Thursday, September 29, 2011

I want to punch these people in the neck so frickin hard.

Notice the histrionics.

"RICHMOND, Calif. (KGO) -- There is outrage in the East Bay over trees that were chopped down and it is the reason they were cut down that has people so upset.

A grove of more than 100 trees were chopped down to make way for, of all things, a solar system. The trees were cut down at the popular Point Pinole Regional Shoreline Park in Richmond. "

The article goes on to say:

"It began as a project to convert 13 county buildings to solar power. Most of the solar panels were installed on rooftops, but the county public works department, along with Main Street Power -- a green construction company -- felt the area was the best place to build the panels for the West County jail. "

"Now the county wants to replant trees here which will ultimately cost the tax payers more money.

Now the solar panels will have to be put elsewhere. The irony is all of this was in an effort to go solar and be more environmentally conscious. "
Track back.

Honestly, I don't know how 100 trees get chopped down without anyone noticing. That's got to take a few days. No job foreman on this project apparently. Construction workers are like children, and need to be monitored closely. They will rob you blind if you let them.

I think the city needs to live with the fact they have 100 less tree, and those panels should not be moved. Because paying for both - is bullshit. Those panels will probably get ripped off any day now anyway.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

President Money Bags sure does love his signs.

I was up in SF this weekend to check out a protest. Normally I would have left the city thinking - man, homelessness up here is as bad as I've ever seen it. If it weren't for this sign.

Now I'm not going to give some trite "how to solve homelessness" speech. The reasons for homelessness are extremely complicated. I have been trying to figure it out my whole life. Not in a middle class saving a puppy dog sort of way. But from a perspective born of fear.

I was born to a mother who wasn't even 14 yet. So, you can image all the socioeconomic ramifications of that. Back in the day - you didn't get a reality show. You moved frequently. I've always watched the homeless from a distance with some curiosity and much self reflection.

So, to see this sign next to a park filled with homeless - just burns me. It is one of the most disappointing aspects of this administration. Their incessant march to get people signed up for food stamps and welfare.

It is so easy to get on assistance. It is so hard to get off. Many of them never will, and they will wind up in a park like these people.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Rainy day car show.

Not really much there except the Noble, but I kind of liked this hood. These types of paint jobs are hard to get in the blazing sun. A little overcast helped.

Bad Ass Noble.

This is a Noble M400. Turns out my town has a repair shop for the Noble line. There are 19 of them sitting there. Which might be the full inventory for Silicon Valley. I also might have to stalk them down. I mean, a year ago when I saw my first one - I didn't think I would ever see another one. Now there are 19 sitting in my town.

Normally I don't take pictures of the motors. My Husband tells me dudes like that. As long as it can take my heavy foot - I don't much give a shit about the motor. Mr S. also seemed to think I would be a cop magnet with one of these. Because I am going to drive it like a man, Baby!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Must keep time.

Does anyone know how to cut cardboard like this? I would die to know how to do that. It must be with lasers. Right?

Friday, September 23, 2011

The domino's start falling.

Accusations of "another Solyndra" pull the plug on new vehicle chargers in small town.

"With a population of around 14,000, Mill Valley, CA is too big to be called a one-horse town. The real question is whether it will become a two-EV charging station town.

That question that was up for consideration at the September meeting of the Mill Valley town council. The city's planning engineer had sought and found grant money for installing Chargepoint charging stations as part of a 2010 deal between Marin Clean Energy and Coulomb Technologies to put charging stations in eight Marin County communities. A location for the charging stations had been located. Some of the funds for putting the stations in place came through that plan, while additional funds came from the Marin County transportation authority and other sources. Costs to the city would run around $1,000 a year (including electricity). Putting in the charging stations seemed to have support.

But a funny thing happened on a way to a vote. A local resident stood up to call electric cars something that was being forced on the community by the Federal government, "another Solyndra" that just "plain doesn't work." Within a few minutes, the city council decided that the costs and giving up two "precious parking spaces" was too much to ask."

