Friday, April 30, 2010

At work, focus on the important stuff.

Slipping through the cracks

" April 29 (Bloomberg) -- Since the U.S. recession began in December 2007, Congress has extended the length of unemployment benefits for the jobless three times. Now, the lawmakers may have reached their limit.

They are quietly drawing the line at 99 weeks of aid, a mark that hundreds of thousands of Americans have already reached. In coming months, the number of those who will receive their final government check is projected to top 1 million.

It’s a deadline that has rarely been mentioned in recent debates over jobless benefits, in which Republicans have delayed aid because of cost concerns. The deadline hasn’t been lost on Teauna Stephney, a 39-year-old single mother from Bothell, Washington, who said she could become homeless once her $407 weekly checks stop in June.

“What happens to these families when they have no money for food, no money for their rent and no money for their health care?” said McDermott. “It’s a problem that nobody around here wants to talk about.”"
More Than a Million in U.S. May Lose Jobless Benefits -

But the recession is over and we are in recovery, so the job market will pick up soon right?

Thoughts on Flash

"Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.

New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind."

Thoughts on Flash - Steve Jobs

Golden Week* begins

Headed out for a ride on Thursday with exciting plans for distance and climbs only to be pulled up short west of Ome as the rain began to fall. Our largish group was led to shelter, which whilst a surprise, gave us all a chance to re-evaluate the conditions. A phone call to Tom, who was further up the road, elicited the information that it was raining quite heavily. Consensus was to curtail the ride, jump on a train or do a u-turn and head back. The majority rode back to Tokyo in increasingly blustery conditions, but strong pulls all round meant we made good time. Into the club house (central Tokyo chapter) for a cleansing ale (or 5) and a few slices of pizza. Excellent. A strong 120km to start off the Golden Week holiday. Looking forward to joining newcomers Tyler and Geoff on a couple more rides in hopefully much better weather, whilst the usual peloton members are traveling.

*Golden Week is the term applied to the string of public holidays in late April early May. This year these public holidays fall on Thursday April 29th, Monday May 1st, Tuesday May 2nd & Wednesday May 3rd.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Scapegoat, Addendum.

"Does Goldman deserve the theatrical roasting it has been subjected to all day? Of course. Will anything come out of it? Not too likely. In order to keep a fair and balanced perspective on things, it may behoove those watching Carl Levin's sanctimonious monologues to realize that the November 4, 1999 vote on S. 900, better known as the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, received Senator Levin's full endorsement. If Goldman is the pure, unadulterated evil it is today, it is so only because of idiotic Senators who were corrupt, or stupid enough, or both, to let GLB pass when it did, and usher in the era of unbridled prop trading/hedge funding by banks with full access to the discount window and taxpayer bailouts.

Any attempt at fixing Goldman must begin with reinstating Glass-Steagal - period. Anything and everything else is smoke and mirrors. Yes it will be painful (for the banks), and yes it will cost massive equity losses due to forced spin offs (for bank shareholders), but it will prevent the next scapegoating circus after the fact. How about we preempt these things from happening for once? That said, we applaud the 8 out of 100 senators who had the foresight to not sell their country's future to the banking cabal."

via ZH


"At this stage in the proceedings, the Goldman Sachs’ public relations people must be feeling more than a little down.  The firm’s lawyers are still breathing fire, Lloyd Blankfein trod the fine line between not being apologetic and actually saying “it’s capitalism, stupid”, and the more junior executives interrogated today did not say anything blatantly incriminating.

Here are three suggestions for the PR team to take up with senior management – once they are in mood to think long-term about their “franchise value” again.
  1. Come out in support of some form of financial reform.
  2. Create a corporate pledge not to use “astro turf”/fake grass-roots organizations to spread disinformation, then invite other leading firms to sign on.
  3. Settle the SEC case as soon as possible. You know that the next crazy boom will take a different form in any case.  All the feds really want to do is to bolt the stable door after the horse is long gone; at least allow them that face-saving measure.
All the senators I saw at the hearing today were angry, with good reason, with one or more (or all) of Wall Street’s practices.

The Wall Street temptation, of course, will be to just increase campaign contributions – and I’m sure we will see some of that."

