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Old 05-01-2007, 10:15 PM
 
Location: Helena, MT
373 posts, read 1,704,964 times
Reputation: 285

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I live in Helena, MT. It's a small city and the state capital. Folks around here spend a lot of time hunting, fishing, and camping. Eating out mostly consists of pizza, Chinese, Mexican, or Applebee's. We have a cultural split between those who drink microbrews and those who don't. We have a couple of good microbreweries. We recently got three Starbucks (the first in Montana)--all in one year. If you're ever in Montana, check out the local pizza chain McKenzie River. Really fun, different pizzas and sandwiches in a really cool log setting.

This is a non-diverse community which makes it kind of naive to the world (not necessary good or bad...just different). Most people drive Toyotas, Hondas, or Subarus if they drive a car instead of a truck. Half drive all-wheel or four wheel drive SUV's or full-size trucks. We don't have mass transit. We don't have much class differentiation...very middle class. We have lots of skilled workers in the trades (contractors, etc.) and many white collar workers who work in state government, higher education, or insurance.

For night life, we go out singing karaoke, go to a minor league hockey or baseball game, attend a rodeo, or go to the town's new movie theater. The local high school football game between the Helena schools is the place to be each year. We also have art walks and a really well attended weekly outside entertainment activity called "Alive at Five." Taking walks and going to the farmers' market is big in the summer. We do have a contemporary art museum and a world-renowned potters' guild. Its' a conservative democrat type of city with all of the fun of a small state capital where you can bump into legislators anywhere. They'll even buy a round when they show up at the local blue collar railroad bar. Heck, I even went to a wedding reception at the Governor's. He was wearing jeans and drinking a Bud.

The best thing about my area is the total lack of pretense!

People tend to be non-evangelical Protestants or Catholics. People mind their own business about religion and politics. People tend to have friends of all ages and it is fine to be friends with either males or females without having to do things as couples. However, for folks with young kids, after school activities and sports are massive.

I accidentally left my front door completely open the other day while I went to work...no one came in. I live on a high-walking-traffic street, too. I don't mean unlocked. I mean gaping open.

We do have a few rednecks and meth heads though. If I had to name our biggest problem, it would be gambling or meth. However, the meth problem is getting better, I believe. We've really been working on that.

P.S. You'd better like ranch dressing if you come to Montana because it's insanely popular on EVERYTHING.

Last edited by lorelei2873; 05-01-2007 at 10:26 PM..
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Old 05-01-2007, 10:28 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
5,608 posts, read 20,714,632 times
Reputation: 5347
Here's how the typical college student lives at ASU in Tempe, AZ:

Bicycle in to school, go to classes all day Tuesday and Thursday, in theory (ditching every other class). Work all day Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and often on the weekends too, at some lousy hotel or restaurant job. Eat microwaved dinners 6+ nights a week. Lift weights in the gym at night. Thursday night, go to the bars, get drunk. Friday night, go to an outdoor kegger. Get drunk. Sat morning detox. Go to work all day. Party hard Saturday night, hopping between 3 or 4 parties throughout the night as each one successively gets busted up by the cops. Crash over at the house, sprawled on the floor over their own throw up. Sunday morning, for some, show up to church hung over (no joke-- I've seen it happen). For others, sleep in till 3:00 in the afternoon. Do the weekly one hour dose of studying, watch tv all night long.

Arrgghhhh... why did I choose this school?
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Old 05-01-2007, 10:37 PM
 
766 posts, read 2,269,645 times
Reputation: 698
Quote:
Originally Posted by vegaspilgrim View Post
Here's how the typical college student lives at ASU in Tempe, AZ:

Bicycle in to school, go to classes all day Tuesday and Thursday, in theory (ditching every other class). Work all day Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and often on the weekends too, at some lousy hotel or restaurant job. Eat microwaved dinners 6+ nights a week. Lift weights in the gym at night. Thursday night, go to the bars, get drunk. Friday night, go to an outdoor kegger. Get drunk. Sat morning detox. Go to work all day. Party hard Saturday night, hopping between 3 or 4 parties throughout the night as each one successively gets busted up by the cops. Crash over at the house, sprawled on the floor over their own throw up. Sunday morning, for some, show up to church hung over (no joke-- I've seen it happen). For others, sleep in till 3:00 in the afternoon. Do the weekly one hour dose of studying, watch tv all night long.

