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.

Everything’s a little clearer in the light of day

I think I’ve mentioned that I turned off my cable at the beginning of the year.  At the time it was a matter of expense.  Cable was expendable.  Since then I’ve found that life is better without cable.  Much better.  I think I’ve also mentioned that I’m working with a business coach, he’s a Buffini coach and they have a certain way of doing things.  When I went down to Monterey to see Brian Buffini he said “Turn off your cable, get rid of it.  If something big happens, somebody will tell you”.  And for the most part I’ve found that to be accurate.  I can watch a lot of stuff online.  Hulu.com is good for that and the big news stations all have their shows online either in real time or moments later.  If something happens that interests me I’ll go take a look.  I listen to NPR in the car and there’s a lot less noise, and no commercials on that station.  If I’m driving and the Giants are on I’ll listen to the game.   I listened to the 9ers game the other day.  I hear there are a few teams in Oakland. 

I hear there’s an election going on.  I just went through Garamendi’s mailer.  Here’s one that matters.  H.R. 5793, the Make It in America Act.  You’d almost think that his people were reading PBE.  Oh yeah, they are!   It closes the nine corporate loopholes that I’ve been complaining about that allowed our jobs to go to…let’s see, where was it?  Oh yeah BANGALORE!   And what the hell is “Customer Delight“?

The key to this economy is getting everyone back to work, but not just back to work as a barista at Starbucks but back to real jobs.  And the real jobs back to the real salary.  Seriously.  We can’t give you a raise or we’ll have to lay you off.  Really?  Why then isn’t Bill Foley out of work?  He got a 171% raise.  You teabaggers want to protest something?  Protest that.  There’s the true injustice in this country.  FNF employees being laid off and then brought back as temporary workers at 30% of their salary with no benefits while Bill Foley buys another winery.  Obama ain’t doing nothing to you clowns but getting you health insurance and a job.  Bill Foley is bending America over a barrel and we’re saying “Thank you sir may I have another”.  Enough is enough with that guy.  Add Chalk Hill to the boycott list -the deal went through.


Good luck getting that out of your head today.

It’s funny how I love that book And I never loved that girl

Mark Hurd was the CEO at Hewlett Packard. He helped maximize the company that Carly Fiorina left behind. He resigned today. He is copping to violating business standards. Something about expense reports. There were investigations into sexual harassment claims, too. The company and Mr. Hurd denied any criminal wrong doing in either matter. He served as CEO for the past 5 years.
I’ve worked there for nearly 3. HP isn’t a fun place to work. There are at least 8 layers of management between Mark Hurd and me. When I’ve heard him speak, he sounds very competent and very smart. Some of those layers aren’t as smart. Some of those layers are mean. Some of those layers do some dumb ass stuff.
At a sales conference where over 3500 hi-tech software sales professionals were being trained, yelled at and pumped up, an ass clown of a senior manager decided it was a good idea to hire some T&A. Manager, Barney Rubble, hired a young lady who had posed in Maxim, Playboy and who carried the round cards in the boxing ring and the UFC cage. He tasked her with throwing T-Shirts to people once they uttered the correct, Pavlovian response. He forgot he was presenting to a bunch of geeks with smart phones. Within seconds, this poor girl’s naked image was on 100 IPhones. Many in the room weren’t happy. The jack ass manager was whisked away from the company within 6 months (the terrible sales results couldn’t have helped him much, either.).
Somehow, this great thinker thought it’d be OK to pull this stunt. He thought it was OK to yell and threaten and to offer shots of Tequila at the door of this event. He thought being a PIG was OK. I’m not saying he got it from Hurd. He thought he was safe, however.
We have plenty of examples of companies doing things right. My IPad is one of my favorite new toys. Apple did it right, (full disclosure; I bought if for my wife as an anniversary present). Earlier this week my family and I enjoyed the day at the Academy of Sciences. It was the first time we’d been since it re-opened. We enjoyed the academy and we enjoyed lunch at Moss’. The Academy did it right. I took my son to see Real Madrid play Club America. Cristiano Ronlado does it right (85 minutes in an exhibition match. The team’s first match this season. He was AWESOME!).
HP stock bought my house. I love HP printers. They did those things right. Obviously, if the CEO steps away from the job, something didn’t go right.
Stokely Carmichael said, “You can’t be part of the solution if you’re part of the problem”. With all the half assed efforts being done by so many (Both political parties, BP, etc.), I’m pledging to get it right. Monday is my first day back from vacation. The little things that sometimes escape my attention will get attention. I’m tired of complaining of things that aren’t done right, when sometimes, I let things slip. Mr. Hurd, thank you for the job. Thank you for the example you’ve set. I know I want to be in the group that gets it right.

