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  1. Mortgage Interest and House Values

    May 26, 2015 by admin

    When markets are at historical extremes it is easy to make a prediction which direction they will go.

    At this moment in time interest rates are still roughly in the range of all time lows. This makes it a sure bet that over time they will go up. There are only a very few places down they can go, and an infinite number of places they can go up.

    Housing prices are not so easy to predict.

    Two years ago, when the market bottomed out, it was very easy to predict prices would go up.

    Now we are close to pre housing market crash levels.

    When I look at long term housing price trends, current prices seem average.

    Over the past 100 years, prices of property in California have tended to trend upward at a rate of about 8% a year.

    This number changes from decade to decade, but that has generally been the rule.

    Prices now sit just about on that line.

    Housing prices are also up now about 20% to 50% from the market bottom about 6 years ago. That last sentence is what really strikes me. Let’s assume for a moment that the market correction took prices to their correct level. Then in 6 years that correct level appreciated 5% a year which is conservative compared to historical increases. That would be a roughly 34% increase expected as an absolute minimum.

    If you assume 8%, then we would have expected to see an 85% improvement in housing prices.

    Population has not decreased.

    The demand for property in coastal southern california has not decreased.

    The only factor that I think is keeping the prices down, and might drop them at all might be the interest rates.

    Let me explain.

    A typical home these days costs about $600,000.

    Payments on that, even with a good sized down-payment, ends up costing about $2500 a month, after you figure tax deductions, HOA’s, property tax etc.

    That is about as much as the average family can afford.

    The problem may turn out to be the interest rates.

    If interest rates go up, then this same family will not be able to afford this house.

    So the housing prices will have to come down for the house to sell.

    Or here is one other alternative, that I think is most likely to happen.

    The government does not want to see housing prices drop.

    When that happens, people tend to lose their homes, mortgages default, and banks to under etc.

    I think interest rates will go up.

    At the same time, the government will add a lot of money to our money supply.

    We will get some inflation.

    People will have higher pay.

    Housing prices will stay even or climb slightly.

    People will pay more on their monthly payment, but they will also be making more money.

    It will appear that housing prices stayed the same, or even went up.

    In reality, because a dollar is worth less, the real price of the homes will have actually dropped a bit, but no one will notice.

    Then at some point housing prices will climb and climb, and then guess what? That’s right, they will drop again.

    Over and over again for the rest of eternity 🙂


  2. Szechuan Place Agoura Spicy Tofu Fish

    October 11, 2014 by

    This one restaurant is a journey in itself. First, ask for the Chinese menu or you will think you are in the wrong place and end up eatimageing Kung Pao chicken.

    The Szechuan peppers are a uique food, either tasting pleasent and spicey to some, or actually electric, like the end of a battery and unpleasant to others. image

    Today au I am trying the spicey tofu fish, also called spicey tofu fish hotpot.



    It arrived.

    None of the peppercorns.

    A little oily but light.

    Spicey, but not unbearable.

    Soft tofu.

    Lots of fish.

    Great rice.


    It has a special seed in it called Xiang liao with a very light and unique flavor.












  3. Dinner at Taco Bell

    October 6, 2014 by

    Yep. I went there.

    I go possibly twice a year.

    Why did I eat there?

    how was it? Really?

    Sure the setting was unapealing.

    The customer service was exceptional. Sharp guy behind the counter, who was very nice.

    On to the food.

    Two burrito supremes, no beans, extra meat and then I put lots of mild hot sauce on it.

    Let me pretend I was at a five star on yelp hip place with lots of reviews.

    spicer The first word that comes to mind is juicy. Begins were crisp. Flavor rich. The hot sauce was mildly spicey with a light vinegar.

    Definitely satisfying.

    Would I have eaten there again, sure.

    Now add in the environment and a lot of that disappears. All in all worth the money. There is a reason there are so many of them.





  4. Nitropod organic ice cream

    October 3, 2014 by

    imageOrganic. Ice Cream. Food Truck.

    What a perfect combo.

    I was about to walk into whole foods in Encino when I saw their truck parked out front.

    it had all the great keywords to draw me in.


    The reason I was going into whole foods was that I needed something with the little fat in it to take my vitamins. Add five bucks the price point was perfect.

    I met Justin and the other owner of the food truck.

    Great guys who just open the truck two weeks

    I got the chocolate and peanut butter ice cream both of which are fantastic.

    They are hard-to-find so keep your eye out on them because they’re always moving.

    look for them on pod.

  5. Real Wasabi

    September 27, 2014 by admin

    220px-Wasabi_by_EverJean_in_Nishiki-ichiba,_KyotoI am still surprised, but should not be, that most sushi goers still think that artificially colored green paste on your plate is wasabi. In fact what is served in even most of the best sushi restaurants in the U.S. is a crappy mixture of horseradish and food coloring.

    The American palate has become accustomed to this, and here we mistakenly call this Wasabi.

