Sun. July 1, 2018 – open

Whew, slept in. Kids are now fed, the dad is fed, the wife is fed, and the kids are squabbling so the dad is also fed up! (now there is crying)

Only 96F at 11am, so not quite following Nick’s rule of tens for a hot day in Houston…. 70 at 7am, 80 at 8am, 90 at 9am, 100 by 10am…

Got a lot of work done at the rental but ran out of material and still have to go back today. Wife got all the remaining cleaning done. We should have it back on the rental market in a week. Pure laziness on my part to have let it go this long. We’ve lost 10k in rental revenue while dragging our feet. That was super stupid. I have a line on a management company with a very affordable rate. If they are taking customers, I think we’ll sign up. This was super stupid. (did I mention this was stupid?)

Drank half a gallon of gatoraid while working, and another half gallon of water and tea before and after. Then drank some more. Peed once and woke thirsty. No headache or hangover today though.

WRT the previous discussion on revenue and wages being down, my ebay sales continue to limp along. I have never had sales this low since starting to take it seriously. I do have a bunch of high value inventory to list, but almost nothing is selling, my views have dropped way off, and my watchers are mostly at zero. I don’t know if it is the economy in general, my vacation hiatus killing my search results placement, or the move to an ebay ‘store’. I think I’ll be calling ebay’s business ‘consultant’ next week to ask about my store move, since that seems most likely to be the culprit.

Garden is growing. The bush and pole beans are growing like crazy, with neat little purple flowers, but no beans yet. Zukes are still hanging in there, with flowers but no fruit yet. The grape vine that didn’t fruit yet has suddenly started growing like crazy. One was red, the other purple, both table varieties. I think this one is the purple. Maybe it has later fruit? Got a shot glass full of blueberries, and was happy to save that much. No peaches again this year. Beets are doing well. Onions seem to be getting bigger, so I’m letting them grow. Would be starving if I needed the garden to eat. Something to keep in mind.

Finished reading the Oregon Trail cookbook. You can make a lot of different things from flour, corn meal, bacon, fat, sugar, and salt. You can make a cake with almost no ingredients. Not sure that any of it was much more than ‘iron rations’, but the breads and pastries sounded pretty good when they had the spices. Bear fat in a lot of dishes. Bears must have been a staple of their hunting and foraging. The main idea is that you can vary your diet, and survive with almost no veg or fruit. LOTS of fat for flavor and energy in EVERYTHING. One of the PA novels has a group slowly starving despite plentiful deer and fish, because they aren’t eating enough fat. Pigs used to be more valuable on the homestead for their fat content than their meat, and the heirloom varieties are all MUCH fatter than current. Something to keep in mind if our situation were to devolve.

Hit one sale this weekend on my way to the gas station. Grabbed a new camelback bladder and sippy hose for $2. Still had the plastic on it. Got a couple other useful things for no money last week. I’m getting more selective as I get my ‘stuff’ topped up.

And that’s the week that was….

n

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33 Responses to Sun. July 1, 2018 – open

  1. Jim Lang says:

    88º and sunny. Warmer than I’m used to. Doing lawn & maintenance work, so coming in often to cool down.

    The lawn tractor died the other day. Got around to troubleshooting it this morning. Starter solenoid. I could short it with a screwdriver to start, but it’s inside the cowl, so there’s a good chance of shorting to ground, so I won’t. 2 days from Amazon or a week from another vendor. 2 days it is, and cheaper to boot.

    Headed to a local park later. Creek is still accessible and playground is present. Should be good for a couple of hours of kid fun.

  2. SteveF says:

    more latter

    Latter did not need an intensifier in this instance.

    Feel free to ask if you need any more helpful tips.

  3. Greg Norton says:

    WRT the previous discussion on revenue and wages being down, my ebay sales continue to limp along. I have never had sales this low since starting to take it seriously. I do have a bunch of high value inventory to list, but almost nothing is selling, my views have dropped way off, and my watchers are mostly at zero. I don’t know if it is the economy in general, my vacation hiatus killing my search results placement, or the move to an ebay ‘store’. I think I’ll be calling ebay’s business ‘consultant’ next week to ask about my store move, since that seems most likely to be the culprit.