A misconception, a mass deception, something’s gotta change

Let’s file this one under “It’s about goddamn time“.   Reading my email generally doesn’t take me to my happy place, but this morning this did.  Which is damned amusing because yesterday after trying to talk to Sonofabun on the phone and having it drop three times I finally got pissed off and decided to call and yell at AT&T.  The first call to customer service failed.  On the second try a very nice rep picked up the call and I had a hard time yelling at her.  She wanted to fix the problem and I kept saying “Honey, you can’t fix it.  AT&T is lying about their service.  What I want is a credit back to my account for every dropped call over the last 30 days and every dropped call going forward.  Fix the system or compensate me for the incompetence.”  26 minutes later I had to take another call.  Now the interesting thing about the iPhone is that it will run out of power in the middle of an important phone call, it will always drop an important phone call, but it will never drop a call if you want out of it or if you’re calling to prove a point.  It’s uncanny.  Interestingly enough this gal agreed with me that my dropped calls were unusually high.  I reiterated with her that it was a phone first and a toy second.  If in business I can’t talk on my phone, I suck, by extension, AT&T sucks.

Ike doesn’t like fireworks.  I’m going to have to have a discussion with the neighbors about that.  If that 81 pound dog could have crawled up my ass last night he would have.  He was not a happy boy.  He’s got thick calluses at all his pressure points, I’m sure from being left on cement.  The one on his elbow is a wide open sore.  I thought I’d put some anti-bacterial on it and wrap it.  He can’t move well so I didn’t think he could get it.  He did.  And I had to induce vomitting yesterday morning so that it didn’t accordian his intestines.  Before breakfast.  I’m getting him to eat now.  He doesn’t like his food in his bowl.  OAS said he prefers wet food but that’s not how we roll here, so it’s kibble spread out on the floor.  He also prefers that I sit with him while he eats.  So in the morning I sit on the floor in the kitchen and have a cup of coffee while Ike eats and at night I have a glass of wine and sit on the kitchen floor while Ike eats.  His gait is really bad.  I tried to get the VCA vet who worked on him for OAS to give me a prescription for 10mg of prednisone but she wanted me to take him to my own vet.  He can’t get into the truck on his own.  Taking him to the vet involves me lifting a 81 pound Doberman into the truck on my own, she could have been cool and just written the script, she knew the dog.  Not cool.  Ike has Spondylosis according to this vet. She says Wobblers is now a catch all phrase, blah blah blah but at the end of the day it’s neck disease.  He’s severely crippled, that’s the end result.  She says he has arthritis in his neck and needs to see a neorogist.  That’s more than I signed up for.  I’m hoping to get him some help in the next week or so.  One of my friends said the acupuncturist who treated Bubba worked miracles with her case so I’m trying to work that one out.  Things are pretty tight here after the lean green machine’s last trip out on the back of a flat bed.  Large vet bills aren’t in the cards.  I guess I should back up a bit.  I got the best Wobbler’s vet in the country to take my call on Thursday.   He suggested a neck wrap and 10mgs of prednisone.  Ike hated the neck wrap and got very depressed.  I’m going to try it again today while I’m at my bank owned open house…with the vodka-infused tenant.  It’s great to be me sometimes.

I think if that dog could give me the finger he would.  I’m going to wrap him again in a little bit and see how he does.

Bubba has been very good to him.  He won’t let him come around me when I’m eating but I think that’s because it’s bad enough that he has to share the scraps with Rita, he’ll be goddamned if he’s going to share them with that big moose of a dog.  I really think if they know what you want they’ll behave properly.  I told Bubba this boy was coming and that he was really sick and to be good to him and for the most part he’s been doing it.

