Typical

Just finished dinner. It was really good. Thought it would be interesting to write down. It’s only three dishes:

  • spinach (boiled for less than a minute)
  • shitake mushrooms (grilled)
  • rice vinegar
  • shoyu
  • seasame

and:

  • lettuce
  • mizuna
  • cucumber
  • carrot
  • olives (4)
  • egoma seeds

with:

  • white beans
  • chick peas
  • onion
  • green pepper
  • red chilli
  • green chili
  • tomato (raw and a splash of italian bottled)
  • cucumber
  • chiptole tabasco
  • balsamic vinegar
  • egoma oil (1 teaspoon)

Oh, and a glass of red wine.

All of which is pretty typical for one meal a day… except the egoma oil (it’s a sort of shiso i think), which i decided to add because i’ve been getting tired this week. Was worried that i hadn’t got enough of the omegas.

Incredibly satisfying.

October Diving

The weather this autumn just hasn’t been diver friendly – my favoured diving spot seems to have been closed far to many days; big storms sitting of the coast; typhoons making landfall in honshu in October… When it wasn’t closed the conditions haven’t been great. What a mess. Last month saw me taking Matt diving on a Saturday, and at Futo Yokobama. For the love of Gub!

This month there were a couple of likely looking windows in the weather, so on short notice we went off to IOP to play in the surf. Was really nice to be back. Futo really doesn’t do it for me  – the whole experience is so different. IOP is relaxed and scenic… and that’s just out of the water. In the water it’s all drama and mystery. I’ve been diving there for years and never get bored with the place. All the variety and complexity in the rocks, the big drop offs, walls… ah, still so in love. But a cruel mistress – there hasn’t really been a proper day of summer diving, with blazing blue skies, clear still water, and  that heat in the shallows where the water has been wallowing, soaking up the sun. Still, there is always next year.

Next month i’m off to Australia to dive on the Great Barrier Reef. It’s the time of year when the visibility is supposed to be spectacular. I’m expecting to be blown away… hope it doesn’t disappoint. Don’t think i’ll manage to fit in another dive before that adventure, but if the weather improves… maybe.

Reckoning Time?

The IBM / AMD insider trading news reminded me that i’d meant to get out of my stock positions this week. Somehow i got caught up in some other things, and… forgot.

It also made me go back and read what i’d written earlier in the year. The traditional low volume period of the summer is now over, and it’s time to see if there is going to a period of uncertainty. Back in August i wrote:

Personally, i’m guessed that nothing dramatic would happen during the summer, and it would October before we’d see if the system had enough to drag itself over the cusp, or fall back into the pit. Perhaps that’s still a good guess, and this is just a little wobble.

And, seeing as we are now a couple of weeks into October it’s tempting to think that it’s all good. However, the general thesis is that despite Goldman and JP Morgan managing to get rich by engineering a rally, and doubling down with government money, the fundamentals in America are still drifting downward: unemployment continues to rise; the next wave of foreclosures is coming in; commercial real-estate is sitting idle; intermodal rail traffic is still declining; trade deficit is still getting worse. Hardly a feel good story of growth and recovery.

Still, there have been a bunch of nasty stories (insider trading, GE bad results, Citibank loses, etc.) that could have been enough to change the sentiment, and the DIJA is hanging in there around 10k. It’s not clear what it will actually take to break the rally, but seeing as so many people are saying that it’s got ahead of itself, it does seem somewhat inevitable.

For reasons that don’t really bear much scrutiny, i’m going to say that if it’s not Monday or Tuesday (19th or 20th) then it’s going not going to happen for a while. The fight against reality will rage on!

Conditions of the English Working Class

Sometime over the weekend i finished reading Engels’ Conditions of the Engligh Working Class. Would imagine that it’s not a particularly popular read at this point in history.

My reasons for reading it were related to the health care debate in America. It seemed impossible to me that a vocal minority (let’s say 30% of the country) could actually be motivated to oppose attempts to improve the lot of the people. Many of those protesting are ideologically confused, republican voting, working class poor, from the famous ‘ red states’. Some how they’ve bought into the idea that they are actually doing well, living in a land of freedom and opportunity. A land were food is poisonous, health is something you have to buy, and destitution is a trip to the emergency room away.

Anyway, my theory was that England at the end of nineteenth century, a period of extreme lassez faire / devil may care, capitalism would provide some insight into how a working class might find itself, and improve it’s lot.

Not a hope.

What Engels really tells you is that when business is running the show, democracy is just something else that is bought and sold. The twentieth century might have bought massive improvements in working conditions, equalised the relationships between workers and employers, but the basic dynamic (excess labour, forced to compete for survival, therefore driving down wages) is still very much in place. Capitalism is at war with the planet. What Engels documented was one of the opening skirmishes.

If anything has changed, it’s now that large parts of the western worlds working class (now living under the label ‘middle class’) are ideologically conditioned to believe that ‘social darwinism’ governs their lives.

The young Engels (he was in his 20s when he wrote this book) felt revolution was inevitable in England, and lived out his life disappointed that it never came to pass. My feeling is that we live in similar times, and the outcome will be similar (at least for the UK and US). The tightly linked system of government, money, and commerce will grind on, and over, decimating everything that stands in it’s path.

This is not me trying to make a case for communism, marxism, etc. Just an observation that anglo-saxon style democracy has been stuck in the same rut since the start of the industrial revolution.

Worth reading just for the thoughts provoked.