Friday, May 31, 2013

People make me laugh.

The random things you see here are funny. It makes dealing with all the tards a little easier.

I am creating the liquidity trap.

Oh yes. I have a big ego today. But it's really not that way.

There are a lot of us that still have loans that will reset. Mine in 2016. And by 2016 we expect interest rates to be a lot higher. So any extra money we have - we are cramming into those loans to get a lower interest rate. You see.. it isn't ego at all. It's logic.

These are getting amazing.

"Basically, by splicing ultra-tiny, ultra-sensitive electrodes with remaining nerve tissue in the head, neck, and shoulder, Darpa is slowly restoring not only control over robotic limbs, but feeling.

Now the technology still isn't exactly like an actual limb, but they're taking some pretty huge steps here.

The outlook for amputee combat veterans — 2,000 in America alone have lost limbs — seems to be getting better by the day. "

I've always held a special hope for amputees. When I was growing up we had a family friend who went on a bender and fell asleep for a couple of days with his arm trapped between the wall and his bedpost. Even as a kid I wondered how much this guy had to have drank. My family wasn't a stranger to savage partying. Maybe it's one of the things that stopped me from getting out of control drunk like a lot of people do today. Get too shitty drunk and you could wind up with your arm missing. It leaves an impression.

In 2007 I wrote an post called "Coordination still has a little way to go". Where I talk about robotics and how in the future I saw it benefiting amputees from the war. I guess that time is finally here.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

I'd say that is about as texbook as it gets.

"A liquidity trap is a situation described in Keynesian economics in which injections of cash into the private banking system by a central bank fail to lower interest rates and hence fail to stimulate economic growth. A liquidity trap is caused when people hoard cash because they expect an adverse event such as deflation, insufficient aggregate demand, or war. Signature characteristics of a liquidity trap are short-term interest rates that are near zero and fluctuations in the monetary base that fail to translate into fluctuations in general price levels.[citation needed]"

This is from Wikipedia. You know how to get there.

At least it's not all bad...

HT Arbroath.

Hey - I try to balance out my doom and gloom.

Must rub temples.

The stock market is about to enter one of the strongest periods ever, Stephen Weiss of Short Hills Capital said Thursday.

I just don't know what to say anymore. Just go watch the video. Can you imagine if bonds rose here 100% virtually overnight, as they have in Japan? You would see people instantly go bankrupt.


You know those youtube videos where they throw a brick into a running dryer? That is Japan right now.

At least now we finally know where the monetary limits are. Finally. It seemed they could print with wreckless abandon and they'd get nothing but deflation.

You know every government on the face of the earth thought the Japan model was supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. They were all planning that too. And I'm not sure if our government still won't think that is a good idea. They just think Japan is doing it wrong and will go harder.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Parsing the Fed.

Today I've been trying to figure out how the Fed thinks it's going to start "tapering". If the housing market is normalised, of course the Fed will pull back. If inventory is so low and houses are going pending in as little as four days - how could that not be normalised? Have you seen the prices?

This is what Mr S. and I have observed in the housing market. The low end is being pushed up, and the high end is being pushed down. Everything is being compressed into the middle. Pushing the limits of the non jumbo market. Remember, 20 - 45% (roughly) of homeowners are still trapped in their houses. The zones are like a tree rings and San Fransisco is the middle. The further into the interior valley you go, the more trapped people are. Prices have regained to 2007 levels in six months. They still have two full years to regain prices from the top. Perhaps people would like a bigger house, or maybe would like to downsize. All of the inventory that might fit this criteria is now sucked up. I believe it is impossible to know the real amount of inventory that exists. Perhaps all the "viable" inventory is sucked up. Houses sat vacant for a handful of years and who knows what state of disrepair they were in before they were foreclosed upon. Likley a lot of inventory just isn't financially viable to improve at this point. And lets not forget three of the largest banks have halted foreclosures.

That whole scenario sounds like the market is pretty locked up. It's insane to think prices will continue to go up. People like to do the YOY data because it makes the 25% increases seem more sane. But really, it's only been 6 months. That clearly is not a sane rise.