I’m a uptown third ward magnolia t.c. driver

This morning might be the Jim Rose Flying Circus version of PBE.  First up, Kevin Costner.  I kept hearing his name, and here we are 63 days and Bull Durham is the guy that’s supposed to save the day.  Interesting.  I thought maybe it was another Kevin Costner, but it’s not.  So we have elected on Governor for starring in a bunch of movies, we’re running another one who’s claim to fame is running an internet startup that actually took off and Bull Durham is the guy with the machine that may just save the day.

I suspect Obama’s doing a lot more in the background than any of us know.  Y’all wanted business to have free rein so he’s letting BP clean up their mess.  Just like you assholes wanted it.  Minnesota?  STFU.

[youtube QETOxVU0SEE]

Who says “slammer” any more?  This bitch is stark raving mad.  She’s accusing Obama of taking a bribe from BP.  Does she not know that he’s a wealthy man? And he didn’t get there like Blagojevich.  That crazy bitch makes Bill O’Reilly make sense.  That’s some kind of crazy.

For the love of God can we elect some people who know what the hell they’re doing?  Joe Barton?  Seriously?  BP should be giving away free gas to the entire Gulf region for as long as they continue to put that region out of work and destroy the environment.  They have killed scores of wild life, crushed small businesses, demolished families and killed eleven guys.  And you apologize?  Joe, you’re an asshole.

And on the subject of some kind of crazy, Sonofabun sent me this yesterday.  On one hand it’s funny, on the other, it’s terrible.  It is what gives us real estate agents a bad name.  And when they say we need to start using social media, if this is how you use it, don’t.  Roll the video Wine Dog.

[youtube ozCreFNCMvg]

What you don’t know from the video is that the property is over priced by about $200k.  Of course there is no such thing as “red cherry oak” cabinets and the appliances are GE profile not GE plus, but those are the minor issues.  They are offering 4% commission to the selling agent if they oversell it by $200k and get the asking price.  After that it drops to 2%.  If there were a Rule 405 in real estate, which their should be, this jackass would be sitting in front of the board defending his license, as he should be anyway.  Because I promise you, overselling a house by $200k is not a suitable investment for anyone.  This house is not for sale, it’s just being advertised.  If it were for sale it would be priced at the market, or near the market and they would have hired a professional.  So necessary.

Sherman went to his forever home last week.  I’ve gotten several pictures and reports on him.  He’s doing awesome.  He’s bonded with the husband and follows him all around.  He’s chosen a couch as his own.  There’s a picture of him curled up in a round side chair, just like Beauregard used to do, but I can’t download that one.

I was back in Oakland yesterday.  There’s another boy there.  The gals over there are doing a great job of moving the Dobermans to safety.  This one’s gorgeous and sweet and pretty sick but we’ll probably work something out anyway.  I really wish people understood that you can’t breed a Doberman without extensive health testing.  This poor boy’s problems could have been avoided with some simple health testing of the parent.  Probably both on site.  Probably some jackass thinking he could make some money breeding dogs.  And this poor animal will suffer because of it.  He’s got that bad of an issue.  If you haven’t finished your dog in Confirmation, Obedience or have a working title on them, don’t even think about breeding it.  Period.  If you have then go get some health testing, don’t cherry pick the results and then and only then you can think about breeding it.  It ain’t your right to go out there an overpopulate the world with poorly bred animals that end up in shelters being euthanized.  That isn’t a right and if you think it is, you’re an asshole.  It’s our responsibility as guardians to this earth to do the right thing and that ain’t it.

What goes up, must come down and down and down

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Have we had enough of BP yet? Or Joe Barton? I heard an amazing economist speak last week.  Carol Rodoni managed to cover damn near everything in the current economy and connect it to Contra Costa real estate in about 90 minutes.  She touched on BP.  I’ve heard her speak before and believe her to be pretty conservative fiscally.  She said that she believes that BP is criminally negligent and will be charged as well they should be.  I found that to be interesting.  She has been 100% right on everything I’ve heard her talk about.  I hope she’s right on with this one.

Bubba has been spending more time up my ass hanging out with me as of late.  I think he’s afraid that he’s heading where ever in his dog mind he thinks Sherman went.  Don’t worry little man, you aren’t going to Washington, it’s cold and rainy up there.

And though the sun shines, I see nothing at all

Today I’m going around the horn.

