Hi subscribers! I noticed there’s been an uptick on followers lately and scrubbed through for bots. There are plenty of genuine readers so I’m amazed. I believe my recent finance tech activities and movie making have something to do with it. But, I hardly write long form blogs now and have been more active on social media or my movie website blog so, please, if you are interested in finding out what I’m doing with creative, follow me by subscribing to my blog here:
You can stay locked on here but I will be posting only long form articles here so it will be monthly, or maybe even quarterly. To keep up, follow me on the other platforms and engage with me. I’m nice!~
This year started out great with a Monday that saw a big jump in $TSLA after the better-than-expected earnings report. The options I held over the new year weekend paid off and gave me a sense of bias to the long side. So much so that I didn’t anticipate the FOMC announcement to affect my whole tech heavy portfolio so badly. Even though I knew the Fed will soon hike the rates and forward revenue looking stocks like big tech will be affected adversely, I still have a sense that this sell off is a rotation to value names and will eventually stabilize to affect big tech to a more uniform taper rather than a major correction into bear territory. Although, I’m keeping myself open to that possibility and will be more conservative with my portfolio this quarter given the current market conditions.
I made some adjustments to the thematic portfolio by cutting some names to meet a margin call after Wednesday’s drop. I trimmed $BLDE and cut $VLD. I reallocated from $NVDA to $NXPI and closed covered calls on $HIVE. I also initiated another $TSLA 1200 call and regretted it right away. This year, I will be more conservative and use options to decrease risk, rather than increase it as I had done last year with questionable success.
I’ve also created a small basket of blue chip names in the financial, industrial, consumer, and energy sectors. I pulled together 20 stocks and leveled fractional shares of the same worth for each of them. The 20 stocks are the following:
Meanwhile, I am seeing Bitcoin drag down to the major 40k-42k area which bulls have uttered to be a support point for another rally to the upside. I feel excited to buy here but I really don’t have dry powder to that. Instead, I will have to reallocate from some names to others and, to be frank, I would rather hodl and wait for a confirmation to the upside instead of jumping in now and feeling more pain. So, I’ll watch my meme tokens like SAITAMA INU, INUBIS INU, DOGELON, and SHIBA INU for now and will nap through this rout for the time being.
It was a good way to start the year. Woke up with $TSLA skyrocket to $1,100 in the morning after a stellar delivery announcement over the weekend. Thankfully, I held three 1200 call options from last week which saw a generous +200% gain in the morning. I closed two contracts in the AM session and held one to 1200. I sold a 1300 call against it which can now yield +$10k if it reaches 1300 or $500 if it fails 1200 when it expires. Either way, it’s a win!
I rotated out of Smart Cities and Smart Home stocks including $PNR $WTS $WM and $AQUA for a cumulative +65% gain in 2021 and reallocated funds toward Smart Money by adding to $SPGI $CBOE $NDAQ with intentions on legging into $MSCI and shorting $HOOD $SOFI. I also opened positions on $RBLX $U and packaged Smart Data and Smart Chips under one basket: Metaverse (a metaverse play). I’ve also sold out of all Space Force names except $DDD and combined it with my Smart Energy position $UEC into one basket: Smart Bombs (I am referring to destroying and mining asteroids).
It’s been three years since we started and it’s incredibly unbelievable to think that we started with only $5000 in 2019! We saw the portfolio grow to over $650k at one point! Now we are hovering around $300k total which in the long term view is still incredible despite seeing over half of it cut in the last quarter of 2021. This year, I plan to be a bit more conservative and work on managing risk, as that is my biggest weakness.
I will be focusing on these four main sectors, which I believe will see tremendous growth throughout the year.
SPACE TRAVEL “Smart Bombs”
DIGITAL EXCHANGES “Smart Money”
ELECTRIC VEHICLES “Smart Wheels”
I’ve consolidated several positions that will benefit from the growth of the next evolution of the interwebs. Included in this basket are familiar behemoths such as $FB $NVDA $AAPL $MSFT $GOOG $AMZN and include new players in design $U and $RBLX with a good performing mid cap chip maker $NXPI.
Space Travel “Smart Bombs”
Cutting weak performers from last year had me rid names mainly in the Space Force basket which only had one real winner–$DDD. Keeping that and combining it with my uranium investment, $UEC, now the largest US uranium miner, would make for a great combo for zapping and mining asteroids as we travel through space.
Digital Exhanges “Smart Money”
The best performing basket, as a team, was the basket that held the digital exchanges including $NDAQ $SPGI $CBOE $MSCI. I’ve added $COIN and reallocated funds from other baskets to add to these names. Understanding that these digital exchanges will continue to make money bull or bear market, I’m curious if it could still see a major fall should anything happen to the grid. To lessen the risk, I’m also looking to short $HOOD and $SOFI, two companies I think that are led by rats.
