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New Millennium and Xmas Excitement, January 7th, 2001 :: Ben Turner's Soapbox

 

the soapbox @ benturner.com
archived soapbox: January 7th, 2001
"New Millennium and Xmas Excitement" [permalink]
    keywords: Datek, stock market, Christmas, winter, IRC
    soapbox #: 275
    written: January 7th, 2001
    words: 1646

"New Millennium and Xmas Excitement", an Essay

As I emerged bleary-eyed from the Turner family bunker we built two years ago anticipating the end of the world, I looked around and saw that everything was, in fact, fairly normal. I could smell the burning of the prophetic text that we suspect my dad concocted in the basement in order to scare us into believing in Apocalypse. Note to self: dispose of humiliating diary exposing fear of eternal damnation.

But wait, what's this? Maybe all is not what it seems...the Mavericks have an almost all-white team and it's actually GOOD? And owned by a dotcommer? The US dollar is falling and the Euro is going UP? Greenspan surprise-cuts to bail us out? A Recording Industry Association of America spokesman said of Eminem's Grammy Sweep, "We think it sends a bad message to recording artists that they can say or write anything they want." (thanks Trish for sending news of this one) Maybe I should go back to the bunker!

[winter 2001 in Dallas] Not only that, but it's been godawful cold in Dallas this winter. Nothing compared to last year's two weeks of winter. We actually got SNOW! Don't believe me? Here's a pic of our house to the right. (click to enlarge) Kids were out playing, building snowmen and riding sleds tied to cars. Surreal.

So my brother came home for Christmas and it was cool to see him. I look up to him a lot and he's usually a few dozen steps ahead of me so there's always something to learn from him. Like...he always gets the best gifts for people. He lives in Hawaii, so I'm trying to figure out when I can go out and see him there, having never been there myself. Wouldn't that be awesome if I went?

Things on the stock market have been heavy. My broker, Datek, got this warm and fuzzy feeling, sending me a romantic box containing a bigass chocolate with their logo on it. I'm not sure what it means yet, since we've only been dating for a small bit, but Datek seems to be serious about the relationship. It wasn't an "I want to fuck you so I got you this box of cheap corny gold-boxed chocolate" but more of an "I could've funded money to your account but couldn't and wanted to show my appreciation for you burning thousands of dollars in commission with us this last year". Aren't they so SWEET? (size 7.5"x7.5"? click to enlarge: chocolate | cover)

[chocolate]     [chocolate box cover]

The other day the IRC trading channel I reside in was having just another morning of tech tankage, and then, all the sudden... (names changed to protect the innocent)

  [12:14] <Joe> FCEL has no power
  [12:14] <Frank> congrats IXIC holders :( me sold at 7 1/2
  [12:14] <Bob> That would be my sell point
  [12:14] <Bob> right here ....
  [12:14] <Allen> me too
  [12:14] <Frank> get longggggggggggggggggg
  [12:14] <Frank> get longggggggggggggggggg
  [12:14] <Frank> get longggggggggggggggggg
  [12:14] <Xeus> wtf was that
  [12:14] <Xeus> wtf!
  [12:14] <Bob> but yet it still rocks
  [12:14] <Allen> i sold mid 7's
  [12:14] <Tim> OMG Futures
  [12:14] <Allen> f me
  [12:14] <Bob> Say it aint' so
  [12:14] <Tim> WTF
  [12:14] <George> what happend
  [12:14] <Xeus> wth
  [12:14] <Constantine> What the hell is this
  [12:14] <Bob> INTEREST RATE CUt????
  [12:15] <Jane> my screen just went insane
  [12:15] <Bob> jnpr
  [12:15] <Bob> jnpr
  [12:15] <Bob> npr
  [12:15] <Zhu> [ 13:15 ]  Dow: 10652 ( + 6.1 )  Tick: + 733.0
    Trin: 1.4 Nasdaq: 2310 ( + 18.6 )  Tick: + 52  Trin: 0.64
    S&P500: 1285 ( + 1.5 ) DOT: 278 ( + 4.4 )
  [12:15] <Marcus> whoah
  [12:15] <Albert> what happened?
  [12:15] <Redbeard> is that spike for real ????
  [12:15] <Bob> rate cut i bet
  [12:15] <Xeus> OMG!
  [12:15] <Redbeard> or did we get bad data ???
  [12:15] <Frank> get longggggggggggggggggg
  [12:15] <Frank> get longggggggggggggggggg
  [12:15] <Frank> get longggggggggggggggggg
  [12:15] <Costanza> bideer e
  [12:15] <Bennis> damn
  [12:15] <Jane> QQQ acting craxy
  [12:15] <Marcus> buyers coming out of the woodwork!
  [12:15] <Anne> YESSSSSSSS
  [12:15] <Speedy> -.05%
  [12:15] <Jane> crasy
  [12:15] <Xeus> holy shit
  [12:15] <FirstWithHeadline> DJN: *DJ Fed Cuts Funds
    Rate 0.50-Pt; Cuts Discount Rate 0.25-P
  [12:15] <Seinfeld> yes 50 bps vut
  [12:15] <Constantine> HOLy fuck
  [12:15] <Jane> forget it
  [12:16] <Skeptic> we must be in trouble
  [12:16] <Barry>  ALERT  rates cut
  [12:16] <Xeus> wowowow
  [12:16] <Seinfeld>  BUYS SCMR
  [12:16] <Barry>  ALERT  go long
  [12:16] <Pete> weeehaw, just barely got an order off on BEAS!!!
  [12:16] <Bob> sHABBBAM
  [12:16] <Anne> major short covering upon us
  [12:16] <Seinfeld> oy is FBCO getting killed on SCMR lol
  [12:16] <Bob> RATE CUT
  [12:16] <Ralph> oh my
  [12:16] <Bill> System lockj

