babysitting a trade

when the FOMC released its statement this afternoon i made several trades. i got back into gold with one of the miner stocks, barrick (newmont is probably a better choice but i have my reasons which i won’t go into now). i bought some july QQQQ puts before the announcement, because i read in separate places there is statistical evidence that after a hike the market is down from where it started a week later, and at the end of rate hikes odds are indexes will be lower a month later (i would link the places i read this but i am too tired to at this hour). i also shorted the dollar / yen pair, which is why i am still up at 2:30 AM. even though i have stops in, i still feel like i should watch this trade. in less than 12 hours, i had doubled my money…on paper.

well, now they are realized gains. i had every intention of staying here reading, typing, and keeping one eye on the screen, but it sure feels like the dollar has lost its downward momentum for now, and there are a bunch of numbers due out in 3 hours that i am worried might push it north again. so rather than be greedy, i am taking a double. babysitting duty is over and i can go to sleep. in the morning i am sure to see that shortly after i closed the trade the dollar fell off a steep cliff.

i am still learning about trading markets, experimenting with different strategies on a small scale. i have been buying and selling stocks for a number of years now, but i am now making a much more focused effort to play this game. so far, it is one of the best games i have played, but the rules are incredibly complicated and the competition is intense. (i wish that it were a more social game like warcraft).

in a way though, i don’t feel like i am competing with anyone. even on zero-sum playing fields like currency or options trading where for every winner there is an equal and opposite loser, i picture it more like surfing or swimming, just diving in and moving with the flow. if anything, the market is a faceless opponent.

ninja capital of the world?

while reading about windfall mining taxes passed last month in mongolia, i came across an interesting statistic in an interview with member of parliament s. oyun (emphasis is, umm,

LD: There was also talk of legislation concerning ninja mining. In today’s Onoodor newspaper there was an article about a fight between Altan Dornod Mongol Ltd and a large group of ninja miners.

SO: This should be a number one priority issue. I understand that from some informal studies there are at least 100,000 people living solely off of ninja mining, depending on the season as well. If you take the adult population of Mongolia which is 1.5 million, 100,000 is a large percentage of course.

i’m not sure, but with an estimated 6.67% of the population of mongolia living SOLELY off of ninja mining, i would guess that mongolia is the NINJA LEWTING capital of the world. no, but FOR REALZ.¬† yesterday 2,000 ninja miners attacked.

i guess i am feeling comcastic

at&t announced today that it owns user’s information (including mine, so that makes it personal), and they will share it as they see fit. i notice that yahoo is once again party to sharing user data with the governement on questionable grounds (through their partnership with sbc / at&t). coming on the heels of revelations that at&t is ALREADY providing the government with my data, it looks like they are making it official policy that they ARE going to continue to share my info with the government. that’s not exactly the apology i was expecting, and how they believe that will protect them from lawsuits is somewhat beyond my understanding. comcast announced that they will only share information if they receive a subpoena or a warrant. that’s a good policy, one which is now taking my business from at&t. i am not under the illusion that switching ISPs is going to protect my privacy , and in a sense i don’t really care all that much. but at least comcast is paying lipservice to the constitution.

this seems like a good time to vote with my dollars, and i encourage you to do the same if you are concerned about privacy, your rights, and the law. maybe the telcos will learn the same lesson kryptonite locks did. or maybe i’m going off half-baked? i’m still going to check out comcast. you can do whatever your conscience tells you.

UPDATE: i guess i will only have to live with their new policy for 3 days before i switch over. i’m not sure how thrilled i am to have cable again after pointedly NOT having it for the last 6 or 7 years. i guess it makes more sense than having a landline that is only used by telemarketers reaching me at inconvenient hours. at&t still has their meathooks in me through my cel phone i just realized, but it seems like a tremendous hassle to switch that.

spare the air day

phil just sent me an email reminding me tomorrow is spare the air day in the bay area. today is a pretty smoggy day, the worst yet so far this year. it’s weird, i can feel my eyes stinging a little and a slight congestion if i take a deep breath. i must be getting more sensitive to pollution. i remember the air in LA when i was growing up, my lungs often hurt when i was out running around, although as a kid i had only a limited understanding that it was related to smog.
i am looking at the bay right now from my desk, and there is a pretty thick inversion layer out across the water. it looks pretty rude. do your part tomorrow if you live here, and get on your bike, walk,  or public transpo and leave the SUV in the garage.

