today's thought: not much to think about today.
Its been what, a week since my last entry? Time really flies when you are occupied with stuff.
Books first. I've been zipping through books really fast-like. Finished Raymond E. Feist's errr, *something* of a Merchant Prince and Dan Brown's Deception Point. I always try to grab at least 2 books when I'm grabbing books, but somehow, finishing both of them in 4 days is kinda... worrying. I know I wouldn't have that kinda enthusiasm for literary pursuits when I'm studying next year, so why not load up on the leisure reading? Life of a Merchant Prince (yes, Life) is unexpected. I pay no heed to the title of books, hence I never really know what to expect. Turns out to have alot on the beautiful, beautiful art of commerce. I loved it, it was a pleasant surprise from the usual fare of fantastical thrills and suspence. Dan Brown's book is standard fare once again. I still cannot fathom how easy it is to be enraptured by his simplistic unvealing of plots. The elegant pull factor. The subtle omission of names. The masterful decoy. The obvious, but erroreous implications. So easy. Sometimes, it is better to just succumb to the sheer pleasure of it all, instead of trying to keep your mind alert and spot the tricks. Expect nothing unusual, let the story lead you on, and find yourself pleasantly surprised at the revelation. Its just like watching a horror movie. You could simply block it all out and keep telling yourself that it is nothing more than a film, put together by skilled directors and fanciful effects in an attempt to chill your bones. Or you could simply submit to it and allow yourself to be drawn in. Leave your rational and your pride outside; nothing like savouring something the way it is meant to be.
Music-wise, I am officially at a drought. I have had almost no contact with new music, nor do I have the urge to do so. I stand at the music store and stare at the titles, and nothing even makes me want to throw 20 bucks to try. And bear in mind; I think nothing of getting an album even if I've never even heard any of the titles in it. More often than not, the reputation is enough to warrant the experiment. That is when I have the money.
And I do. Wait, soccer first. No bets this week; soccer betting is best left for entertainment's sake. I watched Tottenham vs Arsenal, and boy was it a great match. Arsenal won 5-4, and it was thrilling, as I found myself rooting for Spurs to draw with Arsenal. They fought well, and never let up even though they were 2 goals down most of the time. Their defense totally sucked, as 2 of the goals had been horrid defensive errors, which I've never even seen the likes of Newcastle's back four commit. All in all, a worthy derby match, and one of the few times I've watched a match for entertainment solely.
My eyelids are drooping; my biological clock has been screwing up, and I've been spending all week tuning it to a more reasonable schedule. And I've finally managed to make it so that I feel sleepy at 10, and at 12 I am supposed to be in REM. I am programmed to wake up around 5-6, shower, get breakfast, and get to work, since I realized that that would be night over in the US, and the market would be at its best then. I was not wrong; I've made significantly better profits by sticking to this timetable. And it is even healthy, I eat regularly, and I find that my appetite is coming back. The damn ringworms finally decided to leave me alone, and hence my skin complexion wasn't that of a 60-year old, all dry and desert like.
Today was my first payday. Actually, it isn't exactly a payday, but I've gotten the first batch of funds cleared to my bank account for my personal disposal. I've purchased contact lens today, because that would be the top of my buylist. And even before I've even put them on, I'd already started to doubt this choice of mine. Merely soaking them in saline was a chore which I doubted I would wanna have to endure daily. Damn LASIK, if only it were safer, and came packaged with less side-effects. Till then, I'll probably use contacts periodically, when I can actually get down to the trouble of dealing with them. Other than that, I'll just stick to my trusty spectacles. I've grown attached to them, rimless and all, I remember them costing me upwards of $350. Great investment, lasted me 2 years and still going strong.
As much as I like to continue, I find that fatigue is setting in. Tomorrow is another long day, and I've been slow at clearing the 2nd collection. I'll jot down the list of things I need to write about, and then stop here for the night.
The first account, Zakonan, is near conclusion. I've made nearly negliable profits, seeing how, after the fraud costing me $432, I learnt another thing: Paypal sucks. In fact, let me amend that to online transactions suck. When you charge something to a credit card, you sign for it as a proof that you had indeed authorized that transaction. However, on the Internet, there isn't as yet a way for you to sign to validate the purchase, so you can effectively request for a chargeback. Which sucks. Which means, outside of eBay, anyone could purchase items with a credit card, then choose to get a chargeback. I got hit with that twice, to the tune of 242 tix, which is roughly US$220, which is another S$400. I know that I definitely did not make any losses, but I don't think I made enough profit to yell about.
