Archive for August, 2007

Goodbye housemates, I barely knew ye

My house had a goodbye get-together for a pair of departing housemates, a German couple who are heading back to Germany. It might as well have been a farewell for everyone, since all 5 of my co-habitants for the last month are leaving today, except for the Germans who left yesterday. And so this Coronas-on-the-porch get-together became, at times, a venting session, executed with I’m-never-going-to-see-you-again-so-I-don’t-care honesty. I learned that one couple went on an unannounced chore strike, apparently in response to the unannounced chore strike undertaken by another housemate, who we’ll call George. This let the trash pile up to absurd heights, leaving the sweet and responsible German girl to pick up the slack.

George openly admitted to not taking out the trash (his assigned chore) “because [he doesn't] use the kitchen that much”, leaving old food in the fridge, and never cleaning the bathroom that he shares with one other guy (“I let [the other guy] do it. If he had a problem with that, he should have told me.”). Jake took a break from the party to walk down to the corner store and buy himself a forty. He swears a lot. He tried, in front of us all, to argue with the house manager to get out of paying his last month’s utilities. Though I have to give him credit for being funny and saying what he thinks, George is an unrepentant jerk, one of a class of abrasive people who always demand special treatment and, frustratingly, by force of will, often seem to get it. I always wonder if there will be a day of reckoning for people like that.

The Germans, by contrast, seemed pleasant and responsible, and are probably now surrounded by like-minded people in their homeland. Another housemate is off to sociology grad school. He seemed cool enough. The other couple struck me as too easily caught up in house dramas. Everybody is in the 23-25 age range, and I felt like I could detect a strain of immaturity compared to my ripe old age of 27, but maybe I’m just reading that in. My new housemates, supposedly all moving in today and tomorrow (I’m skeptical that the current ones will be completely moved out, judging by the current state of things, but we’ll see) are somewhat older and hopefully less drama-prone and more responsible. I’ve not really met any of them, so all I can do is cross my fingers that it will be a good bunch.

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Long lights, large city

One difficulty of urban living that I’ve noticed is the stoplights around here are often on really long timing cycles. And with major artery roads crossing every which way, it’s very difficult not to cross several of them, say, on a run. Because the walk signs have count-down timers, I know that typical cycle times are 45-65 seconds, which, when you are panting and sweating next to a bunch of commuters in business attire, is a really awkward length of time to wait, as well as long enough to kill a good running groove. Sometimes the lights along the same street are coordinated, so by traversing one way or another I can fast-forward stoplight time. But If I choose the wrong direction, I put it in slow motion: at each new block I hit, the sign still reads “47″, and I’ll never get to cross.

I used to be proud of my ability to stay upright and almost stopped on my bike for the course of most light cycles. Now, more often than not, I have to give up and put a foot down before it turns green. Especially when there are 3 or more cycles, each 30-60 seconds, that’s a lot of wait time.

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Back on the ‘net

After a month hiatus, R/C is back online. Since it used to be hosted on my office computer, it didn’t stay up for the move. But now I’m moved and unpacked enough to be able to upload the files to my new, carbon neutral server at Dreamhost.com. Yes, it’s very exciting, because starting life in a new city means plenty to blog about. Stay tuned for all the, um, juicy details.

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