Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Ben Carson is right.

"I think poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind," Carson said. "You take somebody that has the right mindset, you can take everything from them and put them on the street and I guarantee in a little while they'll be right back up there.

Carson grew up in abject poverty in Detroit, rising out of it to become a world-renowned surgeon. In the interview, he seems to attribute poverty at least in part to having the wrong mindset.

You take somebody with the wrong mindset, you can give them everything in the world, they'll work their way right back down to the bottom," he said in the interview, which was noted by The Washington Post." Source.

Trying to get people out of poverty is the hardest thing you will ever try to do. I know because I've been trying to figure it out my whole entire life. You see - I still have family in government housing.  And every time I see people shit on what Ben Carson says, I just shake my head because they just don't understand what a complex issue this is. They think - just shower them with money and they will be fine. But that's not how things work in the real world. Sometimes you can give people every cent you own, and they will still be poor, and worse yet - you will be poor too.

It's hard to talk about your family without sounding like a complete asshole. My Aunt and Uncle are the nicest kindest people you will ever meet. They would give you the shirts off their backs. But they do have poor people logic. They believe the only way to get ahead in this life is luck, not through hard work.

My Uncle fell for every get rich quick scheme on the planet. Companies would draw the cost of the schemes right out of their bank accounts. Yet, my Uncle thought that because everything depends on luck - he wouldn't really do the schemes. But they would still take the money from him. I think I learned the most in life from my Uncle.

It isn't that my Aunt and Uncle never had a brush with trying to get ahead. They won the California lottery twice. I talked about it here in 2008. They didn't win millions, but enough to put them on a better path in life. They decided to buy more lottery tickets and stuff they couldn't even use. A few years ago my Aunt was fantasizing  about winning the lotto again and telling me what she would do with the money if they did. She said they would rent a cruise ship for them and their friends to have a party. Which even I don't know how much that costs. But you get the idea. My Aunt then told me that  she guessed they "just weren't lucky" enough to win a third time.

Now, they've already beat the odds TWICE. And frankly if they are "lucky" enough to win a third time I have no illusions they they will not be poor again within a short amount of time. They are like those lotto winners who win big, and in a few years wind up penniless. And the frustrating thing is they are not horrible people. They are the kindest people in the world. But you just can't reverse their poor people logic. Like thinking you will rent a cruise ship instead of buying a house.

Almost two years ago Mr S and I drove out to see our families. His in Ohio. Mine in the projects in Illinois and extended family in the Ohio projects. I hadn't seen my family in a while so a lot of things that used to irritate me I'd forgotten. Like the get rich quick schemes. I always felt like he short changed my Aunt by being so into them and I was a bit bitter about it. It wasn't until the last day we were there that I really started getting edgy. And then, right as we were leaving.......... he pitched me. He had a product that cured everything. And I about lost it. I mean, my Aunt isn't in great health now. So why wasn't he trying to fix her with this product. It brought all that stuff right back up. Because you know the get rich quick product company was just fleecing them. But what do you do to stop that? You can't.

As we were leaving town Mr S. said to me - I'm surprised this didn't cause you to melt down earlier. I was like - what? Him - in the beginning of our relationship it's all you ever talked about. Because honestly I did have a little resentment over it. I felt my Aunt could have lived a better life if she married someone else. It's hard to watch your family live a certain way knowing that even if you helped they would be right back in the situation they are in. It's frustrating. But it had been enough time that I'd forgotten all of that.

I don't know what the answer to all of this is - but I think that unless you've traveled through the welfare system you should just shut the fuck up. Because you don't really know what you are talking about. At my Aunts housing complex I was completely taken back by kids wearing Beats headphones which cost between 2 and 300 dollars. In the projects!

I've said a few times that it takes three generations to get off welfare. The old people you just can't do anything about. They have let their skills lapse so far that you just have to take care of them. The next generation tries for a while to get off welfare, but sometimes they have babies early and just wind up in the same cycle eventually. They will get off the dole for a while, but they will spend some time there. Finally the third generation is young enough to run like the wind and make a fresh start.

Mock Ben Carson all you want, and sometimes he does say goofy stuff. But when he talks about welfare - he is completely right.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

I just liked they were stuck in crushing traffic with the rest of us.

Monday, May 22, 2017


"If the president is the standard bearer for the currency, Donald Trump himself will have to stop being a negative in order to get the dollar back on its feet.

Boosted by the Trump trade, the dollar had soared after his election on the prospect that lower taxes, fiscal stimulus, and deregulation would boost the U.S. economy. But that trade has reversed, and the dollar index is now down 6.6 percent from its post-election high and down 0.9 percent since the election.

