bumpy2022-05-04 How to Speak / Act Like You Work in Crypto / Finance
I spent the last few weeks observing some males (aka "bros") who work in crypto X finance. They had some peculiar linguistic / behavioral tendencies that I would like to share with you all. To fit in with the bros, I suggest the following: (1) If you like something, you're "bullish" or "long." If you dislike something, you're "bearish" or "short." Never explain what you do / don't like about it. (2) Use the word "optimize" and "optimal" as much as possible. Whenever you have to make a group decision, be sure to say "what are we optimizing for here guys?". When someone comes to a decision that everyone agrees on, exclaim to the group "that seems optimal." Note that discussing things in terms of "optimality" will add absolutely nothing to the discussion, because anyone who has ever made any decision ever understands that you want to consider all factors and do the best thing. (3) Use as many acronyms / abbreviations as possible, especially when you think the person you're talking to won't know its meaning. Examples include "eth" for the cryptocurrency etherium, "sol" for the cryptocurrency Solana, and "hfbp" which stands for "have fun being poor" and is used as a rebuttal to anyone who criticizes anything related to crypto. (4) Spend at least two hours on twitter a day so that when you meet up with the other bros later that day you can make sure that you will have seen every tweet they reference. (5) Wear an apple watch. (6) Eat sweetgreen. (7) Listen to the Big Booty Mix on Soundcloud while you work.
I walked into the WeWork this morning at around 9:30 with my friend Benedict. He asked me to come because him and our friend Aren were going, and I figured I’d give it a shot. The walk over was nice, it was cool but sunny. You need keycard access to get in, so I was locked out until a woman with a tiny dog came and scanned her card. She told me and Benedict to go ahead because “my dog doesn’t like men.” I got to the front desk to check-in and paid for my day pass. Normally $30 but $15 if you use the promo code ACCESSLUNCH50. There was a man there making conversation with someone at the front desk, discussing the recent episode of “WeCrashed”, a show about the devaluation of WeWork around it’s IPO. The man was acting as if the front desk employee was a C-suite executive, telling him “you guys should’ve listened to the financial advisors.” As I was waiting for my day pass to show up in the WeWork system, I said to the woman at the front desk “this place is hilarious”, expecting her to echo my sentiment, presumably jaded after countless days of watching all the millennials with job titles like “analyst” walk in with their Sweetgreen and leather backpacks. To my surprise, she was annoyed by my comment and said “that’s an interesting review” and rolled her eyes. After I got in, I put my stuff down at an incredibly long wooden table filled with other people. I went to the kitchen to get my (complimentary) coffee. I picked up a WeWork branded cup that said “Always Half Full” on the back. As I waited for my coffee to brew I looked towards a wall filled with windows with a large quote above them that read “Thinkin' of a master plan 'Cause ain't nothin' but sweat inside my hand”. I didn’t recognize the quote but when I sat down I looked it up. It’s from the song “Paid in Full” by Eric B. & Rakim. The lyrics are: Thinkin' of a master plan 'Cause ain't nothin' but sweat inside my hand So I dig into my pocket, all my money is spent So I dig deeper but still comin' up with lint So I start my mission, leave my residence Thinkin' "How could I get some dead presidents?" I need money, I used to be a stick-up kid So I think of all the devious things I did I used to roll up, "This is a hold up, ain't nothin' funny Stop smilin', be still, don't nothin' move but the money" But now I learned to earn 'cause I'm righteous I feel great, so maybe I might just Search for a 9 to 5, if I strive Then maybe I'll stay alive So I walk up the street whistlin' this Feelin' out of place 'cause, man, do I miss A pen and a paper, a stereo, a tape of Me and Eric B, and a nice big plate of Fish, which is my favorite dish But without no money, it's still a wish 'Cause I don't like to dream about gettin' paid So I dig into the books of the rhymes that I made So now's a test to see if I got pull Hit the studio, 'cause I'm paid in full The irony of comparing the ivy-league startup founders who inhabit this WeWork to someone turning away from a life of crime to rapping is so great that I almost have to believe that whoever designed this place was in on the joke. We are in Williamsburg, a neighborhood that 25 years ago would be unrecognizable to anyone who lives here now. We’re at the corner of N 4th and Bedford, and next door there’s a building with an Equinox AND a Whole Foods. There’s a cryotherapy place and an Apple store across the street. There’s nothing inherently wrong with WeWork. It’s nice to have a space to go with other people and conference rooms. There are clearly small businesses that couldn’t afford a full office that work here. But this place is a microcosm of the gentrification occurring in cities all over America. That quote on the wall is a victory flag for all the Williamsburg yuppies. We came into your neighborhood, we priced you out so we could build luxury buildings, and then just to dunk on you we’re adorning our walls with your words.
