So, for the first time in a while, I have been away. Went up to my home state for a weekend of football and, um, unplanned activities or something. (Western Michigan vs. Illinois at Ford Field. Who wouldn't want to see a real football team there?)
Friday, we get up there around 7. Rush-hour traffic in Detroit = bad. (I tried to make us late. I should have tried harder.) Funny, we thought the economy in Detroit was bad, so where's all the traffic coming from?
We get to our crash pad, and our host takes us out to Chris Chelios' restaurant, right in the Comerica-Ford Field area.
But the kitchen's closed. Oh ho, now I see the effects of the economy. To be fair, there wasn't a Wings game that night, and without something like that, well, downtown Detroit was not bustling. At all. You would have thought it was 1 AM instead of 7 PM. (It did seem somewhat safe, though.) So we went to Hockeytown Cafe instead (warning - obnoxious Flash movie with sound that auto-plays: I blocked it and so should you) and had a nice little snack, then off to Fishbone's for some sushi. Good stuff, although I really don't care for masago.
The next day, the whole group goes to the stadium, and right away you can tell how Detroit is different than other NFL franchises. The will-call section is not at the ticket counter, because that would make sense. It's over in the players' will-call section. Huh? So we pick up our tickets and go right in, only perfunctory security (like last week at the UM-Purdue game). Good to see security theater hasn't struck NCAA games, either that or I forgot and it's not like it used to be.
So we go inside to our seats, and they're very good. Lower section, 15th row, between the 40s, I think, behind the Western bench. (The three of us who drove up are neutral - me, a WMU alumna, and an Illinois alumnus. The rest of the group are a mix of MSU, UM, and WMU people, all rooting for WMU.) And from there ...
Ford Field sucks. No, really. I mean, part of it is the problems you always seem to have at a non-NFL game in an NFL stadium. There's way too few people for the stadium, way too few concession stands, not enough food when you do get there, and so on. (I didn't get anything - I did my usual routine, don't get up for 3.5 hours. What can I say? I'm a Libra, I don't like bothering people. I'd rather just sit the whole game and not have to get up to pee.) Anyway, the seats are narrow, there's no out-of-town scoreboard, no stats on the scoreboard ... okay, that might be an NCAA thing, but still, they did a really bad job of putting this game on. If it weren't for the fact that it's an excuse to get back there and see a relatively inexpensive game, I don't know that I'd do it again. I sure wouldn't use it as a reason to see the Lions in Ford Field.
Of course I let my stupid iPhone run down, which means no updates. Fortunately, our neighbors planned better, so we knew that Purdue had lost (surprise) and Michigan had won (surprise!). Back to the crash pad for a cookout, then football on TV, then off to meet some friends (new to me) at Fishbone's again. Went with the lump crab cocktail, not quite what I was hoping for. I prefer heated crab to chilled crab.
Also, Notre Dame sucks. Did you know they were shut out on Saturday? Yes they were.
Sunday, we head back through Ann Arbor. Stopped on campus to check out a few stores (picked up a couple of UM shirts), eat lunch, and see a few sights along the way. Drove through some familiar areas, then back on the road and home. Traffic better, weather not so good. (No sleet or ice, fortunately.) Boo winter.
Got home, checked in on my friends' cats (not happy - no surprise, one's not been left at home like this before and the other one does not approve of me) and mine (not too unhappy, except for pooping).
Overall, a good time. The only thing I forgot was my lower retainer, and that one's not the problem. When I put it back in, it fits into place neatly. When I leave the top one out for a few hours, it fits a little more tightly. I'll probably have to wear it until I'm 50. (Next week, I'm sure he'll tell me another six months, no change.)
Did I mention the Lions suck? Yes, they do.