Mr. Sensitive

September 30, 2010

Operation Rollback – Fourth Day Update #2

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 14:44

Approximately 60 percent of the floor sanded down, close to the green line of demarcation between Sectors 5/6 and Sector 3 (The original Sector 4 has now been cut in half for operational purposes).  As shown above, the furniture is grouped just behind the line, which is actually green (albeit too faint to see in the picture).  I may be forced to stop for the day.  I’m not able to continue the drive toward the window because my electric sander stopped working (again).  Then I used all the sandpaper I had on hand to push forward on my hands and knees.  Now that’s gone and I need another clean mask as well.  I am ordering a halt to reestablish lines of supply severed due to the speed of the advance since Tuesday.

Operation Rollback – Fourth Day Update #1

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 11:51

I really am an optimist.  Suspicious and cynical, yes, but invariably optimistic.  If there is a river to be forded, I believe that I can get across.  Sometimes this belief is helpful and sometimes it is not, with the degree of utility dependent not on my strength, but on the strength of the river.  The problem that sometimes arises is that I am focused exclusively on the opposite bank and on the effort I can make to reach it, with the assumption being that maximum effort will be necessary and–critically–sufficient.  If the river is languid I will succeed.  If the river is turgid I will fail.  I will expect success in either event.   It hasn’t gone well this morning because it was never going to.  I have nearly as much sanding to do in this one room as I have done in all the others combined.  I believed I would be further along by now and I’m not, although I’ve inhaled my fill of sawdust and who knows what else besides.  I knew it would take as long as it is going to take, probably the better part of three days, but I believed I would somehow win my way to victory unlooked for.  Now I’m disappointed for no reason because optimism is for dopes.  Not that it matters.  I break for lunch now, certain that my dopiness will be restored by 1:00 at the latest.

Operation Rollback – Fourth Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 09:27

Yesterday was the bloodiest day of the offensive.  I was wounded five times but I was able to execute a double envelopment, prying up the carpet spikes along the perimeter of the enemy formation and leaving the bulk of the carpet flimsily attached in the center.  Eleven trash bags were filled, bringing the two-day total to 18.  All six sectors have now been cleared, leaving only the closet to be liquidated.  I really wanted to finish it off yesterday afternoon and I wavered before confirming the order to halt.  Staring into the closet, I was gripped suddenly by a fear that another Dunkirk was developing before my eyes.  In the end I held firm.  It is important to the Empress that each day’s operations be conducted and concluded in such a way that no salient is presented to the enemy.  At the end of the day the bed should be clean and clear and easy access to bathrooms and clothing should be restored.  The cats have kicked litter all over the carpet in the closet and the removal of said carpet will make an unprecedented mess.  I had to admit the cleanup would take upwards of an hour and leave the army in the field past the time when it should be withdrawn.  The attack should be continued only at great need.  The key in deciding whether to advance is to make a realistic assessment of the options available to the enemy if he is not engaged and destroyed immediately.  When the enemy can effect a strategic retreat if left unmolested he must be prevented from doing so; however, if his path of retreat or reinforcement can be severed, that is usually the better option.  In the latter case time favors the attacking force and leaves the enemy to wither on the vine, so to speak.  There is no escape from the closet for the mites and their carpet, and the position resembles that of the Japanese at Rabaul.  They aren’t going anywhere.  Of course, von Rundstedt expected the Luftwaffe to prevent evacuation of the BEF in May 1940; if Goering hadn’t failed in that regard there would have been no reason to criticize the commander of Army Group A.  It wasn’t clear at the time, but it was not a good idea to rely on Goering for anything unless you had a lot of butter you wanted eaten.

The next phase of Operation Rollback is sanding the floor, and I think I will send a reconnaissance in force before I decide whether to commit my full strength today.  Strictly speaking, we are ahead of schedule.

September 29, 2010

Not If I Get Him First

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 20:13

Operation Rollback – Third Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 10:56

The final offensive against the carpet began Monday as planned.  The persistent headache limited my effectiveness on the first day of operations; nevertheless, I was able to empty the room of everything apart from clothing and hold to the schedule.  Yesterday I was unhampered and I pressed the attack, emptying the room entirely by midday and stripping carpet, padding and nails from Sectors 1 and 2 during the afternoon.  Ultimately, all of the enemy’s war materiel has to go, but I have faced some difficulty inducing the garbagemen to empty trash cans containing large rolls of carpet.  I don’t believe they are allowed to refuse any refuse, so long as it isn’t hazardous material and it fits in the receptacle, but I gain nothing from fighting them on the issue.  Instead I’ve been slicing up the carpet and its accoutrements and bagging it, with no objections from the City workers so far.  Yesterday I brought down seven 30-gallon trash bags; I expect this offensive to result in the creation of a large trash bag salient in the garage, one that will take several weekly trash collections to reduce.

