Movies Watched -- The Tribe (2015)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

In Sign Language. 130 minute running time so at least 30 to 40 minutes too long. See screencap below.

SPOILERS: School for the deaf in the Ukraine… new kid comes … there’s a gang of boys who run things … new kid joins them … they mug people, but their main source of income is from pimping out two female classmates at a truck stop … kid falls in love with one of the girls … quite a bit of graphic sex … gets her pregnant … what former Soviet republic movie doesn’t include a gruesome home abortion? … the girl is going to be sent to Italy for the larger crime syndicate’s prostitution operation … kid objects, tries to destroy her precious passport, other gang members beat him and leave him for dead. Somehow he survives and comes back and murders them all in their sleep.

Not a feel-good pic. Not cheerful. A lot of the scenes reminded me of China, but this was much grimmer. Sort of interesting, the whole sign language thing, but I can’t recommend it … too gruesome, too depressing. Yellow rating.

Tirdad Derakhshani correctly writes: “Embrace it as a great work of political critique, or reject it as a form of aesthetic bullying; there's no denying The Tribe is a powerful provocation. “

 Now you tell me!

Now you tell me!

Movies Watched -- Somersault (2004)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

106 minutes so only about ten minutes too long. I recently saw and liked Berlin Syndrome, which was directed by Cate Shortland. This movie was written and directed by Cate Shortland (W.D. By), so I thought I’d give it a watch … no subtitles on my DVD, so I missed at least 30% of the dialogue … just couldn’t understand a lot of the Australian English.

There’s no story here … it’s very thin … I wasn’t thrilled. A beautiful teenage girl, a perfect Lolita type, gets busted fooling around with her mother’s boyfriend, so she runs away to a ski area (Australia has ski areas?), and is living this sort of marginal life alone … sleeping with random guys, or trying to … she clearly lacked a strong father figure.

She tries to be the girlfriend of this guy who is also sort of a mess, though in a different way. But who cares, I just couldn’t get into it. May appeal more to blonde teenage runaway girls than old bald homebound guys. Yellow rating at best.

 Underneath, people are... are different

Underneath, people are... are different

Movies Watched -- Their Finest (2017)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

110 minutes long but felt much longer … at least 20 minutes too long. A period piece (WW2), a love story, a movie about movies, and a feel-good pic. Best thing about it was Gemma Arterton, who is both beautiful and stacked.

Wasn’t thrilled though, yellow rating.

 Not confusing facts with truth

Not confusing facts with truth

Movies Watched -- GETT: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (2015)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

In Hebrew and French. 115 minute running time, so way over the sacred 100 minute mark, but I liked this one. Who knew that divorce in a rabbinical court could be so thrilling? The absurdity of it all is just so great that it plays like a comedy at times… but of course it’s a tragedy. The cast of characters who come through the court … it’s hilarious (and terrible). Really well done. Recommended. Green rating.

The movies I can recommended from 2015 are:

  • 45 Years

  • GETT: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem

  • Mad Max: Fury Road

  • Shaun the Sheep Movie

  • Son of Saul

  • Tangerine

  • The Diary Of A Teenage Girl

  • The Revenant

  • Wild Tales

 Unending Trial

Unending Trial

Movies Watched -- Berlin Syndrome (2017)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

115 minute running time so at least 15 to 20 minutes too long. There were quite a few scenes that I could have cut to get it closer to the sacred 100 minute mark, but I liked this one. It’s a thriller that borders on horror … really well made, but not easy to watch.

It was not on the Rotten Tomatoes Top 100 list, so I just stumbled across it, and I’m glad that I did. Again, this proves that the Rotten Tomatoes list is deeply flawed.

Abduction and sexual captivity movies aren’t for the faint of heart, but if you’re a tough guy or girl who enjoys a well-crafted, well-acted thriller, you’ll like it. I just wish it had been tighter, cut 15 minutes out and it would be near perfect. Teresa Palmer is another super talented Australian actress (like Naomi Watts and Nicole Kidman).

Recommended. Green rating. This is the fifth movie I can recommend from 2017 … the others are Thelma, Land of Mine, Graduation, and Wind River.

(I see now that the director of this movie also made Lore, which had one of the best endings I’ve seen.)

 Why do you always throw yourself at me?

Why do you always throw yourself at me?

Movies Watched -- Appropriate Behavior (2015)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

86 minutes so well within the sacred 100 minute mark. Not just a W.D. By movie (written and directed by the same person), but a W.D.S. movie — written, directed, and starring the same person, in this case a young woman named Desiree Akhavan.