    I’ve noticed a falloff on EBay doing my onesy-twosy sales every once in a while. I’m glad it wasn’t like this when I depended on the site to pay rent during the dark days in Vantucky.

    From the buyer’s perspective, merchandise quality has been way off on the things I know about reselling. I’ve probably used the return protection more in the last year than I have in the previous 15 on the site, escalating one case beyond EBay into PayPal forcing the refund out of the seller’s account.

    I’ve noticed a lot of new sellers lately. They get lucky with either the NES or SNES Classic and suddenly they’re off to the Goodwill outlet. Maybe Nintendo is to blame for the EBay weirdness — they’ve turned their retailers into wholesalers for the “Gig economy”.

  4. Greg Norton says:

    WRT the previous discussion on revenue and wages being down …

    I have a Camry rental this week which is a $30,000 car new. Nice car, but at the end of the day, it is still a Toyota, a factory fresh version of my 18 year old vehicle but with better gadgetry.

    Meanwhile, back at the hotel, the electrical system in the room is so shot that half of the plugs don’t have adequate grounding to make my laptop’s power supply happy.

    No problem with wages or small business revenue in relation to expenses. Nothing to see here. Move along.

  5. lynn says:

    WRT the previous discussion on revenue and wages being down, my ebay sales continue to limp along. I have never had sales this low since starting to take it seriously. I do have a bunch of high value inventory to list, but almost nothing is selling, my views have dropped way off, and my watchers are mostly at zero. I don’t know if it is the economy in general, my vacation hiatus killing my search results placement, or the move to an ebay ‘store’. I think I’ll be calling ebay’s business ‘consultant’ next week to ask about my store move, since that seems most likely to be the culprit.

    The average age in the USA is rising. 38 years according to
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_median_age

    As people age, they turn into savers rather than spenders. This is causing a fundamental change in our economy. And the ride is just starting.

    My problems are due to the $3.00 natural gas. The minute the price of natural gas rises to $3.00, hundreds of well operators stroll out to the well head and open the valve. The minute the price of natural gas drops to $2.99, hundreds of well operators stroll out to the well head and close the valve. Half of our customers use our software for natural gas modeling. Especially the nasty natural gas with plentiful H2S and CO2 in it. Nowadays, people just walk away from that nasty natural gas and use the clean stuff, there is so much of it. They don’t need us, they don’t need absorbants, and they can’t sell the nasty natural gas for a profit due to the cleaning cost.

  6. SteveF says:

    Lynn, have you thought about fomenting political unrest in order to improve your business? As a good capitalist, you should appreciate the storied history of such acts.

    It shouldn’t even be difficult or expensive. The largest known gas reserves are in the USSR and Iran, with the rest of the world being also-rans. If you can’t disrupt the production in those two nations, you aren’t even trying.

  7. lynn says:

    The largest known gas reserves are in the USSR and Iran, with the rest of the world being also-rans.

    Nope, the USA now has the world’s largest reserves. We have somewhere between 100 to 200 years of proven reserves and probably 1,000 years of unproven reserves. North Dakota was flaring over a billion cubic feet a day of natural gas until recently when the state decided to stop it.
    https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=58&t=8

    And now it is looking like Saudi Arabia is not going to have that revolution. That may have been our last hope of a world event for the near future.
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-24/saudi-women-driving-is-seen-better-for-economy-than-aramco-ipo

  8. SteveF says:

    Nope, the USA now has the world’s largest reserves.

    Are … are you suggesting that the pages I found in a couple moments of internet searching are outdated or even just plain wrong??!! Blasphemy! I found it on the internet, so it must be true!

    As may be, you’re in luck. Various subspecies of mutant libtard are calling for a revolution, so there’ll be disruption and price spikes. Well, at least for the three or four days it takes to beat the revolutionaries back into their mommies’ basements and Section 8 housing.

