Month: May 2014

Where housing prices are totally out of sync with reality

So a friend of mine is a real estate agent here in Rhode Island and is constantly posting listings on his facebook page. 

Many are little 20 or 30 by 80 or so cracker boxes with 2 bedrooms, a bathroom etc. And they cost high hundreds to a couple hundred thousand. 

Meanwhile if I search homes in the areas near Atlanta, GA for $75,000 I can get a four bedroom two and a half bath place. 

This leads me to my next conjecture. 

The price of real estate should be set by supply and demand. And in RI they say the high prices are because of limited supply and high demand. Which of course is utter bovine effluvia. Because all one needs to do is drive around different parts of RI and see all the For Sale signs on homes or count the empty homes. There’s no way the high prices can be sustained – it’s all echo chamber and nothing more. 

Nothing like talking up a price. That’s precisely what they are doing here in RI. But down in Atlanta they seem to be a bit more pragmatic about it. My plan of course is this:

I’ll put down 30-35% of the price of a home but I have certain requirements. The location is one but the home also needs to have teh following:

1) At least a one car but best if two car garage with high bay. 

2) 4+ Bedrooms 

3) 2+ baths and possibly a half bath

4) An in ground pool with deck is a requirement too. 

See – it’s all very simple. And I bet you we’ll get a couple thousand square foot home – probably built in the 1990’s or so and for far less money than we’d have to pay here in Rhode Island. 

Giroux for Governor Campaign first Spot


There you go – the clear choice for RI’s next governor. And I’m pretty sure you all know where I stand on the issue this is one of several posts I’ve written. 

Put it this way – all the other candidates give us platitudes. Todd Giroux is the only one who actually proposes solutions to the economic morass of Rhode Island. And the other candidates are starting to steal some of Giroux’s ideas. But he was there first and foremost with these proposals. 

And my usual disclaimer – I’m pretty integral with the campaign. Not only their I.T. and data work but I’m also an idea man and advisor to the campaign. 

Back to Work Again

This time in Cambridge, MA. The odd thing is to drive take one hour and 30 minutes. To take the train the total travel time is one hour and 12 minutes. So it comes down to personal choice – and I’d prefer the train. First off it’s a later train – 7:12AM and not a 6:30AM train. Second of all I can sleep, read, work on the computer etc on the commuter train. 

And if we do cost wise it’s 54 miles. Which would be 108 round trip miles per day. A car that gets say 30MPG highway we’re looking at 3.6 gallons of fuel per day. Multiply times 5 days comes to 18 gallons at $4 per gallon or $72 per week just for fuel, add in about $30 per week for car maintenance, insurance, taxes etc. So $102 times 4.33 weeks in a month $441.66. A pass for MBTA is $314 and gives me access to commuter rail, buses and subways. 

The job entails working with RedHat Enterprise Linux. Which I’m well versed in among many other Linux distros like Debian, Ubuntu, CentOS and a few other Unix variants in there like SunOS, AIX etc. It’s all pretty much the same. 

It’s a multi year position so that’s good. Plus I’ll gain some experience with AWS etc. 

I’m also up for another job – the hold up on that one is that the partner I need to speak to is burying his father today. That one pays just shy of six figures which the one I’ve no accepted pays a bit over six figures. Yeah, I’m moving into that aspect of my career – Senior Linux Engineer. Never though I’d get to this point. I can recall when I was a Windows only lapdog. But then my first I.T. job was administering a Data General Eclipse MV9600 running AOS/VS II. That was all command line and I loved it. 

And I’ve been exposed to and administered SCO, Yggdrasil etc too. Linux and Unix have been constant threads in my career. 


My thouhgts on the U.S. 2nd Amendment and RI Section 22

Both the above referenced essentially say the same thing “The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” We’re good so far.

However I think I have stumbled across a way to regulate gun sales. Because you see neither the federal or state mentions anything about sales of weaponry. That’s the avenue under which regulation of said weaponry should reside.

Think about that.

Keyron’s Thoughts: RI Democratic Showcase

So I brought Keyron with me to the RI Democratic Showcase last night. He had some rather interesting things to say about the whole affair.

Regarding Gina Raimondo his impression of her was “She sounds like a stuck up , preppy, teachers pet and ass kisser”

That made me laugh out loud. She’s got to get those emphatic hands under control. And I find out she lives across the street from friends of ours sister. Interesting. 

Now on Clay Pell – I think you’re all pretty sure about my thoughts on Clay. But Keyron had this to say: “He’s a dweeb and a bed wetter, then he needs to be stuffed into a locker with only his inhaler.” Oh an d Pell had mentioned he served in the U.S. Coast Guard in North Carolina. Keyron had worked at the USCG Station in Elizabeth City and wonders if maybe Pell cycled through there. From what Keyron tells me they weren’t the brightest bulbs at that USCG Station. 

Regards the whole event, his thoughts were “It was like a high school rally or assembly.” And that the whole event gave him high school flashbacks. 

You know, when I look at it from his perspective it’s true. Every last bit of it. 

Rhode Island Democratic Showcase 2014

This evening Keyron and I attended the Democratic Showcase. We got to hear from our entire U.S. congressional delegation, and all the candidates for attorney general,  treasurer, governor and lt. governor. 

Now in the front right quadrant of the room was the Democratic Committee. Something I noticed – lots of gray hair and no hair in that group. I think the party in general needs a lot of new blood. 

Now on to the candidates. Todd Giruox whose campaign I have done a lot of work on – went first. I have to applaud him for two reasons. First, he’s now managed to mitigate the uh and um problem and secondly he was the ONLY candidate who offered solid ideas on how to get Rhode Island back on it’s feet. 

