Category Archives: March

Signs of spring

In no particular order, ignoring the snow day today and the half a foot of fresh snow on the ground. Thanks to Patti for the updates!

  1. Daylight saving time. It’s now light what seems like late into the evening, and it’s only going to get lighter later from now on through mid summer.
  2. Snowdrops. Spotted yesterday (before the snow) at the sunny side of our house.
  3. Festifools is only a few weeks away. Giant puppet parades in downtown Ann Arbor !
  4. March 16th is St. Urho’s Day, where we celebrate St. Urho chasing the grasshoppers out of Finland to save the grape crop. (Truly.)
  5. Ann Arbor’s giant LEGO event Brick Bash is March 29 at Skyline HS.
  6. Patti’s birthday!
  7. The 52d Ann Arbor Film Festival, March 25-30 at the Michigan Theater and the UMMA Helmut Stern Auditorium.

The biggest sign of spring is that it’s possible to ignore the snow day. What’s 6 inches of snow between friends when it’s likely to melt in the next few days?


Events for the week of March 24, 2011

image from

Every week at a2b3 I ask people to tell me about upcoming events. Here's this week's event calendar, mostly for events in and around Ann Arbor, Michigan. Note that it doesn't include every possible thing going on, just what people tell me about, and what is interesting enough for me to notice and plan ahead for. I'll be at some of these, I hope.

If you have an event to share, leave it as a comment on this post. Some events are intentionally left incomplete, so that I can publish in haste and edit at leisure.

Thu 3/24: a2b3 lunch at Eastern Accents, 214 S. Fourth Ave, Ann Arbor. Buy your own lunch (light Asian meals, $5-$10). People start showing up 11:30 a.m. or so, introductions at 12:30pm, then discussion of events (this list) and jobs. I'm expecting a photographer from Concentrate Magazine, to accompany a story about the group to be published in the near future.

Now: TEDxUofM. Registration open for 4/8 event. Topic is "encouraging crazy ideas"; space is limited, the event is free for students, $30 for non-students; apply for a spot. (I applied and was accepted.)

Until 3/27: 49th Ann Arbor Film Festival.

Until 4/3: Discardia for Spring 2011.

Thu 3/24: Linda Diane Feldt at Crazy Wisdom, 114 S Main, 7pm, speaking on “Herbal Wisdom: Herbs and Wild Foods That Benefit the Heart and Prevent Cancer.” Details: Ann Arbor Observer calendar.

Thu 3/24: Telcosystems at Ann Arbor Film Festival, 9:30 p.m. Sponsored by a2geeks.

Fri 3/25: Green Technology and Economic Revitalization in Michigan conference, University of Michigan Law School. 9:30 a.m to 3:00 p.m.; lunch at 12:30 p.m. provided (Ali Baba). "The interdisciplinary symposium will examine the legal, business, and policy issues present in shaping the future of Michigan's green economy." Free.

Fri 3/25: Ypsilanti branch of the a2b3 lunch at Beezy's.

Fri 3/25. ICOS seminar, Ross School of Business, Room K1310, 1:3o p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Christina Shalley, Georgia Institute of Technology. Paper: "Creativity in Virtual Work: Effects of Demographic Differences" (PDF).

Fri 3/25. FOIAchat on Twitter, 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Guest: Pulitzer Prize winner Ryan Gabrielson, Center for Investigative Reporting. 

Fri 3/25: Beer:30. 4:30 p.m., Tech Brewery. Contact: Dug Song.

Sat 3/26: Ann Arbor Farmers Market. Contact: market manager Molly Notarriani.

Sat 3/26: Ann Arbor Kiwanis Sale. Contact: Kathy Griswold.

Sat 3/26: Sculpture Plaza, morning. Demonstration against genetically engineered foods, details TBD.

Sat 3/26: Groundcover News writers workshop, "Telling our Stories". 9a-noon, First Baptist Church Library, 517 E. Washington St.,. contact Vickie Elmer. Details: Ann Arbor Observer calendar for 3/26. $20 or 2 stories for the newspaper.

