Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile Previous Previous Next Next
On Arisia and reading the Globe - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
On Arisia and reading the Globe
Blech. I just checked the Arisia website to register, and they've moved it to a new hotel, which is going to be a severe hassle to commute to without a car. Boo! Thumbs down! (Of course, the people who actually drive cars will be saying, "Whoa... there's parking? In Boston? That's, like, paradise!")

Anyway, I went for a walk, which didn't end up getting me much exercise, because I had a bitch-kitty of a headache and decided to just stop, have lunch, and get hydrated. As I'd been planning to take a walk, I wasn't carrying a book, so I had to stop and get something to read, and the only thing handy was the Sunday Globe. I decided to skip the news in favor of features, as I'm likely to hear of news elsewhere. Much head-desking.

It's a real tale of two cities out there. Honestly, I tell you. Developers are real Sydney Cartons these days. Luxury condos in ugly buildings on busy, noisy streets just aren't selling all that well, and they might have to go down as far as $500 per square foot. Quoth the developer, "You may be taking a hit on your home, but you get to tell us how much of a hit we will take." Charming. Someone else says, "Some properties have been priced too high, and now they're being priced more realistically to the market." No... really? How could that be, when waterfront condos have gone from $1.99M all the way down to $1.69M? Why, the world is ending!

Note on paying 1.69 million dollars: IT'S A FREAKING APARTMENT.

I don't care if it has solid gold fixtures and a permanent staff of robots (to maintained at the condo board's expense)--it's still a freaking apartment. You don't even have land. It's not going to be passed down fondly to your great grandchildren with memories of playing idyllically among the roses. There's no room to host the family reunion. It's an apartment. In a none-too-attractive building. In a business area with a lot of heavy traffic.

Apparenly-very-rich-buyers, thank you so very much for keeping the real estate prices this absurdly inflated. Really. The rest of us enjoy the fact that we'll never ever own homes unless we change our jobs and move to different cities.

Of course, if I paid as much as $50K on an apartment, I'd expect it to have a lot of land around it, trees, and full service staff on call at all times.

Then again, I wouldn't buy an apartment. Because it's an apartment. It wouldn't really be mine, because it belongs in some complex that someone else owns. Someday, I want to be like my grandmother, puttering around the yard and planting impatiens around the porch steps, and telling my grandchildren all about it and asking them when they will come to visit. I'd also want to leave it to them when I'm gone, though Grandma's serial marriages and complex family kind of prevent that for her. That's what I would buy property for. The point of buying an apartment escapes me.

Alas, oh concept of buying a house cheap and putting in the work to fix it up. Yes, the fixer-upper is a thing of the past. Developers, ever on the look-out to turn a buck, are buying up all the cheap properties, to make absolutely sure there is no such thing. According to the Globe, "Dawn Burton's $200,000-area price range put her firmly in fixer-upper territory." Her realtor offers another house--it would never turn a profit because of all the work that needs to be done--at the bargain basement price of $294,500. Plus however much work needs to be done.

I really need to accept the fact that owning a home is no longer the American dream, don't I? That having a steady, decently-paying job isn't enough. You have to be filthy rich and have no debt going into it. Since you can't get an education without either getting loans or already being rich, and you can't get a decent job without an education, you're pretty much screwed if you're not born a Kennedy. The next conservative who starts bitching about how women don't need to work and should all stay home is going to get a big fat mouthful of real estate prices. Roll the dice and make your choice--either accept women working or accept controls on real estate prices. Don't even try to refuse both, because no single salary could pull these prices off. And that's not even looking into "luxuries" like cars and clothes and school supplies and, you know, food.

Well, Massachusetts is having primaries for the governor's race right now. Since Gov. Romney is transparently gearing up for a presidential run, it's wide open. His lieutenant governor, Kerry Healey, is not terribly popular and there's not really another Republican candidate, so there's a good chance that we'll end up with a Dem next time (which is kind of dangerous, given how heavily Democratic the state legistlature is--without an opposing governor's office, I'm worried that they may actually take it in their heads to do something). Anyway, Clinton official Deval Patrick is the clear opinion winner. It's a mystery, they say, why he's suddenly outpaced his opponents, Tom Reilly and Chris Gabrieli, when they all started out in a dead heat.

My theory? There's an issue here about lowering income tax from 5.3% to 5%. It was approved by the legislature, but still hasn't been enacted. Reilly wants it immediately, Gabrieli wants it phased in, and Patrick has said, "Wait a minute--if we do this, we'll end up having to cut a bunch of social services, and we're in the middle of a big project... let's wait a second." Now, I don't necessarily agree with Patrick's position, but you want to know why his positive ratings went up? Because after hearing, "Deval Patrick thinks it's fine as is!" one too many times, he introduced a new commercial, in which he intelligently articulated his point and treated voters like they might well understand something other than direct self-interest. Like indirect self-interest. But either way, he comes across as not insulting voters. And guess what? Voters said, "Hey... we kind of like this Deval Patrick guy."

Alas, I can't find the link for the last article I read--maybe the Globe doesn't have its whole array online--but it was about the opening of the new Institute for Contemporary Art, which has been postponed, but was still worth a feature on the changing face of museums. Should new art be put in museums? Do museums need permanent collections? What's the purpose of a museum?

It was an interesting article, and I now wish I'd shlepped the paper home. It was questioning the Guggenheim "chain" museums, and the places with lots of spaces to display art of people in their twenties. It was talking about how museums were considered repositories of culture, and the Louvre only recently accepting work by living artists.

