Thursday, July 20, 2017

You mean in prisons we get to remodel kitchens!

When Does A Home Become A Prison?.

“Existing homeowners are increasingly financially imprisoned in their own home by their historically low mortgage rate. It makes choosing a kitchen renovation seem more appealing than moving.”

I wasn't going to post anything today because... meh. Then this article came across and I had to just laugh to myself and say who ever wrote this article is such a fool.

I can't even believe someone would write such an article after so many years of saying owning a house was a chumps game. And all the cool kids were out having "experiences" with all of that sweet, sweet money they saved from renting.

Well, we all buckled down and got a super low rates and now we can afford to do all the shit we couldn't before because we aren't paying as much interest. How is that renting going? If this guy thinks that is a prison.... all I can do is laugh and laugh and laugh.

What a hardship when the only thing you can do besides move is remodeling a kitchen or bath. It's positively inhuman. Worst prison Eva.

Such first world problems with all that extra disposable cash.  Those prisoners are going to have the best retirement ever. I can't wait to see the articles that come from now on because there is going to be a lot of butthurteddness going forward. In Oakland, hundreds of people are showing up to open houses.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

This is complete insanitity - more ghost cars.

An intrepid reader brought this to my attention. It's in the East Bay and is full of Lexus's.  Since I live somewhat close to this area I knew about this lot. It's been building for a really long time now. I'd say six months. But while I was out there there the gardeners were working. So I asked them how long these cars had been building up. They said years, but I don't think it's been quite that long. Maybe a year.

They've been out there so long that the protective plastic is falling off the cars. And they are super dirty. Some still have the plastic on the seats.

I'm starting to think the feedback loop is the same as during the housing crisis. If they lower prices, then everyone has to lower prices. And from history it seems like they would rather go out of business than do that.

The sad thing is I ran across two other overflow lots trying to get these shots but I couldn't find a place to park so I'm going to have to do a pickup trip to get them. There are enough cars here I could have done a video, but I was by myself.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

But - were they paying subscribers?

I guess Netflix had a blow out quarter on adding subscribers. But I have to tell you that I am two of those subscribers and I don't have to pay for Netflix for a FULL year. Let me explain.

When I upgraded my phone this last cycle Samsung was offering a bundle deal to get people to buy their phones. They gave you a few different things like a memory stick. But they also gave you 6 months of Netflix for free. And since Mr S. and I both upgraded we both were subscribed to Netflix.

For some reason Netflix allowed these subs to be additive. So now I don't have to pay to watch Netflix for a full year.

So, while all those subs might look super awesome - how many of them are paying subs? Just curious.

Monday, July 17, 2017

More carpocolypse.

I noticed this site a couple of months ago. It's full of Mitsubishi's and Nissans. I also believe this is a shadow inventory site. When car companies start parking new cars on other companies properties - that is just sort of odd. This is a Bobcat storage site.

At least they keep this site well maintained. A lot of the cars still have the protective shipping plastic on their roofs. And they have the sale stickers still on their windows. But they have been there so long now that they are getting pretty dirty.

The world still works the way I think it does.

"According to a new survey from real estate site Trulia, the top regret among renters was deciding to rent rather than buy a home: 41 percent "wish they had bought instead." Unfortunately, more than half of all renters believe they couldn't afford to buy, and data shows that many of them could be right." Source.

I railed about the rent trap throughout the entire recession. It felt like I was screaming against the wind because there were millions of articles telling people what chumps they were to buy a house and not rent.

Renting provides you so much freedom they would insist. You don't have all those nasty repair bills they would cackle. But they never mentioned how every year your rent would go up. Rent increases over the recession were way worse than what happened with the mortgage resets. And what happens when there is a housing shortage like there is right now? Most people don't really understand how unstable renting is unless you've lived it.

I've always felt that after you've rented long enough, all you would ever want was to own a house. People will say a lot of things to justify their choices, so I'm pretty happy to see this brand of regret finally showing up.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

I'm sure this means everything is just fine.

Mattresses have to be the lowest turn over item of any product. People don't buy them very often. But somehow, Fry's electronics thinks that selling mattresses is more profitable than appliances. It isn't taking up a ton of space now....  but who's ever seen this before at an electronics store?

More evidence of the carpocolypse.

There are a few lots in the Valley that I think are shadow inventory lots. But I can't prove it. Then today this caught my eye. It's an old ToysRUs, and it's filled with Masdas.

The weird thing is they aren't even taking care of the grounds. They aren't even sending a guy out there with a leaf blower. This has to be shadow inventory.

What happens if these cars don't sell in a year? What will happen to new car prices. And who knows how much shadow inventory they have out there.

