Friday, May 29, 2015

Pagani Friday.

I actually got this a month ago at the S.Row show. I didn't post it because I'm moody.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

But wait - there's more.

I have a ton of conferences this month, so I might have to delete the last three posts from today. Still, how can I not post about this? HOW?

Police find $100 Worth Of Walmart Groceries In Woman’s Vagina.

"The Pittson, Pennsylvania woman is facing charges and fines after being arrested Thursday evening. Keen eyed Walmart employees couldn’t help but notice the resourceful thief shoving food up her dress and called the cops.

Officer Charles Langan said that Fray was given a full body search during which several oranges fell onto the floor between her legs.

“I thought she stuffed a bunch of things in her pants so I gave her a fast pat down, when I felt nothing and saw items begin to fall out of her pants, I knew something was up,” said Officer Langan. “A female officer was called in after Miss Fray was brought to the station, and a more thorough search was initiated.”

Officer Felicia Anne, a 10 year vet of the police force arrived to carry out the more in depth search;

They asked me to come do a full cavity search on a recently arrested shoplifter, which is very unusual. They told me that they thought she was holding groceries in her vagina, and I literally laughed out loud. They told me about the oranges and not feeling anything during the pat down, so I took her in the back and sure enough, we found nearly $100 worth of groceries inside of her vagina. A dozen eggs, bread, milk, a few more oranges, as well as a full porterhouse and a rack of bacon were in there, plus a lot more. I was shocked.”
Emphasis mine.

She was making breakfast in her vagina!

Conversations with Mr S.

Me - Not only are women growing back their beards, apparently they are turning to granny panties.

Him - Well, when you have a full beard you need something to cover it up.

Things you can't unsee.

A Robot Butt Named Patrick Helps Medical Students Practice Intimate Exams.

All of a sudden you like robots more. Now don't ya?
I finally got the guts to ask that guy I know if he was able to refi yet. He's the only one I know left that is in worse pain than I was. Most people either gave up or managed to make it through the window.

Actually, that might be wrong. I might know one other guy is who still worse off than the first. Someone convinced him to buy a rental in Angels Camp. I just don't know him as well to ask about his personal finances. I know that other guy really well, and it's slightly uncomfortable at this point.

I've only been out to Angels Camp once, so I don't track their real estate unless I'm in town. It's too far inland. Though I might have to suck it up and just inquire if I run into him.

Anyway. I was a little surprised he said no. He's thinking about selling his house and moving into his rental. He'd lose money presumably, otherwise the bank would refi him right now. But he's paying 7% interest. So.... there's that.

That has to burn like the surface of the sun.

No one knows what's real.

I think it is really distressing that no one seems to know what is really going on in the economy. I admit, I'm not even sure. I'm just guessing like everyone else.'s really troubling that the data has been so contorted that no one believes any of the data resulting in this article about how The Oil Glut is Not real.

"I could be wrong, and may have missed something, but what I heard was merely that one or two firms, when asked at what price they would start adding rigs, responded by saying roughly around $70 per barrel. But they did not say that the spigot would be turned on by a huge amount. The market appears to buy into the perception that supply greatly exceeds demand. But I disagree with that analysis completely.

Capital spending was, lo and behold, also dramatically revised higher in previous months, fully consistent with the pending “revised” quarterly GDP data for the first half of this year. With such blatant data manipulation going on, why shouldn’t we question the extent of stated “glut” in oil?"

(I think) his theory is that all the revisions to GDP are so manipulated that you can't believe any of the data even the report of an oil glut.

I always start from the position that maybe this guy is right. He gets paid to try and be right. I don't. Still, you can make some assumptions based on what is happening. For instance this other article that came out this morning.

Oil storage is so expensive it could derail the oil recovery.

"Oil tankers have become super expensive — a sign drillers are flooding the market once more, according to a report Wednesday by Bloomberg's Naomi Christie and Bill Lehane.
The daily rate for oil supertankers is at its highest level for this time of year since 2008, Bloomberg reported.