"The Trump premium in the dollar has become a Trump discount. Global capital just doesn't feel safe coming to the U.S.," said Robert Sinche, chief global strategist at Amherst Pierpont. " 

These people are getting on my last nerve. Even though the dollar has gone down recently (by three whole effing cents!) it is still stronger than it's been since 2004!  Here.

These people don't even effing understand how the dollar works. The dollar got stronger and stronger from about 2010 on. They didn't even get the connection between the dollar and why oil was caving. Completely missed it! Under Obama the dollar got stronger by 20 cents! And what happened? Oil fell like a house of cards. I started blogging it around the summer of 2014. But here is a post from fall of 2014.

Now the dollar has to get back on it's feet? Eye roll. If the dollar were to continue going up we would get more deflationary pressure because oil is in traded in dollars. That means other countries have to use more of their resources to buy oil. Which means they don't buy as much other stuff. At one point I actually worried it could get as strong as it was in the 1980's where it stood at 128. Or even the year 2000 where it stood at 113. It's merely at 100 right now. After topping at 103 in December.

These people can all pound sand. They are just writing to hear themselves talk. It the stupidest article I've ever read. Now the dollar does start to get a little toppy before we enter a recession. Which I think is happening, but you can't tell that from a 2 cent decrease. I tell that from loan origination.
I normally don't sensor my blog - but I had to delete my last post because I'm too pretty to go to jail. And I'm only being ~slightly~ dramatic. California has all sorts of rules about that stuff apparently, that I don't want to explicitly talk about. Lets just pretend it never happened.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

It's where my demons hide.

I've been spending so much energy trying to find new interesting things to blog about, yet mostly coming up with dry holes - I had to go to the beach. I couldn't do Maker Fair - I couldn't deal with the people. The beach makes me feel better in a way that nothing else can. It makes me feel calm. You can't get cell coverage. It's like the world goes away and it's just you and the ocean.

I didn't get to stay long - traffic is just mind boggling everywhere. It will add at least an hour to every trip. And a lot of the roads at the coast are still closed due to the winter slides. Since you can't really get cell coverage at the beach - it makes things a little challenging.

California is funny about their signs. If they do a road improvement project - they will make a million giant signs patting themselves on the back. See how great we are doing this project for you! But directional signs.....California's motto is meh - you will figure it out.

Then there is the weird thing about nav apps. Waze will not know a road is closed while Maps will. And they are owned by the effing same company. So you aren't completely sure if a road is closed or not. They kinda really suck at road closures.

Anyway... I only got a couple of hours on the beach.. but wow I needed it. And I did get to check out this awesome overlook on my detour.

The beach I chose wasn't the prettiest this time. But it was filled with tidepools and stuff.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

After I made the last post Mr S. says to me - why did you post the pictures like that?

Me - Because the first shot has the most impact.

Him - No. You need to leave the best for last.

Me - Yeah......Most people spend so much time getting to the point, I'm out a few paragraphs in. I don't want to do that. I'm going to get to the point and they can work their way back if they want to.

Him- But it takes the same amount of time to look them the other way. But that does sound like you.

Me - What... weird?

Him - yeah.

Who knew bikes were ~that~ flammable?

Posted in reverse order.

I don't know how this guy laid his bike down - no one else seemed involved. And I've seen a bunch of bike crashes. Once a guy laid his bike down right in front of me on the freeway. When he passed me he had his chest low to the gas tank. After he passed - he sat up. Woobble wobble wobble - down.

I have never seen a bike catch on fire like this. And I got to see the tank explode.

Friday, May 19, 2017

There is no good subject line for this conversation.

A couple of weeks ago Mr S told me he was sort of bummed out because one of the bloggers he’d been reading for a long time had committed suicide. He apparently left behind a wife and children. Mr S. said he never even knew the guy was depressed. He never wrote about it.

I’m like - man… that sucks. You never have to worry about the people who talk about it. You have to worry about the ones who don’t talk about it. And by the time you realize it - it’s too late.

Skip forward to yesterday and the news of the guy from Soundgarden hit.  I tell Mr S. - he didn’t make it. He immediately knows what I mean. You pretty much expect everyone from the “grunge” era to have experienced depression.

It wasn’t until about ten years into my marriage that Mr S and I started having those candid conversations while we were laying in bed before we went to sleep. You never really want to admit to anyone else that you are broken and you might never be fixed. And it honestly wasn’t until that far into our relationship that I realized why he put up with my shit. He had it too. But not to the extent that I do. 

