Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It's going to start that way - is it....

My plan for this week was to be super zen. I know. What kind of new age bullshit is that anyway?

Mr S. and I were in the middle of a perfectly good game of Lego Star Wars, when the power grinds to a halt. My UPS starts screaming. I figure the power for the whole house had gone down. But - it was just that unit.

Within the hour we are down at Fry's looking for a replacement. And, maybe an upgrade. When the power goes down - the ones we have give you about 5 minutes. Enough time to shut everything down in an orderly way.

We opted for a unit that gives you more than an hour of power. We normally get APC units, but we chose the competitor from Cyberpower. It had a nifty LCD display.

After getting it installed, we decided we like it more. APC needs to understand that we are happy an alarm sounds when the power goes out. But, you don't need to be able to hear it from the sidewalk in front. I swear to you - in any normal house you can hear the alert beeping. They don't need to make it sound like my house is burning down when I've simply lost power. And I swear to you - you can hear the APC alarms from the street. It's ridiculous.

This set off a cascade of sorts. We figured we'd swap the new Power Supply backup for one of the older ones running the computers. My machine had an accidental hard boot - it decided to act up. And, my warranty just ran out 2 months ago. Not wanting to give Alienware any money for tech support, because my machine has been a constant pain in the ass and I'm still super bitter about them, we finally got it fixed by replacing the CPU battery.

I don't know why is failed just them. Whatever. At least I'm back up. I'm sure this means the new year will be smooth sailing. (eye roll)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Soon.

You've seen it all before. If you've been reading long enough that is. I have to drop out to get my battered psyche back in shape. One of the spots I hit the ditch is around this time of year. I'm getting there.

I don't know what will hit my fancy this week. Maybe nothing. Maybe something. I don't really know. But, I have to feel better by the first of the year. Then, I just have to suck it up. January is a busy month. Starting out with the Consumer Electronics show. I don't know why the t3rr0r1sts have to screw with crap before I fly.

Sure it's only Vegas - but I was just getting to a point where I didn't have to think up creative ways to keep my camera lens's clean. Now - lens cleaning solution is out.

Whatever.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Deadbeats to the right of me. Vampires to the left.

I've been struggling to figure out what I wanted to post recently. I don't really want to be a whiney little bitch at this time of year. But really, what would this blog be if I wasn't a whiney little bitch? Hmm?

Normally this is the time of year I can think "wow, it's been a tough year, but I can wipe the slate clean and start all over". This year though, I just have no optimism. None. It's been brewing for a while. A couple of things tipped me over.

Last week I was in my front yard and my old neighbor creeped up on me. Before I even saw him coming he was parked right behind me and wanting to chat. Normally this guy is pretty fun, but honestly I wasn't in the mood to talk. I don't remember how the conversation got around to it, but we started talking about the housing market.

I think it began with him telling me one of his friends just bought a house. I inquired if he'd gotten some of that sweet, sweet, government money. That is how my neighbor bought his current house. He recounted a story about one of his other friends "who saw the housing market before the crash, and made a deal with his bank". The conversation went a little like this:

Me - I'm pretty skeptical about people saying they saw the housing market crash.

Him - Oh, my friend did and made a deal with the bank to walk away from his house.

Me - So, was it a short sale.

Him - No. The bank just let him walk away.

Me - So, he defaulted?

Him - No, the bank just let him slide.

Me - your telling me - the bank just said "oh, no problem - you don't owe us that money"?

This sent him into some backpedaling. But, what really annoyed me was the way he recounted the story. Almost with glee that his friend had screwed the bank. Now, make no mistake. There is no one I hate more on the planet right now then the banks, but that is slowly being replaced by people who think its fun to screw the banks.

I honestly don't know which one disgusts me more. Truth be told I've been holy shocked by how many people in my circle are completely disconnected between "people screwing the banks" and the state of our economy. I keep thinking eventually it will hurt them and they will "get it". But, why would they? They will just find a way to screw over whomever and wind up completely fine in the end.

Rewind to about a month ago, when I was talking to a childhood friend. For some reason I always get an update on these two girls we went to school with. One I was friends with for a few years, the other one has just been her friend for all this time. She was telling me about how her friend has been living in her foreclosed house rent free for about 9 months, and they finally got kicked out. The girl moved into a rental - on the same block.

This stuck me as fascinating. If my home had been taken away from me - you can bet I would live in another neighborhood due to embarrassment. Believe me. All of your neighbors know everything about you. Not this girl. Living right on the same block. Not a bit of shame.

