Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Short Sale, Start to Finish, From A Seller/Agent

Recently my real estate partner and friend, Jin Lee, used my services to short sell his home. He has posted his experience from the seller's perspective with real estate knowledge to try and help all of those who may be facing a similar crossroads.

I highly recommend anyone interested in learning more about the short sale process make the jump HERE to his blog to discover what you need to know about the experience.

If you have any questions about short sales, foreclosures or real estate in general. Please feel free to contact Jin or myself.

- Mitch

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sly Monkeys Productions: Lake Tahoe Video - February 2011

Here is another video from my friend's new production company "Sly Monkey Productions." They're adding more and getting better.

It is pretty cool to have a local, Issaquah-based production company ready to start producing for any and all. :)

Sly Monkeys Productions: Lake Tahoe Video - February 2011: "My late father always said, if he had to pick one place in the world to retire, it would be Lake Tahoe, California. When I asked why, he sai..."

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sly Monkeys Productions: Raging Bull - Camaro Sneak Peek

Sly Monkeys Productions: Raging Bull - Camaro Sneak Peek: "Raging Bull Marketing - Camaro Teaser from Jin Lee on Vimeo. This video was filmed in Walnut Creek, California by the Sly Monkeys and Raging Bull Marketing..."

Sunday, November 07, 2010

2008 Ferrari F430 Spider FOR SALE

For sale is my friend's 2008 Ferrari F430 Spider. This is an immaculate car with not a single blemish or mechanical issue. It has 2,200 original, single owner miles and has never been raced or mistreated. The exterior is Silverstone Gray with a black Alcantara interior, white stitching and carbon fiber trim.

It has the following options: F1 Transmission, Extended Warranty, Carbon Ceramic Brakes, Self-Leveling Adaptive Suspension, Bluetooth, Power Front Seats, Rear Parking Sensors and Polished 19" Wheels. The F430 is powered by a 483hp aluminum V8 and is as robust as any Ferrari engine to date.

The car was purchased new from Ferrari of Seattle and has had all of it's service completed there as well. A clean Carfax report is available upon request. Title in hand. Asking $218,000 or best offer.

The car is listed on Auto Trader too. Check it out here for more information.

- Mitch G

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New Computer Build

It's been a while since I've built a complete computer from scratch, since my RedWire days during college. I wasn't what I'd call rusty but I've definitely been out of the industry for a while. I ended up
using an old ATX case I had laying around which worked perfectly but doesn't have much room for too many more devices. The process was a good refresher and reminded me why I left the business years ago.

I was in need of a new computer for some time, and I was trying to decide if I wanted another laptop or a desktop for my office. My only
computer, the trusty Dell E1405 Laptop has been going strong for nearly six years but was struggling with all of the programs I run at once these days. It's maxed out at 2GB of memory and that just wasn't enough when a quarter was bring used for the integrated graphics rendering which were mediocre at best.

I ended up ordering the following components from The goal was to build a machine that would last another 5 years and allow me to run any new application that hit the market within that time.

Motherboard: eVGA Intel P55 Core i5/i7 w/Gigabit NIC & SLI Support
CPU: Intel Core i5-750 2.66Ghz Quad-Core Processor
Memory: Geil 8GB DDR3-PC1066 Dual-Channel
Hard Drive: Western Digital 640GB SATA 3GB/s 7,200rpm 16MB Buffer
Video Card: MSI TwinFrozer 512MB GDDR3 PCI-E x16 SLI Video Card
Power Supply: OCZ 600 Watt SLI Slient Power Supply
CPU Cooling: Thermaltake Ti 1128 w/Copper Heatsink & Dual-Ball-Bearing Variable Fan
Optical Drive: Lite-On DVD+/-RW Burner w/Lightscribe
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

The physical configuration went well, even when plugging in the case buttons to the motherboard (usually a pain in the butt). I was able to get everything powered up without too much trouble then started seeing a handful of random blue-screen errors at odd times. I troubleshooted every piece of the machine looking for physical electrical shorts, proper seating of components and updating to the latest Windows 7 drivers. After an exhausting two days of research and testing I ended up determining that I had two bad sticks of memory. To confirm the problem I ran a memory test from that told me there were some unidentified errors. It wasn't until I bought a two replacement sticks locally that I confirmed there was in fact an issue. After swapping out the memory sticks and reinstalling the Operating System (for a clean slate) everything has been running great for over a week!

It is really nice to have a new, up to date machine again.

From this process I am certain that leaving the computer service industry was the right move for me. My patience with myself, troubleshooting my own computer was so short I can't imagine what it would be for countless strangers. The good news is that I'm still able to fix any problem... even some of the toughest blue-screen issues that Microsoft likes to deliver when your memory is throwing hidden errors.

Yay to multi-tasking at the speed of life again!

