Yeah, I know… been a semi-daily fixture of how many mornings now since we fired off the site in 1997…
But this trip on the road has about killed me: I awoke yesterday morning at 3 AM local time, wrote the column until 6 AM, and went back to bed for two more hours of sleep. And here I am this morning – 3 AM again – finding out that the wake-up call on the hotel wake-up system must be set to a pretty good clock, as both the cell phone alarm and the landline go off within a second or two of one-another.
Not to whine (although this may be taken that way), but I am thinking about changing the publishing schedule around here so that Urban would be published after the markets have closed for the day.
On days when there is “offishul big news/bs” – things like the purported inflation data, housing starts, retail sales, and unemployment, I would do a “special update” on a weekday morning.
But the amount of brain power available at 3 AM in the Mountain Time Zone seems less than at 4 AM in the Central Time Zone, even though by circadian department says it’s the same thing and I’m a moron. Or, did they say buffoon?
So here’s what’s up for discussion: Flex Publishing.
There would be an UrbanSurvival report available from, oh, around 8 PM on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Our Peoplenomics.com subscriber newsletter would be out on Tuesday evenings and Friday evenings.
And, on days of meaningful reports, a short update – but not every day. Or, I would include a link to the propaganda/.gov posting the news.
The idea is that Elaine and I would then be (more or less) on the same “sleep cycle” and I wouldn’t be sleeping in “split-shift” fashion.
Not that the clarity of thought would improve; no promises there.
However, it would be useful –especially when traveling – to be able to watch the evening news shows and then sleep 8-hours, rather than going to bed at 6 PM when the rest of the (west coast and mid-west) world is still meandering home from work.
There are several publishing time options that work better (for me) than the current regimen:
Publish at 8:00 AM Eastern, which is what we do now. Benefits: We can size up overnight futures and morning press releases. Neutral: We can still do a long drive or flying jaunt – we just expect more turbulence and hotter weather in the summertime. Negative: Split-shift sleeping or going to sleep in late afternoons.. Elaine hates the schedule and we try to find deals on hotels with a sitting room and a separate bedroom to she can remain normal. Well, as close to it and being married to me permits…
Publish at 10 AM local time regardless of the time zone. Benefits: Sleeping until a regular hour. Negatives: When we fly the airplane, the BEST time to fly is from 1-hour before sunrise until about 1 PM in the afternoon. (6-hours of flying is about 750-800 miles, and that’s a pretty safe number. Flying more than 6-hours a day with one or two stops gets up into the unsafe area from fatigue.
Publish One Hour Before Market Close: Benefits: We can be pretty clear on the trajectory of the market for the day. If not, we can find an animal turd, give it a good throw, and use that as approximation. Other benefit: Regular sleep. Negatives: The day is not over and I don’t have time to look at closing numbers which are more meaningful once hot money has closed its positions.
Late Afternoon Publishing: Benefits: I get a whole days of flying, driving, project working, or whatever. Elaine and I can sleep uninterrupted.
Years ago, when we were living on our sailboat down at Oyster Point Marina south of San Francisco (just north of SFO if you know the area) we were coming back from a weekend of exploring and somehow we drove by Vacaville where there was a big prison next to the road. The place was blindingly bright – I mean you could read a newspaper a quarter mile up the freeway driving by. Ever since, she has referred to “The Vacaville lights” that go on when I am stumbling around looking for whatever in a new location.
From my side, it’s either lights or I am going to pee in a garbage can by mistake in one of these hotels. There have been several near miss events when lights were not used. A garbage can does make a slightly different note, however… ask me how I know..
Negatives: We will lose some of the “morning after” coverage of this, that, and the other thing. You can still read Urban, whenever you wish, but you’d just need to realize that Mr. Cynical will not have waved his magic wand at things for a few hours. Oftentimes, the absurdity of modern life is more obvious at some ungodly hour. Maybe, a bit less surly and more analytical would be a good thing.
