Sunday, June 30, 2013

Italian Street Painting Festival 2013.

I always get pretty anxious when temperatures cross the 100 degree mark. Bunnies can't handle heat. They can't pant like dogs or cats. I have air conditioning, but you never know when you are going to have a power hit. For instance, not this 4th of July week, but next one - they are taking my power down three times in one week. One day I could be out for 12 hours I'm told. I'm praying it's going to get less hot soon.

It was rumored it'd be 108 here. So We planned to get in early and get out early before the house naturally got too hot on it's own. I almost didn't even go, because I get that worried. But I guess the lady who put on the chalk festival had a heart attack this year because it was so hot. I guess in San Rafael yesterday, it was 100 degrees. She won't be able to do it next year - if there is a next year and I needed content for the blog. Sooooo...

Friday, June 28, 2013


It's been a stressful week, and it's going to be over 100 degrees here for the next 5 days. So I don't know what you are going to get. Maybe nothing but whining.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Jeff Lewis Color.

I don't remember exactly when I started watching Flipping Out. I think I was full tilt into my crapshack. I loved the show immediately. It's one thing to remodel a kitchen or bathroom. But gutting a house is a pain (hold on - let me center myself) of epic proportions. You get to be annoyed by every single segment of the contracting sector. And the thing about contractors? Every single one of them will tell you what you've done is wrong.

You could hire the best, and the next one you bring in will tell you that guy didn't do something right. Code enforcement could have done the job! And I can assure you - every single contractor you parade in will tell you it's wrong. And they all have these enormous personalities. Some try to start living at your house. Seriously.

I related to the show right away, because managing contractors is like herding cats. It will make you lose your mind.

I didn't even know he was going to be at the Dwell event. Mr S. saw these paint cans with Jeff Lewis Color on them, and we thought that was funny enough. Then we saw Zoila. The whole crew was there. Even Gage.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The scariest thing I've read in the last day and a half.

"According to data provided by CLSA strategist Russell Napier, in the five years from 2007, China accounted for 40%-45% of broad money growth across the world’s 16 largest economies. "


I wish breeders would be more considerate.

I saw this setup from Stokke, and quite frankly I wanted to punch someone in the neck. Mr S. thought I'd love this thing, because the usual routine of parents these days is they can't have one child sit in front of the other. It's positively inhumane and unequal. /sarc. So what they do is make these double wide strollers were you can't even pass them on the sidewalk. However..... while it is a single wide making it easier to pass on a crowded sidewalk - I'm a freaking normal sized girl! I can barely effing see over this thing. That guy is more than six feet tall, and look how much of him this monster blocks of my view.

I got paid a little visit.

I guess my use of the words "child molestor van" made them sit on my site for 30 minutes. This is the article that drew them in.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Dwell on Design murals.

I am trying to get things out to you. Life is just hectic. I liked the above mural because while the artists were there, it really made it look like an animation cell.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Must learn to make poptarts.

You guys know if I'm in another town I have to find me some breakfast. I think you can learn a lot about a town just by having to hunt down some good grub. And good breakfast is not easy apparently. It's really easy to cook things to death. You really have to do something special to stand out from all the other places that serve scrambled eggs. It also puts you in places that you might not ordinarily go. Which I love. This time we found ourselves at the Nickle Diner.

You have not lived until you've had a homemade pop tart. Seriously. I also spotted this great wall art while we were waiting for a table.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Friday, June 21, 2013

L.A. in a day.

I know I have a couple long time readers around this area. It's short notice, but if you want to meet up tomorrow - send me an email. I'm doing the in by 10, out by 6 thing.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Where is all the CASH coming from?

A housing market that shoots up roughly 25% in six months, is a scary sort of chart I hate. Anything that takes off like a balloon should make you nervous. I mean, no one wants this to be true more than me! Did you see my last post? Yet the housing market is now a secretive market. You have to work really hard to try and figure out what is going on. Everyone lies, so you have to ask tons of people to sort of tease the truth out. There are many things to question. For instance, I've never ever seen a market that so many people had a stash of cash to buy anything with. Little alone houses. The NyTimes has this to say:

"Nearly a third of all homes purchased in Los Angeles during the first quarter of this year went for all cash, compared with just 7 percent in 2007. In Miami, 65 percent of homes sold were for cash deals, compared with 16 percent six years ago."

