Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Downtown Dwellers Angry About — Wait For It — Lights From Nearby Buildings

From the World's Tiniest Violin Department, the Strib has a story on downtown St. Paulites annoyed by nearby building lights and signs. One quote from interviewee Heather Cole pretty much sums up the complaints:
"Lawson put up a sign and it's just escalated from that," Cole said. "People say: 'Isn't that just part of urban living?' I put up with a lot for urban living, but I shouldn't have to put up with this."

Incidentally, the story has a picture of her standing next to a huge, undraped wall of windows on the side of her loft. Uh, Ms. Cole? You know, you could obviously afford to buy one of those huge fancy schmancy lofts in downtown St. Paul. Don't you think you could shell out a few bucks for, you know, curtains?

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Living Large — And Paying Big

The StarTribune has a somewhat sad, somewhat funny piece on the family-level costs of living in supersized homes out in the sprawl. A few excerpts:
"[The houses are] all getting bigger by the day," Odette said. "I guess one has to impress the other. I don't know how they do it. They don't dare get sick, and the wife better not get pregnant, because the home costs are atrocious. I'd be scared."
Sarah Susanka, author of The Not So Big House, chimed in as well:
A hundred years ago... Americans were focused on meeting their survival needs, from food to shelter. "Once they're met, we don't have another model, so we keep doing the same thing," said Susanka. For many, that means continuing to make more money to buy more. From restaurant servings that are far too much to eat to taller ceilings, Americans have overridden the natural mechanism that tells us when we're satiated[.]
But, of course, any story like this has to end with a ray of hope. Regarding the example family featured in the story:
Husband Mark still drives his Ford F-150 pickup truck each day 60 miles to and from his job in Chanhassen, where he buys and sells used cash register equipment. But when gas was nearing $3 a gallon, he was reconsidering his habit of driving to Caribou for a $3 cup of coffee.
Sorry Caribou.