Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Why do all the folks I follow on Twitter love bacon?

I'm sitting here at the table morosely contemplating the fact that we have no bacon. What do I find? All the folks I follow on Twitter are ceaselessly tweeting out their love of bacon! Particularly @LittleSkillet and @winebratsf!

How did this happen? I didn't consciously seek out twitter-ers who love bacon! It is somehow creepy to me that I seeked them out on a sub-conscious level.

Or how about this explanation?

What if we ALL love bacon?!

Monday, August 31, 2009

A house burning in LA

I just saw this sad posting, apparently from Thomas Hawk:


The photo shows his parents' home burning. This is really sad and the family has my condolences.

Is it impossible to stop these fires? Should we have intentional burns? What is the history of such burns? I live in the Berkeley hills...am I dooomed to lose my own home? All of these questions will run through my head repeatedly when I lay down to sleep tonight.

Trying a new Twitter client for Mac

I'm trying Twit Menulet, a Twitter client for Mac, which was written by the same folks who make Stock Menulet. The idea is that twits are displayed as a scrolling ticker. I really like it! Although some folks on versiontracker seemed to find the scrolling disorienting, I find that the motion calls my attention to new posts without being overwhelming. Also, there is a setting that allows display of only the icon, allowing you to stop the motion if desired.

In truth, I really like it. I am also a fan of the way the app handles multiple accounts. I think it could have better TwitPic integration, but from my experience with Stock Menulet I'd guess this isn't far off.

This is going to be my new client.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Virgin and Virgin America

I flew to the East Coast on Virgin America yesterday--on a red eye, then returned the same day. OK, true, not necessarily the most pleasant schedule, but still: I didn't think Virgin America was that great. It certainly isn't fit to kiss the hem of REAL Virgin's skirt.

Virgin America seemed to be a slightly better-run version of most other American airlines. Everything runs a bit more smoothly, it is a bit easier to buy drinks and entertainment, etc. But basically it feels cheap! No free goodies on the red-eye either, as Virgin gives you on the international flight. No more leg room than other carriers.

Sorry, Virgin, but I thought the experience was so-so.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Watiching the stock market...and the Republicans

Let me just put it out there. I used to be a Republican.

I say that with some shame, now that we've been waiting what seems like a month for 2-3 lousy Republicans to support a bailout package that is cleary required. Is the package a litany of long-sought Democratic handouts? Yes. Does that matter at all? NO.

It now appears that they have finally caved, which is great. But it sure leaves a sour taste. And the article says that they have cut the $40B for states, which seems like a huge mistake. The states are cutting back their funding and jobs. Money that goes to them would have been spent immediately. Now, I'm no economist--oh, wait, I am an economist--and money for states strikes me as a very good idea indeed.

Weeeelll...sorry for that rant. I think I'll go back to watching my stocks. I found a great stock ticker application to help me do that.

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Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Giant Pool of Money, from This American Life

Usually I try not to admit that I listen to NPR. What can I say? Driving around the Bay Area in silence is boring. At least I *feel* something (outrage!) when listening to NPR.

However, yesterday I got a real treat. I heard an episode of This American Life titled "The Giant Pool of Money" and it was great. Almost worth all the NPR I've suffered over the years.

The episode delves into the mortgage crisis in excruciating detail and with impeccable logic, from the home"owners" who bought overpriced homes to the CDO architects, who sliced the worst of the worst mortgages into tranches that seemed to be bulletproof, but weren't.

I can't recommend it highly enought.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Got it

We got the house. The seller folded.

Interestingly, as always, "winning" in a negotiation makes me feel that I should have asked for more. Maybe I should have asked for TWO new roofs. Why not?

Better yet would be seismic reinforcement. I am a real Californian, and I don't think it does any discredit to my state to admit that WE LIVE IN AN EARTHQUAKE ZONE, PEOPLE. Many folks in the real estate business seem to have no concern that a major earthquake could wipe out the investmeents of many, many people.

Buena and I will insist on seismic reinforcements before moving in to the house--but we'll pay for those reinforcements ourselves. Closing in 21 days!

Thursday, June 05, 2008


There is a teensy-weensy little problem with our new home, which, remember, was listed at $995,000. It has no roof. The roof is completely shot, to the point that two separate roofers refused to give us bids for a patch. They say that patching this roof would be the roofer's equivalent of malpractice.

OK. On some level, I knew the roof wasn't perfect, since the seller's disclosure states that the roof is 40 years old. But I guess I figured we'd be able to squeek by for a few years.

We are planning to go back to the seller and ask him for a roof (about $14K). In this market, I think we have a chance. Despite the strength of "good" markets, there are houses sitting for 3-4 months--but we happen to know that our seller is doing a 1031 exchange and wants to sell pretty quickly. How, you may ask, do we know this? A little bird told us.