Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Put your big girl panties on. This is ugly.

The chart for mortgage applications since Sept. Clearly that looks healthy. Said in the most sarcastic way. I've talked about the sluggishness in rentals over the past few months. Over that same time the oldest time on market for people selling has gone from 3ish weeks, to 45 days. Even I'm not sure what is going to happen now. I'm guessing sales will look like shit for a very long time.

Note - this is not another bubble popping. That was an invention made up by the media. Are things sluggish? Yes. But you will never get people to give up their houses in the same way they did during the recession. Even people who could have afforded their houses gave them up out of pure greed. The media convinced them their houses would never be worth what they paid for them. They jettisoned those houses so quick it made your head spin. I knew  a few of those people.

If I had to guess - those recent potential buyers will turn back into renters. The market is so dysfunctional. It's hard for me even to wrap my mind around how this plays out now.


Mortgage Refinancings Collapse To 2016 Lows As Rates Top 4.00%.

This is NOT news. 4% has always been the pain inflection point. I must have written about this a million times. For several years I've been writing about this. At 4% refi's do not exist any more. Period. Each and every time rates have reached it - activity has fallen of a cliff. It's just the bottom line.

It will be interesting what happens next though because once rates start going up (and I think they will) - people are not going to want to move. They are now because they can trade out to a similar rate.

My neighbor for example just sold his house in two weeks. Stuck the house on right around Halloween. I starting seeing rates go up and figured he was going to be butt hurt because they were rising quite quickly. Next thing I know he's got a pending sign on it. He got through right in the nick of time.

Now we get to see the real world. And it's going to be like someone stuck a stick in the middle of the gears. I'm honestly not sure where they will get the land to build new units on. Over the past three years plot after plot has been snapped up. Every time I drive by an open space plot I'm like - wow, that one is gone now too!

Mark my words - housing is set to get mind bogging expensive. Housing inflation is going to be intense. It will make pre-recession times seem tame.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

This should be interesting.

Apparently San Fransisco thinks no fucks given about a Trump administration. According to David Chiu. If they lose Federal funding because of their sanctuary policy - they will just tax ALL Californians to make up for that because super majority bitches. Democrats are cray cray. I guess in for a penny - in for a pound.

Someone should let them know the holidays aren't over.

It's not going to be me because you can't imagine the controlled chaos that happens when there are Turkeys on a busy road at almost 4pm.  People stop to take pictures. Cars take a wide berth, and some people will just honk at them. Like that matters to Turkeys. But it is funny to watch.

Domesticated turkeys are really good at staying on the sidewalk though. I do have to give them credit. But that is where the food is. So I don't know how much credit.

Monday, November 28, 2016

The world according to CES.

I normally book CES at the mast minute because I'm never really sure if I'm going to get to go, I've even booked later than this! Seriously.

This is the first year hotel rates are stratospheric. 50-100% over last years rates. I even debated staying in Henderson. Which is not ideal - but Henderson at least has a mean(in a good way) burger vibe.

CES must be YUGE this year. And last year was already huge. I used to power walk it in one day. Then decided to stay overnight so I didn't have to do that.  Only to have CES make the whole thing even larger. Then I had to power walk it in two days. Really, by the end I'm practically running through the isles jumping over rolling luggage to get everything in. And I didn't even get everything last year despite it being the first year they'd banned rolling luggage so it made it slightly easier. I hope they do that again.

One year I logged 8 miles at CES in one day. So last year I wouldn't be surprised if I did 15 miles in the two days. I honestly leave feeling like I ran a marathon. I'm a little scared by a larger CES.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Hyper color McLaren.

I spent a lot of time on this car. the owner has it roped off so tight. Boy you can tell the new money. Finally by the end he took the ropes down and I could get better shots. But this thing was mobbed the whole time.

Friday, November 25, 2016


When you walk into a room and see this - you are going to get your ass handed to you. Doom doesn't play nice.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Next year all these phonies will claim they wanted this all along.

Every time I hear someone call Trump an isolationist I go over and look to see what the dollar is doing. And I just laugh inside and wonder if they are ignorant, or willfully ignorant. I'm guessing both.