Electric Vehicles “Smart Wheels”
I’m curious if the EV sector will slow down at all in 2022. I don’t think so. In fact, I think it will see another parabolic run and I’m sitting shotgun in the three main players in this space that I like: $TSLA $LCID $RIVN. I’ve also kept $FCEL believing that it will see another great bull run this year and I’m also looking at other ones to add including $XPEV and some others.
This year, I also plan to start doing market neutral trades that yield with high probability and low risk. I will also post some pairs trade (long one stock, short another, trade the premium). In Q1, I will be doing live market tests and will report the outcome. I’m excited to do this because I also can automate the trade so that I no longer have to be in front of the screen all day. These pairs trades don’t rely on direction but on volatility between two correlated stocks or ETFs. This allows me to trade daily and yield results with high probability as a means to profit from the market without grave concern of market direction or option expiry. So stoked! Stay with me and watch me grow this to $2M this year!!
I moved a bunch of coins around and got rid of some that gave me some good profits in 2021. I sold TRX XLM and a few others in favor of having some fun with meme tokens. I got some SHIB and ELON for the family for fun but had gotten caught with fomo on KUMA which I eventually sold at a loss and converted to INUBIS. INUBIS is an interesting project in which their road map include animal adoption and forest protection. It’s a small community and I like my interactions with most of them on Telegram so I’m supporting this project for fun and might shill them from time to time. You can check them out here: http://inubis.io
Enjoy the new year and I look forward to posting more and more!
This is a legacy blog entry. I moved the epk to the public website for the movie and soundtrack. You can see that here: lovelettertemplates.movie
Runtime: 1 hr 27 min
Tagline: 13 short stories interconnect the trauma of millennials lost in sex, drugs, and dance-punk afterparties during the ’00s in San Francisco’s seedy districts.
Release date: Fall 2021
This feature length movie was written, produced, directed, edited, and scored independently by myself over the past 12 years. It started out as a music video project for a song I programmed during a digital music class lecture I was giving at a recording arts college in 2002. The song was titled, A Lesson In Trust, and was published as a vinyl record under Revolver Distribution after a friend handed my demo cd to a record executive when their first deal went awry. In the heat of desperation, my buddy, who helped me burn cd’s for my demo, gave one to the guy after his other artist was rejected. The record executive liked it and that is how my first record was released, funny enough. I wanted to shoot a music video to promote it and had an idea of doing a short film, like an extended music video. A party girlfriend I befriended from the local pizza shop my son and I ate at all the time really encouraged me to do it and helped me get started with the screenplay and shot list that eventually became the chapter, Promise Ring. Little did I know that night we did the photoshoot for the shot list at The Rickshaw Stop would become a two decade long journey into the depths of my inner angst, shadowed by my passion for storytelling, and inspired by an old MySpace music blog I kept back then titled, Love Letter Templates, which this film is named after.
The movie soundtrack are all original music I made over a twenty year span that include electronic music compositions and live rock ensemble projects featuring songs from my childhood metal band, Demented, and recent black/death metal project, Food For Worms. The thirteen chapters are a collection of short films I directed over a course of a decade with various other collaborators and student interns whose participation and contribution progressed the over arching story forward. I have too many to thank.
The rotoscope aesthetic is wholly inspired by Ralph Bakshi, the creator of the 70’s animated film, Wizards, whose work across other titles such as Lord of the Rings, Heavy Traffic, and Cool World heavily influenced me in my youth. This rotoscope aesthetic saved the movie in that I was able to salvage footage that were shot in 240p and use it to complete the story. It also served to bind all the different media over the last two decades and brand the film into one cohesive flow.
Other influences include films like Jacob’s Ladder, Pulp Fiction, Hellraiser, and of course, Heavy Metal. The juxtaposition of stories across a non-linear timeline is a storytelling technique I intended to use as a greater sum of all the parts. Each chapter interconnect with another to tell a bigger story.
Directors that inspired me include Vincent Gallo, Harmony Korine, Michel Gondry, Chris Cunningham, and Lars Von Trier. In the early 2000’s, I volunteered as an intern for a digital film festival called RESFest. It was my way of getting in the festival in Tokyo, New York, and Bristol, UK for free and to network professionally while I was on tour supporting my new record release. In that festival, I saw the most amazing work by the directors I mention above and it gave me the encouragement I needed to pursue my vision on my own terms.
It must also be said that particular indie electronic music artists had a big influence on the music we hear throughout the film. Artists like Amon Tobin, Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, DJ Shadow, Neotropic, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Asian Dub Foundation, Massive Attack, and Bjork are just a few worth mentioning. And on the dance floor front, popular artists like MSTRKRFT, Justice, Interpol, The Presets, The Faint, and many other sideways haircut bands with neck ties that came after them are only obvious for those that were there and vaguely referenced. Though, my underground favorites like Death From Above 1979, Avenue D, Atari Teenage Riot, Gay For Johnny Depp, and No Condom, Whatever are way too obscure to even bring up but just know I was all about it.