2022-03-28 Reflections on the 94th Academy Awards
I watched approximately two minutes of the Oscars this year, from roughly one minute before Chris Rock was slapped to roughly one minute after (note that I did not just magically tune in at this time, I watched on youtube later). That is clearly the all time best moment of the Oscars. The second best moment is clearly when Sufjan Stevens performed the song from the movie where the nazi look alike flesh eating guy kisses the sickly white boy. Honestly Will Smith is kinda wack for doing that, but also every comedian ever will not shut up about how they can make jokes about whatever they want and how standup comedy is the hardest thing in the world and if you heckle them they just make more jokes at your expense so sometimes you just have to slap them. I watched CODA tonight with my parents. It was really good but a bit corny so I’m surprised it won best picture. I have never cried at a movie because I am too afraid of doing so but I wanted to cry at the end of CODA. My mom cried and we’re related so that’s as close as I’m going to get. My ranking of movies I have seen in the last 6 months is: Worst Person > CODA > Tick Tick Boom > Drive My Car > Licorice Pizza > Weird Hungarian Movie I Saw with Amy and Bum (all were very good imo except Licorice Pizza which I thought was meh and the Hungarian movie which was just so low budget that it never stood a chance). I don’t think that Batman was nominated for any Oscars. This is almost definitely because it came out too late. But also I really do not like super hero movies and I don’t really understand why other people like them. It is probably because since I was a child I’ve had no imagination and all I could think about was baseball.
2022-03-12 Cars fanfiction
I woke up this morning and went to get breakfast. I’m alone at my friend Manny’s apartment, he’s at a wedding in Arizona. I stepped outside and immediately the sun beamed down on me. It felt amazing for a second, but once my eyes got used to the sun, I looked around and saw nobody. Just cars, parked for blocks and blocks. Not a single person outside. I looked up at the sky and saw pure blue from end to end. Not a single cloud. Somehow that made me feel even lonelier. I walked over to a coffee shop on the other side of Sunset Blvd, the main artery of a “city” that seems to never end. I saw nobody, just cars passing by. I had to wait two minutes to cross sunset on foot as the cars whirled by me in both directions. Finally I was able to run across. I got coffee and an $8 bagel with avocado, and returned back to the empty apartment. When I got back, I went to Manny’s porch to sit outside and eat. He has a beautiful blue table with intricate square tiles painted by hand. I pulled out a chair to sit down, and I realized it (and the table) were completely caked in dirt, accumulated from the thousands of cars passing by on the nearby 101. I cleaned off a chair and the table, and I sat outside alone eating my (surprisingly good) bagel. All I could hear when I ate was the sound of thousands of cars on the highway, kicking up dirt from the road that I was then slowly breathing into my lungs. LA feels so much different to me now than it did a little over a year ago. When I first moved here, I was overwhelmed with excitement. I had my first job, I was meeting so many new people, and it was my first time living outside of Chicago. I was just happy to be somewhere new. I still cherish the time I had in LA, but when I reflect on it now I’m remembering all the time that I spent alone in my car. I remember in the winter of 2020 I loved the Phoebe Bridgers x Conor Oberst album, and I would always listen to the song “My City” as I drove around. When I lived in LA, I always really wanted a girlfriend (preferably Phoebe Bridgers). I think it was because although I had made so many great friends, on some deep level the city felt very lonely. I never feel this way in New York. I’m always around so many people. I never realized how much I love density. LA just frustrates me now. I feel like I’m in the movie Cars. Who designed this place? Who ripped out all the streetcars? Who put in all these shitty strip malls? The public transit here is so terrible. I’m not saying that New York doesn’t have a million and one problems, but it’s so much closer to the type of city that people need to live in. LA is just so wasteful. It’s a desert that spontaneously sets on fire more and more because of climate change, which is in part caused by the horrible design of this city that makes people drive everywhere. Three cheers for NYC (and moodring.nyc).
2022-02-24 I feel empty inside
I feel empty inside when I don’t have peanut butter for a day. A gaping hole sits in the center of my stomach only able to be filled with the semi-solid gold of crushed peanuts. Sometimes when I spoon too much peanut butter into my mouth I kinda start to choke. It hurts so good.
