Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels

It’s time for google keywords of the weak week.

  • jocelyn saenz
  • fat ass kamela (I’m not sure how you got here from there, but I am amused anyway)
  • pink photojournalism
  • do flowers grow on graves (I don’t know)
  • he died because he had no honor (that would be Sgt. Santiago…and Alliance Title)
  • gopfrich cabernet sauvignon 2000 (I had to look that up on my site to remember that, oh yeah, I didn’t like it)
  • ? how many seeds in peet pot for watermelon & cantelope (don’t know, I don’t even know if my cantaloupe came up)

Public Service Announcement

I just got this from the EDD.

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Now I’ve been back to work since February 2007. If I were really still unemployed after all this time they would be sending this to my new address in the refrigerator box under the 680. The last time they did this, which coincidentally would be the last time I lost a job, was 1981, during…you guessed it! The Reagan Administration. Coincidence? You be the judge.

I think some of the issues with my legs have to do with the fact that my shoes are too old. I don’t like lifting in running shoes, although I was just wearing a pair of running shoes that had run far enough. So I stopped by Shoe Pavilion and got a new pair for Rykas. They’re running shoes, but not the high tech la-di-da ones that can’t lift weights. I do a little light running, some jump roping and lots of elliptical trainer work along with my lifting, and these seem to have the right amount of lateral support. And a pretty flat (no jagged edges) sole. And since judi can show off her new shoes, so can I dammit.

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The emperor is naked today-o!

It’s all fun and games until the FDIC comes in and shuts your ass down. Now this is going to leave a mark. I’m sure that’s just more signs of the mental depression. What’s more interesting is that Phil Gramm remains co-chair over at the Short Bus Express. Or that McSame said back in April that he didn’t know that much about the economy and then brought on Phil Gramm, who doesn’t seem to know much about the economy either. Today brings either a case of bad memory or pandering. In his book (and the tv movie) he says he named the Green Bay Packers offensive line when asked who his squadron mates were. Today in Pittsburgh he says he named the Pittsburgh defensive line, which may be indefensible. The Iron Curtain didn’t come together until after McSame was home from Viet Nam. So either he’s lying or has a really bad memory. Both traits I look for in a POTUS. We had a very interesting discussion going on at work. Basically, we know here in the Bay Area things are better than the entire rest of the country. And it ain’t that great here either. At what point do these asshats wake up and realize they have driven the country into a depression, ran up a bunch of debt for a war in a country that has asked us to leave, ransacked the Treasury and pretty much bankrupted the damned thing? The people can’t afford gas or food which is also skyrocketing, or insurance which is off the hook or their adjusting mortgages. Wages are down, not up and we have to wonder, does this thing adjust or come to a screeching halt? The only business we’re going to have left here is sales, lawyering and service. No GNP. Is that any way to run a country?

I may be the smartest guy in the room. I started growing my own food before the cost of everything really went through the roof. If the critters will just leave it alone and let me harvest life will be grand. Here’s a spaghetti squash…I’m pretty sure at least.

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A pretty cool zuchinni

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And I suspect this is a watermelon.

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I also have a yellow crook neck but the picture didn’t come out.

My hours are slumberless

I can say that thankfully, I have a job right now. I know there are a ton of you out there that don’t. If you’re in the State of California and you were in the real estate or title industry the most you could hope to receive in benefits is $1800 a month. And you’ll be taxed on that at the end of the year. Because you have been able to live so fat on that. Unless you’re ultra conservative in your finances and have lived in the same place for 20 years without refinancing, that $1800 won’t even cover your house payment here in California. As a matter of fact, that $1800 will barely get you a one bedroom apartment in some parts of this State. God forbid you need to put gas in your car. I spent $79.52 for a tank yesterday at $4.53 per gallon. Eight years ago (because I keep these sorts of figures) I paid $27.77 for a tank of gas, but I made $400 more per month. Eight years ago my house payment was $1237.00, today it’s around $2400 because they’re still screwing around with the impounds…and they still don’t have it right. And I made $400 more a month back then. Granted I’ve stepped up mightily from a one bedroom condo in Oakland, but the market nearly tripled, and has now crashed back to 2000 numbers. All on Bush’s watch. One of the largest components of the US economy is the real estate market. For all intents in purposes, it has driven the economy for the last 15 years. Yet the Bush administration ignored the problems that unscrupulous individuals and companies were creating. I guess you could argue that thieves are good for the economy as they move money through the economy, keeping it healthy, but on the other hand, separating old people from their retirement income will only put a burden on the government. The economy is a delicate balancing act. When something gets out of kilter, it can throw the whole thing off. In California we have always paid through the nose for housing. We do not pay exorbitant energy bills. Prior to Enron, our energy costs were actually pretty low out here. Back East they’d be paying $300-400 a month while we were paying $50-200 depending on use and size of the house. Then Enron came in and screwed the State of California with a phony energy crisis. Anyone who was here then knows how it threw your budgets off and changed things here. All so some Bush cronies could steal from us AND joke about it. And now we are to believe that there is good reason for the energy crisis with gasoline prices? I don’t buy it. I think it’s more Bush cronies trying to steal the last little bit they can from the California economy before it’s over and they have to go home. They’re stealing it now in crude oil futures, the same exact way they stole it with Enron.

