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Karen Weena



Joined: 19 Jul 2005
Posts: 26
Location: Makati City, Philippines

PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2005 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the Philippines, in Southeast Asia:

I live in Makati City, where business offices were located initially before the development of other business districts in Metro Manila. My husband and I have been seriously thinking about relocating to the provinces for years now, because of the following:

No accessible big lawns/parks/greens/trees for our kids to flex their muscles in. Malling is the only family outing alternative within the city, and this encourages consumerism and fasfood bingeing. The air is not good for young, developing lungs. And yes, there are rat and cocroach infestations everywhere, including in our rented apartments. Wilted vegetables. High cost of living. No Bonuan bangus (milkfish from Dagupan, the Pangasinan staple).

What is keeping us here? The proximity of good schools, and access to reliable healthcare services. Opportunity for career growth. The grocery stores and fresh produce markets and wet markets where you can buy fruits, vegetables and fish coming from all over the archipelago, and goods from around the world. Great bookstores and shops selling first-rate used books. Plays and musicals where I attended university. Good cinemas, and yes, foreign films (apart from Hollywood fare) during Cinema Europa and French Spring festival.
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JustMe



Joined: 13 Apr 2005
Posts: 213
Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2005 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I live in what was not so long ago a small town, Milton, just northwest of Toronto, Ontario (the largest city in Canada, and the capital of Ontario.) The town was, until about 4 years ago, almost a perfect square with farm land separating us from our closest neighbours. The entire town was serviced by well water and there was not enough water to allow for any further development so for 20 years the town stayed pretty much as it was. About 4-5 years ago (if memory serves me right because someone might say it was slightly longer) the government built a water pipeline that comes north out of Lake Ontario & now services the town. This allowed both commercial and residential growth. And let me tell you, we’re booming! Our population has doubled in the last 3 years and there are all kinds of new housing that has totally changed the landscape to our east. As a matter of fact we are slowly encroaching upon our neighbours to the east and south.

Our downtown core is still quaint & I live within the original downtown core in a 1920 house (in the house my husband grew up in). I work on Main Street, about a 5 minute walk from my house. Unfortunately the new residents all come from the cities and do not have the same sense of community and we now have a huge Wal-mart on the outskirts of town where most of the “newbies” shop.

Good things: We have a wonderful farmers’ market on Main St. every Saturday morning It’s a quaint town centre. We are within minutes of farmland with strawberry, apple and cherry farms close by. We are the base of a beautiful escarpment that is large enough that we have a small ski hill, and there is great cross-country skiing as well. We’re 20 minutes from any large shopping mall, 45 minutes (not in rush hour) to the center core of Toronto, 45 minutes from an amazing Mennonite market in St. Jacob’s to our west. Two minutes north or southwest and you’re into amazing rural landscapes. It’s the best of both worlds. We have fabulous restaurants both in town and within a 20 to 30 minute drive. We are 20 – 25 minutes away from Lake Ontario. We’re surrounded by some amazing conservation areas.

Bad things: The big city is encroaching too rapidly, changing the landscape of the area; we now have rush hour from 5 pm to 6pm in the downtown core. Housing costs are quite high because we are the place to be (but that’s a good thing for me who bought here years ago!) The winters are always too long!

All in all, it’s a nice place to live.
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yum beth



Joined: 11 Aug 2005
Posts: 8
Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, it seems that no one has chimed in on my fair city, Los Angeles! I moved here for college when I was seventeen, and now seven years later, it really feels like home. I'm sure I'll move on to new digs eventually, because of career or whatnot, but for the forseeable future here I am.

Pros:
On the subject of food, LOTS of great restaurants to choose from, as well as farmers markets, etc. Practically any ethnic cuisine you can imagine is represented here; one of my favorite neighborhood spots is an Argentinean empanada place. Yum!
Close to the beach - I live two miles away, which means I can go enjoy it after tourist season ends but while the weather is still nice
Weather - rarely too hot, never too cold, only occasionally too wet... I think I have lost my ability to withstand any sort of climate change. (I take a sweater to the market for the freezer aisles!)
USC - the university I came to LA to attend seven years ago is still the center of my life (I'm now working on a PhD there) and I can't wait till football season starts in a few weeks!