I’ve always tried hard not to be an insufferable asshole. You will never get people to love you that way. It isn’t his fault. I want to be that fun asshole! Which I am. People will take more chances on that fun asshole. Look how functional I am I like to think.! I’m coping great I tell myself.

So, about 10 years in I finally admitted to him that depression was like a shadow that stalked me all the time. It’s always there. You just have to keep outrunning it I told him. And he understood because to some degree he was hiding it too. Maybe he always knew about me and I just didn’t realize. But finally it was all out and I felt relief that I didn’t have to pretend anymore. I think he felt the same way.

Sometimes you are so terrified to turn around and stop running because you will be face to face with all of that. (Me making a circular hand gesture) And to some degree when I said that guy didn’t make it - what I really meant was he wasn’t able to run anymore. 

For anyone who understands this sentiment, hearing that someone “didn’t make it” sort of sends a shiver down your spine. It’s like the shadow blowing on your neck to remind you it’s still there and it’s THAT close.

Now I have about a half a dozen reasons why I’m broken. I grew up in some pretty challenging situations. Some of my earliest memories are of going to the hospital when my cousin and Aunt were in a horrible car crash. My cousin didn’t make it. I was in a children’s shelter for 30 days when I was seven years old. 

Then my grandfather had a heart attack at the kitchen table also when I was seven. By the time I was twelve my stepfather had been killed, and at 19 my Aunts other child died in a house fire while I was living there.  I’d gone to stay at my boyfriends place that night because my Uncle didn’t want boys sleeping at the house. When I came back the next morning to get ready for work fire engines were at my house. I like to justify my depression as a reason why I’m broken - but really it can hit anyone for any reason. Sometimes no reason.

Why do I expose my deepest darkest secrets to you today when I really didn’t even fully admit it to my husband until 10 years in? It was because Mr S. Sent me this article this morning. And I completely broke down. And I almost never cry. I cried so much when I was growing up that some times I don’t think I have any tears left.  But I seriously thought I was the only one trying to outrun this thing. You never really hear from the people who are desperately trying to be normal. The one’s you’d never expect. The ones who would never in a million years tell you. But I guess we are all trying to outrun it in our different ways. 

Now to be sure - this isn’t a cry for help. I could never leave that kind of damage behind for my husband to live all of his days with. Easing my pain by making my husband be filled with nothing but pain is just not for me. It's cruel. I had plenty of opportunities when I was younger. I sort of feel like I had my chance. But I certainly do understand that others might not have the strength to run anymore. I get it. 

Maybe I wrote this for all the people stuck on the treadmill. Running and running and running as long as our legs can hold us. Praying that we always have the strength to keep running.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

2016 electorate - We can't have an old white dude who doesn't understand technology run the country.

2017 - OMG! This old white dude is tweeting all the time. Make him STOP.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

I'm going to create an Alexa competitor called Jargin. It's not going to answer any of your questions, but its going to vomit words so you aren't sure if it's answered your question or not.  

Sure, I'm not going to make any money. But who cares? This is Silicon Valley.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

I don't know where demand is going to come from.

I'm more freaked out about the market than ever, while the media tells me there is no systemic market correction on the horizon. They say the system isn't as leveraged as it was in 2007 - which technically is true. That isn't to say - there isn't a ton of leverage out there.

But the best explanation of why the housing crash went on for so long is because low credit standards brought housing demand forward. And really - isn't that what we have in cars right now?  They tried to fix recession by getting people to buy cars with no money down for at least six years now right?  And all those cars are underwater.

I'm even embarrassed to admit that I bought a ridiculously expensive sports car when it seemed like we might go into negative interest rates. (I didn't do no money down though) And I only bring this up because it shows the sort of distortion in the market. If someone else told me they had done this - I would laugh and laugh and laugh. However - when people start talking about "bail - ins" and negative interest rates - you will make stupid decisions because you'd rather burn your money in the driveway than have the banks forcibly "bail themselves in",  or you lose it drip by drip with negative interest rates. I still don't regret it, because I'm aware how insane that sounds. Yet - that was the market at the time. And I fail to believe that I am the only one who made those types of trade offs.

I know a guy who traded in his paid off truck for a new truck. Decided to lease the new truck for some reason. But he didn't actually have to start making payments for 5 years. And I thought the whole thing was crazy because he wasn't able to make it out of the housing crisis. Even though he was at the tail end of it, his place still hadn't appreciated enough to get him out and this was last year! You car loses a ton of value in five years.

If people gave up their houses so easy - they will default on cars in a nanosecond. People are inherently geared towards rejecting pain. And since cars don't appreciate like houses - why would they put up with any of it?