(I accidentally torched this post and I couldn't find a cached version. If anyone has a cached version on their device can you send the the text portion in email?)

Friday, July 14, 2017

I ran across a BART presser.

I'd been hearing a lot of crazy stories about some of the BART stations in the city. I read that a lot of people are avoiding the Montgomery station because it's a bum infested masturbation pit. So, I wasn't sure what to expect when I got off at the Powell station. Right when you walk out of the exit you get hit with a gauntlet of beggars.

However when I got there it was swimming with cops. No bums, but a ton of cops. Then I ran across this BART presser. I didn't have time to figure out what it was all about. But later I found out it was because BART is withholding crime data because "it's racist". When I first heard about this I just rolled my eyes.

I mean how ridiculous is it that BART thinks that giving us the accurate truth will create racial bias? Obviously this is all our fault for seeing the world with our own eyes and making a judgement. Not the criminals. Said in the most sarcastic way.

I guess crime on BART is super crazy right now. Once the criminals figured out some of the camera's weren't working they set up shop. And why wouldn't they - the agency withholds information to protect them. Yesterday on the overhead they were telling people not to depend on the cameras. It's lunacy.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Think I was joking? Watch these.

There are no words.

Today's post is brought to you by the homeless.

I try to avoid going to San Fransisco as much as I can. Some of it's the traffic, but most of it is the homeless. While others see beauty, the homeless situation at now at a level I honestly can't believe. I really have no words to describe how crazy it is. People are just so numb to it, or if the say anything they are shamed for doing so. It's really just heartbreaking how they encourage this behavior.

I mean, all of the cities have their fair share of homeless, but San Fransisco homeless are the kind that talk to themselves. Like - all of them. I've been up there before and hung out in one spot for long enough to realize that the homeless just spend all their days walking around the block. They hit you up, and when they come around again - they hit you up again.

I come away very affected every single time I go there. And the messed up thing is you can't do a single thing about it! Not only from a government point of view, but in general these people at a no turning back phase in their lives. Even if there were shelters that would take them, most of them won't go there. A lot of them are seriously mentally ill.

And now a lot of these homeless are living in the most squalid conditions - I can't even believe the city stands for it. I can't emphasis how deeply I mean this.

When I take the train back to my comfortable suburb I always watch the area through Oakland, because it was really starting to look better there for a while. And now...... it's unbelievable. The tent cities are enormous. And strangely this new breed of homeless are hoarders. A sort of swanky rich type of homeless people. The tents they use are party sized tents. I don't know how much they cost, but when I was a kid we could never afford the giant tents these people have. I don't even know how they get them. They carry around so much stuff. On the train ride I saw a homeless person with SIX shopping carts. I've seen them with couches in their encampments. I mean, everything you throw away they are scooping up.

It's really messed up to say, but the recession really upgraded the lives of a lot of these people. Before the recession people didn't have anything. After everyone started losing their houses every single homeless person had a bicycle. Then the tents came, and now it's just like really messed up camping.

Through the Oakland section, sidewalks were completely blocked by this stuff. (as is some places of San Fransisco) Some of the garbage piles were as tall as I am! And the city was out there with dump trucks and hazmat suits. And I see this on the news ALL THE TIME, but seeing it in person just leaves me stunned. I used to be mostly okay walking to places like the Crucible, but now that area is so sketch. And I'm not some sort of pussy - I lived on the boarder of East Palo Alto when they were still killing people there. I lived in a rent controlled building in EPA when I first started out. Now you never hear a single word about EPA because an IKEA moved in. I think maybe one person dies a year there. Yeah, hipsters weren't the first generation of white people to move to poor cities.

I never turn a blind eye to the homeless because it can happen to anyone. No one should ever feel like they can't wind up there. Having said that - it's the most inhuman thing I've ever seen. They are setting fires. In San Jose they are constantly setting fires. And instead of trucking their trash out of their encampments they just throw it down the hill onto the freeways. Sometimes you get both. Fires and trash.

I've been resisting getting pictures because the homeless are sort of aggressive sometimes now. And they like to tuck themselves away so most people who are self involved they won't notice - so, it's hard to get shots and blend in. i.e. not look like an asshole. But I seriously don't understand how they can't notice that crap in San Fransisco or Oakland. Because I see this stuff all the time and today I left the city feeling stunned. Super stunned. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

I guess people have already forgotten that Obama gave more of your money to "rich people", than any human on the planet. EVER. Then they can't seem to understand why inflation is so low. Hint - it's because your money bailed out all the banks on the planet and now it's all trapped in there. And they won't even lend it back to you!

