Sunday, January 27, 2008

On Whiskey

I saw Charlie Wilson's War a couple weeks ago. It's a great movie. And though Tom Hanks is supposed to be the star of the film, personally I think Phillip Seymour Hoffman plays the better part as a CIA spy. I haven't really liked the parts he's played in any of the other movies I've seen him in, but he really nailed this part.

But no one really cares about my taste in movies, and why should they? The reason I bring this up is that the Charlie Wilson character (and I assume the actual Charlie Wilson) liked his whiskey. Now I personally am a beer snob, and it's probably been several months since a day passed without me having at least one beer. I drink wine sometimes as well, but I don't really drink it enough to have specific brand and style preferences like I do with beer. Very rarely do I drink hard liquor.

Anyways, as I watched this movie I thought to myself, why don't I drink more whiskey? After all, from what I understand the pre-distillation process of making whiskey is very similar to the process of making beer. And if that's true, then whiskey is essentially beer without all that pesky water. It's more efficient beer.

So now I'm drinking more whiskey these days. So far I've tried both Rittenhouse 100 proof Rye and Knob Creek bourbon. Both I enjoy quite a bit. I also have a bottle of Jim Beam Black, which I bought ages ago to use for Mint Juleps. I don't like it straight, though. It's not as strong, and it's got kind of a sour taste which I don't find palatable. So it'll probably be spending more time in my liquor cabinet.

Anyways, I'm open to suggestions for other brands and types to try, provided they are reasonably priced (I'm sure the $1000 bottle of 50 year old single malt scotch is wonderful, but I'm not buying it). I figure this'll be a lifelong journey of discovery like drinking beer has been and will continue to be. And I'm sure I'll enjoy the ride, even if my liver doesn't.


Blogger Arthaey Angosii said...

Hey, whiskey's tasty stuff! Of course, I am an anti-snob -- I'm used to Jim Beam and E&J. :P So I can't give you recommendations, but I do approve your new-found taste. ;)

1/27/2008 10:00 PM  
Blogger Aaron *@ said...

Well you know the saying about life being too short for cheap alcohol. Considering it's $20 a bottle for the two brands I mentioned vs. $16 for a bottle of Jim Beam; the small premium's worth it in my opinion. But to each their own. Though one of these days I'm going to break down and pay the $13 for a jar of Georgia Moon just to say I've done it.

1/27/2008 10:30 PM  
Blogger Arthaey Angosii said...

Huh, I didn't know the prices were so comparable. In that case, I would agree with you that it's worth it, if the +4-dollar varieties taste better.

That Georgia Moon stuff looks... interesting. Would you like some Thunderbird with that?

1/27/2008 11:41 PM  

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Xanadu: My New (FSM and Dionysus Willing) Home

I've been asked to put up pictures of houses I really like. That's easy, because If everything goes smoothly I'm going to own the first house I looked at, and I was meticulous in taking pictures of it. And those places I didn't take pictures (like the front of the house; how could I forget to do that?) are covered by the selling agent's pictures

I was actually surprised the bank accepted my offer. I thought the list price was too low for how nice the house was. I'd seen many pictures of houses in this price range, and they either were in serious need of work, were small, or were in shady neighborhoods. This was the only house I saw that blew me away. I looked at it on Saturday and submitted my offer on Monday. That same day, I was asked to submit my best offer since there were already three or four other offers. I was sure I wasn't going to get it. Surely these other people had more funds at their disposal than I. And even if they didn't, surely the bank would realize they under priced the house, reject all the offers, and increase the list price. After all, they'd only listed the house 4 days prior. But I got the call today that the bank accepted my second offer. My days of being a slave to the landlord will soon be over. Long live the days of being a slave to the bank!

Just a brief word on how this all works. First you (presumably) look at a house. Then you make an offer on the property. There may or may not be some back-and-forth with the seller, possibly making counter-offers to get more money or change terms. Once that ends you have acceptance of the offer, at which point you have a certain number of days to give the down-payment to the seller as well as provide evidence of pre-approval of a mortgage for the purchase price. Then you have to inspect the house, have it appraised, and do all the escrow-type stuff I'm not overly familiar with. Once that ends you get the keys and can move in.

So, pictures...

I think the patio could stand to be redone. It's hard to tell, but it looks a bit old and leaky. I like the double doors, though. This picture was also taken by the selling agent.

I call the house Xanadu in part because of the backyard. This is a picture of it. That thing in the middle that looks like stairs: that's a fucking fountain. There's a fountain in the backyard. What am I going to do with a fountain in my backyard? Whatever I want to, because it'll be mine. Some co-workers/drinking buddies suggested filling it with beer.

As I was reminded today, I shall need to buy a lawnmower. Fortunately, I have a shed in which to put one. To be honest, it's in bad shape, looks like water seeps in, and the door's hard to open. A low-priority thing to do will be to tear it down and replace it with a TUFF SHED or similar.

