Smile Politely

A Building, A Feeling, and A Latrine: Back to School 2019

Across the nation, school is back in session, so it’s time for me to venture once more into Campustown and review some junk.

615 S. Wright St.

This is one of the newest apartment buildings on campus, with inaugural tenants moving in last month. It’s also one of the most convenient, being just north of Green and Wright, and thus closer to classes than many of the actual dorm buildings (and just two doors down from Cravings).

My disdain for unimaginative grey apartment buildings is well-documented, however this one has yellow and red highlights instead of the ubiquitous BLUE highlights so I give it points for that. I don’t hate the corrugated siding look either. 615 S. Wright certainly doesn’t fit in with the brick buildings that surround it, but it’s got some sort of character.

The northwest side with its patches of three different greys and random yellow bits reminded me very strongly of something that I couldn’t place for the longest time. Turns out it’s highly evocative of the camouflage used on this particular jet fighter from an anime video game. So glad my brain is keeping these memories around so they can become useless paragraphs in my dumb column.

The building itself straddles Boneyard Creek, and the bike parking beneath the building has a commanding view of this mostly uninviting body of water as it runs beneath Wright Street.

In fact, the bike parking juts out over the creek itself, which is maybe why they put the bike parking there and not the car parking.

If this section of Boneyard Creek was a bit less fugly and industrial, I’d say the property manager should remove a few of the bike racks and put some nice picnic tables down here.

615 S. Wright is supposed to be getting a rooftop patio soon, which sounds way cooler than a ground-level creekview patio, however the artist’s rendition of this rooftop patio doesn’t make it look that awesome.

There’s one couch and two whole chairs which are covered by a little awning? Is that a grill in the background? I can’t actually tell. Anyway, I can’t really trash talk this rooftop patio too much. We have a severe shortage of rooftop patios here in Champaign-Urbana.

The strangest aspect of this building is that the owners chose to put the largest splash of color in an alleyway where nobody can see it. This nook where all the power meters are is painted completely yellow.

I wonder if somebody thought this would add some brightness to this nook and thus discourage people from doing crimes there. Maybe they just had a bunch of yellow paint left over after finishing the 12 square feet of yellow needed for the other highlights around the building. Who knows.

VERDICT: C+ for being slightly different than the other grey rectangles. (Note to Campus Property Management: I’ll bump this score up to a B if you let me chill on the rooftop patio when it’s finished)

Lurking on the UIUC Student Meme Page

It’s long been said that you cannot truly understand someone until you know their memes. With that in mind, I’ve been following the Facebook group “UIUC Memes For Underfunded Teens” for several months to find out what these mysterious youths care about.

There’s been lots of articles going around lately about how “Generation Z” has a particularly bizarre and nihilistic sense of humor. In my time observing UIUC Memes For Underfunded Teens though, I haven’t found that to be the case (well mostly anyway). Here’s a sampling of the meme subjects that have been popular in the group this past month:

  • Why didn’t they finish all this damn construction before the students got here?!
  • Job fairs are dumb
  • If you’re in this specific course, you’ll get this one joke
  • CORN!
  • Engineering students do not shower enough, or possibly have never showered and do not even know what showering is

VERDICT: I honestly find UIUC Memes for Underfunded Teens to be pretty wholesome. I think everyone in town should follow this page. Though, if you’re not a student, do not attempt to post your own memes; you might upset the balance of the DELICATE MEME ECOSYSTEM.

The Men’s Room at Sakanaya

Sakanaya is a sushi restaurant right on Green Street with good food and pretty reasonable lunch specials. The restaurant space itself is classy, but also a bit cramped. The men’s restroom is also classy but a bit cramped. I always appreciate an establishment where the bathroom matches the rest of the vibe.

Look at this tiny sink! It’s small, but it actually works better than many full-sized sinks I’ve reviewed. And look at this faucet! It’s like a slide for the water to come out of. Some kind of “water slide.” Pretty cool.

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The toilet is standard, and there’s a… plant.

The floor looks like it’s in rough shape, but it’s actually quite clean and adds to the charm.

This light fixture is interesting. Still cool even though only one light was functioning the day I was there.

Finally we have a very modern-looking “FASTDRY” brand hand dryer with a helpful glowing arrow to show you where to put your hands.

When the dryer is on, the arrow turns green and an unearthly blue light shines forth. I don’t think it helps your hands dry any faster, but it is pretty sweet.


VERDICT: Two thumbs up. Among the most inviting small bathrooms I’ve ever been in.

See y’all next month!

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