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Mittens: A Day in the Life
14 January 2009 @ 10:50 am
Hello, gang! I don't know if you know this, but there is a lot of negativity in America these days. The winter can be a gloomy time every year as we see less and less of the sun. This year, in particular, seems to find us in an especially cold and snowy winter season. If that weren't enough, our nation is facing some trying times. Our economy is struggling and our government appears to have no idea what to do about it. People are losing their homes left and right and others can't afford to move as their equity has dwindled away. Baby-boomers facing retirement are watching their 401ks become 200 1/2ks and making the decision that they belong in the workforce a little longer. Many wish they had that option as layoffs increase under the weight of the slowing economy. It seems no one is immune. So what are we to do as we face more struggles every day? How do we capture that unbridled joy that eludes us?

Easy...Collapse )
Mittens: A Day in the Life
30 December 2008 @ 08:56 am
I've seen a bunch of these so I figured I'd do one as a year-end recap.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?

This was very much a year for gettin' shit in order.  I don't know that there were too many groundbreaking new things.  I did, however, spend New Year's Eve in a bar for the first time and that carried into New Year's Day so that counts.  Also, I undertook my first major remodeling project.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don't really make resolutions.  That's a little organized for me.  I did, sort of, vow to move forward:  Spend a whole year making house payments and living my life without feeling like I was barely holding on by December.  While I absolutely felt that way in June, I feel pretty confidently over the hump.  For 2009, I'm vowing to spend less frivolously and rediscover the glory of milk through the reduction in soda consumption.  We'll see...so many vices...

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
I don't think anyone this year.  Johnny Danger is coming in the spring of '09.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
I hope not.  I'm so sorry if I forgot.

5. What countries did you visit?
United States and Milwaukee.  I have dual citizenship.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
A little more cushion in the pocketbook.  I didn't find 2008 lacking in the important things, so I'll just say a lot more of the same.

7. What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I'm bad with dates.  I don't even know what today is, but I remember New Year's, 4th of July, first night of Moondance Jam, the first night in Vegas and the last and I remember them because they were just a few days where I hadn't a care in the world.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Doubling the house payment that I was, inexplicably, struggling to pay and managing to maintain that throughout the year and be still be ahead of where I was last year.  Also, I learned a lot about myself on my home remodel.  Oh!  I got a pretty good start on understanding the basics of politics this year and I get why republicans and democrats hate eachother and I learned it in the same way that I learned about beer.  When you wrap your head around that thought, you can ask me about it further.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Every year I tell myself I'm going to make it to the lake to fish more.  It didn't really happen this year.  $4 gas didn't help.  Also, I totally failed my lunar mission, but to be fair, I didn't really have the resources.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I got sick a couple times and there was about 2 weeks where I couldn't lift my arm over my head, but nothing epic.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I bought a billion tools this year and while none of them stand out as great, they are all tools that I won't have to buy again.  I really like knowing I have all of the necessary tools to complete a project.  Nothing sucks more than when you want to dig a moat and you have to stop everything to go buy a shovel.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Easy.   This guy's.  I was arrested zero times this year...so far.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled & depressed?
Pretty much everyone in banking.  The Vikings(At times, they do every year, but they can fix it).  Was Roger Clemens this year?  The government, which is really bad, because this is the first time I really even noticed.  They must have been really bad.

14. Where did most of your money go?
My house.  From the kitchen to the stairs to the living room to the landscaping to the tools to undertake all of those tasks.  Homeownership was pricey this year.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The trip to Vegas.  The election, until I realized I wasn't going to like the outcome.  The future.

16. What songs will always remind you of 2008?
Kid Rock - All Summer Long.  It's not even close.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a. Happier or sadder? Happier.
b. Thinner or fatter? Fatter. But sexier.
c. Richer or poorer? Richer.  Which is more a reflection of how poor I was last year.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
The aforementioned fishing, traveling(I had no vacation time this year), playing the guitar, spending time with my special ladyfriend and relaxing.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Work.  School.  This year we'll ease back on those things.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
Christmas was spent with family.  Eating too much and napping on the couch.

21. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?
Sadly, it was probably Pete.

