Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Small moments.



What do dragonfly's have to be so happy about anyway? That little f-er is smiling.

#1.

On Friday, our Tivo failed. It's the oldest one. Still, you never notice this thing until an hour before the store closes. We rush out to Best Buy. It wasn't even all that great, because we had to replace it with a series 2. The others don't get pay-per-view.

Who still watches Pay-per-View you ask? You can get porn from the Internet!

It's almost embarrassing to admit, but Howard Stern is still on Pay-Per-View. And it isn't like I watch him all that often, but every once in a while there is something funny on. And hey! It's one of the few places on TV that isn't moderated. They show peen, and cuss. So I'm not completely willing to give it up. This meant we didn't get to buy a shiny new Tivo. Just a series 2. Meh.

But, this isn't the interesting part of the story.

Mr S. goes to put the Tivo in the trunk, and I go to look around. See what people are buying. It's the only fun I can have, because I'm still in the bunker. One of the worst things about this recession is - it's such a mind fuck. Best Buy was packed. Everything looked like it did before everything went sideways. And you start to feel like things are self full filling. Everyone appears normal, so maybe people are spending again. Then you read how the economy is really going and you think "oh shit". Hunker down.

Anyway. I notice they have expanded their appliance area. When I get over there I think "when the hell did Best Buy enter the luxury Kitchen market"? I mean, it was all high end stuff. Like viking and high end hoods. They were even selling a 2000 dollar shirt presser. It was the weirdest thing ever, because last time I was in a Lowe's a couple of months ago, they'd ripped out at least half of their kitchen design area.



This picture is from the inside of the Best Buy.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Please let this be three.

Remember when I told you my crap always fails in threes. Well, today I was going to write about #1. Which happened on Friday.

Instead I'm going to tell you that I went technologically dark today.

I'm used to my net connection going down all the time. About 6 months ago, I would get booted every single day for about an hour. Today though - everything went down. And, it almost wouldn't even be a big deal - but when I called the Comcast tech support line I was almost completely sure that they'd outsourced it to India.

It used to be that you could tell easily. Now they put the most American sounding reps on them, and there are only subtle differences which make you strongly think you aren't in this country anymore. Like needing to have them repeat what they are saying twice or even three times. And I live in the Bay Area. There are more foreign dialects than you can shake a stick at.

I texted Mr S. who was immediately glad he hadn't worked from home. Then offered that I should ask them for the recipe for Roti bread. Which is my new favorite thing. Although, that might be Thai rather than Indian. But it was funny anyway.

Tech support said it might be 24-48 hours before service came back up. Which flipped me out.

I decided I might as well go to the DMV because I wasn't getting anything done anyway. Oh yes. You have to cram all your bad shit in on one day. You can't spread it out. Get out all the poison. You will feel better.

I was immediately greeted with a sign that said their computers were down state wide. Which is like the third time I've heard of this very recently. Maybe the third time this year.

My whole life - I've never heard of the DMV having these problems. Now their computer system goes down every other month. Luckily, the sign was from the morning. And, much to their credit - I've never seen the DMV work that fast. The fear of Gawd - translation - budget, must be in them. No slackers there today. About 50 people in front of me - I got out of there in a little over half an hour.

No.. Serious.

I get back to the house. Everything still down. I drive to the local Comcast brick store. Two of the three people in front of me were returning all their cable boxes. I take this as a sign. Of what, I'm not sure. Still it can't be good. They refuse to give me any timeline of when it will be fixed. I'm surprised they even told me there was a problem in the first place. Normally Comcast will refuse to even do that. Taking the "It's fine. Everything is fine" routine.

Everything is normal. Now.

Some days though - it's just becoming such an embarrassment what our world is turning into. Pretty half assed if you ask me.
Euuuw. Just saw guy with pants riding low. Underwear showing. U could see a sweaty crack line.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Rot in hell AGAIN HVAC techs.



You know how people are superstitious about celebrities dying in threes? Well, my crap always dies in threes.

Yesterday - it was suppose to get to the high 90's, so we figured we would hang out at the house and do some e-cleaning. Put all the electronics that didn't work in a pile and take them somewhere. It's mostly old drives. I chew through them.

We did that for about half a day when we realised our air conditioning wasn't working properly. By accident really. The house was still getting cold, but the inside unit was making this hissing sound that you often get when the washing machine is filling up, or you are watering your lawn.

