Friday, February 28, 2014

Obama's America.

These EBT signs hardly rate a second look these days. However, this liquor store was really skirting the line with this sign. They basically had 5 feet of space that consisted of candy bars and hostess style fruitcakes and muffins.

Of course I found it funny that when she realized I was buying rolling papers she looked me up and down like "wait, what"? Like I'm the most unusual thing she's seen in that store.

I want to know - have you ever seen rain?

I just can't believe the coverage of the storms. Seriously. Weather people must be bored, bored, bored. They way over-hyped them. They made it seem like we were going to have a hurricane, and they all sent news teams to the one flooded underpass in San Jose. (Which turned out to be caused by wire theft causing the drains to fail.) It's ridiculous. This stuff happens when it rains!

Just to tell you how underwhelming these storms were - three days ago they were saying my city was going to have 50 mile per hour winds. Which is pretty impressive for us. Inside I laughed and said thank gawd I already have a fence guy lined up for my rental next week. Let me assure you - almost no one is getting any fence work out of this storm. It was barely stronger than a normal spring storm. News people however were hyperventilating like it was the most amazing thing on earth.
President Money Bags reaction to the Ukraine crisis - This is Bushes fault, and Putin is a racist.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The story about my house.

Contractors are the biggest gossips on the face of the planet. It's why it takes so long to get your stuff fixed. They chat around like hens. They are worse than women. No foolies. So you know my new gardeners ran to the rental to see the place. They were back within a half an hour reporting that they'd run into one set of neighbors and they were over the moon. Which is a good start because when we bought that house - the neighborhood had a few bad elements. My house being one of them. Both of the owners had died and it was a hoarder house. But also, the guy next to me was a drunk and crazy. He'd basically chuck beer bottles over the fence against the garage wall where they would shatter into a pile of broken glass. The hoarders didn't seem to mind. The place was a junkbox anyway.

When I was trying to sell the place he'd go out and work on his old timey pinto to intimidate people looking at the house. They economy was also crashing down around us. So it wasn't the only reason. It just didn't help. Strangely if it had been any other type of car than a pinto - it might have been charming. This is the reason I chose the guy I put into my place. I needed a strong personality to get that other guy out who was also a  renter. And I didn't want to put a nice family next to a drunk. I didn't think the process would take that long.... but... life doesn't care what you want.

The new neighbors have only been there a year. It was their comp I used to refi the rental. So my first order of business was to meet the them. It turns out that when they bought the place, the guy living there refused to leave. Who does that? They've really done a lot of great work to their place. I think misery loves to cluster. So that place was pretty shit too before they bought it. They at least seem like a really nice elderly couple.

The stories I'm getting from everyone sort of trip me out. The neighbors said the police came and picked him up for assault at the rental. Apparently it happened somewhere else. But they've only been there for a year. So, it was obviously recent. It isn't like I thought my renter was great - but he never stepped out of line with me like that. And I never would have given him the time of day if I knew they hit women. Mutual or not.

When I was growing up everyone thought beating people equaled abuse. Now it seems there is a mutual combatant mentality that frankly shocks me. I blame reality shows. When I was growing up - we all thought that was wrong. Now it just seems normal I guess.

Monday, February 24, 2014

It's a small, small, small, small world.

This is why you don't burn bridges people. No matter how hard you want to - don't. The world is much smaller than you think. You never know when an ex friend of that bridge is going to pop out of the woodwork and grind your rumor mill to shit and tell people all your dirty little secrets.

For the longest time my neighbors gardener has been trying to get my place. For years. I kept telling him I had a rental I was trying to get the guy out of, and when I did I'd have him do that yard. My neighbors gardener is so reliable you can set time by this guy.

So... today I hit him up to take care of my rental. When the guy he works with saw the address of the rental he said - "how long has Pete been living there". Which made me freeze in shocked silence. Finally I was like "how do you know who lives in my rental"?

It turns out my new gardener knows my ex renter. Apparently my renter assaulted the guy even. That is how well they know each other. Apparently - this guy lives right around the corner from my crapshack. My first question was "is he crazy"?

