June 14th, 2011 by Potato

Arrived in Halifax in record time. That was due in part to traffic being good, with hardly any construction along the way (Montreal, of course, being the permanent exception). But it was mostly because we hardly stopped. Normally I stop about every hour for a pee and strech break on a long trip, and one or two longer breaks through the day to take my eyes off the road. But this time I just powered right through. It’s especially surprising that I made it that long without needing the washroom breaks — that never happens. I think I must have been severely dehydrated, indeed, on Friday I was so dehydrated I stopped sweating. I don’t know why, it wasn’t like I ran a marathon or anything. Just weird, but I’ll reap the benefits.

The weather here has been pretty dreadful — rainy, cold, windy. The conference has been pretty good though. The social event featured a lobster supper, and I always find that weird. When else do you get into fancy clothes just to put on a plastic bib for dinner? I always figured we somehow tricked mainlanders into eating lobster as a way to take care of our beach pest problem.

I can’t really think of any other stories to share, so here’s a little mini link round-up:

Housing bubble linked to restrictive development rules. Yes, over the last 8 years when I drove into Toronto and saw the massive developments of condos in downtown and North York, the unending and constantly expanding sea of McMansions along the 401, 403, and 400, I thought “wow, Toronto has some really restrictive development rules.”

Another article on just how crazy Vancouver’s valuation is: Vancouver primed for housing correction: BMO.

A MacLeans’ piece on the Vancouver housing market gets it right: “In short, Vancouver is increasingly being seen as a no-go zone for top talent. This is very bad. Worse arguably than if house prices crashed. As Vancouver develops a reputation as a place where only the uber-rich can afford to buy property, it could seriously undermine the economy.” So many stories suggest that a crash is a bad thing. For sure, it’s painful for the unprepared who get caught up in it, but the problem is not the crash, but the bubbly high prices in the first place. Downturns are also called “corrections” for good reason: lower house prices will mean fewer talented young people being driven away by the costs of living, fewer house poor people, fewer household balance sheet dangerously levered to the 5-year interest rate, and less rampant speculation on concrete and granite, and more investment capital for everything else that makes the world turn.

The market’s been pretty nasty, beyond Sino-Forest. Kind of glad I don’t have the time to worry about it.

And speaking of not having time, the spam levels have increased of late to the point where it’s almost 100 spam comments per day. I don’t and won’t have the time to figure out a captcha or better spam filter, and while I was home it wasn’t a big deal to clear out (most of the messages are so blatantly unreal that a quick skim is usually all it takes to find the real messages and let them through — though there have been a few false positives lost in the sweep). But now that I’m off on conference and then vacation and internet access is becoming spotty, I’m just going to turn commenting off so I don’t come home to a spam filter filled with 10,000 spam comments and 2 real ones (and that’s about the ratio). I do still welcome comments, so if you have one feel free to email me (address in the sidebar) and I’ll add your comment manually.

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