Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!



This is Mr S.'s brain trust. South Park Pumpkins.

Evil Pumpkin Snowman was a huge hit getter this year. It isn't easy coming up with good pumpkin ideas. I think the Kenny pumpkin turned out so awesome. Mr S. is just really clever. Honestly they all look more like the characters than I could have expected.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday.

Today, Mr S. and I pulled an unusual weekday lunch. I mostly don't eat lunch during the week. The traffic usually sucks too much to do anything but grab some subway when he works from home. Plus, it's just hard to grab time due to work.

Today though, we figured we drive down and get some Dim Sum. We found a parking spot right away. Which was the most amazing sign ever. To be honest - finding a parking spot is like winning the lottery. They've underestimated the business traffic by 100%. Not even joking. We were able able to get seated right away. Also unheard of. Everything seemed to be smooth sailing to have a quick lunch.

Then Mr S. tried to log into work and he couldn't. Since we were pretty close to where he worked, he figured he would just pop in and reboot his machine.

As soon as we got to the parking deck he spotting the Tesla that always parks in the electric plug in station. Talked about it here. I figured I'd hang out in the car and wait for him and take pictures of the car.



As I was waiting for him, I got to watch people come in and out of the parking deck. One guy had his dog. The place is just so old time Silicon Valley. There are lots of times I wish I could talk about the things they do there. But I won't. Not because I don't want to be sued. Because - I want them to win. Fierce loyalty doesn't exist like that much anymore. It used to be common in the old Silicon Valley. You always felt like you were on the edge of changing the world and you wanted to protect the source of that.

I've been reading a lot of stories about people getting laid off recently. I have to wonder if the workforce would have had the same feeling as I do, if things would be different right now. Everyone seems to think the company should be loyal to them. It doesn't seem to go the other way. Everything is someone else's' job.

You have to protect the hive. The hive being your employer. Then hopefully - the hive protects you. So what the company gets richer than you do. It must be an enormous strain to have all the lives of those who work for you resting on your shoulders.



Driving out of the parking deck we spotted this Aston Martin and it made me happy. Somehow I've always loved that about the Valley. Walking out of a building and seeing the most expensive cars imaginable. Not that I could ever dream of affording one, and if I could - I'm not sure I could stomach driving around something that costs as much as a crappy house. This is California after all. Houses aren't that cheap in the Valley yet. Those cars represent someone having made something great. I hope they enjoy them for as long as they can.

I see the natives are restless.



I see you guys tagging my site. I should have something for you later today.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What - you expected the virgin Mary?



The plan on Saturday was to start out with breakfast. We found ourselves at a little Honduran place that just opened in town.

Hey, it isn't a new Mexican place at least! Anyway, I've fallen in love with these things called sweet tamals. After the third time at the place, a light in my head went on and said " hey, these are just tamales". Tamal/tamale. See.. I'm smart like that. (eye roll)

Then sod, then the pumpkin patch.

The sod was quick, but the pumpkin patch threatened to derail me for the day. The place was packed. Especially considering you could get any old pumpkin for at least half the price at the supermarket.

We figured we'd get the sod in an hour, and then carve pumpkins.

Yeah. Not so much. Every piece had to be custom cut. We did get the robomower line run, and at least providing a signal. I guess we will find out in a couple of weeks if the mower will do the full run. For now it looks good on the dry run.

Today we have a big wind event. You know what grass hates? To be dried out by wind. It was the last weekend to be able to get that sod in though. Apparently, you have until the first of December. I mean - November.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Home instead.



Remember a couple of weeks back - I had my panties in a bunch of the tree trimmers blowing me off? Well, last week one of the guys called me back. So I ignored him. My refrigerator had just broken, and the storm came and went without really any damage.

He called again. I ignored him. Finally, he called a third time and I relented. Which basically gave him the feedback that he can blow people off, and if he is just persistent, he still gets work.

Anyway, we set a time for today - and Mr S. lined up a bunch of crap to do around the house. Like splitting up this expensive fancy grass I'd put on the side of the house. Then putting the splits somewhere else. I don't even remember the name of this stuff - but I love it. It doesn't need any water or any attention. My picture isn't great - but you are lucky to get any pictures at all. It was a busy day.