I only bring it up because there seems to be some nostalgia for Obama right now.

Hopefully higher interest rates will stop some of this.

The truth of the matter is - we are in uncharted territory now.

"To wit, this example: Alain Pinel agent Mark Wong sent out an email blast Tuesday revealing that around 60 South Bay homes, mostly in Sunnyvale and Cupertino, sold for $200,000 or more over the asking price in the last 30 days. And he wasn’t necessarily talking about fancy schmancy places. One modest Cupertino house — 1,046 square feet — sold for $660,000 above its listing price." Source.

Randomly, here are a few of the numbers in Wong’s email:

A house at 1051 Heatherstone Ave. in Sunnyvale listed at $1,888,000 and sold for $2,370,000 — $482,000 over asking.

A house at 553 Croyden Court in Sunnyvale listed at $1,998,000 and went for $2,450,000 — $462,000 over asking.

A townhouse at 982 La Mesa Terrace, also in Sunnyvale, listed at $1,099,000 and sold for $1,400,000 — $301,000 over asking. For a townhouse.

"But this is not just a tale of those two cities. Agents recently have reported escalating prices in Mountain View’s Monta Loma neighborhood; priced out buyers have given up and moved down the road to Sunnyvale. Homes have been going for $300,000 over asking in Redwood City and — no surprise here — in Palo Alto."

MountainView in particular has added tons of new office space, and almost no new housing. So everyone is being pushed to surrounding towns.

I'm not even sure if a recession could tame this crisis. There just aren't enough places for people to live. I'm slightly concerned because when the pitchforks come out, they won't be rational.

All of this douchebaggery is Sci-fi's fault.

I'm not a huge sci-fi fan, but Mr S. is. I think they recycle the same old stale story line. Humans are evil and are ruing the earth. That is pretty much all sci-fi-fi is these days.

Almost every time we watch sci-fi and it has that plot line I look at Mr S. and say - this is all your peoples fault! This is the reason people believe stupid things about the earth.

So I had to laugh a little inside when I was talking to a guy I know about those cube satellites. Immediately he freaked out about space junk. He's like - this is so dangerous.

Me - well most of this stuff is going to burn up in the atmosphere.

Him - No it won't!

Me - Well.... what stuff has fallen to the ground?

Him - No - it's going to hit other stuff in space. All you need is a grain of sand to hit the space station.

Me - Yeah. That's true, but the space station is still up there. So nothing must have hit it yet.

Him - Well, they don't tell you everything. When I saw that movie Gravity it really freaked me out.

He even said the words at some point in the conversation - "you know how we are ruining the earth"?

I'm like - the Earth is going to burn out one day!

I'm routinely shocked at how many people tell me we are ruing the earth. All small talk eventually turns to this. I swear. Considering how many people we have on on this planet I think we aren't doing too bad honestly.

Also I just feel like that's a very first world problem. You know my deepest fear is? Being homeless and I'm not doing too bad. Not that the earth is a little warmer or dirtier. If all you have to worry about is us ruining the earth - I just have to roll my eyes. We are living longer than ever! Do you you know how many people are living to 100 these days? A LOT. Humans are sure doing a shitty job of ruining the earth by that standard.

Pink Drink.

I've been trying for three days to get this shot. I have about four seconds every morning to try and get it.

Lacy has the sniffles a little so she is on antibiotics. The medicine shop compounds it with a tasty flavoring which also makes it look like she has lipstick on. That stuff is like crack. We often call it sizzurp because she loves it so much. The problem is that even if I can get her to stop moving long enough to get a crisp shot, her face is still all over the map trying to suck up every last drop. Yesterdays try is at the bottom.

It's the nicest thing the Boris's have ever given me.

I started calling the squirrels Boris this past winter after they started stealing my shoe laces. Usually they are just robbing me blind or planting the neighbors crap in my yard. I'm pretty sure one of my neighbors is spending a fortune on peanuts because they pop up everywhere.

So imagine my surprise when they actually left me something nice. They buried one bulb last year and now I have two of these.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Not even close to overheating. Said in the most sarcastic way.

"Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari said on Tuesday he finds it hard to believe that the U.S. economy is in danger of overheating when wage growth is so low." Source.

I'm going to hit Crazy Eyes Kashkari twice today. Because I'm not sure what his definition of overheating is. Take this true headline:

Crazy Silicon Valley real estate: Homes routinely selling for $200,000 or more over asking.

I actually started noticing this in the burbs a few months ago. The amount over isn't as dramatic as Silicon Valley proper.  But I'd say 80% of houses in my area are now selling for over the asking. Anywhere from 20-60 grand. Hey, it's the burbs - it's not going to be as crazy as The Valley.

