Sunday, November 14, 2010

One Good Trade

I really really liked the new book, "One Good Trade," by Mike Bellafiore of SMB Capital. If you are a relatively active trader then you will probably like the book too. If you prefer investing, and not trading, then you may not enjoy it.

SMB Capital is a small proprietary (prop) trading firm in NYC. In his book, Bellafiore (Bella) tells many stories... About how he and his long time friend Steve Spencer founded SMB Capital. About the myriad of characters they've worked with and who've worked for them. About the life of a prop trader. It's interesting how he employs the simile of elite athletes in his trading business, and I think it fits pretty well.

It was fascinating. I even learned some good lessons that I can apply to my own trading. If I were younger, I would like nothing more than to be a prop trader at a firm like SMB.

Here's the SMB Capital trading blog.

Here's the SMB Capital twitter feed.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Zion NP Gets a New Subway?

I stopped off at Zion NP to do some hiking for half a day, but was disappointed to find that the road construction equipment was filling all the turnouts on the east side of the tunnel - including a pair of portable traffic signals (kinda neat actually). This prevented me from parking for a hike. Instead I drove some nearby 4wd trails: Smithsonian Butte and Grafton Mesa. I met up with Gene and his friend for pizza at Zion Pizza & Noodle. They'd just had a string of unfortunate events while mountain biking in the area.

While there, I noticed a great thing. A Subway sandwich shop franchise has opened just outside the park. I've always thought that such a shop would do a lot of business, since the food is simple, tasty, predictable, and packs well for taking on a hike.

Unfortunately, that Subway has sparked a lot of controversy. It's not open because the town won't let it open. They have a town policy of blocking franchise restaurants. Some say it's to preserve the charm of the town. Some say it's to protect the businesses of the friends and family of the town council - who operate the existing little diners. There's a lot of people saying a lot of things, because the franchisees have sued the town and that has made news all over the land. Small towns across the country with similar policies are watching intently how this plays out.

I personally want a Subway shop there, and here's why. I've dined at a lot of places in Springdale over the years and they are all very overpriced. There are very few options for anyone on a tight budget, or for anyone looking for simple fare. Too many of the eateries there are full of menu options laden with too many adjectives. I'm sure they think it makes their food sound special, or worth the high prices. But sometimes I just want a simple sandwich or burger. *gets off his soap box*

Monday, November 08, 2010

Good Boss, Bad Boss

I just finished Bob Sutton's latest book, "Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best... and Learn From the Worst." I liked this book and it included a few things I hope to remember. Sutton's books are entertaining and fun to read. I also enjoyed his earlier "The No Asshole Rule."

Here's Sutton's page at Stanford. If you lack spare time, then here's a related post of his on the Harvard Business Review site.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

White Rim Trail

This was the main reason for my Moab trip. I've been wanting to drive this trail for years. Unfortunately, I couldn't drive the entire trail due to a huge washout that happened a few weeks before my trip. The NPS web site shows photos of house-sized boulders that crashed down upon the switchbacks at Mineral Bottom.

I left Moab before sunrise and that gave me some nice long shadows by the time I reached some scenic parts. Below is the Colorado River.

This is an easy shelf section. It'd be scary if the road was wet and slippery.

The trail alternates between mild dirt road with embedded rocks and very rugged road almost entirely of embedded rocks. The later sections were rough enough that I had to drive very slowly (slower than walking speed). Here's an example...

I'm sure a lifted Jeep could drive faster on those sections. My Land Rover's suspension isn't as pleasant over very rugged terrain, so I have to go slow. Specifically: the suspension is soft, so therefore it bounces a lot when driving over boulders, and so I hit and scrape more boulders that way. On the flip-side, highway driving is very smooth.

This is trail #46 in Wells' book (rated moderate) and trail #2 in Massey's book (rated 4). I actually got bored on this trail. While knowing that each mile offered great views, they were all almost the same view. So I wasn't sad to turn around and head back.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Musselman Arch

This is Musselman Arch. Here's a google map centered on it. I walked across it.

It's wide enough to not be scary. Of course, I did stand by the edge and point the camera down a few times. There's a jumble of boulders below it.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Long Canyon Trail

I really enjoyed the Long Canyon Trail. I drove it eastward. I met a Jeep driver at Gemini Bridges who said he drove Long Canyon going west because he thought it would be more "interesting." I agree, and next time I visit I want to drive it westward. Going east, the trail begins as a graded dirt road. Then it starts heading down canyon and soon becomes narrow and slightly steep with soft sand while the canyon walls tower on each side.

This is trail #18 in Wells' book (rated easy) and trail #6 in Massey's book (rated 3). The most famous part is the huge rock formation that the trail dirves right underneath. The road there is steep and very uneven. That's the only section where I had to raise my rover's suspension. I'd read someplace that the big rock fell from above around 1996-1997, but now I can't find that source.

After the fallen rock, the trail continues to wind down the canyon.

About half way down the canyon you are treated to a great view to the east. I got out several times to take photos.

Although it's short, this is a great trail. This BLM web page describes the Shafer Trail and Long Canyon Trail as a nice loop. That's not a bad idea for an easy half day trip out of Moab.