Movies Watched -- American Made

Added on by C. Maoxian.

115 minute run time but it had really long end credits ... still could have been tightened up 10 to 15 minutes. Tom Cruise as Tom Cruise, always charming and he doesn't seem to age ... playing a pilot who funneled US government money and guns to the contras in Nicaragua, and Colombian cocaine back to America ... "mock documentary" bouncy cam drives me nuts.

Didn't realize that they brought contras to Mena, Arkansas to train. Makes light of the whole fiasco, how ridiculous it all was, but there's real tragedy here, and of course Barry Seal was murdered in the end (as was his brother in law). Not badly made, but it only earns a yellow rating. Manohla Dargis said it best: "'American Made' goes down easily, especially if you don’t let the historical record with its real-world stakes bother you."

 White Pendy

White Pendy

Movies Watched -- The Red Turtle (2017)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

80 minutes so within the sacred 100 minute mark ... watched at normal speed even though there was no dialogue. Animated with some neat lighting effects. A fable or a parable, I don't really know the difference. You have to figure out what it's trying to say on your own, you can impose your own meanings. I didn't hate it but I wouldn't recommend it either. Yellow rating.

 Survivor

Survivor

Movies Watched -- Baby Driver (2017)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

112 minutes so at least 12 to 22 minutes too long. A W.D. By movie, somebody's baby (pun intended). This movie had a lot going for it since it was quirky (the orphan with tinnitus angle) and had an attractive young leading couple, but ultimately I wasn't thrilled with it. It's trying to tap into the Fast & Furious franchise, I guess. Target demographic: boys who are into cars, chases, crashes, drifting, parkour, crime, violence, being the "wheelman," etc.

I'm not a prude, but there was too much swearing and violence for me, it was unnecessary. Cut out 15 minutes, reduce the swearing and violence by half and it would have been a better movie.

SPOILERS: token gangster black guy (Jamie Foxx, whom I liked in "Collateral"), don't worry, he's killed. Token Asian guy, don't worry, he's killed. Token Latina, don't worry, she's killed. Unshaven Don Draper, toting guns, do worry, he's killed, though very late in the movie. Creepy homosexual, Kevin Spacey, playing the same mastermind bad guy role he always does, this time sporting dyed hair and Gene "The Conversation" Hackman glasses.

Lots of great music that will appeal to late Boomers, all of Gen-X, and early Gen-Y. Odd to see a city movie that's Atlanta-based, nobody sounds like they're from Georgia. Product placements up the wazoo. Paid homage to "Heat," which was nice to see. Green rating for teenage boys, yellow for the general adult audience.

(Ann Hornaday didn't like it; Adam Graham didn't like it; Tony Lane didn't like it.)

 Oddball Crew

Oddball Crew

Movies Watched -- A Monster Calls (2017)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

100 minutes even, but I still watched it at 1.5-2x not because it was badly made, but because the subject matter is so depressing -- how a bullied 12-year-old boy copes (fantasies, escapism) while his mother dies of cancer -- that I couldn't possibly sit through it at normal speed, and have no idea why anyone would torture themselves this way -- no child should ever see this! 

Sigourney Weaver as grandma with fake British accent. Video game-like storytelling sequences mixed with watercolors, and a fiery ent with a nightly parable to hit you over the head with....

Full red, avoid. 

 Lotta tears

Lotta tears

Movies Watched -- The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

90 minutes long, but this movie was so frantic that I didn't even make it ten minutes in... the booming music, the jokes, the million things going on in the background, the general frenzy -- it drove me nuts. My thirteen-year-old son enjoyed it though. Red for old guys, green for all thirteen-year-olds.

 BTITUDE ... one of a million gags you probably missed

BTITUDE ... one of a million gags you probably missed

Movies Watched -- A Ghost Story (2017)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

87 minutes so well within the sacred 100 minute mark, but I still watched it at 1.5x - 3x given the lack of dialogue and the dead pacing. A W.D. By movie, clearly someone's precious baby, "self-consciously arty" ... feels like something a trust fund kid obsessed with Terrence Malick would come up with in between bong rips. The story of a shitty haunted house and its various inhabitants.

