Jurassic World, People Wars

Greg is away in Seattle for the week, so the apartment is quiet and lonely this week. Max and Yubin rescued me from isolation last night by inviting me along to dinner and a movie, and it was a nice experience.

We saw Jurassic World in 3D IMAX. The latter two parts were probably unnecessary, but the movie itself was surprisingly well done. I was expecting one of those terrible sequels, but they did a good job introducing just enough nostalgic things (yay Jurassic Park music clips in the soundtrack!) while still having a story that could stand on its own. I don’t think most of the characters were really well-developed or consistent, but it didn’t end up mattering anyway because dinosaurs. :D
(Also, as per Jurassic Park, the terrible people get what they deserve, along with a few innocent ones. And you think they’d have learned a few things from the first time, but apparently not…)

I think this is something like the third movie I’ve seen in theatres in something like a decade. (Previously was Frozen and the Lego Movie.) I’m not sure it’s worth the price anyway… the $15 ticket pays for 1/3 of a nice board game, and board games give a lot more enjoyment, and more social interaction besides. But it was still a nice experience.

Owen paid us a visit this past weekend on his way to Harrisburg for family things, and it was nice. We played board games, hit up Dobra Tea, had food, and made a trip to the pool after he and Greg failed at kayaking downtown due to rough waters.
Mars and Dan are supposed to be visiting Pittsburgh starting Wednesday, so that’ll be nice too. Yay for people.

I also got off my butt and finally finished the latest People Wars expansion: Interruptions. I don’t think I really fleshed out Interrupt events as much as I needed to, but meh. Now there’s a new event type that can be played during other things (much like abilities and powers, but with an aspect of surprise), and card effects that let you play them during other players’ turns. So that’s fun.

Hooray for things.

House and car adventures

We saw two other houses this past week. One was a rather old-style house in Shadyside that had dark wood paneling everywhere, a weird kitchen, a bathroom in the landing of the basement stairs (?!?), and a $500k price tag. So yeah, not so great.

Saw another today (that I talked about last time; between two other houses that recently sold), and we actually liked it. Other than the seller being silly about the price tag, the house was comfortable. No “modern” updates to the house, which we both think is a bonus. 6 bedrooms (!), 2.5 bathrooms, nice wood floors on the ground floor, carpet in the bedrooms, and a reasonably-sized backyard. The downside is the lack of garage or off-street parking, and the basement, which has mold and will need some drying out.

It’s actually amusing because, while the place is listed at around $407k, the house next to it sold for $330k, and the other house next to it is currently under agreement with a $395k price tag, so I was thinking this house was probably around $350k. (It’s both literally and figuratively in between the other two houses.) Went in with our agent today, and she thought it might actually be worth around $375k, until she was able to get in contact with the seller of the other house. Apparently it only sold for between $355k and $375k (we’ll know for sure on Thursday), and it had upgrades such as central heating and cooling, and a remodeled kitchen and bathrooms. So this seller is crazy, and we’ll just hold off until he comes to his senses and is more amenable to a reasonable offer.

But the excitement of today came after seeing the house. Austin is leaving Pittsburgh for a few months, so we’re watching his car and place while he’s gone, and had planned on using it today to drive to Ohio. But we got to the car, and quickly discovered that his front tire was very, very flat.
Cue efforts to try and reach him. He usually leaves his phone on silent overnight, and we don’t have smartphones and so couldn’t ping him on chat, and it wasn’t even guaranteed he was awake yet. In the end, we went up to his door to knock and discovered him rounding the corner of the hallway while moving clothing for laundry.

Our attempts to replace the tire with a spare to drive it somewhere failed when none of us had the strength to loosen the bolts holding the tire in place.

In the end, he ended up calling a tow truck (which took almost 90 minutes to arrive), and we ended up in Qdoba for a late 4 PM lunch while his car got a new tire. Arrived in Ohio a few hours after our original plan (and after driving through an extremely heavy rainstorm while leaving Pittsburgh), but with no real problems. It was actually kind of a fun experience.

And it turns out it was for the better anyway… Austin had forgotten his climbing shoes in the car, and his phone had apparently also fallen out of his pocket and ended up under the driver’s seat. Given that he leaves for Seattle tomorrow, it was extremely fortuitous that circumstances forced us to sync up with him before leaving for the weekend.


Haven’t updated in a while, so I guess I’m overdue.

Not much has been happening since returning to work, but there was a bit of house angsting.

There’s a house a few streets over that had been for sale last October for around $250k that we passed over because it was rather terrifying and needed a *ton* of cleanup. Well, some company bought it (at around $240k), cleaned it up, and put it back on the market last week at $435k.
Since we’ve been looking at houses, the rule has pretty much been “no flips”, because we have no way of knowing whether the work was done well or not, and flips are usually overpriced with rather shoddy workmanship. So it was rather a surprise when we went to this house and… rather liked it, even though it certainly met all of the usual “overpriced and badly renovated” bullet points.
The price was a no-go for us, but we spent a while pondering anyway if we should make some offer on the house at a number we could actually stomach.

But that turned out to be unnecessary, as another house came on the next day that was amazing… and had been lived in for many years. The price was right, and the neighborhood was awesome. We spent the time walking through the first three floors going, “Yeah, yeah… this is our house.” But then we saw the basement, which was the wettest basement we’ve seen in any house yet, and needed a lot of work. And the house was situated on a semi-main road, so the traffic noise was problematic. So, in the end, we passed on the house due to the traffic noise. And that was unfortunate, because the basement was fixable, and the rest of the house was pretty much perfect.

Another house soon came on the market that looked reasonable. Actually, it was situated between two (similar) houses that recently sold: one that we saw and passed over because it was in such bad condition, and another that looks like it would have been amazing, but came on during the few days before our wedding, when we had exactly zero time for house things. But the asking price of this one is crazy (higher than its neighbor, even though it has had significantly less done to it), and they are refusing to show it until late June even though the listing came on already. So who knows.
Our agent seems to have taken a strong disliking to the owners of the house, so I’m kind of hoping we end up hating it. (Certainly, pricing your house ~$60k too high and prematurely listing it don’t exactly give potential buyers a good first impression of you or your property.) It also seems strange that three houses in a row would sell within 2 months or so of each other. Makes you wonder what’s wrong with the area.
We’re going to follow that and see it once we can, I guess.

We saw another house today that meets pretty much all of our requirements (neighborhood, nummber of bedrooms and bathrooms, yard, parking, layout, workmanship)… except for price. For some reason, the owners of this place thought they could get $750k for a 4-bedroom 2.5-bathroom house?! It doesn’t even have a finished basement, or any particularly amazing renovations that would justify such a crazy asking price. (It does have a large yard and 2-car garage though, but that’s not sufficient justification for pricing $200k higher than the market for that area.)
Our agent agreed that the pricing was insane, so there’s nothing for us to do here now. We may follow it to see if they come to their senses and lower the asking price by $200k or so. But that would still be on the higher end of what we would be willing to pay, so meh.

So the search continues. But at least the number of “good” houses we’ve seen lately is promising, compared to the state of the hunt at this time last year.