Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Its Actually Quite Difficult and Time Consuming

I think it is odd for bloggers to apologize to their handful of readers for not posting. It seems so parochial. I mean, its not as if the blogger is obliged to get back to me. I am not paying the blogger. (ok, I am paying respects, perhaps). Afterall, the blogger may be working really hard lately.

So I am now telling you, my handful of readers, I am as busy as a one-armed bricky (brick layer) in Beirut. (a crude but amusing visual brought to you by the Aussie mind).

Lately I have set up the emissions trading desk at Atlantik Financni Trhy, the Czech stock broker for whom I have worked for just one year now.

I am happy to say that I have set it up. I am bragging, just in case you didn't catch that. Bragging because of all the bloody hard work it has been. Bragging because only someone like me who has traded commodities, bonds, currencies, emerging market and all sorts of bizarre distressed debts; and settled many different odd securities,... would be stupid enough to embark on the trading and settlement process of . . . well . . . smoke!

Emissions trading in Europe, as part of the Kyoto protocol, idealist-inspired method of bringing the trading of pollution rights to the financial markets is THE new game in town for trader types. (do you detect a hint of cynicism?). Unfortuately, like the emerging markets of the last decade, and the distressed debt rage of the last few years... it is run by investment bankers out to make a buck or two (billion).

Yes, it is big stuff now. All these generators in the west, all these chemical companies, all these iron works, all these...well you get the picture: all these polluters of the west.. now need to buy these European Union Emissions Allowances or "EUAs".

Fortunately for yours truly, they can find a whole bunch of excess emissions allowances from my local neighborhood: Eastern Europe. Why? well someone had the bright idea to use the levels of 1990 as the benchmark. Note to reader, this is when the old Comecon commie-run countries were still running along at thick black smoke-belching levels, whose companies have since been rationalized (they fired the workers, asset stripped the companies, and sold off the remains to many others), and that later have come out looking like the most modern companies in Europe. (Seriously, out here in Czechia the companies are more lean and efficient than most German run, union-controlled, union-corrupted companies).

So what do I do? I says to my bosses, "its just like 1993 when you bought those stocks cheap and sold them higher, to the biggies in the west“. And the went for it.

Only problem is, I have to do it all by myself. The amount of contracts, legal work, financial work, marketing, selling, email writing, travelling, and above all, ear-busting phone calling,... is, well, actually quite difficult and time consuming.

I mean really, this WORKING thing has a few bugs in it.

I cannot honestly recall working this hard in my whole life!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Invisible Dog Competition

Saturday morning I went to something like a country fair. Wife's father is involved with animal breeding so he is one of the important persons of the big event.

Anyway, one of the visuals (aside from big f__king black bulls and smelly white piggies with testicals the size of soccer balls) was the dog competition. This is where the dogs are led by their owner up ramps, over hurdles and through tunnels, etc. Very fun to watch.

But an hour later I came back to a most disturbing sight.

I guess you could could compare it to shadow boxing. (Yeah I trained for boxing as an exercise ten years ago. For a huge two weeks...).

Imagine this, the ladies that are going up for the next competition want to be sure they know the course well enough to lead the dogs with their outstretched hands and a few calls. So they need to know the course well enough without the dogs before they take the dogs. Therefore they not only walk the course practicing the footsteps and the sharp turns but they are in fact running through the course, arms out, calling their dogs' names! Not only that, there are probably 5 to 8 competitors (sans mutts) out there at a time.

When I came back, still sleepy from a bad night, stomach aching from some badly marinated beef, I was sadly befuddled watching these ladies and looking for their dogs! First thought that popped into my head was, 'well this must be the invisible dog competition'.