Tuesday, March 27, 2007

the grab bag # 6, and, Armageddon approaches

El ... es el monoculo de Jehova

Wow! I can't believe what a baby does to your brain, heart, back, life. Busy. Busy. Busy. Busy. Busy.

There is not so much going on that is of note anyway. Inventory seems to be climbing. Prices are weird (though, there are now 8 SFH properties for $400 K, or less in East Van., where there were but two a couple of months ago).

The rain is gone for now, birds are singing, and I don't really care anymore where this madness goes. How about this?

Man shoots at condo for blocking out sunlight

Thu Mar 22, 2007 8:10AM EDT
TOKYO (Reuters) - A Japanese man angry that a new apartment building put his house in the shade was arrested after shooting about a dozen bullets at it with a competition rifle.

Police said the man apparently fired at the 11-storey building, which was completed last October, from a window on the third floor of his house, a distance of roughly 164 feet.

"He felt the building management didn't take a sincere attitude toward his complaints that the building was keeping sunlight from reaching his house," a police spokesman in the western city of Kyoto said.

Nobody was injured in the shootings but walls, railings and two lights on the apartment building were damaged.

When the Japanese lose their cool, you know there is a problem - either with their heads, or their environment. Maybe both... Condo rage! And they pay you to borrow money there. Pretty much, anyway.

I can't help but wonder when construction rage begins here. I know that I despise my new neighbour, and his house isn't even finished yet. I won't get into it now, but it has been going on for 5 months, and I'm sick of flat tires, garbage in my yard, and up and down the street, destroyed trees, fences, and on and on. Not to mention the darkness on one side of my house where the light is blocked by his monstrosity.

On a more humourous note, the Jehovah's Witnesses have been out in force - with 5 over the weekend. I was lucky enough to be hurrying out with the baby and mother during one onslaught of 4 in two pairs, but the fifth caught me cold with a coffee in hand. I'm a pretty gregarious guy, but I was on my way to work, so I pretended not to speak English, and responded in Spanish that I was "muy occupado ahorra". Just my luck, she was fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, French and English, so there was no escape.

She had a funky hat though, and a pleasant demeanour, so we entertained each other in 4 different languages. I think she was a rich immigrant, but cagey. I asked her about the bubble, and she told me of Jehovah. I told her I loved her, and she smiled.

So that's it. The bubble may not burst, but the greedy will sink beneath the earth, and I will be in Paradise (because of my love, and all). The Devil is behind the bubble. I was told so in four languages.

She spoke in tongues...

I will be back when I can, pero estoy muy occupado ahorra. Hasta luego.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

riot vancouver 2010 - responding to the schmolympdicks

I received this unsolicited e-mail yesterday. It is a press release from Vancouver's Only magazine (formerly Terminal City). I did not object too much to the "spam" - some spam is ok, and I liked the subversive tone of this one. They are offering up a free "Riot 2010" countdown widget as antithesis to the Schlonglimpdicks' countdown crock o' shite.

With regrets from them (elitist schmoes) the widget only works on Mac.

Feel free to spam Chuck Ansbacher though, he did include his e-mail address. Be nice - it is a fairly cool on-line mag. And, they are pissed off with the Schmo-limpdicks too. I am hearing more and more disgust about that every day. I'm gonna finally pop, and write a manifesto on that some day.

The Only Magazine Riot Vancouver 2010 Widget

Riots are nothing new to the Rainy City. Take, for example, the Victory Square "work camp" riot of 1935, the Gastown pot riots of the '60s, the Guns 'n Roses riot of 2002, and, of course, the Stanley Cup riots of '94. On July 2, 2003, Vancouver won the bid to host the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. An honour indeed, the city responded with celebration, but also with groans. Anyone honest with themselves admitted there were problems to overcome, but it was thought that these were just the growing pains of a developing city on the verge of becoming "world class." But Vancouver, a city with the most poverty stricken postal code in North America, could only celebrate for so long. It turns out five rings aren't enough to hold this glass city together. The cost of the Games are vastly over budget and diverting money from social programs. There is a constant worry the mountains won't see the kind of snowfall necessary for an Olympic host. Homelessness has increased and is projected to continue. Some citizens want answers. None have been given. Despite continued protests and lucid studies outlining how the Games are damaging the city, the Vancouver Olympics Committee decided to celebrate some more recently. They built a nice digital clock to countdown the remaining three years until the Opening Ceremonies. You may have noticed this monolithic eyesore, seemingly dropped from the sky onto the lawn of the Vancouver Art Gallery, missing only a crowd of curious apes and a lobbed bone to complete the scene. There it sits, ticking away in its clean, tasteful glass case under the watchful eye of a hired security guard. Ticking along as the city surrounding it succumbs to the pressures of transition. Building construction rumbles from nearly every corner, marginalised citizens are turned out onto the streets in lucrative grabs for real estate, and money is being exchanged at a drunken pace. Under these circumstances, the countdown and the clock have many symbolic meanings, and Only Magazine sees a situation ripe for public opinion to boil over the edges of decency. Of course, we would never incite or even encourage anyone to riot. If you hadn't thought of it before now you're probably not going to be one of the people there. However, history has taught us that if (when) there is a civil disobedience, it won't be the issues that are blamed, and it won't be all the poor decisions made leading up to the Opening Ceremonies either. So if the police need a scapegoat, Only Magazine volunteers for the job. We love attention. In the spirit of being subversive without actually having to leave your computer, Only Magazine gives you a Widget so you can smash the state and read the Google at the same time. Dissent from your laptop. The Only Magazine Riot Vancouver 2010 Widget.*

