The Grand Illusion

So if you think your life is complete confusion

Because your neighbors got it made

Just remember that it’s a Grand illusion

And deep inside we’re all the same.

We’re all the same…

The Grand Illusion — Styx

Link to Music Video

I find pretense very distasteful. There is a large subculture in Southern California that expends a great deal of money and energy trying to make other people think they are happy and successful. It is an illusion they cultivate within themselves.

Status is an internal perception about what people believe other people think about them. It has nothing to do with what other people actually do think about them (as if that mattered anyway).

For instance, I think the women on the Real Housewives of Orange County are soulless, gold-digging slags. My derision is only eclipsed by my disrespect for the way they live, what they believe, and what they represent. However, they think I, and everyone else who knows them through the show, believes they are something special, something to envy as if they really have it “going on.” They have status. Not because people regard them highly, but because they think people do. But I digress…

For people who don’t have the internal strength to base their self worth on what they believe about themselves, they end up basing their self worth on their perceptions of what other people think about them. Once they have given their power away to others in this manner, people will expend tremendous amounts of time, energy and money in a vain attempt to influence other people — hence we have fancy cars, opulent houses, designer clothing, and all the other trappings of conspicuous consumption. In my opinion, this is a sickness (their mind control fails on me.) It is a consuming disease which fed on the borrowed money made available during the housing/credit bubble.



Southern California’s prosperity over the last 7 years has been The Grand Illusion. Our entire economy has been built on borrowed money; our collective self worth has been built on borrowed money. As the credit crunch takes hold and our economy contracts, it will not just be difficult on people financially, it will also be difficult on them emotionally because many people will be forced to abandon their illusions of wealth, prosperity and happiness. One day with their vanity stripped from them, some of the most pretentious will look in the mirror and see how pathetic and insecure they really are.

14222 Matisse

Asking Price: $624,900IrvineRenter

Purchase Price: $572,040

Purchase Date: 5/29/2007

Address: 14222 Matisse Avenue, Irvine, CA 92606

Sales History

Date Price

05/29/2007 $572,040

03/11/2004 $535,000Matisse 1

04/18/2003 $410,500

06/07/1990 $231,000

Beds: 3

Baths: 2

Sq. Ft.: 1,381

$/Sq. Ft.: $452

Lot Size: 5,000 sq. ft.

Year Built: 1974

Stories: 1

Type: Single Family Residence

County: Orange

Neighborhood: Walnut

MLS#: U7003278

Status: Active

On Redfin: 39 days


Even the banks seem to have a CAPS LOCK problem.



As you have probably noticed, we are starting to see an increased activity among banks to liquidate their REOs. Unfortunately, they are getting them faster than they are selling them. This is a trend that will likely continue.Matisse 2

Think back to the mass delusion that was the bubble: it was the Grand Illusion. People accepted the absurd as unquestioned truth. Does it seem reasonable that banks would continually offer negative amortization loans with 1% teaser rates; that it would be possible to refinance from one to another as each teaser rate period expired? Is it logical to think serial refinancing could go on forever? I had people tell me this was the new paradigm.

Is it logical to think that real estate can only go up in value? Do you remember the thought experiment in this post: How Sub-Prime Lending Created the Housing Bubble? Does it make sense that you could live off the appreciation of your house; that none of us would actually have to produce anything; that all we would have to do is own real estate to make a living? How can such silly beliefs make it into our collective consciousness? Are we so enamored with our fantasies of wealth that common sense can be ignored?

I don’t have any answers for you. I never did drink the kool aid, so I cannot fully empathize with this system of belief. Each of you that suffered from these delusions, even for a brief time, will have to answer those questions for yourself.



You will have to pardon my ranting and sermonizing today. Sometimes the insanity of it all builds up inside of me until it finds an outlet — generally on this blog. Remember, I still have my Reservoir of Schadenfreude I am trying to empty.

This concludes another week at the Irvine Housing Blog. My motivation is strong, and my energy level is high, so I will keep on keeping on. I hope you come back next week as we continue to Chronicle ‘the seventh circle of real estate hell.’ Have a great weekend.


The artwork was by Henri Mattise as a reference to the street name. I don’t know who designed the cover of the Styx album, but the similarities in styles was an interesting coincidence.

142 thoughts on “The Grand Illusion

  1. Bill Jones

    It is characteristic of late cycle capitalism that things are sold not on the basis of their superiority to other products or their intrinsic necessity but on the basis of how much status or good feeling they will create in the buyer. To put it another way, a lot of the junk that we buy isn’t so much because we need it but because it will either show other people that we have “made it” or fill up the lonely place in us that we can’t seem to fill any other way.

    I love watches, and I know that a $40 Timex will keep time better, with more functions (alarms, countdown timer, stopwatch, etc.) than a $5,000 Rolex. However, for many men, having a Rolex is a sign that they have “made it” in the business world, or at least a way to convince others thay they are successful.

    It shouldn’t surprise us that housing has become a little like the Rolex watch, but it has. I know a couple who remodeled their home not too long ago and vastly expanded their kitchen. They have a huge marble-topped “island” thing in the middle of the kitchen. Enormous amount of counter space, two ovens plus a “warming tray” (I think that is what it’s called)…a built in hot water line so they don’t have to heat water…boiling water comes out of a little tap in their sink. They have a massive new refrigerator and dishwasher. The irony is that this is a couple (two people) with one adult child living at home, and they are counting the days until he leaves. Empty nesters who travel and eat out a lot…and yet they’ve just spent a fortune expanding their kitchen. Why? I am not sure exactly, but I’m pretty sure that it has nothing to do with their need for a place to cook meals.

    What Irvine Renter is alluding to today is that much of the status enhancement has been done with borrowed money, and the time is coming to pay up. It will be fascinating to see what happens. It will be a bumpy ride for some people.

    “Where is the Life we have lost in living?
    Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
    Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”
    –T.S. Eliot, “Choruses from ‘The Rock'”

  2. Mr Vincent

    600k starter home? I dont think thats going to work anymore.

    WaMu is out of their minds!

    This place is almost exactly the same size and dimensions of the first home I bought in 1978. I paid 60k and my income was 20k. Thats three times income. What would the ratio be today at this price?

    Based on the overhead, this place backs to Culver Dr. If true, do you think noise would be an issue?

  3. Neil

    I keep looking at southern California statistics and comparing it to other areas on Now, the only reason I like the site is that its helped me in previous relocations (only one part of due diligence). What I continually see is areas where home prices have no prayer of being supported by salaries. What fraction of so-cal incomes are REIC based anyway? I know in the OC it must be tremendous.

    Its making me wonder if I’ll be in this state in two years; my patience to wait out the downturn is ebbing. $452/ft sq has no appeal to me either…

    Got popcorn?

  4. Incredulous

    From the description – “House is sold as-is and where-is…”

    Bummer. I would have purchased it had they moved it oceanfront.

    I have never seen “where-is” as a condition of the sale – unless this house is actually a motorhome.


    After 20 years we left southern Cal. and moved to southern Oregon. I was always amazed at the pretentious display of consumerism that is “the O.C.” While shopping at Fashion Island my favorite thing was just to sit and watch the 20-30-40 something set get out of the luxory automobile, dressed in their designer clothes toting their new designer handbag, tripping around in 5′ heels. Usually they had brought the cute little designer dog along for the day. These women are always full of botox with plenty of plastic surgery top and bottom. The OC truly is a phenomenon unlike any other. Here in Oregon, NOBODY cares what handbag is on your shoulder. They don’t care if you’re driving a Benz, and having a trout pout and big boobs won’t get you anywhere faster than just being yourself.
    I have always been secure in the fact that because we have “saved” real money and it’s in the bank, never did pull the equity from our home to buy stuff, and lived modestly, that anything the OC girls had, I could have, the difference being I could actually afford the stuff without buying a thing on credit. I always new that the look was just an illusion. I’m sure there are plenty of folks down there wondering how the hell they’re going to make the lease payment on the car and watching the credit card balance rise every month. FOOLS!
    BTW, plenty of homes on the market here too, but values aren’t dropping by much, and we got a beautiful new 3200 sq. ft. home on 2 acres with a view for what that POS house in todays blog is listed at. True, there’s no Bloomingdales, or Nordstrom here but most people live within their means and don’t put on a show, and the stressful life we lived just by virtue of being in Southern California has been dialed back 90%.

