecast services.

You should be able to get real time notifications of severe weather even if you have no power, no cell tower, and no Internet; that's why you have batteries for your radio.

Related articles

Power Outage Mapping
What do you tune into during severe weather?
DTE substation fire and Ann Arbor power outage, June 28, 2012
Severe weather expected Sunday, April 15, 2012 for #annarbor area #miwx

Obituary: Gil Scott-Heron (1949-2011), American musician and poet

Gil Scott-Heron (b. April 1, 1949; d. May 27, 2011) was a poet and musician.


Obituaries: NPR, by Daoud Tyler-Ameen; Wikipedia; Associated Press / New York Times.

Los Angeles Times written by Randall Roberts for the blog Pop and Hiss:

Last year the New Yorker published a reverent but heartbreaking profile of Scott-Heron by Alec Wilkinson. Written after Scott-Heron had recorded “I’m New Here” but after he had relapsed and was smoking crack openly in front of the reporter, the story traced his rise, his fall and his influence.

Some music of his, linked here to Youtube clips so that I can have them in one place.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, 1970.

Whitey’s On The Moon.

The Bottle, 1974, from Winter In America.

We Almost Lost Detroit, live 1990 performance; about the Fermi power plant near Monroe, Michigan.

WhoSampled has a list of artists who sampled Gil Scott-Heron in their work.

Compilations of information: – fan site

It was around the middle seventies when I first heard this brazen, young black man’s voice. He was angry! We were angry! I was angry! Angry over the fact that it was a few years ago that they had just taken from us our black shining Prince. He was mad. We were mad. I was mad! Mad over the fact that our struggle for freedom had come to a screeching halt. He was loud! Loud and determined to be heard. And I heard him. I heard him loud and clear. I heard him when he said “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”. I heard him when he said “No Knock On My Brothers’ Head”. I heard him when he was saying that the spirit of Brother Malcolm will flourish in him as it has in me. – official site – includes his song “I’m New Here” from his album of the same name on XL Recordings.

Jemimah Knight’s account of the evening spent confirming the news gives links to all sources along the way, noting how the net having been given some news starts to search for confirmation that the news is true.

Searches on Google under “news” are not showing any pages at five past three. It’s Gil Scott-Heron. You really do want to be sure before you write this up as a news source. No matter who crows about who was first on the web to break a story, trust is the currency. Trust and accuracy so, I am not surprised that the mainstream houses are not publishing yet. (No offence intended for the original tweet)

Kids Read Comics, Chelsea District Library, June 18-19, 2011

Here's the poster for the Kids Read Comics event in Chelsea Michigan, June 18-19, 2011. More information, and printable posters for you to put up yourself in full-color glory, at . Organized by Edith Burney, this event is brought to you by the Chelsea District Library and is promised to take over all of historic downtown Chelsea with activities for kids and teens. 

As the event gets closer, follow @krcomics on Twitter for details.