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A middle-aged man named Adam Anderson was traveling from his home state of Wisconsin to his brother’s wedding in Bay City, Michigan. He had been on the road for two days and the wedding was tomorrow. After a long, grueling drive Adam finally crossed the Michigan border and strolled into a busy looking town called Jackson during the night. He intended to rest here and seeked out an affordable, quality hotel for the money he had, this happening to be at the Baymont Inn and Suites off a Bondsteel Drive across from a Planet Fitness. Adam checked into the handsome looking hotel, got his room, and settled in with what little luggage his had – just a couple of shirts and jeans; his suit for the wedding was being reserved until he arrived in Bay City. The king size bed in this room felt like sinking into a heap of clouds and Adam easily fell asleep, setting the alarm for seven.

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The next morning, after a cheerful tune commenced, the journeyman arose from a luxurious sleep and got ready to head back on the road. He showered, dressed, and went down to the continental breakfast helping himself to waffles, eggs, sausage, muffins, and glasses of sweet orange juice. A TV was hanging on the wall in front of Adam and there was a news broadcast currently tuned in. A run off of events happening in the city and elsewhere, nothing too interesting to Adam though something about a shooting in Jackson caught his attention; he put down his fork and twisted a finger in his ear to hear clearer. The shooting happened somewhere near his location, involving three men fighting over some money and drugs. Adam shrugged his shoulders; every city has its fair share of crime and this place seemed to be no different but to be so close to the scene disturbed him.

After gathering his things and checking out, Adam left the Baymont, beeped his Altima, and headed out onto Bondsteel for a new day. The sun was gleaming brightly over the industrial skyline. Jackson didn’t look like a place Adam would suggest to anyone looking to travel, but he did not want to leave quite yet. He figured he could spend a couple hours exploring the place (he always wants to check out obscure cities on the map) and get to know his surroundings better, adding to the experience.

As he went into the heart of the city, the first major thing Adam saw was the enormous Henry Ford Allegiance Health hospital and Consumer’s Energy building as he was driving through the inner metropolis. Turning on the radio, he caught local stations talking about Detroit sports, college sports, and high school sports teams. After more of a drive Adam began to see that this city is quite tame and uneventful at times. There aren’t many high-end restaurants in this mid-size development, mainly local eateries that offer affordable meals such as a Denny’s and Steak n’ Shake, and the usual fast food joints found along either side of the main strip. Adam took a trip into Downtown Jackson and felt like he could fit at least ten of them into New York City and there didn’t seem to be much activity going on except for a shady looking bike rally that was only really appealing to roughneck biker men and women and people who like loud, raucous music.

Adam’s one day experience in Jackson already had him observing that citizens here seem to follow ordinary everyday routines, going about their lives in uninterrupted fashion. He also made a first impression that they are all like robots, walking around with little expression and enthusiasm on their faces. It’s like they just live for necessity. That’s probably the strangest part of Jackson, though this can be said about other cities as well. Adam came to the conclusion that no famous celebrities would ever come around here since the place is quite depressing and the entertainment value is subpar at best. There are quite a few things to do in Jackson though after Adam consulted his travel brochure from the hotel, seeing many opportunities of fun that he had not known about, such as the Cascades Light Show.

His day in this little metropolis was not all cherries and cream though. As Adam was going downtown and seeing all of the various shops and attractions, including the historical and recently renovated Michigan Theatre according to his guide, he was suddenly cut off in traffic, a white pickup honking its horn and racing around him, leaving Adam in the dust. The truck ran a red light and narrowly avoided colliding with an SUV coming from the left side of the intersection. Stunned, Adam decided to stop at the Michigan Theatre and check out the shows playing there. He parked on the side of the street near the theatre, being careful not to park in the timed zone, and headed for the set of old fashioned wooden green doors with red trim around the inner glass frame. Adam was simply awed in amazement as he stepped inside the front entrance; it looked like something in a museum, the sculpting of the walls, ornate marble columns, the vintage red rope by the 20th century ticket window. There was a concession bar on the left as Adam sauntered through the open theatre doors. A tall man, about fifty, with black framed glasses saw him and casually nodded. Adam walked up to the counter and asked about the shows going on here. The man, who seemed to be the owner here by his look, said a classic western hour was currently running and would be $3 to see. Adam wasn’t the biggest fan of westerns but figured it would be a shot of entertainment. He put down the cash and walked into the lone theatre on the right, his breath being immediately taken away by the vastness of this chamber. The place was like an old cathedral with meticulously crafted designs on the walls and ceiling. The giant Victorian light fixtures in the ceiling also gave this theatre a vibe of historical significance. Adam sat down in one of the seats near the back that looked like it had not been replaced since at least the 1930s, adding to its value, and immediately felt a comfort rush over him as the previews before the western hour consumed. This place felt like home to him, he could have stayed here for hours and reveled in the comforting magic it seemed to engulf him. The western hour commenced and Adam was subjected to a fantastic hour of gun-fighting, horseback riding men galloping with a superior authenticity, and dialogue that was as dark and gritty as the westerns intended them to be. This definitely became Adam’s favorite place in all of Jackson.

