how about Pierre, SD?


While dining in Efland, NC tonight, we sat around in a circle and discussed where on earth we could live if we didn’t live, you know, where we live. I know I’m repeating myself, but I have some pretty arbitrary thoughts on the subject. To sum up:

– there has to be a healthy gay population (even though I’m neither)

– an up-and-coming band scene, regardless of the fact that I’ll hate all of them

– lots and lots and lots of free wireless internet all over town

– an orchestra that can get through Mahler 8

– three or more respected colleges or universities

– loud, omnipresent liberals

– places that can make a soy latt

0 thoughts on “how about Pierre, SD?

  1. Alan

    You are such a Montrealer and you don’t even know it. The whole winter thing is to look chic in a parka. Plus the train from there goes by your farm. How is your knowledge of unpasturized cheeses?

  2. Kmeelyon

    “Intellectually lazy,” and “self-satisfied?” Ouch. I think the trick is to live in multiple cities, as it seems you do. After a life of living in NY, though, SF is was such a comfort. The things I miss least about NY are the pace and the extremes of temperature. But I very much miss the culture, even though there is enough to get by on over here….but it’s just not the same. That said, SF has a very small town feel. I am always amazed that SF retains that no matter what. Sometimes I think of SF as a mixture of Chapel Hill and NYC. This is a good thing (for me, at least).
    Speaking of small towns, I am off this morning to Hickory, NC. Eeeps.

  3. chip

    You know, I was going to say that Chapel Hill fit your bill, but then I realized you’d have to count Duke as a well-respected university.

  4. kent

    Iowa City winters last — the really snowy cold part — from about December 1 to March 1. We don’t have mountains, but we do have big muddy rivers. I’ve never understood people who are wimps about the weather — all it requires, no matter how cold it gets, is APPROPRIATE CLOTHING.
    You would have to count Palmer Chiropractic as a respected university though.

  5. scvecc

    But with San Fran, you have to contend with being on a faultline.
    Atlanta possibly an honorable mention? I’m a relatively new resident, but we like it so far.
    -It has the 3rd (some say 2nd) largest gay pop. in the U.S. including a part-time Elton John
    -Music scene is not bad. The area can claim Indigo Girls and Outkast in the same breath as well as lots of up and comings. And Athens is less than 1hr away for the cat’s cradle effect (though it may be still living off its R.E.M. and B 52’s 80’s driven rep as a hotbed)
    -not sure about wireless internet, but would assume so
    -Atlanta Symphony
    -Ga. Tech, Emory, Morehouse, Spelman, Ga. State
    -oops…liberals. in the city of Atlanta, yes, though not sure how loud we can be. the problem is you’d have to contend with the reputation of rest of the state. see “that freaky Tallahassee abortion-doctor-shooting sort of way” However, I grew up in the land of Strom and attended college & grad school in the land of Jesse, so maybe this is an improvement.
    -check (and I don’t mean starbucks)
    – atlanta journal-constitutional…better than the N & O.; also, Creative Loafing
    -ATL is 1000ft above sea level, close to mtns….6 long hrs to beach. does a lake count?
    -it will be in the 60’s today.
    Added Extras:
    UNC connection: largest alumni group outside of NC, proximity to GaTech and Clemson ensure easy access to a few carolina games a year (ACC expansion will affect this).
    only 5.5hr drive to C.Hill.
    relatively cheap airfare with airtran and delta
    southern city.
    Lingering Doubts:
    they are actually still debating the incorporation of the conf. flag into the state flag issue.
    ga public schools worst in the U.S. and they just tried to eliminate the word “evolution” from science classes.
    conservative political scene wins out

  6. Julianna

    Ummm…hello? You just described Minneapolis! It’s got all those things except, of course, the winter that lasts less than six months. But we like our winters. They keep out all the riffraff!

  7. michelle

    When I was living in Chicago (and LOVING it, by the by), everyone said the same thing- that the brutal winters kept the riff-raff out of that town and for that reason only, it was the best place on earth. Never too crowded, far more reasonable rents, always a place for your bike on the Lake Shore Path.
    But, oh, god, the winters. And I grew up (sort of) with Iowa winters. Ugh, the winters. Actually, I should say “winter”. I left after my first one there.

  8. Dabbler

    I know that you view Los Angeles as the seventh circle of hell, but you have described Silverlake. Hell, it’s Homo-Palooza! And lots of cool people with, and without, families. The bookstores in Los Feliz are excellent, you can’t swing a cat without hitting a soy latte, and the Angeles National Forest is less than half an hour away. And sure, everyone talks about the movie business at Trader Joe’s, but it’s like living on a highly trafficked street; you just stop hearing it pretty quickly.

