Friday, April 04, 2008

Worst day that I can remember

So here's the update. I had one of the shittiest days at work ever.

I did however purchase 457 shares of Quantum Fuel Systems Tech (NASDAQ: QTWW) at 1.01 per share on Monday and sold all of them for 1.25 per share today, which after the 9.99 for both buy AND sell commission fees, equaled an initial investment (including commission) of 471.56. I sold it all today for 561.26 (again, including commission) which made me a net profit of 89.70. This is a total profit of around 19.7%, commission(s) included.

Not bad me. Not bad at all.

Now if my account were valued at 150,000 instead of the 1,500 (now 1643.47), the commissions would have been a non-factor, and the margins would have been, well, let's say for a lack of a better term, ridiculous.

For my first trade ever, I have to say that I'm pleased with the performance of QTWW. I bought it 2/10 of a point down and sold it for 2/10 of a point up from where I intended to buy and sell, which cost me around 5% profits, but I can't complain with the end results. Later in the afternoon I also purchased shares of ACUS (+21.52%), MSPD (+7.67%), and TVIN (-4.56%), which are already speaking for themselves at closing (besides TVIN).

I have a large hedge against TVIN going down any more, and I actually believe it will increase at least two-fold, as why I am still holding onto the stock instead of bailing on it after a 2% loss.

To be continued...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

NASD be damned

My mother called me early last week and gave me the update on her life in Indiana.

(Let me first state that the point of this blog is to attempt to be impersonal as possible concerning my personal life, and only to share my opinions, relevant information that I find interesting on the matters and inner workings of the world, and the like.)

Anyways, during our talk she mentioned that my sister wanted her to replace some things around her house that needed some spring cleaning. I disagreed with my sister totally and convinced my mother that she should invest the money instead of buying things she did not need. From this talk an idea came to be born. She agreed to send me the money that she had originally planned on spending on sidegrades so that I could invest it for her.

Let me now state that I have no financial background except for a short stint with a French bank here in New York which only lasted for two months. I went to university for Telecommunications and the only things I know about business and the stock markets are the things I have taught myself, either through judicious amounts of studying via the internet, or through reading the exam manual for the NASD's Series 7 test. I do track the market everyday through whatever means I can while at my 9-6 job, those mainly being the New York Times, the stock application on my IPhone (which is woefully inadequate at a 20 minute delay on all updates), or through real-time updating through the internet.

So this is the big idea: Thanks to a little push from my mother, I have transferred 1,500.00 into my E*Trade account to see what I can do with it. I will be updating my wins, losses, and all around heartbreaks through my blog as well as through my profile I set up. I will see how well I can do with the money, sharing all activity through the blog.

To begin with, I will only be buying stocks that are a bit speculative, aka, no blue chips like Microsoft, Coca-Cola, or General Electric. As well, for the time being, I will only be buying and selling at market value. If I generate enough capital I may try selling stocks short on a margin account, but that will be a good way aways. I will most likely start with some penny stocks (.01 - 5.00) and see what I can generate.

Wish me well.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Even the internet is class subjective

I came across this article a few weeks ago but haven't really had the time or the energy to post about it. I did find it fascinating and still do however.

Basically, it's a simple x/y graph that compares portal users versus portal users. The x-axis represents the Google users, and the y-axis shows the Yahoo users. The size of the circle in its respective position is in reference to the number of users who have spent more than 500.00 in online purchases.

I studied the graph and then compared the results to my own web habits, and I wouldn't really consider myself solely a member of any of these groups, but based on my lifestyle I would probably put myself in upscale America. The data for upscale America would suggest that I heavily use Google and that I have spent more than 500.00 in online purchases. The ironic part of these results is that I only use Google, and I have over the course of my life spent many thousands of dollars online.

This poses the question as to why the rich affluent Americans out there choose to use Google and the blue-collar and struggling societies choose Yahoo.

I have some hypothesis based from my own usage habits:

1. First I can't stand Yahoo because I feel like I'm running around in a web-based version of New York's Chinatown. Everything is a mess, there are distractions and advertisements everywhere. Nothing is really helpful and you have to go through many extraneous steps to find the information you are seeking that could be found straightforward elsewhere. Yahoo was meant to be more of a time sink than a search engine and you can see this when you actually use the two portals to find relevant information.