Underlying it all would be the hum of primal gratitude to my metal heroes, Mercyful Fate, Voivod, and Motorhead. They all get a nod in the movie in the most peculiar way as a signal to others in-the-know. Most interesting easter egg, if you will, is the mention of my childhood favorite local punk ensemble, RKL (Rich Kids on LSD), whose legendary record, Rock-N-Roll Nightmare, came with a comic book of the lyrics and artwork that bound the whole record together. That punk rock comic book blew away my 16 year old budding visual art and music mind and serve as sublime inspiration for me to this day.
There are three marquee names starring in the film. The collaboration with Michael Rodgers (Metatron) stemmed from a student / teacher relationship when he attended Ex’pression College at the time I headed the common core classes on digital filmmaking and media theory. Michael was key to this whole thing since we pulled off the majority of the unscripted footage in the middle of the hurricane of afterparties we attended for the sake of the documentary scenes…*ahem*.
During that time, I also creative directed short films for students and took advantage of the equipment hook up I had. We typically had open casting calls for amateur actors for student film projects. It was then that I met Beau Ballinger (Venom), a budding young actor with director dreams of his own. He was cast for two separate short films which would later become the chapter Wake Next Stop in the movie. At that time, he agreed to come back and collaborate on a single shot improv scene which he fulfilled for the chapter Dolores Park opposite actress Emily Rued (Stella).
Emily was already doing theater at the time we met in 2002. I went and saw her perform and I was mesmerized by her eyes. I knew the moment I saw her that she would be able to do the hard scene at the park. Alas, the shoot at Dolores Park between Beau and Emily proved to sew together the whole arching story of the film.
She graduated from San Francisco State University with a B.A. in Drama Performance, and from Pacific Oaks College with a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. She is conservatory trained at A.C.T, Berkeley Repertory, and University of California Santa Barbara. Emily has extensive credits, including a Series Regular on Maggie (now streaming on Amazon Prime), and an upcoming supporting role in Bad Ass 4: Sweet Revenge, opposite Danny Glover and Danny Trejo. Emily is delighted to be a part of this film and relive her San Francisco days.
Beau did something interesting shortly after filming with me. He went to the Philippine Islands where I was born and kicked off his major motion picture journey with an interesting and loving twist. I was so impressed!
After graduating from Saint Mary’s College of California with a BFA in Performing Arts, Beau moved to the Philippines to work on several action and horror films produced by Roger Corman, leading him to work with Michael Madsen and Mark Dacascos. He established his own production company and lived in Asia for five years working in television and film. Upon moving back to LA, Beau produced “Uncle Nick”, a Christmas comedy sold to Netflix starring Brian Posehn, Paget Brewster, and Missi Pyle. In 2017 Beau graduated with an MFA in screenwriting from The University of Texas at Austin where a spec he wrote for Amazon’s Transparent was a Humanitas Prize top finalist. Kick ass!
Featured appearances include actress, Anita Argent (Florenzia), young models Kai Steele-Smith (young Venom) and Tiffany Schmitz (Mahal). The first chapter, No Remorse, was originally a short film I wrote and produced for Sundance Shorts. It was titled Love, Papa and was an ode to my sister. It became the genesis of Venom’s storyline and the underlying motif for his character. Set and shot in my own home, party buddy and creative collaborator Chris Golden and student Nathan Fritz came through and handled the camera and sound to complete the project. Eventually, it got rejected at Sundance Shorts and I wish I had kept that letter. I vaguely remember reading “…you will find your audience out there”. How condescending, I thought. I should collect those.
I need to thank Anita for another reason. After I received the letter, I was really devastated. I remember talking to her on the phone and it was her motherly advice that gave the encouragement for me to not give up and go for it again. It was all I needed to hear. She single handedly saved the movie at the very beginning. Thank you, Anita.
Another featured actress is Erica Taber (Nisa). She plays the girlfriend who threw a ring back to Metatron in the chapter Promise Ring. I remember casting her for this after she auditioned for a different short film at Ex’pression.
Most notable in that scene is that she was wearing a vest that my wife irl designed and manufactured when she had her fashion design business. That vest was super popular. So much so that a major company stole the design after she refused their offer to work for them. That always haunted us.
Ironically, Iylla Dosenbach modeled for my wife’s fashion line around the time I started writing the rest of the film. She was a graphics design student at the college I was teaching at and we immediately hit it off so I introduced her to my wife irl who also hired her to model. She agreed to play the dive bar scene opposite Shane Wesbrock who, in playing himself, defined the whole dive bar experience for many girls.
