Monday, July 20, 2009

Anyone know of good Indian food in the Glen Park/Noe Valley area?

Besides Bombay?

Bombay has really good food, but they are completely unable to get our order right. I double, triple check on the phone that they have the order. The receipt has the correct order. And yet they fuck up the order!

Anyway, any recommendations?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Update your address books: finally ditching pobox.com, going with gmail

pobox.com is a great service. I've used their service for 14 years. I believe the last time I paid for their service, I bought 5 years in advance.

However, this year I got an invoice to renew and I decided to ditch it. The last 5 years has been the longest stretch I've had with any email service.... ever. Which is gmail. After gmail's extended beta period came to a close, I thought it might be time to stop using the pobox.com address. I confuse myself sometimes by switching up which email I use between services I sign up for.

So there you have it. Those of you who email me, please delete pobox.com and start using gmail.com. I renewed pobox.com for one more year, just in case, but after July 2010, that address is gone!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Culinary Creations: Grilled wasabi pork chops

Today I was trying to think of dinner ideas and had an idea: Wasabi Pork Chops!  I had no idea what that meant and no recipes were returned by google.  So I made one up, and here it is.

Preparation time:  5 minutes.

Cooking time: 10-15 minutes.

You need:

  • 4-6 boneless thin cut pork chops
  • green onions
  • Olive Oil
  • Chunky sea salt and fresh cracked pepper

Sauce:

  • 2 TB wasabi paste
  • Maybe 1/4 cup soy sauce  (err on the low side at first)
  • 2 big squirts of Sriracha (aka '”Rooster Sauce”™)
  • A tiny pinch of ginger powder
  • Dash rice wine vinegar
  • 2 dashes hickory smoke flavoring
  • 1/4 of a lime (squeezed)

In a small bowl, mix the soy, wasabi, hickory smoke, sriracha, ginger, rice wine vinegar, and lime juice.  Mix that bad boy up with a wisk.  Taste it.  It should be somewhat smoky but spicy, with a bit of the patented wasabi sinus hotness and some on-the-tongue hotness of sriracha.  Change the ingredients up according to your tastes, but I would err on the side of having less soy.  Do not overdo the ginger.

Heat grill to 500.

On a plate, lay out your pork chops, coat with olive oil.  Generously apply sea salt and cracked pepper.

In a separate dish, prepare some green onions.  Slight coating of olive oil and normal table salt.  Do not cut them.

Grill up your pork chops and onions.   Lower to medium heat after placing on grill.  Apply sauce with brush, then flip chops.   After cooking flipped,  apply sauce to other side, then flip one last time and let sauce burn on for a minute.   Let the onion tops burn up and generally get good grill marks on the bottoms.

Serve with grilled green onions laid across top of pork chop.  Sauce can be drizzled lightly over the entire creation.  I added a side pasta to make this a dish.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Man v. Machine: The stock market

A few things have come to light since the accusation that one of Goldman Sachs’ programmers stole some of their quant platform’s code. One of the more interesting quotes from that Bloomberg article:

“The bank has raised the possibility that there is a danger that somebody who knew how to use this program could use it to manipulate markets in unfair ways,”

This is what the Assistant U.S. Attorney had to say about the alleged theft.

Now, this sentence has raised a lot of eyebrows. I first read about the story on Zero Hedge. Most recently, ZH had a guest post about the topic reiterating how bizarre it is for Goldman to point out that this program allows for market manipulation, and what that means exactly. Mainly, it’s you, the retail investor, who is being scammed by programs like this:

Markets are a zero sum game - somebody wins and somebody loses. Where do you think these “many millions of dollars” are coming from? They are coming from you - the average retail investor and the large institutional investor. These programs are taking advantage of real order flow and are siphoning off small profits throughout the day that belong in the pockets of the retail investor and the traditional money manager.

I thought I’d bring up some of my personal experience as a retail investor in that light.

I’ve long known I’ve been trading against computers, especially when trading lower volume stocks and options. Options bid/ask pricing is done way too quickly and “accurately” (in quotes because accuracy is according to Black-Scholes, the equation responsible for putting Long Term Capital Management out of business) to be a human. Or, if it is a human, they’re aided by a computer that’s constantly changing bid/ask prices for them. Here’s what I have to say about it:

If you are making a real investment, you shouldn’t care whether you’re trading against a computer or a human.

Notice lately how everyone (CNBC, e.g.) says that “buy and hold is dead”? The people who believe this (I am one of them – I’ll get to that in a minute) and still believe in the stock market are playing straight into the hands of quants. Why do you think they have everyone and their cousin on CNBC spouting this mantra (“buy and hold is dead”)? The more you trade, the more you’re trading with computers who can reprice faster than you.

But if you do find a real investment you believe in – a precious metal, a stock, a bond, whatever – then you shouldn’t care if you’re trading against a computer. The computer is looking at past performance and current pricing only – a computer can’t judge whether a product coming out in a year is going to be a monster hit. So the only people who really lose against the computer are speculators, or people who are not doing enough research and are getting swept up in bubbles. And while it’s true that most of us are speculators in the true sense of the word (without issuing more stock, a company isn’t gaining anything from my purchase of their stock from another stockholder), a belief, long term, that a company is improving their product, service, process and purchasing their stock can be considered “investment” in spirit.

Hard to believe I just defended quants given all of the damage they’ve done to our economy and investors, but there you go.

Oh, and about "buy and hold." I do believe it's dead right now because most stocks still seem priced too high. The only thing I am newly holding long at the moment is cash, because it seems like the best hedge against deflation.

Monday, July 06, 2009

The only Pitchfork review I've ever agreed with

Giving R.E.M.'s Reckoning re-release a perfect 10.

I've said for years that Reckoning is R.E.M.'s best album. 'bout time the mainstream music media finally wrote something I agreed with.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

This guy just makes Chicago look bad



Six degrees of Youtube at work... this was a "related video" on the last one. What's up with that?

Happy 4th