Benchmark charter rates surged 57% in the two weeks leading up to last Wednesday because of a sudden rise in demand."

This makes it seem like the glut is real, because why would they raise they rates if they weren't running out of space? Normally you do that because you don't have as much of something to give.

The Pacific is moist.

I haven't been bitching about the drought much lately because we've been getting a lot of cloud cover reducing temps for the last 24 days roughly. This has put a lot less pressure on the trees. It looks to have put a pause on their demise.

I have been watching the vapor loop for a while because it's summer here. We don't really get rain that often, and hurricanes are going to be our only relief until about October. And that is only scant relief. Sometimes we get lightening from them which is a real treat.

The Pacific has surprisingly little dry air right now. Dry air is that orange color. The area below Baja has been super moist for a few weeks now. It stretches almost all the way to Hawaii. Today it looks like it's trying to spin something up down there which if true is not good news for Texas. It looks to already have a rooster tail. Animated link. Right now it's just pulsing.

I have to admit, I've been watching Texas with a combination of jealousy and fear. We want rain - just maybe not that much rain.

Cherry picking the housing numbers.

Pending home sales up 3.4% in April, highest in 9 years.

"U.S. home buyers signed more contracts to buy existing properties in April. A monthly index of so-called "pending" home sales from the National Association of Realtors rose 3.4 percent from March to the highest level in nine years. Pending sales are now up 14 percent from a year ago."

When I read this headline this morning I thought - wow, the highest pendings in 9 years! This is truly a turn around. Maybe I'm wrong about the world and everything. Lets plug this number into a chart!

And well,  maybe I suck at reading charts - but the highest pendings in 9 years is a little um - misleading. Or completely inaccurate. Whichever you chose. As you can see, It maybe the highest since 2012. That is still only three years right? Not nine? Sometimes I'm not so good at math. Lets expand this chart to be as generous to the reporter as possible. Nine years would be 06, right? As you can see, that is some extreme cherry picking of the data. Even if we leave out the whole 2012 period, at best it's the highest pendings since 2010. Five years. And this is being extremely generous.

Chart source.

Are things doing better than last year. Absolutely. But we are basically just getting back to trend line. As you can see with these sensational headlines - the media is making things seem better than they are. This makes me believe the Fed will raise rates no matter what.

I also thought this article from an ECB "economist" seems to indicate the real reason the Fed is going to raise rates is to trick people into making purchases before they would otherwise want to. I guess the "nudge" is back. "If you assholes won't invest, we will force you to do what we want. " That is my add.

"The Federal Reserve's anticipated interest rate hike will spur economic growth by forcing executives and consumers off the fence, UBS economist Drew Matus said Thursday.

"If you raise interest rates, it actually puts a value on ... time, and so people can't wait as long as they would normally wait. They have to make decisions with imperfect information," Matus said on CNBC's".  Source.

There is so much faulty logic in his reasoning in his comments - I could write a whole article just about this article! But I'm not. He seems to indicate the pendings prove the economy is doing so well that inflation and wage growth are right around the corner. Despite no evidence at all. He goes on to say:

"Meanwhile, global reflation is picking up at at robust clip as Europe, Japan and China continue stimulus measures, he added. That's a pretty powerful tailwind and it should boost growth globally in the coming couple of quarters at least," he said.".

Whatever.  He must not be reading the same articles I am. "Robust clip" is overly generous I would say. I think China has done three rate cuts and stimulus this year!  The Economist wrote an article 15 days ago saying  the following:

"TODAY'S economic data releases from China were a mixed bag. First, the bad news. It has been nearly half a year since China started easing its monetary policy, and there is still little sign of a rebound in growth. For anyone thinking that the economy would surge back to full throttle, the sluggish response to the stimulus is disappointing. There was, though, also a glimmer of good news. The downturn appears to be abating. Even the beleaguered property market appears to be finding its feet. This should assuage fears that the slowdown might spiral out of control and turn into a rout." Here.