For a few months(maybe since summer), I've been saying that I thought the dollar would become very strong if Trump won. And that seems to be playing out. This economy has been basically plagued by a vote of no confidence with the Obama Administration. And that is all about to change. I think the dollar becomes much stronger. But while this sounds awesome on the surface. The reality is that when the dollar is so strong our exports take a hit. 

Globalism isn't an infinitely expanding pie. Unless the Middle East all of a sudden decides they want to work. Only then will Globalism will take another step  forward. Americans were sort of okay with all of their jobs being off shored because we got cheaper goods from abroad. It sort of tricked them into not caring as much that their wages were not going up  because their paychecks were still going farther than they did before. But China is becoming a mature economy. The benefit of off shoring plateaus and this is where we find ourselves now.

I think when Trump "forces" companies to stay here it will be a huge sigh of relief for most of corporate America. And I say "force" a bit tongue is cheek because it's sort of a con. And I will tell you why. 

First of all, if he does manage to reduce the tax rate. He isn't going to have to force anyone to do anything. They will be falling all over themselves to set up shop in America. (which also BTW will cause the dollar to strengthen more)

Second - since I go to a lot of emerging technology talks I hear a lot of horror stories involving China. Just this year I heard someone guy talk about how the failure rate of Chinese goods is still very high. I should have a number to quantify that, but basically my brain explodes with - how is that still a problem? China has been doing manufacturing for a really long time now. And then I forget to mentally take notes on the numbers. But anyway, I think manufacturers would die to onshore. And Trump gets to talk tough, while letting people do what they naturally want to do anyway.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

My weekend in a nutshell.

The hamster wheel only stops around here when the rain comes. It's the only thing that gives you permission to be lazy. So, I've been basically playing DOOM 2016. And trying to figure out my mantel design. My fireplace has basically been one of those forever projects. And I'm finally getting close to wrapping it up. Fireplaces are really hard. It's the last thing people are going to redo. So you have to keep an eye for your future buyers. You can't get too crazy. And you have to learn how to replace the whole thing on your own. Because most people don't do that.

I'm a huge minimalist - but one day I'm going to sell this place and I don't want it to look too masculine. Before, it had a colonial theme which I hated. And the surface was super shiny so it reflected every light that was on.

Mr S. is CAD modeling it today because I can't figure out if I want to keep it a natural wood or paint it white. The natural wood gives it a warmer feel. But I'm super anal about nail holes. So if I went that way I would have to build it in a way that disguises all of those. Which I'm pretty sure is going to be a pain in the ass. But all that stuff catches my eye. This is why projects take so long at the snarkolepsy household. I'm the girl who walks into a bathroom and can't figure out why the tile lines aren't right.

Below is the most minimalist version. The left side is painted white. The right side unvarnished natural wood. I haven't figure out all the detail yet. But I did buy some more clamps today so I can add more elements.

This is a more contemporary version.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Shine bright like a diamond.

Smart fabrics have gotten amazing in every single way. Last year I was thrilled they were printing circuit boards on plastic gloves. This year they are printing on saran wrap. Everything is softer.

These were so low power I think they were getting the power for these chips from the air.

Sometimes these photos don't really capture well. But it's not quite interesting enough to take a video of. The brown area had strobing tiny LED lights.

It's quite impressive how bright the low powered LED's are. Shockingly bright. And you can wad this thing up into a ball because it's so soft and flexable. This shot is not overexposed. You can see how it lights up his face.

Energized paper from Powercoatpaper.

One of the more interesting technologies I've run across lately is paper embedded with LED's that gets it's power from your phone via NFC. (Near field communications) The box above actually blinked at you. I tried a million times to get a shot of it lit up and I just couldn't. I thought about taking a vid, but I was sure this company would have it's own videos. You can see the box is sitting on a power mat though. The images below you can see in one shot the LED's are lit while the other shot it is not.

I actually spent a crazy amount of time Googlefu'ing to try and get you an example. but this tech is really super new. The best I could find was people using this technology for nail art. I know guys! That is not your thing. But skip through to 1 minute 18 in the video at the end.