Stars Rooney Mara, Mara Rooney, whatever, and her cheekbones ... she's skinny in a way that most modern American women aren't ... huge eyes, great bones. Her boyfriend? is Casey Affleck, any relation to Ben the poker player? Beefcake who makes shitty electronic music.

It's a weird one, not terrible, but I can't recommend it. "An unforgettable meditation on love and grief, loss and legacy" ... oh spare me. 

 Mouth twist learned in acting school

Mouth twist learned in acting school

Movies Watched -- Hidden Figures (2017)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

127 minutes long so at least 27 minutes too long -- I watched it at 1.5x - 2x. Enjoyed this one. Well made, funny, "uplifting." I cried and cried, you know it's a tear-jerker for old softies like me ... the story of several black women who worked in the space program, starting in the early 1960s ... not sure how accurate it was, how instrumental these women were, but it doesn't matter, the racism of that era was just appalling. Kirsten Dunst plays a pretty good cracker and Remy Danton makes an appearance. I can't give it a green rating because it's overly long, but it's definitely a yellow. 

 Better if she were in white shirtsleeves

Better if she were in white shirtsleeves

Movies Watched -- A Quiet Passion (2017)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

126 minute running time so at least 26 to 36 minutes too long. A W.D. By movie ... Terence Davies is gay, of course. The life and death of Emily Dickinson. Watched it at 2x because it's a period piece and talk talk talk. If you're interested in Dickinson, or poetry, or the lives of isolated, intelligent, upper class women in mid-19th C. New England (the "anguished artist"), then you might like it. Cynthia Nixon is well cast as the homely Dickinson, as is her attractive sister, Jennifer Ehle, who looks great for her age (my age).

 Certainly not Jane Eyre

Certainly not Jane Eyre

Notes for Chat with Traders, Episode 70

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Episode 70 ... Jeff Davis (76:31)

