Thursday, July 30, 2015

I predict Google will be sued over their Nest smoke alarms.

I want to start out saying that we bought our Nest smoke alarms because my family was in a fire. I lost my cousin in the accident. I happened to be sleeping away with my boyfriend that night and came back in the morning to a team of fire trucks in front of my house. So, as you can imagine - I have some super big issues with fire.

The Nest smoke alarm had the feature that it told you which room the smoke was coming from. Which I thought was an extremely valuable feature considering you can die very quickly in a fire. Your house can be fully engulfed in two minutes. It's helpful to know where the fire might be before you go searching or to trying to escape. It also had the wave off feature so that you didn't have to get a ladder to get the thing to stop screaming. This was disabled almost immediately after we bought our first unit. I wasn't really happy about it, but it still had the other features.

Fast forward to this morning and my second false alarm. The first happened at 6 in the morning and I'm barely getting to sleep by 2am, So it had been a long time since anything had been cooked in the house. Since we sleep on the top floor I immediately start trying to smell for smoke. It's an automatic response with the family history and all. The frustrating thing is these alarms all start talking to each other. Even if the other unit doesn't smell smoke. I've read this is because if the one alarm dies, the other will keep you aware the fire is still alive. But when there is no fire it just wakes up the neighbors.

This morning the alarms went off at about 3 in the morning. But it sounded more like it went into test mode. Boing it said. There is smoke in the house. The alarm will sound. It will be loud. Or something to that effect. You are in a full panic when you are awoken from a dead sleep to a fire alarm. And I have to say, now I'm a bit pissed honestly.

What if this happens when it not the middle of the night and I'm not home. First I'm sure I will get a notifier on my phone where I will completely panic that my pet is being burned alive. Good times. Second, will my neighbors freak out and try to have the fire department break into my house? I don't know.

All I know is that I bought a product for piece of mind, and now I'm about as anxious about this product as I can get.

There are apparently tons of people with multiple false alarm stories. Here is a video to kinda give you the experience. It's a little annoying at the end because he could have just gotten a screw driver and taken the batteries out. But when your alarms (all of them!) are going off - you are just in a panic really. They should have made the batteries easier to get out.

This is what happens when you try to manufacture wage inflation.

Industry Insiders: 1,000+ Walmart Layoffs Coming.

No one seems to think this has anything to do with recently announced pay hikes./sarc

You could really tell this was crony capitalism at it's best. If real wage inflation were taking hold - it would be taking hold in the skilled labor section of the economy first. Ya know - like engineers and the like. Wage inflation in non skilled labor was because of political force, not because you had a bidding war for McDonalds workers.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Flat black BMW i8.

I wouldn't expect too many car posts until after Monterrey. There isn't much that is exciting me right now, so I have to wait for my car sugar to get low again. This car wasn't in the best area to take great shots. In the shade. Boxed in by a wall on one side.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Christie platform. I'm going to start prosecuting you like it was the 1970's.

I don't really get what Christie is doing. I think the whole weed train has left the station and almost everyone is all aboard. Even I smoke weed. I'm not even sure how you put that genie back in the bottle at this point without an enormous amount of force.

I think the fed will raise in Sept.

I have called bullshit on the fed raising rates for years. It wasn't until this spring that I started to change my mind. And now despite the news of the world - I still think the Fed will raise rates. There is no mathematical justification. It's a political one. I just refuse to believe they will raise rates in the middle of an election year. Period. 

People's memories are short, but not that short. They either raise this year, or wait until after the election. And honestly, if they could keep the banks from wanting to make any money - .25% can be done without a problem. 75% of rates are now back down into the 3.87-ish range.

Turns out I was right about oil the whole time.

The greatest deflation signal of all.

What if oil doesn't go back up?

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Hilary platform. - I'm going to tax the shit out of you.

That press conference from Hilary was the weirdest presser ever! I sort of understand the economy and even I was having a hard time not tuning out. It was like she was reading an earnings report. Half of what she said probably went over the heads of 70% of the population. It was oddly verbose and topic intensive.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Today I got shitty with a phone tree bot, and the bot actually got a little sarcastic with me. And to tell you the truth, I thought it was kinda funny. In my head I was like - did that bot just give me a "tone"?