My whole life has revolved around finding out how people afforded to buy houses. Growing up in an environment where you moved every year, and not having a family that had any money - it was just an obsession. I needed to know how they could do it... so I could find a way. Some cashed out 401k's, some were low rent trust fund kids. I mean, they didn't really have a trust fund, but they had a family who helped them out. Some just saved. And then, before the housing crash, you didn't even really need to save. There was 0 down, 3% down types of deals.

So all of a sudden, 1/3rd to 65% of houses depending on the area, are going all cash? That is way not normal. Obviously there is speculation that Asian countries are making up the bulk, but where are they getting the cash? Perhaps some of it is from our own stock market. It has been doing quite the clip, but you'd think that would show up in tax receipts.

I guess if most of it is from stock markets around the world - we will soon find that out. I can't find a market anywhere that doesn't make your stomach a little queasy. I'm just really curious how that whole cash pool is supporting themselves. Either our economy is much stronger than I think, or people have gone insane. Most cash buyers are even waiving their right to inspections. WTF?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The wheels are coming off this bus.

Today's Fed comments were amusing at best. Said in the most sarcastic way. I am not an economist. I look at the market from a consumers standpoint. Mostly when I try to figure out the Fed, I try to figure out what I think it will do - then I try to figure out what consumers will do.

If the Feds goal is to juice housing (which it is!) then, it's encountered a fairly sheer cliff. I say this because I have two houses. One in the jumbo market, one non jumbo. I bought my non jumbo late in 2007, and the jumbo in 2006ish. There are probably very few people outside of real estate professionals who watch the market like I do. It's been a painful few years.

Everything that is viable in the non jumbo market is gone. There is no inventory. There really isn't any inventory in the jumbo market either because if you bought a house before 2006, you are still trapped. Even if you stuck 20% down like I did. Which, judging by the housing crash, that wasn't very common back then. Now maybe you have short saled out, or even jingle mailed your house back to the bank. But there are a lot of people who stuck it out. Every painful moment. I bought my primary right as the market started to turn. So I didn't buy at the top. Though somewhat close to it. This gives me a rough idea of how much further prices have to rise to give relief to those people. It would have to be another 10% at least for people to just break even. This kind of economy can't produce that. At least I'd be very surprised.

I also kinda have an idea of interest rates for the whole recession, and slightly before. I'm still paying 6% interest. It might be 6.25. I know people who are still paying more than I am in interest who bought more towards the top. Now that rates are back up to 4% it really clothes lines the refi sector. By 2007 rates were starting to fall. Anything bought after that has a pretty low interest rate, or one that it doesn't make enough sense to redo. Anything before 2006, and you aren't eligible to refi most likely. Did I mention there is practically no first time home buyer inventory? That is what non jumbo market is.

So... what is a Fed to do? Claim victory and call it a day? You see the market! Right? Housing is fixed. No inventory! You see... right?

Well, except the adjustable rate mortgage problems from 2005 are not behind us. I've got a reset in 2016. I figured there is nothing that can happen in the world that wont be sorted in 10 years. Which is how long I will have owned this house. I am probably some of the last who still have those mortgages. In theory, those people just might say eff it. Although, if they've stuck it out this far, it's less likely. Some of them are really tired though. People have to live somewhere. And they've got a lot invested at this point.

So, to tell you the truth - I don't know how this will sort itself out. It's a little cramped in that box filled with printed money. I expect printing to go on and on and on. Lastly, I should mention mortgage rates again. It only took a couple point rise to get people to start defaulting on their houses. Rates are already up a full point since January. I've blogged about this many times. I estimate rates can only rise maybe a point higher before we are in a huge danger zone. We might already be there now. The economy isn't as strong as it once was. Perhaps it won't hit housing the same way, but people have a lot of debt in other areas and those rates will start killing them.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Monday, June 17, 2013

I guess it was only a matter of time.

