People have been
annoying me more than usual lately. I've received probably 50+ emails from
one tenant about her dust/chemical sensitivities. We're upgrading the electrical
in her building (9 units) and I get a few emails a day asking questions
about the work (even though I've outlined it for her already) and reminding
me that she has special paint she wants us to use and that we shouldn't
wear cologne around her and all sorts of other shit. I've dealt with people
like this before and every time it's exhausting. They're never easy going
people - they need to control every aspect of the work and know everything
that will happen. It's strange that a seemingly biological allergy should
correlate so highly with a type A personality. It's almost as if one causes
the other. Are they only controlling when it comes to work being done in
their home, in which case you could say that they are controlling because
they want to avoid allergic reactions, or are they controlling in other
aspects as well? If they are controlling in other areas then one might
begin to wonder if it is the control that causes the allergy, rather than
the other way around.
I think I'm at
the point where I have to make it a goal to not do small tenant jobs anymore.
They're just way too annoying. People are annoying.
Meryl and the girls
out today delivering baked goods to friends/family so I had the place to
myself a bit.
Have I mentioned
my theory that the internet will increase inequality over time? The best
and brightest will have access to the best information and resources the
world has ever seen and will flourish as a result. The least bright will
have access to the greatest distractions of all-time and will avail themselves
of that. The best businesses will get the most good reviews and capitalize
on their success to a degree never seen before. The worst businesses will
get scathing reviews and be gone sooner than they otherwise would. Because
of remote work and networking, the best employees will be attracted to
the best businesses and those businesses will get even better and make
even more money and solidify their positions. I think we're seeing this
already and it will only be accelerated as the internet becomes a bigger
and bigger part of everything we do and is part of our lives from cradle
to grave with successive generations. The good is that this means if you're
born into poverty you have a better chance than ever to get out if you
have the right attributes and make the right choices. Of course the bad
is the flip side of that.
Forgot to include
the BLM response to Jussie Smollett in my earlier post:
we approach situations of injustice with love and align ourselves with
our community. Because we got us. So letís be clear: we love everybody
in our community. Itís not about a trial or a verdict decided in a white
supremacist charade, itís about how we treat our community when corrupt
systems are working to devalue their lives. In an abolitionist society,
this trial would not be taking place, and our communities would not have
to fight and suffer to prove our worth. Instead, we find ourselves, once
again, being forced to put our lives and our value in the hands of judges
and juries operating in a system that is designed to oppress us, while
continuing to face a corrupt and violent police department, which has proven
time and again to have no respect for our lives.
In our commitment
to abolition, we can never believe police, especially the Chicago Police
Department (CPD) over Jussie Smollett, a Black man who has been courageously
present, visible, and vocal in the struggle for Black freedom. While policing
at-large is an irredeemable institution, CPD is notorious for its long
and deep history of corruption, racism, and brutality. From the murders
of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, to the Burge tortures, to the murder of
Laquan McDonald and subsequent cover-up, to the hundreds of others killed
by Chicago police over the years and the thousands who survived abuse,
Chicago police consistently demonstrate that they are among the worst of
the worst. Police lie and Chicago police lie especially.
Matter will continue to work towards the abolition of police and every
unjust system. We will continue to love and protect one another, and wrap
our arms around those who do the work to usher in Black freedom and, by
extension, freedom for everyone else."
is part of white surpremacy, but this doesn't make much sense to me. The
Right lost its mind a generation ago and still hasn't found it. Now the
Left has joined them.
spending relative to GDP. Going the wrong way.
surprise, the media coverage of COVID is overly negative. The media
is fucking us at every possible turn.
I still see places
bragging about the cleaning that they do of shopping carts or bathrooms
or whatever. I still see employees dedicated to cleaning every surface
imaginable in whatever store they're in. I'm not sure why this is still
a thing since it's been pretty well established that fomite
transmission is minimal at best. The science doesn't seem to be getting
around. I'm wondering if we're creating super bugs with all this religious
cleaning that we're doing. Meanwhile, there's no profit motive to create
new antibiotics so could we be creating issues for 5-10 years from now?
My grandma has long put the idea in my head that over-sanitizing the world
is not good for us and everything I hear and read seems to back that up.
If anything, we should be exposing ourselves (especially at a young age)
to more germs and farm animals and the like. We have probiotics, maybe
some day we'll have capsules for commonly found germs to increase exposure
in a decreasingly dirty environment.
The Jussie Smollett
thing is pretty amazing. First he lies about being attacked by a couple
of white guys wearing MAGA hats and they threw bleach on him and tied a
noose around his neck. He still
had the noose on when the cops showed up. The whole thing was pretty
strange from the get go once you learn all the details. The media ran with
it in a big way and was relatively silent when it was revealed that it
was all a lie...the guys he paid to attack him were black and he paid with
a check. I mean the whole thing is comically bad in its execution. So,
it's just one desperate idiot doing a dumb and desperate thing. I don't
think we should get too bent out of shape about that. What does require
some outrage, however, is the fact that 1) he's responding to cultural
incentives and 2) the reaction by the media and elites only reinforces
those incentives and in a pretty irresponsible way in some instances.
1) the incentives
in today's culture are such that being a victim of things gives you cache.
I don't know how we got here or how we get out, but it's clear that you
gain cultural points if you are a victim and the more of a victim you can
claim to be, the more points you get. Trans cripples of color who are attacked
by white men near the very top of this new hierarchy. When the old hierarchy
isn't fair or equitable then people create new ones. Perhaps that's what's
2) Without evidence
Biden, Harris, etc. tweet
about it and say it's a modern day lynching and all the rest. Why do
we feel the need to comment on these types of stories (Smollett, Rittenhouse,
etc.) when we don't have very much information? On the Media (NPR show
from WNYC) does these little handbook guides about how to react to certain
types of stories like mass shootings. One of the points they make is that
the first accounts are almost always wrong. When you hear about a story
like a mass shooting very frequently they talk about a second possible
shooter or they speculate on motivation or they get the number of victims
wrong, etc. It happened recently with the nail salon shooting, as one example.
We need to force ourselves to think slowly on these cases because we never
have anywhere near the full picture. In media the motto is "get it first,
but get it right, but get it first." This is only amplified by the internet
and Twitter culture that makes everyone want everything NOW.
Lastly, there is
the doubling down. He continues to claim it actually happened and his supporters
are standing by him for some reason. When you can't change your mind your
One last item -
go ahead and search for what happened to Breonna Taylor's boyfriend. His
name is Kenneth Walker. If you search for Kenneth Walker you only get the
MSU running back who had a decent season. Why doesn't the media cover what
happened to Kenneth Walker? He's a black man who shot a cop and coverage
of his charges and journey through the justice system earlier this year
was quite minimal. Why? Because his charges were dropped so there's no
story there that fits a media narrative. Had the prosecutor gone hard on
him and the judge not dropped the charges, then the media would have been
ringing the bell of negativity and racism. Instead, proper justice was
served (he got off because of self-defense) and they don't report good
news much so they moved right along to whatever was the flavor of the day...maybe
another story about the Delta variant.
Has the guitar
stopped evolving? The last time I heard something that I thought was really
new from the guitar was with Tom Morello and that was 30 years ago. Not
a lot of new sounds coming from the guitar anymore. Some will point to
North African music like Tinarwen and Mdou Moctar, which I definitely like,
but it's not really a new sound to me.
up to five guys now. Antonio and Edwin are brothers, Carlos (father) and
Victor (son) and their neighbor Jesus. It's funny because Carlos told me
about Jesus and gave me his contact info by attaching the contact card
from his phone via a text to me. So I got his info as it appeared in Carlos'
phone. It had his name as Jesus Vecino. This seemed like a fine name to
me and since I took Latin instead of Spanish, I didn't know any better
until Merritt was singing a song to me yesterday. It was something about
loving your neighbor or the usual first grade type stuff and then she broke
out with the same song in Spanish, which impressed me quite a bit because
her accent is much better than mine. But I noticed that the Spanish word
for neighbor was "vecino" so I looked it up to be sure and it turns out
that Carlos had Jesus in his phonebook as "Jesus Neighbor," and then it
all clicked for me. Guess this is the downside of paying with cash, instead
of doing things formally through payroll. This is another topic for another
day, but most of the guys I work with aren't documented and so that's an
issue. Edwin is a refugee from Guatemala and is close to getting his papers
so that may be fixed shortly, but not so for Jesus.
Over the Thanksgiving
break we took a few days off and went to NYC. Usually we would take off
Thursday and Friday, but we decided to take off M-W and the previous Friday
for a big break (10 days). This year has been really hectic. We've earned
more than double our previous best year (2020) and hadn't been on vacation
in two years so it felt like time. I was able to get work for the guys
on Friday and Monday so they only missed two days plus the usual Thanksgiving
days, so I felt better about that.
I'm working on
a trip page for it...hopefully that won't take forever.
This year has been
our busiest yet, but I've settled into a bit of a rhythm. Things were slightly
slower for the last week of November and first week of December, but they
started picking up this week already. Have several jobs that are lining
up along with the usual little stuff that comes up. It's just crazy.
In the trades one
of the things you'll see are people who go from job site to job site selling
food for the workers. 100% of the time they are hispanic women (sometimes
a guy is with them also, but women are always present) and they're just
selling whatever they cooked that morning for the workers. It could be
tacos or pupusas or tamales or a plate with something I don't even know
what it's called. But it's always good and hot and pretty awesome to see
these immigrants feeding the people who are building things. There's one
lady who is usually at the High Street HD and I've gotten tamales from
her a few times. There's another woman who works in SF and the guys have
her number and text her to come by and we get lunch from her on occasion.
This kind of informal economy spearheaded by immigrants who are eager to
work and hustle is what America should be about. Let more of these people
in (in a controlled way) and help them climb the stairway to the middle
Sweden and Norway
have more billionaires per capita than the US according to The Economist
seen the bumper sticker or lawn sign that says "any functioning adult 2020."
I had a chuckle whenever I saw that. It's pathetic, but taps into a real
desire. When Biden was elected it seemed like it came true, but if you
watch him talk for more than a few minutes then you realize he's only marginally
functional. It's a sad situation because he used to be fairly sharp and
funny, but he's a rambling old man at this point. If you watch videos you'll
see his handlers cut off questions and it really seems like the media won't
show him talking for more than a few seconds at a time. Some of that is
par for the course because the media deals in 30 second blocks, but it
seems worse now and I'm guessing that's because he really struggles in
putting together coherent sentences for extended stretches. There are a
thousand compilations online of him stumbling over his words or coughing
or mispronouncing things. I think it would be a train wreck if he ran again.
Democrats need to get their shit together or else they're fucked in 3 years.
Meanwhile, Kamala's approval ratings are even lower (12%
according to this one and better
This effort to
presidential power is the kind of thing we need more of. Rare for a
party to do it while they're in power, but a step in the right direction.
and important episode on biological research. Changed my mind on the
topic. Julia Galef is one of my favorite podcasters, but she doesn't put
out much content anymore.
an episode on the lab leak theory. I've heard podcasts on both sides
of the topic and I'm at the point where I think the most likely story is
that COVID was caused by an accidental leak from the Wuhan lab. Possibly
more important than that, though, is the cover up and the way the media
dealt with the whole story - dismissing it out of hand, calling it a conspiracy
theory, etc. without doing any actual work on the topic. In case you still
think that's the case and are impressed by the usual metrics here are a
couple points that might get you to open to the possibility of listening
to the episode - Jamie Metzl went to Harvard and is a Democrat who worked
for Bill Clinton on the National Security Council. Lex Fridman is a researcher
at MIT. So, these guys aren't Joe Rogan, if that's the kind of argument
that impresses you. At any rate, the whole issue is pretty muddied at this
point and we may never know the truth. It's also possible there will be
a slow burn and it will become a larger issue down the line. It's fraught
because China has so much power and has so much to lose if they were the
cause of it and then covered it up/made it difficult to get to the bottom
lost $400m in one quarter because they got into the house flipping business
based upon their shitty algorithm. This is a bit of hindsight and you have
to trust me-ism, but everyone I talk to who knows real estate has long
said that Zillow doesn't know what shit should actually go for. In general,
I've always felt they overpriced properties. Further, to think that you
can flip all these properties based upon an algorithm without looking at
these places in person is just crazy. If you're buying things at auction
it's one thing because everyone has the same information, but when you're
buying from a homeowner on the open market and you're winning all these
bids then you have to think that there's an asymmetry of information. Zillow's
problem is that they thought they were the ones with more information,
but it was actually the people who lived in the home or bid on the home
after seeing it who had more information. My understanding is that they
never put inspectors on the ground for these properties. Then they had
trouble finding contractors to do the actual flipping. These are problems
I could have easily told them about beforehand (again, you have to trust
me on this since I didn't pre-register any of this). I frankly have no
idea how a company could be this dumb. I've been involved in flipping before
and there are a couple "secrets" - buy low (usually off market) and have
a good contractor/team who can handle everything and move things along
without losing time.
Now that he's gone
I feel like it's okay to talk about him a bit more...Trump was a failure
at essentially everything he did - even the things he should have been
good at. Stop me if I've said this before. COVID happens and he's a germophobe
who hates China (or at least recognizes them as a threat to US hegemony).
He didn't go hard on China on the lab leak theory, he didn't stop travel
from China, he didn't fight the virus...I mean these are things that are
right in his wheelhouse and he didn't even take a swing at them. Some presidents
are good at foreign relations or dealing with Congress or whatever. This
should have been a strong point for him, but he sucked at it.
Another point on
COVID and Trump. If you're one of the "Trump is literally Hitler" people
then wouldn't COVID be the perfect analog to the Reichstag Fire? His opportunity
to seize power, attack China, get some rally round the flag effect, etc.?
I think this is plainly obvious and the fact that he didn't says something
about him - namely that he's not the fascist that some thought. Maybe he's
a different kind of strong man who didn't want to go quietly on January
6, but the fact that he had the slow burning pandemic that he could have
used in all sorts of ways and chose not to says something about him - namely
that he's not Hitler or Stalin. Populist, narcissist, incompetent leader...sure,
but not Hitler. High praise.
One of the most
unselfish things a person can do is to be self-sufficient. If you're not
a drain on society or those around you then you are freeing them up to
do things for others or themselves; that's a great gift. Few things seem
as unselfish as giving those around you their time and lessening their
burden. Unfortunately we seem to think of selflessness solely as giving
ourselves (and our money/things) to others. This is a narrow view IMO.
It's understandable of course because you don't notice the things that
don't happen. We humans have a bias towards action and recognizing actions,
not in recognizing the things that don't happen. It's easier to recognize
a thing that is present than a thing that is absent. For this reason and
others, one of my primary goals as a parent is to make my kids self-sufficient.
Sure, we all need each other, no man is an island, "you
didn't build that," we're social animals, we all age and get unwell,
etc., but I believe your first responsibility it to take care of yourself.
Do communists and collectivist types have that outlook because they can't
take care of themselves or do they not take care of themselves because
they have a collectivist outlook? My experience says the former, but I
can't say for sure.
I think there's
a strong chance that I will lose my mind in my later years. I feel words
slipping from memory much more these days. My mind isn't as sharp as it
was before. Perhaps it's just natural aging. Perhaps it's because I don't
work out enough. Maybe it's stress. It makes me very sad to envision the
future when I can't get a sentence out like Biden or when I don't remember
my kids' names or something.
A lot of the intelligentsia
get all worked up when we drop out of the Paris Accord or similar and yet
none of the signatories are on pace to meet their goals (according to On
The Media podcast). Many countries still aren't on pace for the Kyoto protocol
either. So what's the purpose of these circle jerks? Greta Thunberg is
an interesting young lady, but she's pretty much right when she says it's
a lot of "blah blah blah." They make goals for 75 years from now as if
it has any relationship to reality. Our leaders are all phoneys. I need
to reread Catcher in the Rye.
The flu kills about
30k/year and is active 3-6 months a year. That's about 1k/week. If we get
down to that with COVID can we take off masks and not get booster #8? Just
like Iraq/Afghanistan...there's no exit strategy. This broken leadership
and decision making. Look at the people in charge and what they do - Biden,
SF Mayor, CA governor, DC mayor, MI governor, Pelosi, Feinstein, etc. all
these people have touted masks and restrictions on indoor dining and the
rest and all of them have been caught not following their own rules. So,
do they think the rules not apply to them? Do they think the rules are
dumb? I mean, if they really thought what they say - that the rules save
lives - then wouldn't they be really awful people (by their own standards)
for violating said rules? The most charitable interpretation is that they
had a momentary lapse of judgment, but I don't think that holds up because
in most of these cases (maybe all) they were caught doing something that
wasn't momentary - an extended dinner, an extended night out, an entire
hair dresser appointment, etc. It's not like they were caught taking off
their mask while talking to someone in a loud room.
All this shit is
theater at this point. If you can find some data on the efficacy of real
people wearing real masks in a real study and it finds efficacy over 20%
then let me know. From what I'm hearing most people wear the wrong masks
(non n-95) and don't wear them particularly well and that generally translates
to about 10% reduction in transmission. So, I don't think it's particularly
good public health policy and I don't think it's good politics.
Omicron is the
latest variant of interest and I've seen this movie before. Nuff said on
Andrew Yang wasn't
my favorite candidate, but he's starting a new party (the Forward party)
and it's less a party and more an endorsement mechanism. This is an interesting
approach and I wish him well. It seems more organized around disposition
and outlook on fundamentals like agreeable debate than policy like pro-choice
or whatever. It's kind of a get back to the fundamentals concept. We seem
to have forgotten what we're supposed to be about.
The election in
Virginia got a lot of coverage, but most of the media got it wrong because
they're worthless idiots. Sorry, I meant to be more insightful, but I couldn't
help it. The #1 reason the Dem lost is that he said "I donít think parents
should be telling schools what they should teach." I mean the guy is about
as tone deaf as is possible. Of course Joy Reid and others made it all
about race and Trump and it didn't work. Democrats are playing the part
of the chastising parents - a role the Republicans used to play - and it's
not working well for them. People don't want to be lectured and talked
down to and told they're racist for existing. It's not a winning strategy.
Speaking of Democrats
losing their fucking minds. Maxine Waters saw this
video and said that it was "worse
than slavery." Then the NCAAP president said that the Rittenhouse trial
outcome was "worse than the
Emmett Till trial." To have two prominent black leaders say these things
is truly shocking to me. I just can't fathom the logic here and I'm constantly
wondering if I'm the one losing my mind or what.
I'm wondering when
we'll wake up from this madness.
Saw a sign the
other day that read "crime free zone." I mean, it's a nice try I guess.
Honestly, though, who thinks of this shit? It was an official city sign.
Back to Virginia
- they elected their first black woman to statewide office. Chances are
decent you didn't hear about it 24/7, though, because she has an (R) next
to her name. These kinds of things make me wonder how much of the race
issue is really about race for some people. I'm sure there are some true
believers, but it also seems like some people bring up race just because
it's politically expedient. When a black woman is Republican and she wins
it just doesn't seem to make the news and I can't help but doubt the veracity
of their motives when such a thing happens. If race and gender equity were
so important then it would be a nice opportunity to talk about Winsome
Sears and her journey to Lt. Governor, but I just didn't get any of that
after the election. Curious.
It would be nice
if these pundits and political types had actual convictions and principles.
In video games
there are NPC (non-player characters) who are just part of the background
of the game. In life it seems like more and more people are NPCs. They
just kinda wander around looking down at their phones unaware of their
surroundings literally bumping into each other, stationary things, and
otherwise appearing as though they're not humans.
Have you noticed
the rise of "gaslighting" being used by people? I have. Google trends is
great because I can fact check my perception of things like this. See below.
My belief is that people are more hip to the concept of gaslighting (I
think it comes from the Ingrid Bergman film Gaslight) because we are living
in a postmodern, self-obsessed world. The concept, in case you don't know,
is defined as "a colloquialism that is loosely defined as "making someone
question their own reality". The term may also be used to describe a person
who effectively puts forth a false narrative that leads another person
or a group of people to doubt their own perceptions and become disoriented
or distressed." Of course if you are self-obsessed and think your truth
is the Truth (capital T) then anyone questioning you is gaslighting you.
Trouble is sometimes you're just crazy and everyone else is trying to set
you straight. The clever judo is that you call this reality check "gaslighting"
and then they become the bad guys. It's brilliant, sinister, and exactly
what you would expect when Truth dies and is replaced by "your truth" and
"lived experience." Watch the way language changes and you'll see how society
is going. Orwell knew this extremely well.
I've also noticed
the rise of "y'all" - which used to be laughed at by anyone not from the
South. But as collectivists gain power it seems to have risen quite a bit.
"Y'all" matters more than "you." The group matters more than you the individual.
Google also has Ngram viewer and you can look up y'all on that and it's
a hockey stick.
probably the best commercial of all-time.
Better to be a
warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.
Listening to the
local NPR Forum show has been pretty funny the last few years. You hear
some pretty wacky shit being taken quite seriously. Heard the other day,
for example, that recreation is a colonial practice. I'm not even totally
sure what that means. And...you're welcome? I mean I thought recreation
was a good thing, but then I heard from her that it's a colonial practice.
I know that colonialism is one of the deadly sins these days so is recreation
no longer a good thing? Maybe the thought of needing to call having fun
a separate thing is colonialism? Maybe it should just be called life and
work is the real sin or something? These are the people who spend too much
time masturbating intellectually.
I don't know it
for a fact, but I'm guessing that we spend more on welfare style programs
than most Western countries. Take SS, medicare, medicaid, welfare, SNAP,
healthcare subsidies, etc. and combine them and it's well over 60% of federal
spending. So, it's not that we're not spending enough...it's that the money
is 1) going to the wrong people 2) being inefficiently allocated 3) graft
is sucking away some (maybe related to #1). No one really talks about this
because SS is the third rail of politics, but there's no way around it.
Democrats seem to think our country is full of hateful bigots who don't
want to give black and brown people government cheese. The reality is that
the government is spending more than enough, we just don't do a good job
running any of the programs and we spend far too much on old people.
I'll be old some
day (hopefully), but I still don't think it makes sense for so much of
our social welfare money to go to people who had their entire lives to
get their financial house in order. We'd be much better off allocating
much of that money and energy towards a better social safety net, job training
and education that work (not sure our government is capable of this), and
creating opportunity for people to thrive so they can save. Then it's up
to each individual to prepare for retirement instead of living off the
working people who are paying into the Ponzi scheme that is SS.
Every few months
or years USPS will come under fire and conservatives will say it's a shitty
organization that loses money. USPS is one of the best things that government
provides IMO. Congress needs to let it run the way it needs to be run,
instead they hamper it (by requiring it to pre-fund something like $6 billion/year
into the pension) to artificially make it look like its losing money. It
would work just fine if Congress would stop fucking around with it. I would
love to see USPS invest in its infrastructure with electric cars, more
automation, etc. They could expand what they do by adding banking to their
locations or cameras for mapping to their vehicles (I'm sure some company
would pay for this). Anyway, there is a lot of potential when you talk
about 300k+ mail carriers going to (almost) every house in the country
several times a week. Be creative, let a businessperson run it, and get
out of the way.
lots to say for
Neighbor had car
broken into today. In other words, it's Tuesday.
are pretty fucked up when Russell Brand is the voice of reason.
If a PDF is emailed
to me it requires clicking "print" three times to actually print the document.
Once the PDF is open in the browser I click on the printer icon. Then it
opens the same PDF again in another tab and I click on the printer icon
again and it loads the print dialog screen and I click on "print." Only
then does it actually print the document. This is inefficient and bothersome.
When I go to the
bank and withdraw funds it requires probably 30+ clicks and several minutes
for them to get the cash to me. There has to be a faster way for them to
load my account, verify my identity, and specify what bills I want. In
no world, should this simple transaction required so many clicks.
Still in the process
of refinancing the warehouse loan. The amount of documentation they have
requested is insane. None of this makes sense. Everything is far less efficient
than it should be. In an age of data the fact that I have to give the same
data over and over again is just maddening. Not just info like name and
address, which should prepopulate in every form I'm given, but also information
like environmental questions (which should be available in the environmental
report I paid to have done) or loan note or title documentation. Such a
painful experience for someone who hates pushing paper.
My kids are the
best part of life. Work is pretty shitty overall lately. Financially doing
as well as ever, but spending way too much trying to settle into a new
house and warehouse. Really hoping that in two years we can be done with
spending money on those things and put things on cruise control a bit.
at 1am last night (checked camera). Not broken into. Not mail was stolen.
The entire mailbox was stolen. $17k worth of checks and probably other
things in there as well. I love this place.
So far this year
has been pretty good in terms of theft and loss. No tools stolen yet this
year. The usual amount of tools being lost. More than the usual amount
of losses from jobs gone wrong. Product of not being at every job every
minute. Relying on others means more things will go wrong. Just have to
build that into the business. Same goes for living in Oakland. You just
have to assume that someone is going to steal your mailbox once in a while.
This is a society in decline. Some will say it's because fathers aren't
around or because we don't believe in god anymore. Others will say it's
because of systemic racism and capitalism. Whatever the cause, the result
is the same - gradual erosion of society. I've tried to believe otherwise
for a long time, but it's really difficult to argue otherwise.
