Monday, April 30, 2012

To you, with love - from my inner tard. Part 2.

Normally I would just do a picture dump, but some of these things were pretty unusual. They are also really busy. With the people and surroundings they were hard to isolate and make look great. But you have to admit this is bad ass.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rich people do the damndest things.

If there is anything I have learned about Rolls Royce - they must come standard with a tow bar. This is the second time I've seen one towing things. The first was a weird converted trailer with two Segways which stood upright.

Now I don't know if these people a rich or faux rich, because this trailer was confusing. It was pretty rough looking. But they actually drove this thing. It wasn't shipped or trailered. Mr S. got some video of them leaving which I might upload later.

I still have Part 2 photos to get out, but I am behind on everything.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

To you, with love - from my inner tard. Part 1.

This thing was a monster. If I saw it on the road I would die. Look at how tall it is relative to people! It completely blocks out the truck parked right next to it. I didn't even get a front shot because - who cares about the front. I was completely distracted by the back.
Update - For a couple of hours last night Mr S. and I were trying to figure out which car they'd built this thing on. At one point I thought they'd stacked two cars on top of another and welded them together. Because it is so tall. Mr S. thought it might have been built on a Duesenberg body. Here. Which caused him to scour the nets trying to find out what it was. A 1941 fire engine apparently. Look at the thumbnails at the bottom. Here.

He also came across this youtube video. The car is called Big Bertha out of Santa Cruz.
Dear Readers, I know you are hungry - should have stuff later tonight after I unpack the photos.

Also, I will be super busy this week. Which means posts will come really late in the day. Probably at night.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

You know I have to talk about facebook.

I have been somewhat critical of Facebook the last couple of months. Read - What if Facebook withdrew its IPO. Normally this would be a ridiculous thing to say. Yet, I'm starting to have a good track record on saying ridiculous things. My feeling was that California was pressuring them to go IPO before they were ready.

In this post from Feb 1, I say the US Facebook market is fully saturated and likely on the decline. Here I laugh about the Instagram purchase because it clouds the revenue picture.

Each and every article I read about California's revenues, has a paragraph trying to convince me that things are bad, but they will be able to make up the difference with the anticipated taxes they will gain from a Facebook IPO.

"Brown pegged the state's deficit at $9.2 billion through that month, and he suggested last week that the problem might be $1 billion or $2 billion worse than previously stated.

The LAO says in light of the dramatic revenue differences, the budget gap may be a few billion dollars worse than Brown's January estimate.

Still, the analyst's office said it is difficult to determine the exact impact of the revenue shortfall because of how state education finance formulas work, taxes on an anticipated Facebook stock offering and differences over how much money the governor's tax initiative will raise."
Here.

It actually looks like tax revenue will come in closer to 3 billion worse than expected. Read - California Daily Tax Revenue. And now it is rumored that Facebook will delay it's IPO by a month. That has to make the state feel a little jittery. Right? Especially with Facebooks profits dipping, and Zyngas revenue basically flat.

Then, there is this trend of looting the companies. Read: Zynga insider activity is all selling.

"With its recently completed secondary offering, Zynga found an innovative way to allow its top executives, early investors and other insiders to sell off their stakes — despite IPO restrictions designed to prevent it.

As they sell, common shareholders unwise enough to have bought IPO shares in the company have watched their investments fall through the floor."


I think one of the commenter's in this column said it best. "Just another day on Wall Street....used to be you went public to build the company...now you do it merely to rip off investors. "

Facebook apparently, is also trying to change the rules to be able to sell early. Happy IPO'ing!

At least there were these.



Double Lotus! What does it mean?

This year, trolling the parking lot of robogames was more interesting than the event itself. Which I found kinda interesting. I mean, these are pricey cars - yet, every single year I wonder how robogames can survive. And this year was the worst yet.

Usually they have other stuff to entertain people outside of friends and family who come to cheer robofighting players. I mean, this thing is basically an RF monster truck show. If you've seen that once, you've seen it all. I keep playing the robogames slot machine because every once in a while they will spit out a Willow Garage showing. This year... wow. Nothing.



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Then...

I went to robogames where I promptly melted down. I thought I was going to get a bunch of these types of shots.





Instead I got a lot of shots of the back of a bunch of guys heads. I was so pissed.