  6. bac

    I love the energy of this blog – keep it going IrvineRenter.

    So Cal needs (not want) a reality check.

  7. IrvineRenter


    Thank you for posting. I always enjoy reading the life experience of people who “get it.”

  8. tonye

    Wait a minute… Reality check dude…. proselytizing time is over.

    You think Oregon is better than the OC… hmm…. been there, done that… no difference. In fact, I think OC is far nicer and less judgmental about others than Oregon. I judge a place by the quality of its people, not about how big your home is…. something you seem very keen on.


    You say the OC is like no other…. Ever been to Redmonds, Portland, San Francisco, West New Jersey, Las Vegas, Westwood/Bel Air…. etc, etc…. time to do some travelling and open up your eyes to the world.


    You can’t judge people in Orange County from you experience at Fashion Island. Just like you can’t judge people in Roseburg by the people in Portland, nor people in Fauntleroy by the folks in Redmond.


    I suggest you get off your high horse because I have seen lots of RE going up in Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona as well… and I daresay those yuppie kids you so much deride are more likely to weather this storm than those folks that bought those new homes in Salem on a 2/28.


    Jeez… take a drive down Kingman in AZ or Boulder City in NV and see how they’ve built “Laguna Niguel” like homes in the desert to understand that this has NOTHING to do with your distaste for some spolied kids or rich ladies.

    Maybe it’s time for you to stop watching TV. That crap “Real Housewives… ” is as real as Pamela Anderson’s breasts.


    Irvine Renter – I wish I could post the picture I took on my cell phone a few months back of the 30 something bimbo nearly falling out, literally, of the window in her new Benz at the Windy Ridge toll booth.. Her license plate read SEXY/RICH. She was the epitome of OC. BIG fake boobs the whole enchilada. I’ve shown to a few people up here in the REAL world, and the response I get is lots of eye rolling and incredulity.
    Yes, I “got it” long ago, when my parents taught me not to buy anything I couldn’t pay cash for, and that having stuff meant nothing if you didn’t have a savings acct. Also, I don’t plan on Social Security being available when I reach retirement, and since I don’t want my kids to have to take care of me, I save save save in order to be able to financially support myself in comfort one day. Those Jimmy Choos won’t pay for my groceries when I get old.

  10. ph7balanced

    Well said. Love your blog. Southern California’s housing bubble is built up by the wanna bes’ of the unable supported by the greed of the financial market.

    Somewhere along the line too many people have lost sight of the value of a dollar. As a child and an immigrant in the 80s, my parents worked extremely hard for their money. My mom got paid by the pennies for each piece of clothing that she sewed working as a seamstress. I still remember how much I wanted those material possessions that my peers had. My parents would always take the time to explain to me why I can’t have those things. They didn’t go out of their way to borrow up to their asses to make me happy. I was taught to be thankful and count my blessings for what I have instead of what I could of have. My life is rich in examples that my parents set for me.

    My wife and I are both professionals making good money. We save and save every penny we can. We sold our house during the height of the bubble. Oh, we were happy to have had someone to pay such a bloated price for our home; we laughed all the way to the bank. With so much money in the bank we were thinking of moving into a better neighborhood. Guess what, the prices in the better neighborhoods are just as bloated if not worst. So, we moved out of state to a place where cost of living still makes sense and still bring in 90% of our income. We are very happy to have done it. Now, we are saving even more.

    Considering how many people who took out interest only loans, worst yet negative amortization loans, on these bloated home prices and doing the math just does not make any good financial sense. It is even worst for those who have took out fixed mortgages – a lot of them can kiss their hard earned down payment goodbye. For the interest only variety bunch they don’t have much to loose to begin with I would suspect.

    With the doom and gloom overshadowing the Southern California housing market, it looks like we’ll be back soon to find a deal.

  11. Laura Louzader

    Great, great post.

    The culture of pretension you describe is not a SolCal thing.

    You’ve pretty much described America’s middle classes, especially the more educated, whose educations have mainly taught them how to delude themselves as to who and what they are.


    Tonye – Here’s a reality check “dude”.
    I never said Oregon is “better” than Orange County. I think both places are beautiful in different ways, and there are benefits and drawbacks to both places. However, it is a FACT that MANY people in OC are pretentious people. It is just your opinion that folks in Orange County are less judgemental and nicer than people. here. Really, you must have had a bad experience here as you sound bitter. Maybe your pretentiousness was on display? My opinion is that the quality of people here is not less/greater than there. And I have never judged anyone by the size of their house, I was merely making a comparison about what your $$ buys here as opposed to there.
    FACT DUDE – with the exception of New Jersey, I’ve been to all the places you listed. The places you mention do have real wealth, but it’s not as “in your face” as it is in OC. IMO
    FACT DUDE – I’ve been to places besides Fashion Island -South Coast Plaza, Crystal Cove bla blah blah. It’s all the same….
    FACT DUDE – I would say the real estate market is not good anywhere including here. Your yuppie kids won’t weather the storm any better than the yuppie kids here, so you’d better get off your high horse. You’re so defensive!
    I’ve seen a total of about 20 minutes of Real Housewives and IMO it’s a hoot but also a good representation of the culture down there.
    Have a nice day!

  13. Kirk

    This blog is sickening in how it celebrates the suffering of those who are better than you. Homeowners are the ones that drive the economy, in case you haven’t been paying attention for the past 5 years, while renters are vile creatures that rot away and stink up the place. It’s not our fault that you people were born into the peasant class. Yet you took it upon yourselves to place blame and take everything from us. And do what with it? The situation now is exactly the same as Russia in 1917. You people think you know how to run things, but the outcome will be the same as your communist friends and we will be celebrating your suffering when we take everything back and live in even grander accommodations.

  14. IrvineRenter


    I think you are a bit too attached to Orange County. I like it here too, in fact, I think more highly of life here than anywhere else, or I would not live here (I do have other options.)

    Nowhere in anything HAPPYHEART said will you find her saying Oregon is better than Orange County. What she was saying is that elements of Orange County’s beliefs and lifestyle are are undesirable (Something I happen to agree with.) She has found happiness in an environment free from these elements. I have found happiness within this environment because I do not get caught up in the BS.

  15. IrvineRenter

    Hi Kirk,

    It is good to see you again. You are the most polished blog troll I have ever encountered. Your website is great. I imagine you have made a few heads explode in Texas 😉

  16. Renting in Newport

    This is an interesting thread. I’m going to try to address several things.


    You are hilarious.

    Neil? Neil from the Housing Bubble Blog! Cool to see you here too! I rarely post on either forum, but I visit both of them every day and always enjoy reading your posts.
    As for focusing on pretentiousness at Fashion Island…I find that interesting. I love Fashion Island. It’s a beautiful mall. Yes, people tend to get dressed up to go there…but I kind of like that. There are plenty of places in the world that you can go to where people don’t get dressed up. IMO, you kind of have to go out of your way to find a place like Fashion Island…it is what it is…why complain about it.

  17. Jim E.

    Born and raised in Irvine, I endorse IR’s cultural take of OC (as well as Happyheart’s). My folks were originally from the mid-West and never fell into the materialism trap so eloquently described here.

    I’ve lived in a few different parts of the country (I’m no longer in Irvine), and I used to think of the SoCal lifestyle as being specific to SoCal. Maybe it’s a generational thing, but I do think tonye –ranting aside — is onto something. There are a bunch of young twenty- and thirty-somethings across the country that have the OC lifestyle, or at least aspire to it. Perhaps it doesn’t show up in particular cities or counties the way it does in Irvine and OC, but it certainly exists on a generational level. The steady diet of Laguna Beach, the Real OC, the Housewives of OC, and especially MTV’s Cribs has transcended OC. There are young adult families in decidedly non-Irvine suburbs that are materialistic and shallow. This has obviously always existed, but at least on my personal anecdotal level, I think it has spread in historic ways in the last 10 years or so.

    There’s still something uniquely nauseating about the materialism in OC, but I think the mindset has sunk in deeper and further than some may think.

  18. carl

    Ahhh Crystal Cove… a true gem. Ignore the Ferrari’s parked in front of the Starbucks and walk down to the heart-breakingly beautiful beach. Have a Monkeyflip at the Shake Shake and watch the waves. It always amazes me how empty the beaches are in Orange County (except for Huntington). Given how many people live here, and how amazing the beaches are, I would expect a crush of people.

