kaizen
what's been floating my boat lately:

"How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don't think."
-Hitler-
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
-Albert Einstein-



4/17/24 (21:35)

  • Dumped all my Bitcoin last week and it promptly took a 10% dive afterwards. My BTC trading has been one of the best financial decisions of the last 6 months. I've made about $8k, which is infinity percent more than the business has made this year since we've been losing money working on the new house. I'd laugh if I wasn't so sad about it.
  • Late March the allergies started and they are in full force. We have a way overgrown grass situation (I wouldn't call it a lawn) in both our front and back yards so it's killing me (and Merritt). Haven't had time to weed whack at all. I did the allergy shots for like 2-3 years and they worked pretty well while I was getting them every month, but once I stopped then the effect wore off. It was supposed to help a few years after, but it didn't even last until the next season. Blah.
  • Working on the new place a lot, but a reprieve is in sight. We poured the foundation and (mostly) passed our preliminary framing inspection so we have plumbers in this week and mechanical and electrical starting next week. After that it will be sprinklers. When all those pass then we can do insulation and then drywall. After that it's just finish work and the home stretch. This is the part of the project that I was hoping we would get two 5 months ago, but we basically needed to redo the foundation, had water issues, had a very difficult time framing while holding the building in the air, etc. Very glad that's behind us now.
  • Future hurdles include sprinkler supply from the water main. This will require trenching from the street to the building (100'-ish). This will be expensive and I don't know how expensive yet so that is worrisome. It's also unknown if the inspector will require us to redo the parking lot and striping for handicap spots, etc.
  • Since the place is zoned for live/work it's basically a commercial space. We're having to do a lot of ADA stuff for our wheelchair bound employees who don't (and won't ever) exist. We're literally wasting thousands of dollars for handicapped people who won't ever set foot (er, wheel) on our property. In fact, out of spite, I'm banning handicapable people from coming on our property ever for any reason.
  • Other than those two big things, I don't think we have a ton of unknown/uncertain things ahead of us. At least no known unknowns. There are always the unknown unknowns. We could get to the final inspection and he asks for some obscure piece of paper I've never heard of and it puts a wrench in the whole thing.
  • A couple times he's asked for the engineer (structural and electrical) to provide a letter approving a certain thing that, in my opinion, he should just allow because it's either a) approved by the code or b) approved already in an email from the engineer. But, no, he wants a formal letter. Only issue with that is that the electrical engineer charged us $500 to write a letter. Structural engineer will probably charge about half that. So, every time the inspector wants a letter, I lose hundreds of dollars for no good reason. This is one of those things that drives costs up. People ask why construction costs so much and this is just a small window into how that happens.
  • Speaking of windows, we got ours delivered the other day. We have 7 clerestory windows and 1 huge window in the front. It's about 10' wide and almost 8' tall. Weighs about 400 lbs. Took the 4 of us about 2 hours to install it. Didn't have a lift or any special equpiment...just wood and man power. It barely fit because the dimensions given were ridiculously tight. But the framing was on point so it worked out. When I'm wearing my framer hat and I see measurements in 1/16" increments it rings alarm bells. For a window opening to be 88 9/16" tall means that they're taking things seriously. Normally a window/door opening would be in 1/2" or 1/4" increments. So, we installed that yesterday and it was a good sense of accomplishment. I went back there today to test it out and it doesn't close very well so now I have to deal with that. Hardly ever does something go perfectly to plan without issue.
  • Caitlin Clark's last college game went about like I expected. She's good, but SC was the better team all year. I've heard people say she's going to get a pay cut by going to the WNBA, which I don't get. She wasn't paid by Iowa, she was paid in endorsement money. That money will continue to come in, and may increase. Plus she will get money from the WNBA. I think it stems from a perception that WNBA players don't make much. Which is true by comparison to NBA players. Compared to the average worker, they get paid plenty. Work less than teachers, don't do as important a job, and make more. WNBA loses money so the fact that they make anything is somewhat lucky. When you try to find out how much the WNBA make each year the information you get is total revenue ($200 million). Anyone with a basic knowledge of business understands that revenue doesn't mean profit and that profit is the most important thing. As far as I can tell the WNBA is almost 30 years old and hasn't ever made a profit.
  • The way I think about compensation is that it should be tied to production. If you make a TV show like Seinfeld that makes millions of people laugh for 20 years then you have contributed a lot to society and should be paid more for that. You have a business selling bead covered Kleenex boxes specializing in cat themes? Probably shouldn't make the same amount of money as Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld. It might be your passion. You might try really hard at it. You might have 50 customers who really like the bead work on their tissue boxes. But, sorry, you shouldn't have as much money as Seinfeld. This has nothing to do with your worth as a human.