22. Did you fall in love in 2008?
I'm not sure when it happened, but yeah.

23. How many one-night stands?
None that I remember.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
The Office.  Locked Up Abroad(That's a weird choice right).  Honestly, I don't watch that much tv and when I do, it's low attention span content like Seinfeld, Family Guy and South Park. I've been too busy to relax and enjoy television.  I watch to decompress.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I'm too lazy to hate anyone.  

26. What was the best book you read?
I'm not sure if i read a book this year.  Well, for fun.  I read for class.  

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I'm officially getting old.  I didn't find anything new that I like.  Since, picking up guitar, I pay attention to music more so it's like hearing every song for the first time again, so that's pretty nice.

28. What did you want and get?
A brand new upstairs and the Yankees missing the playoffs.

29. What did you want and not get?
A pony.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
The Dark Knight, but to be fair, I only saw about 3 movies.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 29 and I went to the Strip Club with a dozen, or so, of my friends.  We also went to Mayslack's and maybe somewhere else in Noreast.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A big fat raise and that aforementioned pony.  That's two things, but how does one decide between the two?

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
Lazy.  i haven't gone shopping in a year and I've more or less stopped caring what people think.  All that said, I'm just saying that I'm rarely over or under dressed.  I'd like to be over-dressed more.

34. What kept you sane?
My girlfriend and just enough vacations to get by.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I don't know, but I do know that I loathe Heidi and Spencer.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
The economy, the war, and the games played in politics themselves.

37. Who did you miss?
Sunday Family.  My poker compadres.  Smokey from Pervert Suicide.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
New people?  Scary!  I met my girlfriend last year but we really got to know eachother this year and I can't underscore the impact she has on my life, but technically we met was last year.  Maybe the Beecher.  He was an acquaintance prior to this year.  He's going to get me killed one day, but at least we'll die with Cheez-Its.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008:
I learned a lot about safety this year.  Most of it wildly paranoid, but some of it worthwhile.  I lock the door to my house now because intruders usually break in and lurk in the shadows instead of robbing you.  I learned that a candle burning in a jar 8 feet from any walls could burn down the whole house.  I've learned that there is a virtual cornucopia of gases waiting to kill me in my sleep and to diligently maintain the batteries in all of the devices that protect me from said gases.  I've learned that electric heaters may run 24/7 without incident while you watch them, but the moment you leave them unintended, they burn your house down(without remorse).  

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:

Everybody Wang Chung Tonight? 
Mittens: A Day in the Life
17 December 2008 @ 09:53 am
Ok, I've been talking about getting kitchen pictures up for a while now and I suspect that there isn't anyone left who hasn't seen the final(mostly) product.  But, I'm all about follow-through...or something.  So, here you go:


This is the kitchen.  Note the dropped ceiling with flourescent lighting, the harvest gold oven, and the wall to the right that separates the kitchen from the living room with decorative wood spindles.  Also note the lack of cupboard space as there are 4 upper cabinets that are only 10" tall.  I swear to you that microwave weighs more than 100 lbs.

This picture is from the other side of that wall with the spindles and peeks into the dining room.  Not too much worth noting here except the garlic wedged between the squash and pumpkin which was lost for 8 months during the remodel and reared its ugly head in a most foul and unpleasant way and the burn spray in the foreground from an epic steam burn which i still don't want to talk about.

Here's the dining area.  Note the dated light fixture and the light colored carpet that continues throughout the upstairs.  Also, that's my helicopter.  It's awesome.  I use it to haunt my dog's dreams.  If I fly a little close he reenacts that scene from King Kong on top of the Empire State Building...God, he hates that helicopter.


Ok.  Tiled floor.  The wall with the spindles was knocked out and replaced with the island.  The island has a counter and bar level and the bar level STILL is not complete.  I cut the piece wrong and ordering a new piece will only acknowledge the mistake.  This is how I cope.  The microwave doubles as a hood so I gain some cupboard space.  The fridge is moved across the room and I'm now able to store the garbage cans in the tall cupboard.  I tore out the dropped ceiling and put in recessed lighting which makes the room so much bigger.  I took the picture without a flash to showcase the indirect lighting over the sink and above the cupboards.  I really dig all of the lighting and I wish I'd have done more.  Still to come are pendant lights over the island.  I haven't had time and I haven't seen anything I really like yet.  Both the pendant lights and overhead lights are on dimmers adding to my apparent man-crush for soft lighting.