    IrvineRenter, have you been to Mason park? It is usually quite deserted, which is amazing because it is such an incredible place. My wife and I would walk the dogs down from our place in Turtle Rock and enjoy the breezes and the geese. It was like our personal park.

  19. buster

    Well said, IR, but whilst it is true, I have pity instead of disdain for these people. And although every place has the “look at me, oh please, please look at me” people, OC seems to have a higher concentration so it is more noticable. It’s too bad they mortgage their lives to buy stuff to try to impress people they don’t know and who couldn’t care less about them. Note to those who are trying to impress:
    1) I don’t know you,
    2) I don’t notice you,
    3) I’m too busy with my own my own life to care about you.

    Ayn Rand said it best in Atlas Shrugged:
    Question: What do you think about me?
    Answer: I don’t think about you

  20. IrvineRenter

    Yes, I like Mason Park. I live near there. I have wondered if the plethora of free, neighborhood parks in Irvine made this for-fee regional park superfluous.

  21. Bystander

    Wow, haven’t seen it this heated in a long time…
    What’s that expression again?? Opinions are like…..
    Have a GREAT weekend everyone. Whether you are in SoCal, Oregon or wherever you hail from at this particular time. I’m just glad I have my health and the “opportunity” to read blogs like this as we try to figure out what life is gonna throw us next. Owners or renters, we are all affected by the economy in one way or the other. I realize that is stating the obvious but thought I would try to throw out my $.02 since things are starting to get a bit testy around here.

  22. Rocker

    I Agree 100%.

    In SoCal you can’t have your teeth white enough, you can’t have your breast big enough, you can’t have your face pretty enough, you can’t have your house nice enough and you can’t have your car newer enough.

    When enough is enough?

    I only focus in my inner circle and internally laugh at people that try to give me their “I’m super fabulous” impression.

  23. Rocker

    Man, your post sounds like something coming from Stephen Colbert from “The Colbert Report”.

    In retrospective makes perfect sense that flippers, bankers and gullible homeowners must have their own Stephen Colbert at this particular dark times, now that everything is crystal clear about the past RE bubble.

    This RE Stephen Colbert must have his TV Show and blog full of messages from the past 2-3 years like “there’s not RE bubble”, “RE demand will stay high and interests will stay low”, “bubble heads”, etc.

    That will make a good laugh at this particular time, same like the current Stephen Colbert talking about: gun control, war in Iraq, books and creationism.

  24. lendingmaestro

    My mom is currently in town from Minnesota, and she’s staying with us in Quail Hill. When she goes out for walks during the day with my dog she ponders the audacity of listing prices.

    I came home from work yesterday and the first thing out of her mouth was, can I afford 600k mortgage with an income 57k a year income?? Will both instantly laughed. She proceed to tell me how flabberghasted she was about the home prices with a WTF? look on her face.

    Now 57k a year is pretty good income for someone in Minneapolis. When I started to think about it, that number is not much lower than the median income in OC!

    As far as my perception of OC is concerned, I agree for the most part with you all. I have never seen so many posers in my life. It’s not just the wanna-be rich folks, it’s the dirtbag jacked-up truck drivers, the I-don’t bend the bill of my hat or take the sticker of it wearers, the tattoos bearers, the I wear sunglasses so big that I look like an insect holding a mastercard. California is full of them. It is Hollywood personified.

    I know there are good ole fashioned honest hardworkers here too, but OC and LA have more posers than anyhwere on earth.

  25. IrvineRenter

    I thank you for your perspective. If anyone would see the naked truth about peoples finances, it would be you.

    When was the last time you did a mortgage based on a 28% DTI or saw a total DTI under 36%?

  26. ventouxbob

    I will be moving to Laguna Niguel from Cardiff (Encinitas). In December your blog has been very informative. I have not thought too much about The OC people. I’m A cyclist and like the nice weather and many bike lanes/Paths in OC that my main motivation to live there. still renting. never bought. Saving now and paying off pesky debts (student loan, credit cards & car payment).
    IR I like your posts. keep it up.

  27. CTA

    This is a nice blog, I appreciate all your work IR.

    For me, it is been a lousy 7 years including first few years of house hunting ; As I am a first time home buyer, I saved every penny to give 10% downpayment and i make decent salary as a soft engg. From 2001-2004, i was looking for a home, every time I made a offer for asking price that was outbidded by someone with more money(2 K – 20K more). I used to tell my wife that there may be someone in very need for that house, may be they have more kids then us, etc. I feel now i’m a real moran, those are “f.. flippers”, they sucked hard working reasonable people’s dream just for their greedy.

    After 2005, I am so sick of this OC housing market, i lost my interest, and living in Apartment with my two kids; now, seriously looking for a job outside CA and have a decent dreamhome to live with my kids.

    Sometimes I feel people’s hard work will go in vain in the vanity of riches;

    “If you see oppression of the poor and denial of justice and righteousness in the province, do not be shocked at the sight, for one official watches over another official, and there are higher officials over them. 9 After all, a king who cultivates the field is an advantage to the land. 10 He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity. 11 When good things increase, those who consume them increase. So what is the advantage to their owners except to look on? 12 The sleep of the working man is pleasant, whether he eats little or much. But the full stomach of the rich man does not allow him to sleep. 13 There is a grievous evil which I have seen under the sun: riches being hoarded by their owner to his hurt. 14 When those riches were lost through a bad investment and he had fathered a son, then there was nothing to support him.”(Ecclesiastes 5:8-20)

  28. CK

    lendingmaestro — thanks for the Minnesota reference. I grew up there (Minnetonka) but have been in CA for 15 years now. I was just pondering this morning how out of whack what incomes and home prices are here as I was thinking about my sister back in MN. She lives in Maple Grove — a VERY Irvine-esqe Minneapolis suburb. Try these numbers on for size: She is a 34 year old single parent who didn’t quite finish her bachelors before life got in the way….She is a Business Analyst for a Health Care company — Salary is $78,000 + lots of stock options. Now those numbers sound very nice for Irvine, huh? But unlike me out here, she is now a 2nd time homeowner — with her current home a 2005 built 1700 sf townhouse dripping with every luxury appointment imaginable (it would fit in perfectly in Quail Hill except that she has a yard). The price she paid in 2006? $229,000. Almost exactly 3 times income. And I will say again, this is not some crap area — Maple Grove is every bit as nice with as good a school district as Irvine.

    That said, I’m not leaving. Hell with that snow. And I kind of enjoy the entertainment value of all those plastic people at Fashion Island.

  29. Major Schadenfreude

    Another fine week of posting IR! Lots of laughs!

    Let it out…let the reservoir drain!

    Your repetition of “logical” made me think of the Logical Song by Supertramp. Perhaps a good theme song for a future post?

  30. Ranger Rick

    I ran into a realtor acquantance while waiting to play golf the other day. So I ask him how the “market” is going…. He gives me a dirty look and then suddenly softens and starts talking..

    “Not too bad”, he says….”Some properties are moving… financing is really improving…..I’ve got a real motivated buyer….They are bringing back the “NO DOC” loans…”

    So I says, “Liar loans are back? Boy are we in trouble if that is what it takes to prop the real estate market”. I said that without thinking and in retrospect it was rude and tactless. My realtor “friend” gave me another dirty look and stopped talking.

    On the first tee this guy shanks the ball and ends up taking a triple bogey on the hole. He’s a single digit handicap golfer…so I guess what I said kind got to him.

  31. PurpleHaze

    Good attack at the southern california pathology, Mr. IR:-)

    It is not just people’s inadequacy about themselves but also a lack of good role models. I mean if you look around, who are the role models for the teens of today? Paris Hilton? Lindsay Lohan? In addition it is also shows what marketing is capable of doing in terms of making people feel inadequate.

  32. BLT Bill

    Hey happyheart.