  • Grew up in farm country two hours north of New York
  • [Sounds like a two pack a day smoker]
  • Didn't go to college
  • Worked for US postal service, in processing center, night shift
  • Voracious reader of magazines and newspapers at work
  • 30 years old then [late 1990s?], married, had baby and mortgage
  • Wanted to be his own boss, attracted to day trading
  • $25,000 minimum to join an LLC trading firm
  • 1999, Harbor Securities, firm blown up by one trader [not him]
  • Didn't matter since he'd pretty much lost all his money anyway
  • Saved more money, went to Bright Trading next
  • Passed series 7, sat on a desk in the city, surrounded by traders
  • Worked night shift at USPS, day traded during day, slept on train [wow]
  • Was breakeven at Bright
  • March 2000 he went full time [how about that timing?]
  • Learned how not to lose while at Bright
  • Learned how to short
  • At Bright, you picked one stock and specialized in it
  • Trade with the specialist, not against him
  • Most of his problems were mainly him
  • Made money in the morning, gave it back in the afternoon
  • Sep. 11, 2001 last day of trading at office at Bright (next to Towers)
  • Afterwards traded from home, lonely and hard but also good
  • Guys who focused made money, people who didn't adapt were gone
  • Got Lyme Disease, got sick, couldn't trade ... inspired him to automate
  • You can't fiddle along with trading, bad things happen in life so you have to seize opportunities
  • Exchanged his mentoring with a programmer who coded up a "tape reading tool"
  • In 2005, Russell re-balance provided a lot of opportunities, he saw this
  • His brother also a computer programmer, wrote a program to take advantage of index rebalancing
  • Found programmers who also traded, they understood what he wanted
  • Should have learned Fortran and Cobol in high school but didn't
  • In his early 50s now, wouldn't even think about learning how to program now
  • If you're in your 20s, definitely learn how to program, or find someone who can program for you
  • Avoid the rabbit holes
  • If you're searching for edge, you're definitely going to go down some rabbit holes (curve fitting, etc.)
  • Nobody has ever run a bad backtest
  • Trend following hard to do when you have a 30-40% win rate, people give up
  • Nothing out of the can is going to work for everybody [or anybody]
  • You have to work hardest on you .. your psychology
  • Your strategy has to fit your personality
  • He has now achieved "mature simplicity" ... it's not what you add, it's what you take away, less is more
  • Find something where you can get size on, where you're confident
  • You're in a risk business, you don't want to make a salaryman's wage
  • His algorithm is now trading the S&P futures
  • Mean reversion strategy -- most days are range days
  • Range prediction algorithm -- knows probability of daily range, will fade spikes
  • Yesterday's high or low is hit 88% of the time
  • VWAP is the target on most of his trades
  • When price gets away from VWAP, that's where he gets interested
  • Range is a well-kept secret (Cooper, Crabel, Raschke have done lots of work on it)
  • Be aware of "market regime" even though you're day trading
  • Everything he does is based on Average True Range
  • For example, a 22 handle move will revert at least 5 handles 70% of the time
  • People can't stick with their systems
  • Automated systems with tight stops don't work -- then you fiddle with the stops
  • Old traders just do the same thing in the same way every day
  • When you're trading right, it's boring, it's just execution
  • Throw away what the crowd is doing
  • So much trading wisdom from the past ("the trend is your friend") not relevant for day traders
  • Don't be a hamster on a wheel
  • You have to stick with your system, only possible if it fits your personality
  • "Averaging is groping for the top or bottom"
  • He doesn't scale, he just goes all in [scales out in two pieces however]
  • He never chases
  • If nothing sets up, don't push the button
  • Picture a pool filled with sharks, that's what you're jumping into to make money
  • Overtrading is the downfall of most failing traders
  • Many are operating on tilt, jumping from strategy from strategy
  • Always knows what he's risking, structured identically, dollar loss pre-determined
  • No slippage on his stops in SP futures
  • Traders always rode in last train car in case of derailment [always thinking about risk]
  • Good traders are not jacks of all trades, they specialize
  • Your strategy has to be about getting size on, otherwise there's no point
  • "Single digit midgets"
  • You get confidence from specializing
  • Two regimes: expansion and contraction
  • Tracks range of one minute SP to make sure his stop is "outside of the noise"
  • He went from having tight stops to having wide stops -- to protect him from himself
  • He knows the percentage of the time his wide stop will get hit -- he never fiddles with it
  • With tight stops, he'd be liable to fiddle with them
  • You need to be able to trade your system without feeling the urge to fiddle with it
  • Once comfortable with strategy, with your stops, your dollar losses, then you can build up your size
  • Exits in two pieces: first piece getting him 2.5 points on average, gets instant gratification, lets second piece take its time (averaging 7 points) 
  • Two to one win rate on his mean reversion trades [1R losers, 4.75R winners]
  • He's out there to help people, esp. persistent guys who don't lose money but don't make big money
  • Day trading is not a hobby, not an action junkie thing, it's a business, take it seriously
  • Says some kind things to Aaron in parting
  • Twitter: @Shaq48_Trading

Movies Watched -- Your Name (Kimi No Na Wa) (2017)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

106 minutes so close to the sacred 100 minute mark, but I still watched it at 1.5x because I've generally had bad luck with anime -- it creeps me out ("Spirited Away" disturbed me so much that I nearly vomited) ... this one was a little better in the sense that it didn't *completely* give me the heebie-jeebies ... but still, it's strange and sort of awful when you really think about it.

The animation is amazing, it's incredibly dense and complex -- and the main story is kind of interesting (the kids switching places in time-space), but there's something about animation from Japan ("anime") that just seems off ... the mysticism, the dreaminess, the hyper-reality ... I just have a nagging feeling that there are some real sickos behind it.

