excellent confused email from mom

i was playing warcraft for the first time in a while tonight, had WoW as my away message, and received this email from my mom:

So what does WOW mean on your Ichat icon?  Went Out womanizing?   Went on Walpurgisnacht?  Went on walk?
Went Off Wagon? Watch Out Worms!?¬† Hummmmmmm………………We’re Off for Weekend?
Slow mind in Ojai needs to know.


faux pho

i went in to make dinner tonight and was going to stir fry. but then i spied some organic chicken and roasted vegetable stock in the cupboard, and decided to just wing it and make a soup. i had to head to the market to get cilantro, rice noodles, and green onions, and saw some organic cherry tomatoes while i was there. this was tasty.

faux pho

gold, oil, dollars, yen

the stars aligned a bit for me today. late yesterday afternoon i was playing warcraft and watching the imac screen that of late is constantly streaming currency prices at me. the USD/JPY pair was looking overvalued, and even though i had been waiting for a price of 119, i decided to short the dollar at 118.53. the price fell to 118, and i was in good profit territory. i put in a stop loss and went to sleep around 12:30.

i woke up at 4:30 and turned on the laptop in bed. the dollar was cratering. i was waiting for the release of the TICS report for last month, a measurement of foreign interest in US treasuries. i was almost certain the number was going to reflect waning interest, with countries like the UAE diversifying out of dollar reserves, the repatriation of yen for the end of the japanese fiscal year at the end of the month, and just the general negative gloomy bias that surrounds the buck these days. i was wrong, the number was pretty strong. i traded out of the position at 117.94. (this deserves a serious caveat: i am at a net loss since i started trading currency. i regard the cash that i put into this account as speculative, meaning i can lose it and not cry too much. i regard the losses the i have incurred as an education, because you often have to feel real pain, anxiety, and the fear of loss to learn anything of value. trading the spot market in currency is largely what might be considered a racket, in that the odds are stacked overwhelmingly in favor of the house, in other words, your broker).

around 6 AM, news on two of my other holdings came in. gold gapped up at the opening. and penn west announced it was buying petrofund canada (i own PTF). on top of that, oil closed at $70.40, a record high. by 7 AM i was on my bike riding over to peet’s and the post office on solano to file my taxes and the partnership taxes for our investment club. the post office didn’t open until 9, so i sat out in the morning sun reading. one thing i did learn in doing my own taxes this year is that the ETF that i have used as a proxy for holding physical gold is going to be taxed as a collectible rather than an equity. which translates as a rate of up to 28% as opposed to say 5% for long term capital gains. which also translates as “sucks shit in comparison”.

most days are not this good. and i should add the disclaimer that nothing in this post is to be construed as advice. even if you read this and think “haller’s an idiot, i am going to do the opposite”. but it felt like the gods were smiling on me this morning. to say nothing of the rush and relief of putting all those envelopes in the mail. tomorrow, i am sure to be handed my ass for feeling this good today.

the last detail

i finished the federal part of my taxes tonight. i haven’t prepared them myself in over 10 years, and thought it would be educational. fuck. i think i learned that i will have them prepared next year. i was pretty spent after, and felt like staying in and watching a movie. phil came over and we watched one my dad designed, the last detail with jack nicholson, randy quaid, and otis young. i hadn’t seen it since i was much much younger.

my family moved to toronto for the duration of the shoot, and watching the movie brought back a lot of memories of the locations i had been, the dailies i had watched, and the pages i had read. my first snowfall and building a snowman with my brother and a bunch of the crew. the film is about a couple navy shore patrols taking a kid to the brig for an eight year stint to be followed by a dishonorable discharge. nicholson’s character has the proverbial mouth of a sailor, written by robert towne.

i think i can attribute some trouble i had in third grade directly to this film. we wrote and performed plays as an assignment in class, and in my youthful naivete i emulated the language i knew from this picture. i actually doubt i was naive at all, i was probably deliberately pushing hard against the provincial sensiblities of my audience of fellow seven or eight or nine year olds. there were a lot of fucks and assholes and motherfuckers in there as i remember. drug usage. and the action was set in a submarine in a sewer.

well some of the mothers of the other kids got wind of it and tried to get me kicked out of school. i think i actually got bounced to mister pola’s gifted class instead. i’m not sure, this was decades ago and i may be mythologizing a bit. but i definitely was having some serious memories associated with the movie.

to protect the innocence

to protect the innocence is the provisional title for a work in progress (mp3). i watched fellini’s 8 1/2 a couple weeks ago, and there is a great scene where guido’s (marcello mastroianni) stunningly beautiful wife luisa (anouk aimie) calls him on his shit for writing about their relationship and putting it up on the screen and playing it off like he’s just being creative. then i was thinking about people i have known who do the same thing (they are called….writers). one of our friends sold a treatment for a TV sitcom based on my brother and me, and another friend would open his notebook when he came over, ready to write down any pearls of anti-wisdom that might pop up in conversation. and of course i have been writing songs for a long time.
this is making a short story long, but in any case i was thinking about the whole dance that you go through when you are writing a book or a script or a song. you can’t help but place people who are close to you in the picture, but if you paint them in an unflattering light, reveal their secrets, or you have been dishonest with someone and try to tell them about it in a “story”…look out!! (and that’s a very incomplete list of ways to fuck up).
i keep turning my songs into existential treatises. the song file is an edit with the scratch vox mostly taken out, but do listen through to the vocoder idea i had for the chorus…..

UPDATE: i put the skratch vox back in the mix and reupped it. not sure where i’m going with this. another version had me rowing down the grand canal because i could not sit idly by. there’s a bluebird in there, and one day he’ll find his way into my songs.