We thought it was something with the inside unit, but went outside anyway only to find that the blades on the air conditioner were not spinning. Which was fantastic (said sarcastically) because our area actually got over a 100 degrees.

For us - this isn't a big deal. But, for the bunnies - it is a super big deal. They can't pant, and don't handle those kinds of temps well. So, we have to figure out if we are going to bug out. I.e. Take them to a hotel. If Willow would have still been alive, we would have had no choice. With his advanced age, he just wouldn't have been able to handle it. With the other bunnies it was borderline, and we decided to hobble them through with frozen water bottles. It also helps they are in the coldest room in the house.

Then we set to calling our heating air conditioning guy. Even though this is the only guy we trust not to rape us, we knew that we would not get a call back. Not a single heating or air conditioning tech will work nights or weekends in this town. Ever!

So, we figure we can try to fix this thing. Mr S. knows about electricity. I can take things apart and put them back together. Still, its a huge unit.



After I find the dummy screws. You know - the screws that say, if you can't find these, you shouldn't be working on this unit, dummy. We were able to get side access and find out there are only like 4 parts in this thing. The compressor, the fan motor, a capacitor and a board.

I'm feeling like I have almost a 25% chance of randomly picking the right part. The house is still getting cold, so we're pretty sure it isn't the condenser. We narrow it down to the fan motor and the capacitor. The Internet says there is a good chance it's the capacitor, but it usually swells when it goes bad. Ours isn't. We decide to buy both parts today when the part store opened.

Mr S. goes to a meeting. I go to the parts store. I have the capacitor on me. When I get there - the guys aren't sure which motor they should give me and tell me I should bring the motor in. I buy the capacitor.

Oddly, a customer walks in right after me. Laughs. Then comments that I'm buying the same part he was. Laughingly, I say - It's that time of year. When he sticks his capacitor down on the counter I say - oh look, you can see yours is swollen. He looks at me. See - mine is nice and flat. They don't use all the toxic chemicals anymore, so they go bad more often. He sort of laughs and gives me this look like - how do you know that? I notice it, and tell him that I listen to my husband. He's fine with this.

This interaction makes me more convinced than ever that it is the fan motor since my capacitor is not swollen. Still, once you buy a motor - you can't bring it back. I agree to bring the broken one in.

When Mr S. gets back from his meeting, I tell him we should just take the motor out and go get it. He wants to try the capacitor. And convinces me to try it - by taking the ohm meter to it to see if it acts different than the old one acts. It is sort of a pain to take the unit apart and put it back together twice. But, it makes enough of a difference that I decide to put the whole thing back together with the new capacitor and the old fan motor. I'm still 50% sure this isn't going to work.

He puts the fuse breaker back in, and goes inside the house for the circuit breaker. I'm at the unit outside. With a hose in case something catches fire. We are talking to each other on the cell phone so I can tell him to cut the breaker if something pops. What did we ever do before cell phones?

He tells me he's going to turn on the AC. The blades start spinning up! To great excitement for both of us. First, because the capacitor was only 50 bucks. Second, because there is no greater joy than fixing heating and air conditioning yourself. You can't get that much help from the Internet, and pretty much everything in there will kill you. I'm not even joking.

And third, the economy must not be that bad. I would have paid Sunday rates. I can get parts on Monday. If our guy would have fixed it that day - we would have been happy to pay him. He could have told us it was the motor and we wouldn't have known. If I was qualified to fix these thing and there was a recession going on - I would work nights and weekends. For a mark-up of course.

Hell - If that motor was at the store this morning - I would have bought one anyway. And still have felt like I was getting a deal at 150 bucks for both parts.

You just have to make sure you label all the wires with tape so you put them back in the right order. Make sure all the power is off at the breaker and the fuse box. And, verify it with an Ohm meter. Again - this stuff will kill you. Did I mention it will kill you?

Anyway... every time those blades spin up - it brings a smile to our faces.

This is the capacitor as it sits in the unit.



The only telltale sign it might have been the problem is a small burn mark. It's the one on the left.

Friday, June 25, 2010

I'm starting to get a complex.

The economy must be getting to me. I lack the desire to beat anyone. Not even a punch in the neck. Which is why when I started getting all these hits on my site with the criteria "beating children". It freaked me out. There are just a lot of them all of a sudden. I don't know what to think about it. They are looking at this post.






Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I guess housing doesn't matter.

With the real estate numbers this week (or is it weak?), and the market shrugging it off, I think this story is particularly funny.