I mean, I'd known that guy forever! I can't believe my bullshit meter was that broken. I admit, I definitely had a blind spot. And knew he had a particular problem with women, but my gardener is telling me he is a wife beater. Now, I don't know if that is true, but you don't want those types of rumors circulating if they aren't. It sounded like it might have been a mutual thing - but still. He's apparently a roider. Which I knew, but he never stepped out of line with me.

Trippiest thing ever. It's so random how you run into people and unlock the door of information.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Crapshack part deux.

Even though I have a lot of work ahead of me - I feel really good. Like a weight has been lifted off my chest. So - we took the time to have breakfast in Fremont where they serve Dutch Baby pancakes. It's takes an hour for them to bake, but we had a lot of stuff to plan anyway. I mean, it's all the things I thought that guy was doing to my place. least the anxious mystery is gone. I think he had a full life meltdown. His contractor licence has been pulled and has a 7 grand bond requirement. I met him when I bought my first house in this town. Which has been a really long time. Aside from the shit he did to my house, it's just scary to see how quickly and far people can fall. It's stunning.

One of the nice things about the neighborhood my rental is in now - it's gotten way cuter than when we bought it. It could have turned the other way. I remember not wanting to stick a new lawn in because all the other neighbors had crappy lawns. It just didn't seem to fit the neighborhood. I'd already gutted the whole house. Now the neighborhood has turned over and my place stands out as the shit house again. This was a hoarder house where the owners had died. I think the neighbors are going to be super happy that guy is gone too. The place looks rough.

I've already got someone booked to bulldoze it. It's the guy who did my fence. Apparently all of my neighbors have been poaching him. When I called him he was working a house behind me. He does really good work. And he does it for slightly more than what I could pay if I did it myself. If I did have so much stuff to do, I'd probably just do that. It's always fun to rent a bobcat.

When I was driving through the crapshack neighborhood Mr S. spotted this on one of the neighbors recycle cans. Maybe we are all going to be okay after all.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The accidental landlord.

I finally got my rental back yesterday. It's like I've been trapped in a bad marriage, and I'm really happy to put this part of my life behind me. I started having problems with this guy right out of the gate, but I had that exploding mortgage that I carried around like a 20 ton boulder. Even though I had two years left - you just feel trapped by it all the time. Like you are stuck in concrete and can't move. All of a sudden you become super "risk adverse". Sure my guy paid around the 15th most months, but at least he paid eventually. I never wanted to drive by my place because I knew I'd be pissed. I'd tell myself "you don't want to be aggravated today". So I just waited until I was in a stronger position. Which turned out to be many years.

Finally when my refi went through I wanted to get the rental appraised so I could get PMI off it right away. I think prices might soften up. And I never expected I would be able to get it off this quickly. When I told him I wanted to meet about the house there - he flipped and gave notice. Which I thought was the best gift ever. It was an evictory! I've wanted to get rid of this guy forever! I mean, it's harder legally to get someone out who is paying. The place was decently effed up and that's probably why he freaked.

Turns out I'm not all that bitter. The hard lessons you learn - you learn the deepest. I gave that guy a lot of the benefit of the doubt. When I knew him he lived in a more than million dollar house. It's why I let him move in in the first place. I figured if you could convince someone to lend you a million bucks, you might take care of the place. Looking back in hindsight, that guy probably got a liars loan. He lost his house but managed a short sale during the housing crisis.. His house cost more than both of my houses! And I'm in a pretty decent neighborhood. I have broken doors, broken windows style damage. It could have been worse though.

The bright side is - rents have gone up enough that I'm just going to hire a property management company to find and yell at people. That isn't really my thing. I mean - I will. But I just hate it.

I never meant to be a landlord. I got trapped in that place. The stupid thing is I refi'd it at probably the lowest interest rates I will see in my lifetime. So.... now I guess I am a landlord.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

I just don't have anything interesting for you you today. Sorry. I mean - it's obvious to everyone the economy is rolling over. Right?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

It's gonna get all medieval up in here.

A good portion of my weekend was spent trying to hobble together a viable grey water system. Right now the plan is to shower in the tub with the drain stopped up to capture all that water. Then transfer the water to this. Since I don't take baths, that faucet had seized up and we needed to replace the mechanism this weekend.

