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America! It's still here.

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Oct. 3rd, 2010 | 02:39 am
mood: tiredtired
music: * Johnny Cash "One Piece at a Time" (best factory song ever!)

Although we might privatize North Dakota pretty soon.

My family is in town this weekend, hence the continued silence on the blog. Momma, Auntie Martha, and Auntie Berna arrived on Thursday evening, when I helped direct them from the airport over the phone. That commenced four hours of driving around town with them, first to Meijer to buy supplies (read: fruit and wine) for their hotel room, to Grizzly Peak for dinner for me and tea for them, and finally back to DTW to pick up Randy from a later flight.

On Friday I gave up all hope of doing any homework and spent the day touring them around Ann Arbor. First we had an enormous brunch at Angelo's while updating me on the recent happenings of literally everyone in the family. Overall their generation is doing quite well and mine ... isn't. Fail. Anyhow, then we went all over campus to see pretty buildings, stopping way too often for bathroom breaks and to shop for T-shirts and other Michigan-emblazoned stuff. Nevertheless, it was good times and I brushed up on my terribly slangy Spanglish by dinner, which was at Bar Louie.

Today I dragged myself out of bed at 11:00, went back to their hotel, and then we headed for Detroit. First stop was in Dearborn to take the Ford Factory Tour, and I loooooved it. Yes, my dad worked at a dealership for the first 13 years of our household's existence to support us (all before I was born) and so we are part of the Ford diaspora and only buy American cars and are thus the target audience for this sort of attraction, but I enjoyed it far beyond that perspective. The assembly lines still move, just as they always have since Fordism came about decades ago, but the level of automation and synchronization was truly impressive. The tour leads visitors above the factory floor, where you can see perhaps 1/3 of the assembly tasks take place below you. Another portion of the tour leads you to the roof of the building, where they installed plants to absorb rainwater; sort of cool, but also sort of a greenwashed attraction given that this complex takes up literal square miles and still dumps all kinds of crap into the River Rouge and the air, and makes 620 less-than-fuel-efficient vehicles per day to boot. Still, it's not a step the company had to take, and it's nifty that they did. Anyhow, it's clearly a sophisticated and efficient operation, and led me to re-appreciate logistics planning. And I think it's a bit crazy to consider that a coveted job here in Michigan is to install windshield wipers or tailgates on trucks all day, day in and day out. Still, I could have watched them build Ford F-150 Extended Cabs all day, ugly as the finished products are. :P

Following that, we had a very slow lunch at an Italian restaurant in Dearborn. Service was super slow, but we weren't in a particular hurry, and our boats of pasta were good. There commenced an hours-long bickering session between the ladies about who hadn't invited whom on camping trips last summer that ended in me later shouting at everyone to be quiet before I literally jumped out of the car. My patience is really tested by touring around large groups of my family on vacation, heh. Still, they actually stopped after that. :) Then we headed to the Motown Museum, and got completely schooled by the 23-year old tour guide on knowledge of Motown stars and their albums. It was a nifty little museum and I'm glad Randy drug us there, because I never would have thought to go otherwise.

Finally we headed back to Ann Arbor, regrouped at their hotel, and then watched some college football over beers and soup at Red Robin. The host was a rather adorable queen that got fake huffy every time we requested a channel change on another flat screen TV. Good times. Finally, I came back here and got my reading done for Monday's anthropology class. The visitors I have this weekend and next, in addition to multiple other commitments, have combined to ensure I'll never truly catch up on classes this semester. I'm skating through on good looks and faking it at this point, basically. Tomorrow I have three assignments to complete to ensure I actually pass, in addition to a final lunch with the family before they head to Niagara Falls. Even if I failed out of grad school, I guess I could go to work on an assembly line, the first year puttin' wheels on Cadillacs.*

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