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Biped Report 2001

Latest Biped Report. See also our 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2000, 1999, and 1998 Biped Reports.

Dec 31 - Stayed up very late enjoying the excellent hospitality of the Hotel Beagle. After midnight, the humans were more lively than the beagles, but that's very unusual. The Hotel Beagle offered fresh cinnamon rolls for breakfast, along with the low calorie option of having your roll stolen and eaten for you by a beagle.

Lillan - usually in motion

A beagle at rest tends to stay at rest

I'm a beagle, and I'm OK
I bark all night, and I bark all day

Dec 30 - An excellent Russian lunch in Columbus, Ohio. Later we arrived at the Hotel Beagle in German Village. The famous beagle mayhem welcome was deployed with full force.

Dec 29 - stayed at Salt Fork lodge, near Cambridge, Ohio. We used to really like this place, but it was looking a bit run down. The lodge promised unforgettable memories, and delivered with its terrible tasting tap water.

Dec 28 - stayed at the Rocky Gap State Park resort near Cumberland, Maryland. It was described as a golf resort, but golfers would need fluorescent orange balls to see them against the snow. Orange golf balls, that is.

Dec 27 - stopped in Gettysburg, and saw a high tech, no-expense-spared recreation of the Civil War battle, involving colored light bulbs turning on and off. Looked over monument-filled fields from a tower on one of the small hills that had been the center of the battle.

Dec 26 - Hiked up Hawk Mountain in Pennsylvania. This is famous for watching birds, in particular some kind of bird of prey whose name escapes me. However, in late December the mountain was bird free, they have more sense to hang around in the cold.

Dec 25 - Anne's niece failed to understand how Laser could have bought Anne a present for Christmas. But he's a dog, she pointed out. Anne explained that he was a very smart dog.

Dec 23 - stopped at the Piper airplane museum in Lock Haven, Pa. Encounter with a dalmatian and Anne's niece in Binghamton, NY.

Dec 22 - visited Anne's grandparents in Pittsburgh, and went out for dinner for Anne's grandmother's 90th birthday.

Nov. 27 - Martin's parents leave to return to England.

Nov. 26 - saw the Christmas Lights at Domino Farms, an office complex built by the Dominos of pizza fame.

Nov. 22 - Thanksgiving dinner, with a huge rib roast, Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes, apple pie, and pecan pie.

Nov. 20 - Anne's parents arrive, and we now have both sets of parents staying with us.

Nov. 18 - visited the Yankee Air Force museum at Willow Run with Martin's parents. Lunch at a bar (Cady's) in Ypsilanti's restored Depot Town.

Nov. 17 - scenic drive out to Chelsea for lunch. Visited the Geology Center, and spent some time looking at its big attraction, a bird feeder with a chipmunk sitting on it. Saw the Ann Arbor symphony orchestra at the Michigan Theater, with some lively piano playing. Waiting in the lobby, it was tempting to yell "Hey, Professor!" to see how many people would look round.

Nov. 15 - Martin's father picked up his rental car, booked as a compact car, but which turned out to be a sizeable (by English standards) Buick Century.

Nov. 13 - Martin's parents arrive at Detroit airport.

Nov. 11 - painting the hallway a tasteful yellow color, much nicer than the old murky green wallpaper.

Nov. 3 - Saw a llama farm on Michigan route 52.

Nov. 1 - saw Guys on Ice in Chelsea, an ice-fishing comedy featuring men in tutus skating around. Laser's approach of curling up on the couch during cold weather looks more sensible.

October 28 - had breakfast in a Chapel Hill bagel shop. One of our new in-laws coincidentally stopped by to pick up a large bag of bagels. Then we went over to their house for brunch, featuring - not surprisingly - bagels.

October 27 - avoided the overpriced hotel breakfast and had fried things and pancakes at Time Out Chicken and Biscuits. Walked over to the church and established its location. This came in useful later when we were following a car of direction-challenged relatives. The service was very nice. We also walked through part of the University of North Carolina campus. It's a close call, but it is a little bit more scenic than Wayne State.

October 26 - flew down to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for a wedding. Anne's cousin Mark is finally getting married. We eventually found the hotel after much driving around. This proved the maxim that it's better to have no directions than wrong directions. We arrived fairly late, but still in time for dinner. There were weak and famished relatives standing around outside the dining room when we arrived.

October 21 - bought some discounted but somewhat ratty looking plants from a local garden center. Hopefully they will grow well next year, but the check out person seemed skeptical, suggesting that they might have expired. We also planted over 200 tulip bulbs.

September 22 - visited the Haehnle crane sanctuary near Jackson. We saw about 50 sandhill cranes, and there are supposed to be thousands in a few weeks. There were outlying clatters of cranes in the surrounding fields.