Last week I noticed a house come on the market about 5 blocks from my place. So, I drove by. It was being listed about a third what houses are going for now. It was one of those places that even though I didn't have the address on me - I immediately spotted it.

The windows were broken. It had the classic sign that someone had lived in it their entire lives and did nothing to the place the whole time. Worst house on the block sort of thing.

Then the Willow drama happened and I wasn't able to get Mr S. by to look at it. I'm not in the market, but I have a vested interest to keep track of whats going on.

This weekend we finally drove by so Mr S. could see it too.

When we got there, we saw there was an agent showing the property. While we didn't intend to - we figured we'd see if she would let us get inside to look. Which she did.

Honestly, even I was shocked at how much someone could eff up a place in 30 years. Without right out vandalising it. Just letting it go into disrepair. And, I've seen some really amazing crap shacks.

It was the first place I'd been in that you had to try not to breath. Some elderly people who's kids had come in and basically looted the place by taking out all the equity and then letting it go into a short sale. Translation - stopped making payments. All the while letting the pets shit all over the place.

The agent who wasn't even an agent for the house, but the agent of the person looking at the house - was trying to convince us there was going to be a bidding war on this property. This has become a new joke at the Snarkolepsy household.

I can't tell if they are flat our lairs, or they actually believe this shit. We both laughed about the whole thing. It was a short sale, not even a bank owned. I'm not sure why she thought people would fight the banks for 6 months for that place, when they could just get it at the courthouse steps for probably much, much, lower. Until it was bank owned - the liability would be the same.

This is probably a good time to tell you about the worst house we ever visited. It was at the time we were looking for the house we are living in.

There was a listing on the other side of town. As soon as we hit the block, we sort of looked at each other like what the eff. It was a three story structure in a one story neighborhood. It looked like an over blown tree house. That kind of construction. When we went in we couldn't believe our eyes.

I immediately went down into what I thought was a basement. Which is unusual in many part of California, and especially so in our area. So, I was fascinated. Mr S. went off in another direction.

When we met up we concluded that someone must have died there. Yet the agent wasn't really pointing that out. The basement was really a buried train car, and the stairs to the upper levels were train stairs. They'd taken out all the real stairs.

When you got to the second level they led out in three directions. Up and sideways. The rooms basically looked like it would in your rafters. Unfinished exposed wood. At least one room was completely unsafe to walk on.

Finally when we got to the kitchen area there were some papers on the table. They outlined that the son had killed the father in the house and it was mandated the house was a tear down because it was all done without permits. Duh.

The owner knew someone in the city. That is how they were even allowed to bury a train car in the front yard in the first place.

When we got out of the house the neighbors were all pooled in the front yard and talking to the prospective lookers. They said they had all started planting really huge trees to block the sight of the property, and that construction would go on at all times on the night. Clearly, they were happy the property would change owners.

I still think about that place. Only because it is the sort of thing you could never get the city to agree to now. The buried train car would have been the perfect wine cellar. Although, it was made to be a bomb shelter because it had an outlet in the front yard cleverly masked as a well.

I tend to gravitate to these properties. I've come to realize there is a certain segment of the population that will completely let a house rot, and their children don't even care enough to make things better. They just take what they can get and let the bank deal with the rest. It's sad really. Someone has to choose to fix these things up.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The objective is to kill the economy - not save the planet.

I've been watching the whole oil spill with great frustration. Not because there is oil leaking into our waters - which I admit is not great. But due to the complete hysterical over-reaction to it.

You see - if Americans actually read any news, they would know about a little oil platform blowout that happened just late last year in deep waters. I read Australian news. They actually talk about our country more than our country talks about itself.

The Montara well is very similar to the Gulf Coast well disaster. Oh! You haven't heard of the Montara well? It leaked for 10 weeks. You mean all life as we know it didn't stop? You didn't see whales and dolphins and all other sea creatures dead on the news? It was a giant oil leak! In a "marine superhighway" no less.

When people talk about the gulf oil leak, they don't even mention the Montara well. And, it just happened in late 2009! You'd think that if these things were such a great catastrophe they would draw a line between the two.

Yet they don't. Because the ocean is greater than you are. Evolution is greater than you are.

I'm tired of the hysterical panic over them never being able to tap the well because it is like hitting something the size of a dinner plate. They did exactly that with the Montara well. It took them 5 tries - but they did it. And you've hardly heard a word about it. That doesn't mean President money bags shouldn't put more people out of work because of his having a giant vagina. It seems to be his best skill.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sure I thought it was funny - it still bothered me.



