Sunday, February 28, 2010

Green Acres.

These are my reasons.



I know I do a lot of bitching about the economy and the government lately. Which isn't something I really ever used to do on any great scale. Believe it or not, I put a significant effort into trying to distract myself (and you) from the cluster fuck that is our economy.

Still, you'd have to be half dead to not have this stuff affect you. I was trying to do a distractive activity today, and wound up driving by this building in Santa Clara.

Now, it isn't any secret that there is a ton of open office space in Silicon Valley. On every block. I stopped keeping track of how much. It just sucks.

I grew up in the Valley, and am not even that moved by boom and bust years. It is the way things are around here. Still, the whole weekend made my stomach hurt. Just driving down the 101 - building after building sitting empty.

Yet, when I saw this building up... I didn't even know what to say about that. 385,000 square feet. Which I'm guessing is the whole building.

I couldn't remember who occupied it. But, I did remember taking a picture of the Lady of Peace. 10 months ago Yahoo occupied it.

Some days I fear we aren't going to make it out of this. There are some big buildings empty around here. But, this is a ton of space, just in itself. Some days I just can't hide my anxiety about it. It's all I can say.
You know how you read stuff too fast? Saw a sign that said 20% off perms. I thought it said 20% off penises.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

It was a strange day. Part 2.



We finally got into the city about 2ish. Found a parking spot right away-ish. The Fort Mason Orchid show was packed. If these people didn't think they were going to die. Well, I was sure I could outrun most of them.

Now let me tell you. I don't know why I go to this thing every year. I pretty much want to kill people right away - in a figurative way of course. This crowd is about the most oblivious on the planet. (Oh wait. I remember. Maybe it is because one year they had orchid urinals at this show. No I'm not shitting you. Go look at the link!)

For example, I'm taking a shot. I'm three feet from my subject. There is a guy standing slightly to the left of me. Yet slight in front. He bends at the waste, to his right. And, manages to get his head between my lens and my shot. Three feet away!

At one point I was actually going to get some video of this happening to other people with large cameras. Yet, oddly, people can't see a gigantic effing lens, yet my little flip video camera that is barely the size of a cell phone, they were all aware of. WTF? Anyway, I grew bored of that game pretty quickly.

It was a strange day.

You have to excuse the pictures today. It started out with a huge amount of anxiety. We were watching Red Eye last night, at like one in the morning, when the news break came in about Chile.

I turned to Mr S. and asked - this isn't a joke right? They break in all the time with fakeish news breaks, and I'd never heard of an 8.8 earthquake. And we'd already planned to spend the day in San Fransisco. Right at the water. And later, at the New Years parade. We decide to go anyway. I mean, they have high and low tides. Still we didn't think it was impossible to have anything happen. Just improbable.

As soon as we got on the road I spot this small funnel cloud. Normally I'd have thought it not possible in this part of California, but not to long ago I saw a youtube video of a small one almost touching down in the town next door.





I didn't get great shots. I had the wrong lens on. It was dirty - as you can see with the dirt specks. By the time I could find a street to turn down it had almost dissipated.

We decided to go to breakfast in Oakland at Louis the Pie Queen. And, the place was packed. I'd never seen it so packed. I'm not sure if it was because they had a new sign on the door which said Yelp loved them. Which they do. Even I've written a review for them. Or if it is because our economy is growing at 6% everyone feels better. Oh yeah. Better than the Hitler Bush years. Whatever.

So by the time we were set to get to the city the first threat of Tsunami had passed.

Friday, February 26, 2010

I have to change careers.



It isn't often you see someone delivering pizza in an Audi A6. That is like a 50,000 car.

My thought bubble says...

Of all the agencies that watch "that one" post - this one intrigues me the most.



I fantasize they must be saying something like - Hey, there are still people around here with good credit scores. We aren't doing our job well enough. I know! Maybe we should just tax credit scores!

Yeah, I'm a little bitter. I admit it. That doesn't make me a lunatic.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Only for a moment.

Does anyone know what these things are?



I've only seen them once, and now I have an odd affinity to them.

