AZDuffman's Blog

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“The day you sign a client is the day you start losing them.'”October 9th, 2014 at 2:08:07 pm
An up and down week up here. For those who do not know, the project I was on ended one week ago today. The last few days of it the signs were all over. The last day I turned in one more tract and then kind of read the news and posted here, my boss sitting right next to me doing essentially the same. At the end the parting words were, "take tomorrow off and wait for a call" and a "well, hopefully I see you when you are back from vacation."

The email then came with the following in it, "It is our intention to re-engage your services as quickly as possible, hopefully within the next 7 calendar days." Some more about hopefully working with them again and, "but it is our hope that you elect to continue providing the agreed upon services."

This was Friday of last week. I rested Friday and put a few resumes out on Monday because in this industry there are no guarantees. By Tuesday I had a new gig with a new client, a touch more flexibility, and get to learn 2 new counties, one neighboring Ohio. The offices of the new place are in a 100% nicer part of town, a trendy part of town at that. One of the trendiest.

Oh, yeah, and a few more bucks a day! Not killer-more, but enough for a nice dinner for one.

All happy times until the old client calls and you feel like talking to the old girlfriend who went on a break and you found someone new. Yes, I liked it there, I really, really did. I would not have even explored much but for the hiatus. I got picked up fast. It didn't sink in on the call, it sunk in on the email where it said they "acknowledged and accepted my contract termination." I mean, of course it is terminated, just feels so final at the moment I read it.

I would say it is the first time I left a job I liked for an unknown, but it was not a "job." It was a "gig." A "client." Few are the W-4 jobs in this industry. "Long Term" can mean a year, sometimes less. Not to forget, but the move was sold as "an opportunity." I don't begrudge the Chief who told me that, she could not have known. Business is business.

The lessons for the client are if you like the work of a person, find a reason to keep him because even a few days on the street and people will look elsewhere. The lesson for the contractor is keep doing good work and know where to find the next client.

And that is that. One day I may work with them again. Or they might have been a break-in house and I did not realize it. I like the new place so far, they came in on the high-end of my rate request. But remember the motto:

“The day you sign a client is the day you start losing them.'”--Don Draper

November 17th, 2014 at 8:13:54 pm
Job security in my business is when the boss said, see you in the morning.

This is what will be coming out in the world in a few yearsAugust 22nd, 2014 at 9:22:51 pm
College Freshmen say some weird things, but this one I never heard a player say before.

"This is called free odds and is the best bet in the casino as it has no edge."
"Is there a way to bet evens?"


August 24th, 2014 at 4:57:37 am
I don't know how dumb they are, but they are different.

From what I can tell, this current bunch is quite cowed compared to us. Their Educators have convinced them to trust what the Enlightened Ones want for us. In the matters of environmentalism, racial equality, control of their lives by the state, and even the imperative of volunteering for charity, so many are sold on it. Watch out for the Disillusioned though, there is always a group of those, some of whom have made it to Ferguson MO.

By the time I was 20 or so, a group of us were remarking on how different the incoming underclassmen were from us. "A different breed". Already. It only gets worse with further distance. I looked for and couldnt find Guy de Maupassant's observation that when you pass a graveyard of only the last generation you are observing what's left of a remarkably different "vanished race" of another age. This is so true.
August 26th, 2014 at 3:07:33 pm
It was a rare time I had another dealer with me. Before the games opened we discussed how his kid was a HS Junior this week and what he should do with his life. I gave my now-standard speech against college unless he is getting a very technical degree as a waste of money and get some trade skills.

I am lucky in that my job attracts misfits and not go-along types. Even when I was in college you could see the indoctrination take hold in a bunch of the class. At least none started going on an anti-fracking rant at the table.
September 1st, 2014 at 12:46:40 am
All generations have their moments. We've been gone from youth for so long, we've forgotten how it was and half the dumb things we've said and done ourselves.

Asking a square for a square but not the square the square thought..........June 28th, 2014 at 12:42:48 pm
I know I'm a square, but.......

So I'm by the garage with my dad, ladder on the house, getting ready to cut a board board for a shelf for an A/C unit. This black girl is walking down the alley and asks, "do you have a square?"

Immediately I think she is talking about a carpenter's square, as is my dad. She quickly senses we didn't get it and said "cigarette." I politely replied we didn't smoke and she moved on.