So we get stupid emails telling us to boycott gas on this day or the other. It’s not that hard to do. I don’t drive unless I absolutely have to. If I leave the house, it’s probably on the bike or foot unless I’m going to work. I used to go through a tank in about 10 days. I’m up to 21 days on a tank right now. Furthermore, I don’t spend money unless I absolutely have to. (I know some of you have no choice right now) What will stop these bastards? When we stop spending money. That’s it. When we stop buying stuff because we think we have to have it. When we whittle our budgets down to the absolute minimum of what we need, when we stop our rampant consumerism, which drives the capitalist thieves, then and only then will the price come down. We all are spoon fed such slop marketing that we think we need all this shit that we just don’t need. Who really needs a soda pop? Who has shit in their house that they have only touched once since it came into the house? Who has shit in their house that they haven’t touched in a year? Everyone, that’s who. And why? Because it was bright and shiny in a store somewhere? Because some slick salesperson talked you into it? Did you pay cash or credit? Credit? Even better, now not only did it cost the original price, (and was probably made in China) but now a financial mega corporation is going to take more of your money because it’s on a credit card. Some major stock holders, who are probably a hedge fund will profit from that and at the end of the day a few guys will make all the money on everyone that bought that cheap piece of crap. And we’ve all been separated from our hard earned money. At some point, we have the power to stop this, when will we?

Since I’m on full bore rant right now, let’s talk about taxes. Nobody seems to want to pay taxes. Reagan came into office saying he was going to cut taxes (it’s debatable if he really did at the end of the day). What he didn’t do is invest in the infrastructure of this country. The first real investment in infrastructure in the modern times was done during the alphabet agencies of the New Deal. Great projects were undertaken and great projects were built. It’s arguable if not for WWII, FDR would not have gotten the country out of the Depression with the New Deal, but we got out, so that’s really the final answer. Play “what if” all you want, it worked. The WPA built roads, schools, public buildings, schools, sewage systems and a lot of what is now the infrastructure of this country. After WWII, Eisenhower made another huge investment in the infrastructure with the Interstate system, which is why so many of our highways have that 1950’s look to them. Thirty years later Reagan SHOULD have invested again in our infrastructure, but instead, he told us we didn’t need to pay taxes. Not only did he ignore the infrastructure, he didn’t allow for any future improvements. I’ll use an HOA for an analogy. I sat on the board at my condo’s HOA. The roof of the project was a 20 year roof. We had to estimate the cost of replacement and amortize that over 15 years so that when the time came to replace the roof, the money was in the bank. Reagan didn’t bother to do that. Thirty years later a crumbling bridge falls into the river and I believe you can lay those deaths right at the doorstep of the politicians who kept their power by not doing their duty to society by preserving our infrastructure. Thirty years later, when yet another investment in the infrastructure should have occurred, we elect a guy because we think he would be a good guy to sit down and have a beer with. We elect a total moron. Worse yet the guy’s an alcoholic and doesn’t even drink! Yet that’s how the middle of this country thinks. Now we’ve got another tax cut and no investment in the infrastructure. So when buildings crumble and bridges collapse and people are killed, it will be the lawyers fault for bringing suits, when it should be the politicians fault for not doing their jobs.

I don’t mind paying taxes. I would rather give the government money to fix the potholes than pay $800 to have my axle fixed. I would rather pay some taxes and have enough cops on the streets than get a $300 rebate. (don’t even get me going on what horseshit that was) I would like our veterans to get the health care they need in a timely fashion. What I don’t want to do is have my tax dollars wasted on thieves like Blackwater and Halliburton and that stupid bitch in Oakland or these ass clowns. Don’t want to pay taxes? Good then hoof it to work on something besides our city streets and when someone robs you, don’t call a cop.

