Tag Archives: elf

Elf In Real Life: Fire And Tarot Cards

kenzi hoop

My internet is out tonight due to Cox repairs. So after cleaning house, I guess I’m writing.


Hearthstone


The Hearthstone expansion, Saviors of Uldum, releases tomorrow. “SoU” is another Blizzard overwrite of a more venerable game acronym, which is Shadows of Undrentide for the original Neverwinter Nights.

I’m not buying this expansion. The cards are very strong for Druid and Shaman, which are classes I don’t play. So I’ll be dipping into my 11000 gold to buy a modest amount of cards to get enough dust to skate by and craft only the cards that turn out to be mandatory for my main classes.

Oh, Blizz is also double-dipping again. They are staying purposefully silent on the adventure component of the expansion, so the Blizz sheep won’t realize they are being asked to pay for the expack twice. $50 or $80 now, and then $20 more in 3 weeks.

Very sneaky and greedy marketing tactics. Coming for your credit card now 3x per year.


U.S. Stocks


Stocks died in a fire today because Trump promised huge new tariffs on China, and China retaliated immediately. So I’m entirely cheering for China. I’m starting to dislike the U.S. after I see all the Republican prejudice, hypocrisy, and slime on display after these very real mass-shootings last weekend.

It’s disgusting. I don’t even know if I can believe any of the slander towards China anymore. I know I like Xi Jinping, except for banning Winnie the Pooh in China. That’s simply ridiculous.

After this crash, I’m now break-even on Alibaba and Tencent holdings for this year (after selling them early last year for ~100% gains, and buying them back), and I have a small 7% loss on China MCHI ETF. So I was disciplined and sold the latter to cut the loss, a strategy from a classic investing book.

I also sold Valero (VLO) at break-even today, to reduce exposure to the clear forming bear trend in energy, which is apparently due to slowing world growth and lower demand, despite middle-east disruptions around Iran.

I was also expecting a large benefit of VLO selling ethanol to China. I have no idea where that stands now, so forget it. It’s also a big oil company, and I’m an elf. I’m comfortable with a 55-60% cash level close to all-time highs.

Because even if we do fine this year, next year will be an election year with a huge amount of financial uncertainty in the outcome. I will only put money back in at extreme fear/extreme VIXX levels.

I have a large loss now in SQM (Sociedad de Mineria de Chile), but it’s a small position, and I will add as it bottoms. It’s also a dividend stock. That’s why it’s an exception to the 7% rule. It’s also an example of what bad things can happen if you make an exception. It’s also offset by a gain in my other dividend investment, the real estate ETF, VNQ.

I continue to watch and drool over the chart of Equinix, which I could have had a double with now, if I had simply kept holding it. VNQ holds EQIX among other internet/tower companies, however, and reduced investments in losing mall companies these days, seemingly, so that’s good enough. EQIX has a ginormous P/E ratio.

I don’t know what that means, or why it is so high, to be honest. Currently on my radar to put money back to work is BOTZ and SOXX ETF’s.

SOXX is a way to hold both AMD and NVDA without single-company volatility. I’m still trying to get back into one of those after taking profits in NVDA, again correctly, several months ago.

I’ve also wanted to be invested in robotics, and two new ETF’s have come onto the market in the last year or two. BOTZ is one.

IRBO has the lowest fee, but I like the larger companies and positions in BOTZ, like Fanuc, and Nvidia is actually its #1 holding right now. So my pick is BOTZ.

The problem is that the robotics ETFs are industrials, which, like energy (XLE), are still in a very clear bearish downtrend. So it’s not a buy. I’m not going to make the same mistake as I made with SQM, jumping the gun buying a downtrend instead of waiting patiently for months for a breakout from that trend.

My pick from my last post, silver metal (SLV), is up 15% now in 7 weeks. So that’s a huge winner. Back then, CNBC was saying to buy gold. I bought silver, CNBC is today saying this morning on the Halftime Report to buy silver. They say it’s possible silver could go to $19, or a 5-year high.

It’s also possible that if something is called on CNBC, it’s near a top. So. There’s also that.


Tarot Training


In the past few weeks, I finished a Tarot training class for my elf/witch school game project. You can sit in the library and review all 78 tarot cards and their meanings, study tarot history, study tarot symbolism like the elements of water and fire, take a quiz to test your memory, and also receive a tarot reading from your in-game friend, Leonie.

