March, 2007

Great Birthdays

March 7th, 2007 March 7th, 2007
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Great birthdays have strawberry cake. Strawberry cake with butter icing. Beloved Laura asked me what I wanted and that was it, so she made it for me. I’m just smiling thinking of that. My wife made me cake. Strawberry cake. With butter icing. This makes me happy. Even having the wrong age; I like being the wrong age. That makes me happy too!

Great birthdays also have presents. My family got me the latest season of 24 on DVD and “Hunters of Dune” in hardback. This might mean I’m low maintenance but it also makes me happy. It’s not the stuff so much; it’s the being given the stuff and, more, that it’s stuff I wanted.

So, thank you, dear Laura. I had a lovely birthday and it was good right through to that last piece of strawberry birthday cake which Sam and I shared last night (with a glass of milk)!

One Ann Arbor Morning…

March 6th, 2007 March 6th, 2007
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This morning, I needed–as in “I need to breef froo my mouf”–to go and buy a Mega Millions ticket. Me and 300 million other mouf breevers. Still, the odds are much better if you have a ticket than if you don’t have a ticket. And the jackpot is $355m.

Mmmmm… millions…

Of course, if I won all that money, I’d have a ginormous tax bill. However, I think I could afford to pay wads of tax if I had wads of money. I could also drive preposterous cars, fund a feature film, buy ridiculous amounts of electronic gizmos and gadgets and I’d also like to patronize the arts. In fact, I think I’ll start that last right now by saying that L.S. Lowry’s works weren’t bad for an eight year old with really bad astigmatism.

So, I picked up a load of beer bottles and went over the road to the party store (off-licence in Britain). I drove there, naturally, because I live in America and want to fit in. I parked between the Hostess Twinkies delivery van and someone’s rusty muscle car which was sprawled across two spaces. Getting ten cents back on each bottle gave me enough money to buy five picks on the Mega Millions (which gives you a clue how many beer bottles there were, but there are actually still more in the kitchen).

Next, I drove to Stadium Hardware (which really is the best hardware store ever, bar none) and asked for wall plugs. The nice man showed me over to where they have a selection of light switches. Apparently the things I wanted aren’t called wall plugs here. After a brief game of charades, where he looked at me blankly while I mimed what I wanted to do, we eventually figured out that I wanted “wall anchors”. Three anchors for $1.20, bargain.

Next stop, the Post Office. For some reason, Ann Arbor has nice people working in the hardware store and a selection of complete tools outside its Post Office. Today (and every day apparently), the douchebagginess consists of parking in the fire lane up by the post office doors, despite the many empty spaces not three yards away. I would like to see all these people ticketed and towed away. My tolerance level went down accordingly.

Inside, I attempted to use the automatic machine to avoid the queue, or line as vernacular has it. The line, of course, was immortalized in that Johnny Cash classic, “I walk the line”. He was clearly singing about how he wanted to go postal on all the people who park their pick-ups and minivans in the fire lane.

Attempting to use the machine that dispenses stamps based on the weight of your envelope turned out to be a futile exercise in blood pressure raising. Sending a DVD to New York first class is a mere 87 cents. However, the minimum transaction limit for the machine is a dollar. I also wanted to send a letter to Britain (84 cents), but I couldn’t add that to the transaction because it’s a second transaction and each one has to be more than a dollar. The machine kindly offered to generate an extra 39cent stamp for me to up the ante. I folded and joined the line inside to save a few cents (but not sense).

Finally, I dropped off a cheque (spelled “check”) to my lawyer (because I are in America and therefore must have one, or two, or maybe even three). This was for services rendered in setting up a new film company for me last year. I am currently director of two companies, which is nice and capitalist of me. I have no shame. I actually like this whole “let’s do business and make some money” attitude. It’s the minivans in the fire lane which drive me crazy. If I win the lottery, I think I’ll consider buying a towing company and wreaking my wrewengie on douchebags parking where they shouldn’t, particularly outside schools, childcare facilities and post offices.

That gives me an idea for a new reality TV series which I shall call, “You’ve been towed!” or maybe “Towed an A-hole!” which is somewhat punnier. And clearly the A refers to Ann Arbor, although maybe it would be A2, which is odd really because there’s a saying that “Opinions are like A-holes; everyone has one” except in Ann Arbor, that goes double.

Now I have to go a make holes in the wall and install these new W-anchors in preparation for some screwing. The puns, the patterns; the simple joy of a morning in A2.

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Addendum: I just drove up to town (1pm) for a meeting at the Michigan and every single parking structure is FULL! There are cars lining up to get into the Maynard Street structure. I drove down as far as Ashley and Ann but even that’s FULL. Where are the muppets who run this city thinking people are going to park when Google takes away 200 public parking spaces? And, no, this isn’t a one-off. It’s now every weekday lunchtime in A2; no parking. Nice. And the police were out in force; several patrol cars with officers writing tickets. Still, there’s plenty of parking outside the Post Office up on Stadium and no one seems to be getting towed…