It’s mainly a homosexual love story, but it’s more complicated than that — she can’t reveal to her Persian parents that she’s gay, so there’s a cultural barrier thing going on too. It’s about educated rich kids living the hipster life in Brooklyn. “Shirin” is an Iranian-American … her family has money and she went to Smith. She’s attractive, but sometimes looks like a transgender man, her body type is manly — it’s weird. She has a deep, sexy voice and she’s smart and not conventional — all attractive qualities.

The movie is very funny in parts … I didn’t hate it, but I also didn’t like it enough to recommend it. If you’re interested in privileged hipsters in Brooklyn, and the sexual experimentation that some young people engage in, you might like it. Yellow rating.

Stephen Holden titled his excellent review Aimless Adventures of a Hip Narcissist, which is spot-on.

 Mom, I’m a little bit gay.

Mom, I’m a little bit gay.

Movies Watched -- Lady Bird (2017)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

94 minute running time so well within the sacred 100 minute limit. A coming-of-age story set in 1992 … the trouble I had with it is Saoirse Ronan couldn’t pass for a seventeen-year-old in my mind. In every scene, I thought why is this woman in her twenties going to Catholic high school?

There are a lot of cute scenes (the discouraging guidance counselor made me laugh out loud), it’s quirky, but it’s sort of overly precious throughout (though it doesn’t descend into Wes Anderson or Little Miss Sunshine or, god forbid, Noah Baumbach territory.) The class element interested me (east Sacramento versus west Sacramento), going to state college versus some private school in NYC, etc. But I wasn’t that thrilled in the end. Yellow rating.

 Hottie from Haifa closer to seventeen than the lass from Dublin

Hottie from Haifa closer to seventeen than the lass from Dublin

Notes for Chat with Traders, Episode 87

Added on by C. Maoxian.

Episode 87 ... Tom Sosnoff (60:58)

  • Aaron recommends Sosnoff’s Ted Talk

  • Caddying 18 holes is called a "loop"

  • Jimmy Rocko, his caddy master, grifted him out of all his earnings, cheap life lesson

  • Current generation way too risk averse

  • Current generation has too much student debt, makes them scared

  • Take risks when you're young ... it's common sense

  • Risks usually aren't efficiently priced

  • Graduated college in summer of 1979

  • Wanted to work for a lobbyist but couldn't find job

  • Worked for Drexel Burnham right out of college, fall of 1979

  • "Bullshitted his way" in

  • Pre-Milken, he was long gone before the collapse of Drexel

  • Gold and silver exploding then

  • Stepped on floor of CBOE and knew that's where he belonged

  • National Semiconductor (NSM) pit, first words to him: "f-ck you!"

  • Trading floors: all alpha males, strong egos, independent, grifters -- fit his personality

  • Spent 20 years on the floor of CBOE

  • 3-5% of the people they hired made it

  • He just got lucky and made it

  • Only instruction to trainees was "go make some money"

  • Couldn't outsmart anyone so tried to outwork them

  • Made enough money so he could build ThinkOrSwim

  • The only way to make money with options: trade small, manage profits, sell options naked

  • All about creating a statistical chance of success with options

  • No such thing as a quantitative model that can beat the markets

  • Market making models (and HFT) can beat the market, but that's it

  • The world prices everything perfectly -- no free money, no edge out there

  • Derivatives overprice for fear, take advantage of this opportunity

  • Sell high implied volatility

  • There are people who make money, but they're outliers

  • Can't steal money from your customers anymore, this is how people used to make money

  • Be product and strategy agnostic, all your focus is on liquidity

  • Manage your winners, forget about your losers

  • Learn all about implied volatility, learn how to sell premium

  • Price is not mean reverting, but implied volatility is

  • He's on pace to do 10,000 trades for the year (2016)

  • Start young and start small and learn

  • If you can order a pizza, you can trade. It's not rocket science

  • 100,000+ tastytraders [not sure what this means? active viewers?]

  • Markets 35 years ago were inefficient

  • Individual investors today at no disadvantage to professionals -- fees, technology the same, only know-how different

  • Trading psychology is 100% bullshit

  • We make people feel good about their lack of know-how

  • People aren't successful because they don't take the time and the commitment to be successful

  • Industry makes money by managing other people's money

  • There's no psychological element to blackjack or even poker (it's all mechanics, playing by the book)

  • He stood in the same two foot spot for twenty years in the pit

  • Saw the hurricane coming and wanted to be the first one out

  • Scott Sheridan his partner ... hired great technologists to build ThinkOrSwim

  • Hired smart people to execute their vision

  • He didn't see his family for ten years while building ThinkOrSwim

  • Built a great company and product

  • Didn't want to sell ThinkOrSwim, but it was a public company and TD bought them out