Sat 3/26. 3d annual Box Car Derby, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., South University between Oxford and Washtenaw. Teams of kids, plus a team from Phi Delta Theta, race box cars down South U. Fundraiser for Ann Arbor Active Against ALS; details, Contact, to donate baked goods: Suzanne Ross at Video highlights from 2009, 2010

Sun 3/27: Lumineries workshop at Workantile Exchange, 118 S. Main St, starts 10:00 a.m. Build illuminated lanterns for the Fool Moon parade. Photos of the event: Myra Klarman in the Ann Arbor Chronicle. Bring your kids.

Sun 3/27: Jessica Webster jazz show on WEMU-FM, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Call 1-888-299-8910 to pledge your support for public radio.

Mon 3/28: Yi-Tan call. Every Monday, 1:30 p.m. Contact: Jerry Michalski.

Tue 3/29: Complex Systems seminar, 340 West Hall, noon.

Tue 3/29: A2 New Tech. Blau Auditorium, Ross School of Business.

Tue 3/29: Hot Shots, Melange in Ann Arbor. Sponsored by Ann Arbor SPARK.

Wed 3/30: LA2M (Lunch Ann Arbor Marketing), Conor O'Neil's. Contact Derek Mehraban for details; generally about 100 people show up for lunch ($10) and a speaker on a marketing topic.

Wed 3/30: National Weather Service test tornado drill, 1:00 p.m. 

Wed 3/30: Pall-Gelman information meeting about the dioxane plume at Abbot School, 7 pm. Contact: Roger Rayle, Scio Residents for Safe Water; Matthew Naud, City of Ann Arbor.

Ends Fri 4/1: Zhang Zhang, MFA exhibit at Slusser Gallery, The City Speaks.

Fri eve, 4/1 (6:15pm start):  Twinkie Run 5K (ALS Fundraiser) – Homemade Twinkie Contest (judged by a really cool local baker), Twinkie start and mid-way snack.  Cool shirts. Gallup Park.  All abilities.

Fri 4/1: Fool Moon parade. Starts at University of Michigan Museum of Art, 7:00 p.m. 

Sat 4/2: Monroe Street Fair.

Sun 4/3: Festifools.

Mon 4/4: Ann Arbor curbside composting begins. #aacitycouncil

First Monday, 4/4: Ann Arbor Mobile Monday. Contact: Keith Bourne.

Fri 4/8: TEDxUofM. A full day at the Michigan Theater, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. #tedxuofm

Mon 4/11. John Vandermeer lecture at Rackham, "Ecological Complexity and the Struggle for a New Agriculture". 4:00 p.m., reception to follow.

4/16-5/28. Ann Arbor residents can get up to 1 cu ft of compost from the MRF; bring your water bill as proof of residency. #aacitycouncil

Mon 4/18: First night of Passover, starts at sunset. No #aacitycouncil meeting.

Fri 4/22: GooglEarth Day #3, U of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment, 9:00 a.m – noon.

Sunday, 5/1: Burns Park Run:  5k/10k road race through the streets of the Burns Park neighborhood. Flaming penguins, 1,000+ registrants – raise money for your own school.  Perfect race time weather virtually guaranteed.  8:30 a.m. start. Contact: Joel Dalton.

Sun 5/1: Water Hill Music Fest. Contact: Paul Tinkerhess.

5/2: Michigan Connected Vehicle (formerly IntelliDrive) Working Group, U of Michigan Dearborn, 9:00 a.m. – noon. RSVP by 4/25.

5/3: Millage election: Special education. Details of all Washtenaw County elections from the Washtenaw County Clerk and Register of Deeds Elections office.  Contact: Larry Kestenbaum.

5/7: Electronics recycling, Pioneer High School, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Details: Office of Campus Sustainability.