    Just thinking about Oregon makes me sick. I used to travel on business
    to Portland almost every week.
    The place has no color or life to it. Lots of strage hicks and homeless.
    Its grey, brown and fugly. The people are rude and seem like they have cabin fever from not seeing the sun enough.
    I just had a friend sell his home locally and move up to Hillsboro.
    He called and wished he could move back. I think it rained for 45 Days
    straight and he snapped. Sure houses are cheaper but I am staying
    behind the Orange Curtin. Off to MBLN for the Taste of Laguna Niguel
    this afternoon. And yes I will be driving my Benz. Its paid for. I have 2 of them. CL500 during the week and my SL55 for the weekends.
    Do us all a big favor. Stay in Oregon.

  33. NanoWest

    Better be careful, you never know who is on the brink of financial disaster. I keep my negative, (ok extremely negative) comments on the blogs. Everyone I know owns a home and believes it is worth a bizillion dollars…………….they have know idea what is brewing in the markets…….and they believe that the problems are everywhere but Irvine.

  34. sunsetbeachguy

    I am with BLT Bill, but don’t advertise that.

    OR is wonderful, all you imports to OC should move up there!


    No problem Mr. Big Pants you don’t have to worry about me returning to So. Cal. I’ll be happy to visit now and then. Thanks for proving my point with your condescending attitude towards anybody not in the OC. Good for you that you own your Benz’ too. Obviously you haven’t spent time in SOUTHERN Oregon. There’s plenty of greenery because unlike So. Cal we do get rain from time to time. Unlike the northern part of Oregon it doesn’t rain every day. We have 4 great seasons! Other than letting everyone know you have two Benz’ (as if anyone cares) why are YOU so defensive about where you live? As I said originally, Orange County is beautiful, as is Oregon/Hawaii/Arizona and almost anywhere on earth. But I think you would have to agree that in terms of superficiallity Orange county is simply unmatched.
    Oh, BTW, you drink the unclaimed water from the Inland Empire! However YOU probably pay $ to drink the bottled water that comes from the tap!
    Have a nice day!

  36. Chuck Ponzi

    Sure am glad we don’t have those narrow-minded hicks down here, huh?

    We have nothing but well educated, kind, open-minded, highly paid people here. Let’s keep it that way.

  37. lendingmaestro

    A few here and there. The majority of full-doc loans are always confoming loan amounts. The typical DTI is around 35-45%. I can sometimes get conforming approvals up to 65% DTI.

    The max DTI for an Alt-A neg am loan is either 40% or 42%. Is is very wrong to use that fannie and freddie purchase better quality loans then the investors that purchased alt-a loans.

  38. caliguy2699

    Jim – I think you’re on to something too. The shows that you mentioned – Laguna Beach, the Real OC, the Housewives of OC, and MTV’s Cribs – make me sick to my stomach because they perpetuate the idea that it’s cool to be obsessed with material products and possess a sense of selfish, arrogant entitlement. Since these shows feature “real” people (who in reality, for the most part were either were born into wealth or married into it), the obvious thing to do would be to strive to emulate them…after all, they’re on TV so they must be worth emulating, right?

    And wouldn’t it be convenient if that, during your quest to show off to the world how successful you are (even if you aren’t, go ahead and see how many people you can fool!), you could get an obscene amount of money from a lender so you could “buy” a larger, more extravagant house than you need and can afford, without so much as asking to see proof of how much money you were earning?

    Bring on the correction.


    Strike “unclaimed” should read “reclaimed”. That’s right Chuck Ponzi. Nobody in Oregon is educated. We all live in singlewides with our hogs and chickens right outside the door! We don’t worry about having white teeth here…there’s not a whole set in the whole state. Thanks for your sarcasm. I think BLT Bill got blinded by his bling and takes himself seriously. Glad to hear he plans to stay where he is. OC deserves his ilk.

  40. Kirk

    “Troll”, “fascist”, “mentally disturbed”. I’ve had all these things said about me and more. Yet I persevere, because Christ loves me and hates most others. He will never allow me to lose my home since I have planted a seed, $15,000 from my IRA, with the help of Benny Hinn, His messenger of compassion. This one seed will grow into a mighty forest of wealth that will eclipse all those around me and allow me to execute His vengeance upon the wicked by corning the real estate market in Corpus and shutting out those whom lack faith in the Lord. We’ll see who enjoys watching people suffer more. You people, or me and Jesus.

  41. BLT Bill

    Hey Happyheart

    Why would someone so happy in Oregon be posting on a Irvine
    board ??? Cant say I spend much time on any Oregonian boards ?
    Missing home just a bit are we ?

    I will think about my friend in Oregon that moved to Hillsboro
    The highlight of his conversation is when he talks about how much he enjoys his Mule. Horses are great. But to say you are happy you moved and then talk about your mule. Yikes. Guess I just dont get
    the whole beauty of Oregon. Damn. Time to get a pickup truck
    and chew some Red Man.

    As far as the water. Irvine water is not that bad from the tap.

    Time to put the top down. And yes my GF may get a boob job
    next month. As long as I dont have to deal with a mule I will be
    just fine down here is good old Irvine.

    To get back to RE. CountryWide is toast. Down again today.
    In the teens next week.

  42. IrvineRenter

    Good question. The answer which seems most obvious is often wrong. Did you know the markets rallied 120 points the day after the London bombings?

    If the market goes up, pundits will claim it was because the FED acted appropriately. If it goes down, pundits will claim the FED scared the market.

    People who understand what this means should be selling, particularly stocks of financials like the banks mentioned. They must be in deep $hit to need that kind of help.

  43. IrvineRenter

    That is enough. You are the second person today to read more into HAPPYHEART’s comment than was there.


    There’s a lawyer for everything, right? Probably for using her likeness, image, whatever without her expressed permission. Her license plate is clearly visible in the picture. She would probably win enough in court to pay for another plastic surgery procedure. Not taking the chance.

  45. tonye

    Actually, I prefer Hawai’i to the Mainland.

    The issue that I have with such comments is that they are as shallow and stereotyped as the people they accuse. It’s the old “I’m better than you and you deserve it…”.

    You get these people who move out and into their own “private idahoes” and then tell the rest of us how we are so awful. And mind you, this has nothing to do with OC, you will see people move from Ohio to Chicago and do the same thing.

    What it comes down to is that you can not pick on a whole region based upon the behavior of the few (or even the not so few). You will find nice, honest, hardworking people in Roseburg, Redmonds, Newport Beach, Manhattan, Mililani, Irvine, etc… if you yoursefl are nice, honest and hardworking. I have me some of the nicest people in all of those places. Some were richer than God, some were just making a living, but they were all very nice, very honest and very self deprecating.

    OTOH, if you are self righteous and self centered you will find such people in Pocatello, Virginia City, etc….

    As a rule of thumb, the attitude of the observer is reflected on their interpretation of their environment. Read Albert Kuhn and his “Philosophy of Science” for some insight into this. It’s impossible for the observer to disassociate his/her prejudices from his/her observations.

    That’s why I was (am) surprised that you would support such an attitude.

  46. BLT Bill

    I submit.
    Have a great weekend IrvineRenter.
    Love your site. I wont trash talk it up.
    But the Oregon troll got me going.

  47. tonye

    Dude… sorry man… but before you attack me ad hominem you better look at yourself in the mirror.

    Pretentious… oh boy… so maybe there are pretentious people in OC… so what? How about your neighboorhood? Maybe not pretentious, but smug and self righteous…. personally, I’ll take the pretentious because they are more fun to watch and leave me alone.

    The problem with the RE market is worse in areas like Palmdale, Moreno Valley, Riverside, etc…. than it is in Newport Beach and Irvine.

    Me? I’m pretty mellow about things.. I don’t pass judgment as you do… I just observe and let live. If someone wants to flaunt their money, hey I enjoy the show. Why should you give a hoot about what they do?

    That’s is one of the strengths in Southern California in general. The general laiser faire attitude amongst the population.

    I got a feeling that you are the one that is defensive. If you live in a glass house you shouldn’t be throwing stones, eh?


    I got interested in the RE world after having our So.Cal house on the market 13 months. Fell out of escrow twice before it finally sold to buyers with 100% financing just as the subprime market was imploding in March. I love this blog as well as others as it is a good barometer of what’s going on in the financial world, particularly Southern Cal. Also, my daughter attends UCI so it’s relevant to where she lives. I’ve learned so much from this blog and others like it – you could say I’m hooked.
    There are things about So. Cal I miss, Trader Joes/Ann Taylor Loft/Nordstroms variety of restaurants etc. Some things I don’t miss are the nasty air, congestion, and artificial people.
    As for your friend enjoying his mule – mules are MUCH smarter than horses. You don’t have to drive a pickup or chew RedMan up here. In fact your Benz would fit in just fine. There’s even a Benz dealership in our town. Hope your girlfriend enjoys her boob job. As long as she feels better about herself that’s all that matters…..