This weekend we stopped into BevMo to pick up some cheerwine. Which isn't wine at all, but cherry flavored carbonated soda. It comes in a bottle. So the carbonation is extra fantastic. You have to go out of your way to find it.

Right along side the cheerwine was this little gem. It is a pretty clever name. Still the references these days are not so secret and overt.

Being the capitalist that I am - I bought one.

Oh yes - I did! At least I am voluntarily giving them my money. Mr S. was none too happy. I still think it was funny, though it did rub me the wrong way. I'm complex that way. As long as I still have a choice, I think these businesses are fine.

Mr S. was slightly agitated and starting coming up with these sarcastic rifs. Which.... I also thought were funny.

Che-blis

Osamabinlager

Adolft-ale

Furor-fiz

Your milaege may vary.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

All I've got are pirates.



Apparently yesterday it was a mecca of pirates in Vallejo. Trying to set a Guinness record. I think they recorded like 2300 of them. Today, not as much. Still pirate-ey.



When pirates turn into Zombies? Who knew?



Saturday, June 19, 2010

It was a big production.



It was about this time last year when Saffron had her eye thing that I stopped blogging about the bunnies as much. I realised that I'd have to look back at all these pictures. And, slowly I've been trying to adjust to how I'd feel about that. I'm not always great about talking about how I feel sometimes, and I like to push things down and deal with them slowly.

Anyway. This isn't one of those cases. I mean, I'm sad, but not heartbroken. If you hate these stories - you should just skip now.

I never talked about Willow that much. The truth is - he wasn't really that into us. He was a really good bunny. The strongest we'd ever owned. Which was amazing because we thought he'd die from that E.Cuniculi outbreak we had. Somehow he either adapted, or kicked it. Because he lived to be 12. That is about 105 in human years.

He was happy doing his thing. He was bonded to Jane, and we just provided food. He was one of those that wasn't affectionate, but we bought him - so we took the best care of him.

Over Christmas he gave us a warning shot. At the time I was wary of doing too much to keep him alive. But, he bounced back.

On the last Day Mr S. was in Church central Willow stopped eating Parsley. A warning sign. I gave him the normal support structure. I wasn't going to force him to stay alive, but if he wanted to - he had all the tools. He was still eating hay and kibble. I actually didn't think he was going to last a day or two. Still he seemed to stabilize. I'd grown comfortable that he might make it a little while. We'd always laugh about him because we thought he could be eaten by a bear. Then shit out. He would brush himself off and say "what!"? He was really strong.

Yesterday it was clear the time was near. And we debated taking him down. But he wasn't suffering. Clearly he was dying, but not in distress.

Anyway. After he kicked it - we were going to have him cremated. We used to just bury them in the yard. I've grown tired of trying to find places I wasn't going to rip up somehow. So, we started cremating them.

When we called though, the price was really much more expensive than it used to be. And it isn't like I'm cheap - but there is a recession on YO. A few years ago I might have not blinked. Now I'm not sure what the world is going to look. Soooo....

I felt I could buy a really freaking nice tree for how much it was going to cost me. We needed a shade tree after all. The summers are crazy here sometimes.

I was able to get two trees for what it would have cost to cremate him. And it's a really freaking nice tree. Yellow Maple. We actually saved 50 bucks over the cremation fee. So I had pancakes. Hey! We needed strength to sink the tree! Where he is now buried under.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bunny asses made this.



I'm a little excited.

I pulled the first thing from the garden today. An onion. The mild weather has made it so my full crop will probably be done in a few weeks. Non bruised, fresh onions - made from bunny asses are basically the best things on earth. This has to be one of my best years.

Bunnies give you a never ending supply of fertilizer. And since they are such a money suck - it's the least they can do. Honestly, do you know how much hay costs? It's ridiculous.

Some other stuff has been really difficult. Like soybeans and peppers.

The soybeans are a bug magnet of epic proportions. The peppers? I don't understand how something that is so painful - needs so much attention. The Chiltepins took me two months to even get going. The first set failed, and they take roughly 30 days to germinate. Who on earth wants to hurt themselves that badly to wait that long?

Mr S. has been perfecting his bread making all winter long, and when my tomato's start ripening - I'm having the best bruschetta ever. You will be jealous! You will.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I love rational people.

What this guy said: You have to read the comments.

