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November 18, 2009 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2009-11-18

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The Michigan Daily Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Midnight in the Arb

n the year or so that I've been
at the University, people have
often told me to check out
Nichols Arboretum. I never found
a chance to go and I didn't give it
much thought. In fact, I used to
think the Forest Hills Cemetery
was part of the Arb, though techni-
cally it isn't.
While leaving the School of
Public Health one day, on a whim,
I decided to head over to the Arb.
It was pretty late - about 10 p.m.
- so I searched for a flashlight in
my trunk before setting out. After
failing to find it, I decided to go
anyway. I parked (illegally) in the
Oxford lot and crossed the street.
As I approached the entrance to the
Arb, I was confronted with a choice
between two paths. I decided to go
right and take a short counterclock-
wise loop - with luck, I thought, I
should be back at my starting point
in slightly over amile. A few dazed-
lookingstudents passed me on their
way out and Ibegan to wonder what
I was getting myself into.
It was dark when I started my
adventure but there was enough
ambient light for me to follow
the main trail. I perceived vague
sounds of laughter coming from all
several directions, and I imagined
hordes of drunk people walking
around aimlessly. I later concluded
From page 7B
were generally around $150 the day
before Illinois, with many above
$200 and nearly all over $100. After
the Purdue loss, most tickets were
on sale for around $120, while bar-
gain hunters could find tickets for
under $100. On StubHub, the best
deals for different sections followed
the same pattern.
With Michigan struggling to
clinch a sixth win to secure a bowl
game, many sellers were pessimis-
tic before last week's game against
No. 21 Wisconsin, fearingthat a loss
would sap the Ohio State game of its
importance and its resale value.
"I'd been trying to get a higher
price, but nobody was going for it,"
said an Engineering sophomore who
asked to be anonymous. "Prices are.
decreasing mostly because people
don't want to spend that much since

that the voices were coming from
outside the Arb, and drunk or not,
they posed little threat.
Nevertheless, the oppressive
darkness and solitude began to
weigh on me. The Arb isn't meant
to be an imposing place, but in
the dead of a moonless night, it
can be pretty scary. Soon the trail
emerged from the woods to curve
around an expansive yet desolate
valley. Starting into that undefined
nothingness, my eyes began to play
tricks on me. I felt vulnerable and
alone, and amorphous forms began
to take shape all around me. Then
I saw a large mass just 15 feet away
that I knew couldn't have my imag-
ination. It paused and looked me in
the eye before flitting away. Yes, I
had nearly walked into a deer.
After my encounter with the deer,
I quickly began to grow paranoid. I
started thinking about what little I
knew about deer and if they could
attack a person. What would I do if
the deer followed me? I checked my
cell phone and saw my signal was
only one barastrong. I imagined how
my panicked call to DPS might go.
"Hello Officer, I'm being followed
by a deer in the Arb and I thi'nk it
means to do me harm." I was ready
to hit "send" when I decided totake
a more mature approach. I made ita
point to cough every few feet from
we're doingso badly."
She originally tried to sell her
ticket for $200 during the opening
weeks of the season, and had offers
for $150 that she declined. Eventu-
ally, she sold her ticket for $90 hours
after the Wolverines'lopsided 45-24
loss to Wisconsin on Nov.14.
Online asking prices for Ohio
State took another tumble after
last Saturday's loss. Newer posts on
Craigslist and Facebook Market-
place tended to ask for $100 or less,
with some settling for as little as $45
or $50. Surely, those who planned to
sell after the Notre Dame win but
held out for a better price must be
kicking themselves now.
Another potential avenue for
sellers is to look to Ohio State fans,
whose morale is much higher after-
beinggiven an automatic Rose Bowl
bid and generally have more on the
line to win the game. They are also
more likely to have fewer connec-
tions to Ann Arbor, which means