It used to be that if you got stuck in a phone tree - if you just kept asking for an operator, it would transfer you after about three attempts. By the third time though you are kinda yelling at the phone  -OPERATOR.

The second try in it said - again, if you need to go back to the previous menu press the star button. But the way is said again was several octaves lower like you would do when your getting annoyed with someone who is not listening. It even had a firmer voice! Not the sorry I must have misunderstood you voice at all.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A while back I was at the supermarket grooving to a song on the radio. Normally it's all crap you almost can't stand hearing one more time. But this song was good.

In the distance I could hear someone singing along with the song almost at the top of their lungs. I thought it might be someone in the isle next to me. When I finally got up to the front I saw it was one of the cashiers.  Making small talk I told her her voice was good.

Now every time I see that girl she starts belting out tunes like she's on American Idol and I'm Paula Abdul.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bugatti Veyron.

I guess absence does make the heart grow fonder. This is one of those cars I actually got sick of because I just saw them at every show I went to. I don't see them as much since they stopped making them. Seeing one in Saratoga this weekend though made me remember I do still love them. They are a work of art. I think.

California tries to eat itself.

All of you may have heard that we (California) are in a big giant drought. I'm sure it comes as no surprise that the water districts have started handing out big fat giant fines. Read: California proposes historic $1.5M fine for taking water.

I've read countless articles about this topic because it stomps on senior water rights holders. What I find really fascinating though is very few articles talk about how this fine is a huge problem for CALPERS. Oh yes it is.

You see, the district which is most affected by this fine is a little city called Mountain House in the East Bay. At one time during the heat of the recession 90% of homes there were underwater. No pun intended. We referred to it as California's ghost city. I blogged about it here. At the time people would report moving vans pulling up in the middle of the night and families would just disappear. I went out there when only 46% of the town was in foreclosure in 2007.

This is the kicker though. Mountain house is owned by CALPERS. Normally this might not be a problem, but apparently Mountain House is only 1/3 built out. And they need to keep building to pay back their bond holders for infrastructure and a water treatment plant. Yet the water district is fining the shit out of them. Which is sort of awkward because the people doing the fine-ing most assuredly belong to CALPERS.  I guess people still aren't hip to those pension cuts that a lot of bankrupt States have endured lately.

Naturally I had to go over and see what houses are going for out there now because right before the crash they were selling for around 950,000. The most expensive house I could find was just still shy of 600,000. From time to time I still read that around 15% of homeowners are still underwater and I try to figure out who this demo is. It was a really painful time, so I don't know how many people held out - but apparently that demo is still in Mountain House and is probably owned by the California Public Employees' Retirement System.

After the recession I started paying a lot more attention to CALPERS. Not because I have a public retirement account, but because CALPERS played a huge role in the housing crash. In 2008 the Wall Street Journal claimed the CALPERS real estate portfolio was bigger than the government-run funds of Russia, South Korea, Dubai and Chile combined.

This might not be big enough to get your panties in a bunch about except that the general manager of Mountain house said this: “If we’re not growing, we’re dying,” said Pattison, whose district provides water and other services to the unincorporated community. A moratorium on new houses could bring on a “financial death spiral” that would be “more catastrophic than the 2007 crash,” he said. Source.

I hope he means just for that city, but CALPERS has it's tentacles in everything.

Monday, July 20, 2015

California today has all the pleasures of living in the desert south - AND the humid South all at the same time. Things are beyond bone dry - yet you're sweating like like you are living in Louisiana.

Well.... maybe that is a little dramatic - we are only at 35% humidity. But normally this time of year we are in single digits. And we weren't even lucky enough to get rain like SOcal.

Friday, July 17, 2015

I've been having to do a couple of woodworking projects lately. These are projects that usually take a lot more patience than I normally have. I have to slow it way, way, down. Normally I'm pretty ADD. Plus, since the recession I'm a little rusty.

