New Crack: Condo Porn via House Hunters International

Due to our often conflicting schedules, when Justin and I spend time together it has become more often than not in front of the teevee. Lately, this has more to do with the fact that I often don’t get home until late or he is often working late, so planning for things outside the home tends to get a bit chaotic. Despite the copious amount of time we spend on the couch, what we watch tends to be an agreed upon listing of “together” teevee as opposed to whatever is available on the DVR. Our tastes in television and movies is more often than not, polar opposites: He likes depressing, post-apocalyptic, foreign, pretentious materials. In movies, if it has Nazis, an unhappy ending or some kind of mutilation/violence aspect to it, he loves it. I, on the other hand, tend to go for a bit lighter fare such as period dramas, indie films, or something with a twist.

Television is much the same way in that he loves sports (primarily football and basketball), the Hitler channel, Jeopardy! (You’d think I was marrying a 70 year old.) or something along the lines of the aforementioned topics. Personally, I am a sucker for series (In Justin’s opinion, read: crappy) television, stocking up on guilty pleasures such as Gossip Girls 1, Grey’s Anatomy or The Big Bang Theory to name a few.

But with the weather getting colder and our ability to go outside becoming less of a reality these days, we’ve started watching series shows on premium channels (Nurse Jackie, Dexter, The Tudors, and Bored To Death), but the problem with these shows is that the series’ are much shorter than network television and we have gotten into the habit of watching the entire series within a week or two, catching up on back episodes and having marathons. Thus, we are back at square one with nothing to watch.

A few weeks ago, friends of ours tipped us off to a HGTV show called House Hunters International. The point of the show is that a person/couple/families/whatever are looking to buy in X locale for Y reason, and they need help to find their home/condo/apartment/flat/beach front mansion with Z budget. A local to the area real estate agent takes the wish list and presents the person/couple/family/whatever with a listing of properties that match their requests. The person/couple/family/whatever then select from the top three choices as their next crib.

The show format never varies, thus it is always consistent from episode to episode: Intro to the house hunters, their background, their budget, where they are moving to and why. The viewer is then shown clips of the house hunter going through three properties, their likes/dislikes of the properties and the “finale” of their selection of one of those three properties and why the chose said property. In short, it is the same formula on every show regardless of who/what or where the show is being taped. There is also very little surprise as to what the house hunter chooses in that based upon their wishlist, location and budget, 90% of the time we correctly guesstimate which property they end up choosing and it is almost always property #2.

At first glance, this show doesn’t sound like something that would interest me in the slightest. I don’t consider myself a domestic goddess, my panties don’t get wet at the thought of a new vacuum (I was pelted by a vacuum ad on HGTV’s website that bothered the piss out of me and wouldn’t let me read the site until the ad did its thing. Usability fail.), nor do I get passionate when discussing herringbone versus parquet floors. These things, however, excite Justin. He spends hours every week not only cruising real estate sites for the search for our perfect home but he also has a surprisingly aesthetic appeal to what he likes and doesn’t like.

We’ve spent dozens of hours pouring over real estate ads for condos in a variety of markets around the US and we’ve picked apart every nuance from the floors, to the window treatments and bathrooms. What does interested me about HHI is that it appeals to my wanderlust in the hopes that someday in the future (hopefully nearer than farther), we might be able to move and live abroad. I see HHI as research then, to get an idea of what the markets are like around the globe and what our budget (roughly about $400K USD) would get us in other countries.

In Paris, that would barely buy us a pied-à-terre while in Fuji, that’s beach front mansion and even better, in Buenos Aires, that would give us a nice sized condo in a great location. What also interests me about the show is that I’m nosy and I want to know what people do for a living to make the kind of money they make — especially the ones who talk about buying a home on the Amalfi Coast and their budget is $750K USD but hey, the villa they really want is $1M USD, so they buy that one even though it’s over their “budget.” Then there are the people who are buying second or third homes — and I wonder, what the hell do they do to juggle all those mortgages and they seemingly always have some generic job such as “marketing manager” or “mid-level manager.”

What kills us though is the over expectations these people have. “I want a 2 bed, 2 bath, 1000 sqft condo in Paris for $400k USD, with a ‘view,’ American kitchen, and a bathtub. And oh! I have to have the outdoor living space!” When shown that for $400k gets them a 5 story walk-up in one of the outer districts, at 600 sqft and the bathtub is a little bigger than the sink, they get all indigent. Specifically when for that range, the properties are fixer uppers.

Maybe then this is why we are so addicted to the show and we push through 4-6 episodes a night, which sounds like a lot but considering that each show is only 30 minutes long, take out the commercials its down to about 15-20 minutes and we do watch a few of them in our bedroom as we are getting ready for bed. Also, the show is on ALL THE TIME. While we were gone for two days over Thanksgiving, we had 20 new episodes to view on our DVR. Currently, our DVR is telling us that there are 43 new episodes to be recorded in the next two weeks.