This is the new dining area.  I carried the tile into the dining area and made it more of an eat-in kitchen.  I replaced the lighting ficture and dog absolutely destroyed it before I could offer it up on Craigslist.  Seriously, glass EVERYWHERE.  On the far right is the fridge and the best part of this remodel: the icemaker.  Incredible.  I've got under-cabinet LED lighting and I'd like to do more here.  Light over the table is also on a dimmer.  I haven't decided what to do about the upper cabinet doors.  I originally thought I'd do glass panels.  I kind of like them open though, too.  I sort of settled on neither as I finished the one cabinet door and not the other two.  Whatever.  That's a bottle of Aftershock on the counter.  I've had it for like 8 yrs.  What is it even good for?  I bought it because it was a girl's drink of choice at the time.  What the hell?

Ok, so half way through this project I got offered some carpet for next to nothing.  I didn't really intend on recarpeting, but the carpet was pretty light in color and didn't hide stains too well.  I have a dog and my best friend has a drinking problem(he spills).  So, I decided to recarpet.  There was a wrought iron railing over the stairs and the stairs were previously carpeted and collected dirt very easily.  So, next thing I know I'm building stairs and a railing.  So, here's that:

There used to be a half-wall on the right and then an iron railing.  Pete and I knocked out the wall and built from the ground up.  Demolition was ridiculous.  My house was built with many, many, many nails.  In all directions.  Pounded by hand.  VERY thorough.

So, here's the final product:

The carpet is uber thick and quite magnificent for napping.  Totally glad I did that.

So, there you go.  Now you know where 20% of my income went last year.  Maybe next year I'll buy a boat with the money I don't spend on my house.
Mittens: A Day in the Life
31 October 2008 @ 10:03 am

3 completely unrelated ruminations from the last 24 hours:

1.)  How sick are you of hearing, "I'm ________, and I approve this message."?  Is this a requirement for these ads?  I think it's getting a little out of hand.  Last night I saw a commercial with Al Franken giving me a heart to heart about his views for America.  At the end of his monologue, he says, "I'm Al Franken and I approve this message."  That leads me to believe other things that he's said were said without his approval under duress.  Isn't his endorsement of his own statement implied? 

2.)  UPN, or whatever channel 29 is right now, was airing The Rocky Horror Picture Show last night.  In addition to wondering if the Riverview Theater still does a live showing of this(I've always wanted to go since seeing a live show in Milwaukee about 10 yrs ago), I wondered how this show made it on the air during primetime hours.  Obviously, it's a pretty edgy topic for our American eyes.  I was, however, relieved to see that throughout the entire film, they blurred out the midsection on the recreation of the statue of David in one of the rooms in the castle.  The statue is in the background quite a bit and I would have been horrified to see an 8 pixel stone penis in the background while I'm trying to watch a touching tale of a young couple stumbling into a castle with a Transylvanian transvestite, a cryogenically-preserved motorbiker and a Frankenstein's monster wearing golden underpants created as a sexual plaything.  Thank you, channel 29, for protecting my innocent eyes from the human form as depicted in a classical sculpture.  That was close.

3.)  I've touched on this before, but recently it was released to the public what these asshats make for each episode of The Hills.  Seriously, this is really the end of us as a society, right?  Watch the following clip and try to wrap your brain around it.  Then, if your head doesn't explode, tell me what is a more haunting thought:  

                       a)  Audrina Patridge is actually that mind numbingly dumb and makes $665,000/yr and is looking for a raise.

                       b)  Audrina is acting and the writers actually wrote that in to the script. 

I don't really understand how the show works, but I know some stuff is scripted.  I assume that's just the major themes(orchestrating breakups and hookups, etc.) and not the actual play by play dialogue.  For example, there's no way these two would be talking about the Hadron Collider in a million years so I have to believe the writers made them bring that up.  I have no fucking idea why they'd do that, but I believe in my heart the writers were behind that.  Regardless, when does the writing end and reality tv take over?  I get a god damn chill down my spine thinking that our future leaders, teachers, scientists, and doctors are watching this show and the writers are coming up with ways to dumb it down further.