In the chapter, Wake Next Stop, I took two separate student short film projects with Beau and repurposed it for Venom’s storyline. It worked out perfectly in that the short film, Wake, naturally fit into Venom’s character build. Wake was written by star students Nolan Sipe and Dan Peterson, who later scored the music for Next Stop that same semester, a script I collaborated on with Beau. We wanted to do a shoot with no dialogue and came up with a script reminiscent of a David Lynch / Rod Serling type of plot.
We did a daring shoot on BART during Orange Alert placed at the time after 9/11. We didn’t get the permit to shoot a video at BART but we did alert the operator there what we were doing. We had a very realistic gun prop and a shooting scene. They immediately alerted SFPD who came right away. We spoke with the lieutenant-in-charge and he was very cool. Big dude. He let us keep doing what we were doing and even had two of his patrol officers warn on-lookers that we are doing a movie. It worked out in the end.
Both those short film projects were sent out to student film festivals by the digital art college and they each received Official Selection laureates at prestigious festivals like Festival de Cannes and New York Independent (according to the college) but I can’t find any proof of it online so I’ll only mention that here.
Another special thanks go out to Mia Kirshner (Scarlett), a Suicide Girl model who helped me achieve the riskier scenes needed for the story.
The scenes involving Mia were the most contentious shots of the film. It was originally written as a masturbation scene with an extreme close-up. I needed it for the shock value and to add an ironic twist by linking the Metatron character to Venom. Alas, too many people discouraged it as it didn’t really progress the story and would red flag the movie.
Still, Mia came through and gave me the shots that allowed me to link other characters in the film. She truly was in it for the art and I was so thankful that she believed in my project.
THE UNKNOWN ACTOR
This is an interesting story. The chapter, Spare Change, was originally filmed in 2007 with student collaborators. This was a challenging shoot since the majority of the shots were single takes because we didn’t have the clearance to shoot in the iconic Clarion Alley and had to fight against the day light. Michael Rodgers had already graduated from the school but agreed to come back and do the scene for the movie.
The other actor was a student from the previous year but I was fired for the last time at the art college (you read that right) that semester so I lost touch with the students involved in the short film including this student actor. He was an amazing young talent and I regret that we had no way to keep in contact. Over the years, the project was lost until I came across old drives that had the capture folders of my old student festival winners! Most of the files were low quality but it was enough for me to remix it for the purpose of the movie. The disappointing part is that I have no record of this other student actor! No final product that has his name on the credits. None! It’s driving me crazy! I hope I find him so I can credit him properly. For now, I will call him Unknown Actor.
ADDITIONAL MUSIC CREDITS
All of the music heard on the film are material I produced and performed from 2000 to 2020. Each chapter feature music from projects ranging wide across spectrums of electronic music sub-genres and rock songs recorded with childhood friends on the legendary NEVE and SSL9000 sound boards made available to me when I worked at the recording school. The music soundtrack featured in the film will be available for download and stream on major platforms alongside the release of the movie on Amazon Prime this fall 2021.
Some additional credits go out to a few collaborators whose work is featured in the movie only, including Paul Shinichi, who played bass for the version of These Voices used in the chapter Deleted and David Varela who remixed a house version of A Lesson In Trust for the chapter Shots In The Dark.
The movie ends with a background soundtrack featuring three songs from my 80’s punk metal band, Demented. Around 2005, we had the opportunity to re-record the last songs meant for the LP before the band broke up in 1991. It was our last chance to record the songs because Damien Donnelly, guitarist, developed carpal tunnel and his ability to play the songs were narrowing. We invited our talented friend Frank Martell, drummer, to fill in for the drums and Chris Mayorga, lead guitar, overdubbed his guitar tracks later.
That particular recording hold tremendous meaning for me. The version I used in the movie were the ones mixed by my best friend who committed suicide last year. There was a version recorded with vocal tracks by the original member and singer, another childhood best friend, who also died just the year before. He was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic when we were young and the medicine they were giving him caused liver cirrhosis. Another mutual best friend who passed away a few years ago died in his sleep after years and years of drug and alcohol abuse. Thankfully, he slept peacefully. There are many more over the last twenty years to count so I won’t mention names here but I dedicate this movie to them and a portion of the proceeds from the music licensing will be donated to mental health services and suicide prevention for homeless youth in San Francisco (and beyond).
ORIGINAL CONCEPT FOOTAGE
Here’s an extra treat. The original concept for Metatron’s character spawned from this particular video ad I cut for some San Francisco DJ friends I met in Las Vegas during a fashion trade show convention my wife typically attended. I normally helped with the booth and took care of our 2 year old during her busy hours while I did my drum-n-bass breakbeat party networking.
I met Steve Aoki, who was promoting a new band on his label, Dim Mak Records. While we were talking, I hear Danzig’s classic song Mother pumping loud out of the speakers right after a dance floor banger. I was so impressed. Those DJ’s were Richie Panic and Jefrodisiac who I recognized from some parties back in San Francisco.