The other mutual childhood friend was doing the same thing. Living in her foreclosed house. I don't know for how long. Because I was shocked, honestly. In large part because this was the girls second foreclosure. And, the very reason I had been careful in regards to housing. For all that matters.

When she and I were friends - she'd bought a new house. Immediately started remodeling it. Which, did I mention was new? Brand new. Tore out windows. Then she and her husband had difficulties and lost the house. I vowed to be super careful because of her! Now she was doing exactly the same thing. A first time mistake I can look past. Now I was made to feel that these people "just do this".

Next up?

I never used to see people using food stamps. I will admit right up front that I am highly conflicted in regards to this topic. Food stamps helped my family when I was growing up for a time. However, almost every single time I shop now - there are people in line using food stamps. WIC to be precise. You know how I know this? They hold up the fing line like you can't believe. I've vowed to completely get out of the line if someone with a WIC check is in line.

I actually know a lot of about WIC now because of how long they hold up the line. WIC has very specific rules that the checkers need to follow. If they buy something not approved they need a checker to get the right item. They also can't pay for all the items they buy with one check. So they have to ring a few things up, send the check through. Rinse lather repeat.

When I first starting seeing this months back I had a talk with myself to be tolerant about it. People are struggling I said. However, there are so many people using it - I've turned kind of bitter. And even more surprising to me - is my reaction to the fact they are minorities.

I have never ever in the past had a problem with the immigrants. The Bay Area great because of its diverse culture. Mr S. and I have actually gotten into quite a few squabbles about Mexican immigration. I would be considered quite liberal on the subject. I don't know why they won't just give them work visas like very other country gets. Yet, I'm standing in line watching these people (who weren't even Mexican actually), and feeling like they are stealing money right out of my pocket.

Call it racist if you like. I don't care. I'm being honest. Yet, I'm shocked by my reaction all at the same time.

Why does any of this matter? I just don't feel any hope for next year. And truthfully, I've even started to feel like I was disconnected with the population. I thought a productive society would never stand for what is going on.

I think I misjudged them. I actually think more than half of the population agrees with socialism and that the government should take care of them.

The other day I was reading about how Maine couldn't afford to pave the roads. So they were putting down gravel. Whatever. What really set me off was one of the commenter's. They actually said. "Why do we need road paving. Why do we have to keep getting fancier and fancier."

I honestly could not believe it. Paved roads are now "fancy".

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Truth in advertising.



Okay.

Who thought it was a good idea to put the slogan "so nice, you'll taste it twice" with these burritos that look like they have stomach contents inside?

Hey - maybe it's a warning rather than a sales pitch.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The scariest shit I've ever seen.

Well... not ever.

Sadly, I know people like this. I was talking a girlfriend last week, and the topic brushed into economics. She flat out told me - I depend on my dad to tell me all that stuff. That girl is practically 40 years old. Seriously.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Winter finally arrives in Cali.



Two days ago it was sunny and warm. Three days from now they claim it will be down to 26 degrees. Which is not normal. Usually we just brush into the freezing stage. I sprayed all that plant cover crap on the stuff I didn't want to get effed up this year - but, I think at 26 degrees, the plants won't be saved by that stuff. Now I need to make another plan.

Since we haven't had any rain since Oct, the leaves are somewhat still on the vineyards. I wasn't feeling well enough to really hunt down a great shot, but all this will be gone by Monday.

Friday, December 04, 2009

I have an idea about job creation.

How about not calling a jobs summit and making it abundantly clear you have absolutely no idea how, or what, creates jobs? It tends to make just about everyone jittery that we may never get out of this.

Oh wait. We will get out of this. Right?

Babies and economies. They never quite act like you think they will.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Yes. They still exist.



I'm still down with the unending cold. It just saps all my energy. I need to get rid of it so I can catch something new at CES.

Anyway, I know I haven't talked about the bunnies in a while. Sometimes when they are having problems, I just can't talk about stuff until I get through it. I'm generally that way with a lot of things.

Paisley had a big thing with her allergies this summer. It really flared out of control. The chin-gina medication wasn't helping anymore, and she was getting a lot of benadryl shots. We stuck her on 30 day round of antibiotics and it seems like she might have had a low level of infection under the skin surface. She's finally growing a little hair back.

Chin problems are really difficult with bunnies. They have to drink. And she's not even fat, but she had a skin fold problem.

I'm glad to not have to be devoting constant energy on that problem.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

BAC Home Loans Servicing.