  • A more socialist/communist way of thinking about pay is that it should be tied to existence or perceived fairness. You exist as a human? You are entitled to a universal basic income because everyone is worthy of pay by dint of their existence. You are a doctor who treats hair loss and ingrown hairs? You should get the same pay as a hear surgeon. You are a 1st grade teacher? You should get the same pay as a university professor teaching rocket propulsion. Oddly, these people who often are the same people who eschew material things, seem to conflate human value with monetary compensation. They're not the same.
  • So, WNBA players have the same spiritual and human value as NBA players, but they don't provide as much entertainment (at least in the first 26 years of the league) so they don't deserve the same pay.
  • As pointed out before, we are now officially paying more in debt payments than we are in military spending. A certain kind of person likes to point out all the things that could supposedly get done if we just cut military spending. Oddly that same person is saying nothing about the debt payments that are currently dwarfing our military spending. We have to get it under control or we're in trouble. Ray Dalio has pointed out that this historically doesn't end well.
  • We had a meeting a couple months back to address the homelessness and dumping in the neighborhood where are warehouse is. The city administrator was supposed to be there (he joined on a phone call instead), our city councilwoman was there, two beat cops, and a few other city employees were also there. Long story short, it was a waste of time. The girls came to see the fiasco. We went around to comment on what our concerns were, etc. I basically said that bad people are doing to do bad people things, but I was more interested in seeing if any of the city employees could act as the adult in the room and step up to do something about the criminals doing criminal shit. As expected, though, they committed to nothing and failed to even understand the issue. At the end of the meeting one of the city administrator's lackey's said that one of her recommendations was for us (Meryl and I - private citizens) to get better security cameras. I'm not sure what she thought this would accomplish. I had earlier mentioned that I caught a drug deal on camera and submitted it to them, but that they didn't do anything. Maybe it was in reference to that? Honestly, it was a huge waste of time and comical in its utter absurdity. Since the meeting they have continued to "work the process," which is a bureaucrats way of saying they're doing nothing of value.
  • There's a decent sized road (Fruitvale) that goes from Oakland to Alameda that I take fairly frequently. There's a stretch of about 1-2 miles where it's really slow and traffic is always bad. Within that section there is another 1/4 mile section that is right behind HD and next to Alameda that used to be 2 lanes one direction and 1 lane the other direction. It had dedicated turning lanes as well. So, they decided to shrink part of the road to 1 lane each way and add 2 bike lanes and 2 pedestrian lanes on each side of the road. They did this because they think it's green and creates a better, more walkable city, etc. All the usual utopian Europe-loving stuff you usually hear. And I'm sure it works great in cities that were built before cars existed. And maybe every single city in the country should spend tens of billions of dollars it doesn't have to disassemble our roads to eventually do the same thing. But, in the meantime, they took a thoroughfare that probably has a 500:1 ratio of cars to bikes/pedestrians and gave the bikes and pedestrians twice as much bandwidth as the cars. So, now, there is even worse traffic here. And if you build they will come is just a movie slogan, it's not a real thing. The ratio of cars to bikes is still literally 500:1 in my experience. And I will live less than a mile from this stretch of road and I don't mind going on hikes of 1-20+ miles, but I won't probably be ever walking along this road. Do you know why? 1) Because it leads to a bunch of shit I don't want to go to. 2) Because the real danger here isn't the big bad cars, but the homeless thieves who frequent the area. And I say that as both a person who has been hit by a car while riding a bike (twice) and as a person who has recovered one of my worker's truck (minus the tools and car battery of course) from the nearby homeless encampment.
  • One last point - for some reason they have a pedestrian and a bike lane on each side of the street (4 total lanes). The bike lane is asphalt and the pedestrian lane is concrete. As a builder I know this has to increase the complexity and cost of the project and I have to wonder why they made that decision. Is it so that people stay in their lanes? Is it because the civil engineer fancies himself an artist? What's wrong with stamping the asphalt with a pedestrian symbol on one side and bike symbol on the other? You could even color the asphalt (or concrete) to do it that way.
  • I had one of the AI programs quickly figure out how much cities like Memphis, Oakland, and Milwaukee were paying for police officers. Long story short, it appears as though Oakland pays twice as much per officer as other cities I had it look up. Cost of living can only account for part of that. Basically, I think we're just really shitty with our spending and it's led to a city that can't afford basic quality of life.
  • Warriors dynasty is apparently over now. I thought it was over last year, but I guess this is the year that people are saying it's official. They lost to the Kings last night. Green is dead weight. Klay hasn't bee the same since his two injuries. The young guys are inconsistent and underdeveloped. Andrew Wiggins was supposed to be the next guy, but he's constantly taking time off to be with his family and deal with a mysterious peronal matter. He's not that good anyway. The rest of the league has caught up to how they play. So, they need some new firepower ASAP or they need a new strategy. I don't see either happening right away. They had a great run and there's no taking that away from them.

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