Thursday, August 27, 2015

At least those trees will stop hogging all the water.

A few days ago I noticed the city landscaping crew had started painting the tree stumps of trees they'd pulled out from the drought this summer. I figured it was to make it so the lawn mowing guys didn't accidentally run over them while they were mowing which would be a bummer. But then I noticed all these other trees marked with an orange line and realized these were mean to go.

Everything looks pretty brown these days, so I wouldn't have noticed this driving by if it weren't for the lines.

Pine tree's have fared especially bad. And as you can see, some of them are so large that I couldn't give them a full hug if I were a tree hugger - which I'm not.

Some they haven't even marked yet. You can see from the park, it isn't that big and doesn't have that many trees. I would have guestimated about 50. But I didn't count every one, so lets be generous and say 100.

13 trees were marked for elimination. That's like 13%. Can you imagine if we lose 13% of our trees? I think they've been mismanaging out forests for a long time now. They used to go in and clean them out and sell the lumber. Now everything has to be a pristine forest and then eventually the fires come and just burn them down. Then nobody wins. But it makes the douchies feel great about themselves.

All I know is that this year if we get any storms with rain ~and~ wind, you are going to start hearing some crazy damage out of California. Last winter we got a little rain, but it never came with any wind really. Now there are all these trees that are pretty weak. I know one house that has two giant trees that are now dead and they haven't pulled them yet. It's going to be a nice little Christmas bill for them I bet. Pulling a 50 foot tree can cost you a few bucks. Times 2.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

If I were a conspiracy theorist, ~and I'm not~, but I play one today.

Last night Mr S. and I were talking about China and I said to him - boy, China is really spending a lot of money to prop up their markets. I hope we don't get a margin call.

You see, for a little while I've been feeling like we could have an "accident". Meaning that something happens in the market that is so out of the Fed control that rates actually spike by a lot without the Fed doing anything. Then we went on to have to long discussion about what happens if China were to actually start selling all those treasuries they bought from us. It's like a triple layer chess game trying to figure out how that might play through the market. And I don't understand bonds as well as I'd like.

Not too long after that Mr S. went over to Zero Hedge and saw that we are kinda getting a margin call. Here. They talk about it again today.

Mr S.'s theory was if China did start selling too many bonds into an illiquid market the Fed might actually have to raise rates to attract buyers. I don't know what the probability of this is, but it's not zero right now.

All that money China is spending has to come from ~somewhere.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

President Honey Badger don't care.

I would have never considered Trump a serious candidate. I thought the electorate would have freaked out by half the things he says. But honestly, the whole thing gives me a weird sort of hope.

This election is going to be the ultimate battle against socialism and capitalism. Trump vs Sanders. There is nothing more black and white. The fact that he is still in the running makes me think things are still tilted for good.

I don't know what it means yet.


I remain convinced the Fed will raise. If they were not going to raise, they could have projected that a long time ago and the dollar wouldn't have caused so much carnage across the world. Oil is bought in dollars. When our dollar is strong - it puts a lot of pressure on other economies. Ironically putting more upward pressure on the dollar.

When China started throwing everything but the kitchen sink at their problems, obviously the presumed outcome is that the dollar will strengthen. It's the whole reason China is devaluing their dollar after all.

So I was a little surprised when I looked at the dollar chart this morning. I've only been paying attention to every gyration from the dollar for about 6 months because of the whole oil thing. It was trading in the 97.48 range when I first started watching. Now it's in the 94.44 range. A few cents might not seem like a lot, but normally the dollar doesn't fluctuate that much.

I find the whole situation ironic because now all the traders are freaking out. Not only do they think there will be no rate hike, but they are screaming for the Fed to restart the printing presses because all of a sudden "the dollar is killing us"! A little late to the party I'd say.

Presumably the reason to print is to devalue the dollar.  But something in the market is already on the job.

Monday, August 24, 2015

We all knew this day would come. We just didn't know when.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Saturday, August 22, 2015

I'm really starting to like you Canadians.

My car sugar wasn't low enough from my carabetes, so I had a hard time finding something to post about from the car show today. But,I did find you this super interesting thing out of British Columbia. For some reason a lot of Canadians drove down for the Good Guys Car Show in Pleasanton. I thought this (I don't even know what to call it exactly) was the coolest truck ever. I would have died to see it on the road.

