Day 116: My Digital Self

I am once again amazed to find out how much of my life is missing when I do not have stable access to the internet. This just goes to show how sad the social relationships of a PhD student truly are. I have to realize more and more that most of my social interactions throughout the last few years have taken place in the digital realm. Actually, come to think of it, this situation honestly never seemed all that negative to me. I am sitting in front of my computer writing all day anyway, so having some digital friends to talk to every once in a while is quite practical–provides you with company and you do not even have to switch back and forth between different applications of language. You can just keep writing. The last remnant of real world desires I have left are then fulfilled by a heavy dose of The Deadliest Catch, Dirty Jobs, or Survivorman, which present the counterpart to my existence via the romanticization of physical labor (obviously itself always a characteristic of the white-collar bourgeoisie, or of what has recently been termed the “cybertariat” [a term that carries a slightly different class connotation than, say, the status signifiers “middle-class” or “upper-class”).

Long story short: I still to not have internet at home, a situation that will hopefully change soon. This means that I had to make the trip down to campus today to catch up on my life that seems to continue without me. The commute is not too bad. I tested it out for the first time and it takes me a little less than an hour to get here on the El (train). Tested the Halsted bus yesterday and had to find out that it sucks (door to door service but it takes me almost an hour and a half that way). Taking the train works, even though I have to walk a few blocks. Not too bad in the summer. We’ll see how that goes in the winter.

Now I just have to find a coffee shop in my new neighborhood that offers free wi-fi. Emilio suggested Dollop, which seems to be a little north of me. I have seen a Caribou just a block south of me (on the corner of Broadway and Melrose, I believe) but they frequently charge people for wireless and I am just not willing to pay a coffee shop chain to access my digital self.  Does anyone have any ideas regarding a nice coffee shop with wi-fi in  my hood? I really like the Bourgeois Pig but that is on Fullerton, i.e. about ten blocks south of me.

Once again: I promise that my postings will become intellectually more stimulating again once I have internet at my house and have more time to write. Moving is just so disruptive.



  1. so i LOVE chuck palahniuk and hearing from my long lost farm cousin! i’m reading “i was vermeer” about the world’s most famous/infamous forger, i think you would dig it. every time i drink an irish car bomb, i think of you.

  2. Dear Kind-of-but-Not-Really-Well, Almost-Neighbor,

    I baked some virtual cookies for your digital self as a welcome to the neighborhood even though we are not neighbors. The best part about them is that YOU get to pick what kind they are. Also, check out some of these coffee shops:

    I’m not exactly sure how far away they are from your place, but they’re all in Lakeview.


  3. Oh, and I haven’t been to many of these, but I have been to Inteligensia and I’m pretty damn sure they have wi-fi…fyi…

    digital language is so cool.

  4. Yes, Emilio is right, dollop is a great coffee shop with free wifi. I think intellegensia does have a fee for usage. I’m ready to make the coffee shop rounds this summer for the sake of getting work done so hopefully we will run into each other.

  5. @ joanna: virtual cookies? cool. I am rather old-school when it comes to cookes, so I would say oatmeal-raisin. Now, how exactly does this work?

    All of you: thanks so much for your help. I just got to Dollop. It’s great! Fun small place with lots of people studying. I think I can get lots of work done here. I really prefer it to places I used to go to in the past such as Filter, which is just too hip for my (and its) own good (and the loud, annoying alternative music that is not even good alternative music does not help when you’re trying to get work done). The only thing that saved Filter for me was the fact that you could smoke there but ever since the Chicago smoking ban went into effect that last item on Filter’s plus side disappeared as well. All in all, I would say that this place is a realy good alternative.

    @ hoggsauce: yes, we should definitely get some studying done here over the summer. I have a packed schedule and shared pain is only half the pain for each of us (something that may not be true for Lauren Olaminah, he he).

  6. @ shannon: so great to hear from you! Hee, hee–farm cousin. That’s right. Totally forgot about that. But, yes, Irish Car Bombs always bring back fond memories of summers on O’Malley’s back deck (when I first embarrassed myself in front of people I would have to teach in a university setting the morning after). I just talked to Harvey about all this this weekend. What was the name of the English department watering hole? Totally forgot the name. Despite the memorable fact that the houses next to it burned down after our pub crawl.
    Say hi to your hubby!

  7. rockabelly deli is the infamous drinking establishment 🙂 where i had my first summer beer, so-co and lime shot, and watched matt g. make inappropriate advances to a tree.

  8. Rockabelly-that’s right!!! How could I forget? That place was after all pretty much our living room substitute. I do not remember the tree-romancing, however. So glad I now know the name of the place again–especially since I had my M.A. thesis defense there. One of the better and more relaxed defenses I have had in my life. I miss that place. And for that matter I also miss student-faculty mud wrestling. You really do not find that very often in an English department.

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