I would say "sluggish response to stimulus" is the most accurate description of what is happening. Surprisingly sluggish considering the accommodating efforts. And a healthy economy doesn't need stimulus. Right? I forget now. It's been so long since that was a reality. Said in the most sarcastic way.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Well played squirrel. Well played.

He knows he can just go back to that neighbor that's feeding him nuts. Right? You do have to admit it's a little impressive he got it to stick there.

No big deal Ya'll.

I've grown to believe the Fed will hike rates no matter what the data looks like. But it does make me laugh that anyone believes that it will be no big deal. Even at a quarter of a percent! Everything fell of a cliff when rates hit 4.50% almost two years ago now, and they have never recovered since. That is where the pain line lies. Possibly even lower since housing prices have gone up so much. I mean, this whole thing has gone on too long - but as you can see from the handy chart above - this is what happens to mortgage apps when rates float around 4%.

Today I'd say half the rates are over 4%, the other half around 3.75ish. I don't know how many people are still underwater. I'd guess it is under 8 % of homeowners at this point. I don't have the heart to ask the one guy I know who is still there. He's gotta be getting close to being flat soon. He took out a construction loan against his house to build a business right at the top of the market. It takes a special bit of strength to have endured what that guy has. Most people couldn't take the pain.

At 4%, your only market for refi's are that guy. And as I have been saying for a while, the only housing market is the new home market which is not your average first time buyer market. It's easy to make things look awesome in that area with 26% YOY headlines when the new home market has always been much smaller. New homes are expensive! I don't know how you are going to wedge people out of existing homes with the rates people have locked in. Even I have a rental I never intended to keep. If it does manage to happen places sell pretty quickly. The house next to my rental went in one week. It turned over right when I was getting my new renter in.

All of a sudden in the last year almost every plot of land in my city was snapped up and they are building houses on them right this moment. It's really fascinating because land can take decades to turn over. Cities make it hard to build. For a while my city required you to install an "object of art" on every new development over 20 units. No foolies.

Anyway.... I know the Fed is freaked about hyper-inflation. And one day that will be a problem. There will be too much money chasing too few products and services. I doubt it will be before this administration is out. But you never know. I honestly think it will be a year or two into the next administration before things get too hot. This administration has punished every single segment of the economy who have done the right thing in favor of deadbeats. It's gonna take a while before people stop hoarding money because of this.

Honestly - you never thought you'd have an administration that acts like it hates the US as much as this one. It's like you are on a losing team every single day.

"With the average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage now decidedly above four percent, borrowers are pulling back from refinances and struggling to make home purchases during a historically busy time of year for housing.

Total mortgage application volume fell 1.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from one week earlier, for the week ending May 22, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). While volume is still higher than a year ago, it has fallen 10 percent in the last four weeks."

Also read. Stanley Fischer: First rate hike will be no big deal.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

It's a bi-polar world.

This weekend was one of those weekends that just messes with your brain. On one hand it was the monthly Santa Row car show. It always sort of amazes me how posh Santana Row has gotten. It's like a mini Palo Alto in mall form. Everything just feels good there because money feels good.

On the other hand, the largest lumber yard in San Jose announced it was closing. This place has gotten me through more than one bad day during the recession. It wasn't just any lumber yard, it was the best lumber yard in the whole valley. They sold exotic hardwoods. They did milling. This was your high end carpentry sort of place. They had wood that was really hard to get. I found myself buying up all the carpentry grade cedar. I was surprised no one had picked it over yet. You can find the veneer easy, but not the other stuff as I found out a few months ago coincidentally. I was doing a closet floor.

This was one of those century old businesses. They made it through the Great Depression, but they aren't making it through the Great Recession. The reason they gave was in a Silicon Valley Business Journal article published Thursday, Pohle said, "Market conditions right now are crazy, and I'm at a point in my life where I just don't want to do this anymore."