First: oil is organic. Or rather crude is organic. It is always seeping to the surface - just go to a park in downtown LA and you can see this occurring on an ongoing basis. Yet the fact their is an ecological disaster in downtown LA - the tar pits- doesn't seem to cause great concern.

Shouldn't the President be out there using hundies to soak up the oil?

Oh wait. He is.

You know, sometimes I think we are turning into the most sissified nation on the planet. Oh yes. I've said it.

OSHA is making people who are trying to clean up the beaches work 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off. Here. It is just really irritating.

Does anyone realize that in every state in the nation, people are out doing asphalt work in the middle of summer? No body dies! NY. 100 degree heat. People working on the roads. My city. 105 degree heat. People still work on the roads.

What do you think asphalt is made of? OIL! It isn't going to effing kill you. These guys aren't even covered in all that protective gear. Mechanics work day in and day out covered in oil.

Do so few people actually work with their hands these days that they can't figure this out? And, if everyone is so concerned about the environment, why don't they have a line of people wanting to volunteer? Is there some vast security force I am unaware of?

Thank heavens our health care systems will be nothing like this after President Money Bags gets done with it. And anyway.... can you imagine if we currently had free health care - how overwhelmed the system would be with everyone having some kind of oil related hysteria. I'm not judging. I'm prone to freaking out over my own real or imagined health issues from time to time.

Sometimes Mr S. and I laugh about it, because we both can do it. Remember when you thought you had this ailment Mr S.? He laughs. Yeah, remember when you thought you had that? He says. I laugh.

Tons of people work all day every day covered in oil. And, they don't have a giant oil baby growing out of them.

President Money Bags has a unique ability to just vaccume money out of the economy. He might as well have booms filled with hundred dollar bills. It's basically the same as what is happening now.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

This would be interesting for about 5 days.

On the sixth day. Irritating.

Since I suspect that all of you reading this blog are as ADD as I am, just skip forward to the 30 second mark. And keep it muted to protect from the annoying and unnecessary sound track. I tried to get you a better video, but this was the only crap I could come up with.



Why is it interesting? California needs money Yo~! I do give them props for at least thinking of something we might willing to give them money for. There are tons of things people would gladly pay taxes on, if they were allowed. Of course this will all end horribly, and someone will get sued because not all of those among us can handle information over load.

June 15, 2010
"License-plate advertising eyed as future money-maker for state California lawmakers are eying vehicle license plates as a new frontier for advertising and a future revenue boon for the state.

Senate legislation would allow the state Department of Motor Vehicles to develop a program enabling license plates on the rear of vehicles, not the front, to be converted into digital message boards

Senate Bill 1453 was approved by the Senate without a dissenting vote last month, 25-0, and currently is in the Assembly.

Under the measure, what appear to be traditional license plates when a car is moving would convert to message boards that display advertising or other images when the vehicle stops for four seconds or longer - at a stoplight, for example, or in a traffic jam."

Read more:


Interestingly, most guys want this technology so they can hide from the cops. There is a whole youtube thing about hiding your licence plate. Which is where I ran across this video.



This I really, really find interesting.

A few years ago I was hot on this technology from my post World of Next Tuesday. Where the windows were made of liquid crystals, and you could activate them to obscure the view in the window. (It's in the bathroom photos right above the photo of the faucet pissing out of the wall.)

At the time it was so freaking ridiculously expensive, and I would never have imagined that guys trying avoid the cops would move this technology forward. Which presumably would be cheaper. Loves it.

And, just a P.S. Also in the World of Next Tuesday post - I was talking about 3D printers. Just a couple of weeks ago they had them at Maker Faire. So I asked the guy how much they were selling for. 15 grand. In 2006 they were going for 20. In 2005 they were 45 grand.

In another couple of years, they will be in your house relatively cheaply. Which is funny because Mr S. started talking about 3D printers maybe 7 years ago, and I thought that technology was complete bullshit. I was really wrong.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The case of human nature.

Mr S. took the day off to acclimate from his trip. So, we went to lunch.

All of a sudden he says "I guess my sister is still on unemployment. She said she's looked at a couple of jobs, but none of them pay what she was getting before. She is getting 85% of her salary while she is on unemployment. She doesn't want to take a pay cut, so she refuses to look at anything else. She told him "I don't know how the government expects you to live on 85% of your pay".

He said "the government expects you to get another job".

