Clearly we have moved into the schizophrenic part of autumn.

Here’s the high and low temps for the next 7 days in my little Michigan suburb:

Up! Down! Up! Down! I should be losing weight from this.
Click to embiggen.

Yes, I’m blogging about the weather. Sue me. It’s content.

The Paulding Light shows how some folks just want to believe.

If you’re ever in the region of Paulding Michigan during the evening hours you can catch a glimpse at a supposedly supernatural local phenomenon known as the Paulding Light. At the end of the abandoned segment of US Highway 45 in a tiny speck of a town near the border with Wisconsin in the Upper Peninsula is where the mystery takes place.

The official legend says it’s the ghost of a railroad brakeman who is forever waving his lantern in an attempt to stave off the train accident that killed him, but other folks think it’s the ghost of a grandparent looking for a lost grandchild with a lantern that keeps going out. Still others think it’s UFOs. Swamp gas or maybe something to do with the northern lights.

Oddly enough the first reports of the light are from 1966 when local teenagers told the sheriff about it. Which is right around the time they finished rerouting U.S. Highway 45 in that area. You don’t suppose it could be the headlights of cars travelling along the highway, do you?

In 2010 electrical engineering grad student Jeremy Bos decided to find out. He got some of his buddies from the Society of Photo Optical Instrumentation Engineers club and made the trek up there with some equipment to put it to the test:

“When you tell them about how it’s a spooky ghost story, it got people really wanting to get involved,” said the 39-year-old, now an engineering professor at the school.

They brought a spectrograph and a telescope to the dead-end road, sent each other driving down the new highway while blinking their lights in a prearranged pattern, and recorded the results.

Every time the light appeared, one look through the telescope showed what sure looked like the headlights of oncoming cars, which could be seen clearly through the lens, sometimes with the distinct outline of the car coming down the road, which is about 8 miles away. The group even shot a video through the telescope so others could see, and posted it online. The flickering, they said, was caused when cars went over a hill.

Mystery solved, they announced.

via Mysterious light draws thrill seekers to a U.P. forest.

Science wins again, right? Here’s where it gets interesting. You see, one of the odd things about human beings is we like our mysteries and we want desperately to believe in the supernatural. There are a lot of folks up there who just don’t accept the findings of Jeremy Bos and his colleagues.

Bos still gets flak from people who refuse to give up their belief in the supernatural origin of the light. Some people say the light they’ve seen in the woods is too bright to be headlights. Some say it moves in ways no car can. And some, he’s found, don’t have a particular objection — they just want to keep believing.

“It’s the same with anything,” he said. “There is scientific evidence to disprove all sorts of things, and people still choose to believe the more fantastical, maybe because they view science as taking away the mystery of things and they want to hold onto some of that mystery.”

The human eye can see the light of a single candle up to 30 miles away if the observer is high enough to overcome the curvature of the horizon, but just because you can see the light doesn’t mean you have the ability to determine its source. Headlights 8 miles away are certainly bright enough to be seen, but it’d be difficult to judge their movement or the fact that they’re headlights at that distance.

Here’s a daytime pic of the spot you stand in to see the light:

pauldinglight

You can clearly see how this used to be part of the highway system and is now used as a run for powerlines. The light appears way down at the end of this line-of-sight. You know, where the U.S. Highway 45 currently runs by. So what does it look like? Here’s a YouTube video uploaded by Robert Wiegert in 2006:

If you watch it’ll look pretty impressive at first with a bright flare and then it changes colors and breaks into multiple lights and then you realize it’s cars. At least one person can be heard pointing out that it’s cars in the distance, but that does little to dampen the oohs and ahs of the folks who think it’s something spooky.

Here’s the video of the investigation by Jeremy Bos’ team:

It’s pretty clear those are lights from cars on the highway and that shouldn’t be a big surprise because just about any place in the country where you have a similar situation you’ll find a legend about a mystery light. A Google search for “ghost light” will turn up dozens of examples.

