Friday, 2 November 2007

Sugar Fixing

We got some strong jobs data this morning that should have alleviated some concern over the economy, but the market is heading south pretty quickly anyway. There could be any number of reasons for this, but I’m guessing that people are waking up to the threat of inflation. If jobs and wages remain strong, then inflation will become an ever larger threat. The mixture of the data (housing is completely in the crapper in every respect, consumer spending and confidence are down, buts jobs and wages are strong) makes the whole deal a little muddy. Sometimes it’s tough to figure out why that market’s doing what it is, and I think half the time the analysts just pick something out of their asses to pin the day’s behavior on.

Two stocks that are taking it in the rear right now are Chevron and ExxonMobil, members of the oil services sector in which I’ve professed such faith. They’ve both missed earnings this quarter because of “margin pressure” in refining services. I don’t really get this. Refining capacity is supposed to be a bottleneck of the whole wellhead to gas station flow chart, but both reported that customers were well stocked with gas and refined products that were produced at lower price points than current production. My guess is that this is a work in process blip, and that margins will readjust to the new paradigm of $90+/barrel oil OR we will get a reverse work in process blip as inbound refinery prices drop and outbound refined products prices drop less quickly. The Economist’s headline today is that oil prices are on the way down. I haven’t had a chance to read that. Anyway, my guess is that this is a short term anomaly that will soon correct itself in favor of both companies.

The commuter bike project is officially underway. The frame is prepped, and cranks and stem are installed. The rear derailleur that I thought was easily salvageable is instead scrap for parts (which are actually pretty good parts to have), so add that to the list. This bike will be really cool, and I look forward to riding it. It will be a couple of weeks before I can scrape together all the parts necessary to get it on the road.

My nearly two week partial layoff is almost complete. It’s amazing how much time you have when you don’t have any training commitments. The FPG had a thing to do last night so I was home alone from about 5 until I went to bed at 10. I worked on the commuter for a while, read for a while, watched two episodes of Weeds (funny show), drank a couple of PBRs, ate, wandered around, etc. The normal routine is more like get home, quick change get out the door, ride for a couple of hours, come home stretch and lift, deal with dinner, eat, go to bed. I would be BORED STIFF if last night was my daily routine.

Another thing I’m doing during this layoff is eating a lot of bad food. I might as well have had KFC monogrammed onto my shirts for the last week, plus tons of candy and beer and pizza and all sorts of good stuff. I’m walking around like a stuffed pig all day. In fact I am going to have some more junk food at lunch today, and my favorite hot dog and cheese fries in the world on our way to see the in-laws tonight. There, I will continue to eat like a goat through the weekend. Hopefully by Monday I will have it all out of my system and want to eat nothing but spinach and broccoli for two months.

One thing I’m wondering about as I head into base period is if the cross-training time is malleable. For example, if I’m down for an hour and a half of zone 2 on a certain day, does that mean I have to run for an hour and a half, or do I have to run the equivalent of an hour and a half bike ride? If I have to run for a freaking hour and a half I’m not going to do any cross training at all whatsoever.

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