Zombie Bystander

With the exception of “Shaun of the Dead,” I’ve missed the entire Zombie and Vampire fad.

I am totally ripped, however.

Having cultural roots in the land that gave us the original Vampire I still have no interest, even while I check the Hungarian stock market close on a daily basis and keep hoping that my unspent Forints from a few years ago can be converted into something more valuable than bird cage liner.

Somehow, though, neither Vampires nor Zombies will ever have much of a long term impact on my life.

Zombie BystanderToday, as the market was having a rare 2012  triple digit day, it did, as I was a Zombie Bystander all through the session.

In the past, I would have called that a “Buy and Hold” kind of guy and would probably have added a derisive sneer, but in a diplomatic and non-judgmental sort of way.

It didn’t start with a whisper. It didn’t start with a bite from an infected Zombie, nor did it start with my genetic makeup. Lord knows that I’ve aged, despite having that Vampire blood circulating sluggishly through my veins.

With Sugar Momma out west with her “home girls” for a week, Laszlo the Dachshund and I have been on our own and living the lives of carefree bachelors, which includes wearing hideously colored Grinch flannel pajama pants to collect the mail.

If pressed, I would defend myself by saying that the Grinch outfit was a gift from Sugar Momma and wearing them all day was just a way to break down the distance for the week.

Sugar Momma is somewhat of a snob when it comes to two things and two things only.

Wine and coffee.

Whereas I must have my coffee, I really don’t have the same level of appreciation that she does for Starbucks or her favorite, Peet’s, which reminds her of her carefree Berkeley days.

In fact, if anything, these days, I’ve entirely changed my mind about Starbucks.

At one time, despite the fact that I knew about their decadently fattening and cholesterol soaked offerings, that probably shave years off a loyal customer’s life span, they still gave off an air that followed along Google’s mantra of “Don’t be evil.” That mantra derives from Google’s 6th point of their 10 point corporate philosophy.

“You can still make money without doing evil.”

Reinforcing the image of Starbucks as a good player is their CEO. No scandals, no horrid personal stories and an altogether reasonable guy, who rarely wears a tie.

The fact that Starbucks has never been associated with child labor violations, the fact that it reportedly pays local family farmers a decent price for their beans and the “oh so cool” atmosphere in their stores just strengthens the impression.

And then it gets itself in the mud with Green Mountain.

Not everything from Vermont is really cool and hip, but still, doesn’t civilization show that the more advanced society always filters down its sophistication, moral fabric and knowledge to the lesser society that it encounters?

Oh, wait. That’s right. It’s the other way around. Human nature seeks the lowest common denominator.

So it should have been no surprise that in less than a year Starbucks and Green Mountain would go from unnecessary collaborators to competitors.

So I bought some Chock Full of Nuts for the week. I was especially impressed with the label under the lid that proudly proclaimed that the coffee did not contain any nuts.

I wonder what the label would say fro their specialty brand of “Chock Full of Civet?”

But that’s not what made me into a Zombie today.

It was the wine.

I went out and bought a box of wine, something that Sugar Momma doesn’t really approve of, but my palate pays her no attention in that regard.

So I had some with dinner last night.

Not much wine, either. She definitely wouldn’t have approved of my cutting and flavoring the wine with Cherry Coke.

This morning I woke up later than usual and was still incredibly tired, just as I was when going to bed at an unusually early time last night.

And my vision was blurry, too. Yes, dizzy as well.

So I checked the information that came along with the new medication that I started taking yesterday and sure enough blurred vision and dizziness were right up there, especially associated with the consumption of alcohol.

I assume that also included the drinking of alcohol.

Why I couldn’t get some of the other potential side effects just doesn’t seem fair. Had that happened, I might just have found myself going to the neighbor’s house to borrow a cup of sugar. And may have happily done so daily throughout the course of the 30 day treatment.

But I was in a stupified state.

While the market was showing its strength I couldn’t pull together the coritcal activity to pull anything off and since I didn’t have that other kind of side effect, by pulling off, I’m clearly referring to stock trades.

I think that the sale of some Morgan Stanley calls happened when Laszlo walked on the keyboard.

So instead of looking for opportunities and instead of having to think about whether a trade met my risk/reward criterion, I did nothing.

My poor spreadsheets and “what-if” analysis worksheets must have felt abandoned, but I had trouble visualizing the cells and getting Laszlo off the keyboard.

Doing nothing felt sort of good. It must be how the “Buy and Hold” pioneers of the early days used to feel, other than for the occasional Indian attacks, famine, drought, disease and exorbitantly high commissions.

I’ve been moaning about the fact that 2012, so far, has been a year of under-performance for me. The slow upward climb of prices hasn’t been particularly a rewarding environment in which to sell call options, although that’s been offset a bit with put sales.

Additionally, the strong silver rally hasn’t been good for my large ProShares UltraShort Silver ETF position.

For the first time in about 4 years, my “what if” fantasies indicated that my stock picks were better than I always gave myself credit for and that I would have fared better in the absence of what have turned out to be capital appreciation limiting covered calls.

That’s a very tortured way of saying that the covered calls were enriching someone else more than they were enriching me.

All of a sudden, “Buy and Hold” seems good, as long as you bought something good to begin with.

For today, at least, I went with that theory, as I couldn’t consistently count on Laszlo finding just the right combination of keystrokes to pull off trades.

I do have up to another 29 days of the medication and a need to finish that box of wine before Sugar Momma gets back home. So it’s entirely conceivable that I’ll continue being a Zombie Bystander for the rest of this week.

In the meantime, if the market keeps having these justificationless upward spikes, a Zombie’s life seems pretty good.




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