Month: March 2008

Yeah, thanks for the help… I think. Next time I’ll feed the cat!


A sign as a parent that the weekend is stressful is whn you start looking forward to going back to the office on Monday… and it’s only Saturday!

The irony is that 10 times out of 10, I’d rather be home with my family.

Work politics suck! This is going to be a very rough week for me. I know it. It will define my future are my current employer (or lack thereof), but since I make it a policy not to talk about work in this vehicle, let’s leave that alone for the time being.

Sunday. Today. 6am. Crying. Not over the monitor because I turned it off for Earth Day – and all the lights in the house (even unplugged a ton of stuff) leaving my mother to eat and read by candlelight while UrbanMummy and I went out for dinner with the baby group. Oy. Offtrack again. Crying. Yes. Calling for Mummy. So I went and fetched the little boy and brought him to the room. Very wet. Changed his diaper, UM breastfed him and we both thought we could score another hour of sleep before Linus woke up.

Nope.

Stewie talked, sat up, wanted water, to eat, his blankie… all that jazz. So I took him to the kitchen and he ate, and ate, and drank, and ate. 7am downstairs waltzes Linus, and he sits down to eat too. During this time I am getting food for them and Stewie is done so I let him down, Linus needs to pee. I take him to the washroom and while deciding if he has to pee or poo, I hear what sounds like a kitchen cabinet lock being shut and cereal pouring into a glass bowl… Odd… We finish up in the bathroom and upon walking into the kitchen I step on something that crunches. Then more. Then I look up and see Stewie chasing the cat with a scoop of her food, then dumping it in front of her, saying “Feed Lucie”. She eats some. He rushes back, scoops up another and dumps it near her while uttering the same phrase.

The entire floor is full of cat food and the cat is trying to eat as much as possible.

I demand he clean it up. He sits down and starts putting it into the bowl. Then while I’m getting the food off the carpet under the table, I hear another noise… He went and got the broom and is sweeping the cat food towards me. Then his brother took over and within minutes was pushing to broom in little Stewie’s face… Tears!

Thank for the help, boys! I think…

I can’t wait to see how Linus’ preschool swim class will go – swimming on his own, as he has been telling us for 2 weeks that he does not want to go to camp this summer because he does not want to swim. He even said he did not want to take swimming lessons… Should be a dandy!

Update:

Swimming was fine. 3 parks and rec. instructors and 6 kids. For everything they wanted Linus to do, he shook his head, no, then did it, in most cases quite well. That’s my boy! Already suffering from a lack of internal motivation! No confidence!!!

Help me!

Who is the idiot?


· Me and my cheap ass payless winter boots that can’t grip the icy sidewalks, yet again this winter, or the ignorant asses who don’t clear ice and snow from the sidewalk in front of their properties allowing there to be dangerous ice all over.

· My old high-school friend who told us today during lunch that he was attacked by an elk at Jasper National Park for not running when he heard the animal hiss, or for whacking in between the eyes with a stick because it got too close to him.

· Me again for thinking that when you offer someone tickets to an event for free it’s because you want them to go, or them fir accepting the tickets by stating that they are looking forward to going, then telling you after the event that they gave them to a family member instead.

· Me for wanting to buy a replacement battery pack from our cordless phone at home, for $24.99, instead of buying the same phone brand new for $29.99.

· The guy who got on the bus with my work colleague and pestered people to talk to him, then when a young woman got scared from his talking and asked him to move – he refused – until my friend got up and demanded he move by yelling “NOW” at him, much to the delight of the entire bus.

Monday, Monday…


News today that peaked my interest…

Canadian dollar dips to 97.42 cents US. OK.

Some US company called Bear Stearns did something today which leads the business news headlines and tells me that I need to find out what happened and what the hell this company does… News at 11. :)

So I googled “Bear Stearns” and the first listing was for the NY Times and the article is titled, “The Bear Stearns Crisis”.

Hmmm.