Mittens: A Day in the Life
Ok, this is what I remember:

Tuesday - Steph and I arrived Tuesday night and had already gotten word from Pete and Christa that they had done a timeshare presentation and were going out to dinner at Brand Steakhouse and seeing Lance Burton as part of their compensation.  We checked in to the Monte Carlo and took care of some housekeeping.  With Pete and Christa occupied, we opted to get acclimated(Read: Feed me).  After a good amount of wandering to investigate the 4 restaurants we made reservations at for our fancypants dinner on Thursday, we settled in at a little pizza joint inside NY, NY.  It didn't take long to be recruited for the grand opening of Rok Nightclub.  We got a bunch of "VIP" passes and were assured we were on a list and told Tommy Lee would be there and the Black-Eyed Peas were performing.  Knowing Wednesday night was taken care of, we took the opportunity to head down to the Bellagio to see the fountains  and their fall conservatory display and catch a few shows and stopped in at Shea's Casino for some cheap beers and some of the most ridiculous karaoke I've ever seen.

Wednesday - We got up fairly early and were snagged into a timeshare presentation in exchange for dinner for two at this place at the Venetian, a couple tickets to the wax museum, and a gondola boat ride.  They called it the "Romance Package" though I'm not sure how romantic a wax museum really is.  Anyway, I'd done this timeshare presentation a couple years before so this was no surprise, but the sales tactics are kind of like what you've read about when discussing the worst of sub-prime mortgage sales.  It was a flurry of "yes" questions and then a giant leap of logic.  We did our best to let them know that Steph and I weren't even thrilled about being on this vacation, much less the idea of being stuck with a lifetime of vacations together.  We were in for the free stuff.  With all of our free tickets in hand, we met up with Pete and Christa who were having sushi for lunch and used our tickets for the wax museum.  I was actually surprised at how much fun that was.  We all took the opportunity to make our mark("Daddy, no!!!").  We hit the liquor store before heading back to the pool.  The pool at the Monte Carlo was nice, but don't let them sell you on the wave pool.  It was lacking.  Also, the lazy river was 3 ft deep and a torrent.  Too shallow to tread water, too deep to walk on your hands...we're lucky to be alive.  Andy and Kristina showed up in time for cocktail hour in our room and Dell Taco across the street and then we headed to Coyote Ugly at NY, NY.  We killed a little time before we met up with Ryan and Crystal(Steph's friends) and we all went to Rok.  I've got a couple of great shots from that night, but due to a memory card problem this is all I can muster.  Despite a lack of Tommy Lee and Black-eyed Peas, we had a good time and at one point, a couple guys climbed on our nearby dancing platform and "made it rain".  I snagged as many bills out of the air as i could and the next morning I had a fistful of stripper cash.

Thursday - I don't really remember what we did during the day.  I know it involved a lot of walking.  Andy and Kristina went to the Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace and met Pete Rose.  Andy picked up an autographed jersey and bat from the all-time hit king.  Ultimately, we made it back to the pool.  Pete bought some waterproof cards for the wading pool and I contributed a football of booze cocktail.  Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.  In the evening time, we put on our fancy clothes and 8 of us went out to dinner at Pearl at MGM.  We did a quick cocktail hour at Brand before dinner and documented that we do, in fact, clean up nice.  Andy and Kristina met up with us at Pearl and we partook in a grand feast and we all basked in how grown up we were.  Dessert was ridiculous.  Following dinner, we all split up and Pete, Christa, Steph and I went to see Ka, the Cirque du Soleil at MGM.  The show was pretty awesome and the stage was unreal.  After the show, we got our gamble on and met up with Andy who had just endured a "fiasco".  He also confirmed rumors that Konrad and Jenni were in town as he joined them for a little bit at Mandalay Bay.  Not quite ready to call it a night, we headed over to the Times Square Bar for some dueling pianos.  We were not impressed.  Also, the Utah (Alumni?)marching band had taken the place over and I got stuck in a song circle to Come Sail Away by Styx.  Band people are huggy.

