If you want to know which SF neighborhood you would fit into…?

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Tor Weeks Bikes of San Francisco

Then just check out this awesome poster Tor Weeks called Bikes of SF. And… boy it is dead on! And hilarious.

Holiday gift giving just isnt what it used to be. Mostly because they have our cash hijacked once we spend it… Even if it is a gift!

itunes gift card

itunes gift card (Photo credit: 401(K) 2012)

 

I was having a conversation tonight with a couple of friends about gifts and gift cards as well as exchanges and returns.  After about 5 minutes of discussing the gift card industry and things associated with it (Specifically a gift card i received for christmas early this year.  This was a gift card that came with a gift receipt.)   We started to realize that there was Zero, 0, Zilch. Non, Nada reason for one to be included with the card.

Then we started to realize that with the implementation of Gift Receipts, even if paid for with cash, one can ever only get store credit or an exchange.  With the gift receipt we can never prove that cash was spent on the item because they so graciously leave off form of payment so they can force you to contain the money within their company or store.

Once a gift card is purchased, the money has to go to the store.  You can not change your mind and get any kind of refund anymore.  People used to pay with checks and if you wanted to return something, and you paid by check, they would return to you cash.  Since checks are practically antiquated, the only way to get your money back is to have the original receipt and within that first 7 days, you can free your money in what ever form that you chose to pay with.

Then we started to think about how many BILLION$ and BILLION$ of dollar$ that are floating out there in our wallets, our pockets, the dumpster, the sidewalk, the cushions of the couch etc.  with a small remainder of credit on that very gift card that will NEVER be used.  Just think about the amount of money that is generated on that odd remainder!  That is technically our money still.  But it is already with the company so they really are making a double double double profit.  Profit from the initial gift card purchase and then the mark ups when spent on the items and then the unspent remainder.  All benefiting the company and the company alone.

I remember years back when we didnt like something that we got, we could go back with the tags in place within the seven days and we could get some money.  Nordstrom did this for MANY MANY years to many returners (and scammers) appreciation.

Now i think about how much money is going one way never to be able to come back if it is something we dont want these days.

Now I  can definitely see the benefit of these gift card trading (buy and sell) sites as well as places like ebay and amazon to be able to resell your brand new perfectly unused unwanted item to retrieve some cash said item.

All in all, they are fleecing us dry by the looks of it in a lot of ways, that are less obvious than higher interest rates and inflation.  There are the fees and the 1 way money flow… out of our pockets & into theirs.  It is pretty scandalous and we dont even see it or realize it happening or at least the bigger impact of what these policies truly mean for them stealing our money.

So on this year of gift giving… Do your loved ones a favor… Just give them CASH for godsake!  It is a different time than it used to be.  It is no longer seen as lazy or tacky to give cash.  It is only what we work our whole lives for!  Cash=freedom so you are actually giving them the feeling of freedom when cash is given!

People are not judged by how much they spend, but on what they spend. Give your loved one the right to chose where that hard earned money should be spent.  That way, A. the change stays with them and B. they will have a receipt showing that they paid cash incase they change their mind when they get home.  The bottom line is you are at least giving the windfall to the one you are giving to and not some financial corporation for them to take over the free world with!

Plus.. Cash is pretty!

To Rideshare or to Fly… That is the question….!

Cabin of a Virgin America A320

Cabin of a Virgin America A320 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here i lay at my familiar crossroads of travel… Should i fly home or find a rideshare?  There are pluses and minuses to both… Here they are….

positives and negatives of flying…

  1. The swift amount of time it will take to travel from Las Vegas to San Francisco.
  2. I flew out on Virgin America and it was the easiest flight post 9/11 i have taken.  No lines ANYWHERE! and the flight got in early.
  3. Virgin America has a Giants Baseball channel on the onboard tv’s that you can watch!
  4. I would get to see the world from above.
  5. Cost me $250 to get out here when i bought my ticket the day before i had to come. (with 10 day advanced booking it would have been $79 not $211!).
  6. Transportation home from the airport would have to be arranged.
  7. Just damn stressful dealing with homeland security at the airports.