  • Sold ThinkOrSwim for $750MM

  • Went to CEO of TD Ameritrade and told him he wanted to leave

  • Built tastytrade, which is a media company, profitable since Day One

  • In order to trade for a living: you need capital and need to know what you're doing, stay small

  • His biggest revelation was that he was trading too large ... got smaller, got successful

  • Eight hours a day of live content on his website every day, tens of thousands of hours archived

  • Website:

Movies Watched -- Only the Brave (2017)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

134 minute running time so at least 30 to 40 minutes too long. SPOILERS: I didn’t realize this movie was commemorating a real tragedy, memorializing a group of wildfire firefighters, a.k.a., “hotshots.” It did make me wonder if the disaster were avoidable … were bad decisions made? I guess that’s something you can’t dare ask.

What interested me about it most were the parallels to War Porn … Josh Brolin is a sergeant (“Superintendent”) leading his squad of brave and buff young white men into battle, except they’re not killing ragheads in the desert to protect the homeland, they are battling mother nature to protect homes in the western United States. The classic-rock soundtrack, the pretty blonde wives (and nurses!) who call their men heroes, the fetishizing of the gear and the rigors of the training — all the usual macho stuff, just a different context.

It wasn’t badly made, but it was way too long … the culture of wildfire firefighters is interesting, and they did about as good a job dramatizing it as they could … but, it gets a yellow rating from me.

 Mark Zuckerberg, former junkie, current hotshot

Mark Zuckerberg, former junkie, current hotshot

Hard To Categorize

Added on by C. Maoxian.

I skimmed this Hidden Tribes: A Study of America’s Polarized Landscape (PDF) report. This is how they segmented the groups:

  • Progressive Activists: younger, highly engaged, secular, cosmopolitan, angry.

  • Traditional Liberals: older, retired, open to compromise, rational, cautious.

  • Passive Liberals: unhappy, insecure, distrustful, disillusioned.

  • Politically Disengaged: young, low income, distrustful, detached, patriotic, conspiratorial.

  • Moderates: engaged, civic-minded, middle-of-the-road, pessimistic, Protestant.

  • Traditional Conservatives: religious, middle class, patriotic, moralistic.

  • Devoted Conservatives: white, retired, highly engaged, uncompromising, patriotic

Where do I fit in this? I’m secular, cosmopolitan, retired, open to compromise, rational, detached, patriotic, and civic-minded.

Movies Watched -- Girls Trip (2017)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

122 minute running time so at least 20 to 30 minutes too long. I only made it 10 minutes in before going to 16x fast forward. This is so squarely aimed at black women of a certain age and class that it holds no appeal to anyone else. Who wants to watch foul-mouthed women with chemically-straightened hair spout vulgarities for two hours? Terrible. Red rating, avoid at all costs.

This made the Rotten Tomatoes Top 100 list, which shows you how broken that list is.

Donald Clarke’s review.

 Gag me with a banana

Gag me with a banana

Trading Psychology: Painful versus Hurtful

Added on by C. Maoxian.

I learned the following idea from Jeff Davis, who is a wise man and a veteran trader.

When you’re trading, it’s important to distinguish between things that are hurtful and things that are painful. For example, if you don’t take a trade that goes in your favor, that’s hurtful but not painful. If you’re in a trade and get stopped out at breakeven, only to watch it go in your favor, that’s hurtful but not painful.

Painful is when you actually take a loss, there is real harm done (even when it’s a planned, controlled loss). Missed profits are not painful. You don’t want to equate missed profits with actual losses in your mind. You have to be very careful about this. Your mind will play all sorts of tricks on you, so you have to stay right on top of it.

So the next time you get tricked out of a position (or “juked” out as my buddy Smash likes to say), quickly ask yourself, was that truly painful or merely hurtful?

The Politically Correct Beatrix Potter

Added on by C. Maoxian.

I’ve been reading all of Beatrix Potter’s many “tales” with my daughter, and was surprised to see in one of the books from our local library that the original text had been changed and an illustration had been excluded!

In The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, the original text, which I remember well, reads: “When old Mr. Bunny had driven the cat into the greenhouse, he locked the door. Then he came back to the basket and took out his son Benjamin by the ears, and whipped him with the little switch.”

In the 1991 Ottenheimer Publishers edition from our local library, the text reads [my emphasis]: “When old Mr. Bunny had driven the cat into the green-house, he locked the door. Then he came back to the basket and took out his son Benjamin by the ears, and spanked him with the little switch.”

