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