Then came Clay Pell who did an obvious pander to the Latino’s in the crowd by switching from Spanish to English during the first part of his speech. I actually said out loud “En Ingles por favor!” which translates to “In English Please!”. But Pell’s credit he didn’t go off on a tangent this time. Pretty impressive. 

Next up was Gina Raimondo – and I credit Keyron for spotting this but she played the emotional angle. Her poor recently deceased father who was a fighter. Yeah yeah. But here’s the thing, they did treasurer before governor and the people vying for the office didn’t paint a pretty picture about Raimondo’s tenure. 

And finally there was Providence Mayor Angel Taveras. He told the same musty Lay-Away story – in fact his entire speech I’ve heard before. But he also said something that got Keyron pissed off – about how our ancestors came here. In Keyron’s case his ancestors were brought here as slaves. So that one fell flat. 

All in all – pretty much the same. Lots of bloviating and hot air. We ended up leaving close to an hour early as I only really wanted to hear if anything changed on the gubernatorial scene. 

Here’s how I call it:

It’s either going to be Gina Raimondo or Todd Giroux. Taveras doesn’t have a chance. Nor does Clay Pell who is not only trading on an ancestors name, but pandering now. 


On the job thing

So yeah – it’s green lights all the way on both jobs. I just have to decide which one I really want. 

One is all Redhat linux. The other is a mixture of 60% Windows servers, 40% Linux. 

Here’s the conundrum. 

Windows can be a pain in the ass to manage. One errant update from Microsoft will make it so you’ll have a very bad day indeed. 

Now the other job – as I said All Linux. It has the possibility of permanency but it’s an isolated bunch of boxen. No net connection allowed to the outside. So it makes updates challenging. 

Now the latter – that one has huge opportunities to innovate. It’s just the prestige factor isn’t really there. 

Common Core observations

So I’ve written about Common Core before – I see it as standards. But then I only reviewed the common core for mathematics in Rhode Island. I assume they’re the same everywhere.

The logical engineering side of me says standards are good. Much of my life has been governed by certain standards be they my amateur radio activity or programming computers.

So I don’t necessarily see why Common Core is a bad thing. In fact I know there is wide variation in what is taught in schools all over the United States. I see Common Core as a move to rectify that.

But talk to someone in education and they go off. They talk about the differing abilities of students and how common core forces everyone into the square, etc. And sure I agree – some kids will excel while others don’t have the cognitive ability to do so. Some kids might be able to do the Common Core work faster and want more but the educators say it doesn’t offer them any other options.

I’ll counter that last part – it’s up to the educators to identify the bright ones and give them something more challenging. If little snowflake breezes through the whole of the math core, give snowflake a little advanced math – maybe linear systems, pre-cal, calculus, etc. It can’t hurt. And it should be part of the educational repertoire. Yes you’ll still have to teach to the standard, but you can in fact teach BEYOND the standard.

So that argument falls flat.

TMI Memorial Day Weekend

I know, I know. It’s Tuesday. I used to always post these by accident days later. Now it’s sort of deliberate.

1. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance but it also signifies the “Official” start of summer. What are your plans this weekend?

  • Spent it with friends. Saw the movie Belle – very interesting part of history even if they did take a few liberties with the actual events. Walked around in Newport for a spell too.

2. What is your most and least favorite thing about summer?

  • Most is the return of the sun and it’s warmth! I love it! The hotter the better. Really. My least favorite thing would have to be the bugs. Up here in the northeast we get a scaled down version of the seven plagues with regard to bugs. However go as far south as northeastern North Carolina and Southern Virgina and the bugs – holy crap the bugs.

3. What do you think of when I say “Bar-B-Que?”

  • I think it’s either a) spelled wrong or b) That variety of North Carolina pulled pork that is fucking awesome!

4. What is your favorite summer food?

  • The abundance of things like peaches, cherries, etc. And I do love grilled meat.

5. Are you is swim suit shape yet?

  • Depends on the definition of shape.

6. Given the choice, which do you prefer: ocean, lake or pool?

  • A Pool please. You couldn’t pay me to swim in the Atlantic.

7. Which summer blockbuster movie are you most looking forward to seeing?

  • There’s a whole lot of sci-fi and fantasy stuff coming out his summer. I think Hollywood finally figured out they were majorly pissing people off with the remakes.

8. Summer reading: What? Recommendations?

Oh – Matt Taibbi’s new book is awesome – if you want to get really pissed off.

  • 9. Vacation Plans? If you can’t, what would you do if you could?

    10. Did you ever have to go to summer school?

  • Nope – no chance of that. I usually did my screwing around at the beginning of the year not the end. So I had ample time to correct for it.


Sex on the beach?

  • Sand in the crack of ones ass is not a pleasant thing.

Movies: Belle

So over the weekend we saw the movie Belle. Very interesting story with a basis in reality no less. 

I can’t do it justice so here’s IMDB’s write up: 

BELLE is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mabatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet the color of her skin prevents her from fully participating in the traditions of her social standing. Left to wonder if she will ever find love, Belle falls for an idealistic young vicar’s son bent on change who, with her help, shapes Lord Mansfield’s role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England. 

Now Lord Mansfield (the town of Mansfield isn’t too far from where I live but it’s in the U.S.) was also the Lord Chief Justice. That’s a big deal. Consider too the U.S. judicial system has it’s basis in British Common Law. 

And the Royal Navy Admiral wasn’t he was Captain Sir John Lindsay. 

Really good movie. Many parts in it that just had me shaking my head at the stupidity of slavery.