The transmissions will resume

OK, I would say I suck, but I don’t.  I rock.  Here’s the last two days.

Friday I got up early because there was a little red boy that was ready to head up to the rescue.  I hadn’t been up there since I picked up Rita in January 2008 so I thought I’d take a ride.  What I was thinking at $4.07 a gallon is another whole story.  Round trip 354 miles.  I’ve got to say that Toyota just builds a tough truck.  I’ve owned that thing since December 31, 1993 and it’s still rolling along.  Which is why I want to shoot the guy who stole the cat in the face.  Anywho, we got out of here around 8am.  He spent the night here and was quite a nice boy.  He was about Rita’s size and played well with her.  We loaded up and made it to Red Bluff in two and a half hours, staying within CHP tolerances of the speed limit.

He got to play with Pretty Girl when he got there and they did really well together.  We were sitting inside chatting and all of the sudden we heard this screaming outside.  He’d pinned her down.  I don’t know what she did but he just schooled her.  Not a cut on her and they played the rest of the day.

Then another rescue friend had invited me down the Thunderhill Raceway for “a ride”.  I had no idea that she was a coach for a performance driving school.  Arguably the last thing on the planet that I need to know about.  My friend is easily in her 60’s possibly 70’s.  She what?  I’m still working that one out in my head, but she’s been doing it for about 10 years and is quite well respected.   When I got there she said “I’m going to ask Don to take you out.  What would you like to ride in?”  I don’t know.  “You can ride in anything you see here.  How about the ZR1?”  Right there the Queen of Bad Decisionmaking stepped up to the plate.  My little brain was whizzing.  ZR1, the fastest production automobile made in the USA.   For the record it has a top speed of 205.  If I struck lightening and made $10 million in the next three years I still couldn’t own that vehicle because I couldn’t act right and would lose my license.  Yes.  The ZR1.

I felt a little like Cameron describing the Ferrari.

Cameron: The 1961 Ferrari 250GT California. Less than a hundred were made. My father spent three years restoring this car. It is his love, it is his passion.
Ferris: It is his fault he didn’t lock the garage.

There’s a reason I love that movie.  I want to be Ferris.

Don is a big powerful looking man.  Easily 6’2″+.  Shaved head, probably in his 50’s.  Confident.  Yeah, the guy you want to go fast with.  We have to wait, he needs to coach somebody in a Lotus and then ride a couple of laps with another guy, then it’s my turn.  I put on my helmet certain that it’s so tight it’s going to crack my jaw, but it’s point is to not crack my jaw or my noodle.  We walk up to a shiny new, so new you can smell the new outside of the vehicle new silver ZR1.  It’s show time.  Ann leans into the car and points to the handle on the armrest.  Grab that.  It’s the “Oh Jesus” bar.  It’ll help.  It gave me something to hold on to, but by the second lap I knew that wouldn’t matter.

Turn 1 was no big deal the first time around, then we came to Turn 2.  Adventuresome but fun.  The map doesn’t show that between 4 and 5 you come up a rise and dive into the cyclone.  The tires were chattering and there was a little separation from the road there which he corrected by accelerating.  Why wouldn’t you?    By the second lap, I’d figured out that the helmet was for show only.  This car was fiberglass.  We missed one of these turns at 140mph and we were going to vaporize.

That did not give me solace.  I figured if we got airborne and then didn’t come down properly I would be blowing into a straw once to say yes and twice to say no, but Don was an amazing driver.  He’d accerate into turn 2 then jam on the brakes while staying on the gas for the first part, get off of the brakes and we’d shoot out of the turn.  Big fun.  Satiated my need for speed for a while.  Now I want to learn performance driving.

Yesterday was A Day On The Ride.  It’s an event to give the riders for the Lifecycle an idea of how the ride works.  They start with check in, a safety meeting and everybody holds hands and asks their God, higher power, universe whatever for a safe ride.  They word it really nicely.  Not with irreverance like I just did.  And then we hit the road.  There are rest stops just like the ride, lunch just like the ride and dinner when you get in just like the ride.  Only there’s a little something they don’t tell you about this ride.  It’s designed to separate the riders from the pretenders.  My cycling rep told me afterwards that there is nothing this hard on the Ride itself.  If you can do this ride, you can do the Lifecycle.

