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.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

A Few Things

Blogging in order to blog - therefore, a catch-all post.

1. I went to Holland today, and it was mostly cloudy. However, while I was teaching, the sun broke through. So - my sunny-in-Holland streak is not quite over...

2. I've been talking to the Grand Rapids Press circulation people, and they seem to think I probably am having my papers stolen. Seemingly, the Yuppie Dorm has a history of this with the Press. I'm trying to think of ways to catch a newspaper thief. Any ideas?

3. I took a "figure out where to live" quiz (Find Your Spot) and discovered that I'm supposed to be living in Worcester, Mass., Providence, Rhode Island, or about a dozen spots in Wisconsin. I guess that they don't take the academic job market into consideration with this little quiz. Very happy with Grand Rapids, thank you.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

New Furniture

Today, I got a new chair. I've been eyeing it for a bit; but I finally got to the point where I wanted a chair for my counter. My new kitchen has an island, which I'm trying to not pile full of generic stuff. In fact, I'm hoping it will become a good eating/newspaper reading*/work area. To that end, after I got the chair in the house, I proceeded to eat lunch and then sit down to grading (a thing I've been avoiding for a few days. And the previous year that I was on dissertation fellowship). I discovered that I didn't forget how - and that my chair worked pretty well as a grading chair. Comfortable, but not slouchy. In fact, I took a picture of it with the fancy sepia-tone setting on my camera:

Grading Chair

*Newspaper update: Thought I was doing well until this morning, when I didn't get a paper. (Saturdays and Sundays are morning delivery.) Called, and was assured that a paper would be delivered. No paper. I don't believe them when they say that now... Still haven't found a recycling center, but that's mostly becuase I put zero effort into it this week.

Red and Blue

Grand Haven Lighthouse

Friday, September 17, 2004


When I moved to Grand Rapids, I thought it would be a good idea to subscribe to the local paper, the Grand Rapids Press. And this is a fine paper, full of good, local news that helps me get to know the community, what the major issues are here, that sort of thing. For example, by reading the paper, I discovered that the two major roads that are near the Yuppie Dorm are slated for major road construction this spring. See - it's full of fun facts and interesting tidbits.

However, I now am having two problems with the newspaper:
  1. I don't get a paper. I've now had three evenings (last night and tonight being two of them) when the paper was not on my doorstep. The first two occasions were times when I got home after nine, so I could only get an automated system and I simply asked for a credit on my account. Tonight, I got home at about 6, and it wasn't there* so when I called I was able to get a real person. She said that she'd have a paper delivered. Still not here at 8:22. So, either I have an incompetent delivery person, or a neighbor who is stealing my papers.
  2. I have papers. Actually, I'm gathering quite a stack of them in my dining room closet right now. Sundays are especially stackable. Last week, I started to think about recycling. So I called the front desk people at the YD, and found out that there's no recycling program in the building. She suggested I give them to the Salvation Army. (Query: this sounded very silly to me - but all I know about the SA is that they a. ring bells a lot around the holidays, b. were given a lot of money by Ray Kroc's widow, and c. they actively proselytize, which annoys me (not that the ringing of the bells incessantly is high on my list). However, I don't know their stance on my newspapers.) I then looked in my trusty phone book and discovered the "Recycling Hotline" - and promptly called it. They gave me another number, for the Kent County Sanitation Department - who weren't there. I then called the newspaper (thinking that they had to have an idea of where to recycle their product) and got the information that there "maybe" a "dropoff" in the Old Kent Building. When I asked where this building might be, the woman I was talking to wasn't sure - perhaps between Alpine and Monroe (note: there's a river between Alpine and Monroe, as well as quite a few blocks!). I later was at the public library, and tried the reference librarian. She was actually the most helpful, and thought that the Kent County Sanitation people might have a dropoff, and that they were located downtown. That's as far as I've gotten. I tried Kent County Sanitation again, no answer. No wonder more people don't recycle; it's a Byzantine mystery figuring out how! (Note in Grand Rapids' favor: if you live in a house, there's curbside recycling. That may be why people seem so mystified by someone who wants to take her recycling somewhere else.)

That's where I am with the whole newspaper thing. I'll keep the blog updated--provided I don't drown in newspapers, which would mean I actually have to have more delivered.

*The GRP is an evening newspaper, when I've been home, I've noticed that I get the paper between three and four, and they say to call if it isn't at the door by five.

Good Day

Yesterday - not so good. (And since it has to do with my perhaps unreasonable expectations for my job performance, and my not meeting them, I can't say much more about that on the blog, since one of the rules of blogdom is the advisability of not talking about one's job, especially when that job concerns the education of lots of other people... well - let's just say that I wouldn't want my students to read this monster of a run-on sentence.)

But today, much better. I actually got work done on my article (which I can talk about, since nobody truly cares what academics write about), slept in past six, exercised, sat in Panera for a good long while (It's amazing the work I can get done in that place - they have free wifi, enough hubbub to keep me awake, but not enough to annoy me, refillable beverages, and yummy bagels. Did I mention the free wifi?), and generally relaxed.

And Matt's coming tomorrow. That helps a lot.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

The Sun Always Shines in Holland

Two mornings a week, I drive to Holland, MI. Maybe it's been all the media coverage of Hurricane Ivan (and its bouts of wind and rain), but this morning I was struck by the fact that every time I've been to Holland since my job started the sun has been shining. And not this sort-of-cloudy/sort-of-sunny day either - clear blue skies, lovely little wind, streams of sunlight pouring in windows and drenching the tables and chairs in the front of the building.

I've probably jinxed it - and next week it will be dank and morose. But for now, I can't think of Holland without thinking sun. And for a person so hooked on sunlight like I am - that's pretty cool.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

New Feature

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.

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Saturday, September 11, 2004

Fishing in the Rapids

There's a river in my front yard. I've taken to going for walks along it; last night, before sunset, I was walking down and saw all these people fishing in the river. From what I've heard about the pollution levels in the Grand River, I'm not sure I'd ever want to eat any thing that comes out of it - but they certainly do make for photogenic subjects.

I was on the east bank of the river, so I was taking pictures into the sun; this accounts for the light on the water and the relative shadowy character of the fisherpeople. I'm sure they're very nice and not at all shadowy in real life.

Silhouette View

In the water, on the rocks

Fishing in the rapids

Waiting for Furniture

Bridge over the Grand

This photo is from a walk I took yesterday, after being freed from my apartment by the delivery of my new bed. Yesterday and today are "waiting for furniture" days - today, I'm waiting for a chest of drawers that will enable me to actually put my clothes away for the first time in a month.

So, last night I slept in my actual bedroom for the first time. I have to say, I enjoyed not having to climb up a ladder to sleep; I'll miss the cozy nature of the treehouse, though. (If I knew how to link internally to other entries, I'd direct you to a picture of aforesaid treehouse. Alas, I do not - so if you're interested, search the archives!) My upstairs neighbor will probably appreciate the cessation of both my late-night phone conversations while in bed and the NPR on the radio that wakes me up in the morning. I tried to keep both as soft as possible, but the one thing about these apartments is that there is little to no soundproofing between floors. I can barely hear my neighbors to the side, but above and below are pretty loud. I even can hear people walk in the hallway one floor up from me. Luckily, there's a law firm below me (no night noise) and my upstairs neighbor doesn't often play music loudly.

UPDATE: I have since learned how to link: thank you Abby! The Treehouse post (and photo) is here.