Life is like a box of chocolates

And today PBE is a box of chocolates. I’ve just got a ton of bits and pieces and not a complete thought in the whole mess…a lot like a box of chocolates. First off, I know youtube doesn’t show up right here, but today I have something from Blutube. The take down by the dog is awesome. And don’t run when they bring in the chopper, they can see you in the dark.

NOLA revisited

This gal is one of the best real estate bloggers on the internet. She’s based in San Diego and really does an excellent job. I think her blog even has awards from people that matter. I just enjoy reading her. She’s been in New Orleans with her daughter. Anyone that’s been here for any period of time knows how much this matters to me. She spells it out beautifully. Another nice job by the Bush Administration.

Down on The Farm

The dogs are now all healthy. I don’t know what went on two weeks ago, but I’m glad it’s over. Beauregard is gaining some weight. I’ve been weighing him, he’s up three pounds the other day, I’ll weigh him later on today. Never pick up a Doberman first thing in the morning to weigh them. Even if they’re down to 70 pounds it’s not so sporty on the back. This week I spent two evenings chasing around the boxes (there were two) that were lost/misplaced/mishandled/misdelivered by the asshats at UPS. Thursday night I had to replace a faucet at my parents house and last night I actually went out to dinner with Sonofabun. So I haven’t been home much and the dogs have taken exception to this. At three o’clock in the morning. For the last three nights. Last night I got them to lay down again, but at 4:30 they were at it again, so I got up, let them out, fed them, left the back of the house open and went back to bed. I woke up at 7:00 a.m. to find them both curled back up and in bed with me. The little stinkers miss me. They’ll be over that after their baths today.


I’m not sure what she heard under that piece of wood, my guess is a lizard, but she was on full alert.

Better than the Coconut Telegraph

New guy, escrowdude, got me the link to the Mercury/FATCO lawsuit. So here it is for your enjoyment.


I don’t know what Patty and her attorneys are smoking. The First American attorneys ought to be sniffing the blood in the water and it’s not going to be pretty. The only way she prevails on any level is if there is a corporate decision to not crush her. This is soooo last ditch, we all know the Mercury bankruptcy paperwork is all but filed. We also got a tip in the comments this week about the WARN act. That’s Federal. You know the rule, don’t mess with the Feds.

Speaking of dinner

We went to Moresi’s, a local chophouse last night. They do a really good job. They could do something about the acoustics in the place, but the food is good and the service was excellent. I know the lines get out the door in the summer, but we didn’t have a problem. We were seated in the very back, which was fine, but it was so noisy it was hard to hear without shouting at each other. Even the waiter couldn’t hear us order. The place is very quaint, we had mojito’s to open. I had a peach one and it was a beautiful cocktail. The appetizers were good but nothing special. The steaks were very good. I had a petite filet done “Black and Blue” (charred on the outside rare on the inside) with scalloped potatoes, creamed corn and a side of Lipitor. I brought a 1998 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon with me. It needs to breathe for a while. You just can’t keep that much love confined in the bottle for that many years and not give it a moment or two before inviting it to dinner.  Subtle ripe cherry and plums with some floral undertones. A little spice on the finish. Beautiful mouthfeel (one of my favorite wine words) full of elegance and a dark ruby color. This is what Wine Spectator said about this wine in 2001:

Medium-weight, with herb, dill, cedar and earthy cherry and plum flavors that are elegant and well-proportioned. Turns complex on the finish.
The Wine Spectator 10/31/01

It got better. Much better over those last seven years. It was perfect with a steak dinner.

Beating my head against the wall because it feels so good when I stop

I know I talk a lot about cyclists and downed bikers etc. But I got this link off of drunkcyclist the other day. It just brings home the importance of watching for cyclists, and riding safely. This AssKlown drove drunk, didn’t watch for Eric and Ace is living the aftermath. The judge should require that he to read Ace’s journal every day for the rest of his miserable live, much of which should be spent in prison.

Leave this one horse town like two rebels without a cause

Today used to be a rest day, because class was on Tuesday. Class finished last week and now here I am with no planned workout on Tuesday. That can’t be good. Instead of going down to the gym and doing a HIIT cardio workout, I went to the crossfit website. Today’s workout was:

Run one mile
Two minutes each of:

Dumbbell thrusters
Medicine ball cleans
Double unders
Pull ups

I can’t really do the last two at all. So I just jumped rope and did assisted pull-ups. I don’t think I lost much. Basically if you run a 10 minute mile, which is bookin’ for me, and then do two minutes of five exercises, you’ve kicked your own ass in 20 minutes. And that’s exactly what happened. I do think it helped work out my hammies. They’ve been taken turns being tight. Yesterday it was the right leg, the day before it was the left. I got home tonight and found my Fat Cyclist pink jersey in the mail box. It rocked so much that I put it on and road a quick 10…in the blustery wind.