It just bums be out because they probably provided a lot of the lumber that built this whole area. They logged the Santa Cruz mountains back in the day.

This is the real economy. And no matter how hard you try to distract yourself with that other stuff at Santana Row - it just sucks to see a company like this lose the good fight.

And well, also, the next best place is in Berkeley which kinda super sucks. That will take a chunk out of your day.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

In the wild.

Two Lambo's and a Masi.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

That looks like overheating to me.

"Wall street investors and the Federal Reserve are both dismissing the possibility of the U.S. economy "overheating," Jim Paulsen said Thursday. "Overheating is not about growing fast; it's about demand growing faster than weak supply," Well Capital Management's chief investment strategist said in a CNBC " Squawk on the Street" interview. "We can grow at 2 percent supply-side, but I think that Wall Street is making a big mistake, including the Fed, in assuming that we can't overheat because we're growing so slowly." Source.

Today I was able to find a mortgage rate back down in the 3.50% range. Which is not surprising because this weeks mortgage app numbers were not good. I laugh every time someone suggests we raise rates because I know where I refinanced both my houses. I understand where the pain line is. And it's between 4%-4.5%. If things were going so swimmingly, banks would be raising rates on their own without the Fed like they did a year or two ago. It was a surprise to all of us who were waiting to refi, that the banks could just raise rates to around 4.5% without the Fed.

I think it made a lot of panic. We didn't know that could happen. But it did, and so all this talk about raising rates is just theater. The banks don't have to wait for the Fed to raise rates if they are doing well. The fact that rates have even touched 3.5 again suggests they are not. At a 4% rate, refi's had fallen to .03% growth. And you can see what is happening to mortgage apps under the higher rates. They've been promising they wold raise rates so long, they can't even scare a few people into getting into lower mortgages before they vanish.

I bring this up because every day everyone is freaking about raising rates. Should they be higher. Absolutely. I've just never heard of a government raising rates before inflation even exists. Or barely exists. Especially since we are importing deflation from other countries. Their economies are very weak. To be sure, the world is awash in money. And one day that is going to be a fire, but I think inflation will have to run hot before the economy is healthy enough to hike.

It's also really notable that food inflation is really tame right now. Outside of livestock. By this time last year the drought was putting a ton of pressure on that.

I personally feel there is a lot of pent of demand. I just doubt it will be released under this administration. More companies are still dying than being created. This is all setting up for a very uncomfortable situation in the future. Deflationary pressures are exceedingly rare. The Fed likes to call them transitory and they are right. Inflation is the norm. Just take a trek through the misery index. You've got 2015, 2009, and then you have to go all the way back to 1954 and 1949!

I'd like to see where he thinks we are overheating? Retail sales? Construction? Home sales? I mean,these make up a large part of the economy. So where? Because the misery index seems to think inflation vanished in January.

So, I think we are all actually aware of the dangers, we just think the economy isn't strong enough to handle a rate increase. It's probably why people aren't spending. We all know this is going to go tits up. You just don't know the day.

I think the Fed is fucked. If they don't raise in the next month or two, then what - they are going to raise rates right before Christmas?!? Then we have election season.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

They say don't fear the reaper.

UK inflation negative for the first time since 1960.

By now everyone must understands deflation is not the best thing next to jellybeans. Right? If I heard that meme again I thought my brain would explode. The negatives outweigh the positives. It's like no one payed attention to what happened during the recession at all! It took four years to escape the deflationary spiral. Things didn't start picking up until 2013.

So this bit of news is especially concerning considering the ECB has printed a ton of money to stop this a cycle that most people don't think exists.

No matter. What it means to us is a stronger dollar. Lower oil. Carnage continues.

The great utopia of lowered expectations.

I haven't written about the economy lately because interest rates had been kissing 4% for about the last three weeks. I'd been biting my nails to see if this rate could hold. Because ya know..... the Fed has been insisting they were going to raise interest rates this summer. And I sort of think it would be funny if the Fed did raise them. I mean, it would be the first time ever possibly the Fed has tried to raise rates when the underlying economy is so weak. I've grown tired of caring - so lets rip off the band-aid and get this party started.