Cycling

Yesterday I lifted and then came back to the gym in the afternoon and swam 30 minutes. People that don’t understand simple courtesies annoy the crap out of me. Yeah, it’s hot, but you bob around in the three unroped lanes on the right, not in the swimming lanes you jackasses. The workout called for a 90 percent lift which was 215. I got half of it, the half where it comes down. Didn’t do so well on the part where you push it back up. Luckily, I was smart enough to have a spot. I’m off for a quick ride this morning. This is a set course I do, last time I did it in 1:07. We’ll see what this morning brings. I may swim this afternoon too, it helps open up my shoulders.

Passages

I hope your restless spirit has found some peace, if not here, on the other side.
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There’s a whole generation with a new explanation

I love this time of year in San Francisco. The sky is such a shade a blue it’s hard to imagine another metropolitan area in the world that is this beautiful. (Paris can be) Today was one of those days, beautiful blue skies, ambivalent clouds, warm sunshine and the things that make the City, the City. Like the crazy guy doing some sort of expressionistic ballet at Front and Market. The shoe shine guy laughing at the face I made trying to duck the dude. I wonder what happened to my old shoe shine guy Randall. He would always talk about the Giants and he loved him some Barry. Barry’s gone, so is Randall. And then there’s the guy with the sax at the BARF station. He probably doesn’t play it non-stop…oh hell maybe he does, but I always catch him playing “Take Five”. It just makes my evening.

dolphyngyrl just loves getting me wound up. Today’s offering. What’s funny is I had a rant formulating regarding the internet and how people feel that they can cross all sorts of lines on the internet because it’s what? Anonymous? It ain’t. Some ass clown on another blog responded to the British safety advert with the moonwalking gorilla by saying that he (and I say he because I really think it was said by a 14 year old boy with wet diapers) “laughed when cyclists died”. I thought “you little peckerwood, I ought to come to your house and make you change your stained underwear you’ve been wearing for a week”. But I never stop thinking there. I keep on thinking. I think about what makes people think it’s ok to say something like that. Would it be okay if his brother was hit by a car? Would you laugh then? How about if he were hit, but didn’t die? Maybe if he ended up being the dude with a drool cup, would he laugh then? And why be so mean and hateful? That always gets back to the same thing. It’s Reagan’s fault. This country didn’t used to be as mean as it is now, and it’s a result of the go go go 80’s, the lax regulations, the dialing back of government and the part where everybody takes whatever they can for themselves the rest of y’all be damned. (And the firing of the air traffic controllers) But that’s not how I was raised. Anyway, at the end of the day, a lot of folks rose up and defended all the people who rode and condemned those who act like asses, and good and right prevailed.

Little drips of title news, cut backs at Dinty Moore. I can’t even give those guys a bad time when you look at their executive compensation. I feel bad for the guys out on the street right now, things are tough. I highly recommend spending this time getting your paralegal cert if your book of business has up and died, or if you never had one in the first place. My other suggestion is to look at being an asset manager for one of the lenders who are taking a bath in their own blood right now.

Speaking of baths. When Rita is done drinking water the house looks like a bird bath.

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Then she tracks it through the house, luckily, she’s heading out the door which is behind the photojournalist.

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Then her skinny butt can be found on the wrong side of the new half fence hunting for squirrels.

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But at the end of the day, no matter what a punk she is to Beauregard, he still acquiesces to her female demands…(I’m cold.)

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They’re both currently playing alligator jaw in the front room. I’ll save y’all pictures of that, it’s kind of scary for the uninitiated.

Sometimes, success is measured in the eye of the beholder.

I’ve been working like mad trying to get my house in order so that I can go tear my Mother’s house apart.  I’ve made tremendous progress and tonight, I will be eating my first meal cooked in my kitchen on my plates with my silverware.  Then I will wash dishes in my sink, and maybe even put them back where they belong in the shelves.  It really doesn’t take much.

I ran up to Fairfield today and packed the bulk  of Mother’s china hutch.  It took three dish tubs.  I have one left.  My Dad is having such a tough time.  It’s hard for him to help, and since I’m basically cut from the exact same cloth, I know it’s got to be brutal for him.  I don’t know if he’s figured out or not, but I’m living closer than I have in 30 years.  Actually, when I moved out I was a lot farther away.  I’ll be able to bring him over here and put him to work on projects.  He’s upset about losing his garage and I get that.  The real estate market has changed dramatically since the moved 9 years ago.  If we got him a garage, he’d have to build a loft in it so he had someplace to sleep.  Parkinson’s is a terrible disease.  As soon as I get settled, I’m going to get involved on some level.  They’re fighting an uphill battle with our jackass President who is using religious politics to stymie research.  I wish for him the same fate as Reagan.  Reagan could have been spared through stem cell research, his son spoke up and said as much.  It’s science, and it’s showing promise.  Ronnie doesn’t want to be wandering the streets in his pj’s and I don’t want to be face planting in the begonias when I get old.  I’m going to work to further the research that might save my life, or at least improve the quality.

