Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Weblog sabbatical

I'm taking a break from posting online for a while. Please check back in a week or two. Best, JBB.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Housing prices

From today's LA Times: "Home Prices in L.A. Soar at Record Rate," by Roger Vincent and Don Lee.
Home values in Los Angeles County posted the biggest year-over-year increase in at least 15 years in March as frenetic buying activity pushed the median sale price up 29%, to a record $375,000, according to data released Monday.

Confounding predictions by the experts, sales were surprisingly strong, jumping 12% from a year ago to 10,875 new and resold houses and condos. Analysts and brokers said the heavy demand was driven by anxious consumers, many of whom are paying more than the asking price to get in the housing market before interest rates rise and supplies thin further.

The inventory of houses available for sale has been at historical lows, and the latest flurry of purchases suggests that the market will only heat up as the busy home-buying season nears.
For comparison, the article notes the median price in Michigan is $133,500. A few houses down the street from me, a 1,108 sq. ft. 2 bedroom, 1 bath bungalow is going for $550,000.

Of course, articles like this make me doubt my choices over the past years to 1) go to school and 2) not purchase a house because I was going to school and only working part-time, especially because finishing school is not so assured right now. Thankfully, my rent has been holding steady.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Malaria and DDT, reconsidered

"What the World Needs Now is DDT," by Tina Rosenberg in Sunday's NY Times Magazine.
The paradox is that sprayed in tiny quantities inside houses -- the only way anyone proposes to use it today -- DDT is most likely not harmful to people or the environment. Certainly, the possible harm from DDT is vastly outweighed by its ability to save children's lives.
Now I wished I'd quoted, or summarized, more from the LA Times' article on the same subject, to which I linked last year, so I could compare the viewpoints.

Via dangerousmeta!, who finds his opinion shifting and who is open to controlled, careful use of DDT.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Reverse chronology

Sunday evening. Nothing worthwhile to watch on television. Many other things that could be done, but it's a Sunday evening after all.

Sunday afternoon. Drove out to the beach again. The return trip, especially, was eerily traffic-light. On one of the most notorious stretches of Southland freeway. I kept imagining it was tomorrow, when it will be stop and go. I kept expecting traffic to slow down around each corner. It never did. It was hot inland (85 degrees) but very windy, although sunny, at the beach. Watched kite boarding for a while (a cross amongst surfing, wind surfing, flying a kite, skateboarding, and water-skiing) and then caught a nap wedged in a crevice mostly out of the wind using my backpack for a pillow. Cap low over my eyes, conscious only of the waves pounding and thoughts of writing about being conscious of waves pounding. . . .

Sunday morning. Got up early to slice six different kinds of cheese for the Easter breakfast at church. As I anticipated, the Norwegian Gjetost (goat's) cheese, was a hit. The service was lovely and included a piece by the bell choir.

Saturday afternoon. Spent the afternoon in the church office redoing the bulletin for Sunday's service.

Saturday morning. Got up early to prepare a breakfast for the women's Bible study. Went to the study.

Friday mid-day. Went to an ecumenical service. Our bell choir played; Pr Peg preached.

Thursday. Most of the day in a training class—in Pasadena! Oh! that I still worked here and didn't have to commute. I'm starting a course in my company's equivalent of Six Sigma. Maybe it will help me learn how to plan out things better. (Flow-charting is a main component of what we're required to do.) I have one week to finish a huge lot of work before next Thursday's class—and I won't be able to go to work tomorrow.

Wednesday. Started sketching out the requirements and figuring out the fields for a database for a project at work.

Tuesday. The usual.

Monday afternoon. To the beach. 134 W to 101 N to 23 S; PCH to Topanga to 101 S to 134 E.

Monday morning. Dropped off my parents at the airport and then went to work: 210 134 W to I-5 N; I-5 S to 10 E to 710 S to 60 E.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Sand and sea and starfish

Time and mental space have been a bit rare for posting here, but fortunately I have friends who are more disciplined about writing and have a digital camera, so check out the April 7 Path to Freedom diary entry for pictures of the wonderful Monday afternoon I spent at the SoCal seashore with friends.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Our significant world

From the Easter message of Mark S. Hanson, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America:
We are gifted with a world rich with significance.
Via Pr. Peg Schultz-Akerson.