Sunday, June 17, 2018

Let's reject capitalism with these displays of capitalism.

I went to a tiny house fest. One - because I wanted to see who is buying these things. And two - I just don't get them at all. I'm not judging their lifestyle as much as I'm judging their financial sense. Most of these ran about 60 grand.

Honestly, the whole thing made me want to rip through my boxes to find pictures of the van I used to live in when I was growing up. We made cabinets and a bed in there. Oh- I wasn't homeless. I had a place to come back to. I was a beach bum. And super poor. My life could have taken a very different turn. But I do know a little about tiny living, and there is nothing that makes you want to buy a real house. A bigger house, than spending very much time in a tiny van.

But apparently with enough Pearl Jam blaring out of one of those things I can feel like giving up all my worldly possessions to live in a van again. At least that is what I found out there. It's alluring until you think it through too much.

Mr S. thinks these things are just all about status and virtue signaling. I don't really understand toting around super fancy tubs in a shed house the size of a laundry room.  I mean, 60 grand used to get you a REALLY nice mobile home that is 4 times the size of these things. And they are designed to be connected to the grid. None of this grey water crap.

They are super cute inside. But almost immediately you can feel really overwhelmed by just three other people inside of one of these things with you. At least when you buy a winnebago, you still have something you can drive around in. These things really make no sense. A van is still a van and worth something. These have no resale value really. But they have made it so people think it's normal for sheds to cost 60 grand.

Most of them look like you can't take the wheels off, so they bounce around when you walk. If you have a mobile home, the first thing you do it pop those wheels off. I just don't get it. And the expense of the trailer when you really don't need it is weird.

And if you are really downsizing because you need to save money - why are you putting a clawfoot tubs in these things. The whole thing is just crazy.


  1. Capital of Texas RefugeeTuesday, June 19, 2018 7:33:00 AM

    That first one ... WTF is going on with that design?

    It looks like it was designed by the same people who brought the world the 2012 London Olympics logo which looks something like this, although this improved version is much better.


    I doubt you could even trade that thing for a 1988 Toyota Corolla with 500k miles on the clock even shortly after purchasing it. :-)

    BTW, have you seen Reddit's van dweller areas? (r/vandwellers and r/VanLife)

    A while back this woman got a lot of press with her Renault POS van conversion that she did on the cheap: Marina's "Pam the Van". (Her POS van has a smaller engine than the Caterham, BTW, and a lot more weight to deal with.)

    BTW, this woman doesn't need CAD to get the job done with cabinetry: Marvel at the cabinet work to install a cook top and drain. :-)

    All of this is a lot more inventive than most of what I'm seeing for "tiny houses", especially since a "tiny house" is just a way how people can spend silly amounts of money for pricey cabinetry and fixtures.

    I actually thought about taking a new Ford Transit 250 and doing something to it that would let me have my travel stuff in locked cabinets while I'd be able to sleep in the middle of the cargo area, especially after seeing stuff like this.

    But after a hospital visit where I had to keep my wits about me to keep the doctors from killing me with doing medicine "by the book", I'm more inclined to finish projects here and to start looking at somewhere else to live where the medical care isn't spiraling out of cost control.

    What I found out in the hospital is that as a patient, you don't matter because you're not the one paying the charges. The hospital's lawyers and the insurance company's claims people are the ones who are in control of your life, and so they're not going to take any "chances" with treating you.

    So I went in with a resistant form of staph and they started treating me as if I had some sort of STD as yet undetermined just because I might seem to be "that kind of guy" ... uh, no, I get my kicks above the waist line, Sunshine.

    I'd rather be able to get my health care needs taken care of in a place where I can pay cash for most of them. With cash, I'm in charge, and there is no such thing as "elective surgery" because I'm the one who's paying for it.

    So it's probably time for me to sell a lot of expensive toys and to finish the projects I'm working on here. I'm already having to deal with moving stuff from one warehouse space to another this month, and that's going to suck up some time I didn't plan on spending on that kind of thing. Slowly winding down an excess of stuff seems like a really good life improvement plan.

    But one thing I can guarantee is that I will not be buying one of these ridiculous "tiny houses" wherever I'm going ... especially since that's likely to be even deeper into hurricane country.

  2. I was wondering what had happened to you recently. Are you okay? I'm a firm advocate of paying cash for medical treatment. I'm sure you are making them give you the cash discount. Right? Usually it's about 20%ish. If you go to hospitals in wealthy areas they tend to charge less for treatment because people in the wealthy areas pay their bills. So they jack up the prices less.

    Insurance is insidious and makes it so people don't shop around. And if you have a condition they don't want to treat - you are just effed.

    I haven't seen the reddit van life, but I've seen it everywhere else. The worst thing about living in a van was getting woken up every night by the popo checking on you. I don't know if they do that now because there are just so many people living in alternate vehicles.

    The media here was fawning all over that festival. They asked one person about the houses and they said they would never be able to buy a house here, but they wanted to buy one of those tiny houses and move to the low Sierra's. Which is just ridiculous. In the sierras you could find a bigger house on some land for 60 grand. None of that crap makes sense. If you are willing to move - hell you can find a LOT of stuff in that range. There are a ton of distressed properties in Eureka. I'm sure you could pick one up on the cheap.

  3. Capital of Texas RefugeeWednesday, June 20, 2018 10:49:00 AM

    I actually had insurance coverage at a "platinum" level, but it's obvious what this does for you now.

    Remember back in the 1970s ... oh, wait, I'm showing my age now.

    RIGHT ... well, back in the 1970s, there was talk about "being run out of town by a new process" ... anyone remember Gil Scott-Heron?

