All posts by ukitena

“My purpose is to empower students and avid artistic connoisseurs to think for themselves. I will empower students and avid artistic connoisseurs to think for themselves through my performing, teaching, speaking and jovial actions. I will empower creativity in daily life and living and give the artistic connoisseur the feeling it is ok to be creative and push boundaries in their lives and way of living.”

The Homestead

via The Homestead

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Rampant Foreclosures Under Shady Companies

RoundPoint Mortgage services hundreds of DASP mortgages in Philadelphia through shell companies with names like Newlands Asset Holding Trust or Queens Park Oval Asset Trust, all based out of the same anonymous North Carolina office building. Newlands, a company with no listed phone number, no website and a single publicly disclosed employee has accumulated 46 properties in Philadelphia through foreclosure proceedings.

It has flipped about 10 of those properties. In one instance, Newlands foreclosed on 3687 Belgrade Street, a newly built townhouse in a middle-class neighborhood of Philadelphia, for just $65,000 in February 2014, two months after it had picked up the mortgage at a DASP sale. Another two months later, having made no major improvements to the property, Newlands resold the same house for $175,000.

These are in the minority of properties, however. In the majority of cases, private equity firms appear to mainly sit on the properties they accumulate, sometimes for years. If DASP buyers are renting out their new assets while they wait for home values to appreciate, many do not appear to be doing so legally: Out of dozens of properties owned by Newlands analyzed by City & State, none had received a rental license.

City & State reached out to both HUD and RoundPoint for comment on multiple occasions, but received no reply from
either entity.

Philadelphia councilmember Gym said she believed this process is increasing the number of vacant and rental properties in urban neighborhoods, in addition to other stressors.

“When you have homeowners who are evicted or who lose their homes, that has dramatic consequences for a city like ours that already struggles with poverty,” she said. “We have affordable housing waitlists that take years and homeless shelters that are overcrowded. We can’t fix it all.”

It doesn’t have to be this way. Gym is part of Local Progress, a network of local elected officials that has pushed for reforms to programs like DASP. In June, HUD announced that it would make an effort to steer more distressed mortgages to nonprofit buyers, who would ideally be more forgiving towards impoverished homeowners. Nonprofit mortgage buyers, known as community development financial institutions, or CDFIs, were previously outbid on 98 percent of DASP sales.

HUD now separates out some mortgages for sale specifically to nonprofits. But Gym would like to see the program go further.

“That’s one of our biggest questions. Does it all have to go to private equity or could some go to CDFIs? Or the land bank?” she said, in a recent interview.

Gym had been a champion of the land bank, an arm of City Hall that acquires blighted property. She said she believes the agency could also function as a receiver for distressed mortgages, cribbing off a model implemented in New York City, where the municipality began bidding on DASP sales.

“It’s driven by our need to not increase our homelessness and eviction rates, and not lead to blight. Because we were seeing so much,” she said. “The consequences both to individuals and communities are dramatic – the Fed not being attentive to problems like this exacerbates our local situations.”

Changing the trajectory of DASP for future homeowners can seem like a daunting and risky proposition for cities like Philadelphia, but it could stave off years of misery and legal battles for homeowners who find themselves in situations similar to Beverly Henry’s.

Henry admits even she is overwhelmed by the intricacies of her own mortgage crisis at times, but says she is driven by a simple and understandable urge.

“We just don’t want to lose our home.” 

Inktify

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VICTORY for Homeowners: Received Title and 7 Figure Monetary Damages for Wrongful Foreclosure

Livinglies's Weblog

As a California appellate court decision several years ago noted, “For homeowners struggling to avoid foreclosure, this dual tracking might go by another name: the double-cross.” – See more at: http://calcoastnews.com/2013/09/onewest-bank-pays-7-figures-mortgage-fraud-case/#sthash.xcKP1Tpl.dpuf
As a California appellate court decision several years ago noted, “For homeowners struggling to avoid foreclosure, this dual tracking might go by another name: the double-cross.” – See more at: http://calcoastnews.com/2013/09/onewest-bank-pays-7-figures-mortgage-fraud-case/#sthash.xcKP1Tpl.dpuf

“As a California appellate court decision several years ago noted, ‘For Homeowners struggling to avoid foreclosure, this dual tracking might go by another name: the double-cross.'”Daniel Blackburn, http://www.calcoastnews.com, 9/11/13.

