I’ve been fascinated by the story of Casey Serin, a 24-year-old who dived into real estate investing as the market turned sour. He bought the bulk of his properties in 2005 with “liar loans,” which lets borrowers state their own income to get into more house that they could afford. And with interest-only payments, for at least a few years you can afford your dream house. This housing boom has created new rules that prevent housing from ever going down; by the time you balloon payment begins, you can refinance and cash out a little to get marble countertops or a new car. Unfortunately for many people reading from a DC condo right now, we know this recent housing boom was no different from previous ones.
Casey bought houses at their peak prices, sometimes without even looking at them in person, and found himself unable to get buyers interested. Since he quit his web designer job to be a RE investor, there was no income coming in. He started a blog about his problems, which was immediately successful though it put him on the hook legally since he admits to lying on his loans. The USA Today did a profile on him called 10 mistakes that made flipping a flop.
In one year, the 24-year-old website-designer-turned-real estate-flipper bought eight homes in four states — and in every case but one, he put no money down. At his peak, in April, Serin had $93,000 he’d taken out of the homes as he bought them. By July, he was broke, desperate for one last deal.
Now? Serin has $140,000 in credit card and credit-line debt and five houses in foreclosure. Last month, he started iamfacingforeclosure.com, a blog that’s drawn both notes of condolence and expletive-laced condemnation.
He is sitting on $2.2 million in debt. Only in America will banks lend such a large amount of money to a web designer. But to his credit, if he simply dived in four years earlier, he would be a very wealthy man right now.
I’m not a RE investor but I’m fascinated by this story because I completely missed the boat. I did not buy any properties and got to sit on the sidelines watching other people’s wealth increase. I am a bitter renter. But the fact that my rent payment is less than what many of you Whole Food shoppers pay for food a month does ease the pain.
The fun part of all this, and why I’m writing about Casey, is his brilliant blog. He is a soap opera writer, stirring up the pot and getting everyone in a froth over his idiotic moves and statements. Examples:
- Continual search for “creative” and “sweet” deals even though he has to borrow thousands of dollars a month from friends and family.
- Selling a reliable car and buying a used Jetta with a subwoofer that is in dire condition.
- Following the advice of “gurus” and attending real estate seminars. He recently attended a one-week RE seminar and posted about how the book Getting Things Done might turn things around for him.
- Postings of his discretionary spending which includes visits to Macaroni Grill and Jamba Juice (West Coast equivalent of Smoothie King). The Jamba Juice mentions guarantee at least 100 comments.
- Complete unwillingness to file for bankruptcy (until yesterday).
For the past couple months I know he’s been trolling, but I just can’t look away. I really want to see where this ends up: if his wife will divorce him, if he will go to jail, or if he will land a sweet deal to get him out of the mess. And it’s educational too because I have learned more about RE investing from the hilarious comments section than anywhere else.
I look forward to a housing crash, which would only affect speculators like Casey or buyers who bought more than they could afford. Unless the dollar falls, which is a real possibility for 2007, a housing free-fall would be a most pleasant development to someone like me who is sitting on cash.
Here’s an educational video that shows how cocaine is made. Unfortunately there were no bare-breasted women cutting up the coke like in the movie New Jack City.
I’ve never tried cocaine before and after watching this I don’t think I ever will, especially when recycled gasoline is a main ingredient. Ammonia and sulphuric acid is also used. The filter of choice is a dirty rag.
The impurities and chemical residues will get you before the drug does.
I have been noticing there are a lot of fat people in this country. Sure, I knew this before intellectually, but it’s caught my attention lately because it seems like I am always squeezing myself into a Metro seat next to some really fat person, which I have to do carefully to avoid sitting on the part of them that oozes onto the seat I want to sit in. Having to do this so often got me wondering just how many fat people there are in this country, so I did some internet research and found government statistics on the subject.
The answer: a whole fucking lot.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 66.5% of adult Americans are overweight. Even worse, half of those are classified as “obese.” If you do the math, that means 1 in 3 of my fellow Americans are obese.
How fat is “obese”? Well, it seems “obese” has some official clinical definition that means “not just fat, but really big ass fat.” According to a Body Mass Index (BMI) table, a girl who is 5’4 (my girl’s height) would have a “healthy weight” if she were between 110 and 140 pounds. She would be considered “overweight” if she were between 146 and 179 pounds. And this little 5’4 girl would be considered “obese” if she were between 175 and 197 pounds.
That’s pretty damn big. I’m not talking about a few extra pounds here. I am not picking on people who stay in shape but are not fitness model perfect. And yes, before The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance hunts me down, I understand that there are people who suffer from medical conditions they can’t control that make them gain weight. And yes, there are people who have genetics that hardwire them to be fat no matter what they do. My true sympathy goes out to these people.
But what about all of these obese people who could do something about it if they wanted to? It’s not like people don’t know what makes them fat or don’t understand how to be thin. Who living in the midst of the Information Age still doesn’t know that a diet consisting of hot dogs and Ben & Jerrys will make them fat? Ok, maybe there are a few moonshine-selling hillbilly families living in Appalachia who never got the message, but I am convinced that everyone else knows that a sensible diet and exercise are the answer.