I happily mentioned this last weekend to my mother and father-in-law, who are both in their seventies. They basically said I can rule out any Christians or conservatives ever supporting or playing this game, and no schools would touch it either because of the tarot. I’m not even kidding. Hello? Witches? Harry Potter?

In other words, my parents appear to be actually living with decades-old, common American prejudices about the devil and witches, and the disturbing evil inherent in tarot cards. What kind of response can I even have to this?

First of all, tarot was greatly influenced by Christianity in France and Italy in the 1500s through 1800s. The modern tarot we know, the Rider-Waite, was created essentially by Christian mystics, who modified and developed the deck for the twentieth century based on many historical versions.

Maybe the Devil card is disturbing? Let’s pretend the Devil actually means the devil, which it doesn’t. It’s a symbol that means a lot of things, not necessarily that the person is certainly a witch under the influence of the dark Lord, and needs to be burned to death.

Well, is the devil ever mentioned in a church? Of course. That’s how it got into Tarot cards in the first place, because pagans don’t even have a “devil” per se. It’s a Christian thing. Is the devil ever brought up by Christians? Of course, all the time.

So when Christians bring up the devil in their cult rhetoric, threatening little gay kids with eternal burning in the fires of hell unless they change their ways, they are basically turning up the devil card. I mean, it’s the same damned thing. So to speak. Or at least, that’s where it came from.

Leonie, your tarot training partner in the game, is a Christian witch, the only Christian in the school. Until I researched the issue while developing the historical component of the study, I wasn’t aware of how deeply Christian the cards are, and how much Christian symbolism is in them.

I’ve mostly used the Aquarian Tarot in the past, because I love the art and feel of the cards, so maybe it has less Christian iconography, and that’s why I was so unaware. Or maybe I’m just dumb. That’s also likely.


Elf Music


This summer I’ve been semi-obsessed with learning an instrument. That’s what elves do. They love music. I’ve never studied an instrument. I come from a very non-musical, generally low-class mid-western family.

I was thinking kids with better and well-put-together families probably are required to learn an instrument as part of their upper class upbringing, their ivy league prep and formation schooling. I was encouraged to do dumb sports instead, because that makes more sense in Indiana. And music lessons are expensive.

So what would an elf play? According to the internet (which I do not have access to, which is why I’m writing, let me re-iterate), they play mainly harps. Fiddles are also big, like, from Ireland historically. And flutes. And lyres.

I researched the antique instruments like the harpsichord, mandolin, and lyre, and it turns out they are antique because they just aren’t quite as good as modern instruments that are actually used. They are also very expensive to acquire.

So I researched harps, and I listened to a lot of beautiful music on Youtube, and realized harps are really a girl instrument, which is good. The most popular professional harpists on Youtube seem to be right up there with women’s soccer for beautiful, talented women to watch and drool over.

For example Valérie Milot, Canadian harp goddess.

Two problems with harp. Real, quality harps are insanely expensive. They also seem to be very hard on the fingers, and I already type and mouse all day for a living, with Elder Scrolls Online at night. That’s a lot of finger stress already.

A harp, I’ve concluded, is basically a piano with no keys. The professional harpists are actually playing piano music in many cases. You take the lid and bottom off of the piano. You turn it on one corner, balance one side on your shoulder, and then pluck the strings inside the piano.

That’s quite a lot harder than pressing keys, which might be why piano is a thing for playing the most impressive virtuoso music, and harp not so much. Fiddle is the same as a violin, which isn’t very enticing as a solo instrument. It also looks exhausting.

Flute is too loud and embarrassing in an apartment, and I have lousy lungs. An electric instrument can be played with headphones, so that would be useful. Electric harp doesn’t sound good. So at this point, I’m all the way down to a bog-standard electric guitar, which isn’t very elven. So I still don’t know about this one.


Denouement


Also this summer, I’ve been studying lots of French and Chinese on Duolingo. I wanted a break from Spanish. I’m Ruby league now, on the leaderboard with the most ardent language scholars (Kappa). Ardent is from the French, from the Latin ardere, to burn.

I’m currently working on a French class for my bilingual English/Spanish game project. If that sounds off the rails, you might be right. I want to get back to the stories and adventures, and finish the first chapter of the main storyline maybe this winter at best.