Trying to get my
PPP forgiveness letter since the bank wants it for our home loan. Here's
one of the many annoying questions I had to answer from the government:
10. Does Applicant
present live performances of a prurient sexual nature or derive directly
or indirectly more than de minimis gross revenue through the sale of products
or services, or the presentation of any depictions or displays, of a prurient
tired of everything lately. The next two years will be pretty pivotal.
Do we grow the business enough to step away from being hands on every day?
Do we get the house and settle down finally? Do the financial markets implode
and leave us in the wake of the destruction?
Buying this house
is a pretty big gamble since we'll be carrying 3 properties at once. Fixing
up the new place while trying to run a business and carrying the warehouse
and carrying our current house while the new one is being remodeled. I
think we have a tough year ahed of us, as if the last year wasn't tough
I've been trying
to adjust my thinking to a world of opportunity and abundance, instead
of one of scarcity. On the one hand that means not taking every job that
comes along and that means better quality of life. It also means trying
to stress less about every dollar. It also means growing. On the other
hand it could mean growing beyond demand and overextending the business.
Most of the time
I'm running at 90% capacity. I'm pretty much always in a rush. I'm working
60 hours a week. I'm trying to refi the warehouse loan. Coordinate the
home loan. Juggling multiple jobs and multiple crews. It's not something
I really want to do for the next several years. But if it's like this for
a year or two while we grow and get two new properties then I'm fine with
that. Getting those things and moving towards a goal will always require
a lot of hard work. It just has to have an end point.
is tomorrow so the girls and I planned a surprise activity day for her.
1984 and Animal Farm this week. Super depressing to see the parallels to
today. The power of changing and manipulating language. The power of the
media. The power of incrementalism (frog boiling type). The importance
of shutting down free speech by those in power. The sad thing is that most
of this is coming from the Left these days. The Left own the mainstream
media, they're responsible for cancel culture, they're changing language
on a variety of fronts, they're moving the goalposts on COVID, etc. This
would all be less depressing if there were an alternative. But the Right
is owned by the Republicans and they've been off the reservation for an
entire generation. It's a choice between Walmart and the neighborhood fentanyl
addict who has a few wares laid out on the sidewalk every couple days.
I don't really want to shop at either.
SF mayor London
Breed was caught without her mask on inside. This is a classic "rules for
thee, but not for me" situation. There have been many of them now. Her
was incredibly lame and idiotic. No more respect for her. "My drink was
sitting at the table, said Breed. I got up and started dancing because
i was feeling the spirit and I wasnít thinking about a mask." "We don't
need the fun police to come in and micromanage and tell us what we should
or shouldnít be doing," She talked about how the real story should have
been that Tony Toni Tone were in town and playing live again. I mean, you
can't make this shit up. She's nuts.
Zoe has soccer
twice a week and, during the last game, everyone wore a mask (except her).
Both teams' goalies were wearing masks. These are kids playing outside...even
the goalies are wearing masks. What about that makes sense to anyone with
half a brain? We're in performance mode here.
Masks are the American
flag pin of the 2020s. After 9/11 the flag pin marked you as a "patriot"
and supporter of the president and his dumb ass wars and foreign policy
decisions. Today masks are essentially the same. I see many people around
here wearing them outside while walking alone. Wearing them inside their
cars all alone. These are people who are either as stupid as the flag pin
Bush-supporters of 20 years ago or have come to enjoy the faux-safety of
the mask because of their own doublethink. Remember, at the end of 1984
he learns to like big brother...he learns to believe that 2+2=5. Not just
for lip service, but to actually believe it. That's where we are.
Depending upon the issue or the time, approx. 45% of the population truly
believes that 2+2=5. Critical thinking is lost when the party declares
its position on a given topic. Pathetic.
trial has been going on and there's been a lot of talk about it. I've listened
to the podcasts and the book written by Carreyrou. The thing that almost
everyone buys into is the narrative put out by the charlatan Holmes herself
- that Theranos is a tech company. No, it isn't a tech company. It's a
healthcare company that tried to develop a new technology. It bears very
little resemblance to other Silicon Valley tech companies and shouldn't
be compared to them just because she went to Stanford and it was located
in the area. The "fake it till you make it" ethos is fair enough when you're
selling some shitty app and you don't lie about everything. When you're
telling people whether or not they have AIDS and you lie about everything
then you've crossed a few lines. If she doesn't do time then it's yet another
lack of accountability. She's going for the battered woman defense because
she's a pathetic manipulative loser. Hopefully no one buys this garbage.
CA recall for governor
Newsom is tomorrow. When we did the recall the last time I was against
it. I thought Davis was getting a raw deal (still think so) and I thought
it was a slippery slope to recalling every governor any time they messed
up on something. Now, though, I think we're in such a crisis in our society
that we need to restore accountability at every turn at the cost of most
of our other priorities. Of course, I think this needs to be equally applied
(that's the real definition of accountability after all). The fuck ups
from Newsom on: COVID overreach, EDD abuse/ineptitude, wildfire/forest
mismanagement, homelessness, water issues, exodus of people for other states,
general lack of business friendly environment, his douchey haircut, his
French Laundry dinner without following his own guidance, etc. all have
lead me to vote yes on the recall. He needs to be held accountable for
all that and more.
A couple things...I
don't think he'll be recalled. If I were betting on it then I'd bet he'd
survive. The ruling class types often talk about how much better a Parliamentary
Government is than our system. One of the hallmarks of such a system is
the ability to call an election at any time. Well, that's what the recall
is, but it's done by the citizens, not by those in charge. These same people
also often lament the lack of democratic rule in this country. Well, here's
democracy at work. The people getting an extra chance to decide whether
or not the governor is working for them or not.
Now, I'll be the
first to admit that what happens after the question of a recall is flawed.
For those who don't know, the vote is yes/no to recall the governor. After
that you get to vote on his replacement should the recall pass. The winner
of the most votes in that second portion of the ballot becomes the governor.
Since there are 40+ people on the ballot, it's very possible that the new
governor would have only 15% of the vote. This is even more true since
many followed Newsom's selfish advice to not vote for anyone as a replacement.
So, there will be many Newsom sheep who vote "no" to recalling him and
then leave the second part blank. You know, because they love democracy
so much. The same people who constantly complain about the Senate not being
democratic enough. You can't make this shit up.
The process issue
is particularly annoying for me because it comes up every time a Democrat
loses, but hardly ever when a Democrat is in charge. I've written about
this before in an effort to not be one of those people. After Biden won,
I laid out what his ambitious agenda should include and it was largely
(and primarily) focused on process and voting reform. Things like some
federalization of voting standards, DC statehood or representation under
Maryland, representation for Puerto Rico, etc. Of course, here we are 9
months into his presidency and none of that has really been tried. Vaccine
mandates, free stuff, infrastructure, but nothing that would fix the more
fundamental issues. It's almost as if Democrats like having excuses.
At any rate, Democrats
in this state have been in charge at every level for 10 years and I haven't
heard a single word on reforming the recall process. They complain about
it now, but did nothing about it before. If you're in charge of Congress
and the governor's seat and you don't at least try to change a thing then
you are implicitly saying that you are fine with that thing as it is.
So, I voted to
kick Newsom to the curb for the aforementioned reasons. I tried hard to
find a Republican I could stomach voting for. I wanted to mix things up
and send a message. But I honestly couldn't find anyone I agreed with on
enough stuff so I ended up voting for the Democrat who is most likely to
get the most votes. I'm not very proud of this vote.
Just wanted to
get that on record before tomorrow. Work is super busy but I see a light
at the end of the tunnel. Have 6 guys working for me most days now and
hopefully will get that down to 4 soon and then back up to 6 if we get
the new house. I'm hoping to hire a really skilled person who can help
renovate the new house if we are able to make the funding for that work.
all sorts of loan paperwork the last year. Refi the house, SBA loan for
the warehouse, loan for the new house. Super tedious and annoying.
The last couple
days have been eventful. Yesterday I was trying to wrap up a job where
we were painting a 2500 sf house on Anza in SF...along with replacing lights,
new counters, etc. prepping for sale. I tried to get another painter to
do the paint, but he ghosted me. I worked with him once before and he was
okay. I didn't really want to do this job so I tried to give it to someone
else, but it didn't work out. Yesterday was our last real day there and
so I had the trailer there loading the old counters and trash the owners
left behind, etc. Of course it's in SF so I had to double park to load
things up so I had my blinkers on for a while and then I figured I'd just
turn them off. Well, the battery died so that was great, but I have a jumper
pack so I tried that out and it didn't work. Bad connection on the terminals.
Meanwhile the neighbor is trying to leave her driveway and I've pinned
her in. Got her to drive on the sidewalk and she got out. She was nice
I'm supposed to
be helping Meryl at another job right now, but obviously can't make it
so I send Antonio. Finally charged up the jumper pack and Jesus cleaned
the terminals on the battery for a better connection and we got it started.
Meryl texts me
that she got a parking ticket. Second one in two days.
Took the trailer
to another job and double parked again. Left it running while Victor and
I unloaded building materials from the truck and loaded more trash into
Then I go to another
job where we're supposed to replace some lights, hang a mirror and troubleshoot
a non-functioning light. I figure out that the switch is bad and luckily
(actually I'm just well-prepared) I had an extra switch - 1 with dimmer
and 1 without. Unfortunately I have to unhitch the trailer to get to the
drawers in the bed of the truck to access the extra switches.
Then we figure
out that Meryl didn't bring the swag hook for the light I was troubleshooting.
Luckily I have one with me in the truck at all times. Cut my thumb while
trying to fish it out of the back of the truck (it was super full from
the last job). Bleeding everywhere. Tape it up with electrical tape and
The mirror was
supposed to be removed by the painter and patched since it is glued to
the wall, but of course he didn't do his job so now we have to do it for
him. Use some picture hanging wire (always in our staging kit) to saw back
and forth behind the mirror through the mastic to get it off. Worked like
Then I get a call
from the internet company ready to setup internet at the warehouse. I drop
by there and they say it will take 2.5 hours and I need to be there the
entire time - company policy. I can't convince them that I don't care...
if they just lock the door on their way out it's fine with me. So I reschedule
for a Sunday so I can sit there watching them work on my day off.
Then I have to
deliver a check to the countertop guy because he can't wait 3 days for
the check to come in the mail.
Then I go to the
dump to unload the trailer. Dump trailer is great because I can just press
a button and it raises up to unload everything and then the hydraulic piston
lowers back down to get ready for the next load. Only it doesn't lower
back down because it's out of batteries. I google "is mercury in retrograde"
and it turns out it isn't so Astrology (oddly) doesn't explain this shitty
day. Luckily (or maybe not) I was charging the jumper pack while the truck
was running since it was depleted a bit from having to start it last time
so it was at 100%. I hook it up to the trailer battery this time and get
the trailer lowered. Uses almost 70% of the pack's charge doing it, but
we're all good again and back on the road.
Go home, unload
the trailer and the truck (it's about as full as it gets with paint supplies,
tools, drop cloths, primer, mud, etc.) and then drive to the smog test
station since I'm due for that.
Then I drive to
get the girls and then to the auto parts store to buy a new battery. Get
home and all is fine.
The number of times
my day could have been majorly derailed is crazy. This is an atypical day,
but it's the kind of thing that happens every couple weeks. There are just
so many moving parts to what I do. 5-6 people working for me. 4-12 jobs
running or pending at any given time...it's just a matter of numbers. Someone
is going to get COVID. Something is going to break. We're going to run
out of something, etc. I could have been at the first job waiting for roadside
rescue to come for a couple hours. It would have cost me a lot of time
and money. Luckily I was able to send Antonio to take care of the other
job. Luckily I charged the pack while driving so it was ready for the trailer
This morning the
truck started okay and I had Jesus replace the battery. Other crew is in
SF working on a small framing and drywall project, we're in Oakland trying
to finish some molding and paint for a woman while she's out of town. Run
out of molding so I have to run and get some more.
Along the way I
check out a job for the property management company. Woman complains that
her blinds are too dirty. She spent 4+ hours cleaning 2 of them and they
are still dirty. There are 9 in the 120 year old apartment she's renting.
The ones she cleaned looks fine to me. I tell her if that's not clean enough
then they will need to be replaced. It's a shame because they are nice
blinds and I don't really want to send them to a landfill and spend $1,000
on new ones (though I add that the property manager would most likely be
willing to do it). She agrees that it's a shame, but doesn't seem to understand
that she holds 100% of the power in her hands. If she says getting a cleaning
crew there will suffice then they remain in the apartment, not in the landfill.
Instead she continues to complain about how dirty they are. "You can't
see it as much right now, but at night it looks like the yellow stains
are moving." At this point I pretty much just shut down and take measurements
for new blinds. Then she mentions that the air quality is really bad with
the fires and that she can hear everything going on outside and both these
problems come back to her windows. They rattle and aren't air tight. That's
because she's renting a room in a 120 year old building. I try to say this
nicely. I try to point out that we can seal up the windows with foam gaskets,
but that the house itself is leaking air everywhere. This all goes in one
ear and out the other. People have no clue how leaky old homes are. People
have no idea how much old dust is in their walls being carried with the
air that's leaking through the baseboard and outlets and shower escutcheon
and plumbing penetrations and cabinets and attic access ladder and everywhere
else. So they get all worried about the little bits that they see as if
shoring that up will do anything. You're plugging up the hole in the Titanic
with your finger as if you're doing something meaningful.
I was supposed
to go to another little job, but the customer texted that she couldn't
be there after all.
We finished up
the molding/paint project and started taking up all the paper we put down
to protect the floors. Unfortunately the floor guy didn't do a good job
so the tape took up some of the finish. Should have been a clean exit,
but now I have to go back tomorrow to refinish 3 spots. We used delicate
surfaces tape and it still took up spots. I can't imagine how bad it would
have been if we hadn't done that. I carry wipe on poly with me in the truck
so I tried to touch up with that, but the color match wasn't good so I'll
try again tomorrow.
Then I get a call
from Meryl who is at the Anza paint job and the garage door won't close.
We do a video call and I tell her how to fix the issue. Cleaners probably
hit the garage door sensor on their way out or something so it wouldn't
Then I get an email
tonight that there's a gas leak on a job we worked out. Turned out it was
actually a job where we coordinated Home Depot replacing the range. According
to the tenant PG&E turned off her gas because the install wasn't done
properly. So, now I have to go there tomorrow morning to fix that.
No one does their
job so I have to pick up the pieces. HD, cleaners, painter, floor guy,
etc. This is basically a constant issue for me. It's the kind of thing
that drives some builders and remodelers to keep everything in house and
be extremely picky about the jobs they take. As soon as someone else is
in the picture there's an opportunity for failure. It's hard enough to
rely on yourself, but relying on others is a losing venture. That said,
there's truth to the adage that if you want to go fast you go alone, but
if you want to go far you go with others. I value getting shit done and
the only way that happens is with help. That means you have to put up with
all that comes with it, but you get more done that way in the long run.
Customers are the
worst part of the job. We have a big job we've been working on for about
two months now. They keep adding more things and also want it to be done
faster. I'm not sure how those things go together. In the contract we stated
that it would be 8-11 weeks if the house was vacant. The week the project
is supposed to start they ask if we'll be done in 6 weeks. Huh? The timeline
is literally in the first paragraph of the contract. These are people who
made notes/amendments about stuff on page 9 of the contract so it's not
like they didn't at least look at it. The first day I went there I told
Meryl they were going to be trouble. How
did I know? Because my little man told me. Actually, the real clincher
was the Volvo in the driveway. Volvo drivers are trouble. He's an engineer
and she's a doctor. Triple Trouble.
Once did a couple jobs for a shrink who owned a Volvo and lived in Berkeley.
That was also triple trouble. Three strikes and you're out.
Never lost money
on a job I didn't take. Need to remember that more often.
So, this is pretty
much my life on a daily basis.
"Plans are useless,
but planning is indispensable." -Eisenhower. I live this daily as well.
At noon my plan for Friday was one thing and then at 8p tonight it was
totally different. Sometimes I wonder if I just shouldn't plan at all.
It's basically pointless since shit comes up all the time. Someone calls
in sick. Customer cancels a job. Materials not available. Shipment delayed.
Emergency job comes up. Every day it's something new. Adapt and overcome
After you workout
you feel sore the next day, but that soreness is usually a "good" sore.
Is it actually a different physiological soreness or is it just your interpretation
of the same feeling? I think it's the latter. Framing and how we interpret
things is so important and we know this in so many ways and yet we insist
on framing things in damaging and unproductive ways all the time. Just
think about that with all the crap we're going through and talking about
Is it possible
to have a similar feeling about the stress you go through? Stress is something
similar to a mental workout so is it possible to interpret that mental
exhaustion as a good soreness? Definitely more difficult. Can't workout
24/7 either, but you can be stressed out 24/7.
A business' value
is the sum of all the problems it has solved. We're a pretty valuable business
by that definition.
"My World Is Empty
Without You" may be the best song ever. Holland-Dossier-Holland and Diana
Ross. Doesn't get much better.
We have 5 guys
and 1 assistant working for us now and we're busier than we've ever been.
2 guys are out with COVID right now so that's slowing things down a bit.
Part of the issue is that a lot of stuff we do people want done right away
so they can put the house on the market or move in or just have the project
over with. Everyone wants things done ASAP. If it were just me then, theoretically,
I would have months worth of work in the pipeline, but the reality is that
much of this work has an expiration date. If I can't get something done
in the next couple weeks then they'll go to someone else. So, I either
need to pass on it or mobilize enough help to gather that money. This is
the current status quo, but who knows what will happen in a year. In the
meantime I've been thinking of employees as tools. I want to have the best
tools in place to accomplish any given task. Invest in the right tools
and your life is easier or you can do more. Part of the implicit deal I
have with my guys is that I keep them busy 40 hours a week and they take
less than they would take if they were trying to hustle for one job at
a time. During COVID that meant that I had them work on my house to fill
in gaps in the schedule. But I pretty much always kept them busy (there
were just a few days that Moises had other jobs that he did) because I
think of that as my responsibility.
continue to be a thing. I guess there's a real problem with the supply
chain - things backed up at port, not enough truck drivers, etc. And everything
compounds because we're so interconnected. My own theory is that most people
are slacking off to some extent during this BS. They're working from home
and I just don't believe the studies that find that people are more productive
at home. I believe it's true for high achieving people with high trait
conscientiousness, but the majority of people aren't conscientious enough
to be left at home and get a full 8 hours done. When the cat's away the
mice will play. So, pre-COVID, people worked 8 hours and actually got 6
hours of work done. Now they work 7 hours and get 5.5 hours of work done.
Each person in the supply chain is working 2.5 hours a week less, some
people aren't working at all because they've discovered they don't like
working or whatever, some people are sick, etc. All that together equals
shortages and general annoyance.
I think we need
to go for a moon shot on the power issue. Electrical generation is a huge
issue, though it is kind of in the background most of the time. With more
electric cars we'll need more electrical generation. With more warming
more people will get AC units and we'll need more electrical generation.
In CA we're going to be decommissioning Diablo Canyon soon and that provides
something like 9% of CA's total electrical generation even though it runs
all the time and produces energy at something like 60% of the cost of the
average kWh in CA. If people really cared about global warming and thought
it was going to be the end of the world (as many people say without exaggeration)
I think nuclear would be the obvious choice. I have historically been reluctant
on nuclear and still think it comes with a lot of potential downside, but
I think it's got to be part of the mix going forward.
Back to the original
point, though...we need to shoot for fusion or some other kind of game
changer in the energy sector. Something that addresses global warming and
gives us cheap and abundant/scalable power would solve a lot of issues.
Not just global warming or pollution, but also clean water, which is poised
to be another big issue in the future. With abundant, cheap power we could
go fully into desalination like Israel or at least like San Diego which
gets 10% of its drinking water from desal. With cheap power we could then
pump that water to wherever we need. Unlocking cheap, clean power would
be a huge game changer. Fusion is always 50 years away so maybe that's
not the way to go. Maybe the answer is battery technology and solar/wind.
Whatever the answer...we need to put a lot of effort into the unsexy pursuit
of clean/cheap energy.
The CDC is now
recommending a third shot for some when the first shot hasn't even been
approved by the usual standard. So, is the usual standard total bullshit
or are we cutting corners or what?
Trying to get anything
done on almost any government webpage is an exercise in futility. I think
it's a pretty weedsy problem having to do with the government procurement
process, but the bottom line is that government websites almost always
suck. I deal mostly with CA sites so my experience is limited to that.
But we brag about how we're the #6 economy in the world and the hub of
technology and all the rest, but we can't put together sites that are designed
intuitively or function as intended. Get 1,000 CSU and UC students to intern
and they could solve most of these problems in a year. The brain power
is there, the political will to make it happen isn't.
The olympics in
track and field saw a 36% increase in national records and 45% decrease
in testing from WADA. This from the more or less podcast. So, I'm going
to go out on a limb and say that my theory and prediction on this was correct.
More records, more doping, less oversight.
Michael Lewis has
a book out about the pandemic and in one of his interviews he agreed with
me and said that blaming the pandemic on Trump is really a mistake. The
pandemic is about a lot more than Trump, and blaming his actions/inaction
is a distraction from the larger issues. This may be the way in which Trump
is the most damaging...like many bad things, it's often the outsized response
that can do more damage than the bad thing itself. Trump was a POS, but
blaming everything on him and not learning the right lessons really stunts
our collective growth. In this way, Trump Derangement Syndrome is a real
(and damaging) thing.
down pretty recently. It's too bad because this was one of the places online
you could go for the stories that the regular media wouldn't touch. Of
course, in true internet style, this meant it had a lot of unsavory stuff
on there, but being able to see unedited/uncensored dashcam video or citizen
video of stuff was really helpful when trying to get the real story. Then
again, you were pretty much guaranteed to see someone die any time you
went there so there's that.
What's wrong with
"eh" as a word indicating indifference or dissatisfaction? Why did we need
to turn it into "meh?" If it ain't broke why fix it?
First day back
to school for the girls. Pickup and drop off were a disaster so tonight
we got an 800 word essay on the new policies for pickup and drop off. Signed
by the principal "In partnership, (Principal's Name)" I just don't understand
the world or other people.
owners of a warehouse now. Got all our stuff moved out of 5 storage units
a couple weeks ago. More inventory coming in means we would have had to
rent probably 2 more units, so we got it just in time. Been working on
sorting all the stuff, getting utilities set up, planning on upgrading
electrical panels, putting in a bunch of shelving, etc. Luckily lumber
prices are coming back to earth so we're not paying an arm and a leg for
Biden had an amazing
flip flop the other week. On Monday the NYT reported, and Jen Psaki said,
that Biden didn't think it was the federal government's place to mandate
vaccines for its employees. Come Wednesday of the same week the NYT reported
that they were reconsidering their position...on Thursday they decided
that vaccines would be mandatory. I mean, this is kind of a big thing to
change your mind on in a few days. Maybe you think they made the right
decision, but to go from it's not within the purview of the federal government
to do such and such to then doing that thing within a few days seems like
a large reversal. Obama was also infamous for this on the immigration issue.
Early in his administration he said he couldn't unilaterally change immigration
policy and then, later in his administration, he issued executive orders
doing exactly what he said he couldn't do. This from a professor of Constitutional
Law. The expansion of presidential power continues as the shirking of responsibility
from Congress continues. It's pathetic and without bounds. Both sides do
it and then complain when the other side does it.
Simone Biles got
a lot of hype come this olympics. It got me looking into who the actual
G.O.A.T. in gymnastics might be and I found that, in my opinion, it has
to be Larisa Latynina of the Soviet Union. She had 18 total medals and
14 world championship medals (back when they only held the events every
four years, compared to every year today). She's undoubtedly the greatest
gymnast of all time in terms of hardware relative to her era. She was also
raised by her illiterate single mother (a cleaner) after her father left
when she was a baby and then died at the battle of Stalingrad. Not only
is she the better gymnast, but she's a greater inspiration.
Regarding the Biles
controversy, which came after I decided that Latynina is the actual GOAT...I
think she let a lot of people down and she damaged her legacy. There are
a lot of people who have as much pressure as she does and they don't quit
on their teams. In fact, I can't think of another person who is called
the best of all time or embraces that title, who walked away from a major
competition in that manner. The closest one that comes to mind was when
Scottie Pippen took off his shoes in the playoffs - and that is a pretty
infamous moment in NBA history and it hurt his legacy as well. Though no
one would ever call him the best ever.
On the other hand,
I think our culture is pretty epically flawed in the way it deals with
celebrities. We lift them up far too easily and for many of the wrong reasons.
And then we capriciously tear them down at the slightest provocation. It's
a double edged sword and it turns many average and below average people
into famous, rich, insane idiots. Britney Spears is a perfect example of
this. She's probably of average intelligence and she is praised and hated
for all sorts of mostly dumb reasons. She's put on a pedestal far too easily,
driven to insanity, given way too much of a platform, way too much money
and then it all crumbles around her because she's not super human. We almost
did the same thing to Dave Chappelle, but he's above average and he got
out just in time.
South Park did
an episode about the modern day human sacrifice aspect of our culture and
it captured things pretty well...per the usual for them.
