Sunday, June 24, 2012

BBQ Ribs and Conversation

I am way behind on about 5 emails, some work related reading, market stuff, and yard work. But you know, some times you have to take a minute for yourself, and maybe for someone else. I had maybe the best Sunday in recent memory today and it's well worth skipping out on other stuff to get that.

BBQ Ribs and Conversation
I went to the gym this morning early and worked out for a while. Dreading going to the grocery store, I showered up and resigned myself to supermarket purgatory. While there I saw some great looking ribs, both baby backs and St. Louis spares. I figured, why not smoke some meat? Why not indeed.

I got home and put everything away. I started the lump charcoal fire in the Big Steel Keg and got the ribs prepped and rubbed up. With the temp pegged at 250 degrees, I put the ribs on about 1pm and let it ride. I went in to work to take care of a couple things (remember, work is now like 15 minutes away!) and came home to watch the smoker and drink a few beers.

And today I had company.

I was out back in the yard when my wife decided that smoking meat and drinking beers would be a good idea as well. We hung out, decided on a house color (painting soon) and basically talked. Talked like we have not in some time. Like friends, like partners. It was special and I had a great time. Damn, my wife is drop dead pretty too!

Anyways, my point is don't get so caught up in the day to day stuff and all the things you HAVE to do to a degree that you forget how to just hang out. Had a great day with the wife, and we pretty much just sat out back and gabbed. Was a fine day.

The ribs? Well you tell me, here is the progression:

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Balsa Wood Memories and Father's Day

Father's Day is always a tough time for me.

My Dad died in 1996. I was a sophomore in College. 16 years ago. That is almost half of my life he has been gone. Some will say that holding memories close and thinking about the good things can ease the pain or make missing someone abate to some degree. That's just a lot of crap. Deciding to withdraw life support after a massive heart attack and over a month in a vegetative state sits heavy and dark like some kind of rain cloud that just won't pour or move on.

But maybe this year is a little different.

My Father was a railroad man (you can read some stories here). He was about 5 '9 and weighed about 220 pounds and all of it was this rock-like muscle. His strength and size made his chosen passion for a hobby that much more bizarre; building detailed and fragile model airplanes. It would take anywhere from 6 months to over a year for my Dad to build a complete plane from scratch. And I mean from scratch, no kits. He custom built every part and even designed a type of wing that people would write to him about to try and get him to make a set for their planes.

They looked a bit like these, sorry I do not have pictures, I would have to ask my Mom to dig some up:

I would always go into the basement workshop and try to help out. Of course my Dad started me off slow with small balsa wood models to learn both about the process of assembly and how patient one has to be when dealing with something as fine as balsa wood. You cannot rush this stuff.

I hate to admit, but over time I had forgotten about those things. It just slowly faded out, like writing on a beach when the tide comes up. Maybe I never would have thought about it again, if not for a trip to Rockport, Massachusetts last weekend.

The wife and I were checking out the shops in the downtown area. Inside a "Country Store" there were all kinds of old candy I had not seen in a while (mallow cups!) and assorted New England things. At a back wall I was hit full on over the head with old time memories when I saw these balsa wood planes:

Made by Guillow, it was small balsa planes like this I used to assemble while working with my Dad! I can't lie, I was almost floored when I saw them. Such a simple thing really, but everything just poured in right then. I may have bought quite a few on the spot.

The plane in pieces, then assembled:

Just holding this plane I can feel the quartz space heater my Father had in the basement for the workshop. The smell of balsa wood, epoxy, styrofoam being burned by wires (filled the wings), and spray paint. How many hours did I spend down there? Not enough I should think.

So this year Father's Day is a bit better over here. Something so small and simple brought back so much to me. Nice when that happens.

My favorite picture of my Dad, sorry for the glare but this is a picture of an old picture I have saved. That is me and my Dad fishing (can't remember where it was!):

Happy Father's day.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Share Your Tale About "Broken Markets"

I have been waiting for the arrival of my copies of "Broken Markets: How High Frequency Trading and Predatory Practices on Wall Street are Destroying Investor Confidence and Your Portfolio" and I can say the wait was well worth it:
I have finished the book and all I can say is this is a must read for anyone that wants to see the end result of regulatory capture, technology, and greed all blended into one.