September 17 - Attended a service for one of Anne's college friends, John Sammartino, who we had last seen with his family during our April visit to Washington.

September 15 - drove to Washington, DC, and had dinner with Anne's friends Eric and Nancy. Had a walking tour of Old Town Arlington, then a drive through a park north of the city to a bookstore with a varied and interesting selection.

September 3 - Lunch in Hammondsport, NY, and toured the Curtiss Museum. Saw many early century design airplanes and motorcycles.

September 1 - arrived in Binghamton to see Anne's new nephew.

August 20 - Martin started at Wayne State University in scenic downtown Detroit.

August 15-19 - Long weekend in the Canadian Rockies ... Read More ....

August 11 - Lunch in Dexter, then blueberry picking.

August 5 - spent the morning at the Henry Ford museum in Dearborn. It's a huge place, with hundreds of old cars, locomotives, and other random stuff, spread over a vast area.

August 4 - took a ferry across Lake Erie to Kelly's Island. We rented a golf cart to drive around the island. Flooring the gas pedal generated a lot of noise, but not much forward motion. At least there were no horses to be seen, or smelled, unlike Mackinac Island.

August 2 - Anne picked up the phone in the middle of the night to learn a new nephew was on the way.

August 1 - leaving an Ann Arbor restaurant, after dinner with a dog park friend, we heard someone shouting "Raven, come back here". We looked around for media celebrity and dog park regular Raven, but in this case Raven was a small child.

July 29 - Met Karen Z. in Chicago, had lunch, and walked along the Magnificent Mile. Spent some time on the observation deck of the John Hancock Building, looking down on fog rolling in from the lake. This advection process occurs when a warm moist air mass moves across a cooler .. well, if you're that interested, look it up yourself, or ask a licensed pilot.

July 28 - In Chicago. We took an architectural boat tour along the Chicago river. An extremely enthusiastic tour guide made building design surprisingly interesting. Saw a dinosaur skeleton and a huge emerald at the Field Museum (named after Marshall Field). The airport Meigs Field is close by, named after Marshall's brother, Meig. And just down the road is Soldier Field, named after half-brother Soldier. We had dinner at Zhivago's in Skokie, surrounded by Russians. You could order any alcoholic drink you wanted, as long as it contained vodka.

July 27 - dinner in St. Joseph, on Lake Michigan, on the way to Chicago.

July 24 - Drove out to Manchester for dinner. The restaurant had a view of the River Raisin, so called because banks were originally lined with raisin bushes.

July 21 - bought a new (to us) car from a local dealer. The dealer started by quoting an extortionate price, but was embarassed when Anne produced a web page printout showing the car listed for over a thousand less. After some negotiation, Anne needed to leave for lunch. This saved us another couple of thousand over the original quoted price. The car is a 1999 Ford Taurus with 36,000 miles. We are assuming that Ford has learned how to make automatic transmissions since the early 90s.

July 19 - We had the most cheerful sunflower growing outside our back door. It was happy, bright yellow, and followed the sun. Today, we came home to find it decapitated, the flower gnawed off by some unknown rodent terrorist.

July 12-15 - Mackinac Island ... read more ...

July 8 - bought 6 lbs of cherries from a U-Pick farm. Only we cheated and bought they-picked. Spent some time trying to spot the differences between hundreds of hosta varieties at Hidden Lake Gardens.

July 7 - There are some trees and a stream running along the back of our yard, and it has become the local singles bar for fireflies. We've seen Christmas trees with less impressive lights. Once it gets dark, a large blink (suggested collective noun) of fireflies gathers and puts on a show.

July 6 - Spent part of the evening sitting out on the sidewalk of Main St. watching people go by. This is a typical Ann Arbor summer thing to do.

July 5 - Some people think U.S. newspapers don't report enough world news. However, The Ann Arbor News can't be criticized. Today, it had a "World In Brief" section with reports from Colorado, Texas, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and The Netherlands (The where? That's not in my Rand McNally).

July 4 - saw the Capitol Steps from the vertiginous balcony of the Power Center, Ann Arbor. The Power Center sounds like an electricity generating station, but is actually a theater named after Eugene Center. It's not a place you would want to leave in a hurry, as the shuffling hordes took a long time to disperse after the show. The neighboring parking structure has massed ranks of concrete columns, most showing serious damage from vehicle impacts. We saw a minivan reverse assertively into one while we were on the way out. The column was even more assertive, and the van had to steer around it to leave.

June 30 - visited Marshall, Michigan, a nice town with historic (for Michigan) homes. Visited the Honolulu House, once the Michigan home of a consul to Hawaii. He became ill during a Michigan winter and died. Michigan winters should come with a Surgeon General warning: "Michigan winters are dangerous and potentially fatal." We sensed that during the great blizzard of 2000. We also saw part of the Michigan Air Acrobatic Open in Jackson.