Three Modest Proposals For Goldman Sachs - The Baseline Scenario

I see them in some respects as the Toyota of the industry.. their public image has taken a beating, the politicos are out grabbing soundbites and, in their minds, hopefully votes.. the client base, with its greater understanding of the industry, will move on quickly, just as the majority of the public will not blink about buying more hybrid Toyotas.. Point 3. above is key.. settle the SEC case.. Things got fast and loose.. for that there should be fines.. the next boom for GS and its kin to profit upon will be of an entirely different form.. no doubt a couple of years after the next crash we will see a similar round of reactive angst..isn't it a bit like western vs. eastern medicine? treat the symptoms or treat the cause?

The following article nails it IMHO..

"The financial crisis of 2008 was not caused by investment banks betting against the housing market in 2007. It was caused by the fact that too few investors—including all of the big investment banks—bet too heavily on the housing market in the years before 2007. As in the stock-market bubble of the late nineteen-nineties, the real havoc in the housing bubble was wreaked by investors and institutions who were convinced that prices could only go up. There are many, many things about its behavior during the housing bubble and the financial crisis that Wall Street should be slammed for. Being short housing in 2007 just isn’t one of them."

The Goldman Hearings: Levin vs. Wall Street - Posted by James Surowiecki

and finally..

"You want the truth? You can't handle the truth. Son, we live in a country with an investment gap. And that gap needs to be filled by men with money. Who's gonna do it? You? You, Middle Class Consumer? Goldman Sachs has a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom. You weep for Lehman and you curse derivatives. You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what we know: that Lehman's death, while tragic, probably saved the financial system. And that Goldman's existence, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, saves pension funds. You don't want the truth. Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want us to fill that investment gap. You need us to fill that gap. "We use words like credit default swaps, collateralized debt obligation, and securitization? We use these words as the backbone of a life spent investing in something. You use 'em as a punchline. We have neither the time nor the inclination to explain ourselves to a commoner who rises and sleeps under the blanket of the very credit we provide, and then questions the manner in which we provide it! We'd rather you just said thank you and paid your taxes on time. Otherwise, we suggest you get an account and start trading. Either way, we don't give a damn what you think you're entitled to!" anon.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

White earbuds

"If you spent the money on an original iPod in 2001 on Apple stock ($499), you would have $14,513.78 today." via FE

Pragmatic lunchtime reading

"As of last week, the Market Climate in stocks remained characterized by an overvalued, overbought, overbullish, rising-yields syndrome that has historically produced periods of marginal new highs, slight declines, and yet further marginal highs, followed somewhat unpredictably by nearly vertical drops. I've often accompanied the description of this syndrome with the word "excruciating," because the apparent resiliency of the market and the celebration of each fresh high, can make it difficult to maintain a defensive stance. Interestingly, the analysts at Nautilus Capital recently noted that the most closely correlated periods in market history to this one were the advances of 1929 and 2007. While exact replication of those advances would allow for a couple more weeks of further strength, we've generally found it dangerous to expect history to do more than rhyme. These hostile syndromes have a tendency to erase weeks of upside progress in a few days."

Looking back, looking forward - Hussman Funds


Andy Xie: I’ll Tell You When Chinese Bubble Is About to Burst

Full steam ahead then?

Berkshire Presses Lawmakers to Roll Back Proposed Curbs, Avoiding Potential Hit

"My biggest fear is that he retires."

Deja Vu

Via Pragmatic Capitalist

Gambling with the economy

"WHILE the Securities and Exchange Commission’s allegations that Goldman Sachs defrauded clients is certainly big news, the case also raises a far broader issue that goes to the heart of how Wall Street has strayed from its intended mission."

Gambling With the Economy - Roger Lowenstein

Not sure more regulation is the answer as per the above article. Gambling? Maybe. Get Rich quick syndrome? Certainly. The "old fashioned" values of working hard for your wealth disappeared somewhere. How did that happen? Laziness?

Monday, April 26, 2010

The end of the beginning?

"With yields over 10% and matters spinning out of control, Greece has gone ahead and announced its intention to tap the €30 billion rescue package extended by European finance ministers, even as negotations with the IMF on its share of the offered assistance just get underway. In some corners, this is being called the end of the recent drama, but it's more accurately described as the end of the beginning. Greece has merely bought itself time—time to sell its citizens on the dramatic steps that will be needed to close its budget gap, and time to prepare markets for what may be an inevitable debt restructuring." End, Act I - Free Exchange

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010


Vote LibDem?