Frankly, cynical curmudgeons have always been more interesting than the Harvey Milk-Toast crap that spews around the net. So if I start writing and publish around 6 PM, you will still have the same great content…prolly the same cynical view….and I won’t have to keep looking at lunch menu for dinner. We could actually watch our favorite TV shows (Blacklist, for example) on network TV instead of paying $5/day for streaming. On the $150 a month we save on streaming, I would also be able to snidely mention whatever new corporate mind-manipulations come along on corporate TV alleging to be commercials. I would know more about what to tell my doctor, too.
Comments are welcome:
a) Yes, I’d continuing subjecting myself to typos and bad attempts at humor, regardless of the time.
b) No, UrbanSurvival absolutely must continue as it always has been otherwise I will be spending more time on Tinder, eHarmony, and that will result in marriage and then I won’t have a life of my own anymore and you’ll lose a reader.
c) Do what you need to do.
Send remarks to email@example.com
Sedona and Woo-Woo
If you have never been to Sedona, Aridzona, you might want to plan it.
Not for the shopping, which while plentiful looked over-priced based on some online research.
Nor for real estate… Not that we wouldn’t love to retire to one of the riverfront zillion-dollar homes, it’s just there aren’t enough banks to stick-up in the area to pay for one. Totally in the “nice but no cigar” range for us. YMMV.You may have been a better corporate suck-up than me, or you may believe in the future of defined benefits more than us…no telling.
Sedona is split into three parts: There is Sedona itself – which is nice. Then you drive south a mile or two through what looks like some national parkland (Coconino), and that brings you to the other southern region of the city which is Oak Creek. And. if you head west from one of the traffic circles, you can find West Sedona.
The airport elevation is 4,830.4 feet according to AirNav over here. We can fly that only under certain conditions: Elaine doesn’t bring 3 bags, we go out with half fuel, and it’s a cold day…which is why we drove this trip. That and no rental car bill when poking around.
The drive south from I-17, down the 89A cutoff down to Sedona is SPECTACULAR. There is the same grandeur of mountains towering above that people report going into the Grand Canyon. Except this is in a car and you have to put your head through the windshield in order to see the tops of surrounding mountains. This is inconvenient and I will get the bandages off later this week….
Eventually, you will go by a couple of river-front camp grounds and the aforementioned zillion-dollar homes.
It is so spectacular that I will be sending a set of metal-cutting saber-saw blades to our friends down in the flatlands so they can saw the top off their Subaru. With a convertible, it would be an incredible drive…good enough so that sawing the top off a non-convertible might make sense so as to have a special-purpose Sedonamobile. There will be savings on Band-Aids from the windshield, too.
On the Woo-Woo side, neither one of us dreamed winning lottery numbers, the winner of the presidential contest, or useful stock tips sleeping up there. Due to my split shift, I was able to get up, sneak out on the desk looking toward the looming cliffs in the distance and I saw what?
Exactly nothing. If you were paying attention, you’d realize that it was night.
I would like to stay in Sedona for a couple of months. Maybe there is some special relationship with the moon that only happens on certain days.
Our Chief Astrologer suggested I get Llewellyn’s 2016 Astrological Calendar: 83rd Edition of the World’s Best Known, Most Trusted Astrology Calendar – which I did, since Moon Void of Course might have had something to do with our lack of financially useful insights.
But that calendar doesn’t start for another month and that would mean another trip. We will keep an eye on Airbnd for deals.
But that gets us to…
Resort Fees and Golf
OK, I didn’t realize when I booked our hotel stays for this trip how much hotels are making on “Resort Fees.”
For a $24 daily charge at the current joint (in addition to the room rate) I can…
1. Get high speed internet (which I already have as a rewards program guy – so useless.
2. I can make unlimited local and long distance calls to 800-numbers. But since I have a cheap TracPhone, this has zero value.
3. Ditto the “free Valet Parking” because tipping is not included.
4. Complimentary Parking (a $10 value)
5. A selection of tennis and golf discounts which are of precisely NO interest to us.
6. Ditto the admittance to an adjoining water park. Unbelievable as it may sound: When you get into your 60’s the interest in going down water slides seems to have slid. I also don’t want lawsuits for scaring people.