I was writing for Mesh Magazine at the time and was doing a drum-n-bass bootleg DJ set show on the local public access cable channel but was also DJ’ing heavy metal and new wave records on a pirate radio channel called West Add Radio FM. Knowing these things, Jefrodisiac approached me about doing a fake news article on Mesh Magazine to create buzz for their upcoming NYE 2004 party. I agreed to write a totally fake story about Frisco Disco DJ’s breaking up violently in a fight during some fictitious set at an art gallery in the SOMA district.
I really sensationalized it and made it sound like the underground party that everyone wished they knew about. For the first time, people were reading reposts of that article in which I use words like “fashionista” to ironically describe all the poser wannabes and “debauchery” as the code word for drugs. People ate it up and started using those words in their own copycat way evident in the MySpace flyer posts promoting their own parties.
Of course that bloody DJ set never happened but the point was to make the readers think there won’t be these ultra decadent hedonistic party orgies anymore where rich chicks with bangs and bike messenger dudes with sideways haircuts could bump and grind in the dark while they snorted their way toward best-friends-forever status. Then once everyone thought it was done and over, the NYE party announcement came and it was the talk of the party gossip scene. It totally worked! That party was hella packed and went off the hook.
The small 240p camera I used to bootleg drum-n-bass raves is the same one I used to shoot the dive bar parties. It held a special place in my heart so, ultimately, that specific camera made its way into the movie as a prop in chapters, Dolores Park and Like Father Like Son, and was used as the hidden camera in the chapter, Afterparty. I am stupid sentimental when it comes to cameras I guess. Someone stole it at a club eventually. I miss that camera.
The footage used in the Frisco Disco party video were documentary shots at The Arrow Bar that new year’s eve night in 2003-2004. I cut it for the purpose of promoting friends but it also became the catalyst for the Metatron character concept. For that, I have to thank Jefrodisiac and Richie Panic. Their shenanigans pulled me into that dance punk dive bar scene.
It was the people that I met through those parties that took me down a rabbit hole and made me face my own self-destructive lifestyle. The existential crisis that inspired much of the movie’s underlying tone makes itself evident once all thirteen chapters are seen. I really do hope people enjoy Love Letter Templates. I’m very proud of it and believe it will be a cult classic one day *wink*. Just like what that Sundance Film Festival rejection letter said, “…you will find your audience out there…” Thanks. I will.
This past quarter took a different tone from last year’s hyperbolic gains with a muted growth rate of only a few percentage points. Although that may be dismal, it was, in fact, a success!
I was able to cash out 25% of $HVBTF, my biggest holding, at a favorable level at $4.00 before it plummeted down to $2.50. That’s a terrible -62.5% drop that I was able to stave by reallocating those funds into the thematic basket model I laid out in the beginning of this quarter.
The growth rate of the investment portfolio was slow and steady. This past quarter, my overall portfolio management was spotty in that I did not cut under-performers as early as I should have and chose to let them ride out the whole quarter after seeing other stocks I had cut early reverse and grow like $CRSP and $AMZN.
Some notable changes were in the hedge baskets. I ultimately cut $REML to take the gains and to avoid a leveraged dump. I allocated the funds into $SLVO, a covered call ETN, which I will now use to earn a monthly income. $SLVO has an incredibly yield of +32% paid out in monthly dividends (taxable). My plan is to accumulate as much of this until I can have a substantial monthly income from the shares alone.
I also created a Smart Consumer basket that include $PLBY $KODK for its potential in the NFT crypto space. I also bought $TLRY initially for this basket but opted to move it into Smart Drugs with $MNMD.
I’ve also added to my $AI position in my IRA account and acumulated more $ETHE $COIN for this next quarter.
I will continue to manage the portfolio as I am with a balanced sector allocation setup focused on tech innovators in each industry on the long side managing weekly moves throughout the quarter and trade futures and options on the short side to hedge or speculate on big moves with controlled risk.
As for our HODL game, crypto dropped as expected once the bitcoin micro futures and ethereum futures contracts were released by the CME (Chicago Mercantile Exchange) just as bitcoin did when bitcoin futures were introduced in early 2018 when bitcoin began its sudden decent back to below 5k. I did not pick up any new crypto assets due to a buying restriction placed on me by Coinbase but I did pick up $ETHE $COIN to exploit the reversal move. I also am looking into accumulating $DEFTF for my next tenbagger. DeFi Tech is an ETP with holdings that include Cardano (ADAUSD) and Polkadot (DOTUSD), two of the cryptos I wanted to buy on Coinbase.
I am eager to do better in my portfolio management and intraday trading this next quarter. I do plan to expand my techniques with more complex options strategies as well as developing a better way of letting trades run their course instead of watching it all day everyday. That really is a challenge. The goal this quarter is to trade less, make more. Wish me luck!!