  49. IrvineRenter

    The funny part is that we had a real blog troll today in Kurt, and nobody got wound up.

    No worries. Have a good weekend.

  50. IrvineRenter

    I would speculate there must be something in the air or the water, but then they might turn on me

    I don’t know. They are both good guys. They post here quite a bit. Don’t take offense. We will all be one big happy family soon enough…

  51. tonye

    Come on…. you guys actually believe those TV shows? You assume that OC is like those shows? Jeez… who is more culturally shallow?

    You guys remind me of the guy in Spinal Tap: “I read a lot and I believe everything I read”…..

    Hmm.. you don’t suppose that everyone in LA county is like those folks in Baywatch, huh?

  52. BLT Bill

    Just redid my lease at Quail Ridge. They raised my rent $ 10.00 a month. So Irvine rents are not exploding right now.
    I thought I was going a bit agro. Kurt is ready for the rubber room.
    Thanks again man.

    And HappyHeart have a good weekend too.
    I feel for you. No Trader Joes and I too would be bumming.
    Hope your daughter does well at UCI. Go Ant Eaters !!!
    My son is getting ready to become an OC Sheriff next year.

  53. lendingmaestro

    Don’t let the NAR let in increase in new home sales trick you. All those purchases that closed in July were ratelocked in June or early July. Long Before the massive collapse that started on Aug 4th

  54. TangerineSpeedo

    I agree, the mindset is certainly not limited to the OC – it is everywhere. I grew up in New York and have lived in Chicago, Iowa, San Fran and Albuquerque – it is everywhere.

    I remember when Lucky, InStyle and Us came out and couldn’t believe that someone had the audacity to publish magazines purely devoted to shopping and celebrity – no surprise that each does phenomenally well while Atlantic Monthly and Harper’s (not Harper’s Bazaar) wallow. Be that as it may, I don’t see why shallow consumerism upsets people – live your own life and if you really wanna be snarky see how to capitalize on it, turn it to your advantage. Beware digression – I was in the Hamptons in Summer 2000 and watched people fall over themselves to get in Hamptons magazine. They were all wannabe celebutants dying to get recognized for nothing other in life than showing up and being pretty. I actually met an investor in the mag who also had a stake in Gotham (Manhattan) and Ocean Drive (Miami) and told him he needed to jump on the OC bandwagon – sure enough a year later Riviera showed up. I wish I had been the one with initiative.

    The moral – it’s not just OC and don’t get upset – live your own life. I’ll only get upset if the gov’t winds up bailing anyone out of this thing.

  55. caliguy2699

    Of course everyone who lives in LA could have been on Baywatch…just like anyone who is in the funeral business must look and act like the cast of Six Feet Under 🙂

    Tonye, I don’t “believe” the TV shows…the people in them are not representative of all the people who in the area, by any stretch. My problem is what these shows stand for – that acting shallow, bratty, materialistic and entitled to wealth is attractive enough to make people want to see on TV.

    Don’t forget the power of a network like MTV, considering how many teenagers watch. By glamorizing the above behavior by putting it on TV, viewers are being subliminally told these traits are not only OK, but desirable. After all, they are important enough to be followed around by camera crews and seen by millions of viewers, right?

    I also don’t like that many of the shows take place in OC or SoCal, because the few people on them don’t always make everyone else look very good, IMO…particularly those Real Housewives of OC that IR mentioned. As an Orange County native, I would like to think we deserve a better representation than that.

    Have a great weekend!

  56. Sandy

    LOL..that hit the nail on the head with me. I’ve learned to keep my mouth completely shut and just smile and nod when the topic turns to real estate.

  57. steve

    Bill – you don’t even realize that you are exactly the type of mental that Irvinerenter was pointing out. We don’t care that you have 2 Mercedes, but you obviously (and sadly) think they are important.

  58. Jim E.

    What’s up with tonye? I go out of my way to agree with him, and he basically says I’m an idiot. Whatever.

    TangerineSpeedo brings up the obvious cultural thing I meant to mention, and that is the obsession with celebrity. It’s always existed, but not the way it has in the past 15 years or so.

    As far as the shows go, I’m not a prude. I get a kick out of them. I’d like to think they don’t influence my attitudes and personal behavior too much (for ex: I don’t emulate the materialism, at least not more than before viewing the programs). I find it entertaining. Same goes for strolling around Fashion Island or the Spectrum.

    But yeah, call me judgmental if you want, but I do think certain cultural changes aren’t ideal, particularly if entire generations come to adulthood with irresponsible habits and desires. The generation that lived through the Great Depression never forgot the value of a dollar. (That culture could get taken too far, too: my Great Depression surviving grandfather criticized me when he found out I had a car payment. If I couldn’t pay cash for everything, then he thought it should never be purchased. That’s stupid.) Certain cultural traits affect the entire society in tangible ways. Not everything in a culture is good or indifferent.

    And while a live and let live attitude is mostly fine (and I mostly agree with it), the fact that our society has a negative savings rate, has jacked up the real estate market to historic proportions, knows more about Britney Spears than, say, Iraq’s non-role in 9/11 does effect me. I think this blog’s discussion of the role of culture in the housing bubble is significant, and not something that occurs in a vacuum. Some people are having difficultly “living their own lives,” as TangSpeedo put it, because of this stuff. While I’m personally not “upset” about this particular stuff on a day to day basis, certain things do concern me. I’m concerned that too many Americans have their priorities out of whack, and such priorities (in terms of stock market, the nation’s economic health, etc) do sometimes effect my life.

  59. ParadiseLost

    I moved to the OC in ’69…before there was a Dana Point Marina, or much of anything except little beach towns and orange groves. It was so perfect in those days. There wasn’t much money in the OC back then, so we all just enjoyed the beach and the great weather. Then, the “money” moved in and the great build out begin. Paradise Lost.

    Last year I moved to Portland, OR. I have to say, this place is refreshing. Its true, no one cares what you wear or what kind of car you drive ( they do care how “green” one is, tho). I love it here, but Laguna will always be in my heart and my “hometown”.
    I worked in Irvine for many, many years and reading about the neighborhoods on this blog makes me feel at home, sad as it is for some homeowners.

  60. IrvineRenter

    Jim E.

    Your comment did a great job of capturing the sentiment and importance of the post. As I reread the post and the comments, I was starting to become concerned that the connection between this behavior and the housing market — and ultimately our lives — was lost.

    I don’t spend much time thinking about these people except when their behavior begins to impact my life, which it has with the housing bubble.

  61. sunsetbeachguy

    Enjoy the drivers doing 55mph on a 65 mph freeway in OR. Enjoy the cops giving tickets for 1 mph over the limit.

    Enjoy the people who have never left their home county and/or lived in Portland and never gone to Mt. Hood (40 min away by car).

    Enjoy the traffic and the drizzle.

    Enjoy the really bad roads since 6 months out of the year spikes are allowed in & on Portland freeways, where it might snow 1-2 times per year. This totally destroys the roads. They repaved 215 and within 6 months of winter it was bad to its horrible state.

    Enjoy the really bad schools.

    Enjoy the underfunded, falling apart and overly expensive Oregon University System.

    Enjoy the schizophrenic state government, with ultra-liberals in Portland that don’t want any taxes and ultra-conservatives everywhere else outside the Urban Growth Boundary.

    For the most part (excepting Nike) most professional services in Portland, sell & travel to California.

    Enjoy the retails shops that open at 9am and close at 5pm M-F, are open 8-12 on Sat and closed on Sunday. No wonder the economy sucks, you have to take off of work to go spend some money.

    Nothing makes a Portlander happier than standing in a line and nothing pisses them off more if you go around them.

    Here is somebody else’s take on it.

    Yes, I lived there.

    Good Beer though, all the clowns giving California a bad name should go there.

  62. IrvineRenter

    I have thought to move the family to Oregon a couple of times. The last time was during football season a couple of years ago. I watched the Oregon Ducks play in November on a rainy day. They said it had rained the last 21 consecutive days in Eugene. I knew right then I could not live there.