- Mitch G

Microsoft .NET Framework Cleanup Tool

I was working on cleaning up my Windows computer the other day to install some updated Digital Media Rendering software and ran across an issue with the Microsoft .NET Framework versions on my machine. I did a lot of research, tried manually removing all previous versions of .NET and reinstalling only the latest but to no avail.

After even more frustrating time spent browsing the internet for solutions I came across a handy little cleanup tool by none other than Microsoft themselves. I've hosted the small .zip file of it here so that anyone who is having trouble with older .NET versions can fully remove all traces of the .NET operating files and start with a clean installation from Microsoft's web site or the Windows update service.

Hopefully this can be helpful for others! It took me a long time weeding through a lot of junk on the web to find exactly what I needed.

- Mitch G

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Starting My Race Career at ProFormance Racing

Well it was quite the day yesterday. There was a late-March winter storm warning in effect for the entire Seattle area, gutters and mountain passes were being overwhelmed with near record levels of rain and a heavy snow, people were busy rustling through the first day of the wet work week, newscasters were reveling in the storm's stories and I was out at a race track near Covington, Washington to thrash my 2007 BMW Z4 Roadster around a soggy race track for the first time--ever.

Yeah, I was pretty lucky. There are a lot worse things I could have found myself doing. I had been looking forward to yesterday for quite some time; some would say my entire life but I will say a confident and solid 10 years. At the end of the day I became certified to solo lap at Pacific Raceways, Seattle's biggest road-course track. This is the first step in the long road to amateur and professional auto racing and I am finally, officially on the road!

The basic steps to becoming an amateur (and maybe a pro) racer are as follows. One must first obtain the basic skills necessary to race safely around a track with other cars (rules, car control basics, etc). After you've received the absolute basics (generally from an accredited driving school) you spend a LOT of time practicing your skills with other drivers and their everyday cars on a track without engaging in any real "race."

Once you've practiced your skills aplenty, you are eligible to enroll in a race licensing program. Once you complete one of the many qualified programs you can start basic bumper-to-bumper racing in a pre-designated class. As you get better and better you can add to your licenses and move into different car classes and driving series. From there it is just a matter of having great natural talent, honing your skills and deciding in which car class or series you want to make your mark. In the end everything really comes down to how much time and money you have to spend. This is the road I will be following from now until, most likely, the day I die or heaven forbid have my license revoked. I'm itching for the next step now!

As for my experience yesterday, it was everything I expected it to be. I've done a couple of auto-cr
oss events before and been the passenger in a few more but it didn't come close to the experience of running my car, full-speed, as fast as I can go around a road course with a dozen other cars. While I had a race instructor with me the entire day, it didn't detract from my experience or ability to push the limits. The instructors at ProFormance Racing were extremely knowledgeable and forgiving. They had the right advice at the right time but knew when to let you experience failure for yourself. There is absolutely no better way to learn.

Our day had quite the structure but it all worked out quite w
ell with very little down-time. We began with an 8:00am class session to learn the basics of car control and track etiquette. From there we all (a dozen of us) jumped into our cars, most of them daily drivers, and headed out to the track. The school had set up a number of exercises that we had to repeat until success before we could move on. There was a high speed slalom course, high speed under-steer simulation, emergency braking familiarization and an obstacle avoidance challenge. All of the exercises were extremely rewarding but reasonably familiar to me from my years of being stupid behind the controls of fast things.

Once we successfully completed each exercise we met again in the classroom for a recap and introduction to track lapping. On the way back to the classroom one of the student drivers who had rented the school's Lotus Elise for the day slammed it into a safety wall at a 30mph and did over $6,000 in damage! I was in front of him and saw it all in my rear view mirror. While the accident wasn't dramatic it was definitely something you wouldn't expect to see. Thankfully that was the only accident of the day and that is saying a lot for how treacherous the conditions were.

After our recap we broke into two groups of six, were fitted with helmets and radios, partnered with instructors then shuffled back out to the track for our first lapping session. I was in group two and waited while group one completed their first 30 minute session. During that time we watched the other drivers and were given pointers by the lead instructor, pro racing driver Don Kitch Jr. I soaked everything up. Before we knew it it was our turn to drive.

I thought I was very familiar with the limits of my car (again testing the limits in ways and places I probably shouldn't be) but the experience on the track was like nothing I've known before! This is the essence of my experience at Pacific Raceways in my Z4...

