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Archive for November, 2007

火肉飯

This afternoon, I went to New York Chinese Noodle House cuz I want a 火肉飯 (roasted pork on rice). Thought about getting the 乳豬飯 (roasted baby pork on rice) but it was $7.50 instead of $3.75 so I stick with my plan. Christmas time, budget time!

Add comment November 26th, 2007

Holding a program in one’s head

Recently read Graham’s new article, well not new, about holding a program in one’s head. Quite interesting, as it talks about something what Amazon engineers called the ‘zone’.
http://www.paulgraham.com/head.html

Add comment November 26th, 2007

La Traviata

Went to see Renee Fleming perform La Traviata last Wednesday.  All ticket were sold out long ago so I bought standing room ticket last minute.  It was as good as it can get (unfortunately I have to go by myself).  The story was about a young countess, Fleming of course, doesn’t believe if love, got wooed by this young men, later died of sickness.  As the title progresses, the countess’s tone went from bright and powerful to mournful with plenty of sound stage.

One thing is you do get what you paid for.  Normal European opera house are 3 stories high, seating maybe 500-700 people.  The Met is probably 3 times as big, which means the sound has to fill a bigger space and her voice has to travel further.  On the top of the ceiling, I can definitely feel the sound getting a little weak.  I would absolutely go see this again next year, with better seats.

Add comment November 16th, 2007

two and a quarter seat

Went to Del Posto this past Monday for dinner.  The pasta were great, but the coolest thing was that the restaurant has these little seats for the women’s handbag.  They are 1/4 the height of the chair and come in matching style with the chairs: mohargony legs and overfilled top cushion covered in French styled fabric.  It make a lot of sense as the bag don’t have to take up a seat or sit on the floor or hung around the chair.  The handbag seat but the bag at a height that the diner can reach the content easily.  Next time you go there remember to ask for them.

Add comment November 16th, 2007

Paper Banking

Bank of America reported that it will take a $16bn profit in the 4th quarter as a result of a unrealized gain from its stake in China Construction Bank. This is interesting because this will become increasing common as banks who helped price Chinese IPOs will likely have positions as a part of the deal. As sub prime losses mount, that’s a quick way to make up for the large write down.

But wait, these are position which they won’t be selling to the open market for another 2-3 years. The profit booked are just paper gains on arguably a bubble market. Sure, why not use it as collateral and cut another CDO out of it?

Time to position for liquidating another 10%.

Add comment November 13th, 2007

Terrorism on Halo3

Psychology on the terrorism on Halo 3. (Link gotten from awardtour.net)

Add comment November 12th, 2007

NYC Sushi

I went to blue ribbon for the first time last Thursday. I was surprised I’ve never been there after all these time. Partly because of the review that I’ve been hearing about is not about the blade work or the quality of the fish, or the innovative use of traditional ingredient, but instead that the piece of fish is very big.

Fish comes in season just like vegetables. Every year between the end of October to the start of December the variety of fish increases dramatically. And that’s the time to hit the good sushi restaurants in NYC. Most of them usually import their fish directly from Japan and the west coast, and when the supply is abundance, it make economical sense to get the more interesting items.

It was an awesome treat. My friend and I had two type of uni in the shell–one from Santa Babara and another from Maine, orange clam on the shell, cherry sea bream (madai), ice fish, golden sea bream, wild horse mackerel from Japan, sweet river shrimps and the best of all, yuzu pepper sea eel.
Of the many high end sushi restaurants in NY that I’ve been to, my favorites (if not considering budget) are: Sushi Zen, Jewel Bako sushi bar, Blue Ribbon, Sushi Yasuda, Sushi Seki, 15 East sushi bar, Jewel Bako main dinning room, Matsuri, Ushiwaka Maru and Sushi of Gary.

Hm… Where should i go next?

1 comment November 11th, 2007

Wintuk

Went to see Wintuk during their premier weekend. As a Cirque du Soleil show, this one is really disappointing. The show was about a little boy in NYC looking for snow. Naturally it incorporate a lot of NY elements in it. IMO it tried too hard and lost what Cirque du Soleil is about. In most other performance, the show is carefully divined into a few segments and each is orchestrated with multiple elements in the scene. This one fell short by only have one dominating element in each scene while other character
merely stand on stage and observed.

If you consider coming to NYC, this is not a bed show to see, as it incorporates many of the NYC elements such as Central Park, construction sites, homeless people, garbage trucks, etc. But as a Cirque du Soleil, you are not missing anything if you skip it.

Add comment November 7th, 2007

One Trillion Dollor…

Exactly how much is one Trillion dollar?  If the United State ever issue a $1 Million bill, a trillion would be 1 million of them stack together. At 20 PE, a company has to generate 50 billion worth of profit every year to justify that price.  That’s just slightly higher than the GDP of Costa Rica.
Oh, that’s Petro China’s market value, BTW
Ok, perhaps it needs some explanation.  Petro China–a Chinese oil company who mainly serves regional market and majority control by a parent state owned company–issues shares last week.  The float only represent a 2.2% stake of the total company.

A little word on float.  A share of stock represent a fractional ownership of a company, and you are buying into a fraction of the future cash flow.   Under normal circumstances, that is mostly true.  But when a market is overheated, and everyone believed that buy whatever shit listed will make money, that assumption breaks.  You have 50x more demand than supply chasing 2.2% of a well known company, the share price soar.  It soar to a level where this fractional ownership no longer realistically represent the future cash flow of the entire company.

Comes back to 1999 when every 13 year old have a stock portfolio and people quite their job to day trade.  When you now hear about the Hong Kong financial secretary warn citizens not to skip school and day trade, you know there is something wrong.

On top of that, the Chinese market is heavily dependent on the black box politics of the Chinese government.  Part of the craziness was fuel by our manufactured goods money prevented to leave China once it gets there.  Citizens have few investment choice but to inject cash into the market.  The fact that RMB is peg to the dollar adds oil to fire by forcing interest rate in HK and China to be low.  In this closed market, the same company can trade at different market valuation in Hong Kong and in China.

The truth of the matter is, most institutional investor already had more than 30% profit since August and are ready to take it off the table.  So I follow suit and reduced my Asian exposure by 75% and overall positions by 20% last week.  Let’s see what happens.

Add comment November 5th, 2007


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