Now I’m curious, so I read this article:

The subprime mortgage meltdown made 2007 a disastrous year for Bear Stearns, one of the nation’s largest underwriters of mortgage bonds. Beginning this summer with the housing slowdown, Bear Stearns has stood as the prime example of how
Wall Street’s big bet on securities based on risky home loans went south.
While many of its peers, including Merrill, Morgan Stanley and
Citigroup, have announced far more in devaluations, Bear Stearns draws far more of its profit from its trading operations. That was reflected in its fixed income unit, which reported a net loss of $1.5 billion, down sharply from the $1.1 billion in profit the bank reported for the same time last year.
While there were rumblings about the weakness of the subprime mortgage in the spring of 2007, it was the collapse in June of two internal Bear Stearns hedge funds that had been heavily invested in mortgage securities that kicked off the
full-fledged market panic that peaked in August.

This doesn’t tell me enough about the company or what is going on…

Still curious.

JP Morgan Chase was in talks on Sunday night for a deal that would quintuple its offer for Bear Stearns, the beleaguered investment bank, in an effort to pacify angry Bear shareholders, according to people involved in the negotiations.

JPMorgan Chase initially offered $2 a share for Bear, angering the beleaguered firm’s stockholders who said the offer was too low. The sweetened offer is intended to win over stockholders who vowed to fight the original fire-sale deal, struck only a week ago at the behest of the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department.

Under the terms being discussed, JPMorgan would pay $10 a share in stock for Bear, up from its initial offer of $2 a share — a figure that represented a mere one-fifteenth of Bear’s going market price.

The Fed, which must approve any new deal, was balking at the new offer price on Sunday night after several days of frantic, secret negotiations, these people said. As a result, it was still possible the renegotiated deal might be postponed or collapse entirely, said these people, who were granted anonymity because of their confidentiality agreements.

If the Fed were to reject the new proposal, it could set off a furor among shareholders of both firms that the government was preventing them from making a fair deal.

The renegotiation, which would set a sale price of more than $1 billion, comes after a tumultuous week on Wall Street and in Washington because of the near collapse of Bear and the hastily devised deal to save it.

While the initial agreement appeared to have defused the financial crisis of confidence that undid Bear, the initial terms of the deal — and the government’s controversial role in reaching them — drew criticism from those who say the takeover amounts to a government bailout of Bear, a firm at the center of the mortgage meltdown.

A new deal could raise even more questions about the Fed’s involvement in the negotiations. As part of the original deal, the Fed guaranteed to take on $30 billion of Bear’s most toxic assets. The central bank also directed JPMorgan to pay no more than $2 a share for Bear to assure that it would not appear that the Bear shareholders were being rescued, according to people involved in the negotiations.

In television interviews last week, the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., who has been closely involved in the negotiations, sought to portray the agreement not as a rescue effort but as a way to provide stability for the entire financial markets. “Let me say that the Bear Stearns situation has been very painful for the Bear Stearns shareholders,” Mr. Paulson said, referring to the $2 a share price. “So I don’t think that they think that they’ve been bailed out here.”

If the price is increased, however, some critics could have more ammunition to complain that taxpayers are helping to bail out a Wall Street firm that should be responsible for its own risky behavior. That is one reason the Fed was hesitant on Sunday night to approve the transaction at $10 a share, people briefed on the talks said.

Ahhh. Here is why it is so important to keep this company alive…

Inside Bear, the vitriol over that bargain-basement price was palpable last week. Bear employees own more than a third of Bear’s stock, and many longtime employees faced the prospect of losing all their savings. On Monday, some were seen crying in the hallways of the firm’s Midtown Manhattan headquarters.

One employee started a Web site to rally opposition to the deal. Some employees said they talked back to their new supervisors from JPMorgan, which commandeered desks and conference rooms after being given operational control of the firm last week.

The new price would still be a small fraction of what Bear Stearns was worth before its recent meltdown. Its shares were trading at about $67 two weeks ago and as high as $170 a year ago. So $2 a share, or even $10 a share is a fraction of what the company was worth.

Even after JPMorgan announced that it would acquire Bear for $2 a share, investors bid up the stock to close at $5.96 on Friday in anticipation that a better deal would be reached.
Some of Bear’s largest shareholders have even considered voting down the deal to send the firm into bankruptcy protection, where they speculate they might get more than $2 a share from creditors.