Cons:
Traffic! Especially with gas close to $3 a gallon. I'm lucky I can design my schedule to avoid the peak of rush hour (most of the time) but then isn't it sad that I have to design my life around when the roads are clogged??
Cost of living - someone my boyfriend works with just bought a two-bedroom CONDO for $800,000. Sad to think we'll probably never be able to own property in this town... unless the bubble "pops" or we win the lottery!
Hard to meet people - being a big city, folks are guarded, and it can be hard to make new friends. Granted, there's work/school, but sometimes you want to know people that aren't in your immediate circle, to give you some perspective, no?

So, that's my list. I'm happy for now, though I'm sure it will also be exciting to see someplace new in a few years.
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Sarape



Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 583
Location: Anniston Alabama USA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2005 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

yum_beth -- if you really need to own a home, move to Anniston Alabama. A 2 bedroom house in my neighborhood costs about $40,000. One home across the street from me recently sold on auction for $14,000.

Houses just sit around here for months and months with "Forsale" signs in the yards. This isn't the greatest place to live unless you like gardening, cheap home prices and nice winter weather.
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yum beth



Joined: 11 Aug 2005
Posts: 8
Location: Los Angeles, CA

PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2005 1:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sarape - Well, no, I don't really need to own a home. Seeing as I may well be moving on after I finish my PhD. But... to do the things we love, sometimes we have to make sacrifices. My boyfriend works in post-production, which pretty much limits his mobility to places movies and television are made, mainly New York or LA. And I hope to be a professor one of these years, which means I'll need to be near a university with an occupational therapy department. So, it limits our options quite a bit more than if we were bankers or dentists or other professions that were required pretty much everywhere.

Soooo... you take the good with the bad, and as long as the good outweighs the bad then I guess you're all right. It's nice to know that there's *somewhere* in the country where housing is still affordable but it's also nice to be able to go out for Thai food at 3 AM Wink
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Becca615



Joined: 26 Aug 2005
Posts: 3
Location: Houston

PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Houston, Texas!

Pros: Very International Community, which means lots of international food. Ethiopian? Thai? A yen for Belgian? We've got a restaurant (or 3) for you.

The worlds oldest Art Car Parade! Nowhere else will you see cars covered in plastic fish singing the "Hallelujah Chorus" Cool

Dynamic town. Great arts scene. Cutting edge technology in engineering, aerospace and medicine. Love the skyline.

Friendly natives. Affordable housing.

Cons: Hot! Humid! Hurricanes! Horrendous traffic and no decent public transport system.

The landscape is flatter than flat.
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Chicago Bear



Joined: 02 May 2005
Posts: 240
Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is there left to say about CHICAGO?
We're welcoming. Amazingly diverse. Enthusiastic and not afraid to admit it. Constantly changing as new groups move in and old groups get murdered (no, that was before, when it was Al Capone's town). There are huge swaths of Chicago where English is not the language of choice: we've been to deli's on Milwaukee Avenue where you speak Polish or you point at what you want; to restaurants in Pilsen where you would swear you were in Mexico; to dim sum places in Chinatown and rib shacks on the South Side where we were the only Caucasians. With all of that, though, what I love just as much is being able to leave my house after breakfast and be skiing in Utah or dining in Manhattan or Toronto by lunchtime, or Seattle or San Francisco in time for dinner. I love where I live, but I have to go other places too. Many other places.
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creampuff



Joined: 10 Mar 2005
Posts: 104
Location: Oakland, CA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I live in Oakland across from San Francisco in California. We have access to the wonderful fruits and veggies from the Central Valley as well as more local growing regions, a good sensibility as to slow food, organic food and sustainable agriculture.

Lots of farmers markets, speciality markets, ethnic markets, and probably among the best assortment of restaurants in the country.
Even our "chain" supermarkets tend to have a decent selection of veggies and some ethnic options.

Plus there are a lot of like minded "foodies" who share the passion. I also sometimes think we take our food too seriously!

Of course, we have a Starbucks on almost every corner and the further away from SF you get the more chain stored, malled and francished you get.

