Last night, I noticed that when there's rain, this entire area smells awful.
Today, after getting an inflation adapter for my bike tire, I swung by Whole Foods for a snack and found an entirely different, disgusting smell likely from their refuse filling the area.
Around the corner, I found a Borders holding a closing sale; feeling like I was exploring a buggy store after the dawn of automibiles, I bought some books, wondering if there will be any bookstores left in 20 years. When I was younger, like many a geek, I imagined settling down to own a bookstore someday. It feels strange to think that some of my dreams are obsolete.
Narbreth exploration was next; a nice long bike ride around the area. There were plenty of people gathered to watch kids play basketball (it looked like the whole town was there just to see each other). The place felt welcoming and very small-towny, but maybe a bit dull and not necessarily intellectual. After a bit I sat down on a bench to find a coffeeshop, and Google showed me this. It looks like people have realised that a coffeeshop would be a good thing, but they've been just discussing it for awhile. I'm a bit weirded out by this; I recognise that communities might reasonably decide not to allow certain businesses (e.g. Wall-Mart), but some of the articles talked about an active effort to "procure" a shop. That strikes me as worrying; it makes it feel more like a gated community, and combined with there not actually being a coffeeshop there now, means it's only slightly better than here as a place to live.
On the way back, I stopped by an Indian restaurant in Wynnefield, a place by the name of Tiffin. Verdict: strange. They had some parts of their business down really well, and other parts were very sub-par. The samosa were bleh but the chutney was really good, and the saag paneer was fantastic (novel spice mix!) but it was served on very substandard rice. The atmosphere was pretty casual; I didn't feel out-of-place with khakis and a t-shirt. I don't know if I'd go back (the poor rice really irks me), but it wasn't a bad experience.
Later this week I need to explore more neighbourhoods to see if I can find a more hospitable place to live; I will probably be visiting Boston in the weeks to come to see what I can find there.
In a recent online conversation, someone pointed me at cities and ambition, an analysis of the character of various cities. Given how my life's goals sit, I should consider Paris or Cambridge if I'm looking for a place to settle for now. Does it make sense to move again if I'm hoping to be in grad school this time of year next year? Hmm. As noted, in terms of things I respect, I actively disrespect great wealth, I am not impressed by companies, I am not impressed by nice clothes, and I am most impressed by ideas and intellectual growth.
This American Life recently did a show on patent trolls. Interesting. I look forward to the day when all intellectual property protections disappear.