You'll love it if you love anime ... could give it a shot if you've never seen one before ... but it's a red for the general audience.

 Getting in touch with his feminine side

Getting in touch with his feminine side

Movies Watched -- Raw (2017)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

In French. 98 minutes so within the sacred 100 minute mark, but I still watched it at 1.5x because I'm not into horror generally, esp. horror from France.

A vet school is a good place to stage a horror movie though. Made in France, so attractive young women wander around in their underwear at length (see below). The lead girl was cute as was her butchy sister, when they weren't cannabilizing anyway. Not for the squeamish!

SPOILERS: Pair of sisters, both in vet school, discover they have a taste for human flesh, thanks a lot, Mom. It's not badly made, it's just gross and I wasn't thrilled.

If you're into horror movies, you might like it. There were some funny bits to lighten up the vats of blood being thrown around. Yellow rating for horror fans, red for a general audience.

A funny review by Jeffrey Bloomer.

 Red light district

Red light district

Movies Watched -- My Life As A Zucchini (2017)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

66 minute running time ... I still had to fast forward from 20 minutes in. Animation from France. Not for kids.  Supposed to be heartwarming and uplifting, I suppose, but I just found it depressing -- orphans, abused children ... dark stuff, you know. Hideous claymation characters (see below). Just awful, and no child should ever see this. Red rating.

 Horror story....

Horror story....

Notes for Chat with Traders, Episode 20

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Episode 20 ... Kunal Desai (65:15)

  • Likes Costa Rica, it's like "Jurassic Park"
  • Dad is an engineer, always dabbled in the stock market, "the worst trader in the world"
  • Graduated high school during the dot com boom, everyone was a day trader
  • Opened first account with "buyandholdtrading.com"
  • Looked for ideas at MSN Money, Jim Jubak
  • Lost all his money in less than a week during dot com bust
  • Lost all his money again in Global Crossing, Nortel Networks, Lucent Technologies bust
  • Had years of this kind of up and down disappointment
  • These losses taught him how to be resilient
  • Met Paul Singh online
  • Indian people love to get free stuff from other Indian people
  • Desai had knowledge but no trading methodology
  • Had to corral what he knew and make a cookbook, systematize his knowledge
  • Build routines to build a trader
  • How do you size your position? You have to have a method
  • People freeze when they have a loss, deer in headlights, can't get out
  • A-ha moments come from competence and then repetition, practice time
  • Competence plus screen time, you begin seeing things clearly
  • People give up or blow up before they get requisite screen time
  • Takes thousands of repetitions, simulated or live or trade reviews, to reach a-ha moment
  • Took Desai *years* to get profitable
  • Paul Singh, veteran trader, passed down his knowledge to him 
  • Took another year before he said, yes, I can do this forever
  • How long do doctors and lawyers go to school before they make a buck? Years! Trading no different
  • Desai trades momentum stocks, a trend trader, both long and short
  • Read William O'Neil, made sense to him, better matched his personality than Buffett buy and hold
  • Earnings breakouts the most powerful thing he has seen in trading
  • Good daily chart an absolute necessity
  • Earnings surpises are the best, people rush in
  • High relative volume makes patterns very clean
  • Being a generalist will not make you money
  • Master one or two things, better than knowledge of 20 or 30 things
  • Mastery takes the thinking out of a trade
  • Once a stock gets in play, you trade it both long and short, keep it on your radar
  • Must understand your own personality, what you're comfortable with, what fits you
  • If you're uncomfortable, you're not going to trade well
  • Find something that you "vibe" with
  • He can't tame himself, he's a wild, aggressive man and accepts that
  • He has max loss on his trading account, $2,000 a day is his max ... stops trading at -$2,000 mark
  • Live to fight another day
  • When you see the market well, push it
  • Give back rule: if you give back half your gains, cut yourself off
  • He experiences FOMO a lot, worse for him than taking losses
  • "You chase, you die" -- condition yourself to know this
  • Market gives you endless opportunities, "on to the next one"
  • "Skills are cheap, passion is priceless" ... don't get into trading for the money
  • People without passion give up at the first sign of trouble
  • Long, rocky road to trading success ... need passion to get through it
  • It takes years and years and years before you make any money
  • You can't date, you miss weddings, birthday parties, etc.
  • You have to work like a dog, long hours, huge cost
  • Desai had desk job while he was learning how to trade, he was obsessed with trading though
  • His successful students all have incredible resilience
  • "Oh shit, this is going to be hard." People quit.
  • People get frustrated and give up, even with the simulator
  • Once people start live trading, their money is on the line, they go to dark places, the resilient make it
  • Lots of talented people just give up once they get knocked down
  • You are not trading chart patterns, you are trading your hopes and dreams
  • Can't learn how to trade when you need the money from trading
  • Every good trader is in good shape, no fatties, "get your pump on"
  • He needs to trade with a beach view, helps him maintain his perspective
  • Whoever you are, it will come out in your trading, get to the root of it
  • Everbody knows the patterns, everybody knows what to do, but only 1% can actually do it
  • bullsonwallstreet.com (est. 2008)
  • You need a mentor, a community, to learn how to trade
  • "My man!"
  • Twitter: kunal00

