The story remains the same if you’d take a look

I’ve got another traveler here.  His name is Prescott.  I REALLY like this dog.  Number one, he’s gorgeous.  Number two, he was trained when he got here.  Number three, he’s a very nice dog.  I already have a home for him, which is a good thing.  His name is Prescott.  In the video he learns not to jump up.  It wasn’t the original point of the video, originally I was just going to show how he moves, but he jumped up a couple of times and the third time I got him with a knee.

Later our hero goes to the vet and comes home with an empty sack.

In other jackassery, last weekend was Sonofabun’s 50th birthday.  And ensuing party.  Sonofabun, like me, spent a lot of time in San Francisco in the 80’s.  He spent even more time at the I-Beam.  And other similar venues.  OK, can you believe the I-Beam has it’s own wiki page?  There is a sort of music that goes with that.  For the most part you had to have been there.  I found a DJ who while he was too young, he wasn’t even born yet, he got it.  I just got the set list last night.  Picking out greatness from an era you didn’t live through was quite a feat.

No Siouxie, but I’ve got Siouxie.

I’m just trying to figure out how we all got this old.

All I’ve got, I had to steal

The wine industry has no idea what they’re in for.  I know.  I’ve been preaching the gospel to deaf ears.  I will find no solace in a “I told you so”.  Wine will be changed forever and not in a good way.

Wine Enthusiast just awarded Bill Foley Man of the Year.  My personal disappointment in this decision runs so deep it’s palpable. OK the fact that Wine Enthusiast thought that calling him “humble as he is an established leader” makes me want to vomit.

Foley is raiding the wine industry just like he raided Carl’s Jr. way back when and the title industry in the mid 80’s.  Consider this, in the mid 80’s the real estate industry was in the crapper and Foley bought Western Title, the benchmark for title insurance in California at the time.  Then he continued his raiding ways and built Fidelity National Title.  How many thousands of qualified title and escrow professionals are out of work because of his management style?  How many thousands were laid off, stripped of their benefits and then brought back at a third of the salary with no benefits to their old job?  You are all out there.  I know that.  How many times do I have to tell the same goddamn story to the wine industry?  By the time y’all hear me it will be too late.  It makes me sad for California wine.

Three days later Fidelity National Financial announced their earnings.

2010 was a successful year for FNF on a number of fronts. The Title business experienced strong refinance volumes due to the low mortgage interest rate environment, and we continue to closely manage our expense levels, producing our strongest title earnings and pretax margin in a number of years. The fourth quarter was particularly strong, with a 13.8% pretax margin. The strength of our 2010 earnings allowed us to set our annual 2011 common stock dividend at $0.48 or $0.12 per share per quarter based upon a 2011 dividend payout ratio of 30% of 2010 earnings. We remain the largest and most profitable title company in the country and despite a potentially more challenging environment, we are focused on producing strong title insurance earnings in 2011. ~Bill Foley

I bet it doesn’t feel that way for the poor schmucks that are grinding out a living working for that guy.  Not counting the 300 people who are going to lose their jobs, probably right about now.  We all remember that Foley’s compensation went up 171% in 2009.  Wonder what his increase was last year.

Dear Wine Industry, WAKE THE HELL UP!

We’re not the ones who are meant to follow

On one hand, I don’t want to jinx myself.  On the other I think that ship has sailed.  So let’s talk about banks again, because they are such asshats that it’s endless material.

One deal I’m working on is with Chase.  I hate Chase so much that I went and cancelled my personal account.  I have that much hate for them.  The last straw was someone took $105 out of the account.  I don’t know who.  They couldn’t tell me who and they didn’t give a damn to help me figure it out.  I used to have two personal accounts.  It was really a pain in the ass anyway.  Now I have one.  They made the choice easy.

I have a short sale with them right now.  The borrower came to me in late September and needed to unload a property that she over encumbered and then lost her job and couldn’t make the payments.  Her retirement was gone trying to save the house.  Her unemployment had run out.  In October she was stone broke.  I FedExed an HAFA package to the bank on 10/4.  I called on 10/8 to check to see if the package was received and basically ask about what was next in their procedures.  Oh, they couldn’t talk to me because they didn’t have authorization to talk to me.  Uh, the authorization is in the package I sent you along with the listing agreement.  No, you have to send an authorization to this fax machine.  Seriously.  Fax machine.  Who uses those any more?  The big banks.  All of them.  I draw up another authorization and drive 30 miles to meet my seller and have her sign it.  Again.  Then I come back and fax it to that number.  I wait four days and call.  Oh, not that number, use these numbers.  I fax it to these numbers and wait four days.  Oh, not those numbers, this number.  Really?  I got pissed and faxed it 9 times to each number.