Long story long, do you think the Fed will stop printing? Because I don't.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Sun dogs and sun roof dogs.

The sun dogs were strange because I took this at 7:30 at night.

Who does he think he is? Mitt Romney? Really, it's the only reason I got this shot. It's got a built in joke!

Oh yeah. That's completely normal.

I honestly think car salesmen are better than real estate agents. Car salesmen at least are not always trying to become your BFF. Having said that - I have a new BFF.

Remember a while back I was doing yard work and an agent was walking my neighborhood trying to find houses to sell? I was chatting him up to get info, but now every couple of days I find envelopes on my porch with comps for my crapshack. Today the guy was clever enough to just plug in my primary residence, and viola! He knows exactly where my rental is. I'm sure he did this right away, but his envelope today erased any mystery. So he's been sending me comps for it - because houses in that range are hot hot hot. Let me tell you how hot.

Last year in October I tried to refi my rental which I call a crapshack because I basically gutted it. I had about 10 to 30 grand in equity. The house was worth about 450 grand at the time. The bank told me they would never refi me at that time because the house was not owner occupied. I could have had 100% equity and it would not have mattered. I remember it vividly because I almost lost my shit. It just burned really bad to see deadbeats getting refi'ed and they were giving responsible people the finger.

In January again I tried for a refi and they granted it that time. Which makes the rest of what I tell you a mind fuck. I'm borrowing money about as cheaply as you can get it for that house.

Today's bit of news is a comp right down the block from my crapshack. It went pending in 4 days. List price? 599.942. Got that?

All things relatively equal - that is a bump of about 150 grand in 6 months. My crapshack is about 100sqft smaller.

I am solar powered.

This weekend we had a nuisance storm blow through. It isn't uncommon to have storms this time of year despite what people think. There have been a couple of times I've posted about rain as late as July. Usually they come with some sort of pretty storm related stuff. Like rainbows. This storm wasn't like that. It just made the sky grey and the world quiet.

I felt like this was a good opportunity to shut the world out and recharge my batteries. In California it always feels like a struggle to just do nothing. The weather is great all of the time. People are always out and about doing stuff and there is always something going on. This weekend there was nothing but the sounds of silence. It was amazing.

It made me realize I don't spend enough time daydreaming. Of course - a lot of spare energy is spent trying to figure out lies from reality these days. So... there is that.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Walmart, Target and now Sears.

Sears Shares Drop 13% After Bigger Loss Than Expected. Revenue falls 9%.

The lower income brackets must be getting killed by the new tax increases. I mean "bad weather". They were hit harder with the payroll tax increase since it is not progressive.

Why housing inventory is so low.

I have to admit, even though I am one of these people - I was surprised by the numbers. It's actually been so long now, I can't even remember what percentage of people were underwater during the deepest part of the recession. I thought it was 25%. But when you are 100% underwater, you stop paying attention. Now I'm only half underwater.

A while back I was talking to a guy I know. He mortgaged his house to build a commercial building downtown. So, on his house - he is super underwater. At the time I was telling him I thought we were going into stagflation. Even though I saw prices rising, I didn't think it could last. He admitted to me that even now he thinks about walking away. If the market takes a turn for the worse, I wonder how many will simply just get tired and continue walking away. I mean, one in four still underwater? It's a really high number. And I still have to remind myself prices have only been going up for 6 months. You read the news right? It's all puppies and unicorns. I know because in October of last year - even I still wanted to walk away from my crapshack.

I don't know - what do you think will happen?

This is sarcasm of course, because to know what will happen with the world - all you have to do is look at Japan.

This is the DOW for the same time frame.
It's the final hour of trading. Those Wall Street guys have to be losing their shit inside. After all - Japan was halted last night, and it's sort of inconvenient. We are going into a long weekend. Link arms or bail?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The tax season halo is off.

Today I was reading Forbes tell me Stocks Are On Solid Footing and This is No Bubble. Seriously.

This of course made my eyebrows narrow. I had to laugh at the Fed trying to convince us they were going to start tapering by summer. Almost everything in the economy tells me we are headed into deflation. Don't believe me. Believe Target and Walmart.