A band of merry suckers.

You have got to love wall street riding in on a white horse every week when unemployment numbers are released. Don't you? It's almost like they are saying - your jobs don't matter. We are going to be fine. But, you will all be penny less.

I mean it feels great when the market is up. (not today - but I wouldn't be surprised if there were a full reversal) Except for being on constant edge that the floor will drop out. You know it's coming right? There is nothing that suggests such exuberance is warranted. But, whatever.

"Rising jobless claims and weaker orders suggest the economy is retrenching in the first half of the first quarter. There's no reason to think this is the start of a double dip, some back-and-fill is standard operating procedure in recoveries," said Chris Low, chief economist at FTN Financial in New York."

They are blaming the increase on unemployment on weather. Which I always love. A temporary thing you know. It is like they think that somehow within the next couple of months all these states with budget deficits are going to magically be healed and all those state workers aren't going to be laid off. It is magic you know. I must be imagining all those thousands of teacher layoff notices. 100 here, 300 there. 900 in San Fransisco.

San Jose keeps demanding that Nummi stay open. A company in my burb has already closed because they were a supplier to them. There should be an "unexpected" jump in the rolls in about a month. Maybe they can blame that on weather too.

Still - good job wall street! It's always nice to make sure the public is completely caught off guard when you decide to exit the market when you can't pretend that things aren't just cheesy anymore.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Welcome to Wednesday.

I think Wednesdays are just going to be my day to bitch about the gobrnment. If it bothers you - skip Wednesdays. Because honestly, about this time every week the news cycle starts getting to me. I keep having to remind myself it has to be this way. No matter how much pain is involved.

I mean, President Money Bags must get the same data I do. Only more - right? Because today the only thing I can do today is wonder how he is going to react to all the teacher layoffs.

It looks like pretty much every town is laying some off. Some towns are laying them all off. And! How the teacher layoffs are going to deal with him. All I can hear are cries of "what about the children"!. Bleh. Your kids aren't going to be able to get a job anyway.

L.A. got downgraded by S&P today. And you know what they were talking about in the council meetings? Parks. Oh yeah. Parks. I have no idea what it is about people in this state and parks. A lot of them are really shitty.

And then. If that wasn't all unicorns and happiness. Portland is spending 135 mil on putting plants on the side of a building. Yeah. Seriously. They haven't figured out how they are going to landscape yet. But, whatever. Technicalities. You can read about it here.

That is all.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sign of the times.

Mr S. picked up some takeaway taco's from our Mexican taqueria last night while I ran across the street to see what the note said on a house that's been on the market forever. It's a "green house".

When we met back up, Mr S. said they had lowered the prices on their taco's. Instead of thinking "hey that's great" I thought - I hope those guys aren't going out. As in out of business. Mr S. said there was no one in there.

I hate every time a business changes something they've always done, that you have to worry they might not be making it.

Where are you going?

Don't go North. The dead Walk.



Sometimes I fantasize that if I had nothing better to do - I'd watch to see how long it takes for these people to be picked up. But, I do. So I don't.

Well also, we aren't very hitchhiker friendly in the bay area. We watch slasher films. So, it could eat up a whole day.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The stuff legends are made of.

Last time were were up in Sacramento we went to this burger joint called the Squeeze Inn. You can read about the cheese halos here. Last time we waited in line for two hours for a burger. NO I'm not shitting. The place was so charming and retro and quirky. And super small.

Anyway, I knew they were moving because someone was suing them. I figured it was over parking issues. Which was a crapfest. It turned out they got sued for peoples with disabilities issues. I agree everyone should have equal access, but it just sucks they had to ruin such a quirky piece of history.

So, they were forced to move because they couldn't retrofit the building. Now they are over in a strip mall. Whatever.



We decided to not go for lunch. Cleverly we thought we'd go after the car show, and got there at 4:30. To find a line out the door!



Two hours later. We get a burger. The place is nuts. I mean, you make temporary best friends in that line. And, you are BFF's for about two hours. After you get through the line outside, you get inside the doors you still have to wait 45 minutes. And they come out and tell you that. Yet still barely anyone aborts the line. I've never seen anything like it.

