3/17/21 (18:41)
  • 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.

  • 3/11/21 (21:02)

  • 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.
  • Then Wednesday 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.



  • 3/8/21 (21:37)
  • 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 guys.
  • 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.
  • Shoulder, elbow, 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."
  • Contracting is 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 long 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.
  • Read Siddhartha 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.
  • Apparently there's 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.
  • Something that 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 Trevor 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 cause.
  • 6 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.
  • Relatedly, this 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 standards.
  • 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. Self-reliance.
  • Science has found that gratitude 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.