.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Uncommonly Sensible

Keeping the "anal" in analytical... (While trying to remain civilized)

My Photo
Location: United States

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Please don't feed the animals!

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
(Internet troll)
In Internet terminology, a troll is a person who posts inflammatory messages on the internet, such as on online discussion forums, to disrupt discussion or to upset its participants. It can also be used as a verb, meaning to post such messages, and "trolling" (the gerund) is also commonly used to describe the activity.

Some more related links:
Cunningham & Cunningham, Inc.
Fact Index
Indiana University
The Jargon File
Urban Dictionary

For whatever reason, there are a number of individuals who seem to take great delight in disrupting various groups of posters, most often (I believe) due to some character flaw. They may simply be anarchistic, narcissistic or whatever, but their motives are generally suspect. A lot of them seem to feel as though they are intellectually superior to most others, whether this is valid or not. Sometimes, people are accused of being trolls when it is really not their intention to be such, but time will generally tell.

In any case, the best advice is "Do not feed the trolls"...

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Got the time?

I've had a lot of great vacation stays at time-share condos over the years, and consider them an excellent deal. As with anything else, however, some of them are better than others. Many of them are affiliated with Resort Condominiums International, or Interval International. These are good resources for checking out the amenities at various vacation destinations, and they also provide a lot of other useful information.

A good overview of the concept can be found here:
The ABCs of time-shares, which is an article on the subject by the people at LendingTree.

I have several weeks to use annually, to the point where it'd be hard to find the time to utilize another one, but I'm still contemplating the acquisition of one more.

The fact of the matter is, I'm on a vacation out West right now..

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Hit the slopes!

I'm going West for Thanksgiving week, and one of the things I'm planning to do is ski.

My mother moved to Colorado in the 80's, so I've gone skiing there a lot, and have been to all of the major resorts.

A place out there that I have skied at a few times, even once in June, is Arapahoe Basin. It was actually 32º at the summit that day, so conditions were excellent.

Another time I went skiing in August in the French Alps, at a place called Tignes. Only the upper part of the mountain, which has a glacier, was skiable...it was August, after all. I got quite sunburnt that day, too.

The last place I went skiing was at Stowe in Vermont; this is actually on Mt. Mansfield, which is the highest point in Vermont. I had just about let last ski season slip away, so my brother and I (et al) went up there in April for the end of the season.
(Most of the other ski areas in the Northeast had already closed)

A different ski area in Vermont that I have frequented is Killington. This is the biggest ski resort in the East, in terms of skiable acreage, since it is spread out over 6 mountains.

When I retire, I'm planning to join the Hawaii Ski Club...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Hooray for Hollywood?!

"You'll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy"...to quote one of its most popular productions.

I suppose it must be tempting to abuse one's fame and popularity to foist your views upon the public, a large portion of which is only too happy to hang on your every word. But the sad fact of the matter is, most of those Hollywood "celebrities" never graduated from college, and it's their job to pretend for a living. Consequently, they are scarcely in a position to be knowledgeable about much of anything.

Yet somehow, there are those who manage to rise above the decadence. One of them is Bruce Willis. According to Michael Yon (an "independent, informed observer chronicling the monumentally important events in the efforts to stabilize Iraq"...whose blog can be linked from here):

"Mr. Willis has been to Iraq with his band and the USO, and has been following the events in Mosul through my dispatches. He has expressed his desire to support our troops to me on numerous occasions. One need only read his website to see how strongly he feels about this: www.brucewillis.com.

And so, Mr. Willis wanted to personally thank American soldiers for their successes and sacrifices in Iraq, and made plans to fly to the Fort Lewis area and thank soldiers who fought so well. Mr. Willis will attend the Deuce Four Ball near Fort Lewis, on November 5th, 2005."

In one of my other vocations, working on some movies that have been filmed in the general vicinity, I've had the pleasure of working with Mr. Willis on a couple of them: "12 Monkeys" and "Broadway Brawler" (never completed). He wasn't aloof and snobbish like a number of other Hollywood "celebrities" I've had to put up with, in fact, he was actually quite personable and friendly.

Knowing that he supports the troops, especially with more than mere words, has done nothing to diminish my respect for the man...

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Location, location, location...

...the three most important factors in the Real Estate business.

I made a 1% commission this week; I've been a licensed Realtor® since the 80's. Since then, I have owned an apartment building, a couple of houses, and the lot on which I plan to retire.

The apartment building was a "fixer upper" that I bought to renovate, then sell. Unfortunately, the bottom sort of dropped out of the real estate market when I was in the renovation phase, so I wound up being a landlord for a few years...something I didn't really wish to be then, nor ever again. I'm quite happy that I don't still own that investment.

My first house I lived in for about 15 years, and did quite a bit of work on during that period of time, eventually selling it in favor of a larger property.

The house in which I currently reside, which I moved into a few years ago, was/is also a "fixer upper". I've done all the fixing up required to make everything quite functional, in addition to several upgrades, plus building an addition and a deck. The only things remaining to be done at this point are "cosmetic" improvements. Regardless of that, the place is now worth over twice what I paid for it...although a lot of that is what is known as "sweat equity".

My retirement lot I purchased last year with some of the aforementioned equity, in anticipation of the value going up. This it has done already, by a factor of 3 or more.

There's much talk of a "real estate bubble", which certain market analysts claim is going to burst at some point in the future. The way I figure it, even if it does just that, my holdings will still be worth more than what I paid for them.

As is generally the case, real estate is still one of the best investments going...

Free Site Counters
hit Counter