The headache was back this morning and I am short on elan as a result.  I felt compelled to empty the closet before proceeding with carpet removal in Sectors 3 and 4.  This was not planned until much later in the offensive, but I realized that the particles rousted from the nearby carpet would compromise the Empress’ wardrobe if the evacuation was not expedited.  I left the litterboxes as they were; I won’t disturb them until the last possible moment and only then for the shortest possible time.

The overflow from the front has reached its anticipated peak and second-line support in the nursery/playroom and office is holding.  Now I am accelerating the timetable slightly to minimize the impact on civilians.  I intend to vanquish the carpet itself by the end of the day tomorrow so that I can sand on Friday.   This is because sanding perturbs the air and compromises sleeping areas to the greatest extent, and any allergy problems that result will be best handled over the weekend for those of us who still have places they are required to be during the week.  The revised schedule is contingent on this headache; I need vigor to tear up the carpet and I haven’t got any at the moment.

Here is the room just prior to the start of the offensive:

Note the two rugs in the center.  They were put in place to cover this work of multi-hued carpet defilement:

September 27, 2010

Family Stock Index – Fourth Quarter Changes

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 13:05

There will be three changes made to the composition of the Family Stock Index as we begin the final quarter of 2010.

  • Zero’s new stock will be Reddy Ice Inc., ticker symbol FRZ.  I had been focused on Zero as a name to the neglect of zero as a concept, but no longer.  Nevertheless, I was still wavering on this one until I was stopped at a light last week and a big Reddy Ice truck drove through the intersection in front of me.  That sealed it.  A consortium had proposed buy out Reddy Ice, the largest U.S. ice packager and distributor, for $31 a share in 2008, but then the LBO market evaporated during the credit crisis and the deal blew up.  Now FRZ trades at $2.30, up slightly from its 52-week low of $2.04 reached at the end of August, giving it a market value of just $50 million.  Incidentally, the company’s slogan is ‘Good times are in the BAG!’  I am not kidding, and I did not add the capitalization or the exclamation point.
  • Mario the Younger’s new stock will be Nintendo (ticker 7974), as he had requested a while back.  I had used a Japanese company in the FSX before, also for Mario, and that time I used the ADR.  I ran into problems with liquidity there, and while the Nintendo ADR is much more liquid than the ADR for Brother Industries, I prefer to use the company’s primary Osaka Exchange listing.  This is my big experiment for the fourth quarter; if it works out I may bring in other non-U.S. exchanges in the future.  Nintendo is a large-cap company, which would ordinarily disqualify it, but the Japanese listing provides the weirdness I expect from my FSX stocks.  Nintendo trades at ¥23,800 and has a market value of ¥4.1 trillion (about $40 billion).  It’s down quite a bit from its Wii-induced high, but is still richly valued.  This is a play on gaming and on corporate Japan, and it’s a little bit of an anti-Apple play as well (the market is assuming AAPL will eat the lunch of every other consumer electronics company in the universe).
  • Lisa’s new stock will be LSI Logic, ticker symbol LSI.  This one surprised me.  I didn’t think I was going to make a change for Lisa, but I just didn’t like KID, the ticker I’d been using before.    That stock is now up 100% YTD and I don’t see much more upside, so I think this is the time to move on.  As for the replacement, I have to be honest: I meant to search on ‘LIS’ and instead I typed ‘LSI.’  Then I realized that I had been trying all along to mix it up with my selections, so why not take that principle to its logical conclusion?  The company is just called LSI Corporation these days, but when it was a high-flyer during the tech bubble of the late 1990s it was known as LSI Logic and that was a much better name.  LSI makes semiconductors, giving us more exposure to tech; it has a market value of around $2.9 billion; and at $4.49, it has a lot of room to rise to reach its March high of $6.73.

These changes will go in after the close this coming Thursday and the number of shares to be added to the index will be set at that time.

September 26, 2010

Lingering Effects

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 12:58

It has been several weeks since the worst phase of this summer’s viral infection passed, and I would say I am at 90% or better most days.  However, one or two days a week it flares up again and I get socked with the old headaches, extremely sensitive to light and movement, the muscle weakness, and the heart palpitations.  I’m not good for much those days, and this happens to be one of them.  If the pattern holds, though, I will feel better again tomorrow, and I believe I am prepared in all other respects to launch Operation Rollback.  The final days of the carpet are now at hand.

September 24, 2010

FSX Friday Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 17:17

Roller-coaster week for the Family Stock Index, as we topped 990 Monday, gave all of it back and more by Thursday, and blasted off again today.  The FSX closed at 987.39, up 2.7% for the week.  Frankly, though, the action was very skittish overall, with leaders turning to laggards and vice versa.  The impending end of Q3 next Thursday dominated trading this week.  The fundamentals of the U.S. economy have been both inconclusive and irrelevant for months.  If anyone was wondering, the fundamentals are crap.  The Fed is clueless, but in the absence of any conviction they are going to keep tilting at the deflation that doesn’t exist anywhere except in pockets—financial and real estate assets—that the Greenspan-era Fed inflated.  There’s too much pretend money distorting the global financial system, so Bernanke’s solution is to print more.  Liquidity is all that matters in the markets right now, all this money that wants to get out of bonds but is too nervous to get into stocks.  Maybe something decisive will happen in Q4, but probably not.

