Friday update: Condo bubble starting to burst, product reviews, Romania

Happy Friday and happy December! I’m sitting here in the Second Street branch office, where they now have their seasonal Christmas beers in stock. I remember Young’s Winter Warmer from last year – had a really unique, delicious, fruity taste (raisins?), although it tasted a lot different on draft than it did in bottles. Other new beers – Abita Christmas (draft), Rudolph’s Revenge (bottle), Bad Elf (bottle). Next time I see local beer expert Mike W. I’ll ask if he can recommend some Christmas beers for me to try. I have a feeling I’ll see him soon.

In today’s Memphis Business Journal, it was announced that the Lawrence Building at 60-62 S. Main will be redeveloped as apartments rather than condos. The developers explained that there is more of a need for rental units in the area than condos. This is one of several signs I’ve seen the past 30 days that the condo market downtown is indeed becoming oversaturated. I’ve seen a couple of other units around downtown that have been repriced at closer to their fair value, whereas six months ago they were priced at a 20-30% premium. There are still plenty of units that are way overpriced, so I don’t think the bubble has burst yet, but it has started.

Last week I mentioned that I bought two Polartec 200 fleece jackets and two windbreaker v-neck shirts from Cabelas, a hunting and fishing store. They arrived a couple of days ago, and since it’s windy and 30 outside I decided to layer – one of the new fleece jackets over one of the new windbreaker shirts over a long-sleeve T-shirt. When I walked the three blocks from my parking garage to the Second Street branch office, I was completely warm – the freezing wind didn’t make any headway through the layers. My heavy black leather jacket, which I normally wear at these temperatures, is at home in the closet. Actually, now that I think about it, it’s probably at home on the floor – I am a single guy after all. Anyway, I highly recommend you check out Cabelas if you need some comfortable and nice looking winter wear.

By the way, the Polartec 200 fleece is considered their mid-weight fleece – they have a Polartec 300 that is even heavier. Currently the fleece jackets (the 200s) are on sale for $19.99 for regular sizes, and so are the windbreaker shirts if you buy two.

Another purchase that worked out well is the HP Photosmart C3180 all-in-one (printer, copier, scanner) that I bought last month at I have now used all its features, and it prints out beautiful looking documents (both B/W and color, both documents and copies) and it does an outstanding job scanning as well. Amazon currently has it for $79.99. One reviewer comments that the difference in document quality is negligible between this machine and ones in the $250-300 price range. Another reviewer writes that it drinks ink – I haven’t noticed that to be the case, but then again I haven’t printed a ton of documents yet on this machine. Highly recommeded based on what I have seen.

Today, December 1, is National Day or Union Day in Romania. On this day in 1918 the region of Transylvania (formerly part of Austria-Hungary) became part of Romania. Transylvania had always been majority Romanian in its ethnic makeup anyway, and one of the reasons Romania entered World War I on the side of the allies was to add the region to its territory. You know, tourists go over there to look for vampires… if I went there, my attitude would be, “Who cares about the vampires… where are the GIRLS?”

My plans for this weekend: Keeping them quiet for now, but there will probably be a new photo album online after it’s all said and done. Whatever you do, have fun and stay warm!