The British billionaire financier Joe Lewis, the firm’s largest shareholder, who had invested $1.26 billion in Bear over the last year at an average price of about $104, said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that he would seek to block the deal by taking “whatever action” necessary and would “encourage” the firm and “third parties to consider other strategic transactions.”

He and James E. Cayne, Bear’s chairman, were talking informally to friends and others about finding investors to mount a rival bid.

A major aim of a new agreement would be to provide assurances to investors who trade with Bear that it will continue to be open for business. Even with JPMorgan’s original agreement in place last week, some of Bear’s largest customers would not trade with it, still nervous that the deal might unravel.
James Dimon, JP Morgan CEO even offered certain employees cash and stock incentives to stay on and made calls to his rival chief executives on Wall Street — John J. Mack at Morgan Stanley and John A. Thain at Merrill Lynch, among them — pleading with them not to recruit Bear employees during the transition.

Moreover, Mr. Dimon, who had indignantly told associates that he would “send Bear back into bankruptcy” if the deal was struck down, was persuaded by his advisers that he had less leverage than he thought, according to people briefed on the conversation. Such vindictive behavior, they told him, would turn into a legal and public relations nightmare.

So interesting that all these US companies that made so much money giving out mortgages to US citizens who would normally not qualify for one, and then after taking they interest payments and foreclosing on their houses when they missed payments (being able to then sell the house for close to full resale value) and now crying foul and seeking government relief when their business hits a downturn and they can no longer continue to operate and earn $107/share. I’m crying for them… NOT. This is exactly why I refuse to play the market AND should there not be some sort of legal action against company’s that make money praying on the poor and uneducated – the majority of people who lost their houses and savings in this type of situation. Very similar to the problem with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, two US mortgage firms who went belly up and lost a ton of cash doing the same thing… Will people never learn???

So if you made it this far, congratulations, you get an “A” in economics too. You must also surely have some strong feelings towards government (taxpayer) bailout of firms like these and I would love to hear about it. I know somewhere, my professor, Dr. Moody would be proud.

I really agree that the type of instruments being traded, and greed, which has brought this about – sharing blame with the fall in the real estate market. It is the private trading of complex instruments that worries regulators and Wall Street and that have created stresses in the broader economy. Economic downturns and panics have occurred before, of course. Few, however, have posed such a serious threat to the entire financial system that regulators have responded as if they were confronting a potential epidemic.

A big problem has to do with the dizzying array of innovative products created by the biggest banks and brokerage firms that experts now acknowledge are hard to understand and even harder to value. In the past decade, there has been an explosion in complex derivative instruments, such as collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps, which were intended primarily to transfer risk. These products are virtually hidden from investors, analysts and regulators, even though they have emerged as one of Wall Street’s most outsized profit engines. They don’t trade openly on public exchanges, and financial services firms disclose few details about them.

Used judiciously, derivatives can limit the damage from financial miscues and uncertainty, greasing the wheels of commerce. Used unwisely — when greed and the urge to gamble with borrowed money overtake sensible risk-taking — derivatives can become Wall Street’s version of nitroglycerin.

Bear Stearns’s vast portfolio of these exact instruments was among the main reasons for the bank’s collapse, but derivatives are buried in the accounts of just about every Wall Street firm, as well as major commercial banks like JPMorgan Chase.

What’s more, these exotic investments have been exported all over the globe, causing losses in places as distant from Wall Street as a small Norwegian town north of the Arctic Circle, so more fallout is expected.

Only time will tell.

So here is how it all played out… JPMorgan Chase bought 39.5% of the shares – newly issued stock – at $10.00 a share, and this leaves JPMorgan on the hook for the first billion dollars of losses, then the US government on the hook for any losses after that. As of 10:12 this morning, trading in Bear Stearns was up over 75% and the stock was climbing to $11/share. JPMorgan stock was also climbing on the news.

The week that is / was…


I joined a ball hockey team to try and get into some shape other than the one I’m in right now and so far it’s been just like I suspected it would be… If you hate sports, tune out right now.
I missed this teams first 2 games and in those games, they lost 8-1 and 9-0. I was told they needed defense. I play defense. Hmmm. 1st game on the team, 3-0 loss. I barely make it through 3 shifts and stagger to get off the bench for the rest. Too fucking tired. Stupid 11pm games. I’m now wondering if this comeback was a good idea… Game 2 was Good Friday night and it went MUCH better. We lost 2-1, but I made it though the game without getting tired at all. So in two games, I have not been on for a goal against, or one for, but I’m holding my own. Fun. It helped that I went for a jog twice this week. One 15 minute sleep fest and one 30 minute jog that
I had to halt because it was late, or I could have gone longer!

