Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Parking prices as a predictor of game demand

My new “office” (i.e. our second bedroom, where my computers, stereo, and PlayStations live) has a wall-to-ceiling window facing north-northeast, and I’ve chosen to put my computer desk in front of it, so now I’m looking off to the horizon as I work. There’s a huge row of townhouse/lofts being built to my left, and as the sun creeps up, they turn different colors of orange and red. There’s a parking lot directly in front of me, and it’s almost always empty, except for the occasional heavy equipment being used as the lofts are being built. It’s also completely held hostage and repriced at insane rates for baseball games, as is all parking in this area. Monday was opening day, and spots were $40; yesterday was game two of the series against Arizona, and it was only $10. It’s fun to watch people tailgate and fight over parking from my safe little enclosure. It’s far more interesting than looking at an off-white wall, anyway.

If you’re interested, here is where I am. See that half block of nothing that’s northwest of the pointer? That’s where my building is now. My window is on Park, between Market and Larimer. Our apartment is on the northeast corner, which means the other window in my corner office looks out to the parking lot at Park and Larimer. It looks like, from the satellite photo, that they completely tore down the old tire factory before they built this, which makes sense. They did keep a sign from it to put in the lobby downstairs, to add that shopping mall historical marker touch.

I drove around yesterday, trying to find a Long John Silver’s, because I keep seeing commercials and it’s been like five years since I’ve been to one. It’s weird how my default location in any city is always where I first saw it. When I moved to Seattle, I stayed with Bill in Mountlake Terrace for a few weeks. After I moved to Pil l Hill, I always found myself driving back north to the mall at Lynwood, or the movie theaters back near where Bill used to live. In New York, I worked in Times Square for a while, and always ended up going back there to go to movies or to eat. And now, we stayed in Stapleton for our first week here, and I keep heading out there to eat lunch or wash the car or whatever. I think part of it is ease of parking and familiar chain restaurants or something, I don’t know. But it’s an odd migratory pattern.

Since I’m always on the same computer, I decided to switch mail clients. I have been using the same mail reader for 15 years now: the emacs editor plus the VM package, which lets you read email in the editor. It’s a pretty geek way to do things, but I always liked it because it stored my mail in a very non-proprietary way, and it let me read my mail from work or home easily, including my old saved mail. But it didn’t do some things, like it didn’t handle attachments well, or let me send attachments, and links were not hot in email messages. Also, spam processing has become a nightmare. So I switched to Apple’s Mail.app, which is pretty cool sofar. It’s very integrated into the other Mac stuff, especially the address book, which I like a lot. The spam control stuff is also good, and you can train it to pick up on what is and is not junk. Importing my old mail was not a huge pain in the ass, although I really need to do some housekeeping. Another nice feature is that it integrates spotlight, so searching is really great. Anyway, ask me again in a week if I still love the thing or not.

I just saw Rumored to Exist listed on eBay in the nonfiction books section, with a buy it now price the same as a new copy on Amazon. I’m guessing it’s either robots or really stupid people in third-world countries that are doing shit like this.