  9. John Rukavina

    Your criteria are all pretty much met by Vancouver:
    – very healthy gay population and huge pride parade every summer
    – we might lose points on the bands because sadly we are responsible for the national shame that is Nickelback, but there are some good up and comers for you to hate
    – I’m assuming the wifi is in place
    – VSO
    – UBC, SFU, BCIT
    – vocal omnipresent liberal population
    – soy latt

  10. Annie

    Wow, Ian–I actually initially thought your blog was headed towards being a gracefully veiled commercial for the Triangle–and then I get thwacked in the face with San FranCISco?!?!? Thank god you included Tessa’s marvelously apt comments on the subject…in fact, she hit on the head one of the main things (among oh so many) that bothered me about SF–this weird sense permeating every conversation that the important thinking about whatever subject had already been done, and the thing to do at this point was read the script. It was just weird. I had the sense of constantly overhearing conversations that not only I but hundreds of thousands of overeducated people had already had and still were having in places where there was actually nothing else to do but feel good about how well you knew what you were talking about. Creativity, nil. I find more pure imagination in conversations currently taking place at the BP in East Durham.
    But to move on from SF-bashing (hopefully someday I’ll have my fill), I have to echo Chipper here and wave a flag for the Triangle–or at least Carrboro. At every point on your list (except perhaps the symphony) I thought Carrboro/Chapel Hill came up with five stars. Talk about soy lattes–I mean come on. And omnipresent liberals??? I would make a serious wager that Carrboro, given the chance, would have voted in the 90th percentile for Kucinich. Fuck Duke–how about N.C. Central in Durham, a historically black university with a kick-ass law school? There’s no need to enumerate the rest–it’s all here. You won’t see any stars and bars hanging off some possum-eater’s porch (unless you go about ten to fifteen miles out in Alamance county), and the public schools are among the best in the country. Healthy gay population? Our MAYOR is queer!!
    And if, my friends, if that’s not enough (and I haven’t even mentioned the Tar Heels or Dean Smith) we’ll just go straight for the gut: the balmy Carolina Piedmont springs and falls stretch our warm season (I’m talking shorts, tank tops, and sandals) from April all the way through October. I’ve oft heard Ian himself say that May in Chapel Hill epitomizes the glory of spring like nowhere else on earth.
    So, really, there’s nothing else to say, is there? It’s a sunny, beautiful Tuesday, and damn near 60 degrees.

  11. David Ball

    Come on, Tessa–
    I have to admit, I used to think as you did, but that’s when I lived in NY. What city had the biggest anti-war rallies? Where was the internet taken to it’s greatest heights? Where are both Blogger and MT based? Where is incredibly great progressive activism happening–not just the marches, but MoveOn and Hint: it ain’t NYC.
    Speaking as someone who is currently in school, there’s nothing intellectually lazy about the place. Here’s a hint: people don’t actually have TIME to read in NY. Tessa, you would love it here–people are just as smart as NYers but not so smug about it. And I say that as someone who lived in NY for 8 years, met my wife there, had my brother live there, and really love it. But whoever said it is right: this is Chapel Hill meets NYC. As great as our nabe in Cobble Hill was, SF dogs it. People who say SF sucks are usually from NY and are only doing that to justify not moving there–and they have only the shallowest interaction with the city. Saying it’s intellectually lazy is like confusing the part of Manhattan that is the Upper East Side for the whole. Or is someone going to justify that white-bricked intellectual wasteland to me? It’s like Spanky’s gone vertical.
    Two other quick points. One, is it intellectually lazy to be doing the gay marriage thing, or does it SIMPLY FUCKING RULE?
    Two. Seen an independent bookstore in NY lately? (B&N doesn’t count.) We are ass-over with them out here. Honest to god local bookstores, honest to god local merchants.
    Those who don’t know, criticize.
    I think your physical presence here speaks volumes. By which I mean in SF, not in NY.
    Come on out and spend time with Larry Lessig. Or Medea Benjamin. Or Michael Chabon. Or Dave Eggers. Or your Rhodes Scholar friend David Ball, for crying out loud. I’ll challenge you to Boggle, Scrabble, celebrities, Trivial Pursuit–anything–and then we’ll start talking intellectually lazy… DB

  12. David Ball

    Um. That should be its greatest heights.
    But I guess I didn’t say we weren’t gramatically lazy.
    Loving the double negative, DB

  13. Just Andrew

    ah, rural vermont – I hit on only one criterion – we’re 5 miles from a mountain.
    otherwise zilch and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

  14. Steven Garrity

    Great post. Still chuckling.
    So, if Johnny Rukavina can leave Vancouver for Charlottetown, then you can leave NY for Charlottetown.
    Sure, we can’t meet most your criteria – but where else can you know the gay population all by name!
    You’re missing one criteria: Peter Rukavina lives there.
    Here’s my run-down of how Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island handles your criteria:
    – there has to be a healthy gay population (even though I’m neither)
    You can know the entire gay community by name.
    – an up-and-coming band scene, regardless of the fact that I’ll hate all of them
    You can know the entire indie music scene by name.
    – lots and lots and lots of free wireless internet all over town
    You can do it yourself for a few thousand bucks.
    – an orchestra that can get through Mahler 8

    – three or more respected colleges or universities

    – loud, omnipresent liberals
    You can know all liberals by name.
    – places that can make a soy latt

  15. Jeff

    Ah, you’ve got me homesick for the Bay Area. I guess being away from there for the last few years has turned it into a kind of mythical wonderland in my head. Something like that. Anyway, actually there is a test for American cities at I can’t vouch for its accuracy, though. (Oh, and they make you register to get your results, by the way.)


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