Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Visions of Endorsements

It happened again, a local politician approached me & asked if I was Andre w/ the blog. He was looking for an endorsement. The fact that he knew who I was kind of freaked me out, but it was cool none-the-less. The mid-term primary election is next week, Aug. 3, so I figured it was time to end the suspense & tell you who you should be supporting... assuming you're living in my ward. However, even if you're not in my ward, you should still heed my words in regards to the broader stuff.

Governor: Virg Bernero
He seems to be, by far, the most progressive candidate. I like that Andy Dillon is from Redford (I went to high school there), but he doesn't seem to have his shit together in the same way. (Side note: Mike Bouchard aired an anti-union commercial last week. I only saw it once, but it was scary as shit. He was talking about turning MI into a Right-to-Work state to restore our manufacturing... because the Right-To-Work states are stealing our jobs. I wish that was really the problem, but unfortunately for them, those states [Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, etc.] have shit economies too... & where Georgia is growing isn't in manufacturing but in professional careers & coffee-shop employees. Bouchard is bad news!)

State Senate (18th District): Rebekah Warren
I always liked Pam Byrnes, but now that we have to chose between them, it's clearly Warren all the way. (Side note: Thomas Partridge, the 3rd Dem. on the ballot, is a freaking nut-job. He comes into Nicola's all the time, & I take the Hell off so as to avoid dealing w/ him. I doubt he'll win... I doubt he'll get more than 10 or 15 votes... but if he does, I don't know what I'll do... he's nuts!)

State Representative (54th District): William Riney
He's an old-school organizer. He's not afraid to hit the pavement and look like a goof-ball. He's also an all-around great guy.

Mayor of Ypsilanti: Pete Murdock
I know a lot of you Yuppies like Schreiber, but Murdock is dedicated & honestly concerned w/ the community. He's been involved w/ local politics for years, he's got good plans for Water St. & the Thompson Block. He's always supported the chickens. In fact, I think he's the guy I can lean on for llamas!

Ypsilanti City Council Ward 3: Brian Robb
He's a good guy. He's hitting the streets w/ a great plan to continue revitalizing the city.

Ballot Proposals: Transportation Millage, Yes
According to Ann, there were some technical problems w/ the proposal so the August 3rd vote won't count & it will be on the November ballot again. I'm voting "Yes" just in case. Apparently, state law says that type of proposal can only be determined in a General Election & not a primary. Also, it apparently had 2 too many words in it. we'll see.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Visions of Beer Fest

Jason & I walked up there @ about quarter to 12:00. We picked up our credentials from Greg & headed to the WAB table to pour until 2:00. The pouring went smoothly, we were able to drink the WAB stuff (ass long as we stepped out from behind the table to do so), & then we grabbed a couple handfuls of tokens & hit the other brews. As VIPs w/ the WAB, we also got into the VIP tent where there were 8 or 10 kegs & a nice buffet w/ some spicy noodle thing that was really good. The kegs were hard to make out, but I know a few were from Founders. I don't think that's what I was drinking though. I had some random brown Ale that was pretty good. The 2nd time we went into the tent, I had some Blonde that was a bit fruitier than I would have liked... it was weird that they weren't labeled better.

As far as the WAB stuff, the Vanilla Porter & the Triskadekaphobiale Coffee Porter were my favorites, but the Green Bullet Organic IPA is fantastic too. I tried the Blonde & the Hefeweizen too in order to know what I was pouring, but those aren't my personal styles.

From the Tri-City Brewing Company from Bay City I tried the Russian Imperial Stout. It may have been my favorite of the Afternoon other than the WAB Porters.

Behind the WAB table was the Kuhnhenn Brewing Company table, a brewery in Warren. They had some sort of UFO theme going on. A few were in rented alien costumes & their beers had space themed names. I went w/ the ET's Reeses Pieces Stout... big let down. They need to spend more time on the beer & less time on the silly gimmicks. At least I didn't get suckered into trying Yoda's Tihaar Mandalorian Fruit Beer.

