Archive for August, 2006

Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble…

So with the stock market today falling in part on slumping housing news, for the millionth time I wished I had a crystal ball. We bought our place in 2001, right as the boom was beginning in earnest, but not yet on fire enough to prevent us getting in as first-time home buyers. We outgrew this place about oh, four years ago, and have unfortunately been kind of stuck here as visions of property taxes on a $700,000 dollar home made us wake up in the middle of the night shrieking and clutching our pillows like life preservers. That, and the fact that this $700,000 “investment” would need additional work and was close enough to the freeway to hear the semis changing gears.

It seems OC housing prices have dropped, but not enough to keep pace with the rising mortgage rates. I know the Fed has paused the rate hikes for now, but it seems that sellers are still thinking about what they could have gotten for their home if only they had sold even eight months ago. I’m not sure it’s a total buyers market yet, even though I very selfishly want it to be. Has the bubble popped or is it one of those plastic ones that don’t exactly pop but sort of slowly wither?

But it is difficult to pin down the market in Orange County, as it is not really comparable with the rest of the United States and markets such as Detroit, which is taking a huge hit. We have good employment rates and a good quality of life, so I’m not sure how low it is going to go. Rents also seem very high here, and to my untrained eye, the monthly payment to rent a house was equal for what you would be paying if you just went ahead and bought one. I can’t speak for apartment costs, but they don’t seem like much of a bargain either.

I don’t think the market here has bottomed out in any way, but it will be nerve-wracking yet somehow entertaining to try and play a balancing act in making enough profit to leverage a nice down on the next house while not feeling like we are paying too much. I feel badly for people who don’t make enough or have enough of a down payment to purchase a home, but the bad news is that I’m not sure prices are going to drop significantly. But, I’m just a lowly housewife, what the heck do I know?

What I do know is that there’s a psychic down the street who’s got a crystal ball. I’ll just go talk to her, since her guess is as good as anyone’s right now.

OC’s Very Own Tabloid

Freedom Communications (the owner of the Register) just launched their new paper: The OC Post.

So far I’m withholding judgement. It looks promising, but when the first article is not a local issue, such as the return of John Karr to Los Angeles (Remember this is Orange County, not Los Angeles) they got off on the wrong foot with me. Since the blogs and other media sources have really eaten into the Newspaper market, I am glad to see a paper that I can quickly read has hit the newsstands.

But this one is going to compete for my reading time. Between the OC Weekly, Squeeze OC, the OC Blogosphere, and the LA Times (I know it’s LA, but the California Section sometimes doesn’t forget about us OC’ers).

I am interested to see what tack they take with local politics. In today’s issue they have a lead article on Illegal Immigration. That’s no surprise, considering how this is a very big issue with Costa Mesa and Laguna Beach taking action on Day Laborers. If the OC Post really wants to make inroads with me, they need to send reporters to some of the local political events, not just the Republican ones. Really get into the nitty gritty of the local political scene and go for the hard hitting reports and I’ll gladly subscribe.

Welcome to the News cycle OC Post, just don’t go the way of the Orange County News Channel (OCN).

Return of the Spendthrifts

So today was the first day that cheapskates frugal people like me could get back in to Disneyland with our Southern California Select annual passes. They seem to keep adding more and more types of passes, and if they continue on their current path, they will have 10 different ones to choose from in a few years. Which may or may not be a bad thing. We considered getting a more expensive pass, but who wants to go on the weekend and during the hot weeks of summer if you don’t have to? My husband has a couple of weekdays off and my son is not in school yet, so we couldn’t really justify the 365 day pass with its rather hefty price tag. Even though they keep raising the prices, we still get our money’s worth out of our passes. By the way, does almost everyone who lives in Orange County, especially families with children, have an annual pass? It sure seems like it.

I am so excited that the tourists are finally on their way out. Don’t get me wrong, I adore all the tax revenue they bring, and I am the first person to offer to take someone’s picture for them- but being able to walk down Main Street without bumping into approximately 32.4 people on the way to the Buzz Lightyear ride sounds highly appealing. Even if I brush shoulders with only 12.2 people, I will consider myself ahead. Alas, it was a bit too hot for us today but soon enouigh we look forward to blasting Zurg away with the best of them.

At the risk of getting no replies, I’ll go out on a limb and ask: What is your must-do ride at Disneyland?

Most Entertaining OC Craigslist Ad of the Week

Free Couch to Good Home (or bad home… we don’t really care)
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Free couch. It’s like me… ugly but nice to lay on.

It’s big and heavy… folds out into a bed. You need at least two strong guys to lift it. This has been proven, so please don’t bother testing your strength. Come prepared.

It’s sitting out by the curb at 678 North Glassell Street at Everett, Orange. Feel free to pick it up. Sorry, but I am leaving for the day, so I won’t be available to tell you if it’s been picked up, you’ll just have to drive by to see.

