Brilliant Detroit Reporting

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from SE MIchigan!

I wanna tell ya -- I just returned to the Detroit area after a month in Ithaca NY., working for Cornell University. I thought this was gonna be the door to my new life. Ha! It wasn't -- it opened onto a stairway & down I went. Big disappointment (and it hurt). More about that another time maybe. Or maybe not! I don't really want to think about it ever again.

What I DO want to say here & now is, I AM SO GLAD TO BE BACK. Let me count the ways:

1) The roads here are A LOT better here than in Ithaca -- that town is cramped, steep, roads are old, tight, chewed-up, and they run buses -- BUSES -- up these two-lane BRICK PAVED (really) lanes to the charming fucking campus on the hill! Which is just crazy. The ruts... you're afraid you will never get out. In Michigan they build nice WIDE roads, nice BIG parking lots, everything is FLAT, drivers are not so aggressive (except those people here from Ohio). Basically everything in Michigan is newer, nicer and friendlier than in upstate NY. And I come from upstate, so I can say this.

The advantage: It made me a way better stick-shift driver

2) Detroit Metro Airport has more than 6 flights in/out a day, including to places like London. AND a nice new terminal.

3) Ann Arbor has TWO Whole Foods. And they are nice and new and bright and clean. Ithaca, none. They have a Wegmans -- but yuck.

4) Ithaca is so twisty & assbackwards it makes Ann Arbor look like a planned community. Plus it's tiny and everything is really tight. Which I know I already mentioned but it bears repeating. Ithaca: NO SPACE. NOT EVEN IN PARKING LOTS. EVERYTHING OLD & DIRTY & OVERUSED (typical of east coast, btw). Except for Colonial Vet -- that's a nice, new place, and the most expensive vet I have ever come across.

5) Cornell's website absolutely sucks -- It is fragmented and annoying. This could be b/c I was forced to work on a clunky PC running all MS all the time. But -- this is indicative of a mindset! They need to just tear that shit down & start all over. Follow the example of Detroit, Cornell!! We are on it, tearing down & rebuilding, we know it ain't workin. (Note: Cornell doesn't know how bad their website is. It makes you sign in every three minutes, as you navigate to different areas. Pathetic. Do They Know it's Awful? Noooo... at least not the college where I worked.)

6) Car wash in Ithaca -- Sixteen ($16) Dollars US, and leaves streaks and spots. Car wash in Ann Arbor -- SIX ($6) dollars US, no streaks, no spots.

That's the short list for now. All I can say, SE Michigan is where it's at. Especially if you are an artist/writer/musician, you want to be here now. It is a cheap, easy, pleasant, not too crowded place to live, with a great empty airport you can easily get to New York or Europe from.

And Detroit has, IMO, bottomed out. Not to say it's good right now -- it's pretty dangerous, in fact. You especially want to avoid gas stations. But in the next 5-10 years we are going to see a blossoming in Detroit.

My friends here welcomed me back w/ open arms. Which felt really really good after 4 lonely weeks in upstate NY.

I never thought I would even think this, let alone say it... but it looks like Ann Arbor is home. Crappy Bob Seger tunes and all.

Merry Christmas, everybody, from flat, empty, new-constructed SE Michigan.