As the water rationing comes in from other cities I've been watching what their rules are. Right now things are not too bad, but one lady from the 70's said they only got to use 50 gallons a day.  I'm not sure if that was per person or what. But I am preparing for the worst. The hills are already starting to brown back up. Most cities are just starting to enforce odd and even day watering. For now.

That ridge is rumored to strengthen "later this month (which means about now)". Which is going start cutting into the whole "April Showers bring May Flowers" thing. It going to be a really stressful summer. It can get 108 here in summer. Every one's lawn is going to be dead but mine. Hopefully. When I replaced both of them last year I upgraded to more efficient sprinklers.  I saw my neighbors scalp their lawns to the very lowest settings. Then water them for 4 hours at a time and wonder why they still look dead. Since my house is going to stand out, I'm sure I will get a lot of chance to explain that.

I'm also going to attempt my scant garden. I've been shucking water around for a few years now. No I'm not a hippy. And you know how I feel about environmentalists.

Home gardening however is just about the most expensive way you can grow anything. It doesn't make sense to spend 50 bucks to grow tomatoes that you can get relatively cheaply at the store. Sure they don't taste that great and you have to deal with constant tomato stickers on the fruit. So when I'm showering and waiting for the water to warm up - I put a bucket under there and catch all that water. Then bank it in a 32 gallon brute trash can with a lid to keep it from turning. I hate doing it. This year is going to suck super hard. Just say'in. I don't even want to talk about the fires right now. Plus no hydro, means less electricity.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

My car sugar was low. - Part 2.

Even though the Autorama in Sacramento is a little meh to me, I'd never pass up a reason to find a new burger joint there. It's like the greasy burger mecca of the world. It's also where I found the Squeeze Inn. They have a ton of retro burger joints there. Which I love, love, love. You can't get a sloppy burger in my town to save your life. Half the time when I order a burger here I'm not even sure I'm killing myself since they are so lean. In Sacramento you still find places where you are taking your life into your own hands.

We wound up at different burger place in Old Sac, but I got so distracted they sold chicken and waffles, and Grits! I didn't even try for a burger. Which I regretted. Oakland has ruined me for chicken and waffles. I mean, it was good. But not Louis The Pie Queen good. So I'm not going to tell you where I landed. We almost went to the burger point where they put peanut butter on hamburgers.

For the most part I do not love taking shots of elaborate bikes. You can never capture how intricate they are in person.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

My car sugar was low.

Today I was at the Autorama in Sacramento. It isn't one of my favorite shows. You really go for the loud stereos which I'm a complete tard for. I don't know why. It just makes me smile. The only thing that would make me happier is if the cars just starting vibrating apart.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Oh! I almost forgot. The other interesting thing about my doctors visit today was - he said the administration was almost like Nazi's with their new rules. His exact words. Which made my eyes grow wide and I almost fell off my chair. I was not going to touch that one.

My doctor is black. And...... black people were pretty sensitive about the word Nazi a few years ago. Plus, he's absolutely not a conservative. I actually didn't know that existed until this year.

They are finally awake.

Today I had to see my primary care physician. I don't have anything wrong with me. But to get my doctor to keep spitting out my thyroid pills like a pez dispenser I have to go in twice a year. Since prescription refills are all I really need, I get to spend a lot of time just chatting and catching up. Oh yes. You heard that right. Hey, I'm paying for an hour. That is how I'm spending my hour!

I was pretty apprehensive because even though I adore this guy, I'm at the stage where I'm not going along to get along.  At all. That's bullshit man. Not that I ever have been, but some things you are gentle about to be polite or not to look crazy. Especially when everyone is on the opposite side of the fence as you are. I think it's insane anyone on earth thought Obamacare would be a good thing and I'm not shy about saying it.

Last year I was still in the crazy camp. Read "Soon everyone will be Awake" from last October. The people they really need to reach to keep them out of the emergency rooms are not computer literate, or medically literate. Meaning people are set in their ways. No amount of poking them with a stick is going to get them to change their behaviour. Like morbidly obese people. Have you seen the sores these people get? If that doesn't change your behaviour - nothing will.