Next to the WAB table was Sullivan's Black Forrest Brewery out of Frankenmuth. Oddly, they weren't listed in the guide. Also, oddly, the 1 guy working the table was in a tie-dyed shirt, but they had none of their Grateful Dead inspired beers like Grateful Red, Lost Sailor, New Speedway Imperial Stout, or Dark Star Schwarz. I had the Pirate's Porter & it was pretty good. Not real good, but pretty good.

While looking for the guide book things, we ran into my cousin who was working w/ Big Rock Chop & Brewhouse out of Birmingham. He claimed thei IPAs have won all sorts of awards. Norm's Raggedy Ass IPA was the one he wass pushing, but I prefered the Bonnie's Raggedy Ass Imperial IPA. I don't know what an imperial IPA is, but it was good.

Overall, it was a great time. We ran into Daye & Pete who had a nice spot in the shade. I saw a few Green Teamers who were representing the Green Team by being absolutely hammered. And I saw 2 former students... "Hi professor...."

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Belle Isle

Last weekend we went down to Belle Isle for a soccer tournament on Sunday. I hadn't been out there since I was in high school, & then it was only to drive around for a few minutes. I'd never actually hung out there for any length of time. The soccer field got the grass from the Silverdome in 1994 after the Word Cup... but that it was still in World Cup condition, but it was a fun little thing none-the-less. Greg from Verde FC & the Woodward Ave. Brewery hosted it. He brought in 4 teams, 2 from Detroit, a W.A.B. team, & Verde. We got 2 matches (lost both as per usual), & put in a god showing. The island itself is amazing. It's sad that the funding to keep it up isn't available, but even w/ the closed buildings & overgrow areas, it's beautiful. I didn't get to the Great Lakes Museum as I'd hoped, but I did take the kids fishing for a bit which kind of freaked me out. I couldn't get the reel to work properly, but more importantly, I wasn't down w/ watching the worm squirm in agony when I baited the hook. Of course, we didn't actually catch anything so the whole hook through the mouth thing was never an issue. Well, we did catch 1 little fish, but it wasn't hooked; it was just eating he worm and then let go once I reeled it in. Overall, big props to Greg for putting it on & be sure to check out the W.A.B stuff @ the Beer Fest today. I'll be there helping out & pouring for a while so you can stop on by & say hi too!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Belated Celtic Fest Post

Isaiah's highlight was seeing the large pile of horse-shit while looking @ the Clydesdale, but for me, that was maybe 3rd best... or 4th. On Friday night, Stephanie & I hit the Pub in the Park for a little beer. They didn't have Guinness this year so we enjoyed a few 1/2 gallons of Boddingtons. we were met out there by Daye, Pete, Geo, Andy, Matt, Laurie, & Pete. As you've probably already heard (or read), I finished 2nd Runner Up in the Mr. Pretty Legs in a Kilt contest. The winner (as per usual) was a douche. And he was the key-tar player from the band which makes me assume it was fixed. I made a right fool of myself stumbling around & talking shit as I grabbed the mic from the MC (who turned out to be a better musician when she did her little solo set afterwards than the band). Her tramp-stamp sticking out just above her high-waisted 1989 straight out of a TLC video jeans was ridiculous though. There was much stumbling, slurring, & in the case of a certain person who will remain nameless, vomiting.

On Saturday, my parents came out w/ us & we enjoyed a fun morning & early afternoon looking @ stuff, eating fun food (I had the haggis & the haddock chowder), & just hanging out. The music was good, but we didn't listen to as much as we have in the past. We watched some dude give a talk about Haggis which was funny & informative. However, he suggested a delicious sounding sauce made from heavy cream & whisky that also called for "Black Capers." These seem to be a rather elusive ingredient. I can't find the anywhere... other than some shop in Virginia that claims to carry them but doesn't list the brand. I'll try Morgan & York next time we get Chinese food I guess. Aiden got a deck of cards... his new obsession. Solstice got a key-chain... her new collection. Isaiah loved watching the sheep dog & the birds of prey, but really really loved checking out the horses... hence the horse-shit.

