Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Pacifi Coast Dream Machines Part Two - or Last... I'm not sure.

Hey - maybe it is a handy thing. I don't know.

Mr S. said he had a Hot Wheels Red Barron when he was a kid.

I am mostly not into bikes. I can appreciate a few, but honestly - they are a real bitch to photograph. A lot of them are so busy, it just makes for a not fun level of difficulty for something I'm only so so on. The licence plate said Jesus W.

I just loved the look on this kids face. It just makes you happy.

Oh! The city of HMB made it to my blog last night. Which told me Sundays traffic must not have been much better. I didn't get that much traffic on my last post. So it's funny it floated up to #2 if you so a search.

Monday, April 29, 2013

This is why we will go back into deflation.

When the recession first started a lot of people said we would be exactly like Japan. A lost generation. Of course I never believed this. I would tell myself - the US is nothing like Japan. They have many complicated social issues that impact the economy. Like a low birthrate and an aging population. I mostly still believe this except when it comes to deflation.

You see, I feel inflation and deflation in the US is poorly understood by most people. Myself included. I don't have an education in this stuff. So feel free to correct me. This is just how I see the world based on trying to navigate a world based on manipulation.

Over a year ago I asked the question "How can Japan print so much money and not have inflation?" Here in comments. I think everyone on earth is confused as to why we aren't in massive inflation. In that same post I speculated the only way for this to occur is if the economy never gets better. I believe this now more than ever.

Inflation is too much money chasing to few goods and services. To date - there have not been too few goods and services. Quite obviously there has been too much money printed, but the second half hasn't triggered yet. I believe this is one reason we don't have massive inflation.

Another reason I speculated that inflation might not be likely was because as soon as Japan printed the money - people or companies buried that money in the ground for whatever reason. If that money never enters the monetary stream - no inflation.

It's hard to understand how this works unless you are in a real world market situation like I was recently. I just shaved off two and a half points off my mortgage. This was a lot of money by any ones standards. I could finally buy that truck I've been wanting to for many years. But, an odd thing happens when you actually have the money to do so. You don't. The economy is so terrifying - you hoard the money instead because you feel the market could fall out at any moment. And it isn't like Americans haven't been through a very traumatic event. The psychology of homeowners I believe has changed. If you managed to keep your shit - you now feel like you need a much bigger buffer. Ta da... no inflation.

I know lots of people will tell me there is in fact hidden inflation. Maybe so. Many times these instances can be explained as situational inflation. I don't dispute there is inflation in areas. I still believe we are headed back into deflation despite my belief earlier in the year we'd finally triggered inflation. There still aren't too few goods and services.

Perhaps you disagree with me. I'm happy with that. It's never good to be too invested in your point of view to not listen to other opinions. There is a good chance I'm not right, but this sort of validation makes me think I am.

Drop in Borrowing Squeezes banks.

Businesses Hoarding Cash Is the Latest Blow to Lenders; 'We Didn't Expect the Wall We Hit'.

"Outstanding loans by the biggest banks to U.S. companies declined 9% in the first two weeks of April compared with the end of March, according to Federal Reserve data. The slip followed a 2.7% rise in the first quarter, the smallest quarterly gain in two years."

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Hello Kitty Audi TT in the wild.

I guess it doesn't matter what color it is if it makes me laugh.

I mean... the bow is funny.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Pacific Coast Dream Machines 2013.

Normally I don't do duplicates. This motorcycle Zyborg 1, was on my blog a couple of years ago. It's still just that bad ass. Anyway...

I was obviously at this car show today. I will post more pictures later, but first I want to talk the show. I've been going for a hand full of years now. It's normally a really big show. So big that last year they split it into two days. This year - it was totally caved out. And I don't know why. It's not an expensive show to get into, but as soon as we pulled up I could see this year was very different. Since it's held at the Half Moon Bay airport - there naturally are a lot of planes. Last year they one of those freight helicopters but my shots didn't come out.

The planes were down by more than half. The rest of the show I'd guess was down by 75%. Really. It freaked me out so much I started chatting up people who I thought could tell me why. I tried the sheriffs department who manages security and traffic. Then the paramedics they have on standby. Half Moon Bay is a small town. Maybe people don't go to this every year - but this show contributes a lot to the economy. I figured the locals might know. Finally one guy said he'd heard a rumor there was trouble last year. But he didn't know exactly what. None of the locals seemed to know about this.