then on to alert the local animals of being in such an isolated place,
my presence. yet being surrounded by civiliza-
Soon after, I began to notice an 'tion at the same time. At night, the
unmistakable roar that gradually Arb was like a post-nuclear apoca-
grew deafening. This is was to be lypse landscape from a science fic-
the climax of my trip - reach- tion novel - that's how empty and
ing the mighty Huron River. I had vacant it seemed at parts. Yet the
walked along the Huron at night, lights of the campus were always
mostly where it comes near Plym- in view.
I had intended to loop around
at the riverfront but I lost track of
my location after walking about
The surreal half a mile along the river. I ended
0 up, rather anticlimactically, in the
eeriness of a Hospital parking lot. I noticed a
helicopter about to take off at the
solitary walk landing pad and I rushed up the
stairs for a closer look. Watching
through the Arb a helicopter take off from close
distance is actually pretty excit-
at night ing. The sound is loud and power-
ful, almost like a plane. And then it
just sits there with the horizontal
and tail rotors whirring at extreme
outh Road. But this was a different speeds. The actual moment when
experience entirely. In the absence it lifted up in the air was almost
of humanity, I was taken aback by unreal; it seemed impossible that
the loudness and animation of the it could just hover there without
rushing water. The beauty of the falling. It's quite a sight to watch it
scene quickly transformed my ear- happen a few feet before your eyes.
lier fear into awe. Dismayed atcthe unexciting pros-
Campus and the city surround pect of walking down Observatory
the Arb on the north and west, and to my car on Geddes, I decide to re-
I used the brightly lit dormitories enter the Arb andtake another path.
and hospital buildings as land- At this entrance, there were three
marks. It's a surreal experience paths to choose from. I tried them
less of an idea where to find the best wouldn't normally receive. . In
bargain. Multiple Ohio State fans I 2006, the University brought in
contacted for this story told me they $173,000 in validations. The 2007
would be willing to buy any ticket total was approximately $150,000,
for $150 or under. But some Michi- and Bodnar estimates revenue will
gan students are against selling to top $200,000 this year due to the
anyone from Ohio State, essentially additional home game in the sched-
viewing it as treason. ule. In previous years, validations
"If I can't go to a game, I just were $25, but different price tiers
want to give another Michigan stu- enforced this year vary depending
dent the opportunity to experience on the importance of the game. For
a Michigan football game in the the early non-conference games,
Big House," Baydoun said. "It's not the price was $25; for Penn State
about profit. You have to keep the and Purdue, $34; and for Notre
Michigan section as the Michigan Dame and Ohio State, $40.
section." The Ohio State game is a buyer's
The Athletic Department market this year. And as the game
also brings in revenues from the gets even closer, ticket prices are
resale of tickets from students to liable to sink even lower. With
non-students. The student ticket Michigan's prospects for a win this
policy requires that a validation Saturday dim, it will be interesting
sticker must be attached to any to see how many University stu-
tickets being used by fans with- dents will forgo the potential profit
out valid M-Cards, so each time to instead seize their chance to wit-
a student sells to a non-student, ness The Game while they're still
the University earns profits it students.

out, turning back indecisively sev-
eral times before deciding to return
to the map at the entrance. Appar-
ently, they all end up at the same
point, with the leftmost being the
main path and the rightmost being
the most "rustic" one (according to
the map's terminology). Deciding
on the road less traveled, I come
across a new set of fellow travelers
after walking for a few minutes. We
somberly nodded to each other in
acknowledgement of that mystical
brotherhood of midnight Arb trek-
kers that is sure to exist.
I took a right at the flashing blue
emergency light near the river
and followed the path slightly
uphill toward the same valley I
had passed earlier (which I now
call- the Valley of the Deer). This
time, thoggh, the mysterious dark-
ness was a new friend and not an
unknown foe. With each footstep,
I perceived new forms of wildlife
scurrying away - and I knew I was
never alone. After leaving the val-
ley, I soon found myself at the Ged-
des entrance where my quest had
started. Greeted by the sounds of
rowdy partygoers at Oxford Hous-
ing, I walk to my car and back into
the real world.
-Hamdan Azhar is a graduate
student in the School of Public Health.
From page 5B
His current project is alager, a noto-
riously difficult style to make.
"When it was fermenting, it had a
very odd, strong smell," he said. "So
there's a little worry about that, but
I still have to wait another month
until I know."
The waiting game inherent to
home brewing is likely the most
rewarding and agonizing part of it
all. A brewer often has to wait two
monthsto sample the fruit - or fault
ofhis orher laborand it's difficult
to tell ahead of time how it'll turn
out. But that doesn't seem to stop
the University's many student brew-
ers -nearly every contestantin The
Michigan Daily's competition has
another batch already on the way.
-Daily Staff Writer Lila Kalick
contributed to this report.

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