The line outside was there the whole time. They apparently closed at 6:00. We left after 6, and there was still a line outside.

Autorama

I try to bring you stuff you probably haven't seen before. I was up at the Sacramento Autorama yesterday. It was a good show. The people were really well mannered. Consious of cameras.









I took a million shots of this one - and they all suck. The deep dark colors are really hard to get.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Flat. Still in.

See - I'm convinced you don't like it because I haven't found the right color for you. What do you think of flat white?







This car was such a pain in the ass to get. They had it under really yellow lights. They should have had it outside. I'm still partial to the red.

Today's completely random celebrity sightings.



Erica Eleniak from Baywatch.



John Schneider from Dukes of Hazzard.

Which I have to admit, they both looked really good. Erica gets extra points because she looked straight at my camera, for which I mouthed a "thank you".

I have to admit, a lot of time when you see celebs they act like they don't want their pictures taken. Which is weird because they are at events to have their picture taken.

I didn't even know they were going to be where I was at today. I'd actually passed them by because I'm short and didn't see them. Mr S. walks up to me and says "hold on, I think I see a celebrity". Which I thought would be someone really obscure. But, it turned out to be someone I actually knew who it was. Go figure!

More tomorrow. I'm tired.
I will have some interesting stuff for you later tonight.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

This is why I don't understand you sci-fi fans.

Here Comes Sharktopus!

I guess we all knew this day would come.

Listen, before I write this post, I already know I'm on a watch list.

No! I'm not paranoid. After I wrote this post, pretty much every government agency known to man has been to my site. It does give me pause when the feds from other countries also come. Like Venezuela and Russia. No joke. I can't figure out why they are wrapped up in the mortgage company. But, whatever.

Anyway. I want to talk about the Austin Plane crash today. In a very cagey way. I guess. Because everyone railing against the government is under suspicion. Right?

After reading why he was mad, I was left wondering. "Who would have thought that guy was a problem". I mean, read the comments of any site these days. Hell - read the comments in the liberal sfgate.com. Over the past few months I've been completely surprised at how angry the comments have gotten. Everywhere. Pretty much universally angry. There used to be a healthy 60/40 mix.

If the gobermnt thinks this guy is a random wack job - they are so completely out of touch with the public. People are really, really, mad. Even I am shocked by how mad.

Just yesterday I read an article titled - Anger is Replacing Hope. Out of the Las Vegas Sun. And, every day they prove to us that they don't really "get it". Instead they talk down to us and say we just don't understand.

We do understand. We understand you have no idea how to make the economy better. Unless of course you mean putting people on food stamps. Which I found out yesterday is an economic stimulus. Oh yes. This is actually what our government believes. You can read about it here. States get bonuses for putting people on food stamps. Really.

2 million people will be falling off unemployment very soon. The governments will have to start slashing people from the payrolls. I just don't know how they can put that off any longer.

On one hand you have the Mayor of L.A. sporting around doing soap opera shows. I guess he sees his career is over, and needs to start looking forward to the future. On the other hand, you have Moodys with a big giant pokey stick saying we are downgrading your city. Here. You will have to pay more for borrowing. When they can't even afford the payments they have now.

They are raising taxes on every single thing. People are stretched thin. Did you know Phoenix just passes a 2% food tax? Unless you are on food stamps. Which in convenient. Dont you think?

So, it would seem this may all finally come to a head in a very non favorable way. I mean, what did they expect?

Update - I just want to make clear that I am not a threat. I have a lot of stuff and I like it. How weird is it you have to qualify things that way now?

What is this? The 1980's?

I got a letter from Citibank yesterday. They were writing to inform me that they were no longer waiving "my monthly service fee" and per check fees. Which made me say "ummmm oooookay".

I didn't actually know the bank still had fees for those things. I haven't even thought about those types of fees in a decade. At least.

