Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dublin Monopoly

Played Monopoly last night with LAK and the clan - Its great craic! We bought the Dublin edition this morning for 15 Euro and its worth every cent.

Its funny to watch the game as its a microcosm of what must have happened in the early days of the Celtic Tiger. People get money that they haven't had before and they think "Ooh, I'll buy that!". They buy so much they overstretch their cash fund and are not prepared when some catastrophe (Chance card) strikes. Then they are forced to negotiate with other players or the bank to free up cash by selling or mortgaging some properties.
I tried buying tactically, thinking that if I bought one property in each coloured region then any property tycoon would be forced to pay an exorbitant price to achieve their own goals. I was right at the start and in some cases managed to double my money within a few minutes. I even managed to trade Shrewsbury road and Crumlin for somewhere like Nassau St.

My luck ran out; In a way I was the agent of my own destruction. I sold the LAK Busaras for a tidy profit, enabling her to charge 200 every time anyone landed on a transport hub. Then she dominated one side of the board in  the yellow group and was able to charge 800 if you landed on any of her properties. What I realised was that by being out of the "property game". I could not earn rents and so was subject to exorbitant rents from others plus a super tax ( that I hit twice).

Whats interesting is how this must have parallelled the early years of the property boom. People sold their properties when they had jumped in value, only to find that the 2 bedroom semi-D they bought for 80k 10 years ago (while doubling in value) did not provide them enough cash to move or trade up. They probably decided to mortgage at say 5-7%, wait a little while for the property to appreciate, then sell on and restart the whole process. With that logic its easy to see how we got caught up in the boom, especially when we had access to cheap, seemingly unlimited money. It actually came to a point where people were buying property to ensure that they could afford future property via house price appreciation. No wonder we are where we are now!

The difference with Monopoly and real life is that Monopoly ends with one ultimate winner, while life keeps running, elevating new winners, crushing them as losers and creating new winners. Alan Greenspan called it "creative destruction". Capital is released from unprofitable projects / uses and is re-allocated to more deserving causes. (he is no longer my hero, hindsight is 20-20)

One of the other lessons the game gave us was that being property rich but cash short is no good; It wiped out JBoy's empire and made short work of Eliza once LAK had set up her boardwalk! Once she wiped me out I was left (aptly enough) with the below:

7 bucks and the water works! The LAK wasn't immune btw; she drew a chance card that told her she'd have to repair each of her properties @ 30 per house and 50 per hotel. It totalled over 1000!. She was able to mortgage most of her properties and quickly recovered, however the bank was sympathetic and extended her facilities. If we contrast that with the current situation where landlords need cash to cover rent shortfalls and repair costs and are struggling to get lenient terms from the banks we see the real difference between the game and real life; The bank has a symmetric policy of valuation in monoply and a non-symmetric, time dependent policy in real life, i.e. During the boom they will happily loan you money and be flexible about credit arrangements but in bust they will demand the pound of flesh. (Of course in real life everyone is in trouble, rather than just one customer; something the riskmetric models say shouldn't happen that often!)

So what lessons have I learnt overall?
  • In monopoly while you can speculate on large returns for single properties its only helpful to do so once or twice. The main thrust of your strategy should be investment with optimised pay offs
  • Balance the payoffs. The most and least expensive properties are not necessarily the best.
  • You get doubles far more often than you would think!
  • Putting all your money in properties will not save you when the tax man or building assessor (repairs) comes
  • .Properties are no good if they are mortgaged.
Since I explained my own failure above I thought I'd comment on the LAK's success
  • First thing she did was buy that transport hubs. These were a cash cow!
  • With the cash above she was able to buy properties and very rapidly add houses.
  •  Luck! I don't mean this grudgingly but she didn't get hit with large taxes and had no real bad luck till she got hit with house repairs (however that was very bad. 1000; she had to mortgage nearly everything!
  • She chose her houses well, Not too expensive to build but they brought in good rent. At full force enough to wipe out any cash and property reserves and force a fire sale.

    Thursday, December 23, 2010

    What a day!

    Lets see, weather shutting down the country, 2 and a half hours to get to Killiney, AIB nationalised behind closed doors
    Shaping up to be great weekend already!

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    Odell Isolation Ale

    Was holding on to this as it was recommended by Ruth @ Deveneys. The LAK made a lovely Christmas dinner for the family and I thought "thats special enough!"

    I had expected it to be a bit heavier, more like a dunkel beer but I was pleasantly suprised at the ruby colour.
    The nose is has a hint of pine, but the flavour is more caramel. Definetly worth a taste on a cold nite!