Coconut Telegraph

It’s been buzzing for quite some time, so I might as well mention a few things…and probably get on a rant. I’m not sure what my problem is, but I think this is three rants in a row. One of the things I keep hearing is that Stewart is leaving California. This one’s been all over for some time. I would hope that this is hogwash. It would be the stupidest move Houston could make. Quite honestly, they stayed here the last 18 months, the worst is over, pulling out now is stupid. It’s gravy moving forward. Just like the Wine Dog predicted, the market stabilized in April 2008. It didn’t run, it just quit circling the drain. It’s not going to be bread and roses going forward, but the worst is over. I thought they were going to cut and run a year ago. If they paid to stay here, I’d hope at this point they’d stay in California and reap the benefits of sticking around. I would hope the rumors are just that. After all, rumors swirled about Alliance Title Company going under for years while things were solidly in the black; long before they even got close to being in trouble. I don’t believe Stewart is in trouble in California. They aren’t exactly counting money with their tongues, but they’re not hanging by a thread. Financial Title Company on the other hand, may be a dead man walking. The rats have been diving off the ship at any opportunity and frankly, after the way the Hauptmans and Mercury handled the Alliance employees, I don’t blame them. Unfortunate for FTC is the fact that the rats that were picked up by the competition were the ones with books of business. When the books leave the business leaves. And then what? I’m hearing that their burn rate is off the hook and Mercury is just about out of money. But we thought the Fat Lady was doing her scales back in March so what does the Wine Dog know? I know that Alliance built a bunch of offices did a bunch of recruiting and expansion in 2005 when they should have been circling the wagons and battening down the hatches for a rough ride. I know who directed all that expansion and I think he’s still on the Mercury payroll if for no other reason than to keep his mouth shut. I know the attorneys for the Labor Commission were trying to track him down to no avail. I know the corporate buck stops there.

I have to wonder why title companies are consistently slow to react and slower to recover to market nuances. They are still dialing everything in but the market is telling us otherwise. Fidelity is rumored to be assimilating the Chicago Title brand. They should have done that a year ago if they were going to do it, not now. I remember having a discussion in 2005 about the market getting ready to adjust with someone way up the food chain from me. I said we weren’t in a real market and we needed to be prepared for the change. He told me the market was happening so it was a real market. Uh, not so much. Six months later he was talking about how the market was adjusting and we had to make adjustments to coincide with that correction. It was a horse, barn gone situation. Title insurance companies are always closing the barn door too late. I don’t get that. I’ve been waiting four days for an updated prelim. The reason I’ve been given is staff reductions, but the market has changed and they haven’t reacted. I’m getting calls from the competition asking me to close deals because their staff can’t handle it. They haven’t reacted to the market either. Yet I sit at my desk, moving commas around for paralegals. I no longer speak to the deaf ears. It’s like teaching a pig to sing. Takes a long time and pisses off the pig.

I started shooting doubles when you walked in

Could The Radical be double dipping here?  Scooping me two days in a row?  That’s just sauteed in wrong sauce.  Servin’ it up hot, could I get heapin’ helpin’ of class action with a side of  alleged fraud?

Turns out I’m not the only person pissed off about that golf comment.   Keith Olbermann tees off.  (links not embeds.  No red X’s today.  Nuttin’ but love from the Wine Dog)

It was 104 when I got home from work yesterday.  While I love the heat, I don’t love it when I don’t have central air.  I haven’t slept in three days.  Today shouldn’t be much better.  It’s a little cooler this morning so I’m hoping that having all the doors and windows open now will allow me to shut this place up and keep it a little cooler tonight.  Bugs are flying all around in this heat and then coming in the house because the doors and windows are open.  Yesterday a big ol’ horsefly flew in at around 5am.  I heard the buzz and I heard pop! pop! pop! pop!  That was Rita’s jaws trying to pop the thing off in the air.   Then pop! and silence.  Rita 1 Horsefly 0.  This morning it was a big ol’ moth.  Pop! Leap!  Pop!  Then she climbed the ladder.  She jumped so high she came down on her side.  But she touched it and everyone in the moth world knows you lose altitude when covered with dog spit.  Pop!  Pop!  Gone.

I just filled out my paperwork and wrote the check.  I’ll be competing in San Diego next month.  I haven’t had a vacation since July of last year, so I might add some days around the date and make it a road trip.  I still have that Southwest ticket from last November…don’t get me started on that one, but if I drive I can stop and see friends around the State on the way home.   I’m thinking golf in San Diego, shopping in Rancho Mirage, golf in Atascadero, wine tasting in Paso.  Might be a plan.  Now what to do with the Hellhoundz.  I’ve only got a few pounds to go to be in the lower weight class.  I think once class is over on Tuesday I’ll be able to cycle more and that shouldn’t be a problem.  I read an article in the SF Enquirer yesterday about a 50 year old guy who lost 45 pounds just by buying and then riding a bicycle.  Sounds like a plan.