The other thing was trying to get the robomower to do my courtyard. It's been one of those projects that we've never gotten back to. For like three years. I had to let some of my grass die this year due to the drought, and it was the perfect time to run the line. And figure out if the mower will pick up the signal through the concrete pads we stuck down. I'll try to get pictures tomorrow. Because tomorrow is sod day.

Our first pass at this found a break in the line, and we had to dig down to the wire in between every single pad and see if we could get a signal from it.

To be continued......

Oh yeah - the tree guy came out, and he was completely normal. I assured him I'd talked to my neighbor about the tree thing and he was fine. (story here) I even went over there again to make sure. I'll have to tell you some of the things he said to me. But not now. Later. I'm tired Yo. The tree guy is coming in about 10 days. He's charging me less than the crazy guy, and I asked him to do more. (shrug)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Gmail hacking.

When I got up this morning, Mr S. said the following to me.

Him - I got a weird email from one of my old friends.

Me - What is weird about it?

Him - It was a letter asking for help. That he'd flown to Europe and had gotten robbed at gunpoint. They still had their passports, but they needed money to get home. His wife and kids were okay. (the wife's name was included in the email)

Mr S. goes onto say -
I'm sure it's a scam. So I wrote him back and asked him to verify how we knew each other.

Me - That is weird. It sounds like a scam to me too. But, how do they know his wife's name.

Him - Right. And how would they know he had kids?

Me - I'm pretty sure it's a scam. I mean, how would you fly to Europe and not have a return ticket? And... I thought they didn't have guns there, I say sarcastically.

So, Mr S. winds up calling the guy. Apparently, it was a scam. It was a Nigerian scam.

The guy goes onto say - the Nigerians have apparently figured out how to hack gmail. And that he can't get Google to shut the account down. But, he has heard from a lot of people he hasn't heard from in a while.

Anyway. Just a warning if you have a Gmail account.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

All roads lead back.



It was a few months ago, when I went to the kite festival in Berkeley - that Mr S. and I needed to find a breakfast place. For some reason we decided on this place in Oakland called Lois the Pie Queen.

Not knowing if it was a good or bad area of Oakland we were a little apprehensive. But, look at the name! Who wouldn't risk it?

It's the kind of place where the cooks are wearing Che t-shirts, and the patrons are straight out of a movie. This weekend when were were there, a couple of guys were dressed like they were in the matrix. Everyone just has very big personalities. And, the owners always greet you with a "welcome" instead of a hello. A little like being wrapped up in a warm towel from the dryer.

Well, this has set off the most unhealthy love affair with food that I think I've ever experienced. All over grits. Oh yes. I said it. Grits. I'm going to provide you with a picture in case you've never heard of them. But none of these look like the Grits from Lois the Pie Queen. Here. It's honestly like a bowl of love.

Now, I lived in the south for a while and didn't really care much for grits. All of a sudden I'm having a love affair with them. Not to mention everything they serve just looks great. Which forces you to order stuff you wouldn't normally eat. Like fried chicken for breakfast. Something I would never do. You can't get in a habit of having fried chicken for breakfast. Honestly. But OMG.

Anyway. I still don't know how good or bad the neighborhood is. A couple of times on the news people have been killed within blocks of the place. It is Oakland. Yet, I'd risk getting a cap in my ass because their food is that good. And I don't care about the Che shirts. I can look away from the love of communism for a minute. They could be having an entire revolution in the restaurant, and I would just look on. Eating my grits. Seriously.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Random shots of Berkeley.

I'm posting these in no particular order.



I thought this one was funny. Because - who are they kidding?



This is standard Berkeley. If you are aching for some tiedye. Berkeley is the place to be. Still. You'd think it was the 1970's there.



Makes the place seem nicer.



I have no idea. She was standing in front of the university. And no matter what Keyser says, it ain't that nice. I did find it an interesting shot. Though I took it on the run. I often feel self conscience taking pictures of random people.