Friday - Our last day, we decided to spend our "Romance Package" at the Venetian.  En route, we stopped at the Mirage to see the Secret Gardens of Siegfried and Roy.  They had a baby dolphin and also two white tiger cubs.  They also had Alpacas(who had to be loving the heat) and this sweet turtle.  Starving, we grabbed our free lunch at the Venetian and took our gondola ride which was every bit as awkward as I thought it would be as we share a boat with another couple while our boatwoman sings italian love songs.  Back to the pool for refill on my booze football and then we made the most anticipated trip of the weekend...Fatburger.  It was everything I remembered...This was our last photo opp with Crystal and Ryan as they had to catch a flight home and I can't think of a happier place for it to happen.  We parted ways, and the remaining 6 of us piled into a cab to the Fremont Experience to meet up with Konrad and Jenni at Binions.  We did make contact and did a little gambling at the tables before they had to leave for dinner.  The rest of us went out to the street to mingle with the bikers from BikeFest or something.  Feeling the need to get off our feet we head back to the strip and end up at Hawaiian Tropic Zone and Pete works out a deal to get us in without cover charges and somewhow we get a spot in the VIP area on the patio and watch people stumble down the strip.  We opt for one last stop for 2-for-1's at Brand on our way back to the hotel and call it a weekend.

It ended up being a pretty damn good weekend and I'm glad we could pull together a bunch of people to make a trip like that.  We might just have to do something like that again!
Mittens: A Day in the Life
16 October 2008 @ 10:49 am
Too much stuff going on, right now.  I feel like I've been running for 3 weeks. 

Steph and I went up to the lake last weekend and it turned out to be a pretty relaxing weekend. I've compiled a great deal of Vegas pictures so a post is coming to recap that weekend, but it'll have to be this weekend because my evenings are full.  I got an opportunity to go bow hunting on Saturday, which I've not had much time to do this fall and I got my first deer in a couple years so the freezer is restocked with meat.  I even had a couple roasts cut out, so I'll have to cook one of those up for a football Sunday. 

I've spent the week researching my next home improvement project that has gotten completely out of hand.  I've got a mess of free carpet so it seems logical to recarpet the upstairs.  Before I do that, it seemed like a good opportunity to take out the wrought iron railing and replace it with wood.  In so doing, I've identified another issue that complicating matters.  The opposite side of the stairs has a half-wall under the railing such that the railing height is not standard so I cannot get ballusters and a newel post to match the other side of the steps without milling them myself.  In addition, all of the trim around the house(and the doors) are finished in a darker stain.  The re-done kitchen is a lighter red-hued oak color.  I think it works in the kitchen.  It modernizes the kitchen and doesn't really contrast the darker moulding and trim because they don't come up against eachother.  In the stairwell, I wanted to match the kitchen's color, sort of tie it all together.  Well, the carpeted stairs are trimmed with this dark wood and there will be an instantaneous impact when you open the door that there is a stark contrast between new and old.  It's inescapable.  My way around it solves another problem.  The carpeted stairs are impossible to keep clean.  Being split-entry house, I run up those stairs all the time because if I need to talk to someone upstairs, I want to make eye contact.  Also, if I forget something on my way out the door, it's often in the kitchen.  So, the stairs get a lot of foot traffic.  The new carpet will cover this up a bit, but I thought a good way to solve my problem would be to rip up the carpeting and put in oak stairs.  That's no small task given I'll have to knock out that half wall for the railing, but I think it'll really class up the entryway at a fairly reasonable price as long as I do the labor.  So now that I wrapped my head around that project, my question is this:

What color do I do the stairs and railing?

Dark brown doors and trim all around the house and I have no intention of removing that or refinishing it.  I really like the lighter color wood(think: this), and I think if the stairs are done this color, in their entirety, the dark brown baseboard won't be distracting or grab your eye(I don't notice it in the kitchen).  Instead of the white stair skirt in the photo, I'd change it to match the stairs.  Pete suggested doing the stairs in light color and the skirt in dark brown to embrace the contrast, so to speak.  He also suggested just doing everything to match the doors and trim in the darker color.  I think that if I do it all in light color, that your eyes will be drawn away from the baseboard where the two colors would jut up against eachother.  I need some opinions.  I apologize for the lack of pictures, but all three of my readers have been in my house anyway.

