Archive for February, 2008

Never Pay the Dealer Up Front

February 27, 2008

A few days ago, the latest example of a Greater Vancouver property development going tits up and leaving pre-sale buyers between a rock and a hard place occurred.  Not far from where I sit, another condo project has fallen victim to cost overruns and will not be completed on time.  The original developer will have to sell the property.  When a new developer takes it over, they will put the units back on the market at current market values, not the prices buyers originally agreed to about two years ago.  Even with first dibs, the original buyers will have to pay more.

This is becoming a trend in the lower mainland real estate market.  Labour shortages and high commodity prices drive up costs and wreak havoc on schedules.  The developers can’t finish the projects on schedule, on budget, or profitably.  Drop dead clauses are invoked or the project is sold.  Buyers are left in a situation where they’ve effectively provided the developer with an interest free loan for two years.  That’s unfortunate, because they’re not in the interest free loan business.  Nobody is, because it’s not a profitable business to be in.

Now, if I were a cynic, I might think that developers deliberately pre-sell properties at values they know will not be realistic when the project is completed a couple years later, so that they can take buyers’ deposits to the bank and say, “Here’s our share, now how about financing the rest?”  I might also think they deliberately fail to complete the projects before the drop dead date so that they can then raise the price, just as the project is nearing completion.  If I was a cynic.

The problem with paying for anything upfront is that you surrender all the power to the seller.  As soon as you hand over your money, you’re at their mercy.  That’s especially true in a hot market like Vancouver area real estate, where so many people are clambering to get in because they’ve been convinced that they have to.  Once they’re hooked on the idea of buying and hand over their money, the dealer knows they really want it and toys with them for a while.  Then, one day he says, “The thing is, the price has gone up”.  Jonesin’ for their reward, the buyers cough up more money.

Any junkie can tell you that you should never pay the dealer up front.  Maybe he’ll come back, maybe he won’t.  Maybe the quality won’t be what you expected.  And, who knows if what he charges you today is what he’ll charge you tomorrow?  But they do pay up front, because they’re junkies.

This post appears in The Carnival of Consumer Focused Real Estate.

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Why Are Women So Bitchy?

February 25, 2008

The Oscars have come and gone again.  Another red carpet parade of fabulously dressed stars, directors, producers, and other creative people running the gauntlet of media whores who jostle and compete to call them over for the privilege of asking, “Who are you wearing?”

As if that’s not bad enough, after the show the women do the obligatory ‘get the claws out’ thing and name the worst dressed women who failed to meet the required standard of perfection for such a spectacular event, as defined by a handful of European designers.  Who cares if you think she didn’t pull it off?  She got an invite to the Oscars.  Did you?  Who are you, anyway?

These women – and don’t forget our Canadian gay guy who has managed to establish himself as some kind of authoritative commentator who should be listened to, for some reason – don’t actually do anything themselves.  They aren’t designers.  But, they trash other women for wearing dresses they liked without worrying about whether the world at large would like them or even – gasp – approve!  I wonder if these ‘style commentators’ aren’t actually sounding offended at not being consulted.  After all, it’s what they do, and if people don’t think they need to consult the experts – in their magazines and style columns – they’ll have to find something real to do.

Women complain that guys don’t respect them enough or objectify them, but they should listen to themselves.  We don’t do that.  I would never dream of trashing a woman for what she wears, no matter how bad I thought she looked.  The only instance when I might have, that comes to mind at the moment, involved an obese older woman in a skirt with celullite spilling over her knee high nylons.  I couldn’t even be bothered to tell anyone about that until now, about twenty years later.

Last night the women on CTV even dug out some file photos and picked some of the worst disasters of all time.  Of course, they included Bjork and her swan dress, commenting, “What was she thinking?”  Have they ever listened to Bjork’s music?  I doubt it.  They only know of Bjork the somewhat famous person.  They don’t know or care what she sings about.  If they had listened to Bjork’s music they might have had an idea what she was thinking.

