Thursday, March 26, 2009

Form 1, Tae Kwon Do

I haven't added video yet, so I'm curious if you can download after I upload.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Seeking Perfection

One of the endearing little quirks of my personality is that I am a conceptual perfectionist. I just made that term up, so be sure to think of me if you see it in print some where.

What is a conceptual perfectionist and why does it drive my wife crazy?

My sister is a perfectionist of the more traditional sort. Everything has to be perfect and she'll go to great lengths and expense to make sure that's the case. When preparing an omelet she'll want the right pan, the right cheese, the exact amount of cheese, etc. All conditions must meet a certain predefined quality level or else we're going to go to the store to buy the proper ingredients. The traditional perfectionist borders on OCD.

I differ in that I see the ideal situation, but I'll go forward with what I have all the while beating myself up about the fact that conditions aren't perfect. This omelet is good, but damn it would be better if I had more cheese, etc. My weirdness isn't as apparent to the casual observer, but for people that know me well, it can be maddening. I don't accept the fact that the perfect omelet can't be obtained, which if I did it would disqualify me completely as a perfectionist.

I'm completely delusional and I think that the perfect omelet must be around the next corner. However, I'm not going to make a gigantic effort to make the perfect omelet, the conditions must occur naturally. Maybe I'm just lazy....

So a conceptual perfectionist tends to have a highly addictive personality. Yeah, that would be me again. Because that ideal situation is always just around the corner, we'll try over and over and over again until we reach that wonderful moment of zen or until our wives's tolerance level is reached and we abandon our efforts in hopes of continuing our marriage.

Well my conceptual perfectionism is coming out in my little stock game. It's driving me crazy that I'm not hitting every single money opportunity. I could have sold high and bought low. I could have made 3% more if I had just stayed in one more day. These thoughts occupy my brain way more often then they should and ultimately could cause a lot of trouble if I don't deal with them.

In poker, we call it "going on tilt". A player will become obsessed with missing a huge pot or throwing away a great hand and will go on tilt. They'll go crazy and start betting all of their money at once or chasing cards that they shouldn't because statistically it'll almost never happen. But once on tilt all you can do is focus on the 1% chance of it happening, not the 99% chance that it won't.

How does one get off of tilt? Usually one of three ways.
  1. You lose all of your money.
  2. You win a crapload.
  3. You get up from the table and take a walk.
Obviously trading stocks is not like poker, but I could go on tilt with thoughts of missing opportunities. The biggest thing that I have going for me is that I'm staying in a cash account and I have to sit out 3 days each time I sell. I could get around this in many ways, but I'm making myself get up from the game each time to keep my conceptual perfectionism in check.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

See ya YHOO

Sold 270 at $13.30.

This basically makes up for the Wal Mart stupidity from earlier and with the trade fees ($28.00) I'm even.

Why sell today? I didn't want to get too greedy. I had already missed opportunities twice to sell at this level and was waiting for some bigger gains that I'm not sure are going to happen. Also, I don't think this rally is going to hold past today. So I'm taking my gains while I can.

I'm in timeout now for 3 days.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

North By Northwest

North By Northwest is an Alfred Hitchcock classic starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint.

I watched a few Hitchcock films (The Birds, Lifeboat) and his TV show when I was about ten. The TV show freaked me out and I gave up on watching him for a while. However, there is a decent chance that at some point I watched North By Northwest and just don't remember it.

Watching old movies to me, no matter how timeless, is like doing the dishes, eating Brussels sprouts or doing your math homework. It's not so bad, maybe even enjoyable once you do it, but the build up sucks. North By Northwest has been sitting on my TV for over 3 weeks as a testament to my reluctance.

However, I know it's important to always understand your history and be knowledgeable of the classics, so I made myself watch it over Bottle Rocket last night.

The movie wasn't bad, but I'm afraid that's probably about all I could say for it. It reminded me of a 1950's version of the Bourne Identity, which I realize is backwards and not the best analogy. The plot was interesting, the acting typical of the period and Eva Marie was a hotty.

There were a few moments where I think Hitchcock showed some of his quirkiness and genius and oddly it was at the very beginning and the end of the movie.

During the credits (old movies did credits first) Hitchcock does a cameo where a bus door is slammed in his face in the fast pace world of 1950's NY City. I'm not sure of the meaning, but it was interesting.

At the very end when a love scene is close to developing, it cuts to the cliched image of a train running through a tunnel for 2 seconds and then the movie ends. I literally laughed out loud at this part thinking about how it was funny they were poking fun at this cliche when I realized that this may be how the cliche developed.

Which highlights part of my reluctance to watch old movies. I don't get them. It's difficult to pick up on the subtle humor or the social issues they may be trying to point out when you watch films like this without a knowledgeable guide who has studied the film from a historic point of view.

Who the hell wants to watch a film with a talking know-it-all anyways, which means I'm usually left to my own sense of history to catch the cultural references.

This also applies to film techniques or special effects. To us, a person driving a fake car in front of a movie screen is a hokey technique, but may have been revolutionary at the time. I don't want to have to research my movies to see how groundbreaking they were, sort of ruins the fun.

However, I know doing so will build strong bones and bigger muscles, so I force myself to watch classics to see what all of the fuss is about. North By Northwest is worth seeing and more enjoyable then a lot of modern movies, but that's not really saying much.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

M for Mississippi

During the Oxford Film Festival, I had the great pleasure of watching a documentary on the Delta Blues in Mississippi. The film was called "M for Mississippi".

I've been watching a lot of documentaries lately, since Netflix streams a wide selection of them online, so I've really begun to appreciate the fine art of filming the "real world" without making it boring or over dramatized. It's a fine line to walk and takes a talented group of movie makers.

"M for Mississippi" walks that line perfectly. Jeff Konkel and Roger Stolle mix humor and beer with a deep appreciation of a music style that is slowly becoming a lost art. They go to where the music lives and interview the musicians without a filter.

Yard parties, juke joints, cigarettes and crazy people. This is the true Mississippi blues, in all of it's poverty and muddy music.

I liked it well enough to buy the dvd and the soundtrack and I encourage everyone else to do the same. By far this was the best movie at the film festival and is probably the best documentary I've seen in 5 years.