Men - if you are over 6 feet tall - you don't need to be in the first row! You can see above everyone else already. I'm sporting about 5'5 in my jacked up sneakers, and I couldn't see anything.



I specifically went back to get shots so I could shame this guy. He had to be 6'5. He was still right there in the first row. Because I'm sure he was having a hard time seeing. He was far from the only one.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Meh.

Things are not starting off well. I went to a car show this weekend that basically sucked. So there is that.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Just watch.

For a little while now, I've been trying to draft a post on how I think the media ignoring Ron Paul is actually helping him. Quite simply, people are not tired of him yet.

A couple of weeks ago I wasn't even sure he was still running. That is until he hit California. Where stunning crowds came out. Some of the footage of the video below was taken from the UCLA visit where 10,000 people showed up. Honestly, he has been greeted with overflow crowds practically everywhere.

This video is a little long, but it shows the difference between Romney's crowds and Paul's. No one is getting crowds like Ron Paul. And, he has been crafty by going to Universities and scooping up the young demo. Or the O demo.

Mr S. keeps telling me young people don't vote. Although, I've voted every election since I became legal. Not because I was overly patriotic - it was because I came from two generations of welfare. Granted, my mom was only on it while I was real little. My family always bitched about the government, but never voted. So, I've always voted. Always.



When I see stuff like this - it makes me feel like there could be an election surprise.

California is regressing right before my eyes.

I have this old beater truck I've been dying to upgrade out of for a few years. Trucks are spendy, and the economy is well....less than desirable for such purchases. So, I've been hobbling this thing along.

This year I had to smog it. Technically it was last years registration. I was in impound territory. Even though I'd already paid all my fees, California has changed all the rules for temp tags. So they wouldn't give me one to drive the thing around and get repairs. They only give out one day moving temp tags now.

At any rate, I finally got it smogged, and went to the DMV to get my tags. I figured since I was already there, I'd get the Solstice renewed since it just came in the mail.

Oh. DMV doesn't let you pay for registration at the DMV until you are late now. No big deal I guess. This is the better part though. The guy at the DMV told me that California is actually not going to be sending out registration renewals at all anymore. If your vehicle is up soon, you may get one. But don't expect it.

I guess they took it to heart all those aholes who said they never got their registration notices. California figures, if people aren't getting them - lets just stop sending them. And, if your registration is late - they are going to charge you a 5 dollar fee to pay it at the DMV.

Welcome to the future. I mean, the past.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pictures I should have posted.

When the gears grind to a halt.

Sometimes when I get overwhelmed I find it ridiculously hard to blog. It's not so much the content, I just can't get any words out. Some would call it writers block, but I would more accurately describe it as ADD block. There are all these things rushing in, but they all get stuck. Then I find it hard to start back up again.

This weeks episode is brought to you by tax day which makes me a neurotic mess. The tracking down of 6 year old documents like I had to do this year. Making sure I write everything down in great detail, so when I get audited in three years I remember what the rules were for that year.

Then, you know this week was going to be a fluff week anyway. Right? Things should get better next week.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Never doing that again.



In an effort to procrastinate my taxes another day - I went to a Taco Festival in San Jose today. Which was the worst idea on the planet.

Now, I think food trucks are one of the great entrepreneurial ideas. Yes, the Mexicans did it first. Then after all the Mexicans left during the recession, all sorts of other types of food trucks popped up. Great idea.

Having said that - a food truck festival will leave you feeling like it would have been funner to just stay home and do your taxes. You think it's going to be this great thing where you can sample food from 25 different trucks. Yeah, that isn't how things go. The line for each truck is approximately 30 minutes long. I got through one truck, and it took me almost an hour. You pay to get in. And you pay to park. So these tacos wound up being the most expensive tacos I've ever had because I just didn't want to wait in a huge line again.

You know, I've been to more festivals than I can remember. You put up with the food lines, because you only have to do it once or twice. Food truck festivals take that pain and magnify it. The only reason you are there - is for the food!

Mr S. was trying to convince me that most other people didn't mind waiting in line like I do. Amazon tells me that isn't true. If it were true - Best Buy would still be alive. I think there are more people like me now than ever. I predict these food truck festivals will die. At first people find them novel - but people hate waiting in lines.



This is what it looked like at the end of one line. And they pretty much were all like that.