Hey Hey LBJ!

Dammit. Scooped by the Radical again. I can’t figure out what Mercury could possibly sue FATCO for.  Really.  Didn’t Mercury stiff FATCO for all the revenue from Alliance?  Shouldn’t it be the other way around?  Either way, I hadn’t heard that one. I did hear that Mercury Transaction Services has reduced their staff by 25. Of course the big problem is there were only 30 to start with. Yeah, Mercury Transaction Services is five lonely folks. Last one out turn off the lights please. They’ve moved them into a building that Jerry owns so they can save on rent I guess. They’re dumping on another 26,000 sq. foot lease. I’m just happy my cell phone isn’t on file with that landlord. I’m still getting calls from Alliance Title Company creditors. Got one yesterday. Call Mercury. Yeah in Denver. They’re on the 14th floor. They used to take up three floors, but no more. I wonder if they’re paying the rent on the other two floors. Don’t even get me started on what they did to the sublessees out here in California. Really. Don’t get me started. Security Title Group all took another 10% cut in pay, no overtime, blah blah blah. Don’t count on that vacation, I’d start taking it…NOW. Things to do on vacation when you’re about to lose your job…polish up that resume and find a better job. Oh yeah, and their burn rate? Off the hook. The November line of credit that was supposed to salvage everything? Almost gone. And finally, yeah Patty, you got a bad leak.

But wait there’s more

Fidelity and Chicago are “consolidating” whatever the hell that means. Locally it means bye bye to every other Sales Manager and every other County Manager. Now they’re covering all CTIC and FTC units in two or more counties with one management team…or two guys with a abacus. You were working with Joe? He’s a sales rep now. Ugly. Financial Title’s entire Santa Clara subdivision department picked up their marbles and went to play Ted’s Excellent Title Adventure. Wheee! And there’s one I’m leaving out, deliberately. I’ll leave it to those in the know to throw it in the comments section. That’ll keep Santa Ana busy.

1-2-3 what are we fighting for?

I’m exhausted from all that. But not too tired for this:

“I didn’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander in chief playing golf,” he said. “I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them. And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal.”

Because sending her son off to die for no good reason is the right signal?

Because something is happening here, but you don’t know what it is. Do you, Mister Jones?

You raise up your head
And you ask, “Is this where it is?”
And somebody points to you and says
“It’s his”
And you say, “What’s mine?”
And somebody else says, “Where what is?”
And you say, “Oh my God
Am I here all alone?

There is something happening, but I don’t know what it is. I don’t think anyone knows full well what it is, or what it will be, there’s just something in the air. It’s not a full moon, but there’s been some howling at the moon. Rumor central is on fire. Buckle your seat belts gentle readers, I think we’re in for a bumpy ride.

Educating Rita

It’s a process. I left her out of her crate when I went to class Tuesday night. Apparently I didn’t close the pantry door completely and she fell face first into Beauregard’s dog food. Her little tummy, which is generally svelte was full. Way full. She left me a present in by the French Doors serving notice that she knew where she was supposed to go, she just couldn’t quite get there…lack of opposable thumbs and all. She has also decided that she doesn’t want to go into the crate during the day any more. Except she’s too much of a butthead to be left out, so we play this game every morning where I stuff a Kong full of peanut butter, pray it doesn’t run out onto my work clothes and coax her into the crate. When I get home she spins around like the Tasmanian Devil until I let her out of the crate, wherein she acts a lot like the Tasmanian Devil. I cut her loose to chase squirrels and watch as she explodes out the door. In the beginning she would patrol the yard for hours on end. Now, she runs the perimeter a few times, checks all of the trees and runs back in to see me. She doesn’t just check on me, she spins around and dances and loves on me. Then off she goes to patrol again, and back to check on me because I have become the center of her little dog world.

Bicycles Bicycles

I sold my Sirrius Comp last night. I got a decent price which makes me happy. I’ve been reading Dale Carnegie and I applied one of his principles during the sale. The principle was to validate the buyer’s concerns (essentially, Carnegie has another word for it). The guy was checking out the bike, we had an agreed upon number and he says “It’s really not in as good a shape as I had hoped it had been. The front wheel might be toast and I don’t know if this rear wheel is going to adjust or not.” Well, I don’t know crap about this stuff. What I do know is that I paid to have that bike serviced annually, even though I won’t be using the third year on the contract. So my response was “You know, maybe I shouldn’t be selling this bike right now. If it needs this work, I should really take it to the shop and have it done and then put it back on craigslist. It seems like the right thing to do.” Less than a minute later he said “I’ll take it” with no other discussion from me. Validate your buyer’s concerns.

