Michael Karlesky

A cabinet of wonders. Minus the cabinet. And possibly the wonders.

New refrigerator. No report card to stick on it.

Roommate and I have a new pad. I don't know how this happened. Not the moving part. I was there for that. And it involved many days, boxes, flights of stairs, and trips in a minivan. What I mean is that this is surely the nicest place in which I have ever lived. I'm a graduate student in New York City for crying out loud. Utterly ridiculous. Two bedrooms. A living area. A big beautiful kitchen. We have much more room than the photos show. It wasn't until we started working with our fourth broker, Summer, that we found this place. Her name is no accident. Summer could likely sell water to fishes with her disposition. Thankfully she used her powers for good; otherwise, she could have found us a dump and we might have been happy to have it. Our new place is at the upper end of our budget but is really a great deal (by New York standards at any rate).

I've lived in New York City for six months now. I assumed I would move at some point within my first year to a better setup than whatever my very first living arrangement would be. And so that's just what has happened. We now live at the south west corner of Prospect Lefferts Gardens. We're one block from Prospect Park and one block from the subway (two stops closer to school, in fact). It will be a lovely walk to the subway in the spring, summer, and fall. Our building was built before WWII and has been partially restored since then. We live on the sixth floor by way of a classic Otis elevator. Our apartment is the product of a relatively recent gut renovation with all new floors, walls, and appliances. We have a dishwasher! And a microwave! And laundry in the building! I now have enough room to sleep in an extra long bed (once I get one)! We have plenty of space to host guests and have people over.

The photos show the interior of the apartment just before we moved in. Pardon any dirt — it wasn't spic and span at the time. We're now at the stage where we still have lots of boxes and decisions to be made upon opening them. We've been bringing in furniture as we find deals. We've been tackling some small repairs — though the renovation is recent, this place had tenants before us. The rest of the photos show some interior detail of the building and the views from our windows.

The photos do not show our shiny new refrigerator. You're not missing much. It has an upper and lower door in stainless steel and absolutely no report cards on it. I miss report cards. Everything is online now. I can say that my first semester went very well. The kind of well that got back to me through the grapevine regarding my standing with the powers that be. I don't know that this semester will go quite as well given that 80% of my Artificial Intelligence course grade is comprised of just two exams. Time will tell.

The difficult thing about a doctoral program is explaining just what I'm doing. School usually equates to classes. And I do have classes — especially as I do not have the credits earned from having a masters. But ultimately classes are meant to support the real focus of my academic life: research projects. Unfortunately, I don't have much latitude to talk publicly about these projects until they're published. So here we are. Let me say that I am really enjoying my classes this term. They are all kinds of fancy pants learnin’: Artificial Intelligence, Social & Emotional Approaches to Human Computer Interaction [special topics class — no web page], and Values Embodied in Information Technology and Digital Media. This is good stuff. The kind of stuff I hoped I would encounter in grad school. I have not yet finished my first year, but I am certain of two things. First, I am being exposed to several topics of which I have very much wanted. Second, I am being exposed to topics I did not even know existed. And, as an added bonus, I've also been meeting students in these classes that I enjoy and connect with; this did not happen so much in my first semester.

Roommate: A. New apartment: A. This semester's classes: straight A's. Yet to be seen what grades I will get in those classes. Speaking of which, I have several assignments I should get back to…