Is it appropriate
to point out that toxic femininity is at play here? Gossip can be a very
useful social mechanism. It's an extra judicial, informal social accountability
mechanism that can warn other women (or anyone) about guys who are shady
or business people who cheat or any number of things. It's mostly a female
thing the way that many of the things that are ascribed toxic masculinity
are mostly a male thing. Unfortunately, if taken too far, gossip and the
desire for it can also throw innocent people under the bus, ruin reputations,
lead to paparazzi, etc. I don't think a lot of guys are the ones clicking
on the stories about Simone Biles' meltdown or buying her book or creating
a demand for pictures of her going to the grocery store. Just saying.
Re: the free Britney
stuff...this is a classic example of government overreach. When taking
away a person's freedom the bar has to be higher than it apparently was
in this case. She's not entirely there mentally. She's not the sharpest
tool in the shed. She should also have full control over the money she
earned with her labor. From the information I've gathered (without looking
into it independently), she appears to be in good enough condition to determine
her own fate. The State and her father have the burden of proof to prove
that she's not capable of taking care of herself, and that bar should be
set very high.
Athing Mu was a
highlight of the Olympics. She ran the 800m and led wire to wire. She's
so smooth and a great runner. Hard to believe she's only 19. Great runner.
Grant Fisher got
#5 in the 10k and I thought ran a good race. That's a good finish for a
US runner. Centrowitz didn't qualify for the 1500m final and that was a
disappointment. There was a US BMX biker who was in silver medal position
with one run to go. Instead of going hard for it she did two jumps and
sat out the last 40 seconds of her run. I'm not sure I understand that.
been going around lately is that the police started with slave patrols.
The implication here is that since that's their history it explains their
present, or it demonstrates the true purpose of the police is to keep black
people in check. I think I've touched on this before, but this is just
a really bad argument. It's like saying that Planned Parenthood is fundamentally
about eugenics since Margaret Sanger was the founder of PP and also a Eugenicist.
The next step of the argument is to point out that Blacks are disproportionately
represented in abortions. Evidently
the modern environmental movement also has racist and eugencist roots.
So, do we not trust PP or environmentalism any more?
is a thing now. Hopefully you're keeping up with the growing list. Einstein
was right to change his mind...the universe definitely is expanding.
is a threat to intelligence everywhere. Is that how that quote goes? Something
99% invisible had
a podcast episode a while back talking about the design of flags so of
course there was a racial angle and they had a black guy on who said that
he feels safe when he sees a red, green, and black flag. There's also been
some talk lately about how the American flag is triggering and threatening
for some people. This is a sad state of affairs. Regarding the red, green,
and black flag maybe Tupac should weigh in here...
trapped since birth, cautious, 'cause I'm cursed
of my family, in a hearse
And they say
it's the white man I should fear
But, it's my
own kind doin' all the killin' here
I can't lie,
ain't no love for the other side
make 'em wish I died
Oh my Lord,
tell me what I'm livin' for
droppin' got me knockin' on heaven's door"
four capitol police officers have committed suicide since the 1/6/21 insurrection.
There's a lot here...1. This seems like a very high number of people to
commit suicide because some idiots broke into a building you were supposed
to be guarding. What drives that many people to kill themselves over that?
I'm having trouble understanding why that would be your response to a stressful
time. PTSD? How many officers responded to this? 4 out of X kill themselves?
This seems a lot less stressful and a lot higher suicide rate than, say,
WW2 infantrymen. What's going on here? Does this have any precedence? Rodney
King riots....how many police officers killed themselves after that? 9/11
responders? I haven't found any context from the media on this. Another
2. This "death
by suicide" term is part of a larger change in language that has been going
on the last several year and I can't say I'm a fan. Death by suicide implies
it just happened to you. Conspiracy theories aside, suicide doesn't happen
to a person. It's something you choose to do. If we want to eliminate the
idea of free will altogether (some do) then this seems like a step in the
right direction, but count me out.
Overall there seems
to be a linguistic shift towards language that removes agency. You're not
a bum anymore. You're not even homeless. You're "experiencing houselessness."
You don't commit suicide, you "died by suicide." There are many more examples
of people changing culture with language. Sometimes it's in ways that are
supposed to be kinder and gentler, but often it's just sissy shit that
treats people like a leaf in the wind. It's called learned helplessness.
It's real and and it's rampant. It's not reality and, even if it were,
it's not helpful. People who feel like they have no control shoot up schools,
cry about every little slight, and can't handle the realities of the world.
The world isn't easy. Get tougher. What kind of weaklings are creating
the manual of style and usage books these days?
Speaking of being
tough. I see prostitutes walking the streets pretty regularly and so I
think about their lives pretty regularly. I recently heard a podcast with
an ex-prostitute and she was talking about dealing with her customers and
her pimp and the usual stuff. It occurred to me that they would make great
employees. A reformed (clean) prostitute would probably be a great worker.
She can handle herself. She's confident. She's tough. She won't put up
with any bullshit. She won't complain about working hard for 8 hours. Someone
who has been a drug addict and had to deal with all the shit that most
of the street walking type have to deal with is definitely going to be
a better, tougher worker than most of the people in the general employment
pool. I'd hire one in a second if she was clean and wanted to learn the
In the attention
economy your attention is like a vote. And yet people who hate the guy
are still paying attention to Trump. Notice that you're "paying" attention.
This is fitting. Stop paying attention to him. He's a dumb ass.
a group or sector, are arguably more powerful than tech. Harder to group
them together since an advertiser could be anyone from Budweiser down to
me advertising my business. But just remember that all the shit that tech
does for eyeballs and tracking your every move is so that they have more
to give to advertisers.
apparently can track moods of their viewers and gives advertisers the
option to choose what mood they want to advertise to. So, maybe they have
the ACLU as an advertiser and the ACLU can say that we only want to show
our ad when someone is feeling outrage or anger. This is crazy.
If you've seen
enough documentaries on the subject you've seen what women generally choose
their birth environment to be like. I wonder what the average birth environment
would look like if guys gave birth. Would it generally be dark with people
around telling them how great they're doing? If I were giving birth I'd
probably want to do it alone. Just leave me alone. This sucks and you talking
Have you noticed
how the media doesn't talk much anymore about political spending? 10 years
ago this was one of the biggest issues that the media covered. They talked
as much about the Koch brothers and Mercers and Citizens United as anything
else at the time. So, has the problem been solved? Well, in a sense, yes
it has. See, the Democrats
now outspend the Republicans (2)
(3) so it's no longer
an issue for the media. Because they are partisan, not ideological. They
don't care about the ideas, they care about the parties.
Gun ownership rates
are falling and may be at the lowest rate in our country's history. At
the same time, the number of guns is at its highest. I wish we had fewer
guns and more people owning them. Part of the problem we have is one of
understanding. I know plenty of people who are scared just at the sight
of guns. They know almost nothing about them. They think that the only
thing a gun does is kill people. Some people are a little more nuanced
and say that a gun only kills (I guess they include hunting animals in
their calculus). Maybe I've drunk the kool-aid, but I believe the adage
that guns don't kill people, people kill people. I wish people knew how
to handle a weapon so there wasn't an irrational fear of it. Same goes
for electricity or power tools. But in modern society people are disconnected
from many of the things in their life. Most people don't need a gun like
they did on the prairie and so they know nothing about them. Most people
(city dwellers any way) just pull up an app to have an electrician fix
their broken outlet instead of trying to fix it themselves. People have
less and less connection with their own existence. Pretty sad, really.
In keeping with
a more Libertarian/Anarchist bent I think the idea of Restorative Justice
makes a lot of sense from a purely hypothetical point of view. The logistics
of it might not make it practical, but the idea is a good one. Instead
of getting 5-10 years (or whatever) for felony assault, RJ would have the
victim of the crime engage with the perpetrator of the crime to come up
with a suitable punishment/method of atonement. In practice, this requires
a lot of work and some sort of middle man or facilitator to help things
along. But this seems like a much better ideal to strive towards than a
judge or mandatory minimums or the rest. True, the victim of the crime
isn't the only victim - even of a simple assault, but the idea holds that
those most directly harmed by the criminal action ought to have the greatest
say in what happens to the perpetrator. I think simply locking a person
up does a lot less for society, the victim, and the perpetrator than RJ
could. If you steal all my tools, for example, maybe I would want you to
do 1 year in jail or maybe I would prefer that you work for me to work
off the harm you did. Maybe an apology. Maybe I'd want you to go to the
flea market where you sold my tools with a sign that reads "I'm sorry for
stealing tools. Learn the lesson from me - stealing tools hurts people."
This kind of thing is almost impossible with a society our size, but moving
in that direction is a lot better than what we have now - which is almost
the worst possible thing I can imagine.
Heard this break
down the other day...average door dash order is $35.55. Driver gets $8.91.
Restaurant gets $19.97. Door dash gets $4.85, which comes to $.90 after
Heard a podcast
(I think it was the NYT Daily) the other day and they were talking about
Cuba and the problems they're having now. They gave 3 reasons for the current
troubles - Trump, Venezuela collapse, and COVID. In other words, it's never
their fault. It's not the failures of communism in Venezuela or Cuba. It's
not Cuban culture or leadership. It's everybody else. Interesting.
We have friends
who own a small cafe and music venue. They were updating their insurance
and were asked if they wanted shooter coverage.
I finally had the
time to get the vaccine. 80% of eligible bay area residents have had at
least one shot at this point. Nevertheless I hear about the Delta variant
every day from local news outlets. Meryl asked me last year how long this
was going to take to get back to normal and my answer then and now is that
we're not going back to normal. 9/11 changed normal and so with COVID.
Some people will wear masks all the time, some will wear them every winter/flu
season. When will Newsom and our leaders stop worrying about trying to
squash every last death? When will schools go back without masks? When
will the media stop covering it every day? What's the opportunity cost
of focusing on this as opposed to something else?
I think the media
is reluctant to give up on good stories like Trump or COVID or terrorism
so we'll probably be living with this as a story for another year plus.
Schools without masks... I think this may become a mandatory vaccine situation
for kids. Right now the vaccines aren't approved for kids under 12 so there's
some cover for my kids, but eventually they'll be approved and the unions
will probably push for mandatory vaccines like they do for so many other
things. Doesn't matter that there may be other effective treatments available.
Doesn't matter that it was an emergency use vaccine. Doesn't matter that
the mRNA technology hasn't been proven over time like traditional vaccines.
Those in power make decisions that allow them to stay in power. They don't
make decisions to protect their constituents. They are in the business
of power preservation and self-improvement (in the worst sense of the term).
So, I think there's
a decent chance in my area that vaccines will be mandatory in the next
couple years for kids going to public schools. If not, they will probably
still need to wear masks. The issue is about politics and the unions are
in charge so that's the direction we're going for now. Perhaps things will
change and parents and students will get sufficiently fatigued by this
b.s. and push back, but it doesn't look like that now.
I'll ask this question
again - what's the end game here? What are the criteria for Newsom and
others to get us off the COVID 24/7 train? Vaccines are widely available
for free and highly effective. We're still requiring masks in schools.
We're still limiting large gatherings. I don't think an end game or a return
to normalcy are part of the plan for most of these people, which is part
of the reason we'll never go back to the old normal. Once you have multi-million
dollar investments for metal detectors and security apparatuses at every
stadium, and the fear from the public that something bad could happen,
it becomes difficult to go back to the old system.
Close escrow on
the warehouse in 8 days if all goes well.
There's a reason a copier was in perhaps the most infamous scene in Office
Space. We can put a man on the moon, but we can't make reliable printers
that actually know when there's no more toner left, don't require some
crazy hidden reset sequence, etc. I hate printers.
Actually, I hate
most software also. Sometimes it's the printer that is awful and other
times it's the software that can't seem to figure out where the printer
is (even though it knew last week) or know that I want to print 24x36 architectural
drawings on a printer that is made for this purpose. Yesterday it prints
fine. Today it can't find the printer or says it's offline. Makes total
sense. I have very little fear of AI taking over the world any time soon.
We've been looking
for solutions to our storage problem for a while now. Meryl has the staging
business and currently uses about 1500sf in storage facility space. It's
not run very well so there have been two break-ins, problems with the gate
not being operable (limiting access to inventory), and rodent issues as
well. Altogether not great. Also, we have the issue of wanting to move
and my wanting to have a larger shop/storage for supplies. At any given
time I'll be renovating 1-5 units and may have lights, vanities, toilets,
etc. in storage for those projects. So far we've stored these things in
our shed, garage, porch, basement...but that's not very clean, secure,
So, the original
goal was to have everything in one place - new house, new shop, and new
storage for staging stuff and my work stuff. That's proving pretty difficult.
Long story short, we found a place that's 7000sf and will cost about 2.5x
what we're paying monthly for separate storage units now. Bad news is that's
a lot of extra money and we need to fork over a down payment. Good news
is that the rent won't increase every few months like storage does, the
building could appreciate, we'll be in charge of access/security/etc.,
and we could rent out some of the extra space to recoup some of the costs
if we want. Neighborhood-wise it's pretty close to the prostitutes and
one of the good size homeless encampments so that's good. Seriously, though,
it's actually closer to where Meryl's jobs are so it's better than our
NCAA lost it's
SC case so they'll have to allow athletes to get paid. This is a no-brainer
that has been a long time coming. 40 years ago a free education was pretty
much in line with the value that the athletes were bringing to their schools.
Then big money came to college sports with ESPN, etc. I think it'll be
more fair going forward, but there will be a lot of unintended consequences
so it'll be interesting to see how things pan out.
John Oliver has
full retard, which is unfortunate because I used to like him. One of
the recent essays he featured on his HBO show was about Asians. He dug
into how AAPI is a more diverse group than you might first think. He (rightly)
pointed out (as I've done before) that some Asians do better than others
and that it doesn't make sense to group Filipinos with Chinese with Maldivians.
I've pointed out before that Asians make more on average than whites. I've
written about how white vs. black is a less interesting comparison than
Asian vs. Black. But his explorations into this was pretty clearly motivated
by a desire to uphold the woke narrative of white supremacy. Ironically,
the wokesters are seemingly as invested in the white supremacy narrative
as the KKK, only in a different way. The KKK wants white supremacy to be
the Truth in that they want whites to actually be superior. The woke crowd
wants to continue the narrative that white supremacy as a power structure
is True and must be dismantled. Anything that shows white supremacy might
not be True is a threat to their worldview. Both seem to want to believe
in it. Bizarre.
So, Oliver needs
to show all the horrible ways in which Asians have been treated (all true)
and then needs to show that some Asians are still not doing very well (in
order to maintain the white supremacy narrative). But he, like many others,
seem to stop digging there. Why show that Thai-Americans aren't doing very
well relative to Taiwanese-Americans, but ignore the fact that Dutch-Americans
aren't doing very well relative to Russian-Americans? He shows the limitations
of race when talking about Asians, but doesn't seem able to apply the same
thinking to any other group. He's curious when it comes to Asians and how
different groups have different histories and income levels, etc., but
only when it supports his narrative. This is the problem with ideologues.
The other problem
I have with Oliver and Noah (who I could only stand for about a month after
Stewart left) and some of the others of this ilk is that, unlike Jon Stewart,
they seem to really not like anything about the country. Stewart would
offend the Left and (more so) the Right. He would talk shit about the government
and corporations and the media. But he'd also (occasionally) talk about
some of the great things the country offers. He actively worked to get
the 9/11 responders money for medical treatment. Oliver seems to just think
America is a shit hole: racist, poorly run, corrupt, full of idiots, etc.
Every silver lining in America's history has a cloud. Anything we did well
before, or are doing well now was racist or shitty in some way or should
be better today. I shit on the country as much as the next guy, but I will
pepper in some positivity from time to time because I'm not a total asshole.
Speaking of Jon
Stewart. Here's his take on the
lab leak theory, which is now gaining some good traction. Like I said
before, I'm pretty agnostic on whether or not it came from a lab (though
I'd probably bet on it if I were forced to pick a side today), but I'm
more concerned about the way the media and medical elites handled the entire
question. Rejecting it out of hand early on. Banning or limiting any discussion
of it on YouTube, Facebook, etc. Calling it a conspiracy theory. Never
addressing the facts...just a lot of hand waving. And of course the media
carried water for this narrative the entire time.
Here's the problem
with doing that...trust is gained by the drop and lost by the bucket. Fauci,
FB, NYT, CDC, WHO, etc. all lose credibility when they reject the idea
out of hand and call it a conspiracy theory and limit the discussion. Then
those same entities expect us to take the vaccine because they say it's
good for us. The vaccine that uses mRNA technology which hasn't been used
before. The vaccine that only has emergency approval (fastest approval
ever). If the vaccine had anything wrong with it would we hear about it
or would it be rejected with the same hand waving? These are the questions
that come up when you've been lied to. Once bitten, twice shy. When your
wife cheats on you then you're going to second guess every text she gets
or every guy friend she has or every explanation she gives for where she
So, yeah, there
are legitimate reasons (other than Tuskegee) for people to be vaccine hesitant.
One of my neighbors is a pretty liberal lady from what I can tell. She's
a lesbian living in Oakland so there's that at the very least. She's a
teacher and they are going to require her to be vaccinated and she told
us today that she's thinking about quitting her job because of it. I don't
think she's a tin foil hat person. I don't think she's a Trump or Q-Anon
supporter. And she's not Black so there isn't the Tuskegee angle. John
Oliver is the guy who will shit on the US government and large corporations
every minute of every show he puts out, but then berate people for not
trusting those same entities when it comes time for a new vaccine. It's
odd to say the least.
In case you
think I'm arguing for not talking the vaccine, let me set the record straight...It's
not that I think the vaccine is a government/corporate mind control device
or a plot to keep us under control or any of the rest. What I'm arguing
for, what I'm often arguing for, is some reasonable middle ground. The
John Olivers of the world will shit on anyone who isn't lining up to take
the vaccine right away. Yet they're the same people undermining the confidence
in the system every single time they open their mouths. "Your government
sucks and everything it does fails, is corrupt, and is racist. Your economic
system sucks. The corporations you give money to are controlling you and
will kill you if given the chance. But you're a selfish Trump supporting
idiot if you don't run out and get the vaccine (which is manufactured by
those same corporations and tested [sort of] by that same shitty government)
Seeing a lot of
world records fall during the olympic trials. My guess is that olympic
testing was either halted or severely hampered by COVID and so people could
dope with impunity for 3-12 months and build up their stamina, strength,
etc. I don't know for certain, but seeing multiple world records (some
of them very long standing) fall during the trials seems like a big outlier.
Another explanation is that athletes (who usually have another job that
pays the bills beyond being an athlete) finally had the time off to train
and that has led to an increase in performance.
We talk a lot about
a safety net in society. I guess life is a tightrope in that analogy. But
the net itself is its own sort of tightrope or bridge. So, maybe, the better
analogy is that welfare, etc. is a bridge. Conservatives want to build
a bridge that's 2' wide and without guardrails. Sure, you can get across,
but you better not make any mistakes. Progressives want to build a deluxe
moving walkway with those chain link fences on the sides and overhead (like
you see on some freeway overpasses), so it's impossible to fall off.
The forest fires
in CA produced
at least 25% more than all the burning of fossil fuels in the state.
That was from September, so it only got worse, I'm sure.
The future is here.
Another run to
the dump. Gotta get back to work.
KQED Forum did
bit on the growing shoplifting issue in the bay area. It's been going
on for years, but better late than never. If even KQED thinks it's worth
doing a story on it, then maybe there's some hope that something will be
We had a mass shooting
in Oakland this weekend. You probably didn't hear about it because gang
shootings that kill 1 and injure 8 don't get coverage the way that shootings
motivated by just killing get coverage. Kinda weird to put it that way,
but that's the truth. What's a mass shooting? I think the WaPo mass shooting
tracker defines it as any shooting where there are 4 or more deaths and
a single shooter. So this one doesn't qualify, though I'm not sure that
matters much. It happened at Lake Merritt which is interesting because
we were at Lake Merritt that morning dropping off some pastries and cash
for a drummer (Aaron) we like who always plays on the corner on weekends.
I was thinking that Lake Merritt is undeniably one of the best things about
Oakland and it was nice seeing so many people out for Juneteenth. We stopped
by the curb while Zoe got out of the car to deliver the box and cash and
while she was running out to do that a cop told us we needed to keep it
moving because there was no stopping on the curb that day. Plenty of cops
by the lake that day.
Later, we were
driving on the freeway near the Lakeshore exit and saw the cops shutting
down the freeway and I had a thought that something may have happened at
the lake, but hoped it was just too busy and so they were diverting traffic
for some reason. This shit happens too much.
Now that you can
choose your gender does that mean it's not an immutable characteristic
and thus not subject to discrimination laws like race is? Probably not,
but just a thought.
Saw a car the other
day that had only two bumper stickers: "Coexist" and "Republicans for Voldemort."
Kinda hard to coexist with someone when they think you're evil. This isn't
a winning strategy.
One thing about
driving around town a lot is that you see a lot of stuff out there. Here's
a company I saw the other day. Melanin
Maids. I don't even know what to say.
One of the most
important attributes for kids might be the ability to tell truth from bullshit.
A healthy skepticism is important. Something I should work on more with
I can't decide
if yoga pants are the best thing ever or the worst.
Been watching more
NBA lately. Don't have to think much and can do work while I watch it.
It's amazing how much the game has gone to the 5 out offensive scheme and
avoiding the midrange game like it's the plague. 20 years ago a 10' open
shot would be the next best thing to a layup/dunk. Nowadays they pass up
those shots for contested 3 pointers. I'm sure there's data to backup or
contest my assertion, but it seems like most of the offensive possessions
have fewer passes. Or, at least, there are many more possessions with one
or fewer passes. Maybe the mean number of passes is similar, but the median
number is lower and the modal number may have been four 20 years ago and
is one today. Not a huge fan of this change.
Would the Beatles
have been formed if they were alive today? I think the average guy that
age would be less likely to be in a band. Probably making their own music
on a computer. Maybe one or more of them would have been distracted by
other interests like video games or porn or whatever. I think it's very
likely that the Beatles wouldn't be formed today. Also, let's say they
were formed....I don't know that the culture today would support the kind
of live gig work that they did early in their career which led to their
later success (as has been argued by Gladwell). Further, let's say they
all got together and were able to practice as much as they needed to refine
their craft....what would they sound like? I think they came up during
a time that the available technology and instruments were limiting enough,
yet opened enough possibilities. The work they did with tape loops and
sitars and everything else in the studio. Would they have been too distracted
if they had everything at their fingertips like musicians today do? Or
would they have been even better? I think we're very lucky to have gotten
what we got from them.
My average day
is working 7a-5p and then again after the girls go to bed for another 1-3
hours. Sometimes I stay up real late and catch up on emails, proposals,
invoicing, and other business stuff. I've tried to be good about job costing,
but it's hard to keep up with everything and job costing is one of the
first things to go.
The staging part
of the business has grown a lot the last year. Meryl started it last year
and, even with COVID, it did pretty well. Honestly, I don't know why people
are willing to pay thousands for staging, but the reality is that they
do. We're talking $10k for a $2m home so I think the level of home changes
the dynamic somewhat. People aren't doing the same for $700k homes. Last
week she staged a $6m home and I thought it was way overpriced. It sold
in a day. Then the business fell through because it was revealed that both
neighbors were going to be doing major renovations. Then it sold to a new
person in another day. The home was staged a total of less than two weeks.
For me, a staged
home doesn't do anything, but I'm an exception. And there's a truism in
real estate that women buy homes. So you're really selling to women for
the most part and staging is part of the window dressing that helps people
envision themselves in the home.
At any rate, that
part of the business not only makes a bit of money on its own....hopefully
more now that our inventory is such that we shouldn't need to continue
to pump as much money into it...it also sells our turnaround services and
Meryl's design services. So, agents see a nicely staged home and inquire
about that and then Meryl tells them that we can paint and clean up the
house before staging as well. My team does the fixing and her team does
the staging. One stop shop for the agent or homeowner. Also, some people
see the staging and think it looks nice and want Meryl to help with design
work so that helps keep her busy. Staging is effectively a marketing tool
that also makes us money.
The downside this
last year is that the staging has cost us probably $200k+ in inventory
and it costs to house all that inventory if it's not at a job site. So,
we continue to look for a warehouse to buy to keep those costs fixed, keep
security in house, keep rodent control under our control, etc. The storage
unit we have now (actually we have five) has been broken into twice in
the last year and consistently has rat shit in it (seen a couple a few
times as well).
My team is at 4
guys. Meryl has 1 guy. We share 1 woman who helps with administration type
stuff and she's based in Irvine (used to live up here, but moved). In total,
our business helps put food on the plate for at least 18 people plus the
4 people in our family. Meryl recently hired Kevin, who is Edwin's (who
I've mentioned before) nephew. Edwin's brother also works for us. Moises
is in Mexico now, but his brother and brother in law both work for us.
By far the best method of finding good employees has been word of mouth.
I found Moises through my electrician (who used to be married to Moises'
sister) and then Moises found Edwin and the other guys for me.
If Google isn't
doing it already, it's only a matter of time. They could easily predict
dementia based upon your searches. Maybe more typos or certain kinds of
typos. Maybe repeat searches for the same thing or the same kind of thing.
The AI will know about your health issues before you do. Of course they
already know about your pregnancy or STD before others when you search
for pictures of herpes or when you buy "what to expect when you're expecting."