So, with cars - we are at 90 day supply right now. Retail is in a recession. Restaurants are in a recession. And houses have hit a wall because there isn't enough land to build on. I don't see anywhere the government can juice this economy.

Monday, May 15, 2017

I don't know why they have to treat us like hostages.

Mr S. managed to break my phone a few months back. I asked him to hold it and he dropped it. he hands it back to me and says - I think I broke your phone. Now it's acts all shades of funny.

Then, I shit you not,  a week later he says-  you won't believe it.  I broke my phone. And he hands it to me and the screen is shattered. It acted even more shades of funny. Two phones in one week people. But we've basically been living with it because we weren't that far from the end of our contract.

We finally decide to upgrade instead of use insurance to just get them replaced. We could have upgraded at the cell phone store but Samsung was having a special. If you bought the phone through them you'd get a 6 month Netflix subscription. A phone stand,  and a memory card. I normally hate freebies, but if I was going to buy a new phone - It wouldn't hurt to have a memory card.

Mr S's phone arrives and no freebies. So he gets them on chat and finds out that somewhere in the fine print it says it will take six-eight weeks to get the additional items. Mr S. tells them that he understands if items are backordered, but Netflix is just a coupon code. Apparently since "it's a bundle", you have to wait six weeks for it and the other things to arrive.

Now, they plainly could have stated this in the ordering process and probably everyone would have felt fine. After all - they probably don't want to ship many of these things anyway (they are FREE) so why not say, "you can get one of these, but it's going to take a while". If you are ordering because of those things - you are going to order anyway. Instead they manage to make me resentful for a stupid freebie!

I don't really care about the Netflix subscription, as I said - what I really wanted was the memory card, but it would make me feel a lot better while I was waiting for the other stuff. I mean, really six weeks. What is this? 1980?

It just doesn't make sense the things companies do. Seriously. ONE line on their ordering page. ONE LINE. It all it takes. Instead now I don't want to order from them again because they chose to hide things in the fine print.

People must not be buying appliances.

Whenever the world starts to look a little pear shaped - I like to go to Fry's electronics to see how pear shaped things look. And to be sure, this is not the worst I've seen it. During the recession I thought this store was going out of business because the shelves were Venezuela bare. But I did notice another odd thing. I only bring it up because during the last recession it seemed like every store loaded up on appliances to sell. Even OSH was selling them for a while.

As I was going through the department, one thing jumped out over and over. A good portion of refrigerators were cornered, or had giant dings in them, or the doors didn't even line up. Not one of them was marked down. And fridges cost like 3 grand! I have never seen an appliance department look like this. I mean, why would you even buy from a store who couldn't keep their floor models looking good? It's like no effs given. All I know is going to Fry's made me feel a lot worse about the world. They were loaded up three isles deep with all the "as seen on TV" stuff. Perfume took up another. TV's. Who's buying new TV's at this point?

The problem with the Trump administration is that he's killed a lot of regulation, but that cost is already baked into the cake. Most of the stuff he's done hasn't trickled down to the average person yet. And for sure it feels like people have held their breath waiting and now they are just all rolling over because they can't hold their breath anymore. All the stuff Trump as done so far yields long term relief. Not short term relief. So I think we are in for some pain for a while.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Traffic in the Bay Area is mind bending now.

This is traffic going into the East Bay from Fremont on a Saturday.  This is NOT commute traffic. But it's just as bad as. You really have to pick your trips wisely these days because the traffic everywhere is stunning. I have never ever seen it like this. Not even before the recession. Everyone is complaining. Everyone talks about several hour commutes. It's sucking the life out of people. Every accident adds an hour to your commute. And I'm not exaggerating. Used to be you could get around the Valley pretty easily before 3:00. Now bumper to bumper commute level traffic starts at 1:30 everywhere.

People are doing crazy things because the tension is really high. Like trying to pass cars by driving down the shoulder. Making illegal turns to cut lines. It's really getting sort of mad max. The minute you bring up waze all the roads are red. Even all the back roads. Neighborhoods have banded together and forced cities to make new signs so people don't invade their neighborhoods because of the Waze effect.

They've added new units to live in pretty much every city. That is a lot of extra cars. But no extra roads. It literally takes me as long on a Saturday to get into my burb from Silicon Valley as it used to take on commute days. Normally this is a half hour trip. How it's an hour and a half.  It's unbelievable. When you spend an hour and a half to two hours in traffic - it just changes you.

Something has to give. If you think peak traffic precedes recessions.... well..

