Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Night Entertainment Light

A little throw back to Friday Night Entertainment. Enjoy.

The 25 Greatest Unscripted Scenes in Films
Saw this one this week, 25 of the best unscripted scenes in movie history. As the description says, please leave the captions ON to see some extra info. My favorites are #19 (Aliens "Game OVER"), #17 (The Usual Suspects lineup), #12 (Jaws "Your gonna need a bigger boat"), and #6 (Blade Runner "tears in rain"):

Nice collection.

69 'sacks' or 69 'sex'? You Decide
You have to make the call but watch this news clip and decide. I say '69 sex':

Yup.

Magnetic Silly Putty
I bought two of these magnetic silly putty toys, one for me and one for my wife. They are AWESOME!!!!! Highly recommended desk toy or just to help you puzzle out magnetic field lines and other physics stuff:
You can buy some at Simply Clever Toys.

Daniel H. Wilson Scores Again
A while back I reviewed Daniel H. Wilson's seminal novel "Robopocalypse" and gave it my highest recommendation:
I was reminded of his work by two things. One was this picture which shows how low the robots will go, attacking our own kittens for crying out loud:
And second I read his new book this week, "AMPED":

And came away both horrified and amazed. Get this book as well.

Have a good night.

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GawainsGhost said...

I got a movie for you, GYC. Tower Heist. It's a Ben Stiller movie, with Alan Alda and Eddie Murphy, among others. It's very enjoyable, just a good movie.

Another is Foolproof. It's got no name actors, but a fun movie. It's about this group of kids who, as an academic excercise, plan elaborate heists. They don't actually steal anything; they just want to prove that they can. Then this evil theif, called the Touch because he's never been caught, blackmails them into planning a robbery for him.

I've been watching a lot of shows about heists recently. My favorite show, Leverage, was cancelled, so I've been watching others.

There was this documentary series on some channel a couple of weeks ago called Mega-Heists. It was true crime, about the biggest heists in history.

The one that got me was in Antwerp, the diamond capital of the world. There's this mile-square area at the center of town where 80% of the diamonds in the world go through. Needless to say, it has the most sophisticated security system known to man.

And these guys, known as the School of Turino (they're from Italy), just rented a car, drove into the garage, went upstairs, blocked all the security, and walked out with %600 million. Impressive.

Only one was caught. He was arrested when he returned the rental car, but he only got 10 years. He didn't talk. He just sat in jail and waited for his share of the loot, which was $100 million.

I love this stuff. It fascinates me, the planning, the execution. No violence, just sneak in, crack the code, grab the loot, and disappear. Of course, most of them eventually get caught, because they make one mistake, but still it's interesting. What these crimes, if they can be called that, prove is that anything built by man can be taken down by man. And there is no 100% foolproof security. There is always a way in, and surprisingly it's usually very simple.

Anyway, that's what I've been watching lately. Glad to see you back.

EconomicDisconnect said...

Gawains, thanks for the film ideas! Always great to see you.

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GawainsGhost said...

Okay, GYC, I've got some free time this afternoon, so I'm going to tell you something that you won't believe. Or, actually, you probably will.

We got this repo on an abandoned ranch house south of town a couple of months ago. This place was a dump. It had been stripped, no appliances, no a/c units, sheetrock damage, and a warped tile floor. (Exactly how does tile warp? Answer: it does if it's not properly installed.)

Anyway, I did my thing, you know, research, found the house, took pictures and notes, made a list of repairs, did some more research, found some comparable, and recommended a reasonable price opinion, both as is and repaired. The seller decided not to make the repairs.

Well, we got the listing, marketed and advertised the property, and got no offers, not even a phone call. So the seller decided to put it up for auction.

I had to go to this stupid auction, because the listing agent is required to attend. This guy, this auctioneer, drove all the way down here from San Antonio--that's a five hour drive one way. Do you know how many people showed up besides me and him? Two.

They got into a bidding war. The high bid was for $87,500. Sold! But here's the thing. You have to add 5% for the auctioneer. So, the actual sales price was $91,875.

I stood there in stunned disbelief. This buyer, this idiot, if he had simply brought us an offer, he probably could have bought the house for $80,000 months ago.