This is for searchable purposes.

Last month I was notified that my crapshack mortgage would be sold to BAC Home Loans. I wasn't crazy about the idea. I have perfect credit, but there are all sorts of reasons Bank of America might do this right now. It wasn't a big deal. I figured they were just splitting off their mortgages from the banking sector. Isolating the plague. No big deal. Until today.

I get a notice in the mail that looks like a collection notice. Also making it look like they were calling my loan fully due. Which immediately makes me super agitated. I've never been one day late. I have a fixed 30 year mortgage, and I've never requested a modification.

I immediately check my credit report. All is still perfect.

On a normal day - this notice would have been a non event. In this business environment - I'm panicked. Mr S., I say, - we have a contract. They can't cancel this out right? With all that has been going on, who can be 100% sure? There have been a ton of things that happened this year I would have never thought legally possible. Yet they are. So I'm still panicked.

BAC Home Loans makes it super hard to talk to an operator. When I do talk to one, she asks if my mortgage was sold from Countrywide. Which it wasn't. She goes on to explain that these letters were only meant to go out to Countrywide Customers, and was meant to inform customers that BAC can collect payments.

Which apparently they didn't, because I was from Bank of America. She tells me to just disregard the notice. Which I am not having at all. I don't trust them. She finally says she can send me something in the mail to confirm that my loan is completely fine. Only then I feel better.

Yet the whole thing is a perfect example of what is going on in the market right now. A crisis of confidence. From day to day the rules change, and I can't even trust my contract to be legal and valid.

It just sucks.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cars. Delayed post.

Today we made it up to the San Fransisco car show. Most of the pictures out of this show will be of the high end Lambos and Aston Martins. I'm a little bored of that. Last weekend, just driving around the Bay Area - I saw a Viper, Aston Martin and a Lamborghini Diablo. Instead, my new favorite thing is flat paint jobs.



When I first starting seeing this trend in the summer of 08' I loved it. Mr S. hated it. Which I honestly can't believe. He'll put lambo doors and anything that moves. Yet a little flat paint turns him off. Seriously.

Previous sightings here and here. It's the first time I've seen them in color. Previously it's been flat black.

Lexus really seems to be embracing the flat back trend.



They had two cars painted that way.



Flat yellow Lamborghini MurciƩlago.



Not sure I love the flat grey so much.








Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Modern art? It's bullshit.

Since I'd gotten the weekend wrong for the car show - we decided to find something else to do. The San Fransisco Museum of Art is right across the street from the Moscone so we decided to go there. I'd seen pictures of some of the displays before and thought they were interesting.

We walked up to get tickets. Right at this moment, a woman says "I have an extra ticket if you want it". Mr S. and I look at each other and attempt to tell her we'd buy it. In a hurried tone she says "take it - I have to go in", and thrusts it into my hand and rushes into the museum. We thank her as she's rushing off, and buy just one ticket.

As soon as we get in - I become a little surly. It was all just photographs. Not art. The net is filled with photographs. And, some really good ones I might add. I explain to Mr S. that I'd seen pictures out of this place of sculptures and they were pretty interesting. So, we walk through the floors and my mood doesn't get any better.

Mr S. however finds this funny. He starts pointing out the ridiculousness of the displays. Including, but not limited to, a sheet of white paper with 4 thumbtacks. I swear to you - it was an art display. A completely grey canvass.



A cervix.



A display of cardboard boxes. Painted white.





How is that fing art? That is a Mailboxes Etcetera.

The whole thing was just stupid, and I left feeling really glad that woman had given us that ticket. I was pissed to even pay 15 bucks to get in. Honestly.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Success. Sort of.

I know most of you stalkers come to the blog in the morning. So I'm going to give you something for the morning. Sort of.

I'm going to try really hard to push a post out my SFMOMA by the end of the day tomorrow.

You know.. when that whole pig flu thing started happening. I don't even remember when it started now. I said to myself - self - that whole thing is bullshit. I'm just going to be in as many crowds as possible and slightly infect myself so I can gain the immunity. I never got the swine flu, but I have had a cold almost all summer long.

I finally had to take antibiotics. But, the whole thing leaves me really tired.

That is all.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Saturday fail.



Today we were up in the city. There was suppose to be a car show. Yeah, I know this blog has been more car shows than technology lately. You see we are in a recession. Right? Tech is mostly in survival mode more than anything else. So, they aren't showing as much stuff off lately. Even my robot show was canceled in Nov. I think everyone is saving their powder for CES in a little over month.

