Monday, September 29, 2008

20 degree drop

The last few days have been remarkably colder--easily a 20 degree drop. It's gone from short-sleeve-only weather to winter coat weather in a matter of a couple days.

Chris took me out to an Italian restaurant
Really great food--the best Italian we've had so far in Japan.

I got a new camera! The DSLR Nikon D60
(No pictures on the blog yet from it though, but you'll see them soon ;) )
It was a much anticipated upgrade from my point-and-shoot camera.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Please go to and write your congressional representatives...the site has a letter all typed up for those who aren't sure what to say. All you need to do is include your contact information and press "send your message" and it will go to the right people.

This bill is bailing out those who got us into this them millions / billions and sticking us with the bill. Inflation will be INSANE if this passes, middle class will slip into the lower class and we will be signing away even more power to a very select few. If you haven't realized already with all these government buyouts / bailouts we are turning into a socialist country--we've already turned that corner. This is a very serious time in our history, and I as well as many others are beginning to understand that things are about to change rather drastically if something isn't done. What they (Paulson, Bernanke) are trying to avoid so desperately is a deflation and ultimate "Depression" (at least in their words). What they are seeing, and what many others are seeing, is that depression is likely inevitable at this point if we don't do something. As crazy as that may sound to some, we are turning that corner towards depression rather rapidly...surprisingly quicker than many originally thought. This is partially why they are so desperate to quickly "inflate". But their "motives" for inflating aren't quite what they seem... Rewarding those who lavishly fed these credit and housing bubbles into what they are today is just avoiding the deeper problem and prolonging a deflation. We might actually be able to have an "semi-orderly" deflation with another solution put in place.

I spend enough time on the internet (something I probably shouldn't be proud of) to know that people are restless and this feeling of distrust is growing very rapidly--distrust in banks, our government officials, and the status quo. I think more and more people are waking up to realize many of those in the most powerful positions really don't have our best interest at heart. We can do something and have a major impact on what happens. We can write history. Don't discredit what you can do. And don't "not do something" because you feel like it won't help.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

China Town

Today Chris and I walked to a park down by the water near our place and checked out China Town. The food we had was very good. Very busy there though too--it's a national holiday here in Japan: Autumn Equinox Day.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Now that economy is starting to unravel at a quicker pace, I thought I would post another warning blog post. You can see my initial March'08 blog on the subject.

You can find multiple youtube videos, blogs, news articles (avoid some of the tainted mainstream ones :P), informational articles on all sorts of possibilities for where our economy is headed. They range from clueless optimism "the fundamentals of our economy is strong" to pessimistic "the dollar will collapse and we will go to the Amero"... Wade through the information online and decide for yourself.

Things you can do:

-unemployment numbers will likely increase so make yourself indispensable at your workplace
-if you know your company is in trouble and/or is downsizing, do your job research and resume writing now; certain job sectors will be much harder hit than others--widespread job loss will take a little longer to trickle down as many companies will slowly cut back
-learn to lower your spending in all areas and live on less if your not doing so already
-have a couple months living expenses in cash on hand
-bad time to get into debt if you are unsure about your job
-debt in a deflationary period is really bad, inflationary period debt is much better than deflationary, but best to pay down debt if you can do so while having extra money on-hand
-have about two weeks supply of canned food, water, anything you would normally keep to prepare for natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, etc.
-keep your gas tank filled over a 1/2 tank

There is much more advice that can be found online. Just a few thoughts I wanted to pass on. Keep your eyes and ears open over the next few months.

It'll be interesting to say the least.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dream Song #3

Just before I woke up this morning I heard the beginning of a song I had never heard before. As soon as I woke up I grabbed a pen and my journal, found the notes (tune of it) on the keyboard, and wrote the notes down. I even got Chris to listen carefully too. I think it'll be a good song :) It seems like a more mellow song from what little of the intro I heard. So, maybe in a year or two I'll hear it on the radio? ;)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Shimoda and Shirahama

Chris and I took a last-minute getaway trip to Shirahama for the weekend. We went with no plan and no hotel reservation, but ended up finding a nice place on the ocean for a night.

ocean right off of the hotel
The water felt sooo good! Not warm, but just cool enough for a hot day

The hotel beach was a great beach for beachcombing

lots of sea glass lying on the beach
...and some sea glasses :)
We went to an aquarium in Shimoda...pic below is Chris's hand in a tank
where he could feel little fish eating or sucking on his hand
A first for both of us: feeding the dolphins

Seal and Dolphin show

Shirahama Beach

Monday, September 1, 2008

nitty-gritty research

I've been looking at and dreaming about houses since I was 5. Only recently have Chris and I started seriously looking at homes with the intent that we hope to buy one relatively soon. Right now our face-time with the houses is perusing the MLS, but it's giving us a good gauge of what areas we would like to live and what is within our budget as we keep a close tab on prices.

By looking at the MLS, Chris and I have a good idea of different areas we could live. The neighborhoods we could live are now being narrowed down further after looking at which schools are best in the area. In most areas, where you send your child really does matter--especially in California where school quality tends to lag behind many other states. If you buy in one neighborhood maybe you are getting a great deal on a house as the prices of homes have dropped 40% in that neighborhood, but that neighborhood also has some of the worst performing schools in the area. Unfortunately, the best schools tend to be in the most expensive areas. I don't intend for us to be education-Nazi-like parents--making sure our kids go to the best-of-the-best school no matter what, but we do want them to go to a great school. Sending our kids to private school might be an option, but then you are talking at least $60k+ for a k-8 grade education per child. You might as well pay more for a house with a better public school, right?

Decisions, decisions. Amazing how you can spend time thinking about elementary, middle and high schools before you even have kids! :)

Anyway, now the nitty-gritty research (as I'd like to call it) begins. Everything from schools, to sex-offender maps, to loan-types, home insurance, etc... We're just approaching the 5 month mark before returning, I figure doing our homework now will get us prepared for jumping-in when we get back.