"We now live in an era when very serious men and women stay out of politics because our national discourse is conducted by populists with no interest in politics whatsoever. What we have in the UK is a coming together of the political elite and the media in a way that makes people outside London or outside those elites feel disenfranchised and powerless."

Nick Clegg's rise could lock Murdoch and the media elite out of UK politics - Guardian

Anything that reduces the power of the media would get my vote to be honest. This article was an eye-opener.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Long stuff, short fluff

"Mom and Pop America, unlike their Asian counterparts, and most speculators apparently, do not favor the precious metals like gold.

They might be right. But sometimes it is safest to be positioned comfortably far from the maddening (pun intended as in 'frenzied' and 'annoying') crowd.

For me that entails being on a short term hedged trade, long stuff and short fluff.

The US financial sector, as represented by the bloated banks, are overvalued based on a business model that relies on gaming the system, routinely defrauding their customers, adding little value to the global economy except for themselves, and feeding off the wealth creation and the labor of the many. That seems to be coming to an end, perhaps not tomorrow, but as time goes by.

If stocks take a serious tumble in the US we'll know which way the wind is blowing. If gold holds its ground, we will have an indication that it is ready for the next leg up, because the drop in stocks is based on a disgorgement of assets which have lost their appeal and confidence because of the repeated, increasingly reckless, and virulent frauds of the American oligarchs."

Poll: 93% of Investors Believe That Gold will Fall - Jesse's Cafe Americain

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Monday, April 19, 2010

Eyjafjallajokull Ash Diffusion

via Zero Hedge

DateActual FlightsFlights same day previous week% change
Wed 14 April 201028,08727,912+0.6%
Thurs 15 April 201020,84228,578-27.1%
Fri 16 April 201011,65928,597-59.2%
Sat 17 April 20104,88622,653-78.4%
Sun 18 April 20104,000 (expected)24,965-84% (expected)
Mon 19 April 201028,126
Sunday figures based on assumptions at 12.30CET on Sunday 18 April

Political hot air from the Fed

"The Federal Reserve is very unhappy with the prospect of losing its regulatory authority over all but the largest financial institutions. The four regional Fed presidents were also quite strident in their advocation of an end to too-big-to-fail. I found this all to be exasperating. None of the attending presidents adequately explained how a Fed that completely failed to prevent dangerous consolidation before the crisis should now be viewed as a credible enemy of too-big-to-fail after the crisis. None of the attending presidents provided tangible evidence of internal changes designed to make the Fed a more credible regulator. Each was asked about the odd disconnect between the Fed's pre-crisis actions and its post-crisis rhetoric, and each responded by saying little more than "we've learned our lesson, now trust us". And none of the attending presidents made a real case for why ending too-big-to-fail should be the cornerstone of reform and how it might be accomplished. The Fed should lead by example. If it believes it can regulate most effectively, it should be explicit about how it might do that. "We've learned our lesson" will not make for a sustainable model of competent regulation.

As financial reform proceeds, it's always worth asking whether the changes in the law would have prevented the crisis or reduced its severity. At this point, I'm not sure the conversation in Washington is really focused on that question."

First, define the problem - Free Exchange

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Brevet, or randonnée, is an organised long-distance bicycle ride in the sport of randonneuring. Cyclists - who, in this discipline, may be referred to as randonneurs - follow a designated but unmarked route (usually 200km to 1400km), passing through check-point controls, and must complete the course within specified time limits. These limits, while challenging, still allow the ride to be completed at a comfortable pace - there is no requirement to cycle at racing speeds or employ road bicycle racing strategies.

A 300km brevet was organised to depart from Kawasaki this morning at 4am, head out towards Mount Fuji and Lake Yamanaka, then turn south to Mishima via Gotenba. The route follows the coast road round the Izu peninsular, via Shimoda, then back up to a finish at Ito. We had presumed around 7pm perhaps, so plenty of time to hop on a train back to Tokyo.

