April 2010

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I’m still waiting on the appraisal.  Since the housing market went to shit, all these layers of extra paperwork and second sign-offs have been added that slow everything down.  With the housing credit ending, there’s a scramble on that I think is slowing things down even further.

Sigh.  I just want this part of the process done with, so that I can rest easy.

In other news, I went over to Faidley’s in the market at lunch.  Hot damn.  I wanted to enjoy some seafood, and in particular some crabs, before the price of seafood goes to hell thanks to the BP spill in the gulf.  If you’re looking for crabcakes, this is one of the places to go.  I actually skipped the crabcake today and instead had a steakfish sandwich.  My coworkers are always talking about steakfish, and I’ve been like “what the fuck is steakfish?”  No one has ever really given me a straight answer.  It’s definitely not any old kind of fish served cut up in steaks.  It’s a certain kind of fish deep fried and served on a sandwich.

I did a little Googling, and it seems that steakfish is uniquely a Baltimore thing.  Essentially, it’s a poor man’s fish filet sandwich.  People swear up and down that it’s not hake, although I think most of the steakfish you get these days is in fact hake.  I guess there is a steakfish of yesteryear that was made from some other fish.

In either case… it was alright.  It was sorta good-bad.  Like aweful, but sorta likeable.  I think Faidley’s knew how to fry it up right and get the most out of it.  That it’s totally local colored my opinion.  I’m eating it and even if not totally enjoying it, wondering what could be done to spruce it up.

I’m wondering if steakfish tacos might be a workable dish.

Anyway.  I was tempted to make this post a rant about the oil spill, which would devolve into a sort of rant about being a bit unhappy with Obama (he just approved more offshore drilling), but at the same time being unwilling to admit it publically because, as much as I might have some complaints, I don’t for a second want to sound like the Republicans speciously crying bloody murder on the right.

I’ve got some concerns about Obama, and I fear that in the next election I won’t be voting for him, so much as I am voting against the Republicans again.  I am sick of this.  I wish I could consider voting for a third party candidate without worrying about the Republicans taking over and getting another eight years just like the Bush years.

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I don’t really miss my freelance days that much.  Back then we didn’t have Twitter, and “blog” was a term yet to be invented (I always dubbed my first website a “webzine”, a term that seems almost nostalgic already).

But, I found this to be incredibly amusing.  A tax form for you freelance writers and bloggers out there.  A little late, I know, but better late than never.

Many thanks to Hodgman for the link.


Got my first good night of sleep in weeks last night.  I’ve finally started to destress.  Going through the mortgage application process has felt like an unwelcome trial by fire.  In order for me to make a grab at the housing tax credit, I really had to do things last minute.  I don’t like going into something this big with, well, what seem to me like big unknowns.

Things seem to be falling into place, however.  Deep sigh of relief.

It’s a strange feeling, going through this transition.  It’s April right now, but I’m living in June.  July really.  All there is for me to do is keep my head down and keep logging extra hours at work until I get settled in.  And then:  bam!  Volte face.  Suddenly I can get back to having a normal routine.  A social life.  Free time to get back into a few things.

I’ve been bouncing around a lot over the past few years, and it’s odd.  Instead of feeling constrained by purchasing a home, I feel this looming sense of freedom.  When I look at my new neighbors, I should be afraid.  They’re like me, but aged a little.  Kids, beer bellies.  They’re happy, but they look tired.  The toll of family life is clear.

But I don’t feel headed that way.  I don’t have kids.  Hell, I don’t even have a steady girlfriend.  With this whole living situation sowed up for the next several years, I feel free to focus my attention on other parts of my life.  I can do whatever the hell I want.

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The day started with a migraine.  I don’t really get migraines, but I have had one a few times in the past.  Past, as in years ago.  So this morning, when I started to experience the early symptoms, I didn’t even recognize it.  I got showered, dressed, and made my way to work.

But as I’m driving I’ve got these spots in my vision.  I try to ignore it.  Maybe I just need some caffeine.  It’s really messing with me, though.  Like, am I not eating enough carrots lately?  What the hell’s wrong with my vision?