Adam eventually made it to Bay City, in the thumb, in time for his brother’s wedding, bringing back memories of his trip through that old fashioned town.

Now the wedding turned out to be a complete disaster. Someone accidentally fell into the cake and the expensive ring was swallowed by the uncle’s dog that was attending the wedding.

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Ann Arbor Cuisine

annarbor4The Maize and Blue deli in Ann Arbor, Michigan that I recently ate at this year. There is a huge wall in there full of the names of alumni and certain celebrity figures (including Yankees legend Derek Jeter who went to U of M).

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Out of Bounds burger

This tiny deli in the heart of the U of M campus features some unusual names on the menu, including Foul Shot, Who Came First, Bear Giggle, and Scooby-Doo. This quaint restaurant is a place I’d likely make a favorite of mine if I were going to the University of Michigan. There’s something so Seinfeld about it.

Thanks  for over 400 followers, everyone

Daily Prompt: City

Sports Landscape

Mich vs. Mich
The Big House

Michigan Stadium on the University of Michigan campus, a place that can get packed with over 110,000 people on Game Day. This was a practice game between the offense and the defense. I don’t know who won if it ever matters. It was the first time I had ever been to the stadium for real, save for maybe one time when I was just a tiny infant and had no awareness. Jim Harbaugh is going to bring the Wolverines back to their glory days. He is the saving grace for everything that is Maize and Blue. Look out, Spartans, because big brother is aiming to take back the coveted throne – and you’re starting with a freshman quarterback next year.

WPC: Landscape

The Fight for April

How many upsets will there be? That is the question.

This is March Madness 2016. Welcome to the Big Dance, folks. May you stay until the lights are turned out.

The first and second days of the annual college basketball tournament have already seen a couple of shockers (including you, Wichita St.). The cross ocean neighbors of California, Hawaii, might be a darling this year or it could be Middle Tennessee who basically fooled the seeding committee and have me looking for shirts to show off to my hated rivals.

I picked Yale over Baylor and they won, reassuring us that the upset is still possible. I have a way with picking the Ivy League teams to win (got Harvard right two years in a row and Cornell a couple years ago).

So March Madness is definitely in full swing and if anyone still has a perfect bracket I’d like to meet them. My bracket is quite busted (thanks Michigan State, but at the same time YES!) and now I’m just watching the games for fun (and to see how far Michigan can go). My championship matchup is still intact with North Carolina and Kansas, for how long that lasts.

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My busted TC bracket

The road to the championship game continues on. It is always an interesting fight to the finish and isn’t always predictable, with the exception coming in 2008 with all four number ones in the Final Four, the only time that happened. Seeing those upsets is always an interesting part of the event, with unknown schools getting on the map and having their 15 minutes of glory, but it is usually the teams that were picked to win, the usual juggernauts, remaining in the end. The first few rounds are always exciting, always full of chaos, of madness, and then everything seems to settle down near the end.

I see this basketball tournament as a transitional thing, something to watch to pass the time until other things come up. It will be Spring in a couple days and the first quarter of the year will be nearly over. That April A to Z challenge is coming up again though I’m not sure I will participate in it because of it being such a demanding thing (to come up with an idea for every letter).

Until then, it is on to the second round of Madness. I’ll definitely be there until the lights are turned out.

Fight

Crazy Climate

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The snow was around for a couple days before melting away as it always does. I didn’t even get a chance to photograph it very well and there was hardly any time to actually shovel the driveway or throw melting salt on the slick ice. It will likely return in late December or January and be a tease. These funny weather patterns have been going on for some time in Michigan. There is always a pre-snow, a little teaser trailer of what is to come, that quickly goes away and doesn’t come back until the real premiere later on, much like Star Wars this year. Think of it as an appetizer before the main entree. The weather is very erratic here and predicting it is like predicting when a red Ford Focus is going to pass you by on the road. As there are many different colored cars in the world and not every one is a Focus, the chances of getting it correct are slim.

My mood with the weather is fairly consistent. If it is cold and wet outside, I’m moody and depressed and turn inward, resorting to more humble affairs indoors. If it’s sunny and hot out, I am more happier and energetic and my thoughts come out a little more bouncy like, inspiration coming in short incoherent bursts. If the weather is just kind of blah and stale, I can be quite the same way and get stuck in a neutral state of boring and believe me, being in a bored state does not produce very good results no matter how hard you try.

Weather wrecks havoc on my immunity system and this is a proven fact by at least 100 scientists – just kidding. Every year around this time, I catch the seasonal cold and my body responds in the oddest way. My eyes get itchy, my throat gets sore, and even my hair starts to fall out of place or dry out. The increased stress on my body also brings out a bad case of skin breakout. Going outside in the dead of winter one day and then going outside to a summer like December has a way of messing up your system. Like the ear infection I’ve had for at least a week now which has made even writing with a quality flair difficult because of my annoyance of it wrecking my train of thought.

