Monday, January 30, 2006

Super Bowl Week!

After all, we don't have South Beach. We don't have Bourbon Street. We don't have Disneyland. But those places aren't real. They are dolled up, stacked coins, candy on candy. They are bars next to more bars and rides next to more rides. They are not cities. Detroit is a city.

When you see The Bus, you see Detroit -- large and slightly out of shape but churning straight ahead, with more to offer than people realize. He's real to the core. It's why Pistons center Ben Wallace, all muscle and hustle and hair, and Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman, the sage, reserved leader, are so popular.

Those who still think of Detroit as a blighted, dangerous industrial city in decline will be especially surprised by the new look of the city's downtown.

"It's got its own flavor. New York is great, don't get me wrong, but Detroit, there is something more raw about it that I really, really adore."

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Back to Blogging

I've obviously been neglecting my blog's what I've been up to:

My winter break was good, spending time with my family and friends. I wasn't sure if I'd get a whole week off from work, but I was pretty much told to take it off. Good. I some how managed to get paid for that week too. GOOD. Otherwise, my job sucks...more on that later.

I spent New Year's in New York with friends. Despite going out every night, we actually saw some sights which was a welcome change from the crippling all day hangovers/wallow fest usually associated with visiting friends in new cities. Overall, it was a great weekend and a nice way to end my break.

Then came work again. The first two weeks of January were the worst couple of weeks I've had in awhile. I was really frustrated with work going into winter break and I thought that a week off would help, but really it just made going back to work harder. I was close to telling my boss that I was done at the end of January, but I waited a bit and decided against it for the time being. It's gotten better since then and if nothing else, the frustration has really forced me to think about what I want to do in the near future...Peace Corps or no Peace Corps.

I had my final phone interview with the Peace Corps the first week of January. The recruiter and I spent the interview reviewing what I was interested in and qualified for before she read off a list of potential programs, regions, and departure dates. I was nominated for a business development program in Latin America leaving early May to late June. The nomination is no guarantee, but they say it's a good idea of where and what you'll be doing. I now have to get my doctor and dentist to fill out a ridiculous amount of paper work before the U.S. government stamps my ass "healthy," and I receive specific information on the country, job, and departure date I've been assigned. Once I get my formal invitation, I'll have ten days to decide to accept or reject and at least four weeks before I'd leave. Decision time is closing in quickly...I'd like to decide in the next couple of weeks so that I can tell my boss when I'll be done with work. If I do this, I'd like to have at least a couple of months to pack, sell most of my belongings, visit family and friends, organize my life, enjoy extra value trash meals, roam the aisles of Meijer, and consume as only an American can.

The past few weeks I've spent gearing up for the Super Bowl. Through a couple of my brother's friends, he and I are trying to get on the field for the Super Bowl halftime show. This would be...SUPER! Regardless, I've completed the training to work as a downtown street ambassador, working three four hour shifts assigned to a city block to welcome visitors to Detroit and answer questions. Through this program's training I was also able to meet and talk to a women who works for Downtown Detroit Partnership, a non-profit group that does different development work and has done a lot of work planning for the Super Bowl. This is the second group doing work in Detroit that I've met with and both times I've been surprised to find out about the extensive and well thought-out plans for where Detroit is headed. It's really cool to hear about this from the people that are making it happen rather than simply reading about the developments. It's clear after meeting these people that downtown Detroit's momentum will not end with the Super Bowl. I'm excited to see the developments in the coming months and years. Right now though, we'll focus on getting the Super Bowl right on February 5th!

Last weekend I was at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. Over the weekend we saw five screenings, absurd women's boots, and outrageous outfits/fur coats. It's safe to say that the fans at Sundance were a bit different from the fans at the Detroit Auto Show two weeks ago.

And finally, the most obvious thing I've been working on has been this blog. I've added a third column that includes books I've recently read and music I'm currently listening to. The flickr badge links to my updated and organized flickr account and I included a few more links on the right. I might tweak with the format a little more in the coming weeks. I hope you like it. February will see more consistent blogging...I promise.