The Nexus office is filled with couches – and the couches are filled with Nexites. It’s just one of the simple pleasures of a job that keeps you up until four in the morning. Depending on what you do here, you can spend more time on the sofa than in your own bed.

I was in the Bay Area this weekend, but I slept the sleep of a Nexite – on a couch that is. The couch happened to be in a friend’s apartment in San Jose, but it certainly made the place feel like home. The apartment doesn’t need much help though. The three-bedroom domicile looks, for all intents and purposes, exactly like my own place in Isla Vista.

It has the same faded couches of indeterminable color, the same loft lamp in the corner, an identical television and a familiar-looking stereo cabinet. There are posters of the Doors and the Beatles on the wall. If I squint a little, it’s easy to imagine I’m back in my living room on Trigo Road.

The major difference is simple: the price. Three girls live here for around $430 a month per person. My three-bedroom apartment holds 6 people for $500 a person. I’m only mildly bitter.

Admittedly, it’s kind of odd to find a place this reasonable in San Jose. This is the same town that sold a single-bedroom house for $600,000 last year. San Jose State is currently working on their impacted freshman housing problem (sound familiar?) by opening their upper classmen dorms (yeah, pretty familiar) to incoming freshmen. The displaced upperclassmen will be offered university-owned apartments to the tune of $650 a month.

So yes, there’s at least one odd thing about this apartment. That and the fact that the three girls who live there keep eight razors in the shower.

“The ways of God and government and girls are all mysterious, and it is not given to mortal man to understand them.” – Robert A. Heinlein

After saying goodbye to the hairy women, I proceeded to Livermore and then to Berkeley. Housing around Cal ranges from $500 to $800 for a shared apartment. Lots of students find housing elsewhere to keep their rent down. There are lots of makeshift apartments around there – houses that have been split up into apartments and the like. A friend of mine there has a place like this, with three bedrooms, a kitchen and a stairwell for a living room.

There is also a non-student population that is actively competing for housing in the area. It makes looking for housing an interesting experience and it’s a lot more difficult than riding your bike between apartments and accosting the people who live there about when their lease is up.

The housing situation at Berkeley is difficult enough that lots of students join frats and sororities just to get housing near campus at affordable prices. A good friend of mine who transferred to Cal did it last year. This sort of thing is firmly against my constitution, but the fact that I can see the appeal means that it’s got to be pretty rough.

After finishing my story and chatting with some friends at Cal for a while, I’ve come to a new appreciation for Isla Vista. Yeah, rent sucks and all (and they’re raising mine, the bastards) – averaging $500 to $675 per person, but from the looks of it, it’s not much better anywhere else. And if you want to change apartments from year to year, you can knock on your neighbor’s door.

Josh Braun is the Daily Nexus science editor.