I'm sure all this is well known already so I'm not saying much here. They
could sell this to insurance companies or whomever else. A free internet
has had a lot of unintended consequences. Free internet = advertising supported
internet = need for more data to craft ads more specifically = no privacy
Back hurting the
last few days. Went to Disneyland and spent too much time in the car and
it was hurting before that. Being in the car and sleeping in a hotel bed
made it worse.
It's the girls'
birthdays in June so that was the occasion. Wanted to go before they opened
up fully and got crazy busy. I think it was at a higher capacity than it
was supposed to be, but whatever. I'm not a huge Disney fan in general,
but I don't dislike them like I used to. I think being wholesome isn't
such a bad thing after all. Disneyland is pretty trippy. I think being
there is more exercise than most of the people there will get all year,
but it's offset by all the shit they eat while they're there. It's all
about the kids, though. I had a good time watching them have a good time.
They had a great attitude the entire time and never turned to brats. Merritt
got hot (and grumpy as a result), but we kept her hydrated and shaded and
she did pretty well after that. She was scared of the rides that were fast
or dark so I skipped Space Mountain while the others went on it. Our Irvine
employee, Abby, happened to be there so we met her and her husband there
and they went on Space Mountain with Meryl and Zoe. We stayed there all
day and all night and didn't walk back to the motel until almost 11p. Girls
were great. Ryan was there also, but at the other park, which I remember
being a parking lot last time I went...how things change. Couldn't meet
up with him since neither of us had the park hopper ticket.
Nothing is worse
than a vacation where you spend money and try to do something special and
then have the kids be brats about it. We're pretty lucky that our kids
aren't brats and, if they do start down that path, we put an end to it
I don't like writing
about celebrities, but this one might be instructive. Chrissy Teigen has
been caught up in some controversy. Apparently she has been pretty bitchy
and bullying in the past and that is coming out now. She is being put upon
the altar as the latest sacrifice to the mob. In some ways maybe she deserves
to have some of this thrown back in her face. She told people they should
kill themselves and stuff like that. Not nice and especially crappy when
she appears to think she's a pretty great person these days with virtue
signaling - often in the form of going after Trump, the Right, etc. It's
a case of the Left eating itself. But it brings up a question I've had
for a long time...what does one need to do to atone? What magic noises
does a person need to make with their mouth to move on? Louis CK said sorry
and took some time off. He went through the grinder just like everyone
else. Teigen has issued several solid (IMO) apologies and continues to
get pilloried. I think there's a collective catharsis that needs to happen
before these sinners are allowed to move on. As noted before, I'm very
much in favor of accountability, but there has to be a way to retain accountability
without canceling someone forever or by mob fiat. I'm no great admirer
of Teigen...I don't know much about her and couldn't care less as she's
just another random celebrity to me. That said, we need to allow people
The death of organized
religion in our culture is something I probably would have been cheering
for 10 years ago...today I'm not so sure I was right to do that. Sure,
it has its limitations and weaknesses. Some religions have a checkered
past and all that, but if we eliminate religion what takes its place? Everything
in life is trade-offs. This is one of those truths that needs to be beaten
into your head from day one and forever.
Well, today we
don't have religion...certainly not on the Left, and so what has filled
that god shaped hole in the soul of Leftists? Some make their own rules
and maybe they are the ubermensch Nietzsche wrote about. I would suggest,
though, that many worship at the alter of wokism or anti-racism or social
justice or other causes of the day. They become part of the woke mob that
sacrifices Chrissy Teigen. Sometimes it is a righteous sacrifice (Teigen,
perhaps...Weinstein, certainly) and other times they might get it wrong
(going after Justin Timberlake for cultural appropriation might be an example
or Nicholas Christakis). Our original sin is slavery. They must be evangelicals
for the cause (silence is violence). We're all born sinners (Americans
are corporatists, racists, colonialists. Plus, we all have implicit bias).
They search for purity not in Jesus, but in anti-colonialism (see: Indigenous
cultures are at the apex in Leftist thought today) and environmentalism
(see: crying Leftists scared of global warming, calls to protect ANWR or
Keystone Pipeline or old growth forests). Embracing the ascetic (at least
in words). The analogs go on and on. It's been interesting to hear more
and more stories about scientists and Left-leaning NGOs looking to indigenous
cultures for advice on how to deal with forest fires or other environmental
questions. It seems to be part of this larger idea that the indigenous
1) are more pure and 2) are more in touch with the environment than we
are. We are more tainted by our evil society than they are.
For me, the best
I've got is helping people who need help. That god shaped hole that people
talk about is a real thing and I think it probably refers to the desire
of most to believe in something larger than themselves and to be a part
of something bigger than themselves. I have no war to fight and no religion
to follow so I try to build a good family, grow my business, and try to
help my employees in the process.
Disneyland is the
kind of consumerist paradise that I really hate sometimes. Same with Las
Vegas. But it's also getting in touch with the Dionysian and that isn't
such a bad thing from time to time.
What is the acceptable
level of deaths as a result of COVID? Guns? Cars?
CA has supposedly
reopened now. Most people are still wearing their masks most of the time.
At least that's my observation in SF/Oakland. There are a bunch of memes
going around about wanting to take off your mask, but not wanting to look
like a Republican. JFC. The masking as a partisan issue thing is so fucking
dumb. Trump certainly helped make this worse.
CA is doing a lottery
for vaccinations. This is one of the better ideas they've adopted. Steven
Leavitt had this idea like a year ago, iirc, along with several other economic
style ideas to put the brakes on this thing. Unfortunately the government
mostly just said stay home and we'll give you a bunch of money and that
didn't work very well. But we have an obese country and no one talks about
that for some reason. Whatever.
How long are we
going to be scared about COVID? There are literally thousands of strains
of this thing. We've known about this for a long time, but the media didn't
really play this up until the vaccine came out. UK did a lot of testing
on the strains, which is (not) coincidentally why we saw a couple "UK strains."
Now they are playing up the Delta strain. If there are infinite strains
of this virus do we wear masks and shelter in place sporadically forever?
Trump should have
been all over the China issue...on COVID, on intellectual property laws,
on fair trade policies, on Uighurs, on Taiwan... But he sucks at everything
he does so, even when he happened to have the right instincts on an issue
(often for the wrong reason), he still managed to fuck it up. What a failure.
Work has been insane
lately. Meryl has been slammed and took on more work than she should have.
I've got four guys working for me and we can barely keep up. One guy is
Moises' older brother who was working for the union, but decided to work
with me instead. That's three guys who have left the union to work with
me. I'll take that as a compliment.
There's a case
that went to the supreme court about a cheerleader who complained online
about cheer (she didn't make the team or something) and the school reprimanded
her for her online ranting. So, it's literally a supreme court case now
when a teenager complains online about school. I understand the ramifications
of it and I'm not going to wade into where free speech ends, maybe that's
for another day. However, I will point out what I've pointed out before
- there's an epidemic of bad parenting. And I'll expand that to include
bad mentoring of all kinds. This is a case where adults should take over
and have a discussion with the girl about what she's saying online and
how she should handle herself online and how she should handle disappointment,
etc. This isn't a big deal. It's a teen being frustrated and angry. The
school should work with the parents to find a suitable solution here. Instead
everyone's going to court. Going to court means that someone has failed
at being an adult. Could have been a teachable moment, but now it's a supreme
court case. Failure of leadership.
We've gotten to
the point where Rage Against the Machine is downright moderate in some
of its lyrics. For example, in Killing in the Name (infamous for its ending
repeated refrain "fuck you I won't do what you tell me....") there's a
line that goes "some of those that works forces are the same that burn
crosses." In other words, some police officers are in the Klan. Contrast
that with some graffiti I saw the other day in Berkeley that read "all
cops are Derek Chauvin." The first lyric by RATM has some subtlety and
allows for the possibility that not all cops are evil. The second suggests
that all cops are murderers.
We're living through
some truly nutty times.
Listening to NPR
has gotten really strange lately. Heard a piece
about diet culture the other day on Forum. It was a 40 minute program
that essentially posited that being fat might correlate with health problems,
but it isn't the cause of health problems in all cases. "There's no such
thing as bad foods" "We want people in our home to take up space" they
referred to the "cult of thinness"...there was even a bit about how "the
Kardashians have appropriated looks that are culturally black, and they're
not black." A lot of really odd stuff being put out there these days and
it's blatantly anti-science from an organization (KQED/NPR) that claims
to be all about science. Two people who called in pushed back slightly.
One was a physical therapist who pointed out that being overweight does
have some long term effects on joints, etc. I think most reasonable people
can agree that being fat shouldn't relegate you to a second class citizen
and it shouldn't mean you get ridiculed. However, to have the pendulum
swing so far in the other direction is just getting nutty. I honestly couldn't
make this shit up. The bit about the Kardashians was really laugh inducing.
Looks like the
lab leak theory of COVID-19 is finally getting some traction. Like most,
I heard about this theory early on in the pandemic and, like most, I mostly
discarded it when the so-called experts said it was a conspiracy theory
and that COVID definitely didn't come from a lab. But then I heard Eric
Weinstein and others talking about it and thought maybe there was more
to the story than the media and experts let on. Now it looks like it's
getting mainstream attention. A group of scientists signed onto wanting
an investigation into the possibility and On the Media, NPR, and others
are reporting on the idea as at least plausible.
What's really frustrating
about this isn't that the virus may have been leaked from a lab (purposely
or accidentally), it's the fact that the gate keepers (scientists and mainstream
media) brushed it aside as if it were a Q-Anon level hoax. On KQED's (local
NPR affiliate) Forum they explored the story with David Frum and he said
that the theory was so quickly brushed aside because it was associated
with Trump and his anti-China bias and they didn't want people latching
onto that. This is what's frustrating. When science and good reporting
take a back seat to politics and potential perceptions. They did this same
bullshit with the mask recommendations by saying we didn't need to wear
masks. Anyone with a brain realized that masks would help, but Fauci and
others said, with a straight face, that masks wouldn't help.
So, the end result
is that they damaged their credibility greatly by saying you don't need
masks (we're lying to you so that you don't take mask supply from front
line workers) and by brushing aside the lab leak theory as a conspiracy
(we're lying to you because it's associated with Trump and the far right
and we don't want an anti-asian backlash?). They must really think we're
We're living in
a post-truth world. Institutions have so damaged themselves at this point
that it's becoming increasingly difficult to point to NPR, NYT, Fauci,
WHO, CDC, mainstream news outlets, scientists, etc. as bastions of Truth.
Everyone has an agenda and giving you the Truth is hardly ever a part of
The fact of this
is part of the reason we got Trump, by the way. Oddly, but understandably,
people wanted a truth teller and thought that Trump was the guy. He's the
guy who admitted that the system was rigged and he knew how to play it.
He was seemingly unafraid of telling the truth that no other politician
before him would tell. Of course he turned out to be probably the biggest
liar in presidential history so that didn't work out, but you can understand
how a certain type of person, who pays attention only a bit, could see
him saying things no politician ever said before and be fooled into thinking
that this guy doesn't have a filter like the other phonies we usually get.
Sure, he's a piece of shit, but he's saying shit that no one else admits
so maybe he's the change Washington DC needs.
Speaking of anti-truth.
There's a bit of a stir about hot cheetos...Planet Money (one of my favorite
a story (one of their worst episodes, more on that later) about a guy
who claimed he came up with the idea of flamin' hot cheetos because he's
a latino and latino culture likes spicy things and his idea took off. Well,
turns out that the story of Richard Montanez inventing flamin' hot cheetos
probably isn't true. LA times ran a piece on it shortly after Planet Money.
What's interesting here is that people are invested in this idea because
he's latino. If it was a white guy the story never would have been run
by Planet Money. They bent over backwards to do the story even though it
doesn't really have anything to do with economics. It's a puff piece with
some economics window dressing and it turned out to be wrong. This is what
happens when you are motivated by a certain point of view. You saw it with
American Life when they reported on how Apple was abusing labor as
well. They liked the guy who did the story. They liked the narrative. They
liked the message and so the reporting got sloppy. When you want something
to be true you don't do anymore digging. I've written about this before.
The other bit about
this cheetos story is that the latino community is upset about it. Forum
had an episode about it and one guy was saying essentially that his
group was standing by Richard Montanez because he's latino. Meanwhile,
Gustavo Areano was standing by the LA Times fact check that asserts that
Montanez was lying because he thinks that's the true story. If you listen
to the program you'll see that one of the guests essentially admits that
he's sticking by Montanez because people always want to tear down latinos
and so he's saying Montanez invented flamin' hot cheetos in an effort to
stand by latinos. It's the kind of racial identity politics that is really
awful, but completely acceptable (in polite society) and predictable (thanks
to racialized thinking).
This is the kind
of anti-truth, racialized thinking we're going to continue to see for a
while. We've lost our collective minds and don't care about Truth anymore.
Perhaps that's okay. Perhaps it's going to be beneficial to view everything
racially now. "That woman didn't hold the door open for me because she's
white." "That guy crossed the street because I'm black." You can do this
for essentially every single interaction you have. Believe me, I've done
it. I guess I listen to NPR too much. You should try it as well. Listen
to NPR all day for a week. Then pretend you are black or female or trans
or unibrow having
or whatever and notice every time a person looks at you a little long or
averts their gaze quickly after seeing you look at them or doesn't hold
the door open for you or doesn't wave you on when you get to the stop sign
at roughly the same time while driving or helps someone else in the middle
of helping you at Home Depot or doesn't smile at you when you get to the
register, but they do smile at someone else or only tips you 15% when other
people have been giving you 20% lately or or or... It goes on forever and
you can make it about race or gender or whatever as much as you want....because
THAT'S YOUR TRUTH.
Don't get it twisted,
though. This isn't the same as saying that discrimination doesn't exist.
I've pointed out before that it does, and probably always will. I've pointed
out that we all want to live long, to be old, essentially....and yet ageism
is a real thing. If we discriminate against a thing we eventually want
to be, then is there any hope that there will never be discrimination based
upon other things? So, yeah, some of those perceived slights and microagressions
may be real. And maybe you're so great at reading minds that you even know
which ones are real, in which case all the more power to you. But I think
it's probably a more honest, helpful, and healthy approach to assume good
intentions as much as possible.
Julia Galef recalls
an idea in her new book, but I forget who it's attributed to. Basically
it posits that it's best to eschew as many identifying groups as possible
because once you identify with a group you are tied to them and will feel
compelled to defend the group. I've written about this before with regards
to my not belonging to the two major parties. It's quite freeing to not
have to defend one party or another. I did vote for Biden, but I think
I've so far avoided defending him too much just because of that fact. At
any rate, when you identify with any group you are more likely to want
to defend that group and you see that with the flamin' hot cheetos story,
as pathetic as that sounds. This mindset is the soldier mindset where you
have an idea (or an identity in this case) and you feel compelled to defend
Galef's book (Scout
Mindset), by the way, is good and recommended. Most books basically follow
the formula of giving the grand narrative and then restating it in as many
ways as possible in order to fill up space or flesh the idea out. It's
one reason why I prefer podcasts over books. I think podcasts distill the
ideas more than books usually do. Scout Mindset falls into that category,
but it's still an important idea and the last chapter and conclusion are
worth it. The general thesis is that having a scout mindset is about trying
to find out the reality of things instead of having a point of view and
then defending it. That's a shitty summary, but you get the idea and I'm
tired. I like everything she does.
I linked it above...check
out the unibrow
video. Mark Rober is good and the fact that people discriminate against
unibrows is just another way of pointing out that discrimination is inevitable
and ubiquitous. Check
out this video as well. I like Eddie and the guy he's talking with
points out in the end that discrimination happens all over and people will
always find a way to discriminate....because they're people.
Lex Fridman was
talking with Sam Harris (?) about life and human suffering (I forget the
exact context) and Lex (who was born in Russia) pointed out that he knew
Sam Harris wasn't Russian because Sam said something about life being about
pursuing happiness or something along the lines of human flourishing being
avoiding suffering. I wish I remembered the exact context and quote. Essentially,
though, it was about the Russian worldview being steeped in the reality
of life as suffering. This resonated with me. Perhaps this is my inner
Russian Jew coming out, but I don't expect life to be great. Part of life
is that it sucks and involves suffering. I've written about this in various
ways before. Americans expect free healthcare and internet and everything
else. I don't suffer under the illusion that any of these things are guaranteed.
In some ways I'm just happy I'm not fighting off a warring tribe every
week while foraging for food.
guy who does a lot of moving for us and he put it like this: "Americans
believe in happy endings." I think that's well put. Americans expect everything
to work out. We expect that things will go well. It's good to be optimistic,
but it also comes with some entitlement so it's a double edged sword of
sorts. I definitely expect less than the average person in these ways.
When COVID hit I pretty much took it as a return to reality. For me, in
some ways, polite society, with everything working, is the exception -
not the rule. Chaos is the natural state of things, not order.
frustrating for me is when we say things are supposed to be ordered, we
claim we live in a law abiding culture, we claim that there are cultural
norms and mores and all the rest, but in reality no one is doing their
job and everything sucks. I prefer we drop the pretense and just assume
things are all going to shit. When COVID first broke that was the mindset
I had and it was actually a better place to be in some ways.
The Bay Area is
in full shit hole mode lately. Perhaps I should be more accurate. Oakland
and SF are the real shit holes. Homelessness is totally rampant at this
point. Oakland will try to clean things up from time to time, but it's
pointless. A couple examples 1.
has long been a cess pool. It's a city that supposedly cares about liberal
values more than any other and yet they have yet to find a way to solve
the open air drug market and help significant numbers of people out of
chronic poverty. If you go to the Tenderloin video and read between the
lines, the police chief says he's going to keep doing his job and give
other people a chance to do theirs. By this he means he's going to give
the DA the chance to prosecute people for their crimes. The DA hasn't been
doing a lot of prosecuting of crimes in SF for a while now. The most famous
statistic I've seen is that a couple years ago there were 30k+ car break-ins
and 1 prosecution (which failed). This is essentially allowing people to
do whatever they want. CA also passed prop.
47 which allowed for looser penalties for small crimes and we may be
seeing the effect of that now.
in Oakland are still boarded up while remaining in business. Every day
I see burnt out cars and the kind of thing you see in post-apocalyptic
movies. I helped board up a woman's front window the other day (second
time I've done it for her in the last year) because her home was shot at
during a drive-by that involved someone else. She called 311, which is
supposed to help with this kind of thing, and they said that the police
have to initiate this kind of service. 1. Why? 2. Why didn't they do that
last night when they were collecting shell casings and interviewing witnesses?
So then she called a few different services and only one of them called
back. They wanted $4,000 to board up a single window (3' x 8'). So the
property manager called me and I took care of it the same day.
I was in SF today
and I saw two women get into a car accident on my way to a job. On my way
back I saw a tree branch that fell on a car and was blocking almost the
This is the
kind of stuff I see on a weekly or daily basis. This is the kind of thing
that happens when a society falls apart.
Okay, so I wanted
to finally revisit the CA vs. TX vs. FL COVID response. I want to look
at it since the TX governor said "we're open for business" and effectively
went against all the suggestions to keep mask restrictions, etc. I also
want to look at the bottom line number for the entire pandemic to see if
CA (which as been in various states of lockdown since relatively early)
did demonstrably better than FL (which was slow to respond and quick to
reopen schools, etc.).
Some factors that
might affect things other than the lockdown status (state government response)...population
density, population makeup (age, race, income). Local restrictions, which
might vary quite a bit depending upon county. Ideally we would look at
things zip code by zip code and compare public policy and demographics
and figure things out. With that in mind, it's too much work for me to
look into all those variables and come up with a really great idea of how
much each factor played into the death toll so I'll just do what's easy
and I think at least somewhat instructive considering the perceived importance
of the gap between CA and TX/FL.
One other note
is that I'm looking at the deaths per million people statistic. It's less
reliant upon testing, less likely to be manipulated, and is adjusted for
population. So here are the numbers...
CA is doing the
best of the 3 I'm looking at. 1586 deaths per million compared to 1679
and 1765 for FL/TX respectively. So, TX is about 11% worse than CA and
FL is about 6% worse.
If you look at
the top chart and the bottom chart, you'll see that both FL and TX did
better than CA in that time. CA went +286, FL went +260, and TX (whose
governor was lambasted for spiking the football too early) went +267. All
pretty close, but CA actually did the worst of the 3. Could be because
of a bad vaccine roll out, but, according to Google the vaccination rate
for CA is 39.3%. FL is lower at 36.2% and TX is lowest at 33.1%. So, FL
and TX are worse than CA at vaccination and far more open from an economic
and social standpoint, but they have done better than CA since 3/2/21 when
Greg Abbott opened up the state and only 6-11% worse than CA overall.
I think these numbers
point towards a much more difficult story than what we're being told by
the mainstream narrative. Public policy seems to have an effect, but it
doesn't appear to be the huge difference that many think...at least on
the state level. Again, we could look at zip code level stats and demographics
like age or BMI or something, but the bottom line for me is that CA destroyed
education for a year+, destroyed the lives of many lower income earners,
destroyed many small businesses, increased
deaths of loneliness, etc. and the result isn't as clearly better as
you might hope.
Another way of
looking at it is, if CA had done 11% worse (same rate as TX) they would
have had 69,739 deaths, which would have been an additional 7,080 deaths.
One question I've
had since very early on is how many deaths is acceptable? The prevailing
wisdom amongst the orthodoxy right now is that no deaths are acceptable.
I've heard these exact words from a teachers' union representative, in
fact. But, what's the actual number? We accept deaths from all sorts of
things all the time. What number of deaths would we accept to have our
economy back or to be able to visit our dying grandma (check the This American
Life episode linked above) or to have school back in session so our kids
can learn and we can go to work? Is 7,000 deaths in 16 months, in a state
of 40 million okay?
As Nate Silver
pointed out...if you've gotten your vaccine and you're not changing your
behavior then that's a pretty good sign that you're overreacting.
There's an idea
of Truth (with a capital T) and poetic truth. The Truth is what I think
most people think of when they hear the word...it's the actual thing that
actually happened. You can play epistemological games and get philosophical
about it, but let's say that such a thing exists. Either a thing happened
or it didn't. Then there's the poetic truth, which is what we seem to have
in today's "post truth" world. It's the thing that is true enough, or,
even if it isn't true, gets at a fundamental truth. So, the poetic truth
might not be a thing that happened, but it could have happened because
of how the world is. Poetic truth maybe didn't happen in this instance,
but it has happened before so, hey, it's close enough. "Hands up, don't
shoot" is a poetic truth. Eric
Holder's DOJ found as much and yet it's a myth that persists. Supposedly,
Michael Brown said it before he was killed in cold blood. It's an inconvenient
truth that Brown was not a boy scout and was actually fighting with the
cop before he was killed. But, something like the narrative around the
Brown shooting certainly could have happened, and certainly has happened
elsewhere in the past...so it's true enough. At least that's how the argument
To what extent
does it matter that the poetic truth isn't the Truth?
Crypto market took
a dump today. I actually cashed out 80% of my position last week so I got
lucky on that. My worry about BTC (which I've never owned) is that it could
seemingly be easily replaced. Gold is gold and will always be useful and
important. BTC could be replaced tomorrow by someone who figures out a
better version (maybe it takes less power to mine or fixes some other issue
with BTC). Since BTC can't change, it could be obsolete with a better competitor.
I think the crypto
market is a bit bonkers and indicative of society. It changes rapidly and
doesn't seem to have any actual value behind it (in many cases). Unlike
stocks, which are connected to real companies with earnings and disclosures
and the rest, it appears as though crypto has a lot less behind it (thus
making valuation difficult). It seems the way to make money on it is the
same way you make mony on GME stock. Find the popular coin of the day and
invest short term. Less an investment and more an attempt at making money
out of nothing. Or maybe it's just a wealth transfer of sorts.
more signs of inflation...
If you think cops
aren't thinking about this
kind of interaction every time they make a stop then you're not paying
attention. I guarantee that there are hundreds of videos like this where
it's a close call or a cop gets killed that make the rounds with cops.
They talk about them in training and cops surely share them with each other.
I've seen dozens so I know the cops have seen even more. And I've seen
some of the training videos where they break this stuff down frame by frame
and talk about the mindset you have to have to stay alive. Unfortunately,
that mindset doesn't go well with regular policing. Any reform we suggest
has to keep all these things in mind. Most of the reforms I'm seeing from
the BLM crowd don't take any of this into account.
Been looking for
a warehouse space for a while now. The goal is to have all our work and
home stuff in one space so 1) we don't have to keep paying for storage
costs (which go up every few months) 2) have everything in one secure place
3) have everything in one place so it's easier for Meryl to manage her
staging inventory 4) have a bigger space for my tools/materials 5) move
so we don't have to be around our annoying neighbors 6) get a bit closer
to the amenities we like to be around. Can't recall if I've written about
this here yet. The long and short of it is that we've been looking for
a while. Found a place a few months ago that ticked all the boxes, but
it had two tenants so that would have been a challenge and it sold to someone
else anyway so... Now we've found another place, but it's 21,000 sf and
way more expensive than we can afford, but, if we rent out portions of
it, and get it for well below asking price, then it gets to a place that's
doable. Those are big ifs so we'll see. Meryl needs about 2000 sf for her
inventory and I'd like the same for my materials and shop space. The living
space could be 1500 sf and that would be good enough. We would need to
get our office in there somewhere as well.