    Well, medicine is now The Medical Process, and you as The Patient will become grist for that particular mill should you enter it.

    If you protest, you then become A Difficult Patient whose file they try to label with He's Full Of Shit Just So You Know things like prescribing you Colace that you don't really need. You're stuck full of needles pumping antibiotics that are the wrong antibiotics, and you're miserable because they're giving you gall stones, burning your veins, making your face and head violently red, and so forth.

    Because you're not miserable enough and your potassium levels are "too low", they then prescribe a big bag of potassium IV that burns your veins even more, making you not only miserable but stark raving fucking angry.

    So what do they do?


    No thanks, I'm not a hardcore drug user, but you're obviously a hardcore drug prescriber, Doctor Strangeways. (Even the doctors had to laugh at that one.)

    Then they give you an antibiotic that actually does give you the shits, and what do they do?


    Meanwhile it's not Clostridium Difficile, and you're getting the shits because you were actually allergic to the antibiotic.

    That was actually a while back, and I was out of town.

    I've been scarce lately because I've been moving my stuff.

    So now I'm moving into a bigger place so I can put everything under one roof, including stuff that's been in a warehouse for a while.

    In fact, this next week I have to move between warehouses because the warehouse people can't seem to keep the security gate access working for me. (I'll accept an excuse once, an apology a second time, but everything after that is as Goldfinger said to James Bond 007, it's enemy action.)

    But the solution is not to become some sort of austerity whacko who gets rid of most of his stuff just to cram his life into a "tiny house" ...

    I will tell you where this idea does work: on a vacation cabin experience in the wilderness. There's a resort near Inari, Finland that has thermal glass-topped igloos and mini-cabins. They're not even 350 square feet, but what do you care, you're on a vacation, right?

    So is the real reason for the "tiny house" experience the idea that these people can pretend they're on a really nice vacation experience all the time?

    The new place has really lovely new cabinets, granite countertops, and even a super-cool looking stainless steel refrigerator.



    (except I'm in the old place because the network isn't connected yet)

  4. Oooh. You fancy. Hahahahah.

    Mr S. says all these things need is a Chihuli Which I would absolutely die to see.

    And you know... if rich people want to put a cabin in the woods with a chihluli in it... I'm all for that. But these are not marketed like that. They are marketed towards lower income people. I sorta feel like if my Aunt and Uncle would invest in's a crazy idea. They had THREE time shares and bankrupted on them all. I mean, what are the financing on these things? That's what I should have been asking. A LOT of people it seemed were dreaming of these as an Airbnb. Which with the most optimistic rental spot might bring in 300 bucks a night. Which would take you 200 days to pay off minus financing. Though I'm not sure you could actually get that for a tiny cabin spot. I could have gotten a tiny cabin when I went to my tiny town. I got a 4 bedroom house.

    These are for slightly above the hostile demo. You want a hostile price, but not bunking with all those other people. And with an airbnb you are somewhat a slave to the city preferences. Like for instance San Fransisco. They are constantly trying to fine people for having an airbnb.

    Glad you are feeling okay and are finally settling into a new place.

  5. Capital of Texas RefugeeFriday, June 22, 2018 1:04:00 PM

    Once upon a time there was something at Seattle Center that was fun in the hot summer: bumper cars, a log flume ride with water, an arcade, silly carny games, the works.

    You could sit waiting for the Seattle Monorail and watch the log flume ride -- very relaxing.

    Then the City of Seattle decided they'd squeeze a few more corn cobs up their backsides and kicked out the amusement park. (The log flume ride is supposedly now somewhere in Tennessee.)

    What's in its place?

    The Dale Chihuly glass works museum.

    And he's not even from Seattle -- he's from Tacoma!

    Also, most of his stuff is actually produced by his assistants, and he's just the Supervisor in Chief, so I'm not really impressed by it.

    Bill Gates kicked out the nearby skate punk park -- it used to be across the street from Seattle Center, but his architects excreted a large low-slung office complex into that space for his foundation. There's now a little tiny park shoved in an otherwise useless pit near Key Arena, and the few people who try to use it just look miserable.

    I know people back in Seattle who tell me what horrors have been unleashed in "the old neighborhood", and so I hear stories of what's been going on.

    But let's just say that when the State of Washington effectively kicked me out of the state, the feeling was mutual ...

    Anyway, the new place is bigger but isn't quite as fancy or posh as where I'm writing this right now. It's not on Brickell Avenue or even anywhere near Brickell Avenue for starters ... but it's also not in Coral Gables, which is good, and I'm nearly tripling my usable space.

    What's somewhat impressive is what you can find in newly built or newly remodeled apartment buildings -- the fridge, for instance, used to be this thing you'd only find in top-scale luxury apartments, and that's because only Zero made these things. I think the whole kitchen suite is actually made by Whirlpool, but it doesn't look at all like the crap you'd see in the 1990s.

    Next week I'll be moving stuff between warehouses because I'm not unpacked enough to move it into the new place, but maybe the week after I can get my network running so I can start doing more stuff there.

    I still have over two months left until I have to be out, so it's OK -- I've overlapped the two places by three months just so I wouldn't mess myself up with the move.

    That said, I actually do try to move the stuff myself because it's decent exercise, even if I have to do it more slowly these days.

  6. I was sort of enchanted the first time I saw a Chiluli exhibit in San Fransisco. My images are broken and I need to fix them or I'd link it.. Bloggers search function seems to stop for stuff that is 8 years old. I can find the posts in google. Barely. Actually I think I found them in bing. But now I have to go back the hard way.

    It would be nice if someone popped up with a new blogging platform. That's for sure.