Thursday, January 31, 2013

I guess this is a thing in California right now.



I'm not saying it's right - but it does bring out the tard in me. It's the second time in a week groups shut down the freeways for sideshows. Who knew they could get away with that.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A funny thing happened today.

When I was at a trade show. I went to inquire about a product and the person asked who I was and what I did. Standard trade show stuff. They want to know if you are important or not. Which I am not. And I'm not even being sarcastic about it. I don't want to be.

Normally I steady myself for the "I'm a blogger" reply.

Now bloggers are really low on the important scale. Which I'm fine with. Having said that, you don't know which blogger is going to talk up your crap and catch it on fire. Probably not me. You've read this site. Right? Anyway.

All of a sudden the girl calls someone else and they are set to give me the tour. Which freaks me out. I've never had this happen before. And I don't want the whole tour. I'm just interested in this one thing. I don't want to have to pretend to like other stuff. I was just paralysed for a second. Usually you get the exact opposite reaction. It doesn't bother me. I'm ADD. I don't want to take a bunch of their time. And I don't want them to take a bunch of my time. It usually works out best for all. I think.

Luckily the whole thing turned out fine. It was an area I sort of knew about. So I didn't look like an idiot. But wow. I'm going to have to rethink my routine.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I am in a flame war with a socialist today. That is taking all my mental energy. Normally, I'm not much to spend too much time on these types of things, but it affects my town.

California has decided they think mixed used housing is a good thing. They develop housing in which they sell some of the units at full price and others at below market price. The wealthier people subsidise the lower income units. It's called the The Bay Area Plan. Where there are government mandates for income levels and housing prices.

I flat out told a person this was socialism. And all of a sudden I'm a name caller. Since I'm not trying to change the persons mind I'm in a flame war with, but the people watching - I have to be very delicate and not turn off my audience. It takes a lot of energy.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I'm starting to get my soil ready for planting this year. And I'm on this huge obsession of growing good corn. Sure, corn is still dirt cheap in the store. Most of the time. But - it's really hard to find good looking corn these days. I guess all that goes out to ethanol production.

Since I'm completely organic - not organ-ish - I've been trying to find all these natural ways to feed it through the growing season. I don't have a big growing space, so adding compost after they are knee high is not optimal.

One way I read - farmers plant soybean in the fields on the off growing season. But I figure maybe I would just companion garden them with the corn. Last year I did a row of corn, a row of onions, and that actually worked out really well for the onions. They can get burnt in my area from the oppressive sun in the summers.

Anyway..

The thing about soybeans....they are delicious. And everything on the planet thinks so. Everything. Take a poll! Once they get wet, they are basically edamame.

I've grown them before, and they turn you into an insane neighbor. You are out at night picking off pincher bugs and pill bugs with a flashlight. If the slugs don't wipe you out first.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Moving to the top of most irritating places to shop?

Bed Bath and Beyond.

There is no place to park your cart that isn't in someones way. I defy you to find a place! If you want to pass someone - you have to change isles. I get space optimization - but wow. It's just the most irritating thing.

Oh! Today some old couple decided to do two carts! So they could cart their two dogs around. Seriously.

Sadly, I have to go there much more than I like because I am an insomniac, and something happens to the stuffing in my pillows. A pillow that starts out firm winds up flat before long. And it sucks

Now you get the ADD... right?

Friday, January 25, 2013

I am too crippled with ADD to give you anything interesting today. My brain is awash in chatter. And, I don't know what I will have for you this weekend.

On the bright side - there is promise of interesting stuff next week. But you know I'm a tough audience. Right?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

You can sit through 58 seconds.

It has a big pay off in the end.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Eeeps. I think we just hit an iceberg. With only the big investors trading, and them all being in AAPL, who are they going to sell this stock to?

The anaconda economy.

For anyone who works, owns property, and is generally responsible with their money - you have to treat this economy like an anaconda. Every time you exhale, it squeezes more tightly. Every brief period of euphoria should be met with greater intensity to improve your financial standing. For those times will be short. Use them all wisely.