One of the unintended
consequences of the "green economy" (pot) is that it has driven up the
cost of any warehouse type space quite a bit. This one may not be affected
by that, though, since it's near a school and they tend to be wary of that.
Crypto has been
really big the last six months or so. Wish I had gotten into it earlier.
The only two players that I see as solid at this point are ETH and BTC.
BTC has gone up like 500% in the last year and ETH has gone up 1.5k%
in that time. BTC I see less as an alternative to cash and more as an alternative
to gold. It's a store of value and hedge against inflation. ETH is potentially
the platform for the future. The problem with both of them is that valuation
is tough to justify since it's such a new market. I think people are still
figuring it out. My (small) stake in ETH has doubled since I went in. Obviously
I wish I had put in everything with returns like that in such a short time
I think this is the tough point with all crypto. Ultimately it's a supply
and demand thing of course, but that's not saying much. My hunch is that
ETH is much more likely to go up 10x in 10 years than it is to go down
10x in that time. In that way, the valuation seems to be on the side of
buying. I think there are more things that could drive the cost up than
down. Unlike BTC, ETH is dynamic and holds real value beyond a store of
value since it's a platform for potentially game changing things. Hopefully
those things come to fruition and it becomes the game changer that people
think it could be.
I have been going
on and on about inflation and MMT for a while now and it's one of those
things where I'll either be wrong or I'll be wrong until I'm right. I still
just don't see how the government can pump so much money into the economy
without a negative consequence. I don't know where/how it will all go wrong,
but I think it has to. The point of these black swan type events is that
you don't see them coming. Economists will measure inflation like they
always have and everything will look fine and then the shit will hit the
fan and they'll realize there was a blind spot somewhere and they'll start
measuring that for next time.
possibility is that shortages (like we're seeing in everything from
packets to chlorine)
could be one manifestation of inflation. Where we don't have shortages
we have straight up price increases like lumber, copper, metal, and more.
Ultimately, I just don't believe the super genius MMT folks.
news, I've been trying to have an abundance mindset lately, as opposed
to a scarcity mindset. In my work I've always worried about the next job
and trying to get whatever job opportunity is in front of me because I
don't know if tomorrow will bring another job. It's one of the worst things
about running your own business and part of the reason that I think business
owners are a bit more conservative. They are more in tune with the natural
law of the wild and I think that aligns more with at a conservative mindset.
That is, there are no guarantees in life. Be happy with what you have.
Do the responsible thing and save because a rainy day could always be around
the corner. When you are an employee, your mindset is very different. You
have much more security. Your thoughts aren't about where your next paycheck
(customer) is coming from, it's about how your job could offer more benefits,
etc. I think the employee mindset is more aligned with the left and the
employer mindset is more aligned with the right. Couple the mindset shift
with things like writing a check every quarter to the government (as opposed
to automatic deductions every two weeks...which you don't even really see
anymore because of auto deposit) and it's no wonder that the self-employed
tend to skew conservative. Of course there's also self-selection bias there....maybe
you're less likely to go out on your own if you have a leftist mindset
in the first place. It's also interesting that some of the most secure
people in their positions are tenured college faculty and they also tend
to be very highly Democratic. Hmm.
Anyway, I've been
trying to shift my mindset from one of worrying about where the next customer
is coming from, to one of abundance...thinking the best of future business
prospects, rather than the worst. We've kept busy regardless of how many
people we've had - from 0 to 4 people working under me in the field and
haven't done any marketing for years, so maybe it's time to worry less
about how many jobs are out there. Instead, maybe we should worry about
finding the jobs we want, rather than just filling the calendar. We'll
see how that goes and if I can be right about the macroeconomic situation
and also not foolish to believe that this new mindset is a good way to
run a business.
I remember voting
yes on the high speed rail proposition in 2007-ish when it was on the ballot.
My thinking was 1) it's going to take longer and cost more than they say,
but 2) it'll be great when it's done anyway. It's increasingly looking
like I was wrong on that second point and I underestimated just how much
#1 was going to be true. This is the kind of thing that I think Democrats,
Democrat apologists, and big government allies have to answer to. California
is the natural result of the policies that those people support and high
speed rail is one of those programs that those people love (including me
at one time). And yet here we are. It's 10+ years in the making and we
have essentially nothing to show for it. At some point you need to be able
to point to things that work if you're going to be an ally for a certain
position. So, if you have Democratic rule in a city or state for 20-50
years like it is in CA and many large cities, and yet you have rampant
homelessness, crime, income inequality, etc. then your ideas have to answer
to that. Of course it goes for the other side as well, but you already
knew that part.
the way there came this idea that if you can make it in NYC you can make
it anywhere. I think it would be much harder to make it in most rural locations
than in NYC. Maybe at one point NYC didn't have a robust social safety
net. Maybe it was more edgy and dangerous. But these days it's got every
resource imaginable and it's easier than ever to access those resources
because of the internet. I'd argue that NYC is one of the easiest places
to "make it" in the country. Sure, it's expensive, but the minimum wage
is high and there are just a million opportunities. If you burn one bridge
you've got a million other options. If you become disabled then there are
resources to help and a million other jobs you can still do if you have
the wherewithal. I'd just rather be a poor black kid with below average
intelligence in NYC than in rural Alabama. That already disadvantaged kid
would definitely be able to make a living in NYC if he worked hard. The
same is not true in rural AL. Look into the rural vs. urban divide and
you'll see this is a big issue in a lot of ways.
are many anti-rioting laws that are being proposed by Republicans. They
run the gamut from defining riots to have an add-on penalty for rioting
while doing some other crime. On the Media podcast had their panties in
a bunch over this, as did several other outlets. The main arguments seemed
to be that it was a violation of the first amendment and that there's no
need to add a riot designation to bolster pre-existing laws that already
outline illegal behavior like assault or vandalism. They complained that
it was too nebulous and subjective. I find this second point to be pretty
hilarious since these are the same people who are so adamant about hate
crime laws being necessary.
What's the deal
with hate crimes? Why do we need a separate designation for intent behind
an already illegal action? If I beat someone up should it matter that I'm
doing it because I don't like their religion? It doesn't make a lot of
sense to me. If I beat someone up to take their money and then I call them
a kike does that make it worse? Plus, it gets into a dicey area about intent
and that seems really tough to ajudicate. I think I'm going to stay consistent
on this one - we don't need anti-riot add ons anymore than we need hate
I listened to Chuck
Schumer on the Ezra Klein podcast the other day. He has an imaginary middle
class couple that he always thinks about when he's thinking about new legislation
or current economic trends, etc. This is very nice of him to think about
the middle class, however it's absolutely hilarious that he needs to concoct
a fictional couple and come up with a story about them and think about
what they might think about laws he's thinking about passing. He has access
to the actual opinions of thousands of actual middle class couples and
yet he finds himself making up fake ones and inferring their opinions based
upon whatever is in his head at the time. I mean, you can't make this shit
up. The guy is legitimately retarded. Just have some middle class friends
for once in your life, Chuck. Or maybe ask a constituent what they're thinking
once in a while for fuck's sake.
George W. Bush at 51% today. It was 11% when he left office. What the hell
is wrong with these people? W may have been worse than Trump, but they
have a short memory. The guy was dog shit in a suit. Yeah, he danced with
Michelle Obama or whatever, BFD. He's basically a mass murderer for fuck's
Reply All is a
good podcast overall, but it's become a woke fiasco the last year or so.
Most recently it was in the news because it turned out they're not as woke
as they claim and they were doing a story on another toxic workplace culture
when it was revealed that maybe they shouldn't be ones to talk. What a
mess. Live by the sword, die by the sword.
Have you heard
of the problem
solvers caucus in congress? Probably not. You have to ask yourself
why you haven't or, if you have, why you haven't heard about it more. This
is why the media is complicit in the downfall of our society and worse
than W or Trump or Koch or Mercer or any of the rest of the individual
morons you may hate. Instead of focusing on people who are working to solve
issues in a bipartisan way, you hear about Schumer wearing Kente cloth
and McConnell being a douche bag. The media could focus on the efforts
of these 56 members for an entire week, but instead they've historically
been happier to parse Trump's latest tweet from the toilet. The mainstream
media are worthless.
An issue that comes
up every once in a while is the issue of free tampons. As part of a public
toilet situation I think it makes sense. You give free TP, so it would
be nice to give free tampons and pads as well. There's precedent and it
makes sense. Same could be said for poor women in shelters, for example.
However, as a matter of public policy to just pay for tampons makes no
sense to me whatsoever. It smacks of the kind of "more free shit" thinking
that we get these days. Under what logic does it make sense to provide
free tampons to women (er, sorry, I mean people who menstruate)? An aside
about this - because some trans activists are very particular, this is
legitimately how we are supposed to talk about this issue. Not all women
menstruate - and we're not just talking about menopausal women - we're
talking about women who were born with dicks who can't menstruate, so let's
be sensitive. No, I'm not making this up, I'm not that creative. Anyway,
what is the precedent or analog for paying for tampons? I just don't see
it. We don't pay for TP and everyone uses that. We do pay for free condoms
and needles so maybe you could say that? I'm not sure where the free stuff
ends. This is the slippery slope (remember, it's not a fallacy). This
is something people actually want and think they deserve for simply
There has to be
a test to determine what gets paid for and what doesn't. If we do it on
a case by case basis then we'll just slowly work our way down the line
paying for everything until the political contingents get so small that
they don't have any pull. So what's the test? If you say that tampons should
be free because without tampons there's a public health crisis then TP
has to be next. And toothpaste. And toothbrushes. And band-aids. And and
and...At some point there have to be women willing to stand up and say
"no thanks, I can take care of myself thank you very much." To do otherwise
is to be anti-feminist in my view. Women are so weak and unable to care
for themselves that they need a provider. It used to be their dad or husband
and now it's Uncle Sam. Is that what we want?
Since I'm digging
my grave on the women vs. men front today, I may as well continue.
You can't say that
men are rapacious and brutal capitalists on the one hand and then complain
that women make less overall. If men are brutal capitalists who have less
empathy and are implicitly worse people, but better capitalists then that's
the cost of making more money. In this system (according to the people
who make these claims) the men are making more money because of their attributes
and capitalism. If you want women to make more then have them adopt the
same attributes. You can't sit on your high horse and claim moral superiority
and be virtuous, but also make the same money. Life is about trade offs.
I think I've fleshed
this out before, but suffice it to say that the gender wage gap that Obama
talks about ("women make 22% less than men for the same work") is an utter
lie. The same work wage gap is in the single digits depending upon what
your source is. And the gap is almost entirely a result of having kids.
You can see this, in part, by looking at lesbians who don't take a year
off to have kids, for example. But it's a useful lie so the narrative continues.
If I'm steel manning
the argument I'd say that capitalism doesn't leave room for things like
raising kids and that disproportionately hurts women (mostly because of
biology and individual decisions, but still) so capitalism needs to be
reformed to make that better. Unfortunately it's harder to have the discussion
when the one being proffered instead is based on lies.
In the last year
you've probably heard more about Tuskegee than normal. Here's how the conversation
goes, and I've heard it at least a dozen times on NPR type programs: "The
vaccine rollout is going well, but we really need to reach out to Black
communities which are vaccine hesitant, and rightfully so because of Tuskegee
and things like that." I've heard an argument almost exactly like this
many times by now. They always mention Tuskegee and they never mention
another example of why the Black community is justifiably vaccine hesitant.
One woman mentioned in an interview that her doctors didn't take her seriously,
but that's the closest I've heard to fleshing out the "and things like
Tuskegee" part of the argument. So, if you know of other cases like Tuskegee,
let me know. I have very little faith in the government so I wouldn't doubt
it, but it's odd that they never mention anything else.
Speaking of Tuskegee...the
reason this is so egregious is that the government doctors had a policy
of using Black people for their experiments for so many years. It was a
total of 600 men. It was a failure of the medical community and the government.
But black men in particular are seen as disposable so they did what they
did. Another example of men being disposable is the Titanic. If you were
a 3rd class passenger and female you have a 50/50 chance of living (92
died, 87 lived). If you were a 3rd class male passenger then the ratio
was a wee bit worse (389 died, 62 lived). Overall, 1345 men died out of
1669, that's 80.5% of men died vs. 25.6% of women. The stats I have don't
break the children down by gender for some reason. Tragically 49 of 115
children died. 1st class 137 out of 141 women lived. 1st class 56 out of
174 men lived. So, regardless of class, men were much more likely to die.
Meryl got her first
shot of the vaccine the other day, I still haven't.
78% of people hospitalized
or dead from COVID were obese or overweight. Hm, I wonder if this has anything
to do with our poor outcomes relative to other countries.
What are the chances
somebody with COVID must be hospitalized? Think about it for a minute...zero?
1-5%? 6-10%? 11-19%? 20-49%? 50% and up? Here's where we get to see how
accurate your perception is of the issue. How does the media you consume
shape your answer here and if you get this wrong are you going to demand
better from your media sources? The answer is 1-5%. 41% of Democrats answered
50% and up. 28% of Democrats answered 20-49%. So, 69% of Democrats thought
it was 4-10+ times worse than it actually is. 10% of Democrats got the
answer right. 26% of Republicans got the answer right. Why? Because Democrats
are the party of science? Oops. Because Republicans are so much smarter
than Democrats? No, because of the news they consume.
I'm fortunate to
remember this same kind of misinformation coming around 9/11 when Republicans
were asked questions about Iraq and weapons of mass destruction, etc. They
all watched FOX and so they were horribly misinformed. Now, the shoe is
on the other foot.
Garbage in, garbage
out. Unless you were close on that question, I don't think you can be at
all smug. We should all have some humility even though most of us leftists
were laughing at the idiots 17 year ago who didn't know the basic answers
about Iraq and WMD.
George Floyd has
a bunch of stuff named after him now apparently. I mean...he didn't really
do anything. Are we allowed to be honest about the guy? He wasn't a saint.
He didn't seek to be a martyr. He didn't stand up against oppression or
anything. He was tweaking out and he died because a cop (at least one)
was a piece of shit who was posturing for the crowd. I don't see how that
makes you worthy of having a town square (among other things) named after
you. It's the ultimate sign in a time when being a victim is a badge of
honor - get a landmark named after you for no reason other than you were
victimized by someone. I'm not a fan.
I see the same
sort of sentiment in other places as well. Saw a sign the other day that
said we should never forget 1/6/2021. Why? 9/11, never forget. Why do we
want to remember the times when something bad happened? Importantly, it's
not that we're remembering our reaction to the thing...it's remembering
the thing itself. Remembering the Alamo at least was remembering how the
few fought against the many. It's inspirational on some level. But remembering
1/6/21 or 9/11? Remember that time you got punched in the dick and were
crying on the sidewalk for 10 minutes! Yeah, makes a lot of sense.
I used to like
Ellen Page a lot. But now I just see her as a fraud or, at best, someone
who is mentally unwell. When she came out on Ellen's show she claimed to
be so happy and she could finally be who she is and all that. Everyone
pretty much knew it already, but whatever, you're gay and out - good for
you. Now she says she's a boy and claims she's known she was a boy since
age 5. In the Oprah interview she really comes off as supremely unhappy
and unwell still. I think this is going to be a Kirstie Alley type situation
where she's up and down - not with her weight, but with her mental wellness
and overall happiness. I don't see good things in the future.
One proposed fix
to the SCOTUS is to implement term limits for SC justices. If people really
believe in this idea then they should try to get it passed when Breyer
retires under Biden's administration (likely this year). Otherwise you're
just a bullshit artist. Either it's a good enough idea to start now or
it's just bullshit. "Hey guys I think we should jump off this bridge, but
you guys should do it first." vs. "Hey guys I think we should jump off
this bridge and I'll be the first to do it."
Same goes for the
unity talk. You can't give a victory speech and call for unity. Of course
the winner wants everyone to unite behind him/her. Do it when you lose.
Lose to Trump and say, hey he's our president and I look forward to working
with the guy. Otherwise it's just more bullshit talk from a bunch of phonies.
This is an old
one, but it may be my favorite meme.
Was going to write
about the Chauvin trial, but didn't get around to it on time. I was certain
he would be guilty of something, but I thought it was basically a 50/50
on whether it would be all 3 counts. Sometimes this stuff depends upon
specific jury instructions and how the judge frames things. There are many
cases you'll see where the jury says afterwards that they thought a person
was guilty of x, y, and z, but that the instructions limited them to only
find guilt on x and y because of something that is essentially a technicality.
I'm happy with
the outcome. It minimizes the likelihood of more rioting and it sends at
least some small signal that you can't just do whatever you want just because
you're an agent of the government.
I mentioned that
the anti-racist crowd enforces the "one drop" rule more than anyone, but
I forgot to include the KKK. So, yeah, they're in good company I guess.
I've come to this same conclusion in a different way before. Essentially
finding that David Duke and Ta-nehisi Coates are different sides of the
same coin. The coin is the problem, not the sides.
It made sense when
Republicans and the religious right were the ones who were the cultural
puritans. Today it's cancel culture, wokism, and the left.
I'm hoping that
by pointing out all these contradictions, inconsistencies, changing norms,
lack of principles, etc. that I can convince some people that their ideas
aren't as well thought out and enlightened as they might believe. And in
coming to that conclusion they might question their beliefs about their
"enemies" on the "other side."
This is more or
less the evolution of my thinking. I had a lot of assumptions about the
world. I had a superior attitude about being on the right side of things.
But as I learned more facts it changed my views. If you learn more facts
do they always confirm your beliefs or do they sometimes make you update
your priors? If the former then I would argue you're either perfect or
delusional. Julia Galef calls this the Scout Mindset, but it's just Bayesian
reasoning. New facts contrary to your understanding of the world should
shift your understanding. Unfortunately what a lot of people do is just
change the facts.
So, for Trumpists
this means that Trump losing means that he hasn't actually lost, he's just
planning something. Or maybe it means that he didn't really lose because
the reality is that the election was stolen.
types the Amazon unionization vote in AL wasn't a rebuke against organized
labor (because such a thing is impossible since everyone wants to be in
a union). Instead it was the result of sinister union busting by Amazon
and the media overhyping the chances of the union when the fight wasn't
really fought the right way. Again, it's not actually possible that the
employees didn't want to unionize - there must be something else going
on here. On the Media had a recent episode with a union organizer and these
were her basic points. OTM, being pretty far left, didn't say anything
critical of these arguments because they're complicit in the self-delusion.
The only thing
worse than being an ideologue is being a party hack.
I found it odd
that the media covered Biden pulling out of Afghanistan as a big deal.
The way the media told the story is that Biden was finally ending the 20
year occupation of the country by committing to removal of our troops by
9/11 this year. Is that the basic story that you heard? The reality is
that Trump had already committed to a total withdrawal by 5/1 of this year.
So, depending upon what news you listen to, you either got the
story that Biden extended from 5/1 to 9/11 or that Biden is going to
be responsible for total withdrawal (without the context that Trump had
already committed to an earlier withdraw). The latter story is much nicer
for Biden and is the one I heard most on NPR and the left leaning podcasts
that I listen to. It also is reinforced by some of the stories about Lindsey
Graham and others disagreeing with the withdrawal. His disagreement with
Biden makes it sound like it wasn't already part of the plan. The whole
thing is idiotic.
Anyway, it's good
to be out of there. I wish it happened earlier. We need everyone home working
on our infrastructure and putting this country back together. Next time
the UN or multi-national corporations have a war they want fought they
can ask Germany and China to do it for them.
They did a guaranteed
income trial in Stockton. Apparently they found that people had more money,
more free time, and less stress as a result of giving them free money for
a short period of time. This is the kind of ground breaking science that
social scientists go to school for 8 years to achieve. It really is a wonder
to behold the genius level intellect. Seriously, though, this isn't a very
interesting study. It's a short term thing when we're concerned about long
term costs/benefits. It's obvious that giving people money means they will
have more money and time and less stress. It's not clear that giving them
money is a good long term solution to any of the issues that concern us.
There's no way this gives us any long term or macroeconomic data. Does
giving everyone free money cause for inflation? Does it lower wages since
businesses know the wage they pay is being subsidized by the government?
Does it lower individual drive? Does it increase drop out rates? There
are a million legitimate questions and none of them are answered by the
Stockton case. It's a handout masquerading as science.
It should also
be noted that many claim that the "slippery slope" argument is a fallacy.
I disagree. It's an actual thing and everyone knows this instinctively.
In the Stockton case I heard them explicitly say that a guaranteed minimum
income or UBI (universal basic income) is just an extension of social security.
Anyone who is pro choice understands that banning abortions after 30 weeks
is a foot in the door to lowering that number...it's a slippery slope.
Sure, it's an argument about a thing that might happen in the future, but
calling it a fallacy implies that you can't argue about it because it's
not the actual thing...you're arguing about another thing that may
happen. But by banning abortions after 30 weeks or starting a social security
program or whatever you are necessarily making the next step more likely
to happen. It's just the way things work.
I've read a few
Orwell books now and I like his non-fiction stuff. Finished Road to Wigan
Pier today. It's interesting to see him compare Socialism and Fascism.
He essentially thinks there are only those two options and so he says he
prefers Socialism (Fascism is just Socialism by with tyranny, I think is
what he says). His definitions and options seem pretty limited by today's
standards. I like all his writings here and in other books where he talks
about the common man and his travels. Homage to Catalonia and Down and
Out in Paris and London are the others I've read.
The more I think
about voter ID the less sympathetic I am to those who are up in arms about
it. Just get an ID so you can open a bank account and vote and be a part
of society. Don't bitch about it. Democrats should reform federal election
standards and allow for voter ID, but for that concession DC should get
representation, as should Puerto Rico. There should also be a national
standard for maintaining the voter rolls and for voting machines, etc.
hahaha, that'll never happen.
Imagine in your
head the type of person who is arguing that voter ID is racist and an affront
to Democracy and whatever other arguments they make. Now picture the type
of person who is arguing for vaccine passports - that you need an ID that
states you're vaccinated to go to the movies or whatever. Both these things
are basically argued for by the same types of people, as far as I can tell.
I remember when
W was president and there was all sorts of reporting about evangelical
churches walking right up to the line, maybe even crossing it, about what
qualifies as political speech. The reporting at the time was very critical
of these churches that (they argued) were encouraging congregants to vote
for Bush, thus jeopardizing their tax free status. These days I hear reports
in Black churches about getting out the vote in GA or whatever and them
talking about voter suppression and the like. These same reporters and
media outlets seem to have no issue with "souls to polls" type church activity
these days. But 16 years ago it was a big deal for them. Again, this is
politics without principle. They look the other way when it's for their
team. In the case of the Right, they actually seem consistent on this since
I don't think I heard any argument against it when it was pro-Biden or
Warnock or whatever.
to see the media deal with Biden on the border issue. I've seen many of
them go out of their way to talk about how it's a "seasonal" issue and
how it'll always be an issue. None of the same talk that they gave when
Trump had the same issues. They bend over backwards to talk about how difficult
a situation it is to deal with the influx of migrants and how hard it must
be for Biden. Can't say it's surprising. It'll be mostly soft balls for
Castle is pretty great.
Remember that episode
of the Simpsons when Homer learns that he can get whatever he wants by
challenging everyone to a duel? At some point he's trying to get to the
front of some line and he goes through every person in front of him..."duel.
challenge. duel." as he works his way to the front. But at some point he
gets to a Southern gentleman type guy who says he accepts the challenge
and Homer freaks out because it was an empty threat the entire time. He
knew no one would actually accept the challenge to a duel, but he was wrong.
This is essentially how the filibuster works now. It's totally broken.
You should have to actually roll up your sleeves and fight if you believe
in something. Instead they just say they'll filibuster and it kills the
bill. Total bullshit rule.
income by percentile.
Had my biggest
loss in business the other day. Customer I've worked for many times before.
He wanted a new countertop and backsplash in L shaped kitchen. New sink
and faucet was part of this. Gave him the price and got on the calendar.
Originally had planned on doing everything with my crew, but got really
busy so I had the demo guy do the demo, the counter guy do the counter
fabrication and installation, and then we did the backsplash and plumbing.
Demo was fine.
Found a bad electrical splice buried in the wall and took care of it for
no charge. Didn't even mention it to him. Counter guy comes in and does
the install. I look at it and notice it's off the wall about 1/4" on the
long part of the "L." Not great, but we can hide it with caulking that
goes along the base of the backsplash and it'll look acceptable. I have
Antonio do the backsplash and assume that the job is done. Get a text the
next day saying that he's concerned because the counter is about 5/8" off
where it should be on the long part of the "L." Usually the counters overhang
the cabinet box by 1-1.5". In this case it was about 1.25" on the left
and only 5/8" on the right. I'd guess that 85% of people wouldn't notice
this, but he did. I didn't notice it when I looked at the job after the
counter guy was done. Usually with counters I'm concerned with the sink
cut out and the seam. The seam was tight and had no lippage. The sink cut
out had a very acceptable and even reveal so I was happy (other than the
gap I saw between the wall and the very end of the counter). I went to
look at the job and saw the issue. I also saw that Antonio didn't clean
up the job site very well so I vacuumed and wiped everything down. Talked
to customer and explained that there's no easy fix for this aesthetic issue.