I watched a bit of the debate last night and read the transcript this morning.  It seemed pretty even to me.  I think both did pretty well, but Obama just seems a hell of a lot calmer and even-keeled through these things.  I think a majority of this election is going to have to boil down to economics given our situation and I like both of their economic plans equally, which is to say I don't really like either of them at all.  They both seem really out of touch with what's going on and neither of them seem to identify where the other is wrong to call them on it.  My take on it is a little beyond what I intended to write today after I rambled on about stairs, but I really would like a smart person to sit down and challenge the candidates to answer in ways that make sense.  I want Obama to explain how all of his tax cuts, rebates, credits and increased funding of programs will be paid for.  Ending the war?  If that's it, great, but it's got to come from somewhere and I haven't heard it yet.  All of this spending on top of a bailout is not helping anyone.  What's a $500 tax credit good for if the price of bread skyrockets to $5 under global inflation?  McCain says we got to bailout the homeowners who can't pay their mortgages.  What?  That makes no sense at all.  They're a big part of why we're in this mess.  It's the most important issue right now, and neither of them make any sense.

Here's an interesting article that explains Obama's "tax cuts".  I've wondered about this for a while and I want to know why McCain hasn't challenged him on this.  Is this too complicated to explain to people in the scope of the political process or does he not get it himself?
Mittens: A Day in the Life
10 October 2008 @ 08:39 am

First off, a very happy birthday to aflamingstar !!  May it be filled with rainbows and unicorns, and such.

The sky looks really crazy right now.  The clouds are all swirly.  I wish i had my camera because it totally reminded me of Ghostbusters.  I've already spent way too much time trying to track down the screenshot from the scene I'm thinking of, but it's not un-like this shot minus the sunsetting part, obviously.  This one pretty much captures it.  I had no idea how many pictures are taken that remind people of Ghostbusters.  That's pretty awesome.

Last night was my first night bowling since I got back from Las Vegas(Vegas pictures/recap to come next week).  I have to say that the American Meat Institute emerged victorious in fairly epic fashion.  Slim Jim and The Gristle stepped up to eek out 5 points and make a push for first place.  The team did not a thing more than was absolutely needed for victory.  An example of this being the 10th frame of the first game where The Gristle needed 19 pins to seal the victory and threw a: strike - gutter - nine. 

Lastly, I found two really cool videos that explain this whole financial meltdown that has wiped out 2 trillion dollars from the market in the last year and, finally, this week qualifies as a 'crash'.  From October 2nd to October 9th the market has fallen 22%.  To put that in perspective, the crash in 1929 was 23% over 2 days and Black Monday in 1987 was 22.6% in one day.  Neither of these crashes include the total bear market downturn.  The market is down 39% from one year ago.  That's a lot of retirements set back.  So, the first video is in regard to collaterized debt obligations, CDOs, which are what all of these "mortgage backed securities" are that are becoming such a popular topic as of late. 

The second video is about credit default swaps which has exasperated the whole thing.  CDSs are basically insurance policies that are not governed by insurance regulation so anyone can offer them, and everyone did, from banks to insurance companies.  Insurance companies are regulated such that they have to have a certain level of assets to back up their policies so if a tornado hits, they aren't going to leave the homeowner with nothing but a smashed house if the company can't afford the disaster.  Well, CDSs are insurance policies that are called 'swaps' instead(swapping the risk).  Not classified as insurance so there's no pesky asset requirement and no one really knows how big the market for these are, but some estimate it to be $50-60 trillion.  Take a moment to wrap your head around that number and consider that the entire market cap for publicly traded companies in the world topped out around $57 trillion.  So, call me cynical, but explain to me how this $0.7 trillion bailout is planning to accomplish anything. 


At the root of this problem are people who don't belong owning a home that own a home and until they get out, housing won't turn around and this problem cannot be fixed until housing turns around.  I don't see how any "bailout" is worth anything unless the entire focus is to get worthy homeowners to start buying homes.  I'm not sure if that means relaxing FASB Rule 157, which requires firms to value their assets at current values, to allow banks to start selling some conforming loans or if that's only inviting trouble, but that should be our focus.  A google search of FASB Rule 157 yielded this post from last November.  An excerpt below:

Relatedly, and not to get all obscure and accounting geek-ish, but it's hard not to wonder if FASB Rule 157, which comes into force this Thursday, will turn out to be the fire that lights the final fuse here. While it's laudable and all to force transparency and push market pricing, when everyone is forced to find a market price for illiquid instruments simultaneously during a credit crisis the result is a regulation-imposed death-spiral, with devastating implications all around.
Mittens: A Day in the Life
26 September 2008 @ 09:32 am
Last night was a perfect recipe for kickass.