This morning when new housing starts came out and the media was falling all over themselves about how starts had "surged", I basically rolled my eyes. Before I looked at the data I said to myself - if true - finally! We've been at recession level building for roughly seven years now. The longest stretch since at least the 1960's. At some point there is going to have to be a building boom to account for that. I doubt it will be under this administration, but you never know.

At any rate - this amazing "surge" barely sticks us over the low end of this historical average as you can see from this handy chart. A healthy economy averages roughly 1.5ish million units. We aren't even banking a million units right now! Seven years into a recession.

Now lets see what three weeks of 4% interest rates did to mortgage applications.

Oh dear! Said in the most sarcastic way. That totally looks like the Fed will easily be able to raise rates. No probs. You can tell the banks are really struggling at the 4% point because yesterday and today rates had fallen back into the 3.80ish range. After three weeks of falling apps they caved.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The thrill is gone.

I think this will be my last year at Maker for a while. This crowd has achieved the least amount of self awareness on the planet. Since I've seen a bunch of stuff from previous years, the crowds just make it really unenjoyable. It's really been this way for a few years - I think I've just reached my breaking point.

Mr S. and I strolled up at 3:00 on a Sunday hoping to escape the crowds, and I was on tilt within 30 minutes. It's the people parking their double wide toddler strollers in the middle of isles with no children in them. Which is so effing irritating. Maker Faire has a bike check in - what I wouldn't give for a check in area for the hummer sized SUV strollers these people tote around. Some of them I can barely even see over they are so big. And I'm a normal sized woman!

It's also that every guy seems to feel like he needs to carry around all of his personal belongings in a giant backpack strapped to him. I think this really bothers me because in a huge crowd I see nothing but backpacks because I'm that height. I hate it. It honestly feels like you have a backpack shoved in your face all of the time. The only way to make this thing worse is to have CES style rolling luggage pulled around by everyone.

You can't get close to anything these days and people just camp out in the booths. Of course, people think Maker Faire is the ideal place to use a razor scooters and all means of rolling transport. Said in the most sarcastic way. I just don't think I can do it again for a while.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Key Man @ MakerFaire2015

I thought this was a clever bit of art.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

You know tech is in the shitter when.....

Fry's electronics starts selling soft porn. My first thought was - who still pays for porn!? But they had almost a full isle. I mean, they used to have a small five foot section for Playboy and HighTimes. I'm not sure who the demo for Playboy these days is either. But selling actual porn dvd's is pretty new. I'm also slightly confused by modern music artists putting out vinyl. That's Alt J and Lana Del Rey on the bottom.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Dragons? Yes, dragons.

I couldn't find a very clean way to get this. The whole thing is just pretty busy. Brought to you by the same guy who gave us a giant metal mantis a few years ago. Here.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The sky wept, and we were all happy.

You've never seen the sheer joy and excitement that an actual rainstorm brings around here. People go outside to watch with giant smiles on their faces. It's weather Christmas. Some days you aren't sure if it's ever going to rain again.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Get ready to see a circle or box around your face all the time.

I was in trade shows all day. It's really wild to see how many companies are doing computer vision now. They are still in the marginal range, but today I saw a demo where the computer could figure out the mood of a baby. And you know babies are a mess! It also tried to figure out if it was an adult or a baby. On the screen it would ready "happy baby". It got it wrong about half the time labeling it as a happy or sad adult. Or I would have posted a vid.

I guess I didn't know we were getting to the range where my computer would know my mood. But that is one of the side effects of one technology. People try to see what other applications they can use it for. When you teach cars computer vision, well, then computers know how to recognize all sorts of things.

I swear - all the technologies I love will one day make me paranoid. I think it will just take the feeling of being watched to a whole new level.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Blurred lines.

