Saturday, December 31, 2011

It has been a rocky start to the pre new year.

Normally when I disappear, it means I'm stressed about something. I tend to shut down so I can deal with it on my own. This case is no exception. My MIL had a stroke a couple of days after Christmas. Normally I might not even write about this, but I don't want to lose my readers and I have been gone a long time at this point.

Thankfully she was with her boyfriend when the stroke occurred and she was taken to the hospital right away. Things have been up and down, but she seems to be in control of all of her extremities. Which I think is very positive.

I promised you guys a fabulous January of posts, and I still think that will happen - but if I disappear for a little while - it just means reality got in the way of fun.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Futurama Gas.



I told you the blog would suck this month. January should be much, much, better.

I was out browsing love seats today. Yes, lets all roll our eyes together. The bright side? No crowds. The downside? Desperation. Leaves you feeling a bit over watched. I didn't buy anything. And, I so hate shopping. Especially for sofas. It's like shopping for jeans - you have to stick your ass in every pair.

I did run across this kitchy gas station though. Which is only mildly interesting. But I figured it was like people searching for water in the desert - you will take even mirage water. So a kitchy gas station you get. I didn't go inside to see if there were any aliens like at the alien mart.



Seniors at the table next to me doing "tech talk". And they are pretty good! I should ask if i can adopt them.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Every time Anon (shortened purposefully) leaks stolen information - it makes me feel there aren't enough Clifford Stolls in the world. In the beginning of the Internet, he was a rock star of Internet security/forensics. I ~so~ wanted to be like him when I started my career.

"Clifford Stoll gained worldwide attention as a cyberspace sleuth when he wrote his bestselling book, The Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage, the page-turning true story of how he caught a ring of hackers who stole secrets from military computer systems and sold them to the KGB."

"The Cuckoo’s Egg inspired a whole category of books on capturing computer criminals. He began by investigating a 75-cent error in time billing for the university computer lab for which he was systems manager and ended up uncovering a ring of industrial espionage. Working for a year without support from his employers or the government, he eventually tracked the lead to a German spy hacking into American computer networks involved with national security and selling the secrets to the KGB for money and cocaine. "
More.

Having said that - even some of the smartest people can make bad predictions.

"In this Newsweek article from 1995, Clifford Stoll suggested it would be unlikely we’d buy books over the web or read newspapers online.

But he didn’t stop there. He didn’t think Internet shopping would work because the Internet was missing salespeople:

We’re promised instant catalog shopping—just point and click for great deals. We’ll order airline tickets over the network, make restaurant reservations and negotiate sales contracts. Stores will become obsolete. So how come my local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month? Even if there were a trustworthy way to send money over the Internet — which there isn’t — the network is missing a most essential ingredient of capitalism: salespeople. "
More here.

In 1995 we never imagined Ipads. The closest we got was the Palm Pilot.

In truth I am conflicted about the leaked info. I think someone will eventually get killed, but we also get to find out about a lot of stuff we didn't know.

It is funny Clifford Stoll kinda turned out to be a Luddite. You can't even buy his book The Cuckoo’s Egg on the kindle.

Friday, December 23, 2011

I hope they weren't trying to be ironic.

Yesterday, Mr S. sent me a link about Colin Powell being the third person to receive a Fisker Karma.

This of course sent me into a total spin, because if there is anyone who needs the loving arms of government welfare it is Colin Powell, Leo DiCaprio, and Al Gore. They just can't afford this shit on their own.

And I love rich people. They buy stuff when it is really expensive, bringing the price down so I can eventually buy it. Having said that - I don't appreciate them using my hard earned tax paying dollars to do so.

As I was reading through the comments of the article - one guy mentioned he had seen a Fisker Surf. Really? They named one of their models "surf"?

That is a joke. Right? I think they spelled it wrong. It's s.e.r.f. Named after all the taxpayers they are stealing money from, so the filthy rich and connected can buy luxury cars.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Continuing with the theater of insanity.

"House Republicans have agreed to pass a two-month extension of the 2% payroll-tax cut, National Journal reported Thursday, citing Republican and Democratic sources."

I just can't believe those idiots up on the hill.

The single biggest impediment to this economy is uncertainty. So what do they do? Inject more uncertainty.