Now, I do know what it meant. But my thought is a person on the street is asking about a carpentry tool.

Am I that big a square?

June 28th, 2014 at 1:23:01 pm
didn't know that slang usage about "square", but had a similar thing happen to me involving a "case quarter." Somebody asked me for one some time ago, but I thought I had been around the block a time or two. I had no idea what he was talking about. In case anyone doesn't know, some call an ordinary quarter such. He got pretty disgusted me since he thought I just didnt want to give him one.
June 28th, 2014 at 5:35:55 pm
I believe calling a smoke a "square" is prison talk.
July 3rd, 2014 at 12:06:24 am
square is prison slang for a cigarette as opposed to some other item that might be smoked.

Case quarter I thought would be archaic. It means I want a quarter not two dimes and a nickle, since its going into a vending machine.
July 3rd, 2014 at 11:06:32 am
>not two dimes and a nickle

exactly. He had offered me the change, so he wasn't bumming
July 13th, 2014 at 12:24:05 pm
I had no idea of that usage either. I'd have offered hear a chessboard, saying "Is this square enough for you?"
July 23rd, 2014 at 12:21:35 am
You have black girls walking down your alleys
bumming smokes? Where do you live, man.
That would scared the hell out of me.

Here's why. Most blacks are totally innocent,
nice people. But all of them have family
members who aren't. And that's scary.

Blackjack at a Prom, 2014April 28th, 2014 at 10:59:10 am
"Blackjack" was spelled out vs the initials "BJ" to avoid any confusion like last year.

The kid says, "I just realized this is our Prom and we are sitting here playing Blackjack."
So I am thinking to myself, "and????????"

Assuming the powers that be kept booze out, and no reason to think otherwise, it is the most I have seen non-drunks hit on 18, soft or hard. For some time this would drive me nuts, but lately I have found some kind of Zen at the table and simply DUAD.

April 29th, 2014 at 12:22:16 am
Well, its good that there is some alternative entertainment provided.
I would expect the kids to be expert players though. Strange these days what is not learned by the young.
April 29th, 2014 at 7:28:12 am
Can't find "duad" in the slang dictionary online, dude. [g]
April 29th, 2014 at 3:02:59 pm
DUAD Dummy Up And Deal
April 29th, 2014 at 5:41:05 pm
@Flea: they had lots of entertainment. There was some kind of hypnotist as well, which was good for us since it killed our first hour. Some charachature artist, maybe more not sure that was all I saw. Not bad kids, either. Security said they some tried sneaking to other parts of the stadium (Heinz Field) but they were pretty laid back at my table.

As to learning young, I'm doing my part trying to teach my 6 year old niece. She turns 7 next month which means no more double-exposure and she get to learn basic strategy. My hope is when the youngest of the nieces and nephews turn 21 there are still shoe-dealt games I can take down and end up as a special on History.
April 30th, 2014 at 3:08:17 pm
Your niece will remember the time you spent with her. Its good for a girl to learn blackjack and how to shoot dice. Some states allow gambling at 18 and I expect more will as time goes by. Foreign casinos are often lax in enforcing rules.
April 30th, 2014 at 4:45:45 pm
Well the best part is she is very mature and said, "I'll teach my brother when he can count better!" She is the kind of kid who wants to be an adult. (I was the same.) I'll wait a few years before teaching dice. I think that can wait until age 10-12.

A real goal is show her how to run a game. That is a skill that will pay in college.
May 2nd, 2014 at 9:28:08 am
>show her how to run a game. That is a skill that will be useful at college...

I'm curious. Do you mean she could hire herself out as a Casino Night Dealer to some Party Firm or do you mean she could run real money craps games in the dorm? Might be more profitable but the school would eventually call the cops when losers complained.
May 4th, 2014 at 4:27:28 pm
Well kind of both. I wish casino night dealing was around when I was in school. Lets do the math on todays' numbers.

Two hours monte carlo night dealing=$65-70. To get $70 on a minimum wage work study gig takes 9-10 hours. Taxes on the MC night are also lower as you can write off mileage, though the work-study gig you could walk to in most cases.

Now running a craps game in the dorm is a bit much, but if you had an RA who was easygoing it would be hard to get caught. BJ games I don't see students playing, either. But POKER, now that is a different story. I think that could easily be run as the cops hardly care about low ante games in an apartment. $20 an hour can easily be made.