My property manager is moving into my rental on Friday. I'll wait for you to absorb that. Ready?

Two weeks ago she called and said - I want to live in your house. And frankly I was stunned. I didn't even know how to react. Two thirds of my brain was screaming - that's a horrible idea. She's as qualified as anyone else I'd choose. But still - this is a crazy scenario I didn't know was in the cards.

In a related topic. A few days before my property manager called me, I got a text message from the police in my town saying my rental was either burning down or being broken into. I know that is a wide range, so I wasn't sure if it was real either. I especially didn't know the police texted in these cases. They did call under a blocked number and I didn't answer it. They didn't even leave a message. They just sent out a text. I'm not even sure how they got my cell phone number. 

Since I had to enter the unit I had to call my property manager to alert her because the renters still had belongings there. This is where I found out that the police had found my property manager through Google and had called her. I think she even picked up a new potential renter. One of the officers wanted to move back into town. He's living two cities over.

I later found out that my previous renters had installed a security system in my house, and when they were transferring it to their new house they must have set it off. But it was still registered at the old address. So the police went out. 

That is all... carry on.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

It's where my demons hide.

When this blog gets seriously off the rails - the only way I can get that deep down funk out is to find a beach. There are some problems only the beach can solve. I don't know if it's because I spent so much time there growing up. I used to live on the Santa Cruz side for a while. But almost nothing makes me feel better than being there. It's like a universal reset.

Lately I've been on a quest to find the really unusual beaches for California. And I'd read there was a beach with purple sand down by Big Sur which is really unusual. I didn't think I've ever been to Big Sur before. Monterrey is about as far South as I get. Although I'm planning a San Luis Obispo trip this summer. Over the winter we did the unusual Northern beaches like Glass beach and Bowling ball beach.

We finally arrive at Pfeiffer beach and were told the parking lot was full. Which I completely expected. Did I mention this beach has purple sand? Of course the lot was full. What I didn't realize was that if you don't get to park in the lot - you have to walk two miles to get to the beach. Two miles is not a big deal, but really, you are at 4 miles round trip before you even hit the beach. You could walk at least a few miles on the beach. And I was trying to feel better. Doing a mini marathon was not making me feel better. But we'd already driven almost three hours.

I immediately started to make a bail out plan. I was going to pay our way out of this beach. I mean, the last thing you want to do when you are off the beach is walk another 40 minutes to get back to the car. So we park and set of on the long journey. From time to time we would see beach survivors and would ask them how long to the beach. The answer was always "it's about 10 more minutes". Mr S. was convinced the park service was screwing with everyone, and made a joke about how the parking lot was probably empty. I figured that was ridiculous.

The only thing to see along the way were a couple of shacks and these horses which get an amazing amount of attention. Everyone stops to pet those horses.

We finally get to the parking lot, and wouldn't you know it - there were a lot of spaces to park! It wasn't a big deal for us, but one of the beach survivors we met along the way had kids and that had to suck. Getting kids to walk two miles after being at the beach has got to make you go insane.

We finally get on the beach and we don't see any purple sand. I was starting to get worried because you don't want to make your husband drive almost three hours, walk about 40 minutes, only to find there is no purple sand. We could have driven an hour to Santa Cruz! And Bowling ball beach was a little oversold. So there was that. You never know if this beach was touched by good photographers and the sand was just not really purple. But we did find the sand. And it was indeed purple. Not ambiguously purple. The two different types of sand were weighted differently. The purple sand seemed heavier and was best when a wave had turned the sand.

The other "interesting" thing about this beach we found at the far end. You know how at every beach these days you find a stack of rocks? Well, this place had a rock graveyard. I'd never seen that before.

People got kinda creative. This one kinda has a face, a hat, and a scarf.

A lot of people come to this beach for the peakaboo hole. There are a ton of photos on the net of people getting the sun shining through this whole. It's pretty neat.

Oh, and we did manage to pay our way out. We found a car full of guys who worked for Yahoo and the world was right again.