I was fortunate to have been at the Big Picture Conference last October when co-author Sal Arnuk gave a presentation. I was blown away then and the book more deeply covers the ins and outs of high frequency trading and the lengths to which the practitioners go to to fleece money out of the market.

Any book I recommend here not only gets my absolute approval, but I also give some away. If you would like a free copy of "Broken Markets" here is how it works:

-Email me your own personal story about the May 2010 'Flash Crash'. Be as specific as possible as far as prices and market operations (no need to discuss position size, dollar amounts, etc)

-Email me any observations you have seen looking at orders and fills that can be attributed to HFT quote games.

The best two submissions will be reposted in a blog and I will get back to you for a mailing address.

That's all, free books!

Congratulations to both Sal Arnuk and Joe Saluzzi of Themis Trading.

Have a good night.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Return of the Friday

A special Friday Night blog is on tap tonight!

New Career Move
It's been two weeks on the new job and I love it. While I am already contributing in the molecular biology area, I am learning so much about a whole new world of science that I had little experience with. Sorry for the scant details but that's the way it goes. The work is fast paced and the days go by fast. I know I made the right choice.

Market Observations
I have not been following markets very much, just so little time and I am so tired now when I get home. I still have a good feel for things though with major thanks to ChessNwine's daily recaps, scanning the 12631 Trading Room (best group out there), and market thoughts and commentary from Robert Sinn's excellent subscription service and SMS model scores.

I still have positions in ALGN, STKL, and COT. Stops are set and I check them at days end. Not too much to add here, Josh Brown sums it up well in this post:
Pulling Brussels from a Shell
Short version, more bailouts in works this weekend or things can get ugly.

Friday Night Entertainment
The blogosphere's best entertainment blog 5 years running (my data shows this....)

Mail Delivery via Missiles?
The great site "Little Bits of History" had a mind blowing article up today about the experiment done in 1959 to test if mail could be delivered by missiles!:
They Did What?
On this day, the Barbero fired a Regulus cruise missile with its nuclear warhead replaced by two Post Office Department canisters. The Regulus missiles were first used on USS Tunny and USS Barbero in July 1953 when the two were the first nuclear deterrent patrol subs. The USPS containers were added at the Naval Auxiliary Air Station in Florida. The USPS officially established the submarine as a branch office for this test. 
Wowza. More on Missile Mail here.

They Are Here to Help. Help You Right on Your Way Out
My biggest regret about blogging less is that my lone voice in the face of the coming Robopocalypse has fallen silent. Without me I fear you unsuspecting people will welcome your own end with open arms. Am I right already?:
Robot Support on Your Death Bed to Ease Your Journey
Too easy. Well done robots, well done.

Picture Pages
Some fun with pictures.

You can't kill rock and roll (look close):
photobomb that guy - Kindergarten Rocker
see more This is Photobomb

Not a picture but a cool representation of the "Impact Theory" of the formation of the Moon (it's far from settled fact, skip to 2:20 mark):

Film Clips
While not a film, the HBO series "Rome" was my favorite show since "The Highlander" series. HBO bagged it citing cost issues (but they can spend money for "Game of Thrones", "True Blood" etc) and I have not watched TV much since then.

In this scene Mark Antony faces his end at the hands of Lucius Vorenus. Wonderful scene:

"It's a damn good sword."

Chris Rock in "I'm Gonna Get You Sucka" and it's known as 'The Rib Scene':

Too funny!

Rock Blogging
It has been too long!

Had this one stuck in my head for two days, The Clash with "London Calling":

It is Ramones time and "Somebody Put Something in my Drink":

Love that one.

My friend via Twitter @23Aloha was looking for some Heart and "Crazy on You" and I dug up a great 1977 live show:

Bad ass.

@Real_Interloper requested Eddie Vedder with "Into the Wild" and I had never heard the song, very nice:

My favorite Radiohead song, "Karma Police":

So good.

Two songs left. Grab a drink and get ready.

Rock out with Hole and "Doll Parts":

She used to be normal. Hmm.

Last call!

Closing the show with Mighty Mighty Bosstones and their great cover of "Detroit Rock City" and make sure you catch the sax solo:

Have a good night.