Orchard Supply Hardware just filed for bankruptcy. Of course this is a predictable moment. My track record for predicting the the failure of these stores has been scarily good. Which sounds gloatish. But I think in this case I deserve to gloat a little. I saw them all loading up on appliances at a time when these types of products weren't turning over very quickly. Or at all. Even worse, stores like OSH had all of Sears appliances taking up their floor space, and they couldn't even change the prices to get them to move faster. Sears was basically leasing floor space from OSH, and they had no control over pricing! Very large areas of their stores proportionately were filled with items that turned over very slowly. It doesn't take much smarts to figure out there would be a bad outcome with this ridiculous business agreement.

It honestly seems forever ago, but it was just six months ago I talked about this topic. Here.

I guess Lowes might try to take them over. To what end, I can't imagine. Seems like a lot of duplication to me.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

I'm giving you this fish - and you are going to like it! It's been a rough couple of days trying to find content. Maybe there are no more interesting things.....

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Some days you just can't find anything interesting to talk about. No matter how hard you try. And you saw the stock market! Right? Everything is fine. I'm sure no one has their hands on the exits. Because everything is fine. Ask anyone.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Because I'm juvenile.

Listen, the world is getting frothy. It's freaking everyone out. Or if it isn't - it should be!

This is what I've been watching to get by these days. Impractical Jokers. It's my new "go to" show for when the world feels like it's going to come crashing down. And judging by what is going on in Japan - that might be sooner rather than later. I think we are going to be entering a little trade war. With everyone. Everyone thinks they have to devalue their money to get you to buy their stuff.

P.S. I chose this particular clip because many years back now - Mr S. and I started mocking people who high five. You'd always see them do it on those home improvement shows in the most awkward of times. It made us laugh. So... every time we'd see someone high five, we'd high five too. Now it's pretty much a neurotic tic. If I see someone do it, I get a reflexive arm movement and I have to stop myself. Seriously.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Augmented Reality fail.

When I first became excited about Augmented Reality, I saw it to be useful like the way Metaio was allowing you to interact objects in the real world in a different way. (video at the bottom)

Then popped out Foursquare. Who did nothing but clog up my twitter feed. Something that seemed like a cute social app, all of a sudden was annoying, and you just wanted those people stop telling me where they were. I don't care where you are all of the time. It's neurotic. Especially people I don't know just because I searched on a particular city feed for example. I'm not surprised at all that company is struggling.

Then I start seeing QR codes start pop up everywhere, only to be disappointed that these codes only took me to their websites. So, I never even download an app to read them because I have a smart phone. Have you ever tried to use one of these QR codes at a show like Maker Faire, or something with a lot of people? It will make you lose your mind. Everyone is hogging bandwidth. It's impossible enough that you usually give up.

So as you can imagine I started to have low expectations on the sector. Until I saw Metaio at AWE2013. I became excited again. I didn't think you guys were ever going to get adopted - I said to them. They responded by telling me they were in Lego stores now.

I thought to myself - how did I not know this? I still watch the sector regularly enough. So I asked them which stores. I wanted to finally go see the kiosk in person. They replied that all of the Lego stores have them, and there is one in Valley Faire Shopping center.

So.....guess what I did yesterday? I went to the Valley Fair Lego store in San Jose. No Kiosk. The kid working the store only vaguely knew what Mr S. was asking him about.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

It's fire season.

I'm pretty range bound today. When temperatures get over 100, I have to stay in a small radius of the house. In California, you never know when you will be without power, especially in the summer. My burb has experienced two power hits this week, and it wasn't even hot. When I was coming back from taking these pictures there were so many street lights out, I wasn't sure if I was even going to have power by the time I got back to the house. And the bunnies can't handle heat. They can not pant. At the very least you have to pack their cage with frozen water bottles.