2. Since it is a time sink, I know that normally I am busy enough with my high-stress job and trying to live a semblance of a "city life" that I'm not going to Yahoo to play Texas Hold' Em, get distracted by the main celebrity gossip, nor am I there to Yahoo chat. You will notice Google has none of these on the main portal page. From my previous experiences living in Alabama and Indiana and now Brooklyn, I can attest to the much much slower lifestyle that most blue-collar and struggling peoples live, and can see why they would want to have such an entertaining site (Yahoo) at their disposal.

3. The spending of money online. Many times when I go on Google, especially to purchase something, I'm once again not there to get distracted, but just to search for the best deal on a given item. This is most likely why affluent America spends more through Google. Less filler (see hypothesis #2) and they have more money. Plus most developing American societies seem to have a stigma about spending their hard-earned money online, which seems to stem from a inexplicable mistrust of the computer as an entity.

4. Helpful web-based applications. No one can argue that Google has been a pioneering force for these, and continues to be on the forefront for innovative and useful web apps. I use on a daily or very frequent basis: Gmail. Google Alerts. Google Maps. Picasa image hosting. Google Image search.

Note that each and everyone of these is a Google pioneered and/or owned service.

What has Yahoo pioneered? Maybe fleshing the chat room out of underground iRC channels and developing it for the masses. Also, Yahoo was around a little earlier than Google, and at one time was the prime search portal after the days of Lycos, WebCrawler, Dogpile, AltaVista, and Netscape.

Another question (and my own answer to it) is, what are the percentages of these Google and Yahoo users that use Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Apple Safari, and various Linux/Unix browsers? My answer, although without backing data, is that the Google users would be using most internet browsers that weren't Internet Explorer, while the blue-collar and struggling societies would be very close to full penetration for Internet Explorer exclusivity. I have personally used Firefox for many years and really see no reason to go back to Internet Explorer.

The moral of this post is:

If you make money, you probably want to use Google.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sexual favors should never lead to impeachment

I was walking to the drug store to stop what has now been officially labeled as orange alert for my non-stop nose, and I passed by an affluent SoHo resident who had a suitcase that said:

"When Clinton lied, nobody died."

This made me think of an argument that I had with a neighbor over the merits of Bill Clinton compared to the other presidents. My statement, as bold as it is, was that Clinton was one of the best presidents this country has ever seen. My neighbor did not agree with me on this statement. I brought up many points, the main one being that the US had never seen a time of growth and prosperity quite like that brought from under the watchful eye of Bill. I guess it wasn't that prosperous if your name was mom and pop since he did usher in a great time for the corporate vultures to swoop in and eat away at private enterprise, but hey, that's what New York was made for right?

Anyways, he tried to say that the economy has been just as good under the regime of Gee W. This got me all worked up but I wasn't about to explain the fallacies that resided deep under the shiny layers of his statement to someone who actually though George Bush was a good president.

Yes, the economy did well for a while and the markets hit record highs, but it was mainly due to the major financial institutions of the world lending trillions of vaporous dollars that did not have any kind of collateral to people who wanted to buy housing that was beyond their means. After people bought luxurious houses that they normally could have never afforded to purchase a few years prior and pumped their remaining cash into buying things they did not need (why do you think the non-housing market also did so well? Hmm...), the market started to do a natural cyclic decline, which any junior analyst should have been able to see coming. When the market started to dip south, suddenly everyone started defaulting their mortgages and money was torrentially hemorrhaged by almost every bank, which directly led to the sharp drop in every money market and stock market in the world. Wall Street even had enact rule 80b to stabilize the markets and close. Not only has Bush been in the office during Sub-primeapalooze, Bush has also seen two of the biggest drops in Dow Jones history, in September of 2001 after 9/11 (which some people believe he orchestrated) and again in February of 2007 because of fear in the Chinese market.

Of course most people might not agree with all of this, but the only glaring mistake that I can see Bill Clinton ever made was Hillary. I mean seriously, he must have inhaled and had on beer goggles for that one.


To sum it up, I really couldn't have been the only one to see this. Could I?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Moon Base 1!!

I hope everyone got to see the full lunar eclipse last nite, since the next one isn't going to happen until 2010 and we all know by that time we'll be able to zoom in on the surface of the moon with our bionic eyes, so it just won't be the same. I shivered with one of my roommates on my fire escape to watch it, and now I'm paying for it today with elevated mucus levels.

Speaking of 2010 and the moon, did anyone read any articles about the governments program to install a cellular phone array on the moon? It is due to be launched after 2012 for the moon base on the south pole of the big cheese, which will be completed by 2020.

Granted, it won't be all sunshine because all moon users will be limited by slow enough uplink and downlink data transfer speeds that the best they could probably do is tether their phones to their laptops and sit in lunar mIRC chat rooms talking about how dark or light their side of the moon is.