Now remember - Half Moon Bay is on the bankruptcy list. It hasn't gone yet - but... I don't know - this show is huge for this town. I'm just really surprised by the whole thing honestly. Especially with gas prices down so much. It isn't like this is a Ferrari and Aston Martin show. It's basically old cars and concept stuff. The other odd thing was, a lot of people blamed the lack of people on the weather. Which seemed odd. Sure maybe this could account for the attendees, but not for display cars or the planes. That you have to register for in advance.

It's really weird to put fire on a car like that....

But, it made me laugh. So who cares. You can thank Wild Bill Tattoo for making you laugh too.

Friday, April 26, 2013

I will have stuff for you this weekend. Posts will be late.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I wish these would get better already.

For about a year or so I've been seeing these transparent glass displays. A lot of the early ones were just rear projection onto the glass. I'm not sure exactly how they are doing these. So maybe it's the same thing. It's just not as obvious it's rear projected. I didn't ask because they are really hard to photograph and my mind was wrapped up in that. Plus, this isn't what the company was actually selling. The demo was from Mentor Graphics. Their demo just happened to be using technology I believe is from Lenovo. And before you ask - the item in the box (I believe) is just a prop so you can see they are transparent.

I can't tell if I'm in love with this stuff or hate it. Try to read your phone in the sunlight now.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hungry for something new?

I accidentally ran across this technology from zSpace about a month ago and  immediately began plotting in my head how I would capture it if I saw it again. I ran though all my devices trying to figure out which one had a lens small enough to fit inside one side of a small pair of reading glasses. Without the glasses you basically get a double image which looks blurry. Anway...

I'm not sure if words can ever accurately describe this product. I've been to CES a handful of years, not to mention random tech shows. I've seen 3D with glasses. 3D without glasses. The kind that really only works in the "sweet spot" of the TV. I've seen people try to do holographic images in all sorts of ways. My long time readers may remember I was always suspicious of 3D taking off because of the glasses. Here, and no this one.

So, when I saw the zSpace monitors I almost didn't even stop. But I did, and it made my mouth drop. It's the first device I've seen that gives (in my opinion) a true immersive 3D experience. For instance with movies, it sometimes feels like they are trying to beat the 3D out of your eyes. You'll see 3D or else! It feels very forced.

The zSpace monitor feels like the computer equivalent of pop up books. But you can take items out of the book and rotate them many different directions. It gives you the visual illusion you can pull items out of the monitor space. Even though it's a thin monitor, you have the illusion you are working in a large shadowbox with items inside that you can take apart and reassemble. The stylus has haptic feedback, so when you touch items - it really feels like you are touching them. It's one of the most promising technologies I've seen in a while. Watch these videos. Do it!

See how the guy reacts to the object in front of his head?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

I try to get you stuff you don't see every day.

California is made up of rolling hills and in the middle of them are these crevices where there are scattered houses. The land is hard to build on because it's lumpy, so they are these little hidden treasures. I think the South would call them hollers. The chaotic city right outside.

These are the new places I've been dreaming about buying a crapshack. There is one in Castro Valley that makes you feel like you are in Ben Lomond. It even has a hobbit house. A creek runs through the whole crevice. On both sides are huge cities. Because of the creek you can't really build much new there. There's one on the edge of my city that I'd die to live in. When I drive by - it's all I want. Now a new one.

We initially stopped down that way because the wild flowers are out. It is super dry here right now, so I don't know how long they will last. Driving through, I was keeping my eye out for horribly run down houses. That is.... until we saw this.

This is the new place I want to live. Even though I know peacocks suck. They are loud and they ruin your stuff. Truthfully, I can't wait until the make it over the hill. And they will, because I know where they were protecting those turkeys which made it into my town. I will just die when I see turkeys and peacocks roaming my town. That is going to be really funny.

Truth be told, for a while I secretly wanted to plant peacocks in one of the city parks. I never would because that is probably be illegal. But these birds are just living in a grove of trees about 10 miles away...sooooo. I can't wait for them to make it over the hill. They were actually quite shy. Which I why I give you one blurry photo. He was seriously hiding behind a tree.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

My second favorite show right now? Americas Worst Tattoos. If we could get Anthony Jeselnik to interview these people - I would just die.


