A brief chronicle of my new life in Michigan, focusing on the fact that I live in a converted factory loft building with several hundered other "young professionals." Yeah, it's a yuppie dorm.

Friday, August 27, 2004


I'm just tired tonight. Last week was orientation, then a visit home to my parents, back to finish syllabi for my fall courses (2 done, 1 to go) by the copy deadline, and yet more meetings and convocation to attend Wednesday, yesterday, and today. In between and after all this, I've been trying to look for furniture (I'm getting really tired of having no place to put my clothes, and while I love sleeping in my treehouse, the ladder's getting a bit old.

Actually, I'm typing this as I sit in the treehouse (courtesy of my laptop and a wireless DSL connection) but I know that I'll have to go down the ladder with the computer at some future point - and going down with stuff is always a bit more interesting.

And I very much miss Matt. I'm being very social, meeting new co-workers, etc. But I miss being around someone who adds more to my energy levels rather than depletes them. Today, the combination of being social at and after convocation, and then turning right around and going to about 6-7 furniture stores in search of well-made, affordable, interesting furniture was exhausting.

I think this is a bout of new-town loneliness, brought on by too much stimulation.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The Blogger Dictionary...

...does not recognize the word "blog" as a word. For some reason, this amuses me.

Posting via DSL

I've finally got my DSL connection up and running. I'm usually pretty OK with installing things, getting them to work, etc., but I was stumped when it came to getting my wireless computer to actually get on the network. So I called tech support, was on hold listening to the same lame guitar song over and over and over... One would think that with the time they cause people to be on hold, they would at least invest in either a variety of songs or at least a longer song. Hearing the same melodic line come back around again in less than 5 minutes only serves to remind a listener that the on-hold situation hasn't improved any.

The problem I was having was one that required me to be bumped to a level-2 technician; on one level this made me feel justified - I wasn't one of those people who said "Oh, that's it" when told to plug the device in or some such easy thing. No, I had a real, level-2 technician problem. Of course, this meant I got back on the on-hold cycle, heard the horribly long announcement that some people in California's network were not accessing the network (poor people, they may have to go to the beach, or to the mountains, or something) and that people with the network id 1234@... have to change it to something else. I can't remember what, because I stopped listening to that announcement at that point, both times I had to sit through it.

When I finally got to the level-2 technician, we determined that he didn't know how to make my computer work because I had the temerity to have a computer that already contained a wireless card that he couldn't see. It seems that the people at SBC don't like you to already have the technology; if you have enough sense to buy a computer with a pre-installed wireless card, you're on your own. However, I did determine that the router was broadcasting properly from their end, and that all was well.

So I hung up with my level-2 technician (after thinking briefly about asking for a level-3 technician) and figured it out in about 2 minutes. Part of the problem was that their literature led me to believe that I had to install some of their software, and that was interfering with my earlier experimentation; once I got all of that off, my solution worked quite nicely.

Therefore, I have an encrypted wireless hub happily broadcasting a signal so I can sit on my couch and post to the blog, as well as from my office.

And I still haven't done the unpacking I wanted to do tonight!

Monday, August 23, 2004

Home Again

For the first time, I really felt like I came home to my new apartment. I just spent the weekend visiting my parents (hi, Mom & Dad) and grandmother. It was a novel experience, this trip - mostly because I'm now living in a town that has an airport. It took me about 15 minutes to get to the airport, where a bus met me in long-term parking, wrote down where my car was, and took me directly to the terminal, where there was no line at my airline's counter. I got my boarding passes, and went through security in about 15 minutes. I love small, regional airports!

Coming soon (I hope): broadband access from the apartment. Joy!

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Dorm Food

One of the reasons I christened this building the "yuppie dorm" is because there's a restaurant/bar on the main floor, just inside the front door. It's really more of a bar - but I just discovered tonight that they happily serve food to go. I've been in new-job orientations for the past two days, and trying to set up an office, and doing yet more unpacking (not to mention trying to keep up with the Olympics - when else can you watch competitive white-water kayaking?) Tonight, as I was driving back, I got hungry; since I've yet to find a grocery store I like, I had very little by way of dinner ingredients.

