Monday, November 8, 2010

This is a story all about how
My Birthday got flipped, turned upside down
So I'd like to take a minute just sit right there
And I'll tell you how Lady Danville* came and did damage repair**...

    This week I turned 26***. However, almost all of the things that were suppose to make it a good time, well, fell apart. Through no fault of my own or anyone else. My birthday was a victim of uncontrollable circumstance.

    So I decided that I should be awarded a Birthday redo.

    Birthday redo was the day after my actual birthday.**** I went to the Lady Danville/Ben Folds show...

    Oh, Lady Danville...

   These guys are so legit. They are great people who play great music. They have this indie-poppy-folky sound. Kind of like a Gustery vibe with 3 part harmonies and sometimes a ukulele. Sadly, they played a short set, but they made the most of every second. The crowd loved them. So did the roommates and I. Also, they put me on the guest list so I literally got to walk up to Will Call and say "I'm on the band's Guest List." Life goal accomplished.

    After the show, some friends and I went to The Bronx Bar, my absolute favorite bar in Detroit. Conveniently located 2 blocks from my house. Friends showered me with drinks, a favorite being the Gummy Bear shot. It was delicious and effective. Everything I look for in a drink.***** After the bar the guys of Lady Danville, Michael, Dan and Matt, came over. Couchsurfing kicks ass.

    We had a late night pasta feast and enjoyed each others company and good music. They were funny and witty and so much fun to hang out with. They jammed, we sang along, we all dinned and had intelligent conversation. I loved it. If they lived in Detroit we would invite them over all the time. In fact, they have an open invite and are welcome anytime. The morning was filled with Avalon baked goods, straight off the plane coffee from Honduras, more good music and laughs. Unfortunately, we didn't get to really show them around the city. But we're hoping they'll be back in Detroit again soon, headlining their own tour, and will give us a call.

...And that is the story of how Lady Danville saved my birthday...

Also, Ben Folds was good too. But he didn't save my birthday.

Check out Lady Danville:

* I'm pretty sure they don't capitalize the L or D in their name, but it feels so wrong to type a proper name and not capitalize it. And since it's my blog, CAPITALIZATION FOR EVERYONE!

**Not my best rhyming.

***I only cried once, so I think I handled it pretty well.

****But it was decided my birthday should and will always be celebrated on that day, since actual birthday was so unfortunate for so many people. It was an infectious disease that seeped into the lives of many.

*****Sorry, Mom.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My back is freaking on fire.*

    As the unbearable Michigan heat quickly turns into unbearable Michigan cold we, here at the 2nd Ave. house, have begun to prepare for Winter.

    Our first step was learning to master the death trap in our living room.

     That's right. While you in the suburbs have your fireplaces and central heating we, in the city, have a steady flow of Carbon Monoxide set aflame.** We do have radiators in most rooms but they haven't really been working.***

      Other Winter Preparations: Saving for a Parka.

        Public transportation + Winter + Me = I hate my life.

        Public transportation + Winter + Me + $300 Parka = I hate my life, but at least I'll be able to feel my limbs.

      Oh well, at least I'll be able to curl up with a book and my fiery Carbon Monoxide after I trudge home from the bus stop.

*The obvious solution is to go sit somewhere else, but I don't feel like it. 

** Should probably add Carbon Monoxide Detector to shopping list.

***Which is fine, because when they are working they sound like men breathing heavily by our bed sides. An unsettling sound no matter where you live.

Monday, October 11, 2010


   For those of you who don't know or are too financially secure to ever have to resort to such a thing, Couchsurfing is a network of people who are trusting enough* to have complete strangers stay on their floors or couches for free. Ever since I've set up a profile page stating that I live Detroit and that my couches are open and ready for some crashers...I've been a popular girl.**

   Ever since Palladium Boots aired their 'Detroit Lives' documentary, people have been anxious to come check out the city. A few weeks ago we had a couple from Chicago staying with us***. They were telling us they wanted to come see Detroit because they had been hearing a buzz about Detroit for a little while and after seeing the Palladium documentary....they had to come.

   I am encouraged that so many people want to come see and get to know Detroit. It leaves me with the impression that maybe Detroit's reputation is changing. It gives me hope that there are people out there who can see past Detroit's seedy past****. People who can see beauty and possibility in the brokenness and abandonment of the city. Creative people who can appreciate the opportunities to create and re-imagine. 

A poem written while walking to the bus stop:

It’s like a game the city has made just for me
Streets broken into lily pads for my feet
And in time with the city’s rhythm they land on the beat

People are coming to the city and they are falling in love with it. I need to remind myself of that sometimes because it's easy to think that the only people who like Detroit, live here. But that is a lie. People are coming curious and leaving enchanted. 