Arrgghhhh... why did I choose this school?
Don't wish those college days away, man. I'd go back in a heartbeat (although it would have been a lot more fun if I had the money that I am making now full-time).
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Old 05-02-2007, 12:26 PM
 
5,858 posts, read 14,046,541 times
Reputation: 3482
Quote:
Originally Posted by lorelei2873 View Post
I live in Helena, MT. It's a small city and the state capital. Folks around here spend a lot of time hunting, fishing, and camping. Eating out mostly consists of pizza, Chinese, Mexican, or Applebee's. We have a cultural split between those who drink microbrews and those who don't. We have a couple of good microbreweries. We recently got three Starbucks (the first in Montana)--all in one year. If you're ever in Montana, check out the local pizza chain McKenzie River. Really fun, different pizzas and sandwiches in a really cool log setting.

This is a non-diverse community which makes it kind of naive to the world (not necessary good or bad...just different). Most people drive Toyotas, Hondas, or Subarus if they drive a car instead of a truck. Half drive all-wheel or four wheel drive SUV's or full-size trucks. We don't have mass transit. We don't have much class differentiation...very middle class. We have lots of skilled workers in the trades (contractors, etc.) and many white collar workers who work in state government, higher education, or insurance.

For night life, we go out singing karaoke, go to a minor league hockey or baseball game, attend a rodeo, or go to the town's new movie theater. The local high school football game between the Helena schools is the place to be each year. We also have art walks and a really well attended weekly outside entertainment activity called "Alive at Five." Taking walks and going to the farmers' market is big in the summer. We do have a contemporary art museum and a world-renowned potters' guild. Its' a conservative democrat type of city with all of the fun of a small state capital where you can bump into legislators anywhere. They'll even buy a round when they show up at the local blue collar railroad bar. Heck, I even went to a wedding reception at the Governor's. He was wearing jeans and drinking a Bud.

The best thing about my area is the total lack of pretense!

People tend to be non-evangelical Protestants or Catholics. People mind their own business about religion and politics. People tend to have friends of all ages and it is fine to be friends with either males or females without having to do things as couples. However, for folks with young kids, after school activities and sports are massive.

I accidentally left my front door completely open the other day while I went to work...no one came in. I live on a high-walking-traffic street, too. I don't mean unlocked. I mean gaping open.

We do have a few rednecks and meth heads though. If I had to name our biggest problem, it would be gambling or meth. However, the meth problem is getting better, I believe. We've really been working on that.

P.S. You'd better like ranch dressing if you come to Montana because it's insanely popular on EVERYTHING.
Great post, lorelei! Makes me want to go there. I've been to your state once before, to Glacier NP. We took Amtrak, so got to see the beautiful countryside. I'd like to back again and visit your cities, especially Helena and Butte, which also sounds fascinating to me.
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Old 05-02-2007, 01:30 PM
 
Location: Portland, OR
414 posts, read 2,416,372 times
Reputation: 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank the Tank View Post
Don't wish those college days away, man. I'd go back in a heartbeat (although it would have been a lot more fun if I had the money that I am making now full-time).
College sucked. Socially it was very isolating for me though I did decently academically and stuff like that.

Yeah choose a college that works with your personality. My college is in the Chicago burbs and I couldn't be more at odds with it.

Most of the kids at my school have luxury SUVS - Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited, Lexus RX300, BMW X5, or Audi A4s, BMW 3 series, some pretty nice stuff there in the lot, Acura TL, bunch of leased/newish cars. Yeah my car is more of the beater and theres a couple others but thats about it. Amazing that most kids are driving $8000+ cars.

I have wheels and it gets me places. The only places to go here are the city, the mall, out to eat, or hang out at some other random crappy burb. Its cold and no leaves out for most of the year at school. If you're more of an introvert outdoors kind of guy like me its very isolating and depressing. The people get drunk all weekend with people that they know and have cliques and waste money on crap and watch sports on tv.