First up, BP.  What’s the matter with you assholes?  I mean, I know, but seriously.  What are we 37 days in to this mess and BP is still shuffling and jerking around.  They fought tooth and nail to keep the scientists from getting involved, they fought the media reporting the truth and they have consistently publicly underestimated the breadth of the event.  First it was 5000 gallons, then 70,000 now 200,000 gallons a day.  What’s amazing to me is how somehow a private company’s behavior is Obama’s fault.  Y’all want less government involvement, well that’s what got us this mess.  So STFU.  Or better yet, here’s a clue, you are full of shit.  Generally, I’m a big Carville fan, but quite honestly, I don’t know what he expects Obama to do.  I would like to think that Obama is beating the snot out of that turd that runs BP.  But does that Army have the equipment they need to do something about this?  Are they trained to work with this stuff?  And Bobby Jindal wants them down there to work on that?  I thought he wanted less Government involvement.  I’m so confused.  Of course if it was up to me Obama would have taken it over on day one, but then the same people who are critizing his perceived lack of involvement would be squacking that he was wasting taxpayer money. And I don’t really know that our Government has the wherewithall to get it any more right than BP has.

The politicians talk about how great this country is, but in truth, we’re a bunch of shysters.  We use the cheapest methods available and cut every single corner we can, while telling everyone how great it is.  And then everyone stands around wringing their hands when something goes south.  The “fail safes” on the rig, which was never supposed to sink in the first place, failed.  And it was off to the races.  Capturing and manufacturing petroleum is dangerous work.  Way too dangerous to be cutting corners, using cheap material and letting guys in board rooms who are beholden to Wall Street and the bottom line make decisions about stuff they don’t know about.  This “new” thinking that’s coming out of our MBA programs is stinking thinking.  An old friend of mine used to say “Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining.”

Right now I think the American worker is on the verge of losing over 100 years worth of progress because the greedy corporate shills are too busy lining their pockets.  I’m hearing more so-called “Christian” rhetoric in the public arena than I’ve heard in years, but I’m seeing more behavior from the same people that couldn’t be further from the teachings of the Bible.  It seems like a perfect storm to me.  Self righteousness, meet self loathing.  Let’s load up the hooka pipe and rock and roll.

This shit ain’t going away until we quit suckling on the tit of Big Oil.

I’ve been listening to the statistics coming out of Greece.  Another perfect storm of high deficit, lack of savings and graph.  We should be paying better attention.  We’re on the same path.  Of course Greeks retire at 55 with full benefits and most of us will be working into our 70’s.  At least the Euro keeps them from devaluing the drachma and forging ahead.

The nice thing about owning title company stock is that I get interesting information.  The Bloodless Empire is spinning off their CoreLogic unit.  I think the black out period starts on Friday.   It’s going to include in particular Metroscan.  Should be interesting how this all goes together.  It seems to me like they are spinning off the information services.  Yeah, we’ve seen that before.

I don’t watch American Idol.  Never have.  It’s on Fox.  I don’t watch Fox.  But this gal transcends all that.  24 years old. Amazing.

[youtube S8Ic90JkAQA]

Back when I lived in Santa Barbara, I used to go to this liquor store on Chapala.  I can’t remember the name of the place, and it’s long since gone.  They had a huge selection of beer and wine from all over.  That’s where I first got in to good wine and specialty beer.  That’s where I first had Belgian beer, which has become quite trendy.   Beer geeks turn up their noses at lagers, but I like them.  Always have.  I have repaid a kindness offered by the Heineken Brewing Company in Amsterdam back in 1979 probably a million times over.  The beer I really liked that I got there was called Brand.  From Belgium.  It came in a white bottle and it was just smooth and awesome.  That’s where I first learned of Samuel Smith.  Hanging around wine people has gotten me back in to beer too.  I’d been hearing a lot of talk about Pliney the Elder.  I was picking up a video the other day and I saw a case of it in the window of the Wine Thieves in Clayton.  I went in to grab one and started talking to the gal behind the counter.  She told me about this liquor store on Monument that supposedly had a lot of craft brews.  Yesterday I was down that way so I stopped in at Monument Wine and Spirits.  They are one of three businesses with the same ownership.  These guys also own Jackson’s Wine and Spirits in Lafayette, a local wine destination and Moraga Wine and Spirits.  The Moraga store specializes in spirits, and Monument specializes in beer.  How special?  Over 900 different beers.  That’s how special.  I picked up a Dieu du Ciel Aphrodite last night.  It’s a stout with cocoa and vanilla added.  Surprisingly smooth and black as night.  Had it with a grilled pork chop, my fresh maple whole wheat bread and picked from the garden salad for dinner.  Win.