Internet Store Notice: As requested by customer service, this is to explain the use of the COMBO, Consultation and Expert Declaration. The only reason they are separate is that too many people only wanted or could only afford one or the other — all three should be purchased. The Combo is a road map for the attorney to…

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Greetings From The Burbs of West Houston

Howdy!

Happy Cinco D Mayo from the Burbs of Houston.

Today is a wonderful day for me and cause for celebration. My eyes opened yesterday and after three decades of believing my time on this earth was to be short, I realized that perhaps all the doctors have been wrong.

This epiphany came out in a counseling session at Montrose Center yesterday as I bared it all. I have had three doctors tell me, at different times, that I had three for five years to live, get my affairs in order. I began to die in the eighties and forgot how to live.

The disease is HIV and I am a long term survivor,. I’m not alone in this and it’s an interesting road to travel. I am not ashamed nor am I afraid as I was in the eighties. I am not dirty, in fact I am quite healthy.

I made personal and financial decisions in the eighties, based on the limited knowledge of the medical community at the time, on what to do with present and future assets. As I look back and see where the residuals and royalties went, I can say that I have no regrets but it’s my turn now.

My last no hope diagnosis was when I had the heart attack and stroke in 2008 after my mother passed away. Guess what, I recovered from that also.
Now, I am accepting that I probably have a long life to live and it’s to live that life instead of feeling like I am facing the grim reaper every day.

It’s great to feel alive again and see the sun come up with all the beautiful colors and feeling the blessings of love, friendship and nature that engulf me right now.

Blessings to each of you today and to my partner in this journey called life,Jody Turner.

 

Today’s Listening in the Burbs

In my life I have been around some amazing people and heard their stories.  This man, Olivier Messiaen and a personal friend of his, Jean Langlais befriended me on a performance trip to Europe in the eighties I made. The “Quartet for the End of Time” was a piece I had heard and thought it to be way outside my boundaries both on technical and artistic aspects.  However, when I heard his and Jean’s story, they inspired me to move beyond my self-imposed boxes and explore different realities in interpretation and performance.

 

I was not aware of the life history of Olivier but I found out as he shared with me about the conditions around the composing of the Quartet and that sharing was so powerful to me that I made a decision to tackle that work.  At the same time, there was another influence in my life, a young artist named Marshall Fine, who saw the potential in me and pushed me to look outside my personal boundaries and become the artist that was trapped inside me.

There is another work that is performed a lot by Charles-Marie Widor, one of the mentors of Olivier, the Widor Toccatta.  It’s a powerful, fantastic work and every time I hear it here in Houston, I go to a different place mentally and remember.

Another composer I work with is John Rutter and I just played the clarinet for this work in Houston.

While I am in the kitchen cooking ,it’s on auto play through the house sound system!

Laters!

 

 

Greetings from the Burbs!

Today, it is raining again here in West Houston and we are still watching those damn dams.  What does a suburban House Husband do without a Suburban?  We cook, chat and clean closets!  LOL  That gay agenda is really something.

I do have a special girl in my life, her name is Miss Lady.

A Broth for a Lady

Miss Lady is our Great Pyrenees that we inherited upon the passing of a friend.  She, like our other family members, are all rescues and we love them dearly.  She is getting up in years and has something that is endemic to this breed of dog, hip dysplasia.  I did my research and avoided costly vet bills by changing her diet.  By the way, she is about 16 plus years old and still trucking along like a teenager.

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Her diet now consists of broths that I have adapted from the Far East that provide the joint lubrication to interact with the chondroitin (Available through Amazon) supplements we give her.  To make this broth, I go to the meat markets for bones, knuckle bones, chicken thighs, beef hooves and such that would make the broth for various noodle soup dishes in Japan and China. Yes Dears!  Those excellent broths have very humble beginnings!

Nabeyaki Udon Nippon

Here is my recipe

3 to 5 pounds of bones with meat

1 gallon of water to begin

Celery tops, Carrot tops with carrots (any type of extra from regular cooking)

Set to boil then simmer on the stove, adding water as needed for about 24 hours.

What I end up with I split between her bowl and freeze the rest in Ice Trays as it is a great addition to any dish that requires bullion in it.

We love our kids and hope to keep them healthy and happy!

What else does a Houston House Husband do on a rainy day?  We write blogs!
Have a good day!