Target just reported their first quarter sales dropped 29%. That is a lot of percent! Sales at Walmart fell 1.4%. Mortgage applications fell 4.7%.

How is that you say? The mortgage market is almost back to normal. Houses are selling within a months time with multiple offers. This is the part where I shrug.

Now we get to see what the economy really looks like. Tax season is done. Or almost done. I filed pretty much at the late end and I still have one check to receive. So the halo effect from tax time is pretty much over. Party on.

It's story time.

A long time ago I wrote a post titled, I want to stop hating people -they just wont let me. I still get people every month hitting my site under variations of that search criteria. I imagine they want me to bestow upon them some wisdom to make them better people. I usually laugh inside and think - no silly people! What you need to do is squash those feelings down so they can come out at an inopportune time later on in life.

I'm pretty sure I had one of those moments.

Remember a week or so ago I had Mr S. go over and ask the neighbors if they could trim their monolith of a treeshrub.I call them privets. It was going really well. I was so happy they chose to trim this thing I re gifted them a bottle of wine. I went over to personally thank them.

Well, the day came, and the trimmers were only given instructions to trim a very small part of the thing to get it off my house. I flew over to their house trying to find some way to get them to trim all of the stuff over my fence line. In a fit of panic I offered to help pay. I mean, the trimmers were there. Before the recession I could hire guys to trim my side, but now no trimmer wants to take the chance of getting sued. The trees are not on my property. Period. They refuse to trim for me.

You see, this fall I'd about lost my mind in regards to this neighbors trees. Something about the weather pattern made it shit on my yard for months. And I'm not a lazy person. However raking these leaves every three days was starting to aggravate my back. Even though I almost never talk about it - I have a pretty bad back problem. I had breast reduction surgery about five years ago. That's how bad my back problem is. Women don't have half of their breasts taken for cosmetic reasons. I'm a hugely active person, but certain things really eff me up even still.

Now do I think this gets me out of raking? Of course not. But several times a week flipped my bitch switch. And this wasn't even for the tree they were trimming. This bit of treeshrub is directly from satan. It shits berries all the time. It's constantly sending up runners on every other property. It was over my fence by about 4 feet the whole length of the fence.

I mean, just last week I was laughing at my neighbor to the back. As soon as he saw trimmers at my house he ran over here in a fit of hope I believe. He's been mad at that house for a long time. The tree that neighbor shares with them encroaches 15 feet into his yard. 15 feet! When we replaced our common fence, it was all the guy wanted to talk about. Last week I was like - glad I'm not that guy! Because everything seemed rosy at that point.

Well.... now I'm that guy.

I got back from Maker Faire and my neighbors had left me a bill. Even though I did say I would help pay, I was pissed. And I did pay, but that doesn't mean I wasn't going to tell them what a huge jerk of neighbors they were. It normally costs me about 300 bucks a year to trim the trees from that one neighbor. Now mind you, I pulled out all of the trees from my place. My neighbors trees are more than enough for me. These particular privets are more than two stories tall. I'm pretty sick of it actually. It isn't like it's just a branch or two. It's 40 feet X 20/25feet of shrub that climbs about four feet into my yard.. And let me remind everyone - I can't get a fucking trimmer to save my life to trim those shrubs. They all say the same thing. We don't want to get sued.

They did send me my check back. But the earth is already scorched. They basically told me they feel no obligation whatsoever to trim those trees. They can just plant whatever they want and I can suck it. The funny thing about their letter was, they said - our neighbor to the right has a pool that leaves fall into all of the time. That is a part of living "in an old neighborhood". So I google earthed their property, and it's their tree that is hanging over the neighbors pool. I bet 50 bucks he hates those neighbors too. I know the neighbor to my right isn't happy about their common shrub situation. But he's only got about 10 feet in common.

I bet good money if this situation was reversed they would think 'I' was the biggest asshole in the universe. Anyone would.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Maker Faire 2013 - Part 3.

This was all made with masking tape.