This is what I'm talking about. Real estate makes people insane. I work in real estate, but it doesn't affect me because I was insane to begin with. I just walk around, wondering WTF is going on. My mother is insane--I guess it runs in the family--she's been selling real estate since 1972, so of course she's out of her mind. When I told her what that house sold for, she just shook her head. (She's like Alice in Wonderland, always solving logic puzzles, but she is one of the best brokers around.)

So, this buyer, this idiot, thinks he can get a better bargain if he buys the house at auction. And he ends up paying more than $10,000 what the house is worth. Does that make any sense to you? It doesn't to me.

Or, actually, it does. These stupid people think that flipping houses is the secret to making money in real estate. Um, buddy, you're now looking at $30,000 in repairs, plus property taxes. I sure hope you have a team of contractors, plumbers, electricians, a/c repairmen, if you think you're going to get this house up to grade. And do you seriously think someone is going to offer you more than you paid for it?

Flipping houses is for fools. These people, they watch some TV show and think they can make money at it. After all the taxes and repairs, and then the marketing and advertising, which costs money, their profit on a reasonable offer would be about $500, if even that. Seems like an awful lot of work to do to make $500 after several months.

This is the world I live in. I deal with complete idiots. The people think they can buy a property cheap at auction, end up overpaying for it, then get stuck with major expenses, for very little if any profit. And they're proud of themselves. Talk about an economic disconnect.



EconomicDisconnect said...

But Gawains, everyone knows that if you watch a real estate show on TV you are qualified to flip houses!

GawainsGhost said...

Yeah, well, I stopped by this bar for a drink after work a couple of years ago, and there was this guy I went to high school with. He started talking to me about flipping houses. He wanted to make an investment.

I looked at him and said, "You're a chiropractor."

It's ridiculous. These people, they watch some show on TV and think they know how to make money in real estate. We flip houses, repos, for a living, but we have a team. We have contractors, roofers, electricians, plumbers, a/c repairmen on call. We can get a house up and running in a couple of weeks. Then market, advertise and sell it in a few months.

In fact, almost all of our listings are pending contract right now, which doesn't leave me with much to advertise. We fix up a house, put it on the market, and have an offer within a week.

I know that pending does not mean closed. But what is the point of advertising a pending property? To attract phone calls and emails to which the only answer is, sorry, that property is already under contract?

It's insane. And this chiropractor thinks he can make money flipping houses.

I'll tell you how to make money in real estate. Buy vacant land on the outskirts of developing towns. Zone it agricultural (lowest taxes) Wait for the growth and development, and when the land is worth ten times what you paid for it, sell. That's a 1000% return on your investment, minus expenses. But that's how the rich, or people in the know, do it.

Years ago, my mother had two offices. Then she thought, I'm paying for two offices but I'm not selling twice as much real estate. So she bought this ranch home on 7 acres. It was centrally located so she could service the three major markets. She bought it for $250,000.
Today that land is worth $2.5 million. It was out in the middle of nowhere, but, hey, growth and development. Now there's a new subdivision across the street, grocery stores and restaraunts all around. It's amazing what can happen in twenty years.

Of course, then there's the company name, the building, the office equipment, and all that. It's got to be worth at least $10 million. The rights to the name for the whole state, are you kidding me? That doesn't come cheap.

People do not understand real estate. It's not about being a realtor or owning a real estate company. It's certainly not about flipping houses. It's about investing in land that will give you the greatest return.

You buy a house to live in it. Maintain it, and you will get a reasonable return on your equity when you sell. But if you want to make real money in real estate, buy undeveloped land on the outskirts of developing towns. And wait for the growth and development, then sell. That's how the people I know who have made millions in real estate do it.

Flipping houses is for fools. You have to have a team already in place to do that successfully.

That's all I know.

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GawainsGhost said...

This is what I'm talking about.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/9949054/Peter-Scott.html

This guy, a gentleman's robber, fancies himself as a modern day Robin Hood.

Actually, Robin of Loxely was robbing from a corrupt government. King Richard was off fighting in the Crusades, and John, who had no claim to the throne, usurped the crown. Then he had the sheriff of Notingham tax the people unnecesarily. Robin Hood was stealing from them and giving back to the good people what was rightfully theirs.

I'm not much for burglary or theft, but I am all for righteouness. Robin was all about righteouness. He wasn't stealing from the rich to give to the poor. He was taking back from a corrupt government what it had stolen from the people, and giving it back to them.

Few people understand this.

I am not much for burglary or theft. But robbing a corrupt government to give back to the people that which they deserve? I'm all for that.

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