Financial Negativeland

Today I joined the erstwhile Masters of the Universe, and entered the red.  My investments are now worth fewer dollars than I put into them.  Am I freaking out?  No.  Not yet anyway.  Another 25% down and we’ll see.  I thank Bill Bernstein, Jack Bogle, and Burton Malkiel for this calm.  Am I even surprised?  No, and the thanks for that has to go to neo-Popperian Nicholas Nassim Taleb.

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Autumn is Here

Fall arrived today, not officially, and not to stay, but for sure it’s now begun.  And it’s not just the shit-slinging monkeys running for public office that tips you off.  We didn’t need the fan last night.  We kept the windows closed.  The breeze at home is cool even at 3:45pm.  I wanted to wear long sleeves.  I didn’t want iced coffee.  The shadow of the shade cloth is falling on the planters in the courtyard, and the light has that golden hue.  The middle of the day is disappearing, and edges are rushing in, changing the feeling of solar time as we tilt away from the sun.

I’m sure it’ll get hot again.  The offical weather reports don’t even seem to admit that it’s cooled off now (highs are supposedly still above 30°C… but they sure don’t feel like it).  It can be 40°C in October here.  But the blinding and oppressive light that summer wields is weakening.  The darkness is coming back.  The safe and enveloping darkness we can hide in.  The sun that grows broccoli and chard and peas and mustard greens, but puts habañeros to sleep.  The gray marine morning.

Who do I hate?

I hate the phone companies, but I need a new phone. I hate having to pay the same rate that someone getting a subsidized phone pays, even if I buy an unlocked phone. I hate that there are locked phones. I hate the obligatory contracts. I hate the ignorant, conniving, pushy salespeople in the phone stores. I hate calling customer support. My phone hasn’t worked for weeks. I haven’t gotten a new one because I hate AT&T. I wish they would go bankrupt, or be regulated out of existence in any meaningful way. I wish we had an open, competitive mobile communications marketplace, with low barriers to entry for new carriers, and an open platform encouraging new hardware manufacturers to make innovative handsets, and encouraging writers of software to create innovative mobile applications. But we don’t. Mobile phones suck. The industry sucks. The FCC sucks. Mobile computing sucks. It’s horribly broken, and they all want to keep it that way.
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Escape to High Ground

Michelle and I have wanted to do an overnight bike trip near by for a while. Something that doesn’t involve those infernal machines, but that lets us get away from the city, just a little bit. A S24O as it’s sometimes called. The only option for such a trip out of Pasadena is the San Gabriel Mountains, which are criss-crossed with hundreds of miles of fire roads. Mostly steep and unpaved, mostly waterless, but nearby, and scenic. On the north slopes, you can almost convince yourself LA isn’t there anymore.
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