    Real wasabi is a root, that is almost impossible to grow. It naturally grows in cool, shallow stream beds with gravel bottoms. Until about 10 years ago, no-one had been able to get it to grow in the U.S.

    Today I find about half of better Japanese restaurants now in Urban areas have it in the kitchen, but inevitably you have to ask for it. It tastes very, very different than the mashed powder you are used to. It has a bit of a more sweet taste to it, and a texture similar to cactus paddles if you have ever had that, but less slimy.

    To be 100% honest, even though I feel better eating “real” Wasabi, and somehow think of it as more authentic, and “cooler”, I still sometimes prefer the crappy horseradish powder as that is what I grew up eating. It is a bit like sushi comfort food for me.

    While we are at it, that bright pink color of the ginger? Artificial food coloring. Real pickled ginger with food coloring looks very pale and not really pink. Red food coloring has consistently won the ranks as being the most carcinogenic class of food colorings. Not sure why this is.

    As a passing fact, the red coloring in bar cherries definitely has been shown to cause cancer. The rationale is that no one eats too many of these. I guarantee there is a lifetime bartender laying on his back somewhere in an ICU who has no idea that his fondness for these sugar pickled cherries cost him his life.



  6. Thousand Wok in Thousand Oaks

    September 27, 2014 by admin

    phoThousand walk in Thousand Oaks is kind of a comical name. This place is become a staple of our family because it has something for everyone. We started going there because they had pho. The only other place that has fine the Conejo Valley shall remain nameless.

    As I’ve gotten to be friends with the owners of learned a lot about the restaurant that makes it very unique. If I understand correctly they have a chef there that is Chinese, another one that is Vietnamese, and a Japanese sushi chef.

    This allows them to do with many other restaurants of tried to do and failed out, which is to create a pan Asian restaurant.

    We’ve become particularly fond of their peppered fried tofu as well as the pho. For restaurant that is not exclusively Japanese sushi is surprisingly good and sushi chef there is very capable and able.

    One thing that is particularly remarkable at this restaurant dessert chili sauce. Most Asian or Chinese restaurants will have a fried chili sauce that they keep on the table, which is fried chili flakes in oil.

    Most restaurants of the same brand which is rather tasteless and you’ll find it almost every Chinese restaurant.

    sashimiAt thousand walk they make theirs from scratch from an old family recipe. I find it absolutely amazing and spoon fillet heavily on all of my food.

    The prices they’re quite amazing also we recently had dinner for four adults and two children and the total came to $45 before tip. I don’t think you could go to McDonald’s for that price.

  7. Mariscos Alex A Spicey Adventure

    September 27, 2014 by admin

    I have lived in San Diego for most of the past 20 years.

    It is a spicy town on many levels.

    I have never moved into the world of mariscos taco trucks, as fresh fish and permanently parked trucks just don’t seem to match up very well.

    We went to Mariscos Alex to see why they had reached number one in yelp for mariscos.

    If you don’t know, Mariscos is spanish, and in this case more appropriately Mexican, for sea food.

    You are not going to get flounder on parchment, or sauteed Sand Dabs.

    What you get are a small variety of items in that particular restaurants local flavor.

    They are:

    fish tacos – no explanation needed

    Cocktail – The mexican version of the shrimp cocktail

    Ceviche – chopped fish with possibly some cilantro or tomatoe marinated in citrus

    and that is about it.

    I will point out the parts about Mariscos Alex that make it unique.

    First off, it is in a neighborhood of San Diego that unless you live there, you would probably not go out of your way to visit. Not dangerous, as nowhere in San Diego really is, but still the kind of place you would have second thoughts about leaving your fancy car over night on the street while you traveled out of town.

    It is in the parking lot of a gas station and is a taco truck.

    mariscos-celerySome of their tacos have cooked celery in them. I have had a lot of authentic mexican food, but had never tried this before. I am not a cooked celery fan, so did not like it very much. It was however extraordinarily unique. The bitterness of the celery, cooked fish which was excellent, and cheese. It is such a strong unique taste, that is loved by so many there.

    I got their Clamatos Preparados. This I also got because it looked so unique. It is basically Clamato juice, with lots of stuff added, which turned it into a spicey, refreshing, tomato and chile drink, with shrimp and oysters. It

    The amazing and funny part was the ceviche. The ceviche was served on a flatish place, handed through the window of the taco truck.

    I looked on the counter and they had a variety of sauces. This always intrigues me. I am a huge lover of sauces.

    I took a little of each sauce. One of the sauces really caught my eye, which was the mango sauce. I put a ton of this on, as I love, love, love mangos. Half of my ceviche was no swimming in mango sauce.

    I started to eat it, and it was quite spicy. The more I ate, the more my mouth burned. The flavor was extraordinary. When I looked in the ceviche, there was no apparent chile. The burning caused me to eat more and more faster and faster thinking it would cool the burn. At some point my mouth was literally exploding on fire.