I don’t claim to be an expert on Bjork.  I haven’t heard all of her music, by any means.  But what I have heard, going way back to The Sugar Cubes, I like.  She is a true original.  She expresses what is inside her. She is an artist, not just a media personality – and certainly not a poser.  I totally got the swan.  How can you hear her pain and not get it?  If you don’t get it you haven’t heard her music, or haven’t really listened.  So, it seems women also accuse men of not listening to them, but don’t listen themselves.

I’m a guy, with a dangling thing between my legs.  I want to use it to penetrate women for carnal pleasure.  Should I really have to tell them this stuff?

A Caveman’s Theory

February 24, 2008

Thousands of years ago, the first gods were conceived.  The earliest known civilizations had their gods, often connected to the natural environment, the elements, and celestial bodies.  These gods were probably theorized by cavemen – sorry, cave people –  to explain the sun, moon, stars, tides, etc.  They had no concept of the world around them, let alone what lay beyond it.

All these gods were later consolidated into one god.  Monotheism was very convenient and useful for kings or emperors who wanted to consolidate and manage power.  Multiple gods gave priests more power as there was more for them to interpret, but a single god enabled a king to claim to be chosen by the one god to rule.  There would be no other gods with dissenting opinions, so there would be no justification or tolerance for people who dissent.

This occurred in Egypt, when the pharaoh Akhenaten proclaimed a single god.  Apparently, this was not popular with the priests, who had enjoyed power and influence.  It has been suggested that they probably also profited from the looting of tombs after the nobles were buried.  After his death, traditional polytheism was re-established.

Later, the Jewish mythology surrounding Moses and the exodus from Egypt came along.  This was followed by Christianity, which infiltrated the Roman empire all the way up to the emperor.  The Romans spread it across Europe and the idea survived the empire.  The monarchs of the kingdoms that emerged in the wake of the collapsed empire sought papal sanction.  If they couldn’t get it, some would replace the pope with one who saw things their way.  Later, they would break from the papacy and claim their own divine right to rule.

Challenge to papal authority was also integral to the enlightenment.  Ideas that contradicted church concepts of the universe emerged.  The church was not pleased and persecuted those with ‘heretic’ notions.  It, and kings who claimed divine right, enjoyed their power, influence, and accompanying wealth, just as the priesthood of ancient Egypt had.

Free thought endured and survived, leading to modern scientific method and theories.  Many of those who cling to gods and religions refuse to accept new ideas that fly in the face of their beliefs, no matter how cohesive the models or how much evidence is accrued.  But, honestly, who is smarter – a modern scientist or a cave person?

TV Dinners, or, Anatomy of a Ruined Meal

February 23, 2008

What is with this obsession with showing surgery on TV?  It’s not enough that the medical and forensic dramas that dominate the schedule regularly feature gory make-up and effects to simulate it, the news has to top them with real footage of actual surgery and other medical procedures – at dinner time.

How many times have I watched the news while eating my dinner – my version of time saving multi-tasking – only to be confronted with an image of someone’s heart or other organ being worked on?  Then there’s the various solutions to obesity they like to show, like liposuction.  There’s nothing like watching human fat being sucked through a tube to make you savour that meal.

But, I don’t think there’s anything that can make you feel sick to your stomach like an inside view of a colonoscopy.  I do not want to see the inside of anyone’s ass or intestines at any time, let alone when I’m eating.  That glistening surface of some pinch point that appears to be the gateway to the next chamber of someone’s innermost privacy is forever burned in my mind.

It’s bad enough that broadcasters would show this stuff on the late news, leaving you with the lasting image to haunt you as you try to sleep.  But, they couldn’t stop there.  They had to put it on the evening news, too, when many people are eating.  It’s just tasteless and inconsiderate of their audience.  Even if I wasn’t eating, I wouldn’t want to see it.

Shocking images are considered good television, I suppose.  If the alternative is talking heads, they’d rather put you off your dinner than risk boring you into watching the competition.  The competition is showing it, so they have to.  Their ratings are more important than your enjoyment of a meal.

Why Get Married?

February 22, 2008

Sticking with the subjects of sex and what motivates a couple to be a couple, I recall an incident from long ago when I had a part time job in a factory, as a student.  At break time, we were sitting at a table next to the production line when one of the guys sat down and said, “Well boys, the Mrs. gave me a blow job last night.”