The first photo was from today. They below photo was from about a month ago. I honestly can't believe it every time I see it. This just started within the last year.

A girl I know said she got a job in Castro Valley. When she first started it - traffic was fine. Within six months she was going out of her mind. It's sort of been like a light switch. I wouldn't be surprised it road rage ticked up for sure.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Autonomy is not going to kill as many jobs as people think.

I personally think every generation is a reaction to the previous generation. For example in my moms generation everyone worked in factories and it was hard work. Even one of my first jobs was in quality control. Basically manufacturing. So they wanted all of their kids to go to college so they wouldn't have to do that. They wanted a better life for their kids.

And that is pretty much how I view the world now. I don't have kids, but I think when autonomy fully arrives it will be taking the jobs that people don't really want to do anymore. For example - truck driver.

I've known I ton of truck drivers in my time and I've never heard them say they loved that job. It does pay well, but they are way from their families for long periods of time. And it really takes a toll on their bodies. As a result we actually have a truck driver shortage in lots of parts of the country. In some places by 50%!

I can think of at least a half a dozen sectors where it's just really hard to find people for these jobs now. And robots and autonomy won't really be chasing people out like the media likes to portray. They will be making it so those companies can survive because of the lack of people wanting to do those tasks anymore. Farming will be another. One day we will look back at this period in time and think working the fields was medieval.

I have to say - it's sort wildest to stroll though a conference and see tractors branded like computers though.

The other thing is - with everything having 360 camera's you almost can't take a picture of anything without getting yourself in the shot. For those of us who like to stay fairly invisible - it sort of sucks. But I'm trying to get used to it. I'm in the far right of the monitor.

It's really a war on your parking space and that's a good thing.

When I look out at the landscape of the world I think - where are all these people going to live? As each buildable lot gets snapped up - I seriously start looking at where else they can put people.

Thank gawd for the mallpocolypse I think to myself. Where are they going to put people after they use all that space I often wonder. Then I start looking at Churches. Not just because I'm godless, but because they usually are on a ton of land! And tons of people who do believe in god don't even go to churches anymore. That is some prime real estate I think.

I was pretty affected by growing up in Silicon Valley. When I was growing up all the old people were so sad that this place wasn't filled with cherry Orchards anymore. I'd marvel and think - all of this popped up in basically one generation!? That's amazing! We'd already been to space and back and I'd think - who'd want to live here is it was just nothing but orchards? This place is marvelous! Look at all the stuff they've made in ONE generation.

Then I grew up got my own house. Planted a cherry tree and thought - thank gawd this place was taken over by all these buildings. If we had to depend on cherries we'd all be dead. You get one crop a year, and if it rains at the wrong time - you are literally screwed for the whole year. But the old people - all they wanted was their stupid orchards.

Anyway.. the reason I gave you this backstory is because the wet dream of Silicon Valley right now is that people won't own cars anymore. I don't know who owns them, but allegedly you won't. And every time I go to one of these conferences I try to figure out why this is such a big deal with them. I mean, they are really ravenous in this opinion.

You may think it because they feel cars are evil or whatever. But lately I've been noticing a trend. It started when the Apple campus went up. Some people were making a big stink about how many parking spaces that place had when Apple was allegedly such a "green" company. And as it turns out - the city regulates that and they force companies to build three parking spaces for every single car they expect to have.

Now, when land is at such a premium as it is now - that's a lot of effing unused space just sitting there doing almost nothing except at certain times of the day. I think that is really the reason they are pushing so hard on this.

I don't know how many people will convert to the "Silicon Valley" plan, or how long it will take - but at least I know where some of these people will live in the future. Reclaimed parking lots.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

This generation is going to get their ass handed to them.

Old guy says demise of ‘time-sapping hobby’ Snapchat is good for the market.

"Marginalized older people and Snapchat haters, rejoice, for on this day a glorious gift has been bestowed upon you. 

Yes, just as many had predicted and perhaps hoped, a dark cloud is hanging over sunny Venice, Calif., thanks to a $2.2 billion loss that has investors fleeing Snap’s stock SNAP, +0.39% in droves.

And nobody captured the schadenfreude wafting around Wall Street quite like Dennis Gartman, editor and publisher of the Gartman Letter"

When the market starts telling you that "old people just don't understand technology" as an excuse for not making money - here go hell come. And I'm gonna laugh and laugh and laugh.

Update - imagine my surprise when I realized the guy who wrote this article was an "old." He doesn't even have the stupidity of youth to back him up. He's just a shill because he's gotta be on the far side of genX. He looks older than I do! He's been working at marketwatch for like 17 years. Man.... let him have some skin in this game. Please.

