Movies Watched -- We Are Still Here

Added on by C. Maoxian.

83 minute running time, so the right length, but I quit after 20 minutes since it was no good, even in fast forward mode, anyone can see that it's no good. It's a horror movie but relies too much on the scary music cues to shock, the story is badly laid out, badly paced. Better if it had starred the dirt-floor cellar in the old house in which I grew up.  This is a W.D. By movie, and a bad one. 

Why this was on the Rotten Tomatoes Top 100 list with a 95% rating is a mystery -- actually, I know why, 43 reviews with only nine "top critics" weighing in, which means idiot bloggers and other kids have skewed the data once again.  This idiot blogger is doing you a favor by issuing a red rating, avoid, do not waste your time.

Resident of dirt-floor cellar

Resident of dirt-floor cellar

Tesaro No Dummy

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Just a view of "unusual suspect" Tesaro, regular hours open at $68.78, some notes only comprehensible to me and my trading buddies.

Click to enlarge

Cigar Report -- H. Upmann The Banker: Currency

Added on by C. Maoxian.

H. Upmann has a series of cigars they call "The Banker," which I thought was kind of a cynical marketing ploy -- an attempt to appeal to idiots who work in finance. They have different names for the different sizes: Arbitrage (7 x 56), Basis Point (6 1/8 X 54), Annuity (6 x 52), and Currency (5 1/2 x 48). I got the Robusto since that's the size smoke I prefer. 

Smelled like honey, which was promising! Lit it in a lot of wind with a dying lighter but it was very forgiving. The draw was good and burn even. It took about an inch to mellow which is typical of good-but-not-great cigars, and I spent 50 minutes on it start to finish, which is exactly the amount of time I like to spend.  So despite the gimmicky name, it's not a bad cigar at all, it was quite pleasant, I'd smoke it again, unlike the Juan Lopez, which I am slowly but steadily giving away to the lawn guys. 

Tweets for June 27, 2016

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Movies Watched -- Theeb

Added on by C. Maoxian.

100 minutes long, so just the right length. In Arabic. About a Bedouin boy in Hejaz Province (the western part of the Arabian peninsula), 1916. He gets stranded in the desert and has to save himself. "If the wolves offer friendship, do not count on success. They will not stand beside you when you are facing death." A story of survival, self-reliance, strategic alliances, and honor. "The strong eat the weak." I didn't fast forward so it gets at least a yellow rating. After watching the other 90+ movies from 2015 on my list, I'll decide if it should be updated to green.   

Cigar Report -- CAO Flathead V660 Carb

Added on by C. Maoxian.

This is a bigger boy (6 x 60), "Gordo," box pressed though less aggressively box pressed than this AVO -- the 60 ring gauge makes the rectangle feel less funny in the mouth (the AVO is only 54). Harder draw than I'm used to with these super premium cigars, but it had an even burn and very quickly mellowed. It took me 75 minutes to smoke it and was very pleasant, despite the hard draw. 

MidCap Short Still Valid

Added on by C. Maoxian.

I wrote a post on April 30th titled, MidCaps Set Up Short After Perfect Q1 Long. That set-up failed four weeks later, which is typical of my public plays. But the short set up again just a week after being stopped out, and triggered two weeks later below $272.62 (protective stop above $278.33). The minimum idiot wave move for MDY from here is $222.50 down to a "typical wave C" drop at $210 - $205. In a real crash-crash scenario, it could drop below $180. 

I don't know anything about "Brexit," but I do understand that the dissolution of the EU would be a real mess and markets could be foretelling this with the projected down moves I've detailed above (and below on the chart).

Click to enlarge, get a bigger monitor, dummy

Tweets for June 24, 2016

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Tweets for June 22, 2016

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Tweets for June 21, 2016

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Cigar Report -- AVO Syncro Nicaragua Toro

Added on by C. Maoxian.

AVO is a Davidoff brand, I guess, and the filler is some unusual combination of things inside an Ecuadoran Connecticut wrapper, but it was a mellow smoke, with a good draw and even burn (until the very very end where the burn went raggy). Took just under 60 minutes to smoke this Toro (6 x 54). A word about the shape: this thing is box pressed, I mean seriously box pressed, it's like smoking and holding a rectangle. I didn't like that aesthetically. It's a fine cigar, don't get me wrong, I just didn't like the feel of it.

Dinner at Texas Roadhouse

Added on by C. Maoxian.

There's a new Texas Roadhouse in town so we gave it a try. I think they have over 400 stores now, nationwide, and the stock has been a big winner.

You can't make reservations but you can call ahead to get on a list which supposedly shortens your wait time. Pleasant covered sitting area on benches outside where you wait with your beeper to be called. They pipe in contemporary country music to the waiting area. We waited 13.5 minutes to get a table at 6:45 PM having called ahead. The place is brand new, probably less than a month old, so they're very busy as people check it out for the first time.

You can pick out your steak from a glass case but we needed to study the menu first. There's a barrel of crayons and coloring sheets for the kids as you come in, which was good. They give you warm sort-of-sweet rolls with whipped butter. We got a far booth that was fairly comfortable. There is a bar area in the center of the place surrounded with a half dozen or so TVs high on the walls which we were blessedly away from. 