The troubling thing I find about people lately is the recession has made them so tired, they tune out everything which does not make them happy. It's scary honestly, because it makes you see so vividly why things like the holocaust can happen. And yes, I know this is an overused term. People however do become tired and stop caring about the ills of the world. Follow this to it's conclusion. Even I find the draw of just tuning out to the world a brief vacation. A different reality as long as you are completely set for life.

People have not yet realised how much of a hit our economy just took. I know what my pay range is, and I can assure you - everyone who makes less than I do - is smarting. If the 2% payroll tax increase hurt me - I have a good idea of how many people it did hurt. But none of them know it yet and are playing rabbit. Pretending like they aren't injured because everyone else doesn't seem alarmed.

A couple of weeks ago I was paying my insurance. I've known the guy for forever now. I left that conversation wide eyed and scared.

He was trying to convince me everything was fine. I was trying to convince him it wasn't. When I told him I thought the tax increases were really going to hurt people. He basically compared the tax increases to taking away a cookie from a child.

It was at that moment I realised that people have no idea the pain they are in. And every conversation I've has since, only reinforces that belief. People just don't want to "dwell" on the economy. I wonder if they even know they are now living under socialism. Or even if they care.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Good morning Comrades.

I thought I'd start out that way to acknowledge our socialist overlords. You heard the swearing in. Right?

The past week Mr S. was super sick. So, I was mostly out of the news cycle - and I never got sick. But I have to tell you, if you can manage to get sick and escape from the world - do that. You can totally understand why a lot of people feel so great about things. I mean, it's fantastic. Aside from the sick thing. It's a completely different world.

The bit of news I want to talk about today is home prices.

Some of you may remember that late last year I tried to refi my rental and was completely turned down because it was not my primary residence. At that time I actually had a small amount of equity. Which made the whole thing infuriating because they were giving preference to irresponsible people in front of me. The banks had 25 plans to help those people. But me, who has a perfect payment history and actual equity - no way.

Skip forward to now, and all of a sudden I am in a lot of equity. Three houses sold on the block my crapshack is on in the past few months, and one puts me close to 20% equity.

Over the past year I've been trying to figure out why home prices have gone up so much. Wages are stagnant. I know there are a lot of Chinese buyers, but still. There is nothing in the economy that can justify that kind of sudden rise. But, just because it doesn't make sense, doesn't mean I won't try to take advantage of it. I think the whole thing is temporary.

This time - the bank accepted me right away and locked me in at 4.33%. I was paying a painful 6.68. Sadly, at the time - that was a pretty decent rate for a non owner occupied home.

The other thing I've noticed recently is jumbo mortgages dominate the sold category. Where in the past four years, you would only see a scattering. If 20 houses sold, only one, if you were lucky, was a jumbo.

So, it appears to me - that banks are actually lending. Despite all the articles I read that say they are not. Another bank was trying to poach my loan this morning. Maybe they are hungry because home sales dipped in December.

Personally, I feel like I got in at that sweet spot before everyone realizes how messed up everything really is. Because now that I am back in the news cycle I'm pretty freaked out.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Chrysisler.

Driving around with your heat on gets old really quickly. Especially if there is any kind of traffic. You need to have it on full blast. So, I've been dealing with that the last couple of days.

First we took it to the dealership because I thought the problem was under a recall. After they hadn't even put in on a rack in a half a day - we pulled it and took it to our regular mechanic. My car wasn't listed in their system as under a recall, and that means they were going to charge me a butt load of money. And I was happy to not give those bastards any money. I'm so bitter about the whole experience. From buying the car, to getting to enjoy having it in the shop all the time. My car is the biggest lemon on the planet. I should have traded that thing in when my tires needed to be replaced at 16 thousand miles. It's been down hill every since.

But, I'm all fixed now for 1700 bucks. Yeah. It's 1700 bucks less I can put towards a down payment to get rid of this bad memory. But I have two new fans, water pump, and torque struts. Yeah, it sounds like a bullshit add on. And at first I said I wasn't going to fix it. But they clearly were cracked.

I think I'm close to having replaced almost my whole front end. I mean, I admit - I drive the car pretty hard. It's got a Hemi in it. But it's only 6 years old. That can't be normal.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Not only can you not plan for the future - you can't plan for the past!

