Rats v Sheep (But What About the Lemmings?)

Posted in Charlotte on January 31st, 2005 by Дмитрий

Does this mean that David and I are just sheep following the herd?

I like to think that it means we’re among the rats fleeing a sinking ship. Besides, rats are cuter than sheep. And less stinky.


Posted in Charlotte on February 8th, 2005 by Дмитрий

Something significant just happened…

Where Goeth April

Posted in Charlotte, Site News on April 25th, 2005 by Дмитрий

What is it about April that makes me unable to update?

At least this year I have the excuse of the pending relocation. Picture a 1000 sqft, 2-bed, 2-bath apartment with washer, dryer, dishwasher, disposal and two big roman tubs. Now picture us paying about 60% the rent we pay now for a 500 sqft 2-bed 1-bath apartment with none of those 4 other things. Now picture us wondering again what the advantages were of the place we left…

Thanks, Sharon!

Posted in Charlotte on May 5th, 2005 by Дмитрий

Anyone in Charlotte who ever visits the Midwood branch of the USPS, please be extra nice to Sharon, the extremely helpful woman who took the time to help David and I set up our address change via phone over the past few weeks. She was nice enough to overlook some of the bureaucratic obstacles and the small matter of 3000 miles distance to get us set up with a PO Box and forwarding… Not an easy task when so many stupid forms and verifications and signatures are required.


Posted in Charlotte, Travel on June 16th, 2005 by Дмитрий

Finally in the new home and wondering what we’re going to sit on before we get jobs and can afford a new couch.

From New Orleans we made our way to Montgomery for one evening and then on to Greensboro to meet up with all of our 30-something FedEx boxes at David’s parents’. Two late nights later we have an apartment full of boxes and a lot of work to do.

Next week we look for that new car. Oh, yeah, and jobs.

Still Alive

Posted in Charlotte on June 21st, 2005 by Дмитрий

Yes, I did make it to Charlotte alive. Yes, we’ve moved in and the new place is just peachy. Yes, every telecoms provider in the world sucks horse’s ass, which is why I’m not updating. Still awaiting a reliable internet connection, at which time I may return to my normal updating self.

My Impressions and Experiences in Charlotte Thus Far:

Posted in Charlotte on June 23rd, 2005 by Дмитрий

It feels like home. I grew up in Fresno, which shares Charlotte’s “big city aspirations” whilst also being undeniably mid-sized and suburban. Fresno, sandwiched between LA and SF, and not being a state capital or transit hub, has a lot going against it as far as growth and importance, but still manages to consistently chalk up some of the swiftest growth in California. Charlotte is similar: sandwiched between Atlanta and DC, not a capital, but obviously a clear ssuccess in establishing itself and maintaining swift growth.

Dayahm, the houses are cheap (compared to the West Coast). I must get me one. I predict it will be a year or two before I’m on solid enough financial feet to do so, however. Meanwhile, Ug’s still buying the ugly houses and creating that infamous false scarcity which continues to push up real estate prices. Once again, I implore my solidly middle-class readers: do not fall for it! Get yourself one home that you feel is a good value and which you would like to live in for the long haul. The real estate market is going to crash and burn in the next mild recession, and I don’t want to be one of the unlucky speculators. With the high probability that I’ll be working in the financial services sector, I’m exposed enough to real estate market swings as it is…

Food, food, food. We live in the south-east tip of Charlotte (or the north-west tip of Matthews, depending on whether you believe the county cartographers or the postal service). Within 2 miles of our apartment we have about 15 big-box retail options, including a Wal Mart Supercenter, and about 50 inexpensive but tasty food options (about 75 percent of which are chains). We have eaten about half our meals out since we arrived, and no two have been at the same place. Despite the horror which is Independence Blvd at rush hour, our neighborhood is incredibly convenient for all our needs. There are few things we need that can’t be had within above said 2-mile radius. I could NEVER have said this about our last neighborhood in SF.

To beat that dead horse yet again, I ask: what were the advantages/ conveniences of living in SF? No one has answered this in the two years or so that I’ve been asking…

Sparkley-shiny: Perhaps no “place” is necessarily better simply as a “place”, but Charlotte seems to work very well - similar to the way I felt Fresno and Phoenix worked well: the transit/road network is designed in such a way that it doesn’t necessarily seem entirely sensible or efficient, but it all works well and is incredibly conducive to helping one find things and settle in. Only one week on and I’ve already got my bearings, I’m finally remembering where things are and how to get to them, despite how alien the non-grid thing is to my west-coast-flat-lander self. Also, the various shopping and services seem well-placed and evenly spaced, and there is an abundance of integration and diversity - both of land use and of people.

