United States real estate market

Smart people don’t work for money, the money works for them.

A few posts back, I mentioned the living costs of California compared to Ontario. Those are based on the assumption that you will rent. Renting is perhaps the least wisest financially, in ways that you live. The money goes to the landlord and you will never have anything to show for it. Rent a place 10 years, and that’s 10 years worth of money gone.

However, the best way to live is to own a property. Housing is the least volatile and most durable consumer good. The collapse of the US housing market bubble therefore, represents a golden opportunity for investors like myself to get in. Basically, it was stock adjustment. Poor regulation and Sub-prime lending led to consumers buying homes they couldn’t afford. They defaulted on their mortgages, and since they were no-recourse mortgages in the US, banks and investment firms lost a ton of money. The stock of houses were too high, they had to be foreclosed and banks had to get rid of these toxic assets fast – so they sell the homes at breakneck prices.

My parents just bought a condo in Toronto for $37x,xxx and the first thing I thought was ‘what a waste of money’. Thing is, they could’ve bought 3 or 4 condos in the US for the same amount of money. Take a look around ebay, craigslist, any online site, and you will see that many condos sell for under $100,000 in the US (good luck finding one in Canada). I’ve seen townhouses and condos for as low as $20,000 in Las Vegas (see here). Certainly, if I were my parents – I would have invested my money into several properties in the US – California, Nevada, Florida, etc. Those areas are all experiencing massive foreclosures because they were heavily affected by the housing boom. I believe that an initial investment could yield much money in the future. If you were to buy those properties, hold on to them for couple years, then sell them – massive profit is there to be made. You hire a property manager and get those places rented out in the meantime to account for maintenance fees and property taxes.

Alas, my parents are not as risk-taking as I am. All it would take are a few phone calls, flights here and there, and good business know-how. My dad still has not rented our apartment out – it’s been over 2 years! I could never let a potential money-making opportunity slip away. Hmm…maybe I should have specialized in Commerce from the beginning =(.

Clothes, Shopping

I’ve always been a person who finds image important to the way people perceive you. It is almost as important as communication skills in the role it plays in other people’s impression of you. I’ve already done a whole project (CSC318) on how people choose their clothes and everything, so I’d just like to say a few things I noticed when I shop around.

As a guy, I don’t have as many selections as women do. They get more stores and more square ft devoted to them. I get left with either: a) punk style clothes which I am not a fan of. Or b) formal clothing which are very expensive. I dress casually on occasion, but most often it is smart casual. That means I don’t really like to wear punkish or baggy clothing at all and you’ll never see me wear it. The most casual you will see me is a T-shirt and cargo shorts. Most of the time, it’s a collar shirt or polo shirt paired with jeans. And not ripped jeans – tight low cut jeans are for me.
An additional note about jeans: you can wear the same pair several days in a row (if it isnt dirty) and people won’t notice. Jeans all look similar so I may wear one pair for more than one day. For girls this is true too, but it can’t be done with skirts or dresses for obvious reasons (they are more noticeable and have many different varieties). It’s just another advantage to jeans in addition to the all-season-ness they possess.
If I want to dress up, you’ll also see me with a vest, tie and cotton pants (dress pants are too thin and loose). On top of all of that, it’s usually a fur coat or leather jacket during the winter – hoodie or blazer during the fall/winter. Summer I usually don’t need a jacket.

So, now shoes. Today I bought this:

Dress shoes
Dress shoes

I’ve been needing a proper pair of dress shoes for a while now. I like the ones with a bigger heel and shininess of course. Regularly I have a pair of casual leather shoes and sneakers. It all depends on how I want to match up with my top of course.

And – ah yes. The hat:

My hat collection
My hat collection

I’ve always been very fond of hats. Though alot of people won’t see me wear a hat all the time, I do so on occasion. I wore a ballcap all through high school. My first year university was with the decorated army cap style hat. I also have two more variations; a distressed one and a playboy one. I never wear the Dominion cap for obvious reasons. The SRV and Jimi Hendrix hats I wore on a few occasions in the past: when I was performing at the high school and University College coffee houses. I would never wear them casually. What I do wear casually are my fedoras; generally worn when I am dressing more conservatively and more formally that day I may choose to match it with the grey or black fedora.

As for jewelry and other items related to my image, it’s pretty uniform. I always wear my silver sterling ring (had since high school), my Seiko 5 watch and my chain necklace. I seldom wear contacts now that I have new glasses but I sometimes will do so just to switch things up. I never wear cologne (though I have two bottles as gifts). I use wax sparingly now (I’m over my korean hair phase). That’s about it.

Here’s the video, and the song is because I’m feeling a bit lonely these days….

My love of retro-futurism

First, a little update on my life; I’m working two jobs now. One job to pay for tuition (EnvCan) and another job to pay for my car (MiraTel). I now work 14 hours a day, 4 days of the week. I also have a night class and am also attending Toastmasters gatherings whenever I have free time. In short – life just got alot more hectic (I’m actually writing this post at work). I still have time to record videos and music, however =).

Now, the main subject. I’ve always been fascinated by America’s post war prosperity years (1946-1964). It may be nostalgia for a time I never lived in, but mainly its the class and sophistication. Men wore suits, ties and hats. Women wore dresses, gloves and bonnets. Now that’s my kind of society! No ripped jeans or baggy shorts please. Frank Sinatra and Orson Welles versus Slipknot and Miley Cyrus? There’s no comparison.
Cars are another great example. As fine looking as the cars on the road are today, I think they all look very bland and boring. Now compare that with these:

1959 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible
1959 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible

1949 Packard Convertible
1949 Packard Convertible

Very classy and it exudes elegance. The cars that can do that these days are $300,000+ mammoths like the Rolls Royce or Maybach. Back when American cars were actually envied by the world, they also produced fine unforgettable pieces of art, and whenever I see a classic car on the road I can’t help but stare. They are just like those glorified actresses such as Marilyn Monroe or Audrey Hepburn – classic and timeless.

In a way, I like the retro-futuristic style. I love the elegance and class from retro items and as a tech geek, also enjoy the benefits of future technology. I’d imagine if I was an interior or product designer, my home would definitely be full of retro-futurism. I’d have record players that could play CDs. Spin-the-dial telephones that have buttons. 50s style TVs that could display HD.

What a fantastic concept. Maybe I should be a designer someday.

Edit: Over 20 clips I found of that era were combined together for this clip, hope its enjoyable.