How does your Garden Grow 

Every day there’s a new little plant coming in.  Sonofabun says they have rabbits up by is place.  God help the little bunny that comes and eats my lettuce.  One word.  Hassenpfeffer.  If I knew it would be this cool, I’d have planted a garden years ago.

And finally, I like, it’s a cool blog.  Unfortunately his wife has been fighting cancer for some time and things have just taken a hard turn south.  If you have a minute, check out this.   It sucks when cool people get dealt shitty cards.

All the celebration and the stress

I’m on serious waivers right now, in just about every aspect of my life. I’ve been told not to lift for two days even if I feel better. Currently, I do not feel that better. Although I have a Chateau de Brandey Bordeaux, which is not the Holy Grail of Bordeaux. It’s not Plonk of the Month either. It needs some time, that’s for sure. Thankfully I bought two bottles of it at $16.99 for the first a nickel for the second. Deep ruby color is deceptive. There is some sour cherry, dark chocolate going on with this one. It’s got a bunch of 90’s which I think is too high right now. I can see it settling down in the next few years to being a great table red. I had to use the aerator. It improved it 100%.

I went to Integro this afternoon. Dr. Elkind is a gifted practitioner. She very rarely makes normal chiropractic adjustments. It works for me because the cracking type adjustments rarely hold. My muscles just push them back to the jacked up way they want it to be. She makes adjustments to the tissue and the bones follow. It’s really amazing. And goddamn painful. Actually, it doesn’t usually hurt…in a bad way, but today was an exception. Today I was crying “Mama, Mama, Mama!” Considering I could barely get out of bed this morning and it took two hours to loosen up enough to get dressed to go to work, the fact that it hurt was really no big deal. She had her assistant come in and move my leg while she did her Active Release Torture Technique. She’s doing something horrendous to my hip flexor and deep inside my joint you could hear a “thunk”. Not a “snap” or a “crack” or a “pop”, a “thunk”. It moved. Yeah, I know. I think I need a cigarette. So I’m hoping that if I continue with my foam roller and yoga stretches and Vitamin A(dvil) and Bordeaux that it will start to come around for me. I see her again on Thursday for what I hope is just a touch up. I didn’t mention that I’m playing 18 on Saturday.

Coconut Telegraph

Oh Honey! We are burning up the wires the last few days. Where to start? There’s been a bunch of folks whispering in the Wine Dog’s ear. If you’ll watch carefully, you’ll see that the Wine Dog has that look in her eye, the kind that dogs get when they hear a sound far away and can’t quite tell what it is. Which Mercury owned subsidiary in Walnut Creek had a visit from Jerry Hauptman last week to “crunch” numbers? Oh, to be a crane fly on that wall. The same Mercury subsidiary that we’ve been drumming the Death March for since January. Who lays off the top money producer and the top order producer on the same day? Someone who doesn’t have a commitment to making any money, the future, that’s who. They run one of the two remaining title plants in the Bay Area. From that perspective, I’d hate to see them go. Could the Concord Title Group be the last man standing? I know that PBE is blocked from FTC servers so unless they log on at home they can’t enjoy my daily prattle. Speaking of prattle, which Denver based company decided that they didn’t need an internet security team any more and shit canned the whole department.? I guess if you all gather ’round and sing Kumbaya nothin’ bad’ll happen. Right? Maybe they contracted to have that done in India. Maybe they’d be better off whistling this.

Speaking of Dogs

Rita has been doing awesome on her training walks. Lots of them with no gym time. I’ve separated them so that I don’t have to wrastle two of them with my back the way it is. It’s helpful in that they are getting some individual training. I can’t believe how good Rita is on a leash. I spent a lot of time taking Beauregard to Mt. Diablo Dog Training Club. He does all the moves from the Obedience Trials with absolute precision…when he’s not being a jackass. Rita only went through the first six weeks. I just couldn’t continue it with these 11 hour days I have. So I work her out when I can. She was precision on the leash tonight. She sometimes sits too far back, not tonight, right at heel. Beau started his walk being very good, had a brief stint of jackassery and returned to precision by the end. When I watered my mud garden tonight (because I might be dealing with crop failure) there’s a hole in the hose. Rita was biting and snapping at the water spraying from the hose. It did my heart well. Another Doberman I used to know snapped at the hose. Kris.


Check out those gorgeous ears. My Dad bred her. She was something else. And she loved to play with the hose. And my Granddad.


This was a game my Dad made up. They chased a rag on a rope in the back yard. This was probably taken in 1967 or 1968. That dog was something. Granddad was pretty cool too.

And last but certainly not least

Remember Jax. Here’s the link to tell the NOLA lawmakers that shooting the family dog eight times is not okay.

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