Oakland itself has a undeservedly poor reputation. We have our troubles but we have many liveable, beautiful neighborhoods and residents who work hard to make a difference.

Like most of urban California, our public schools and infrastructure suffer from the after effects of the previous generation choosing lower property taxes over public services (Prop 13). My children went to public elementary schools and then switched to private schools (one of which offers students a kosher, vegetarian, organic salad bar daily). That adds to the expense of living in this beautiful (hills, bay views, trees and more) and exciting (theater, symphony, comedy, music, ballet, art, lectures, etc from professional to amateur throughout the area) region. The housing prices are among some of the highest in the country.

We have okay mass transportation. In some areas it is excellent, in other areas it is useless or not available at all. That means more reliance on cars which can create other problems. Gas is probably more expensive here (we tax ourselves pretty highly on it) than the rest of mainland U.S. The winds usually do a good job of keeping our skies blue and our air clean, however. The fog is a beautiful thing. I refer you to Carl Sandburg's poem. It does mean our summers can be chilly (I refer you to the quote attributed to Mark Twain) but our late summers, early autumns are spectacular.

The politics here, well, let's just say George Bush doesn't stop by. At all. Ever. Much of the state outside of the Bay area and L.A. is more conservative, however.

Let me know if you have any questions about the region.
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

creampuff wrote:
L.A. is more conservative, however.


Wash you mouth out!!! Them's fightin' words!

We bow to the superiority of the Bay area in many respects but we have not lost our senses or our sensibilities down here. Bush may fly in and fly out with his pockets lined but it's San Diego, Orange County and the Central Valley where his contributors are coming from! Wink
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Sarape



Joined: 15 Dec 2004
Posts: 583
Location: Anniston Alabama USA

PostPosted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 9:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is an interesing comment about American suburbs and what's happened to the way we used to live in cities. This also ties in with my interest in early retirement. If the whole article is too long, just read the last paragraph about Aristotle. -- Sarape

Quote:

Where have I been?

Well, for the first third of this year, GlassWare (i.e. me, with help from my beloved and beautiful wife, who in no way is proofreading this over my shoulder) was operating out of Ann Arbor, Michigan; since then, we uprooted ourselves and moved to Sacramento, California, where Arnold the Governator also lives. It’s great to be back in the land of great weather (in the first five months, only one day was less than splendid; it rained). Yes, it does get roaring hot on summer afternoons, but nights are cool and the Delta Breeze performs wonders in providing free air-conditioning.

I understand that the Sacramento city government's unofficial motto is "This isn't New Jersey: we're not corrupt, just inept." Maybe, but I haven't run into problems with city government yet. For me, there are two main problems with this city. First, while real estate is half as expensive as Silicon Valley (where the average house goes for 600 to 700k), it is still expensive relative to Ann Arbor, whose real estate is expensive relative to the rest of Michigan.

The second problem I have with Sacramento is more fundamental: that while it has everything you would want (food, books, entertainment, nature), none of it is particularly close together, so you end up driving huge distances. Other than in the old downtown, built before laws were passed against intelligent, and more importantly, interesting high-density and mixed-use urban development, all other development (and there is a lot of it) is on the Modern-Endless-Suburban-Sprawl model (MESS for short). Consider this: the most desirable cities to live in America—say, San Francisco and Carmel in California, and Boston and Charleston on the East Coast—are illegal. They are illegal to reproduce because of zoning laws, laws that conform to modern city-building practice as understood and taught (until very recently and in all but a few places).

Since WWII, we have “known better” than to have short blocks and narrow streets, blocks that all at once hold stores and restaurants and apartments and houses both large and small, streets that tightly wind and twist. We know that everything must be segregated and centralized to its pre-designed place; that all big-box stores—Home Depot and Costco—go in one corner of the city, while all smaller stores go in strip malls, and the university-sized high school goes in another place; that all houses must be the same size and cost the same in a new development; that suburban streets must be wide and lead nowhere; that you can only have a few main artery streets to move about town, so walking is not only difficult, but pointless; that every new city in America will be as unrelievedly uniform and as indescribably boring as any other new development in America; that living in California should be no different from living in Texas, or Ohio, or Louisiana, or Pennsylvania, save for the differences in weather. Never mind that we have gained weight, that we are losing leisure, and that our souls long for the more interesting, altogether more charming, more human cities, the cities that are illegal to build today in most of America. How much more lucky is Europe in that most of it was built before we new better, when cities were only built in accordance with human needs and not city planning science.