Bike prepped, (waterproof) gear laid out, and in in bed by 9pm, only to be woken by a call around 11pm from David saying there was an update email delaying the start until 10am. Whilst it was still raining heavily in Tokyo, this was snow up in the mountains, and the snow plows were out on the roads. I called Jamie and updated him. The new start time would give an eta in Ito around 1am or 2am needing to find a hotel that would allow a late check-in, or as David suggested an early 4:43am train back to Tokyo. Jamie and Pete were still keen, but the thought of this event taking over my whole weekend were enough for me to finally make my excuses and pass.

I woke around 7am to snow on the ground around the apartment and it was still raining. Fairly happy still with my decision, I headed over to TAC for the Masters swim (3500m) at 7:30am, then jumped into a revmaster class at 9am. The rain stopped around the time the swim was finishing, and the skies are now trying to clear. It might even be sunny in a few hours! Perhaps a few hours on the bike tomorrow will assuage my guilt for dropping out this morning. Meanwhile good luck to David, Jamie and Pete.

James, who should have been racing in Gunma today, awoke to similar, if a tad more extreme problems.
Race cancelled.

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Space Station Silhouetted Against Sun

Iceland to Britain: Kiss my ash.

"THE dispute between Iceland and Britain concerning British creditors of failed Icelandic banks escalated significantly today, as Iceland fired a plume of smoke and ash at the British Isles, forcing traffic from Heathrow Airport to shut down for the day. The aggressive approach involves the use of a "volcano", which apparently harnesses Iceland's rich store of geologic energy. Britons are reportedly complaining slightly more than normal." Conflict erupts - Free Exchange

Britain.. Iceland's ashtray.

Old Jokes Home

A man goes to the doctor. The doctor shakes his head and says, "I'm sorry but you're going to  have to stop masturbating".

"Why?" asks the man.

"Because I'm trying to examine you".

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Not tired yet

'At today's rate of market melt up, we will hit Dow 36,000 in 332 days, or on March 12, 2011. This should occur a few days before Bernanke finally agrees to raise the discount rate to 0.50 bps. Also, at today's rate of price change, we will hit $715/bbl on the same day. We are confident that gas at $30/gallon will cause the Fed Chief Execution Officer to evaluate his conclusion that his brilliant monetary policy is not causing the single biggest asset bubble in US history. Last and not least, total US Federal debt on that day will be about $14.5 trillion, and when adding all the off-balance sheet items, should hit about $120 trillion. We have less than a year before total Alice In Wonderland oblivion. Oh, and since the latest episode of market melt up began, the SPY [S&P500 Index ETF] is trading as a 4x leveraged ETF on the XLF [Financial Services Sector ETF, ie. Banks]. Ignore that this statement makes no sense. Just buy. Buy everything. Then repo it to the Fed, they are particularly receptive to used single ply toilet paper, and then buy on repo margin. Insanity is here.'
Tyler Durden - Zerohedge

- from comments
'I think he's just venting'

'I cannot believe there is a single short out there left standing, because looking at the intra-day charts, there isn't even a pullback. At this point it surely cannot be a short squeeze, it is simply a liquidity fuelled bubble, manipulated and controlled by the Fed and its agents. But I guess with an infinite supply of money at zero cost this can go on until the Fed decides it has to stop. I am amazed the Hedge funds aren't beginning to show some signs of shorting this, but I suppose they probably feel like the rest of us, that the Fed has an infinite supply of money against our finite funds, and are waiting for signs, as we all are that the Fed is tiring of the game.'

Trivia question: What day did the 1930 rally top out on the DJIA?

Dylan Ratigan and the Story Pirates present Financial Crisis

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Big Short

“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of a doubt, what is laid before him.”

"So what kind of picture of Wall Street does The Big Short paint? Banks manipulating the prices of custom derivatives. Traders making stupid bets and taking home eight-figure bonuses. Painfully inadequate risk management systems. Management teams that have no idea what is going on. A toxic combination of cutthroat greed on the part of individual bankers and broken incentive systems on the part of banks."

