June 2nd, 2003

default, pepper

An unproductive weekend?

It certainly feels that way--no explorations farther afield than San José's Santana Row, which you could describe as a "yuppie shopping mall." That wouldn't be an accurate picture, though; it's part of what seems to be a new trend in mixed development--since "downtown revival" projects of letting development companies renovate old buildings into both shops and living space have been increasingly successful, those developers seem to be trying to reproduce the success in more suburban areas by building new mixed-use areas from the ground up. There's one on the outskirts of Orlando, Winter Park Village, and of course the downtown area at Celebration in Disney is a relatively small scale version of the concept, with a sister-in-spirit in Tampa called West Park Village.

While I'm amused by such places, I don't have anything against them. It's easy to make quasi-philosophical arguments about their lack of character compared to "true" downtown spaces like Ybor in Tampa or Berkeley here, but it misses a fundamental point: suburban developments can't be built with the character of a place that's been around for fifty, sixty or a hundred years. Attempting to build them in a style that's attractive, functional and moderately respectful of what made pre-suburbia downtowns successful is arguably the lesser of two evils when compared to a typical shopping mall.

So, did I find anything interesting at Santana Row, you might ask? Eh. Some interesting restaurants, so I'm sure I'll end up there again. I visited Tommy Bahama looking for Hawaiian shirts and found it stunningly overpriced (a good 25% more expensive than Reyn Spooner, the canonical made-in-Hawaii brand).

Today was spent--mostly doing nothing, with a bit of cleaning thrown in. Revar did more cleaning work than I did; I cleaned the floor of Glum's old room, but the hardwood floor is in bad shape. It may need to be completely refinished, although it's possible it can be reconditioned--neither of which I know how to do, and the former of which would really be the landlord's responsibility.

Well, I seem to have watched most of "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" by accident, and it's quite past time for sleep (not that I usually manage to make it to bed before now).