Retroactive taxes YO!

Anyone who has sold a company in the last 5 years will get socked with a retroactive tax. Except probably facebook, because of their political "connections".

"As a way of encouraging entrepreneurs and investors to start companies in California, the state has long offered a tax deduction for those who start, invest in, and eventually sell companies."

"But now the state has apparently decided that it no longer needs to encourage entrepreneurs to start and keep their companies in California.

So it is eliminating the tax deduction.

Far more startling, the state is eliminating the deduction retroactively--going all the back to 2008."
Via Businessinsider.

WTF. This tax almost hit me. I'm sure this wont hurt anyone in Silicon Valley. /sarc

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My husband taught me a new thing about broken down cars.

After we got out of emergency, we went to pick up prescriptions. Mr S. stayed in the car with it running. By the time I got out - my car had started overheating. In the red zone overheating. Have to shut the motor off, if you keep this motor on you won't have a motor style overheating. It's 37 out, and you saw the picture of Mr S. right? Not a great time to have to sit around and wait for the car to cool down.

All of a sudden Mr S. goes - turn the heat on full. What!? - I reply. Yeah, it will drain the heat from the motor, he says. I look at him like aaaaah...okay. I never heard of that. I thought I was the queen of macgyvering cars. You see, Mr S. and I like to play the who was poorer growing up game. Once my mom drove a car with a fist sized bubble in the tire because we couldn't afford to replace it. I've known crappy cars longer than I've known uncrappy cars.

But, I did it, and wouldn't you know it - it effing works. I'd forgotten about the problem until today, and the car started overheating again. It was just out of the red zone when I cranked the heat on 100%, and bam - down goes the motor temp by half. It's the most amazing thing ever.

Normally I would take this car right in. But my butt is a hurting from the payroll tax thing. That was a chunk of money. I'm guessing the sensor that turns on the fan is effed.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

This was my poor husband.



In the emergency clinic last night with a 103 fever. It's the sickest I've ever seen him. It's a really good flu strain this year. Said in the most sarcastic way.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

It's the gift that keep on giving.

After I got back from CES and saw the flu map, I chuckled to myself. I knew I was screwed. Almost no one comes back from CES without getting sick. It's a running joke. They should make T-shirts that say - I went to CES and all I got was shit shitty cold.

By this weekend, every single year, one of has been sick. Usually me. Until this one. Yet. I'd gotten the flu exactly a month ago and was hoping that was my one off for the year. I was so sick I even had to cross the marital illusion.

What's that you ask? When my husband and I first started dating I had a girlfriend who would go to the bathroom with the door open in front of anyone. Her husband seemed okay with it. But I generally thought he was being accepting more than okay with it. So, at that point I vowed to keep a marital illusion.

The marital illusion involves all those things your partners body does, that you don't really want to know about. While you can't always prevent crossing the illusion barrier, if you have a long and happy marriage you will eventually get to see a lot of things you didn't want to know about. So why speed that process up. You can be normal, but not gross. Just like when you are dating.

Mr S. got sick a couple of days ago. Right on track. And it's not the same thing as I had. So, I have that to look forward to.

Friday, January 11, 2013

I've never seen anything like it.



This is not my photo. It belongs to Brett Martin. I think theaustralian.com has the best photos.

I had to do some Google searching because I had a vague rememberance of the weather nerds talking about a correlation of hurricanes and dust storms coming off of Africa. Here ya go.
Dear Men, what is up with all the beards? I thought we all had an agreement about the hair thing.

Reflections on CES 2013 - part 2.

This year CES could be marked more by what was not there - than what was there. How many more years can you push 3D TV's? I have a 3D TV. I didn't buy it for that. But it is 3D capable. I believe there is only one 3D channel on Comcast. Even after all these years. And you have to switch out to a "black box" Comcast box to even receive those channels. I forget how much it costs now, but one for channel it's way too much.

So understandably, I don't even think I saw one 3D TV there. Never fear though, new TV's are arriving that your cable company won't have the bandwidth for either.

The Robotic zone was basically gone too. And for good reason. It's also a sector that failed to rise to expectations.