  9. lynn says:

    Nope, the USA now has the world’s largest reserves.

    Are … are you suggesting that the pages I found in a couple moments of internet searching are outdated or even just plain wrong??!!

    Ten years ago, the price of natural gas was $14/mmbtu. Today it is $3/mmbtu. I had customers thinking about building coal to natural gas plants. Nowadays we are swimming in natural gas.

    The price of crude oil was $130/barrel. Now it is $70/barrel. And Texas alone may be back up to 7 million barrels/day of crude oil production in 2019.

    The only constant is change. Tough to make business plans with that.

  10. paul says:

    Random: Has anyone here met OFD in meatspace?

  11. SteveF says:

    Never met in person. Exchanged a bunch of email and IMs. If your question is whether OFD is a real person or was an AI who’s been disconnected from the internet, I share your concerns. OFD, my daughter, and I had arranged several times to do a Skype chat or talk on the phone for Latin tutoring, but every time “something came up”. After enough “somethings”, you start to wonder.

  12. Nick Flandrey says:

    Surely any good AI could fake the video during a skype chat… max headroom was doing it decades ago 😛

    Got all the repairs to the porch done. Got my lawn here mowed. Watered some of the garden and will do the rest after dinner.

    Mmmmm ribs. Tasty pig. So good.

    n

  13. paul says:

    Here I am, happily typing away and instead of shift W I hit ctrl W. A first for me.

  14. paul says:

    As I recall, OFD went to the VA and somehow he is now paralyzed for year or more.
    Dr. Bob passed a few days later.

    I’ve seen people using voice to text and search with Siri. Can’t Siri post to a web page? Perhaps send an e-mail to someone that can run spellcheck and post on his behalf?

    Or is/was OFD Dr. Bob’s Evil Twin? If so, that would allow RBT to say outrageous things with no blow back on him.

    Just a random thought from a weird dream last night.

    The temp is down to 95F from a high (for a couple of hours) of 104F. Sunny with a bit of haze. Decent breeze for most of the day so it wasn’t like sitting in a closed building.
    The dogs go out grudgingly. But they act the same when it’s below 40F and cloudy.

  15. Nick Flandrey says:

    OFD can’t talk. He is able to vocalize some, and can make himself understood to his wife, but that’s it. He’s on a respirator.

    All that is assuming no change from the last email I got from Liz.

    n

  16. paul says:

    Ah. I missed the detail about the respirator.

    Still, it was a weird dream. I wonder where this stuff comes from? What the hell is going on in my pointy little head? If I could remember more than blurbs I could write a book.

  17. lynn says:

    Well, so much for that eight inches of rain two weeks ago. The Brazos River is back down to 9 ft above the Richmond gauge (which means about 6 inches deep by my house). And the sand bar in the river downstream of the I-69 bridge is about the size of a football field.
    https://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph.php?wfo=HGX&gage=RMOT2

  18. lynn says:

    “The recent Supreme Court decision in Wayfair v. South Dakota has made the out-of-state vendor provisions of Act 134 of 2016 effective. Certain out-of-state vendors are now required to register with the State of Vermont and collect and remit sales tax beginning July 1,2018. An out-of-state vendor making sales into the State must register and collect sales tax if they made sales of at least $100,000 or 200 individual transactions during any preceding twelve -month period. Please register for a sales tax license or contact tax.business@vermont.gov with questions.”

    Vermont Sales and Use Tax
    http://tax.vermont.gov/business-and-corp/sales-and-use-tax

    And so starts the nightmare for small businesses across the country. John Roberts, you suck ! Taxation without representation.

  19. Nick Flandrey says:

    We’ll see. It’s not a given that the others will pick it up.

    Ebay has advised to ‘wait and see’ what happens, while they continue to lobby on seller’s behalf, to thwart any implementation.

    And really, they’ve broken every other part of the historical compact with citizens, what’s one more?

    n

  20. lynn says:

    “Chicken of the trees: Eating Florida’s iguanas”
    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/environment/fl-reg-eating-iguana-south-florida-invasive-20180627-story.html

    Cajuns will eat anything that does not eat them first.