They all drowned when the air turned blue

This would be a total drive by this morning if I didn’t have so many tasty little morsels.  First up, oopsey.  Bill Foley overcharging customers, imagine that?  And wait a minute boys, did you think the elimination of affirmative insurance for creditors rights was really going to slip by me?  It didn’t.  That was one of the good things in working for the Bloodless Empire.  Their National Underwriter (who is of course long since gone) actually understood creditor’s rights and because I was smart enough to pick his brain, so do I.  Just for the record, I really hate all the people out there who attempt to write about subjects that they don’t bother to research.  I may have an opinion, but at least it’s based in facts.  On to today’s “that’s going to leave a mark” segment Bank of America sues First American Insurance Corp for failing to provide proper title searches.  Did they finally read a title report?  Don’t get me going on banks and their procedures this morning.  I’d just love to run in to someone who knew how to negotiate properly.  That would be gold.  Compared to some corporate monkey who can’t do anything that isn’t filled out in a spreadsheet that they were handed the day they took their $22k a year job.  I realize on some levels this is a response to corruption, but at some point you need to give your people the freedom to do what’s right.  At the end of the day, more often than not, they will do the right thing and the organization will prosper.  Just sayin’.  And look who’s snuggled up with Satan Bill Gates.  I have so many different passwords for every freaking website I have to work with and all my banks and credit cards.  What was your first dog’s 2nd cousin’s middle name?  Uh Bert?  Uh Henry?  How the hell should I know?  What’s your favorite color?  Well, it depends if I’m in a black mood or feeling the green, sometimes I like yellow best.  The third letter of your eldest sibling’s third child?  Now we get Microsoft asking us “Are you sure you want to answer that you don’t have an eldest sibling and this phanthom sibling has no children?”  Yes, goddammit Bill Gates, I’m sure I want to do what I told you eight friggin’ times that I wanted to do it!  Now quit asking me inane questions.

Two very interesting people passed on to the great beyond this week.  Wilma Mankiller was only 64.  She lived about six lives stuffed into one.  It took pancreatic cancer to take her down.  NPR played part of an interview with her from 2003 where she spoke about surviving a head on collision.  She talked about looking at death essentially straight in the eye and not being afraid.  And about the nurse straddling her in the ambulance yelling at her to stay here.  Malcolm McLaren lost his battle with cancer yesterday.  Love him or hate him or both, which seemed to be the case, he was interesting and changed the landscape of music.

[youtube 9SgvJY9xxcA]

In other news, Bubba had a re-check this week for his gut.  [back story here for newbies]  He was out of Prednisone and they wanted to look at him before I got any more steroids for my dog.  For some reason unknown to me, I thought it was a good idea to wean him off of the pred as I got to the end of the prescription.  So I went to a half a pill and then a half a pill every other day, then every third day and then there were none.  He did ok but I got scared and took him in for the re-check anyway.  Dr. Johnson checked him out and said that he was going to give him some but he wanted me to wean him off of them.  Uh, I already did that.  Encina is a teaching hospital so he had two very eager little interns running around.  I mentioned that Bubba also had a, we’ll call it a “thing” on the end of his manlihood.  Maybe a pimple, maybe a little abscess, but bad enough that I figured since we were there they should look at it.  Poor Bubba.  The interns poked and prodded and then decided to aspirate it, take a smear and check out the slide.  Bubba showed what a great dog he is by just laying there (on the people couch) and letting them assault his maleness.  It’s nothing so a short run of antibiotics so it doesn’t get anywhere else it should be and he’ll be back in the saddle so to speak.

And if you had any questions as to why I change clothes the minute I walk into the house, this should clear that up.

