Saturday, February 23, 2013

Operation Detroit

I have recently come to the conclusion that I love Detroit. Sure, you can't get soup delivered when you're sick, and I'll admit that I often have to think weeks ahead when it comes to shopping (I buy most of my clothes online)... But the city has its charms: the people, the beauty, and even the difficulties.

Face it, some cities are easy to live in. Detroit's all knuckle.

So, as a lover of Detroit and an inveterate real estate ad consumer, I have come to the conclusion that I should buy into the city. Nothing says I love you like a moldering Victorian, a vegetable garden, and a Cold War with the neighbors over your urban chicken coop.

But how will I buy such a wonderland? Even in Detroit, houses of merit cost money... Not much money, but I digress.

Like all of the pioneers who have come before me, journeying forth into the wild hinterlands, I require a surplus of funds (all I know about the hinterlands I learned from playing Oregon Trail, where the banker always wins and the farmer always loses... Great metaphor for life, crappy history).

So, I will write a world famous series of books about Detroit... And you, gentle readers, will buy it.

Problem, solution.


Detroit, Michigan, a city with a heart made of steel and a soul created by hard working men and women. Joe Louis and the Dodge brothers. The Paris of the Midwest (shut up, it's a thing). It's a great setting for... An urban fantasy? Or a hardcore suspense?

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?

The floor is open.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Long Day's Journey into Real Estate

I've got a secret vice, an addiction that sometimes takes over my life... And migrates onto this blog. I am completely hooked on real estate listings.

Like many addicts I caught the bug from my parents. I moved around a lot as a kid, so I have been to a lot of open houses and a metric ton of house hunts. Consider me an expert on wobbly foundations, wibbly molding, and illegal additions.

Dropping me in downtown Detroit is like putting a chocoholic knee deep in Switzerland's finest black gold.


Damn straight, it's enough to make me pull out a Beverley Hillbillies reference.

Unfortunately, like any kid in a candy shop I'm finding it hard to choose. My eyes are bigger than my head. I want them all... the historic gems on real estate websites for half what an 800 square foot ranch house in California would cost... and the abandoned bungalows, little more than windowless shacks sticking out of the snowy ground. As long as the roof's in good shape and the plumbing hasn't been stripped, I'd be happy to renovate. I even like renovating, almost as much as I like real estate listings, and if the place were in bad enough shape then I could do something really interesting. Replace entire walls with glass brick. Install an outdoor shower in the backyard. Redo an entire bathroom in cedar to make my own sauna. I don't do plumbing, and I don't do electricity but other than that I'm willing to bungle almost anything, consider me locked, loaded, and ready to go.

All I need is a registered deed, a crowbar, and a pallet full of Mexican tile.

It's cheaper than therapy.

Otherwise I just might have to join Real Estate Anonymous.

I might have to start Real Estate Anonymous. Friends of This Old House.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Following my posy about the Whitney I have had requests for more reviews... Does anyone else think this is a good idea? Should I just go back to writing melodramatic prose about Detroit? And what's up with my writing career anyway?

Seriously though, does anyone out there want to know what I think about Slows (go to there), Cliff Bell's (go to there now), or the Grand Trunk (go to there for brunch)

Thoughts and requests go in the comments section.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

To do list...

1. Do dishes... Things are evolving in their.

2. Do laundry... Clothes are important, without them you'd be naked.

3. Eat cheese... Wait, don't eat cheese. That's something you do when you finish the to do list, not something to put on the to do list.

4. Write... Work on the MS, not a blogpost... Err...

5. Avoid the cat... He's up to something.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Like a Patient Etherized Upon the Table... With Apologies to My DearCousin

So, here I am at the MOCAD art opening... Which is completely fabulous... And I have once again come to the same conclusion I always come to.

First, this sort of event is better with someone else. When every piece is a discussion point you can spend many happy hours perusing any collection. And, while I like art, that's not something I can necessarily do by myself.

Unless we're talking impressionists... Or colorists... Or any hundreds of other things that aren't this. Some of the pieces make me laugh and while it is an exhibit on perception and interpretation I get the feeling that some of the other patrons want to hit me...

Second, if every single piece has to be explained then you're over curating. And if you're over curating then there might be one or two pieces that could be cut. Art should stand on its own, evoking a response (primal or otherwise) without the use of little cards.

In conclusion, I had fun. It was like something out of Tennyson ("the ladies come and go talking of Michelangelo"). I will probably be back, I think there are some pieces that deserve a closer look when there are fewer people around, and if you're looking for something to do in Detroit than I recommend it. If you're looking to move to Detroit and want to know what kind of scene there is then this is just further proof that there's every kind of scene.

Now, should I go across the street to the super schmancy restaurant or go back to my neighborhood and eat pub food?

The Whitney

I took a wrong turn and ended up at one of Detroit's fanciest dining establishments tonight. Lord Grantham would be proud. He would also send me to my room for wearing jeans, they are nice jeans and I had a fabulous sweater over, but... jeans... That they seated me at all is a miracle. The fact that I ended up by the window and not next to the restrooms is surely proof of a deity.

I ordered the California Pinot Grigio not the Michigan (I'm not that adventurous, and they only had two Pinot grigios by the glass) and the host brought over a shrimp crostini on the house. I don't eat bread, but when you're giving me rare shrimp and goat cheese on a crostini then you're forcing my hand.

The beet salad was fantastic, beats, goat cheese, some greens, walnuts, and a mustard dressing. I'm a big fan of mustard dressings. I make my own. This one was better. The ehole thing was better. Sweet, salty, nutty, creamy, it had everything... Le sigh.

Next was another glass of wine. Again, not something I would normally do. Again, on the house. Free appetizer, free wine, double le sigh.

After that I got down to business, glazed salmon and a Brussel sprout, blue cheese, and pancetta accompaniment. Yumminess. By the end you could have rolled me way from the table. It was so good. I spent all my grocery money on one meal, and I don't regret a penny.