My internet is now back! At 2:30 a.m.. Hearthstone tomorrow. Open card packs. Wait at least two weeks for the meta to start settling before actually playing and crafting anything. High Elf in Elder Scrolls Online is my current thing otherwise.

Thanks for reading, and happy gaming! Elves forever! Humans and hobbits are fine too, and wretched hobbits are generally accepted peacefully into the elven lands.


Just An Update, Usual Topics: Stocks, Game Project, Elves

Two months since my last post. Yikes. This week I let my second account sub expire from LotRO. I’m just not motivated to grind more pointless endgame gear.

Elder Scrolls Online is releasing its High Elf update this week, following its Morrowind update. I almost re-installed just for the elf experiences, but I talked myself down from the ledge. Every time I re-install ESO, I find the interface, navigation, and character system to be so frustrating.

Ironically, un-playability is much more immersion breaking than a more complicated, usable interface. So I re-installed Fallout 4, which is more suitable for Bethesda’s design imperatives, and I’m playing that a bit.

Last night I reached rank 15 in Hearthstone playing Even Warlock, after giving up on Odd Rogue. That’s about all for gaming.


Stocks And Market


The U.S. stock market is not dead yet. I lost some money hedging against a collapse in the last month, but I’ve felt forced to push back into the market in the last few weeks with the profits I previously took in Tencent and NVidia.

Tencent is in the news right now for its ownership of Fortnite. It’s funny that Fortnite is sort of a name drop now by pro analysts on CNBC, so they can sound like they know what they are talking about. I LOL at these people, honestly.

So I basically traded my relatively risky amount of pure Tencent OTC pink sheets stock for more GAMR ETF, and a solid position in the EMQQ ETF (Emerging Markets Tech). Tencent is in both of those. EMQQ also has concentrated exposure to companies like NetEase, JD.com, Baidu, and Yandex, which I would like to own but don’t merit positions of their own. So.

JD.com (JD) is my Kitty watch of the week. I may buy into this on a trade in the next few days. It’s on the verge of breaking out of a big downtrend, and CNBC today reported a lot of option calls being bought. Albemarle (ALB) is also in a big, possibly buyable pullback for various reasons.

The risk is that there is a lot of China problems around the big T. I mean, President Trumpetface. So you could easily buy big on a JD price breakout, and then get slammed the next day because of a tweet.

I also picked up the TAN (solar) ETF, on the day that California announced all new houses have to have solar panels. I also bought a half position in LH (Labcorp), which is U.S. based healthcare lab service, not very ‘Amazonable’, and not very exposed to the strengthening dollar. LH was a great pick so far.

Lastly I pushed a modest half position into Visa, because I’ve finally concluded that Americans just aren’t giving up their credit cards anytime soon, despite Apple Pay, Google Pay, and various challengers.

I still think crypto currencies per se, in themselves as they exist now, are fool’s vapor to invest in, and I can’t believe the genre has like three ETFs dedicated to it.

Visa is the first to go if I feel forced to trim positions, however. There is a lot of financial risk in the system, and Visa has run very big, as noted by analysts this week.

Sony is taking massive stock price hits recently, most recently noting their PS4 hardware is in decline, and their next Playstation version is at least 3 years away. Still, it could be a buying opportunity.

In my last post, I noted accolades from Jim Cramer about Activision Blizzard. This week I learned Cramer has sold his ATVI (like I did also). But now he admits he may have sold too soon, when asked about the upcoming Black Ops 4 offering a Fortnite-like game mode.

As a final note, if you look at a 5 or 10 year chart of the U.S. stock market, it still looks scarily ‘toppy’ even after a 4-month pullback and consolidation. Recession risks are increasing. Europe and Asia had some weak data come out in the last couple weeks.

It isn’t a situation to be aggressive. It seems prudent to stay patient until some crap really hits the fan. I am still over 50% in cash.


Personal Game Project


This is an enormous amount of work. I’m currently writing an illustrated short book on botany. For the school library. In my game.

So I’m re-learning a lot of botany that I learned in college with my Biology degree.

Like in Elder Scrolls, reading the book gives you a permanent stat bonus. In this case, to your Scholar profession. Unlike in Elder Scrolls, you have to actually read the book. And answer thoughtful challenge questions correctly.

