Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mystery Partially Solved

So, the building I wrote about before has officially gone condo; there are now signs up advertising the new spaces -- which are exactly what this neighborhood needs, obviously. Off the top of my head, I can only think of half a dozen other condo conversions within 2 blocks of that one, none more than 75% sold. And hey, who needs affordable rental housing?

On the plus side, last weekend we saw them prettying up the outside of the building at the retail level, so maybe we'll actually get some new stuff in there soon.

(Written by Kate Harding.)

Comments from the Original Post:

The North Coast said...
I blogged about this comic condo conversion on my blog. I live next door, at the beautiful courtyard on Pratt, and am glad someone closed this building for rehab, because when it was rental it was always a problem building, and I was placing calls to 911 constantly about fights taking place in front of it.

Having said that, I'll say the condos are jokes- impossibly small and outrageously overpriced little boxes, badly configured, with no closet space. $129K for a matchbox studio, $155K for a tiny one bedroom with 550 sq ft. That's about $280 a square foot, which is no bargain.

Sad part is I saw a buyer moving in with her pathetic belongings. I thought, it'll be a long time before you can buy furniture at that price, kid.

Worse, the prices are dropping. I am seeing much better deals for better places in better areas.

Buyer Beware.

July 12, 2007 9:08 PM
RP4Life said...
This building has always been a blight on the neighborhood. See ya. Starting to look much better. Looking forward to frequenting the new shops.

July 18, 2007 11:50 AM
The North Coast said...
I hope it doesn't turn back into a blight down the road, because only at the height of the real estate craze could you palm these tiny, badly-configured little places off on buyers, especially at the outrageous prices at which they're being offered.

They are, I see, counting on glossy, pretty new finishes and, of course, really insane financing to sell these places.

But once the rehab begins to age,and the glossy new finishes and appliances begin to wear out, people will see the places for what they are- squeezy little places with wierd floor plans, which was always that place's problem.

It will be interesting to see how things play out with the condo conversion now that the bubble has popped and prices are beginning to drift down.

..and I sure hope they do something with that plaza, which could be a focal point for the neighborhood. A new brick parquet pavement with new trees and plantings would be attractive and I hope that's what they have planned. I tried to ask, but found them tight-lipped and unfriendly.

Personally, I wish the place had been razed and an attractive 4 or 5 storey mixed-use building with real architecture and large, well-designed condo units had been built there. I always have visualized something built of stone and brick, or stucco, with a terracotta roof and balconies and french doors, configured like a courtyard building around a central garden, with retail on the ground floor.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Sometimes I leave Rogers Park

Sometimes I leave Rogers Park, and sometimes I take my car with me when I do so. Then I get confused by the fact that the highways in the area are generally all referred to by names, instead of by number. Thankfully, this article exists to help guide me, in case I ever need to figure out where the "North-South Tollway" is.

Monday, May 7, 2007

What's Up With This Building?

Hi, I'm Kate. I'm Al's girlfriend, and I'll be an occasional contributor here. I have a personal blog and a book blog that take up most of my time, but hey, who doesn't need another blog?

Self-promotion out of the way, I'm wondering if anyone knows the scoop on this building, at the northwest corner of Sheridan and Pratt:


When I moved here in 2005, all of the retail spaces you see along the bottom there were occupied: a hardware/convenience store, a hair salon, a storefront church, a taqueria, a video store, and a liquor/grocery(ish) store. Now, only the last two remain, and nothing's gone in to replace the others. (How the video store stays in business when the others haven't totally baffles me.)

I'm assuming the building's owner must be deliberately refusing to renew leases or sign new ones. It's not exactly prime real estate, but similar small businesses on Sheridan right around there seem to be doing fine--I'm sure those spaces could move if they were on the market. Anybody know why they're not? My best guess is, the owner wants to sell the building off to condo developers--but some of those storefronts have sat empty for over a year now. It doesn't make sense.

Al and I fantasize about all the things that could go in those spaces: jazz club, yoga studio, dog groomer, pub... Hell, I'd be psyched for another taqueria and beauty shop, and maybe a liquor store that's not quite as grotty as the existing one. But as it is, there's practically nothing on that side of that block, and there hasn't been in ages. What's up with that?

(Written by Kate Harding.)