Pack of Fools - The Baseline Scenario

Read this on my trip down to HK last week. A good read, Lewis as always tells a great story and brings interest to a dry subject.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


"First, Goldman royally raped its clients by losing them a boatload in two sequentially failed EURUSD recommendations (on which the firm, of course, being on the other side of the trade, ended up making a killing). Today the firm is handing out vaseline to clients but not in FX - they are now going after commodities and, specifically, gold. Most relevantly, Goldman is once again starting to accumulate Gold. Three months ago Goldman boosted its forecast price target to $1265/toz in 2010 and $1425/toz in 2011, during which period the firms was likely shorting gold to clients who were buying in expectation of a price hike. Today Goldman has revised its call - no surprise: gold is now expected to drop to $1165 in 2010 and $1350 in 2011. Then again, according to former Goldmanite and current gold "expert" Jeff Christian big banks would never do something as risky and foolish as having a naked short position. So please ignore anything we might have said earlier about GS shorting gold unhedged. Bottom line, clients are now expected to sell their gold to Goldman. Which means Goldman is buying. You do the math."

Goldman Again Buying Gold, Selling Copper As It Lowers Gold Price Forecast, Boosts Copper - Zero Hedge

Monday, April 12, 2010

"Extend and Pretend"

"A year ago, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) suspended rule 157, which had previously required banks to mark their assets to market value when preparing balance sheet reports. The basic argument was that fair values were not appropriate because there was "no market" for troubled assets.

The impact of "extend and pretend" is to create a gap between the reported value of assets and the value they would have on the basis of the cash flows that those assets can reasonably be expected to generate over their maturity. In order to avoid having to restate assets, banks have allowed an increasing gap to develop between the volume of delinquent loans and the volume of loans actually in foreclosure, creating a growing "shadow inventory" of impaired but unmodified and unforeclosed loans.

As of last week, the Market Climate for stocks remained characterized by strenuous overvaluation, strenuous overbought conditions, overbullish sentiment, and hostile yield pressures. True to its short-term form in these conditions, the market pushed to yet another marginal new high last week. The tendency for the market to shrug off widely observed overbought conditions may make it seem that these conditions don't matter. But I can't stress enough that the pattern of short-term continuation to marginal new highs is quite typical once the market establishes this syndrome of conditions, following which abrupt, nearly vertical losses are also typical - if unpredictable in timing.

In short, my impression is that investors are deluding themselves about the solvency of the banking system. People learned in the 1930's that when you don't require the reported value of assets to have a clear and tangible link to the value that the assets would have in liquidation, bad things happen. Yet this is what regulatory and accounting rules are allowing for the banking system at present. While I do believe that bank depositors are safe to the extent of FDIC guarantees, my impression is that the banking system is still quietly insolvent."

Extend and Pretend - John P. Hussman, Ph.D.

It's that unpredictable timing that sorts the men from the boys. I'll get my shorts.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

How to watch Paris Roubaix 2010 in Japan

With English commentary...

First, you will need a subscription to Sky PerfecTV channel 306. Coverage is from 8:40pm to 1:00am. Turn the volume down.

Second, Eurosport website live audio feed.

Then you're good to go.

For perfectionist Mac users, an installed copy of Airfoil and at least one set of speakers connected via an Airport Express to the home Airport Extreme network.

In my experience there is a slight time delay between the TV images and the commentary over the website. This can be overcome using the on-the-fly hard drive recorder on the Sky box. It just takes a little pause and play until you have the two aligned perfectly.

Alternatively you can find a number of places on-line to watch in the native Flemish via live video streaming and the Cyclingfans website is usually pretty good too.

With Haussler injured, I'd love to see Hincapie finally get a win, but who would bet against Cancellara on current form? Can't wait.

Wow.. Cancellara.. amazing. Chapeau indeed.

Hanami TiltShift ii

Hanami TiltShift

Hanami ColorSplash

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Matsuhime with Dave.

Dave & I met at 7:00am near Dave's house, then found Dave waiting for us at the usual spot at 7:30am. Dave, Dave & I headed up the river(s) to Takao, had a quick pit-stop at the 7-11 before attacking Otarumi.

Dave announced that he was going for it, whilst Dave said he wasn't. He lied. I found Dave's pace-making to be terrific, hung on as best I could and PBs* were set by all three riders today.

Dave had to be back in Tokyo to prepare for his daughter's birthday and so he set off on the usual lake route home, finding that he was able to show a Japanese Dave the Positivo drug lord long cut. Much to his delight.