Sadly I never had such guidance when I was a young lad.
May 5th, 2014 at 3:38:14 pm
Sadly the CalStat Santa Barbara professor died in a scuba accident at a fairly young age, but his novels were semi autobiographical and between his fiction and non-fiction works it was obvious he had come across a poker book at a very young age and memorized all the math stuff. He played in his home town until he overheard someone saying he won too often to not be cheating. That was his cue to leave town and he hit pool halls in small towns as he generally headed westward. He reached California and after satisfying his residency requirements playing poker, he enrolled in college paying for it with his poker winnings from both "town and gown" games. He even financed his Masters degree with poker money. All because he was lucky enough to have encountered a textbook on it in his early youth.

Its similar to Louis L"Amour's yondering days. Some think he bummed around the world working odd jobs to get material for his stories, but in reality he did it to eat. Sailor, longshoreman, tug boat deck hand, skinning dead cattle, sleeping in thirty cent a night "hotels", manning a bucket brigade as an entire town burned. It was a life of adventure but it was done to eat, not for later writing material. He just later used his experiences as a basis for his writing. In reality he really was flat broke, he really did get marooned in the Mojave desert. And he really did learn to play poker for what was in the Depression considered high stakes.

Some people simply lead adventuresome lives and learn useful skills.

Make sure the niece learns Bridge too though. Its often played non-stop in womens dormitories, grad schools, etc. Poker ofcourse, she will meet competitive men who have money, what more could a young girl dream of?
May 5th, 2014 at 7:03:45 pm
Can't help her with Bridge as I do not know how to play that one. I do know how many people have no clue on how to play poker. Others learned from family like I did but we just learned how to play, not how to PLAY. It was a social thing and if you lost all your pennies our grandparents let you play "on poverty" meaning you could collect a pot without betting. That was bad way to learn to play. My mother still doesn't get it as when we played at her house once and I refused to allow "on poverty" she thought we should have it to "let everyone play." I retorted that games have winners and losers and to play cards without a winning objective was kind of a waste of time.

So the at college you get I guess three groups. Those that learned to play like I did, IOW you know the rules but your family never taught you to win. Those that are sharks and will not hold back. And those that do not know how to play at all. I would be remiss in my duties as an uncle if I did not do all I could to get all nieces and nephews into the "shark" group.

As a side note on that while at college I learned to play "Scat/31" which we played for dollars. When I came back and my sister had some friends over they asked if i wanted to play cards. I said I would play Scat but had to be for $1 stakes. So it is her, a gf of hers and some guy. So I sit in position behind her gf who is behind her and the guy, who is a shark, behind me. From the get-go it would be he or I who won but either he didn't take me for a player or he did not grasp the advantage of playing behind a weak player. After two hands he did notice and wasn't happy where I chose to sit. I didn't care because I know he would have done the same thing and I figured it was not cheating just smart play.

So anyways my idea is show them how the world works. Show them they can be sharks or be fish food. I still can't believe how many people reach adulthood without even learning rank of hands.
August 18th, 2014 at 1:37:51 am
It's funny the experience taking Greyhound to Atlantic City being around Philadelphia for a while. I'm outside and guys walk by offering drugs and although I have no idea whatsoever what they're saying or the lingo, I can tell it's drugs. Lots of drugs being sold at these bus stations and even one in Pittsburgh just had to be stupid translating the lingo flat out saying he had cocaine for sale. Even I know from the movies, they should never do that and just say candy makes you dandy.

Should you had just assumed you knew what she meant, no just because that doesn't make sense for her to want the square you were thinking. Must have been paint fumes or exhaust you were inhaling in the garage.

Mortgage Greed? Part II--Mortgage Fees and the "greedy" people they supportSeptember 24th, 2013 at 1:13:36 pm
There is always talk of banks and the "fees" associated with getting a mortgage. A residential mortgage will run you about $3,000 or so in fees, more if you pay points to buy down your rate and maybe some "paid outside closing" fees, which you often have to pay even if you do not close.

Lets look at all this "greed" more closely and who the money goes to.