That won’t stop the True Believers™:

Even before the experiment was done, people from the area heard what the students were aiming to do. Some locals came by and angrily told the group this was a waste of government money — though, in reality, it was self-funded by the optics club. One woman kept bringing her photo albums featuring pictures she’d taken of the light over the years to show them her proof that it’s real. Others acknowledged that, yes, those were headlights in the lens of the telescope, but insisted that it wasn’t the actual Paulding Light.

{…} “People want to debunk this mystery and say it’s headlights,” Schulz said. “You might be able to see them from a distance. But when the real mystery light shows up, it’s a light of its own.”

There are a lot of people in this world who want to believe in fantasy rather than reality. Maybe reality is just too tough for them to deal with so imagining supernatural explanations for mundane things is a way to admit they have no real control over things. Maybe they just like the idea of the supernatural.

Regardless, there’s no arguing with folks who insist on clinging to their beliefs regardless of what the evidence shows. This is part of why religion is so tenacious. If you can’t convince folks about something everyone can actually see then convincing them about something no one has ever seen is not gonna happen.

As an aside, the Detroit Free Press — from which I took some of these quotes — made a trip up to see the light for themselves. Here’s what they captured on video:

I think my favorite part of this video is the two old guys talking about how there’s no way it could be headlights because it has a red color to it. Yeah, that’d be the taillights dumbass.

It’s beginning to look a lot like a Satanic Christmas in Michigan.

Here’s a prime example of the old maxim “be careful what you wish for” from my home state.

whycelebratechristmasFor reasons I’ve never been able to understand, Christians are always trying to get their religious displays on Government property around this time of year. They claim it’s not because they’re trying to foist their religion on everyone else or to imply that the Government favors their particular religion and everyone knows they’re lying and that’s totally what they want.

They have a problem, however, with that damned pesky Constitution amendment saying that the government is supposed to be neutral about religion resulting in various court rulings over the years that have basically said: Sure, you can put your nativity scene on the lawn of your state capitol/courthouse/city hall/other random government building so long as you allow other religions to offer up displays if they want to. To their great luck for many, many years the only other group that would ask were the Jews so they could slap up a menorah and pretend they were complying with the law. Hell, half the time they’d slap one up even if the Jews didn’t ask because they thought it was fooling everyone into thinking they were being all diverse and shit.

Recently, however, there’s been an increasing tendency for people with other, yucky, religions — or, GASP, no religion at all — of asking to put up their own displays alongside the Christian ones. Needless to say this has caused all manner of hand wringing with some state and local governments deciding they should probably get out of the whole religious display business and banning them from government property (as they should). This came to a head this year as The Satanic Temple has been particularly active in getting permission for displays in Oklahoma (since put on hold due to the destruction of the Christian Ten Commandments display it was meant to offset) and in Florida’s Capitol holiday display.

Here in Michigan we’ve been stuck under a Republican led state congress (both houses) and governorship for several years now thanks to the gerrymandering they managed to get in place during the last census. They like to think they’re pretty smart for having pulled that off so they put their thinking caps on and tried to come up with a way to allow a nativity scene in our capitol while keeping those other, yucky, religions out. What they came up with was a new requirement of no permanent displays. More specifically, any display you put up in the Michigan State Capitol has to be torn down at the end of the day and then put back up the next morning. Surely a rule this tedious would keep out all but the most devout Christians, right?

Satanic holiday display is coming to Capitol

The display, which depicts a snake wrapped around the Satanic cross presenting a book as a holiday gift, will be featured on the northeast lawn at the Capitol Dec. 21 to 23, said Jex Blackmore, a member of the Detroit chapter of the Satanic Temple. The cross reads, “The greatest gift is knowledge.”

“Encouraging families to have important discussions and to learn from each other and to spend the holidays promoting knowledge … is just something we think is important,” Blackmore, whose phone number begins with the digits 666, said today.