So I’m working my full time job, and I’m writing like 2 pages of this botany book per day during the last week. At this rate, developing my game is going to be a fine retirement activity for me in a few decades.

Still, I really enjoy the writing of non-fiction, learning things, and illustrating. My game is about learning to be an elf (probably a bit more so than learning witchcraft/wizardry), so I need to learn botany. This has been my #1 preoccupation in the past few weeks, other than moving into a new apartment.

I want the entire game lore – world and characters in it – to basically be in the school library. So when I need to look up something, like a geographical location or major NPC, I’m going to the library just like a player.

Also the library is haunted. And you won’t be alone. There will be a library fairy, or someone else there. I tend to be a lonely person, so I can feel what I need in the game in terms of companionship, and making the NPCs seem alive. I’m basically making the game I want to play.

That’s about it for now. I noticed Justin Olivetti is up to his old elf-hating ways. On your knees and scrub for those elves, Justin! Scrub it!

Kudos to Justin though for writing a fantasy novel. Wow. I try to squeeze a lot of creative and gaming energy into life compared to most people, but I live alone with no pets, no kids, nothing. I don’t know how he finds the time for everything he has going on.

So E3 is coming very soon, starting June 12. Will we see some amazing new releases? I hope so.


On Golf, Gaming Stocks, And Rivendell Hotties

comparison
I’ve drifted away from my inner elf lately, which is partly why I’m roleplaying in LotRO – to regain my elf-sense for my game writing. It’s hard to feel spiritual and connected when mired in material bother.

This week I moved to a new and different part of the valley, closer to the mountains and hiking. It’s a rich city, but I’m not rich. My car is a 19 year-old bird-pooped scrap heap next to the shining BMWs and Lexuses.

There is earthiness here, but also excessive riches. The women at the Sprouts grocery are all thin, fit, and beautiful, except the girls working the registers. It’s like Rivendell, but they employ chubby human grunts.

I even saw a “former playboy bunny” license plate. The plate looked legitimate, like the blonde driving the Mercedes, not a cheap thing from a corner in Las Vegas.

I’m not comfortable with the fusion of hipness with rich. Tolkien elves have an entire package, an Arcadian ideal of nature, beauty, wealth, and arts. That’s a big reason why Landroval (LotRO server) chat hates them.

It’s the nature of rich people to want it all I guess, like the golf courses. This city has four golf courses for 77,000 people. According to Tolkien, golf was invented by hobbits. I assume Tolkien’s hobbits are just another angle on a white, well-to-do world.

I’m not sure whether I like rich people or ghetto people more as human beings, but the rich people won’t kill me or steal from me, and their drugs don’t stink so much.


Gaming Stocks


Thursday night Activision-Blizzard soared 9% on better-than-expected earnings. Of course, I had taken profit at the peak a few weeks ago, but I only missed out on about a dollar per share.

I waited until the midday pullback yesterday (Friday, May 6) and pushed half back in. It was perfect timing, and by the close ATVI was back up almost 9%, and I was up $50.

I also pushed half back into NVidia at the same inflection point, which was also good timing, since they announced new and amazing video cards today.

So my one-day cushions might hold, but since I tend to do the opposite of the right thing, the stock market will likely crash again soon, and nothing escapes that. The main takeaway from selling Blizzard (again) is that I can’t have an uncomfortable, stressful amount of money in an investment.

I can’t hold it, and that makes it a trade. So I need to distinguish between investments and trades, and budget appropriately. This is easy to say when the bleeding is minimal.

Sony was a trade, and accordingly I was all-in up front, and sold immediately when the stock went the wrong way. That was correct, and I’m still watching Sony in a fairly linear decline, wondering if I should try again on a trend reversal.

I think E3 will be big for Sony. Wall Street thinks video games don’t mean that much, i.e. video game revenue is around 20% of total.

The overall market does look like it’s going off a cliff, and that’s the problem. It’s too obvious. Everyone is quoting the “sell in May” advice. Everyone has turned quickly and intensely bearish suddenly, which is actually a bullish signal.

The analysts on CNBC also discussed the issue of short-selling yesterday. The recent bull surge hurt the shorts badly, and they are now too fearful to sell short again. This is also bullish.

The problem remains the Fed and raising interest rates. I personally think Yellen is holding off until after the election, to avoid giving the Republicans any ammunition. Even if not, especially after today’s weaker job numbers, a June rate increase is pretty much off the table.