 

The positives and negatives of Ridesharing

  1. The ease of not having to go through security and adjust how i have to pack. (this is a big one!)
  2. Not having to submit my freedoms to some min. wage worker who has control over my future by homeland security.  (i just read that the Supreme Court ruled for a case that basically says that anyone can be CAVITY SEARCHED without any charges being pressed on them!)
  3. SO MUCH CHEAPER!! (although i am not paying for it, i hate wasting other peoples money!  Unless it is Corporate America’s!!) It would cost me at max $50 to get home as a vehicular passenger.
  4. Get to meet and talk to a total stranger.
  5. Easy drive.  9 hours so can be done in a day.
  6. Get to see the central valley as we drive by.
  7. Can actually sleep possibly on drive home.
  8. Can get all the way home to my front door without having to do a change of transportation.
  9. Do not have a lot of opportunities to be a car rider (or driver for that matter!… I have no car in SF.  You dont need one if you are smart!)
  10. MAY find a driver who is 420 friendly ;)

So, thats the pluses and minuses of my options.  I am going to take whatever i can find and hope that it is not the most stressful way possible for me to travel!  Fingers crossed!!

 

My big vacuum dilema. (Vacuum has got to be one of the worst spelled english words EVER!)

Shark pet perfect hand vacuum

So, i have a friend, and in all good faith, he was trying to help me out by giving me a hand and cleaning up a corner of my room (i had a cold and the trash can was a few feet away.. It seemed to create a tutu of missed trash around the dang can.  I am NOT ever trying out for the WNBA.  Dont worry.  But it was with my left hand in all fairness, but i digress….).  Mind you, this friend took it upon himself to chose to become useful.  I had not asked and in fact i was not even in the room at the time.

Anyway… bless his soul… he tried to do me a solid, however in the process, he managed to throw out the filter to my little (awesome) hand held shark vacuum.  To add insult to injury, he didnt fill me in and in fact, he may not have even known that it was in there, but i in turn, began vacuuming using it with NO filter.  Whatever was being sucked in was being shot right out the side at me.  I heard the motor make a couple not so friendly noises too while taking in the dirt.

Thus leaves me this dilema.  Do i try and find a new filter for the vacuum or do i buy a whole new vacuum?  It shouldn’t be a huge deal for the average person, but i live on a very fixed income being on disability so any $60 has to be well planned and necessary and will usually be sacrificing something else that is  needed.  So, i have to be very thoughtful when it comes to expenditures like this.

However, in the vacuum’s defense, it has been this little trooper that has kept my room the cleanest room in the house and it doesnt kill my back to vacuum.  In fact i have taken a sort of pleasure out of its cheap and easy return.  Kinda like paint… The biggest bang for the buck in construction!  So, to help me to keep the #1 position of awesomeness in the house by having a room people can actually walk barefoot in, i think that this is a qualified emergency necessity expenditure.

So, i found the filter.  The problem is is that i have to buy THREE!  Which makes it over half of the cost of a whole new vacuum.  In a year and a half, i have fastidiously taken a toothbrush (dont worry… i dedicated one to it specifically!) and after every emptying, i would brush the dust out so that it was actually still WHITE when it was disposed of!  In other words, i took good care of it and it had a long life left. …So, what on earth would i do with 3?  The filters i am sure would out last the vacuum!  And we cant forget that the motor has possibly been compromised by the lack of filter that should always be protecting it.  Not to mention that i broke the pet hair attachment months ago (dont ask me how!) so that is not in use either.

Well, after this long verbal brain thought, on paper, i think it is saying to just replace the whole dang thing.  And dont upgrade!  (that is often where i get into trouble.. i say i am just going to replace this and then there is that one that is just a little bit better for an additional $xx.)

So thank you all.  You have officially come along on one of Emelie’s problem solving thought processes.  It was boring as hell wasnt it?  lol!

But, if you have any thoughts of your own on my dilema, please comment!  I am still rolling it around in my head so one good point from someone could possibly tip the scales!

:)

BTW… GO GIANTS!! TAKING GAME 2 TONITE!!

And… THIS is why texting can be harmful to ones health. And i was only walking!

So, if one can do this to themselves while just walking on a normal (downhill to give me some sense of not total humiliation!  Well.  No.  It is totally humiliation no matter how i try and see it!), then imagine what kind of hurt one could do texting while driving!  Let this be a public service announcement.  Dont text and be moving!

the perils of texting and walking.  Photo taken last night.

 

This is day 2. Oh yeah.. i forgot to mention that my iphone took a big brunt of the fall. Thank god for AppleCare!!

Can you imagine this? Cost of living in San Francisco in 1904….

 

Thanks to the people over at San Francisco History website, i found this article on the cost of living in 1904.  It is interesting to read, partly because as i go through the same thought kept going through my head…  This woman could totally be writing for her blog….  Haha.  I suppose that thoughts expressed will hopefully be thoughts expressed right from the writers mouth.  That is, if you can find one that has not been sold out and totally corporate-ified.  For me personally, my math skills are so bad, that i did not even try to figure out the percentage that costs have gone up in 106 years but it is more than x10 and x10.  It is really quite incredible if you think about it.  I really think back then, you got much more of what you were paying for and not all of the packaging, advertising and insurance costs.  I think it would have been really a hard working existence back then, but it also would have been really exciting and really cool!  Probably pretty dusty and in winter muddy though!   I hope you enjoy going back in time to the era of my great grandparents….