  63. Anonymous

    I agree with Happy Heart as well. The last area we lived in (suburb of a metropolitan city) had an average family income 1.5 times Irvine’s, but the culture was much more like that Happy Heart describes in Oregon.

    I too find watching the ladies all decked out with the little dogs facinating … I thought that was something made up for “Legally Blonde”, was so surprised that unlike most Hollywood stuff, it wasn’t made up.

  64. Fake Wealth Created

    Well Written. Truer words were never spoken. I’ve seen this market drop 10% to 15%. and am waiting for the next 25%. I don’t follow or have access to the opened escrow numbers. It seems to me like we need a major event, like a period of no new escrows, to shock this market into further declines. I experienced the 1990 decline first hand, and it seemed more swift.

    It boggles my mind that there are still people willing to plop down over $400 per sq. foot at this stage. Unfortunately these are the people delaying price declines.

  65. Sue

    I have fun playing the opposite card. I go on about how awesome Costco is and it’s so great to have a nice tree lined sidewalk to walk on so you don’t have to drive to the store, etc. and it’s so cool.

    The reactions are hilarious.

  66. covered

    To Have or to Have Not

    by Woody Dorsey

    Do you have what you need? It is easy to think of someone you know who has more than you. It is easy too, to think of someone you know who has less than you. You probably have more now than you did before say, a few years ago. Having more is a good thing or, “are comparisons odious?” Billionaires are boring. Do you really believe that judging your net worth is that important? What time do you have? Do you know?

    What do you Know?

    Did you know that most human beings think that they are smarter than average. They also think that they are smarter than you or me. Can you believe that!

    What do you Believe?

    I diagnose Financial Culture for a living. When I watch Financial Television I am interested to hear how often the commentators say “I believe.” It sounds pretty good…at least they think it does. Makes them sound well… sound, solid, knowledgeable. But is the market really a religious forum? When you believe something, it means you don’t really know something but you are pretty darn sure of it? It is noble to believe but in reality, you believe in things which you don’t know. One is ignorant but believes. Do you believe that you have enough? They say “Seeing is Believing,” but it isn’t. Seeing is Knowing. But Knowing is not Understanding. Do you want to be a Billionaire? Well, you can eat like one. Your palate and your digestive system don’t know your net worth. Your stomach doesn’t care if you’re a great big boring Billionaire or not.

    Those Great Big Boring Billionaires

    I was out with some folks the other night and I mentioned that the Billionaires are Boring. What? Yeah, they are really boring. Why would anyone pay big bucks to have lunch with that really rich guy from Omaha? You know who I mean. They were shocked. “Warren is so nice and generous and smart,” they said. I said yes, sure he is, but he is boring. Warren is wonderful and so are the other Billionaires but I would rather go out for lunch with you. Do you really want to be Warren? If you do, I actually don’t want to go out to lunch with you. You are you. Let Warren be Warren. How Wealthy are you? You are Wealthy! How wealthy are you? You are as wealthy as you are.

    Wealth Management

    My wife thinks we should talk to a Financial Planner. Me, who trades volatility, spends weekends studying markets and consults with the biggest money men around! I predicted and profited from the recent market panic. I have more money now than I did last month. Do I really understand markets? Am I wealthy? How do I manage the money? Just get more or, based on my age, put it into the percentages of growth stocks, fixed income and cash that I am supposed to be in? I explain to her that Financial Management is just formulaic. It is boring. She wants to talk to an expert. Of course there are no absolute experts. But she doesn’t know that. She doesn’t understand money… thus she wants an expert. She understands other things like art but not wealth. Wealth is a proverbial “State of Mind.” That means that it is Psychological. Your wealth, your “having or not having,” varies from moment to moment depending on your Psyche. Your Psyche is more powerful than what is in your pocket. Time is more important than money.

    Time is the Unique Commodity

    How much money do you have? Enough? Not enough? You can make more. Work harder, save more, get another job, do some overtime? But, how much time do you have? You can’t make any more time. There is no over time. There is only our allotted time. How much time do you “have or, not have?”

    Obituary Management

    At the end of the day, at the end of your life, you only have what you have left. Actually, it isn’t really yours anymore. The poorest human being has so much more than you have. All the “Have Nots” have more than you when you are dead. If you are lucky, you end up with an Obituary. So take your baby out for bite to eat and eat like a Billionaire. You have earned it.

    To Have or to Have Not

    Do you have or do you have not? Why not have what you have! It’s all you’ve got. It is about the having, not, the not having. I believe that but I would like to understand that. Wouldn’t you?

  67. Incredulous

    I just tried to access Kirk’s site and came up with this:

    It is currently between the hours of 12AM and 6AM.

    On July 15th I warned people like you that if you kept ringing my site bell at this hour that I would take down the site at night.

    In order to keep the site up in case of emergencies I have tried to sleep with earplugs and have even purchased a small waterfall for my bedroom to drown out the bell’s noise. Not only did this not work, but the waterfall actually kept me up all night. I am surprised I’m even still living with all the sleep I have lost.

    So, if you just came by to ‘entertain’ yourself at this unGodly hour then congratulations! You’ve just ruined a vital lifeline for those seeking conservative guidance during the hours the anti-Christ is most active.

    If you are here because you are feeling weak under the devil’s spell and are considering abandoning President Bush and the Republicans, I am truly sorry that I am not here to help you. Please proceed immediately to Free Republic and seek assistance there.

    (me again) Apparently Kirk doesn’t know how to shut the sound off on his computer….

  68. granite

    This is one of the most engrossing blogs I have ever read. I suppose it’s because that I am a native Hoosier that has lived in Orange County twice, with a 9 month hiatus in eastern Idaho.

    Orange County (not “the O.C.”) has changed since the early ’80s when I first moved here. There was a lot more agriculural land and less prentiousness then. But my job is here and when its a little cloudy or chilly, its really “just another sh**ty day in paradise”.

    The grass isn’t always that much greener elsewhere. Yeah, I miss the 4 seasons, but not that much. And housing values are declining pretty much everywhere else to some degree. The problem of course is our house prices are out of reach and reality. So I will keep reading this blog until reality bites the housing market and I can finally buy a house again.

    More sermons please IR!

  69. tonye

    Yeah… I think the Hollywood media is having a field day with the image of OC.

    Now then, normally if the general population has a clue, they would understand that TV is just a show, but being that many have no idea of how to even spell IRAQ -not that stops them from complaining about it- they actually believe the fiction they see on TV.

    I won’t even call it “pulp fiction” because that would insult Tarantino.

    Hence, all of those “reality” shows.

    And yes, MTV is a disaster. It used to be about music… that particular show about CRIBS is abysmal. Most of those people are so caught up on their own BLING, BLING! that is ludicrous. I’ve seen mobile homes with more taste that some of those “mansions”.

    BTW, my wife doesn’t have fake tits…. nor do any of my neighboring ladies… maybe I should tell them they should all sell their Honda/Acuras/Bimmers, get new tits and buy a bunch of Cadillacs and S500s.

    And the last time I went to Fashion Island was to take my daughter to a dermatologist. Before that was to go to their food court. Nice place. Much nicer than anything I’ve ever seen Grants Pass and Medford. And I’ve been going through those places for more than 20 years.

    I wonder if Pamela Anderson will get a replacement… 😉

  70. tonye

    (1) I didn’t mean to pick on you. I just meant that OC is not like those TV shows.

    (2) The cultural connection to OC is very weak. Just like using Styx is a very weak link. Styx was always the artistically weak rip off from Queen. If you want that type of Music, listen to Queen not Styx.

    (3) the connections between the “culture of the self aggrandization” and it’s corollary, “the myth of Credit Card Financing” are NOT unique to Orange County. They’re common all over the world. In regards to the RE market it’s worst excesses are NOT in OC, but are in lower income areas where people who should have been renting were “able” to buy McMansions… Vide Palmdale, Riverside, Sacramento, Las Vegas, Kingman, Phoenix… and ALL OVER THE COUNTRY.

    (4) Oddly enough, those “self centered” poster children you so despise are the most likely to survive a downturn. After all, those “rich kids” are the ones with real money and do NOT represent the general population in Irvine or even Orange County. They represent rich kids everywhere… LA, OC, Seattle, Portland, Denver, Medford, you bet…. the only difference is on the size of their winter parkas, but the attitude is identical.

