Friday, August 26, 2011

When Marine's Get Bored

I once heard a Sergent say if you locked two Marines in a room with nothing but a trash can in it then came back 4 hours later you'd see them trying to throw the trash can to make it land on the other one's head.  I recently discovered a series of videos with the phrase "Marine's get bored" somewhere in the title.  Wow, this just makes me proud.

Good Call, Bad Call

I so wanted to short the market yesterday.  I can't tell you how much I wanted to put down some money on the market tanking on Burnanke's speech.  Well, he made his speech and offered no assistance at all.  Only words.  So what did the markets do?  They shot up of course...???  That is why I don't like to gamble.  I don't understand this move at all.  I am only glad that I had enough sense to stay away from it.

Streak Count: 6

I am putting together a new computer right now so that me and Derek can play video games with each other.  I have never put together an entire machine before so I was a bit intimidated.  I have to say though, component makers have come a long way in making this process easier.  5 years ago any time you wanted to swap out a hard drive or RAM stick it was like sticking your hand into a blender.  At this point I don't think I'll ever buy a computer from someplace like DELL again.  There is just no point.  I can understand why HP is getting out of the PC business.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Buffett to the Rescue

The market got a nice pop at the open today based on Mr. Warren Buffett's large investment into perhaps the biggest stinker big bank in the US, Bank of America.  This caused BAC (Bank of America stock ticker symbol) to launch around 18% and give the entire financial sector a nice boost as well.  The rest of the market lagged and eventually the Buffett effect wore off.  Tomorrow is going to be very interesting.  I am sticking to my prediction that we should see a big down day.  However as I said yesterday, I don't feel like gambling.

The streak continues to 5.  Took a nice run out to the pier today at lunch.  I am really not used to running in the sun.  It was probably around 80 degrees today but it felt like 90 because there were no clouds at all.  Really crowded too.  Not really the time I like running.

Did I mention how hilly I found out Signal Hill is?  It really should have been called Signal Hills.  Here is a nice friendly one I ran up on Saturday.

The angle looks weird because I am standing straight and this hill is so ridiculously steep.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Buy the Rumor

This week has given way to a nice run up in the markets.  This appears to be based mostly on the "Jackson Hole" meeting that will be taking place on Friday.  This is were the chairman of the federal reserve, Ben Burnanke, will be making a speech/announcement.  The market, or somebody, is expecting him to swoop in to stop the bleeding that we have seen in the last month or so.  The problem is Burnanke has taken a lot of heat from the Congress and the public for the QE1 and QE2 (Quantitative Easing) measures that he implemented since the 2008 crisis. 

Quantitative Easing: When the federal reserve purchases financial assets from banks which has the effect of injecting money into the economy. 

The money the federal reserve uses to buy these assets is electronically created which is were the calls of "stop the money printing!" you hear from the Ron Pauls of the world.  So Burnanke has done this twice and now here we are.  The majority of analysts that I have heard are saying he will likely not implement QE3.  I think the market is seeing a ramp up on false hopes.  There is a common stock phrase called "Buy the rumor, Sell the news."  What this means is that when favorable news is expected to happen the "rumor" of that news will cause the market to go up.  Usually it goes up beyond what it should.  Then when the news actually happens the market drops or sells off because the market has already made it's profit and wants to cash out.  If the news doesn't happen or isn't as good as it was supposed to be then you see huge sell offs.  I think that could happen on Friday.  I really want to short this market but it would be a gamble.  I'm not in a gambling mood so I think I'll sit back and watch from the sidelines.

I'm on a 4 day workout streak.  I'm really tired of feeling out of shape on short runs.  Went for a 6 miler to the marina yesterday.  I did the run/walk method running for about 10 minutes then walking 1 minute.  That is a great way to not get injured.  I'm alternating a short circuit workout at home with the run days.  So far so good.  My record is 12 straight days, but that was when I was running just 1 mile to bounce back from an injury.  I would very much like to drag my sister out of her house for a run this weekend.  Hopefully I can make that happen.

The marina around lunch time yesterday.

What I was listening to at the time.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Counting Chickens

Yesterday's post was probably the stupidest thing I could have done.  I think I left the office between 11 or 11:30 last night.  Nice "ease out" there.  Of course today I show up and there are more holes in our projects levy than I have fingers.  So typical.  We'll make it though.

I saw an interesting article today on

It is entitled "A Problem for US Banks: A Reverse Run".  What a bank run is is what happened during the great depression.  Everybody takes their money out of the banks which is bad for the banks because now they don't have enough money to back up the loans that they have made.  So this is a reverse bank run.  Everybody is putting their money into the bank.  Probably because most have lost confidence in the stock market and really have no other place to put it.  The interesting thing is that this is also a bad thing for the banks.  According to the article the banks have to pay FDIC insurance on all deposits and "banks begin to press up against regulatory limits on leverage as the deposits grow."  This second part makes no sense to me.  Leverage is when you lend out more than you have.  This is perfectly legal and does make sense.  Basically, if you have $100 and make a loan for $200 you are now leveraged 2 to 1.  The government has rules for banks as to how much leverage they can have.  I think it's something like 10 to 1.  So why the article confuses me is that if the banks got more deposits wouldn't that reduce their leverage because now they have more money backing up their loans?  That's why I would think anyway.  I will have to investigate further.



Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ease Out

We are delivering a video game cinematic project this week for a game called Gears of War 3.  It is a popular game on the XBox 360.  Projects like this are usually very stressful because of the short schedule (5 weeks) and large amount of work to be done.  This time was different however because this is our slow season almost all the artists working on this show are staff or supervisor level.  I got to be an artist again and quite frankly I had fun.  Usually the last 2 to 3 days of shows like this are fraught with last minute revisions and long hours.  This time it looks like we are going to coast into the finish nice and easy.  I probably should say that prior to us actually delivering but I feel pretty confident about it.

Yesterday I left the house at 8:15am.  I did this because I didn't have much to do at work that demanded me getting there early and I wanted to see what traffic would be like at the worst time of the morning.  Just past the 710 freeway traffic slowed to a crawl  but only because a motorcycle rider had fallen off his bike and was lying on the side of the freeway.  He was sitting up so I'm pretty sure he was alive.  After passing him whilst pointing and laughing traffic flowed nicely all the way to the 90.  I am impressed.

I have been feeling really out of shape lately.  I haven't run in almost a week and I can tell.  It is amazing how out of shape you can get just a few months after running a marathon.  I don't think I can run 8 miles without stopping right now.  I did a 4 mile run this morning.  It felt pretty bad for the first 2 miles but was ok for the last half.  I saw a big group of people on the beach shooting something.  It's a good bet it was NCIS LA since every episode of that show seems to involve walking past the Santa Monica pier.  Who knew there was so much naval counterespionage activity going on in Santa Monica?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sunday Ride

Went on a bike ride with Derek last Sunday.  We went out to Cherry and took it all the way to the beach.  I don't think I'm going to take that route during the day again.  It was very crowded.  Once we got to Shoreline village it was nice.  It was a very bike friendly area.  We went out to the lighthouse near the aquarium.  I noticed a sign that led to the LA river bike trail so we took that back.  I'm looking forward to doing that again next weekend.  I think we'll head over towards the Kathy's house.

Derek at the lighthouse.

Friday, August 5, 2011


ok, that isn't really a word but Kathy knows why it's funny.  So the US got officially downgraded to AA outlook negative by S&P today.  That's probably pretty bad.  You want to know what isn't bad though.  This song:

It's probably going to get a little rough.  All I can think of right now is that line at the end of Jerry Mcguire were his mentor says "all I know is, I love my life, I love my wife, and I wish the same for you".  or something like that.

Time to go for a run.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cello Suite No. 1

So looks like we got our Mickey Mouse deal after all.  No major spending cuts and no major tax increases beyond the expiration of the Bush tax cuts.  However, we did increase the debt ceiling by 2.4 trillion.  Wow, that seems like a lot.  I wonder how fast we'll burn through that amount.  I'd wager my daughter will still be in elementary school when we reach that mark.  Heck, I bet Dylan is still in kindergarten when it happens.  So what this all means to me is that Congress thinks it can kick the can, stall for time, and people will just forget about it before the next election.  To their credit, this strategy has worked many times before.  Right now it doesn't look like the markets are buying their act though.  We are working on our 9th straight down day on the DOW.  We haven't done that since 1978.  The market does not care about politics, it cares about it's money.  I think the market is losing confidence.  If you've heard the saying "take care of business or business will take care of you", I think we are all getting an example of that right now.

I got a ticket last week.  I've had maybe 4 or 5 tickets in my entire driving career and in each of them I knew what it was for almost immediately.  This ticket was for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.  I was making a left off of Santa Monica blvd when it happened.  I honestly have no idea what the cop was talking about.  Had I seen somebody in the crosswalk I definitely would have stopped.  I can't believe I was that oblivious.  Regardless of my awareness that story ends with my having a ticket which after a short google search is probably going to run me in the neighborhood of $500 plus traffic school.  That's what I call an ouch.  The the first couple of days after I got the ticket I was pretty upset about it because I feel like I'm a safe driver.  I don't speed.  I don't cut people off or drive aggressively in any way.  The law states that you have to stay out of the crosswalk the entire time that the pedestrian is in it.  If everybody did that in LA street traffic would grind to a halt.  I probably break that law 3 times every day.  After a few days of calming down, I realized that I was driving differently.  Because of that ticket I am really looking for people in crosswalks now.  It has made me a safer driver.  So maybe that ticket saved me from the experience of hitting some pedestrian.  A small price to pay.  That's how I'm going to think of it, and that's ok.

I got to work early this morning and went for a 4 miler.  I am definitely on the wrong track with my running.  Being that I am on 12 hour days at work doesn't help matters.  Once this project delivers I'm going to have to get back on a schedule.

Santa Monica Pier around 7:30am

What I was listening to at the time

Check this out, I found it while searching for the original.  This is way cool.