“Sell in May and go away” is a market mantra I heed with some caution since the market is now primarily automated algorithmic trading and bots don’t take vacations. I did, however, luck out and sold out of 25% of my holdings in Hive Blockchain Technologies ($HVBTF:OTC) last month in time before the sell-off on bitcoin. I was able to secure those gains and allocated the proceeds into other securities supporting my thesis in Smart Societies.
As you can see, my total portfolio hedged itself with gains in certain sectors, such as finance, infrastructure, and energy, while technology and commodities pulled back. I did cut some losses and doubled down on certain positions this past month. Most notable cuts include $UBER, $BLD, and $PWR for underperformance. However, I decided to buy more $LAZR even though it was the poorest performing security in my whole portfolio. I decided to do this with the intention to collect more over time. I also cut $COIN from the Smart Money basket for its terribly poor performance but I did buy some for my personal portfolio with the intention of holding a for the long term.
My thesis for June is that there will be some movement in the reopening plays including airlines $AAL, $DAL, $UAL, and $JETS etf, as well as consumer discretionary names such as $TAP, $MGM, etc.
I also re-allocated some funds from one ETN to another in order to take better advantage of interest income. I held $REML, a leveraged REIT ETN that I was able to collect around $4.00 level and sold at $7.00. I decided to sell out of $REML and moved it to $SLVO, another ETN giving remarkable dividend returns.
The sell-off on bitcoin and the entire cryptocurrency market this past two weeks may be normal for long time hodlers but those who recently bought in at the highs may have seen their money cut in half. One friend, in particular, told me “You don’t know what you’re talking about” after I suggested he sell his DOGE coins before Elon Musk’s SNL performance. He told me later that he wished he listened to me because now he’s a bagholder and he’ll just hold it until it becomes green again. I guess that could also work since I also held through 2019 in the red before my thesis was validated in late 2020.
I’m still bullish and looking to buy into some more altcoins once I clear some funds. I’m not in a rush since I think the cryptocurrency space will settle down a bit more and may even pull back to lower levels but I’m eager to invest in some notable crypto coins including DOT, THETA, LINK, 0x, and may research a few others. This past two weeks, I consolidated all my small coins and gifted it to my niece for her college graduation. Because I am still up a good +500%, I’m not freaked out about seeing my portfolio reach $35k only to see it back at $21k. I’m not worried about it at the moment and could still see more for XRP, TRX, and ADA this year.
This past month saw some major activity in both the crypto and futures market that pushed me to manage and re-allocate several positions to maintain growth and edge a bit more toward defensive positions. Early this month, I sold off 25% of my stake in HVBTF, which was up over +1200% the past 6 months. I still believe in the tremendous growth of Hive Blockchain, being the leader in Ethereum mining operations and a top candidate for ESG (Environmental, Social, and corporate Governance) investing in the blockchain space. I locked in my earnings for the year ($100k) and opted to convert 50% of that into a balanced account based on my thesis for this quarter: Smart Society.
Currently, I have 12 thematic baskets in sub-sector industries that I plan to manage this quarter:
Blockchain / AI (Retirement)
Most notable of these new positions is $MNMD. This psilocybin and LSD treatment research company debuted on Nasdaq last week and I was able to pick up a sizable share amount prior to its up-list from the OTC market and capitalized on the arbitrage. I did not, however, cash out the following day. I’ve decided to hold for a while to see if it will gain upside once hedge funds and institutional buyers start picking it up. I will however, set a stop at my entry level to protect my initial capital.
I had been waiting for the Coinbase, Inc. IPO ($COIN) for over a year and even tried to join in the pre-IPO after my brokerage lowered the entry barrier for accredited investors. Because Coinbase opted to list on NYSE directly, only select private investors were able to get pre-IPO shares. On the day of the IPO, I watched it spike above $400 and tank below $300 in minutes. It was exciting to watch and I accidentally bought 100 shares on margin at $332.19 and closed it a minute later at $332.88 (phew). I’ve fat-fingered orders before but this one was an auto-send setting I immediately caught. I made $69 in one minute. Not bad. I fixed my order and entered shares at $333. The next few days would see a continuation of selling pressure that took $COIN all the way below $290 this last week. I failed one of my strategy rules by not selling it at -10% stop loss but because I waited so long for the IPO, I was anxious for a bounce and held. I let my emotions get away with logic so I will be defensive this next week as we approach $COIN’s earnings report.
Another notable change is my return back to commodities and REITs for this quarter. This is a hedge and a speculative allocation based on my overall thesis. Seeing the recent rally in lumber, metals, and infrastructure companies, I am projecting expansion in homebuilding and city expansion so I pulled together sub-industry benefactors with the most solid fundamentals and growth potential. Along with that, I’ve placed a bit more toward $REML (leveraged int’l REIT ETN), $AMT (5G tower leasing), and homebuilder etf $NAIL.