I mean, I know they are telling me Europe is getting it's act together. (said in the most sarcastic way) Because, it absolutely is a sign that you are getting your shit together when the ECB has to inject a half a trillion dollars in liquidity because lending has completely dried up. It's a universal sign that you're getting your act together!

Everyone would agree the best thing to do - is have this conversation again when Europe is in complete free fall. Which who knows when it will happen. I would predict next year. Every time I check on Greece things are getting quite dire. But honestly, the smoke and mirrors has gone on so long, even I am starting to believe their bullshit.

They better hope that people flood into safe havens like the treasury to keep gas prices down. Because once the dollar stops being strong.....
President Money Bags went to Best Buy? Expect their stock to drop precipitously in the next few months. A visit from him is the kiss of death.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Series #2.





I might swap this shot out. It is really hard to capture so many lights. I was loving that the lights were reflecting off the car. Now, not so much.









Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Series.



Same shot in IR. I haven't done any IR shots in a long time. It's kind of a pain in the ass most of the time. But, maybe I will get back into it next year.







Where the sidewalks are paved with glass.



I was up in Walnut Creek yesterday. It's like Northern California's version of Hollywood. Without all the stars and beautiful people.

I am never that excited about getting bad ass cars in Walnut Creek. It's a little like shooting animals at a game preserve. No matter where you look there are beautiful cars (animals). You just have to point and shoot.

There is no fun in that.

And yes - the sidewalks are paved with a tumbled glass/concrete mix. They know the sea could have done that for free.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Is this a new trend?



The past month I've been noticing a distinct trend of women, basically, infantilizing their young boy children. As a woman, I can only cringe for the women these boys will eventually date.

Take today for example. Mr S. and I went out to breakfast and were waiting for a table. We were right by the restrooms. All of a sudden I hear a young boy pitching a fit. It caught my attention because he was way too old to be acting like this. The mother was literally trying to drag him into the ladies room. He's screaming "I don't want to go!"

You can see him there even holding onto the wall. After what felt like a minute she gave up.

Now, women have stalls, obviously - but I've never seen a kid this age in any restroom - anywhere - in my lifetime. I would have pegged him for ten, but they were treating him like he was five.

When Mr S. and I talked about it later (he'd apparently had been paying attention to the earlier part of the fuss) he said the dad was trying to take him to the men's room, but told the kid he wasn't going to unless he was sure the kid was going to pee. WTF?

Certainly I don't know when boys can pee by themselves - but it has to be by 10. Right? I don't know if he thought the kid was going to get molestered or what. That's when the mother jumped in and tried to get him into the women's room. The whole thing was just really odd.

Yet, it wasn't the first time this month I'd seen a boy about this kids age being treated as if he were a toddler. At first I thought this other kid just might be slow, and I was the asshole. But after watching him, he didn't seem to have any obvious deficits. It just looked like his mother treated him like a baby.

Friday, December 16, 2011

My rabbit is wearing a contact lens. No - seriously.

When I have problems with my rabbits, I never talk about it here until I'm less stressed. I am just not into the sympathy, but rather want to add to the searchable knowledge database.

So...

A couple of years ago my rabbit Saffron was diagnosed with genetic glaucoma. Which really sucked. You see, we'd already been through the glaucoma route with Jane Doe. She's a stray that showed up on our doorstep.

Soon after taking Jane in - she started having a problem with an eye. We took her in and found she had an ulcer. After treating her for a while, the eye specialist told us we should consider just taking the eye. At the time I was really afraid to do it. My general feeling was - I am going to save this eye. The ulcer was successfully treated, but her eye had already developed glaucoma.

After about three years the medication stopped keeping the pressure down and the eye decided it wanted to leave on the 4th of July. Resulting in an emergency removal.

When Saffron was diagnosed, we decided we were going to take the eyes right away. From everything the eye specialists told us, we could keep the pressure down for a while - but positively those eyes would have to go some day. At this point we'd actually had four different doctors tell us this. So we just wanted to rip off the band aid. If the eyes needed to go - they needed to go. Now, later....what did it matter?