Ears you can control with your mind. Yes.. your mind.

LED shades.

I want to touch the shiny button!

Kids these days! This was an actual sketchup booth. There is something that just makes me really happy to see tiny children playing with SketchUp.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Maker Faire 2013 - Part 2. The best part.

I can't believe I have been blogging about 3D printers since 2005/6. It's taken that long for them to become common and cheap enough for a large segment of the population to be able to afford them..

I haven't bought a 3D printer yet. Because the technology is still in it's infancy, and new machines are coming on line all the time. I've been sitting back trying to figure out who was going to float to the top. The machine above from Formlabs was at the top of my list. It uses lasers instead of the extraction method. This is suppose to make the resolution better. Although through a crowded booth, the items it printed didn't seem appreciably different from a lot of the other stuff I've seen before.

This type of machine was a surprise. I'd never seen it before. It's from SeeMeCNC. While I find it really fascinating - it has a LOT of moving parts. It is a creative idea to solve height limitation though.

A few companies were trying out this design model. This one was from OpenBeam USA.

This one was interesting because it had tiny fans at the area where the heated plastic comes out. You can see two of them from this shot. They are those square objects resting on the pad.

There were so many 3D printers at Maker Faire I didn't even try for stuff I'd already seen. They were everywhere. Cubify as far as I could tell didn't have much of a presence. I did see a few of their machines. But their machines are pretty mainstream now I guess.

The Makerbot Replicator was an interesting stand out. Mr S. and I were talking about all of the machines later and he pointed out that Makerbot didn't even have a booth (again as far as we could tell - it's a very crowded place), but their machines were everywhere. Even companies selling other machines might have a Replicator in the background. I don't know what that means. Maybe they have hit the sweet spot.

This is also a good article to read. 3D printing has come a long way. It still has quite a way to go before we depend on them for real things.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Maker Faire 2013 - Part 1.

I really have a lot of 3D printing stuff to get out tomorrow. So I have to do this picture dump tonight.

Shuttles made Maker Faire immensely more enjoyable.

We sort of accidentally ran across the shuttles. We'd planned to try out a new breakfast place in San Jose called....wait for it... The Breakfast Place. They promised pancakes with peanut butter on them! Sometimes I bring peanut butter singles if I think I'm going to have pancakes, because most restaurants don't stock peanut butter.

On the way out we took 280 instead on 101, and on the freeway they had signs for the shuttles way off site at the College of San Mateo. It's a few miles from where the event was. I am so in love with Maker Faire for doing this. Just like old times I got to ride in the back of the bus.

On the way back the bus was packed because we basically stayed until closing. The guys in the seats in back of me kept talking about a body fluid kit. And once I had them point it out - It was all I could think about and the conversation became inappropriate.

Me - How often does that happen, I ask?! Which part is leaking? I know what types of things leak on BART, what kind of situation do we have here? They were from Sacramento, so we compared burger restaurants and stuff. I mean, aside from all that body leakage part.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

My Maker Faire Google Glass count was 5.

But I can only prove four. Boy those guys are shifty. It was obvious from all of them that they didn't want to be photographed very much. I mean, I'd been circling the first guy for like 15 minutes. Trying to cut him off at the pass. Finally I was just like - look, I'm just going to stalk you the whole show. We can pretend you didn't want to let me photgraph you. Either way - I'm getting a shot. They were very nice and relented. I went to walk off and not 10 steps away I saw the next one. Not every picture can be a glamor shot.

Friday, May 17, 2013

I love Juiceboxs.

When I first got into my career in tech - all I wanted to do was work the on call shifts because you got to carry around a brick. That's what they used to call the early cell phones. It was basically a phone with a giant battery pack. Fast forward to today and phones are smaller and smaller. The down side? You get to use your phone for a day on a single charge. With heavy use, your results may vary. Which basically means when you are heading back from your day of fun - you'll be hoping you have enough of a phone charge for GPS to get you home.

I was pretty skeptical about these power stations. But they are the most amazing thing on earth! They are like the universal donor for power. Even if they do make me laugh and think about the old brick days. Company site here.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

And just like that - the last four years never happened.