I know they are raising fees for all sorts of things. But check fees? Ridiculous. That is such a blast from the past. Who even writes checks anymore anyway? I only write them for property taxes in-case the IRS audits me. And, for contractors. But, since President Money Bags thinks that I don't deserve any money - I'm not hiring any.

I just find the whole thing ridiculous. The change isn't going to affect me anyway. But, I imagine it will affect a lot of people. Probably people who can afford it the least.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

That is some kind of amnesia.

Today I went and had some crap burned off my face. Oh yeah. That is how I'm starting this post. It's true.

I had these little bumps that I knew would turn into some giant 3rd baby, and since they were small I figured I'd get them before they left some giant crater sized scar. I figured they would just ice them off.

Oh no. They took a soldering iron to me. The Dr couldn't even see them, yet I could feel them to the touch.

I have a theory that all the ginormous bumps you see on peoples faces started out really small, and before they knew it they were so big that you'd have a huge scar if you removed it. So they just leave them there. And before long they start winking at you.

Anyway. The thing is - that I always forget about the after results of having these things removed. I honestly look like I've been mauled by a large snake. And, since I expected them to be iced I didn't account for how dark burned skin looks. Black sharpy dot dark.

Plus, they are 5 times the size of the actual skin tag I was having removed.

Now I get to walk around for a couple of says with people giving me that sideways look like I have a third eye. Good thing I'm not self conscience.

Oh.. wait.

Monday, February 15, 2010

It isn't glamorous, but it is a force for good in this world.



This is the only thing I found interesting at MacWorld. Oh yeah. I can see you looking at this picture thinking "what the eff!". That's all she's got for me?

Okay. I can see you don't fully understand its beauty yet. It's a dual power outlet with two USB ports. And why is it important? Power vampires.

Every device needs to have some special power vampire to charge them. Every single one of them need to have a different shape and size. It's the most irritating thing on the planet.

Instead of just being able to plug in two items, you need to hunt and peck through all your devices to see which ones will fit together on one outlet. Often you have these two giant vampires. Or they are oddly shaped. And, companies charge you for them. Irritating.

This scene is repeated all over my house.



If this weren't a light outlet, my phone vapire - which is the top one could be transfered to USB and I'd have use of one of the plugs.

So, I wound up ordering a couple of these things from Fastmac. We will see how they work out.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valenspines day.



It has been a really long time since my back has gone out. It used to do so with some frequency. I got up yesterday feeling fine. Then, I apparently did some simple mundane activity. Like breathing.

And, bam I can't turn my head. The frustrating thing is - if it would have happened an hour sooner I could have gone to the chiropractor.

Also frustrating? These things always happening when I'm doing seemingly nothing. I've been wielding a sawsall for two weekends, and I'm completely fine. I can do all sort of menial labor. Nothing happens.

Yet once I lifted my leg to get onto a reclining bike, and I was effed for a week.

Anyway I spent the next hour debating whether I should go to the city. And, if I wouldn't have already paid to get into MacWorld I might have stayed home. But, I of course did what any reasonable person would do. I rode the train to the city and went to an event where I had to turn my head every two seconds.

Anyway, I only saw one thing there that I thought was interesting. Which I will probably post tomorrow. I didn't see anyone fantastic like Kevin Smith.

Today apparently my back is making sure I know who the bitch is here. And, I'm pretty sure it's me.

So, now I'm hanging around the house. Probably playing Bioshock. Which is a bummer because it's beautiful today.

That is all.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

When marketing pays off.



I never - ever - give panhandlers money. But, this guy managed to get a buck out of me. And, I gave it to him happily.

I just really liked his creativity. Plus, once we made our trade. His picture for a buck - he didn't ask for more. It made me think that if they just got more creative, maybe they would make more money.

The sad signs are really played.
I just saw a woman with her boyfriends face tattood on her ass. He looked like one of the three stooges.

Friday, February 12, 2010

It's the rapture. Again.



I'm not much into sequels. I know! I just saw half my audience recoil. But, Bioshock was done so masterfully I couldn't resist. Honestly one of the best games on the planet.

I played it through my whole breast reduction recovery. And it wasn't just the vicodine making me think the game was awesome. Seriously.

