Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Nadir is here!

Nadir: The word is also used figuratively to mean the lowest point of a person's spirits, or the quality of an activity or profession.


The Real Estate market in our very special local area has changed!!! Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton have lately been recognized by wealthy individuals from many countries to be valuable. These are actual, real dollar valuations. In the past four weeks we have seen numerous all cash transactions, full price Offers, and multiple Offers on single family homes.

We have a Sellers market! CALL ME.

Please call me at (650) 888-6628 to LIST YOUR HOME or see the special properties located within this valued and coveted area...

Barbara Slaton
Alain Pinel Realtors
1550 El Camino Real
Menlo Park, California 94025

Russian Billionaire Yuri Milner Drops $70M on Sweet New Digs

In order for one to become a Russian billionaire, they make you take a test to determine whether you're committed to buying egregiously egregious real estate.

Shipping magnate Alexander Ponomarenko passed—he bought a Russian palace (from Prime Minister Putin's right-hand man) for $350M. As did Roman Abramovich—he owns more than 10 properties.

Now Yuri Milner, the billionaire founder of Moscow-based venture firm DST, has reportedly scooped up a 25,000-square-foot number in Silicon Valley for $70M. Apparently Milner has no real plans to relocate stateside, but as far as his portfolio goes, consider it seriously beefed up.

Source: Sarah Firshein, Curbed National

Monday, March 28, 2011

15 (other) Uses for Vodka...and you thought it was just for drinking

These are real uses for vodka in Russia

1. To remove a bandage painlessly, saturate the bandage with vodka. The solvent dissolves adhesive.

2. To clean the caulking around bathtubs and showers, fill a trigger-spray bottle with vodka, spray the caulking, let set five minutes and wash clean. The alcohol in the vodka kills mold and mildew.

3. To clean your eyeglasses, simply wipe the lenses with a soft, clean cloth dampened with vodka. The alcohol in the vodka cleans the glass and kills germs.

4. Prolong the life of razors by filling a cup with vodka and letting your safety razor blade soak in the alcohol after shaving. The vodka disinfects the blade and prevents rusting.

5. Spray vodka on vomit stains, scrub with a brush, and then blot dry.

6. Using a cotton ball, apply vodka to your face as an astringent to cleanse the skin and tighten pores.

7. Add a jigger of vodka to a 12-ounce bottle of shampoo. The alcohol cleanses the scalp, removes toxins from hair, and stimulates the growth of healthy hair.

8. Fill a sixteen-ounce trigger-spray bottle, and spray bees or wasps to kill them.

9. Pour one-half cup vodka and one-half cup water in a Ziploc freezer bag and freeze for a slushy, refreshable ice pack for aches, pain or black eyes.

10. Fill a clean, used mayonnaise jar with freshly packed lavender flowers, fill the jar with vodka, seal the lid tightly and set in the sun for three days. Strain liquid through a coffee filter, then apply the tincture to aches and pains.

11. To relieve a fever, use a washcloth to rub vodka on your chest and back as a liniment.

12. To cure foot odor, wash your feet with vodka.

13. Vodka will disinfect and alleviate a jellyfish sting.

14. Pour vodka over an area affected with poison ivy to remove the Urushiol oil from your skin.

15. Swish a shot of vodka over an aching tooth. Allow your gums to absorb some of the alcohol to numb the pain.

Source: www.thespir.it

Monday, March 21, 2011

Neighborhoods -- Menlo Park

In its earliest years of the latter 19th century, Menlo Park was awash with bucolic charm. Because of that, a temperate climate and a newly minted train station, many San Francisco businessmen chose to reside there. Leafy, secluded neighborhoods are still a hallmark, and with a small population plus a convenient Peninsula location, it remains an attractive place to live. The downtown's main artery, Santa Cruz Avenue, bustles with boutiques, shops and excellent restaurants, in addition to markets at either end: upscale Draeger's on one side and casual Trader Joe's on the other.

A favorite gathering spot is Café Borrone, across the street from downtown on El Camino Real. There's plenty of seating indoors and out, perfect for perusing material purchased at adjacent Kepler's, an independent bookstore that has been around more than 50 years.

The crown jewel of Menlo Park's architectural treasures is the Allied Arts Guild, a collection of shops, gardens and artists' studios. For golf enthusiasts, there is the highly regarded members-only 18-hole course at the Sharon Heights Golf & Country Club. Sunset magazine has its headquarters in Menlo Park, where every spring the facility hosts Celebration Weekend, a festival of activities featuring Sunset experts.

Of course, many residents just might cite Menlo Park's prime location as its No. 1 asset. It offers quick access to Interstate 280 and Highway 101, and is next door to Stanford University and Stanford Shopping Center. The city seems to straddle the bustle of the South Bay and the acres of lush woods and sprawling grasslands that form nearby open space. Quiet life in Menlo Park is deliberately reserved and protected.

Population: 30,785
Average household income: $89,100
Average household size: 2.4
Median age: 37.4
College graduates: 61.7 percent
Parks: 9

Source: San Jose Mercury Online

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How does Google Know?