Tomorrow starts week 2 of the four week workout schedule.  Week 2 is always better than week one.  I’m getting stronger as the stress level from the move and finding the folks a condo is disapating.  I should have my superpowers back in another week or two.  Weight is stuck at 208.  Today has been an epic free day with bacon and eggs and german chocolate cake and tonight a New York and a potato baked in my new oven.  Yeah, it’s like that.

Around the Horn

Street scenes

No sooner do I mention the lady in the Viking hat…she was parked at Sutter and Montgomery today.  I hadn’t seen her in years.  And the piper was at Davis and Market.  And when you really know you love this town is when guys like this:

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make your day.  This is Frank Chu.  I was standing next to him when a bike messenger rode by and flashed a sign to him and said “Rock on Frank”.  Rock on Frank.  One day we may interview you for Pink Bunny Ears.

Who knew?

When Matt Williams used to get on a hitting streak, he’d say the ball looked like a big old grapefruit coming off of the pitcher’s hand.  This is such a big old grapefruit that it’s not really fair if I do hit it out of the park.  It’s more along the lines of shooting fish in a barrel.  The headline in the USA Today today says “Dozens of bridges rated “deficient” since 80’s”.  This is too much of a meatpie.  If you really still don’t know who’s fault this is, check out the tags.

Down on the Farm

The carpet was installed yesterday.  I am beside myself with joy.  It looks awesome.  A big shout out to Brian Rogan at California Custom Carpets in Dublin.  His guys were in and out and did an amazing job.  What amazes me is that one of the services Brian offers is to pay his bill at close of escrow.  Had his seller done this, instead of trying to sell a place with piss-ridden chartreuse carpet, she’d have probably gotten at least asked.

Weight is holding at 207-209.  I haven’t gone to the gym this week and will start the new challenge on Monday after me and all my crap once again live in the same house.  I can’t wait for Sunday morning!

Bon mots and cheap shots

Last night I had dinner with two old Title Officer friends of mine. I can’t believe I’ve been doing this stuff for 30 years. I can’t believe I’m turning 49 this year. How did I get this old? I understand when I stand up. My knees and hips creak horribly, but my mind is that of a teenager. Anyway, my friends are young at heart as well and be bitched about the business and how it is not what it was. How the kids coming up now don’t know how to search a piece of property. If it’s not in the computer, they’re like a fish out of water. We went to One Market for dinner, after having a wine flight at Ferry Plaza Wine Merchants. A beautiful flight of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. At One Market I had the Ahi, with Indian pepper spices and grilled asparagus. ST had the pork loin wrapped in bacon (pig in pig) and Toni had Beef Cheeks. I ordered us a Delille D2. Screaming great wine. I almost got the wine guy to come out and see who we were. The waiter said he had to get help finding it and then the buyer wanted to know who ordered it. Yeah, like that.

Anyway, good behavior paid off:

Weight: 214

No harm no foul.

Now on to things that piss me off. OK, so some kid is a looney tune. His parents miss the warning signs or can’t figure it out or what I don’t know. My good friend Chuck commented on the Unibomber one time. It was some big deal weather the guy pled insanity or not. Chuck remarked that “If you have a manifesto, you get the insanity defense, it’s automatic”. Crazy Korean dude, the manifesto gets you DQ’ed. Unfortunately, the way the world has changed, everyone did what they could but the law doesn’t allow them to involuntarily lock this kid up. There are no pat answers. This one won’t fit into a nice little package. Mental illness is messy. CNN should be embarrassed for the way their newscasters are acting. It’s like Faux Fox. How ridiculous is that? If you must ascertain blame, I recommend you blame Reagan. This is truly his fault. He’s the dumb ass the cut all the funds to the mental health services. Seriously. Do you remember ever seeing a homeless crazy guy on the street counting the bricks in the sidewalk in 1979? No, you don’t because a guy like that was institutionalized and getting help, or at least not getting sicker and sicker and ultimately dying on the street. Mental health services have been devastated by the Republican rule starting with their Great White Leader. You get what you pay for and if you don’t want to pay for it, you get things like what happened in Virginia. It’s time we recognized Reagan for what he was and start healing the nation, starting with the folks who need it the most, the ones who are shuffling down the sidewalk in the dead of winter waiting for a space ship to come and eat their brains. Buy a clue.