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


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.


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.


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.