Despite this, we couldn't get a doctor to take a seeing eye. And, the awesome thing about genetic glaucoma (said in the most sarcastic way) is the eyes advance at different rates. The second eye didn't go until a year or more after the first. Potentially the one eye can be super fucked up, and the other might still have sight. So you have to go through two surgeries or wait till both are relatively blind.

Skip forward to earlier this week. We went to dose Saffron and her good-ish eye was completely wet from discharge. This was a rapid change from even the night before. We take her into bed every night for snuggles. So it wasn't something we had just missed before. Rabbits have almost no tear production. Which is why glaucoma is such a problem for rabbits. The compromised eye is prone to ulceration. Which is why we didn't opt for laser surgery for they eye. Yes. Laser surgery.

When the discharge didn't stop we resigned ourselves to it "being time". I was super stressed about the two holidays I had to get through and I'm going to be out of town at the beginning of the year. I didn't want to have to put her through a middle of the night emergency visit. Plus, emergency has to keep your pet for two days. That is super stressful for a rabbit. Especially those as coddled as mine.

So I booked an enucleation appointment. She was still discharge-ey, but it wasn't an emergency. If there was any sight - it was in the one spitting out discharge.

I get to the eye specialist and she tells me sometimes glaucoma in rabbits will burn themselves out. Which I had never heard or read before. She was the 5th doctor I seen specifically for this problem. And let me point out - would have been really helpful to know many years ago. Removing both eyes is psychologically messed up. It is one thing for your pet to go blind, but to actually go through the process of removal is rough. Super stressful. Having said that - with Jane we wished we had removed her eye a little sooner.

Honestly, I'd been preparing myself for this moment for years. It isn't that they look all that different. It was just the image of her face all shaved and filled with stitches that would just grind at my gut.

Still, this specialist did not recommend removal at this time. Not only that - she gave me a 75% chance that Saffron could live the rest of her life without having them removed. I wouldn't give a rabbit a 75% chance of anything. Life is very uncertain with rabbits obviously. But those are pretty good odds.

At first I was pretty skeptical - but both of Saffrons eyes reported pressure readings of only 4. A normal eye is 10, and an eye that had to be removed right away has a pressure of 40. Saffrons pressure was less than a normal eye. Meaning that she wasn't experiencing any pain.

She does have a slight ulceration on the cornea. I guess the glaucoma can cause calcium deposits that cause this. But she gave an 80% chance of fixing that.

The specialist put in a contact lens which I guess acts like a band aid. It is suppose to help the eye heal better. I'd never heard of rabbits wearing contact lenses. Imagine if you could have cats eye contacts in rabbits! I hesitate to even joke about that, because I don't want people effing with their bunnies eyes. Consult a vet dammit.

So, Saffron still has her eyes. And she might even get to be weaned off medication. Go figure. It seems that Glaucoma in rabbbits really can burn themselves out. I still would have liked to know that was a possibility way earlier. You can't imagine how much extra stress the constant watch for when the right time to remove the eyes produced.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

California puts solar panels on schools that aren't even open.

This school system in the East Bay has been on my radar for a really long time. They were famous for no bid solar installations. But who cares about that now?

"CONCORD -- A majority of Mt. Diablo High teachers has voted "no confidence" in the school principal, several educators told district trustees Tuesday night.

"There is a lack of safety on campus," said teacher Patrick Oliver. "Teachers, parents and counselors are not valued. She has failed Mt. Diablo High School."


The article goes on to say:

"During the meeting, the board adopted a "qualified" budget, showing that it may not be able to pay its bills through 2014 due to state budget cuts, declining enrollment, unsettled teachers' union negotiations and the possible conversion of Clayton Valley High to a charter school.

Board trustees also approved a $4.3 million increase in the district's contract with SunPower for solar panels on 51 sites, including two schools that were closed last year. In addition, the board agreed to change its meeting dates to Mondays starting in January."
Source here.

"Hypothetically" - if they put solar on all buildings not in operation - we could reach grid parity.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

We finally named her Jasmine.



A stripper name. Just not one of the sluttier ones.

She has only had a name for a few days. Which has to almost be a record for us. Naming convention in the Snarkolepsy house had to involve these criteria.

Most important - you have to be able to yell it. They do learn their names and will stop temporarily chewing on - whatever. It gives you time to get to the squirt bottle.