[…] Blackmore said her group requested the display after the Capitol Commission last month received a request for a Christian Nativity to be displayed at the Capitol. With lame-duck lawmakers debating a controversial religious freedom bill, Blackmore said the Satanist display “provides some poignant commentary about the diversity of beliefs represented by Michigan citizens.”

Oops. The folks at the Detroit chapter of The Satanic Temple have someone who is more than willing to comply by the rule of putting it up in the morning and taking it down at night and repeating the process the next day.

Here's what it will look like.

Here’s what it will look like. What a horrible message to convey! They want you to be smart!

That’s not the best part of this story, though. This is:

The Nativity, meanwhile, has been scrapped. Truscott said today the Nativity was approved but the out-of-state person backing it couldn’t find someone to put up and tear down the display each day. That’s necessary because Capitol rules forbid permanent displays.

Truscott said the person behind the Nativity, who hasn’t been named, is still trying to find someone to manage the display.

Cue the outrage from the government flunky who had to approve it:

John Truscott, a member of the Michigan State Capitol Commission, which approved the display, said the commission had to OK it because members were “constrained by the Constitution” and must “recognize everybody’s First Amendment rights.”

But Truscott added, “Personally, I think this is absolutely repulsive and I’m very frustrated by it. I don’t appreciate a group trying to hijack a Christian holiday.”

Fuck you, John Truscott. I don’t appreciate Christians trying to hijack my government to promote themselves. Don’t want a Satanic holiday display at the capitol? Then don’t allow any religious displays at the fucking capitol. It’s really very simple. If you allow one then you have to allow them all and if your prefered group is too fucking lazy to follow the rules you put in place to try and prevent others from participating, well, that’s their fucking problem. Besides, it’s not like the Christians didn’t hijack this holiday from the Pagans to begin with.

Here’s the cherry on top of this cake. Hemant Mehta over at The Friendly Atheist reached out to The Satanic Temple spokesperson about this news story and got the following awesome comment from them:

When Jex first reached out to the Capitol Commission to learn how she could submit our display, she refrained from mentioning that she is a representative of the dreaded Satanic Temple.

Jex was told at that time that the new requirement for holiday displays (that they be taken down each evening and replaced again in the morning) was a result of trying to deter “that group from Florida” — clearly a reference to The Satanic Temple — winning the right to exhibit our holiday display in the Florida Capitol Rotunda.

That’s right. The rule that makes this delicious bit of schadenfreude possible was specifically meant to keep The Satanic Temple out of the Michigan capitol. It’s a mistake to assume your followers are less lazy than any other religion’s followers.

I’m guessing that as this story goes viral the out-of-state asshole who wants to put a nativity at the state capitol will find someone willing to put it up and take it down every day if for no other reason than to ensure the Satanic display isn’t the only one there. Christians get mad when they have to share with other religions as it is. They sure as hell aren’t going to sit by and let some other group, especially Satanists, have the spotlight to themselves. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see the rules change again next year.

The Republicans in Michigan have decided that democracy is no longer necessary.

I love my state, but it’s legislative branch has taken a nose dive ever since the last election. With a Republican Governor and majorities in both state houses, they’ve been railroading their agenda like never before. Rachel Maddow had a pretty good segment about this just recently:

It’s difficult to write much of anything about this without devolving into rants, but I wanted to at least get Rachel’s segment out there to help raise awareness. It was a mistake on my part to vote for Rick Snyder in the last election, but I thought that we’d keep the state congress balanced. We didn’t and now we’re paying the price for it. This could all be headed to a major court case which could see a lot of laws thrown out for being passed illegally.

Happy 175th Birthday, Michigan!

"If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you."

Today is my home state’s 175th birthday and she doesn’t look a day over 130. Interestingly enough, the founding of the state wasn’t without conflict:

Neighboring Ohio attained statehood in 1803 and engaged in a running dispute with Michigan over ownership of land known as “the Toledo Strip” along the Maumee River. Tensions ran so high in the mid-1830s that both states sent militia units into the region, but no shots were ever fired or prisoners taken.