So, on to Bioshock 2. If you don't see me for a couple of weeks.....

Just kidding. I can't sit still that long. Honestly though. The game industry has been dismal. So, it's nice to have something interesting.

I don't know why this still shocks me.

I hope to get off this soon, but almost every day now an article comes out about this. I think if everyone would have known how much we were paying these people, this would have come to a stop a long time ago - and our state would not be many billions in the hole.

Let me point out that this would take at least 4 well paid engineers to cover the salary of just one of the 67 of these people making 200 grand+ in SF.

From calfire.blogspot.

"San Francisco Fire Department Chief Joanne Hayes-White is by all accounts good at her job -- and she's well compensated for it. Hayes-White received $293,869.93 for her services in 2009 -- but she's not the Fire Department's top earner.

That honor went to Battalion Chief Johnny Lo. Lo's base pay was $101,164.21, but he took home $53,409.64 in overtime and $139,549.39 in a category called "other pay" (cashed in sick days and vacation time) for a grand earning of $294,123.24.

Joining Lo and Hayes-White atop the $200,000+ plateau were 67 other firefighters -- and not just the SFFD's top brass. Paramedics, investigators, a plumbing supervisor and the "marine engineer of fire boats" all took home more than $200,000, according to a departmental wage list obtained by The Appeal."

Sellouts.

"Top Silicon Valley groups to hire special ops person to ID & attract more fed funding in response to forecast of slow tech recovery."

I can't even tell you how deeply this tweet from moneyscope bothers me. The beautiful thing about Silicon Valley was that we were so independent from the government. We had so many amazing ideas that all we had to worry about was getting taxed to death for them.

Now this is what we've become. Another entity sucking from the teet of government.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

All of you - hand over your wallet.

You know, I've been trying to feed you happy stuff. But some days I just can't take it. When the city counsel in L.A. this week decided to postpone for 30 days any vote for layoffs in an effort to find other solutions for revenue - you know what they came up with? Selling t-shirts and key chains at city hall.

No seriously. HT here.



Cities everywhere have been faced with 12 straight months of declining tax revenue, and these people think they don't have to lay anyone off.

How do they think the salaries of the San Luis Sheriff making 772,000 and his boss making 340,000 a year are going to be paid? Here. Through t-shirts?

I know San Luis is not in L.A., but it's just another example of pension spiking abuses all over California. Everyone from the Sheriffs office to trash management. Huge ginormous pension spiking. Paid for life.

And, you will get to pay for it. I don't care what state you are in. I mean, they aren't going to let California fail. Just ask Germany. Yet they refuse to lay anyone off. You guys are good for the money. Right?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Bet you haven't seen this before.

I'm going to give you something unusual - because really, all I want to do is freak out about what is going on with California. So.. this is like a pallet cleanser.



Personally, these things look like more stubborn bunnies. Oh wait! They live with bunnies too.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

You can't keep me out.

So - last year Mr. and I went to this thing called the International Gift Fair in San Fransisco. It was okay. I mean it had some funny stuff like "Answer me Jesus", Life is Crap t-shirts, and Piperoid Characters.

It's one of those things that you can't really get into unless you are in the trade. Which I'm not. Not even close. But, somehow last year everyone was still in a daze from the economic meltdown, and they let me pay to get in.

This year, I thought I'd be able to do that again.

I walked up to the registration counter and asked to pay for two guest tickets. Which is 80 bucks. Oh no. This was not happening this year. No sliding under the table. No bribing the registrar. No way. No how. I could have paid them a thousand dollars, they weren't letting me in.

Or so they thought. I did manage to get in. I might have to crash the place next year - so, I'm not saying how. But, I got in for free.

Now, this all seems sort of silly to me. I was willing to pay the fee that they would charge for a guest of an exibitor, but they wouldn't let me. Somehow these people think that not allowing anyone outside of the trade, is going to keep out the looky loos. Which might be so. But, there is some dollar amount in which this is also successful. The stuff isn't that great that people are going to spend 80 bucks to get in.