Since we were going to be in the city, we decided to find a place to find some sourdough starter. I wanted this to be the winter of bread making. It hasn't gotten super rainy yet. So, I haven't really begun.

Anyway. This took us to the Ferry building. I've never been there in the daytime. Only at night. In the day - they have this great farmers market.

Oh - not just any old farmers market. They have cheeses and bread. And, they had this shop that had more mushroom varieties than I've seen in the whole bay area.



I've passed this place a ton of times, but I thought it was just a run of the mill farmers market. So, I've never been interested to stop. But this place called Boulettes Larder had live sourdough starter, and now I regret never having stopped. Honestly, I was in such a hurry to get to the car show that we spent about 30 minutes there.

When we got to Moscone I realized that I had the weekend wrong. It's next weekend.

We wound up stopping over at the SFMOMA. Which was super annoying. But, I'll post about that tomorrow.

Now I have to learn how to keep my yeast alive.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Audrey.



Every so often - I drive by my old house. I will always be attached to that house. Not because I loved it - because of the enormous struggles the house holds. I'm starting to think that I'll be attached forever to all my houses. Every one of them has been a struggle.

I tend to drive by that house a little more than I might normally be inclined. The people who own it now bought at the height of the market. I always hope they are okay. I don't know why.

So, I drive by apprehensively to see if there is a fore sale sign in the front. And I feel relief when I see none. They've never changed one single item in the front. It looks exactly like the day we sold it. I'm always perplexed by this. Not one bush. Not one flower. It's all the same.

Anyway, a few blocks from the house was a giant little shop of horrors plant. It must have been left over from Halloween. The house... a crapshack. It would be perfect for taking over. In another time. The neighbors with pristine lawns, and well kept houses. I just found it funny. I mean, they put a lot of effort into the decoration. The house. Not so much.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sprint, a company the government can brag about being better than.

We've been with Sprint for all of two months. We've already logged over 10 hours of tech support. Oh no. I'm not kidding. How these people can not figure out why they are bleeding money is beyond me. Just walk into one of your stores Sprint! Simple as that. Look. Let me help you.

A few weeks ago, Mr S's Palm Pre stopped wanting to connect to internetty things. Like turn by turn navigation, and the Internet. He finally broke down and called tech support. Our previous experiences on tech support ate up hours of time. So deciding to call them was no small decision.

Three tech support guys (who all had him do the same thing-despite being landed in front line support and back line support) and two and a half hours later Mr S. is given a trouble ticket and sent to a Sprint brick store in our city.

We walk in, show the ticket number and ask for the repair department. The girl just looks at us, then around the store like "duh, you can see this isn't a repair store". We tell her customer support sent us there.

Oh yeah, she says -the customer support line has been doing that. The repair store is in the city next door.

She gave no hint she would call them and make them stop sending people to the store when there wasn't actually a repair shop there. Oh well. Not her job. Most people have nothing better to do with their lives anyway. Right?

We drive to the repair shop, and the guy tells us to come back in an hour. We don't want to do that, we leave a number to have them call us when the phone is fixed. After three hours we call. It's taking longer than expected. They will call us.

See why I didn't just want to drop back in after an hour?

Finally about 5:00, they call and say the phone is done. We hop over there. They hand us the phone. Mr S. asks "what did they do to fix it"?

The rep - I don't know, but it's fixed.

Mr S. - well, I want to know how they fixed it.

The rep - you know what was wrong with it.

Me - Can you ask the guy what he did to fix it?

He finally walks over and talks to the tech and Mr S. walks over too. The tech is behind this bank style bullet proof glass with holes and a tiny slot kind of deal. The tech tells him he wiped the phone. Mr S. responds that the techs on phone support already did that. So, the guy tells him he should test the phone before he leaves. Mr S. is kind of annoyed because if the tech would have read anything in the trouble ticket he would have known the phone was already wiped.

Mr S. tries his phone, and it still doesn't work. The tech takes his phone back and doesn't say anything to us. So we assume we are just suppose to wait around. This is where I start focusing on the employees. There are 12 employees in the store. One shopper. Three people including us on the repair side. And there was this other woman who was just hanging out.

Three of employees were just sitting around in the repair side. One was surfing on his phone. One was poking holes in his forehead with his fingers and rubbing his face like he was trying not to fall asleep, and the other was just hanging out with the friend. I immediately wanted to fire all these people.