    (5) What I object to, is those posters who use mediam prices in OC without regards to the differences in the areas. This is like saying that Bill Gates overpaid because the median price in King County is barely enough to pay the rent in Federal Way.

    (6) What I object to, are the “holier than thou” who from their glass churches hail fire and brimstone to OC based upon shallow experiences or from watching TV shows. My wife, a “REAL, real OC housewife” has nothing in common with those cartoons in the TV show. No do my female co workers in LA county have much to do with the Baywatch or 90310 cast.

    (7) What I object to, are those out of state posters who have no clue about our state and who blithely ignore their own problems. Get a clue folks… I went to the Rose Parade one year and the weather was fine.. Meanwhile many of you were digging your way out of yet another snow storm. There’s a reason why RE is SoCal and Hawai’i are high… THE FINE WEATHER…. Even the SE is humid and Florida is a swamp…

    Anyhow…. if you think I’ve been ranting… heck.. I used to get complements in the early days of the Internet (DARPA) with my flames. I’m being nice here so you won’t need an asbestos suit. 😉

  71. tonye

    The pizza is the best. But I find that I like my ribeye steaks about 3 inches thick, so I’m forced to buy the whole roast and cut my own.

    Then there’s the times when I feel like I’m back in the Puget Sound area. There’s a lot of “Kirkland” in my house. 😉

    Now, if they’d put a Costco in Fashion Island I might drive that way sometimes.

    But my favorite food store is Marukai. They got a new one in Costa Mesa, right near where Fedco used to be at.

  72. tonye

    Wait a minute… stop the ad hominem attacks. No one is defensive here. You just come in with a “holier that thou” attitude that has nothing to do with the RE market.

    Please stick to the RE market.

    And be aware that there are poseurs everywhere. You might want to look into your own backyard.

    I used to live in the Pacific NW eons ago and I have a lot of family in WA and OR. So, perhaps I know your backyard better than you. But I don’t pick on it.

    The idea is to let people be and to stick with RE.

    I believe that this thread by IR is indeed fallacious as well.

    It should have started with the Sex Pistols “anarchy in the UK”… perhaps renames “anarchy in the RE”

    Or possibly The Talkings Heads “Life in Wartime”.

    Or also Tonyo K “One Big Happy Family”.

    Of course…

    “When I got nothing to say
    My lips are sealed.
    Say someting once,
    Whay say it again?”

  73. tonye

    The weather in the Villamette Valley really sucks. It’s actually more dismal than the Puget Sound proper.

    Once upon a time I had to drive in Eugene with a completely frozen I5. All of the bridges from Roseburg into Portland were frozen and the freeway was a mess of black ice. Took us like 10 hours to make the trip. Worst drive of my life.

    And yes, the OR drivers are dismal too. Once upon a time, in the 70s, Oregonians were faster drivers than Washingtonians.. that is, they actually broke the double nickel, and their cops were cool.

    But then they had an influx of Northern Californians and Easterners move into OR and WA and the dynamics of the whole place just went to pot.

    Driving in Western OR today is an exercise in frustration. If you get the chance, take the Eastern side. Much nicer people, colder in the winter but much drier… however, it’s a lot more rural. And you will want to carry your shotguns in the truck in case some liberal from the Western Side of the state tries to come your way.

  74. awgee

    It seems that the tendency to denigrate another’s lifestyle or home location would indicate an insecurity with one’s own circumstance or lifestyle.

  75. tonye

    So you’ve been in Grants Pass ( or Medford ) for like less than a year?

    And you shop at Nordstrom’s and Ann Taylor?

    Not Mervyn’s, Target, Trader Joe’s and Costco?

    Dude, you’re the yuppie who came from California and destroyed the local property prices by overpaying.

    Sadly, that is what your neighbors think about you. That is what your neighbors have been saying about out of staters coming in since my family settled in the NW in 1977.

    Somethings never change. Amazing.

    Like I said, I know your backyard better than you. Open you eyes and really look. There may be few boob jobs around but the people are very prejudiced and closed to outsiders. Don’t take them for face value,

  76. granite

    No, Blackfoot. Not far from Yellowstone and Sun Valley. Beautiful scenery, but we were not LDS members so social life was lacking. Back then (about 1985-86) housing was dirt cheap in Idaho but we decided to rent, thankfully. When the job didn’t work out, we moved back to Orange County where jobs were waiting.

    The Orange County Register did a front page story about people who moved back to Orange County then, and our picture was on the front page.

  77. Mark F.

    Eloquent commentary on status and our relentless pursuit of it. The fact that I have bookmarked this site as a psychological/self-help resource in addition to a reference to help me sell my Westpark condo that nobody seems interested in buying (despite its now ridiculously low price) is a testament to the ingenuity of the blog-keeper. Well done, and thanks for the Matisse artwork.

  78. kate in tx

    As I understand Jesus, he’s not about hate or enjoying anybody’s suffering – whatever happened to love your enemies, give everything you have to the poor, etc – ?

    I’ve heard it said about tx politicians – if you thinkthese guys are scary you should see their constituents…

    I probably shouldn’t have, but I took a look at Kirk’s blog, and even attempted to take it at face value, but its full of lgoical contradictions – the market is to reward the stong and elimate the weak, but he wants an interest rate cut to save his investment…

    This is something I hear in other commentaries about the subprime/credit crisis – that its all the fault of financially irresponsible people (renters) who should never have been enxtended credit in the first place – ignoring the middle/upper middle incomes who’ve stretched too far or bet of ever rising property values, and a lot of abusive mortgage brokers (I love’s “why I hate my indutsry” section) I hear this in policy circles too. I don’t think having the crisi blamed on a particular social class.

  79. tonye

    Just curious… what are the leases like?

    I was wondering if I should rent out my house and lease one up the hill in TR.

    I don’t want to sell because after 20 years of ownership our Prop 13 tax savings are awesome. Even in a down market, our RE tax is like 0.3%… That’s right… three tenths of one percent.

    Hence I can rent out the 5b/3ba home and make it work financially.

    Then I could rent up in the hill a 4b/3ba home with a 3 car garage and a city light view.

    I don’t really want to go to TRidge because it’s too far from Rancho and Uni.

  80. tonye

    Sun Valley is beautiful. I had college buddies who lived in Ketchum. We went hiking into the Sawtooth Mountains.

    Great trout too. This was back in ’79 and ’80.

    I suppose things have changed a lot. I guess that part of Idaho is now the LAPD retirement camp.

  81. awgee

    kate – There is no possibility in having a reasonable dialogue with Kirk. Kirk is a troll who can not participate in two way discourse, so instead exagerates and misrepresents those agencies or issues he is angry with in an attempt to make those agencies or issue seem preposterous.


    Tonye – I give! I just can’t suffer through another one of your diatribes. Somewhere in my post you must have felt personally attacked as you seem unable to comprehend that I was doing nothing more than making an observation related to the Grand Illusion. If you see things differently that’s your perogative. I sense some underlying anger issues with you. Maybe your RE is not holding up as well as you expected and now you’ll have to work a few more years? Perhaps you’re running out of equity in which to finance your lifesytle? Pure speculation on my part. It’s sad that you feel uncomfortable in a place like Oregon. I can’t imagine what that’s like since I feel just as good about myself at South Coast Plaza as I do at the Costco here in Oregon. By the way, I do shop at Target too. Love that store! It’s a wonderful thing to be able to adapt to different environments and really enjoy all the elements good and bad of a particular geographical location. You really should try to broaden your mind and embrace different attitudes. BTW, since you know my backyard better than I do will you please direct me to a drycleaner? I can’t find anyplace up here that will do a man’s shirt for less than $2.25 and I can’t get used to paying more than $1.00. Shortage of cheap foreign labor up here.

  83. tonye

    The way things are..

    It’s the Chinese economy that has the most to worry about the american consumer.

    And perhaps the union longshorement in Long Beach and LA ports might agree to a reasonable wage?

  84. awgee

    China now has a much larger domestic demand than the US and the rest of the world is beating a path to it’s door to buy it’s cheap products.

  85. tonye

    Maybe so… but China still depends greatly on exports and the health of its domestic demand is based upon moneys that come for the exports.