From there the NASDAQ and Dow went about 300 more points thanks to Greenspan doing a surprise interest rate cut. Spectacular run. Amazing day... Pure panic on the quotes, orders being filled way above the bids and asks... Me, I covered a short in the morning and went long before the rate cut, so I was very happy... But this day ended with the largest point and percentage moves ever, plus record volume on the Naz and NYSE. Fucking insane.

Just when you think you've seen it all, after the NASDAQ's wild Y2K, it thrills and spills beer all over the place once again.

This makes the year's financial climate interesting...but let's not talk about that anymore. I just thought the news hitting the stock market was a major adrenaline rush. It's the kind of thing you rarely see.

So...I kind of have some resolutions I'm going to try to fulfill this year.

First of all, I want to read more. I don't read nearly enough, and in fact the time I get the most serious reading out of the way is when I'm on flights or in some foreign location. It's the perfect time for it, but I have to take some time daily to read. There are tons of books to finish and I know I'll never do it unless I set myself down to do it. It's not that I don't love reading, it's just that I usually have other things I'd much rather love to do. In particular I have a lot of classics to read, as I have to increase my familiarity with works that journalists and authors assume consciously or subconsciously for you to have studied already. Maybe some will scoff at following what others have said they've read, but it has to do with understanding where they come from and how our past developed from those works. How can you fully understand what people say and write now unless you understand it within the context of the past? My dad told me that.

Second, I want to learn to cook. Not only is it incredibly useful when living by oneself, but it's also wonderful to experience the food of the earth...and to stuff your face with da good stuff. Besides, a woman loves a guy who can cook, and food is one of the main entrypoints into different cultures, into understanding them, and that's important to me.

I want to turn my stock trading into a consistently profitable and more importantly safe career. I'm doing this all on my own, competing against the toughest sharks in the pool, so it's not easy, and it takes time to reprogram your instinct to take advantage of other peoples' greed and fear. I know that I can do this for a living, and I know that I would live a better life if this was what I was doing.

I want to volunteer somewhere. Like at the YMCA, help kids out in some small manner, stuff like that. Why? Partially because I want to believe I'm a student in search of a mentor, partially because I think spending time with those who need it is the best thing, far better than giving them money or whatever. Perhaps I can be the teacher, and I can raise a student.

I want to continue travelling. I'm dying to go to NYC again, and I'm trying to work in Hawaii. But come on, I NEED to go to Japan, Hong Kong, and Australia. I miss London. Can't believe I have yet to go to LA.

I want to learn a couple more languages. Probably Spanish and Italian, since they'll be the most useful to me for now. In fact, I think I'm enrolling in a Spanish night class next week. Of course, I won't be fluent, but after a few languages, you can get by...

I want an Anna. Or Gwyneth Paltrow. I can't settle for flings.

Other assorted things, some crazy but for fun: begin DJing seriously, get dyed highlights, bungee jump, skydive, work for MTV, bulk up more, go paintballing, hang on bball rim, have $100k free cash.

Other Y2K notes: thank you to my parents and to Trish, all of whom I am forever indebted to for their generosity and helpfulness in improving my life. Goodbyes to the family dog, college, all the cool people I met in Austin and will never hear from again, Clinton, my grandma, and the blissful Anna years of '96-'00. Media best of: Iron Chef, The Daily Show, SNL, Survivor, Roni Size, Limp Bizkit, Bomfunk MC's, Banco de Gaia, Eminem, Madonna, Photek, DJ Craze, Outkast, Goldfrapp, Crouching Tiger, Unbreakable, Gladiator, E*Trade commercials, Napster.


 
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