This is what I encountered this morning when I logged on...if I move my cursor accross the image a message pops up "Happy Birthday, Barbara". WOW!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Venture Capital is Happening Here

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Vinod Khosla and his Khosla Ventures took part in one of the biggest venture capital funding rounds of the year, joining some investing giants in backing WeatherBill to the tune of $42 million.

The San Francisco-based WeatherBill has developed a technology platform that enables the pricing and purchasing of weather insurance using global weather simulation modeling and local weather monitoring systems.

The recent funding was the company's second round of venture capital.

Khosla Ventures and Google Ventures joined previous investors NEA, Index Ventures, Allen & Co., First Round Capital, Atomico and Code Advisors.

WeatherBill said it will use the money to support "aggressive" product and sales expansion in the United States and internationally. Products pay out automatically based solely on measured weather conditions, requiring no claims process and no waiting for payment, according to the company.

"With a firm belief that technology can create new markets and address vital global challenges, Khosla Ventures immediately recognized the potential of WeatherBill to fundamentally change the risk profile of the global agriculture industry," said Khosla, founder of Menlo Park, Calif.-based Khosla Ventures. "WeatherBill is one of those rare companies that has the leadership and vision to apply new technology to an ancient and daunting problem — weather's impact on agriculture. Now WeatherBill can help farmers globally deal with the increasingly extreme weather brought on by climate change."

"Global agriculture production is more than $3 trillion per year, and it is at risk today from extreme weather conditions, as evidenced by the recent droughts in Russia and China and extensive flooding in Australia, which have decimated global commodity supplies," said David Friedberg, CEO and co-founder of WeatherBill. "More than 90 percent of crop losses are due to unexpected weather and climate change is increasing the frequency of extreme weather events. Dedicated to addressing this global concern, WeatherBill is applying the use of our technology platform to become the first company to provide every farmer, from the developing world to the technologically sophisticated, with a simple and effective solution for removing weather-related risk from their financial profile, in order to support and ensure the sustainability of the global food supply."

Source: IndUS Business Journal Online. March 7, 2011

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Peninsula Cities Face Uphill Battle in Trying to Join Forces over High-speed Rail

Source: By Mike Rosenberg, mrosenberg@bayareanewsgroup.com

Tired of being a national "laughingstock" on high-speed rail, a splintered group of San Mateo County cities is joining to form a lobbying effort they hope will put them on equal footing with San Francisco and San Jose.

San Mateo, Burlingame, Millbrae, Redwood City and South San Francisco have already banded together to form the San Mateo County Rail Corridor Partnership. Officials in Belmont and the county supervisors have also expressed interest, while other cities are set to discuss joining the effort.

The officials behind the idea think the county's 12 cities along the Caltrain line can relay their concerns about California high-speed rail to the state and federal governments more easily as a unified group. The problem is that many of the cities -- even the ones that have joined -- don't necessarily agree on many aspects of the massive project, which could run along the Caltrain line later this decade.

While leaders in Burlingame are fighting to slow down the project, for instance, their neighbors in Millbrae are pushing for the rail line to come to town as quickly as possible.

Burlingame Mayor Terry Nagel, one of the group's founders, acknowledged they may not be able to get every city along the tracks to join or agree on many controversial areas. But she argues the cities are helpless by themselves.

Nagel said the seeds of the group's founding were planted in a fall meeting between officials from several Peninsula cities and

"They basically told us we're not going to get any money for high-speed rail or transportation because all our cities do is fight," Nagel said. "One of them said we were the laughingstock of Washington, D.C., because of our constant bickering. They were saying cities have to work it out."

Extra federal funding is key because cities fear they will have to pony up for local parts of the project, such as rail crossings, and will almost certainly need more money to bury the tracks underground, as several cities want.

The cities say they also have had virtually no luck pleading their case with the California High-Speed Rail Authority. The authority declined to even study -- let alone implement -- a key part of the project local cities want, namely tunneled tracks.

Some cities simply may not fit in a larger coalition, however. Atherton and Menlo Park, for example, have sued the state to reverse its decision to run the high-speed railroad along the Caltrain line, but the new partnership group is pushing to "accept" the route.

"Our voice can get lost, when we join with all the (San Mateo County) cities," Menlo Park Councilwoman Kelly Fergusson said at a meeting this week to discuss the new group.

Menlo Park Mayor Rich Cline added that the group "doesn't make sense."

"It's another overlapping group of talking heads," Cline said. Nonetheless, he said Menlo Park's full council will vote on whether to join the group.

Yet there is some common ground. San Mateo Public Works Director Larry Patterson recently asked San Mateo County cities for a list of their high-speed rail concerns, and he found each jurisdiction's problems fell into five categories: track alignment, adjacent property impacts, land use and economics, traffic and construction.

Patterson, who is leading the coordination between cities, said one goal of the group is to make peace between the various cities, a process that is typically difficult regardless of the issue.

"But we need to find a way to do that," Patterson said. "We don't want to be lost in the shuffle. I think we make the task much more difficult if we try to do it as individual cities."