Coming out of turn eight at speed (roughly 70 mph) I lined up to hit the apex of turn nine (the last one before the straightaway) which is right at the corner wall of Grandstand "A." As I
approached the apex of turn nine I put the "GO" pedal to the floor and ran through the gears tearing onto the straight and across the start/finish line. As the turn-in cone of turn one quickly approaches I am doing 125-130 mph in sixth gear, I turn slightly and ease back on the the throttle to blast past the apex of turn one towards the downhill entrance to turn two. It is a 125 mph downhill run as I go HARD on the brakes into the entrance to turn two downshifting to third gear while blipping the throttle to keep the engine speed in check. As I wrapped around the wide and steady second turn at 85 mph I realized my tires had a death grip on every bit of asphalt they could find to keep me from running off into the gravel. The core of my body is doing all it can to keep me relatively centered in the seat. As I approached the late apex of turn two I eased on the throttle and as soon as the cone was in my driver's side window I planted my foot into the floor and opened up the steering towards the exit of the turn. Speed comes on out of turn two like a growing tsunami but the force is seamless. As soon as I hit the exit I'm back up over 100 mph and flying over the ridge to turn 3a and 3b. I can smell my brakes baking. The same process is repeated through the rest of the two plus mile course with some turns being much more technical and some requiring just the right amount of four-wheel drift to keep things pointed in the right direction. It is an assault of the senses with a concentration level higher and more defined than ever before. I can't get enough. Each lap I got faster and more consistent in my lines--apparently I have a natural ability to race.

Each group had completed three track sessions by the end of the day plus the earlier car control exercises for a total of about two hours of track time. It was excellent. For our second two sessions a dozen or so experienced, solo lapping drivers came to join us so I was able to run with a ZR1, 430 Spyder and 911 C4S. W
hat was more amazing is I somehow held my own and was never overtaken! As for weather, the first session was drizzly and damp, the second dry and the third a complete soggy monsoon so I was fortunate to gain experience in all of the possible conditions. I also learned a lot about my tires, mainly that it is quite difficult to hold an 85 mph 180-degree turn with summer run-flat tires. I still have to work on that one.

As for my car, it too did fantastic. The brakes held up after nearly 60 miles of at-speed track time, I still have some tread on the tires and nothing has fallen
off or gone "clunk." BMW, you really are the ultimate driving machine. Even my instructor commented on how nice the stock tires and suspension setup felt on the track--I agreed.

From the whole da
y and experience this is what I've taken away. Everyone should take a course like this with their car. Even if you don't want to race, don't like racing or don't know what racing is, you have a much more profound understanding for your car, how it works and how you can drive IT rather than have it drive YOU. If you are interested in racing, this is the first step and a must do. Summer is approaching and the racing season is starting. Now is the perfect time to get started. I can't wait for the next lapping day where I can run solo and really melt my brake pads away!

This is going to be the addiction and disease I always knew it would be but I'm glad I finally got started. Now it is time to think about the next car, something faster and more track-worthy, a Z4 M Roadster maybe? How about an E36, E46 or E92 M3? Who knows. There is also the possibility of a dedicated track car in the near future, E30 325 or M3 anyone? Oh, the choices are endless and so must be my pocketbook. I still have to work on maintaining the latter before I can do anything else but now I have something defined to work for!

- Mitch G

Monday, March 08, 2010

Come On Washington, Obama, DO SOMETHING!

Honestly, Obama, I wish you would get in front of a camera and tell me WTF is happening there on the other side of the country from me. I realize that the amount of things that DO get done in Washington during a single day are probably more than what I accomplish over an entire year but I'm sick of your lack of communication.

I realize the red and the blue, the elephant and the donkey, the right and the left are in a grid-lock over health care, war policy, foreign policy and many other issues but why is no one speaking frankly about it?

Obama, I voted for you, I still believe in you. Come out and tell me what the hell is going on! Tell me exactly WHO is making it SO difficult to get something substantial done in Washington. I don't want to hear the "Republicans" or the "Conservatives" are making it hard. WHICH EXACT PERSON in WHICH PARTY is making it so difficult? Ultimately, it always comes down to individual people, always.

If there was more communication about what EXACTLY was going on and who EXACTLY was involved then I (we) as the general American public might be able to do something to help the situation. If all we hear is that the entire "conservative" party is making things difficult it makes the issue nearly impossible to confront now doesn't it?

I understand politics, at least more than the average person, but I don't understand why the traditional "rules" of the game should continue to apply. Take risk, show us we voted you in for a reason and that you are not afraid to stand up, shout out and make something happen.

I've taken a risk and I'm willing to take more because I believe you know what you are talking about. Our government is not a family or a group of old friends, it is a business, as it should be. It is here to provide a service to the rest of us, something that we agree to pay for... period.

I believe you have what it takes to run a good business and businesses cost money to run and to fix. I want to see you speak to me, not to reporters or anyone else. Come on the TV, no prompters, no script and tell me how to help. I want to know which doors I need to kick down to make something happen--I'll help in any way I can if given a useful direction.

An example that popped into my mind just now is the CEO of Sprint, Dan Hesse. His company was heading straight for the toilet. He started showing up on their commercials, making it very clear what they offer and what their intentions are and what the "other guys" are doing. No gimmicks, no fluff, just straight talk. Spring is clawing back. We can do the same.

Now be the CEO of our business, communicate, lead, and lets get this done!

- Mitch G