Honestly, that is about my limit for something I'm not sure I'm going to enjoy. Yet, they totally lost out on the revenue, and I managed to get in anyway. This did mean I wasn't able to get any shots, but honestly - I'm not sure if I would have gotten any shots anyway. I tested the water a couple of times and got really suspicious replies. So I didn't try any further. It's a really weird protective trade group. There are high tech companies with less fear of espionage. Seriously.

There was only one thing I thought was mildly interesting were these things called Splats. Which I got sort of a crappy video of with my new flip camera. Did you know those things are the size of a cell phone! If I wasn't trying to get video on the down low, it would have been better. Website here. Their youtube vid here.



That woman with the Fran Drescher laugh is not me.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Genious.



This vid is kinda old. But still.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Can - meet - road.

Read this sentence, then I will give you some context.

From the L.A. Times.
"Councilman Jose Huizar suggested that the city balance its books by borrowing more money. And Councilman Bill Rosendahl vowed to protect the city's calligraphers, the handful of artists who design ornate proclamations that elected officials hand out to constituents."

Oh.... for.... shits... sakes! The wheels are about to come off the bus. This is crazy, crazy, game of chicken.

You see. The city of L.A. has finally come to the conclusion they need to start axing people or go bankrupt. And this is the ridiculousness we have to put up with. Who even knew we were paying calligraphers? Don't they have some computer font that might handle that?

With President Money Bags and his "if you've got a better solution, worship tour" perhaps everyone hasn't noticed tax revenue is down. For 4 straight quarters. Don't people elect a president because they think he might have some solutions? Not say "I got nuttin'. What you got"? I mean, I didn't elect him. But if I did! That is what I would have had in mind for someone ruling the free world.

Hoping and praying (if you do that sort of thing) that the economy would miraculously get better hasn't really worked. And now, I guess it is finally time for the "kiss your ass goodbye stage".

Oh shit, really? You haven't noticed that Los Angeles has become almost completely beside themselves the last couple of days. Things are so bad that for every single day they delay booting these people off the payroll they have to lay off 4 more people.

Normally I might feel bad that people are loosing their jobs. But, no one in California seems to understand where money comes from. And, that President Money Bags has put his boot on the people who actually do produce revenue. So what the eff did they think would happen? I guess there is this limitless tub of Obama calligraphy money.

It's a good thing he has that great smile, and I guess is a comedian all of a sudden. Because his ability to bend time and space is about to not work so much.

Monday, February 01, 2010

It comes and goes.

Yesterday was one of the only days we've had a full day of sun for a while. I don't know how long actually because I just get a little claustrophobic and stop caring how many days it been. But, anyway, the days it isn't raining - we've gotten socked in with this oppressive fog. Which is sort of weird for our area.

So we stayed home and did some garden prep, and rocked the baby back ribs. Winter is about the only time you can bbq around here where you don't have to worry about setting a wild land fire. Except we aren't in a wild land. Just a few years of drought.

Anyway. I'm going to give you my bbq sauce recipe which I nicked from someone else. I'm sure you can modify it any way that suits you.

6 ounces of tomato paste. Which is about 3/4's of a large can of paste. Or just put the whole thing in. I don't think it makes that much difference. I don't use the full can.

1 cup brown sugar.
1 cup stone ground mustard.
1 cup catchup.
1/2 cup soy sauce. I use low salt.
1/4 cup vinegar.
1/4 cup worcestershire sauce.
Fresh garlic. I'll say a shitload. Your mileage may vary.
Honey. I like the crystallised stuff if you can find it. Which usually comes in a honey bear, and drives you insane trying to get out of said bear.
2 cups whiskey. Canadian preferable. But, whatever makes you happy.

Throw 2/3'rds of this mix in with a couple of racks into the oven. For a couple of hours. Roughly.

Use the other 3rd on basting the ribs on the bbq. Cook just long enough to infuse all the of the sauce. But, you must use all the sauce. Mr S. coats the ribs probably 5 times.

In other news. My dirt is finally starting to look awesome. I'm doing pink tomatos this year. At least attempt. Last year I got blight.

 
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