There was a company selling robotic mowers. But it was obviously they had never used this product in a real world environment. You know how I know? I have two of them sitting in my garage. Here and here. The company had managed to make their mower the worst of both worlds. You had to install a perimeter wire, and it had three tiny blades not much bigger than blender blades running the thing. I laughed inside when they turned it over. Mine had a normal blade, and even I am back to mowing the yard the old fashion way. Mowing in a "random" fashion (which is what they do) winds up taking a lot longer than it needs to, and misses spots all the time. It's just easier to do it the old fashion way.

I asked a lot of questions about containing the mower, and interactions with people. Because there is still some fear of this product. While there has never been an accident with these mowers, even I was always concerned that some hyper curious kid would walk up and try to touch it while it was running. People were exceedingly curious about our mower. Sometimes it almost was a spectacle. People would stop in the middle of the road to watch it.

After talking to the company for a little I could tell they had no concept of this running in a front yard. Which is weird for the US. We have both front and back yards. This became obvious after I asked if it had security bumpers that stop the mower when it encounters people.

Irobot was there with a much smaller booth. Those robotic vacuum's break down so much, I'm back to vacuuming the old way too. These items in the end turned out to be more of a hassle than they were worth. And to be quite honest, it is these two products alone that make me convinced that rechargeable cars are bullshit. The batteries pretty much fail every year or so. And they aren't cheap.

IRobot did have their remote presence bot, but even I find it chunky compared to other medical bots. Although not the worst I've seen by any measure.



The company that sold that Robotic seal was there. Which honestly made me completely lose hope. In 2008 I talked about this product in my post A Solution In Search of a Problem. I believe I first saw this product at Robonexus 2004. And the seal hasn't been updated in all that time. I honestly don't know how they are staying in business.



The only robotic company at CES that was of any interest was this one from muRata. And it wasn't because it was a robot, it was because it was able to roll on it's own and be perfectly balanced. The gentleman with the dark glasses was controlling it with that wand thing. That technology was pretty impressive.



Cont...

I think Google glasses are vaporware.



Mr S. and I have been having quite a few conversations about the Google glasses. Mainly because when I was trying to get my photo I got this vibe that the woman was trying to avoid me. But, she's at one of the biggest trade shows on the planet. You are just imagining things I tell myself. You try to take a shot and they rotate a few degrees to make it so you can't get a good one. You adjust, and they rotate a few degrees again.

I got about 4 shots off, and we both went to walk off. But I second guessed my pictures and took off to find her to try and get a candid shot. When I asked her, she said they weren't suppose to.

I was thinking about the product more this evening. How do they get the power? It's really all I want to know about the glasses now. You all have devices right? You all know what kind of batteries it takes to power things. Right? And how quickly battery operated devices stay charged.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Reflections on CES 2013

Every year I read about the death of CES. Which to some degree, I agree with them. Each year they take away all the stuff that draw men to these types of things. Willingly. I mean, other than the electronics which they are forced to be there for.

First they took away the AVN awards and moved it somewhere else. I always meant to go in one year, but now that they have moved it - I just don't have enough time to get there. And now it seems like more of a creepy thing, than a part of CES.

Then they took away the over the top vehicles. In favor of rows and rows and rows of cell phone case manufacturers and boring green energy cars. Having new tech inside the cars is not a help. If you could manage to get your ass in one of the seats, it just isn't that exciting. Although you will be glad to know the giant sub woofer trend is back. So exciting to look at speakers. Eye roll.



And honestly, if you've seen one tablet - you've almost seen them all. Yeah. Tablets of different sizes. Hurp.

This year it also looked like there were substantially less booth babes. I'm assuming because there was just so much of an uproar last year at how demeaning it was. It's practically prostitution you know. /Sarc.

TV's are thin. Got it. And they are super crisp. Check. So crisp it doesn't matter because there is no infrastructure to support it. But it will come. I think. If you look at the G in LG, that tiny sliver is a side shot of a TV. Impressive, but we all have giant TV's that you can watch from down the block. Just drive down any residential street at night.



Sure they brought in more celebrities this year. But it was just a little bit funner to spot randoms.



