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From Pandemonium to Powell's - Buffalo and Ann Arbor

Posted May 19, 2009

Introduction: From Pandemonium to Powell's: the Tour d'Store

Day I: Pandemonium Books and Games - Cambridge MA

Arriving in Buffalo
The downtown Best Western featured a waffle station as part of the complementary breakfast. There was a Dispense-O-matic machine that gave forth waffle batter, and you could then incinerate your hand with a waffle griddle. I gazed on it for a good five minutes, and I must admit, there might have been some drool. But I didn't try it, because as is the case with all breakfast, no matter how good it is, there's no point eating it if the coffee is bad, and this was the worst kind of hotel coffee the coffee was so old, if you squinted at the grounds you could see a cornerstone from 1962.

Talking Leaves Bookstore
Buffalo, NY
You have to love the cafe-style seating in front of this bookstore it's the perfect extended middle finger to Western New York's long, frigid, "lake effect" winters.

Founded
1971

Mascot
Violet, a Rottweiler, holds court in the Main Street location.

Best section
Kids! They believe that the children are the future in Elmwood, and the future better be well read. The kids' section has everything from LGBT to African American history to kids' science.

Legends/Hauntings/Myths
There are no specific hauntings, but allegedly, the manager once won the messiest office in the country, enough to deserve an extreme makeover. I couldn't get confirmation because they couldn't find the trophy, which was somewhere in the office last time anyone looked.

After a brief incursion into Canada, where I did nothing, bought nothing, sold nothing and produced nothing, I hauled back into Michigan and arrived in Ann Arbor in late afternoon.

First of all, I cannot believe I am a month and change late for the Hash Bash. Like they say, always the Bong Maid, never the Bride. Can anyone tell me the origin of the name Ann Arbor, without resorting to Wikipedia? Just curious.

Nicola's Books
Ann Arbor, MI

Founded 1971

Mascot
Nicola's is without a current mascot, though for a time the favorite was a replica of Michaelangelo's David. David, what's up? You're an icon of Western civilization and you can't hack it as a mascot? We need to do something about that. And if you're a mascot, and you think you have something to offer that's somehow greater than David's giant sculpted biceps, inquire within.

Best section
Fiction

Legends/Hauntings/Myths
The store has a Fairy Door!
All around Ann Arbor, there are small internal and external portals for fairies - doggie doors for the supernatural. The bookstore's Fairy Door, which looked about 8 inches high, is toward the back of the store near a mantel, and there are offerings mostly letters and drawings. I considered writing something, but I held back, since it would have been snide or cheeky, and I've read enough Neil Gaimen to know not to piss of the fairies.

 

 

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Captain Freedom (novel)

Buy it at Amazon, Powell's or your favorite Indie.

     
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