Sometime around Thanksgiving I finally called and the authorization had been uploaded and they could talk to me about the modification.  The huh?  The modification.  Oh no, it’s not a modification, if you’ll look you’ll see that Chase denied a modification about three weeks before I sent you the short sale package.  No, this is a modification. No, you guys denied the modification in September.  Why would I send you another one?  This is the HAFA short sale package.  It says here in the computer it’s a modification.  It says in your computer that the package I sent on October 4th is a modification?  Yes.  No.  It’s not.  Why would their be a listing agreement for a modification?  I don’t know.  OK, why don’t y’all RTFD and get back to me.  Two more weeks of silence.

Now I’ve sold the property because it’s been like 60 days and even I can sell a house in 60 days.  And I sold this one myself.  I send them the offer on 12/8.  I call four days later and find out that they have uploaded the modification template instead of the short sale template into their machine and can’t talk to me about the transaction.  They need to delete the template and then reload the right one and then they will be able to put the documents into the system and talk to me.  I call them every three days and they repeat this same asinine story every three days.

On the fourth of January, I lose my mind.  I think I’ve done well up to this point.  A friend of mine gave me the phone numbers to the executive offices of BofA and Chase.  I call Chase’s executive offices and ask them exactly how long the process of correcting the template mistake should take?  Since it’s their mistake.  24 hours later the right template is uploaded and I’ve been assigned Jeff.  Jeff is a high D for DOMINANT DRIVEN DIRECT DOMINEER personality.  I’ve been assigned a guy in the short sale department who will review the file and assign it to a negotiator.   I think I’m headed to the promised land.  Not so fast Bucko.

On January 17 I receive an email from some d-bag who wants some extra documents.  They are actually documents that weren’t needed back in October, like the November and December bank statements from my client.  Then he gives me five days to respond or the short sale is off.  Are you kidding me?  After 111 days of waiting for Chase to pull their heads out of their collective asses they have the brass balls to give me 5 days to respond?  I got everything to them in two days.  Silence.  So I write the little d-bag back on day four and ask “Do you have everything you need?”  He responds “yes”.  That was 7 days ago.  I want to write the little jackhole and say “You have five days to respond and then I’m going to advise my 70 year old unemployed Grandma client to call her Congressman”.  But I don’t because the buyer backed out yesterday and I have to put it back on the market.

I’ve heard Bank of America is getting better.  I’ve heard of approvals from them in two weeks. Remember when I said I heard Matt Vernon, their executive in charge of all distressed properties speak?  One of the things he said was that two or three years down the line when the economy turns around, all these people who are in trouble right now will be back on their feet.  If we treat them poorly now, they won’t ever do business with us again.  We are laying the foundation for our future.  We have to help.

Too bad there’s no one like Matt at Chase.

Not to worry, BofA has their own issues.  Here’s some cheap entertainment.

What is this thing that builds our dreams yet slips away for us

I know I haven’t been getting this done like I should. I’ve also had a brutal case of writer’s block. Or don’tgiveashititis. I can’t even get pissed off enough to write about the fact that a man who would be pulled over for driving while Hispanic and can’t marry in the State he lives in, flew into action and saved the life of his employer and Congresswoman. Although I was close on that one.

We lost a legend today.  Not only do we share the same birth date, but he certainly was there on KQED clear through my childhood.  And then some.  Jack LaLanne died today from respiratory failure due to pneumonia.  He’d been sick for a week.  That’s it.  A week.  He was 96 years young.  Because that’s what he would have told you.  He would also tell you that “I can’t afford to die, it will ruin my image”.  We can file him under “local boy makes good.”  He was born in San Francisco, opened his first health club in 1936 in Oakland.  His clubs were sold to Bally Total Fitness, nimrods that they are.  In 1994 at 80 years old he swam 1.5 miles while towing 80 boats with 80 people from the Queensway Bay Bridge in Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary.  If I didn’t already have a juicer I’d buy one today in his honor.

I’ve got some wine postings I need to do, but the real estate voices in my head are really really loud so like Mrs. Winchester’s workman I must keep the hammers swinging or I’ll die.

In the interim, I give you jackassery.

I checked him with my knee and really caught him by surprise.  He’s a drama queen just like Ike.  His name is Prescott and he is a jewel.  I’ve already got a home for him (I hope).  I just need to get his boys in a jar, get him to stop jumping up and he should be good to go.  He is a big ol’ slice of awesome pie.

Like a lizard on a window pane

At some point I might just lose my mind.  Let’s file this under “Seemed like a shitty idea at the time.  In retrospect it’s an epically shitty idea”.

Number four in the list was shot today in Arizona.  Sarah Palin, I lay this flaming turd right on your doorstep.  You are directly responsible for this.  I find it interesting that your staff took this map down right after it happened. How can anyone consider this irresponsible, ignorant idiot for public office?

That’s just awesome. She’s so American. Why she’s just like you and me. And if she says we should get the Congresswoman in our gun sites that’s what we’re going to do.