I was stunned.  First of all, why would it even be worth mentioning?  Was his sex life with his own wife so bad that a blow job was a rare enough event to be noteworthy?  This was not an old guy.  He wasn’t in his sixties.  He looked about thirty or so.  I would have thought that he and his wife would still be able to enjoy a healthy sex life.  So much for the old argument that commitment gives you access to sex on a regular basis.  I didn’t really feel any added incentive to settle down.

Secondly, and I’m sure any female readers are thinking “more importantly”, what kind of way was that to talk about his wife?  What kind of guy would talk like that about his wife?  Presumably, he married her for a reason.  He decided to spend his life with her.  He married her.  That counts for something, doesn’t it?  Or does it?  Maybe it was just another of those “had to get married” marriages.  I knew that story well.

He gave me more to think about and stuck in my head.  Another example I didn’t want to turn out like.  I didn’t want to ‘have to’ do anything, least of all get married.  I didn’t want to regret or resent it, when the time came.  I didn’t want to talk about my wife like that.  And I certainly didn’t want to be married if it meant that getting a blow job was going to be one of the highlights of my year.  I wanted to do it because I wanted to do it.  I was in no great rush.

What’s the Strangest Search Term That Found You?

February 21, 2008

Another unusual search brought someone to my site.

Although “lists of police constables in vancouver” may not be as weird as yesterday’s, I don’t keep lists of them so I don’t know why the search engine would direct them to me.  Also, why would anyone want a list of them?  Hmmm…  Bizarre.  Maybe even… suspicious…

What’s the strangest or weirdest search term that brought people to you?  Send them as comments.

Weird Search Terms

February 20, 2008

OK, who searched for “creatures that invade us for sex at night”?

‘Fess up.

You’d Better Like Oral Sex

February 18, 2008

Let’s talk more about sex, baby.  As I discussed the other day, The Georgia Straight published results of its sex survey last week.  In addition to the usual dull questions about which celebrities people would like to have sex with, there were some interesting stats.

One of the more interesting things was people’s attitudes towards giving and receiving oral sex.  First of all, my sympathies go out to the 4.1% of women and 1.9% of men who don’t know if they like receiving oral sex, presumably because they’ve never experienced it.  The same goes for the 3.2% of women and 2.6% of men who don’t know if they like giving it.

The most surprising thing is that there are actually people who don’t like receiving oral sex.  What?  How can you not like receiving it?  2.6% of men and 6.9% of women don’t like it.  Slightly more than double those numbers don’t like giving it.

Another surprising thing is that more men than women like giving in addition to receiving, which may be less surprising.  91.5% of men like going down as opposed to 81.6% of women.  Somebody tell the Sopranos.

That’s good news, actually.  If it does represent a shift in attitudes, it may just help reverse, or at least slow, the rising divorce trend.  A common complaint among couples with children is that sex suffers after kids come into the picture.  This is often awkwardly alluded to in TV shows and movies by having the kids burst into the bedroom just as mum and dad are starting to get it on.  That may happen occasionally, but really how difficult is it to teach your kids to knock before entering?  There is another way they affect the quality of their parents’ sex lives, however.

Some people won’t like this, but one of my talents is my ability and willingness to say or do what others won’t.  Think about how big a baby is.  Now think about how big a vag is.  Now force that baby through that vag.  Do you really think it’s ever going to be the same again?  The poor thing’s going to be traumatized.  I mean, have you seen pictures of women’s faces and heard their screams during labour?  The fact that they want to have children at all proves conclusively that they’re crazy.

But, while the woman’s vagina doesn’t return to normal, her man’s dick doesn’t get larger to compensate.  I know some of you guys may swear it’s getting bigger by the day but, sadly, it’s not.  That nice comfy fit you both used to enjoy just isn’t quite as comfy anymore.

How do I know so much about it?  Am I one of those vag doctors women go to?  No.  I’m a motherfucker.  Well, I have been.  I’ve had sex with two mothers.  One had had a caesarean and the other hadn’t.  Which one do you think the sex was better with?  That probably accounts for the rise in the number of women having caesareans.  Word must have got around.

