Back From a Little Hiatus

When I admitted that my blog production would be a bit more intermittent, I didn’t realize that it could turn into a months long break between posts.  For a while I didn’t feel like I had anything to report, or I had something that felt pressing when I thought of blogging, but eventually I just forgot.  Credit to my mom for pushing me to make an effort again.

A few months ago when I last posted I was spending my last weeks in Utah at my friend Ari’s childhood home.  I spent most of the summer there due to not being able to travel internationally, but it was a perfect place to be.  The beautiful Utah scenery, first-world amenities (Whole Foods, etc. a short drive away without the rush-hour traffic of a big city to worry about), and hanging out with Ari’s family was enjoyable as well as stimulating for thoughts about big picture life questions.  His family just being themselves cracked me up on a daily basis.  I’m very appreciative for them allowing me (and Johanna who stayed for part of the time before going to Sweden) to stay so long.

In September Johanna’s mother passed away suddenly, although she has been in poor health for several years.  Perhaps because she was in such dire conditions over the years, but then miraculously coming back to good health, it didn’t seem real when Johanna called and told me the doctors said she had about a day to live.  I was close with her as she called Johanna daily, and I would speak my 3 words of Finnish or Swedish to her (she didn’t know English), and she would always act impressed that I could say “hello” and “thank you” after 8 years of dating her daughter.  Luckily Johanna was able to be with her in Sweden when it happened, getting through the hassle of traveling internationally when no one knows if you’re allowed to or not.  

Johanna and I did some research, and even though Americans aren’t supposed to be able to travel to the EU right now, in theory since we live together I was supposed be able to reunite with her.  I wanted to help and be with her during the funeral, so I booked a ticket to Sweden.  Although I got some stern questions before every connecting flight along the way, when I arrived in Sweden, they just waved me through.  It was odd as there were even less questions than normal coming into Sweden, although perhaps the border people could read that I had a chain of explanations that I was confidently ready to recite if questioned.  

The funeral and everything surrounding it went pretty perfect for what it was, and it was nice to share the moment with Johanna’s family and friends.  I often feel awkward when someone passes away, because my natural instinct is to be positive and comfort people in an optimistic way, and in those moments it’s often hard for me to know what to say.  Fortunately the ceremony was really beautiful, and it brought the closure I think we all needed.  

I ended up staying in Sweden for almost three weeks which was surreal living without wearing masks or any Covid restrictions.  I went to the gym, subway, restaurants, etc. which were all full and without anyone wearing a mask.  I realized that it’s possible for the rest of the world to go back to normality someday.  

I’m now back in Puerto Rico (with mandatory masks on the second we step outdoors, even on the beach in theory), getting ready to focus hard for the last quarter of the year.  I have a trip to Tulum, Mexico for Jeff’s birthday on Halloween, a trip to Michigan for Christmas, but otherwise I plan to work on my trading projects.  One of the big reasons I haven’t been blogging is because I’ve been working hard on a stock trading project, and wanted to write a glorious blog after I started raking in the money.  

I think I figured out some good basic strategies (think because I only tried it for a few days, and you don’t know until money is deposited in reality), but I was a bit frustrated when I lost a chunk of my profits to fees and the spread between buying/selling.  I saw that there were some obvious improvements I could make, so instead of getting bogged down trading everyday knowing I could do better, I decided to spend the time improving my strategies/systems.  The ideas kept iterating much further than I anticipated, but now I’m almost ready to start trading stocks again with a massively more complex and interesting system.  I’ll have a lot of work to do optimizing it (the rough versions should be good enough to be profitable and running though), but I’m getting closer to this vision I’ve had for years of fully automated Machine Learning/AI trading systems, and I’m excited that it’s finally seeming to work.  

With that I’m going to get back to some chores and machine learning work.  Leaving you with a picture from Sweden and here in PR.

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