San Francisco History
Cost of Living


Some Facts About the Cost of Living in San Francisco.

By Evangeline Adams.

Can a family of four live on $14 a week in San Francisco? Yes, they can and do—hundreds of them. They may not often have porterhouse steak nor wear tailor-made gowns costing from $75 to $100, or swallowtail coats for social functions; but that need not mean that they do not have plenty of good meat and are not becomingly dressed.

And right here let me say—seeing that the subject of dress has come up—that the workingman’s wife has often quite the advantage of her sisters who have more money to spend on clothes, in that she numbers among her friends the actual makers of the beautiful shirt-waist suits, shirt waists, skirts, collars, hats, etc. that fill the shop windows. A lady who claims many friends among these apprentice girls said to me just the other day: “I have such a beautiful new stamine dress and it didn’t cost anything to speak of. My friends made it for me. One friend made the skirt, another made the waist and another the collar, and I don’t know when I have had a dress that I liked more.” And in this way friends make for friends, often with no charge at all, and never with anything more than what would seem a nominal price to those of us who pay the prevailing high price for such work.

HOW THE MONEY IS SPENT.

It is a very difficult matter to find out how people spend their money in any particular except in the matter of rent. They are always quite ready to tell you what rent they pay and shake their heads over the high prices, or, in a very few instances, chuckle over the fine bargain they have been smart enough to find. But when it comes to telling how much they spend on food—how much on clothes—how much goes into the savings bank for the proverbial “rainy day”—they either do not know or will not tell.

For instance, the family of four—three grown people and a child going to school—pay $8 rent for a three-room flat and $32 per month for food, light and fuel, making living expenses $40. The housekeeper is a good manager and they live well on that amount. But what they spend on clothes and pleasure, we have no idea, because we do not know their income. And so I might quote the expenditure for a number of families—just so far and no farther.

ESTIMATES BY THE LABOR BUREAU.

The July bulletin of the National Bureau of Labor gives the result of the expense accounts of over 2500 families living in industrial centers, selected at random from thirty-three states. Taking $14 as the weekly income, the average expenditure would be about as follows:

Food
$5.9556
Rent
1.8130
Fire
.5866
Light
   .1484
Total
$8.5036

This would leave for other expenses $5.4964. The estimated amount for clothes would equal $1.9658—nearly $2 a week.

The other expenses included:
Taxes.
Insurance.
Principal and interest on mortgage on home.
Fees for labor and other organizations.
Church.
Charity.
Furniture and utensils.
Books and newspapers.
Vacation.
Liquor.
Tobacco.
Sickness and death.
Other purposes.

Comparing with the average of five workingmen’s families in good employment in Prussia (Daily Consular Reports, Department of Commerce and Labor, No. 2033) we find:

Rent (three rooms, per week)
$1.5300
Fire
.3372+
Light
.1212+
Food (four persons)
2.8497+
Clothing and all other expenses
   1.8772+
Total
$6.7166+

Again comparing with the average of five Saxon families. (Same consular report):

Rent (three rooms, per week)
$1.0710
Fire
.5220
Light
.1380
Food (four people)
2.4196
Clothing, etc.
   1.5709
Total
$5.7224

[Note: the last total should have been $5.7214.]

It will be seen that the Saxon and Prussian pay a little less for rent, light and fuel; less than half as much as the American for food; and about as much for clothes and all other expenses as the American pays for clothes alone. And let me add—everyone of the ten Prussian and Saxon families put something in the bank each week.

CONDITIONS IN SAN FRANCISCO.

Then came the question: Are these averages true of San Francisco and vicinity? And it was this that I set myself to find out.

I found the rent in San Francisco to run from $7 to $17 for a small flat of from three to four rooms, sometimes with and sometimes without a bathroom. Those who had cheap rents paid car fare as a rule, although this was not necessarily true. The rooms were light and with the same proportion of them sunny as in higher priced flats. These houses are usually on side streets and alleys and the plumbing is good, but not the most modern.

I found a washerwoman and three children who had kept an expense account for the months of June and July, 1902. This woman had two children of her own and they were so well taken care of that the ladies of the Associated Charities felt justified in placing a child to board with her. Her two month’s account averages as follows:

Groceries (per week)
$1.70000
Meat
.43750
Fruit and vegetables
.44375
Rent
2.00000
Total
$4.58125

The above includes light, but not fuel. They lived near the bay and the children picked up drift wood. Milk was included in the groceries.