[…] In 1835, the territory formally applied for admission to the union as a free state, where slavery was outlawed. At the time, federal law required admission of a free state to be offset by the entry of a slave state, in this case Arkansas, which also had applied.

In June 1836, President Andrew Jackson signed a bill admitting Arkansas but, with Ohio kicking up a fuss, told Congress to settle the border issue before he’d approve statehood for Michigan. The resulting compromise awarded the Toledo Strip to Ohio but gave the Upper Peninsula to Michigan.

This looks like a great deal now, but back then, Michigan initially rejected the offer. It took two conventions before the deal was sealed in December 1836. Congress then passed a Michigan statehood bill that Jackson signed on Jan. 26, 1837.

via Ron Dzwonkowski: Michigan is 175 years old and vital as ever | Detroit Free Press | freep.com.

The dispute with Ohio was known as the Toledo War and/or the Michigan-Ohio War:

Originating from conflicting state and federal legislation passed between 1787 and 1805, the dispute resulted from poor understanding of geographical features of the Great Lakes at the time. Varying interpretations of the law caused the governments of Ohio and Michigan to both claim sovereignty over a 468-square-mile (1,210 km2) region along the border, now known as the Toledo Strip. When Michigan sought statehood in the early 1830s, it sought to include the disputed territory within its boundaries; Ohio’s Congressional delegation was in turn able to halt Michigan’s admission to the Union.

Beginning in 1835, both sides passed legislation attempting to force the other side’s capitulation. Ohio’s governor Robert Lucas and Michigan’s 24-year-old “Boy Governor” Stevens T. Mason were both unwilling to cede jurisdiction of the Strip, so they raised militias and helped institute criminal penalties for citizens submitting to the other’s authority. The militias were mobilized and sent to positions on opposite sides of the Maumee River near Toledo, but besides mutual taunting there was little interaction between the two forces. The single military confrontation of the “war” ended with a report of shots being fired into the air, incurring no casualties.

During the summer of 1836, Congress proposed a compromise whereby Michigan gave up its claim to the strip in exchange for its statehood and approximately three-quarters of the Upper Peninsula. The compromise was considered a poor outcome for Michigan at the time, nearly all of it was still Indian territory, and voters in a state convention in September soundly rejected it.

In December 1836, the Michigan territorial government, facing a dire financial crisis and pressure from Congress and President Andrew Jackson, called another convention (called the “Frost-bitten Convention”) which accepted the compromise which resolved the Toledo War.

It’s hard to imagine Michigan without the Upper Peninsula, especially when the other result would’ve been a much smaller strip of land and would’ve stuck us with Toledo.

Another interesting historical note, for me anyway, is that the first convention that rejected the proposed compromise took place right here in Ann Arbor, but in the end it was money (natch) that prompted Michigan to acquiesce:

As the year wore on, Michigan found itself deep in a financial crisis and was nearly bankrupt, because of the high militia expenses. The government was spurred to action by the realization that a $400,000 surplus in the United States Treasury was about to be distributed to the states, but not to territorial governments. Michigan would have been ineligible to receive the money.

The “war” unofficially ended on December 14, 1836, at a second convention in Ann Arbor. Delegates passed a resolution to accept the terms set forth by the Congress. However, the calling of the convention was itself not without controversy. It had only come about because of an upswelling of private summonses, petitions, and public meetings. Since the legislature did not approve a call to convention, some said the convention was illegal. Whigs boycotted the convention. As a consequence, the resolution was rejected and ridiculed by many Michigan residents. Congress questioned the legality of the convention, but accepted the results of the convention regardless of its concerns. Because of these factors, as well as because of the notable cold spell at the time, the event later became known as the “Frostbitten Convention.”