Other than that, I did everything pretty ok, I guess. I also found out about this auction channel on MTGO, and that has helped me a whole lot with my second account. Alright, see, in the market of MTGO cards, there is a buyer's price and a seller's price. A buyer's price is how much you can expect to get if you want to sell your cards quickly. Seller's is how much you can expect to pay if you want to get your cards quickly. The actual price is actually roughly the median of the two, and both of them are usually about 2-4 tix apart.
Yeah, well, so, lets take a card for example. Plow Under (who's value has doubled since I started on the 2nd account, sushumna) is currently about 5-9, 5 being the buyer's price, 9 being the seller's price. So, what's the point of putting it on auction? Yeah, not terribly exciting, eh? People didn't take the time to pay attention to the channel just to buy something at a price at which they can get the card right away instead of waiting and bidding. So, maybe the bid starts at 4, and goes up to 5, 6, and then 7. Not alot of variation there. Because MTGO's currency is worth $1, and there isn't any worthy substitute for coins, its kinda rigid. But things change when you put up 4x of a card for sale. 1 Plow Under may fetch you 7 tix, but 4 Plow Unders might get you 30, which is 7.5 each. And therein lies the beauty of the auction site: it allows you to get more value for your cards, especially if they come in multiples.
A very simple example, Myr Incubator vs Mindslaver. Both are worth 1, but the Incubator is a weak one, while Mindslavers have alot of buyers, hence a strong 1. In actual fact, a Myr Incubator is probably worth around 0.75 or so, but people pay one cause there is no 0.75, while a Mindslaver is worth 1.25, but people pay 1 as well, cause there isn't a way to maek a 0.25 payment. When you have multiple copies, you allow people to bid against each other and get a better price, for having multiples. It saves time: you don't need to ask each person on the board if they wanna buy 4 copies of Birds of Paradise for 38, and definitely pays more.
But do not use it to sell singluar copies of cards which aren't worth at least 1 each. You'll make losses.
Lessons learnt: 1) Do not accept credit card payments outside of eBay. Its weird, but I've never had this problem with eBay. The people there are more honest. 2) Be smart. 3) Use auction wherever possible. Aside from that, I can't really think of alot of other methods I've been using. There are slight changes here and there as I become more accustomed to the trading aspects, more familiar with the regulars and the heavy-hitters, and more fluent with card prices.
Sushumna's cards are simply amazing. The more I look at them, the higher the value rises. I found a platinum angel avatar, which I didn't realize was worth 30 bucks. I've been selling most of the cheaper cards away, and I'm looking at around US$900 alright. I expect the other cards to fetch in the rest of the profits.
I am also collecting Fact or Fictions. Or at least, trying to. I know that its value will rise, so I'm looking to get it for 18 tix it. Currently, I have 5, but I hope to grab any I come across reasonably priced and leave them somewhere for a couple of years, then cash in on it.
I have completely lost interest in my PS2, Xbox and Astaria. I still worship my PS2, as in I feel that sense of "oohh, my beloved PS2", but I don't even play anything on it. Same goes for Xbox, Phantom Dust lost its glitter pretty quickly. Astaria is, well, sucky as usual. Great waste of time. I log on to Aardwolf occasionally only to check out the jokes board. I know I wanna play Final Fantasy XI, it would feel wrong if I don't get my hands on it soon.
I needa get a bank draft to pay for my tuition fees tomorrow. Anyhow, my mother wants to drag me to Bangkok next month along with my brother and the lady who cleans up our house once a week and her daughter. I'm like, oh well. I'm never too keen on going overseas, but actually, why not? I wanna go spend a couple of days at my grandmother's house before I leave; I like the serenity there, and the rustic tranquilty. Great for clearing the mind, really, its almost like meditation.
Thanksgiving is November, 25. I'm looking forward to it. Weird eh? I like Thanksgiving, I think we should have it in Singapore as well. What the hell is up with what, Labour Day? You need a public holiday to commerate the workforce? Just have Thanksgiving, and everyone can have turkey and commerate everything.
Seriously, I take Thanksgiving as a great opportunity to reflect on all the blessings that you have been accorded in the past year. Which will then trigger an evaluation of yourself. Which is why I plan to take that day out to do exactly that.
Ok, update since I left this entry. I spent Sunday morning "working" on MTGO, and then proceeded to attempt to stuff the contact lens I bought on Saturday into my eyeballs. I tell ya, I swear I'm the only person who has that much problems with contacts. Its like, I swear my eyeballs are hypersensitive, or the reflex action to blink has been heavy augmented. I was getting ready to meet Lennert and Junsheng before going over to Oslee's house for Hari Raya and a mini-gathering. I had my mother try to stuff the lenses in for me, and that took the better half of an hour. Annoying. The gathering was alright, met up, ate abit, talked abit, move on with life. Came home, and I spent another 30 minutes getting them out. At least getting them out isn't so bad, I did it on myself.