The politically correct editors of 1991 had no trouble with Benjamin being pulled out by his ears, but they did change “whipped” to “spanked.” They also dropped the accompanying illustration of Mr. Bunny whipping Peter Rabbit, while in the background Benjamin Bunny is holding his backside and crying:

 Then he took out his nephew Peter

Then he took out his nephew Peter

Movies Watched -- Maudie (2017)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

115 minute running time so at least 20 minutes too long. Stars Sally Hawkins, whom I first saw in The Shape of Water … she’s a pro actress, probably will win (or has won) an Oscar somewhere along the line … she plays a simpleton woman who paints folk art in the wilds of Nova Scotia, and eventually finds some fame (though not fortune) … but life was hard, and she had crippling arthritis … it’s sad and mostly unsentimental. She has an abusive, even more of a simpleton husband played by Ethan Hawke. It’s the story of this odd couple over the decades … I wasn’t super thrilled. Yellow rating.

(Mick LaSalle hated it.)

 Ask the Boss

Ask the Boss

Multiple Time Frame Analysis

Added on by C. Maoxian.

If you want to trade stocks successfully, you have to have a deep understanding of this image. Price patterns are identical regardless of time frame. Be clear about the time frame that you’re trading, and then zoom in and out in time to understand how those patterns relate.

 Thanks, Ben-wa

Thanks, Ben-wa

Movies Watched -- Frantz (2017)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

In German and French. 114 minute running time so at least 20 minutes too long. A romance-mystery of sorts … kind of interesting (set in post-WWI Germany and France) … exploring times when the truth brings more pain than lies … ultimately unsatisfying. Yellow rating.

 Life goes on….

Life goes on….

Movies Watched -- Louder than Bombs (2016)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

103 minutes plus 6 minutes of credits, but felt interminable. Impossible to watch without ffwd. About a woman who’s a photojournalist; [spoiler] she commits suicide by head-on collision, leaving behind husband and two young sons.

Completely disjointed, with lots of flashbacks and dreams, etc. The main story is set three years after the crash. The marriage was troubled. The kids are troubled. Dad is a sort of typically weak Baby Boomer type. The high point happened when Rachel Brosnahan (who played Rachel Posner in House of Cards), a former girlfriend of the older boy, flashes her tits, which I believe she also did in HoC.

Heavy on heartstring piano music … these are issues of educated, upper-middle class white people awkwardly dealing with a tragedy, who really gives a shit? You just want to take all the characters in the movie and shake some sense into them.

Red rating, avoid.

 No one cares about Truth, n'est-ce pas?

No one cares about Truth, n'est-ce pas?

Movies Watched -- Oslo, August 31st (2012)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

In Norwegian. 95 minutes but felt much longer because it’s a talk talk talk movie.

Still on a Joachim Trier kick after enjoying Thelma and not thinking much of Reprise. This movie starred the same kid as in Reprise … this time he’s playing a recovering drug addict from a good Oslo family … there’s a class element to these movies that interests me, but that’s about it. Everyone in Oslo is gorgeous, well, the women are anyway.

It’s another case where the story in the end … it’s just … who cares? Art House stuff. Kid had it all and pissed it away, boo hoo. Loss, guilt, regret, yeah yeah yeah. Not sure why the women all fell in love with him.

There was one scene that I liked where he’s listening in on various inane conversations at the surrounding tables at a cafe, and all his thoughts that life is pointless are confirmed. (One reason I loved living in China was that, even though my Chinese is excellent, I was able to tune out all surrounding conversations.)

Yellow rating if you’re interested in the dangers of drugs or beautiful Scandinavian women.

 Look at this tooth, I’m not completely perfect

Look at this tooth, I’m not completely perfect

Movies Watched -- Reprise (2006)

Added on by C. Maoxian.

In Norwegian, 107 minute running time but felt much longer.

After enjoying Thelma, I thought I’d watch all the movies Joachim Trier made, and I think this was his first. It’s about a group of young men in Oslo, two of whom have literary ambitions (pretensions), and one of the two has a mental health crisis … it’s about friendship and growing up and growing apart, I guess. I wasn’t super thrilled with it.

They’re rich kids sort of, no visible means of support but comfortable and jet off to Paris for the weekend. They mention the east side versus the west side of Oslo (poor vs. rich kids), but don’t go into any detail. The girlfriend (Kari) is from the east side.

What the hell kind of novel could a 20-year-old kid write? Angst? What angst? It wasn’t badly made, but I didn’t find the story all that interesting. The boring portrait of privileged artists as young men in Norway .. yellow rating.

 Blogger Jason Kottke with Scandinavian babe

Blogger Jason Kottke with Scandinavian babe