For the last year or so, my personal investment portfolio has been heavily, aggressively short US equities and the US dollar. It's not working out for me so far. Both the dollar and US stocks have done fairly well, and I have significant unrealized losses, and am struggling a bit to cover my positions. I find that being short is an ethically interesting and challenging position. I find troubling my awareness that to some degree, I have a financial interest in bad things happening. A terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia leads to a spike in oil prices? Ka-ching. A hurricane in the Gulf? GM declares bankruptct? Ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching.

That makes me feel nasty, like some evil Gargamel plotting misery and mayhem from his castle keep. Really, I'm not. Like most people, I'd like for everything to work out for everybody. So how is it that I've put myself in a position I stand to profit from other peoples' loss and misfortune? (And perhaps there is justice, the hand of God even, in the losses, rather than profits, I've made from the strategy.)

Steve Randy Waldman — Sunday March 26, 2006 at 9:43am [ 3 comments | 0 Trackbacks ] permalink

Office space. By far the nicest in Constanta. 208 square meters, brand new air conditioning and heating systems, original hardwood floors, three balconies with breathtaking views of the sea. Adjacent to Constanta's largest business hotel (Hotel Ibis). 15 € / m2 / month. Contact or dial +40 723 602524.

Steve Randy Waldman — Wednesday March 15, 2006 at 1:47pm [ 1 comments | 0 Trackbacks ] permalink

It would be hard for an expatriate not to love a book whose first line is

It should be against the law to mock someone who tries his luck in a foreign language.

So begins Budapest, by Chico Barque, delightful in English translation from the Brazilian Portuguese about an invisible man of letters who falls in love with the Hungarian language.

Steve Randy Waldman — Saturday March 4, 2006 at 1:49pm [ 0 comments | 0 Trackbacks ] permalink
In Baltimore, it's morning, but I'm not in Baltimore. It's 1:30 pm here in Constanta, at the edge of darkness, or at least the Black Sea, and I having a lazy beginning to a day which, after all, still has an agenda. My finacée, R—, has not been feeling well. We stayed in bed together this morning, and after a while we both felt better. There are consolations to this gypsy's life I've made for myself.

But it gets to me, it always gets to me, and I must go and try to hawk my family's "villa". Somewhere, there must be the perfect trading company or somesuch that would love to make a home of the finest office space in Constanta, at the very heart of the city with original hardwood floors and spectacular views of the beach. My charge has remained vacant 5 months, and I am embarrassed. Oh, dear reader, you wouldn't happen to be a multinational businessperson expanding into Central Europe? Oh well. I thought not.

To the realtors' offices then, to put a fire under all their asses. I am one to talk, here in bed and it's going on 2 pm, but I have no great impression of the work ethic of the Constantan realtor. Of course they preen with the status symbols of the age, the long, dark coats and gleaming silver mobile phones, but it seems to me they put up ads and wait for phone calls, and atata tot — that's all. It's not enough, of course. So I will make myself much pushier.

R— is in the bathroom, primping and powdering herself in long rituals. She will never be persuaded, though I have tried, I have, that all this work is entirely unnecessary. So I wait my turn, to use the can, take a quick shower, then off we go, to lunch, to the realtors.
Steve Randy Waldman — Friday March 3, 2006 at 6:51am [ 0 comments | 0 Trackbacks ] permalink
When I was a child, I was told that I was a good writer. That always seemed to me like a mixed blessing, because writing is something that mostly I did out of obligation, for school or for some other purpose. There were those times when I wrote because I wished to write. But those were usually times when something was wrong.

Interfluidity is born at a moment where I feel a spontaneous desire, perhaps even some desperation, to write. Now as it was always, I am provoked into writing because something is wrong.

Something is not flowing. Something is blocked. At one level, this is something akin to writers' block. But it is goes beyond that, because it was never my ambition to be a writer, exactly. At a broad level, I feel I have something to contribute, there is something that I'm supposed to do or have done, and I've not succeeded in doing it. Interfluidity is my attempt somehow to flow, to get all the things I am thinking and trying out there, even on a page made of electrons and other peoples' eyes.

I'm skeptical of myself these days. My recent track record has not been one of success. There are a thousand projects started and never quite completed. (This is my second blog, here's the first.) I've taken foolish risks financially, and therefore foolish losses. I've tried, so far without success, to reintegrate myself into the academic world. I'm feeling closed-in, stuck, at a loss. So here's a new page, upon which I will try yet again to flow.

I am not a humble person. There are things I have to contribute that could really matter, that could be revolutionary even. But so long as it all remains closed-up in the hollow cavity of my skull, who gives a shit? Interfluidity.
Steve Randy Waldman — Thursday March 2, 2006 at 11:10am [ 0 comments | 0 Trackbacks ] permalink
This is a placeholder, some words, forgettable, regrettable, as I've nothing to do or to say but to try to get the look right, the graphics up, all that jazz.

But it is also I suppose a new beginning, to something, a forgetting of escapades and failures past, a clean path to new misadventures. Let's see where it goes.
Steve Randy Waldman — Wednesday March 1, 2006 at 1:31am [ 0 comments | 0 Trackbacks ] permalink