Category: Baltimore

Real Estate Tip: Condition, Location, Price, or Size

There’s a well-known principle in project planning that states a project can be done fast, good, or cheap, pick two. Basically, a project done quickly and correctly will not be cheap; a project done correctly and cheaply will not be done quickly; and a project done fast and cheap will not be good. I’ve worked on hundreds of projects in my ten years of working on websites and the “pick two” rule has never failed.

While looking to purchase a house in Baltimore, I’ve found a slight variation applies to real estate: condition, location, price, or size, pick three. Or put another way:

  • A house in good condition, in a good location, at a good price will also be very small.
  • A house in a good location, at a good price, and a good size will be in poor condition.
  • Houses in good condition, at a good price, and a good size will be found in bad neighborhoods.
  • And houses in good condition, in a good location, and a good size will be very expensive.

Perhaps it’s a bit obvious to experienced home buyers, but I found this outlook to be really helpful in grounding my expectations for our first home. Once you decide which of the four characteristics matter most to you, it really simplifies your house search.

James Joyce Pub

Annie and I ate dinner at the James Joyce Irish Pub and Restaurant on Saturday night; we’ve driven by it hundreds of times, and finally made a commitment to go there. The restaurant is located in Harbor East, Baltimore and walking distance from my apartment on a nice day. Saturday was hot and humid and therefore, not a nice day.

We both ordered the Baked Stuffed Chicken Breast which came with mashed potatoes, green beans, and carrots. At $18/each, it’s a tad expensive, but completely worth every penny. The chicken was perfectly done, the mushroom stuffing and vodka sauce were rich and creamy, the potatoes were amazingly good, and the vegetables were crisp and tasty.

I ordered a whiskey sour with Jameson Whiskey which was perfectly mixed and reasonably-priced at $5.75. Service was friendly and quick and the interior was intimate. My one and only complaint is that they didn’t play a note of Irish music, which I thought would be a given at a bar that prides itself on importing the interior directly from Ireland.

Google Map Improvements

I noticed earlier this week that Google has added some new features to its already great Google Map site. I’m not sure if these changes have been rolled out gradually city-by-city, but it is now possible to see the outlines of individual buildings and Metro stops.

It appears that the individual buildings feature is limited to major downtown areas. If you scroll a few screens to the right of the image above—to Little Italy—the individual buildings are not shown. I’m not sure if Google plans to add more areas to the map or even more rural areas, but it’s certainly an interesting, if not particularly useful, feature.

The Metro stops are also a nice addition, but without more information (not even a pop-up?) they aren’t very helpful. If they expand this to include bus stops and other public transportation options, this would be a huge improvement over the MTA’s terrible maps and general user-unfriendliness.

Baltimore’s Smoking Ban

Baltimore City and Maryland State are each considering bans on smoking in all indoor buildings including bars and restaurants. While some are saying that this is another example of the government overstepping its bounds, I think that this will be a great thing for the city and/or state.

Most of the concern stems from the idea that smokers won’t go out to the bars as frequently as they do now, but this neglects the other side of the issue. The main reason I don’t go out to pubs more often—and I suspect that I’m not alone in feeling this way—is because I don’t like smelling like an ashtray when I come home. I’d be much more likely to pop into a bar for dinner and a drink if I knew I wouldn’t reek of smoke all evening.

Update (4/29/07): Both Baltimore City and the State of Maryland have passed laws designating all bars and restaurants (excluding cigar or tobacco clubs) smoke free beginning January 2008 and February 2008, respectively. I don’t see the need to wait so long to enact the ban, but I’m still thrilled that the bills passed.

Orioles vs. Indians

Camden Yards, Orioles versus Indians

On Tuesday, Annie and I went to see the Cleveland Indians play the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards in a night game. Our seats were excellent, the weather was fantastic, and the tickets and parking didn’t cost us a cent (Annie’s boss provided the tickets). It’s always exciting for me when I emerge from the tunnel under the stands and the whole ballpark is visible; I’m not sure if it’s the bright sheen of the grass or the sheer expanse of the stadium’s interior or something purely psychological from my childhood, but the feeling is always the same.

The game was special for Annie too, as it was her first time at a professional baseball stadium. And despite the terrifying re-appearance of the Orioles Bird, she enjoyed the game more than she had anticipated. Neither of us had any emotional stake on the outcome of the game, but it would have been a little nicer if the Indians hadn’t crushed the Orioles 15-1. In any case, I uploaded some photos of the game that turned out nicely.

Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

Sepia Tone Topiary Elephant

On Sunday, Annie and I went to the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. Since we both had the day off and the weather was absolutely amazing, we had to do something outdoors. The zoo wasn’t too crowded—unlike when Annie and Veronica went for Dollar Days—so I was able to take photos relatively unobstructed. In the spirit of the Maryland Zoo’s 130th anniversary, I retouched a photo I took to accompany this post. Just because.

Not Homeless!

My landlord is selling my apartment building, so I wasn’t sure how much longer I’d be living at my current location. However, I found out the other day that the new owner plans to continue renting the apartment to Kevin and I for the same amount of rent! In celebration, I finally uploaded some pictures of the apartment—exterior only, the inside needs spring cleaning—that I took in early November.

I also have a few design jobs going in addition to a full-time job that I’m working to pay the rent and other bills. So I’ve been busy; made obvious by my lack of posts. But I’m finally getting some good design work and decent income so I’m relatively happy. I could use a better full-time job, but I also could do a lot worse.

FYI: I briefly considered titling this post “!Homeless” but perished the thought.