Afterwards, we headed out to Howell for Meg & TC's engagement party. It was fun & we got to see the whole family. Of course, if you ask Isaiah what the highlight was... owls? "Yeah... and horse poop." Did you see Grandma and Grandpa? "Yeah... & horse poop." Did you see Aunt Megan & Aunt Holly? "Yeah... & horse poop." I guess you can't blame him... horse poop is pretty awesome.
The 2nd Runner Up
Happy couple... a little drunk
Watchin' the sheep-dog demonstration
The Haggis talk by the guy from the National Trust of Scotland

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Return of Mr. Pretty Legs

The Saline Celtic Festival is going on this weekend out in... wait for it... Saline of all places. Tomorrow's festivities get under way @ 10:00 w/ the parade & the rugby matches. You should be sure to come out tonight though to the Pub in the Park for cheep pitchers of Guinness, some good music, & the 4th Annual Mr. Pretty Legs in a Kilt Contest. I haven't entered since my sweet, sweet win in the 1st contest back in 2007 so I think it may be time to defend my crown. There will also be some Gaelic Football matches happening this evening. For those of you who have never witnessed this fucked up sport before... believe me, it's something to behold. It's like Rugby & Basketball had some mentally slow, physically challenged love-child. It's the Corky to Soccer's Becca Thacher... & yes, it still wants to drive the car. Here are a few pics from the Ghost of Celtic Fests Past:
Stephanie... as the old yellow Escape looks on
Wendy, Pete, & an empty 1/2 gallon of Guinness
2 badass dudes
A 3rd badass dude
Chain-Mail Solstice

Monday, July 12, 2010

WCP #30: Like the Day After Christmas

Overall, the 200 FIFA World Cup in South Africa was fantastic. Although the final match lacked some of the style I was hoping, it was an exciting match w/ a bit of drama. I was kind of pulling for The Netherlands, but Spain was clearly the better team, & it was nice to seem thee European Champions get the win. The South African Football Federation deserves boatloads of credit for hosting the tournament, a tournament that just a year ago FIFA seemed afraid would have to be moved to a more stable footballing nation like England of the USA (stable in that they could host w/ little prep time). 2014 will be in Brasil so we'll see the Brasilians win again, but then 2018 & 2022 are still up for grabs. I'm pulling for England in 2018 & the USA in 2022. I don't like the idea of 2 in the Americas in a row. The tradition of moving back & forth is a good 1 which is why I hope England gets it before us.

The prospect of looking ahead to the 2012 Euros is nice, but they're still 2 years away... I remember thinking about the next Christmas as a kid on December 26th & thinking it would never come. waiting another 2 years for a big tournament is tough, but the Premier League starts in a month & the pre-season friendlies begin in a week & a 1/2 so @ least there's that. (Here's the article about the winners of the individual awards... no mention of the Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day though... go figure.)

In terms of the World Cup Wrap Up, Thomas Muller won the Golden Boot w/ 5 goals & 3 assists. Diego Forlan won the Golden Ball, the award for the outstanding overall player of the tournament. If you'll remember, after Uruguay's draw w/ France on the opening day, I said anything they accomplish would be down to him. I didn't expect them to make the Semi-finals, & they may have overachieved a bit, but I was certainly right about him. The Golden Glove went to a player who is also the Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day for the Final match. This was a tough decision. Iniesta's goal was nice, & it will probably overshadow his diving, but the 2 dives he took in extra time pissed me off. The 1st of which, while he was barely touched, got Heitinga sent off w/ a 2nd yellow. Fabregas certainly played well, but as he only came on in the 87th minute, I don't think he had enough time to win this award. Torres was out of sorts in each of his appearances throughout the tournament, & David Villa played well leading up to the Finals, but could have done better yesterday. The Spanish defense was fantastic, & Puyol, Pique, & Ramos all were in the running for the final award, but it's coming down to the man who stopped Robben's break-aways twice. Your Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day for the 2010 FIFA World Cup Finals is none other than Real Madrid's outstanding goalie & Spain's El Capitan, Iker Casillas.
Tears of joy after the big triple crown: World Cup Champion, Golden Glove, & Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day

Sunday, July 11, 2010

WCP #29: Isaiah's B-day & a Round-Up

At 2:00ish this afternoon, people are coming by for Isaiah's big, big 2nd B-Day Blowout. He seems excited & keeps telling us that he's 2, so he seems to get it... sort of. At the same time ass his party we'll also be viewing the final match: Spain v Netherlands. Here's what I like about it. I like that the European Champions are playing a team lead by the people who starred in the Champions League Final. I like that Van Persie is playing Fabregas. We have what seem to be the best 2 teams in the world actually making it to the finals for a change. These are the teams I wanted to see make it (other than France... obviously). The biggest concern is that 1) Spain will play too defensively & 2) Fabregas won't play. He's been better than Iniesta every time he's come on, but in keeping w/ my conspiracy theory, until he moves to Spain, I don't see him breaking into the starting line-up on a regular basis.