June 24 - planted a strawberry patch in the back yard, along with a lot of chile peppers. So this fall we can make fresh strawberry-chile products, such as really hot jam, very strange salsa, and undrinkable milkshakes.

June 23 - Anne went flying around in the morning, with the help of a plane. Then we visited an experimental airplane show in Howell, Michigan. One small plane looked like a box kite with an engine. Anne's favorite was the Vulcan destroyer (not it's official name).

June 19 - We did an Ann Arbor thing, and went to the "Top of the Park". This might conjure up images of a grassy hill, but actually it is an event on the top of a parking garage, with food, music, and a movie when it gets dark. We were just about to leave before the movie started when a somewhat melodramatic thunderstorm rolled in, causing everyone else to have the same idea.

June 18 - there are two crows nearby engaged in dueling demented squawking. "Squawk!" Call that a squawk, "SQUAWK!". And so on. Crows may have played a big role in the development of firearms.

June 16 - visited the Thumb, a part of Michigan that sticks up into Lake Huron. Walked along the beach, and it felt like Florida. Had lunch at a drive in, where a tray of food was hung on the car door. Idly thought of buying a cabin up there. It's free (thinking of buying a cabin, that is).

June 1-10 - visit to England, UK ... read more ...

May 20 - Business trip to Los Gatos, Spanish for "The Gatos", apparently some kind of cat.

May 13 - Lunch in German Village, Columbus. Anne was French kissed by a beagle called Lillan - the verdict was "Bleuugh". Had dinner in Grand Rapids, Ohio. It's a spectacular sight as the thundering Maumee River hurtles several hundreds of millimeters downhill in less than two miles. Either the inhabitants of Grand Rapids can walk on water, or the river is very shallow. If Ohio wanted to open a State Mosquito Preserve, this would be a candidate.

May 12 - lunch with one of Anne's friends in Columbus. We met at a bagel store which had closed down, so we ate at a nearby restaurant called Spagio's. It was more expensive and pretentious than most places in Ann Arbor - quite an achievement. Spent the afternoon in a hot, bug filled room; the butterfly exhibition at Franklin Park Conservatory.

Big Bug
Butterfly at Franklin Park

Later, we went to a friend's law school graduation party. He's moving to Minneapolis, a decision unencumbered by temperature considerations.

May 8 - Roofers arrive to replace the roof damaged by ice dams. Loud noises are interspersed with even louder noises, with the occasional tremendous crash.

May 5 - Time to get the deck ready for the summer grilling season. We've traded the old and faded look for the stained and patchy look - which is actually a big improvement.

April 28 - May 3 - spent in Washington, DC ... read more ...

April 27 - dinner at the Cosmic Garden (pronounce as if very relaxed). It has hummus which is crunchy with garlic. There was still some garlic aftertaste to go with the next morning's cornflakes, just excellent (a personal opinion).

April 16 - Snow flurries this afternoon. Roll on Global Warming.

April 15 - visited Montezuma Wildlife Refuge in New York State and saw a bald eagle (at great distance) nesting on a platform in a lake. Saw a somewhat dribbling waterfall at the Devil's Punchbowl in Hamilton, and an impressive lighthouse at Lighthouse Cove, Ontario.

Devil's Dribble
Devil's Punchbowl
Was nice restaurant close by, rhymed with Hooters
Lighthouse Cove
April 14 - visiting Anne's parents in Groton, NY. Her sister arrived and ate all the shrimp.

April 12 - Headed out to Anne's parents in NY state. It was sunny and very windy. There was so much litter being blown around downtown Detroit that the city had a carnival atmosphere. Ontario had huge dust clouds blowing across the expressway. Found an English-style fish and chips shop in Beamsville, ON, serving almost authentic mushy peas. They didn't have the alien life form fluorescent green-ness of the genuine article.

April 7 - visited a local crane sanctuary - birds not machinery. We hiked around, and saw some bird in the distance that could have been a crane. It could have been anything, actually. We went on to the Michigan Space Center in Jackson, which is surprisingly small, for a Space Center.

Satellite weathering experiment
We come in peace
March 24 - removed a sliding double-glazed door to replace a worn out roller. Plastic probably wasn't the best choice of material to support such a heavy thing. Tried to get it back in, and it jammed and started distorting. Anne called someone in to help, probably a good idea before it turned into a real disaster.

March 23 - we had a quote on a kitchen renovation. Maybe chipboard laminate cabinets aren't so bad after all (Martin's opinion). We are already spending money on a new roof.

