I'm an outsider. I have no inside knowledge, except what I pick up here and there at the store, and most of that is unconfirmed, so I can't use it. I'm a loner, really, as well. I don't have networks of friends who tell me the inside scoop. What happens is I talk about some subject so much, that occasionally some insider will let something slip.
Background information. I won't pretend I have lots of that, either. Most of what I know, I learned in the newspaper or online. Most people on the bubble blogs have way more knowledge and experience in the legal, financial, technical details.
I'm an observer. I watch, and analyze. I like to believe that I can cut through all the surrounding chaff and get the essence of a situation. (For those who know what I'm talking about, I'm a 5 and an INTJ). I like trying to get at the truth, or the core of things.
What I do know, is my own business and how events around me affect my business. I've gotten pretty good at looking at local retail, and making pretty accurate guesses as to their nature.
I'm no business genius, though I've survived a long time as a small business in Bend , Oregon. I like to say, 27 years in Bend is like 150 years anywhere else. I've survived 75% drops in the number of comic stores, 50% drops in game stores, 90% drops in card shops, and I'm still thriving, if not getting rich. The title of my blog is only a year or two out of date, and not by much. (the minimum wage part, I'm still middle aged.) Linda and I have opened a used bookstore that is thriving at a time when bookstores are struggling.
But it has never been my goal to do more than run a store and have fun at it. To be my own boss, and by those standards, I feel I've succeeded.
I see the world in 'sometimes,' 'often', 'maybes' and so forth. Not in absolutes. I think most people think they are doing the right thing, and rationalize when they don't.
I'm NOT an advocate, except to try to point out when the emperor has no clothes. I actually think one can influence local events, if one wants to get involved. I don't really want to get involved. Mostly, because I don't think I would be effective. I would lose my perspective. Nor am I practiced at such a condensely social interaction.
I'm a fatalist. I think the political system in America has spun out of control. The impassioned political blogs, who try to pretend they are oh so cynical and ironic actually reveal themselves to be idealist by their very passion. I actually have taken a step back and simply observe.
No one is more surprised than me at the relatively reasonable tone of my posts; people who know me at the store say I'm much more a loose cannon there.
I tend to look at events and try to adapt them them, rather than change them. If my words have effect, if I can help influence opinion, fine. But I usually don't take the tack of trying to change things, except where they directly affect my business.
My opinion has zero effect on the housing bubble. I'm not for or against it. It just is. But it is important to see it clearly. I'd like to believe that I'm thinking independently of the common wisdom, trying to look at things from an angle.
I'm looking to dodge the train wrecks, because I don't believe I can stop them. I actually think being forthright and upfront is probably foolish; but because I'm an outsider and a loner, I'm not beholden to anyone, and because I own my own business, I can't really be impacted. I like to believe that if it is my honest opinion, people won't hold it against me. At least, I hope so. But I've been doing it at the store in and my life for a long time now, and it is too hard to try to change now.
6 days ago