A while back I said I thought Google Glasses are vapor wear. Nothing makes me feel like I'm right more than this report.

Google is barring anyone deemed worthy of a pair of its $1,500 Google Glass computer eyewear from selling or even loaning out the highly coveted gadget.

The company's terms of service on the limited-edition wearable computer specifically states, "you may not resell, loan, transfer, or give your device to any other person. If you resell, loan, transfer, or give your device to any other person without Google's authorization, Google reserves the right to deactivate the device, and neither you nor the unauthorized person using the device will be entitled to any refund, product support, or product warranty."

If a product is awesome - you want everyone and their friends to touch, try, and loan out the product. Unless you don't want too many people to know the product is way over hyped! I think they are artificially trying to drum up excitement. But at least we have some new slang. Glasshole.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The week needs more panel.

This is my favorite show on earth right now. I don't know what that says about me, but....

I was going to give you the website for The Jeselnik Offensive, but just go to Comedy Centrals youtube channel. Ummm - it looks better?

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

"Gov. Jerry Brown, visiting the headquarters of an electric car and bus manufacturer here, announced Tuesday that the company would open a factory in Lancaster, the first Chinese-owned vehicle plant on American soil." Here.

Every time I read one of these articles I think - have these people never used rechargeable batteries! Sure, for the smoke alarm in your house, they last a good long time. But anything you use a lot, rechargeable batteries don't honestly last that long.

Mainly because rechargeable are the prima donnas of the battery world. You need to treat them right, or you won't get the maximum results. Which can actually be somewhat difficult. For things like big DSLR cameras, the batteries technically do not get discharged all the way. Even though you won't be able to take a picture. It's almost impossible to run them completely dry like the manufactures want.

For bigger things like robotic lawnmowers, the battery will last a few years. Even then you get stuck with a couple of them in your garage. They are almost the size of car batteries. And you can't just throw them in the trash.

I predict in five or so years from now - we will have another type of crisis. Where do you put all these dead effing batteries? I suppose you could bury them in the ground like the judge ordered failed Abound Solar to do. Encased in concrete of course! Here.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Still alive.

They are going to have to try harder than that. Insomniacs use this just to put us back at baseline.

Monday, April 15, 2013

People are buying chicken with thigh bones bigger than these.

That is what my vet said. I thought Saffron broke her leg today. She didn't. But I did get a cool new xray. I miss the old timey ones. Now you just get digital x-rays. At one of my first jobs I had to develope them. And it makes me somewhat nostagic.

All we could talk about was Boston. His sister in law is a doctor close to the site. Obviously they were all on lockdown.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mr S. just informed me that he'd been seeing tweets about Turbo Tax being down. He says to me - that is fight with your wife frustrating. Which I found kinda funny..... because we had a huge fight this year. Tax time is just stressful! I would be flipping out if I couldn't reach the cloud on the day before you have to file. The IRS doesn't care if your shit is down! They don't care what your malfunction is. That is why you get in a fight.

It takes me a month to get all the data in, and two months to find all the supporting documents. By the end of that - I am a wreck.

Oh - yes - I- did.

Yesterday after I got my taxes done Mr S. and I decided to go to the Cheesecake Factory. I've never been because the lines are crazy and they are always at a mall. But it was close to 3:00 and I figured we would have little trouble getting in.

We were at a four way stop getting into the mall. Which was a mad house. People were crossing the street and so on. There was this one straggler girl taking forever to cross the street because she was reading her phone. I was understandably in a shitty mood. And I hadn't had anything to eat yet. So I yelled out - Don't use your phone when you're crossing the street! She got to the other side and looked at me.

Still being kinda bitchy I yelled out - yeah.. YOU.

She responded with a "why".

Me - Because people want to cross the road!

It was like she'd never heard of the concept. I'm sure she went home and told her loved ones that this crazy bitch yelled out the window at her. I think of it as my good deed for the day. And yes... I'm going to get a cap in my ass some day over being lippy.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

I have nothing to give. Nothing.

I finally got my taxes out right before the post office closed today. Taxes took everything out of me. I finally got all my stuff right, and went to print.... and my printer had died. Despite having a new black ink cartridge, it won't print anything in black. And yes, I pulled the tab. HP can not cease to exist fast enough. I just bought this thing not too long ago.