This of course is where my mouth drops. She's been on unemployment for at least a year. While she didn't mean to be insensitive, all of the people I know have had a much larger than 15% pay drop in the past two years. And you know what? We sucked it up and were just happy to work.

Also frustrating is - I'm betting she will have reached a point where she and most other people - are getting much more out of the unemployment system than they ever put in. Basically amounting to really expensive welfare.

I mean, her husband works. So, she isn't a welfare case. But, when you get more than you put in - it is essentially welfare. And, honestly slightly resentful making for those who have to pay extra taxes for all those with this mindset. As much as we love you, we want you to get an effing job.

It is hard to be too critical of his family. Mine is no more economically literate.

No lie. About a month ago I was talking to my Aunt and was telling her - at this point I thought I would be moving you back here and putting you up in a house. Because I literally would have to fully take her on as a dependant. This is what she says to me: Well child, I thought by now we would have gotten lucky and won the lottery. I guess that is only for other people.

Me - Do you think other people get lucky and win the lottery all the time?

Her - Yes I do. I really do.

My family has always had a huge disconnect between hard work and just "getting lucky". They are from the welfare generation. Not this one. The last one. This isn't to say they aren't good well meaning people. Just really financially illiterate. And at this point in their lives, you just can't say anything about it. They aren't going to change their views.

I just wish they understood that this isn't devoid of consequences. When inflation hits. And, it will eventually. We all will pay regardless of need, status, age or well being.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

When the TSA confiscates your cherry frosting - the terrorists have won.



Mr S. is back from church central. Maybe I can get back on a less erratic schedule now.

When I meet up with at the airport he says "did you get my email"?

If you sent it today, no. - I reply.

Mr S. has gotten in the habit of bringing a few food items from home when he goes home to visit by himself. They are things you can only get in Church central. One of them is these cherry rolls. He gets the frosting on the side so they travel well. He's done this before with no problem.

The other is these burgers. Which sounds odd. Not diner burgers, but in the vein of White Castle. But, not White Castle. They heat up really well - like that.

Him - they confiscated my frosting.

Me - What!?

Him - Yeah. But they let me keep the burgers which were wrapped in tin foil. Which is odd because they let the ice pack through for them.

Me - Okaaaaaay. Nothing looks more like explosives like an ice pack. They wouldn't let you just take a giant finger full of icing to prove you weren't a threat?

Him - No, and I tried to go through twice, so I wasn't going to push it.

Now my first response is TSA. Enemy for life. Even though apparently they were pretty nice about it. So.. what can you do.

Still..they keep changing the rules around all the time. And, the rules seem really inconsistent.

They could probably keep a small nation going with all the stuff they take. Hair gel, make up, frosting. This is just from the people in this one party on one trip.

Of course, I guess he could have checked his bag for the low, low, one time fee of a billion dollars. I guess I can't believe this is where air travel is still at.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Random.

Mr S. has been out of town for a few days visiting his folks. This has allowed me to lead a completely non structured life.

I've been fighting a cold for a few weeks now, and not getting to sleep until 4 in the morning a few days in a row has tipped the balance. One of several good reasons I didn't fly back with him to a small churchy Midwest town. The airport, and usually the lack of sleep that goes along with travel - always get me sick.

So, now I'm sick. Just gloriously I don't have to listen to his family tell me about the tree house he had as a kid, a billion times in one day. They are wonderful people. But, I'm not new. I'd have to smile and pretend like it is the funniest story on earth, all the while feeling like crap.

It is also preventing me from feeling like going out and getting a shot of that hammer and sickle graffiti that I just noticed last week. I tried to get it a couple of days ago, but the sun was in the wrong spot. I just couldn't get it.

Hey, it is California. Still, usually we aren't that open about it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Tighten up.

We haven't seen any bad ass cars in a while.



I love, love, love the city. Which is what makes it so nice, to come back to my quiet little suburb. The good news is - tourist traffic seems to be good right now. The bad news is - the panhandlers are on savage. And, it is more than just the begging. Clearly so many of the beggars are mentally ill. I can't imagine what tourists must think when the visit the city.

I mean.. it's really, really, bad. And, I think I have a high tolerance. I must have been asked for money 50 times within 2 hours. I'm not even exaggerating. That might even have been low.

I pretty much never give them money. Still, they are not invisible to me. Mental illness has touched my family. So, there is always this static in my brain about them. I can't ignore them, but I can't encourage them either.

Anyway. I was up trying to get shots of exotic cars. It wasn't really an event. The cars were suppose to trickle in. Which caused me to have to hang out and wait. Which I'm not good at. You've probably already figured that out about me.