It was sort of a bitch to get shots of though. I'm slightly overexposed because it's super long and reflecting the tree from above. There was a mob around this thing like you couldn't believe and it's as long as two cars at least. It was super hard to get a full shot of it. The other thing I found really cool about it was the steering column. The woman said it came out of a 1961 Chrysler. I hope I'm remembering that right.. I thought it looked super futuristic an a Brasil sort of way. Its the most creative thing I've seen in a while.

So envious. This is the best licence plate in the world.

Bit rot wiki.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Oh - the dollar suddenly matters?

"Chinese growth is slowing, Hong Kong's Hang Seng is officially in a bear market, Greece is heading into elections, and emerging markets around the world are feeling the strain of the strong US dollar." Marketwatch.

Around the start of earnings season this quarter I started reading all these articles about how companies were blaming the strong dollar for their own inadequacies. At the time I thought my head would spin off because I don't have a degree in finance, but thought these people were the deepest levels of batshit stupid. I almost blogged about it a few times, but I bitch about so much stuff, and I don't have a degree in finance. Even I could figure out we were in for some huge trouble. We are an export driven economy.

One writer at Marketwatch actually said the following: "Maybe Caterpillar Inc. should stop blaming a stronger U.S. dollar for its woes, and start applauding it. " Source.  This article in particular is etched in my brain because it pissed me off so hard. In my head I was like she is going to eat those words. But you never know what the Fed is going to do, and did I mention I don't have a degree in finance? I can't even believe you have to understand currency trading to figure out the market these days. It's stupid. But we have mutually insured destruction in the markets, and you have to take the world as one market.

Another said: "Move over, harsh winter weather. This earnings season, companies have a new whipping boy for any weakness on either their top or bottom lines. It’s the dollar." Source. This writer goes into detail about how the strong dollar doesn't do anything to stocks. Which to be honest, who knows if it does? But it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that the strong dollar was hurting US companies bottom line and eventually that has to translate into a stock problem.

Still - there is the Fed - so you can't be sure what is going to happen. So, lets say in a normal world the market would go down because earnings were getting hit. The whole tone of these articles at the time was mocking in nature.

Who is laughing now?

Thursday, August 20, 2015

I still bet the Fed raises no matter what the market looks like.

For them not to raise would be admitting the economy is not doing as well as they have been trying to convince everyone it is. And I doubt they are going to do that.

Additionally I still refuse to believe they will raise in an election year. The Fed is a political machine. Not a monetary machine. It's this year or nothing.

After projecting a Sept hike for months, things will get super crazy if they don't hike. No mater what the circumstances on the ground are. The Fed is ALWAYS behind the curve. Always.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Lykan Hypersport from W Motors.

This is one of only seven made. Also it has swarovski crystal's in the headlights. Lykan Hypersport home.

Monday, August 17, 2015

It's taken a lot longer for 2009 to get here than I expected.

Empire State manufacturing activity collapses to lowest since 2009.

In January I wrote an article titled, It's 2009 all over again. 

When all your news stories compare current financials to 2009 - you are pretty much effed.

BAC Mono North America.

This car has been out for at least a couple of years, but it's the first time I've seen one. It was featured on Top Gear I guess in 2013.

I saw it on the links at Pebble Beach and really didn't think much of it. So I was pretty glad Mr S. spotted it downtown Carmel.  That way you could walk around it. On the links they have it roped off. It looked much better in a natural environment. BAC Mono home page.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Wow. I guess China shook the world up like a show globe today.

Monday, August 10, 2015

All the things I didn't get for you.

I was going to get you car stuff last weekend, but Pebble beach is this weekend and I've been going to a lot of car shows lately.  You see - I have carabetes and I wanted to make sure my car sugar was low enough so that I wasn't bored. That means swearing off car shows that might have anything exotic.

Then we decided to go to Pebble beach because the beach is my reset button. The other Pebble beach in Santa Cruz. Because I found that funny. But when I checked the tides, by the time we got there - it would be nothing but the tide coming in. Scratch that. It's not as fun exploring when the waves are stalking you.

So we decided to have no fun at all and do some domestic stuff. The end.

Friday, August 07, 2015

You aren't on my side. You are one of them.

Today I had to go in an handle some insurance stuff. As soon as the girl looked through my account she realised I have a rental and asked if it was open. I told her is wasn't, but the conversation we had sort of terrified me.