So, we decided to go into the office. Where the printers there were having some trouble because every few pages looked like they'd been redacted. Mr S. had to screen capture them and then print them. It's just all been too much. So you aren't getting anything this weekend. Nothing.

Stuff next week will be things I should have posted from this week, and new stuff. It's starting to be the interesting time of the year.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Oh - you fancy huh?

"If you feel bad about leaving your dog home all day while you work, DirecTV will offer a solution of sorts: TV programming for dogs." Here.

"The satellite provider will begin offering DogTV for $5.99 a month in the third quarter, according to Bloomberg. The channel broadcasts content is aimed at canines and includes "scenes with and without other animals, animation sequences and a variety of moving objects,” according to DogTV. Relaxation segments on the channel also show sleeping dogs and some nature scenes accompanied by soothing music."

When I first read this I thought - Direct TV knows about TV. Right? They have cartoons, and the animal channel. Which I'm sure dogs are too snobby for now. It's all white trash dogs. Surely they wouldn't appeal to the 1% dogs getting direct TV!

I mock them, but if I know I'm going to be home late into the night I will leave the TV on for the bunnies. OH YES I DO. But they are happy with the business channel. Just ask them!

The dark days are over!

Seen in my town sitting in front of a title company. A real Masi. Not a mehsi.

Sooooo. The under jumbo market is hot. Houses in my town in this rage are selling almost as quickly as in 2007. There was one place that had a coming soon sign. I was set to go to the open house, because it's painted 4 colors and looks a lot like it should be in Miami. All four colors are some sort of Easter egg color. Before I knew it - the house had gone.

The lady who used to live in my house, her house already went. And I guess since there are real comps - clusters of houses are starting to pop up. Three houses on the block in front of me just went on the market. All within the last week.

If you are in the jumbo market - I have sad news for you. There are only two companies willing to back jumbos. So that market is still dead. Almost nothing is going in the jumbo market. If anything does - it's usually only 10-20% above the non jumbo limit. A down payment (I assume) making it so they qualify for a non jumbo mortgage.

In other news - Trulia is reporting on zombie houses now. This used to be called "shadow inventory". Which is still savagely high. If I'm reading it correctly - 27% of foreclosures in Ca are zombie houses. Here.

I'd bet only half of those houses will ever make it back on the market. Elements are an evil mistress, and the longer those houses sit - the more they will cost to repair. Still... that is an enormous amount of inventory. Which is also probably why house prices are now artificially high right now.

I guess it's less intimidating than a baseball bat.

Remember this post? Well I managed to get one shot off this week of her. And I am not sure - but I think it's spreading. A week or two ago Mr S. and I started to pull out of our driveway.

Me - is that lady carrying a pipe?

Mr S. - that does look like a pipe.

Me - what is up with that?! Remember that lady with the golf club? Is that a "thing" now? Is that the new form of protection around here?

Mr S. - we could stop and ask if she's carrying it for defense.

Me - Stop and ask? Nooo. Why would we do that? It feels awkward.

He drove by her and she was carrying a three foot pipe. We didn't stop.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

You never get a second chance to make a good impression.

I'm still in tax hell. It literally takes a month worth of spare time to do my taxes. Some years are better than others. But, they all are difficult.

This year I'm taking a loss on a stock I've held for seven years. I'm almost at the statute of limitations! If that applied to stock. And I shit you not - this one stock loss takes 19 pages to document. Sure most of the pages are shit - but the IRS wonders why you only sent one page, when the document stack says 1 of 9 million.

I orient my pages to make it easy for the auditor to get through. It's my effort to say "sure, maybe I fucked up - but obviously I'm not trying to screw you!". To prove that - they get 19 pages of documents. And really I don't want to piss off the auditors. I don't want to make them stabby. Which is a huge waste of time for both of us. I tend to get those "just checking" audits. So... I'm not one to blend the edges.

Friday, April 05, 2013

I have to finish my taxes this weekend. Don't expect much from me.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013


Growing up in Silicon Valley you always had this constant feeling of bipolarism when it comes to the economy. Euphoria marked by downturns. Here, you always know a downturn is right around the corner. If you've lived here long enough. It's why the recession took me by such surprise. We always expect recessions here. At least I do. I just didn't believe it could be so deep. There has always been periods of sadness for whatever company just didn't make it. Only to see old buildings being torn down for new to repeat the process. It's the normal here.