First - notice the liberal area code. Mill Valley is right next to Marin.

Two - that is an amazingly small dollar amount for a city to kill a project. Especially in Marin County. I was just up there a week or two ago, and even now, it doesn't look like anything happened there. From an outsiders view, they seem relatively unscathed by the recession. Hell, even my renter is getting roofing work in Marin now.

Three - what does this do to Tesla?

Four - What does this do to Telsa?

Five - Repeat three and four.

In 2009 I started bitching about these things in Living off the companies teet. I am reusing the picture for this post.

With all that has been going on in the solar side - these plug in stations were completely off my radar. To see a resident in liberal Marin so easily shut down a project, means governments are running scared. Some might get the feeling a lot of these companies are toxic. Rightly so or not. With these plug in stations though - completely toxic.

Personally I couldn't figure out how that whole system was going to work. I think the electricity from them was almost completely subsidized.
I'm too ADD to get a post together today. Who wants to listen to me bitch on a Friday anyway. Hope to have good content for the weekend.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

How is this for a gut check?

Hallmark introduces layoff greeting cards.

How what happens in France matters in California.

I've been watching the silent bank run in France. Carefully watching to see if BNP Paribas was one of the banks affected. Why do I care?

Well, a few weeks ago I was watching TV when a Bank of the West commercial came on. At the very end in text it said " A PNB Paribas Company".

When the eff did France buy Bank of the West - I thought.

I might have not even noticed if I didn't have a slight affection for this bank. I've never done business with them, but as a kid my mom worked as a courier for them. In the old days, they had people to transport checks and other bank business from branch to branch.

Plus, even as a kid it was one of the few banks that still had those pneumatic tubes. Which is a piss poor reason to have an affection for a bank... but still - pneumatic tubes! I still love them to this day.

Bank of the West has been around forever. They apparently are also California's 5th largest bank. Who has also suddenly announced "significant job cuts".
FSLR has now lost 218 bucks a share since peak in 2008. Now trading at 67.70 a share.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Yesterday I was going to blog it felt like the world was going to break any day now. But it seemed too gloomy. Today it doesnt feel gloomy enough.
Hmmmm. Who to believe? Ken Salazar, or the market?

SMA Solar turns sour on PV with cuts to forecast and jobs

"SMA Solar – the world’s leading supplier of PV inverters – has cut its full-year earnings guidance, slashed 1,000 temporary jobs and given a downbeat view of the sector's prospects for 2012. "

"Inverters are seen as one of the most profitable segments of the PV value chain, alongside polysilicon. "

If by bright, he means falling off a cliff.

This my friends is a chart of First Solar Inc. FSLR. Do I need to give any commentary? With the way the market looks, this stock will probably print at a 52 week low. Right now 74.03 a share.

"I think the future for solar energy is bright," Salazar said, predicting that success would come over the next several years and convince even cynics that solar can be an affordable alternative to coal-fired power plants and other traditional forms of energy." Here.

What kind of degree does this guy have? Wait.. never mind. Probably Berkeley. The translation to this whole story is - wait, let me tell my buddies to get their money out first.

Okay folks. This is straight from a presser First Solar sent out a couple of days ago.

" The CdTe technology spearheaded by First Solar is considered by the EPIA as the most economical thin film technology, with recorded efficiency levels of up to 11% in 2010. The latest breakthroughs should eventually raise the efficiency levels of these panels to 15% and will make these cells more attractive to purchasers."

Sitting on your roof. Which means no electrical line loss - you only get 11% efficiency. Hoped to be 15% soon. I mean, Moore's Law is great. Just not as great as Ken Salazar thinks.

" However with the credits in the U.S. set to expire in 2016 and governments in Europe looking to cut back on their programs, module manufacturers are realizing that they must cut costs to maintain sales and margins."

Just now realising they need to cut costs to maintain margins. The article was dated 9/19/11.

