Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Finding A New City - Rankings

Well, my travels are over and my wife's interviews complete.  Now it is time to look back and evaluate what is what.  First an overview of the cities, in no real order.

City Jobs CCW BJJ Cost of living Direct to Japan Winter Other
Chapel Hill lots yes some +53% no ok pretty city
New Haven no no one +39% no bad high crime
Chicago yes no lots +50% yes bad liberal hell hole, pro sports, lots of stuff to do
Pittsburgh some yes yes +3% no bad pretty city, pro sports
Baltimore lots no lots +30% yes bad high crime, crappy city, bad feel, pro sports
Dallas lots yes lots +12% yes no hot, bad traffic, spread out city, not many brew pubs, pro sports, great sushi
Washington D.C. lots no yes +60% yes bad bad traffic, liberal hell hole, high crime, very pretty city, pro sports, not many breweries
Portland some yes yes +24% yes always cold and rainy pretty city, lots of brewpubs, lots of outdoor stuff, LOVED pearl district
Birmingham some yes some -2% no chilly pretty city, nice downtown, lots of people dumber than me...
Ann Arbor no yes yes +20% no (but there is from Detroit) bad one industry, Huskers come to town, pretty city 
San Diego yes no lots  +65% yes no great down town, pro sports, lots of brewpubs, lots of outdoor stuff, BEACH!!
Albuquerque  some yes yes +10% no no hot!!, no green, many brewpubs, small city, close to skiing
Rochester no yes some +19% no (but there is from MIN) super bad small city, far away from everything, single industry, some brewpubs

Seeing all of that, there are a couple of cities that check all of the boxes, but most of what this is all about comes down to feel and where I think I can a least maintain my current standard of living.

My choice would be to go somewhere fun, but the fun places don't really match up with my political views or my life outlook.  How fun will the beach be if I don't have any friends?  Is it fun to get a beer at the brewpub if no one wants to share it with me?  Sure, I can learn to fly sea planes, but who will fly with me?

Anyway, here are my rankings for cities:

City Reasoning
Dallas Dallas checks all of the boxes.  It has everything I want in a city, except for a beach
San Diego SD was a tough choice for number two, it is expensive and no CCW, BUT it is so much FUN!!  I could live there for three years I think.
Portland Portland is a lot of fun as well, and I loved the pearl district with all of the beer and shops and what not.  Skiing is not far away as well as other fun hiking activities.
Pittsburgh Pittsburgh was a great city, very pretty, and has a good economy.  Pro sports gives lots to do.
Chapel Hill The lack of aviation is disturbing, but there is lots of work and the weather is nice.  Combine that with the beauty of the area and you have a city that makes the top 5.
Birmingham Very nice city, not a lot of work, but I could find something.  Good laws, the people there are easy to find similarities with (hunting and shooting are very big in AL).
Albuquerque ABQ is hot.  But is has a good craft beer industry to cool you down.  Living here would be a lot like living in OKC, with out the extra green.  I could do it, but I would want many vacations to get me out of town.
Chicago Chicago would be near the top if they didn't have such crappy laws.  No guns in the city?  Nope, I am going to have mine in the apartment, and just not tell anyone about them.
Stupidly high taxes, corruption through the roof, and very expensive to boot.  Just not a good combo.
Ann Arbor A pretty city, but that does not make up for bad winters and a non existent job market.  Flint and Detroit lead the top of the worst places in the country to live, and there is Ann Arbor right next to them.  Bad bad bad.
Washington D.C. No no no no
Rochester No jobs, winters that last 10 months.  Nuff said.
Baltimore It's a rundown shithole.  No.  No No NO!!!!
New Haven no.  just no.

All of this, of course, is simply an intellectual exercise.  My choices and the ultimate decider's, my wife, choices are likely to be vastly different.  Her criteria depend not at all on the city that we move to, rather they depend on where she can get the best training for her career.  Ultimately, her career is why we are moving to this new city for three years.  I can gut out three years in New Haven, if I need to, however I am likely to be depressed and have difficulty functioning, counting down the days until we leave.  But I could do it, and I could hide how deep my feelings go from my wife.  I am a tough guy, and living somewhere I don't like will only make me tougher.  I need to find the silver lining in the city, just as I have found some very bright spots here in OKC.  

After talking with my wife as we left San Diego, I believe her choices will run:
Ann Arbor
San Diego

With her likability and undeniable skill, she will match to her first or second choice, so I am moving forward with my current client to see if they would mind a remote employee.  After my initial 6 month contract is up, we will see if they want more of me, if they do, remote work is a definite possibility.  That is a good thing, because there isn't a lot of opportunity in Ann Arbor.

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