His cabinets are farther off the wall than usual. Generally the face of
the cabinet is 24" from the wall. In this case it was more like 24.75"
because the cabinet was shimmed a lot because the wall isn't straight.
As a result of
the wall not being straight and the cabinet being deeper than usual, the
counter installer made the (unilateral and incorrect) decision to bring
the counter closer to the cabinets instead of maintaining the proper overhang.
I think he did this because he cut it too short (hence the gap on the long
part of the "L") and isn't terribly bright. He didn't talk to me about
it, he just did whatever he thought was best, or easiest. So, now the customer
wants to redo the whole counter (which essentially means redoing the entire
job, including the backsplash) over 5/8".
This kind of shit
just kills me. It's not even the thousands of dollars I'll have to eat
as a result of this...it's the fact that 99.9% of the world population
would be thrilled to have these counters and backsplash. A working sink
with the reverse osmosis water filtration system that was a bitch to set
up with a garbage disposal. A beautiful backsplash that looks and works
as intended. There's absolutely nothing about the job that doesn't function
as intended. It's 100% aesthetic. It's also a job that is 95%+ done right.
And he wants me to pay for everything to be redone. I want him to pay for
new material and I'll pay for the labor.
After a bit of
back and forth I asked what it would take for me to just wipe my hands
of the job and he said he wants me to pay for everything. I stupidly paid
for the materials out of pocket already. So, the way it resolves itself
is that I paid for the materials and I ate all the labor. The counter guy
doesn't want to give me any money back or anything so I'm out several thousand
bucks because the customer wanted a perfect counter and wouldn't accept
anything less. I understand the position, but I don't agree with it.
This is the cost
of doing business. It's also how contracts get longer and longer and how
people turn into hard asses about everything. That's the effect of this
kind of crap. I want to live in a world where the contract is just so everyone
is on the same page about what is included/excluded. It should just be
a ledger of the work to be performed. It shouldn't be a gotcha mechanism.
But you slowly get beaten down by the 20% of customers who are difficult
and you tailor your contract to avoid the downsides of dealing with those
types of people. Almost every line in my contract has a story...either
a school of hard knocks story from me or from someone else who learned
the hard way. And this is how society slowly falls apart and doesn't trust
each other. People being picky fucks about every little thing.
Should he pay full
price? No. But it was his fucked up wall and overly shimmed cabinets that
I couldn't have seen beforehand. And you'd think that a person could live
with a counter that's 5/8" off if they got a $1000 discount or $2000 or
$3000 or $4000, but no dice. This is the kind of stuff I want to be done
with. I want customers who are thankful, not entitled.
Now, here's a couple
on the other side. I go to the counter guy and he's a stone wall. "Sorry
boss the wall was messed up. I'll tell you next time." So I'm done working
The other one is
for a paint job. Property manager I work with has a painter so I used his
guy for some patches and paint in two rooms. I tell him it needs to be
done by this week and text him the colors and he says ok. Then he says
he'll get it done over the weekend and I can schedule cleaners for Monday.
I look at it Monday and nothing has been done. I tell him it needs to be
done by Tuesday because tenants move in Wednesday (a lie - tenants move
in Thursday, but I want wiggle room in case he fucks up again). Sure enough,
he texts me pictures today and he didn't use the right colors. I ask if
he can do it with the right colors and he says he doesn't have time. So,
now I have to repaint it myself. He sends me the bill for the full amount.
I write back telling him I'll have to repaint so can you adjust the invoice.
He says "The work is done and all tuch ups are done the paint an
all walls were match and repainted." So this is my life. I'll probably
end up paying his whatever he's invoiced me for and never using him again.
It's difficult to find reliable people.
In the ongoing
saga of Edwin learning how the world works...I have been giving him some
weekend paint work at a condo. Give him the keys and tell him what to do
to see how he handles it. I go there today to check the job and let the
flooring guys in. All the ground floor windows are wide open. Luckily no
one removed a screen and stole my tools, but I wasn't happy. Went to the
next job and told him what happened and that he needs to go home. I don't
have anymore work for him today. His brother Antonio says he understands
and asks if I can take the money out of his paycheck instead and keep him
there today. I say he has to learn and I've tried telling him things but
he never remembers. Antonio is going to be his brother's keeper I guess
so we'll see how it goes. I'm a nice boss, but leaving a job site unsecured
isn't something I can accept. Unsafe if someone lives there and an invitation
for the thieves who have have gotten me more times than I can remember.
Other part of that
job was that the flooring guys got there and they said they couldn't work.
"We didn't know we had to do the demo." Well, it's on the contract and
I talked to the owner of the company, who walked the job with me, about
it so...Long story short they'll get it done this week, but they came totally
unprepared for the work at hand because no one can do their job (including
me if you ask the counter guy).
The tenant requests
have been really entitled and nitpicky lately as well. Closet rod that
broke and the woman said "Please come to replace the rod holder. I would
expect this to come at no cost to us tenants."
Another one was
a guy asking us to replace light bulbs because he didn't know how (they
are the 4-pin kind that pull out, not twist out).
I'm also seeing
people follow up a lot more quickly than before. It used to be that you
could wait 2-3 weeks before contacting a tenant for a minor issue (though
I usually contacted them much sooner than that). Now, though, they need
to be contacted in a day or two or else they complain. People are used
to apps delivering their food in an hour, so why aren't all my maintenance
requests leading to a contractor at my door within 24 hours?
How do I nicely
explain to these people that the world doesn't revolve around them and
that I'm already working 10-12 hours a day? I hate people.
suspended in Germany and Spain and more. Looks like an overreaction overall.
Probably a good sign that they're taking the issue seriously. I think the
anti-vaccine crowd should take this as proof that the powers that be are
willing to do the right thing if necessary. Instead it will probably just
be used as an example of vaccines being bad. The issue I have with all
these vaccines is the new method that is relatively untested. We just don't
have any long term data on mRNA type vaccines. We may suspect that there's
nothing to fear, but that doesn't mean much quite frankly. Thalidomide
comes to mind. We just don't know what we don't know.
Try to listen to
NPR for more than 2 minutes without hearing something about gender or race.
During the week I think it's almost impossible. On the weekend they still
have some programs that aren't seeped in that stuff. Actually a fun game.
Listening to NPR
the other day and they had a thing about international women's day or something.
The guests were talking about how men should be allies by walking on the
other side of the street if they see a woman walking alone at night. This
is because of a supposedly justified fear women have of men regardless
of your intentions as a man. I mean...just think about the implications
of this. And I'm not distorting it because it needs no distortion (and
because I try my best not to). It's a remarkable thing to say on a mainstream
program and to say it with a straight face and to have everyone essentially
agree with this....pretty amazing stuff.
Because I don't
want to just leave it there, I'll spell it out a bit. 77%
of violence against women comes from someone they know (old data, but I
doubt it's changed much). So that B.S. about a stranger needing to
cross the street?...maybe have your ex boyfriend cross the street before
you start telling me what to do, because he's the one you should fear.
Then again, this is just a fact and we don't have room for those, right?
Notably, 50% of violence against men comes from strangers so I should actually
be more afraid of strangers than the average woman. 2 million acts of stranger
perpetrated violence against men vs. 800k against women. So, do fact still
matter or are we going to be the anti-science party now because International
Women's Day is our thing?
Okay, let's say
all that data is just bullshit government propaganda. Would we apply the
same logic to Blacks? Since Blacks commit more crime than whites should
they cross the street so I don't feel uncomfortable? I think it's useful
to replace "man" with "Black" on these issues and see how it changes things.
Often it's quite acceptable to say some B.S. like this when it's against
men, but when you change it to a minority then people start using their
brains a little and may rethink things.
I wrote the other
day about being called nigger by a crazy lady. A week ago I was waiting
for my electrician and a woman was walking down the street and she said
"I need some money from the China man in the funny suit...and that's you."
She stopped right in front of me. I was trying to be on my phone hoping
she would ignore me, but it didn't work. Apparently the China man was me.
She got right in my face and started talking some gibberish and reached
for my face. I leaned back and told her not to touch me. She walked away
and cursed at me. TIO. Ever since Blood Diamond and the K'Naan
song introduced me to T.I.A. (This is Africa) I have adopted it for
Oakland. Just another day in Oakland when I'm called a China man and a
crazy lady tries fucking with me.
On the other end
of the spectrum this is just a couple blocks from where a woman offered
to suck my dick. Unfortunately I think she probably would have wanted some
money as part of this, so it wasn't as flattering as it would have otherwise
One of the issues
that came up with the Amazon union vote was the workers were urinating
in water bottles. This was seen as an awful affront to basic humanity by
intelligentsia commenting on the story. They were shocked. BFD. I'll just
say that I've been on many jobsites (especially when drywallers are involved)
where this is the norm. Drywallers are notorious for this because they
are often paid by the board. I'll also add that the number of times I've
pissed in my water bottle is too numerous to count. Often in traffic while
stuck on the bridge. Just gotta remember to empty it out before going to
get something to drink the next morning...
sites of big spreading events. Schools where only teachers are showing
up have the same rate of transmittance and infection as schools where kids
are also there. Elementary schools are better than high schools. Again,
facts and science don't matter unless we're talking about things we're
interested in like climate change.
Why are we encouraged
to prepare for some things and not others? Which of the following things
should we prepare ourselves for? Earthquakes, hurricanes, other natural
disasters, losing our job, being assaulted by someone, being robbed, being
raped. There are some who would prepare for all these things. The local
media will do stories on preparing yourself for natural disasters, but
I don't see stories on the other things. There are specific books, etc.
that will focus on preparing yourself for financial issues or self defense.
Overall, though, it seems like preparation is limited and I'm not sure
what they base these limitations on.
The girls have
been doing soccer classes for the last few months. One time one of the
administrators of the program came up to us and told us that Zoe had one
of the best coaches in the country. I thought this was ridiculous. Who
the hell is ranking coaches for 7 year olds? How does one rank coaches
for 7 year olds? This is smoke being blown up my ass. I wonder if he believed
it or if it was purely marketing.
We live in a very
trendy time. From things like Crocs and barefoot running to the software
that everyone uses...ICQ, AIM, Snap, Friendster, Facebook, MySpace, Instagram,
Periscope, Clubhouse, Vine, TikTok, Discord, Twitch, Twitter...they all
ebb and flow. I don't take the monopolies very seriously since they are
so ephemeral. Competition truly is a click away. Anti-Facebook type will
argue against this, but when you see how quickly people go from one way
of talking to each other to another it's amazing the churn rate just in
the last 20 years. Sure, it's a problem if Facebook just buys them all
up, but that's more an argument against allowing for mergers (don't forget
Obama admin approved Facebook buying IG) than it is for some big legislation
or breaking the companies up. People are fickle and it's so easy for people
to go from platform to platform that I don't think we should over react.
I remember when
the Facebook IPO was seen as overvalued. NPR put people on the radio who
were complaining that they bought at too high a price and felt like they
were duped. Poor them. It's called investing. It's a risk. What part don't
you understand? Are these same people shedding tears now that the stock
is worth 10x what it was at the IPO? Maybe NPR should follow up with these
sad sacks who were complaining then and see how they feel now. Give me
a break. Shitty reporting.
If Facebook disappeared
tomorrow do you think everything would be better or do you think another
firm would be doing the same shit (gathering your information and selling
it to advertisers) the next day to fill that vacuum?
How much of another
person's job should I be required to do to expect a suitable outcome? I
could have one person work for me and I do essentially all the work while
I watch every move they make. It would be harder for me physically and
I'd make less money, but I would have 95% control and could minimize issues
like counters not being installed correctly or wrong colors being painted
on the walls. The painter I like to use has raised his prices so much that
I almost never use him anymore unless it's a high budget job.
I've said before
that the best customers are the ones whose budget and expectations are
aligned. Many people, though, want something cheap and amazing. Oh, and
they want you to start next week. Maybe I should start every client interview
with the project triangle discussion. If they don't understand the concept
then I should just walk away.
Well, I was touching
upon the fall of society a bit yesterday so let's continue that today.
Meryl was in SF
today and saw a drive-by. Don't think anyone died, this time.
I was in Berkeley
and saw two guys chase down another guy and beat him up.
I contacted a tenant
about some maintenance work she wanted done and asked her schedule for
next week. She replied back "Monday?" and I replied that I can be there
8am on Monday. She replied back "Omg lmao any other slots?,," (sic). I
gotta find a way to stop dealing with these people. It's just bad for my
are up 215% this year from the same time last year. If homicides are up
it's usually a bellwether for other crimes also being up. The difference
with homicides is that they actually get reported, unlike the assault I
saw earlier or the many property crimes that people don't even bother with
anymore. I've been optimistic in the past, but I think we're living in
a failed city at this point. The ideology that has cut police funding by
$25 million amidst a pandemic and civil unrest isn't exactly operating
on all cylinders.
One thing I've
found about pundits and the media especially, but probably people broadly,
is that they dig until they find what they're looking for. So, some (let's
call them R's) might see Bin Laden and draw some quick conclusions based
upon a very superficial analysis of his look and ideology. They might say
that Bin Laden and his group are bad people with bad ideas and a bad religion.
Others (let's call them D's) see the same thing, but they might look into
his personal history and the history of his people and region and, though
they may not let him off the hook, they might have a variety of reasons
for his behavior - or at least for the behaviors of many of his followers.
"They are just disaffected youth without opportunities, they're freedom
Then you have the
Proud Boys. Those D's might look at them and draw some quick conclusions
based upon a very superficial analysis of their look and ideology. They
might say that the Proud Boys are bad people with bad ideas and a bad religion.
Others (let's call them R's) see the same thing, but they might look into
the personal history of the Proud Boys and might have a variety of reasons
for their behavior. "They are just disaffected youth without opportunities,
they're freedom fighters, etc."
to consider. How much do you dig when presented with a narrative?
I prefer to dig
as far as I can to find something approximating the truth. I think we have
a crisis in this country of man boys. Boys who haven't become men. Boys
looking for a fight. Warriors without a war. Couple that with the parenting
epidemic I've written about and an educational system that is in complete
shambles and you get a bunch of idle and gullible hands looking for something
to do. Mix that with a media that has completely failed and someone like
Trump and you get the Proud Boys. Maybe if our educational system worked
none of this would happen. Maybe if the media was worthy of trust none
of this would happen. etc. etc. etc.
Watching a Frontline
documentary on the capitol insurrection. Frontline has really jumped the
shark with this one. Really over-wrought and dramatic. Clearly they are
looking for a narrative and juicy content, rather then looking for a story
with depth. It's a very superficial look at the modern militia movement.
AC Thompson is the lead on the story and his agenda is pretty clear here
and his other Frontline work. Not only is it a superficial look at a disturbing
rise of right wing militias, but it also marks an overly stylized way of
filmmaking. The interviews with UC Berkeley reporters, for example, look
very staged and planned. The reporters are on the verge of smiling in their
glee to talk about the evil of the militias. The music is overly dramatic.
Every question framed with a certain answer in mind. The handheld camera
work is like something out of an action feature film. At one point they're
following the Proud Boys holding guns while they're walking around a city
and the narration is talking about the Boogaloo Boys' potential for violence.
Meanwhile, in the background there are boarded up windows with spray paint
on them that reads "A.C.A.B." Did they not see this in the background?
Did they not see the irony in this shot? It's right there - the subject
of your film in the foreground (armed men being idiots) while in the background
a clear symbol of other idiots with a different agenda. Let me spell it
out. The boarded up businesses are boarded up because of BLM and Antifa
rioting. The ACAB stands for "all cops are bastards" and it's largely associated
with the George Floyd protests. Tunnel vision.
been doing so hot lately. "Toxic masculinity" is a widely used term these
days. Some think this is redundant (because all masculinity is toxic) and
others are less misandric and say that only some types of behaviors associated
with masculinity are deemed toxic. I think masculinity, like femininity,
can be great when balanced out. Unfortunately we live in a state of Koyaanisqatsi
(life out of balance) and so we are where we are. Masculinity is great
for things like self-sacrifice or chivalry or forceful enforcement of norms
or any number of other things. Part of masculinity is this desire to fight
a war. It doesn't have to be a literal gun battle, but a physical struggle
for something larger than yourself is something I think that is more likely
to be engrained in men than women. Sometimes it leads to WW2 (oops) and
other times it can be tapped into to end WW2 (yay). Yes, this is biological
essentialism. No, I'm not saying that women don't have this desire. Part
of what I'm seeing, and what I see in some of the young men I work with
on the jobs, is that they have this desire in them...they don't have role
models...they don't have an outlet for this desire and so they get into
fights, they disparage women to feel better about themselves (after all
what is their life if they have no purpose?) and society suffers greatly
as a result. So, yeah, in a way men (and masculinity) are the cause of
a lot of problems in society, but this is the digging thing I mentioned
above...if you don't want to dig any deeper then you're left with masculinity
is bad for society. But, if we're being honest, nothing exists in a vacuum.
These boys who haven't grown up may have been coddled by a society that
is increasingly feminine. Toxic femininity might be the over-developed
desire to nurture and help and enable everyone. Sounds great until you
raise a kid who can't take care of himself because his mother did everything
for him, for example. Take that to the state level and you have a nanny
state, the coddling of the American mind, the lack of self-esteem that
leads to being weak and fragile, etc.
I've said it a
million times before - you need a left wing and a right wing to fly. Yin
and yang and all that. Femininity and masculinity need to be in balance
just like everything else.
One thing that's
interesting these days is that the Trans community is perhaps the biggest
defender of gender roles in society...certainly in academia and amongst
the intelligentsia. If I say that men care about things and women care
about people then I'd get fired from Google (James
Damore reference). If I were Trans, though, it would me just reaffirming
why I felt like a woman trapped in a man's body. I care about feelings
and people more so I feel like a woman and so I identify as a trans woman.
It sure seems as though the trans community is upholding those norms more
than anyone else these days, which is odd because I feel like just 5-10
years ago those norms were considered patriarchal.
This is very similar
to the anti-racist crowd that claims that Barack Obama is definitely Black.
He's not biracial because of the one drop rule. It's odd because the one
drop rule is a rule imposed by racists and yet the anti-racists are the
ones holding onto it more than anyone else.
We're living in
a topsy turvy world.
The Left has "speak
YOUR truth." The Right has "alternative facts."
Apu hasn't been
on the Simpsons for a while and I think he's gone from the show forever
at this point. What exactly was "problematic" about that character? The
fact that a white guy did the voice? The stereotypical occupation? I, for
one, liked Apu. I always thought he was treated with respect - he's not
just a big dummy like Homer or Ralph or Nelson or Barney. He's an entrepreneur
and, the fact is, that many people of South Asian and Middle Eastern descent
are in that line of work. Nothing wrong about it. Odds are relatively good
that the owner of a mini-mart (or [even better] motel) will be of similar
One thing that
I don't do as a parent is blow smoke up my kids' asses. No, you're not
a perfect angel descended from heaven. You, like all of us, are a work
in progress. To me, you're perfect, but this doesn't mean you know it all
or are great at everything or that everything you do is thrilling to me.
Yes, you can do wrong. It's my job to teach you what wrong is. What things
are desirable and what things are not. What your priorities should be and
what's a waste of time. This notion that kids are somehow great without
doing anything is actually harmful in my opinion. I support you, of course,
but you gotta do something great in order to be great. Otherwise I'm just
lulling you into thinking you're better than other people or that greatness
is free. What kind of parenting is that? What happens when that kid gets
into the real world and no one knows them or gives a shit about them and
they realize that they're average at most things (if they're lucky)? I'm
playing the long game.
Paul Krugman was
on the Ezra Klein show a while back and they talked about the stimulus
money from Biden. Both of them talked about the $2000 checks and how it
wouldn't lead to inflation, etc. Krugman won a Nobel Prize in Economics,
but he somehow missed (several times) - and Ezra neglected to correct him
- the fact that the check from Biden is actually $1400 (maximum, for those
who qualify). This is aggravating.
In that same discussion
they talked about Solyndra and claimed that the perceived problem with
the Solyndra case was that Solyndra took government money and failed. They
said that the government should do more of these Venture Capital type deals
because it's good for innovation, etc. No, the problem wasn't that the
government was backing businesses in the way that VC firms typically do,
it's that they did so with a company (Solyndra) that had people who gave
money to Obama's campaign. This is a clear pay for play or quid pro quo
type of arrangement. Did these two super geniuses (they are both legitimately
very bright) just misunderstand the problem or are they being willfully
ignorant? Hmm. I mean, I expect this shit from Hannity and Young Turks,
but not Ezra Klein...though he has been declining in my book lately. And
Krugman has long been a party hack.
This is from Warnock's
actual Twitter page. This has always been implied by those who offered
this carve out or that benefit, but it's galling just how blatant and naked
it is here. And this is the better of the two parties...we're fucked.
SF seems to attract a certain type of person. One
of those types is the nosy neighbor. On a few occasions I have had random
people walk into a house I'm working on and starting looking around. These
aren't agents who are showing the place, or friends of the owner, or contractors
looking for me or anything like that. It's just random people from the
neighborhood who feel entitled to walk into someone else's home and look
around and even comment on the work we are doing. The other day an old
lady was walking around on the stairs where I had drop cloths laid down.
She very well could have tripped and fallen. I would have probably been
screwed as a result of this. I just don't understand these people.
I've never had this happen in Oakland. In Oakland
the most I've had is people ask to see a unit I'm working on when they
live in the same building. But in those cases they have asked instead of
just walked in.
When COVID first got started I thought one consequence
was going to be a move towards a cashless society. Thankfully that move
hasn't been too hard. There's been the coin shortage and some businesses
not wanting to take cash, but I thought we could see something from the
government about it and that didn't happen so that's good and I was wrong
Another thing I thought might happen was that once
the vaccine came out there would be a more widespread move towards a two
tier society where those with vaccines can do x, y and z and those without
couldn't. I've heard talk about a "vaccine passport," but so far I haven't
seen widespread adoption of such an idea. We'll see where it goes. With
the power of the teachers' unions I'm wondering if it'll be another mandatory
vaccine for kids.
I haven't talked about the schools much during this
other than to point out several months ago that the unions essentially
didn't want to come back until the pandemic was over. They're demands at
the time were essentially equivalent to that, without stating it outright,
and that hasn't changed much. I really don't see why teachers aren't essential
workers. Why did they get pass on everything while I (and grocery
clerks and gas station attendants and UPS drivers and cops and and and
and) had to go to work every day? The simplest answer is that the unions
are very strong and the people in government are weak willed. Science has
backed up keeping schools open for a long time, but that didn't matter
to the Democrats who are the party of science. Typically the party keen
to point out all the ways that America sucks and Europe has it all figured
out, turned a blind eye to the many European countries that chose to keep
schools open and close the bars and bra shops.
One of Gandhi's seven social sins is politics without
principle. Neither party, neither wing seems to really have principles
anymore. It's just whatever is politically expedient.
We all know about the compound effect in a mathematical
or financial context...a little money now compounds to a lot later in life.
But there's also the compound effect in life. A book by the same name lays
it all out pretty well. It's kind of a self-help book and is a sorta cheesy
compilation of wisdom about how to live a good and successful life. But
there's also the compound effect in society. You could even call it a butterfly
or domino effect...the mistakes of people in an interconnected society
affect others and that affects still others. Lately I've been sensing a
lot of this from COVID or something. A lot of people and companies making
a lot of mistakes and it has affected my ability to do my job and it causes
stress and that affects my ability to do an unrelated job. For example,
I order blinds online all the time...the company didn't ship the proper
hardware. I contacted them and they resent the hardware (so I had to wait
a week to finish the job) and then when the hardware came they only gave
me half (need two pieces per blind, they only sent one per blind). So these
effects compound into time lost on other jobs and less work billed and
that leads either to less money for me or higher prices for me to offset
the inefficiencies of my suppliers. The blinds example is the latest, but
even earlier today I went to two different HD locations to get something
I needed (the app said both locations had some in stock) and both locations
were actually sold out. Their inability to keep accurate inventory count
stole an hour of my time...an hour I would have spent with my daughters.
How many hours a year do my suppliers steal from me? Accident happen, but
it seems like accidents are piling up a lot more the last 6 months especially.
It seems like the groups of people we're feeling
sorry for seem to be getting smaller and smaller...and I suppose that's
a sign of progress. I'm wondering what the next groups are. Fat shaming
is already not allowed. I've started to hear a bit more about Lookism as
a thing...I expect that to be a bit bigger with time, but I think it's
harder to enforce and mobilize than some of the other stuff like racism
and fat-shaming. I'm not sure where it goes for people, but I'm sure they'll
find another oppressed group soon enough. I think the next really big one
will be animals, though. There will be a big anti-factory farm movement
first and then that won't be good enough and it'll be a full on vegan anti-animal
cruelty movement after that.
I heard a podcast the other day and the guest was
remarking that the US has only been a real democracy since the Civil Rights
Act. Which I'm sure he thought showed how woke he is. "Wow, he's so right
to point out that we can't be a democracy if Black people can't vote, we
suck!" Unfortunately it just shows his blinders and obliviousness. Felons
still can't vote, children (24% of population) still can't vote, non citizen
residents still can't vote, mentally insane people still can't vote. So,
we're still not a democracy. Hopefully in 100 years his statue is torn
down for being so callous and ignorant that he would simply forget about
30%+ of the population. What an asshole. Cancel this POS.
