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Showing posts from October, 2009

Zombie Banks 1998 edition

About 10 years ago I was living in Singapore, and working in the aerospace sector. At that time getting good deals were difficult, these were the days when Thai Airways finance a bunch of Boeing B747 with loans priced at 12.5 bps (e.g. 0.12%) over LIBOR (the best rate banks lend to each other), it marked a low point in loan prices, it made my life a misery trying to find interesting deals.
One evening while in Tokyo with friends I met the head of one of Japan's premier aerospace banks, these guys were one of the biggest players in the business, they were drowning their sorrows because they could no longer bid on new business, they had effectively been shut down to new business until the new financial year (1998). They bemoaned their poor luck (no new business meant very small bonus), as their bosses even asked them (desperately) to reduce balance sheet usage -- get rid of loans at least until the turn of the year!
Intrigued I called them up the next day (Japanese despite mind nu…

Of Ferrari and Insanity

Thursday night Mrs Frozen in the North and I were driving back home from the office, the congestion was rather bad and so we deviated from our normal route to take an alternative route which took us up Peel Street in Montreal. For those not familiar with this street there are a few "Chi chi" restaurants and a surprisingly large number of toy cars (Ferrari, Mercedes AMG, etc), in front of us a little Korean import was having a hard time "waking up" to the fact that the light had turned green, so I flashed the guy, he was not offended, clearly his mind was elsewhere. He we driving distracted I presumed that he was talking on the phone or something, anyway because of his distraction we missed the green light at the next intersection. Once that light had turned green he was again driving distracted, and at one point started weaving a bit until he hit a parked car, and you guessed it he hit a beautiful black Ferrari... we didn't stick around to see how that turne…

Winter Wonderland

Last night Mrs Frozen in the North and I drove up to the cottage. Now that we are here my guess is that Mrs FitN would have rather stayed in Montreal, you see, despite heavy rain last night there's still lots of snow on the ground here. Yep snow, the white stuff, thermostat is suppose to rise to 15c in Montreal, it is still Zero here (you see the white stuff behind the sail boat!!!)
Anyway, a quiet weekend at the cottage since it is still raining. Our cat (Hoover) is also disappointed, not a fan of the snow (he grew up in Singapore) he was push-out the door twice today to "take care of business" I am confident that he's now fast asleep on our bed.
Despite the weather, the motorway was jam packed last night, we left Montreal at 20:30 and despite this late departure there was much traffic.
Still its nice to see winter at our doorstep, it makes a change from the rainy summer we have had. In fact, the weather has been so bad that we've had a bear invasion near t…

Jackie O

Ms. Frozen in the North and I enjoy two reality shows: The Amazing Race and Survivor, the first where contestant race around the world the other where they are left stranded on an Island, a-la-Robinson-Crusoe mold.
Last Sunday while watching the Amazing race the ignorance of the average American amazed both my wife and I, the contestants were given a picture of a women waving from an official car, and they had to figure out where this picture was taken. Immediately, my wife and I recognized Jackie Kennedy -- wife of JFK, but none of the contestants recognized her! Not one, not even the "old guy" on the show. The contestants were in Burma (there virtually every cab driver could identify Jackie and could also tell the hapless Americans that the picture was taken in front of a famous hotel in the capital).
Later on the contestants were told the head to the tallest building in the Persian Gulf, one contestant actually asked for a flight to a country called the "Persian …

It has been a week since my last post

Its not for a lack of desire, its just been a little busy over the past few days. This is a short post, yesterday I had a bit of a China Syndrome episode. It seems that last week I spilled a soft drink onto my keyboard, nothing really, but yesterday four keys were operating with some difficulties. I called the help desk and they told me to fill a requisition and that something would show up in a few days/week -- hardly satisfying!

On a whim, I asked the computer tech on the trading floor (where I exist on the edge) if he had any idea where I could get a keyboard fast! He bent under his desk and pulled out a brand new keyboard. Working in a dealing room where each trader has between 5 and 10 screens (we look like NASA) we order about 10-20 new computer per month. In the past we would only order the computer (no keyboard or monitor), but about two years ago, we noticed that if we ordered the a keyboard it was cheaper... than if we just bought the machine.

The impact, we have lots…