Sat 5/14: County Cleanup Day, Chelsea

Sat 5/14: Eudamonia, Matthaei Botanical Gardens,7pm-10pm. A fundraiser for Summers-Knoll School.

Fri 5/20 – Sat 5/21: FOI Summit, Providence RI

Sat 5/21: TechTwilight, Ann Arbor Hands On Museum, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm.

6/4: Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire

6/10: Mayor's Green Fair

7/1: Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, Railfan Day.

7/30-7/31: Maker Faire Detroit, The Henry Ford, Dearborn.

3/24/2012: Brick Bash 2012.

xx: WordPress meeting

xx: Public meeting re murals in Allmendinger Park and along Huron Parkway. Not scheduled yet.

xx: E-waste recycling day, date unknown.

Edward Vielmetti invites you to lunch at Eastern Accents, 214 S. Main St., Ann Arbor MI every Thursday. 16 CFR 255 notice:  the blogger should "clearly and conspicuously disclose" that he or members of his family have received meals free of charge from Eastern Accents in the past; coffee and tickets to the Ann Arbor Film Festival from Roos Roast; membership service discounts from the Workantile Exchange. Thanks to TeacherPatti for the lunch (and the cookies) on 3/17/2011.

March 22 is World Water Day; tracking the Ann Arbor dioxane plume toward the Huron River

March 22 is World Water Day. The 2011 theme is Water for Cities: Responding to the Urban Challenge. The Ann Arbor District Library is hosting a 7:00 p.m. panel "Our Water, Our Future", with Mike Wiley from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment hosting.

A recording of the event is available for viewing or download at the Ann Abor District Library.

In Ann Arbor, the slow-moving but inexorable urban water supply problem is the spread of a dioxane plume towards the Huron River and the City of Ann Arbor's drinking water supply source at Barton Pond. The map below shows the newly expanded zone in which wells are prohibited in Ann Arbor because of this plume, which originated at the former Gelman Sciences facility on Wagner Road in Scio Township. Pall Life Sciences now operates the cleanup at this facility; it's part of Pall Corporation (NYSE: PLL).


Monitoring wells are tracking the spread of the plume. Scio Residents for Safe Water is monitoring the monitoring operation, and Roger Rayle has produced a series of maps illustrating the issues. This image depicts contamination levels as measured with 2009 data.

image from

The contamination began in the 1960s, when medical filter manufacturer Gelman Sciences began pumping industrial wastewater into lagoons on the site on Wagner Road. Cleanup began in the 1980s. Many details, including legal agreements and monitoring data, are found at the Michigan DEQ Gelman Sciences information page.

Previously: Goodspeed Update (2004);  Dioxane plume FAQ (2006); Scio Residents for Safe Water (2008); "Concerns raised over dioxane cleanup", Ann Arbor Chronicle (2009).

Edward Vielmetti writes the Vacuum weblog, since 1999.

Editor's note: link to video recording of panel added 3/25/11.

Brick Bash 2011: Ann Arbor Lego event March 19 at WCC

Brick Bash 2011 was March 19 at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor Township. Show details are at I may have seen you there. The event is organized annually by Duane Collicott, who runs the Bricks For Brains organization that does educational, hands-on building exhibits with LEGO.

From previous years, a photo set: Brick Bash 2008.

Some highlights of this show; photos and links to come:

Big layouts with trains from the Michigan LEGO Users Group and the Central Ohio LEGO Train Club.

Mosaics from Christopher Doyle at Reasonably Clever, including a QR code mosaic and one that looks for all the world like stained glass.


Architectural models from Arthur Gugick, A Piece of the World; on the left is St Basil's Cathedral in Moscow, next to the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris.

More LEGO buildings, including a LEGO Renaissance Center and a LEGO Burj Khalifa. 

Several tables full of LEGO pieces for kids to make their own creations, known to cognoscenti as MOCs.

A LEGO version of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Edward Vielmetti watches his son Saul Vielmetti build with LEGO, and often cleans up afterwards. Reach both of them at or 734-330-2465.