Then we had the Chairman Mao truck. Which is why our country doesn't recognise socialism. We have these symbols everywhere, and it desensitises people to the meaning. How can socialism be bad - it gives us these awesome food trucks.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The future is going to be amazing.

DARPA realizes it needs contact lenses, opts for those nice AR tinted ones (video).

Remember when I talked about Innovega back in January? Here.

When Mr S. sent me this link this morning I was simultaneously excited, and not surprised. One of the things that did surprise me about this technology, was how quickly law enforcement was adopting it in various forms. They aren't exactly cutting edge. This was a year ago. Before AR codes were widely prevalent, and most people had heard about the technology.

To tell you the truth - last year I was still wondering if AR would even take hold. Not the HUD side, but the various forms of AR. I still don't think I can find an average person that would know what Augmented Reality stood for. Even around techies, I think I would still find a limited amount of people who know what it is.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Epic hail.



This morning I started seeing all these reports of hail three to four feet deep in Texas. I honestly had never heard of that happening before. So I went over to youtube.

Above was the best video I found. The rest of the vids had ominous end of the world music.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wait for it people.

I never, ever, plug stuff. You guys must know how fickle I am. But, the next month and a half has the most promising line-up of stuff.

Next week you will probably get a lot of "pictures I should have posted" to create a buffer between the stuff I love, and the stuff I have to pay attention to because it threatens the stuff I love.

Of course, it could all wind up in a "you effing suck" sort of moment. Which is why I never plug stuff.

You have been warned.

I see weird stuff.



I have no idea what the backstory on this is. It was in a residential neighborhood.

Obvious to my California readers - I took it a couple of days ago when it was sunnier here in Cali.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I just ask questions.

Like - who in the administration owns shares of Instagram? Because, when one company which has no stated income marries another company who has no known stated income - I start to wonder. Often companies do this to muddy the financial waters. How can you expect me to have great financials? I just bought this money losing company - they say.

I've never used Instagram. Maybe it is a super awesome site. However, those stupid filters that make photos look aged makes me want to punch someone in the neck. And if those types of photos really had any staying power, Polaroid would still be alive.

Well, technically Polaroid is still alive. They are just making 3D TV's now. I saw them at CES and exclaimed "Polaroid is still alive!?". If there is any interest I can dig out some pictures.

Ask, and you shall receive.



I forget which post SteveB lusted after a 3D printer for chocolate. Well.. now you have one.

To catch a falling knife.

While the stock market was caving today - First Solar was surging. Which really made me laugh. First Solar has more class action lawsuits than any company I have ever seen. Which is saying a lot - because it isn't that uncommon for experimental technology companies to be slapped with these lawsuits because people invested early often losing money.

There is a class for people who lost over a million dollars. It is the first time I'd ever seen that. You know, the Al Gores of the world, I imagine. There is a class for people who lost only 50 grand. There is a lawsuit in regards to the CEO dumping all his stock shares, and thus creating an insider trading class action lawsuit. There is even a lawsuit because First Solar misled investors on how much it would cost to replace faulty panels. You can weed through them here. That is a shitload of problems.

Yet people were piling into First Solar today because Government Money Bags was handing out money. It is a sad, sad attempt to not let this shit hole go down on President Money Bags watch. 6 months is a long time in solar years. Crushingly long.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Odd car shots from the weekend.



Uuuuum. I hope that color doesn't catch on.



When I saw these car eyelashes on Attack of the Show - I couldn't wait to spot them in the wild. Sadly, I only got this one shot. I even tried to hunt that VW down, but he didn't stop and I was on foot.



The past couple of years I'm amazed how long I can go without seeing something interesting on the freeway. This weekend however was rich.



Really?

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Meanwhile, back in Oakland....



One of the things I noticed about Oakland this trip was - how good it looked.

Mr S. and I have visited to Lois the Pie Queen a handful of times each year for the past couple of years. Every few months there will be something in the city, or close to the gravitational pull of LTPQ. In this time, not much had ever changed.

All of a sudden there is construction everywhere. I can only attribute it to Oakland trying to run through their redevelopment funds (just a guess). They disbanded the city department last year (I think), but they are clearly trying to spend every dime left in the bank account.

So, when I noticed some buildings were being remodeled next to the metal building above, we walked over after we had breakfast. Obviously it always catches my eye - it's got this unusual metal sheeting on the outside. When we drove in, I also thought this other building was wrapped in metal.