Looks like some whack job got Gabrielle Giffords in his sites.  What kind of waffle words do you have for us now?  Great!  Let’s have everybody carry guns because obviously that’s working in Arizona.  I’m so goddamned mad about this I can’t barely make sense.  How about Glenn Beck?  When do we find out that this little turd spent hours of his time watching Glenn Beck and tried to join his staff?  Even the Army knew he was crazy cakes.  There is some culpability out there to some jackasses in the media that need to learn to STFU.  Just because you can say it doesn’t mean you should. As far as I’m concerned, Sarah Palin should be charged with conspiracy to murder a federal judge and conspiracy to murder of the Congresswoman. If her political career isn’t a turd floating in a punch bowl this morning, I have to wonder what the licensing requirements are for Realtors in France. We have gone too far.

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I see the raven’s made her nest in your eyes

Is it time for the New Year’s post?  Oh hell yeah.  I like to review the previous years goals normally.  I don’t really want to do that because I missed every single one of them.  Actually not quite.  I missed 12 out of 13.

  1. Lose that damned 50 pounds
  2. Organize real estate business to optimal efficiency and STAY ORGANIZED
  3. Get marketing plan running and keep it running
  4. Close a deal a minimum of every 3 weeks consistently
  5. Finish landscaping the yards
  6. Remodel main bath
  7. Bench 215 in competition, deadlift 300
  8. Ride faster (15mpg average) and complete
    1. At least one metric event
    2. At least two Century event
  9. Raise $2500 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation through Team Fatty (new button to be there soon)
    1. pie-in-the-sky-goal -Ride for the Roses in Austin.
  10. Attain goals #1, #2, #3 and #4 by June 1 so that I can justify a new S-Works frame and all the accouterments
  11. Finish a writing project
  12. Get broker’s license
  13. Buy a new vehicle for business

I have a marketing plan.  And I do ride faster.  And I’m halfway through my broker’s license.  I had fits and starts of closing three deals per month.  Unfortunately the fits almost buried me.  I still own my house.  Who knew that would be a goal at the beginning of the year.

I saved several dogs this year.  That wasn’t on the agenda, but it needed to happen.  They pretty much owe their lives to me.  Sherman had PTS on his chart.  He’s living the vida loca in Oregon.  Little Sister had 45 minutes to live.  She’s giving a very nice woman agida in Oakland. I think she’s going to end up staying there..I hope.  Of course Ike belongs on this list.  I rode a bunch of souls to safety.  Angus and Juno, Buzz, Aylo, Xena, Bill the Dog, Casey, Splash and currently Hannibal, who is overnighting at the Farm until he gets his ride to the Motor City.

This dog is a big fat slice of awesome pie.  Another fine save by the ladies at Oakland Animal Services.

My cycling took a back seat this year to trying to save the house, which so far I have done, with help.  My golf game took a back backseat.  I’m supposed to place Blackhawk on January 10th and that’s going to be ugly on a stick if I can’t at least pound a bucket or two of balls before then.

We lost my Dad this year.  That’s one of those things that just sucks.  I know he’s not suffering any more, and I know he was just done with Parkinson’s, but it still sucks.  I find myself in his old stomping grounds thinking “I’ve got to tell the Old Man about that” and then I remember that I can’t.  And that really sucks.  There is an upside, for what it’s worth, I’ve been able to take my mother places and have some fun with her.  I’m sure the Old Man smiles down on those adventures.

So without further ado, the goals for 2011.

  1. Lose that damned 50 pounds (I figured out that if I don’t I will be essentially riding an extra 350 pounds to LA for the Lifecycle.  Not cute)
  2. Organize real estate business to optimal efficiency and STAY ORGANIZED
  3. Keep marketing plan on target
  4. Close three deals a month, every month
  5. Finish landscaping the yards
  6. Remodel main bath
  7. Bench 215 in competition, deadlift 300
  8. Ride faster (15mpg average) and complete AIDS Lifecycle
  9. Rock the Lifecycle
  10. Pie-in-the-sky-goal -Ride for the Roses in Austin.
  11. Attain goals #1, #2, #3 and #4 by May so that I can justify a new S-Works frame and all the accouterments
  12. Finish a writing project
  13. Finish broker’s license
  14. Buy a new vehicle for business
  15. Get the dog initative rolling

Dog initative you say?  Well yes.  I’ve got a plan.  It seems to me if one woman can change the way we look at spay neuter, another can change the way we look at pet ownership.  It’s a big project, but I think with help from the right people I can really change the way this country thinks, starting locally and working outward.  Remember this?

Everyone remembers that because of how powerful it was.  How about this one?

Yeah, that’s where I’m heading with this project.  My goal is to change the way this country thinks about pet ownership.  Not the way the wingnuts at PETA want to change the way we think, it’s ok to own companion animals.  It’s our responsiblity to do the right thing.  Our behavior has been changed by many before me.  Here’s where I change the country.  With a little help from my friends.  In the interim…

And don’t forget, if I can drag my fat ass to LA on a bicycle, you can sponsor me and enjoy the ride vicariously.