Turns out the only state that actually lost anything in “the war” was Wisconsin:

At the time of the Frostbitten Convention, it appeared that Ohio had won the conflict. The Upper Peninsula was considered a worthless wilderness by almost all familiar with the area. The vast mineral riches of the land were unknown until the discovery of copper in the Keweenaw Peninsula and iron in the Western Upper Peninsula; this discovery led to a mining boom that lasted long into the 20th century. Given the current value of the port of Toledo to Ohio, it can be reasonably suggested that both sides benefitted from the conflict.

Consequently, the only state that definitively lost was not even involved in the conflict. The mineral-rich land of the western Upper Peninsula would have most likely remained part of Wisconsin had Michigan not lost the Toledo Strip.

Suck it Wisconsin!

If you have lived in Michigan or Ohio for any amount of time you’ll be aware of the intense rivalry between the two states that most often comes up in the arena of collegiate sports, particularly college football. If you’re not aware of the history you might think it’s just a result of school spirit, but it’s clear that it stretches way back in time. These days it’s a much more friendly rivalry that’s generally limited to making disparaging remarks about how much the other state sucks, again particularly it’s collegiate football teams. Ultimately we can’t be too upset with them because the U.P. ended up being a much better deal than we had expected.

If you’re interested you can learn a lot of other interesting facts about Michigan in its Wikipedia entry. Stuff like the fact that we have the second longest shoreline of any state in the Union. Or the fact that you’re never more than 6 miles from an inland lake when you’re here.

Some good news for Michigan

Things are starting to improve in my home state. Slowly but surely. #seb #Michigan

Embedded Link

People moving into Michigan balances those leaving – for 1st time in 6 years
For the first time in six years, the number of people moving into the state of Michigan balances the number of people moving out. Continue reading People moving into Michigan balances those leaving – for 1st time in 6 years…

In Michigan, the average spending per prisoner is close to three times that spent per student.

I love my State, but damned if our priorities aren’t seriously fucked up:

via Cool Infographics.

Michael Voris explains why America needs a Christian Dictator.

Who the hell is Michael Voris you ask? He’s the head of St. Michael’s Media which is based in Ferndale, Michigan which makes him a local nutcase for me. He’s a devout Catholic who got all riled up about The Da Vinci Code so he set about establishing a production studio to broadcast The Truth to the world (or at least to the greater Metro Detroit area) in 2006. Apparently he’s also been posting their videos online so as to reach a wider audience.

I say all of this because when you watch the following video you’re first thought is that it has to be a parody produced by The Onion or someone trying to be like The Onion. It’s not a parody:


We Need a Christian Dictator

I have to admit that I’m surprised to hear this sort of talk coming from a Catholic as usually this sort of rhetoric comes from the Evangelicals. To say it’s a little troubling is an understatement, but I feel they haven’t fully thought their position all the way through.

If ever the day should come that America limits voting only to the virtuous, well, that pretty much rules out Catholics entirely. What with their propensity for tolerating and covering up child molesters in their ranks and their general inclination to put the image of the church over all other concerns there’s not a whole lot that’s virtuous about them.

This is a bit of old news it seems as this came out back in August of last year. It was posted on Pharyngula at the time, but I somehow missed it. Despite its age I thought it worth sharing as an example of what some Catholics dream of.

So about the 2010 Midterm Election results…

I’ve had a couple of people ask me what I think about the outcome of yesterday’s election and I first have to say that I am far from an astute political pundit.  That said I will also say that I’m not that upset about it. For all the noise about how it would be a Republican blowout the end result wasn’t as bad as it could have been. It’s certainly not the victory they enjoyed back in 1994 and, if history is anything to go by, it could result in Barack Obama’s reelection in 2012.

Quite a few of the candidates I was most worried about — Christine O’Donnell, Sharon Angle, etc. — failed in their bids to become members of Congress which should hopefully keep the crazy to a minimum. Quite a few of the Blue Dog Democrats, who were largely indistinguishable from Republicans, also got voted out which can only be a good thing in my book even if they were replaced with Republicans. The remaining Democrats are much more liberal and, hopefully, have more of a spine to stand up for what they believe in. If they do then the Republicans will have to learn to compromise at some point if they want to get anything done at all. Of course if the Dems continue to be the pussies they have been then it really may not matter who has control of Congress. I guess in short my opinion is that it could’ve been a lot worse and while the final result is far from ideal it’s still better than what occurred in 1994.

