Thursday, October 30, 2008

um, where did october go?

Seriously? It was JUST September, right? And now it's the end of week 10 and I somehow missed all of October. Wow.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

here's hopin'...

here's hopin...I would like this to turn out better than last time I took a picture of my ballot.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

update (with a digression on teaching)

My life is work, then more work, then more work. Then a little sleep.


At some point perhaps I'll talk about all of this work, and maybe the teaching. But right now I have a really large book to finish reading and a class to prep.

In other news, let me tell you how awesome this whole "team teaching" thing is. Well, it's not really team teaching in that we are not always in the classroom together and our classes aren't merged except for certain days when we have the one class in the big room together because they're at the same time (or when we have activities like movies in the dorm)...BUT. Although sometimes a little rough around the edges, the days when one of us teaches all the sections usually works out pretty well for the other as far as personal workloads are concerned. Yesterday, I had a plan and (for better or worse) executed the plan such that my teaching partner just had to play the part of scribe. Since she had a lot of other work on her plate, this worked out well. Tomorrow she'll be in charge (for it is Sartre day, and she hearts Sartre), which is good because I have a ton of stuff to do in my seminar on Weds that is of the utmost importance to me. Friday we'll return to our normal positions. On any other day, our coordination happens via email or IM or on the ride up to campus. Thank god we trust each other with this stuff, otherwise it would be a serious clusterfuck. I actually think it's going well. Teaching the freshmen here is very different than the teaching of freshmen that I've done before. There is a significant amount of "herding cats" that happens. It's tiring. Glad I have a buddy to help!

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Saturday, October 11, 2008


That's what I am. What I've always been. And then as soon as I said that (in my head/out my fingers with the typing) I figured I'd better look up "antsy" to make sure I wasn't a total dork who labeled herself incorrectly. I may be a geek, but I try to avoid "dork." Jury's still out on that.

So, antsy. Def. 1: "unable to sit or stand still." Totally true. I just spent one of my precious hours driving around. Sure, I was thinking and thinking and thinking, but I was still on the move. Always moving. It's why I don't sleep well. It's why I always sit in the back, never in front of people if I can help it. I'm also kind of shifty-eyed. If I met myself in a dark alley, I'd be afraid of me. If I'm not paying attention and trying not to, it always looks like I'm scowling. Def. 2. "apprehensive or uneasy" I am inherently uneasy. Distrustful. Not fearful, though. Discerning. Or perceptive. I'll buy that. I don't know if it's just my nature, or my time in California, or the nature of academia. Probably a little bit of everything.

I thought for a moment that great philosopher (Yoda) could easily have said this about me: "Always looking to the future you are...never looking at where you are...what you are doing." But that's not really true. I'm looking at all three at once, and managing myself and others, and I'm very tired. But I'm happy enough. Just sometimes I wish I could legitimately need to be supported instead of being the supporter or the manager or the problem solver. Instead I just get antsy. I drive around, figure my own shit out. Return to help others. Continue. I have everything planned, and nothing. It's tiring.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

WSJ: "Housing Pain Gauge: Nearly 1 in 6 Owners 'Under Water'"

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal (thanks, BitchPhd), 16% of U.S. homeowners owe more on a mortgage than the home is worth.

I am totally one of those people.

However, with the combination of my TA stipend, book royalties, my happy-to-have-still-have-it job with my company in California, and rental income from the lovely tenant in said home, I am able just about to break even each month—or only get myself a couple hundred bucks in the hole. I consider that a win.

Just for the sake of presenting some real life numbers, here's my particular part of the housing crisis story.

* Bought my condo in San Jose, CA in April 2002 for 205K. My mortgage was for 211K because I had no money to put down. Yes, I was one of those people.
* In 2004 I refinanced to get a slightly lower interest rate and also to move around some debt. The new mortgage was for 250K, basically.
* By late 2006, condos in my complex/zip code were selling around 300-325K. I thought I was in a good position to be able to sell it when I came up to Pullman in Summer 2007.
* Between Feb 2007 and January 2008, exactly two condos sold in my complex/zip code, and they were short sales for something like 250K. The entire market froze.
* I got a renter. My renter pays 40% of my monthly mortgage + HOA dues.
* I pay property taxes in the amount of 2900/yr. The value of my property according to Santa Clara County is 233K.
* Listings in my complex/zip code have condos like mine going for 185-195K, which is 10K less than I paid six years ago and 125K less than some condos sold for just eighteen months ago.
* I owe 243K.

I can make the payments, now. I can write off some of the loss on my taxes. What I can't do is refinance because technically now it's a rental property and the LTV is all messed up. Thankfully I am in a better position than many many many people in similar "under water" situations. But it's still painful.