Movies Watched -- Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer (2017)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

118 minute running time so at least 18 to 28 minutes too long. A weird one, I fast forwarded from 20 minutes in. Casting a gentile like Richard Gere (a Methodist who converted to Buddhism no less) to play someone named Norman Oppenheimer is nearly as mysterious as casting Steve Buscemi as a rabbi. Anyway, that aside, it is a sad story, the tragic end is not an understatement.

The Jewish macher as someone lovable ...  (macher from maker, a person who gets things done, but it does have the negative connotation of "fixer") ... he's not shady so much as he is a cipher ... a nobody desperately trying to be somebody ... these are sad ideas.  Maybe if it had been 90 minutes long, I could have watched it at normal speed and enjoyed it, but no, it's overly long.  Yellow rating.

 Let me introduce you.... 

Let me introduce you.... 

Notes for Chat with Traders, Episode 65

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Episode 65 ... Brett Steenbarger (59:20)

  • Read The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand as sophomore in college
  • Thought psychology could be used to make people do their best
  • University of Kansas grad school, late 1970s, political psychology degree
  • Trading his avocation, psychology his vocation -- parallel interest
  • The Psychology of Trading, his first book, written in 2000
  • Victor Niederhoffer, a friend and mentor, encouraged him to write a book
  • Teaching at Syracuse University medical school at that time
  • Chicago trading firm hired him away to work for them full time as trading coach 
  • Market makers he was working with didn't use charts or fundamentals, just the book (DOM)
  • Pro athletes still work with coaches even after they've made it; same is true of pro traders
  • Markets change, traders need to evolve
  • Identify and build upon strengths
  • Now he works with several hedge funds and financial firms as a consultant
  • Market volatility expands and contracts, traders need to adapt to that
  • Separate logical from psychological errors -- correctly identify that first
  • People are more sensitive to losing money than making money
  • Become exquisitely aware of your habits -- build self-awareness
  • Observe yourself, then re-channel yourself
  • He has four cats
  • Revenge trading comes from frustration, you want to make it back
  • Be aware that you are about to revenge trade, step away from screens, calm down
  • You can't change something you're not aware of
  • Commonalities of successful traders:
  1. Adapting to changing markets (trends, volatility, people participating all change)
  2. Building on strengths (day traders are good at fast thinking skills and pattern recognition; investors are slower, deeper thinkers)
  3. Cultivating creativity (seeing the world differently from others, seeing opportunities others don't see)
  4. Developing best practices (and turning them into best processes)
  • Best practices: how you generate ideas, manage positions, manage risk and reward, review your results
  • Trading Psychology 2.0 is his second book
  • You don't have to motivate yourself to eat breakfast, it's just routine
  • All your best trading practices should also just be routine, no motivational sticky notes on monitor needed
  • Repeat what you do every day until it becomes a routine ... all about repetition
  • Make the most of your competencies
  • Work around your weaknesses
  • Steenbarger knows he can't make markets, cognitively and emotionally he's unable to make rapid decisions and process lots of information
  • Steenbarger himself suffers from cognitive overload easily, needs to be able to reflect
