Wednesday, February 28, 2007

But, but! Tulips ALWAYS go up!

And because I've been telling people about this, and often they just don't seem to believe me, yes. There was a Dutch tulip bubble.

Oh, I know, "It's different this time." It's always different this time.

Sleeping Dragon, Indeed!

Interesting NY Times article about the Chinese stock market, "slot machine," as they apparently call it:

“I don’t know how to choose a stock,” says a 61-year-old retiree who gave her name as Miss Hou at a local brokerage house a few weeks ago. “But I trust those technology companies. Maybe the names of some companies sound lucky to me, so I choose to buy these stocks.”

oh, my. This is worse than I thought. Maybe they are as stupid as we are?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Apparently, today, my type is this instead:

I am ready for the Seventies now.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I'm Doomed

OK, so everyone knows about Gavin, right" Blah blah blah.

Who cares, right?

However, Gavin has decided to personally pay his (ex)friend's salary until he can get a new job. Oh, that's sweet. Nothing wrong with that.
Tourk is not talking to the press. His representative, Sam Singer, said that Newsom was following through on the commitment he made to Tourk, 35, who has a 3-year-old son. "Alex needs this assistance until he finds whatever he's going to do next. He has a son, a wife and a mortgage," Singer said. "He's highly respected and has many job offers right now, so it shouldn't take long."
Oh, Gavin's thinking of the kids. Don't want that three year old and wife to starve (well, maybe the wife, I mean she is a cheating skank wot outed her adultering partner for reasons I can only guess involve a need to stir shit up and get her name in the paper). 3 year olds eat a lot, and you gotta buy them new clothes all the time. And the mortgage. So how much does it cost to keep your (ex)friend's three year old off the street, Gavin?

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has agreed to personally pay $15,000 per month to his former campaign manager, who abruptly quit last week after learning his wife had had an affair with Newsom.

Holy CRAP! $15-THOUSAND DOLLARS?!?!? A MONTH?!?!??! THAT is what it costs to have a small family in these parts?!?!?!?

I am doomed.

As a sidenote, I suspect that makes Ms. Ruby whatever her name is, one of the most expensive "ladies" in town.
I wonder what it costs to bang your buddy's wife in Crockett?

Monday, February 05, 2007

oh, my.

In looking at my sitemeter, I often find it interesting to see how random people found their way to my blog.
Last Friday, someone in Canada ran a google search on "how to firebomb someone apartment" which led them, apparently, to my post about my neighbor. Oh, my.

Well, sir or ma'am, in case you search again, please note that I do not recommend you do this. As noted if you read the entire article, they did catch the guy.


I recognize that I need to be strong all the time, but lately, I keep thinking about my grandfather. I miss him terribly, and several times a day, wonder how the world could go on without him. It makes no sense. Of course the world goes on. Of course we fight back tears and move forward. But it doesn't seem possible, at all, that the world could hold itself up when the foundation falls away. Nothing really makes sense, but it appears to be going on around me, with or without him. Even that frustrates and worries me. I just can't imagine it, but there it is.

I guess I'm just extra emotional, these days.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Cry for your help

Dear friends and family,
As some of you know, I am currently working through the process of trying to figure out what I ought to do with my life. Again. (If this is news to you: I hate the place my career has taken me. If you're curious, I can explain more to you in detail)

Part of this process involves an inquiry into who I am, and what my true talents are. I have been thinking about it a great deal on my own, but I also think that sometimes we are not best poised to recognize our own talents (and weaknesses) objectively. Because of that, I am sincerely asking for the help of all those who know.

The world is wide open with opportunities and paths, and I'm trying to choose mine.

There's a difference between skills and talents. Skills, I can figure out pretty well: I have fabulous Illustrator skills; I lack cooking skills. That's easy. Talents are harder. I'm told I have a talent for writing; I think I have a talent for learning; I'm told I have a good voice for singing. I feel I lack the talent of negotiation and sales; I'm a really terrible dirtbike rider. Forcing these things, I could get better at them, but the natural talent is not there.

I'm asking now, if you have anything to add to my consideration, please take a moment to give me some input: Is there some talent, skill, or weakness you have seen in me that I might add to my inquiry into what path I might follow? Have you seen me do something better than others might have done it? It could be a practical, defined talent, or something sort of fuzzy and nebulous. Any input is appreciated.

If nothing springs to mind, please disregard this message. I'm not looking for forced answers or a stretch of your imagination. I just know that some of the people I know have a better objective look at me, and would like their valued input.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for helping

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Credit whores

Hello Houston, we have a problem:

2006 Personal Savings Drop to 74-Yr. Low

The Commerce Department reported Thursday that the savings rate for all of 2006 was a negative 1 percent, meaning that not only did people spend all the money they earned but they also dipped into savings or increased borrowing to finance purchases. The 2006 figure was lower than a negative 0.4 percent in 2005 and was the poorest showing since a negative 1.5 percent savings rate in 1933 during the Great Depression.