That’s good news.  7939 feet of climbing yesterday.  Soul crushing.  But I finished it.  My legs were completely blown up by the end.  But I must be in good enough shape because I feel fine today.  I’m tired after two days of big adventures, but I’m not crippled.  Not cripped by going through hairpin turns at 140mph and not crippled by climbing 7939 feet yesterday.  Life is good.  A friend once asked me what I think about when I ride.  Generally I sing to myself.  Yesterday’s song:

I still have $1200 to go.  If you can, please sponsor my ride, every little bit helps.

A drunkards dream if I ever did see one

I guess tomorrow is tax day.  I originally thought it was Friday, but who knows.  I have an accountant.  I don’t know how I have an accountant.  She should fire me.  I haven’t paid her for last year yet.  But she had her guy call me on Tuesday and say “We’re filing an extension for you, do you have some numbers for us?”  You mean I’m not fired?  I put together numbers for last year for her.  I know why last year was so tough now.  I thought it was the no closings from May to November thing, but really, I made more than the average American did last year.  It’s my expenses that buried me. 

I am still not upside down on my house.  I attribute that to dumb luck rather than business acumen.  The house is by far my biggest expense chewing up 57% of my income last year.  I carry health, auto and pet insurance here.  I also pay E&O.  While our compliance officer sometimes makes me want to stab my eyes out, the fact that we have one is what keeps our E&O one of the lowest in the business.  Our office actually showed a decent producer the door for compliance issues.  It’s nice to work around real integrity.  Every clown out there in this business wants to attach that word to their name to the point that it’s kind of like “gourmet” to me, but my OP walks the walk and I appreciate that.  I paid $6k in health and auto insurance last year and used neither.  Auto is going up this year because of that failure to appear thing.  And my broker wants to be named on my policy which meant I could no longer pretend like I’d told them I was driving for business and they forgot to write it down.  On the pet insurance, they have paid me more than I paid them.  Over Beauregard’s lifetime, I made money on his policy.  I’m on track to make money on Rita and Bubba too.  That’s one expense I will pick up shifts in a strip bar before I’ll let go.  Bartending.  Jeezus.

Speaking of pet insurance, it’s that time of year when the meerkat makes her appearance.  I went out to hack down the weeds earlier this week, got about 10 square feet done and zzzzzzz.  The grasshog went to about 1/4 speed.  I put it away, fretted over it for several days and pulled it back out two days ago.  Zzzzzz poof!  The poof resulted in smoke spewing from the motor.  I fretted a little more knowing the grasshog was dead.  Then I remembered that it cost $358 to have a foxtail pulled out of Rita’s nose.  Rita and Bubba are insured, Ike is not.  A new weedwhacker is $100.  That math was simple.  I could have gotten another electric one but really with this much property, it was time to move up to gas.  I’m about halfway done taking it all down and then I have to rake it up and get it out of here, but that’s what you get when you can’t afford to landscape.  I saw an amazing garden in Lafayette on broker tour last week.  I was thrilled that my fava beans looked just like this guy’s did.  He had amazing chard or maybe it was rhubarb.  The agent said it was rhubarb but it looked just like my chard.  Only amazing.  And a kiwi tree.

I’m hoping to have some of my garden issues worked out here.  Only time will tell.  I actually managed to eat last year for a total of $8.20 per day, $246 per month.  I suspect if I analyzed that I’d see that costs went up towards the end of the year, but I’m not that interested in the result.  I’ve had to spend a lot of windshield time recently, business is taking me repeatedly to Hayward and San Leandro.  Once in San Leandro, it’s a quick jaunt to Berkeley Bowl before heading through the Caldecott.  I loved their old location, I love their new location.  The lighting is better and it doesn’t smell the funk like that old place.  What’s cool about Berkeley Bowl is that they have such a following that they can have 7 varieties of oranges, 6 troughs of organic salad mix, and 9 different varieties of sweet potatoes.  And they don’t bend you over a barrel at the check out like Whole Wallet Foods does.  Their bulk aisle is epic and they carry every variety of mochi you could imagine.  This little sweet rice product really helps keep me out of the things I shouldn’t get in to.  Like ice cream.  Once you bake it there’s a warm gooey inside and a crunchy outside.  Now there’s a brownie version.  I was on the cinnamon raisin ones for a long time and the cashew date ones are pretty damn good too.  It really helps tame the beast in the evening.  It’s not like anyone who has ever stayed here would tell you that there are snacks here.  There aren’t.  There is on a very rare occasion ice cream, but it’s shelf life in measured like light in a vacuum. 