Snap is emblematic of the rot that is Silicon Valley right now.

Silicon Valley has lost it's way - Bigly.  For example Snap. "One of the Hottest IPO's of 2017".

It used to be that companies would create products and we would buy them out of joy. Now we buy products only to have the entire premise of why you bought it tossed out the window. We are just consumer hostages in your big scheme to make people's money evaporate. And frankly it makes me sad. Gone are the days where you made a product that spanned the decades of time. Like computers did. Now -  you just get the money and run before people figure out what a sham things are. And investors lap this crap up because.....there is almost nothing of real value going on right now. What choice do you have?

When I think of how Silicon Valley was when I was growing up and I look at it now - I kinda want to puke. It's the saddest thing ever. People should feel ashamed! But they don't.

Companies fall all over themselves trying to lose money, because in Silicon Valley you can only fail up. It doesn't matter how much money you vaporize. It should make the whole Valley feel embarrassed! Because IT IS embarrassing.

Silicon Valley is nothing but a bait and switch machine right now. And when economies are weak - you might get away with that for a little while. But it's only because we have no choice. Rue the day we will. Because this company is going to die. I mean, what's not to love? Snap became popular because messages disappeared. Now they stay forever. But good news everyone, you can put more dog faces on everyone. That is certainly worth billions of dollars. It doesn't feel anything like a fad. Said in the most sarcastic way. I mean, those ad dollar are really being used well, don't you think. We all pay attention to them right? Well, I daydream until I'm allowed to view what I went to a site to see.  I'm a consumer hostage. I don't remember those ads two seconds after I've seen them. We have ad fatigue.

A LOT of people have been comparing the market right now to the bubble. Which I kinda scoffed about. There hardly feels like enough froth to justify it. One company went IPO last year. Nine so far this year. But when I read all the news about Snap - I had to wonder if we are closer to the year 2000 than the year 2007.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Makes me giggle like a little girl.

I was knee deep in the cool - aid today. And sometimes I need a day to figure out what I think about things. So, you will probably get stuff tomorrow. But one thing I did find funny on these two cars was - they had the "shiny red" button. Maybe the cars I've seen have always had them, and they've been keeping the secret sauce under the console door. But........The thing about 'shiny red" buttons is - YOU ALWAYS WANT TO PUSH IT.

The minute they say "don't push it" - it just takes over your whole brain. See attached video below. Because this is literally what happens to my brain every time I see the "shiny red button".

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

That scab has not healed.

I haven't done a major construction project since before the recession. Because ya know - no one puts that kind of money into a house you are underwater on. But now I get to play contractor roulette. The good news for you is, this summer - you get to watch me completely unravel. If you guys think Trump is crazy - talk to some construction guys. They will make Trump look completely sane. The main thing these days is that you have to put up with them for a very LONG time. I will know the economy has fully recovered when projects that used to take a week, stop taking a month. They really draw crap out these days. And I'm not loving that at all.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Generation X simply does not exist.

Boomerang Kids": Adult Millennials Returning Home Is Crushing Baby Boomer Budgets.

I can always tell who is NOT a Gen X'er. And it's people who write these articles. I think almost no Gen X'ers went into media because I read these articles at least once a week. The average age of a "Baby Boomer" is 53- 71 years old. The average age of a Millennial is 18- 34 years of age. Baby Boomers are the grandparents of Millinials.

I can assure you - most Baby Boomers were not having children well into their 40's. This is a relatively new phenomenon. People understand how a woman's reproductive system works. Right?

Gen X'ers are barely a side note in history if we are written about at all. Yet we are wedged in between the greediest generation, and the laziest. Both of them sucking up all the oxygen and money in the room.

"We've noted several times in recent months that, despite the 'economic recovery', a record number of young 'adults' are moving back home with mom and dad after college and staying there well into their 30's.

Now, as confirmed by a recent study conducted by Fidelity and the Stanford Center on Longevity, the added stress of caring for all those 'adult' children is putting a severe emotional and financial strain on Baby Boomers with over 75% saying their adult children are cutting into their budgets and over 50% saying they're generally less happy about life."

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Friday, May 05, 2017

Um, did the auto sector just turn really scary?

State Farm Profit Falls on $7 Billion Auto Underwriting Loss.

The only reason I really noticed this was because last night on my local news they were talking about State Farm closing some branches up North. Which seemed really unusual to me. Then they dropped that bombshell.

It was especially vague - but I wonder if this has to do with car loans. That is a lot of money.

What is up with Sacramento?

