Thursday, April 28, 2011

You Will Call Your Legislator Immediately

For California tenants. Dean Preston of Tenants Together has written on the importance of AB 934 for tenants who are illegally evicted. Read his article and then contact your legislators (both your State Senator and your Assemblymember), urging them to support this legislation. I suspect that, in many California districts, members of the Legislature don't know that they have tenant constituents. It's time to let them know.

Update: The bill was defeated in the Assembly. Only 13 Democrats voted for it. I will note that one of them was my Assemblymember, Roger Dickinson.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Governator

The trailer for our former governor's new animated superhero show is, well, boring. It might be more interesting if, instead of fighting robots, he were, oh I don't know, cutting pensions for state workers.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Shopping Again

Peon has been shopping on the Internet again. But this time it's for something useful. My arthritic knees are such now that I no longer get down on my knees. Well, I might be able to get down, but I wouldn't be able to get up. This makes some things very difficult, like scrubbing the kitchen floor and finding objects that have rolled under the bed.

So I've been searching the arthritis forums and have found useful information. (Forums can actually be useful, so long as they aren't trying to convince you to treat your cancer with an herbal tea.) People suffering from the chosen affliction gather together to exchange ideas. And since most arthritis sufferers are women, housecleaning is a big issue. No longer can we whip through the entire house; we have to rest between rooms. A couple of the ideas were really good. First, a long grabber is a good idea for reaching things you've dropped and can't pick up if you live alone. But if you don't live alone, just leave it there and get someone else to get it for you. Why didn't I think of that? I can't count the number of times I've laid flat across the bed, head over the side, and hands brushing back and forth to recover something that's rolled under the bed. What an idiot!

The other good idea is an exercise ball. Not for exercising, but for sitting on. For instance, you need to scrub the kitchen floor. You assemble your materials. Then you sit down on your exercise ball, scrub as much as you can, and then move the exercise ball to the next spot. You don't have to worry about getting it wet, and it's not heavy. You can also use this for dusting baseboards and polishing furniture. Another option is a car mechanic's stool. Those sit about 14" high, have casters, and come with a shelf, so that you could roll around the room. But they're bigger and heavier than an exercise ball, and the deluxe model costs $160.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Yesterday J washed and waxed the car. Today we cleaned out the inside. J did the vacuuming, as he didn't want me wrecking my shoulders hauling the vacuum cleaner around. I then washed all the plastic with Mr. Clean and Armoraled it. The car is 13 years old, so it's never going to be perfect again, but it's in much better shape. J says it smells like a new car. But at least it's not the VOCs outgassing--which is what "new car" smell is.

Spring is springing all over the place. Plants are blooming. The oak tree is leafing out, as are the Japanese maples. One of them, the Bloodgood, sits outside the bedroom slider. At about 8:15 in the morning, the sun shines through the leaves--giving off a red-orange light. Unfortunately I can't get a good picture of it.

J goes to our local farmer's market every Sunday. Along with expensive meat and seasonal vegies, he always brings flowers. This week he brought three bunches--spider mums, alstroemeria, and freesias. It wasn't all that extravagent--he got all three bunches for $10. So I really am worth $10 in flowers!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Peon's Ego Fed

Peon was dawdling on the Internet and discovered that she was mentioned (in a footnote) in an academic article on tenants and foreclosure. She was so excessively proud of herself. The article, written by Nicole Gon Ochi, was published in the Winter 2010 issue of the Georgetown Journal on Poverty Law and Policy. Unfortunately it's only available on Lexis/Nexis. And yes, Peon did pay for a copy. And Peon is mentioned as a source for more information on tenants and foreclosure on a lawyer blog.

Peon will be insufferable for a month. But it raises an interesting issue. The Internet is a great way to provide information easily and cheaply. In the olden days I would have had to draft a pamphlet, print it, and then try to distribute it to those who needed the information. With the Internet I can write it up, and distribute it instantly to anyone with an Internet connection. I can revise it at will. But this also means that any idiot with an Internet connection can do the same thing. I long since gave up trying to stamp out all the incorrect information floating around. It would have been a full-time job.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Second Class Citizens

We note with a certain teeth-grinding that the California Housing Finance Agency's program for homeowners in distress provides up to $5K to help defaulting homeowners relocate, but not a sou to help tenants in foreclosed properties obtain new homes.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Got My License Today

Government haters (the people who think that the whole thing should just be shut down and everything contracted out) are always ragging on the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). I always wonder why, since I don't really have much contact with them. And neither does anyone else I know. We pay our car registration at the local AAA office. We used to mail it in. It required almost no work on our part. We send in the money. We get the registration and the sticker. Mindless.

Same for driver's licenses, except that you have to go in every 10 years for a new picture and vision test. It's not a big deal. You show up. They fingerprint you. They give you a basic vision test. (I wear glasses, and elected not to try to avoid the "must wear corrective lenses" restriction, as my vision is very, very blurry without glasses.) The personnel were businesslike and efficient. One even laughed when I didn't report an increased weight, claiming that the reported weight was a "goal." (Actually, I'm only about four pounds over, so it worked!) Then I went for my picture. Done. This time, I sent in money. They sent a license.
When I got my license, I discovered that they have really improved picture-taking. It's not the best picture of me, but it's not so bad that clerks do a double-take when checking my identification.

This time I sent in money. They sent me a temporary extension of my present license. The new licenses, which are intended to meet the Real ID requirements for air travel, as well as subvert license forgers, have faced, shall we say, production difficulties. L-1, the company that makes them (as well as 92% of the licenses in the US and US passports) has been doing sloppy work and California's DMV has forced them to re-do a fair number of them. Each license is examined to make sure that the license is up to snuff before being mailed out. That's a good thing for two reasons. The first is that we're paying for them and we have the right to the product we contracted for. The second is that, if you're stopped by the police or trying to use a check in a shop, having a defective license might get you hauled down to the police station where it could take some time to determine that you'd actually procured you license in the legal manner. Meanwhile, you're in a holding cell with "Spike."

And the new licenses are very cool. The signature and birthdate (in two places) are raised. There's a second grey-scale picture, in addition to the pretty decent color picture. There's a state seal overlapping the color picture, a bunch of state bears, a perforated state bear, and other images of California, some of which you have to look very carefully to find. (There ought to be a contest to see how many specific items people can identify.)

And yes, I know that license production is contracted out, which should please the anti-government forces, but they seem to have decided it has something, anything, to do with the DMV, and therefore the DMV is the bad guy.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Emma's 9th Birthday

Emma noted that I'd failed to report on her birthday. It was on Friday. She spent the day doing her usual things--sleeping, watching squirrels, sleeping, eating, playing with her toy mouse, sleeping.

The yard is much improved. J spent a good portion of his long weekend pulling weeds. He got rid of most of the most prolific ones, and is now down to little sprouts. And he nearly filled our yard waste container.

Next week--cutting back the erigeron.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Misery Index

Visits to Peon's Tenants and Foreclosure blog have increased markedly this month. In addition to the "document crisis" at the end of last year, some lenders refrain from evicting people during the holidays. But now they're back to business...

Update: I neglected to note that J had done the technology required to show this screen. I didn't even know I could do this.