Is there a universal lived human experience or is
everyone a unique snowflake? I don't think you can have it both ways.
I believe in the right to repair and am generally
not a fan of companies like Apple or many car companies that purposely
make it difficult to work on your own property.
Usually planned obsolescence is a bad thing for the
environment and consumer, but sometimes planned obsolescence has its advantages.
If you have a water heater from 1970 or a toilet from 1985 then you're
locked into a technology that isn't efficient and so having a 10 year life
cycle for the average water heater is actually a good thing for society.
By the way it's a water heater. Not a hot water heater.
No point in heating hot water. And I've yet to see a sexy water heater.
Biden's dog had a bathroom accident in the White House. This was news.
Someone went to college and studied journalism, graduated said school,
and wrote a story about a dog taking a dump in the White House. The Hill
(a serious publication) decided that this was newsworthy. How many more
examples do I need to throw up on here to prove that the media is a bigger
problem than the last president? Honestly, if I were this writer's dad
I'd be disappointed.
Meanwhile there's this
article from a day before the other one. It's about the separation
of powers, the power of the president to use military force...you know
just minor issues that I've discussed here before. This article received
5 shares and 11 comments. The dog article received 5,304 shares and 1000+
comments. We're fucked.
To be clear, I don't care if Biden's dog impregnates
Putin's mom. I don't think the presidential family pets should ever receive
like a third of millennial dads don't own a hammer. This might be a
gendered situation where maybe the millennial moms own the hammer so there's
still a hammer in the house in, at best, two-thirds of cases, but this
can't be a good sign for the survival of the species. I have certainly
found this is be supported in many of the house calls I've been on. People
call for replacing light bulbs and some of the dumbest, most basic repairs.
I've also found that if you don't respond to some people within a few hours
then you'll get a follow up text or email. People seem habituated to apps
and an on demand economy. "I get my sushi delivered to the door in 30 minutes
why haven't you fixed my blinds yet?" "It's difficult living without blinds."
About 8 years ago I remember the media having to
fact check Republicans who were claiming that the Civil War wasn't about
slavery - it's about States' Rights! But in this topsy turvy world we now
have the likes of Nikole Hannah-Jones being lauded for her claims that
the Civil War wasn't about slavery. White Northerners wouldn't stick their
neck out for such worthless cause, is her assertion. What a mixed up world
we live in when both extremes believe the same b.s. What's worse is that
when these ideas are put out by the Republicans you'll get Vox
doing pieces on how stupid they are. But when NHJ says the same stuff it's
crickets. She asserts and they affirm with their scared silence.
Lincoln is a bad guy these days I guess. Very strange time to be alive.
The tipped minimum wage has a racist history so let's
abolish it. It's kind of a weird thing that people do where they go as
far back as needed to find some bad root cause or association of a thing
and then impugn its entire existence because of some portion of its past.
They do this with the police as well. Because policing was once (in part)
about stopping runaway slaves that means cops today are racists. Simplification
of the basic argument, but there it is.
"Stand back and stand by" is what Trump said to the
Proud Boys after he was pressed during a debate on the issue of inciting
violence. This perfectly summarizes Trump on these issues. "Stand back"
is exactly the kind of thing you would want to hear from a president. And
then he immediately follows it up with "stand by," which is exactly the
opposite of what you would want to hear. He did this frequently - despite
assertions otherwise, he actually disavowed white supremacists probably
more than any other politician ever (because he was asked about it more
than anyone ever). Here's a compilation
of him doing so in case you still believe he's never disavowed them.
But the thing is, just like that "stand back and stand by," it kind doesn't
matter that he says the right thing when he later says the wrong thing.
"No offense, but you're fat fucking pig." This is his MO. No offense theoretically
shields you in the future, but then when you're calling a person a fat
fucking pig it doesn't much matter that you started with "no offense."
So, yeah, give the devil his due - he's disavowed the KKK and others more
than anyone else I can think of. He's done it in so many words and he's
done it clearly and repeatedly. But then he says "stand by" and it's clear
he's just talking to two different people in the same sentence so that
both of them can find what they want in him.
Some speakers are very good at this. They will say
things throughout a speech that may contradict each other or appeal to
seemingly separate constituencies and, I think, they know that different
people will latch on to different parts of the same speech and find the
things they like and forget the things they don't like. Later, their campaign
team will cut the speech up and have different parts delivered to different
demographics in targeted ads. It's just the way things work.
I listen to a lot
of true crime podcasts. One thing you'll notice is there are a lot of them
with female victims. Women aren't the biggest victims of crimes - men are.
So why do these stories focus disproportionately on the women as victims?
Is it because we like to think of men as predators, or of women as victims,
or both? Does it just naturally make for a better story somehow? If so,
how/why? There's one podcast that focuses on women criminals. I've said
before that we'll only approach equality in our minds when we can view
women as as bad as men - something that Kill Bill did very well. Or when
we're comfortable with all those black protagonists that are in movies
now as being the worst person in the movie. In the old days you would have
the bad guys be black or gay and it was because of their otherness or perversion
that they were killers. Now we're woke so to use those immutable characteristics
as sources of evil is wrong. But until you can conceive of all people as
being capable of both good and bad, then we can't have equality in our
When I first saw
Pho restaurants I assumed it was a noodle that was pronounced like "foe."
In reality it's pronounced like "fuh." When I first realized that it wasn't
long before I thought that there should be a place called Pho King (like
fucking). Then I discovered that there is such a place and all was right
in the world.
A good Asian steak
and noodle place should be called Pho Lei Minh Yun. Like filet mignon.
Remember when the
TX governor declared that the state was going to be wide open - no masks,
etc. and everyone gave him a hard time. I took a snapshot of the cases
and deaths numbers on that date and I'll follow up after it's been two
months to see how that state fared relative to CA, FL and some other populous
states. Not exactly a perfect experiment, but something to consider. What
do we expect to see from TX vs. CA over those two months? Ask the average
Democrat and they'll say that TX numbers will soar as a result. Ask the
average Republican and they'll say it probably won't matter.
Relatedly, FL has
been very open relative to CA during this time. Economically we would expect
FL to be much closer to 2019 "normal" numbers in terms of their GDP and
employment, etc. relative to CA, which as been much more cautious and shut
down. From a pandemic standpoint you would expect a lot more lives lost
in FL than in CA (as measured on a per capita basis). FL has an older population
so you would expect the number of deaths to be quite a bit worse, actually.
There are other factors as well, of course, but I'm not going to do graduate
level research on this. I'm hoping to revisit these questions after the
TX governor announcement is two months old to see how much that mattered
and how much Newsom's approach vs. DeSantis's approach mattered.
Heard a stat the
other day from David Shor - 5% of the population is white and college educated.
More than 50% of Democratic campaign staffers are white and educated. These
are the same people who lament the lack of diversity in media and call
for reparations and have BLM lawn signs and all the rest that goes with
the woke movement. Why don't 90% of them give up their jobs to someone
who isn't college educated or white?
This brings me
to another question about white people with college educations (like me).
Why did you take a spot in college from a poor person of color and then
not do anything with that education? Many of us (like me) got a political
science degree and then used that to renovate houses for a living...or
volunteer on the PTA or be a part time Etsy crafter or a house parent or,
in some other way, not use our education. Aren't we part of the problem?
At the lumber yard
the other day and I gave my receipt to the lot attendant who is supposed
to pull the lumber and deliver it to your truck. He gets my lumber and
then starts delivering it to another guy's truck...talking to him about
where he wants it, etc. The guy finally looks confused and tells him it's
not his stuff. I'm watching all this trying to catch his eye when he finally
looks up and I wave him over. He says sorry, I say no biggie and load the
lumber and move on. He was black and I am white. If the races were reversed
this would be an example of racism (if I were so inclined to view it as
such). It's scientifically established that people have a harder time identifying
people outside of their race. Some true crime documentaries have focused
on this fact when showing the inability to rely on eye witness accounts.
So, there's science to back it up and it's not unreasonable to see the
racial aspect to this if I were so inclined. So, should we reinforce this
so people make the decision to see this as a sinister and insidious form
of racism or should we just laugh this kind of thing off? Let's ask the
Critical Race Theorist geniuses of Twitter to see which way our society
should go with this microagression...
Forget where I
heard the stat, but apparently more than half of Americans will spend at
least a year in the top 10%. This is an aspect of the inequality talk that
doesn't get enough attention...the fact that the same people are often
all over the income scale - depending upon when you measure. Good scholars
will look at this, but the media (and politicians) pretty much ignores
it because it's too complicated. For example, I've been in the bottom 5%
(I assume) for a couple years in my life when I made less than $6k/year.
When I worked in OH as a park ranger I made $60/week (though I got a free
room). Now I charge more than that an hour.
"A doctrine of
black supremacy is as dangerous as a doctrine of white supremacy. God is
not interested in the freedom of black men or brown men or yellow men."
Do you think that
quote is racist? If you're told it comes from Trump then 50% of the people
polled said it's racist. If you're told it comes from MLK then 2% think
it's racist. What does that say about our critical thinking? I've pointed
out before that the same thing happens with D vs. R issues. If a quote
comes from a D and you're a D, then you're much more likely to agree with
it, regardless of its content....and vice versa.
By the way, the
quote comes from MLK.
is going to be a problem. I expect to see more dumping soon. Luckily it's
not deck building season yet. Another well-intentioned government intervention
that will likely lead to negative consequences. There's a creek near my
house where people throw their refrigerators and car parts and now they'll
throw their pressure treated lumber there as well....thereby doing more
envrionmental damage than the alternative. It's important to consider alternatives,
or ask "compared to what?" when making decisions like this. The left and
right are both guilty of this. The right says let's have abstinence only
education and the left says let's ban throwing away PT lumber. The result
is that teens fuck without condoms or proper education and contractors
dump their trash on the road (or in a creek which then further pollutes
the water table).
Bunch of videos
out there of anti-maskers getting in trouble. Saw one of an old woman in
Galveston who gets arrested in a bank for not wearing a mask. I'm not a
fan of wearing masks and I'm not a fan of dumb rules, but this is what
we have to do - for now. Further, when you're on private property it's
the decent thing to do to follow their rules or leave - there are choices
in life. She doesn't. She refuses to put on a mask or leave and so she's
trespassing and arrested. Then she complains about police brutality (she
resisted so the officer put her on her stomach to cuff her) and other customers
in the bank say it's not brutality. Pretty good stuff. If she were Black
I think it would be more fraught, but it's nice that she's white because
then it makes for a nice, guilt free video about accountability. Play by
the rules or get in trouble. Resist arrest and get in trouble. Pretty simple
concepts that you should teach your kids.
Trying to hire
again. We'll see how that goes.
One of the guys
who works for me is Edwin. He's from Guatemala. He's an average worker.
He shows up on time and I trust him. Doesn't hustle a lot and doesn't grasp
many things I try to teach him until after a while, but he's earnest and
that's about all I expect these days. If you work hard, are honest and
earnest then I can pretty much work with you. He's good enough as a helper.
I think he'd rather be a tattoo artist, but you do what you have to do
in another country to make ends meet so I respect that. So, I'm pretty
much going to keep him around as long as he wants because I think he's
holding up his end of the bargain as well as he can. When he fucks up,
he feels bad about it and it's not because he doesn't care.
Part of my unwritten
deal is that I don't mind giving small loans (no interest) to my guys.
He's had to borrow money many times for this or that and he always pays
it back eventually. It's much better than getting a payday loan and paying
crazy interest. He's borrowed money for an immigration lawyer, rent, car
trouble, etc. He has a Honda Pilot and it has a rear door that has blown
struts. He'd always put a stick under it so it didn't fall down while he
unloaded the back. A lot of these guys don't know much about the internet
so I ordered him new struts.
My painter was
the same way. He didn't want to deal with the internet and credit card
and all that so I bought him a Festool sander and vacuum and he paid me
back. Edwin also has two tires that are constantly losing air so I told
him to come over my house the other day. I took the tires off, patched
them (two nails), and rotated the tires because the wear was uneven.
he was going real slow and his mouth was all swollen. I looked at his teeth
and they looked pretty bad. He said he called the clinic and he has an
appointment for next Saturday. I told him you need to get in there tomorrow.
He said he wants to work. I said you can work Saturday and Sunday if you
want, but you can't wait 10 more days (he didn't sleep the night before
because the pain was bad). I told him to get clove oil (helps a lot with
dental pain) and reschedule for tomorrow. So he does that. Next day he
calls me and tells me it feels a lot better - one filling and two teeth
pulled. The dentist needs another $400 (I gave Edwin $200 yesterday, but
it wasn't enough). I call them up to give my credit card, but it's just
some woman who doesn't know anything about it. Long story short, it's the
"dentist's" wife. The "dentist" is a guy who was a dentist in his home
country and does this kind of work on the side so he wants his cash today.
So, I made that happen and Edwin will be back to work tomorrow. The "dentist"
was recommended to Edwin by Moises (my old worker who moved back to Mexico)
and apparently he does a decent job so hopefully Edwin won't have any infections
or other complications.
I have a notepad
where I jot down topics for the webpage so I can remember when I get in
front of the computer (rare these days). I have one from a few months back
that reads "Cuomo failure but they want as AG or Pres? Dems are stupid."
I don't think I wrote enough about Cuomo and his failures...I guess there
were other things to write about, but I did note in my 5/24/20 post that
he didn't do a very good job in February. As my note indicates - I think
he was largely a failure. If you look at the deaths per million number
NY is #2 on the list (last I checked) and not far behind NJ. But because
he gave press conferences people mistook his activity for achievement.
This is another great quote by John Wooden - "don't mistake activity for
achievement." Unfortunately, this is what most people did. Cuomo gave press
conferences wherein he blathered on and on about how much Trump sucked.
He also said (as I remember) that COVID could stay alive on surfaces for
months (no one of good repute ever claimed this to be true as far as I
can tell). He said that he needed 30K ventilators when it turned out those
weren't that important after all. Basically, I never bought his bullshit.
He's like Newsom - very full of himself and eager to show off how important
he is. I'm sure they both get goosebumps thinking about how important they
are in these critical times.
As it turns out,
he's even more of a douche than I realized. The made up quotes from made
up people. The sexual misconduct allegations. The lies and manipulation
with the elderly homes. Never trusted him. Then he comes out with a fucking
book about how great he was and the left wing media get behind him in full
force, granting him interviews all over the place. I remember hearing the
interview on KQED and throwing up in my mouth. Fuck this guy.
Saw the Frontline
documentary about COVID and China. Reinforces the idea of a China virus,
not a European one (as Cuomo claimed). Also reveals that they knew it was
a respiratory virus in early January. Overall a lot of withheld information
from them. This is one reason why I got so upset early on when the NYT
and other seemed to revel in the fact that the US had more cases than China.
1. It's annoying that the media loves rubbing the our collective nose in
shit. 2. It assumed that China's numbers were even close to accurate. 3.
Of course you can stop a virus when you don't care about personal liberty.
Working as much
as ever, but not sure I'm making as much money as I could. The business
has changed a lot the last couple years...whereas before we were doing
a lot of work on big renovations, now I'm doing a lot of unit turnovers
and handyman type stuff. Keeping me very busy, but hard to say if it's
as profitable as it should be.
I think these jobs
are leading to a lot of unbilled work on my part, which goes largely unaccounted
for. So, when I do my post mortems things look good, but partly because
the post mortems take into account time spent in the field by me and the
Another thing is
that much of my mindset has been thinking about hourly wage, but I think
I should be thinking more about net total daily, weekly, monthly.
Been getting beat
up on price a fair amount lately as well. I was hoping that the property
management jobs would be relatively free of back and forth and haggling,
but that hasn't proven to be true.
and wrist hurt every day now.
There's a reason
being a contractor is a tough gig. Hard on the body, beat up on price,
some people don't trust you, some people don't value what you do, competing
against guys who will say whatever it takes to get the job, etc. Overall,
not easy. I think relationships are probably the most important part of
the business. Knowing the right subs. Cultivating the right client base.
Knowing the right people who can help on a temporary basis. Keeping employees
happy. You don't want to deal with tire kickers all day. You don't want
to do work for people who say things like "I could do it myself, I just
don't have the time."
like many things in that people can figure it out themselves if they are
so inclined. It's not always about knowing how to install a sink or paint
a room. It's about doing so properly, efficiently, and for money that makes
you a contractor. Most handy-ish people can do many of the individual things
I do on a daily basis if they take the time to educate themselves and buy
or rent the applicable tools.
I like to learn
so that I can do things. Other people like to do things so that they can
learn. The doing is the end, the learning is the means.
If I told you in
October that the election would be called "the most secure election in
history" you would have guessed that Trump won and his people were blowing
smoke up our collective ass. You would have guessed that Trump had stolen
the election and that voter suppression was rampant. Right? Instead, it
was Biden winning. Pretty funny times we live in.
Listening to the
NYT Daily podcast a while back and a science reporter was on talking about
the vaccine. She said that the trials have barely begun so we don't know
if they are safe in kids yet, for example. The host asked if she would
get her kids vaccinated and she said that she believes in science so, yes,
she would get them vaccinated. Is it just me or are people really blinded
by the ideology of this vaccine stuff? She just spent the last few sentences
talking about how the science wasn't in and then she says she trusts the
science. Science is about collecting data and interrogating it towards
as much certainty as possible. That's not the situations she described
with the vaccines that are available. What she's describing is faith. She
has faith in scientists. The science isn't in yet...much less settled.
She has faith. And, hey, that's fine enough. These are smart people and
they developed these vaccines very quickly and did a great job. In the
run, we'll see how it turns out. So far, I'm not seeing much to be worried
about. But absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence.
the other day. One interesting part was when he was talking about a communist
idea that each person gives what they can. This seems to be glossed over
by many of today's pseudo-communists who just seem to want more stuff with
less work. In the book he says that he's able to give fasting so he goes
without food because he has nothing else to give. I can almost get behind
this because at least it's a person who is taking some responsibility and
seriously dealing with the the notion that each person should give what
they can to the common cause. Much more likely is the communist who has
nothing to give so they become a communist so others will give to them.
It is odd that you never find a communist who has good shit they are willing
to part with. I remember Vern taking food from me and Jon and then he said
we could take any of his food. As I remember it, we both told him at the
same time that he didn't have anything we wanted so he should just eat
his stuff and we'll eat ours.
been an uptick in anti-Asian racism lately. I don't think KQED got the
best examples, however, because the first two people on the radio talking
about it were recalling stories of people who were clearly mentally ill
saying racist shit like "go back to China." Obviously this shouldn't happen,
but shouldn't we also consider the source? I was walking in Berkeley once
and I looked at a woman and she then yelled at me and called me a nigger.
I mean, this is just funny, right? Regardless of my race or the words she
used...she's nuts. It doesn't warrant anything more than a chuckle. Just
another day in the bay area.
Don't pave the
jungle, put on better boots.
Why is it that
some people constantly remind us of the racist history of our country's
past, but these same people then insist on scrubbing that history from
cartoons, films, and, now, Dr. Seuss books? I've got some Droopy cartoons,
or maybe it was another Tex Avery cartoon, wherein they give a disclaimer
at the beginning that these cartoons may offend, but they are from a different
time and yada yada yada. Why can't that be the response? This is the populism
run amok on the left. Cancel culture has led to removing books and other
art. Rage Against the Machine have a lyric that goes "they don't have to
burn the books, they just remove them." All the leftist stuff I grew up
with like 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 was about controlling information and
censoring things. We fought against the PMRC and banned book lists. Now
we have this shit coming supposedly from the woke. When I was young I thought
that this was the kind of thing only the religious right, conservatives,
and Republicans did. Things have totally flipped. If you listen to Jello
Biafra today then you'd think he was part of the Right.
really confounds me is why people aren't making the police killings issue
a more bipartisan, biracial one. Why make it just about black people? Seems
like you're really limiting your potential audience if you don't talk about
Seever or Tony
Timpa or all the white people who are killed by police every year.
If you made it about abuse of police power I would suspect that you could
get more small government types on board with the issue. I guess the answer
is that it's not really about police killing people. It's about mistreatment
of black people and police killing people is the lever to activate that
paragraphs before they get to the numbers: 135 unarmed black people
killed since 2015...6 years so that works out to 22.5 per year. The more
you look into the numbers, the more it leaves you scratching your head.
The article goes on to point out that several of these cases were repeat
offenders. So, not a systemic case of racist cops hunting black people
down like Lebron
indicates, more an example of nut jobs who become cops and are then
protected by shitty police unions and police chiefs. I'm 100% behind fixing
that problem. I haven't bought into the "black people are literally being
hunted everyday we step foot outside the comfort of our homes" idea, however.
If you care about
black people and disenfranchisement it seems a good thing would be to help
them get IDs. It's a hedge against disenfranchisement. It's also a critical
step towards getting a job, traveling by plane, getting a bank account,
etc. All these things currently require ID and would greatly enhance a
person's ability to function in society. Instead, the thing I see are people
fighting against ID laws for voting. I guess that's fine, but can we help
these people get ID also? Make it easier to get ID (make government work,
lower fees, etc.). And literally help individuals get ID by telling them
what the steps are and following through with help (information, support,
$). I hear all these stories about people who don't have IDs and they're
afraid they won't be able to vote. I can't help but think that they probably
have bigger problems if they're living without ID.
is another area where there could be bipartisan support if people were
so inclined to look for it. Make government fees much lower. Getting an
ID can be expensive for poor people. There should be caps at every level
on how much the government can charge for the things it requires of its
citizens. Libertarians and small government types would likely support
this and liberals would as well if you just told them how it disproportionately
affects people of color. These aren't sexy arguments I'm making, but they
should be no brainers for anyone looking for consensus and actual progress.
Some people are
quick to point out how virus-like humanity is. We're selfish and unlike
other animal species in our impact on the environment, etc. Yeah, people
suck. However, I'd also point out that no species I know of is so good
at taking care of its disabled, impaired, murderous, etc. According to
one (flawed definition) 20%
of the UK is disabled (you have to get into the weeds, but I think
the real number is more like 10% based upon how they asked the question).
If 20% of honeybees weren't producing at all do you think the hive would
be okay with that? Lions? I think we're pretty damn compassionate by animal
Under the Bush
administration NPR saw the writing on the wall when the Reps started going
after their funding. NPR made the decision to broaden their base of funding
to include more corporate funding. They started doing more corporate messages
and all that. I've never loved it, but it was a wise decision. You don't
want to become reliant upon any one source - especially the government.
Science has found
increases happiness. There have been a lot of studies and talks about
this that I've seen the last few years. Congratulations to scientists who
have figured out that which has been known by religions for thousands of
years. This is what happens when you throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Religions have been monetized and so people like me have been rightly wary
of them for a long time. However, this comes at your own peril should you
choose to eschew the collective wisdom of things like prayer before a meal
(showing gratitude for the simple things in life). The did some study that
found that people in Islamic countries were far more unlikely to commit
a crime during the times of day when the call to prayer (adhan) could be
heard. "If god didn't exist it would be necessary to invent him."
I'm not a fan of
Tom Brady, but I am a fan of competence. After 3-5 super bowls I remained
unconvinced. I could say he got one ring because of Vinatieri or the tuck
rule or a lucky last second interception against the Seahawks or whatever.
But, the guy has 7 fucking rings now so I'm running out of ways to minimize
his greatness. He's won a super bowl every other year since 2014. He's
done it with Belichick and without. TB wasn't a very good team last year
and he took them to a win in his first year with them. He's just the best.
I wish it was someone else, but it is what it is.
Not much time to say what I need to say.
to the backlash. Ryan Long is great.
If you think that Trump is the problem
then you're either clueless or wildly optimistic.
episode from Jordan Peterson recently. S4E2 with Douglas Murray. I
don't agree with everything Murray says, nor do I disagree with everything
he says. Murray is definitely on the right and Peterson is center right.
If you haven't heard anything from Peterson (where have you been?) then
this might be a good first episode. Not because it's quintessential JBP,
but because he seems to be reacting to his place in society as a center
of controversy who is feeling introspective. I like this incarnation of
If I were president I would have done
a lot of things differently, but one thing that I would have done, that
would have been in keeping with the Trump ethos, is to make the COVID thing
into a national competition. "Look the chinks are beating us right now
and so are the Japs and the Nazis...we need to get our numbers down. Let's
kick their ass by wearing masks, taking vitamin D, quitting smoking...go
outside and get some cardio to help your general health, etc. We're number
one." Something like that.
I've heard our policy called abstinence
only, which I think is pretty accurate. We know how to shut down the economy
and pay people to not do anything. Beyond that we're pretty much closing
our eyes and plugging our ears. Why is getting plastic surgery okay, but
eating outside isn't? None of the decisions being made are making much
sense. I used to really dislike governor Newsom's reaction to COVID and
then I came around to it. Then he went to the French Laundry with his buddies
proving how important his guidance really is and he botched the vaccine
roll out so I'm off team Newsom again. What a douche.
Another chapter in the changing demographics
and entitlement of current bay area residents...I got a service request
about a tenant (in Berkeley, figures) who needed some work done (I didn't
do any of this work) and the list was: needs blinds, windows have paint
splotches, baseboards in closet don't completely align, bedroom outlet
is crooked. I texted the tenant and told him "I ordered the blinds for
you. I'll be in touch as soon as they arrive to install them and take care
of the other items you listed." He replied "Hi Chris, sounds good. Please
let me know as soon as possible, it is difficult to live without blinds."
