Journal: Wednesday, May 13, 2020

In Personal

Quarantine Day 57. Another hump day. But possibly the one of the last in the era of Stage 1 SIP.

Highlights today:

Waking up late. Relatively speaking. There was a 7:30am meeting that I was supposed to attend. Unfortunately, I woke up much later than usual today, at 7:45am. By the time I got to my computer at 8am, the meeting was half over. I was optional for the meeting, fortunately. In the end, I decided not to hop on.

I had a webinar I wanted to attend at 8am: an intro to using E*TRADE as a platform, so I decided to hop on that. It was interesting to see parts of the trading platform that I hadn’t checked out before. But almost all of the “power tools” that the instructor demoed were geared toward technical analysts, e.g. people who think that you can predict future stock price movement using historical stock price patterns. So the guy basically showed a whole bunch of ways to configure and display charts.

Personally, I believe this is bullshit: the warning that “past performance doesn’t guarantee future returns” is there for a reason. From a statistician’s point of view, sure, trying to mine time series for some hint at what might happen in the future is a worthwhile effort. But my stance is that inferential and predictive power comes from external factors influencing that time series. So I guess, in the stock market sense, I leaned toward fundamental analysis, i.e. that it’s a company’s fundamentals like the strength of their product, roadmap, people, and industry, that ultimately signals how well they’ll do in the future.

Unfortunately, since none of that was covered, I’ll probably have to tune into another session that’s more tailored to that philosophy…

Of course, there was the weekly Wednesday Company All-Hands. I tuned in at the beginning, but for some reason, my internet connection started glitching out. The quality of the feed was ultimately too choppy for me to understand what anyone was saying, so I logged out fairly quickly. I don’t think there was anything particularly new this week, though.

After work, I joined yet another SFRRC interview. I don’t know how they do it, but they keep lining up some freakin’ amazing runners to talk to. This week it was Aliphine Tuliamuk, who won the 2020 US Olympic Marathon Trials by surprise, by the smallest margin of victory (8 seconds) in history.

Compared to the last two speakers, Joan Benoit Samuelson and Frank Shorter, this was SFRRC’s first interview with a current elite runner (as opposed a retired one). Aliphine also had a pretty notably different take on running, which was simultaneously jarring and surprising!

I think for me (and it seems like others in the YouTube chat), the most surprising reveal was that Aliphine doesn’t believe in mantras. At this point in the running “meta,” having a mantra(s) is conventional wisdom. But for her, mantras are a crutch that she finds distracting. For her, it’s always about staying in focus, staying aware of her competitors, and keeping her eye on the goal (rather than trying to distract herself from the pain by repeating a mantra over and over). Personally, I can hold that kind of intense, mental focus for short races, e.g. anything less than, say, a 10K (or 40-ish minutes). But longer than that, it’s hard. (I’ll probably have to continue using the mantra that I’ve been using since high school XC.)

After signing off from the Tuliamuk interview, I hopped onto the weekly happy hour with Kristen, Melissa, Natasha and her boyfriend Jonny, Sheila, Son, and Johnny (?). I joined late, but right on time for a new game of guess-the-drawing. As usual, playing was fun. But my brain was fried and it took me several rounds before I started getting into the groove.

Then it was all over. Afterward, I felt the need to run. So I went for a quick loop around the Aquatic Park. Another day… over.

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