You see - the rental market..... hold on.. let me center myself. The stories I have been reading are off the chart crazy. If you tell anyone you have a rental these days - they know someone who is looking for a place.  And the rents? I have a rental and I'm floored all the time by the way rents are skyrocketing. This girl was paying 2100 a month for a place under 1000 square feet. Her lease is up in Oct, and she's already started looking and I'd have to say - it doesn't look good. She went on to indicate that we should have rent control. Which wouldn't mean much but another Bay Area City just enacted it. With the way rents are skyrocketing - I'd guess this movement might try to gain steam.

I've lived in a rent controlled building though when I first started out. It was all I could afford in East Palo Alto. There is a tiny sliver of EPA on the Palo Alto side of the freeway. I was basically at the border of EPA and Palo Alto. The freeway saved you from the worst of EPA.

So I know a little about what happens in a rent controlled building. The landlords basically do not fix anything. It also disincentivizes other people to rent because if you can't raise the rents - why would you go through all the pain of renting to someone? It just creates a shortage.

I told her about some of the horror stories I had. I was in court probably 5 times a year because the landlord would always be in trouble for something. Rent control only encourages higher rents because no one wants to rent if they can't raise the prices. Rent control sounds good. But if you live in a rent controlled building you find out real quick why it isn't.

I tried to help her by giving her my property managers number to help her find a place, but her switch had already flipped off. I think she decided I wasn't trying to help her. I was one of those asshole landlords. Which maybe I am. I'm definitly a bitter landlord. Every time I hear someone complain about how high the rents are - I wonder if they "strategically" gave up their houses during the recession. I went through five years of some pretty intense pain because of them. There were a lot of people who were in bad siutations, but there are tons of them that also who would have afforded their places, but chose to give them back because everyone was doing it at the time.

That lady should be mad at them. Not me. They are the reason they haven't been building enough for seven years now. A year and a half ago I predicted this. Read: A new housing crisis looms. A shortage.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Walmart learns about Gravity.

Nothing makes me happier than people learning about how socialism really works. You see, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Good intentions however ignore basic human nature. That's why I laughed and laughed and laughed at this article this morning about how Walmart workers are now getting all upitty about the recent minimum wage increase.

Apparently when you receive something not based on merit, the harder workers get a little shitty. Who could have known?!? Oh wait. I would have because this is classic human nature. Why should I work hard when you assholes are getting a raise for nothing? And so it goes. Walmart is now getting Dan Priced. (The guy who raised his minimum wage to 70 grand.) I think I just turned him into a verb.

Read: Unintended Consequence of Wal-Mart’s Raise: Unhappy Workers.

"When Wal-Mart Stores Inc. chief Doug McMillon announced plans to boost store workers’ minimum wage earlier this year, he said the move was intended to improve morale and retain employees.

Yet for some of the hundreds of thousands of workers getting no raise, the policy is having the opposite effect.

In interviews and in hundreds of comments on Facebook, Wal-Mart employees are calling the move unfair to senior workers who got no increase and now make the same or close to what newer, less experienced colleagues earn. New workers started making a minimum of $9 an hour in April and will get at least $10 an hour in February.

“It is pitting people against each other,” said Charmaine Givens-Thomas, a 10-year veteran who makes $12 an hour at a store near Chicago and belongs to OUR Walmart, a union-backed group that has lobbied for better working conditions. “It hurts morale when people feel like they aren’t being appreciated. I hear people every day talking about looking for other jobs and wanting to remove themselves from Wal-Mart and a job that will make them feel like that.”

The world still does work the same way I think it does.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

There ain't no sunshine until he's gone.

I've been a pretty bad blogger lately. Some weeks it's just harder to embrace the suck than others. It's a pretty bad sign when pretty much everyone else is more negative about the world than I am.

I mean, this is a slow motion train wreck finally seems to be at our doorstep. I keep having to remind myself that deflation is a very rare occurrence. It's not that great that I will get to experience this twice in my lifetime - because normally that is a once in a lifetime event. We used to be able to hold up the whole world because we rejected socialism.  I only wish more people understood that.

This morning I found interest rates at 3.67% when just a little more than two months ago everyone was crowing about how the deflation trade was unwinding. They told us the "reflation hammer" was coming down with crushing force. No really. At that time you almost couldn't find an interest rate below 4%.

I've probably said about a hundred times that 4.25% is the pain inflection point and every single time it hits that - rates cave. Every - single - time.