Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Trains roll... like gamblers in slow mo Tryin' to find good luck When they couldn't find love

I've always spoke of integration and its importance, my thought tonight drifts towards what it all means in context of social networking.

finding voice, in terms of self enrichment, and self integration with friends, family, co-workers, potential clients, employees, bosses, political rivals, people of differing opinion, you can figure out what you think you want people to hear, or you can just speak what's on your mind. it's freedom --- it integrates your past, present and future, if you would like it to do so, and it helps fill the 'white space' in your life.

what you aggregate, I know there is great defense of social networking, that which calls for using the tool for more than for vanity and congregation. if you posts pictures of the beer party, or the big chicken friend steak, that's one thing, but seasoned 'social networkers' can still keep there integrity, yet provide concrete or abstract meaning to followers. one day i believe I'll be able to be one of these people, integrating life with work in a way that attracts both people who are interested what you say, how it can benefit them, and also take a genuine interest in you as a person.

walls the quote from the sorrows of young werther 'we amuse ourselves painting our prison-walls with bright figures and brilliant landscapes.' this certainly is the case. currently people find false 'digital shelter' in the utility of choice, some cowarding behind login and password. my thoughts are hell, if you're going to do it, you might as well do it right, one voice, many facets, no walls.

People 'get it' (social networking) at varying levels. The world revolves around the individual, while we're a part of a collective. advance social networking says to me, the collective is fickle, the individual is true. harness the right apples from the right trees, then you have something.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

So, sure, I could just close my eyes. Yeah, sure, trace and memorize

25 Random Things about me

With a preface by Richard Russo: "In all my books the unhappy people are the ones w/o the wisdom to love the life they've been given."
  1. behind the melodramatic exterior, there's an Everest of sentimentality
  2. Wants to see all the world wonders in civilization, twice
  3. thought I'd marry the first chick I fell in love with
  4. brings integrity to the ballgame
  5. reads a book or two a week
  6. big fan of objectivity theory
  7. I clump all religion into the 'mystic' category -- Rush (the band) says it best, A planet of playthings we dance on a string, of powers we cannot perceive. I don't believe in cards, I don't believe in signs
  8. Would love to have some beers with Neil Hannon, a man who's words changed my life.
  9. Feels immortal in spirit, like an 80 year old in body
  10. thinks achievement is based what you produce
  11. love conquers all, even time
  12. cherishes aesthetic over convenience
  13. lives simple while carrying the weight
  14. life in the fringes is the only way to roll, you can find the fringes no matter where your stand and what your view is
  15. thinks politics is what kills any society, issues should seldom be framed in political context
  16. likes to walk, probably would like walking on the beach too
  17. earth wind fire water, i like fire the most
  18. for the friends who i've done the psych test with, for what its worth its kinda correct, 'i walk alone, i see bears, snakes, vultures as i walk, my reaction is to mark them and deal with appropriately, a big house with no fence, and ocean in the back of the house, i get across via the minnow (Gilligan's island boat) --its been refined over the years
  19. have come to love my balanced life portfolio and open-ness and objectivity to most viewpoints.
  20. is very happy to have a lot of unique people around me and in my life
  21. really care about my family, and the love they give to each other, etc really wears down my selfishness (in a good way)
  22. need to go the the australian open so i can get that off the list of grand slams in tennis (this travel tidbit really bugs me) nyc, paris, london -- check
  23. communication is key is the subliminal message i send myself every 6 minutes
  24. hates people, loves people, hates people, loves people -- the older i get, the less i want to be around a big crowd
  25. mom and the gang provided me with a firm foundation, and i like to think i've done a lot with a little, and i'm positive the best is yet to come

Sunday, January 25, 2009

White light, strange city, mad music all around

6 finance / personal investing / stock books since the time 'I have money,' I've found most blogs on how to become rich are terrible.

My approach, Peter Lynch meets Warren Buffet with a heavy hand of geopolitics. Find value stocks in things that you know, wherever they may be. I will stay away from mutual funds, and the financial service sector at large (except for my 6.99 per trade e-trade account.)

First draft of Framework --

Energy -- Till we're green, we need oil, Obama says no more from Middle East, Russia, or Venezuela in ten years, that leaves Canada and Brazil, Petro Brazil is choice, for at least 5 years.