So, this morning I wasn't in a hurry to get ready to go out and have breakfast. I was drinking coffee and out in the distance I saw some clouds billowing in. It's suppose to drop 20 degrees tomorrow. So it didn't seem that unusual. After a while it was making the trees look smokey. I walked outside to see if I smelled fire. Which I did. And all of a sudden a smoke cloud enveloped my house. I couldn't see the hills at all. I started watching the trees for fire, the smoke was so thick. When I checked the internet we found it was out on the edge of town near the gun range. I was pretty surprised at how small it was considering. It isn't that uncommon for me to see fires from my deck, but this was all the way on the edge of town. By the time I tracked it down CALfire had knocked it down to basically smoke. We have fire pretty often in the summer (here and here)so these guys are quick.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Pure comedy.

I thought this was funny since I just made that post about Google Glass. We all know you can't record in shareholder meetings. Half the time when you go to a trade show they won't let you just take pictures of products. A lot of trade shows now will tell you when you register that you can't take pictures without consent. And I'm telling you - even though these people are at a trade show, you'd be surprised how many still don't want you to take pictures of their products. Duh Google!

Did I mention Google Glass doesn't fold up like glasses do? I carry a lot of devices sometimes, and that completely sucks.

Google Glass “banned” at shareholder meeting.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

I've slightly changed my opinion about Google Glass.

Imagine if you got an opportunity to try on Google Glass, and they actually talked you out of wanting to.

Sure, I've been a critic of Google Glass. I've been around Silicon Valley for a long time now. I've seen a ton of Vaporware, so I have a healthy skepticism of all products. Even so... you never know which products are going to catch fire. You can never outright say xyz product is going to fail, because human nature is unpredictable. You have to give every product a chance, or at least try it before you outright pan it. Which is what I wanted to try to accomplish.

Let me start out with the positives. Google glass has the equivalent of a juicebox for extra power. They work really well. That's it. Now the negatives.

This was billed as a Google Glass Hands on Workshop. So you can imagine this set an expectation. We all thought we were going to get some in depth insight into the product. What happened however was mostly a marketing pitch for an hour and forty minutes.

I've been to a ton of boring conferences. A TON! I've never ever seen one of the attendees stand up and say - look, we are all developers, and there is only 20 minutes left..this is why we came. We want you to get to the technicals. And a lot of the audience clapped!

I am not actually going to go into the technicals, because you people are smart. You can do a Google search. What did rub me the wrong way was the speakers position that if you didn't like the idea of Google Glass you were positively a luddite. He gave the impression people hate change and this is no different.

A gentleman from another country (I have to admit I don't remember which one) stood up and told the speaker than in many European countries this device would actually be illegal. I didn't know this, but apparently there is some law that you can't walk up to people face to face and take a picture of them without their consent. The speaker did not want to hear this, and I'm not sure he completely understood what the guy was trying to tell him. Besides, whatever that guy said didn't matter. Google knows it's going to have a lot of privacy lawsuits according to him. He was so unhearing of the concept I thought to myself - the first time some creepy guy takes a picture of a child at a pool, they are going to have problems. As a female, even I sense some resistance when I want to take pictures of someone else's child at a public event. I always, always, ask permission. And I'm a girl! I don't feel that same obligation with adults.

Then there is the price. At the time I got my first smart phone it was 600 bucks. This was before the iPhone. It was an HTC slider. That has to be eight years ago maybe. That was pretty spendy at the time. Even thought the economy was awesome. I bring this up because Google Glass capabilities are way less advanced than that generation of technology. People would never put up with paying that price for the capabilities Glass has. As far as I know, Google glass doesn't even act as a phone. The price point really needs to be in the 300 dollar range.

Having said all of that - I do now believe Glass will become mainstream. In about five years. There are just too many people working on Glass like prototypes. I was slightly surprised how acclimated I'd already become to people wearing Glass.
So.... Japan (the third largest economy) is down almost 20% in the past two weeks, and our market closed up 80 points? All you can do is laugh.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Range anxiety.

Yesterday I was at that conference and I forgot my juicebox for my phone. I always forget to optimise my settings, and the phone has to work hard because everyone is clogging bandwidth. So your phone's batteries die pretty quickly.