My doctor was first in line at the Obamacare trough. All the doctors I know were. They mean well - but honestly - most people don't think too deeply about things. The US isn't Canada. And while I'm not an expert on Canada - we have problems they don't. Like Illegal immigrants, and a homeless population that I can't imagine Canada has. Hell, even Canada's homeless come here! It's easy to sleep on the streets in at least half of the country because of the weather. All of the Bay Area has a pretty intense Urban Camping population. When you freeze to death, you kinda look for a job or find family.

So anyway... I wanted to find out how things were going for doctors. Since they all supported it an all. Yet, I was afraid he'd say something that I'd have to resist the urge to tell him he was batshit crazy for thinking. And that is a lot of effort right now. Again, they mean well. They want to do the right thing, but human behaviour doesn't care about you meaning well. That is just the bottom line. Underline it.

Turns out - President Money Bags is killing them with paperwork. Killing them! All I wanted to do is make sure my doctor still took cash because I don't want to lose him. Insurance plans like mine will be taxed at 40%. So, those companies are going to start dropping them. I think in open enrollment in October ( but I admit I'm not really sure of the date. Next open enrollment will be when the real fury begins. Mark my words)

The funny thing about doctors is - if you pay them cash - they give you a cash discount because they don't have to file all of that paperwork. I started out with this guy on cash because I didn't have insurance. Yet it seems most people don't pay at the time of service, or at all - so almost no one knows this. It's frustrating.

It doesn't feel as good as I thought it would to see them suffer at their own hands. Like I said - I think my doctor means well. He looked exhausted like I've never seen him. He said he spends until midnight every night now because of the rigid requirements the administration is putting on them.

Then I popped over to my chiropractor who is having a completely different problem because his clients (like me) are more likely to pay cash. We didn't get to talk that long, but he got on the topic of medicaid. He was thankful he didn't have that many. But as I was leaving he went to whisper mode and he said the following to me - "you can't fuck with medicaid because you will go to jail"! Since Medicaid isn't really on my radar and I didn't bring it up - it made me think that doctors are scared shitless about it. It's also probably why doctors are refusing to take it. The other thing I found super interesting was - he thought the system was only going to get worse. Which was a huge shock to me because he's the reason I made that post about everyone being awake soon. He was almost cradling the balls of Obamacare.

Last October, no one thought this would affect them. It's why they didn't fight against it. Now they are figuring out how wrong they were. Which I think is a good sign.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The world is full of stupid people.

This weekend California had it's first set of consecutive days of rainfall since I can remember. I think it's been since last spring, but every article I read says it's been 14 months. I took the opportunity to burn anything I could. Seriously. I had a fire in the fireplace. I BBQ'ed. Both at the same time. We were having 30 day consecutive spare the air days which mean no burning anything. The mountains are still brown, although they are at least looking greenish/brown  now. I have never seen he mountains be brown in February.

Having said that - SocGen says no big woop. Here. Their rationalization is the rest of the country is getting tons of rain. Which would be great if the rest of the country grew half of the stuff California does. You can grow stuff in snow. Right? It just makes me want to do the windmill to the economists who write this shit. 

One week ago I started fearing for the California economy in a crazy way. It's not only the farmers. It's the gardeners. If stuff doesn't grow - you don't have anything to trim. The nurseries. The livestock. Tree trimmers. The replacement cost of landscaping. Truckers. How all these things trickle down through the economy. 

It feels a lot better today. But that is just denial. I garden, so I know that the window for some crops have passed. You would never plant crops with the kind of rainfall we've gotten. Most of the rainfall will go into plant growth because most of that stuff didn't have too much longer to hold on. The first rain took two days to evaporate. I was pretty shocked. You start getting the garden ready this time of year with tilling in compost and I almost didn't make it before the earth was already drying up.

The reservoirs are a fraction of what they stood at during the 1970's drought. And the pattern is following exactly what happened in the 70's. I ran across this handy information video from the 70's and this drought is caused by exactly the same type of ridge that caused the drought in the 1970's. It's kinda boring and long, but you should watch it. It's my road map for the year.

I wouldn't even gamble on water stocks, because while they will get to jack up prices - if you don't get to water anything - it doesn't mean jack shit. 

Anyone who thinks the drought isn't a huge effing deal is mental.

I'm calling bullshit on the retirement boom.

"By the CBO's reckoning, the economy will soon slam into a demographic wall: The vast baby boom generation will retire." Emphasis mine.