Shortly after being seated the waitress came and asked us if we were ready to order. No, we had just sat down that minute. Later, we decided on the New York Strip (the boy) with house salad and mashed potatoes for $18.99, the 20 oz. Bone-in Ribeye (me) with green beans and mashed potatoes (with brown gravy) for $25.99 (recommended by my Twitter buddy, RaginCajun), and a BBQ chicken and ribs combo (baby and mother) with fresh veggies and green beans for $17.99.  I drank unsweetened iced tea ($2.59, unlimited refills), the others had water. 

The food didn't come out too quickly, this isn't fast food. This gives you the chance to fill up completely on the sweetish rolls and peanuts-in-the-shell (there's a bucket of them on the table) before it arrives. I asked the waitress how to log on to WiFi but she said she didn't know, and apparently couldn't be bothered to find out how. 

There were potted cactuses (cacti?) and other southwestern plants placed around, which I appreciated. The rest of the decor is kind of corporate Texas kitsch, murals of Injuns, and woven rugs on the walls, and the required-by-law bullhorns. But there was a frantic quality to the place, the contemporary country music was a little too loud and the chatter of a full house really made for quite a din. And the air conditioning was on too high, it was chilly inside.

When the food came, it brought one thing to mind: salt. Salt City. Texas Saltmine. All the meat was over-salted. Maybe this is just because they're new and getting the hang of salting things, but I suspect not. My ribeye was the best (least over-salted) of the bunch, but everything else was like Wow, this is crazy salty. We each ate about a third of our meal and doggy-bagged the rest. The gravy on my mashed potatoes tasted just like the KFC formula, which I like. Maybe they source it from the same factory.

The grand total for the four of us with tax and tip was $83. 

Some suggestions to management:

  • Turn up (er, down) the air conditioning. Make it warmer.
  • Turn down the contemporary country music
  • Tell the waitresses how one can log on to WiFi
  • Tell the cooks to reduce the amount of salt they use by at least half.

As I said, maybe this is all growing pains stuff and they'll work it out in time. I'll check back in six months to a year from now to see if they've implemented all my free advice.

20 oz. bone-in ribeye with green beans, mashed potatoes with brown gravy, and unsweetened iced tea

Cigar Report -- Laranja Reserva Toro

Added on by C. Maoxian.

This is a Toro (6 x 52) which is larger than I usually like to smoke ... I lost track of the time it took since I was called away in the middle of the smoke and had to come back to it later, but it had to be over an hour. Laranja is the name of the Brazilian wrapper (and means 'orange' in Portuguese). It had a pretty orange cloth band at the tip and a fairly ornate band. Nicaraguan binder/filler. I have no "palate" but I did pick up some citrus notes. 

Good draw, even burn, quickly became very mellow, very pleasant. All these top drawer cigars share these characteristics. With cheap cigars it can take a third to a half of the smoke before it starts to mellow, but that's not true of these. Wish it came in Robusto size. A box of 20 of these Toros costs just under $200, but they're worth every centavo. 

Movies Watched -- Slow West

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Running time of 83 minutes so it's the right length, which is surprising since it's a W.D. By movie (that's what I call movies that are written and directed by the same person -- often an indicator of terrible artsy self-indulgence and pretentiousness). Anyway it stars some fresh-faced kid whose name I didn't catch, Michael Fassbender (whom I loved in 'Shame,' my favorite movie from 2011), and looky here, old Ben Mendelsohn has a role. The last is getting a lot of work since he broke through in Bloodline, I guess. 

Weird, dreamy story, Scottish kid looking for the girl he loved who has run away to the American west of the 1870s (though it was filmed in New Zealand). Very violent in parts, occasional bits of Coen-esque humor, I didn't really know what to make of it. Did not fast forward so it gets a yellow rating, but I don't think I'd recommend it.

 

Beautifully shaped eyebrows on the Colorado prairie. 

Movies Watched -- Mississippi Grind

Added on by C. Maoxian.

I liked Ben Mendelsohn's performance in the Netflix series 'Bloodline' and also in 'Starred Up' (my favorite movie in 2014), so I started working through the 2015 movies with 'Mississippi Grind,' in which he stars. With a running time of 108 minutes, it's 10 to 20 minutes too long.

Mendelsohn plays a sad-sack gambling addict named Gerry who lives somewhere in the midwest. Lots of artsy still shots of horrible, run-down cities and towns in the midwest, cut some of those out, you could reduce the running time. Depressing. 

Ryan Reynolds plays an adrenaline addict, he's doesn't have a gambling addiction like Gerry, I don't know why critics think he too has a gambling problem. He just likes collecting weird experiences, often violent ones, and sad people, like Gerry. He's a handsome, smooth-talking con man of sorts. They're an odd couple of losers. 

The movie tries to end on a kind of upbeat note, but you still know Gerry is doomed. I didn't fast forward at all, so it earns at least a yellow rating. But it's a downer -- the sort of pretentious, self-conscious movie I can't recommend. I did like a lot of the music, especially the great Tom T. Hall singing 'Famous in Missouri.'

I'll give Rex Reed the final word since he is, as usual, spot-on:

"Mississippi Grind is really about the empty loneliness of two men who hang out together to stave off despair—winning a little, losing a lot, showing us the brick wall dead-end gamblers call a life. The ambience of pool halls, honkytonks, backroom crap games and smelly racetracks where these guys live out their aimless days and nights is captured perfectly, lending a distinct air of hopelessness to their already rudderless lives. It’s not uninteresting, but the movie is paced by Valium."

Calling the all-in bet with aces full of jacks nothing to cry about ... just a bad beat.