Housekeeping note: The data base update left funky symbols in some of the older posts.  Since there is around 1200 posts on this blog and WordPress doesn’t seem to have a suitable work around I’ll be slowly going through the archives and getting the funky symbols out of there.  Do not adjust your dial.  It’s mySql acting an ass, nothing wrong with your machine.

It’s because she’s got the whooping cough and eats margarine

A little something for the Brother.  And it’s funny as hell.

To pick up from where we were yesterday, Food Inc., is about how food arrives to us in this country.  It talks about how McDonalds and such dictate how chickens are to be grown, how beef is to be grown and how food is delivered to us in this country.  I will confess that I could not clean a fish so I had to stop fishing.  I don’t know how I could ever clean a duck or a chicken or a turkey.  I suppose if I had to I would, but I don’t have to so I don’t.  The same with cattle.  I was talking to my Dad the other day about how the quality of game is determined with how it’s treated in the field.  I have a friend who is a very good hunter.  I have had venison and elk and salmon and abalone that he has bagged.  I am sure that the reason why his game is so superior to other hunters is his skill in the field.  I’ve got no skills.  I’d be eating gamey steaks.  The point of the movie is how we’ve changed nature and how that isn’t good for us.  It’s interesting how we are living longer, but much less healthy lives.  And as Americans we think it’s our God given right to be waddling sloths.  For some reason we no longer take responsibility for our health.  We expect the Doctors to just fix whatever it is we messed up and keep on going.  The Unknown Chef has an excellent rant on this.  All these people who don’t want to pay for this or that.  Hey!  I don’t want to pay for a bunch of people who are living on chicken mcnuggets and fries and smoking Lucky Strikes and swilling a suitcase of PBR every night.  How about that?

So in an effort to get myself a little more back on track I did some reading.  High Fructose Corn Syrup.  I never really paid much attention to it before.  It’s a sugar.  I get that.  What else do I need to know?  Well, it’s an engineered sugar which makes it more along the lines of the pink stuff or the blue stuff or the yellow stuff which is really chlorine bleach.

I know.  Y’all love me for that one.  So naturally all of this has got me to thinking.  Way back in the day when I first started lifting weights I got a book by Franco Columbu.  He was Arnold’s business partner, a good friend and Mr. Olympia back then.  He’s also a chiropractor.  I followed his program for women for a long time.  He was born in Italy and his nutritional advice is something I keep coming back to.  I have the 1982 version of his book.  Low-fat lean proteins, including milk, yogurt and cheese.  Variety.  He also talked about eating the salad after the dinner.  I started having my salad after the main meal back then and still do it today.  He also talks about eating real food.  Don’t have margarine, it’s an engineered product.  Eat butter, it’s a natural product.  Your body knows how to handle it.  Better still, olive oil, because that’s how he was raised.  28 years later it’s still sage advice.  It’s one of the reasons I stick to wine and imported or craft beer.  So I’m going to give up the coffee creamer and go back to 1/2 and 1/2.  I guess I could get fatter, but I think with less HFCS it might have the opposite affect.

And I went shopping at Whole Foods where something amazing happened.  I went to the San Ramon store yesterday after showing property.  I was out of vitamins and had decided to get some organic fruit, bulk flour for my bread and some other small inconsequential items.  OK! Jesus!  I got a fricking cupcake OK?  Anyway, it came to around $30.  Just as the transaction was about to be done the terminal froze.  The clerk punched furiously at the buttons, nothing.  Another clerk came and pushed some buttons, nothing.  She suggested he crawl under the counter and check the connections.  She then got the people in line behind me and moved them over to another terminal.  And there I stood.  Easily 10 minutes had passed.  They couldn’t get the machine back up.  Everything was already bagged.  I figured I was headed to another register to wait in line again and take everything out of the bag and put it back in.  Because that’s what you want to do at the end of your day right?  Then something amazing happened.  The young man said to his manager, can we just let her have this?  It was only $30 bucks.  And they did.  They sent me on my way.  No charge.  Customer service win.  That’s how you fix a lousy situation.  Nice job Whole Foods.  Nice job San Ramon crew.  A happy customer tells 3 people, an unhappy one tells ten.  But a happy Wine Dog broadcasts it on the internets.  Whole Foods, San Ramon Crew, FTW.