I got distracted photographing something else. Mr S. pointed out to me the building was transparent. I thought it was just unfinished. I was trying to figure out how to make my shots show the transparency when we saw a forklift taking drywall into the courtyard. As you can see on the right side of the photo, when the sun doesn't hit it - it looks wrapped in metal. When it does - it looks transparent.





While I was taking photos, Mr S. chatted up the architect, who was overseeing construction. When I meet back up with him I see the architect is clearly is proud of his project and offers to show us the inside. Which made me really happy.





As we were driving away, Mr S. was telling me about the product the architect was using. It is a honeycomb plastic product. "Oh, I think I've seen that material before", I said, It's kinda what they use on greenhouses. Mr S. replies - that's what it is. The plastic is greenhouse roofing, but the way it's mounted and sealed to the side of the building is a custom process designed by the architect.

It is a really interesting application of this product. Although, from what I know about green houses - they usually have this huge fan in the ceiling to dispense heat.

Friday, April 06, 2012

I don't know why the CHP doesn't have an app for that.

You guys know Mr S. and are are atheists. Right? We don't keep up on all the religious-ey rules. This explains what happened today.

Mr S. thought he had a three day weekend. He checked his holiday calendar. It said it was a holiday. So, we decided to go to Oakland to have breakfast at Lois the Pie Queen.

I never understood the whole chicken and waffles thing. I eat some really crappy stuff. But chicken and waffles is a breakfast thing. They serve it with eggs and grits after all. I used to think - who eats that for breakfast?! Then I saw someone else order it, and it looked delicious. Now I am really hooked. But I am digressing.

We left this morning (11:00). I saw company parking lots full. Mr S. are you sure you get the day off? Yeah, I checked the database - he says. Caltrans was ripping up the roads. When did the government start working on holidays - I thought. Traffic on the way up was super light. Mr S. even remarked that traffic was so light, that if it were a week day - it would freak him out.

Well, it turns out that it's a holiday for everyone in the company - except those in the US. Doh!

On the way back from breakfast though. There was a traffic backup. We found out from our phones a bus had caught fire.

This is actually the second vehicle fire I've seen this month. The other was on the San Mateo Bridge. And you are just stuck. It made me think, if they just told you what lane was affected - you could start merging well ahead of time. The system now, you have to wait until you see the accident to figure it out.

This is where I find out it is a prison bus. Which isn't that interesting, but I'm in a dry patch.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Did you guys see this?



This photo came across one of my news aggregators last night.

Picture of TPD TANK being used to keep protesters moving at #OccupyTampa. Track back. Sort of spendy for crowd control. And it does feel a little China-ish.

Update - I fixed the track back.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Maybe the world does work more how I think it does.

At the beginning of Decemeber 2011, I asked - Is Best Buy Circling the Drain?

At the time, I thought my subject line was a little dramatic. But it turns out - I might not have not been far off! How funny is that? If only I could get paid to fire their staff, and tell retailers why they suck.

Best Buy May Be Cut to Junk at S&P Amid Small-Store Shift.

Technology exists!

One of the reasons I've has a giant stick up my ass the last couple of years is the lack of new technology. I just never believed the recession would be deep enough to crush Silicon Valley. I always thought recessions would be relatively shallow and short. Year after year of products that weren't new started to make me believe this was the new normal.

Today however, three things made me happy.

What’s the deal with Google’s crazy augmented reality glasses?

TiVo Premiere updates coming with new Netflix and YouTube apps; Bay Area gets Comcast VOD.

Shapeways CEO Will Discuss the Future of 3D Printing at Mashable Connect.

That is funny, but true.

Electronic Arts voted 'Worst Company of 2012,' beating out Bank of America.

EA could really give Foxconn a run for it's money. And I say this knowing full well that gaming engineers practically live at work. It has been that way since the beggining of time. EA though, takes this to a whole nuther level.

Simply rubenesque.

"Oil tumbled after the Energy Department said U.S. stockpiles surged the most since 2008 as domestic crude output climbed to the highest level in 12 years.

Futures fell to a six-week low as inventories rose 9.01 million barrels to 362.4 million last week, the most since June. "
From Bloomberg.

You remember last week I was ranting about the oil stockpile surge. Well, this week we get an even bigger inventory surge. Honestly, I don't know what it is going to take before people start to understand that gas prices matter. It doesn't matter what your agenda is. This is the third time gas has gone above 4 bucks. And this will be the third time it has caused contraction.