Sometimes I don't understand how the computer industry can spawn such idiots. But I guess is the government is shoveling money into your craw, you don't understand such things as market forces.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It won't be long now.

You know what bothers me most about this whole green energy fraud? Some might think it's the billions of tax dollars wasted. It isn't. I'm used to the government stealing my money, and buying 800 dollar toilet seats.

It's the fact that Steven Chu came straight from the board of directors of a semiconductor company who's philosophy is that every computer part will one day cost a penny. Oh, I know these board of director posts are mostly about political influence. Still, I thought the board of directors could, if needed, make valuable decisions about the company in which they hold a board seat.

So, how do you resolve an energy secretary who seems completely oblivious to propping up a sector who's mandate is to keep prices high to support the industry. When he just came from a place who's mandate was to keep prices low to gain market share. Either a Berkeley degree isn't as great as you think it is - or he is a flat out fraud.

Even more irksome is most of Silicon Valley's overall philosophy is doing things better and cheaper to undercut your competitors.

Oh Snarkolepsy, you are crazy - you say. They would never want to keep prices high. If the price comes down, green energy can compete with fossil fuels. This is what they want.

If that were true, they wouldn't be bitching about China undercutting the US. They would welcome it. Like they did when China made TV's. We all like cheaper TV's. Right? We all might buy solar, if it were cheaper. RIGHT?

Then this morning I read this:

"Sacramento is one of two U.S. cities set to participate in a massive energy-efficiency project assembled by British business tycoon Richard Branson.

The plan would pour an estimated $100 million into retrofitting commercial buildings in Sacramento. The company running the project, Ygrene Energy Fund of Santa Rosa, estimates the plan could generate upwards of 8,000 construction jobs for the city."
Read more here.

I almost dismissed this article with a roll of the eye. Self I said - who cares if they are doing it with private money. That won't last long because they are basically just making shit up. "Projections" are not reality.

Still, I was a little curious about Richard Bransons new brain trust. I'm glad I did actually. It makes car salesmen look absolutely saintly.

"Focusing mainly on commercial property at first, the group plans to exploit a new tax arrangement that allows property owners to upgrade their buildings at no upfront cost, typically cutting their energy use and their utility bills by a third. The building owners would pay for the upgrades over five to 20 years through surcharges on their property-tax bills, but that would be less than the savings. " Read more here.

Ooooooh! They are pushing PACE again. Thanks Berkeley. It starts getting good here though. They go on to say:

"Short-term loans provided by Barclays Capital will be used to pay for the upgrades. Contractors will offer a warranty that the utility savings they have promised will actually materialize, and an insurance underwriter, Energi, of Peabody, Mass., will back up that warranty. Those insurance contracts, in turn, will be backed by Hannover Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurance companies."

Why......if prices came down, surely they could easily make good on a warranty that savings will materialise. Wait,there is more!

"As projects are completed, the upgrade loans, typically carrying interest rates of 7 percent, will be bundled into long-term bonds resembling those routinely issued by governmental taxing districts. Barclays will market the bonds. Retirement funds have expressed interest in buying these bonds, which will be repaid by tax surcharges on each property that undergoes a retrofit. " Here.

Hey, maybe CALPERS could invest. Seriously though. A 7% interest rate? What kind of effed up credit do you need for that mauling? Oh wait.

•Underwriting is fast and easy with no credit check required.

This is from the Ygrene Energy Fund website!

So, you are telling me that homeowners have no upfront cost. The city or Branson, front's the whole price. Your house is now unsellable because it has a lien on it. When the cost of solar finally does come down and the cities can't hide the fact that they overpaid for all of these installations, bondholders will be on the hook once again.

Honestly... what is not to love?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I have very little to give.

Honestly, I wasn't going to give you anything this weekend. I'd contemplated taking a week off from blogging. Insomnia is beating me. And by the time I get this way - I've been sleep deprived for quite a while. Above my normal deprivation. I've been living with it for probably 10 years.