Video Game Project


I’m going with the literary Seelie and Unseelie Courts in my video game, not Tolkienesque elves. I’m facing a major hurdle right now in terms of effort and time investment, which is creating actual gameplay.

I’ve decided to do a Dungeon-Master style narrator.

I’m not sure if I can manipulate my voice low enough to sound like an old tree, and recruitment of voice overs from friends, family members, or online indie dev sites is exhausting to try to organize. My script needs to be perfect first, anyway.


Elf In Real Life: Drones, Romanticism, and Frankenfish

This was a horrible week to be an elf.

DemocracyNow! reported this week on video game skills used for military drones. Apparently games are raising the youth to be combat-trained for killing people. If your parents don’t like you playing games, eSports are a weak argument. Go with drones.

Authorized drones will be used for everything, especially spying and delivering things. Virtual reality goggles will make drones even more immersive, just like you’re flying right there personally, peeping into that window on the tenth floor.

Intel warned this week that too much government regulation of drones will cause them to export research to other countries. So the big corps are already pushing the government to give them no interference.

Meanwhile, Microsoft nags me every single day to update to Windows 10. This is for profit of course, never mind that this will break my $800 Adobe installation, since Adobe refuses to support my two-year-old software.

Microsoft and Adobe both want me to abandon the products I already paid for, switch to their cloud offerings, and pay them a lot more.

This week I watched the first two seasons of Orphan Black on Amazon Prime, which managed to trick me into a year-long subscription. I’ve always got confirmation emails from Amazon with no problem, but the specific email to warn me about my free trial expiration mysteriously went to my spam folder.

Oh, silly spam folder. It’s not like Amazon could predict that (sic). So they managed to auto-renew me for $100 with effectively no warning.

I’m pretty much disgusted by every big American tech company except Blizzard and Nvidia. My AMD video card software has been broken irreparably for the last decade. Apple is about ecosystem control, rich people, greed, and the bogus American dream. Google and Yahoo are advertising.

If AdBlock were banned, I would kill myself after using the internet.

Today I learned a new English word, which almost never happens. The word is apanthropinisation, which was coined in 1880 and appears defined as the act of withdrawing from the state of humanity, along with its turmoil and anxiety.

This seems like a 19th century word that an elf wannabe could resurrect and contemplate, but we have to be wary of over-romanticism.

Romanticism can be more hobbit-like than elf-like when we take things and try to exaggerate them, as if we were children, and overwork simple concepts into fantastic polysyllabic notions.

To ice the cake of my elf depression, I’m watching a Stephen Segal movie on Univision Mas right now. I’ve studied Spanish for thirty years to the point of full fluency. I originally wanted to move to another non-U.S. country, but I can’t stand hispanic culture.

Between the fight scenes, there are commercials for Baywatch reruns, and advertisements for a phone chat line featuring sultry women in lingerie. I really thought these things died decades ago. I used to think Mexico was decades behind the U.S., and some things don’t change.

Playboy recently announced that the magazine will no longer have nude photos in the U.S., but Mexico will still have nudes. I hope that proves my point if you’re still skeptical.

This week I literally started studying Chinese. So “nǐhǎo” amigos! In another three decades, I’ll be ready to retire to a hut in China. I mean a Pizza Hut, since I won’t have enough retirement money with my income.

I’ll have genetically engineered Frankenfish to eat though, so I suppose that’s something.


Elf In Real Life: Checking Out Of Reality

Why can’t humans handle reality? We spend so much time preferring fantasy worlds, whether they are in books, movies, or games. We hate our physical bodies. We hate our jobs, our neighbors, or whatever.

And we have electric light, hot water, oxycodone, endless varieties of limitless food, and contraception. We practically live in paradise, and we are still unsatisfied. How did humans even cope a few hundred years ago? How do people cope in less developed countries?

Some landscape guys came and trimmed the big, beautiful tree outside. They cut off several branches and scarred the trunk with their climbing spikes. Every time I go outside my door, it’s like walking past my friend who was amputated.

I have a four-day vacation starting today. Almost no one is buying my books (although I haven’t pulled any marketing levers yet), and I’m depressed and exhausted. I need to quest for some chocolate and drink a relaxation potion.

What game should I play? I’ve never done a poll before, so I hope it goes. Oops, that should be Ranger not Hunter.