It's an immediate tax that people can not avoid.

And judging from what I am seeing on the road, next week might be just as "surgey".

"U.S. inventories are obviously more than ample,” said Bill O’Grady, chief market strategist at Confluence Investment Management in St. Louis,"

This is the good part though:

"Supplies of crude were projected to rise 2.5 million barrels, according to the median estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg."

In the past two weeks analysts have been wrong by roughly 10 million barrels. Normally I might give them a break because the median for the year has been roughly 2.5 million barrels a week. But really, they get so little right lately. And by lately - I mean the last four years.

All you have to do it look around. When I am sitting a stoplight in California, and I don't see any cars for two or three full traffic lights - it starts to turn my stomach a bit. Because we have three perfect examples of what will come.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Juliane Poirier. Biggest douche in the universe.

Do you remember five days ago when I posted that Sonoma was the most retarded city in the universe? Here. Well, you can imagine my curiosity when I saw this article.

Solar Fun and Profit.

After all, I have a category in tweetdeck for any mentions of solar and profit. I want to be fair. If such a company were to exist, I'd have to stop my rants. So you can imagine my surprise when I saw they were talking about those car charging stations - that aren't even being used. I mean, if they aren't being used - how the eff do they know if they even work?

"The first public schools in the United States to be equipped with solar-powered charging stations are in Sonoma County, where four schools turn sunlight into money.

"It's an awesome project," says Les Crawford, superintendent of Sebastopol's Twin Hills District, which used local and federal bond money for a solar-energy system and vehicle-charging stations. "This solar project exceeded our expectations. Not only do we no longer use PG&E power, they are paying us a one-time incentive bonus of about $350,000 paid over five years, which will go into a maintenance fund for our solar equipment."


Self I said - what is this incentive bonus from PG&E? Because my local Costco isn't allowed to sell solar power back to the grid despite having 10% overcapacity at night. I blogged about it here.

That isn't the pressing question though. I'm curious how PG&E can hand out 350 grand to one city in California. And how many other cities/school districts have this deal?

"Alexis Persinger, architect for Twin Hills, explains that schools and solar systems make a perfect fit because schools can sell the power accumulated but not used during summer months. "PG&E wants people to use less power during the summer, because the statewide grid doesn't have enough electricity to run all the air conditioners in Los Angeles," says Persinger. "PG&E charges 30 cents per kilowatt hour at that time and will buy it at that same rate."

Okay. So they get that the grid in California can't even support - summer. And if that is the case - why can't Costco sell electricity back to the grid? You'd think they would take 10% at night any day of the week. Especially - summer.

"Persinger also sees added value in the charging stations. "They're a way for the district to encourage parents and employees to move into this new era of electric cars and solar panels."

I guess she doesn't read the news, because I think 5 large solar players fell out this week. Honestly, even I have started to lose track on how many. You need a frickin org chart to keep track of how they are connected. Q-cells caused a cascade. Or maybe it was Solar Millennium that caused the cascade. Which tipped over Solar Trust.

It's been a bloody week in green energy.

That is a sharp cliff.



While watching First Solar get crushed again today, the ticker symbol MM caught my eye. I didn't know who they were. So I looked them up.

This is a chart for Millennial Media. Which I thought was mildly clever. It was probably started by a "20 something".

However, I think they could give Groupon a run for their money. Of course the stock is still above the IPO price of 13 bucks on March 29. After it IPO'ed it surged by 92%. Only to come crashing back to earth. This was after it was touted as one of the best IPO's in 10 months. Which I guess is technically true.

I'm sure this won't happen to facebook.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Filler.



After spending another weekend on taxes, and now trying to get my soil into shape - my week is starting on ADD level 11. So, I'm giving you something. Not my best work, but it's better than a sharp stick in the eye. I hope.

A rainbow I caught at 8:30 in the morning on Sat. You can see how all the houses over over lit. Not the best rainbow. But I've never seen one in the morning. Maybe they happen all the time, but I'm never up that early on the weekends usually. The wind woke me up, and while I was checking the house I saw it.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

What the hell is happening? Chevy Chase, Rosie O'Donnell, and Keith Olbermann all spin out in the same week?
 
http://www.wikio.com