You get the occasional sighting of emerging tech to drum up excitement like Google glasses. But honestly I wasn't that excited. Other than bragging rights. Has anyone seen a display from these things? We know they exist. That part isn't exciting now. I would have been more excited if I thought those glasses had some secret conference hall mapping software. Half the problem of CES is just trying to find the things you really want to see. Especially with emerging technologies. I knew there were going to be about six 3D printing companies there, but I don't know who they all are. They don't group them in any logical fashion really. At least not this year. At least the previous years they had a "robotic zone".


Cont....

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

I continue to love Cubify.



Obviously the 3D printing was one of the main reasons I was looking forward to CES this year. However, finding companies at CES will drive you to the edge of insanity. It's a little like the Great Race where they send people through in Indian bizarre to find the envelope. The booths are numbered and they do have "an app for that", which crashes all the time. And even if you could get it to not crash....the numbering scheme is insane. Just because you walk in the direction of a grouping of booths doesn't mean that number is actually in that area. And I've been to CES like six times now!

Anyway. The important thing about Cubify is they released a larger printer. Which prints in three colors. I thought this was a ceramic up. But it wasn't. It was printed.


I'm thinking they are only one color away from full printer status. If they can figure out how to blend colors.



Here you can see the difference in size for the old model vs. the new. The three color model is about 4 grand. And this is all the shots I have because I was about to miss my plane by the time I found their booth.

Oh hell. Just watch the video.

Double-wide, side-by-side Jeep Wrangler puzzles the world.

Eeek. I'm gonna have to link to a mommy blog.



I'm guessing you guys come here specifically because I don't link to mommy blogs. But I just have to do it this time. I have a lot to write about, and this chick already did a spectacular job writing about this product.

When I walked in the door of CES I ran across this printer looking thing for nail jobs. And I have to admit - it brought out my inner tard. Which mean I love it in an over the top way. This group of guys were crowded around it so hard I could hardly get good shots. But I did manage to get one of them getting his nailz done. And that made me laugh. Anyway, go over to the mommy blog. It wont hurt. That much.





Tuesday, January 08, 2013

You are going to see this on late night TV.

Mental note. You can't keep a stable Wifi connection to save your life at CES. Which makes it super hard to upload videos. Otherwise you would have gotten a video of this product that queebs me out earlier.

I love meat. But I'm also super germaphobic about it. Do some brining and then we will talk. I love the way poultry turns out, but I honestly have to sterilise my kitchen after bringing a turkey. You use gallons of water that turn into turkey water. And at least you can put that back in the refrigerator.
U know. I think im a totally tolerant person but i draw the line at the blind at CES. Not ambiguously blind. Effing blind.
Im in old Vegas having breakfast at Tiffanys. Priorities people. Its divey. And i can get remarried across the street.

Monday, January 07, 2013

You can't make this shit up.

On Jan 1 a plastic bag ban went into effect in my area. Or they will charge you 10 cents for a paper one. I think most of the Bay Area is this way now.

So imagine my surprise when I was at Best Buy picking up batteries and memory cards, the cashier asked if I wanted a bag. He then almost immediate spills out that Best Buy is not a supermarket and thus not affected by the plastic bag ban. I guess absolutely no one knew that only stores that sell groceries are affected, because it sounds like he spends his days repeating they don't charge for bags.

I mean even I didn't know. I thought it was an across the board ban. So.... I guess these assholes are just making it hard to buy groceries. But whatever. At least at the stores not only are all the bags gone, even in the self checkouts!, but so are the baggers. If I'm bringing a bag, I might as well put my own shit in there. Unintended consequences Baby. I'm sure this won't be the last perverse incentive this creates.

What is up with UPS these days?



First they lose my camera for a couple of days over the holiday. Now they are delivering bubble envelopes with hand size holes in them. I mean, those envelopes are hard to get open, so it was handy. I'm just glad I didn't have anything more steal worthy than batteries in there.
What does it say about me that I'm bummed I will be at CES on the day Bill Clinton is going to be there, instead of the day Snookie is going to be there?

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Boring until next week.



Today's project was to get the contents of my compost bins into my grow area.