    Hat tip to:
    https://drudgereport.com/

  21. lynn says:

    We’ll see. It’s not a given that the others will pick it up.

    Ebay has advised to ‘wait and see’ what happens, while they continue to lobby on seller’s behalf, to thwart any implementation.

    And really, they’ve broken every other part of the historical compact with citizens, what’s one more?

    Oh, I can think of a few that will pick it up. California, Oregon, Washington DC, Illinois, Maryland, etc, etc, etc. Oh yes, and Texas. “Comptroller Issues Initial Guidance on Remote Seller Sales Tax Decision by U.S. Supreme Court”
    https://comptroller.texas.gov/about/media-center/news/2018/180627-wayfair.php

  22. Nick Flandrey says:

    I pay ebay to handle international shipments for me. I’ll probably end up paying them to handle the tax collection for me too.

    n

  23. Greg Norton says:

    And so starts the nightmare for small businesses across the country. John Roberts, you suck ! Taxation without representation.

    IIRC Roberts voted with the liberals to keep the status quo, even taking Hermione Granger Kagan’s side during arguments.

    Ginsberg broke ranks to vote with Gorsuch and the other conservatives to vote for the majority. As I’ve pointed out here before, her husband is (was?) a noted tax attorney.

    Oh, I can think of a few that will pick it up. California, Oregon, Washington DC, Illinois, Maryland, etc, etc, etc. Oh yes, and Texas. “Comptroller Issues Initial Guidance on Remote Seller Sales Tax Decision by U.S. Supreme Court”

    Oregon doesn’t have sales taxes. It is a big reason that the Vantucky (SW WA State)economy is trainwreck. Just wait until I-5 and 205 heading into Portland are tolled!

    WA State will definitely step up sales tax enforcement. Where we lived in Vantucky, we had three layers on top of state sales taxes IIRC — county, City of Vancouver, and something extra for our side of the city. Kinda useless since Oregon was 10 minutes from my front door.

  24. Greg Norton says:

    “Chicken of the trees: Eating Florida’s iguanas”

    Cajuns will eat anything that does not eat them first.

    Another pet craze gone bad in Florida. Unfortunately, the pythons are not edible since they accumulate mercury in their systems. Lionfish are, however, edible, and the only difficulty in controlling their numbers through consumption is that collecting them requires skill and special equipment as well as scuba certification.

    And if you don’t think people are stupid about their pets, you haven’t flown with “therapy animals” lately. My allergies and asthma went out of control this weekend after a two hour trip on Southwest.

    At least you can try to avoid the animals vicinity on Southwest. My wife has a patient who walked onto a Delta flight to discover that her reserved seat was in a row with a woman and her German Shepherd who, lacking a paid seat, laid across all the floor space in the row.

  25. Ray Thompson says:

    Just wait until I-5 and 205 heading into Portland are tolled!

    I don’t think the state can do that on existing interstates that have been paid for with federal funds. Only new highways paid entirely by state funds can be toll roads.

    What the states can do is build a new toll road then put I-5 and I-205 under extended construction backing traffic up on those roads for miles. Basically forcing people to take the toll road. Then WA can install inspection booths to look in vehicles for untaxed merchandise from OR and make people pay the tax at the inspection station.

    OR may not have sales tax but the property taxes are quite high and OR has an income tax that is not trivial. As a former OR resident I can tell you that OR will aggressively go after out of state residents to grab their share of taxes. To the point of issuing a warrant for a person’s arrest in the state if they are ever pulled over for a minor traffic violation such as a front parking light out.

    TN has no earned income tax but sales taxes are high, almost 10%. States will get their money somehow.

  26. Greg Norton says:

    I don’t think the state can do that on existing interstates that have been paid for with federal funds. Only new highways paid entirely by state funds can be toll roads.

    Oregon conducted studies on adding the tolls, and they are going to apply for permission with the Feds. WA and OR already have permission to toll the replacement I-5 bridge … whenever that happens.