I’m more worried about my home state of Michigan as it was a Republican wet-dream. Not only did they take Governor, but both houses of the State Legislature, Secretary of State, Attorney General, and the Michigan Supreme Court. The Democrats in this state got their asses handed to them on silver platters and the Republicans have a super-majority to pretty much do what they want with. I suppose this isn’t too much of a surprise as Michigan would probably be a Red state if it weren’t for the highly Democratic strongholds of Detroit and Ann Arbor. The more you head into the rural parts of the state, and we have a lot of rural areas, the more Red it gets. The Republicans are salivating like crazy over this outcome. Already some of them are talking about pushing some of their favorite bits of legislation such as making Michigan a Right To Work state.

Pic of Rick Snyder

Michigan's new Republican Governor.

Given that you are probably wondering why I would admit to having voted for Rick Snyder, a Republican, for Governor of my state. From everything I’ve been able to read about him Snyder is a pretty moderate Republican. Enough so that my state’s Right-wingers weren’t all that happy with him snapping up the nomination. When the hard Right are calling him a RINO then I feel a bit more comfortable in considering him. Throughout his campaign he focused more on Michigan’s economy and his plans for revitalizing the state than social issues and while he doesn’t refer to himself as a moderate it’s pretty clear that’s what he is.

Then there was this profile of him on The Ann:

The extent of Snyder’s departure from the GOP gospel is hard to overstate.

“In Michigan as in other places, there’s usually no such thing as too conservative in a Republican primary, or too liberal in a Democratic primary,” says Craig Ruff of the Lansing-based think tank Public Sector Consultants. “The grassroots voters who turn out are the zealots at the extremes of the ideological spectrum. But Snyder staked out differences all over the map.”

Snyder participated in one debate with his rivals and impressed nobody. The next two debates he skipped. At the time, “I felt it was a strategic error not to debate,” Ruff says. “It’s one of the few ways you can go on television statewide and look voters in the eye.” But by absenting himself from that stage, Snyder “made all the other candidates look like mirror images of each other.” Meanwhile, he answered questions from voters at dozens of town halls across the state, stifling the criticism that he was hiding from scrutiny.

On the issues, Snyder was similarly out of sync. Snyder’s top two Republican rivals, state Attorney General Mike Cox and U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, both signed a pledge not to raise taxes; Snyder refused, calling it “kind of a gimmick.” On the eve of the primary, Washington-based Americans for Tax Reform issued a press release warning conservative voters that Snyder might raise taxes.

In July, the Michigan Tea Party Alliance rented the Eaton County Fairgrounds outside Lansing for a “LiberTEA Fair.” “All of the Republican gubernatorial candidates except for one came and gave speeches,” organizer Gene Clem told me. That one was Snyder.

Any Republican that willing to piss off his fellow Republicans and ignore the Tea Party is definitely one worth considering. Especially when he was so clever in clinching the Republican nomination:

It all added up to a candidate many conservatives derided as a RINO, “Republican In Name Only” — and that was before he set up a whole campaign touting his appeal to non-Republicans. In the end, nearly two-thirds of Republican primary voters cast votes for someone other than Snyder. But in a five-way field, 36 percent was more than enough for Snyder to win.

“They laid low, they positioned him properly, and then, in the last few days, they sprung up and said, ‘Hey, Democrats, independents, I’m your guy!’ And they did it so late nobody could respond to it and give him the punch in the nose he had coming,” said Mark Grebner, a Democratic political consultant and Ingham County commissioner. “They could have smashed him by saying that he’s not a conservative, that he doesn’t really have Republican credentials. He won’t even say he’s against all taxes! We don’t know for sure, but it’s possible he’s actually sane! It’s possible Rick Snyder is actually dangerously in favor of raising taxes, which everybody knows we have to do!