If the company happens to run across my site - please point me to a vid. Because I scrubbed the net for a really long time and I couldn't find anything.

I think it was two years ago at CES - Krogers had a supermarket display there that was using this too. When you stuck boxes on the charging shelf, the boxes lit up. I don't know if this tech is going to take off. I only know girls really like sparkly things...and little LED's are sparkly. It definitely does get your attention. And really the most amazing thing is that NFC is a power source. I didn't know that. I adore NFC because it's the easiest ways to get images from one NFC device to another.

Home site here.

My burb is crushing it right now.

The rain comes tomorrow so I think I've squeezed all the color I can out of these.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Incubators - the latest MLM scheme?

For a little while now I've been trying to figure out why there is a tech incubator on every block here in Silicon Valley, yet pretty much nothing is coming out of them. It's really ~super~ frustrating.

I guess it costs a couple of grand to sign up. The end.

One day I'm going to tell you about my Uncles addiction to get rich schemes. I think he'd probably sign up for this. Stay in your garage people.

Dear Santa. I'd like a lump of this in my stocking.

Screw getting coal in your stocking. I'd like a lump of graphite! And if you knew how much this rock could potentially cost - you'd want that too.

Graphene is the new wonder material which is made from graphite. It's super strong yet lightweight. I'd never seen what it looked like when it came out of the ground. Which is why you are getting this post. They turn this rock (graphite) into graphene below.

I forgot how much they told me the bottles below cost. Because it was so expensive it blew my mind. I think it was somewhere in the 10,000 dollar range. Yet it was shockingly light.

Apparently because of the chemical makeup of graphene they don't grind this rock up to make the powder. They put in in a solution and it separates itself. And that is about all the entertainment I can squeeze out of this topic.

This ends our talk today on graphene.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Mothership Aeronautics Solar Drone.

I got to see this interesting concept demo'ed yesterday. Currently the application they are focusing on is pipeline inspection.  This job is really costly right now. Presumably this drone will be able to stay in the air and just travel the pipes sending info back to the Mothership headquarters indefinitely. I'm not sure how they are going to work out the wind variables. But it is an interesting concept.

That looks completely normal. Said in the most sarcastic way.

The banks are front running the Fed again. Since Trump won, interest rates have gone up about a half of a point. I know the banks are capitol starved, but I'm not sure the people who run banks understand how to run banks. I always think - they must know where the pain point is. But obviously they don't. At 4% the market is nearly dead. Refi's most assuredly are completely dead.

Every single time the banks do this - rates collapse. And if the Fed raises in Dec (and I think they will) it will only cave rates more. The market just isn't quite ready for it yet. The way the banks do this is the craziest thing I've ever seen. It's like a kid who hasn't ever had chocolate, then find a tub of chocolate and then proceeds to eat the whole thing.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

I guess this is a thing now.

I wonder if someone has already taken the name skyco. Ya know - like geiko.

It's funny how The Valley changes.

It was wild to walk into a drone talk this morning and have it not filled with tech elite showing off their delivery drones. Instead.... it was filled with farmers. Apparently being able to assess your fields from the sky (less expensively) has a lot of value. You can spot water problems or disease much more quickly.

They weren't at the top of my list of who would propel this sector forward, but at least I can roll my eyes at all those hyperventilating articles about how we are all going to die because we have to feed so many more people with the same amount land. Farmers are just going to become more efficient with the help of drones. We are going to be fine.

It was also pretty wild to see Intel branded drones. I know they have been working on them. But Intel is one of those companies who took the wrong off ramp and now will need to change to live. Sure they might malinger on and take years to finally die like IBM or Kodak. But Intel is old tech now. Now the struggle is for existence.

I should have taken a tighter shot, but it has a downward facing DLSR mounted to it.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Not so fast inflationistas.

One month ago today I called the dollar strengthening into a Trump election.