Before we get to the Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day for yesterdays 3rd Place match, here's a little re-cap of all of your previous Players of the Day from the 2010 FIFA World Cup:
Day 1: Diego Forlan (Uruguay)
Day 2: Tim Howard (USA)
Day 3: Mesut Ozil (Germany)
Day 4: Robin van Persie (Netherlands)
Day 5: Maicon (Brazil)
Day 6: Diego Benaglio (Switzerland)
Day 7: Gonzalo Higuain (Argentina)
Day 8: Michael Bradley (USA)
Day 9: Dennis Rommedahl (Denmark)
Day 10: Elano (Brazil)
Day 11: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Day 12: Katlego Mphela (South Africa)
Day 13: Landon Donovan (USA)
Day 14: Keisuke Honda (Japan)
Day 15: David Villa (Spain)
Day 16: Luis Suarez (Uruguay)
Day 17: Carlos tevez (Argentina)
Day 18: Robinho (Brazil)
Day 19: David Villa (Spain)
Day 20: Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands)
Day 21: Miroslav Klose (Germany)
Day 22: Bert Van Marwijl (Netherlands)
Day 23: Carles Puyol (Spain)

Spain: 3
Netherlands: 3
Brazil: 3
USA: 3
Germany: 2
Argentina: 2
Uruguay: 2

David Villa is the only person so far to win it twice. We'll see how the game goes this afternoon, but we could easily get another 2 award player (or he could win it an unprecedented 3rd time). As far as Your Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day fo yesterday adds another one for the Germans: Bastian Schweinsteiger.
This Hitler-Youth lookin' mother fucker is actually really good

Thursday, July 8, 2010

WCP #28: Vacation Wap Up - The West Coast

After leaving Petoskey, we drove down the coast to Traverse City. We attempted to stop @ the Music House Museum, but they didn't open for another hour & we didn't want to wait around. Coming through Traverse City was stop & go bumper to bumper as it was the Cherry Festival. The place was packed. There was going to be an air show over the water, but again, it would have been an hour wait so we kept on cruising. we hit Sleeping Bear Dunes around 1:00, drove the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive: 7.5 miles through the woods & dunes. I'd never taken that drive before... it was beautiful w/ some really cool trails. After that, we hit the Dune Climb. Stephanie blew out her flip-flop, so she & Isaiah stayed @ the bottom while I went up w/ Aiden & Solstice. They weren't as in to it as I expected, but it was fun... & sandy. Afterwards, we had some lunch & hit the road.

We took 22 down the coast to US 31 & followed it into Manestee. What a shit town. From now on, I'll go out of my way to avoid that town. we stopped there because we were beat & needed some sleep. The Days Inn was reasonable & had a pool so we checked in & watched some TV: Bye Bye Birdie & a Greatest American Hero marathon. The next morning, Monday, we started home. We stopped in Ludington for a couple hours & then dove south to Holland for lunch. I'd always been under the impression that Holland had lots of windmills & Dutch stuff in town, but I'd never realized that it was all in amusement park type places. Stephanie didn't know this either. How did we not know this. It'd be cool to check it out if we had the whole day to spend, but w/ only an hour or so, we skipped it & grabbed a bite @ some Irish pub where Aiden got to watch the Tigers game... possibly the highlight of his trip. After we ate, we hit the road & were home in 2 1/2 hours.
Isaiah @ the Dunes
View from the top - Solstice is a speck on the upper left
More problematic Native American imagery
at the beach in Ludington
at a stature in Holland, MI