You can't really travel five feet without some sort of overt political statement in Berkeley. The other space is filled with bums and hippies. I resisted taking pictures of a drum circle. Which I regret now.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Golden gates.

Red Eye.



Even though I've lived in California most of my life - I've only set foot in Berkeley a handful of times. I've been to the Greek Theatre, but I've never actually set foot on the UC Berkeley Campus. I thought my skin might burn.

So, when Mr S. found out that Greg Gutfeld from Red Eye was talking to the campus Republicans - my first thought was "There are Republicans in Berkeley?"

Anyway, we decided to scope out the campus. Which is pretty nice. It made me think that if my parents were rich and I wasn't such a dummy I could have gone to Berkeley. If I would have taken another path I would have fit right in with the hippies.

Even though Greg jokes on the show all the time about how short he is, you aren't prepared for how short he really is. However tall you think he is - cut that in half.

About an hour into the talk it reminded me that maybe I didn't go to college because I was stupid and poor. It was because I was too ADD. All those hours of sitting around listening to people talk. Just not my thing. He might have been talking about boobs in the photo above, but I'm not sure. But, he was entertaining and personable.

If you don't watch Red Eye, you should. It's one of the funniest shows on TV. They put it on at three in the morning for a reason. The TV censors are a little more forgiving at that time.

For your enjoyment.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Fall.



This is just filler. I should have some interesting stuff for you tomorrow.

Safety First.

Oh! This has a copyright now?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Are they out of their effin minds - or are you just jealous?



Some people may think I've gone on a little tirade against the firefighters. If they were in the private sector and not taking tax dollars - I wouldn't even care. But, you know we are having a little budget shortfall right now, and I tend to get a little bitchy about the whole thing.

So, when I found this Mercedes S500 in front of the gym, I had to take a picture.

I wasn't exaggerating when I said I run across firefighters driving luxury cars all the time. This one, (in case you were wondering) runs 83,000 dollars - 137,000 dollars. Here.

Of course that was 3 years ago. The S550 is today's equivalent and would only run about 83 grand. I wonder what the monthly payment on that thing is? It's gotta be like a grand or something. And you know he probably isn't parking it in front of a crapshack.

I've almost managed to run across one of these a month since I decided to start taking pictures. July here. August here. I ran across a Lexus last month, but it was only a 30,000 dollar one. I didn't really find it that one objectionable. It did make me revel at how yuppie firefighters seem to be in the Bay Area. Which I don't really care about. It is interesting though.

I do however have a problem when a bunch of them seem to be driving cars that cost twice the median income for most in the Bay Area. You know - because we are broke. But, whatever.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Equal - but crappy.

I've been trying to resist talking about the economy. I really have. I know you are all aware of how bad things are out there.

Even though the unemployment numbers set me on edge this morning, I said - people have to learn on their own that the government can't solve their problems. After all, the economy can't be that bad.

California passed a law forcing car companies to put some special glaze on car windows to prevent you from using too much air conditioning. Here.

And, PG&E has been trying to convince people to install these smart meters to throttle your usage when ever they deem it necessary. Here. Which pisses me off. It also pisses me off, that people are just waking up to the fact that all this shit is going to cost them more.

I don't know, but the whole time I've been alive - everyone has wanted lower prices. Not higher. Say it with me. LOWER. All of a sudden President Money Bags thinks we want to pay more to save the environment. I don't.

Anyway. Everyone was so happy today with new unemployment claims going down. Yet, you can't crawl through Youtube without seeing that they are just denying claims. If you are lucky to even get them on the phone. Month after month. After month. This has been going on where people can't even get a hold of the unemployment office. Here. I don't even have enough time to list all the states that are still having this problem.

People need to learn I said. The only way they will learn is to live it. I know it sounds mean - but shit, there has been a whole generation that hasn't been poor. They have to figure it out on their own. People who grew up poor already understand this premise.

Then it happened. I read a story that included this line from yahoo news:

"President Barack Obama signed a $787 billion stimulus package into law earlier this year, and Summers said the first $16 billion spent created more than 30,000 jobs."

I couldn't take it. Honestly. 16 billion for 30,000 jobs!