Now, consider this: isn’t our desire for tube-based audio much like our desire for living on Lombard Street in San Francisco or on Beacon Hill in Boston; or for the same reasons, staying a quaint bed and breakfast rather than a sterile Holiday Inn; eating in small, hundred-year-old Italian restaurant in San Francisco, rather than at a modern formica-clad chain restaurant in suburbia? Solid-state amplification is clinically, certifiably hygienic; it is more efficient, less distorting, safer, and cheaper than the tube alternative. Yet—and yet again and again—yet who wants to listen to it?

Today, no college teaches its electrical engineering students how to design a tube amplifier because every expert knows that the solid-state amplifier is better. No sensible chain store would today think of selling tube amplifiers. Yet, old tube amplifiers still please, while new solid-state amplifiers chill our ears and old solid-state amplifiers can wring confessions from the innocent. Yet, at its best, solid-state gear is only sterile and boring; at its worst, gritty and brittle. Yet, we do not listen to music with laboratory-calibrated microphones, but with human ears, frail and flawed ears yet able to hear beauty and genius riding on sound pressure, ears that long for human enjoyment. Fortunately, designing and building tube gear is not illegal—well, at least not yet. (Maybe after they have finished outlawing lead-filled solder, they will get around to it; something to do with global warming, no doubt.)

I do miss Ann Arbor, the city that always makes the top-twenty-places-to-live list—and there is much to miss—but California feels like home (the East Coast could feel like home, but I doubt the Midwest ever could, in spite of having some of the nicest people I've ever met). While in the Midwest, I visited four hi-fi shops with pretensions to high-end status. Sad, truly sad. In the nicest store—the cleanest and most orderly and with the best quality equipment—I asked where the tube gear was hidden, as none were in sight. Groans. The salesman asked, “Are you from California?" “What makes you ask,” I replied. His answer was that Californians always asked that question. Too bad they couldn't answer yes.

At the second and certainly the most depressing hi-fi store—poorly lit, with dirty carpets, where all the new equipment seemed somehow old and used—this same question provoked actual ridicule from a condescending salesman. "Why would you want to buy a tube amp?" he spit out with disgust. "Other than better sound and higher resale value, no reason," I replied. "That's stupid," was his witty retort. He then yelled out to his cohort, “Hey, can you believe that this guy is looking for tube amplifiers?” His slack-jawed coworker joined in by sniggering at my expense. Intriguing, puzzling, truly amazing.

Now, insulting a customer can be an effective sales strategy, if and only when the customer is insecure and, most important, the salesman follows the insults with a dangled carrot of potential complements and a promise of comradery, as the unconfident will often jump at the slightest chance to be liked, even if that means buying $2,000 worth of patch cords. Yet, so Machiavellian a strategy was beyond these two laughing jackals. I asked before leaving if they knew of any hi-fi stores that sold more expensive equipment, as I had budgeted $43,500 for my new system and I wanted to spend it in just one store.

The third store was owned by a nice enough guy who explained that home-theater systems kept him in business and that selling any high-end stereo equipment at all was tough in Michigan and that he had once tried selling tube gear and he lost his shirt in process. Honest, but nonetheless depressing.

The last store actually sold some tube gear, albeit hybrid tube-solid-state gear. Unfortunately, the salesman was worse than inexpert, as he believed himself supremely knowledgeable and he was appropriately arrogant. He told me that the electrodynamic loudspeaker that stood in front of us was an electrostatic loudspeaker. Puzzled by the conventional, generic, Wall-Mart appropriate speaker drivers before me, I kept asking if he was sure and he grew more snotty with each affirmation. I asked to see the brochure, which plainly confirmed the loudspeaker’s magnet and wire principles. Obviously losing patience with my relentless querying, his reply was that, “They were electrostatic-electrodynamic speakers, of course.” I was in a surprisingly good mood and I was tickled by his obduracy. I leaned over and whispered, “You are absolutely clueless aren’t you? You know nothing of stators, polarizing voltages, permeability, BL factors, magnetic circuits, Faraday loops, and inductive and capacitive impedance, right?” Guiltily, sheepishly, he mumbled, “Maybe.”