I love my kids. They make me laugh. Little Stewie almost made me throw up the other day. You see, when he hurts his hands or arms, he holds it up to us, grunts something and then we lean over and kiss it. He stops whining or crying and goes back to what he was doing. So what did he do??? Well I was changing his diaper and failed to see him picking his nose, so when he held out his finger and grunted at me, I instinctively kissed his finger. UGH. Came away with a wet booger on my lip. UGH UGH UGH. Told you. Pretty fucking gross, eh? Needless to say, I look at his fingers now before I kiss them.

On March 15th we went to see We Will Rock You, the gift UrbanMummy bought me for my birthday and had a great time. The music was GREAT and the play… Well… corny, but the music made it alright. I even really got into the play as it went on. Good character development.

So I put up a “no solicitors” sign on my mailbox to stop the numerous illegitimate peddlers that come to our door, and the first day it was up a kid came by selling something. I answered the door. Stood looking at him, and every time I tried to speak he talked over me. I was not listening. I pointed to the sign. He kept talking. I said, “hey, no solicitors”. He kept talking. UrbanMummy came down, said “We’re not interested” and she shut the door. Hmmm. Shutting the door. Nice!

The Leafs keep winning and are still not going to make the playoffs. All they are doing is missing out on a good draft pick. Stupid. I cringe when the win. So very sad.

My sources tell me we are heading into recessionary times… Interest rates are going down. Time to consider buying a bigger house!

If I had pictures…


… or if UrbanMummy would share the pictures she takes of the kids and us, I would be able to:

  1. Change my facebook profile picture… finally.
  2. Show a picture of Linus standing beside the snow on our front lawn, and how it towers over him.
  3. Post a picture of Linus standing on the giant glacier that was our front lawn.
  4. Post a picture of Linus climbing into the tunnel I started to dig for him into the side of snow mountain that became the place he keeps his sled.
  5. Post a picture of Stewie trying to help me shoval, not with his shoval, but with my shoval.
  6. Post a video of my boys playing the keyboard and having a hell of a good time rocking out to it.
  7. Post a picture of a beautiful mummy and her gorgeous boys looking into each others eyes.
  8. Change my MSN profile picture.
  9. Change my computer wall-paper.
  10. Email pictures to my neighbour – of my neighbour – asking them to close their blinds in the dusk…
  11. I could post a picture of my 2 boys eating dinner. The older one, eating bread, rice and plain pasta (carb-boy), and the younger one eating meat, grapes and pasta only with sauce.
  12. I could post a picture of the closet we were having installed into the basement – which began over 7 months ago – still NOT finished, and ask if any local bloggers have a reliable handyman to recommend.
  13. I could post a picture of UrbanMummy sleeping at night with all the covers in the middle of the bed, then one of me in the morning with all the covers, somehow. Actually a video might prove to be more entertaining.
  14. I could post pictures of my boys with their security blankets – g-d forbid if one takes the others… That is worth biting over…
  15. I could post a picture of my smile (I’ve been told I have a nice smile) after tomorrow night when we come back from seeing We Will Rock You, with the tickets UrbanMummy gave me for my firthday last month.
  16. I would totally post 2 pictures of me from yesterday. One would be from 9:30pm as I paced the house frantically waiting to go play my first game of ball-hockey in 2 years at 11pm, and the other from when I finally got into bed just past 3am, looking way too exhausted and old to be playing kids games… Eh Denguy? :)
  17. I would post pictures of all the shit in the garage that we are trying to sell on craigslist and freecycle, like the small wineracks, baby toys, dresser, books, rollerblades, etc., that has been clogging up the garage all winter.
  18. The last picture I’d post would be the one I have of my family. The most precious things in my life. The four of us take quite a smiley picture whenever we can get someone to offer to snap pics of us.