I've been making sandwiches for work this week to cut down on my $7 lunchtime cravings, which adds up to an embarrassing monthly total.  So, this weekend I stocked the fridge with pastrami, turkey, lettuce, cheese, and bacon.  Also, this gave me an excuse to bust out the mustard my girlfriend got me that claims to be SUPER HOT.  That's such a stereotypical guy thing, there.  Girl goes on vacation and doesn't bring back a trinket or send a postcard, but delivers mustard.  I couldn't be happier.  Anyhoo, last night I was going to cook up all that bacon and toss it in a ziplock bag for easy sandwich assembly.  2 lbs of sweet apple smoked bacon.  It looked delicious.  I didn't have the heart to put it away.  I ate it.  It was good.

So, fueled on bacon, I got a bit of my bowling swagger back.  Not a lot, but I wasn't completely incompetent and while i couldn't get my strike ball with any consistency, I was around the pocket all night so I feel confident that we're moving in the right direction.  The American Meat Institute took all 7 points last night making us a virtual lock for the top 4 which is a pretty good position to be in when, as a whole, we've bowled prett terribly.  I demand that my team eat bacon to guarantee success going forward...also, so they know what I'm dealing with right now.

Last night's Twins game might be in the top 3 regular season games I've watched.  Putting aside the no-hitters or 18 strikeout type games, this has got to be near the top.  I answered the phone so I missed the 4th inning.  As a result, the game I watched we won 7-1.  It was really fun watching it at the bowling alley as everyone was cheering them on.  How the hell did our bullpen do that?  It's all for nought if we can't take care of the Royals, but in my book we just had a playoff series.  I think the most entertaining part of it was watching the young guys get excited.  Span and Casilla have never been in a pennant race and Gomez probably has bad memories of last year's Mets team.  Speaking of the Mets, they're pulling out all the stops...
Mittens: A Day in the Life
25 September 2008 @ 01:09 pm
It's been a relatively slow work week so I find myself falling further and further into the abyss that is the internet.  I'm not sure exactly when it happened, but I got all opinionated about stuff.  I pretty much learned, this week, that if you ignore politics for 29 yrs, there is a lot of catching up to do.  I understand there's a lot going on right now and I'm aware of some of our bigger issues, but I wouldn't say I'm really knowledgeable about any of them.  Thus, as I read one article there is likely some reference to an event or policy that I know nothing about and thank god for the internet having a link ready for me so I can do some background research.  That shit does not happen in print.

I'm not sure when I started caring enough about this stuff to write it down in lieu of linking videos of skateboarders getting hit in the nuts, but I apologize to my readers, both of you, if I'm boring you. 

I mentioned earlier how absolutely fascinating this whole economic crisis is - absolutely horrifying, but fascinating.  Being an economics major, an accountant and an active investor makes this event a pretty big deal to me.  The scale of the disaster is absolutely mind-boggling.  I've linked a whole bunch of stuff lately that is really indepth, but largely difficult to follow without some background so this does a pretty good job of explaining what's going on in relative simplicity while sticking a timeline on it.  Out of all that I've read, that article seems to break it down the best without pinning this on one group. 

It looks like the $700B bailout package is going to happen.  I'm not sure how I feel about that.  Everything about it seems like an utter disaster, but I want to believe that with all these people looking at it and deeming it necessary that they truly believe that it's the only option.  I think there are many ways we could get around the bailout, but it might be too late for that.  On paper this seems pretty much ass backwards:

1.)  Banks are failing because no one wants to buy mortgage backed securities because the people that were issued the mortgages aren't responsible enough to pay them. 

2.)  The taxpayers buy all of the bad mortgages because no one else will.  This saves the banks by allowing them to take on new mortgages.  Hoses the taxpayer.

3.)  Everyone wins.

Wait, what?  I grasp that the government can wait for the market to turn around and the banks can't.  Maybe it really is too late, but it just seems like there is a better way.  All I know, is that John Q. Public is screwed for quite some time.

In other news that is far more pressing in the short-term, the American Meat Institute will continue its quest for glory tonight without its leadoff bowler, Chop.  In his place, the team has turned to the Italian Sausage to bolster its lineup.  This is an exciting time for all of us.  I could not be happier to be bowling this week.  There has been far too many serious things clogging my mind and there's few things more apt to clear that up than 4 dudes, named after meat, imbibing alcohol and getting rowdy over competitive bowling.

Carry on my wayward sons...