    At first, only the severely congested section of I-5 around downtown will be tolled, with additional equipment studies conducted on 205 near Wilsonville. As I’ve learned at my new job, properly identifying vehicles for tolling purposes via automation is extremely challenging.

  27. brad says:

    Buried in work this week, but picking up on a couple of random comments…

    Ms. “Wise Latina” Sotomayor was always a diversity appointment, and vastly underqualified to sit on the Supreme Court. Why do the progs not understand? If you are going to appoint a minority to some high position, you want to make sure that they are amply qualified. Anything else just promotes the view that members of said minority are incapable of doing the job, and damages the ones who are genuinely capable.

    @Lynn: You quoted a figure of $85k for a senior developer? I find that shockingly low. It’s always a question of what “senior” means, but if I pick “lead software engineer” off of a random website, I get a median salary well over $100k. None of my business, just curious…

  28. lynn says:

    @Lynn: You quoted a figure of $85k for a senior developer? I find that shockingly low. It’s always a question of what “senior” means, but if I pick “lead software engineer” off of a random website, I get a median salary well over $100k. None of my business, just curious…

    I don’t know where they are getting those salary figures from but not here in the Houston area. Well maybe downtown Houston but not out here in the suburbs. And he only moved five miles in, off the Beltway 8 tollway.

  29. nick flandrey says:

    Houston has reasonable cost of living, so Houston based wages often look low compared to other urban areas.

    Depending on where and how far you want to commute from, you can still get a nice house for $250k. In my neighborhood, remodeled 50 yo homes are selling for under $400k, that’s 2400 sqft on a 7-9000 sqft lot. 4 Beds, 2 or 2 1/2 bath, 2 car garage.

    Add in the no state income tax that is like a 10% bump in pay, and you can live pretty good on that. It’s not about what you make, it’s about what you keep.

    electricity is 11c /kwh, gasoline is $2.89/gal currently)

    n

  30. SteveF says:

    Why do the progs not understand? If you are going to appoint a minority to some high position, you want to make sure that they are amply qualified. Anything else just promotes the view that members of said minority are incapable of doing the job

    How many years will it be before a black man is seriously considered for US Prez?

    I knew one black dentist who was very good, and was not at all bashful in telling you he’d gotten really really good grades in school and on the boards. And then he’d glare over at another black dentist in the same practice, a dentist who’d so badly screwed up putting in a filling that I needed to get a crown on that tooth, and say bad things about butt-munching affirmative action retards making people avoid the good dentist, too. (He didn’t phrase it quite that way. His comments as he did the crown were kept to a professional level.)

  31. lynn says:

    Houston has reasonable cost of living, so Houston based wages often look low compared to other urban areas.

    Plus the oil companies are still shedding people. Just nobody wants to talk about it.

    electricity is 11c /kwh, gasoline is $2.89/gal currently)

    My house electricity is 8.5 cents/kwh (two year contract signed last March before people understood the repercussions of shutting down half of coal power plants in Texas in January) and the Shell station down the street is $2.59/gallon.

  32. Greg Norton says:

    @Lynn: You quoted a figure of $85k for a senior developer? I find that shockingly low. It’s always a question of what “senior” means, but if I pick “lead software engineer” off of a random website, I get a median salary well over $100k. None of my business, just curious…

    $100k in Texas for a lead developer, not management, is most likely some kind of “hot skillz” web technology, and the company is most likely in a crisis, looking for what I call a “fireman”.

    Some people like being a fireman. I don’t.

    The only time I made that kind of money in my career was in Seattle, working for CoCo Communications/Unium (Google them), and, being from Florida with a huge gap on my resume, the company thought that six figures meant that they could treat me like a lower class citizen than the other staff.

    It was the only professional job I walked out of without notice.

    Big money can have a big downside in this industry.

  33. lynn says:

    Big money can have a big downside in this industry.

    Yup, makes you a target at the next downturn. Wait, that is any job.

    I have a Board of Directors meeting next Monday. I am hoping to keep mine.

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