"I've always thought the dollar (could) go much higher. Watching the dollar is the only way I was able to spot the oil collapse. And while the dollar right now is stronger than it's been in 10 years - around the year 2000 the dollar was quite a bit stronger. In the 120.00 range. Here. That;s only 16 years ago,

I think if Trump wins we could get a very strong dollar indeed. Not necessarily because of him - because the rest of the world is really having wild currency fluctuations. That makes our dollar stronger. Then the stronger dollar starts reinforcing a safety trend putting more pressure on the dollar to be yet stronger because more people buy it causing a shortage and making the dollar stronger." Original post.

Deflationary pressures have been quite muted lately because the dollar has basically traded sideways for the past year. However, a monkey wrench has just been thrown into the mix. Trump. The dollar is now at it's January's highs. But unlike in January where it completely fell apart right after - I don't believe that will happen this time. Chart.

No one knows how high the dollar will get, but I think it could potentially get to 120.0 range. In the summer of 2014 the dollar was at .80.  Gas was around 3.50 a gallon. A 20 cent rise in the dollar then shaved off roughly a dollar off gas prices. So, if the dollar rises another potential 20 cents, you could expect the same thing to happen. Right now the dollar is 100.01. 

I do think inflation will start to run hot under a Trump administration. And all that printed money will start to see the light of day. Just not yet. Obama was the most anti business President in history, and a lot of us have dealt with that in unconventional ways. It's going to take a little while for that scar to heal and we feel confident enough to not hide every dollar you could in the back yard. (I mean that figuratively-ish)

I also think that the Fed will raise rates in December as a final ~fuck you~. The rise in the dollar and the rise in interest rates will make things kinda shitty for at least the first half of next year. If the dollar keeps rising - emerging markets will buy less things from us because they have to buy oil in dollars. This causes them to have less money for other stuff.  Our companies will make less money and everyone will scream.

It will not be hard to start inflation at all though. We are at the point where too much money will be chasing too few products. We have to few products, all we need is a little confidence, and that money will start sloshing around. But it won't happen tomorrow. I think everyone  is getting a little head of themselves.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

You are going to get a few days of this.

Until the wind and rain comes. Basically.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Nothing makes me happier than seeing Californians so sad right now.

We voted in the most ostentatious version of capitalism possible. America walked to the edge, and actually stepped back.

What ~is~ going on with foreclosures?

Obviously the internet is abuzz with reports of foreclosures rising around 27%. And no one yet is quite sure why. I'm not even sure why yet. But a do have a few suspicions. Right now I think the biggest bulls eye is the rental market which once used to be red hot - is now NOT.

Since I got my rental filled over the summer conditions have deteriorated rapidly. Right now there is a property in my city that has been on the market for 127 days. And it's not a shitty place. Not in a bad neighborhood. That is more than 4 months without income for the owner. I furiously started trying to find out when this house last changed hands. Luckily it hasn't since the 1980's. So it is not at risk of being defaulted on. (presumably) Things have gotten so out of whack that I have to started searching through every place to see when houses last turned over. There are quite a few properties that are now in the 60 days range.

The next oldest property is at 112 days and is pretty much brand new. I think they built the tiny condo complex about 4 years ago. So - you can see the quality of these properties is quite good yet worrisome for the whole sector.

If I had to guess - and I do...... anyone who bought a place with the expectation of renting it out is now under a lot of financial stress if their unit is not currently filled. Some people can withstand a month without that income. But most can not. And most especially not if you bought within the past few years. You just don't have those resources. At least that is what I believe.

Additionally, there could still be the tail end of the mortgage crisis. My 10 year reset would have been in March of this year. I know a guy who's reset was over the summer. So there might be a few more stragglers.

But for the most part - I'm looking at the rental market right now because when houses start sitting for 2-4 months - that is a huge red flag. Some of those people are not going to make it.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

When there is nothing left to burn - you have to set yourself on fire.

In the East Bay.

It's a little overcast today, but the vineyards turn quick so I had to get out and capture whatever I could today.  My city is sporting it's best Little Napa vibe. I love it this time of year because I've just spent months looking at brown hills. And we've had that drought the last 4 years.

Everything is so green right now because we've actually gotten more than a normal amount of rain. But still - it was like 80 here today. That's why I live with this insanity.