Most of the other employees were trying to look busy by doing stuff on the terminals. Still - only one customer in the store. 12 employees.

Finally after 20 minutes they decided to swap the phone out.

The whole thing took all day. We finally got out about 6:00. I've spent less time in the DMV behind a hundred people in line in front of me. Sprint would make any government bureaucracy proud.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

More interesting than any insect had a right to be. The rise and fall of Jeff the mantid.



We woke up on Sunday and found that Jeff had died. We were surprised she lived as long as she did. Still, it was somewhat of a bummer. Which proves you can get attached to anything. Truthfully she turned out to be a really clean pet. Although the last couple of weeks she did start to take on a fishy tone. We were trying to resolve how we'd handle that.

We were always fascinated about how well she adjusted to being handled. She had no fear of us, and in the end seemed like she owned us rather than us owning her. Without putting to many human characteristics on her - she seemed to like the human interaction. Which I think mostly amounted to enjoying body heat. Even though they are cold blooded, she often sought places that were warmer. Computer monitors. People. The fireplace.

This picture was from the first escape. You can see how big and fat she was. We kept the lid on her a lot more after that. It took us a while to find her.



She never flew, and the only time she'd use her wings was to threaten. Which always made this amazingly loud scraping sound. And the only time she seemed inclined to leave her cup was when it was time to lay an egg sack. She laid her last one a couple of days before she died. 3 and a half in total. Though only one is fertilized.

Even then, she wouldn't fly anywhere. Opting instead to just fall off the table. On Friday she did this and took off. We let her, because she'd been cooped up for a while. This is where she encountered Saffron and threatened her. Which was pretty funny.

It was totally unexpected that there could be any attempt to domesticate these things. But, she seemed content to just hang out on her Styrofoam cup. Often unattended. When you'd walk into the room, she'd swing her head around and just watch you.



I think the best hope is getting them when they are an inch of so in size. Before they get their wings and become adults. Feeding her moths seemed to give us the biggest bang for the insect food buck. In summer that was much easier.

Anyway.

The End.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ya'll squeeze in.



On Saturday Mr S. and I decided we were going to a car show in Sacramento. I've actually never been. I've never had the motivation to go there, and it turns out I'm not missing all that much.

I spent a fair amount of time yelping a place to have lunch. Because lets face it. I live to go out of town to eat. The thing about suburbs - they are bathed in the soft white glow of conformity. They all have the same strip mall eateries. My city is especially interesting in that if a good chain exists, it will find a way to crap it up. Restaurants close here faster than you can say "hey, didn't that new place just open".

And, you can tell the city is dying for good places. When a new restaurant opens the place is packed for two solid months. Then everyone vanishes because they suck. The yelpers in my town even make jokes and bets about how soon things will close. It isn't just me. It's an official running joke.

Anyway, sometimes I'll even go over to flickr to see if people are sharing photos of good places to eat. Which is what I did for Sacramento. This is where I ran across photos from this guy.

We set out for Sacramento on Saturday, and got up there around 11:30. Completely passed the place 2 times. When we did find it - my first response was "holy shit! Look at the line"! The restaurant itself is literally the size of three Chevy SUV's packed side by side.



So, we feel the wait will be short. We find a place behind this suburban biker group who honestly can be best described by that recent South Park Episode about bikers here.



By noon my mood is starting to go downhill. I'm fine if I don't eat anything until noon - but between 12 and 12:30 I start getting surly. After that I just stop talking. Mr S. will ask me a question, and I just start replying with "I don't knows." Which is what happened. Oh, we are at that spot then? He says. I just glare.

When I was younger I could not eat anything until the evening. I'd be hungry, but fine. Now my blood sugar drops off and it gets super moody if I don't eat something by noon.

So, this line is unrelenting. We stand there for more than an hour and a half. Not one person walked up to that line and aborted. Not one person left. No one said "hell no, I'm not waiting in that line". All the while they have signs every where about the businesses towing your car if you park in their lot. And it was freezing cold that day.

It took us almost two hours to get our burgers. It was slight before 2:00. I'd gone to check on the car at 1:30. There was a tow truck sitting in the parking lot. So I was pretty glad I'd gone to check. Though it didn't look like they were towing anyone.

If I was in the area again. I'd probably do it all over. Not on peak hours though. If that place ever has non peak.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Still limping along.

Last night Mr S. came up to me and said - guess how big my disk drive is.

Me - 200 gig. I said proudly.

He points to the ground.

Me - Whaaaaaat?

