Monday, September 30, 2019

Back in Socialist California.

San Francisco residents received death threats after setting up boulders to block homeless tents. Now the city is taking the rocks away.

Last week I blogged about San Fransisco and Sacramento having to install boulders to keep homeless away from their properties. I was wondering how long it would take because San Fransisco has a habit of shaming people who try to take their cities back.

Well.. it lasted less than one week.

One person tried to give the boulders away on Craigslist. The people who bought them paid 2 grand just so you know. When Craiglist booted them off a few times, people just started rolling the boulders into the street and for several days there was this back and forth.

Now.....? Death Threats.

WeWork is looking more super messed up.

"Thousands of people who worked tirelessly, because there's no other way to do it there, are going to end up screwed financially because they took lower income to have more equity that has disintegrated,"one executive told Reeves Wiedeman at New York Magazine's Intelligencer. Several employees reported using their savings to buy stock options, which could leave them financially ruined. Before leaving, Neumann had already cashed out more than $700 million of the company's stock, The Wall Street Journal reported this summer. Source.

That's one way to solve paint issues.

Pretty much the only way a Tesla makes it to this blog is when there is a parking lot full or them, or one has a marginal hyper color wrap. I see people complaining all the time about Tesla paint issues. So, I guess this is one option.

Tuxedo dog.

I was in a swank town having lunch this weekend and people were having glamor shots done of their dog. So I snarfed these photos.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Saturday, September 28, 2019

It's the world of next cubesday.

Lately there has been a lot of modular construction going on and I haven't been able to figure out if this is really the future of construction or not. So, today I went out to check out one of these companies. I expected there to be a whole of of bitching and moaning. I figured these were going to look like shipping containers, but I was actually pleasantly surprised.

The main house is made up of eight modules and was roughly 2500 square feet. They basically ship them to you and they come out with a crane to plop them on the property. The modules went together in about four hours. This is the three bed two bath two story main house. Each module I believe costs roughly 90 grand.

The master bath was surprising large.

There is a walk in closet behind this wall. I am already image heavy so I'm not including it here.

Outside there was also a 600 square foot granny unit. It seemed remarkably large for such small square footage.

I'm still not sure if this is the future of construction - but it at least made me say - MAYBE.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Coincidence? I think not.

"Bay Area home prices slumped for a sixth straight month in August, according to a report issued Thursday by research firm CoreLogic.

The median price paid for a new or existing Bay Area home or condo was $810,000 last month, down 0.7% from July and down 2.4% from August of last year. Prices year-over-year have now been flat or falling for six consecutive months. The last increase was in February."

Consumer spending barely rises in August as Americans save more.

"Consumer spending rose 0.1% last month, the government said Friday, marking the smallest gain in six months. Economists polled by MarketWatch had predicted a 0.3% increase."
I still haven't found my posts on the Vinod Khosla event, but I did find some of my posts about voting for Trump. (also here) I was on team Trump before literally anyone was. Before it was fashionable. So it's kinda funny to be now considered the enemy a little for pointing out things in the economy. Now I guess you are some sort of Democratic operative if you point out the obvious. I'd like to think that I am consistent.

Anyway I was searching for the Vinod stuff and I realized just how stupid this blog is. I make it really hard to find stuff later. But then later I was thinking about it and remembered that I try to be super vague when I talk about things so I am purposely not indexed. Silicon Valley is a very small world. In some ways I don't want to be found. But when I need to find some old random post I find it super ridiculous.

So I guess in that way - I am doing a better job than I thought I was because I can't even find my own words sometimes.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

This unwind is going to be delicious.

WeWork's new CEOs want to sell off 3 of its businesses as the company looks to cut costs.

It's going to be super fun to see what's in this crap sandwich. Many people are saying this is going to make Theronos look tame. Already it seems like they are in a fire sale. They are selling off the private jet. They are selling off companies. One of which is Meetup.

I happen to know a little about Meetup. And it's a brilliant money scheme. In my opinion. I don't want to get sued. I have been to exactly one Meetup. I went to go see the famous VC Vinod Khosla who is rumored to be the grandfather of Silicon Valley. He also famously has been fighting the State of California over beach access on his property. I will link these as soon as I get a minute and find my post.

Anyway - this is how Meetup works in my estimation. Some person wants to socialize with a certain group of people. So, they create a Meetup group and pay a fee. I don't know exactly what it is, but I think it's around a 100 bucks. But I could absolutely be wrong. As I said I don't know the exact dollar amount. I thought it was around 120 bucks.

Very few of these groups gain any traction and eventually you start getting notices that the group is shutting down with an option for someone else to take over the group. Which I have never seen happen.

Rinse, lather, and repeat. So, as long as you keep getting new people to create groups - you are probably fine. But people like the idea of socializing with a particular group more than they actually do.

I'd say this is jumping the gun a little.

Pending Home Sales Confirm Housing Market Rebound.

Meanwhile in the Bay Area.....

Bay Area home sales fall steeply.

High prices lead to lowest home sales in nearly a decade.

"Prospective Bay Area home buyers abandoned the market in August, as home sales dipped to a nine-year, monthly low despite falling interest rates and more choices.