And man, it is like really bright out I notice.  All I drank last night was a little bit of Malbec, so I can’t be hung over or anything (lately, I’ve taken a shining to the Malbecs of Mendoza–I even like saying it.  Malbecs of Mendoza.).  But man, it is fuckin bright out.  In the mirror, I see that my eyes are almost completely dilated.

And then I park and get out, and holy shit do I feel woozy when I start walking.  And then I remember.  Spots in my vision, intense sensitivity to light, wooziness… god damn fuckin migraine.

I was not happy.  I needed to be at work today.  But when dealing with a migraine, there’s only one thing you can do:  take your pills, turn off everything, shut yourself in total darkness, and lie down.

I managed to stave off the worst of it.  I mean I think it was setting itself up to be a mild one anyway.  But, still, I lost most of my day.

Soooooooooo… why am I so stressed out that I got my first migraine in years?

I’m buying a house.  As I suspected/feared, things went quickly.  I found the perfect place.  My contract is in, I’m waiting for the inspections to come back, and in the meantime I’m working on mortgage paperwork.  Holy fuck, there’s a lot of paperwork in a mortgage!

In either case, my posts are gonna be pretty spotty for a little while.  Once I get into this place and settled down, I’m looking forward to a little reboot of the social life.  And that includes online musings and journal entries.

I had a few that I wanted to write over the weekend.  Maybe after I sort through some things here, I’ll find time tonight.  We’ll see.

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Been really overwhelmed this past two weeks.  Working long hours and coming home exhausted most days.  Getting up and coming into the office exhausted on half of ’em as well.  Last night, however, I somehow scored an amazing night of sleep.  So today is dedicated to catching up on a few things around here.

I’m about to be elbow deep in house buying stuff right now.  For the most part I find this all rather stressful.  I really want to get all this over with and move on to this next phase here.  Owning a home is going to be a major boon to me, in the form of rent from roommates and tax deductions.  I should have made this step a long time ago, but, ah well, such is life.

Here are a few links for anyone who might be heading down this path as I am:

Here is a link to a nice credit score estimator.  It requires some honesty on your part and some knowledge of your credit report.  If you have your credit report from annualcreditreport.com (where you should be getting your free annual credit report), then you can use this calculator with it to figure your estimated score.

Here is a link to an app that will pre-approve you for a loan.  One of my credit unions uses this, and if you go down and sit with a loan officer for pre-approval they will run your credit score and plug it into an app like this.  If you don’t have a credit union on the list here, you’ll have to just pick whatever.  The letter it generates won’t do you much good, but it can calculate your debt ratios (if you don’t know how to do it manually).  Knowing what those debt ratios are will tell you exactly how much house you can buy.

Here is a link to a home buyer education course that I recommend.  Costs $20.00.  I am probably putting in for a loan through the Maryland Mortgage Program in case I need to take advantage of the $3500.00 they’ll give me, and these guys require the course.  I’d recommend it to anyone, though, simply for the financial calculators and instructions it gives you.  You can get an accurate look at your debt ratios here as well, and the app on this compares you to the national averages.  If you are wondering what you can afford, this is the best estimator I have found.

The next step for me right now is to sit down with a lendor and then to call up a real estate agent.  For better or for worse, I know pretty specifically what I want and in what part of town.  Hoping things work out and I get it.


If the first three cups of coffee didn’t do it, then it might be time to just queue up some Explosions in the Sky and space the fuck out for a bit.

In the interest of randomness, here is a photo that I found on one of my blogs this morning that made me lol for no reason in particular.

Little fucker’s gonna getcha.

Also, John Connor is a big ol’ commy hatin’ Republican.

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Apparently, the latest craze in NYC is this place that sells pizza by the cone.  They even have a fancy website.

Hey assholes!  You’re doin it wrong!  It’s supposed to be Pizza in a Cup!  Not a cone!

Also:  I miss NYC.

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