For commodities, I’ve allocated even amounts to food etf’s $CORN, $SOYB, $WEAT, $MOO, and $JO to set aside as demand increase with the re-opening of society.
Crypto has also seen tremendous support and hype through news wires and retail forums. In particular, support of BTCUSD once it dipped under <50k became evident as it rallied right back up to >55k, indicating to me that there is definitely more excitement for crypto to come and more institutional buying is taking place. ETHUSD is now at all time highs and alt-coins like XRP, XML, TRX, ALGO, DOT, ADA, etc are seeing some massive gains.
The hype news lately has been on NFT and DOGECOIN which I actively avoided for now. I do not plan to play these hype stocks but I am not dissuading anyone from betting the farm on it. What other people do with their money is their prerogative and I am happier sharing what I’m doing than telling others what they should do. Likewise, I learned that I can’t stand other people telling me what to do with mine. I’ve proven to myself (and others) that my thesis and money management skills far outpace others at my level so I’m sticking to what works for me while listening for how I can improve my strategy versus taking on others. So far, it’s worked out for me but I’m also careful of being humbled by the market again, which I know can come at any time.
That said, I am excited for friends who are doing this new investing thing right. I know of my son’s friend who bought THETACOIN last year with his unemployment money and made +500% out of it. I know of another friend who bought into TRXCOIN and did the same. Some folks recently started buying stocks and crypto for some exposure and I think that is great. My only worry is that their fear and greed and will consume them the same way mine did for years (and still do sometimes), but I’ve accepted that everyone has their own journey. I hope some paths cross mine so I can sojourn toward success with company in tow.
2021 Q1 all done! It’s been an incredible past three months and an even more remarkable year. I started trading heavily about a year ago once the lockdown happened and it was also when I realized I wanted to trade full-time and leave my Silicon Valley job, to my wife’s chagrin. But, because of the work-from-home mandate, I started investing in companies that benefited from the lockdown like Zoom ($ZM), Slack ($WORK), Atlassian ($TEAM), Salesforce ($CRM), Facebook ($FB), Netflix ($NFLX), Amazon ($AMZN) and so on. Come around summer and I started trading Tesla ($TSLA) and the other FAANG stocks.
I started putting together thematic portfolios with the best-performing stocks in sectors I was studying which was primarily in tech. I put together my own tech theme for Big Data that included $MSFT $AAPL $GOOG $AMZN (I later realized the acronym was “MAGA” so I immediately got $NVDA to make it…”MANGA”!).
Riding the bounce from the lows in March, I was able to take profits and re-allocate it into electric vehicle laggards during the $TSLA run-up to its split event. Seeing other electric vehicles and battery names responding to the $TSLA movement, I put together a basket I called “Jetsons” with holdings that included $FCEL $PLUG $AYRO $FUV $WKHS $NKLA $NIO $LI and ETF $LIT. I was able to do this before the ride-up last November along with Covid plays like $MRNA $PFZ $JNJ $AZN and $LLY. With those profits, I legged into a number of other thematic baskets.
The best performing basket was my “Star Trek” themed portfolio with $SPCE $DDD $MVIS $LMT $BA $HON which gave me the biggest move apart from blockchain trades like $RIOT $MARA $BTBT $FTFT $MSTR $SQ $PYPL and many other. It was working for me. I ended the year +1,200% in total from 2020Q1!!
This first quarter, however, I started to see sector rotation activity and saw big drawdowns in February, taking away gains from a strong January start. March was defensive and I was only able to get half back from the highs of the last quarter. For Q2, I am still not sure whether to rotate into solid, boring value stocks to ride through the summer or to find innovators in the infrastructure and energy space where the stimulus money will be infused in the coming months.
I’ll post some of my thoughts here more often. I’ll be blogging my trading for my own purpose of keeping track and to be more transparent with what I’m actually doing. Stay with me!
A reflection essay on white male suicide by Joselito Sering
Tomorrow is the online memorial for a dear childhood friend who I love as a real brother. I am at the peak of my sadness tonight. I’ve been holding it together as good as I could for our other brothers who are hurting really bad about how his life ended. He was the sweetest, most thoughtful, honest, and genuine friend I have had since high school. He believed in peace and justice just like I did. We admired Terrence McKenna and the dimensions psilocybin opens up for us. Our understanding of Joseph Campbell’s lectures were unique in that we can actually have meaningful conversations about existential philosophy unlike our other metalhead brothers. He was very open minded, considerate, and eager to cross bridges in the way he treated others and how he always stood up for others experiencing injustice. Best of all, his humor was dangerously witty and hilariously sophomoric simultaneously; our bond forged with bellyaching laughter and hours of therapeutic stupidity.