Over all, it was a fantastic trip, probably the best vacation we've taken as a family. next time, we plan to get a room in Ludington & maybe do Holland more thoroughly. I really recommend the roadside tourist traps too. They're so camp & fun, but on to the important info... Your Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day. From the get-go, I'd been picking Spain & The Netherlands to reach the final, but going into yesterday's match, I kind of assumed Germany would advance. I'm happy to say that didn't happen, & a big part of Spain's success was because of their rock in central defence. Not only did he score the winning goal, but his dedication & fight was fantastic from beginning to end. Therefore, Your Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day in Carles Puyol.
His team congratulates him after winning the award

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

WCP # 27: Vacation Wap Up - The Upper Lower

After we reentered the Lower Peninsula, we got off of I 75 & hit Fort Michilimackinac. Again, I hadn't been there since I was a kid. Aiden & Isaiah really loved it. They were running around on the deck & in the turrets making gun noises... & Isaiah started it. How did he know to do that? The archaeologists where excavating a house & were about 2 feet deep. They said they'd been working on it for 3 years & had another to go. Archeology is pretty freaking sweet! We had such a good time, I forgot to check out the score of the Netherlands v Brasil match, but I found out soon enough. We considered hitting the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, but we were hungry & needed to find some lunch. About 20 minutes from Mackinac one finds Cross Village & The Legs Inn. It's a little out of the way, but the food & the view of Lake Michigan are amazing. Authentic Polish dishes in a crazy ass stone inn. I got the Pierogis w/ Golabki & Stephanie had the potato pancakes. The waitress, a college student from Warsaw, informed me of the Netherlands victory & then we headed down Pleasant Valley Rd to the Petoskey State Park. After setting up the tent & swimming for a bit @ a proper beach, wee headed to the big Scott Bachelor Petoskey Soccer Alumni match.
At the Fort

I was invited by the Rossis even though I never actually went to high school there since I'd grown up playing w/ all of those people & because my dad had a pivotal role in starting the soccer program. He was the JV coach when they started the varsity team when I was in 5th gradeish. After I moved, the team go really good & won the State Tournament a couple times. Playing in a pick-up match w/ those guys was certainly not an easy task, but it was fun. We had dinner afterwards & then headed back to camp. On Saturday, we walked around town in the AM, hit Papa Lou's for lunch w/ my parents who were in town for the soccer party too, & then drove out to Walloon Lake for some swimming. Afterwards, we drove through Boyne City & up the North shore of Lake Charlevoix to get to Charlevoix for dinner where we met up w/ my parents. Dinner @ Great Lakes Whitefish & Chips in The Villager Pub & a stop in Cherry Republic from which we scored some awesome mustard BBQ Sauce, & Cherry Almond butter.

We headed back to the campground in time to watch the fireworks from the beach w/ a few Budweisers. I'm starting to enjoy Budweiser more than I ever imagined I would. The next morning, we grabbed some breakfast, drove through the old neighborhood, & took US 31 down the coast to Traverse City. What did e do there? You'll have to check back tomorrow for the final instalment of the Vacation wrap up to find out.
The Circus Shop
The single greatest field on which I've ever played
Watching the fireworks
We have a pic of Solstice on this same rock wearing the same shirt

What? What's that you say? You say you want a Player of the Day? OK. After watching the Netherlands v Uruguay match yesterday, I've decided to make yet another unprecedented decision. Van Bronckhorst's goal was amazing, Robben & Sneijder were great, Van Persie lead the line & even got back to defend. Picking one was difficult until I realized it all came down to 1 man: The coach. Here it is, Your Visions of Ypsi Coach of the Day: Bert Van Marwijk. He made an attacking change @ the interval, bringing on Van der Vaart, & he got these guys to play together as a team. If only the French could have been so lucky. I have a feeling German will win the tournament, but I'm pulling for Spain today. I would love to see van Persie v Fabregas in the final.
Embarrassed to be singled out when he assumed everyone should share the award today

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Vacation Recap: The U. P.

We lit out from Ypsi about 6:30 AM on Wednesday, hitting the Bridge around noon after a couple rest area stops. We had lunch @ a scenic over-look & then hit The Mystery Spot. I hadn't been there since I was 10 or 11. It was fun & the kids realy dug it. There were a couple guys there (a 40ish man & his father), & they seemed to buy it all. Even Solstice & Aiden were looking @ them like "WTF???" It was pretty funny. Afterwards, we walked around St. Ignace a bit, saw some really ridiculous/ketchy/chimilicious/racist Native American imagery, & scored an ice-cream cone before visiting Stephanie's cousin whom we hadn't seen in years. That was a nice little visit.