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't wonder if it was the right thing to do to keep my crapshack. I'm still not sure. During the worst of the recession it was all I could do to not join everyone around me and bail. I expected ups and downs (it's the way this area has always been) but no market at all for houses was a shock. Price declines? Sure. The absence of a market at all - that was something I thought impossible. Still, there we stood. For years it seemed like there would be no bottom.

Pretty much everyone I knew, lost a house, or jingle mailed their house back to the bank. Everyone who could talk said prices would never recover in their lifetime. So they walked away in droves. I wasn't sure how the whole thing was going to turn out honestly. The lessons of my childhood growing up poor were the only things to guide me. So I held on. Most days it felt like an elephant on my chest. I started having panic attacks. Usually at night when the outside world receded and the thoughts in my brain could run buck wild.

Now, in six months, the whole world has changed and the old world has been forgotten. Everyone is at the party and prices are up 22% in a month here in California. 30% YOY. It feels like whiplash. And the market is impossible to figure out again between the lies and euphoria. A non existent market is not reality. Nor is what is happening right now. Prices can not go up faster than wages. The truth lies somewhere in between. Basically nothing got built for four years. Yet there is some form of population increase. How do you calculate that into reality?

So, when an agent was walking my neighborhood today beating the bushes for houses to sell I didn't want to talk to him. Still I needed to shake him down for information. As a side note - I can't believe how agents got out of the whole recession scott free from blame. Those bastards have way more power than you think.

Anyway, this guy confirmed what I had been seeing in the market. This has only been going on for six months. Perhaps the 22% gain isn't as crazy as I think it is. If you start from a very low point. He told me that houses now take 30 days to close again. Two weeks if you are all cash. That is a normal market. During the height of the recession houses were taking upwards of six months to close. The other thing we'd been seeing in the market is that anything under a jumbo is gone. Very close to 0 inventory. However, jumbos are still hard to get - so the market is compressing everything to non jumbo max, plus 20% down. He said FHA will take up to 750 grand.

Then he told me what my rental was worth right now. And it's breathtakingly close to what I put that house on the market for before I realised the market was completely falling out and shoved a renter in. This has got to sting for the jingle mail crowd. If you managed a short sale - you were able to get back in after two years. Which doesn't make me bitter at all. They got to walk away from everything with no repercussions. And now they are starting the whole thing over again. Sure they took down the whole economy. But... whatevs.

The only reason I kept that house is because I felt by the time these peoples credit was restored - they wouldn't be able to afford to get back into the market. I absolutely believe in a rent trap. The whole time during the recession people would say owning a house is a suckers game. No my friends... renting a house is a suckers game. Since the rent keeps going up, it makes it harder and harder to buy.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Should I be worried?

Every once in a while I will make a post that parades agencies from all over the world to come to my site. Even the Russian Federation comes in from time to time. It freaks me out. Sometimes, even the Senate. No foolies. I can't even believe it myself. I always get indignant and think - shouldn't they be doing something else besides reading my blog? Sometimes I marvel that kids from schools everywhere make it here. With an internal sigh, they only make it to the cars as far as I know. At any rate - I don't know what triggered the interest this time. Perhaps my subject line alarmed them. But this is the post.

On a side note - I can't help but notice the cushy local. According to redfin, the median price of a house is 730,000. Our government always has to have the best I guess.
As long as you know the titanic is sinking - you might as well enjoy the music.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Pleasanton Chalk Art Fest.

This was a really small pop up show. For how small it was - it had some good stuff. Other chalk art I've seen. Here, here, and here.

At Chez Snarkolepsy, we applaud attempts to strap giant motors on anything.

I might not have given this motorcycle a second glance. They are a bitch to photograph, and this is more my style. But it had this giant fan on it. We saw it in the wild - and I was drawn to it. What the hell is up with that radiator fan - I said! The bike was also super wide.

Well... Mr S. said he thinks that is the same motor they put in a Corvette. And even though bikes aren't really my style - this really counts as bad ass. Super bad ass. Suicide style bad ass.