But the place I go is the Kaiser Bowl

For years I’ve wanted to go to the Mavericks Surf Contest.  For years I’ve had a real job.  I don’t remember when they rode last year, but this year I was looking forward to it and figured since I’m a Realtor, I should be able to sneak off and watch it.  Well, not so much, although it was totally worth missing it yesterday.  There’s a new listing agreement sitting in my briefcase waiting to be uploaded on Tuesday.  While I missed Mavericks this year I was able to watch some of it on Ustream.  That was very cool.  No commercials, streaming to my computer.  Naturally there was a social media function too.  Best line of the day “If this is Mavericks, where is John McCain and Sarah Palin?”

Mother Nature did some ass kicking yesterday so it was best that I wasn’t there.  I don’t think going for a swim yesterday would have been too cool.  And she beat the shit out of the people she stole off the shore.  It was the wildest swells they’ve had in ten years.  Luckily no one got killed.  And congrats to Chris Bertish.

cbertish photo by Carlos Avila Gonzalez

I’ve been hating on “the banks” a lot more than usual.  One of the things that really bothers me is that they hire these people who act like they’ve never misstepped in their life.  Smug little twits named Tiffany and Amber and Josh and Gavin.  And they bulldoze ahead without consideration for the fact that they are dealing with human beings.  It’s frustrating to me because the banks created the environment we’re in, the Bush Administration used our tax dollars to bail them out and they still treat us like crap.  Not that I expected any different, but somehow I still expect people to do the right thing.  I blame Reagan for all of this.  And Bush I for lowering the bar with Dan Quayle so that his idiot son would appear competant to the American people.  Really.  This country elected that jackass twice because they thought he’d be cool to sit down and have a beer with?  He’s an alcoholic you morons.

Old Title Guy likes to poke the tiger in the cage.  This morning this little gem was in my mailbox.  I would like to expand on what I suggested to OTG.  I think that the court judgement should be that the same idiots (who are probably vendors for FAS, a Fidelity company) that trashed out this property should be hired to go to Brian Moynihan’s house and the homes of every single person in the food chain who didn’t listen that they had the wrong house and trash out their house, change the looks and then shrug their shoulders.  Because that’s what BofA did to this family.


FAS contracts with a bunch of morons.  And drug addicts.  And hookers.  Yeah, I just said that.  Because tomorrow is my day off but I have to go baby sit some tweekers who have to get their crap out of a house in Alameda County.  They were probably squatting in the first place.  Tweekers are very resourceful and whenever I see the stuff they come up with I always think “Jeez, why didn’t you use this ingenuity to clean up and get a real job?”  These guys probably saw that the house was foreclosed and vacant and took it over.  They stole electricity from the unit next door and had a maze of extension cords and surge protectors in the place.  The woman pridefully told me she used to work for a construction company that was hired by FAS to trash out houses.  By the looks of the place, they took the stuff they were supposed to trash out to this place in hopes of selling it for drugs.  She also told my contractor which corner she worked if he wanted to come by later.  Seriously.  These are the people FAS hires and the people we evict with the Sheriff.  And the banks hire FAS.

The problem is the executives and middle management wankers.  They are so concerned about their bonuses that they do anything to show profitability in their unit.  Because we are a country of ass kissers.  Brown nosers.  Sheep suckling on the corporate teat.  They have all forgotten that their customers are real people.  I’m dealing with a situation right now where the owner is a real estate broker.  He has lost his home of 30 years and the bank is giving him 30 days.  It’s not a situation where the foreclosure happened over a year ago and he’s just been there.  It just foreclosed.  He thought he was working out the loan.  And they gave him 30 days.  I know the law is strict on owners, but the law is strict on contracts too.  Write a freaking contract and give the guy 60 days.  30 goddamn years he lived there.  And if you knew why he pulled money out of the house, it would break your heart.  He’s a good man and he deserves better.  Last week I gave a woman a check and she gave me the keys to her home of 7 years.  She was a real estate agent, but the problem was that her husband had lost his job twice.  Both times large companies went under.  (Strangely not title companies)  It’s a high end home and as I walked through checking all the cupboards I started to comment on how beautiful the kitchen was.  She said “Don’t say anything nice about my house or I’ll cry.”

Yep, the high end houses are coming.  And it sucks.