Thursday, June 30, 2011
- Craigslist is not always a reliable source of apartment hunting. I had really high hopes for the most part of this month that I could find somewhere ideal through Craigslist. My assumption that people would be moving out, especially in Arlington, and that I could take over whatever they were leaving behind. What I forgot was the number of scams and the erratic-ness of housing opportunity available through Craigslist. I have by now become pretty good about spotting scams, but it's annoying nonetheless. Days can go by without an opportunity showing up, which leads to the next point....
- July 1st is (apparently) one of the busiest times in the Washington D.C. area. You would think all comings and goings (e.g. interns) would have happened in May and June, right? That does not appear to be the case. Housing is very tight for the month of July and pretty competitive. I know this as good opportunities are snatched up very quickly.
- Have your social security card in your possession. I had to scramble to obtain a letter from the Social Security office in order to fulfill application requirements for the apartment. It's a pretty stupid rule as social security numbers are readily demonstrated by things like W-4 or W-2s, but the apartment managers were dogmatic.
- Know what you want (be satisfied). This seems like a no-brainer, but when things get desperate, we tend to not think properly. I almost signed with another friend for a 2 bedroom apartment in Rosslyn, only to realize before we submitted our application (and thereby wasting money) that neither of us were extremely happy with the place. We each gave preference ratios and both of ours were 60:40, that is, 60% for and the rest against. I recommend having preference ratios of at least 80:20 before making a commitment.
- Shooting for a weekend day to move. Sometimes you can't help it but move during the week. When you can though, try to schedule to move during the weekend. It allows for much greater flexibility and...
- Arrange moving arrangements ahead of time. Notify your friends ahead of time, especially those who have pickup trucks to move big furniture pieces. This is especially true for holds of Zipcar membership -- I am learning this lesson the hard way.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
It's been a weird week this week. I think it's due to a combination of stress in finding housing (still searching...), lack of work, and pensiveness about my social life. Stress about finding housing in particular has been weighing on me lately. Last weekend was amazing, so I suppose this week's weirdness returns things to equilibrium.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Friday, June 17, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
This is certainly news to me. As reported by CNET, Apple is estimated to spend approximately $1.3 billion per year (that's $113 million per month) to run its iTunes and App Store portals. While that is a staggering operating expense, I always thought Apple makes many times that in revenues back. Looks like this may not be the case.
After hearing the song, I think you'd be inclined to agree with first paragraph of this blog post. Is the song "cheesy"? Absolutely yes! Is it "vaguely pathetic"? I would also admit that it is indeed. However, neither cheesiness nor pathetic-ness can take away the straightforward message of the song: you don't want to let go that special someone you found.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
Due to the lull in exciting technology news lately, I decided to revisit a gadget that first appeared during this year's E3 Expo: the PlayStation Vita. Originally the intention was to post thoughts on both the PS Vita and the newly-announced Nintendo U. I guess we'll save the Nintendo U for the next lull in interesting news.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Thursday, June 9, 2011
- Roommates -- unless you absolutely must live alone, you should consider seeking roommates to try to find a place together. The obvious reason is that the difference between a 1 bedroom apartment and a 2 bedroom apartment is often marginal. For example, you can either pay $1000 for a 1 bedroom or split a $1300 2 bedroom apartment with someone else. The benefit? Saving $350 per month in rent. Having roommates is also beneficial for pooling resources, meeting new people, and enhancing safety. More to be discussed on this later.
- House or apartment -- this is a matter of personal preference. Although houses are generally associated with family life, they can be very cost-effective and yield other benefits. Houses are generally more flexible to add roommates, contain on-site laundry facilities, private parking on a driveway, less noise, and often come with a backyard for barbecue for the occasional shindig. That being said, apartments are normally better situated than houses, in addition to more community amenities (e.g. roof-top pool).
- Distance to work/school -- one should always consider this factor, since it can contain considerable unexpected costs. For example, living outside of walking distance means you'd have to drive or bike to work. Driving in particular could be troublesome if parking is difficult to find, or not free. You should also consider the commute time to get where you need to be. What's the point of living in a posh apartment if you are spending 2 hours each day commuting?
- Availability of public transportation -- going off the previous point, public transportation may not be used but should nonetheless be considered. Especially if something happens to your go-to mode of transportation. However, this comes with a downside: a positive correlation between some types of transportation available and price of housing. Case in point is metro rail.
- Utility costs -- in this day and age, one cannot do without internet service. Most properties do not include internet service in the rent, nor normal utilities like electricity and gas. This cost will depend on the energy efficiency of the property. A common cost for this category is $100 per month.
The success of gourmet burger joints is clearly an reflection of people's preference for quality. This isn't necessarily a fight of quantity vs quality given news of McDonald's increasing sales, but does come as a surprise. Costs for gourmet (alternatively referred to as "built-to-order") burgers is significantly higher than a standard McDonald's burger -- joints like Five Guys boast of their patties never being frozen, using fresh vegetables, freshly baked buns, and quality pickles. It explains why the price of a gourmet burger would be much higher.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
- "Oh Death, where is your sting?"
- "Oh Hell, where is your victory?"