09 March 2008

More digi dump

What? (Answer: this.) So do sysadmins get two holidays now or something? Freeloading bastards... If you think nobody appreciates you now, try being a low-paid copyeditor sometime.

I think I like the new building manager. Since he arrived the lock on the front door has been replaced, the nooks and crannies in the stairwell have been gated or walled over, the elevators have been fixed and redecorated on the inside, the main plumbing system has been completely overhauled, the washers and dryers have been better maintained, the common areas have been repainted, the basement has been tidied, and the carpet on the first floor is cleaned once every two weeks. There's even tasteful wall art and new high-quality silk flower arrangements everywhere. And now he's organizing a "We've been waiting fricken long enough for spring" party. I hope the upper management don't replace him for actually doing stuff. No wonder the bums hang around here, the building has become almost downright swanky. Is it going condo soon or something?

I hate to see a tree die in the city. They're rarely able to grow by themselves; they must be planted and cared for, and that costs more money than most people are willing to spend on greenery. This one is trying to grow back from the roots, but I doubt anyone will let it do so. Eventually the tree will give up and die, and all that will remain is an empty square in the sidewalk (a tree grave, if you will). And then it won't be replaced until some years or decades from now when the neighborhood gets some level of government funding to redo the whole streetscape, at which point the remaining trees on this block will be sacrificed because people like it better when the trees are neat and tidy and all match each other. I wish landscapers at least tried to model a real ecosystem, in which growth and change are ongoing instead of occurring in economically auspicious spurts of uniformity. There wouldn't be so many empty squares in the sidewalk.

Poor little tree. I, for one, will miss you.

A section of Hyde Park's most unloved public mural, "Under City Stone," has been inexplicably spotlit thanks to recent viaduct improvement projects. I have admit that I almost like it even more now that I know it's based on a heartbreaking poem, "Rapid Transit," about the grim, soul-crushing anonymity of urban public transportation. But then again, I just mourned the slow death of a small tree. If I lived in a cool, hip, trendy neighborhood I think I would die of an overdose of creative optimism, if I wasn't run out with pitchforks first for being so "divisionary."

Let's face it, Hyde Park won't change its image until people like me leave. But where would we go? Detroit?

Another cartographic inaccuracy: What is that white building in the Hyde Park inset of this not-to-scale cartoon map of Chicago, and why does it look suspiciously like the Clarke House? Edit: It's the DuSable Museum. I didn't recognize it chopped down like that; the building is actually quite large.

Update: I tried to take a better picture of that tree.

Unfortunately all I had was my phone.


At 08 March, 2008 19:46, Blogger Jason said...

I think it's the DuSable Museum.

At 09 March, 2008 10:13, Blogger Benjamin said...

Maybe all isn't lost for that tree: http://egov.cityofchicago.org/city/webportal/portalContentItemAction.do?blockName=Promo+Item&channelId=-536879024&programId=536879093&topChannelName=Residents&contentOID=536910390&Failed_Reason=Invalid+timestamp,+engine+has+been+restarted&contenTypeName=COC_EDITORIAL&com.broadvision.session.new=Yes&Failed_Page=%2fwebportal%2fportalContentItemAction.do

You might also try calling your alderman (Preckwinkle?), who probably exerts some control over where stuff gets planted.

At 09 March, 2008 10:34, Blogger Jennifer said...

Hmm. Intriguing, but it's neither my home nor my business, and I'm not sure what constitutes a "parkway." Would I have to hunt down the property owner and ask them to ask the city?

At 09 March, 2008 17:03, Blogger David Johnsen said...

Cards: I ranted on my own blog. It's not for sysadmins; the language is misleading (it's the "new, improved" Secretaries Day).

Trees: You forgot to mention the part about how they will plant non-native species just because somebody thinks they look pretty, and then those trees will either die or take over (and everyone will act surprised).

Whether it's the parkway is usually determined by which side of the sidewalk it's on. The land between the sidewalk and the street (whether it's grass or concrete) is usually considered the parkway.

At 10 March, 2008 16:00, Blogger Benjamin said...

My impression was that the trees aren't selected so much for their prettiness as their hardiness in urban conditions. There's a rather limited set of trees that can put up with being in a concrete plot. I don't know that they're native, though, which brings up an interesting conundrum - is it better to have a nonnative tree or no tree at all?


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