Three primary panhandlers had staked out the block. Still every couple of minutes someone new would walk up to me and ask me to "help them out". 75 cents here. A cigarette there.

I'm standing there staring at these two Ferrari's. Waiting. One of them walks up to me. At first I wasn't completely sure if he was going to hit me up for money because he was pretty clean.

Him - Hey.. is this your car.

Me - No. It's pretty nice though right.

Him - Yeah, yeah, yeah. Then he started saying some stuff that wasn't very legible.

It was at this point I understood he wasn't just going to walk off.

Me - This is your car. Right man?

Him - Yeah yeah yeah. My father moved to the suburbs and married a white woman.

(hey, don't look at me. I'm just recounting the story)

Me - A little overtime and that car is yours. Right?

Him - Yeah. Hey. I'm the joke man. No. I'm going to tell you a poem.

Me - Am I going to have to pay for it?

Him - Well, you can if you want

Me - No man, I'm sorry. Times are tough. This isn't my car. I wish you luck though.

Oddly, the panhandlers seem to respond well to that line. Then they tend to leave me alone. Which is awkward when I pull out my camera and try to take shots of the two Ferrari's.

I stood there long enough that I could see there was this little panhandler network. If you just passed one of them - you wouldn't notice it. But, it was like one of them would try. When they failed they would send in their buddy.

It was a little sharkish. I could always seem them in the periphery circling me. Then there were always the really crazy ones who didn't even ask for money, but seemed to do nothing but walk around the block. Over and over.

At any rate. I got tired of this routine before anything good showed up. Got to the train and these two women were having a loud obnoxious fight. One storms off. You can hear the other one call someone else on the phone. "I need you to help me! If you aren't going to help me. No! You're disrespecting me"!

Awwwwww. I love my quiet suburb. I do love the city. But really.. the city is constantly like that. So many crazies.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The strangest things are happening.

While not economically viable, I still do fantasize about buying crapshacks. Fixing them up, and setting them free. I guess the financial climate hasn't completely killed that nerve. Although, it is only barely twitching. I still keep track of what is going on. Not as much. Who likes to shop when there is no point. Right?

Every once in a while I still become curious about properties I was once interested in. And I try to see what happened to them.

Maybe a year ago now - a house came up in my neighborhood. This one caught my eye because I was sure that the owner had died. There was some old sedan sitting in the driveway for the longest time. The house was in horrible shape.

It was the classic kind of house I like. Most assuredly a complete tear out inside. You can always tell this from the pea gravel in the front yard. A clue the owner has become to disinterested or frail to keep the house up.

I fantasized about house for a while, and then I saw someone had acquired it. For a few months I kept an eye on it. After all - it was just 10 blocks over. It seemed like an investor to me, because it was obvious they were intent on a full tear out. Like I would have done.

They put a ton of work into it. Made it livable. Restored value to the neighborhood. No one appreciates this. They only see the greed.

Today I thought to myself - I should drive by that house to see if they put it back on the market or decided to rent it. The rental market in my city so far has remained firm.

To my surprise - the lawn was dying and all the windows were papered over like in a vacant retail outlet. And the weeds were taking over the driveway concrete. It didn't appear anyone had been there in quite a while.

Now I have to stalk that house for a little while to find out what is up with that. When you buy a house like that in this climate, you have to have a backup plan to rent it out. So, it's odd that while updated - it looked abandoned.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

It is a marathon of shit.

Robert Reich says:

1. The government isn't spending enough money.
2. If you get a job paying less than your old job, the government should pay you the difference.
3. The government should seize a public company.



One of the things that is so deeply frustrating about this recession is the constant feeling of being stuck. Unable to go forward. There are so many things I would love to do to help the economy - but I won't. These doofuses in government don't understand that most people operate under a fairness doctrine. It isn't fair I have to help all these other people out, when I was a responsible citizen.

I gave people jobs. I gave people a place to live. I paid my taxes.

I refuse to do anything that gives them the opportunity to penalise me more for being responsible. I'd rather even suffer, if it means eventually they will lay off people in government and the education sector. Especially the education sector!

I'll stop wanting teachers to be laid off - when teachers start being able to do math.

For instance - all the schools in California seem to be on this bandwagon. This one is the closest example in memory. But, they are all doing it. School in the East Bay who just approved solar panels. Knows it will take 25 years to realise cost savings. If lucky! Does it anyway.