"Zomg, 0ur m0on is to7al1y teh d4rkZorz!!1"

"Liez!! Hay!1 why w3 usE Windoze Vi5ta??! LoL!"

I predict by that time the space colonies of the moon will have created giant robots out of a rare metal alloy call Gundanium that will be piloted by young orphaned boys, in an eventual yet successful attempt to revolt against the overbearing and controlling earth colonies.

Above is an artist's rendering of what a Gundanium-based robot might look like

The earth colonies will most likely respond with missiles shot from boats off the coast of Hawaii, much like the one used to shoot down a defunct spy satellite just yesterday, (Watch the incredible video Here) only the missiles will obviously be more advanced and probably use a mixed combination of cold fusion, superconductors, dilithium crystals, and/or perpetual motion. (Go Science!)

Due to all these scientifically and empirically-based predictions, my advice is to live on the moon as soon as you can, because we all know that robots beat missles.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Cookiesss (:

Okay, I'll be the first to admit I do not know everything. I will also admit, I traipse around on a very regular basis, and even further down the rabbit hole still, that I do not question most of the things I read there.

It really boils down to this: Am I going to argue that cytokines play a large part in cellular apoptosis?

I think not.

Since the answer is no, in the fundamental lemming-like effect that Wikipedia was developed on, I will believe most of what I see on the encylopedia of the interwebs, because I'd rather not earn a PHD just to realize how important those cytokines really are.

I had an argument with a house mate the other nite over the question of whether or not the Great Wall of China was an original wonder of the world. I took the stance that it was not, and he vice versa. Before he could blink I was at my laptop with a wikipedia page proudly displaying the search results for "wonders of the world" like the finest of Las Vegas strippers. I was of course right, and he was not. To be fair though, it was later considered a wonder of the ancient world, but not an original wonder of the world.

I read the rest of the post, and to my surprise I saw the below entry on underwater wonders which I took a screen shot of and did not photoshop in any way except to print screen and create a jpeg of it.

I checked again tonite and it's corrected now, but it really shows that we should never stop actively reviewing the things we learn or believe we've learned, on or off wikipedia.

I could go on for a quite some time about different topics that I've read, written, read and/or studied about, but that may have to wait for another day, for a total lunar eclipse comes our way tonite (next one coming 2010).

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I was skimming through a few architechural updates when I came across this link for the top 9 unique structures that are soon to be built.

I then went to read an article about the Burj Dubai, which is to be the tallest man-made structure ever at a towering 818m which positively dwarfs the next existing runner-up, the Tapei 101 at 509m in Tapei Taiwan.

This is the unfinished building surrounded by other skyscrapers. Yes, other SKYSCRAPERS.

All this is old news of course, but the crazy part of the Burj Dubai isn't necessarily the building (which is still mind boggling), but it's of Dubai in general. Anyone who knows me is familiar with my burning urge to take a sabbatical to Dubai, because (from what I've studied) it's unlike anywhere else in the world, socially, economically, or (un)realistically.

I couldn't find the article about Dubai that I referred to, but the fundamental idea of it was that structurally and idealistically, Dubai is not demand driven, but supply driven. The concept of giving before getting is just not a facet of capitalism, and is counterintuitive to all the laws and metrics of good sound business. This land of extravagance, Dubai, is built on the idea that Ray Kinsella exercised to much scrutiny in the 1989 flick "Field of Dreams." That idea was simply this. "If you build it, they will come."

As I was riding the train yesterday I started to think about some of the housing ads that I had seen recently on Craigslist. They were for these brand new condo complexes for the nouveau riche in the strangest areas of Brooklyn. This is similar to Dubai, but a little more of a gamble for the prospective landlords. They are hedging their bets that they can purchase and cultivate land in these dilapidated areas of Brooklyn and that they will explode with prosperity and new blood will come spilling in tsunami-style. If the housing history of New York is any indication, they are correct, the only question is not if, but when. As for the Burj Dubai, well, that will probably be filled by rabid oil barons by the time the ink on the final architectural revision has dried.

In closing, be sure to get your plane tickets and dramamine, because even the elevators in the world's tallest structure are sure to be a trip.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentines day is like a can of tuna

I really like tuna with Tabasco sauce. Sometimes I use Sriracha, but normally for tuna, it's Tabasco, and absurdly large amounts of it at that.