Your first step is to apply for the loan. There may or may not be a fee here. When there is, people often complain about paying $20-50 just to apply then pay more fees and interest. While this might smart, the fact is a mortgage application is not the same as an auto or credit card application. Pulling credit alone can cost $7. The application takes some time to enter, and if it needs to be looked at by an underwriter that person must be paid. The chances that a person will never close the loan are great, so all of this sunk cost may be lost. $50 is probably the real cost to just get your loan moving.

Your appraisal, processing, and underwriting will cost on the order of $200-450 each. $400 for an appraisal? $400 to process the loan? That money must be going to some greedy, overpaid person--right?

Well lets look at things. The appraiser by law cannot be directly chosen by the lender anymore. So he or she is giving a fair chunk of that $400 to the service that hired them. This appraiser is going to be an independent contractor. This means car, gas, license, health insurance, error insurance, and G&A all comes out of their kick. There is no paid vacation and no paid days off. You do not work you do not eat. And there is no steady supply. This week may be booming and next week dead. And while they may just spend an hour at your home taking photos there is another 2+ hours getting comps and preparing the report. More than one appointment has canceled at the door. When work is not steady you simply have to score more when the work is there, and when you are not hiring steady you have to pay rack rate.

The processor does not have life much better. Same deal with feast or famine. The processor may work for the bank as a real employee or may be an indie as well. If they are an employee they need to generate $400+ per day to cover their wages and other costs. If they are an indie they need to have a home office and as the abstractor they must provide everything for themselves with no time off. Realistically they need to generate almost the same $400 per day. One file a day finished day after day is not easy. And they only get paid when the file closes! All the work to get to final underwriting but to be declined is wasted effort and materials.

At every step this repeats. Abstractors and signing agents need to make $75-100 per order because they may only be able to do 2-3 orders a day. And they like all the rest only get paid when they get work. Yes, the life was chosen even if they "backed into" it. This does not change what they need to earn to make a living.

Then there is the salesperson who got the process moving. A very good salesperson gets 3-5 deals a month. This person needs to hold licenses and take ongoing training. 1/8 of a point may lose a deal.

Add it up and of that $3,000 the bank has $1600+ in labor without the salesperson. They may make $1,000 on the front end of the deal, but this is still 1-2% margin only. How many businesses have margins that low?

September 25th, 2013 at 6:16:32 am
Honestly I don't know who is harping about mortgage system greed outside of bundling the mortgages and allowing speculation to get out of hand ... can you cite somebody who is going on about these things outside of the one biggie?
September 26th, 2013 at 3:37:48 am
I have seen comments about all of the "greed" issues I have posted. Earlier I posted how bundling the mortgages and having a liquid market are a benefit to the consumer. Those "speculators" you are complaining about provided the funds for mortgages to be written.

What caused the problem was selling homes to people who could not afford them and eventually defaulted, and this was caused a great part by regulations requiring banks to do so. The regulations were mostly the CRA and laws about "disparate impact" of underwriting policies.

Banks were not totally blameless, Neg Am products helped cause problems, as did accepting inflated appraisals. But the latter was again partly a product of banks worried about their CRA and other ratings. FHA allowed the banks to sell homes with little money down.

My point is that all this talk of banks being "deregulated" is incorrect. Talk of "speculators" causing the problems is incorrect. The problem was caused by government policy encouraging too many loans to too many people who would eventually default. Just because you sell a good mortgage does not insure default, but writing a bad one will.
September 26th, 2013 at 6:56:28 am
>The problem was caused by government policy encouraging too many loans to too many people who would eventually default

I agree, and I have to say I even saw this coming. Oddly enough, I am not in that business.

Just as an example, the Washington Post kept printing articles that tried to make the point that the percentage of loan approvals to minorities was comparatively low and that this proved racism. You'd read the whole article and if you were from Mars you wouldn't realize minorities filled the poverty percentages too. That can be blamed on a lot of things, including racism even, but to say the lenders were practicing racism was an exercise in circular fallacy. Nonetheless, incredibly, this became a cause for government involvement. Clinton and his people were deeply involved but you have to admit George W. Bush did nothing to correct it.
September 26th, 2013 at 2:45:37 pm
Bush made such a half-hearted attempt to correct things it might as well have been nothing. It is a product of race-baiting being allowed. If I had my way there would be no race information collected at all on applications. Too bad the USA has such a fixation on race.
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