southwest of canada

I grew in the downriver burbs of Detroit, and went to college in northwest Detroit, living at that place on the corner of Wyoming and McNichols (Six Mile) and spending a lot of time in and around the Wayne State U area (known then as the Cass Corridor -- is it still?) and a lot of time downtown and in Bricktown (as it was called in the early 80s). Quite a bit of time BEFORE the RenCen was built (I watched it rising from my office window in, I think, the First National Bldg. where I worked as a lowly clerk for the Sand Products Company). Strohs was a thriving brewery still, and I watched the Tigers at Tiger Stadium. I watched Nixon resign on the telly at the Checker Bar and splurged once a week on the amazing sandwiches of Ham Heaven. My father grew up on Vaughan Street and my grandmother lived there until she died in the late eighties. So I'd say I'd spent a considerable amount of my life there until I was 22 or there abouts.

After I graduated from college, I followed my then love to Boston, then went to grad school in New York City, lived in Arizona for a few years, then here to Connecticut. I somehow never really made it back to Detroit for anything more than a six-month stint working for the UAW magazine on West Jefferson and once-in-a-while drive throughs or a play at the Fisher.

All this is a long-winded way to say I miss Detroit still -- there's just something about the place that still draws me. If circumstances ever arose that meant a move to Motown for us, I'd be fine with that. I think.

Anyway, I love poking through websites devoted to Detroit. Tonight I came across, somehow via Stupid Evil Bastard (six degrees of link separation or something like that).

The owner of idiotblog is the most amazing photographer. He/she (no bio info, alas, at least not that I could find), let's call the person Idiot since that is what he/she uses, has an eye for ruins and humor and the details that often get lost in mess. On this page, look in particular at the shots of the old Grand River church and then, below that, at the closeups of this amazing mural. If this kind of stuff interests you, be prepared to spend quite a while looking through the archives. I just wish Idiot would post more information about the sites themselves -- some of the ruins, for example, are hauntingly familiar and I wonder if it's because I saw them in their pre-decay days.

When you're ready to move on from idiotblog, take a look at Detroit Yes. I've been visiting this site for years and it's amazing how much stuff is there. I think it used to be called "The Ruins of Detroit," but maybe that's another site. I always get lost here and find things again purely by chance, but the photography is superb. Most of it is sad -- I remember when pollution and grime and the noise of the factories meant job security, health benefits, pensions, either college or a well-paying job after high school for the kids, and maybe a summer cabin Up North. No more.

Tomorrow we have to go spend $350 $500 on new tires to replace the OEM crap tires that have less than 40,000 miles on them and no tread left. We took it in to Monro for a tune-up and check-up and whatever-up the car needed in preparation for our trek to Michigan (the 22nd -- I need a change of scenery so badly I can just spit. Plus I want to see my folks big time.) The verdict was the front brake pads and rotors needed replacing immediately lest we end up parking in the Sound. The rotors looked like records -- you know, those grooved vinyl discs from the last century. Which Stanley says is a very bad thing. I find it hard to believe the pads had to be replaced yet again (it's only the third or fourth time) but even more so that we had to spend this much money on a repair before it even hits 40K miles. The fuel filter was also replaced so we'll see if the currently pathetic mileage goes back up to what it should be. The mileage started crapping downward after Ford replaced the defective fuel pump during one of the eleventy-seven recalls we've had on this car.

Don't even think about buying a Ford Focus, new or used. Consumer Reports blew it big time on this model.
Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 08/12/04 at 10:11 PM
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