Dave & I set off up Route 20 to attack Matsuhime from the south side. A quick pit stop at the ice cream shop in Saruhashi for no ice cream did enable me a chance to drop off the kids before setting off up the climb. I was instantly more comfortable riding and no doubt the reduced weight played a part.

This is a beautiful and scenic route of about 25km* and 1000m* of vertical elevation. Lots of switchbacks and great views. Dave was able to clean his bike, have a nap and send a few emails by the time I arrived at the summit, but he generously shared with me his secret home-made jaw breaker energy bar* (patent pending). Delicious.

Dave & I descended to Lake Okutama in no time at all. 150km* or so into the ride, lakeside at 1pm, several hours earlier than last week. A short discussion was had as to route options. I decided to stick to my original plan and head for Ome, then home. Dave couldn't resist the draw of another climb up Tomin no Mori and so we split at this point to head home solo.

I descended to Ome, stopped, then controversially went to the 7-11 and NOT the Aurore bakery, where I purchased a couple of iced coffees and finished off Dave's secret home-made jaw breaker energy bar* (patent pending).

A couple of quick texts to the wife and after a little rest I was back on the road finding a headwind that was to accompany me ALL the way home. Bugger and bollox.

Still, I managed to make reasonable time and arrived home at 5:00pm*. To find I was locked out as wife, daughter, nanny and dogs were all out enjoying a beautiful spring day. Luckily Davette was back by 5:15pm* with little Davette, and so I could get in. Showered and feeling pretty good, time for a beer. There's no doubt my over-indulgences in Hong Kong (rich dinners with foie gras, too much alcohol and too little sleep) led to a lack of oomph today, but when all said and done I was pretty happy with this ride.

220km*, 2000m*, 9hrs* riding.

* All data, times, elevations and distances are subject to clearance by the PEWMC (Positivo Espresso Weights & Measures Committee). Forms will be submitted in triplicate in due course. Results will be posted at some point in the near future. Until that time please be aware that all data, times, elevations and distances are probably fine.

Thanks to James M. and Dominic H. for their Dave impressions.

Friday, April 09, 2010


Thursday, April 08, 2010

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Grey and wet in HK

A humid 26C though.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


Off to HK until the end of the week.

Monday, April 05, 2010

American Dream Baby!

C Average- Abstruse Goose

iPotroast from the fine folks at Apple

"Namaste, entire population of Spaceship Earth. I honor the place where your desire to consume becomes one with my desire to create.

Hold your iPad. Gaze at it. Pray to it. Let it transform you. And do it soon, because before you know it we are going to release version 2, which will make this one look like a total piece of crap. Peace be upon you."
An open letter to the people of the world - The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Apr3rd, Kraving a good ride, 160km, 2500m climbing.

A cold day, of almost 160km with 2500m of climbing.

A surprisingly large group (8?) assembled along the Tama this morning, although this was whittled down reasonably quickly to 5, and then 4 for the final climb.

An overcast start, with temps never really over 10C meant a great day to be out riding, although as usual at this time of year, difficult to judge the right amount of layers and clothing. I only really suffered with very cold toes/feet towards the end of the final descent.

For 7 hours of riding, it seems a bit extreme that I was gone from home for 12. That's 5 hours talking, waiting, eating, faffing(?) etc.

Whilst this meant a final train ride home depositing me in Gotanda in the dark (and rain!), I couldn't have wished for a more enjoyable day out. To top it all, I arrived home to find British Corner shop had delivered my new pre-ride breakfast, Kellogg's Krave - very pro.

Thanks to my co-riders, looking forward to the next one.

Oh.. and for the record, I think it would quite difficult to be more Rapha than I today.. I even wore my cap! And socks.. I do like my new red country jersey.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Tricky cards


"First, low interest rates have helped UK homeowners because many people have variable rate mortgages and thus have not been bushwhacked in the same way as the Americans have by teaser rates. But the same variable mortgages expose people to future increases in rates; the shock may just have been postponed. Second, whether interest rates were high or low, the value of a house is related to the cost of rebuilding it (which has gone up very slowly) and the cost of land (which is linked to GDP). Absent rapid inflation or rapid economic growth, UK house prices cannot be justified; Grantham thinks they will eventually fall 40%."

High valuations, low returns - Buttonwood

Given what I have seen recently, I would say over-valued by 20%-25%, but that is looking at it in terms of investment only.