“But nobody said any of this stuff, because he was in third place. He was like the whale that doesn’t surface until he’s out of range of the harpoon boats. By the time you see him, the whale is all the way over there, and you say, ‘Damn, that’s one smart whale.’”

It also helped that Snyder’s outline for how he wants to revitalize the state is very forward looking whereas Democrat Virg Bernero’s plan is very backward looking. Bernero’s plan was to make manufacturing king in Michigan again, but over-reliance on one form of industry is what got us into our problems to begin with. Snyder wants to diversify Michigan’s industries which is exactly what I would like to see happen.

So, yeah, I voted for a Republican for Governor of my state. There were one or two other Republicans I also voted for because they were also moderate and had a good track record as far as I was concerned, but the vast majority of people I voted for — including my Congressional representatives — were Democrats. I was really hoping that the Republicans wouldn’t take the State Supreme Court and it’s very worrying that they have and the fact that they have a super-majority in the legislator is also bothersome, but I’m hoping Snyder’s moderate bent will keep all of that in check.

Plus it didn’t hurt that Snyder is an Ann Arbor resident and refers to himself as a nerd in his campaign ads. If nothing else he should have a better-than-usual understanding of technology than what you’d expect in a politician.

A few of random pictures I took.

With all the driving back and forth to Lansing I’ve been doing lately I decided to start carrying my digital camera with me. The decision came about in part due to a rather stunningly lovely morning drive to Charlotte, which is just south of Lansing, which showed off a particularly nice part of the Michigan countryside. I already carry the little 1MP Kodak — it was the first digital camera we ever bought — in the glove box in case of accidents. That was all I had on hand that morning and so the pictures are somewhat small, but not bad I thought. The next day, after thinking about it, I packed up the 4MP Canon PowerShot we have just in case I came across anything interesting.

Here’s a few of the results. The first three pictures are from the lower-res Kodak:

Pic of Michigan countryside.

A random stretch of Michigan road.

A different random stretch of Michigan Road.

Pic of Michigan countryside.

Yet more random Michigan roadness.

The camera didn’t really capture the amazing aspect of the morning light as I saw it, but I still thought they looked pretty good for a crappy little digital Instamatic-style camera. The next couple were taken the next day using my Canon PowerShot A80:

About to drive into a weird fog bank.

Graffiti on a power transformer box in downtown Lansing.

Driving into the fog bank was pretty weird. The day had started off brightly sunny all the way up until just before I hit Lansing when the road ahead was suddenly obscured with a wall of gray. Once we passed into it the mood became very gloomy almost immediately and it was hard to remember how beautiful the day had been just moments before. It was foggy like that all  the way into Lansing, but it had lifted by noon.

I saw the graffiti on a power transformer box sitting between two buildings next to the parking structure I’ve been parking in all week long. I have no idea what it’s supposed to be, but I have seen other similar “faces” spray painted elsewhere around town. The building I’m working in is ten stories high and I can see one of the faces painted on the back door of a business the next block over, too far to get a shot with the camera, and the others I’ve seen in passing while driving.

The state Capitol building is just a block over from where I’m working, but you can’t see it from inside so I’ll probably take the time tomorrow to snap a photo of it as I leave for the day. I do have some interesting views of other buildings downtown including the Comerica bank building, one of the oldest in Lansing, that is a very cool bit of architecture with at least one amusing item on a fifth floor balcony. I’ve not taken a shot of that yet as I’m worried about hauling a camera out in the middle of a department full of potentially confidential information.

Though that didn’t stop me from using my phone’s camera to take a quick grainy snap of a science experiment I found growing in one VP’s office:

Pic of moldy coffee cup.

That's an impressive mold colony you have going there!

Yeah, someone’s been out on vacation perhaps a little too long.