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October 31st, 2008

We started looking for a new (to us) house a few months ago (hey, if you read regularly and are neither pregnant nor breastfeeding, you probably remember when better than I do). Our thinking was that we knew we were having a girl, we already had a boy, we knew fuel was expensive and believed it would only get more so, blah, blah, blah. So we wanted a bigger place (which renovation could also get us) and wanted it walkable/bikeable to R.'s current job in Boxboro and therefore much, much closer to the Big Nest of Jobs that is the inside of route 128 in the event of future job changes (voluntary or otherwise).

We made some adjustments to have the money available for such a purchase last summer but we were really disgusted with the prices that resulted from the last boom and hoped they would drop around the end of July when people realized They Weren't Selling In Time for the School Year. (ETA: Oh, yeah -- and R. figured that Julyish would result in a wave of ARM adjustments that would bring prices down.)

There _was_ some drop, but not nearly enough and then, of course, A. arrived so we're just nesting right now and monitoring the MLS listings (haven't been to an open house since she was born). And now, I read over on Housing Wire about a survey on Zillow that confirms my suspicion: people out here haven't really adjusted to the decreased value of their house yet -- which is why asking prices have been slow to drop (sales prices have adjusted downward substantially, but most of the houses that we've seen offered on the MLS just haven't moved at all).

http://www.housingwire.com/2008/10/30/home-value-mis-perception-not-just-a-river-in-egypt/

Who wants to buy a house and watch it drop another $50-100K in value in the next year? Not me.

of time zones, elections and early voting

Once upon a time, before I was old enough to vote but old enough to pay attention to the evening news, there were Presidential Elections that people claim were swung in part by the television media folk calling the election long before polls had closed in Western states. Even people who accepted the statistical models that said those votes Did Not Count still thought it was bad form and that has shaped news coverage in succeeding elections. Also, closer elections have shaped news coverage in the last decade, but that's not precisely relevant to this particular post.

Which is basically about states that let you vote early. Like western states with very inclusive absentee ballot rules.

http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2008/10/mccains-mountain-of-problem.html

If you live out West, but your entire state (or, say, 60% of the previous cycle's voters) votes in the week leading up to the election, we might get a reverse early call: the results out West mean the vote Day-Of in Eastern states Does Not Count (much).

Not this time. This time, it's more a matter of the walls closing in on McCain.

Yet Another Reason to Avoid Drugs

And no, I don't mean the illegal, recreational ones. I mean the medically approved kind, whether OTC or prescribed.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/02/magazine/02fda-t.html?pagewanted=1

The (long) article concludes with:

"Some lawmakers have gone as far as to suggest a ban on all drugs made with Chinese ingredients, but China has become such a crucial supplier that a ban would lead to the collapse of the U.S. health care system. And our dependence is only growing: when PricewaterhouseCoopers cited the best place for pharmaceutical outsourcing in the world in an October report to drug companies, its pick was China."

But it _started_ with a description of how nearly all our generic acetaminophen and aspirin are coming from China.

Creepy. Hard to imagine how we are going to be reading about a really big scandal a la the melamine pet food/melamin in formula/bad heparin/etc. Makes you really think twice about the infant Tylenol.