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Spam in Rogers Park

Teaching people how to deal with spam, preventing spam, sanctioning spammers, is pretty much my full time job. So, I find it particularly disappointing that one of my neighbors seems to be spamming people with this DFA "open letter to Don Gordon," trying to get him to back off from his election challenge.

I'm reserving judgment on the whole Don Gordon aldermanic election challenge itself, for now. This isn't about the merits of the argument. This is about forcing your views on people who didn't ask for them.

Spam is wrong. It's the online equivalent of the unwanted garbage that litters our sidewalks. Why would somebody knowingly send spam?

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Disable XT9 on T-Mobile Dash

The T-Mobile Dash (aka the HTC Excaliber) is a cool little smartphone that runs Windows Mobile. I've always been annoyed by the seeming inability to disable the T9/XT9 text autocompletion. Searching online found no easy way to do it. Lots of registry hacks and some broken downloadable app that's supposed to do the job but doesn't, but no easy info on how to just modify some setting on the phone and be done with it.

Well, today, I stumbled across how to disable the XT9 text autocompletion on my Dash.

Here's how:
  1. Go into messaging, and create a new text message.
  2. Hold down the alt key and press the space bar.
  3. A tiny menu will pop up: XT9 English, ABC, Language >, and About XT9.
  4. Select ABC.
  5. Now type. You'll notice that the auto-complete area no longer appears!
I think the setting stays that way until you hard reset your phone. In my case, it stayed in place until I upgraded my phone's operating system, then it reverted back to XT9. Once the Dash booted back up, now running Windows Mobile 6, I was able to change the setting back to ABC and disable autocomplete once again.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Here's why I'm starting this [Rogers Park] blog

Rogers Park is a cool and vibrant community. It also has a lot of active bloggers. This is awesome, and I love it. The problem is, there's a subset of bloggers who post weird, abusive and over-the-top things to try to get a rise out of their neighbors.

I've felt deceived a few different times now. Sucked into reading an interesting neighborhood blog. Learning about the politics of the neighborhood, what's going on, who's who, etc. Then, out of nowhere, a blogger posts something offensive or insulting, to make it very clear that THEY'RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT and everybody else is ABSOLUTELY WRONG AND SHOULD BE PUNCHED IN THE FACE. I think a blog's credibility is damaged when this happens. I think smart people usually act (and write) in a reasoned and restrained manner. When a blogger is doing the opposite, it give me pause. I think that when I don't know a lot about a given situation, that misplaced vitriol, hatred and screaming on a blog are stumbling blocks to understanding. In short, it doesn't help, and it doesn't sway.

I'm not sure where I'm going to go with this, but here's where I'm going to start, by sharing a couple of the crazy things that I've seen lately on local blogs that I thought were just, well, lame.

Tom at Rogers Park Bench posted this loving tribute to North Korea and tyranny in general, entitled "The Left's Historical Support for Tyranny." He seems to have thought better of it and yanked the post back. It had already been pushed out via RSS, so I was able to screen shot it from my Google Reader feed. Gee. Thanks for implying that everybody with even slightly differing politics than your own must obviously be supporters of communism and tyranny.

In a disappointing display of "do as I say, not as I do," Tom documents an instance of this happening on Thomas Westgard's Rogers Park Rake. In this case, Westgard tried to subtly sneak in a Nazi slam against Don Gordon, according to what I saw on my RSS feed. He also had a change of heart, and pulled it back, but not before it was seen by multiple readers. In the post, he compares Don Gordon to Vidkun Quisling. A Nazi reference (even 'subtle' or indirect) is something that I consider to be an argument of last resort. It says that one has no more words, no more brain power, no more ability to actually deconstruct somebody, or their argument, through intelligence. It's the online discussion equivalent of an eight-year old flipping out and throwing rocks on the playground, mad because he can't get his way and doesn't have the words to explain why.

I've been on the internet long enough to already be familiar with Godwin's Law. Apparently not everybody else is.

Comments from the Original Post:

Thomas Westgard said...
I'm familiar with Godwin's Law as well. In fact, if you go back on the Wikipedia post on Godwin's law far enough, you'll find the Westgard's Law analog I put up there several years ago (since removed). The Quisling post was a deliberate reference to Godwin's Law. Part of the point was that the epithets being thrown elsewhere had reached the point of absurdity, and by putting up a post that invoked Godwin's Law, it would point out exactly what you saw. Thank you for noticing, although you didn't carry the point over to the other blogs. Oh, well, can't get everything.