I admit, I don't find it particularly clear-cut. On the one hand, the newness of a piece doesn't automatically mean it's not quality work that is a cultural treasure. On the other hand, the only thing that shakes innovations apart from trendiness is the rough hand of history, sifting and breaking until only what's strong remains. Being in a museum has a certain power, a sense of a legitimate place in the artistic canons.

I guess, ultimately, I think that actual new artists should do gallery shows until they've made a name for themselves, with museums picking up pieces after they've been owned by other people, rather than buying them from artists... it's not a perfect system, but it does, to some extent, help with the problem of separating wheat from chaff.

That's it. A little eclectic for a post, but oh, well.
9 comments or Leave a comment
kizmet_42 From: kizmet_42 Date: September 17th, 2006 10:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

Eclectic Newspaper Response

I think that in Massachusetts, the American Dream may be dead, but in Ohio, $200K would get you 4 bedrooms on a couple of acres. You might even score a barn.

I saw two articles about fanfiction in the real media today. Did you see them?

Wall Street Article


Kentucky Herald Article

I think the Kentucky article is better.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 17th, 2006 11:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Eclectic Newspaper Response

Thanks for the links. :) Always good to see fanfic getting good press.

:crosses fingers that the trend toward "getting discovered" continues: I'd feel lots more productive if I could say I was actually accomplishing something doing this.
lilacsigil From: lilacsigil Date: September 18th, 2006 12:58 am (UTC) (Link)
I think that developer-driven real estate price rise is occurring in every major city in the world that isn't in a war zone - prices have doubled or tripled in all the Australian capitals. We have an absurd proportion of people living in our few cities, and nobody thinks to move to the country.

It's still going to take another generation, perhaps, before people start to think that living in the city with all its benefits means that you rent your home. That or some kind of huge government policy change, but that's not very likely.
nundu_art From: nundu_art Date: September 18th, 2006 02:59 am (UTC) (Link)
Move to Alabama, Fernwithy! Here the 'outrageously priced' homes in the very tony suburb area with the very, very best schools are around $250,000. Our place was a 100 year old Victorian needing minor repairs and we paid $150,000 (in the city, historic district, two blocks from the water). Our friends paid the same amount for a 3,000 square foot rancher on 15 acres 25 miles away. Sure beats the prices in 'Taxachusetts'! (believe me, I understand! We used to live there!)
sixth_light From: sixth_light Date: September 18th, 2006 04:46 am (UTC) (Link)
It's the same in New Zealand, regarding house prices - so much so, in fact, that the government has recently put in a scheme aimed at encouraging young people to buy, where they'll be the guarantor for mortgages of up to $200,000. It's supposed to help people who can make mortgage payments, but can't get a deposit together (or won't be able to for years.)

Admittedly it's not quite as bad here as you describe, but my generation is definitely going to be renting a lot longer than my parents'. Then again, we have a tradition of swanning off overseas in our late teens and coming back in our early thirties, so people usually aim to buy later anyway.
From: lianna_blanca Date: September 19th, 2006 01:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Funny you should talk about galleries. I'm an absolute nobody as artist, and three of my paintings were just accepted into a very small, local gallery (which is meant in relative terms - it's in the city centre, but this is a tiny city). I've never exhibited before; I paint because I enjoy it and because I have somthing to say. So I have a very biased reason to agree with you; museums are for the "famous" artists; it's us young ones (I'm nineteen, by the way) that need help becoming known.

And as for housing prices... there's a reason a lot of people are moving out of America. I lived there for a while, with my parents, and we left for several reasons, not the least of which was prices. We lived in Australia for six years in a house and on land three times the size of what we lived on in California - and I'm talking about the far-out suburbs of San Jose, not the city. America is a welathy country, I admit, but in comparison to other western-culture coutries, prices are very different (and it's not consistant; some items, usually small items, are a lot cheaper in the USA, but things like land and cars are, as far as I know, not).

I'm babbling; sorry. What I wanted to say was I agree; millions of dollars for an apartment is BEYOND ridiculous.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 19th, 2006 02:03 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, congrats on the show! Big step. What kind of paintings do you do?

A friend of mine used to work for a gallery, so I got see some of the behind the scenes stuff (when she was an intern, her project was to sell a sculpture of a giant footstep), and to visit openings in a lot of the little ones scattered around town. They're nice events, and I wouldn't want to see them obsoleted by museums trying to snatch up the latest of everything, and then not really giving it time to catch on.

Unfortunately, looking at prices around the U.K., which is another place I've considered living, it looks pretty pricey there as well. ;) And I could live a lot cheaper if I moved someplace like Buffalo, Albuquerque, or, as nundu_art mentioned, Alabama. Lots of places are cheaper than Boston or NYC or California. But then I wouldn't get stuff like this. ;) sjepstein is right that you're paying for the location. But $1.69M is too much to pay for an apartment in any location. That's just absurd.
kokopelli20878 From: kokopelli20878 Date: September 19th, 2006 02:08 am (UTC) (Link)


As to Arisia - check out flexcar or zipcar - it might make it worth while.

As to real (0r unreal) estate - living in Washington DC suburb, I feel your pain.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 19th, 2006 02:14 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: ouch

check out flexcar or zipcar - it might make it worth while.

Heh... maybe if I trusted myself to be able to drive in a straight line. ;p
9 comments or Leave a comment