I can’t comment on the audio store alternative offered in Sacramento area, as I have yet to search out high-end audio stores here. Soon. Still, I don’t expect to be too overwhelmed by what I find. Today, tube audio is but a small fraction of audio in general. And sadly, Audio—the art, practice, and science of designing home-audio electronics—stands abandoned and forgotten, surviving as it does in the shadows of the computer, MP3 player, digital camera, and home theater system, ignored by the research scientist, bereft of popular media interest. The spotlight has moved elsewhere. Basically, many will argue that all that can be done with home audio has been done. Audio is the orphaned child of our technological age.

If Audio is the orphaned child of our technological age, then—maybe—Tube Audio is the little orphan, Oliver, who asks, "Please, sir, I want some more." Well, more is just what I plan delivering: more articles on interesting tube circuits, more ancillary information on topics like power supplies for tube projects, and more blog entries and more articles.
//JRB


*For Aristotle, the individual is an individual in the extreme. As Aristotle would put it, the individual is highly differentiated from all others because he cherishes and pursues his own private passions. A nice paradox is set out by Aristotle when he says that individuals seek, not shun, other individuals. Paradox? Extreme individuality means that fewer can understand or share one's private perspective. Yet, the individual is not reclusive; instead, he cherishes the company of other individuals, as he recognizes and respects individuality in others. In other words, he recognizes and respects those who cherish and pursue their own private passions. On the other hand, Aristotle points out that those who are less differentiated do “desire the company of others, but avoid their own. And because they avoid their own company, there is no real basis for union of aims and interests with their fellows.” I am sure that William Buckley’s and John Kenneth Galbraith's famous and long-lasting friendship—otherwise a paradox, as these men disagree greatly—only makes sense if Aristotle was right.

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Deste



Joined: 17 Aug 2005
Posts: 307
Location: Far, far away

PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pesto Man: I hope you and yours in New Orleans are okay.
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Pesto Man



Joined: 17 Jun 2005
Posts: 185
Location: New Orleans Louisiana

PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Deste!!! and welcome to the forum!

We evacuated on Saturday, & rode the storm out in Hattisburg Miss,
where there was still considerable damage! but not as extensive as New Orleans, When we heard the news that no one was being let back in for a while, we decided to head to south Ga to my wife's parents (and sister's)

From as best as we can tell, our home should be ok and above water, but my garden (from which I run my business) is most certainly under as much as 20 feet of water!! (basil dosen't grow well under water Sad )

Initial reports indicate that it may be a month until we are allowed back in
(certainly hope that is NOT right) but until we can go back in spite of what Tom Petty Says, "we DO have to live like refugees Very Happy"
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Our thoughts here are with all Americans as they recover from this horrendous physical insult to your nation. And recover it will, of that we can be sure.
Pesto Man-----you appear to be indomitable of spirit! Is your garden area under fresh or salt water? And may you be home soon!
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Chicago Bear



Joined: 02 May 2005
Posts: 240
Location: Chicago

PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All of us hope that our well-ordered lives don't crash down on us, and that we don't have to find out whether we have the strength to endure and go on. But few go through life unscathed, and when things go wrong, we discover inner reserves that we didn't know were there, or friends or family to whom we can turn. I lost both of my parents within three months last year, and made new connections with my brothers and sisters because I had to. Adversity carries within it the seeds for renewal. It won't make the next month or so pleasant, pesto-man, but when you look back on the experience next year or the year after, there will have been something positive that will have come from it. In the meantime, and until the waters recede, how about watercressman?
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2005 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pesto Man- So GOOD to hear that you're OK. I hope that this may, eventually, mean even richer farmland. Like the stories of the Nile Delta.

Any word at all about the zoo? It's making me crazy to think that, with the great necessity to take care of people pushed to their limits, it may have been impossible to evacuate the animals. Meanwhile, my mind has awful images of them caged and unable to get themselves to safe ground.
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