Still, I hesitate to ever tell people I'm taking a break. Something interesting/funny/or other - aways happens. This isn't the case right now, but those Solyndra hearings are next week. You know I'll have something to say about it.

Anyway. Despite sleeping in till noon yesterday. We still managed to buy a tree. Dig a hole. Where Mr S. hit a sprinkler line. The lines are just so brittle after age, that even if you are trying hard not to hit one - it's easy to do so, and it will just shatter. Which is one reason I hate these greenies so much. I can't get plastic anywhere not to break down. Even sitting under the earth.

Double anyway. The extra joy in this project was he hit a line at a four way. Do you know how hard it is to get a junction onto line that goes in four different directions? Effing hard. You have to buy this hackshit pipe patch extender. Whatever. I'm over it. The tree is in. The land is flat.

The tree however could be allergic to wind. But I don't even care. It's a purple robe lucust.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It isn't automation that is killing jobs - it's youtube.

Last night while Mr S. and I were repairing his laptop fan, I had to laugh about how great the net is. Last time I took apart a laptop - I bricked it. And truth be told, I was sure there was a 80% chance we would brick this one.

Laptops are put together by machines with precise detail. My stance usually is - you can't get it back together the same way. They are borderline disposable. To get to the fan, you basically have to disassemble the whole machine.

Still, we live in the modern world - and youtube will teach you practically anything you want to know. I would close down all the schools, and just make youtube schools. It is a surprisingly valuable asset. You have to wade through some crap, but still.

If I am really stuck on a problem - I go to youtube before I will hit a website.

In the old days, you might have sent this laptop back for repair. Or just bought a new one. The machine is two years old now. I think my phone is more powerful. But the net tells you everything you need to know to fix everything on earth. It does!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tree removal - 35 mins. Laptop fan replacement - way more than 35 min. Moral - cut down more trees.

A snake eating it's own tail.

Saw this news story this morning and was going to write about it. Thankfully this guy already blogged about it.

BREAKING: CalPERS To Become California Governments' Lender of Last Resort

"If you thought Solyndra was a bad government investment, you aren't going to like this report from the Sacramento Bee one bit. Apparently, CalPERS has decided to become the lender of last resort for local governments in California, taking steps today to create an $800 million fund for investment in public works projects."


It was all over in 35 minutes.

Last night, I started second guessing having this tree ripped out rather than cut down. I had images of chains breaking and destroying something else. You just don't know how stubborn this tree is going to be.

Turns out - not so much. There is a brown pointy looking root in the middle of the ball. That is the wood stake that held this tree straight as it was growing. It might have been the only thing holding it upright. If I would have cut those roots, that tree would have fallen.

He didn't even wind up pulling it out anyway. He just pushed it over with a mini bobcat. I don't even have a hole to stick another tree into. Fastest tree removal evar! No seriously. I've never seen tree go down that quick.

Monday, September 12, 2011

In the morning - that tree dies.

Okay, this is what I found out about my problem tree. It's an Australian Willow.

These trees apparently have a shallow root base. So, chopping the roots is out. And honestly, by the way it is leaning - one good storm could cause it to topple. The root structure is too wide to do the right thing and put some river rocks over the top.

Contractors are however hungry. A crew was working down the street on a house they are trying to sell. He came over - and he'll be back in the morning.

He isn't going to chop it down though. He's going to pull it out with a big rock truck.

The tard in me is excited. Hulk smash! The homeowner in me says "I've seen those half hour comedy shows - this never ends well".

These roots are screwing up my symmetry.

This tree is pissing me off. One, I had to shop for trees. At the end of the season when no one is shopping or thinking about putting in trees. Two - this root differential is about 8 inches on the down side. And encompasses probably 5 feet in diameter. The right way to fix it, is just going to look all effed up.

The only thing nice about this tree is it doesn't interrupt the lines of the house. And trying to find a replacement tree that meets those goals sucks.

And I only have around two weeks to start laying sod.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Stupid trees.

I only have a couple of weeks till my window closes for laying my lawn. So - I'm still doing prep.