Only Magazine

*Seriously, Only Magazine does not endorse rioting.

- Official Press Release -
-- Chuck Ansbacher
Managing Editor
Only Magazine
#611 142 - 757 West Hastings
Vancouver, BC
V6C 1A1

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

no more heroes

off topic/on topic, vhb, cap'n america and dyspepsia

Captain America assassinated by sniper after 66 years of comic history

NEW YORK (AP) - Holy home-icide, Batman!

Captain America is dead! Assassinated, in fact, as he walks into a federal courthouse in New York, under arrest and in handcuffs, headed to his arraignment for refusing to sign the government's Superhero Registration Act and forcibly revealing his true identity.

It's eerie! Is there a connection to the Legend of VHB?

A sniper, firing a high-powered rifle from a rooftop, hits the famed red, white and blue leader of the Real Estate Avengers with three bullets and escapes the scene, leaving the weapon behind Oswald-style, as bears and Captain VHB's military escort cope with chaos in the streets.
What does this mean? Can the pulverizing patriot really be dead, shot down on the courthouse steps after years of battling villains from Scameron S'more to the Red Velvet? Will the killer or killers be captured?

The only way to find out, says Dan Buckley, president and publisher of Marvel Entertainment, is to "read the book" as the story line unfolds.

Jeez-us. It is rumoured that VHB has left the city (I can't blame him for that), and Cap'n America has been assassinated.

I just can't take it any more.

I got into blogging on RE a bit late (the story of my life), and really enjoyed myself doing it. I am not giving up just yet, but changes in my life have certainly curtailed my posting.

Over all, I am quite jaded, disgusted, and just a little bemused. My wife and I have been muttering about going away after 19 years of living here, but as my daffodils bloom, the trees begin to leaf, the robins hop around for my amusement, and the news of the weather in the rest of the country is FRIGID, I wonder where we'll go. Brazil? Portugal? France? Victoria? I dunno... All I know is that I am a bit long in the tooth to sign up for a 100 year mortgage, and have too much sense to do so anyhow. I've got an accomodating downpayment ready to go, but I might as well have nothing - prices here being what they are.

I'm disgusted by the Olympic crap, the Olympic toilet ring, the Olympic ring-around-the-collar, Flash, the traffic, the transit, the municipal guvmint, the provincial guvmint, the hubris and stupidity, the federal guvmint, mossy cars, Cuban exiles, avian flu and beeswax. I oughtn't be feeling so, but I am. The assassination of Cap'n Amurikkka just tears it for me though.

I will continue to post here, but it will be at a much slower pace. Once or twice a week... I may get more excited if things change soon.

the pope seems to be weary of this sordid spectacle too.

The laughs here have become hollow, forced, and much more rare. I'm not so sure I want to live in such a wanton place as Vancouver anymore.

My apologies to the original author for the hack job.

EDIT: the pope does not plan on packing in his blog any time soon. I regret the mis-representation.

Monday, March 05, 2007

frothing at the fingertips

What's he so happy about? Did he get a free kite? Or is he the nephew of the Chairman?

Thanks to the pope for the cool picture! Read his rant.

Thanks to black'n'brownedout for this link.

Inflated by the Olympic spirit

THE transformation of China's capital over the past few years has been astonishing. This year the effect will be giddying...Amid an Olympics-fuelled frenzy, Beijing's economy is booming and its house prices soaring. Many fear their return to earth will be bumpy.
Ah. What me worry? You can't lose. And I'm so giddy, I can't think straight anyhow.

Olympic cities usually experience an economic surge before the games. And with under 18 months to go before the games open in Beijing, China's economy as a whole is growing nearly as fast as Beijing's: 10.7% last year compared with the capital's 12% (its eighth consecutive year in double digits). Central-government leaders worry that the pace could be reckless, but are loth (sic) to apply the brakes hard.
I'm too indolent to look up the stats for how much our economy has grown, but it seems to me that I heard that it was in the neighbourhood of 3%. That's crazy growth in Beijing!