March 11 - read some home improvement magazines, such as Expensive Kitchens, Money To Burn, Where Perfect People Live, You Could Operate In These Kitchens, and These Homeowners Don't Own a Dog. We are thinking of upgrading our kitchen, and this was less trouble than a show-room.

March 10 - drove to downtown Detroit and visited Belle Isle park and Pewabic Pottery. Donated a small bag of Laser's dog food to a stray dog.

Feb 24-27 - Long weekend in Charleston, South Carolina ... read more ...

Feb 21 - Northwest announces its weekend flight specials every Wednesday. We'd decided to go pick somewhere from their list this weekend, and the winner was Charleston, SC. The other choices included Cleveland.

Feb 18 - Lunch in German Village, Columbus. Martin had bratwurst and sauerkraut.

Feb 17 - In Columbus for the weekend. Spent a fortune at the Eddie Bauer warehouse, and started Christmas shopping early this year. Lunch at Brueggers Bagels in Grandview with some Columbus colleagues. Dinner at the Old Bag of Nails, which was a bit smoky by 6 pm. Next time we'll start earlier, like 3 pm. Ended up at Guidos, a gambling den (allegedly) on High Street. There was a fat Penguin in the corner cheering the ice hockey on TV.

Feb 16 - Drove down to Columbus, Ohio. We had dinner in another state, which sounds exotic, only it was Toledo.

Feb 11 - visited the Geology Center near Chelsea. It has a new building, now all they have to do is add rocks.

Feb 10 - It was a sunny afternoon, so we just drove round SE Michigan for fun. There were some impressive ice sheets covering the fields. They looked like paddy fields, having extensively flooded, only then to freeze over. Some houses were almost completely surrounded by sheets of ice. One stretch of road had flooded and then frozen, which was entertaining.

Feb 4 - We were intently studying the prices of curtains in a local department store, and obviously looked like cheapskates. An assistant took us round the back where the grey market curtains were kept. "You see this, maybe worth $200, but I give to you for, say, $35". Well, we like cheap or good, and nothing looked good.

Feb 3 - We went on the worlds shortest visit to Cabela, a sporting goods store. It was too popular for us. We like the road less traveled so we visited the dog park instead.

Jan 30 - Aerobic workout walking the length of Detroit Metro Airport. Why does the sign direct people to the spot the furthest from the gate? Anne was on her way to Washington for seminars.

Jan 29 - For variety, we had freezing rain this morning. Someone told us about a school bus that went into a triple spin (1080 degrees) on a local road. Too bad it was empty - that sounds like a lot of fun for younger riders. Most people were edging nervously along the icy downtown sidewalks, but one person was striding by rapidly. Very impressive - until he ended up in a heap on the ground.

Jan 28 - Visited the icy MSU campus. Michigan's winter tourist slogan is "Ice - No Escape". We were going to visit the planetarium, before noticing a sizable under 5 crowd. The presentation was on garden flowers or something - nothing remotely astronomical.

Jan 27 - Apparently it's very cheap to fly from England to Detroit right now (159 pounds was mentioned). So if you're reading this over there, why not pay us a visit? Michigan in winter is "delightfully bracing" as you might say.

Jan 26 - another few inches of snow fell. The snow from December 12 is still around. There should be a rule against more snow falling before the last lot has gone.

Jan 21 - Living in Ann Arbor leads to some cold-weather winter afflictions. The worst one is when your whole hand turns black after shoveling snow - called CGS or cheap glove syndrome. Also alarming is HHS (Hat Hair Syndrome), which looks like you just placed both hands on the business end of a van der Graaf generator.

Jan 20 - Had a couple of visitors (Pat and Roger) from Columbus, Ohio. We wandered round downtown Ann Arbor in the cold, saw a couple of museums, saw a movie at the old Michigan theater, then had dinner and brews at a brew pub.

Jan 4 - We used to think that an Ice Age began with glaciers advancing from the north, destroying everything in their path. After living in Ann Arbor for 10 months, it's obvious that an Ice Age begins with day after day of snow and bitterly cold weather, merging together into endless icy despair and misery. As the Ice Age takes hold, the sun is too weak during the day to melt the giant piles of snow lying around. Eventually, the ground is covered in so much snow that it doesn't completely melt during a poor summer, and so accumulates more the next year. Eventually, the piles of snow convert to a thick blanket of ice, and there you are, a new Ice Age.

Jan 1, 2001 - The Ann Arbor News said we had 40.5 inches of snow in December 2000, an all time monthly record. It was also the second coldest December ever. Anne spent the afternoon trying to remove an ice dam from the roof. If you don't know what an ice dam is, you're very lucky.


Latest Biped Report. See also our 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2000, 1999, and 1998 Biped Reports.

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