Consulting the bulletin of the Bureau of Labor again, I found that the retail prices of food have decreased 5 per cent since 1902, so that this woman and the three children can still live on the same amount in the same way assuming that the conditions are the same in San Francisco and vicinity as in other parts of the United States.

HOME EXPERENCE COMPARED.

But can a family of four live on $14 a week and be happy? In the short time of my search, I could not find a family who were living on just that amount and were willing to say so and tell how it was done.

So I asked my mother to weigh everything that we ate and to keep also a record of the number of people at each meal. I found that during eleven days the equivalent of 165 meals had been served to one person.

There had been used:

15
pounds flour.
2
pounds sago and rice.
9
pounds bread.
14
pounds sugar, honey and molasses.
2 3/4
pounds coffee.
7 7/8
pounds eggs.
17 1/3
pounds meat.
3 1/4
pounds fat (butter, olive oil and fat).
72
pounds fruit.
19 1/2
pounds potatoes.
6 1/2
pounds green vegetables.

I live where prices are the highest for everything. So I made some inquiries as to prices on Market street and south of Market street, between Third and Sixth. I give a few items of what I found:

On Market South of Market
Steak
50-55c
25-30c (same weight)
Chops
5c each
2 for 5c
Bread
1 loaf 10c
6 for 25c (same size)
Tomatoes
6 or 7 for 10c
10 for 10c
Lettuce
2 heads for 5c
3 heads for 5c

Using the cheaper prices where I knew them and the average price on Market street where I was in doubt, I made the following expense account, per week:

Rent ($15 per week))
$3.500000
Light (from bulletin)
.148400
Fuel (our own acct. from one stove
capable of warming three rooms)
.500000
Food
4.561452
Cost of housing and food
8.709850
For clothes and other expenses
5.300000

[Note: the total for cost of housing and food should have been 8.709852.]

HIGHER RENT PAID HERE.

Comparing the average cost of living for the United States with my estimated cost for San Francisco, I find that we pay almost twice as much for rent as the average workeman in the United States and a little less for food, the other items remaining much the same.

Again consulting the bulletin, I find that the cost of food in the Western states is perceptibly lower than in any other group of states. Perhaps I should state that those 165 meals which are the basis of my estimate were fed to hungry and hearty people, who during that time did not happen to have any of the nourishing foods that go a long way, such as beans, split peas, cheese, dried fish, cracked wheat, dried fruit, etc. so that I am confident that the estimate is high enough.

Glancing over the expense account for the past two years for the clothes of a large family of ladies, I find (not counting their work, and they do considerable) that the labor is two-thirds of the cost. The wife of the workingman can make her money go over twice as far, on account of her many friends engaged in industrial work. Putting that together with the difference in the price of food which I found within a few blocks, we begin to see how the workingman’s wife can make her money go so much farther than other ladies can.

Taking a last glance at the bulletin, I find that in 1903 wages were 16.3 higher than the average between 1890 and 1899, and that the retail price of food was only 10.3 per cent higher than the average for the same time, thus making an increase in the purchasing power of money of 5.4 per cent. The entire cost of living has advanced somewhat less than the cost of food, however, because there are certain fixed items which change only very slowly.

I found also that 34.3 per cent more persons were employed in 1903 than in 1894. Verifying that statement for San Francisco, I was told by workers in the various charitable organizations that they had not been called upon for assistance in the past two years by any skilled laborer, and almost never by an able-bodied man who was willing to work. And as for supplying the demand for women and children, they had not been able to come anywhere near doing so.

Judging from all these facts, a family of four can live on $14 in San Francisco and spend some money for fun.

A fun photo tour of some silly and clever bikes. Bicycles are the coolest!

Enjoy a few pictures i stumbled upon, with bicycles as the anchor.

Enjoy!

EnBike Circle

Bike Fence

Bike made for 5!

No comment needed.

Clever concept, hard to ride though….

A DOUBLE penny farling!

Comb bike rack

parent and child penny farling!

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An adorable little film from Charles and Ray Eames.

Thanks to our friends over at the LaughingSquid.com, I wanted to share this wonderful piece by the Eames.  Beyond furniture, Charles and Ray Eames were prolific in a lot of other mediums from miniteures to films to animation etc.  Here is a piece of hand drawn animation.

“The Expanding Airport” by Charles and Ray Eames is a 1958 educational animation about the novel design of Washington Dulles International Airport, the country’s first airport designed to accommodate jet aircraft. The film coincided with the beginning of the airport’s construction—the airport would go on to open in 1962.

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