I'm mystified by your perception that the criticism of Gordon in the Vidkun Quisling post was either subtle, or quickly drawn back. It was about as unsubtle as a criticism could be (in fact, isn't that the point of Godwin's Law?), and it stayed up for days. First you think I'm Godwin-level wild, then I'm subtle. Which is it? Perceiving Godwin's Law was good, but Al - your only accomplishment was to read what I wrote! (albeit incompletely) By assuming that only you knew of Godwin's Law, you relieved yourself of the necessity of further thinking why I might deliberately transgress it. By using your own timeframe for how long a post "should" stay up, you set yourself up to see what you wanted to see.

Okay, fine. I'm looking at the future now anyway, which is why I took the Quisling post down (along with the rest of it). Unlike certain other people, I'm not interested in having these discussions follow people around on the web for all eternity. If Don Gordon wants to retire from politics, I suppose I'll let him, although his silly lawsuit needs to die before he can claim retirement.

I'm curious, though, if you can defend your analysis of the Quisling post from where we sit today. You described it as the (forgive the paraphrase) argument of last resort, when the mind fails and the words become the functional equivalent of foaming at the mouth and undermining whatever rational argument may have gone before. The irony of you calling me stupid, then claiming the intended meaning of my post as your own invention, within the same sentence is an irony I've wallowed in a bit too much already, perhaps.

But looking forward - do you perceive that Craig and Mannis have themselves not gone into a Godwin-like foaming zone, most recently e.g. pursuing the operator of a laundromat with righteous indignance, or taking the time to reveal to the world that I sometimes possess drywall?

And more importantly, the things that you truly can control, namely your own blog: If the other blogs are "bad," however you choose to define that, what have you written in your blog that overcomes or outpaces them/us? Whether I, or Craig, or Mannis, have fallen into a pit of blogger foolishness that you alone are able to perceive... Unless there's an irony in this post that I myself am failing to perceive, you started this blog and put up this post with grand intentions of setting it all straight with the writings of Al Iverson.

How's it going?

From the looks of your blog, I would say not very well. There are thousands of people who do nothing, who don't even try, but most of them refrain from passing judgment on others, at least publicly. It's easy enough for you to snipe from the sidelines and pass judgment on the qualities of others, without putting out the work, or taking the chances. But I hope you don't feel yourself to be greatly elevated by the accomplishment of attending no meetings and producing no work. The dead fish stuck to my aquarium filter is accomplishing that much, and it smells better than the logic of your arguments.

Come to think of it, the fish does attend the meetings that occur in my office. The fish also keeps its blogging commitments, which in its case are none. The fish passes judgment on no one, and thus is never wrong. Now, that's worth thinking about.

May 22, 2007 12:09 AM
Al Iverson said...
I love how this turns into a debate about Craig and Tom Mannis, like I secretly must be some stooge of theirs because I take you to task.

As far as taking down old posts, doing so denies a new reader the opportunity to get a sense of history. Regardless of what you wish it would say about you, it very strongly suggests that you're unwilling to stand by what you write. If you're so sure that it needs to be taken down to move forward, get past the anger, "you've made your point," etc., then I would suggest that it wasn't appropriate to begin with.

I patently reject any sort of 'how dare I question you' because I supposedly have yet to do anything that outshines you. When you're the yardstick of how I should be measured, I'll care. Until then, I don't.

Actually, that reminds me. Could you let me know when you do something that outshines me? I'd hate to miss it when/if it finally happens.

May 22, 2007 9:45 AM
Kate Harding said...
Also, you should probably remove that dead fish from your aquarium.

May 22, 2007 9:51 AM
Jocelyn said...
I think your take on the use of Nazi rhetoric is spot on.

Also, I was not familiar with Godwin's law so thanks I just learned something new.

June 13, 2007 9:42 PM
Fargo said...
Welcome to the neighborhood! I hope that you don't think all the verbal nastiness represents the 'hood as a whole. There are lots of good people and cool places to eat and hang out. That's why it's one of my favorite neighborhoods in the city.

C'mon over to
http://fargocats.blogspot.com/2007/08/on-blogging-and-civility.html

Your $0.02?

August 4, 2007 4:40 PM