If everyone knows how to be thin, why isn’t everyone thin already? After all, we live in a vain, image-conscious society. We Americans spend countless billions every year on clothing, make up and accessories to make us look more attractive (if I were not feeling lazy I would look up even more statistics on consumer spending in these areas). We literally worship the most beautiful people in our society – movie actors, TV stars, fashion models, and turn them into modern day royalty. Our culture is obsessed with physical appearance, so why isn’t the crappy feeling obese people get when they look in a mirror enough motivation for them?
Moreover, it’s well established that we humans select our mates based upon physical characteristics which speak to one’s fitness for producing healthy offspring. In plain English: slender people get laid. I don’t think you would be shocked if I told you the best looking men prefer to date women who are slender. We also know the best looking women usually date men who are somewhere between yoga toned and bodybuilder massive. If the desire for the sex explains a great deal of human behavior, why isn’t the basic need to have sex with hotties enough motivation for people to stay in shape?
So who can explain this to me? Obese people already know everything they need to know to be thin. When obese people look in the mirror, they receive the instant feedback of disliking what they see. If obese people want to mate with a member of the opposite sex, they live a life with fewer, less attractive mating partners at their disposal. So WHY are they still so fat??
I have been in this area since legal drinking age and have visited over 100 bars and clubs around DC, but I have never been to Smith Point. I don’t know anyone who goes there but apparently it’s a popular bar. Can someone help me “get it”?
Late Night Shots, the promotional arm of Smith Point, has a message board I read when I want to feel better about myself. On the surface it doesn’t look like these are the type of people I want to associate with, but I’ve been wrong before (once, actually). The bar seems like a place the CPMC guys went to before they discovered the existence of the cigar.
If being a part of this white crowd means I can pre-party at J. Crew, I want in immediately.
Postscript: “There’s enough fodder for mockery in there to keep 100 monkeys blogging non-stop for a year.” – Rock Creek Rambler
A new about page.
After 27 years of life, I have stopped drinking another mammal’s excretion. I have come to the conclusion that cow’s milk is better suited for baby calves and not adult humans. The only reason we drink milk from a cow is because it’s cheap to produce; if the dairy industry could find a more economical way to produce milk from a camel, we’d all be drinking camel milk within a generation, after “new research” shows that camel milk offers more “health benefits.”
I was talking to a friend about my recent decision to wean myself off the cow teat and he told me I was crazy, that milk is good for me and I’m sure to die a horrible bone-shattering death down a flight of stairs at the age of 50.
“How do you know milk is good for you?” I asked.
“What do you mean, it’s common sense. Studies show it’s good for you.”
Another victory for public relations! Now I’m not writing this to convince you that milk is bad for you, but the last person I’m going to trust when it comes to what I put in my body is an industry motivated by profit. Whenever you are wondering if you should believe someone or not, ask yourself how much that person would lose if the opposite were to be true. If it’s measurable in large dollar sums, as in billions of dollars, it may be prudent of you to be a little bit more skeptical. Money is all too powerful and corrupting of an incentive.
I bought a soy latte recently and was pleased with the taste. I’m becoming such a lame hippie cliche, with my long, non-showered greasy hair and beard, carrying books around and consuming soy products. I won’t be surprised if I go vegetarian. On an unrelated note, I’m currently in the market for an acoustic guitar.
Some items off the rapist checklist:
1. You are a rapist if you get a girl drunk and have sex with her.
3. You are a rapist if you get yourself drunk and have sex with her. Your drunkeness is no excuse.
13. You are a rapist if you ‘nag’ her for sex. Because you manage to ply an eventual ‘yes’ from a weary victim doesn’t mean it’s not rape. You are a rapist.
14. You are a rapist if you try to circumvent her “No” by talking her into it. She’s not playing hard to get, and, even if she IS it’s not YOUR responsibility to ‘get’ her. You’re still a rapist.
17. You are a rapist if you don’t immediately get your hands off of her when she says ‘no’. You are a rapist if you take your hands off of her and then put them back ON her after 10 minutes and she eventually ‘gives in’ to this tactic.
18. You are a rapist if you won’t let her sleep peacefully without waking her every 15 minutes asking her for sex. Sleep depravation is a form of torture and YOU are a rapist.
21. If she said “Yes” to sex with a condom and that condom breaks and you proceed anyway then you’re a rapist.
27. If you had sex with her the night before but she doesn’t want morning sex and you pressure her for it anyway then you’re a rapist.
During sex, all the power belongs to the male because he controls the speed, tempo, force, and rhythm (unless he chooses to give it up). Even with consent, he is penetrating and he is violating. The author of this list tries desperately to equal the imbalance by making only one sexual interaction acceptable: when the man grovels and asks for explicit permission. To her this is acceptable because the man emasculates himself and transfers power and control — and his manhood — to her side. She doesn’t care about equality, or protecting women from men like me; she just deeply resents the fact that sex is where men completely dominate. Unless a woman tells me ‘no’ once I’m inside her (it has never happened), I’m going to get mine the way I want to get mine. And so is every other real man that has sex. No ridiculous list will change that.