On the upside, the kitchen's newly remodeled. On the downside, I need to buy a refrigerator, a stove, and knobs for all the cabinet doors. The house was at the tail end of what looks to be a total remodel, so there's a few things missing here and there (like lights, runners around the walls, etc...).

It's got a pretty nice living room. Now I personally am not a fan of tile floors, preferring carpet everywhere except in the kitchen and bathroom. I'll probably end up putting down a rug or something if I don't have carpet put in (which I don't really want to do yet since the tile is all new and nice-looking).

There's two bathrooms; this is the master bath. It was also remodeled. I like the jacuzzi bathtub, though I doubt I'll use it as such. I don't think they yet put in a shower head, though presumably that's an easy thing to do. As near as my dad and I can figure, that recessed area at the top of the tile-work is a place to install a TV.

There's three bedrooms which all pretty much look alike. This happens to be the master bedroom. One thing I like is the lighting fixtures. I don't know if it's a recent thing or something just specific to apartments or condos, but the newer condos I've looked at, as well as the apartments I've lived in, don't have lighting fixtures. This is the only place I've looked at that had lighting fixtures in the bedrooms. I'll need to raise that fan, though, since I hit my head on it.

All told, this is going to be a hectic week and month. Plus the real estate world deals in calendar days, not business days, so it's even a shorter amount of time. Of course banks still deal in business days, so there's going to be some maneuvering involved to make sure deadlines are met.


Blogger Luke said...

Wow, Aaron I am impressed. Congratulations is in order. The kitchen and bathroom are very impressive in particular, I love the tile in the bathroom in particular. And yeah, you'll have to do something awesome with that fountain in the backyard--it's crying for your creativity! Is it close to where you're living now?

1/26/2008 8:42 AM  
Blogger BrandonBN said...

Hey Aaron,

Nice place. I like the kitchen of all places. Anyways, make sure everything is in proper order.


1/26/2008 12:39 PM  
Anonymous Will said...

Wow...I'm very impressed. Congratulations! As you mentioned, since Luke and I are morally obligated to come visit this place, hopefully we will be fulfuilling that obligation soon. ;-)

2/09/2008 7:08 PM  

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Sunday, January 13, 2008


I was looking at houses yesterday (the San Diego housing market's tanked; and I'd be a fool to not pick up the pieces of someone's broken dream). There were a few other people looking around at the same houses I was looking at, so the Realtor and I had to wait for one someone else to finish looking one of the houses I wanted to look at (it's apparently not kosher for 2 people to look at the same house at the same time). To pass the time, we on a whim decided to look at the garage sale next door. The gentleman holding the garage sale was being foreclosed on and either trying to sell off some stuff to get some extra money or just trying to minimize the amount of stuff he had to haul out of the house. I looked around at some of his stuff and found a beautiful set of end tables and a coffee table. The guy wanted $70 for the set, but since I only had $65 cash, that's the price we settled on. The Realtor ended up with an electric hedge clipper, so I guess we both lucked out. The tables are big enough that it took two trips to haul them all home, and they're currently sitting in my dining room because that's the only place they'll fit in my apartment. But honestly, how could I pass up that bargain? You usually can't even get three tables made of particle board for $65 these days, let alone a set of finished oak tables.

If I may digress slightly, one thing I don't understand is the amount of time some people spend looking at houses. At one house I was really interested in, I spent an hour looking around, taking detailed notes of the house's condition, and photographing every square foot of the house such that if I wanted to, I could recreate the floorplan from my photos. In that same time, two other people looked around for 10 minutes each. Now maybe they weren't that interested in the house, but I've seen people take longer inspecting a car. Hell, I've seen people take longer inspecting a refrigerator. It just seems that one would take longer researching what will probably be the biggest investment most people will ever make. Now maybe I'm wrong about all that and people do spend a long time looking at properties they're interested in, but that was the impression I got. I'm certainly not experienced in the house-buying game, so maybe others who are can comment on their decision-making process.

When last I used this title, I was excited about getting a free CO2 tank for a kegerator I wanted to build. These days I'm excited about getting a good deal on a living room table set. How priorities change over 2 years. These days one might even mistake me for some sort of responsible adult. They might even be right. I'm sure some of you have come to that startling realization in your own lives, though I'm sure you all have differing opinions on whether or not that's that's a good thing.


Blogger Arthaey Angosii said...

Wow, looking at houses? So I guess you like the SoCal area, then, eh? :)

I still don't know where I want to be living in 10 or 20 years, so I'm holding off on the whole house-buying thing for a while...

Good luck on your search, though, and you'll have to show us pictures of any houses you're particularly serious about!

1/13/2008 8:13 PM  

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