7. And let’s not forget the 10% discount on T-shirts and sweats in the gift shop. Again, which we won’t get.
No matter how I sliced it, I couldn’t figure out where the value to the “resort fee” was. But paying it is not optional, I was politely informed because we are staying at a resort.
We like Indian casinos because they haven’t gone down this mark-up to mark-down game which is offensive to the thinking traveler.. Wampum of X and stay. I don’t know what to call this marketing — Gringology might work, but I wish they wouldn’t resort to it.
Next thing you know we’re going to be seeing ads for “Stay free – just pay the Resort fee!”
Land of Golf and Plenty
The friends we visited with live in the northwest part of Phoenix. More properly, it’s Peoria.
Here’s the thing we noticed about Peoria on the drive through: The city has annexed mile after square mile of absolute nothingness!
Oh,, sure, Elaine goes on about “Look at that barrel cactus and that Saguaro!” Not being a “desert rat” which folks around here seem to be quite proud of, one green thing that is prickly doesn’t do much for me, compared to another.
The important part is that Peoria has been busily annexing property on the expectation that when homes pop up in the cactus, they will be in the clutches of the city fathers (and mothers) who will already have laid the local property tax-heist traps. They have been staking out tax boundaries years in advance since jack rabbits can’t vote. I think they should all be shot for tax evasion (the jack rabbits, not the officials) but I tend to hold those thoughts to myself, though it gives Fusion Centers something to do.
Come back in a few years – after the rest of Mexico has finished invading – and I expect the patchwork of cities that has almost completed the megacity from San Ysidro/San Diego all the way up to past the Grapevine and arguably to Bakersfield, will be replayed in the desert here.
Except the city here will run from the (coming) Historical Marker where the border used to be all the way north to Flagstaff. It will just be a string of cities like Peoria, Black Canyon City, Prescott, Sedona… the same way it’s Dana Point, Lake Forest, Irvine, Garden Grove, Buena Park etc.in the Lost Angeles megacity.
For all the schools which tout programs in public administration, architecture, urban planning and design, seems to me like there’s something approaching fraud going on.
Worse: We keep importing low-end workers, send them to the diploma mills where they get loaded down with student loans, and toss them into the workforce.
When they figure out they can’t afford a home, or to have kids, it’s too late.
As a result, there is huge growth in multi-“family” apartments and condos (coops) and the smart people (*like our kids) have already done the parenting thing, or they are young enough to see the futility of it all.
Pick a fight with a new country, import military-aged males, which creates anti-terrorism and prison guard jobs, rinse, and repeat.
It’s a fact: smart people don’t over populate, dumb ones do. Or, more educated, if you want to be PC ‘bout it.
The good news is that having no kids leaves more time for Golf. Having no kids also means folks can afford it…
Our friends down here have been researching the absolute best pricing strategy to get the lowest cost per game – and there’s quite a science to it. Just short of spreadsheets, they’ve identified something called the “Southwest PGA pass” (whatever that is) will bring prices down to about $60 a round.
The POG (price of golf) can not be left out of retirement planning. I spent a few minutes pricing golf in the Phoenix area and it was very revealing.
Just last month, the local newspaper back home in Palestine, Texas announced that the Wildcat Golf Course in Palestine was re-opened. It charges $27 for 18 holes – including the cart. Which is less than half the prevailing price here in the Valley of the Sun.
Of course, the downside of East Texas golf is that you have to look at all those damn green trees around the course. Elaine thinks I under-appreciate the beauty of cactus and greasewood and whatever else is out there.
Traffic on freeways here is lousy. I don’t know if there are more pricks on the cactus plants or the 17 freeway.
The local golf course back home (may be a 9-hole, but will investigate and report back) is unique in that it’s a learning lab for kids from the local high school.
That’s a fine idea. I’m pretty sure they will hear some fine language arts when Mr. Slice hisself tees off when we get back.
OK…onto the serious part of the day…
Write when you break-even – and don’t forget to post a stunning review of five-stars when you get done reading my novel DreamOver: An Action-Adventure on the Frontiers of Reality. Thank-you.