Until a true leader emerges in the green energy crusade, Its hard to find a good performer.

Tech -- Next time (and hopefully last) time we test the bottom of the market, I'm going to buy Google, I use religiously, they're ahead with the cloud, etc. (buy and forget)

Retail -- Roll with Amazon, they svcs run twitter, and will corner the small B2B market in cloud services, not to mention a steady payroll for being the 'wal mart' of the web, but cooler and more informative. (buy and forget)

Defense -- Paying close attention to how, who and what is going to guard our ports.

Infrastructure -- Primarily in China, and those who partner with Chinese companies.

More to come....still thinking

Ten years from now, I have to have some 3 to 4 baggers (where 1 dollar turns to 4), etc, etc -- While at the top, I'll slowly funnel some money to commodities (probably in Australia). When I'm 50, I may roll more with bonds, but I'm still not sure on how the flow will work, but it'll be either one of the two below strategies, depending on life circumstances.

1 -- Invest in common stock till the bitter end, and have the 'the shit hits the fan plan' when and if it happens.

2 -- Stocks for the big wins, commodities for a decent gain, skimmed from the top of stock wins, bonds, from both, as I get older.

Call me crazy, but I don't see the need for mutual funds after my -37 percent return for 2008. I think I can do better than that with my eyes closed 15 minutes a week. As a personal investor, you have much more leverage than institutional money.

The journey begins soon, I plan on being couragous, moderately risky, and never putting the money on just red (guessing, hitting and hoping) --

When the cash its the market, it'll be the most thought out stuff I've ever done, and it'll have a plan I stick with, i.e., thresholds, etc, etc.

Dizzy, Lizzy, Major Tom

Here's what I've learned from Twitter thus far --

  • The 'permission marketing' aspect is great. It's like I have these cool smart people 'forwarding' me email, it's me going to, not receiving from.
  • From a 'real life' friend perspective, it's very impersonal
  • Someone who is 'following' more than a couple hundred people really isn't following anyone
  • Someone who is 'being followed' by more than a couple thousand people, the idea / message isn't really that unique, which is a pro and con.
My twitter strategy still remains the same, tweet about keywords / interests personal to me, and grab like minded people who find you via search words, and the slow diffuse your thoughts / mind through the lenses of like minded people and their interest.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Do open windows keep the rain away? Do open eyes keep the ghosts at bay?

Like a Martin guitar, the experience will only get better with age. The logistics of getting to DC were a nightmare. Left Fredericksburg VA (approx 30 miles from DC), at 3.30 am, rolled up to 'the area' where everyone was at 9.10. About 3.5 hours in the car to the metro, 30 minutes in line at metro, 1 hour on metro (and the smell of a girls puke) later we made it to DC.

It was about 20 degrees, BRUTAL cold, and of course, ill prepared for the realities of that man people around.

Here's where we landed.

Here was looking the other way.

You're not going to find a hot dog dealer in this mess, nothing could survive the mass, surprisingly few capitalists cashing in on pimped out Obama swag.

Maybe because these guys were perched on every building, the Powershot G9 could find em' all.

This was as close as us 'common folk' could get to the event while it was going on. Mr Army Man made sure there was no civil unrest.

A GQ shot in from of the Washington Monument, I even dipped a toe in to the frozen water, en route to the Arlington Cemetery metro, for a more reasonable exit.

Finally Bob and Rob, the Texas boys who were there, to prove that we were there, that we heard of him first, now, relatively speaking :)

Friday, January 09, 2009

You can take a trip through your juke joint smoke-filled paradise You can give it your all, cause you are walking a fine, fine line

My lack of understanding economics is killing me, for it's crucial in truly understanding what's going on. I don't trust media outlets and blogs that say the sky is falling, its human nature to think that way, and its a sure fire way to increase ratings.

Our collateralized debt obligation will lead to us as a nation not being in control of our own destiny. From what I've read, and throwing in that I'm not an expert, most of our collateralized debt is in the form government bonds, 60% of which China 'owns,' with a slow and steady rate of 6% return. Ayn Rand would be rolling in her grave at the quick / greedy schemes conjured up these days to undermine hard work. Prosperity and hard work go hand in hand.