2022-01-20 the D word
I thought about death today, for the first time in a while. I’m not really sure why. Probably because I had coffee. I really shouldn’t drink coffee. I have my “thinking about death” routine down pat. The idea of not existing for eternity pops into my mind, I imagine myself in a graveyard (the one on Sheridan rd when Evanston turns into Chicago. It’s a nice one if anyone is currently in the market for plots.), I get nauseous, I start pacing around and breathing super heavily, and then become so overwhelmed that all I can do is sit down and stare at the ceiling for a while and try to think about nothing. I have a vague memory of the first time that I realized I was going to die. I was really young, probably about 5. It was late at night, I was laying in my bed, and I guess at some point it just hit me. I started crying and I went to go get my dad. He came into my room and we talked for a long time. I don’t remember what he said or what I said. I don’t know how you explain death to a 5 year old. I don’t know how you explain death to a 24 year old. But I know my dad didn’t bullshit me. There were no talks of Heaven or a soul. I wonder how he felt that night. How it must feel to realize the being that you brought into existence knows that one day it won’t. That it will be returned to the same state it was in before it was born. Pure nothingness. I remember first telling my therapist in college how afraid I was of death. He assumed that I had some early experience with death, like the death of a close relative or friend. The sort of thing that would give most people an irrational fear of death, instilling in them that their fragile lives could be gone in an instant. But that never happened to me. My fear is just pure existential dread. The fear of eternal non-existence itself. That no matter what you’re doing, what your goals are, what experiences you hope to have, it’s all transient. For infinite time you won’t exist. So why care about anything? Partially to meme but partially because I really like this passage, here’s Camus on the subject: “Before encountering the absurd, the everyday man lives with aims, a concern for the future or for justification (with regard to whom or what is not the question). He weighs his chances, he counts on “someday,” his retirement or the labor of his sons. He still thinks that something in his life can be directed. In truth, he acts as if he were free, even if all the facts make a point of contradicting that liberty. But after the absurd, everything is upset. That idea that “I am,” my way of acting as if everything has a meaning (even if, on occasion, I said that nothing has)—all that is given the lie in vertiginous fashion by the absurdity of a possible death. Thinking of the future, establishing aims for oneself, having preferences—all this presupposes a belief in freedom, even if one occasionally ascertains that one doesn’t feel it. But at that moment I am well aware that that higher liberty, that freedom to be, which alone can serve as basis for a truth, does not exist. Death is there as the only reality. After death the chips are down. I am not even free, either, to perpetuate myself, but a slave, and, above all, a slave without hope of an eternal revolution, without recourse to contempt. And who without revolution and without contempt can remain a slave? What freedom can exist in the fullest sense without assurance of eternity?” -Albert Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus I know it sounds absurd (haha, get it?), but my fear of death has had a massive impact on my life. In college, I was crippled by hypochondria. I would have bouts of anxiety where I would think I was going to die, and then I would become despondent for weeks. This was exacerbated by the fact that for over a year I had Crohn’s but nobody could figure out what was going on. Everyone was convinced that everything I was experiencing was psychosomatic, and I felt crazy because I “knew” something was wrong with me. But what about all the other times I “knew” I had cancer? I ended up getting a daily dose of head meds (see: https://youtu.be/0gnnFVRlucg?t=1292), which didn’t make my physical symptoms go away, but has definitely been for the best. I’m not sure I’ll ever really make peace with my own mortality. The head meds make me a little number to it, but the fear is still there. After freaking out today, I sat on the couch staring at Cecilia. I was thinking about how consciousness is such a blessing and a curse. Maybe life would be better as a cat. Bumpy.