Him - 80 gigs.

Me - No way! It's like from the 1970's.

Him - when I bought that drive 5 years ago, it was a decent size. Drives double in size every year.

Me - well, more than double right? When I got that terabyte drive it was about a year ago and now they are out with 2.5s.

Him - I've even been seeing terabyte laptop drives now.

Me - that's crazy. I think I've chewed through 4 sets of drives in that time, and you are still on the same drive.

I hope to be fully up by this weekend. But, I'm also going out of town-ish and hope to have something interesting for you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Offline.

I don't know when I'm going to get back online. I got hit with a virus. Spent the last day just trying to get a bootable CD. It so irritates me that you have to play 7 games of twister to find a valid bootable image.

Oh - back in the day you used to be able to just burn a floppy. Machines these days don't come with floppies, and for some reason burning a bootable CD or thumb drive image seems to be an act of nature. And of course, when you buy a machine these days they hardly even give you the CD's for the OS, little alone a boot disk.

I was feeling so clever that I raided my drive (mirror). But, that only helps you in a failure. When you have a corruption. Both drives are corrupted.

And, since I'm dealing with a terabyte drive. It litterally takes 4 hours for just about everything. Even a virus scan. Which is what got my into this problem in the first place. Instead of running a full scan - I rebooted. Yeah me. I told you I wasn't smart.

It's amazing how butt puckered you get when you realize that 1000's of gigabytes of pictures are at risk.

Anyway. If you were wondering.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Freeway stories.

Today was suppose to go much, much differently. We were going to get some lunch in Santa Clara, then go to the Tech Museum.

Yeah... notsomuch.

In the roughly 10 miles it took to get through San Jose to Santa Clara there were 6 accidents. I've never seen anything like it. Especially on a sunny, unobstructed day. And they weren't follow on accidents. Every two miles or so - someone had spun out, or crashed into someone. It was just the weirdest thing. I've seen a ton of pileups, but never so many in such a short stretch.





If you look closely where those guys are standing - you can see a tire. This was a full on rollover.





The whole thing was the suckiest thing ever. And, there were even a few bad ass cars on the road. But, since the traffic was so thick I couldn't get a clean shot.

Lamborghini diablo. They were only 250 grand new. Now a mere 200 grand.



And a meh Tesla Electric. They do cost a lot of money though.



It amazes me how often I can get shots of really expensive sports cars. It's like Silicon Valley is paved with pricey sports cars. Which makes me happy.

Then, there was this funny dog.



The whole traffic thing sucked the life out of me. So I didn't get to the museum.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Great. Before long we are going to get a drum circle.

Today I was at the drug store picking up eye KY for Saffron. It's basically sterile Vaseline. Usually the stuff costs around 10 bucks. But, the store I was in had the prices as high as 18 bucks. For a tiny tube of Vaseline mineral oil two inches long. Which sort of pissed me off. I mean - the people who would normally use this stuff is old people. And, 18 bucks. Why not bend them over and ball gag them. It's ridiculous. Oh no... there isn't any inflation here though.

My pissed offedness didn't stop there. When I checked out the item was 10.99, but my charge was 12.08. You see it's the small items were you really notice the state is raping you. A buck in tax. 9.75%. When you buy a bunch of stuff it gets lost in the noise of overcharging. Then, I guess I'm just a little pissed that starting today the state is basically mugging Californian's.

Apparently they can just say they are going to randomly take 10% more in taxes. But, it isn't a tax. You will get it back in April. These assholes don't get that everyone who can - will just change their withholding so they get even less money.

Then, I guess my town is being successful at making this place and "art" town. Which is basically code for bum haven. These people looked to be camping in the parking lot of the drug store. They were all hanging out in their bean bags on the ground. I know it looks like they might be broken down. Yet their beggar sign said "can you spare a smiley". Which is so fing Berkeley style bumming. Pisses me off.





Plus my cell phone didn't get very good shots. I should know to never leave the house without my camera.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Bad ass cars - stuff you don't see everyday edition.



Mr S. and I were driving down the freeway and this black viper passes us.

I say - Ooooh. Viper!. Then start whipping out the camera to take photos. Just at that moment, Mr S. catches the Ford GT crawling up on us. He was back drafting the Viper. I don't think they were together as they went in different directions.



I don't really like these Ford GT's. But, Mr S. does. And he says they are pretty uncommon. They've only made them one year or something. Much more rare than Vipers. I still think they're ugly.