It needs to have a cute short version. I'm not crazy about any of the short versions of Jasmine. But we were coming under pressure because a little over a week ago she learned she could beg for attention. Before she was just cute, and what the fuck else did she need? A bunny that begs for attention deserves a name.

Also, I'm starting to believe this trait she has about flopping out in Mr S's armpit is going to stick. She doesn't do it all the time, but enough that I think that once she hit puberty, she might keep it.
A week ago when I posted about Best Buy circling the drain - I didn't mean, right this second. I meant eventually.

"NEW YORK (AP) — Electronics retailer Best Buy said Tuesday that its third-quarter net income fell 29 percent as it cut prices in popular categories such as tablets and TVs to drive sales and traffic during the busy holiday season." Source.

Monday, December 12, 2011

That should make everyone feel better.

Existing-home sales to be downwardly revised.

"WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Data on sales of existing homes from 2007 onward will be downwardly revised, the National Association of Realtors said Monday. The adjustment will be announced during the next release of existing-home sales data on Dec. 21. "

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Why the hell did they import that?



This doesn't go into the bad ass section at all. The only reason I was interested in it was because it looked like a strange El Camino.

I have an affection for El Camino's. My girlfriend would steal the keys from her mom, and we would push that car out of the driveway and down to the street before we could start it - so as not to wake up her mom. It was her car. Left to her by her dad, but we were underage driving. Which ironically, we'd steal to cruise The El Camino Real. Which is a road that goes through many cities in Silicon Valley. That used to be a "thing" back in the day. And by the day, I mean, the 80's.

Yes - that is the kind of kid I was.



At any rate - I thought it was some kind of Chevy. But it turned out to be this car called a Holden. Which is apparently Australian. The inside was circa 1970's. But, I'd never seen one before. So there is that.



Right hand drive.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Hypothecation. It's a fancy word for legal theft.

Rehypothecation is a practice that occurs principally in the financial markets, where a bank or other broker-dealer reuses the collateral pledged by its clients as collateral for its own borrowing.

---

Source.

(Business Law Currents) A legal loophole in international brokerage regulations means that few, if any, clients of MF Global are likely to get their money back. Although details of the drama are still unfolding, it appears that MF Global and some of its Wall Street counterparts have been actively and aggressively circumventing U.S. securities rules at the expense (quite literally) of their clients.

MF Global's bankruptcy revelations concerning missing client money suggest that funds were not inadvertently misplaced or gobbled up in MF’s dying hours, but were instead appropriated as part of a mass Wall St manipulation of brokerage rules that allowed for the wholesale acquisition and sale of client funds through re-hypothecation. A loophole appears to have allowed MF Global, and many others, to use its own clients’ funds to finance an enormous $6.2 billion Eurozone repo bet.


I thought it was funny a couple of days ago when President Money Bags said this:

"Obama blamed the financial crisis and subsequent recession on a philosophy that left everyone to fend for themselves. “We simply cannot return to this brand of you’re-on-your-own economics if we’re serious about rebuilding the middle class in this country,” he said.

The president also said there is a “deficit of trust” between Main Street and Wall Street, and that big banks must “go the extra mile” to close it."


Ironic really. Since all the farmers who had their money flat out stolen, are left to fend for themselves.

How about ya'all stop stealing from us? Just a thought. And please send this memo to Olympus. Because that shit - is really fucked up.

Not as fucked up as farmers not being able to buy seed now.

There is a deficit of trust. A deficit that even though we do the right thing, PMB's buddies will get to steal with abandon. Then you "dear leader" will come in to tax us to cover up for those thefts.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Maybe by next Christmas we will know how bad things were.

This whole year I've been shocked at how the news media crows about how low crime rates have been through the recession. It just didn't match up with what I've been seeing - everywhere.

I estimated that murder has increased 40% over the past year. Most cities are experiencing a "spike" in homicide. They call it an anomaly. I hope that is true.

San Jose claims 28 murders so far this year. Last year they had 20. Oakland enjoys 101 murders. They had 70 last year.

None of these increases in violent crime has ever been noticed by the crime stats or the media.

Well - now I know why. Apparently by the time they release the data - it is a full year stale.