I've taken the opportunity to go up to Duluth, Minnesota and a couple of times to the Northwoods. I'm a college student so if I had the $$ to do that stuff more often I would. My school has no outdoors club and I couldn't start one cuz you need to rent a van to take everyone up and I wasn't old enough to drive the van. A damn shame. I miss that stuff from being a Boy Scout and in high school.

People here in the Chicago burbs work professional corporate office park jobs, commute at least 15 miles each way (spending hour plus in traffic), drive big Lexus GX470 suvs and similar kind of stuff, have big houses that cost 800,900k with 15k/year property taxes and 1000/month heating bill, eat out at chain restaurants and go to the mall on the weekend, and drive 75 mph in a 55 zone or 50 instead of 35 on regular roadway. You'll get pushed around while driving too if you're not into that fast pace kind of life.

Then there's group of young type A corporate workers who pay 1000/month for some stupid apartment with hopes of someday upgrading to a condo or a townhouse, drive a honda or acura with a sport package tail, drive super fast and aggressively, and like to get drunk and watch sports on the weekend like the kids at my college.

Then there's a huge immigrant underclass that unlike in NoVa doesn't seem to be happy here. Maybe it's the bad weather, high prices, depressing sky, and general lack of beauty around them. Happier maybe in the city -- less so in the burbs I'd say. Big crews of Mexicans doing all the land work for people who have properties, not too many people doing it themselves. Places like Waukegan, Wheeling, Elmhurst, Franklin Park, Zion, some of the most depressing strip kind of things I can think of. Pay 3.10/gallon for gas and no apartments for under 700/month. Some days I dont even feel like getting up and going to class in the winter. Imagine what it would be like working 2 jobs and living in some dump box city with crime and bad schools like Waukegan. Unlike Los Angeles, the weather and sky drains you, the flat bleak prairie -- yes one job is enough for me and I have to fight all winter to keep my mood up.

I am getting the hell out and going to law school down south. There I can afford a house, my school reputation will go farther, I'll have the outdoors and opportunities, and a more laid back outdoors oriented lifestyle. If you're poor its a much richer life to live in some rural area in Mississippi with the sun shining and a creek to enjoy than having a life full of concrete, harsh wind, hardship, rigid class structures, high cost, and feeling like dirt. Yes there is a brain drain. With current prices one of those McMansions that I'd want for working hard and becoming an attorney would be inaccesible for me unless I was a partner at a major Chicago law firm. Yes I work 70 80 hour weeks to afford a 4 bedroom development house in a place like Libertyville or Long Grove and I commute an hour each day. Not to mention those jobs being highly competitive and necessary to go to a place like Northwestern or UChicago to get one. Maybe my wife will work too if I have one and then we could afford a couple nice cars and the property taxes and heating on the house. No lifes not all about work and joining a consumerist culture in a major city. All the arts and stores in the city of Chicago alone could not attract me to adopt the low quality of life present in the suburbs.
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Old 05-02-2007, 01:43 PM
 
Location: Southern California
3,455 posts, read 7,299,643 times
Reputation: 1410
come on now...I live in the suburbs, it aint that bad and you cant sum up everyone's cars like that. I mean, you've got it right down to the spoiler! ha. thats just not the facts. It sounds like your focusing on people that have more than you, or a type that makes you uncomfortable...theres so much more out there. Chicago has it all (all sorts of people I mean, and all incomes, all religions, all kinds of cars too - even in the suburbs)

Anyway...I want to go to Helena!!!!!!!!!! I agree, Chicago area can be hard if you love the outdoors. But I live in the far northwest burbs and like Glacial park, Chain o lakes, and usually I find plenty to keep my interest actually...you just have to drive a bit north or west...dont have to go all the way to duluth.

I dont have much to add about the "norm" here....there really isn't one, and its a comfortable place to reside where people wont be in your business all the time. But it does lack excitment, and does lack warmth in the winter!!!