    I still had not quite recognized what had just happened.

    There was a gas station next door. I went inside and got the only milk they had, Nestle’s Chocolate Milk, and drank it in the gas station to try to stop the burning pain. I never, ever would normally get Nestle’s chocolate milk.

    When I went back to the taco truck, in my broken spanish I tried to ask the woman in the truck where the spice was coming from.

    It turned out that mango sauce I had used was not mango sauce at all. It is as far as my Spanish could figure out, nothing more complicated than fresh, raw, habenero chiles run through a blender. I had eaten roughly two or three entire habenero chiles on my ceviche without realizing what it was.


    Would I go back?

    Absolutely. This place was amazing. I can see how their menu is so different from what I am used to that it is going to take a dozen trips to figure it out.





  8. Waring Massage Spa San Diego

    July 27, 2013 by

    In San Diego like anywhere else in the world, I never think about fixing my body until it gets late at night. Up until now, there has never been a place to go to get a massage late at night that did quality work.

    The problem with most of the massage places that are open at 10 o’clock at night is that it is the type of massage place you won’t wanna go to. This place was wonderful. I saw Lucy.  I found the place on Yelp.

    They charged me $40 for a one hour massage. Lucy immediately got up on the table and started walking on my back. They have a few sets of bars installed above the table. It’s similar to a Thai massage but Lucy was trained in China.

    It’s different than most of the Chinese massage places in California in that it does not have a bunch of open tables that it is all private rooms. Lucy did such a good job when she was done I gave her a $20 cash tip. I was very happy with the experience and I’m sure I will be back again then next time it is 10:00 at night and my shoulder is killing me.

    The place is a great bargain.

    I am a bit concerned about all of the American trained massage therapists competing against the Chinese places. The Chinese places do an incredible job for about half the price. It is hit or miss as to the quality at a Chinese massage place, but then again the same is true with Americans.

    Capitalism always win! And Waring is proof of that.

  9. Young Americans Just Say No to Credit Cards

    June 14, 2013 by

    Parents, maybe we should be taking a page out of our kids’ books! An article I read today reported that since the recession, the amount of younger Americans who are opting not to use credit cards has doubled. These young adults are relying on debit cards and pre-paid cards more these days. It could certainly be from watching their parents and grandparents get blindsided by the recession, that this age group has made a conscious decision to avoid credit card debt and only pay for things with the money they’ve actually got in their bank accounts.

    This great article in CNN Money by Blake Ellis will tell you more:

    “About 16% of consumers ages 18 to 29 didn’t have a single credit card by the end of 2012 — up from 8% in 2007, according to data that credit score provider FICO collected from the credit files of millions of consumers.

    As a result, credit card debt has declined by about a third among this age group — from an average $3,073 to $2,087 per person. After watching older generations — like their parents — get hit hard by the recession, many younger Americans are shying away from credit and opting for debit cards instead, according to FICO.”

    Click here to find out how the younger generations’ credit scores are being impacted, and what their parents’ finances look like.

    I’ve gotta tip my hat to the kids–er, young adults, for handling the recession like seasoned pros. It’s smart to only charge to credit what you can pay off each month in full, and it’s even smarter to not charge at ALL if you know that you can’t pay in full, or you fear that you’ll get sucked into a bad cycle of piling debt on. Just make sure you guys have enough credit activity so that you have an established and good credit score. Too little borrowing can actually result in not enough credit–something lenders frown upon. Otherwise, keep up the good work 🙂

  10. U.S. Credit Rating Betters from Negative to Stable

    June 10, 2013 by

    Alriiiight! Good news for the U.S. this week, with Standard & Poor’s (S&P)–an American financial services company–giving the U.S.’ credit rating a boost by determining it “stable” versus the “negative” rating it had before. This change in S&P’s credit outlook for the U.S. basically means that there is less than a third of a chance that it will inch further down over the next couple of years, according to a Reuters article published today, June 10th. So, that’s good news! Check out the below Reuters article for further details on the state of the U.S. economy:

    “Standard & Poor’s on Monday removed the near-term threat of another credit rating downgrade for the United States by revising its outlook to stable from negative, citing an improved economic and fiscal outlook. The change effectively means there is less than a one-third chance of a downgrade in the next two years.

    S&P said a key factor to its revision in the U.S. rating outlook was the agreement reached by the U.S. Congress to avoid the ‘fiscal cliff’, which had threatened some $600 billion in automatic tax increases and spending cuts.”

    Click here to read more about the U.S.’ fiscal improvement and other companies’ projections.

    Don’t miss the part of the article that reports that the U.S. federal budget deficit is shrinking faster than previously thought. Imagine if you were trying to pay off your debt, and you ended up paying it off faster than you originally anticipated. That would feel AWESOME. So we as citizens of a country that is essentially doing just that with the federal budget, should feel very proud. And good. Which I do, about our economy’s outlook. 🙂