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    Curim Gold

    Had a long pointless day travelling to and from Limerick so I decided that I'd treat myself to something nice!

    Lovely golden colour and a light taste @4.3% . slightly spicy but quite crisp. Quite refrshing just like headless dog!

    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    Dogfish Head Raison D'Etre

    Another excellent honey brown, beer definite pine and caramel. The site says mahogony which I won't disagree it.
    Pictured in the back is the LAK's Christmas tree!

    Dogfish Head 90 min Imperial IPA

    Quick Summary: golden pinky colour, bitter after taste (Thats the hops!) caramel flavour, the books says citrusy but I dont see it.Pine flavour is definite! Strong recommendation, very tasty if not a bit bitter!

    IFSC Christmas market

    The IFSC Christmas market was pretty cool, lots of German themed bric a brac and food. We didn't spend much time there but the two things that stood out were the Ghlue wein and bratwurst! Very tasty and authentic!

    Happy 1st Birthday 3FE

    Brought the LAK 3FE for the first time today and the timing couldn't have been better as it was their first birthday! She got a Latte, which to my delight she could taste the difference.
    They offered me the tasting tray of an Espresso and a Cappuccino made using El Salvidor san Emilio which was wonderful. I haven't developed a good enough palette yet to describe the coffee but I will say that it tasted beautiful with some brown sugar. The cappuccino was as always creamy and rich!
    Great place to take a break in town, I strongly recommend a visit!

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    Humming Ale on a cold nite

    Just back from the LAK's on a -3 C nite and since I have some work to catch up I feel entitled to Short but pleasant tipple. So with my newly acquired Beatles Anthology 3 I sat down with Humming Ale from the Anchor Steam Brewery.

    I have to be honest, I've never been a fan of Anchor steam so I am quite happy to find something I like. The characteristic hoppy bitterness is still there but toned down. The guide says there are aromas of grapefruit but I think its a bit more like melon. Not very cloudy but not quite clear either. Alchohol content is respectable at 5.9%. The beer is a celebration of the revival of the brewery from near bankruptcy

    I still wouldnt rush out to buy this but I wouldn't turn it down either. If you like bitterness and a nice strength then this will suit you?

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    Budget 2010

    3 hours 39 mins till the budget

    For the moment I think they will sting me through tax and credit changes. As a single (for tax purposes - Love you Lelly Ann) person I have not seen any details, its all about families.
    Dont Get me wrong, the impact on families will be the most severe and is the most important but since I and others like me will be the future of revenue generators it would make sense to give us a bit of coerage

    Christmas Beer tasting

    I went a bit mad last nite in Deveneys (Thanks Ruth!) so expect to see these being reviewed over the next weeks!

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    Drunken Stupidity

    Ugh, Fell twice on Saturday nite after too much booze. Fortunately it probably cushioned the pain, just a have a slight sprain in my wrist today :(

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    Today's Stats 02-12-2010

    Current Temperature: -5 C
    ISEQ:  2751.96, up 57.34 Points
    10 Year Bond Price: 8.501


    Just tasting Sofie. Made by Goose Island, It develops in the bottle.
    I include the brewers notes below but for me it was delightful, slightly cloudy, with a citrus taste.
    Tastes like a refined version of Blue Moon but somewhat sweeter. I can see the wine taste as it is barrel matured but its not as defined as the barrel aged taste of something Ola Dubh, or its brother Bourbon County

    Brewmasters Notes
    Fermented with wild yeasts and aged in wine barrels with orange peel, Sofie is a tart, dry, sparkling ale. A subtle, spicy white pepper note, a hint of citrus from the orange peel and a creamy vanilla finish make Sofie an intriguing choice for Champagne drinkers and beer drinkers who are fond of Belgian Saisons.

    Recipe Information:
    Style: Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale
    Alcohol by Volume: 6.5%
    International Bitterness Units: 25
    Color: Champagne
    Hops: Amarillo
    Malt: Pilsner, Wheat

    My First Post

    This is my First Blog Post.
    I've resisted using blogger up to now because I stubbornly thought i could design some simple blogging software for my own site;
    My buddy Willem, (AKA Pimpy D, Keiser Bill, Huggy B) set up a blog a week ago devoted to Food:

    The Cooks Belly so I decided I'd give up doing it the hard way and use the tools that are already here :)

    Not certain what the blog is going to be about yet but I suspect my amateur view on Beer, Economics and politics will feature most frequently!