Plus we like the snark value, picking on people’s poor taste and decisions, wondering why they were idiots in choosing a cookie cutter home in X neighborhood instead of going with the one with character outside of their favorite neighborhood. Why they would paint X color in Y room over leaving the current combination alone or even better, when they misuse terminology to make it sound like they know what they are talking about. The crack is getting a little out of hand in that we’ve decided to start DVRing regular House Hunters, to give us an idea of what markets look like around the US and makes it much easier than hunkering around a laptop looking at grainy photos of properties in various areas. Even if we have a spare hour before bed, we watch HHI.

This is getting bad.
But I’m not sure if I am capable of asking for help.


1. I will maintain and stand by that Gossip Girls is perhaps one of the better written “adult” dramas on television. I’ve started stop watching most network television this season as many of the shows I used to love have become convoluted messes with wooden characters, plots that beyond ridiculous and of course, the trusty jumping of the shark.


if there are but two movies i have been eagerly awaiting the release of this year, it’s been harry potter (yes yes, I’m a huge fan of harry potter and got a lot of nifty cool stuff for Xmas that was harry potter based) and Hannibal.

Harry Potter i could easily explain because of my obsession with the books, but even though I saw “silence of the lambs” and i liked it (not loved it), i became obsessed with seeing the movie. maybe because i have a slight obsession with serial killers, or maybe it looked gruesome, i have no idea other than i had to see this goddamn movie.

since Friday night is logans night round these parts, there was talk about going to go see it after dinner last night, but because I’m old and cranky, paul and i decided to go see it after hitting the chiropractor Saturday morning.

now, i have NOT read the series of books by Thomas Harris yet (red dragon, silence of the lambs or Hannibal); which is unlike me since i generally read the books movies are based on. So in going into the movie, i went with eyes wide open and with a clear mind.

now gore or horror movies don’t freak me out — but suspense thrillers do. i was totally expecting something as involved as SOTL, but boy was I wrong.

the good points: the cinematography was beautiful. the shots of Florence and NoVa were beautiful and the scenery was breathtaking. Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter was satirical with his tag lines of “Okay dokey”. But other than that, the movie was not that great.

It wasn’t awful either — so don’t take it the wrong way. The problem is that the movie seemed to be billed as suspenseful and horrifying when it really wasn’t. The ending, which everyone kept saying was horrific and gruesome, wasn’t and it was very obvious they were using CGI for the scenes. Julianne Moore, whom I love, was fine as Clarice Starling, but it was obvious she was nothing more than an accessory in the movie and yet was billed as staring. The movie in no way explores the relationship between Hannibal and Clarice, which it should have, but more focuses on Hannibal and his returning to the “scene” of his crimes.

Over all, on a rating scale, I’d give it a 3 out of 5 stars. I would recommend seeing it for the pure factor of Hopkins and his satirical speeches and the humor he plays out onto himself, but the gore/suspense and the thrill just wasn’t there.

I have heard the book is slightly different from the movie, and that they are planning on remaking “ManHunter” (based on the first book, Red Dragon) with Hopkins and several of the comments on the book itself have been summed up as “a manuscript produced in paperback form”.

When I finish reading the series (which I’ve ordered from Amazon), I’ll let you know what my final verdict is.


this is my story and i’m sticking to it

paul got fired.

from his job.

apparently what had happened, was that VA Linux (after the merger with Andover) went through and fired 30 of the 100 employees — who were all top management/CXX something or another. While paul was technically a senior programmer, he was listed as director of e- commerce (at 20! go beat that!).

Pauls in better spirits than I am. i hate rejection. I hate not knowing what’s going to happen (on the flip side, every time I’ve gotten fired, I’ve always known I’d get another job).

Paul is the exact same way. Since he found out yesterday afternoon, he has been on the phone scheduling interviews and sending out his resume. He’s fast asleep snoring right now from doing more work in the last two days looking for a damn job than he has in a long time (so I feel). 😉

I’m teasing, of course.

Vandover was gracious enough to give him a months severance plus his two week vacation time PLUS he still has one month on his health insurance (unlike me when I was frog marched out of Slip.Net).

The silver lining is that I got a bonus and a raise and can call myself a “Senior” systems engineer at UUnet. whoopee.
Or something.

Plus I got a new boss — so I’m mucho happy. I like my new boss. She’s nifty.

I’m not handling pauls firing as well as he is. I’ve gone through more chocolate and eating binges than you can shake a stick at. Paul’s happy because basically with his mad skillz he knows that he can find another job fairly quickly and the extra money is just that — extra money. But technically, I’m the breadwinner in the household, and I’m scared. because what if he DOESN’T find another job (unlikely) and then the obsession starts again.

I’ve repeated myself here haven’t i?

blame ciannait for starting on the obsession.
no really.

Another obsession I’ve found is the tv show “angel”. okay you can stop laughing now. I’m being serious.
I was BORED BORED BORED tonight (paul was redoing his resume –again to make it perfect) and i was tired from having gone to the chiropractor earlier in the morning to be aligned. all i wanted to do was rest and watch teevee.

we have 145 channels and NOTHING IS EVER ON. finally i realize the only thing that is on worth watching is “Buffy” and “Angel” afterwards. Buffy, was at best, okay. Angel was much better and I enjoyed wasting 60 minutes on fluff. Plus Angel is a damn hottie. So now that I’ve gotten this new obsession, I’ve been combing the web looking for information about the previous season. This whole fanfic thing scares me. People are damn crazy.