Communist Party ... leaders will be trying to stress how much in sympathy they are with the suffering of ordinary citizens.
Oh, so solly full you! Throw the dogs a bone.
For the past two years, the central government has introduced a series of measures aimed at cooling property markets in Beijing and elsewhere. These have included new taxes on property deals and higher mortgage downpayments. Last month new restrictions were imposed on property purchases by foreigners. In Shanghai, these moves have achieved some success (diverting speculative money to the bubbling stockmarket), but not in Beijing. Last year property development still accounted for more than half of all investment in the capital.
So where will the money go now? Off-shore. Vancouver sounds good. Golden Mountain. We buy it all. It's a global frenzy of liquidity. The only bright light that I can see is that the sub-prime market is melting down, and will take a lot more down with it. It's sad that the idea of a depression can seem like a bright light isn't it?

Speculators are betting that property prices will benefit from the tightness of land supply
Oh fulak! The land shortage thing. It had to be there with the friggin' Olympics thing, didn't It? Can I even type Olympics without being sued for copy-right infringement?
Moreover, in order to keep the city clear of unsightly cranes and dust-billowing building sites during the games, Beijing has been discouraging new construction projects. This has reduced the expected supply of properties and helped to drive up prices. Last year the total floor space of new housing projects was nearly 6% less than in 2005. For poorer residents the outlook was particularly grim. The floor area of newly launched low-cost housing projects was down by nearly 57%.
I think that loathesome regime is doing better than our own loathesome regime regarding housing the poor. Slavery never really went away, but now people are proud to be mortgage slaves.

According to press reports this week, the central government recently called a special meeting to discuss ways to tame Beijing's property market. Among its suggestions was an increase in the housing supply.
Is it just me?, or does that not make sense? Just above, they were moaning about the shortage of land, but now they want to build even more. Look what happened here. Thousands of new condo's, houses and townhouses, and the market just keeps on exceeding itself.

Officials estimate that the Olympics have been contributing more than two percentage points to Beijing's annual growth since 2003. After the games, they insist, the city's new infrastructure and additional glamour (including the egg-shaped theatre, which hopes to attract international stars) will help keep the economy rolling. The flow of investment will be sustained, they say, by further infrastructure development, and by the pent-up demand for property, which will be supported by a continuing large influx of migrants from the countryside.
La la la. Guns and roses and sweet dreams in a shovel. Pent up demand, and glamourous peasants flocking to Beijing on their ways to Aurean Mountain to partake in our Aquarian Sporting Event, in the town between Pemberton and Squamish, in the year between 2009 and 2011. (That is as clear as I can be, because it seems that the season between fall and spring has been copy-righted - along with quite a few other words and place names - including that word for the distraction involving boards, cards and chance, hockey, basketball, head, etc.. The one that starts with a G, and has an A, an M, an E, and an S.)

But some observers are worried. ...two Beijing academics...said the end of the Olympics would coincide with a cyclical downturn in China's economy, exacerbating the risk of a post-Olympics slump in the capital. Beijing's Olympics-related spending of around $35 billion, they calculated, would make up more than 43% of the total for all the games since 1976. This could make the post-Olympics investment downturn all the more pronounced—especially if the speculators are busy bailing out.
No worries here though, that kinda shite does not happen here. And, there aren't that many speculators...

So, I think that we are competing with the City of Beijing for the place that everyone wants to be. And we don't have no stinking French-designed, egg-shaped theatre to attract international stars. We couldn't even give the Ford Theatre enough business to keep it going. Beijing is building a mag-lev train system for it's festival, and the network is planned country-wide. We get the RAV, lose BC Rail, and watch almost weekly derailments. Third World Class.

Excuse my cynical rant. I'm tired. I will have another rant for you in the coming days.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

mortgage defaults

bcbuds sent me this link (thanks buds).

New Data Show That Nontraditional Loans Are BeginningTo Haunt Borrowers With Midlevel Credit; Prime Still Fine

The mortgage market has been roiled by a sharp increase in bad loans made to borrowers with weak credit. Now there are signs that the pain is spreading upward.

Borrowers who take out Alt-A mortgages are considered less risky than subprime borrowers because of their higher credit scores. But as the housing market cooled and loan volume declined, some lenders lowered their standards for Alt-As. Now a rising number of borrowers who took out these loans are running into trouble.
We will be hearing the same here soon enough, me thinks.

The company cut back on riskier loans and began relying more on analytical tools to verify a borrower's income and creditworthiness.
What a great idea. Let's use some analysis and verification.

As in the subprime sector, the riskiest loans are those made to home buyers who put little, if any, money down and don't document their income or assets.
CMHC thinks it's a great idea to back 0% down loans - with our tax dollars. Will heads roll when it goes sideways? Scameron jumped ship. Did he see his head rolling?

The mortgage industry is battling a rash of cases in which borrowers, loan officers and appraisers collude in providing false information to induce lenders to advance more money than homes are worth.
That sounds very similar to what has been going on here. I think that the term was "liar loans".

I think we are heading for a real mess - and fast. Your thoughts?