We both were deep into heavy metal music and hailing satan but his athiesm turned into agnosticism one night when we roamed a mideval crusader cemetery in Switzerland during our Europe tour right after we graduated. I was there when he had an epiphany and that was the only time I’ve ever seen him cry. I never heard him say “Hail Satan” ever since but he would throw the metal horns out for things he gave approval. Instead, he became very interested in Tibetan buddhism and followed the Dalai Lama’s message of compassion in his adult life. Moreover, his love for animals and natural environments were rooted in his innate desire to connect with the universe wholeheartedly.
We still fathomed the existence of truth behind the veil conveniently pulled over our eyes. I remember talking for hours about alien life forms like the greys and reptilians, the massive underground tunnels, the Nephilim, ESP, usually in the context of popular folklore with physics against new age skepticism (pseudoscience). We also discussed things like nefarious agents in the background of 9/11, WTC 7, Pentagon missile hoax, the trillions of missing dollars admitted by Rumsfeld the day before, the gold in the WTC towers disappearing, and legitimacy of waging wars. We both were anti-war and supported Ron Paul in that one election when we both heard libertarian values we shared uttered in the news.
He shot himself in the neck the night before the elections. It was a violent way to go. The first hand gun I ever fired was his. He taught me how to be responsible and follow the law with guns like he did. He became very involved with other gun enthusiasts like the Oathkeepers. I had a conversation with him one time and I admitted that I am antifascist and have been since high school with scars from fights with neo-nazi punks in the scene to prove it. Once at The Farm, another at the Mabuhay Gardens, and Gilman Street quite a few years later. He was really surprised to learn that and was quite baffled as was I in learning that he opposed Antifa and believe they are equivalent to the Klan. We both were locked in arms when it came to Abolish The Fed and both of us supported the Occupy movement. Our conversations always ended in laughter and we would move on about the Black Queen show or the Vio-lence reunion show he got advanced tickets for. I paid no mind.
Realizing now that he had been listening to right wing media and was repeating the same propaganda tropes pushed by white nationalist militia groups including the Oathkeepers, I am incensed and furious at these fake patriots who, in their cunning recruitment way, filled his head with lies and his heart with fear, to the point that his confusion made him mad. Yes, he was suffering from depression, the depth of which could be rooted from his estranged family. I knew about his mom, his sister, his daughter. It is a heartbreak I will never understand, a sadness I can only empathize with but never believe. What I do know is that he was prime, like many others, for radicalization. And, it was his warped perception, ultimately, that led to his decree–violent death was the only way to end. This was completely antithetical to his spiritual beliefs of holding peace and compassion over all things. I’m reminded of the monks that burned themselves to prove a point. But I’m also reminded that white men are committing suicide at a higher rate than any other group in America for a common reason: shame, guilt, fear, and hate…for themselves. And like many of them, he had guns in the house.
In my mind and in my heart, I believe it was white nationalist radicalization that killed my beloved childhood friend and metal brother. The lies, sense of entitlement, and propaganda techniques in the media he consumed and those perpetrated by his gun loving friends were in direct conflict of what was in his heart. With no jobs available and a lockdown from social interactions, all he did was consume lies and calls for violence that it drove him into madness and magnified his sadness beyond reproach…to the point that he pointed the gun at himself instead of someone else. His isolation became despair and with all the hate being spewed running up to the elections, he ended his life. It was the only thing he had control over. He wanted to go out with a bang. No pun intended. I was so mad at him, so enraged at what he did: a cowardly escape. But, with tears in my eyes, I see that it wasn’t his fault.
He became increasingly frustrated with the government and was angry about something daily, according to his family. He was being manipulated and it changed his behavior to the point that his relationships became even more estranged. Eventually, he became estranged from his true self and that, I insist, is where his existential crisis is rooted. Losing his work over the pandemic and losing his will to survive through it was exasperated by strains in his family; hence, he was losing his identity. His depression became desperation as the election loomed. The world he believed he was entitled to was crumbling and there was nothing to look forward for besides more fear and frustration. Ultimately, he didn’t want any part of it–this country, this society, this world–this life.
After seeing the documentary below, I also realize that it reinforces what I already felt and observed in many ways and I wish for others of my friends who are truly compassionate and willing to understand that many white folks and trumpers are actually not bad people but they are being manipulated with propaganda to divide us so that we don’t join together against them, the 1%, the way we did during Occupy. For my friends who supported Trump, I don’t hate them or pity them. I don’t want to lose them anymore because I realize now that they were also being manipulated. I just hope that they can deprogram the same way as the dad did in this documentary before they lose our love or their mind. Worst of all, before they lose their life by their own hands.
I recently published a set of downtempo/lo-fi hip-hop songs I created over a decade ago. I started receiving some praise for one particular track so I re-used some footage for a frozen custard commercial I made a few years back. Take a listen and if you like what you hear, please let me know!
The music video is the short release version. To hear the full track, please check me out on Spotify (or Apple Music) and do please check out my other stuff. Old but new!