The free market will live on, and like an optimist says, a phoenix will rise from the ashes, but that phoenix will be soaring with the bald eagle, and that's indeed how it should be. The global economy will find new markets, and find its way to societies in which people are begging for and deserve a better standard of living.

The creatives in China and India are working for a sort of 'grass roots' capitalism, one that doesn't manifest itself in the rich. The new hotness is by cheap goods by volume for the volume.

People say its the 'perfect storm,' blah blah, and its been hard to not repeat this doom and gloom. The contrary suggests the connected world market is more of a blessing than curse, it keeps institutions in check, and it has mechanisms to punish bad behavior. Whoever you want to blame it on, the USA will have a nice black eye and broken leg when the dust settles.

In a nutshell, my thoughts are, to fix this, globally, the governments of India and China will allow more expansion to keep the global economic ship afloat, funded by a consistent 6% return on investment of our debt collateral for the unforeseeable future. At some point, western civilization (this side of the Atlantic) will have to take the hit, could be now, could be later.

The old line, payback is a b*tch. The last 2 years I've made SERIOUS compromises on my life to enjoy a debt free living, the law of averages says America as a collective has to do the same. Cultural humility and awareness should be baked into the solution too.

there was no bed, there were no chairs, there was no roof, there was no stairs

Great conversation today with co-worker who had similar experience in his youth as I recommended Wild Man's Journey.

Rites of passage, especially into manhood seem to have taken a back seat in modern times, especially for ones who've lost a dad. It's a very fascinating human element the more you explore it, and also exhilarating.

I can recall several life incidents in which I'm standing in circumstance, and there's a gap between when it began and I ended, all subtle but very apparent when taken a closer look. Family relations, girls, sports, jobs, emotions, the way you frame yourself in the universe,.....all things considered.

I'm getting close to being talked into the New Warrior Program, to perhaps fill in some of these gaps.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

our lives are better left to chance, i could have missed the pain, but i'd of had to miss the dance

That's right, Garth Brooks for the evenin', I publicly admin to liking his tunes, ironic or not, a part of my past, and still a reservoir for life metaphor.
  • I recall our high school history teacher, not only having the 'we didn't start the fire poster' up, but also talking about the pros and cons of life through the lyrics of GB. Something I'll never forget, conventional wisdom coming from someone I truly respect.
  • I recall my niece Krysi getting married, and her husband Alex singing GB's version of 'To Make you Feel My Love', very heart warming and genuine.
  • I recall a massive rain delay at Baltimore's Camden Yards field, they played rain tune after rain tune, one being, 'the thunder rolls'
  • I recall my buddy Brad in high school, coming to school in boots, wranglers, and a shirt bearing the lyrics 'choose to chance the rapids, dare to dance the tide'
Growing up I was 80% convention, 6% progressive, 14% the rest.

If I had to take a gander at my life the last couple years, and acknowledge where my sleep zone (the way I stack my physical and emotional equity) is, I'd have to say rooted in 40% convention, 40% progressive ideology, 1% radical, 19% the rest. I really want to think this one through one day and break out those number even more.
  • Passion was a big thing for me back in the early days, I'd often stay up all night worry about things to come, things left undone
  • Emotional Balanced scorecarding and hedging are things I've only come to identify with recently, it's my version of Prozac
When I was 22, Emotion Scorecard = (and i think i was better than a lot)
  1. hey man, where's the party?
  2. do you got the booze?
  3. let me borrow a good shirt
  4. that cologne smells good, let me have some!
  5. dude, that chick is hot
  6. (long interlude of frivolous flirtations), and poking out ass in hopes to get noticed
  7. insert junk food of choice before bedtime
  8. man, i'm so hungover, i must have had 15 last night
  9. BIRP
  10. i'm so cool, lets do it again, tonight, and next week
Now at 32, Emotional Scorecard =
  1. Seizing opportunities when they arise
  2. Communicating what needs to be said
  3. loving, listening and understanding your family
  4. developing a firm level of trust with your good friends
  5. a healthy exercise routine
  6. while still being able to enjoy a big flat plate of whatever the host is serving
  7. a career that challenges and rewards, taking pleasure in doing the hard things
  8. a snapshot in time (for me is shiner) that doesn't change much, so i can see how much i change
  9. ambition, a dedicated hike to the fountain of youth atop of tall mountain
  10. understanding the beauty of a simple plan

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

It's all about soul It's all about faith and a deeper devotion

On Jan 20th, much will be about soul. Masses will watching on television, and masses, like myself will be watching from 17 blocks away.