  • Steenbarger tried to trade full time and absolutely hated it because he wasn't working with people [I'm the opposite]
  • Uses guided imagery to have traders imagine hitting their stops, losing money ... but staying calm and controlled
  • Effective goal setting requires a specific plan, a day to day plan
  • A goal without a plan is a wish
  • Not a fan of monetary goals -- performance anxiety is real
  • P&L front and center (the outcome) will mess up your processes
  • Better to look at improvement ... month to month, not just P&L, but risk-adjusted P&L
  • Make friends with loss and failure ... your losing trades teach you things, what changed? 
  • Embrace the mistakes you make, ultimately how we become better is by learning from mistakes
  • Don't think about your results in dollar terms, think in percentage terms 
  • Hard to take risk and make good decisions when you think you must succeed 
  • Make sure you have something in your life that's more important than trading
  • Trading shouldn't be the major part of your life ... you need to be balanced
  • Traders with longevity have some source of satisfaction separate from profits
  • A fascination with the markets themselves could be that source of satisfaction
  • Website: traderfeed.blogspot.com
  • Twitter: @steenbab

Movies Watched -- 20th Century Women (2017)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

118 minutes long so at least 18 to 28 minutes too long. Set in Santa Barbara in 1979. Annette Bening is a 55-year-old single mother with a 15-year-old son ... she's sort of a Bohemian Mom, doin' the best she can with a teenage boy, which isn't very good. She chain smokes which may explain why she looks older than 55 (Bening is in fact 59). She has a couple of boarders in her house, and they form a sort of weird "family." I fast forwarded from 20 minutes in.

There are some funny scenes... the "family" and some hippie friends watch Jimmy Carter's "Crisis of Confidence" speech, at the end of which someone says, "Wow, he is so screwed," which made me laugh.  At the dinner afterward, the pretty punk tenant (Greta Gerwig?) leads the group in saying "menstruation" together, which I found amusing. But there's no way I could have sat through two hours of this at normal speed. Yellow rating for Boomers and very early Gen-Xers (say, pre-1965 Gen-X). Anyone under 40, or especially under 30, would hate this nostalgia piece.

Dick Brody wasn't thrilled and got out his thesaurus: "the banalization of its meditative, nearly collage-like sense of memory." Melissa Anderson nails it in this brief review: "a trip back in time in which era-specific talismans substitute for genuine thought. Though big feels glut 20th Century Women, even emotion seems ersatz."

 Period blouse

Period blouse

Movies Watched -- Mudbound (2017)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

135 minutes with seven minutes of end credits so it's still over 30 minutes too long. Depressing and a tear-jerker. You know something horrible is going to happen the whole time (1940s Mississippi, after all), you have a sense of doom, you know, oncoming tragedy. Female star is Carey Mulligan and her funny ventriloquist dummy face. She's talented and has gotten a *lot* of work in recent years. "Mike Ehrmantraut" plays the villain ... always makes a good bad guy.

The movie wasn't badly made, it's just overly long (Rex said it should be called Stuck-in-the-Mudbound). The atrocities committed by racist white men not that long ago shouldn't be forgotten ... but it isn't entertainment. They tried to end it on an upbeat note, but it's still painful to watch. Yellow rating.

 Sharing a smoke.... little nod to Michelangelo (The Creation of Adam)

Sharing a smoke.... little nod to Michelangelo (The Creation of Adam)