The GT got off on the same freeway exit as we were getting off on. Mr S. thought he might be going to the exotic car lot. I said he was probably going to Hooters. Which was just a block away.

We run our errand. Two hours later we were in the same area finishing the errand which just happened to be a couple of blocks from the hooters. Which we had to pass to get back on the freeway. And.... who do you guess was at the Hooters? Ford GT guy. Mr S. and I both laugh. I win!

If that guy can afford that car - he should really think about getting better chicks. The hooters girls are pretty meh. And what is with those 70's shorts?

OMG! They killed Kenny!





For your entertainment Davis.

Mr S. was able to re-purpose the pumpkins by just changing the mouths. Before pictures for everyone else here.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!



This is Mr S.'s brain trust. South Park Pumpkins.

Evil Pumpkin Snowman was a huge hit getter this year. It isn't easy coming up with good pumpkin ideas. I think the Kenny pumpkin turned out so awesome. Mr S. is just really clever. Honestly they all look more like the characters than I could have expected.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday.

Today, Mr S. and I pulled an unusual weekday lunch. I mostly don't eat lunch during the week. The traffic usually sucks too much to do anything but grab some subway when he works from home. Plus, it's just hard to grab time due to work.

Today though, we figured we drive down and get some Dim Sum. We found a parking spot right away. Which was the most amazing sign ever. To be honest - finding a parking spot is like winning the lottery. They've underestimated the business traffic by 100%. Not even joking. We were able able to get seated right away. Also unheard of. Everything seemed to be smooth sailing to have a quick lunch.

Then Mr S. tried to log into work and he couldn't. Since we were pretty close to where he worked, he figured he would just pop in and reboot his machine.

As soon as we got to the parking deck he spotting the Tesla that always parks in the electric plug in station. Talked about it here. I figured I'd hang out in the car and wait for him and take pictures of the car.



As I was waiting for him, I got to watch people come in and out of the parking deck. One guy had his dog. The place is just so old time Silicon Valley. There are lots of times I wish I could talk about the things they do there. But I won't. Not because I don't want to be sued. Because - I want them to win. Fierce loyalty doesn't exist like that much anymore. It used to be common in the old Silicon Valley. You always felt like you were on the edge of changing the world and you wanted to protect the source of that.

I've been reading a lot of stories about people getting laid off recently. I have to wonder if the workforce would have had the same feeling as I do, if things would be different right now. Everyone seems to think the company should be loyal to them. It doesn't seem to go the other way. Everything is someone else's' job.

You have to protect the hive. The hive being your employer. Then hopefully - the hive protects you. So what the company gets richer than you do. It must be an enormous strain to have all the lives of those who work for you resting on your shoulders.



Driving out of the parking deck we spotted this Aston Martin and it made me happy. Somehow I've always loved that about the Valley. Walking out of a building and seeing the most expensive cars imaginable. Not that I could ever dream of affording one, and if I could - I'm not sure I could stomach driving around something that costs as much as a crappy house. This is California after all. Houses aren't that cheap in the Valley yet. Those cars represent someone having made something great. I hope they enjoy them for as long as they can.

I see the natives are restless.



I see you guys tagging my site. I should have something for you later today.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What - you expected the virgin Mary?



The plan on Saturday was to start out with breakfast. We found ourselves at a little Honduran place that just opened in town.

Hey, it isn't a new Mexican place at least! Anyway, I've fallen in love with these things called sweet tamals. After the third time at the place, a light in my head went on and said " hey, these are just tamales". Tamal/tamale. See.. I'm smart like that. (eye roll)

Then sod, then the pumpkin patch.

The sod was quick, but the pumpkin patch threatened to derail me for the day. The place was packed. Especially considering you could get any old pumpkin for at least half the price at the supermarket.

We figured we'd get the sod in an hour, and then carve pumpkins.

Yeah. Not so much. Every piece had to be custom cut. We did get the robomower line run, and at least providing a signal. I guess we will find out in a couple of weeks if the mower will do the full run. For now it looks good on the dry run.

Today we have a big wind event. You know what grass hates? To be dried out by wind. It was the last weekend to be able to get that sod in though. Apparently, you have until the first of December. I mean - November.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Home instead.



Remember a couple of weeks back - I had my panties in a bunch of the tree trimmers blowing me off? Well, last week one of the guys called me back. So I ignored him. My refrigerator had just broken, and the storm came and went without really any damage.

He called again. I ignored him. Finally, he called a third time and I relented. Which basically gave him the feedback that he can blow people off, and if he is just persistent, he still gets work.

