Tuesday, September 28, 2010

YouTube Tuesday: UPS guy ain't shit

OK, so the UPS guy just lost his job. He should have lost it years ago for that Euro-douche haircut and smart, business-casual wardrobe but now there's no excuse; his whiteboard drawing skills are no match for what's below.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Gas Works Photo Adventure Spectacular Thing

About 8 years ago now I bought a Nikon D70 DSLR. I'd been interested in photography for a while and had the disposable income so I took the plunge. Oddly enough, I had to take the plunge twice as the first one was stolen from my truck in Palm Springs, so that was a nice surprise. So much for buying another lens with that money. I digress...

I used it off/on for a while then it sort of sat in the closet in favor of the far more convenient and versatile point and shoot except for special occasions. I dunno, I think a lot of it was lack of motivation and good things to shoot that were close by. There are only so many photos you can grab of shitty HB surf and while there were some great sunsets that was about it; I just wasn't motivated to hop in the car and go somewhere and take some cool photos. Oh, I still loved to take photos but I just wasn't feeling it like I was when I first got the camera, which is sad.

Well, this past weekend the weather was stellar here so I decided to go out and shoot some real photographs at Gas Works Park in Seattle. This adventure reminded me of a few things:

  1. Seattle is such a cool city
  2. I really love photography
  3. I'm  pretty good at taking photographs
Gas Works is a photography playground. There are so many cool colors, structures, funky angles and shapes, silly graffitti and wide open green-space in the steampunk sort of throwback to an earlier time in this cool city that it makes taking great photographs a much easier process as a lot of the work is already done for you, it's just up to you to capture it.

From Gas Works

Along those lines, I'm not too shabby with a camera. It comes naturally, I guess, that I have great composition skills when it comes to filling a frame and capturing an image; just sort of know what looks right and it's always gratifying to see great images you captured. I've weened myself off using the auto-focus and will eventually ditch the camera's metering assistance and go full manual but who knows if that's totally necessary; technology can be pretty handy. I've got friends that are semi-professional photogs and an aunt that is in the same boat and I think I'll be spending time with them to help get me up to speed on the technical side of photography so I can use more of the buttons and dials on the camera more effectively than I currently do.

From Gas Works

Here are the photos from the 300 I took but whittled down to about 70 that were what I felt were the best works.


Facebook compresses everything so it's kind of hard to really get a feel for some of these photos there but you're welcome to check that album out, too. You know how to find it.

More photography outings to come in the future...


Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Zero Sum Game that is LIFE

I love metaphors. Well, maybe this isn’t a metaphor, but I don’t know what to call it so we’re gonna call it a metaphor. Get over it.

This metaphor deals with one of the most crucial aspects of my professional career: the concept of the zero sum game. In effect, the zero sum game says that for every dollar gained an equal dollar is lost. So if I make $350 on a trade, some other guy will have lost $350. He may have been up $1,000 and got knocked down to a net of $650 or he may be -$350 but in some way, the guy at the other end of the trade lost the same as I made. So, we have a net of $0 ($350 made - $350 lost) and at the end when a contract expires the accounting has an equal debit (sellers) and credit (buyers) amount. It’s brilliant, actually.

Our metaphor comes in how this relates to my life, or any life really. You see, my life in the last few months has been crazy; I don’t need to rehash it because you all read this blog religiously *wink wink* and understand all the stuff that’s gone on, both good and bad. Actually, it's been crazy for years; maybe even my entire life, really. This got me thinking how your life really is a zero-sum game on an inner-personal level; nevermind the outside world, we’re just talking about you or at least those things that are directly related to your life.

Today I started remembering everything that's happened and maybe even feeling a little sad or nostalgic for my old life and all that I’ve lost over the last few years. Actually, It wasn’t feeling sad for what I lost, it was more thinking about all that I’ve gained in this new life (happiness, health, a job I love, eagerness to see the new world around me and share all this happiness with others...you read the blog, you know) and the person that is the new or reawakened and better Me. But, I stopped and glanced over my shoulder and saw the wreckage that was a previous life; what I don’t have any more. At that point, it dawned on me: that was the price paid for all that I have now. All the money I’ve lost in chasing my dreams and keeping me afloat, the time, the stress, the agony, sadness, loss of a relationship, my dog, leaving California and all those friends behind, the surfing, sun, In-n-Out Burger, 90mph on the freeways…all those things were lost or used as payment for all that I have now; a true zero sum game.