Hopefully I will have pictures soon.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

They took kit cars to whole nuther level.

Normally I'm not all that into these old timey cars. But this one has an interesting story. It's an AMT Piranha. I didn't build kit cars growing up because I'm a girl, but all you boys out there must recognise the company name. They made model cars.

I guess they also decided to build a few full sized kit cars too. They couldn't have made many because this one is the last in the world. You can read about it here. I think it's interesting because it's the first time I've ever heard of a model car company building an actual car.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Facebook is a huge time saver.

This weekend Mr S. and I found ourselves at a car get together. Often times we split up because I find a car I'm fixated on and want to get tons of pictures of.

It was during one of these times that a woman walks up to me and asks if I was taking pictures of something on a particular car. I don't even want to say what it is because if she ever runs across this post, she will know this is about her. I mean, she probably wont - but the internet makes the world, and especially "The Valley", uncomfortably small these days. I have had random people find a post where I talked about them. And I didn't even know those people. It took several years, but still. And this blog is super anonymised.

Anyway.... she tells me she just started a new female car club. Which I found kinda interesting honestly. I mean, what do car girls talk about? Do they work on them? Do they race? I'm curious. I've never heard of such a thing before. I figure it's just a social club so they can bitch about their husbands. But I get her info and look at it later that night.

Right off - I'm out. Don't care how much into cars she is. She studied Global Environmental Policy and then got a union job in that field -ish. I figure those conversations are going to go downhill really quickly.  I'd have to listen to her tell me about the dying planet and how everything is killing us. Which honestly is what most women talk about these days anyway. This is California. I find it pretty boring. I can only take knowing so many people who think their deodorant is killing them. They all know this planet is going to burn out one day. Right? You know what men use for deodorant? Motor oil. Okay... maybe I'm being a little dramatic. But you get the idea.

It's just that women don't take being challenged as well as men. I grew up around all women, but I've really grown to love the simplicity of men. If you ask them what they are thinking and they reply nothing - they really mean nothing. Seriously. I imagine they hear nothing but white noise. It's the greatest thing ever. Men are more efficient in the way they think. There is no white noise in a woman head. None. Especially if you tell a girl the planet is fine after she actually got an education saying it isn't. I don't even know what kind of bullshit degree that is, but a lot of people seem to be getting them.

In the old days you'd have to see this girl socially a few times before you found out that crap. Now you can just look at people's pages and say...... nope. I'm out. I think I've finally started to love facebook.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Alfa Romeo 4C.

These are not my favorite shots. There's something about red cars that gets so much artifacting when you shrink the images down. Some of these were shots were done with my phone, and others from mintberry which is a little point and shoot. I have the same problem with my big lug around camera as well. I think cameras just hate red cars.

From Car and driver - MSRP 55,195. But I overheard the owners saying they paid 20 over asking. I guess these have only been out about 5-6 months.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

With love from my inner tard.

I've been bored with practically everything lately, but I saw these today and I have to admit I love them. I've seen spiky chrome lug nuts on giant dooleys, but never multi color ones on Asian imports. They are the lug nut equivalent of spinney wheels! Which my inner tard also loved BTW.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Boy - the China market is going to be really exciting tonight. Nothing makes people want to get at their money - like not being able to get at their money. The US market psychologically doesn't help that bit of panic.

I'm sure they are looking at our market like I've been looking at theirs. With disbelief and fear.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

If you say so.....

Last night China practically went supernova, and the plunge protection team managed to walk us back up to flat today? That is breathtaking considering a full 25% of stocks in China were halted last night. And no reaction from the US?

Oh, that's right - none of this stuff is going to affect us. This is all a "China" problem.

Except China has been a pretty legit market for a while now. I wonder how many funds are exposed.

Monday, July 06, 2015

There is nothing left to do but to wait for the pain. Greece is the sideshow - China is the opening act.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Everything is awesome.


If you turn this chart upside down.

This is what happens when mortgage rates solidly reach 4%. I'm sure there will be tons of articles written about how this is good news.