Anyway, we set a time for today - and Mr S. lined up a bunch of crap to do around the house. Like splitting up this expensive fancy grass I'd put on the side of the house. Then putting the splits somewhere else. I don't even remember the name of this stuff - but I love it. It doesn't need any water or any attention. My picture isn't great - but you are lucky to get any pictures at all. It was a busy day.

The other thing was trying to get the robomower to do my courtyard. It's been one of those projects that we've never gotten back to. For like three years. I had to let some of my grass die this year due to the drought, and it was the perfect time to run the line. And figure out if the mower will pick up the signal through the concrete pads we stuck down. I'll try to get pictures tomorrow. Because tomorrow is sod day.

Our first pass at this found a break in the line, and we had to dig down to the wire in between every single pad and see if we could get a signal from it.

To be continued......

Oh yeah - the tree guy came out, and he was completely normal. I assured him I'd talked to my neighbor about the tree thing and he was fine. (story here) I even went over there again to make sure. I'll have to tell you some of the things he said to me. But not now. Later. I'm tired Yo. The tree guy is coming in about 10 days. He's charging me less than the crazy guy, and I asked him to do more. (shrug)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Gmail hacking.

When I got up this morning, Mr S. said the following to me.

Him - I got a weird email from one of my old friends.

Me - What is weird about it?

Him - It was a letter asking for help. That he'd flown to Europe and had gotten robbed at gunpoint. They still had their passports, but they needed money to get home. His wife and kids were okay. (the wife's name was included in the email)

Mr S. goes onto say -
I'm sure it's a scam. So I wrote him back and asked him to verify how we knew each other.

Me - That is weird. It sounds like a scam to me too. But, how do they know his wife's name.

Him - Right. And how would they know he had kids?

Me - I'm pretty sure it's a scam. I mean, how would you fly to Europe and not have a return ticket? And... I thought they didn't have guns there, I say sarcastically.

So, Mr S. winds up calling the guy. Apparently, it was a scam. It was a Nigerian scam.

The guy goes onto say - the Nigerians have apparently figured out how to hack gmail. And that he can't get Google to shut the account down. But, he has heard from a lot of people he hasn't heard from in a while.

Anyway. Just a warning if you have a Gmail account.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

All roads lead back.



It was a few months ago, when I went to the kite festival in Berkeley - that Mr S. and I needed to find a breakfast place. For some reason we decided on this place in Oakland called Lois the Pie Queen.

Not knowing if it was a good or bad area of Oakland we were a little apprehensive. But, look at the name! Who wouldn't risk it?

It's the kind of place where the cooks are wearing Che t-shirts, and the patrons are straight out of a movie. This weekend when were were there, a couple of guys were dressed like they were in the matrix. Everyone just has very big personalities. And, the owners always greet you with a "welcome" instead of a hello. A little like being wrapped up in a warm towel from the dryer.

Well, this has set off the most unhealthy love affair with food that I think I've ever experienced. All over grits. Oh yes. I said it. Grits. I'm going to provide you with a picture in case you've never heard of them. But none of these look like the Grits from Lois the Pie Queen. Here. It's honestly like a bowl of love.

Now, I lived in the south for a while and didn't really care much for grits. All of a sudden I'm having a love affair with them. Not to mention everything they serve just looks great. Which forces you to order stuff you wouldn't normally eat. Like fried chicken for breakfast. Something I would never do. You can't get in a habit of having fried chicken for breakfast. Honestly. But OMG.

Anyway. I still don't know how good or bad the neighborhood is. A couple of times on the news people have been killed within blocks of the place. It is Oakland. Yet, I'd risk getting a cap in my ass because their food is that good. And I don't care about the Che shirts. I can look away from the love of communism for a minute. They could be having an entire revolution in the restaurant, and I would just look on. Eating my grits. Seriously.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Random shots of Berkeley.

I'm posting these in no particular order.



I thought this one was funny. Because - who are they kidding?



This is standard Berkeley. If you are aching for some tiedye. Berkeley is the place to be. Still. You'd think it was the 1970's there.



Makes the place seem nicer.



I have no idea. She was standing in front of the university. And no matter what Keyser says, it ain't that nice. I did find it an interesting shot. Though I took it on the run. I often feel self conscience taking pictures of random people.





You can't really travel five feet without some sort of overt political statement in Berkeley. The other space is filled with bums and hippies. I resisted taking pictures of a drum circle. Which I regret now.