Monday, August 17, 2020

In other fun news.....

My neighbor rolled up this weekend with this shit. The one that I had a fight with regarding the dog. 

Four 20 foot palm trees, and two 10 foot banana palms. Which is about the funniest shit I've ever seen. This girl makes the worst choices. I didn't even know they sold banana palms around here. We were just on water rationing a year or two ago!  And she decided to get not one.... but two of those. The frost is going to try and wipe these out post haste. So I don't get it. It's 108 degrees here this week! It's also pretty common for September to have a week of 108 temps. It normally doesn't rain here until the end of October.  Rouge storm aside.

Also - those palms are the type you see in the high end market. And those people have maybe one or  two of them. Two was not good enough so she got four of them. I guess she's like - water bill. Fuck that! We are in the middle market. So this makes no sense. The purple tree on my property has been there for ten years and is about 13 feet tall. One or two of those palms have an eight inch radius! 

And..... who shells out that kind of money for trees in this economy anyway? They were both on furlow. When I see the reports of people still spending, I'm like yep. Don't get it, but yep.

The thing I learned in the housing crisis is that people do a lot of things that are not in their best interests. Usually this winds up taking them out eventually. But waiting for them to destroy themselves does take more time than it should.


  1. When I moved to Sunnyvale, oh so many years ago, the house came with a smallish banana tree in the side yard.
    I never tended it, and it never produced any actual bananas (something about the season being too short, maybe), but it survived the winters and the lack of attention (and, if memory serves, an occasional attempt to kill it) until I finally removed it to make way for a new shed.
    I don't know what variety it was, nor whether it was closely related to the ones your neighbor got, but there are some banana trees that can survive in the Bay Area.
    (I don't think they'd survive the winters here, though; the summers may be warm and humid, but I'm learning that some supposedly frost-hardy species aren't all that hardy. Maybe I'll build a greenhouse for some dwarf citrus trees and such, but not this year.)

  2. Good to know. Although Sunnyvale is a much more temperate climate. Once you get into the burbs in this direction, things are much more sever in both directions. Summers - way more severe. It looks like we will spend two weeks above 100 degrees right now. And I'm not even that inland. Almost half of that above 105. I don't remember that ever happening in Santa Clara where I grew up.

    I'm sure ~she~ can make it survive - but I've gone over the tiers. You don't want to do that. And right now there is a rumor going around new have to cut back on water because of the power situation. It's only a rumor right now, but that has happened before with previous power issues.

    In general it's inadvisable to add that kind of landscaping to that kind of house. Especially in a declining market. But I knew a roofer that was adding copper gutters to his house as the housing crisis was raging - so I've seen people do really stupid stuff. That roofer lost his house. It's most annoying because those trees are a form a permanence. It's costly to cut them out, so if the next person hates them they probably won't pay to remove them.

  3. I might revise my comment. I forgot about the sunburn which those are already exhibiting. The smoke blocked the sun yesterday, so when that clears it is going to be very hard to keep them alive. The sun is punishing out here. This time of year the ground is complete concrete. Most smart people chose to plant thing when the earth is softer and it's less expensive. We still have two months for any meaningful rain. And it does seem like some cities water systems (like mine) are on alt backup generators because the grid is strained that much.

  4. Ooh... I'd forgotten how much hotter the East Bay gets in summer. (Used to go hiking over in those hills, mostly in early spring, because, now as I recall it, after early spring everything was hot, dry, and generally not conducive to a nice hike.)
    Doesn't get all that hot, as such, in the new location, but sometimes the temperature and humidity are both in the 80s, and I haven't adapted yet. Plants seem to like it; it's truly amazing how fast the grass and weeds grow here. Alas, the occasional week-long dry spell calls for dragging a hose around to keep the more delicate plants hydrated.

  5. I knew a guy who made his living flipping palm trees that he would dig up for free and then sell to home owners in the Bay Area. He made very good money on the trees. Like insane money. If the capital investment to move them wasn’t so large you can bet that I would have ended up in a hole up to my elbows trying the same thing. I don’t really understand why people spend like this either, but I think it’s psychological and about being in control of life when it’s really spiraling out of control. There is a YouTube blogger named uneducated economist that I watch and he recently told a similar tale about a woman who needed to use 3 credit cards in order to buy cleaning supplies and fertilizers at the hardware store. It’s not until you are totally cut off financially that you’re forced to live within your means. Forced to calculate the actual cost of the things that you buy. Forced to make fertilizer and trees instead of buying them. Some people really struggle going into a needs based mode only and spending money by shopping makes them feel like everything will be ok. The marketing agencies really seize on this in the techniques that they use to make us want things. I used to waste money on random wants too, but my life changed when I was forced to choose between a cup of coffee and gas to get to work. I know that it sounds counter intuitive but the sooner that your neighbors lose their spending power, the sooner they will realize how to prioritize in a depression. DF

  6. Comments like they make my heart grow a size. You are going to be okay. It's only when you've known true hardship do you reach this stage. I mean, I've been there. I've thought about living in a public storage and everything. I did live in a van.

    I think you are on to something though. When we had that dog problem she said she wouldn't keep the dog in the house because they had nice things. It was then I formed all my opinions about her. My Uncle is irrational like this, so I recognize the behavior. A word of warning though. A lot of people even when forced to live within their means, never do. The get stuck in a vicious credit trap. The banks will lend to deadbeats even if they claim bankruptcy because they know they can't file again for a certain time. I've told you where they live. Some people literally never figure it out.

  7. Thanatos capitalism: if everyone defaults, then nobody defaults.

    The market only says it's seeking Alpha but is secretly seeking Theta.

    Think about it. :-)