I was almost tempted, and I don’t even need a couch!

Any Three Eye Glowing Fish Yet?

Those of you who make the drive down to San Diego may pass Orange County’s memorial to big, round, pointy, domed shape, giant, squezzable, happy fun bags of Nuclear Energy.

And you thought I was talking about something else?

But SONGS has sprung a leak and fishermen may want to be on the lookout for some three-eyed fish swimming off the coast of The OC.

Still Looking for Some OC Characters

We are still accepting submissions for the top fictional characters from Orange County. This idea was first kicked off by blogging.la, and now New York has joined the list. Chicago and Washington, D.C. may be next.

So let us know who you want to see on the list in the comment section. Any time period, any place in Orange County (or from, going to, passing through here, etc…), and from any media (books, music, television, and the web),

The deadline for submissions is midnight Aug. 21st with the list to be announced hopefully by Aug. 23rd.

Takin’ the M Train

Somewhere buried in the deep dark recesses of the Metrolink website is the schedule for what my family likes to call the “beach train.” With little to no fanfare, the service began on July 15th and is currently planned to continue indefinitely. On the weekends, you can hop onto the Metrolink from stations on the Orange County line, which includes Anaheim Canyon, Orange, Santa Ana, and Tustin, to name just a few. The furthest destination south is Oceanside, but the two most popular stops are probably San Juan Capistrano and the San Clemente Pier.

The station in SJC is less than a quarter mile from the Mission and right in the heart of the Mission district. San Clemente has two stops, one for the northern beach, the other smack dab in front of the pier. We like to use this means of transportation to the SC pier, as parking is usually a big hassle and you can’t get any closer than the train station. Actually, it isn’t a station at all, just a strip of concrete on one side of the tracks.

The Metrolink trains are new, clean, and the rather spacious bathrooms even have almond-scented soap for those of you, who like myself, care about those types of things. There are regular seats and ones that have tables so that you can play games or just put your drink on if you are so inclined. From the Anaheim station, a roundtrip to SC Pier costs $11.50 per person, children under five ride free. Yes, much more than what you would pay using your own vehicle, but no traffic and ease of access make it an altogether pleasant experience. Oh, and don’t be fooled by the seeming lack of interest in your holding a valid ticket upon boarding. There is a Sheriff who will come by and scrutinize your ticket, ready to whip out his citation book to the tune of a hundred bucks or so if you tried to bum a ride.

Now, if we could just get Metrolink to wise up and start running some trains that are timed for the Angel games…

Drinking Way Too Liberally

My hope was for me to come home last night and post about the Drinking Liberally event at Memphis, but my head told me otherwise. Mike Lawson (one of the way too many "Mikes" that were in attendance last night) put on a great event that had almost every local OC "Liberal" blogger in attendance.

We packed the bar at Memphis and we doubled in numbers when some fellow Democrats left the Anaheim Angels game. When Memphis closed up we did the OC Political "Pub" crawl down to Proof for more.

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William Randall (Shark-In-Training), Mike Lawson, and Omar of OC in the OC.

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"Dewy Defeats Truman!"
Both Jim Moreno (not in attendance) and Paul Lucas made OC Blog this Morning in the news roundup.

Gee, OC Blog has been a little quiet on the Van Tran front. Maybe it’s due to this.

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Claudio of O-Juice, Omar of OC in the OC, Joe Shaw of Greetings from Downtown Huntington Beach, Mike Lawson of The Liberal OC, Mike Randall of Mike’s Daily Lockup, Susan Freeze of the Orange County Democratic Party, and the head between Omar and Joe is Mike Levin.

Things are heating up in Capo

The Capistrano Unified School District, that is.  Last month I reported on charges that Capo district officials had been keeping tabs on parents (and their children) who had supported a recent recall effort.  At the time the Superintendent, James Fleming, denied any knowledge of the matter and blamed the report on a disgruntled former employee.  Today the Orange County register reported that among the items seized by Orange County District Attorney’s office investigators during a raid on district offices earlier this week were “files labeled with the names of recall proponents” (8/17). If you’re the generous, naive type your first thought might be that the files in question were filled with friendly notes to fellow citizens concerned about the future of the Capistrano Unified School District. Sure they are. If you’re more the “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” type, read on.
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Bolsa Chica, Interrupted?

I read a little blurb in the LA Times’ (rather weak) Orange County section today about the Bolsa Chica wetlands project. The representatives of Aera Energy LLC are recommending that the planned re-saturation scheduled for next week be delayed by up to eight months. It seems the company considers the risk of an oil spill to be high, and informed state and federal land managers. Um, hello, and we are announcing this fact a week before it is supposed to happen?

I am sure that no one wants an oil spill after the lengths everyone has gone to, but still. I was looking forward to finally being able to walk further than a few feet past the bridge.

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