But I do think its unfair to group everyone here in such a way....you just can't.
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Old 05-02-2007, 02:19 PM
 
9 posts, read 27,117 times
Reputation: 14
If you don;t mind my asking where are you from?
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Old 05-02-2007, 02:28 PM
j33
 
4,625 posts, read 12,865,814 times
Reputation: 1668
wallstreet1986 - hon, I know you are unhappy in the northern suburbs. I've never lived up there, so, no, I don't know what it is like, but it is unfair to paint all of Chicago with that brush based on your experience in just that part of town. What you are describing is not the lifestyle that a good portion of the city and/or burbs experience. I've lived here my entire life and it certainly doesn't describe even a moment of mine. While I'm not a huge fan of our more brutal winter days, perhaps you ought to invest in a lightbox or plan a weekend away somewhere warm if you can.

...and why would you want a mcmansion anyway, that is nothing to aspire to. In my circle, I know nobody (including families with children) who do.

Last edited by j33; 05-02-2007 at 02:44 PM..
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Old 05-02-2007, 04:53 PM
 
Location: Portland, OR
414 posts, read 2,416,372 times
Reputation: 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by j33 View Post
wallstreet1986 - hon, I know you are unhappy in the northern suburbs. I've never lived up there, so, no, I don't know what it is like, but it is unfair to paint all of Chicago with that brush based on your experience in just that part of town. What you are describing is not the lifestyle that a good portion of the city and/or burbs experience. I've lived here my entire life and it certainly doesn't describe even a moment of mine. While I'm not a huge fan of our more brutal winter days, perhaps you ought to invest in a lightbox or plan a weekend away somewhere warm if you can.

...and why would you want a mcmansion anyway, that is nothing to aspire to. In my circle, I know nobody (including families with children) who do.
I want the ability to have a McMansion like a normal attorney family would not inflated house prices. The housing market is slow and that stuff is all coming down. The younger generation wants to afford houses at some point, well it shouldn't go up again as fast as before or as fast as gas
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Old 05-03-2007, 12:20 AM
 
Location: Midwest
1,903 posts, read 7,281,789 times
Reputation: 464
My hometown is in the northern Detroit burbs: more Cadillacs, fewer Acuras. Chicago northern burbs are nuts with long distances and huge malls with food courts of screaming kids and loose teenagers on a Saturday night!

Somewhere between the display lot of the Acura dealer in Palatine, the Borders store in Deerfield, and cruising through Wilmette, I tell myself: there is work waiting back in Champaign!

The thing I liked about Ann Arbor, while it is culturally distinct from the Detroit area, it's a satellite of Detroit [wealth] and you are not in the middle of flatness nowhere like here in Champaign. If someone flies in from overseas to meet me, it's a long and uneventful ride up to O'Hare, excluding stopping to pay for tolls on the Illinois Tri-State Scamway and/or awful February blizzards that NO ONE should be out driving in.

I think I will check out Indianapolis McMansions this weekend.
It's not something a social sciences PhD student 'should' be doing, but it feels so good (unless I end up at the ghetto-type Burger King for a quick dinner ... which is basically any BK in the US).

I am a Midwesterner from metro Detroit! I like my cheeseburgers, sprawlburbia, 80s pop music, and Acuras. Hmm 3/4 correlation ain't bad.
Integras do look good with Michigan plates, though.

I have a hard time picturing myself working at a college further away on the plains, or in some small awful town in the Deep South, and the regional state universities in the Midwest. Eh, maybe I will get my advanced degree and work for government. Acura TL Type S with all the bodywork! I wonder if I can put that as a tribute on my dissertation. "For the motivation to finish this work, I credit my advisors ... and my desire to have a new car."

But to answer the question: the lifestyle in a large midwestern college town may be affordable, but while there are "cultural events," it's nothing to get excited about. Still, it's better than being stuck to some slave corporate job in sprawlburbia! /bogeyman

Worked for a small company in Ohio for 10 months ... if you must look backwards. Akron area might be somewhat similar to Grand Rapids. Flint and Youngstown are indistinguishably crappy and unsafe.

Been across the country and the world [Asia and Europe]. I'm still looking for my favorite Big Boy Restaurant.
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