Suffice to say that the first hour of so was disorienting at best. It felt really weird to not have something sitting on your nose, and to have clarity on your field of vision. And, well, I do look better without my glasses. Even though I like my glasses alot. But I've always looked good, so not alot of difference there. Not to mention also possessing an over-inflated sense of self-worth.
Back to contacts. I find it a total chore. It seems to be sooooo much trouble. After yesterday I had a good mind to just go for LASIK and deal with the night-blindness and other accompanying side-effects. But I guess I'll get used to it and then it would be nothing more than a minor hassle then, I guess. Better than to stumble around in the dark just because my pupils have limited ability to dilate.
In other news, after removing the offending pieces of thinner than paper plastics from my eyeballs, Heng Swee arrived and we proceeded to watch the Newcastle vs Manchester United. It was a good match. I had 20 on Newcastle, more so for support than for anything. Man U won 3-1 in the end, and I gotta say that Newcastle, while didn't do its best, didn't exactly give the match away either. I don't have too much faith in Graeme Souness though. He plays Titus Bramble ahead of O'Brien, even though Bramble only returned to fitness with a match. I never liked Bramble, O'Brien was in my opinion the more reliable centreback. And Robert isn't allowed to start a match. Graeme is still keeping faith with Kluivert, perhaps more out of reputation than anything. Bellamy and Shearer worked really well, and Robert's set pieces and left foot makes him very useful in the left flank, albeit lacking in the pace department compared to Bellamy. Bellamy, while not useless, isn't extremely effective on the left flank either. If it were up to me, I would rotate the 2 striker slots between Shearer partnering Bellamy or Kluivert. Robert really belongs to the left, but the midfield could be a nice churning mix of talent, while the back four has limited depth from which to choose, but still malleable.
I woke up today morning, Heng Swee left, and I did abit more work, and pulled off some nice prices on my cards. Took an afternoon nap, and then stuffed the contacts on again, this time alone, but with alittle more ease, and went to spend more money. Picked up a VCD of this drama serial starring Gao Yuan Yuan (woohoo!) and Alyssa um, forgot her surname, too. Great eye candy, and for those afternoons when the American MTGO crowd dissipates and I'm waiting for buyers for my event tickets. Also discovered Delta Goodrem's second album, and Jay Zhou's newest one, both of them latest additions to my CD collection. I didn't catch any notable songs on my first pass through, but I wasn't paying a whole lot of attention. Jay Zhou's first track is great, and somehow I feel that he is using his famous slur to good effect, probably as a retort to all the criticisms. He makes it sound so good, even though its nearly impossible to decipher what he's really singing.
Alright, I think I should end here today. There are a few other things that I could continue to write about. Oh, wait. I tried to change the line spacing for my main entry, but I ended up doing something really simple thanks to my inepitude at HTML and CSS. Now my entry is all in bold, but I actually kinda like it, so I think I'll just keep it like this. Keeps the visibility up. I could really go on, commenting on the stupid newspaper on smoking. Actually, I should do that.
"Smoking's deadlier than you think". What does that imply? That new definitive research has been concluded and they do not bode well for smokers. WRONG. In actual fact, that article was merely assuming that everyone has forgotten the full effects of smoking, and thus, the article presents exactly that. It makes sense, doesn't it? Almost all of the readers are going to go "oh, yeah, smoking does this too. I forgot about that one in the avalanche of anti-smoking propaganda." Ever studied statistics? Let me ask you, which one sounds more intimidating: "smokers have 23 times the risk of contracting lung cancer." or "the risk of contracting lung cancer rises from 1% to 23%"? I don't know about you, but I choose the latter. 1 in 100 to 1 in 4 sounds pretty intimidating, doesn't it? But, hey, when you say 23 times, 0.01% to 0.23% is 23 times as well, and they don't look half as scary.
So, if you follow me, assuming that 1% to 23% has a better effect, for them to state something like "23 times more" means that the actual risk of lung cancer is less than 1%, and the risk of lung cancer with smoking isn't that significant enough. Or else, they would add something like "1 in 4 smokers" which is just as effective.
Stupid mass media and their play with statistics.
Going off now, I'm really looking forward to Gao Yuan Yuan's appearance.
first accounts statement
Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2004 @ 02:21
current music: Wo3 De4 Ti4 Pan2, Jay Zhou
letter from a VIP
letter from a VIP
letter from a VIP