2022-01-05 On (not) being an immigrant
On a cold February night, Bum and I went to a bodega to pick up taco ingredients. After grabbing tortillas, I was on the hunt for toppings. As I slid by the candy to get to the infamous bodega produce section, I nearly rammed into someone. After letting out a customary Midwestern “ope” and quickly apologizing, I noticed the man I bumped into was wearing sandals. It was clear from his nice rain jacket and jeans that these weren’t “I can’t afford sneakers” sandals but instead something like “I’m tired and too lazy to put on other shoes” sandals. Trying to have a fun interaction with a stranger, I jokingly asked “aren’t your feet cold?”, to which I received no response. Not a chortle, not a cackle, not even a slight chuckle. As I perused the saddest bunch of tomatoes I had ever seen and reflected that maybe I’m not as funny as I think I am, the man (who had gotten in line) stepped out of line, turned around and asked angrily “Do my feet offend you or something?”. Embarrassed and immediately red in the face I responded defensively “I was just joking!”. Unsatisfied, the man said “Well for your information, my feet aren’t cold!”. He then got back in line, bought a single Advil, and victoriously left the bodega. On the way home, I joked with Bum about the absurdity of the interaction. Since we had just met a few weeks ago when I moved to New York, I felt the need to explain to him that for some reason I really like joking around with random strangers. It had never gotten me in trouble in the Midwest, so I blamed the conflict on the fact that “all New Yorkers are assholes.” For all I know, sandals man might have been from Cincinnati and had also just moved here two weeks ago and had a terrible migraine that made two shoelaces appear like a hopeless maze of infinite shoelaces and got angry at me because all he wanted was to buy one measly Advil in peace before my annoying joke made his headache that much worse. But I wasn’t able to accept that, so as I walked home I thought about the various ways I would need to change my behavior to survive the stranger-hating confrontation-loving deep dish pizza-despising New York City Metropolitan area. In that moment, for the first time in my life, I felt in some very small way like an immigrant. To those of you who who aren’t from the US or aren’t white or have travelled a lot, that might sound ridiculous. But I’m a third generation Chicagoan, and apart from a brief trip to Israel for a cancelled wedding (another blog post) and 10 months in La La land, I had never spent any meaningful time outside of Chicago. So there I was, a Midwestern farm boy hopelessly lost in the city that never sleeps. As I write this, I’m on a flight back from a trip to Mexico City. I can confidently say that this trip was the second time in my life I’ve felt in some way like an immigrant. Because I took Latin in high school (read: pretentious), my Spanish hardly extends beyond “¿puedo ir al baño?”. I literally asked Bum before I left how to say “thank you” in Spanish because all I could come up with was the Italian “grazie” (muchas gracias for the help Bum). In CDMX, I could hardly do anything without Pau by my side. One morning I ventured to a Starbucks alone just to get a tiny taste of home (jk it was just near a nice park). After nervously ordering a sandwich and a coffee in very broken Spanish, I waited in a corner for my things to be ready. I saw a couple of the baristas laughing. Were they laughing at me? (Read: anxiety / paranoia). If I lost my phone and I couldn’t find Pau and I went missing for the second time in my life (the first time is for another blog post), would I ever be able to survive? If I got Montezuma’s revenge (I did) and couldn’t stop shitting my brains out (I could), would I ever be able to figure out how to get to a hospital and explain to a doctor what was going on? Ultimately, I had an amazing time in Mexico City, but this anxiety popped up from time to time. I left Mexico City yesterday, but I missed my layover in Cancun. As I laid in a cheap hotel bed in downtown Cancun last night after eating a dinner of chips and salsa verde from the nearby 7-11, I yearned for home. I couldn’t sleep because I hadn’t gotten my covid test results back and I didn’t know if I’d be able to call the person who took my test and explain to them that I hadn’t gotten their email. All I wanted was to have the familiar feeling of being woken up in the middle of the night by Cecilia inexplicably attacking my foot. It was in that moment I realized that this is probably about 1/100000000000…th of what many actual immigrants feel like on a daily basis. Again, this might sound ridiculous to a lot of you, but for me it was actually a genuine moment of learning. I don’t think this realization will change the way I act (I really hope I’ve never intentionally treated an immigrant poorly even though I may have), but I think I’ll walk around with a bit more empathy. In this concrete jungle where my Midwestern sensibilities might get me in the tinyest bit of trouble from time to time, there are thousands of real immigrants who are hopelessly far from so many friends, family, and everything else that someone leaves behind when they move across the world.
2022-01-05 A poem as bad as covid
Being sick sucks, being sucked is sick. N.B. I don’t have covid but I was thinking about what it would be like to have covid again and this popped into my head.
2021-12-21 covid winter
On lonely nights I start to fade (On lonely nights I start to fade) Her love is a thousand miles away (Her love is a thousand miles away) Memories made in the covid winter Goodbye my friend will I ever love again Memories made in the covid winter It's 4am and I can't sleep (It's 4am and I can't sleep) Her love is all that I can see (Her love is all that I can see) Memories made in the covid winter Goodbye my friend will I ever love again Memories made in the covid winter Winter, winter Goodbye my friend will I ever love again Goodbye my friend will I ever love again Goodbye my friend will I ever love again If spring can take the snow away (If spring can take the snow away) Can it melt away all of our mistakes (Can it melt away all of our mistakes) Memories made in the covid winter Goodbye my friend I won't ever love again Never again
2021-12-19 click for a surprise
the surprise was supposed to be cool ascii art but it doesn't render well. will submit a ticket to xander. --Bumpy