However, what’s not told about the zero sum game are the intangibles; those things than cannot be measured in dollars and cents, at least in actual trading. In every trade there’s an equal dollar amount that’s gained and lost but there are also lessons learned, experience gained, wisdom added to your bag of tricks. These things have no monetary value but they maybe have something more important than monetary value as they make you a better trader. In theory (if you’re doing it right) you’ll pull from these intangibles and not make the mistakes that found you on the losing end of a trade or you'll know when to trade or when to wait and you become a better, more successful trader.

When I remembered that, it changed everything; the nostalgia and feeling of loss was gone in an instant. It reminded me of all that I’ve gained but more importantly learned through the process of getting me to where I am with what I’ve got, and I’ll be the first to tell you, I’ve got a lot that isn’t measured in dollars and cents. The happiness and positivity I have, the clarity, the determination, confidence, bravado, focus…I gained all of that from the winning, but mostly the losing trades I’ve made in my life and it’s paying dividends monetarily and otherwise each and every day. It’s brilliant how it all works, really.

In effect, I traded with my life and I came out ahead. But there was a great cost that was paid to get to where I am now. What makes me better than I was-- than I’ve ever been--are those intangibles; the lessons learned, the wisdom gained and knowing what I want from my life is more important than the “stuff” I lost.

So while there is and may always be some feeling of loss for those things, it’s OK because all that I learned and gained from those trades that cannot be put on a balance sheet is worth far more to me moving forward than I could ever put a value on.

The zero sum game really is tricky in that respect: you never really find out what you truly gained until the next trade…

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bottomless cup of coffee?

Yup. I found it at Bed Bath & Beyond; it exists.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

It's been 1 Week

I hope you're all singing BNL right now...cuz I am...

So, I've been in Redmond a week now; 9 days, to be exact. It feels like it's been longer, to be honest and I don't know why.

It's been an action packed week meeting up with friends constantly, seeing family, reacquainting myself with the area, discovering new areas of Seattle; all that fun stuff. All in all it's been great. It really feels like home, or as much as a place can feel after a week. I guess by that it means that I don't feel like I'm on vacation; like this is just some trip and I'll be loading the stuff up and driving back to SoCal anytime soon.

I haven't made up my mind on way or another on where I'll be calling home on a permanent basis but this neck of the woods (the PNW) is certainly the front runner at this point. The more I think about it the more I wonder what's for me down in SoCal. I do certainly miss my friends dearly, even after 1 week and I miss the dog but being home again just feels right...even if that means having to make a tough decision to leave those things in SoCal behind.

So, that's it. Boring blog post, I know, but hang in there. As I further assimilate myself into this new world and get some exciting trading stuff all up and running I'll be able to write more.


Thursday, September 02, 2010

Running in the PNW is much harder than in HB

I went for my first run on Monday here in the new neighborhood. Wow: we're not in Kansas anymore, or HB as it were (both have the same lovely elevation changes). The elevation changes around this neighborhood are insane...like "why the hell am I running?" insane. They won't stop me, but they'll sure as hell slow me down. I ran about 3 miles the first day (gimme a break, I haven't run or worked out in over a week) and it took me probably twice as long as it should have if I were back in HB. I didn't even venture out of the neighborhood onto the major streets (Northup or 24th) and it's like I was running a Six Flags ride: great on the way down, hell on the way up.

Today I conquered "The Hill" aka 24th and ran to Mom's office so 4.7 miles plus a little extra thrown in for good measure and I was destroyed. I'd eventually like to make this the daily route as it's a nice length and the 3 no-joke hills thrown in there are total ass-kickers and will make the run a real workout.

In any event, I bought a Nike+ senor for THE shoes of all shoes to help keep me honest and help track what I do. My goals are to run 25 miles every 2 weeks to start and I'll eventually work on getting that same amount in over 1 week. It's a lofty goal for a new runner but I'm a lofty goal kind of guy. My crazy running spree of a few weeks ago will be difficult to keep up, at least around here; the hills are a major bitch. But, it's already getting easier to run the "normal" hills and eventually the major hills I can run faster than an 80 y/o runs on flat land.

More later, but here are a couple photos of some of the more interesting parts of the route...

Trail running is a nice change...

"The Hill" (24th street) is tons of fun...