Basically, I’ve not been disappointed one bit by Charlotte. If anything, my expectations (admittedly lowered to the southernmost reaches of the sewar by life in SF) have been vastly exceeded. There were those little matters of Bellsouth selling us DSL which was not available in our area, Timewarner losing our connection order several days later, and the landlord failing to even show up to repair our DOA laundry facility to date, but these are pretty paltry - I expect very little from telecoms: I think they all suck. Despite the fact that having our own laundry room was one of the vital reasons we moved into this particular place, the laundromats in Charlotte actually work, and don’t feel like the Gulag they resembled in the Bay Area.

Finally, a bit of oddness to throw into the mix: my mom called me last weekend and offered me her car. The one in their garage in California. Since we were preparing ourselves to buy a new car for the commuting Charlotte’s job market will demand, this is an opportunity to hang onto our limited funds a bit longer - buying a reliable used car we figured would run us 8k-9k. A flight home a 5 nights of road boarding will run us about 1500 bucks. Thus, I’ll be taking a ride to California on the 4th of July to pick up said car and do that transcontinental drive one more time. This will be a solo flight, and I’m still trying to decide whether to take a bit longer and enjoy a few more unseen sights, or just fly through as fast as possible. Once I decide, I’ll post the itinerary.

Once I return with my own set of wheels, the real fun of finding a job, making a few friends and doing some networking, and taking someone up on their Sushi Tour of Charlotte offer can finally get off the ground.

PS: My birthday is next week (Thu 30 Jun). If you’re feeling generous, I’ve updated my wishlist

It’s Like Learning a New Language

Posted in Charlotte on July 24th, 2005 by Дмитрий

It’s been a really long month. Next month will probably be longer.


I don’t know what I want to do when I grow up, and I just turned 28. I’m not sure what kind of job to start looking for. All I know is that I’m ready to start working and I have promised myself that I will have received my first paycheck by 31 August. And that I’ll have bought a house before my 30th birthday.


I have wheels and I’m home. Time to take advantage of that and actually try to make some friends in Charlotte. Anyone have any suggestions? I don’t drink and I hate people, so you’ll have to work around that. Late-night coffeehouses with wireless access are good… Or goth clubs with no cover charge…


Posted in Charlotte, Work on August 26th, 2005 by Дмитрий

It’s nice having some routine time. I’ve said before that the most enjoyable thing in my life is boredom. I like having a nice routine, with no drama or excitement. Even when I go out seeking social interaction and stimulation, it’s usually to a very quiet setting where I’m in little danger of encountering anything I can’t anticipate, control or easily digest.

The only time I resent routine is when it is something like routine denial or routine repression of what I really want to do. When I have a boring, enjoyable routine worked out, I can do it forever and not get sick of it.

A few hiccups are still in there - I’ve yet to find a convenient routine coffeehouse stop for my daily homeward commute, or a routine coffee night with friends, or a routine 7pm goth night somewhere, or a routine naked bear pool party, but I’m sure in time…


Posted in About Me, Charlotte on September 20th, 2005 by Дмитрий

I didn’t sleep too much last night.


Things are really rolling around in my head. I’m not disappointed with Charlotte, but I’m feeling incredible homesickness for California right now, and it seems to be getting worse. It doesn’t help that financially I’m in really bad shape, and finances were my prime motivator for moving.


I miss my old job, I miss the cold fog of SF, I miss my sister, I miss the occasional non-annoying SF day. I think I’m going through a phase of glossing over the everyday things that made me miserable there, but at the same time I can’t stop focusing on the hole I’ve dug for myself here money-wise and the simplicity and security I had before I left.


It’s not like I can do anything about it. I’m pretty much stuck here and I’ve got to overcome this sense of doom I’ve got hanging over me. There’s no other viable option…




Posted in Charlotte, Family on November 30th, 2005 by Дмитрий

…In an apartment outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, the most wonderful boy in the world is all alone, and has not been having the best of times lately. In a hotel room in San Francisco, California, there is someone who loves him more than anything in the world, and whose only goal is to make him know how wonderful and beautiful and loved he is. I only wish I could demonstrate it in person right now.

