Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Going Going Gone

Have you ever been to a real-life auction? Sure, you’ve seen them in lots of movies and commercials, usually with some poor slob accidentally winning an auction for a useless and really expensive item because they made inappropriate gestures during bidding.

I went to an auction last Sunday for repossessed homes and I can tell you first-hand that it was fun and exciting to be there. Yes, the man at the podium really does talk fast, but unlike the movies/commercials it is a busy affair, with people constantly moving around the room and several men making hand gestures on the floor. Not all auctions are like this of course, but with the property values coming down some people snapped up good values, and others like me came to watch the action. The organizers ended up having to ask people to leave on account of the fire safety laws, so I only watched three properties being auctioned off. But man it was exciting! Rene and I witnessed a house in Anaheim being sold for $330K even though the market value was $528K – amazing! My friend Marina, who also attended the auction (but got there early and registered, unlike me who was late and wasn’t officially registered) gave me the low-down afterwards: on average, properties sold for 40% less than their market value, and the properties Rene and I were eyeing in Pasadena ended up being sold for 30% less than market value. I am hoping this trend will continue onto the next year when Rene and I are ready to buy a house (fingers crossed!).

We didn’t stay long after being asked to leave, so I went with Rene and my Mom to downtown LA to have breakfast and run some errands. Downtown LA is not my favorite place to hang out during the weekends on account of the homeless dudes – it’s nothing against them, some of them are probably very nice people, but some of them are very loud and scary-looking. I always think safety first, and make it my mission to get out of there as fast as I can.

We cruised the area surrounding the convention center and marveled at all the new condos and apartments being built. They are really nice but my concern is that the area is still rough; the area between hobo town and nice lofts is one or two blocks, too close for my taste. As we were passing through Little Tokyo we saw a street fair and decided to have a look.

Turns out there was a Nisei Festival taking place in Little Tokyo, with organizations like the Optimist Club, LA Firefighters, and LA Sheriff setting up booths, along with local clubs setting up games for fundraising. Rene and I bought this wooden frog that makes a frog sound when you run a little stick through its backside; we got it to annoy our dog. For some reason Chuy does not like instruments or toys that make noise; he goes berserk when I play sounds from our bird book. Our bird book is the coolest book ever – each page has a picture of a bird and a little blurb about where they come from, along with a reference number you punch in at the side so you can hear it sing. When I press the play button, he tries to find the sound within the book. It is endearing and funny.

We browsed the booths and shops at the festival and also saw the drum competition. I’ve never seen a Japanese drum troupe perform in perfect unison, punctuated by solos within the group. It was fun watching them and it looked like they were having a lot of fun. Something about their synchronicity brought tears to my eyes; this also happens to me when watching people dance, when the people are making the same exact movements in unison. Yes, I do tear up a tiny bit sometimes when I’m watching So You Think You Can Dance. Yes, I am such a dork. Does that happen to you too?


Genevieve said...

Did you know that 85% of homeless people are mentally unhealthy? So the chances of that homeless person being crazy probably is pretty high. Also, they have a Japanese festival here in the Valley called the Obon Festival. Its pretty cool, they have Japanese dancing that anyone can join in, or you can play bingo for 50cents per card.

Abby said...

Bingo for 50 cents a card? Where do I sign up?

Nikki843 said...

that's a good way to buy houses...my coworker said that it's good to check out the house before cuz most of them are pretty crappy...i don't know how true this is but that's what he said...

oh man, you guys should've gone to curry house or orochon down in little tokyo...good restaurants!!!
oh and there's a shabu shabu place there too....what's shabu shabu? it's where you cook your food in boiling water...really healthy and goooood!!

50 cent bingo cards??!!! where exactly??!! ;)