2010 California Homicide Rate Drops To 44-Year Low
December 5, 2011 1:12 PM


"SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) – A new report by the California Department of Justice shows that the homicide rate last year dropped to its lowest level in more than four decades.

According to updated 2010 figures, there were 4.7 reported homicides for every 100,000 people. That’s a 7.8 percent drop from 2009."


I don't at all see why people were buying guns en mass for black Friday. I can't imagine I am the only one who feels this disconnect. They see crime everywhere, yet no one will confirm what we already know.

I don't know how the trendy murder/suicide tracks into this - but 16 people have jumped in front of a train this year in California. 16.

Hell, in the past 6 months - 2 people have jumped off freeway overpasses in my city, and the next over. I certainly would be interested in suicide stats, because they are almost an every day occurrence.

Monday, December 05, 2011

December is a notoriously shitty month for this blog. It's patchy.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Circling the drain?



I don't get Best Buy's business model anymore. Of all the home improvements - sinks have got to be the lowest turn over. I mean, are they an electronics store - or a home improvement store?

As a side note - I will try to get a picture of Bed Bath and Beyonds new confused message of selling electronics.

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Marx would be proud.









I thought this was odd.





I don't know what is up with people making T-shirts with Steven Chu on them. But both of these looked vaguely communist. The second shirt has a windmill with blades that look very close to the hammer and sickle.

After we left the city today - we thought we should have made a game of how many times we could spot communist symbols in a the two block region we were in.

I thought this concept was clever. In a geeky way.

I was up at the Bizzare Bizaar today in the city. I think the name overstates it. There was nothing there I would clasify as bizzare. But, it was "a" bizaar.

We ran across this guy selling bracelets made of camera lenses. Company is Focal Length Designs. Which I found interesting because I'd never seen anyone do that before.



Friday, December 02, 2011

When tomorrow never comes.

Every single night, I go to bed with a knot in the pit of my stomach, wondering if tomorrow is the day I wake up and the world has changed forever.

It goes on for so long you start to question your sanity. Inflation/deflation - it doesn't matter what side of the fence you are on. I happen to be on both depending on the day. Virtually every prediction on what will happen with this, has so far not materialised. It's been three years now!

You can't help but wonder how this can be. How things are "suppose" to work has been tossed out the window. You start to think, maybe I am the one who has gone a little crazy. On one hand you look at people and wonder if they have the slightest idea of what is going to happen to them. On the other, most of them don't, and they seem happy in relative ignorance. So far, it's has been a net nothing.

Maybe they are the smart ones. If you keep yelling fire, and there is no fire - maybe you are the one who is crazy.

And worse, I don't think there is anyone who can tell you exactly how they have been able to hold everything up for so long. When I start hearing words like "decoupled" or disconnected. It pretty much translates to "I don't know what the fuck is going on either". And everyone wonders why there is so much apathy. Even I have it now. There is nothing you can do to stop them. Not starving the beast. Nothing.

There is no way to prepare, because no one knows why things are working the way they are. I keep hearing "I would have thought xyz would have happened by now".

Yet it doesn't.

Making things worse, they've stopped telling us how things are working. This makes me exceedingly nervous. Not that I don't know how things work, but that so few people do, as noted in this article "How Bankers Saved the World From a Euro Meltdown"

"So what happened to reverse the tide? An announcement that the largest central banks in the world, including the U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank, had agreed to reduce the cost of bank borrowing of dollars by half a percent. A seemingly innocuous and highly technical decision that only a few large institutions really grasp, it sent global stock markets up 4 percent, eased credit markets. and in an instant changed the tenor in finance-land from one of intense panic to sudden calm."

Paying less to borrow money - everyone should understand. So what else did they do?

Our government has become a gambler who keeps hitting you up for 20 bucks. This time I will win! The whole thing has become a Mexican standoff. Everyone knows the world will break. One day we will wake up and the world will be in chaos. There is just no way to know when. We don't know how they are making it work now. Not just me - but a lot of really smart people.

I don't really understand how this ends up. Sane people are clamped down on their wallets, and the government keeps thinking we will spend like it's 2007. They refuse to make the government in line with reduced spending as far as the eye can see.
 
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