I was mixing a bowl of both earlier this week and one of my cats came over and started to beg for some. Fate so had it at that exact moment a piece fell out of my bowl, but instead of landing in her open waiting mouth like you would expect in a cartoon (she wouldn't really have liked it anyway due to the intensely high Scoville rating), it hit her in the corner of the eye.
Needless to say, the poor cat bolted out of there faster than I'd ever seen a cat move and continued to flip out and run into walls full speed for half a minute.

She stared at me for probably a couple minutes after that with one eye shut, which I felt pretty bad about. I knew she would be fine and sure enough, shortly after the incident she was happily running around like a cat with Alzheimer's.

This story was just meant to be a prelude to say that I'd rather accidentally drop a million pieces of Tabasco-laden tuna into my little girl's eye than see her with one of these.


This photo shows how the natives in the ghettos of Brooklyn decorate their cats.
I wish I were kidding.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hiro Protagonist

I was reading a CNN article today ( about the growing trend of "online addicts."

First of all, for those not so versed to what an online addict might be, it's not really meant to describe someone who has a over-fervent love for asking the famed Jeeves of inane questions. No, it refers to the real netizens, the people who live and lead lives no matter how small, within the digital domain. In today's evolved state of the internet, living a virtual life can be as complex as the imagination could possible fathom. The concern lies at what point is it unhealthy for the digital life to supercede the waking life.

The article touches on a niche that is particularly and alarmingly growing in number. This collection of people are those who play MMO's, or Massively Multiplayer Online games. Basically an MMO is a server, or a computer meant exclusively to distribute a digital world to as many people as the system can handle at one time while remaining stable. The faster the hardware, the more memory, the more cutting-edge the tech is, the more beautiful the world can be rendered, and the more occupants the world can contain at one time. Each server contains one world, and these players log on to the server to spend virtual time collect things, chatting with friends, toiling to achieve in-world goals, buying things with virtual funds, and even have virtual relationships. The beauty of the idea is that for any MMO "game," such as the exceedingly popular "World of Warcraft," each server contains it's own world which can be initially set up with a single program to be exactly the same on each server until it's occupants start to dynamically change and develop their own world, at which point it becomes uniquely theirs.

The writer of the article refers to a medical institution created explicitly to help cure and treat those struggling with this malignant online addiction, citing that this condition could be stemmed from underlying issue of anxiety, depression, or lack of self-esteem.

As a long-time gamer, I could see how this might become another sociological schema; a guided response from the non-gaming community to attempt to psychoanalyze the people they are completely or moderately unfamiliar with. Not only are the people who are futilely attempting to grasp the concept of digital-based memes or why ascii pictures are so poignant never really going to understand the beast they study, but it could be as simple as these people simply not possessing brains that have been hard-wired through their youth or developmental stages to enjoy video games or virtual worlds enough to understand why someone would choose to resort to the virtual over the physical. Something that most researchers do not take into consideration when delving into such topics is that this is still generally unexplored territory, even for those who highly vest their time and energies into it. These digital worlds are vast new terrains being explored by the newest crops of social generations, something that someone even as young as forty may not understand, because it just wasn't something that they had during their developmental years to shape them into who they were to become. This touches on the idea that no one in my generation, or even the generation prior, has ever known what it was like to live through an economical recession a la the Great Depression, even though those who grew up counting pennies and eating potatoes every day will have been wired to have that experience of living in poverty and hardship as a fundamental part of their everyday psyche.

If you think about it, almost anything on the internet available to consumers is just a large mesh of people creating and communicating. It is all inherently and intricately social. The internet has the equivalent chemical stability of nitroglycerin which allows it to evolve faster than even the most potent of superviruses (perhaps why marketing that attracts tech savvy crowds is often called "viral marketing.") Under the shroud of the digital veil that changes every time someone blinks, no one has to be who they would ultimately appear when face to face. In the virtual world one can easily be whoever they would want to be in the real world; they can hide their blemishes, create new personas, or with army of like minded people, even change the internet, which directly and immediately affects the real world.

Since these virtual worlds are based on machines which can break and get corrupted, people are forced to remained tethered to the real world to some degree, because basically put, if a server crashes, a whole world will be in turmoil. If this kind of situation happens, the real world will be the unavoidable fall back, or at least until the server goes back online. Neal Stephenson, cyberpunk author and digerati extreme, envisioned a world in his book "Snow Crash," where most activities took place in the virtual reality, with the real world taking passenger seat during the trip through life.

So basically my question is simply this: Is this online addiction something to deem a "problem" with the dedicated goal of a solution, or are these people pioneering a new way of life which will eventually become the norm?