Spring is the windy season here, and this will be the first year in a while I can plant a garden and not have to worry about the fence falling on all my stuff. And since I need to start shredding documents to start prepping for the tax season and bunnies never stop pooping - I need compost bin space. That is what we decided to do today. My compost is basically made up of shredded mail and bunny litter boxes. I have about two feet extra to plant in this year because the shrub us gone. Yeah.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Dear people of the world attending International CES - quit being assholes.



This is the time of year where I get these waves of excitement. Only to be replaced a few hours later with dread. And things would be better by half if the people who brought their luggage to the show floor would quit being the biggest assholes in the entire world. Not only do you have to dodge zombie people, you have to dodge their zombie luggage.

They leave them in the middle of walking rows. Like women do with shopping carts in the supermarket. Stop see something. Walk away from luggage. Or they will make a 45 degree turn right in front of you. They make it hard to get around them. Which is all I want to do. Honestly, by the end of the show I want to freak out on people with rolling luggage. They are the biggest dicks on the planet. Completely inconsiderate and clueless assholes. All of them.

Oh! I forgot to add that last night Mr S. and I were brain storming on pulling pranks on these people. He came up with the idea that if you could 3D print a little suitcase foot break. So when they go to roll around they'd have to unstick it. Because really, it's what it feels like for people who actually have to maneuver around them.

You will watch this video till the end. Because it makes me laugh.


HT Arbroath.

You are dead inside if this video doesn't make you laugh.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

It's just a hard reality.

To wake up and be living in a full on socialist country.

We would be in full recession if it weren't for government intervention which has gone way past emergency funding. So I guess the government is the economy.

53% of children are now on WIC. And I stopped counting how many were on welfare when it encompassed the entire states of California, Texas, and Florida.

Government hiring has outstripped private hiring since April.

Plus, our new beloved government run health care.

Punishment of every productive sector of the economy in favor of throwing money at the nonproductive sector.

And the thing that is so bothersome is I walk around and I bet most of the people living in this state don't even know or care they are now living under almost textbook definitions of socialism. It affects how I interact with people now. I have to categorise them out. Complacent or clueless..or completely tuned out.

No, honestly, the most bothersome part is that even members of my family believe in socialism. It was sort of scary/cute while they didn't hold the majority. But now they do, and for the life of me - I don't know how we are gonna get out of this. My experience is a lot of them don't grow out of it.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Three guys for every job.



I did manage to get my back fence replaced over the holiday in the least dramatic fashion ever. I sent Mr S. over to talk to the neighbors, and when he returned - he delivered the joyous news. They said yes. But not before telling him how much he hated having to keep the neighbors stuff off his property.

Me - Really? That guy! He is the last one who has room to complain I sarcastically laughed. I mean, all that stuff on the fence was growing through from his side.

But honestly I didn't even care at that point. Getting a neighbor to part with a thousand bucks right at the holidays was the only present I needed. My contractor was hungry and didn't annoy me at all. Plus Mr S. and I were playing video games anyway.

When I asked my new fence guy about a difference project, all of a sudden he tried to wedge himself into my go to guy for everything. I've got three guys for every job - he told me. Which each and every time I say it, I do so in a sing songey fashion because it just sounds like the opening line to a musical.

And in the end, I did cut my neighbor a break, because the shit he was trying to keep off his yard was bamboo. So I guess there are worse things than a monstrous shrub that is trying to eat your entire yard. The only thing holding that fence up was the shrub. It was never going to completely fall.











Tuesday, January 01, 2013



In my mind, I imagined we'd start the New Year at the beach. Not hung over. A defiant middle finger at the crappyness that stretches out in front of us. But it didn't work out that way.

I bet you've been wondering what I've been doing and what great stories I'd tell you. But I have none. I spent my week off sleeping in until 11. And then sometimes taking naps. Staying up till three in the morning watching crappy movies and basically playing marginal video games. I barely checked into the Internet at all. And now you see... this is all my body wants. Sleep. Crappy movies. Video games. And the occasional foraging for food.

Today I was going to try and transition back into real life. A life of structure. I didn't make it. And it's why I didn't make it to the beach.
 
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