The real backbreaking number besides insurance was gasoline.  I spent $4222 on gasoline last year and I don’t commute.  Oh, and in spite of the BMW’s new propensity to go through oil, it still averages 24 mpg.  Averages.  On the subject of radical theories, I believe the original mortgage meltdown was brought on by the spike in gas prices that occured in 2007.  What?  Yep, that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.  Gas prices spiked and all those people who were living in godforsaken places like Brentwood, Tracy, Lancaster, Corona, Temecula and the like, had their monthly commute expenses double.  Except they were idiots and bought big SUV’s before they moved out there and started commuting.  Now $200 a month gas expense on a tight budget becomes $450 and it’s over with, the house of cards collapses.  Now just imagine if we took all the money that we’ve spent in Iraq and Afghanistan and put it into R&D on clean energy?  Because neither of those wars had to do with freedom but had everything to do with capitalism and oil.  And oil.  And oil.  1.1 trillion dollars so far.   It would have been a lot cheaper to use the Wine Dog approach with the Taliban back in 2001.  Hello Taliban?  We’re on our way, like in the air on our way, we’ll be there by nightfall.  We can pick up Osama bin Laden or we can turn your landscape into glass, your choice.  Yeah, I know it doesn’t work that way, but somebody needs to think outside the box.  You know what they say in 12 step…repeating the same thing expecting different results is the definition of insanity.  No, that’s not why I know that.

And can you hear the sound of hysteria?

I was going to talk about wine today, but I just got pissed off enough at the GOP to talk about those idiots.

1.  They don’t pay the troops, or the federal employees but they pass a bill to pay themselves?  WTF.  I think we should all write our incredibly rich Senators and tell them that they need to pass a bill that says if we don’t get paid because they didn’t do their job, then they don’t get paid.  The leverage of course is that Senators are a lot richer than the House of Representatives.

2.  Boehner brought the country to the brink over social policy.  The party who says they are about less government brought us to the brink over social policy.  The party of personal responsibility brought us to the brink over social policy…bullshit.

Because people who end up having kids they don’t want don’t put any strain on the system.  Jackasses.

The thing is Obama gave in on some of the Planned Parenthood bullshit, but Boehner wouldn’t stop.  And then Obama shut his ass down.  Boehner drew a line in the sand and Obama folded his arms and said we’re done here.  Actually his exact response was “Nope.  Zero.”  And that was the right response.

Did you know that they were also trying to bar the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greehouse gas emissions?  Yeah, all the tin foil hat crowd is up in arms over minute levels of radiation which has reached California’s shores but the real killers?  No problem.  Get a clue people.  It is time we invested in clean energy.  We wouldn’t be broke if we weren’t dependent on foreign oil.  We all drive self charging hybrid automobiles and Khadafi, Iraq, Iran, Egypt and Afghanistan are irrelevant and we can bring our troops home.  Here’s a little calculator.


No one understands your verity

I suck.  I’ll own that.  This might have been the longest between posts ever for PBE.  My to do list around here looks like War and Peace.  It actually has notes so I can remember what I’m supposed to do for each subject.  And the weed whacker died last weekend.  Not good in the spring here at the Farm.

I have a coach with Buffini and Company.  They are the top real estate coaching firm in the country.  It is definitely helping me lay the foundation for my business.  They had a two day event in Monterey I just went to.  Being out of town always makes the to do list a little more adventuresome.  For the first time ever Bubba and Loki got along.  I suspect the catalyst for this new found dog love was my absence.  Bubba didn’t feel the need to be the man of the house because a real man was actually here and his alpha bitch wasn’t.  He celebrated by stealing a loaf of bread from The Brother while he was cutting it.  Bad dog decision.  Apparently, Loki recognizing the Brother’s tone, knew there was dog hell to be paid and ran and hid in the nearest crate.  Bubba upon being reprimanded headed to the nearest now occupied crate.  Sharing with Loki was better than facing the music outside the safety of the crate.  The boys are good now.

Anyway back to my coach.  My coach is Satan.  Strangely the profile that they did on me paired us up.  I find this to be incredulous.  I think he was a college football player and might have gotten briefly to the Show.  His brother is in the NFL.  This guy is the real deal.  And they paired him with me.  I met him finally on Tuesday.  He’s a stud.  Times two.  And now that I met him, I really can’t let this guy down by not doing my honey do list from him.  That sucks.  On the upside, he told me that this not taking time off thing is screwing me up and I must block out time for myself before I book my schedule and act as if it’s an appointment.  So today is blocked out.  There will be a run to the wine country and jackassery will ensue.  And I will have a much better post available tomorrow morning.