    A second issue is that the credit crunch we’re seeing now is global. As your Canuck newspaper quote noted, the US, Europe and Japan account for 45% of global demand. And you can pretty much figure that the other 55% is greatly affected by moneys being spent by the US, Europe and Japan. Hence, a credit crunch in the First World will have a domino effect elsewhere and China will go into a recession too.

  86. tonye

    Ad hominem attacks… tsk.. tsk…. and yet you ignore my point.

    My issue with your original post and follow ons are simple and I have already explained them to you. But I will break my David Byrne quote and I will say it again:

    “I don’t like people who ignore the issues in their own backyard and then go on a ‘holier than thou’ proselytizing campaign against others”. And in your case, I know the culture of your new home very, very well.

    This is after all a RE board, not a pulpit. Don’t tell me that OC is bad because you don’t like the rich kids in Fashion Island. Huh?

    Besides, again I repeat myself, I think that IR’s basic premise for this thread is fallacious. He got taken too far and allowed a perfect opening for people like you. This thread should be about “Psycho Killers on the 405” not “The Grand Illusion”.

    Because everyone knows that the bank Styx was itself a Grand Illusion and a very weak copy of Queen. Hmphr…. IR sounds like a young punk…. time to dust off your LPs ( yep I got thousands of those still) and look up real tunes for a change.

    BTW- we don’t shop at South Coast. We shop at Costco which I still call The Price Club and -aside for a penchant for fine Hawiian shirts- my choice of clothing still fits right in the Pacific NW. Patagonia shell and all.

    And a true Oregonians don’t need no sissy dry cleaners. You can wash your own Pendleton wool shirts in woolite at home (or at least that how I did it when I lived in the NW and how my family does it still). And although today polypropylene has overtaken the old wool long johns I still prefer the warmth of wool when it gets cold and wet. A true Northwesterner knows the value of wool, man! You better get your REI membership soon and buy some real Pendleton gear as well.

    BTW, my REI membership number is the very low six digits ( or may be high five… I forget… it’s been like 30 years plus..). When they look it up at the cash register they always think it must be clerical error. ;-)))

  87. Quix

    “I find pretense very distasteful. There is a large subculture in Southern California that expends a great deal of money and energy trying to make other people think they are happy and successful.”

    Amen, brother. Which is why I fled back home to Utah in 2003 after 9 years in the O.C. Yes, as Tonye so desperately argues, materialism is everywhere, but no one does it like they do in the O.C. Tonye is simply suffering from a little malady we call “denial.”

    In other places, you find some materialistic people here and there. In the O.C., you find some non-materialistic people here and there. It’s a place where the content of your character is measured by the size of your chrome rims (or your wife’s bra size). Sad, but true.

    Unfortunately I bailed out right before the truly insane price gains. Who knew they’d go even higher? I have no regret getting out – my only regret is not sticking around one more year to gouge some poor, mindless yuppie for another $150k.

    I miss the ocean breezes but that’s about it. Love following the blog – and it’s comforting to know that reality and rational thought eventually win. Every time. Sometimes it just takes awhile.

    Wish I could have lived in the O.C. thirty years ago – before it became a playground for the Nouveau Rich and the wannabe Nouveau Rich. Sad to see such a beautiful place spoiled by so many unbeautiful (on the inside) people… 🙁

  88. tonye

    I guess your OC is different from my OC.

    But I bought a house in an established neighborhood with old folks back 20 years ago. My experience was not from Laguna Niguel, Fashion island or TV.

    Desperately? hardly, just a dose of reality for those of you who insist that every housewife in OC has fake tits and every car has 20 inch chrome rings.

    Please…. folks… get a dose of reality next time.

  89. Housewives Fan

    I love the Real Housewives of O.C. That has to be the best TV show out there. Kudos to Bravo to finally accurately depict this county. However, I’m worried about the next season and I hope Bravo continues to follow these women through this difficult time in our county’s history

    I remember Jo got her “dream job” as a loan officer at Countrywide. I guess it’s safe to say she’s probably no longer working there.

    I think Tammy was also a loan officer

    Slade owned a Title company. I wonder what happened to him.

    Gina was a real estate agent. I wonder how many homes she’s sold recently in Coto.

    George was a land developer. Do you think he’s doing much developing now? Will Lauri dump him if he isn’t bringing in the 7 figure income?

  90. Housewives Fan

    I forgot to say, Real Housewives of Orange County is so much better than the other OC programs on MTV especially the new one Newport Harbor – the Real Orange County. I’m waiting for them to make a show about the real orange county with cast members from Santa Ana or UCI.

  91. Quix

    “just a dose of reality for those of you who insist that every housewife in OC has fake t*ts and every car has 20 inch chrome rings.”

    *Every*??? Hmm, I don’t see anyone making that assertion. But OC certainly epitomizes that culture. And your claim that everywhere else is just like OC in that regard is just plain laughable. And in some areas where you do see a lot of it – Vegas, Phoenix, etc. – guess where a lot of those people came from? Yep, SoCal.

    Some cities have certain neighborhoods full of pretentious phonies, but OC has entire *cities* full.

    And when someone equates OC with materialism, they’re generally referring to South County and not an older neighborhood in Buena Park.

    Sadly I did live in Aliso Viejo/Laguna Niguel, surrounded by the worst of the worst when it comes to worldly stupidity. And I know there are plenty of good people in OC – it’s just hard to see them with so many poseurs in the way. When I started to become physically agitated every time I saw another silicone-enhanced bimbo in her chromed-out Escalade yakking on her cell phone, I knew it was time to make my escape. The rational human soul can only stomach so much superficiality.

    Here’s hoping a hearty real estate crash purges the area of some of those people – I’d love a humble little cottage in Dana Point with the ocean breezes through my bedroom window someday.

    The Culture of Me that SoCal is famous for is hardly imagined or fabricated by bitter outsiders…

  92. Hispanic

    Please post Mexican anthem also on your blog. The illegal immigrants of Inland Empire who are getting cash advances for their 100% financed homes and walking away and those who committed mortgage fraud would like to see to keep up with their spirits.

  93. tonye

    Hey….I’ll grant you that Aliso Viejo and Laguna Niguel are scary places. It’s like White Yuppie Ville…. Homes and homes with kitchen pantries filled with White Wonder Bread, Creamy Peanut Butter…. dens with Bose Stereos, garages with SUVs, college degreed moms waisting their lives as stay at home mommies….

    As I said, those areas are scary.

    But, as this is an Irvine blog, this city is different. Here we have college trained Chinese stay at home moms… 😉

    Seriously though. The Vapidity Index is much higher in AV/LH.

    My only hope is that the old folks in the retirement communities will provide soime kind of a buffer by running into as many cars as they can so that the northward traffic will be somewhat hampered.

  94. tonye

    The UCI kids will be 50% asian and drive riced Civics and Integras (UCI = Univeristy of Civics and Integras). Their IQs and SAT scores will be in the top 0.001%.

    The Santa Ana folks will be latino kids appearing in a cameo role during the obligatory drive by shooting scene. Their rides will most likely be a mid 90s Accord or some late model SUV. Their average rate of fire, that is how many bullets they can fire in a minute, will be higher than the average IQ of the UCI kids.

    None of them will have fake tits.

  95. Quix

    Many of us consider “stay at home mothering” anything but “wasting one’s life.” It’s certainly far more valuable than spreadsheet-wrangling in a cubicle in some generic office park somewhere, and it was a big part of my reason to move back to Utah: so my wife could stay home with the kids.

    But the South O.C. version of “stay at home mothering” is loading your kids up in the Denali and going to the mall, where you can have lattes and do a little shopping with your “stay at home mom” friends while the kids play in the fountain.

  96. Laguna Hills

    There’s some truth to your buffer theory.

    A few years ago I started a new job in Laguna Hills. At lunch I was heading out the door and a coworker asked where I was going. I told her I always go outside for lunch because I need fresh air. She told me she never leaves the office because it’s too dangerous to drive in the area. She said, “first there’s all of the old people who can’t see anymore and then there are the Asians who never could see”.

  97. Scott

    The illusion is explained in a forthcoming movie. It is not Kool Aid. In “Nightmare City 2035” it is a chip implanted in the brain. I think the director already sold his house.

    I do hope somebody like Ron Paul will get inflation under control.

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