Christopher tm Herdt (cherdt) wrote,
Christopher tm Herdt

Several things, mostly complaints

First of all, mrrranda is away this evening, so someone should call me and invite me to go out and do something, lest I drink alone. My number is (734) SKI-FLUKE.

Last night, mrrranda took me out on a date. When I got home from work, I changed into date-clothes and went outside. I called our apartment from my cell phone and told Mrrranda that I was running late, but I would be there to pick her up shortly. Then I waited a few minutes. I rang the doorbell to the apartment and waited for her to buzz me through the security door. "You look great!" I said. "Let's go."

We went to Totoro and had sushi and bento. It was a little disappointing that they don't serve alcohol, as some plum wine would have hit the spot, but it was probably better to stay sober and awake. After eating we walked around the Diag to kill some time and then went to see Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence at the State Theater. (Review: It is ill-advised to write a script based on quotations and references, but as long as it has cool animation you'll be okay.)

As we got back to our apartment, Mrrranda turned to me and said, "It sure was nice of you to walk me all the way back to the apartment. I know it's getting late. I had a really good time tonight, maybe we can get together later this weekend?"

Then she gave me a kiss and she ran off into the apartment and turned the deadbolt. It got surprisingly cold on the park bench last night.

Ah, dating!

I have nothing against team spirit and rah-rah-rah. (I do have a problem with big revenue-generating college sports, but that's a whole different issue.) Feel free to cheer on your own team all you want, but be a good sport: don't disrespect your opponent. The "Cumblowus, Ohio" t-shirt I saw last night on State St. was pretty appalling. The usual "Top 10 Reasons Friends Don't Let Friends Go To MSU" shirts are pretty stupid too. We're talking about institutions of higher education here, right?

But what really pisses me off are the (sorry, uterdic, but what I saw this morning backs me up here) SUV drivers who come in from out-of-town, with their block M flags on their windows, driving like assholes or morons or both. Go blue, but go home! To hell with you all. I spat at the Hummer, but they probably didn't notice because they weren't paying any attention to their surroundings.

Speaking of SUVs, mrrranda's parents just turned in their lease Toyota Camry and leased a Honda Pilot SUV. She was pissed.

According to, the Honda Pilot is "One of the best crossover SUVs available...the Pilot is an excellent choice for active and large families in need of versatility."

Mrrr's parents are two of the least active people I've ever seen. Compare 17/22 city/hwy to 24/34 of the Camry. I don't know how the lease price compares, but the Pilot is $6000-$7000 more expensive than the Camry. It weighs about 1200 pounds more than the Camry. They were perfectly happy with the Camry, but Mrrranda's mom doesn't want to get the same car twice in row. "We might get sick of it, who knows? It's one of the nice things about trading every two years you get to try something new."

Novelty is the reason you will spend $400 more per year on gasoline and spew out 1200 more pounds of pollution? "It will come in handy if we need to haul stuff."

What stuff? was Mrrranda's question. They never haul anything.

Mrrranda was so mad she considered not going home with her parents this weekend because she didn't want to ride in an SUV. She's talking about volunteering at a local environmental organization as a way to atone for the family sin. I think that's a fine idea.

I've tried to tell Mrrranda that education is the key to any socio-political action. She doesn't want to hear it because she doesn't want to work with people, but one person can easily undo the work of a dozen that are quietly walking, busing, recycling their plastics, etc. Of course, she had told her parents countless times how much she dislikes SUVs, but it fell on deaf ears.

I went to the Farmer's Market this morning. I was going to buy three gallons of apple cider and try to make hard sparkling cider. However, the local farmers wanted $4.50 a gallon, and I wasn't quite prepared to spend that much.

So instead I spent more.

The tomatoes were cheap and plentiful. It was an amazing sight, to see table after table covered in ripe tomatoes. To stay competitive with their neighbors and move product, they had marked the prices down to $4 a peck. I'd read a recipe for tomato wine and decided that might be an interesting alternative.

A peck of tomatoes turned out to be about nine pounds, triple what the recipe called for. I boiled nine pounds of tomatoes, three cans of apple juice concentrate ($3.60), and six pounds of sugar ($2.40). I also have to buy Montrachet wine yeast and tannins (to give it the little acidic pucker that grape-based wines have).

I have no idea how this is going to turn out in the end, but it's worth a shot. I'll cork most bottles, but I might cap a few bottles of sparkling tomato wine. If it's good, I'll let you know--there's no way I'm drinking three gallons of tomato wine by myself.

A lady outside the Food Co-op wanted me to sign a petition for run-off-voting, where you would rank the candidates in order of preference instead of selecting just one (although you could select just one). She said this would allow people to vote for candidates like Nader, but could select Kerry as their second choice, or vice-versa, without worrying about taking a vote away from Kerry.

I told her I thought it was a lousy idea. It would complicate the voting as well as the process of tabulating the votes, and neither of those are things we need right now. Look how complicated it was four years ago when people only had to select one candidate.

This is what the party primaries are for: to weed out extraneous candidates. Nader could always try running as a Democrat, if they'd take him. Could he have beat Kerry or Dean or even Kucinich? I doubt it. Some people might complain that I'm just defending a two-party system, but I don't think so. It wasn't too many years ago that Ross Perot stood a good chance of getting elected as an independent candidate, if he hadn't flaked out towards the end. No, the reason that Nader isn't getting more votes is not our voting system. It's that he's a crackpot outsider candidate running under a crackpot outsider political party that doesn't stand a ghost of a chance. Here in Ann Arbor, people think otherwise. To those individuals, I invite you to go visit the rest of the country. The Libertarians have more support than the Greens.

I also plan to complain about the ACLU, but maybe I'll do that later.

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