Yesterday a bunch of articles came out about how a lot of Bay Area houses hadn't regained their peak prices yet. Which doesn't surprise me. I'm sure there are still houses in my town that haven't recovered. Although they are on the top end. Hell, even I am barely in equity in my house after all this time and I'm in the middle market.

But I wanted to see which cities were the hardest hit. And the one that really stood out to me was Sacramento. The article said only 9% of the houses in Sacramento had regained peak prices. 9%! I can understand how cities like Fresno and Bakersfield haven't recovered, but Sacramento? That's crazy. So I had to go poking around because frankly I couldn't believe it.

So, I just started going through the listings of every house that was currently on the market looking at price and tax history - and sure as shit - I think it's true.

Now if I do the same thing with Tracy(which is pretty inland.), 90% of the houses currently listed for sale are above their all time highs.  Oddly,  the average size of the houses for sale in Tracy is HUGE. Like 2500 sq. feet. If you simply have a 2000 sqft house there you are a pauper I guess.

It just seems so odd, because most of the Bay Area proper there is in a shortage.

Sometimes I even scare myself.

"Oil went through a flash crash overnight, putting an already fragile market on edge".

I giggled when I read the news on oil this morning. This is what I said in the middle of March.

"The world is still floating on oil. I don't understand why the prices have risen again while we are very near an all time high again at Cushing. I know the summer blend. Yada yada yada. But the dollar is still very strong. The pirates better sell this stuff before the price goes lower." 

Thursday, May 04, 2017

These do make sensational headlines.

This Silicon Valley 'teardown' just sold for $2.6 million.

"Another day, another postcard from the increasingly bizarre alternative universe that is Silicon Valley.  

This time, it's the eye-popping story of a 908-square-foot, lovely-seeming home in Palo Alto, California, that hit the market in February for an asking price of $1,927,000. 

Not only did the Stanford Avenue home, built in 1937 and described by Curbed San Francisco as a "teardown," sell, the site reports it brought in $623,000 over the asking price — that's a final sale price of $2,550,000."

If there was a nice looking house on this lot - no one on earth would have written this story. But because it's a tiny 908 sqft tear down shack - all of a sudden internet hysteria ensues. Despite the lot being big enough for a 3-4 bedroom home.

What I really don't understand is how people who write about real estate and business don't understand that the land is 90% of the cost. Maybe they don't have a house or carry insurance. That's where you find out how much it costs to replace your house if it were to burn down or whatever, and it's a tiny fraction of of what you owe the bank because most of the cost is in the land.

So what if this has a tiny tear down shack? Are they making more land in Palo Alto? No. Or anywhere else.

The article goes on to say:

"The house on Stanford Avenue is only the most recent, and hardly the most egregious, example of the burgeoning bubble on the Bay."

These people are going to be waiting a very long time for their echo bubble to pop. That is a once in a generation type event. You are not going to get people to leave their houses in the droves they did during the recession. It was basically a run on the banks. But with houses. Do you know how hard it is to make a run on a bank?

Additionally we have under building for a very long time. The longest on record. It's not enough to keep up with population growth. Some people estimate we are a million houses short. But I guess people always want to be on "record" saying this was a bubble.

Can prices go down? Sure - that is called a market. Prices go up. Prices go down. But a bubble popping scenario this isn't.

This is ridiculous.

Self-driving electric vehicles to make car ownership vanish.

"SAN FRANCISCO — So if you're skeptical or nervous about the coming age of self-driving cars, consider this incentive: a $20 Uber or Lyft fare could be slashed to $2. 

It's the wet dream Silicon Valley that car ownership will go away. They theorize that since you really only use your car 10% of the time - the rest of the time it just sits around doing nothing - you will give up your car. In theory it makes sense, but that's the thing about "theory" it isn't reality.

My first question always is - who is going to own these cars? Miles traveled isn't going to go down. So, who is responsible for all the maintenance costs? I mean, I just spent a grand on tires after 30 thousand miles for my truck. And since these cars are never going to "do nothing" - who is going to absorb all these costs? And how pray tell are you going to have a driver only get two bucks for a fare?

"Better yet, it might even be free if the ride provider is, say, a Starbucks autonomous ride-sharing van that's covering the cost of your 40-cent commute by selling you a pricey latte. "

Ooooooooooh. Right. We are back to being consumer hostages.

And this isn't a vision of the future for today's toddlers, but likely to happen within a decade of the anticipated 2020 rollout of autonomous vehicles."

This is never going to happen in my lifetime. I think autonomous cars will come much sooner than people think because they are throwing a ton of money at it. But people have always had a love affair with cars. It's going to be a generation before you get people who love to drive to give them up.