the unlimited class

my brother just got back from scouting and driving the route of his upcoming car race, the unlimited class, in mexico. in conjunction with la carrera panamericana (the classic race that gave porsche carrera its name), bret and our old childhood friend kevin ward are putting on a roadrace open to any production car built 1990 or later. he has posted some videos and some photos of the scout. it looks like it’s going to be pretty rocking, and i’m looking forward to heading down there in november.

the cars

i wanted to hear a specific cars song tonight. i spent the last couple of days tracking some songs with liz, and a synth tone i was using reminded me of an old cars tune. itunes is an amazing resource when i am recording or writing, because when i hear the echo of an influence in something i am working on i like to listen to the source and make sure i am not borrowing, but STEALING. (i think it was keith richards who said good artists borrow, great ones steal).

i downloaded a couple more songs than i needed. bye bye love. i learned that song in my first rock band. i was in eighth grade, played the fender rhodes and polymoog standing up, and wore a silk kimono with a big gold dragon on it and no shirt underneath. i never overcame my “image problem” because years later it was a common comment from a&r dudes, music lawyers, and label prezzes. but i digress…

the cars were one of the most genius bands of all time. their shit was so fucking tight. don’t be surprised if you start hearing that influence in future songs, because i am in love with them again. them and polly jean harvey.


i picked up some gingko biloba today and popped the first tablet. hopefully it will help me to not be an idiot, and improve the circulation in my fingers as well. another note on health while i am at it: last weekend i was horribly lethargic and depressed. it was freaking me out a bit until i realized that i had been smoking at least one cigarette a day, and at least one cup of coffee every day, for about a month. i quit smoking when i was in my mid-twenties, but i occasionally will sneak one when i am hanging out with smokers. in LA, i was almost always around smokers, and when i returned to berkeley a fresh pack of marlboros was left behind opportunely on the desk. i had also quit drinking coffee and was feeling a lot better for it. by “quit” i mean that i do not want to drink coffee every day as a habit. i still will enjoy a cup now and again.

last weekend, stretched out on the couch with a book and wondering how in the fuck the long lost spectre of impending doom and despair had snuck back into my life, i suddenly felt a calm relief when i realized that there was a chemical withdrawal going on, and it would soon pass.

organ donor

i drove my companion of 21 years to the graveyard this afternoon, and left her there to be picked apart by carrion. i thought it would be a painless process, because the day started with me walking around the corner to find that she had been towed. you can’t leave a car on berkeley streets for over 72 hours without moving it, and i had not noticed that it got tagged. there was a fair amount of sweet, sweet pain involved with having to ride my bike over to the police station, pay them to release the vehicle, then back on the bike to head over hustead’s tow to pay THEM to release the vehicle. the golf wasn’t at THAT lot, of course, so i lifted my bike onto the back of one of their haulers and caught a ride to a dusty wrecking yard.

as i pulled the identifying papers, ATM slips, insurance documents and such out of the car, i found a memo from wardrobe on the indian runner, and on the flipside my dad had blocked out a scene from the second unit work we had done together. i was in a hurry so i wonder if other artifacts are there to be found by scrapheap archaeologists.
a manager at the pick n pull junkyard where i spent an hour and a half would not let me take pictures, and it probably would have caused static with the other patrons. also junking their cars were some serious thugs with questionable paperwork and a pair of guys whispering in the corner with a career’s worth of tracks running down their arms and spilling out into active spots on their hands. i have spent a fair amount of time in pick-a-parts with my dad over the years, but i had never experienced the waiting area for people bringing cars in. there was a indian family that looked moderately well to do, and a father who was finally unloading his daughter’s beater after years of hearing how she would one day restore it. a guy from louisiana who was seriously overweight sat in the heat and shot the shit, complaining that the dating scene in the bay area sucks. compared to what i’m not sure, but i assured him i agreed. i didn’t ask him how much action he got when he worked in a meat packing plant pushing racked carcasses around. they were nice people and we had plenty of time to talk as we waited. the presence of the bangers and junkies and a large group of flies circling in the slightly cooler air under the overhang created a desperate and slightly dangerous vibe.

when the wait was over i drove the car around to the gate and got out, left her running. they pasted bar codes on the quarter panels and marked up the windows with grease pencils, then a guy hopped in and started revving the engine. i returned to the waiting area and watched as he floored it and veered around the yard. considering the hassle i had gone through with the towing, i anticipated being unsentimental. as the golf passed out of view for the last time, i teared up.
the last resting place of my old friend