Last weekend we got out most of the sod, but the tree in our front yard had many more roots than we expected. The bulldozer wouldn't pull them up. Which also meant we had a few feet of sod around the tree in every direction we had to take out by hand.

The bummer about this is, I'm not sure what to do with these roots. Some of them are quite large. The size of some of the smaller tree branches. If I'm just going to kill the tree by cutting the roots, I might as well cut it down and put a pretty girly tree. Still, this is probably a 30 year old tree. And it does provide me some privacy. As motley as the tree seems.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Wow. It doesnt even look like Michele believes him.
Gawd I hate that guy boner.
Jobs plan? I thought he was focused like a laser beam.
PMB knows he wont get reelected so he just starts dripping money from every pore.
No matter what President Money Bags says - he makes everyone much madder. Except wall street which will probably be up.

Perry could get the young vote.

"Rick Perry stuck by his controversial statement that Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme” at the Republican debate on Wednesday night, and said it’s a “monstrous lie” to tell American kids it will be there when they retire."

I am not a huge fan of Rick Perry. As an atheist, I'm not crazy about his religious prayer vigils. I'm not militant. The debates about religion at the holidays are stupid. Religious holidays are charming. And delicious.

For atheists, all holidays are food holidays. Still, I wish he wouldn't have done that.

Having said that - Perry's insistance that SS is a ponzi scheme should be a winner. He should go all in on that. It's fascinating to see the other candidates try to make him out as a crazy. There isn't a single person under the age of 50 who believes they will ever see a dime of SS. NOT ONE.

Hell most of us would forfeit everything we have paid into SS, if we could just stop paying now.

Rick Perry is stating what we all already believe. To see the other candidates try to deny it is fascinating.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

More on the giant baby.

This photo belongs to See related posts here and here.

From the moment I laid eyes on that Giant Baby - I've wanted it so badly. I'd stick it in my front yard.

Turns out the baby has a bit of intrigue. Here.

There goes another one.

"Camarillo, Calif. -- In what seems to be a rough few weeks for the solar industry, SolarWorld announced plans to shut down its Camarillo, Calif. manufacturing plant and several aging German lines.

This news comes after several unsettling announcements, including German-based Solon closing its manufacturing operations in the U.S and Solyndra and Evergreen Solar declaring bankruptcy in August."
Read more here.

When Solyndra closed up shop - there were all these Op'eds saying it wasn't indicative of the sector as a whole. These were isolated incidents. They just had bad management.

If by bad management, they meant unable to do math.

I'm in a grey scale kinda mood.

I never really realised how short I was until I married my husband. We are both average size for our sexes - but he has a half a foot on me. He can see over crowds, I feel stuck in the woods.

About a month ago I was looking for tissue boxes because I was sick. Mr S. tells me "they are on the second shelf". I can't reach the second shelf of anything.

Why am I telling you this? Camera angles.

When I walked up on this statue - all I could see was this. Most people would walk around to the other side of the statue, but I kinda found it funny that all I could see was crotch. In a spat of inappropriateness I tried to get a shot of Mr. S pointing there. I got one blurry shot then I felt too self conscience. But it was funny I tell you!

This was just an accident, but I like it somehow anyway.

From the Sausalito Art festival.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

It was a pretty productive day until I ran over someones cat. Sucks.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Seems just like yesterday, analysis were telling us how strong growth was going to be in the second half. Oh wait. It was.

Irrelevant I guess, this is the time of year when companies start winding down staff which they ramped up all summer to cover the holiday season.

And that hurricane Irene would add 1.4 basis points to GDP. The chief economist at Moodys no less. Maybe I will get around to snarfing the video this weekend.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Zombies! No, really. Zombies! Pt2.

Part 1 here. San Jose Zombie Crawl.

Zombies! No, really. Zombies!

No brains around? Dogs work in a pinch.

Fake baby.

Fake Baby.

Real Baby.

Tourist zombie.

Hipster Emo zombies at San Jose Zombie Crawl.