OK, this really bothers me. What the fuck are you people buying? What could be so important? Big screen TVs? Hermes handbags? The new iPod? Cable TV? All of this crap is more important to you than, oh personal and national security, retirement, responsibility?

Economists have put forward various reasons to explain the current lack of savings. These range from a feeling on the part of some people that they do not need to save because of the run-up in their investments such as homes and stock portfolios to an effort by many middle-class wage earners to maintain their current lifestyles even though their wage gains have been depressed by the effects of global competition.

Oh, I get it, you don't need to save, because your house is "worth" 5x what you paid for it (with your stated income, option-ARM loan, but details, schmetails!)

My savings rate is well, well into double digits, more than a little. OK, so my salary is low, so maybe a normal Bay Area salary would only have to save a few percent to keep up with me.

I don't have cable TV. I find the idea that I should PAY to watch TV, utterly ridiculous. TV is a waste of time anyway-- I will not pay for that. Hey, when I was a kid, cable TV didn't have commercials-- that's why you paid for it. Now? Um? Why should I pay to watch this crap? My television is the size of a large toaster, and it was given to me about ten years ago since I didn't have one at all. Again, why have a larger one? I don't want TV to be the focal point of my life, so why should it be the focal point of my living room?

I live in a place that's small and won't move until I can do so responsibly. Everyone who bought into "housing can only go up" is in for a rude awakening if they bought with an irresponsible financial plan. "I'll just pay interest-only and sell it in two years for a profit" is not a financial plan. It's called speculation, and you will get burned. Median incomes haven't gone up much, what makes you think there will be a greater fool to buy your overpriced specu-home? I mean, I'll be happy to buy it from the bank, later.

I rarely have the latest thing. I finally bought my bottom-of-the-line iBook (with a student discount) after like 8 years with the old Mac. That's a dinosaur, considering I do use it for graphics and all. I will ride my motorcycles into the ground and then buy again and repeat. I can't tell you how many times I've been in a conversation with some dingus that is trying to keep the miles off of their zooty new bike so the value doesn't go down. Hey, dumbass, how about buying a bike you like, that you will ride for a while, instead of trying to turn it over and buy the latest one every year? Bikes don't retain much value anyway. STUPID.

I have a credit card, which I use frequently. Most people would tell you to look for a low rate card, but I could give a shit. Who cares what the rate is when you pay it off every month? Paying interest on crap you bought is stupid. You should only pay interest on important purchases (education, a solid home purchase, maybe a car), not clothes you've already gotten tired of and gadgets that are already broken and outdated by the time the bill comes. Anyone paying the minimum due on a credit card is an idiot. You are making some rich guy richer, at a great detriment to yourself. Congratulations. Enjoy the big-screen TV. Remember how you got such a screaming deal on it before Christmas? Guess what, you're going to pay three times that amount in interest. Yay.

Why this upsets me is that our central bank and other guv'mint institutions are, I have little doubt, going to try to bail your sorry asses out come judgement day. Did you lie on your mortgage form about your income and sign up for a loan you didn't bother to understand? Oh, POOR YOU! Did you use this funny money to drive up home prices to the point where responsible people couldn't buy homes? Did you use that extra "equity" to buy an SUV or a trip to Maui? BOO FUCKING HOO. Are you now complaining about gas prices? Get a bicycle! Live responsibly for once, buy what you can afford. No, buy LESS than you can afford. If you feel that savings bothers you, give the extra to charity. Please for the love of god, sock it away for your retirement, cuz I do not want to pay for your sorry, freeloading ass.

Whatever the reason for the low savings, economists warn that it the phenomenon exists at a particularly bad time with 78 million baby boomers approaching retirement age. Instead of building up savings to use during retirement, baby boomers are continuing to spend all their earnings.

Boomers are only a few years from retirement. What the hell are they thinking? Instead of healthcare and security in their golden years, they would like to have some crap from Chinamart? A Precious Moments figurine collection, a surround-sound stereo, a breadmaker machine, a BMW... oh, and: Why on earth are kids this age even driving BMWs and Lexuses?

(01-30) 10:30 PST PETALUMA -- A 24-year-old Petaluma man is in the hospital with major injuries after a fight Monday afternoon involving two couples, a car chase, a baseball bat and, finally, a car crash.

The incident began shortly before 4 p.m., when two Petaluma women, a 17-year-old and a 22-year-old, got into a physical fight on the 400 block of Ely Boulevard South, Petaluma police Sgt. Matthew Stapleton said. Police are not naming the women.

The 22-year-old left the scene of the fight in a BMW sedan, closely followed by the 17-year-old, who was driving a Lexus sedan.

What is wrong with you people? Spending money does not make you cool. Keeping up with the Joneses just means you are constantly one step behind them anyway. Did you ever stop to think maybe the Joneses have more money than you? Or perhaps that they are also destroying their own lives with credit abuse? Hope you and the Joneses repay your debt all the way to the poorhouse together.


And get the hell off my lawn.