Monthly Archives: July 2009

New House

A snazzy floorplan I whipped up

A snazzy floorplan I whipped up

Finally. It took a month to find it and move in, but here I am. Posting pictures of my new house.

Stats

  • 2 bed/1 bath
  • 2 blocks from Japantown
  • 2 blocks from the light rail
  • Work and downtown both bikable
  • Front yard/deck/white picket fence/American dream
  • $1450/month
  • ~920 sq. ft.
  • 1 year lease

Review so far

The place is nice. You couldn’t tell that the house is a hundred plus years old from looking at it (except for the eye-level front door knob). New paint, water heater, carpet, fixtures, everything. I’m not huge into hardwood floors, but these are definitely high quality. The default lighting is pleasant and even without A/C the place keeps almost the perfect temperature. It also seems larger than some 1000 sq ft apartments I visited. There may be too many windows, from a noise perspective, but the blinds are not the cheap kind by a long shot.

I’ve got to say, there are at least 2 noticeable shortcomings. For one, there is no peephole in my door. This is strange. And, secondly, most unfortunately, I regret to report that: the thick, sturdy, turn-of-the-century doorframes do not support Iron Gyms. Not a one of the twelve. I guess I will never get strong or ripped as advertised.

Pictures

Click the house for a flickr set.

My house(a lot more work went into the floor plan than the photography, mostly so I could calculate what furniture to craigslist.)

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A Fifth of Beethoven, outside my window

Quit makin sweet music to me, bird.

Quit makin sweet music to me, bird.

For those of you not on the up and up, I’ve finally got my own digs in San Jose. A little cottage (bungalow, if you will), up in stately Japantown. Anyway, I’ll post pictures and details later.

For now, there is a bird in my neighborhood that is down with it, fosho. Its call is strikingly similar to the hallmark string stab of Walter Murphy’s disco instrumental classic, A Fifth of Beethoven. You’ll know it when you hear it. Listen for the staccato strings (I took the liberty of skipping pretty much right to the part at hand): link.

So, now I have this song stuck in my head a lot more often than I used to. If someone knows what bird this is, that’d be a pretty sweet comment to get.

The future of banking

BenjaminsGiven that I’m currently employed by a financial institution on the brink of household name stature and the fact that I’ve worked on various bits of financial services software for over a year now, this post is long time coming.

Banking is an old business. Like all business, it changes in accordance with technological and cultural advancement. However, due to a strong inclination toward stability, banking tends to evolve slowly. Well, it’s easy to see why that might not fly so well in the Millenial/Internet/Twitter era. Banks, especially smaller banks, are becoming marginalized as simple money storage for the vast majority of their clients. More and more people don’t go into branches to meet face-to-face, or if they do, they loathe it.

Banks are struggling to maintain relationships simply to self-advertise services, and the populace realizes they don’t need this anymore. Online transfers and ATM machines that take checks are the new tellers. So, what do banks even have to sell anymore?

The way I see it, financial institutions have only one thing to sell: trust. If people entrust their money to an entity, they’re expressing something pretty powerful. Trust isn’t portable, trust isn’t universal, trust isn’t patentable. People cherish those they trust, not just in personal circles, businesses, too. Mechanics, doctors, and baby sitters are all examples of trust-based services. Banks have yet to overtly capitalize on this area. Just as we’re all looking to tout our “car guy”, banks should strive to be our one stop money shop.

People are anxious about anything money. Accounts, investments, taxes, leases, there’s no one place to go to get definitive answers on the complex questions that surround these issues. And while I may be content to Wikipedia or WebMD a funny looking spot on my shoulder, never would I earnestly paste tax jargon into Google. But, someone who deals with money all day, a second pair of more knowledgable eyes, right in my neighborhood/Internet? Why, that would be a marvel. Something I would pay for, in fact. And banks are the ready interface.

The knowledge is out there, and even (especially) in this economy, we need a resource we can trust.