Plan Approved to Install $25 Million in Solar Panels at Six Local Schools

"Given the upward trend of energy costs, the district said it's likely the panels would more than pay for themselves in about 20 years. Savings after 25 years could range from $5 million to $30 million, depending on energy costs."

Pisses me off. Hopefully in much less than 25 years, technology will have progressed enough to have made these panels obsolete. Still... they are just vacuuming money out of the economy.

Why should I have to work till I'm 65, while government workers can cash out at 50? And these people think I'm just going to keep making it so that can continue? I will eat nothing but ramen noodles before I buy into that. And I don't have to.

You see.. a fairness doctrine.

It pisses me off so deeply to see 1500 workers show up for 150 jobs and almost have a riot break out because - who expects that kind of turn out? While you can't lay off one government worker for one or two years. If you are lucky. I'm still waiting for NY to be legally allowed to fire people.

And no - I don't care how hard they work for the public. Everyone I know, has lost jobs. Taken pay cuts. Haven't gotten raises for a couple of years now. So eff them. Lay them off.

Not to mention a practically chewed a hole through my cheek when President Money bags went on the parade tour of Solyndra. Who has plowed through almost a billion dollars. Half a billion thanks to you and me, and their auditors don't even know if they will survive. Here. They came on my radar because at the height of the 2008 market crash, they were building a shiny new plant. Which confused me, because there was a ridiculous amount of real estate space to be had.

What if for example, technology makes a huge leap and this stuff costs a buck a watt, instead of the 3.24 a watt like Solyndra?

If we would have allowed market forces to dictate the adoption - instead of government plowing as much money as they can in an effort to look like a big shot - we'd have saved a lot of money.

You can tell this is all they are interested in, because country after country keeps saying they are going to be the first with a giant solar grid. It is just a race. A race to make you poor and them look good. Only, they aren't going to look good.

So you see.. government has to understand - I'm unwilling to work my ass off for them. Sadly, there are actually a lot of people who actually want to work.

They need to understand that until government stops acting like they are hanging out drunk at a stripper club making it rain with hundies - there is no reason to do anything but continue starving the beast.
U know summer has arrived in Cali when they cant keep basic services on. Power hit must have taken out whole town.

Monday, June 07, 2010

They all are falling knives. Pouring down like rain.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Underachievers. All of them.

Listen... I can tell when the nation isn't feeling well. Internet traffic falls off a cliff. And, since I haven't figured out how to write my other thing yet - I'm just going to give you something light and fluffy.



I was up in Berkeley today for a chalk festival. And let me tell you, any parent paying for an art degree for a Berkeley student - is getting screwed. Still, there were a couple I liked for their unpretentious laziness. Not everyone wanted to make a statement against British Petroleum I guess. For instance:





Honestly, just seeing the words sometimes, makes me feel a little better. Even though I'm pretty pessimistic and don't really think so.





Honestly, the whole thing was so lame, I just started taking pictures of dogs. For sure - it wasn't any where near as bad ass as this chalk art.






Thursday, June 03, 2010

It is kinda like a hologram.



I honestly am not sure what the hell this is. I was able to put my eyes on it for the briefest amount of time before the group was shooed out of a conference room.

Still I am completely intrigued by it.

I believe it is out of Chaotic Moon. I will have to send them some email to find out more information about it.

Note : the view changes depending on your angle to the image. You have to look close, but you can see it on the building in the lower right hand corner.

Make sure to watch in HD.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Not yet.

I know I promised you all some interesting stuff today. And, I think I have interesting stuff.

Still - it isn't the kind of thing that you can just provide a picture that tells most of the story on it's own. I have to find a way to bring you with me in my excitement, and articulate it in a way that you find it interesting too.

Words don't often come easily for me. I depend on the image to compensate for my inadequacies. In this case, the image didn't come in the way I expected. So I have to digest this thing and figure out how to present it to you in an interesting way.

I still have a full day tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

(Shrug)

I'm having savage ADD today. I can barely function mentally. All I have is far-away stares.

I did get some good sleep last night which makes it sort of odd. I think it's a lie that people awake from sleep feeling rested. A total lie.

I don't know if I can form anything interesting for you today. Maybe later.

Tomorrow and the next day posts will be late. I will either have some really interesting content - or some savage bitching. Or a combination of the two. But, it won't come until the evening. Most likely.

Life seems to demand flexibility. It is inflexible that way.
 
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