For years I've been reading these stories about how the baby boomers were going to retire en-mass and change this economy forever. Personally, I think that is one of the biggest fairy tails ever told and I'm gonna tell you why.

My 14 year old mother was from the tail end of the baby boom generation. So I've spent a considerable amount of time watching them. And resenting them in a way.  There is a demographic change going on, and it isn't the baby boomers retiring. It's the resentment from the generations after. Let me explain.

The baby boom generation got to live like there was no tomorrow. YOLO was their rallying cry. And it's easy to only live once if all the generations after you are paying for it. I read a comment once that summed up everything I feel about the baby boom generation. "They squandered everything the Greatest Generation left to them, they spent everything they made, and now they are spending everything their children make". This generation in particular saved nothing. If you could save less than nothing - that is where the baby boom generation sits.

Seekingalpha has an interesting theory on why this occurred. Be warned you have to sign in to read this article and it's the only source.  I'm gonna paraphrase. Basically it says my grandmothers generation (who spent her entire life on welfare) was raised in a deflationary environment. My mother was raised in an inflationary environment which caused them to think they needed to spend their money before it was worthless. And well... mission accomplished! It's a mindset they are taking to the grave.

Now it sounds shitty to not want to take care of your elders. And it isn't like you don't want to take care of them. You do however get really resentful when they have done exactly zero to save for their later years. I have to save for my later years, plus your later years. If you don't think a whole bunch of generations are going to tell you to pound sand, I'm here to tell you you are wrong. Shitty sounding or not. That is reality.

I do not believe for one second that baby boomers can retire. En-mass or any other type of mass. This generation will be working until the day they die. Google it.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Almost no coverage of the bitcoin bank run today? Here.

It would be great if it rained actual pineapples.

California is going to be pretty hunkered down this weekend. We are getting a pineapple express storm. Which is the most unpredictable storms there are.

I think we are going to BBQ in the rain Yo! We've been on burning bans for months at a time this winter.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Its like waiting for Godot.

The pullback that never came. When you have a printing press - nothing in this world is real. Maybe this finally is the inflection point. Which should make this a super interesting election year. I hope they toss the lot of them into a volcano and just start over. The stock market is psychologically important though - even if it means nothing to most people. It will be interesting (said in the most sarcastic way) to see how the Fed tries to stimulate the economy this time.

The sad thing is - the government doesn't have to do anything to stimulate the economy. People naturally like to buy things. They naturally like to build things. All you have to do is stop making them not want to spend due to the economic climate. It's really that simple.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

You've never seen people so happy for rain in your life.

I didn't think the storm was going to hit us. It was just suppose to hug the coast. But when I woke up it was pretty grey and the first thing I did was look out to the mountains. I can see Mt Hamilton from my deck. I was shocked to see a little dusting of snow. Right then we planned to drive up. It might be the last time this year to see snow! But by the time we'd had coffee and got my crap together and was about to motivate out the door - I saw that it had mostly melted.

Then we planned to get some noon breakfast and come back and till the garden. Which really sort of sucks when there has been no rain. We have a clay base and it becomes hard as a rock and a dust bowl. The rain looked to be ending at that point. Yesterday I started banking water. All day Mr S. and I were trying to come up with ways to steal water when the summer comes. You can see how brown the mountains are. You might as well get used to this view because when the fires come - I see them from here.

By the time we got out of stopping at the store - the rain really picked up and tilling was out. While I was waiting at the door for Mr S. to come out of the store - every single person who walked out had an immediate smile and was super excited about the rain. Child like excited. It was really fun to watch.

You think I was kidding about stealing water? I'm gonna be a water robber Baron. I was looking at these things yesterday. Mr. S wanted to set up a grey water trading exchange. It's that serious in California. They cut water deliveries to 0.0.

OMG. It's raining. It's totally like Christmas.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

That's so racist.

I've been on a big ramen thing for months now. Today they'd written this on the sign in sheet which I found funny. Maybe they are unhappy about the time I wrote firsties on the sheet since no one else was there. /sarc.

Some days all you find to entertain you is a bucket full of prisms.

Just in case you wanted to start working on your own google glass proto. I think they were factory seconds though.