So when I started seeing pockets of commercial real estate being town down, I took note. It feels like I've been seeing it for about a year. But the recession has turned time into dog years. I know this has been going on only for about 6 months. Around the time I tried to refi my house the first time.

You see...I have a special insight into the real estate market. My house, I bought about seven years ago. And the economy had already turned. I remember talking the guy down by a lot. I even remember telling my agent - that guy sees the market has turned. Right?

Then I bought my crapshack two years later. I was bottom feeding. Trying to soak up inventory. The worst of the recession hadn't hit yet. It took me about 6 months to gut my crapshack. I had it on the market for four months, and I bailed and installed a renter. Within a year the market was crushed. I was in this awkward position that in 2007 I could afford this shit, but in 2009 the banks would have never lent me this kind of money.

For the next four years I spent basically in an out of body experience. I wanted nothing more than to shed that anchor.

Skip forward to today.

All of a sudden I want nothing more than to keep that property. It's sort of a mind fuck actually. I refi'd at 4.25%. Which is pretty much the cheapest money you can get on a rental. And you can't help but see all of the real estate news. I have many thoughts on that of which can't all be put into one post.

Keeping time in relation to my houses is the only way I can keep track of what has actually happened with the market. I know the market in my town almost better than any agent.

So, a couple of weeks ago I'd noticed the lady who used to live in my house put her new house up for sale. We'd accidentally found out where she lived because I was putting in stamped concrete at the time. We drove around the neighborhood trying to find examples and good contractors. Of the three or so so houses we stopped to inquire about the workmanship - one turned out to be the lady who owned my house previously.

Her house that she just put on the market went in a week. I think she must have walked out flat, because I obviously know when she bought. My house is still underwater, so I know what her situation is. If she put down 20% like I did, she might be about flat. The place she moved to is smaller than this one.

To tell you the truth, a lot of houses that were bought in the 2009 time range are starting to come back on the market. And I can understand why. These people are finally able to move. And they probably want to shed that anchor like I did. Which frankly makes me want to do nothing more than keep my rental.

Monday, April 01, 2013

I want to get this out before I forget.

I took Saffron in today to see the vet. Which I may or may not talk about later.

Anyway... He'd just been in Australia on a veterinarian conference. One topic turned to another and this is what I learned about Australia today.

1. Everything is crazy expensive. A pair of Nike's is around 300 bucks, and it's almost cheaper for them to buy a pair from Amazon (in America) and have it shipped to Australia. Seriously.

2. They still have socialised medicine in Australia. He was talking to vets about blood screenings for animals, and they don't do blood work on humans there until they are elderly. Apparently it's too costly! I can't wait to see how this goes over when Ohhhhhcare hits.

3. Saffron has glaucoma. The vet said in the old timey days they tried to implant salivary glands into the eyes of humans who had glaucoma. So they could have better tear production. Oddly, and apparently true - when you fed the pet, the implanted salivary glads would produce saliva. In the eye! Which sounds crazy, but who hasn't has something in their eye where you didn't have something to wash it with. Most people just stick their finger in their mouth and then right into their eye to remove the debris.

The drought is already starting to bite. People just don't know it yet.

Just in case you didn't know. California is in an epic drought. Most people don't realize this because most people don't pay attention. This is one of the driest winters on record. But it's spring, so the effects haven't really hit us yet. However.....it will soon, and this is how I know.

Over the weekend I bought the following items. Garlic and lettuce. The winter garlic crop is the smallest I've ever seen it. Almost not worth buying. But, it all was that way. The lettuce I bought was hollow on the inside and the heads were also considerably smaller.

My Cherry tree - I thought it was gearing up for blooms. Turns out, not so much. I'm banking on the smallest crop I've ever had. That's saying a lot because with Cherry's you only have one crop. If rain comes in and splits them - you are done for the year.

When I was growing up, all of the old timers would comment on Silicon Valley and say "these building used to all be Cherry orchards". At the time it seemed like a sadness thing. A loss for the way things were. Now I understand it is a huge bitch to be a cherry farmer. Every year I'm fighting to keep my 'one crop' from fizzling. If the orchards were still there, surely we would all be living in poverty.

Finally, April showers bring May flowers. We just started April and all the May flowers are about done.

I would never put money into this market. So take this for what it's worth. Nothing.