So for all you people who think Detroit is forgotten and alone. You are wrong. You'll see.

Detroit lives.

*Some might say foolish enough...I disregard these people.
**So basically like when I was in High school....only....the complete opposite.
*** House rule: Only couples and single females are allowed to couch surf with us...cause...ya know....we're not complete idiots.
****And, admittedly, semi-seedy present.

Friday, September 24, 2010

    This is Detroit. So when you're walking around you have to expect the occasional person asking you for money*. You don't, however, have to expect it in your dinning room. Unless of course you live here.

    The south side of our place lines an alley. An alley that isn't always used for the most legal (or sanitary for that matter) of purposes**. The people who do occupy the alley though have never given us a problem. They ignore us, and we ignore them. Well...they used to ignore us***...

"escuse me miss"

    As I turn around there is a man standing on the other side of my gated window.

"escuse me miss, I'm tryin to get some food from the restaurant over there. Could you help me out?"

    My roommate B asked him if he wanted some snacks****. He mumbled something that we figured was some form of yes. So she went to get an apple and a pear for him. When she got back he had wondered away so we left them on the window sill for him. He eventually meandered back and passed on the fruit*****.

    Needless to say the windows are closed now. And the blinds are drawn. And if you're hungry...there's still an apple and a pear on our window sill.

*And sometimes, your number.

**No need to worry, Mom. Wayne State Police patrol our area very well. And also, we learned our lesson about open windows and alleys.

***Ok, we have to take some responsibility for this. I mean, we did open our windows. If this were twitter, here is where I would say #StillLearning.

**** "This is NOT a drive thru" -B to me

****Whoever said beggars can't be choosers, never met a beggar.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Nothing gives you as much 'Pimp Status' on the bus as a $2.00 unlimited monthly pass.

    This pass is for the serious bus rider. It communicates to your fellow passengers 'That's right, I ride this bus so much that it's worth it for me to buy this $66 pass every month'. I know this, not because of the looks I get when I whip mine out, because I don't have one. I know this because of the feelings of awe and wonder I get when someone takes theirs out. Most people spend a minute trying to filter in two dollars or digging around for change*, but when someone pulls out that little blue card and quickly swipes it through the reader and continues's as sexy as bus riding gets.

    The other day my roommate was telling me about this idea of 'Pedestrian Pride'** and its importance in helping build sustainable cities. The first and only thing I could think of involving pedestrians and pride was that little blue bus pass. The pride I hope I'll feel my first time swiping it, proving just how bus savvy I am. But that was it, because riding the bus is hard. Not hard in the sense that figuring out which bus to get on and when to be at the stop and finding a stop is hard, that's fine despite's efforts to confuse you, you can figure it out. But hard in the sense that it's hard to feel successful when you're standing at a bus stop***.

    I think it's pretty much assumed, at least in Detroit, that the people on the bus are too broke to afford a car. Which is probably a fair statement. I don't know if I would be riding the bus if I could afford a car and the insurance and gas. In fact, I know I wouldn't. So the bus becomes this daily reminder of what you don't have and also acts as a neon sign that announces it to the world, and sometimes the world is less than kind about it. This isn't New York where everyone from beggars to lawyers take public transportation. It can't be. Our particular economy depends on the success of the car industry. If people started abandoning cars and started embracing the bus system you'd start seeing bumper stickers that said "Out of a job yet? Keep taking the bus."

    So yea, maybe those of us on the bus can't afford a car, but there are a lot of incredibly decent people on the bus. There are young men who stand so old men can sit. There are grown men who stand so young women can sit. There are people who help senior citizens carry their groceries off the bus and people who give someone with a bum dollar**** 4 quarters. People going to work and school and to visit Grandmothers in the hospital and sisters for their birthdays. So here's my point, bus people are just people. So please don't stare at me while I'm waiting for the bus and when I tell you that I take the bus please don't ask me 'Why don't you just buy a car?' and if you ever see me with a little blue $2.00 monthly bus pass, it's okay to be impressed.

* If this is you, you should know you consistently piss me off. You know the bus is coming. You know it's $2.00. There is a line of people behind you waiting to get on and you're holding them up which is ultimately making my commute longer. It's called a change purse. Get one.

** More coming on this.

*** Especially in Birmingham.

**** A bum dollar is a dollar so crumpled and torn that the bus won't take it. It makes this loud obnoxious noise when it rejects a dollar. Having a bum dollar is one of my greatest bus fears.