The campground was beautiful. We could see the bridge from our site, & we jus had to walk across to the beach... which wasn't really a beach, but the kids waded around a bit, & I taught them how to skip stones. We cooked hot dogs & beans on the fire, got an uncampingly good sleep, & made pancakes & sausage before we hit the road to Tahquamenon Falls. We stopped @ a deer ranch to feed the deer... including a couple albinos. Isaiah love it & cracked up every time one would eat a cracker out of his hand. Afterwards, rather than the direct route, we followed US 2 along the coast for a while before turning North. Stephanie found Paquin Creek on the map & it was only a couple miles passed where we were to turn so we kept on cruising for a photo op. Paquin Creek Rd, although on the map, is a road in name only. After a few hundred feet, it became dirt. It quickly narrowed to only 1 car width across, became a 2-track, & then we hit the soft sand. Rolling in a full-size van down this little path was kind of scary, but we finally found a place to turn around & made it out to find the actual creek about a mile further up US 2. We took a pic & turned around. The drive along US 2 was absolutely beautiful, & then once we started heading up to the falls, the beauty continued for another 2 hours.

Our 1st stop was @ the Lower Falls where we walked about a mile along the path by the river before going to our site. Solstice & Aiden were such great help setting up & tearing down every day. We then found a beach about 20 minutes away (@ the mouth of the river). Since the river was coming in there, it was a lot warmer than every other Lake Superior beach @ which I've ever swam. We then hit the Upper Falls & The Tahquamenon Falls Brewery. I had the stout which was good, but not at all like it was advertised. They compared it to Guinness, but it was more like an American Stout w/ hints of chocolate & coffee. Stephanie had the cherry wheat which is light & smooth. Back @ the site, we cooked more hot dogs & I boiled a big pot of H2O on the fire to cook some corn.Sleep on the 2nd night wasn't as sound as on the 1st, but the drive back to St. Ignace was nice along US 123. Just north of the Bridge we hit our 3rd tourist tap in 2 days: Castle Rock. I was last there around the same time I was last @ The Mystery Spot. I climbed it w/ Aiden & Solstice, but Stephanie & Isaiah waited on the ground. Aiden didn't want to go across the bridge, but Solstice was fearless. I don't think I would have complained if she didn't want to go, but as it stood, I had to make the trek across to the top. It's a cheesy fucking place, but the view is amazing. we were back on the road just in time to miss the Brazil v Netherlands match, but I heard about the results later @ lunch. The UP had no 3G coverage & even the basic phone connections were hit-or-miss. We tried to up-load pics when we could, but even once we crossed the bridge, 3G coverage was spotty until yesterday afternoon when we hit Grand Rapids. why were we in Grand rapids? Tune in tomorrow for the 2nd part of the Vacation Recap & maybe you'll find out.
Aiden @ The Mystery Spot
The bridge from our site
The Upper Falls
Up on Castle Rock

Sunday, July 4, 2010

WCP #26: A Quick Vacation Post While Eating Breakfast in Petoskey

We've been to St. Ignace, Tahquamenon Falls, & Mackinac, & Petoskey. We've done tons of silly touristy stuff & I got to play a pick up game the other night. A more thorough recap will follow, but for now, here is your Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day. I didn't get to watch the matches so we're doing something a bit unprecedented... I let my dad who is also in Petoskey make the pick: Miroslav Klose.
Some people take winning this award very seriously

Saturday, July 3, 2010

WCP #25: My 1st Phone Post

I'm posting from my phone using the wi-fi @ Horizon Books in Petoskey, so this will be a pretty short post. I wish Ghana had gotten by Urugauy, but I'm super happy about the Netherlands,& while I'm temped to go w/ Melo after his own goal & subsequent red card, I think that would undermine the spirit of the award. That said, your Visions of Ypsi Player of the Day is Wesley Sneijder.
Here he is looking confused & disoriented