Since Mr S. and I had commuted, and he was going to pick me up, I became panicked. Yes. You heard that right. Panicked. Which is the most irrational thing ever. I realize this. But Mr S. has a hard time finding me when we are in a crowd and I'm 100 feet away from him because I'm about 5'2.

I started sending him furious messages. I'm going to be at this exact place. And normally because I'm ADD I might have walked around while I was waiting for him. As it was... he was in that exact place. But on a different floor.

On the way home I was laughing about how retarded I felt. It's like there is no other way to find people these days. But you really get a sort of uncomfortable reaction. Like your last ride has left and you are on your own. Ya know.. like the old days.

Off the cuff he says to me - imagine how Telsa drivers feel.

I just stared right at him and said, whaaat? I mean, I knew what he meant. It just takes someone to put it so plainly for you to have a light bulb moment.
Holy crap! Interest rates have risen roughly almost  a full point. Of course, you would have needed to lock in at the middle of January like I did. Prime was roughly 3.25%. Of course there is a wide range with different banks, but it looks like the aggregate is about 4.13ish% now.

Augmented Reality can teach you to weld?

I have actually tried welding once. My first long term boyfriend was a welder. So I can spot a good weld from a bad one but not much more. There is actually a lot of skill involved which I didn't have. Probably because it takes a long time to become a really good welder, and as a girl I wasn't invested in putting in the time.

So when I walked up to this booth I the first thing I asked was - why do you have all these heavy cables? What he told me got completely fascinated. This machine is made to look exactly like a welding machine and is weighted like a welding machine.

To be sure... I was pretty skeptical that you could become a journeyman welder with this simulator, but they were convincing enough that they might have changed my mind. The software goes in and analyzes your weld and tells you if it's good or not. Apparently it simulates both MIG and TIG. I didn't ask about ARC welding because I forgot about it. The company is called Seabery Soluciones.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

You mean we can get people to stop complaining about the Great Pacific garbage patch?

People who read this blog probably know I'm no great environmentalist. I believe in technology will make a better life for us all. It isn't to say we should do nothing. I'm pretty much anti environmentalist, but I still do a ton of "green" things. Not due to peer pressure, but because the things I do work for me and fit the personal needs of my household. If it doesn't work for other people? That is their perogative. I believe bright enterprising entrepreneurs will come up with solutions. Like the Omnom Project.

I have to admit - there were a sea of 3D printers at Maker Faire this year. So I completely missed these people. I'm really glad I got to see them today at Awe2013. 3D printing gear reminds me a lot of the early computer days. A keyboard hooked to other components with ribbon cables. A lot of them are pretty rough draft, and this company didn't have a slick shell yet. Their hook is they can recycle all the cast offs from 3D printing. That is what drew me in.

However, later as I was talking to Mr S. about them he noticed their idea was not only 3D printing, but you could chuck water bottles and milk jugs into this thing and make 3D printer filament. It was like a needle scratching a record. The thought that one day you could chuck your used water bottles into this thing and personally recycle your own trash made me fall in love with the concept. As some of you know recycling actually is not profitable. At all. But to think that instead of trash compactors, we could just have something like this in every household was the most brilliant thing I've seen this week.

I have not seen this thing in action. But I would love to! I did hear it run, and it's basically about as loud as a shop vac.

Monday, June 03, 2013

This should entertain you.

OMG People. It's finally happened. Someone randomly ran across themselves in my pictures. I didn't even remember why I'd given the post the title of Racist, racist, whitey. Thankfully I included a link.

Even more funny? Look at their nym and their blogger profile. It's like picking a snowflake from a pile of snow. There are probably millions of blogs. Yet they found mine with pictures of themselves. That is super hilarious!

All I can say is... in 2008 those photos were amazing. Now it looks like cell phone circa 1995.

Welcome SnarkyBat readers!


Remember posts will be late after today.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

At least I managed to find something for you.

Posts this week will come late. Sometimes that means I will have interesting stuff for you. Sometimes not. Life is a crapshoot.