I often ask people if they would buy a self driving car, and most of the time they say no because they still love driving. I even asked a pilot once, and he said he didn't trust self driving cars. I thought, really? Don't planes have all sorts of automation? I thought that guy would be a shoe in.

I think as people get older they will all eventually give in, but they will still have an old timey gem of a car sitting in the garage.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

I had a feeling car companies were in trouble when I started getting cold calls from dealers I'd never set foot into. In my whole life - I've never had that happen.

They may send you stuff in the mail, but never rando cold calls. I blogged about it on April 18th in "Okay - I'm officially freaked out about cars."

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Finally - a REAL product.

Mr S. started sending me links about this thing a bunch of months back. I was pretty meh on it. I didn't see the need. Normal routers work just fine. The projects looked fairly arts and craftsy. I have a house. I need a real mans tools for real projects. Even though I'm a girl.

So the first thing I asked the guy was how thick of wood can this thing cut. Which was an inch and 3/4's. First hurdle passed. All the projects I'd seen on the videos were half inch plywood kinda stuff.

Then I tried it, and I turned into a fan girl right away. It's the simplest tool I think I've ever used. It feels like you are tracing things out rather than cutting them. Really, it's so simple a child can use it without worrying about them at all. I'm actually not a bad woodworker, but routing I never quite got the hang of. I guess this is technically a CNC. Which means it also does plastic and sheet metal. It can't do things like aluminum because that needs lubrication to cut and the machine isn't waterproof.

There is so much vaporware in Silicon Valley that when you run across something real - You really just want them to succeed. They are kinda pricey at around 2100 bucks. Plus the tape to keep it oriented is about 15 dollars a roll. But if they make it(and I hope they do), I think it will change the woodworking world.

Watch the "how it works" video. Home site here. It even has an automatic mode for really fine detail. For instance they were demo'ing it cutting the shape of California. The Bay area has all these tiny details. So you just push a button and the machine figures it out on it's own. It's really magic.

Because what you really need is a snoop-ey refrigerator.

We have reached the stage of unnecessary AI. Already. This tiny fridge has face recognition built in.

Object recognition I can get behind, but why would anyone buy a fridge that has this feature? Oh-  who gives an eff.  This is really so conglomerates can edge out each other with what you are buying. And that is really how Silicon Valley sees customers ( I mean hostages) right now. You are just the mark that buys this crap so companies can spy on your habits. Cheating on your diet? Now the fridge knows who uses what and your family can narc each other out.

Maybe it will be a big hit with communal houses. Roommates are always eating each other peoples food. Once I had 6 roommates and a boyfriend. So, 8 total people. Other than that......I see this as totally unnecessary.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Tiny houses are a stupid investment.

PRICE REDUCED!! custom built 7 X 12 TINY HOUSE $10,000.

I have been watching this fad in total disbelief. I have almost posted about it dozens of times. I just don't get it at all. There are already tiny houses! They are called mobile homes, and ya know what? You get to have a bathroom right inside, and a shower and everything!  And HEAT! You don't have to live in a garden shed amount of space.

I've been waiting for this market to turn forever. If mobile home makers thought there was a market for an upscale mobile home - they would be making them. Instead people are spending 50 grand to live in 200 square foot garden sheds. It's insane. And I get it - I lived in a van for a while. The conditions right now are not that different than when I was growing up poor. My family lived in a mobile home, and that's how I know you will never make money on them. Ever. Mobile homes are not a good investment because the land is where all the real cost is. If you don't own the land, you basically own nothing.

I've been waiting to see if anyone would be able to re-sell these things. Who knows, maybe the world has changed in a way I don't understand. But I don't think so. Even a van would keep it's re-sale value better than a tiny house. These things are the worst waste of money ever.

It's been way too long.

This was as close as I got to a beach yesterday.  And I have to say, I've never felt quite so achy for a real beach trip after this. Yes, achy. I was a beach bum as a teenager, and I lived on the Santa Cruz side for a while as an adult. So instead of saying "wouldn't it be fun to go to the beach, sometimes I say - I NEED to go to the beach". It's really like a physical need. And I've been feeling this way for a while. But beach traffic is bad on a good day, and HWY 17 was messed up for a while, so I didn't even want to attempt that.

Yesterday was the first truly warm today this year, and everyone flooded to the beach. We spent 5 hours in traffic round trip just to get to Half Moon Bay. So a hop on the beach was all I got. I don't know what they are going to do about traffic because this crap is epic now. When you drive 5 hours for two hours of fun - that shit is crazy.