So I walked downstairs, and discovered that if I paid the barperson $6.50, she'd give me a nice, hot sandwich after a brief wait while I got my mail. They also have pizza. And a significant amount of alcohol, which I suspect is not available for take-away.

I'm living in a building that has food service. Is it any wonder that I call this place a dorm? I have to admit - the burger was much better than anything I remember getting at Hillcrest dorm at the University of Iowa.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

The Treehouse

This is what makes my apartment slightly different - the treehouse (as I call it). It's a loft bed that's in my second bedroom area. The room is going to be my office and the loft my guest bed area - but I'm sleeping up there until I get a bed for the actual bedroom (now the box storage room.) This loft is one of the things that really sold me on this specific apartment. The building had the other things I was happy with (specifically the clean, nice cupboards and near-new appliances) but this loft made it unique. The previous tenant was (I think) an architect or designer; he built and installed this loft (and a desk and shelving on the other side of the room). The thing is solid--almost over-engineered. The green webbing is interwoven bungee cords supported by steel chain. It's hard to see in the above picture, but above the head of the bed is a high shelf and a light. All in all, quite cozy.

Saturday, August 14, 2004


There are boxes everywhere in my apartment right now. I feel like I've spent the past two days not unpacking, but simply moving boxes around and saying things like "Oh, that's where that is!" and then putting it down someplace, and promptly forgetting where I put it.

Last night I started in on the books. According to those who packed my books (mostly my parents) I had over 50 boxes of them. (My dad's a banker; he's good with numbers. Especially with things he has to lift.) I did only pack the books in small boxes. I've been going through books, trying to decide which ones go to my office and which ones stay in the apartment. And of those that stay in the apartment, which get put in public spaces (i.e. the living room) and which ones go in the home-office. It's an issue - I not only have to have an organizational system for the books (so I can find them) but I also have to determine which books I'm OK with people who visit me seeing right off. While I'm not looking to impress fellow academics--no Bakhtin on the coffee table for me--I do want to show off my non-professional interests (like art and architecture) and put the pretty books where people can see them. (OK, maybe a bit of impressing is part of my motivation.) I'm also trying to take my mother's advice, and leave some shelves not entirely filled - an odd notion for me; I usually pack and even double stack shelves to fit all the books. But the new addition of professional office space to my life makes space not as much of a problem.

The other change - I think I'll be able to let my bedroom be a bedroom; i.e. no desk, no large bookshelves. I think I'm finally growing up. Of course, my bedroom currently doesn't have any other furniture in it, either. Just boxes. A project for the next few weeks is finding a new mattress and dresser.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Photographic Capabilities

Testing the photo-post possibilites of Blogger. This happens to be a detail of a Louis Sullivan grate, I believe. From the Chicago Art Institute.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Practice Vacation

In order to put off the inevitable, the BF and I are actually vacationing. It will end with leaving me in my new home, and him returning to Bloomington, but we're taking a week to sit on the beaches of Lake Michigan and attempt to relax.

Last week we took a practice vacation (we're both high-stress, control oriented people). We went down to West Baden and French Lick, Indiana. Both places (located a mile apart) were these huge resorts during the turn of the century and were on a direct train line from Chicago. Both places had huge hotels (West Baden - being restored, French Lick - operational but decaying). We toured West Baden (highly recommended) and stayed at French Lick (less recommended). French Lick wasn't bad, per se - just a bit frayed around the edges. Frankly, the hotel was too big, and there's no way a current owner could update it in the way it needs to be updated and still hope to actually make money off a huge hotel in a forgotten corner of southern Indiana. Until a few weeks ago - it seems that Donald Trump is going to build a lake just big enough to hold a casino boat.

But the thing that surprised us the most about French Lick? It was originally founded on a sulphur spring (I've now experienced smelling a sulphur spring. I don't recommend it.) and people gathered from far and near to drink from it for the relief, of among other things, constipation. Their motto: "If nature won't, Pluto will." (Pluto is the name of the spring). All over the resort is devil and underworld imagery. Quite fun.

So we're off to our real vacation in about an hour or so. I should probably finish packing.