Then there was this. Also from Yahoo News.

"I am worried about unemployment and I see an enormous amount of slack. I hear it everywhere," Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher told Reuters in an interview.

"I am super-hawkish on inflation. I don't think that is where the risks are right now," Fisher said, speaking from his spacious top-floor office overlooking downtown Dallas."


Are they fing joking me? I don't have a masters in finance - but every country that has high inflation also has high unemployment. Duh! Slack is apparently not the problem. It's printing too much money. And - he hears it everywhere? Shouldn't he be looking at some fing numbers or something?

Yet - P. Money Bags says he believes in a strong dollar.

They can't even figure out how to get welfare to people. Here. Which I don't even know why I'm upset about. Because when the government back stops you - the problem just gets brushed under the rug. No welfare - people get pissed off and start demanding jobs.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

It's tinsel!

I don't know what the world is coming to. They actually had this commercial on TV tonight. All I could think of is - I could totally give them that for much cheaper. It is almost Christmas for F's sake. It even comes in Christmas tinsel colors.

It's tinsel Yo.

And yes.... I've been abusing the word Yo for quite a long time now. It's about time you know.

Columbus Day is for the purchase of large appliances.



Sometime on Friday my refrigerator failed. Of course, the only time you realize this is when you see a puddle forming around the bottom of the machine. I noticed it about 7-8:00 in the evening, and spent the next hour cleaning up the mess, and throwing away food. At least anything I thought might kill me if it wasn't properly refrigerated.

Since we realized we'd have to buy a new one, we decided to measure the size of the machine that night. It wasn't until we started trying to see how we'd get it out of the kitchen that the problems started. The kitchen is U shaped, and the machine came with the house. We actually had a big fight with the guy who owned this place. I tried and tried to force him to remove it. He refused. I finally gave up.

On Friday we found out why he refused.

We spent the next 2 hours trying to figure out how to get it out of the kitchen. It seems like they stuck the counter tops in after the refrigerator was there. After taking the doors off, we had an 8th of an inch clearance. And, only if it was spun in the right direction because of machine tilt. I've never hated a homeowner more. Normally there are lots of times you say "I wonder why the hell they did that. Asshole!" Not this time though. I came very close to having to remove a whole door frame to get that thing out of there.Made he hate that guy oh so much.

We spent several hours of hunting for a new machine on Sat. Because now - I have these very specific requirements to get a machine back in there. We finally find one and had one delivered on Monday.

The guys who came out were monsters. No more dollies. Two dudes with furniture straps tied to their bodies. Good backs only need apply. In and out. After we tipped them. They wanted to make sure that when the bosses called we would give them a good rating. Which we assured them we would. We'd told the guy it took us 2 hours to get the other one out. To which he replied "oh no - I have 12 stops a day".

It would suck to have to lift 12 refrigerators a day. Not roll them out on a dolly, but actually lift them and carry them out. Old school style.

At any rate - the new model has this read out that tells me how cold my freezer is. Which I never cared about before. As long as stuff was frozen - I'm good. Now, somehow I feel reassured to walk by and see it sits at 8 degrees. Hey - how excited can you get about a refrigerator? 8 degrees Yo!

At least I'm contributing to those durable goods numbers I guess.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

California.



Somehow, I just liked the palm tree reflections in the paint.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Perspective.



Same image. Different direction.



Too tired to comment about the day. Will update later.

Friday, October 09, 2009

The most irritating world ever.

Readers, I honestly don't know how to explain what happened today. I can't figure it out. I don't understand it. All I know is - it irritates the fuck out of me.

So, we are suppose to get an early big storm next week. It's suppose to be a big wind event. They are comparing it to the Columbus Day storm of 1962, which was the closest thing the Pacific North West has ever gotten to a hurricane. On satellite it was a hurricane. Only because it was the Pacific North West, they don't call it that. Maybe they are over-blowing it. But, it's an unusual event to compare things to.

Anyway, I got the bright idea I wanted to have some trees trimmed before the event happened. Now up front, I will admit to being impulsive. But, I haven't heard a chainsaw in my town in months. Anywhere.