Advancers

  • ZERO +17.5%  (Lead car on the roller coaster.  The end is near for this stock, but I am really rooting for Zero to add the 3 cents he needs by next Thursday to break even on the quarter.  That would be a hell of a thing after he was down 55% just a few weeks ago.)
  • Lucas (LEI) +12.6% (Easily the worst performer in the FSX this quarter, even with this week’s jump.  I like Lucas’ chart, though.  I think he bottomed out at the beginning of this month and the sellers have lost interest.  It sounds obvious, but the sellers have to go away before the buyers will come back.  One group holds sway or the other one does—you don’t often see a genuine tug-of-war because it’s too much trouble for the big money.  Not that there’s much big money in a $22 million company.)
  • Jenny (LEN) +8.9% (LEN beat on earnings this week and was rewarded for it.  Now we’ll see what the market thinks when Jenny blows all that coin on Silly Bandz.)
  • LEE +7.6% (I think all of this gain is because I drew a really neat diagram of the master bedroom for Operation Rollback.  I was pretty excited about it.)

Decliners

  • Zondro (ZN) -7.3% (I can see now that Zondro was getting ahead of himself these past few weeks.  He is just a dog, after all, and the cats are in charge here.)
  • Charlotte (BOOT) -9.5% (After clawing back in recent weeks, Charlotte slips again with the quarter winding down.  It’s the combo of an earnings miss and the buy-the-rumor, sell-the-news dynamic.  Better to wring out the sellers this week and next and make a fresh start in October.)

Forgot this last week, and almost forgot again:

Name 9/17/10 9/24/10 Change
Charlotte $15.17 $13.73 -1.44
Dustin $42.61 $43.60 +0.99
Icarus $9.69 $9.91 +0.22
Jenny $13.99 $15.23 +1.24
Justin $1.81 $1.90 +0.09
Katie $11.84 $12.15 +0.31
Lee $2.25 $2.42 +0.17
Lisa $8.78 $8.76 -0.02
Lucas $1.43 $1.61 +0.18
Lulu $43.80 $43.25 -0.55
Marcus $11.92 $12.02 +0.10
Mario T.E. $9.57 $9.68 +0.11
Mario T.Y. $20.28 $20.16 -0.12
Marisa $19.70 $21.10 +1.41
Nicole B. $16.93 $17.34 +0.41
Nicole L. $58.41 $57.68 -0.73
Reagan $26.50 $26.74 +0.24
Ruby $4.01 $4.17 +0.16
Wilson $6.25 $6.25 unch
Zero $0.315 $0.37 +0.055
Zondro $5.76 $5.34 -0.42

September 23, 2010

Beetle Problems

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 15:16

I have relocated the bed frame to the driveway without incident.  I did successfully load the Pulverisateur with a high-concentration bleach solution, and while I had no cause to fire while working in the garage itself, I did subsequently see an H2 of disturbing size near the foot of the basement stairs.  He was almost behind the couch and he clearly considered himself better hidden than he was.  He was pushing three inches in total length (most of it legs) and I was reminded just how big Dominion regulars are getting by this point in the summer.  He wasn’t behaving provocatively and I didn’t attack, but I felt an immediate need to reinforce my chemical defenses.  I was able to stand at the top of the basement stairs and fire the Pulverisateur all the way to the midpoint of the basement wall, easily 25 feet.  Nice.  I coated the stairs with bleach as a preventative measure; it won’t kill them once it’s dry, but they don’t like it.  Additionally, I am becoming increasingly concerned about these beetles that are swarming the house and coming inside whenever we so much as crack the door:

I don’t kill them unless they fly into me, but I can see four of them from where I’m sitting now and I’m losing patience with them.  In addition, I’m not convinced they won’t lure spiders to the doors in even greater numbers, some of which may lose their cool and follow the beetles inside.  Wait, now there are five that I can see.  Steps may have to be taken.

Garage Expedition

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 11:56

I was informed yesterday evening that someone would be picking up Jenny’s old bed frame Thursday evening, with Thursday being today.  Very well, I said.  I will simply extract the frame and set it outside the garage.  Thereupon I reconsidered my prospects for doing so.  The frame in question is blocked by furniture and a dubious tarp, yet here I am assuming an uneventful extraction of said frame, and in the midst of the late summer spider Surge, no less?  I was reminded of Prussian overconfidence in taking on Napoleon’s army in 1806.  It had been lucky for the Emperor, King Friedrich Wilhelm and his officers believed, that Prussia had remained aloof while he trampled over Austria, and now that this beneficent neutrality was in the past it would be simple enough for the mighty Prussians to send France back across the Rhine where she belonged.  The events of Jena and Auerstadt put an end to that outdated thinking.  Napoleon would be overwhelmed eventually, but the German people would suffer a great deal of death and humiliation in the meantime, most of which might have been avoided if the King of Prussia had remembered gloves and a can of wasp/hornet spray.

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