Jere!

Hourly Rates Verses Set Price

Why hourly rates don’t pay…at least not what you’re worth anyway! Reply to each point based on your experiences. I’ll post each new point in its own post. #1 Because you’re chronic overachievers and over-deliverers, you’re almost guaranteeing you’ll be underpaid for your work because you’ll work well beyond the agreed upon time to get it right. Am I right or am I right?!
#1 is spot on with me! I am a dyed in the wool perfectionist and the hours I put in preparing for that twenty minutes of fame on the stage amount to about 4 to 6 months of my valuable time. There is also the communication with the Maestro, first chairs in the orchestras and such where I put out my interpretation of the piece I am performing. All that for 175 dollars became a drudge to me and led to economic and personal frustrations. I began to feel that what I do was not valued.
To make a difference, I did a time management study based on my professional rate elsewhere and came up with this conclusion. To charge less than 50 thousand for that single performance was cash raping me and keeping my mind on other things such as where my next meal was coming from. .
I could not fathom this price structure as a young artist. It seemed outlandish to me at the time. Is what I do really worth that? Why am I always struggling with putting food on my table and in my belly? I really like good food and great wine pairings and yet I am existing on beer and pork skins.
I had to change my way of thinking about myself and the value I bring to the negotiating table. What I found out about myself amazed me to no end! I was worth something and the highly developed skills meant I no longer had to do the name dropping game, I could talk about myself and how I developed my skills by stepping outside the box and going for broke.
There is nothing wrong with challenging traditions and set ways of doing things and that is exactly how I have been living my life! I just had to see it to believe it.
When I took the lead and put out a set price, the inquiries and bookings started to happen again. I learned to be upfront and honest with myself and market what is special in my life. I changed some approaches also in that I was handpicked to study and work with some of the who’s who of American and International music. What a powerful attribute to bring to the table! That makes me a rare commodity in today’s world and I am marketing myself with that attitude and yet remaining humble is no longer a challenge. Being humble does not amount to humiliation and now I feel better about myself and the products I produce.

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Scenes from the Burbs

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Glorious Friday, what a day!  As we gently prepare for the advent of more rain here in the burbs, all eyes are on the two reservoirs, levees and the dams that contain the mighty waters of the accumulated rains and will they hold?  We sure hope so.

In the meantime, crab a cup of java and let’s chew the proverbial fat.  It’s time for Bacon!

This Wednesday past, I had an outing in the evening to another favorite watering hole and Mexican food emporium here in the burbs.  Out here, we have an interesting mix of the chains and family owned restaurants.  If you want to go where the locals go, follow the local crowds.  Enchiludas is where we head on Wednesday as it is biker night there and the food is excellent!

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Enchiludas is owned and operated by Pepe and Gladys, a couple that has a long history of being in the restaurant industry here in Houston.  The food is quite interesting and the new menu encapsulates the wonders of Tex Mex cuisine into a sometimes delicate art form.

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One of my faves is Ceviche. It’s not on the menu but if I am planning to go there, I call ahead and get Pepe to make it.  Then, it’s a feast of Ceviche, Queso Flamado, Chips, homemade Salsa, Margaritas and a lot of fun.  There is no pretense here, just good food and good friends.

You might ask, why are we hanging around bikers?  Well, I’ll be honest, I would rather hang around people that are comfortable in their skins and that have my back. Enchiludas has a great policy that everyone is welcome from families to party animals and we all cohabit together in Margarita bliss for the evening.

Another favorite on the menu is the Seafood Soup that can be custom made by Pepe and the staff there that includes tilapia, muscles, crab, shrimp, octopus and sometimes even crawfish!  Enchiludas also serves up a great Crawfish boil that is not that pricey and a great bargain!

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The band that evening was a Rhythm and Blues duo that took me back to my roots in Memphis, Tennessee.  Man, these cats were cooking with gas!  Two brothers, known as the “Black Cats” with some interesting professional experiences that we shared during their breaks.

Black Cats
Other menu items that are of note include the Enchilada plates varying in price, the Burritos that are humongous, the Shrimp wrapped in bacon and embedded in a fresh jalapeno and the variations on Chorizo!  Yum Yum!

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Have a great weekend!  If we float by, grab the cooler and refill it please!

From Casa Ukitena in the Burbs of Houston.

Jere