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05/25/05 05:37 - ID#36574

Privilege

(e:Paul) and (e:Mike), I'm so sorry for your loss. One of my first impressions of (e:strip) (before I knew anybody here) was from (e:Terry) and (e:Matthew)'s journals about canning tomatoes with your Nonna. That slice of life struck home and sucked me right in. Even though I never met your grandmother, I feel like I know what she what was like from the stories and pictures and even hearing her voice. And seeing how much you love her.

I know how hard it to lose someone who is still full of life. It's much harder for those left behind. But for someone as independent as your grandmother, I can't help thinking how fortunate she was to live such a long, incredible life right up to the end.

It seems weird to be writing this publicly, but since I really only know you and your grandmother through the site maybe it makes sense. Anyway, thanks for sharing your Nonna with (e:strip). It's a privilege to know her.

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Permalink: Privilege.html
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05/20/05 10:40 - ID#36573

Aftershocks, I mean, thoughts

Hey, (e:Jasonsback), no you didn't come across as dismissive [inlink]jason,134[/inlink] it was just me being overly defensive. sorry.

Of course you would be welcome in San Fran any time. As long as you promise to look me up while you're here. I'm an excellent tour guide.

Ok, afterthoughts. You are absolutely right about banks being "more than willing to give people these huge mortgages." I am living proof of that, having bought my house here and refinanced two years later (30-year fixed both times) with absolutely no documentable income. Ha! I should have bought that 3-family for sure.

Anyway, I also wanted to say my post (below) should NOT be used for financial planning purposes. It's all philosophical crap with my own real life examples thrown in. I'm the last (e:peep) anybody should look to for financial advice, even though I did learn some good lessons the hard way. Oh, maybe just one tiny piece of financial advice about the mortgage interest tax write-off. That only works if you have an income to write the mortgage interest off your taxes against. So paying mortgage interest, not making any income, and taking a business loss all in the same year = very bad idea.

Ok, well I think I really am done here. And I am so sick of typing these days I'm going to take a vacation from recreational blogging and try to cultivate some friends I might get to talk to in person some day. So the N. Cali contingent will quietly slide into the Pacific now and the rest of the country can heave a sigh of relief and go about your business. Nice knowing you.

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Permalink: Aftershocks_I_mean_thoughts.html
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05/19/05 08:06 - ID#36572

value proposition

Before I get into this, no place on earth is so sweet that you should give up at least half your income just to have a roof over your head.

[inlink]jason,132[/inlink]

Well that's a matter of opinion, since money is meaningless except for what it can get you. (Unless you're into money purely as security, that is.) Only you can decide what you want to spend it on, though. I don't see it as such an absolute. For instance, would it be worth it to you to cut whatever you spend on housing now in half by moving to South Dakota?

Anyway, the smartest financial move I ever made was to buy my first house (a two-family for $144k in Medford MA) which seemed like a huge stretch at the time. I got a first-time buyer loan where I only had to put 5% down and could add 75% of the projected income from the rental unit to my actual income to qualify. That scared the b'jesus out of me. But I quickly rented the downstairs apartment to the bonny Sullivan brothers and even carried them for more months than I care to admit when they ran into financial trouble. And the tax break I got on mortgage interest brought my actual housing costs down close to what I had been throwing away in rent. Instead of throwing money away that house turned into the best savings plan I could have picked.

The (second) dumbest financial move I ever made (let's not get into the first dumbest) was to NOT go through with buying the 3-unit Victorian on Haight Street when my offer was accepted the same day I got laid off a mere seven months after transferring to San Francisco. I played it safe and invested my real estate nest egg in the more conservative option - my little California bungalow here on the island hideaway of Alameda.

I guess I could have been even dumber and not bought into the market then at all, given all the uncertainties. Really played it seemingly "safe" and continued to subsist in the rent-controlled flat I shared with two other roommates. You can live pretty cheaply if you can get into a rent controlled apartment where at least one tenant has been on the lease a long time. I was paying $503/month to share a 2-bedroom 2-bath full floor Victorian flat with two fireplaces, double parlour (the master tenant's suite), living room, kitchen and sun porch with two other roommates. I was the only one with a "real" job. Until I got laid off, that is. Move to California, become a degenerate. ;-)

Wait a minute, this isn't the story I wanted to tell! Where was I? Oh yeah.

So there are a whole lot of factors involved in the cost of living comparison, many you have no control over (property taxes, for instance). It doesn't pay to get hung up on whether the things you can't change are right or wrong. It is what it is, just factor it into the equation and decide if the resulting scenario is worth it to you or not. Trying to nickel and dime every piece of the equation as if you could plug them in somewhere else might be interesting but in the end we only get to live in the real world, unfair as it might be. I learned that the hard way.

What can I say, I'm really not trying to talk anybody into anything. I just know I spent way too much of my life deliberating over things that in the end were not important. I'm also old enough to really know my time is limited. And for me, waking up every morning in a place where the weather is typically a joy not a battle, I have 450 miles of Bay trail and the Pacific ocean in my back yard, a city that is an international tourist destination across the Bay, local fresh produce year-round, cultural diversity, great housing stock, liberal, creative, individualistic friends and neighbors - that to me, as the credit card commercial puts it, is priceless. But that's just me.

image
View of the city, the ocean, the wilderness from Marin Headlands approximately 35 minutes from my house.