I miss you, baby. I’m sorry I can’t be there for you now. But I’ll be home soon, and I’ll never leave you for this long again…

Pros and Cons of New Construction

Posted in Charlotte, Home on March 20th, 2006 by Дмитрий

This weekend we made our first visit to one of the ‘new construction communities’ of Charlotte. Blah. Alas, I remember back when my parents did the same thing in the mid-80s and it was actually pleasant and promising.


The hot real estate market has made people shelve the idea of owning a home in favor of owning Real Estate. People no longer want a home of their own to live in, they want an investment to occupy or hold for a while before reselling.


This is overwhelmingly the reason for new neighborhoods all being fenceless, colorless, treeless demi-condo developments where living without a Home Owners Association is the worst of all blasphemies.


The proliferation of HOAs alone to me is proof that people are more concerned with the near-term investment potential of their property than with having a home to live in and make theirs. Rather than buying a home and having a sense of ownership and self-investment for it, they buy Real Estate and ensure that they can control the behavior and appearance of their neighbors to avoid damaging their investment.


I just don’t understand the point of these places. If you want a ‘low maintenance investment property’ you buy a condo. To me, the reason one buys a house, as opposed to a condo, is the ability to paint, landscape, and personalize the property. Ceding control of those privelages to a committee of your neighbors for any reason just baffles me - why bother with the burden of property at all in that case? It’s especially true these days when you pay a 100-200% monthly premium just to own (at least that’s the figure in most markets).


I look forward to the day the bubble bursts. Then maybe I’ll finally be able to find new construction like my parents landed in the 80s: landscape your own friggin’ yard, paint your house green and purple, park your hearse on the grass, and by all means, spend a couple decades there…

Couldn’t Have Said it Better Myself

Posted in Americana, Charlotte on September 6th, 2006 by Дмитрий

Anonymous said

We are a post-industrial city with few decent links to the past. Charlotte never had an abundance of interesting architecture that often accompanied old buildings in places like Pittsburgh, Louisville and even Cleveland. Cotton mill owners weren’t that into city beautiful movements.

That being said, the chain mentality has already won. Look at ANY new development in the last 10 years and you’ll find the sorry template of Grocery store, nail salon, sandwich shop, cell phone outlet, ice cream parlor and maybe a coffeehouse. With the exception of the nail salon, they are all chains. For good or for ill, we like standardization. We like the predictability of new development. Go to Birkdale on a weekend and you’ll see it writ large. Faux urbanism packaged in mass consumption and a mega security apparatus. Charlotte is the future.

“Urban” Putrid dot org

Posted in Charlotte, creative clASS on February 16th, 2007 by Дмитрий

This was a post I just made to a thread at “Urban” Planet - you know, that site which is mostly about the latest trends in high-rise downtown condo development and where Ikea will locate in Charlotte?

This post was pulled and I was banned, which I totally expected, because that’s what the faggy board owner does with anyone that doesn’t (literally) lick his ass, so I’m preserving it here. Needless to say, we shan’t be returning. Anyone want to join a new group here for those who love real cities that were built before 1990 and actually have poor people and low-rise buildings in them?

[QUOTE(metro.m @ Feb 15 2007, 08:36 PM)
I can understand that because your justification that Bank of America should be able to offer cards to Illegals because Gay sex was once unconstitutionally considered illegal is one of the most ridiculous things that I have ever seen posted on this forum.] Emplasis Mine

Of course, it IS amusing that the sodomite owner of this board is one of the few complaining about illegal immigrants. How the tables have turned in this country… Mr Metro: please remember that CAN was twice reviewed by other supreme courts and found perfectly constitutional. Law is only what the mob deems in its interest at the time. Better watch your back when I’m in charge of that mob.

But then, this forum is less about urbanism and urban theory than about the latest condo trends and preppy metrosexual posing, in a theme park where there’s a bar on every corner, an Ikea below every loft, and no inconvenient poor or brown people cluttering up the neighborhood. Sorry, my fat, sober, low-rise-loving homo ass forgot.

No wonder this is the first post I’ve made here in years… And only because my partner, OtherStream, was so putrified by this thread. Enjoy your bland, tall, class-segregated utopias, guys. I want nothing to do with them.