Now strangely that other 20% percent is actually selling for under asking, which is kinda confusing. Just last night on the news they did a story on how many houses were being sold sight unseen because inventory is so low. That's crazy.

The whole thing made me laugh because this makes the housing bubble look like childs play.

But, the housing distortion is in full speed now. They haven't built enough to keep up with population, and everyone else is locked into low rates. Why would they move? This is putting immense pressure on the sector.

Again, I think it would only take the tiniest of sparks to make this a wild fire. For instance - what if instead of helicopter money........ they just let us keep more of our own money. Radical know.

Look - I'm not an economist but.....

"Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Neel Kashkari said on Tuesday he finds it hard to believe that the US economy is in danger of overheating when wage growth is so low. "

Damn - crazy eyes Kashkari almost had me. I call him that because he tried to run for governor of California. I think it was last term. I almost agree with him. (almost) Wage growth has been anemic due to low inflation.

US unemployment is at 4.4 percent, below what most economists believe is consistent with full employment, and is one data point Fed policymakers cite when they explain why they have been raising interest rates, which Kashkari has opposed.

"It can't be that bad to find workers," Kashkari told the Minnesota Women's Economic Roundtable, adding that while he realizes there are complicating factors like the need for certain skills, when businesses really need workers they will raise wages. "We are not seeing wages climbing."

No Crazy Eyes - businesses will raise wages when they start getting demand and people start spending again. Right now growth is enemic enough they can just push the existing workers harder and pay them the same. Yet - it can still be really hard to find workers. See the feedback loop there?

I think he is too removed from the workforce. I can assure you that there are sectors of the economy where it's pretty hard to find people. Tech and construction.

Contractors are booked months out.  Which I have never seen in my life. Even during the hight of the housing bubble. If you needed a project done you could always get it started within a week or two. Now it's solidly 1-3 months. I assure you that some of the reason these guys are so booked out is because they can't find workers. If they could - they would just hire more and they would make more money. I'd be able to get my projects started within a week or two like the world used to be.

Hell, I've even started seeing gardeners with their kids working with them again. Like 15 year old kids. I haven't seen that in forever! The guy who does my  rental stopped being able to find people to work for him about a year ago I think.

So....... all we really need is the demand to light the spark of wage inflation.

Monday, July 10, 2017

This made me laugh and laugh and laugh.

Snap closes below $17 IPO price amid fears insiders will dump shares.

I think this is a dead company walking. I've said it was a fad before, but I don't care that much because the way they structured the IPO the founders get hit harder than anyone else. When they did it - no on in Silicon Valley had seen an IPO like this. And it looks super greedy, unless you felt it was a fad like I did. I thought - those guys are going to pay for doing that. Enjoy!

Snap has three classes of stock:

Class A stock is what you’ll be able to buy on the New York Stock Exchange. Those shares do not include any votes, though shareholders who buy them will be entitled to attend the company’s annual shareholder meeting and ask questions.

Class B stock is reserved for executives of the company and early investors. Those shares each come with one vote apiece. 

Class C stock is held exclusively by Snap’s co-founders, CEO Evan Spiegel and CTO Bobby Murphy. Those shares come with 10 votes apiece.

Thanks to this structure, Spiegel and Murphy hold a combined 88.5 percent of the company’s total voting power, according to Snap’s IPO filing. This means that every major decision for Snap, from appointing board members to a possible future sale, will be controlled by just two people. Source.

Proof is mounting that Tesla cannot live without corporate welfare.

I've bitched about Tesla forever, but in The Valley Musk gets a huge pass because he has changed the world in a lot of ways. Even I begrudgingly think so.

Having said that - a few weeks ago I read this story: Denmark’s EV sales collapse 60% on tax move.

At the time I wondered if there was finally starting to be trouble in paradise. But you never know when gravity will finally arrive.

Then this morning even worse news came out. Tesla sales stopped dead in Hong Kong after a tax break for electric cars was scrapped. It was ghastly news really.

"The Hong Kong government's decision to scrap a tax break for electric vehicles has had a dramatic effect on sales of Tesla cars in the city, according to The Wall Street Journal. 

Data analysis from The Journal has shown that zero new Tesla Model S sedans and Model X SUVs were registered with the transport department in April, after the vehicle-registration tax waiver for electrics was discontinued at the start of that month. 

Following that, just five privately owned electric cars were registered in May."

Even if you take the view that the tax benefit is just letting people keep more of their own money - then let all people keep more their own money. And stop letting just a few companies live due to corporate welfare.