I put faith in personality, emotion, trust, and intelligence, and someone who angers fundamentalists on 'both sides of the aisle.'

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Systems Fail, All the Circuits Blown, And the Message Lost, In The Machine

Reading economic crisis story after economic crisis story would lead one to believe apocalypse is coming, however, the doomsday crowd always fails to estimate the creativity of mankind, and more importantly the cardinal desire for self preservation. Several times in the past year I've heard the rubber plane analogy. When faced with dire circumstances, with obstacles or predictions not met, one could say the rubber plane has hit the mountain. In essence, the plane changes course until it hits another mountain, all the while the only thing needed to steer clear of is the volcano.

The 'real wealth' is a paradox in terms. It reminds me of what Chris Rock once said, 'Shaq isn't rich, the white man who signs his paycheck is.' In recently talking to an academic type friend of mine, who thinks this vaporware wealth is largely 'evil', the wheels spinning in my head validate to me that the fundamental science of economics is good, it makes common people like us able to buy cars, and live in suburbia, with a standard of living better than kings in old times.

Throw a bad math equation in the mix (subprime), couple that wil reflexivity (people think the stock goes down, therefore it goes down), and puts and shorts on otherwise healthy stock (greed) and we have some problems. Enter the life and times now, volatile, 1) China going, hmmm, is the white man ever going to pay us back, 2) the Jones's not able to afford any more luxuries on credit, and 3) a turbulent middle east, one in which the US takes a staunch support for Israel, we threaten alienation from OPEC, therefore potentially losing the currency reserve status for oil. All the while, our money printing presses going 24x7, where's the inflation going?, and when is the right answer to fix this going be 'save and produce' instead of spend more?

Yes, doom and gloom -- I would say it looks 'bad' for the USA only because of the scaling back of lifestyle, heaven forbid, the government and consumers buying only what they can afford. The USA won't sink into 3rd world status, and there won't be a run on the bottled water on the store shelves, the rest of the world will simply enjoy a higher standard of living, that is, to the extent of their respective dysfunctional governments will allow.

What is real wealth anyway? Say if one has a 401k that matches to a certain percentage, you put 50% in, your employer 50%. If you're 'down' 37% for the year, in nominal terms you're really still 'up' 13%, and that's the math we have to get used to in the new financial era. Two factors will corral 'growth' to nominal means in the future 1) intense scrutiny and regulation of the markets, and 2) the emergence of 'business ethics' as Billy Madison would say. Ahhh, capitalism these days, feelin' like the puppy that $hit in the corner.

As Peter Schiff says, 'there's a bull market somewhere' and like the ancients say, 'if you want to build cities, you have to build roads'. The rise of global shared hegemony is on the way, currencies will be allowed to 'float' against the reserve, and it will be holistically beneficial to civilization. China is building infrastructure, and churning out double and triple the number of educated and hungry people. As government regulation eases by means of controlling civil unrest, the red will also add white and blue.

Perhaps I'm young and naive saying the US hegemony is over (its been said time and time again throughout the 20th century), our credit is stretched, our military the same, our attention span and tenacity have went to the way of iPhone apps and 'hard working' paper shifters.

As we stand on what Mr Progress calls the 'arc of history,' the way I see it, we have a few options, continue to think the world will give us their money, and in return re-create vapor money for them, or we can embrace the developing world, investing in something tangible. My 35,000 foot high level strategic investment strategy for the future, invest in what makes America green, and what makes China red, white and blue.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

rumor coming in from the underbelly of the east coast rumor going out from the dirty mouths out west

If anyone wants to make a trip to see M. Ward play at the Trocadero in Philly, trip Feb 20-22, round trip airfare is 120 from SA to Philly, and the tickets are 30 bucks, and you know I roll with the Motel 6.

Can anyone, other than turdboy get a kitchen pass for this historic event? OOO, there's also the statue or Rocky and the liberty bell.