As a matter of a fact one of the things that bothers me most about the recession is the quiet. Neighborhoods used to be filled with worker noise. Now it's like you are living in some Buddhist sanctuary. So, I figured I'd be able to get someone out this weekend. We are sitting at 12% unemployment after all.

I called 10 tree trimming services. Not exaggerating. Fully 5 did not pick up their phones at all. A couple said they couldn't come out till next week. One flat out said if I wanted someone sooner I might as well go with someone else. One never even returned my call. This is just the quote stage. Not to even get any work done.

I finally did get one guy to come out. Visually he immediately went onto my radar. We was dressed far too nice. Loafers, and a cardigan. Older guy. Way older. I'm sure he hasn't trimmed a tree in possibly decades. I'm used to guys showing up in jeans and the paint they rolled out of this morning. But, whatever - he's here.

So, I tell him what I want. I want the 20 foot hedges trimmed back to the fence line, and cut back away from the house 5 feet. For some reason he doesn't seem to comprehend the part about cutting them back from the house. We go over it about 10 times with hand genstures.

In his defense, this area is on my neighbors side. I already talked the neighbor this morning and made completely sure he was okay with this. He was happy actually because I was paying. My neighbors seem to be fine with anything I want to do. As long as I'm paying. I told the tree guy that I'd talked to the neighbor.

Yet the guy went on an on about this one area. It wasn't going to look nice. He didn't want to get sued. But, he didn't say it in that way that everyone does these days. In a laughing manner. He said he wanted it in writing that my neighbors weren't going to sue him. I told him again, that I talked to my neighbor. He went on to say it wouldn't look nice. He continued. Can I talk to your neighbor? Sure, I said. So, we started walking over. But - he was so odd about the whole thing. I told him I'd had people out a bunch of times to trim those hedges and none of them were so concerned about being sued as he was. He was starting to queeb me out.

At this point he almost started stuttering. Well, I'll take your word for it. By the time we got into my back yard, he'd completely flipped. I'm going to pass on the job he said. Okay, I replied.

And I swear to you - he peeled out of my street. He couldn't get out of here fast enough.

I mean, I was happy to let him talk to the neighbor - but the way he was acting was really odd. I've never had anyone want it in writing that the neighbors wouldn't sue them. This is the world we've arrived at.

I guess everyone is doing fine enough that they don't need the money.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

You know you've lost your way when.....



You have to highlight the idea that your monthly edition will in fact include architecture. When the name of your magazine is called Architectural Digest.

I stopped buying this magazine years ago. Mostly because it was filled with the most vomit inducing patterns. It was all fabric and furniture mostly. Really rich people have crazy ideas on how many different patterns they can pack into one room.

I know magazines are suffering a lot of human losses right now. I do not revel in their suffering. Yet, when they wonder why everything crumbled - maybe they should look at this picture.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Pictures I should have posted.





From an artist named Andrew Myers. Made with screws.

I should have gotten a much tighter shot. Which is why I didn't post them when I took the shots.

Monday, October 05, 2009

It's a crazy world.



Readers - I know my blog has really, really, sucked lately. It isn't as easy to get great fabulous content these days. I do expect to have some interesting stuff soon. I hope. You spend a lot more effort for much less results.

And then.. the world is making me completely bipolar. I can start out the morning thinking "okay. Everything is okay. People are acting completely normally". By the end of the day I'm thinking "Oh shit. Not okay. Not okay". The whole thing pretty much wipes me out.

Another thing that has been bothering me lately. The "end of days-ers". Long time readers should remember that I am a solid atheist. Been one since I was a teenager. So I mostly don't pay attention to the end of days crowd much. Yet, they have become so noisy lately. Have you been to a movie lately? The trailers are all about how the world is ending. Television shows, the same. I have people in my circle who believe in the end of days. Hey - it's California. We are a fairly tolerant group. They are okay with me not believing in God. I'm okay with them believing in... whatever.

Still, the chatter is quite unnerving. Only because there just seems to be so much of it.

Anyway. I hope to have some interesting content for you soon. And, hopefully not that much of it is about how people are freaking me out.
 
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