So, take it from a motherfucker like me, if you want to continue to enjoy sex after children, you both better like to get down.  Sex doesn’t solve everything, but it’s probably the best stress buster there is.  Nothing like a good tumble to make you forget the problems of the day.

One Little Lie

February 16, 2008

I took a look at the results of The Georgia Straight’s sex survey on the recommendation of a reader.  There were a few interesting results, although they emphasize it was not a scientific poll.  One thing that stood out is the few percent of people who have sex more than thirty times a month, or more than once a day.  Even more interesting was the fact that 5.3% of married women did, while only 0.7% of married men did.  Hmmm…

What else is there?  Have you ever blatantly told a lie to persuade a person to go to bed with you?  No, not me.  Oh, wait a minute.  There was that one time…

Shortly after arriving in London, I realized the English had a serious attitude problem when it came to Canada and Canadians.  Sure enough, I came across a book that listed things that were ‘naff’, or unfashionable.  It included things you shouldn’t say, do, wear, or be.  It declared that Canada and Belgium were ‘naff’.  By contrast, in those waning years of the Thatcher era, they had America on the brain.  Maggie had been promising them for years that it was “going to be just like in America”.

One night, I was in a pub on Seven Sisters Road, I believe, just across the street from a theatre that had been a popular concert venue in the 60s and 70s, where Bowie and others had played.  There was a sort of early club in the pub, with live music, DJ, fun decor, oilwheels, and lighting.

I spotted a pretty girl who really appealed to me.  She wasn’t very receptive when I approached her, at first.  Then I decided to try an experiment.  I told her I was American.  A big smile came across her face.  You know all those enemies of America who call Britain “America’s whore”?  They’re right.  It’s a Bangkok hooker with “FUCK ME USA” painted on her back.

We went back to my place and had a great time.  We discovered, among other things, that she couldn’t pee and give oral sex at the same time.  We spoon slept, waking up perfectly positioned for more.  It was great.  The chemistry was great.  I felt great.  I really liked her and, when she told me about some carnival or fair she was going to that day and asked if I’d like to come along, I wanted to say yes.  But, I couldn’t, because it was all a lie.  I quietly said that, no, I wouldn’t really be into it.

The truth was, I didn’t care where she was going.  I wanted to accept her invitation and spend the day with her.  I walked her to the door and watched her walk out of my life.

Three Right Feet

February 15, 2008

Something strange is going on in the Strait of Georgia.  Over the past few months, several feet have been found.  Human feet, that is.  Curiously, they’re all right feet.

A few months ago, two right feet, both in size twelve running shoes, washed up on islands about a hundred miles apart in the channel between Vancouver Island and the mainland.  Recently, another right foot washed up on another of the Gulf Islands.

So, where did they come from?  There have been no reports of people losing right feet in boating accidents.  Occasionally, light aircraft serving the forestry industry go down, but the workers wear work boots rather than runners.  DNA tests have not matched any missing persons.

I suppose it’s possible they were victims of animal attacks.  Theoretically, three separate idiots could have taunted killer whales and found out how they got their name.  Similarly, it could have been bear attacks on the coast.  But, missing persons like those get reported.

Then there’s foul play.  They could have been the victims of gangland killings, their bodies disposed of at sea.  Alternatively, it’s possible the feet were pounds of flesh forfeited in lieu of payment of a debt or as punishment for being behind in payments.

There’s another possible explanation.  These men could have lost their right feet as punishment for being bad dancers.  They could have been unfortunate enough to have very high maintenance girlfriends who really, really wanted to go on ‘Ballroom Dancing’, but let them down.

“You idiot!  I was going to be on television!  Everyone would have been watching me!  Looking at me!  They would have seen me in my beautiful gown!  Then they would have seen me win and adored me!  And YOU ruined everything!  Well, since you have two left feet, I guess you don’t need your right one!”  Chop.

But three of them?  That just doesn’t seem likely.

Three right feet.  Three right feet.  See how they…  Sorry, that was just tasteless.