Too bad I'm not a better photographer. Maybe (e:Matthew) can come out and take some pix that will do the area justice. I'm officially retiring as Bay Area promoter.


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05/18/05 10:24 - ID#36571

make it so

The 2BR 1BA house [inlink]ajay,351[/inlink] next-door to mine just went on the market for $549k. ;-)

I don't know why nobody's heard of Alameda - it's only 14 miles from San Francisco and 39 miles from San Jose. It's not exactly cheap here, but it is somewhat insulated from the feeding frenzy. Catching up fast though. A good earthquake would fix that. (Doh!)

Another creative solution is to go in with another party to buy a two unit building together and form a tenancy in common. That's become very popular out here lately. There's even a website to help match you up with potential partners. I've thought about it as a way to buy in the city, but it's bad enough I'm pseudo-dating complete strangers maybe buying a building together would be going too far. Personally I'm all for starting an
e:commune
and getting a few (e:peeps) to go in on it. About 24 of us should do it. ;-)

On another topic, here's what should be happening tomorrow:

I should be taking advantage of the free ferry ride for bike commuters on bike to work day and meeting (e:j3sse) at our old work place at 101 Pine Street with just enough time for a cuppa at Torrefazione Italia before catching the premeire of Episode III at the Metreon then lunch at that hole-in-the-wall Thai place I can never find without him, effectively turning bike to work day into play hooky day. But somebody had to move to Buffalo. Oh, and we both got laid off. Doh! Ok, I'm done with this post.

Oops, one more thing - I'm supposed to see Episode III with "E" [inlink]twisted,194[/inlink] on Monday. His company is treating everybody and they can take a friend. I haven't heard from him in almost 3 days though. Maybe we 'broke up' and he forgot to txt me, haha. Or maybe he's just busy getting ready for E3 on Thursday. In any case, I guess playing hooky two days would have been a bit much. But I still think that's what should be happening.

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05/12/05 05:41 - ID#36570

Long view

Paul,

That[inlink]paul,3320[/inlink]sucks. The real loss is to the students who now won't be able to take your classes. That is a ridiculously unnecessary loss.

For what it's worth, from my long-distance disad-vantage point, I would guess some combination of the following played into the decision.

You are wildly qualified for a slew of technical and creative jobs that - to the average person - would be way more glamorous, and certainly more lucrative, than teaching. You made the admirable choice to apply for a teaching job in Buffalo despite that. There's no question how much you wanted that job. But the decision-makers (and I don't think it came direct from Jesus, btw) may have taken it upon themselves to second-guess you. That's just wrong since no one else can decide what you really want.

You are wildly qualified for the teaching job at Canisius and your qualifications are explicitly and exquisitely documented beyond anything they've probably seen before. Why would that work against you? I don't know. I hope it didn't - it certainly shouldn't have. But your extreme talent and versatility may have scared the b'jezus out of the b'jesuits. Bringing a star into their midst could upset a comfortable (more mediocre) status quo.

It really sucks that the jobs where you'd want the very best people (teaching, politics) have so many disadvantages and obstacles that even if you do follow your heart/conscience despite the high cost and questionable rewards, you're probably facing an upward battle - or eventual resignation to the status quo.

But that doesn't mean you shouldn't go after what you want. Maybe the hardest lesson is even though you may be perfect for the job and demonstrated that definitively and put a huge effort well beyond the norm to get it, you still didn't get it. This time, anyway. If superhuman coding, designing and effort could have made it happen, you would have the job.

It also sucks that with your kick-ass portfolio you could have applied anywhere and immediately been a contender. You applied in a place where you're already established and well-known, but lost out to an unknown. Maybe you're too well-known. You don't just teach digital media - you have created the ultimate digital media platform to record your life and publish the truth as you see it. That might scare them too.

Here's my opportunity to say screw Buffalo and move some place where you'd be appreciated. But I admire you for wanting to make your world a better place. And I know you ARE appreciated there. Not getting the job has no bearing on that.

Anyway, that's how I see it from 3000 miles away. If you really want to know the reason and can convince one of the decision-makers they will be "off the record" (see above), ask them. Otherwise, chalk it up to life isn't always fair and right does not always win out. But don't let that stop you from trying it again.

p.s. - maybe we should start a bitch session site where people can anonymously post how they've been done wrong and I can give them unsolicited advice and other users can rate my advice and put in their two cents. haha! ok, nevermind.


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Permalink: Long_view.html
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05/10/05 02:09 - ID#36569

Drizzle Pix

I'm not taking that [inlink]ajay,349[/inlink] sitting down! In fact, it even got me off my butt long enough to bike down to the beach and take some pictures of this abysmal weather we're having.

image

image

Nice thing about living in the East Bay is not only are the temperatures typically 10 degrees warmer than San Francisco, but we also have a great view of the city.

Oh, and if Dr. Lurve ever did want to get an advanced degree in sexology, this would definitely be the place. ;-)

More drizzle pix here:

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05/09/05 08:31 - ID#36567

Microclimates

The Bay Area weather is delightful, boasting more than 300 sunny days per year, with temperatures averaging around 50 degrees in the winter, and around 70 degrees in July. Many microclimates broaden the temperature range, from coastal fog areas to warmer inland areas.

Quoted from: Apple - Jobs - Internship Program - Apple Environs http://www.apple.com/jobs/intern/environs.html

Now Steve Jobs would never lie, would he?


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Permalink: Microclimates.html
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