Sales of existing and new homes fell 5.3 percent from the previous August, and were off more than 20 percent from the historic norms for the month, according to a report released Thursday by real estate data firm CoreLogic. Residential real estate transactions have dropped 13 straight months.."

I guess the media has figured out that some of us are getting freaked out by the comparisons to 2009, so all of a sudden they have vaguely been writing "lowest in a decade". That doesn't fool us! We can do backwardised math.

Also, if the rest of the country doesn't know - all of a sudden gas prices here are set to go over 4 bucks a gallon. We have four refineries down and the spike is rumored to be 30 cents in a week. This is not going to help consumer sentiment which is already taking a hit (I believe) because of falling house prices.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

I wonder who the bag holder on this is.

Ahead of Its IPO, WeWork's Adam Neumann Reportedly Sold Shares He Owned in the Company and Took Loans Worth $700 million.

"Neumann also borrowed against his holdings, according to the WSJ report, buying more shares in his company as well as purchasing five homes and investing in real estate and startups."

One day you are king of the world - the next day you are getting a margin call for your houses.

This article is from July when everyone was falling all over themselves in the IPO.

In the socialist utopia of California.

Your Insurance Is Canceled Because of Homeless Tent Fires.

"Property owners pay a steep price due to the fire risk at LA homeless encampments."

Socialism fails because it depends on the strong to carry the weak no matter how much it damages the strong person. Case and point - California where a very small minority of the population completely has way more rights than a productive member of society. Eventually people grow tired are not able to carry the weak person anymore. They become too burdened with the loss of business and the growing costs and they just give up. Why should they work twice as hard for no reward?

I heard a rumor the other day that the homeless are in a bloodsport battle now. When they have a beef with another homeless person - they just set that persons tent on fire. I thought all these fires were do to them just being all drugged out. But apparently not.

Meanwhile - Businesses in Sacramento and San Fransisco now have to install boulders to keep the homeless off their property.

I've been waiting to see what the reaction is because over the summer a business did that in the Castro. Painted it rainbow colors, and they were completely shamed by homeless advocates. They had to shut down for a while. I haven't checked lately.

Haven't seen on elf these in a while.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Democrats just left the door open for Trump to blame any negative shocks to the stock market on impeachment. And believe me - they are coming. The rest of the world is dramatically slowing.

Also today I noticed people using the term - negative home price growth. Which is so cute. They make all these twisted terms so it doesn't sound scary. They say it's healthy! Which it might be...... but falling home prices create a feedback loop.
Looks like there is some panic in Bitcoin today. Talking about Ponzi's. Seems like maybe some whales all of a sudden need money. BTC down more than 900 bucks a share. And yes, I know it's a coin but it's traded like a stock.

Update - I just noticed BTC was down four grand from June! Source. If that were a real currency the world would be on fire.

Are all the Ponzi's finally coming crashing down?

Neumann To Step Down As WeWork CEO Considers Mass Layoffs.

I never understood this company. For all the people they employ - there was scant new things coming to the market. I have long wondered what all those people were working on. This is aside from all the shady dealing the CEO was doing.

Tesla and Musk hid facts about SolarCity deal and SpaceX involvement, shareholders claim in unsealed court docs.

This weekend when I was in San Jose there was a row of Lyft bikes and not a single one was being used. If you bought Lyft at the IPO you would currently be down 36 bucks a share. In less than 6 months.

UBER?  You would be down 15 bucks a share. I had a feeling this company was in trouble when Arianna Huffington bailed ship.

Monday, September 23, 2019

This is likely the final chapter I will ever write on Fry's Electronics.

The rumor mill has been hot and heavy on Fry's Electronics. The rumor goes - they stopped paying their suppliers some time last year. But they are blaming everything on the trade war. Which is odd, because Best Buy doesn't have stores that look like this. So, Mr S. and I decided to suck it up and take a look at the Fremont store this weekend.

It was pretty surreal honestly. They were playing oldies rock over musac speakers.

Mr S. and I like to divide and conquer a store. He goes one way in a store - I go the other way. We don't like to shop a lot so, it cuts down on shopping time. When I caught back up with him somewhere in the middle I said - " The irony isn't lost on me that they are playing - Save my life I'm going down for the last time - over the speakers. Right at that moment they were playing "Glory Days" which he also found ironic. Other than the music it was really quite in there. I decided to pity buy a bottled water and they had one checker and Mr S estimated that was one too many.

They aren't even turning on the lights in some parts of the store like the TV area. Even the "As seen on TV stuff" which has been making the front isles look like nothing is amiss are pretty bare. These pictures were taken at 2:30 on a Sunday, and you can see the parking lot.

So.... yeah. I think at this point this is non recoverable.

This is the appliance area.

This is the TV area.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Luna Park 2019

I have to say..... I would feel a lot better about.... well everything - if the stuff I rolled up to wasn't completely caved out. It's been happening all year. I literally can't figure out where people are spending money.

I have never seen Luna Park the way it was today. Usually businesses sponsor chalk artists and there was almost none of that this year. It was a quarter of the size and PC culture (I think) is making everything almost joyless. I don't think there were any professional artists there this year at all. Almost none at Palo Alto either.

If it were just this event, I'd think that maybe people just didn't want this content anymore. But it's been going on all year with every type of event.