That picture above is one that has been floating around this blog for some time now. I took it last year in January and it’s probably the best original representation of winter that I have come up with so far, mostly because I am too lazy to get another one. The picture also goes well with the snow that is falling on my page. The snow is falling because I still have the feature turned on from last year and I have forgotten where the place is to turn it off. Why bother with it I guess.

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In Response to the Daily Prompt: Climate Control

The idea that the weather and people’s moods are connected is quite old. Do you agree? If yes, how does the weather affect your mood?

Home of Many Strange Winters

Tahquamenon Falls, with its loud rushing waters, is a place I would like to visit again someday. I last went there as a thirteen year old, remembering how I had to roll up my pant legs when wading through the shallow water with my two other siblings. There are pictures of us crossing under a concrete bridge spotted with grafitti, awkwardly riding in a paddle boat in the chilly water of Lake Superior, and standing on a rocky cliff overlooking the magnificent wonder of Northern Michigan. I must had really looked the part in my “Wolf Lodge” shirt, but had a hard time posing for the camera because of my new pants being too big that I had to hold them up (the beginning of my belt years).

Twelve favorite places of mine I’ve been to in Michigan:

  1. Mackinaw City, Upper Peninsula – going to breakfast at Audie’s Chippewa Room, sitting in an uncomfortable wooden chair while staring up at a menu on the wall wondering if there is anything different than in the LP.
  2. Downtown Ann Arbor art festival – being more interested in my delicious bratwurst than any of the many paintings and sculptures set up in the streets.
  3. Fifth grade camp at Mystic Lake in Clare – be very afraid of Bruno
  4. The historic Michigan Theatre
  5. Michigan International Speedway – getting sunburnt in the “cheap seats” behind pit row.
  6. Tahquamenon Falls, Upper Peninsula
  7. Sleeping Bear Dunes, Empire – trying to reach the Lake Huron shore miles away, etching my name in a wooden post that I would like to try to find again someday.
  8. Hell, Michigan – an icecream shop, that’s about it
  9. Jiffy Mix factory in Chelsea
  10. The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn
  11. Ford Field and Comerica Park in Detroit
  12. Dahlem Nature Center in Jackson

Here in the Great Lakes state, our word for soda is “pop”, as in “Can we get a bottle of pop to go with our pizza tonight?” Though, I haven’t heard it been used in a number of years because of me and other close family members having cut down on consumption of the carbonated beverage. “Pop” was what I heard frequently during my preteen years, like late ’90s to the early naughts, but now I rarely hear it be used at all, even if a recent chart says 90% of the people in my hometown use it.

Where I come from, there aren’t really any accents, but rather we all sound like typical Americans. Except for the few people I’ve met from other countries such as Australia, Japan, and Germany – some of them foreign exchange students at my high school – the majority is straight speaking English.

If there’s one thing that defines my immediate region, it is acres and acres of fertile farmland by country roads, most of the homegrown vegetables and fruits going to the local supermarket store, previously known as “Thrifty Acres”, accessible by a main strip of fast food restaurants named after the city airport – which is nowhere near that but so isn’t the city of Michigan City, which is in Indiana.

The one other big thing that my modest looking town is known for, even by people in far flung places around the country, is it was formerly the home of one of the biggest prison’s in America – so at least we’re not a total afterthought. Oh, and we are home to Tyler Oakley, the flamboyant YouTube personality, so there’s a slice of glamorous fame for us.

Other things we’re known for:

  • Bridge Cards
  • 10 cent bottle returns
  • Bad drivers
  • Complaints about gas prices
  • Random weather

Write about whatever you’d like, but write using regional slang, your dialect, or in your accent.

Sepia + Scene

Just playing with JNW’s topic generator today for fun brought up the words Sepia + Scene. Well, how fitting. I have some pictures I’ve wanted to post of my trip to Ann Arbor a few days ago for my 24th. I was inspired to post this after seeing Judy Dykstra-Brown do the same thing, because mimicry is always a nice thing in blogland. photo annarborsepia_zpswkh1qvsr.jpgState Street in Ann Arbor filtered in sepia tone. That’s an old fashioned parking garage.

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Downtown Ann Arbor
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A parking meter: something I’ve never seen at home

It’s a college like atmosphere in Downtown Ann Arbor being that the University of Michigan is located right in this area. But it wasn’t that busy, won’t be until the first semester starts up this September. As I was walking down the way, I saw an old couch, a desk, and some other junk by the curb that one was throwing out of their apartment. I was instantly reminded of How I Met Your Mother and how every time something would be placed outside on the street curb, it would disappear mysteriously the next time the main cast checked on it. A gimmicky plot device among numerous ones in the show’s nine seasons.

Our destination: Buffalo Wild Wings on the left. It was a great restaurant to eat at. The atmosphere was very calm and exceeded my expectations. The rating for this place said the service was bad and the food mediocre, telling us to not go here, but our waitress did her job perfectly and my Big Jack Daddy Burger could not have been more delicious.

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I thought this B-Dubs, as it’s famously nicknamed, would be rowdy but maybe that’s because the football season hasn’t started up yet. Then it really turns into a sports bar. This night was more like Olive Garden, ha ha.