I'm going to need a few bullet points to unpack this...
It's difficult to live without blinds.
This might be the most first world sentence I've seen in a long time. Again,
my general disposition in life is that I'm lucky that I get to shit in
a heated room, press a lever, and have the shit disappear. I don't have
to go outside to the out house to take a crap and this is a glorious thing.
I don't take indoor plumbing and electricity for granted. I definitely
get annoyed when the internet isn't working (in part because I can't even
use my phone without internet because I don't get cell coverage at home),
but I've never uttered a phrase even close to "it's difficult to live without
blinds." Life is difficult. Sack up you shit head.
Let's give the devil his due...maybe
he works nights so he wants blinds to help him sleep during the day. I
plan on asking about this when I'm there. But, let's go ahead and stipulate
that he works the graveyard shift (I've done this before so I can sympathize)...in
which case it wouldn't be very difficult to use a thumbtack and some sheets
or towels to block the sunlight.
Lastly, this is the unit that you looked
at before you rented the place. None of this was a surprise.
Another one I'm dealing with...young
lady wanted two broken blinds replaced so I ordered new ones online. Color
was kinda tan so I ordered the "biscuit" color, which is the builder's
version of light tan. The blinds I got are from a different manufacturer
so the color is different. She wrote an email complaining that they were
white and didn't match the third set of blinds in the room. No, they're
not white. No, they don't match perfectly...why exactly does that merit
a complaint? So, I'm going to order a third set of blinds to match the
other two. I'm going to throw the third, perfectly functioning set of blinds,
in the landfill where it will live for a few hundred years because she
couldn't stand looking at mismatching blinds. Can't be reused unless I
find the same size window elsewhere (very unlikely). I could take it to
a salvage place, but my experience with those places is that they are quite
picky to the point of it not being worth my time.
Perhaps this is the core problem driving
global warming and overconsumption...people not being willing to put up
with slight discomfort or things that aren't perfectly aesthetically pleasing.
Deal with what you have and move on. Keep the thermostat a bit outside
your comfort zone and take one for the team. I definitely am keeping employed
(at least in part) as a result of this, so maybe I shouldn't be pointing
this out, but it's really aggravating to see people send me pictures of
perfectly nice kitchens that they want to rip down and replace. People
want to throw out well functioning blinds from a place that they rent...this
shit kills me. You're a renter, just live with what you have - this is
the place you signed the lease for.
Have I mentioned recently how much I
don't like the identity politics of our times? Everything has to be made
into a race or gender issue. People not wearing their masks...hm, I noticed
that men aren't as good about it so let's call them out about it. Of course
this all goes one way ----> white cis men. It's not like anyone ever is
allowed to say "wow, the students in our country are really fucking dumb
of them don't know any of the rights protected by the Bill of Rights...let's
blame women since 76%
of teachers are women." This isn't a useful way to go around the world.
It's going to get us in a lot of trouble if we insist on seeing things
this way all the time.
Men commit the most crime, solve the
most crime, and are victims of the most crime. Blacks disproportionately
commit more crime and are disproportionately victims of crime. Up to you
and your narrative what you want to focus on - if you're inclined to think
of things this way.
Heard a little radio bit about a city
(I think it was Fremont or Hayward or some smaller East Bay city) council
meeting where they voted on an issue (can't recall what) and some people
didn't seem to like the way the vote turned out. In the story they mentioned
that the vote was at 1am. This, to me, was meant to signal to the listener
that this vote was surreptitious. In reality, many of these votes take
place quite late and there are a couple good reasons for this. In many
cities council members and board members make very little so they often
have other jobs. They also often have city/board meetings "after hours"
in part because of the members and in part because the citizens are encouraged
to give their feedback. During these meetings you'll often get many people
coming to the microphone giving their two cents. This, along with the formalities
of these meetings, makes the meetings drag late into the night. All this
together equals late night votes. Of course the media doesn't say anything
about that...they just give an untethered fact...one without context, but
heavy in innuendo. This, again, is not useful. The media is failing us
at every level and this is a way bigger problem than Trump, Republicans,
Koch Brother(s), Mercers, corporate personhood, racial inequality, and
whatever else you're getting from the Nation and Mother Jones. And, in
case it isn't obvious, the media are a way bigger problem than Pelosi,
AOC, Soros, unions, Antifa, and whatever else you're getting from the Blaze
and Gateway Pundit.
I've written about it before, but it
really sticks in my craw...MMT is one of those so smart you get dumb issues.
You have these super genius economists who go full retard and end up on
the other end of the horseshoe
(my version replaces "far left" with "dumb" and "far right" with "smart"
[or vice versa if that offends]) to the point where they become so smart
they're actually closer to being dumb.
To reiterate quickly...according to MMT
the government can spend as much as it wants and debt doesn't matter. Inflation
matters. If inflation gets too high then the government can just raise
taxes to bring some of the money out of the economy and it's all good again.
One issue they will bring up is that
Congress isn't very good at raising taxes quickly enough to bring that
money back. So, they say let's just have an automatic trip wire that raises
taxes if inflation reaches, let's say, 4%. Problem solved...free money!
My issues with this are many and range
from the conspiratorial to the specific to the fundamental nature of life:
conspiracy - This whole thing sounds
like a good way of just raising taxes and taking way our money. If you,
a middle class-ish person, think that won't affect you, you're living in
la la land.
specific - I don't think they are good
at measuring inflation and SO much of this scheme relies on accurately
measuring inflation. Does anyone really think that inflation has held steady
at just 2% for the last several years? Our biggest life purchases (education,
health, home) occur at varying times in our lives and have all gone up
by double digits. This just doesn't pass the sniff test. I know there's
a lot of debate about tracking inflation and they debate the CPI basket
and what can be substituted, etc. I'm not saying they're not thoughtful
about it, but things just don't add up. Add in wage stagnation (also debatable)
and I think you can definitely make the case that relying on a single metric
like inflation is dangerous at best.
fundamental - you don't get shit for
free in life. You can't just make money, spend it, and think that the gravy
train can last forever. Life doesn't work that way, so why would a macroeconomic
theory like MMT work if that's what it's essentially doing?
Another fuck the media point - how often
and vigorously do your media sources cover bipartisan legislation? It does
exist, but they just don't cover it the same way that they cover the issues
on which the D and R parties disagree. The First
Step Act is a good, recent example. It's the kind of bill everyone
should celebrate, yet it got very little coverage. Probably received about
as much coverage as the Mike Pence fly.
Aphorisms are the collected memory and
wisdom of a society. If you see variations of these across cultures and
time then there's a pretty good chance that there's a fundamental truth
that they are getting to. One that I like, and is apropos of the tenant
discussion above, is "if you give an inch they'll take a mile." A Mexican
friend of mine said they have one that's similar - "give a man a hand and
he'll take your whole arm." Sayings like this don't last because they're
Found a podcast
with Bill Gates and Rashida Jones. It's okay overall. I think Gates is
one of the great people we have living in the public consciousness today.
In episode 5 Jones is talking about how when she was younger she was pretty
militant and saw people who disagreed with her as her enemy...but now she
has matured and understands that the world is very complicated. This occurs
around the 3 minute mark. Then about 4 minutes later she talks about whether
or not it's possible to change your mind and understand how your enemy
thinks. Gates calls her out on her use of the word "enemy" right away and
I'm glad he did. I found it especially hilarious because she was just,
4 minutes ago, talking about how she didn't see people who disagreed with
her as enemies anymore. I think what's more likely is that she came to
the point where she knows not to call them the enemy anymore...to tolerate
them to some extent...but she still probably sees them as a hindrance to
her vision of the world. I don't fault her for this, necessarily. I think
it's pretty much the norm for humans and I really understand it. However,
this is the crux of the problem. This is what we need to get away from.
Again, it's not just that the right wing is shitty, but let's tolerate
them. It's that we actually need the right wing in order to be our best.
We need to take the best they have to offer and the best the left has to
offer and combine them. There can be a tug of war in the middle as things
go back and forth a bit in that middle zone, but you really do need the
strengths of each side's ideology in order to achieve a productive and
fulfilling societal balance.
Maybe we need a single issue voter bloc
that places accountability or compromise above all other issues. Probably
better than the single issue voter who picked gun rights or abortion.
One of the things that's happened in
the era of wokeness is that racism has been redefined to include only whites.
It's explicitly stated that you need to be white in order to be racist
today. It's because of this Marxist obsession with power that the definition
has warped in such a way to exclude blacks, latinos, or asians from possibly
being racist. I don't really accept the new definition, but whatever. Ultimately,
I don't see the point. So a Latino person who doesn't like blacks isn't
racist, they're just a prejudiced bigot...what's the difference? It's a
very odd thing to have done, but we live in odd times. I don't understand
much of critical race theory.
It's no coincidence that Trump finally
won the presidency when the attention economy was at its height. How many
other times did he run and lose? He didn't change, we did.
It's no coincidence that Blacks and Native
Americans are the most screwed over groups and they're the ones still doing
Bill Barr was totally spineless until
the last few weeks of his tenure. What a piece of shit.
What's the deal with Kimberley Guilfoyle?
Married to Newsom for 5 years. Now partnered with Trump Jr.
Jill Biden's title as "doctor" was in
the news for a few days. This is pathetic for so many reasons. It's weird
to insist on being called an honorific of any kind, imo. It smacks of wanting
to be called Maestro. It's pathetic that someone wrote and op-ed about
it. It's pathetic that it was published. It's pathetic that people drew
battle lines over it. It's pathetic that I took note of this and brought
it up weeks later. It's pathetic that this bullet point has continued for
this long. Sad!
I was against the recall of Gray Davis
when it happened. I thought it was a slippery slope at the time and didn't
think much of Arnold as a politician. He turned out to not be that bad
and would have done better under the pandemic seeing as he funded emergency
masks, etc. as part of a pandemic preparedness team which
Jerry Brown later defunded. Anyway, now people are thinking of recalling
Newsom. I think I've changed my mind on the recall issue. Now that I see
accountability as of extreme importance, I'm not as against recalls as
I was before. Newsom should at least be threatened with a recall...and
the threat means something since we've done it before.
Should I point out that the Obama administration
was the one that said all the Facebook purchases and mergers were a-OK?
And that the Trump administration was the one that fought Facebook?
up too late. too much work to do.
Watched the 60 minutes segment on Alex
Smith. Long time readers know I have always liked him and was upset when
Harbaugh benched him for Kaepernick. Anyway, in 2018 he had a really bad
broken leg and someone pointed out the following coincidences about his
injury and Theisman's equally brutal leg break:
Joe Theismann - Nov. 18, 1985
Alex Smith - Nov. 18, 2018
-Both breaks happened in Washington
-Both games ended 23-21
-Both broke right tibia and fibula
-Both quarterbacks were tackled by
the only three-time defensive played of the year winners, JJ Watt and Lawrence
-Both happened near the 40 yard line
-Both quarterbacks were playing against
red, white, and blue jerseys
-Joe Theismann was at the game when
Alex Smith broke his leg
-Theisman's Pro Bowl left tackle,
Joe Jacoby, wasn't on the field due to injury
-Smith's Pro Bowl left tackle, Trent
Williams, wasn't on the field due to injury
Trying a new color for a bit. Good?
My line of work is kinda fun because
it takes me to a lot of places. I have clients who are rich and middle
class. I work for a property manager who has properties that run the gamut
from low to high end. I get to see the variety of ways that people live.
How messy their house is, how it smells, what kind of work they do, how
picky or not they are. I go through the best and worst parts of town on
a regular basis. I see the burnt out cars, the cars with the engine removed
up on blocks, the homeless encampments all over the city, I've worked in
one room while a junkie is doing crack in the other, I've worked around
needles on the job site more times than I can count, I've worked upstairs
while I can see the prostitutes working on the street downstairs...these
are all just realities of urban decay and the work I do.
I work more with immigrants than I do
with natives. I think I've written about that before - people from Uzbekistan,
Russia, Ireland, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador...all coming here for a
better life. All have a better view of the country than most of the people
I went to college with.
Since COVID the job has changed a bit...people
have gotten more picky (maybe gentrification, maybe people just more isolated
and wanting to control things more). I've written about the volume fluctuating
and the type of work going from mostly renovations to mostly tenant improvements.
I've also done a fair amount of jobs for commercial properties (storage
facilities). They have been lucrative and fairly easy. Commercial maintenance
work is good because you don't have crazy codes and union requirements
since it's not a new build, but you get to charge a bit more and the customers
are more function oriented. You're not going to get five emails about the
paint color, like you might from a residential customer. This is much more
preferable to me.
COVID has also helped the traffic situation
a lot. I do a fair amount of driving and being able to get around has been
a really welcome change. Especially March-June-ish was wide open.
It hasn't helped the permitting situation,
however. Getting a permit that once was a 4-8 hour task can now be months
long. City workers are using all their vacation time and, apparently, the
vacation time is being matched 100% by some kind of COVID pay...so people
can take up to 40 weeks of vacation without any downside to them. So, you
have city bureaucrats, working from home, with a bunch of vacation time...recipe
for months long delays.
Ezra Klein had Stacey Abrams on a while
back. They talked about the "tyranny of the majority" argument as a false
one used by Republicans to actually have a tyranny of the minority and
how it's destroying democratic rule. I don't think they understand the
concept, which is odd since they are both very smart. This is motivated
reasoning at work, though. They've lost the clear and simple definition
of a concept like the tyranny of the majority and twisted the argument
to such an extent that it loses the point. Tyranny of the majority refers
to the democratic idea that the majority can vote away the rights of the
minority. It's a very real thing. A simple example is that if there are
three people in a room and one of them is Bill Gates...it's not going to
be long before he loses most of his money because the other two will vote
to institute rules that confiscate his wealth. That's an abstract example.
A concrete one might be slavery. The tyranny of the majority idea is a
reminder than democracy isn't the highest good - which is something a lot
of Leftists are leaning on these days.
The Left is understandably upset because
Republicans are ruling Congress and the Executive from a minority position
(they have recently received fewer votes than the Democrats in the House,
Senate, and Presidential elections and yet were (until 2018) in power of
those branches for a good deal of time). This is clearly unfair and undemocratic.
Fair enough point. However, that doesn't mean that you can place democracy
above the rights of others. Democracy is important, but it's not a first
principle in this country. Limited government power is a first principle.
It's laid out in the Bill of Rights. Anti-democratic principles are laid
out in the Constitution - in the makeup of the Senate, for example.
You can argue that this was a practical
consideration that needed to happen (like the 3/5 compromise) in order
to get the new country reformed after the Articles of Confederation proved
a failure...but it's nevertheless a part of the Constitution. I think that
the founders didn't want a democracy. Not just an Athenian democracy where
you vote on every single thing...I think they purposely wanted something
less democratic because they didn't think the people made great decisions
overall. In other words, I think Abrams and Klein are very wrong when they
discuss democracy and our government. They're working off faulty assumptions,
they're missing the point of protecting the minority, and they're doing
it because they are motivated to do so. I don't think they ever really
tackle the core problem - even though Klein brings it up.
I think the problem of Republicans winning
despite consistently winning a minority of votes is indeed a problem. However,
I think they are wrong in their approach.
Football games on some stations are covered
really poorly. This weekend the NBC coverage was really awful. Specifically
the view of the field was way tighter than it should have been. Most coverage
consistently leaves a quarter of the players out of the frame almost as
soon as the play starts. Safeties, DBs, WRs are all off screen doing god
knows what while we're focused on the QB and the lines. These are important
elements, to be sure, but the fact that we always miss what's happening
in the secondary is a major loss in the viewing experience. Football is
the only sport where this is a big problem. Soccer misses players, but
they're not important until the ball comes near them and they get on the
screen by then. Basketball and hockey are small enough that everyone is
included in the frame. Baseball is slow enough that you can show shifting
fielders, etc. without missing anything. Baseball may have the most to
gain from being on TV because it's easier to see the pitch selection, strike
zone, etc. Football really needs to be seen live to get the full experience.
Most people have TVs that are 40"+ nowadays so I don't understand why they
don't zoom out a little.
Interesting year. COVID, Trump, George
Floyd, etc. We all know the long list.
Personally it was interesting. Seeing
two kids die and not being able to save them was pretty rough. COVID changed
the business a bit. We also stopped doing much work for Meryl's brother,
but that was more because of market conditions than anything else and was
planned to happen before COVID. Laid off one employee, lost another to
him returning home to Mexico (I miss him). Hired another employee and he's
working out. Got more PPP money than we probably deserved. Saved more money
than we could have hoped for given what happened this year. That said,
it was also the first time I was struggling to fill a work week. Signed
a new agreement with a property management company to handle the vast majority
of their maintenance work - something that's been in the works for a year
and came at a really good time.
COVID slowed things for us for sure,
but about 95% of the year was pretty much business as usual in terms of
staying busy and making money. The type of work shifted, but we were out
in the field nonetheless.
Merritt started kindergarten online,
which is a bummer. Zoe continues to teach herself better than I could ever
hope. Both my girls are so great and I'm so lucky to have them. They both
have tablets (for online learning only) and Zoe and I had an email exchange
once that went like this:
zoe: Dad where me and Merritt good at
getting ready today???
me: Yes, you guys did a great job! We
were out the door before 8am and I'm working right now. I love you guys
so much! Love, Dad
me: I am such a lucky Dad to have two
such wonderful daughters who are so full of love and life and happiness.
zoe: You are!
I highly recommend the new Carlin
podcast episode (garbage in garbage out). Listened to it twice today.
His last two have been absolute gold and I agree with pretty much everything
he says. It's really heartening to hear someone who sees the world in the
same way. It can be pretty lonely being a true independent. I pretty actively
avoid having any allegiance and the result of that is I'm not on a team
so there's not much solace because everyone thinks you're not on their
side. I have a lot of political stuff saved up, but I'll be up all night
if I start writing about that.
One thing I really hope for is that when
Trump isn't in office the media stops talking about him. He will no longer
be required reporting and he's never been very interesting or important
- outside of his role as president. No reason to talk about him anymore.
I've been making this point since he lost the election and seeing him banned
from Twitter, etc. actually gives me hope that this will happen. My inclination
until now has been to think that the media will continue to dip into the
Trump well for content, but now I'm less certain. We'll see.
The vaccine timeline is interesting.
We're seeing this in a few sectors in government now where things that
usually take a long time are now greatly accelerated. It leaves you wondering
why things take as long as they take if they can obviously take a lot less
time. I wrote before that the record before this was 4 years for the mumps
vaccine. This isn't just an issue of developing the vaccine, but also of
doing the tests and getting through the regulation. So we're faced with
a situation now where we either have to question the old timeline/process
as excessively long and onerous or question the safety of the current vaccine.
I'm inclined to think that the old timeline/process was overly drawn out
(as is typical with the government). That said, it's impossible to know
the long term effects of a vaccine when it's been developed over the course
of less than a year.
I incorrectly predicted the GA senate
outcomes. Surprising outcome imo.
"Think of how stupid the average person
is, and realize that half of them are stupider than that." - George Carlin.
I think he means median person, but, pedantics aside, this is a good way
of understanding why we are where we are.
According to NPR's Indicator podcast
Amazon warehouse workers are making more than market rate and this is pushing
wages up. This is probably bad news for people who like to hate Amazon.
The stories we tell each other about
our family, the videos we watch over and over again...those become the
perception of our family. Stories and images matter. Now extrapolate that
out to how the media presents our country. What are the stories the media
tell? Have they chosen to focus on the positive or the negative? One more
way in which the media is so corrosive to our socio-political situation.
And as I've been pointing out a for a while now - Trump will be gone soon
and the media remains with us.
One thing that's nice about getting older
is that you start to see patterns in society. Things aren't as novel as
they once were. It's a lot easier to see how shifty things can be. For
example, when I was growing up it was clear that conservatives were the
ones who wanted to run your life - no abortion, rap is bad, being gay is
sinful, puritans telling you how to run your life. Nowadays, though, the
liberals are the ones telling you what car to drive (SUVs are bad), what
coffee to buy (Starbucks is evil, need to buy fair trade, shade grown,
organic whatever), what movies to watch (Gone With The Wind is verboten),
what views to have, what jokes are off limits, etc.
Work lately has been a lot of unit turnovers.
People are leaving the bay area and rents are dropping. People who didn't
want to agree to buyouts before are now asking if the offer is still on
the table. Landlords are the ones hurting and I'm sure no one is shedding
Our goal for a little while has been
to buy a warehouse and live there. We'd build it out for living and also
have storage space for all the staging materials (Meryl is fully into the
staging business now) and tools, materials, shop stuff. We figure we need
6,000 s.f. minimum to make it work. 1500-2000 for living and office space
and the rest for work stuff. More would be even better. Found a nice place
and put an offer on it, but it's in contract so we only get a chance if
it falls out of contract. I'm not super hopeful, but would really like
to get the place. Lots of room so I could finally have the space I need.
One thing about being a GC is that I
do a bit of almost everything. If I were just a plumber then I'd only need
plumbing tools. I'd probably have more materials on hand like extra copper
or cast iron or whatever, but I wouldn't need any of my electrical stuff,
carpentry tools, tile tools, HVAC tools, extra hardware, simpson strong
Then you add up all the tools that I
have multiple copies of...Sometimes I'm running 3 jobs at a time. I could
cart one set of tools all around the city, but doing that just gets old.
All that stuff takes up a lot of space. I've wanted more space since I
was building CD cases in my apartment. I'd say a warehouse would finally
The other thing is that I have a car
(the Chevy Volt) that I try to use most of the time for commuting and I
have the truck that I use for bringing tools and materials to/from the
job. Demo day means I usually bring the trailer and of course that means
I need the truck. When I take the Volt I don't have as much space so keeping
the tools on site is a much better option. Of course that also means I
run the risk of a theft and that's an unfortunate part of the calculus
for everything. If I'm on a job a long time then I run the risk of a burglary.
All these considerations add up to more expense and difficulty. If I lived
in the country I'd have a truck and a trailer and I'd bring the trailer
wherever I'm working and I could leave it there until the job is done.
Around here, parking and theft make that impossible.
So much of my job is logistics. What
jobs should I go to today? How can I keep Edwin and Antonio busy? What
jobs do I need to look at for next week or later down the line? What materials
do I need for now and later? Actually doing the work is basically the easy
part at this point. I guess that's an accomplishment since there was a
time when that was a struggle. Nowadays most of the jobs I get are pretty
easy for me to execute from a building perspective. Getting the right materials
and people to the job and dealing with people...those are the hard parts
of my job.
Dealing with flaky suppliers, material
availability, and customers are the most annoying things for me on a daily
basis. Home Depot is basically the only game in town for getting a variety
of materials in one stop (Lowe's is far away) and none of them around here
are run worth a damn. I know more about their products than most of their
employees. I rented an insulation blower from them a few weeks ago and
the guy renting it to me had no idea how it worked or what materials it
worked with. I had to give him a tutorial and set it up for him. This is
just one example. The lack of basic competence is a constant source of
Customers are more annoying the last
year or so than ever before. I'm guessing that part of that is COVID getting
to people and the other part is that more people are moving from SF to
Oakland. Oakland used to be more working class and laid back - live and
let live. These days, there's definitely a shift towards annoying people
who are entitled, picky, and overbearing. Basically it's the Berkeley/SF-ification
of Oakland. In this way, I definitely can sympathize with the anti-gentrification
So, that's work.
Lots to say about things lately, but
not much time. Staying up late to work and not much time to gather thoughts
and write here. Will definitely get to it soon, though.
If you recall the Carlin podcast I recommended
a couple times a few months back, that is as relevant now as ever. He talked
about being angry when he was young and now just being really disappointed.
That's where I am. Really embarrassed and disappointed by everything that's
going on. Not only what's happening with the protests, but with the reactions
to it. The way the media spins it. The way each side responds. The totally
oblivious nature of the responses on both sides. Hopefully this is the
wake up call we needed, but I think it still needs to get worse before
it gets better. Part of that is each side acknowledging their own stupidity.
The reckless nature of their extremes. Their own culpability in ratcheting
things up. Their unwillingness to acknowledge the importance of the other
side to keep things running well. This is something I write about a lot
here. Maybe it comes off as apologetic for the Right. What it really is
is an acknowledgment not just of the legitimacy of both sides, but the
of both sides. We need a right wing and a left wing to fly. Unfortunately
both sides think that the other side is a mortal enemy. What makes it really
difficult is that both sides have good evidence to back up some of their
claims. There's enough blame to go around and never enough accountability
and responsibility. Often I write here about the limitations, hypocrisies,
failures, and blind spots of the Left. I do this not because I dislike
the Left more than the Right (I've pointed out before that I'm more Left
than Right), I do this in part to point out to my Leftist audience that
your shit stinks too. If you can't acknowledge your own frailties, how
do you expect them to acknowledge theirs? Without consistency there can't
It's not the podcast I look forward to
the most, but it may be the most important podcast I listen to. Hidden
Brain has a lot of good stuff and the host is doing a
real service to the country. He sees the commonalties between the left
and right more than most and, lately, Hidden Brain has done a lot of work
to show those commonalties.