Friday, 26th of August, 2005
After looking at condos I visited The Colony. $590-$605 seemed like a reasonable price, and I believe the first month was free too. They were sad when I told them I was also going to take a look at the West Pointe apartments across the street. And I found out really quickly why. The West Pointe apartments seems like a real bargain - if you bumped up to a 13-month lease they'll give you any 1-bedroom apartment they have for $465 a month. Looking around the inside everything was a low-end, but as a place to sleep and do a little work I couldn't see how it could be bad.
But then I took Colleen's advice and looked the place up online, and I came across the reviews on apartmentratings.com. West Pointe looks like a disaster, and a 13-month lease may have been a horrible mistake. There are multiple complaints about spiders, leaking roofs, and backed-up sewage that never gets fixed. One of them was web-savvy enough to throw pictures of it all on webshots.com. With that kind of history, renting from West Pointe looks like throwing money away.
Clicking over to The Colony didn't look much better. Someone pointed out to me that the "Y" on the sign for "The Colony of St. Louis" looked a little thinner than the rest of the sign, producing a rather amusing nickname for the place. Both The Colony and West Pointe tried to make up for their aging apartments by building fancy club houses, but at the end of the day I did feel like the place was more of a hotel than an apartment complex.
After reading a bunch of depressing reviews, I was starting to wonder if this was the wrong part of town to be looking for apartments. Doing some real estate research reveals that all of those units were built around the 70s. A combination of poor initial build quality and lack of upkeep makes them look significantly more run-down than I'd expect from 30-year old apartments. It seems like a spiral downward - many different people moving in and out every year of an apartment puts a lot of strain on the upkeep of the building. It's a perpetual cycle now - the building is sub-par, so people don't stay long, and the buildings get abused even more.
I did end up finding an apartment by the end of the day through a referral. It's not as big as the 1100-unit West Pointe complexes, and as a result the maintenance staff is not as strained, and able to keep the building in shape a lot better. The person who referred me had lived there for 4 years, so I figured surely, this is a reasonable experience. Turnover on the other apartments is just plain scary - West Point had 20 move-ins already schedule for the weekend. At that rate, nobody really is staying more than a year.
Saturday, 20th of August, 2005
Tuesday, 16th of August, 2005
Friday, 12th of August, 2005
I've spent enough time in a WRX that driving a naturally-aspirated New-Age Impreza was almost a weird experience. The Saab has a similar gauge cluster, the Momo steering wheel, Impreza transmission, and even the WRX's steering rack, but then I push the clutch down and it's definitely the different push-style clutch that Subaru puts in all the naturally-aspirated cars. It's one of those experiences where something is really close to something but it's so close that it's bothersome because it's not exactly the same.
Also, if you're going to get the heated seats they eat into the rear seat space. They fixed the rear seat space in the New Age Impreza so that a person of my size can sit back there comfortably, but the 9-2X's seat eliminates all that space advantage and we're back in GC8-land again as far as rear seat comfort goes. If you want both heated seats and rear space, get a Legacy.
For the performance-oriented, it may also be interesting to note that the 9-2X has firmer springs, softer struts, and more sound deadening than the Impreza. But that's nothing that can't be fixed with some STi suspension components. Also, if you do the math, you've also probably figured out that you can buy a 9-2X Aero, a WRX wagon in disguise, for much less than a regular Subaru WRX wagon. For $20,425, in fact, and you get the WRX STi's steering rack as a bonus. Now a new WRX wagon for $20k is an extremely good deal.
Monday, 8th of August, 2005
Monday, 1st of August, 2005
I came across a great article by Bruce Horn, one of the original main designers of Macintosh software, and also a former Xerox employee. I think this clears up some of the arguments that who stole what back in the early days of personal computing. Microsoft stole from Macintosh, and then some say Macintosh stole it all from Xerox anyway. Regardless, it's a good read about some of the humble beginnings of the graphical user interface.