Sunday, December 31, 2006

Crud Vapors

While I was on the proverbial can today and as I was being overwhelmed by entirely new and entirely foul gaseous creations by my own behind, I thought that perhaps it was time to turn on the air extraction device installed in most bathrooms for this express purpose. Problem was, I was sitting down and minimizing odor impact by forming a hermetic seal around the now terrible smelling bowl and being able to reach the exhaust fan switch would have required standing up a little and breaking that seal. Need I remind you that seal isn't there for freshness? I relegated myself to finishing my business and chasing it down with some water. After all, I could turn on the exhaust fan when I left, right? But darn, then I'd have to come back to shut it off. At this point, still perched upon my porcelain pot, I thought up of a great idea.

Why can't we wire up exhaust fan with an extra button that, when pushed, would turn the exhaust fan on for 10 minutes and stop. So you hit the button as you enter the temple or you hit it as you exit but either way, the poo gases that are lingering should be well extracted by the time the fan stops. And you don't have to go back and do an unpleasant but necessary olfactoral check of Da Latrine. An exhaust timer should be fairly easy to do. One could even wire it up like those timed lights so that guests can set a time proportionate to their own redolence. We are a civilized society after all, even if we have not yet been able to bio-technologically remove our dependence upon food and defecation.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

US Airways Blows

What should have been a 12 hour red-eye flight from Los Angeles to Las Vegas to Philadelphia to Providence (admittedly already one connection too many) turned into a 26 Los Angeles to Las Vegas to Phoenix to Baltimore to Providence ordeal. I can sympathize with the airlines about a freak blizzard in Denver wreaking havoc across the Western air systems but I do abhor the irresponsible and apathetic attitude which most of the US Airways agents took (except for one America West agent at Las Vegas who went out of her way for nearly an hour to help me figure out a way home by Christmas). Screw you US Airways!

Come to think of it, I did a little checking with Skytrax a while back and there are in fact only TWO four-star airlines in the US and NO five-star airlines. The two that get four stars? JetBlue and Frontier airlines. Neither UAL, nor Delta, nor US Airways, nor American Air, nor any of their bloated companions could even muster up enough motivation to clear up their complection and rise to four stars. Shameful! Even UAL first class now officially 5UX0RZ.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Vagaries of Fortune

I don't suppose I should be so inconsistent as to presume this blog outside the influence of my oft-changing interests and obsessions so perhaps I should just blog about whatever it is I'm thinking about at the moment. Oh wait, wasn't that the kind of glorified narcissism that started the blogosphere anyway? Guess I'm going back to roots...if not my own than somebody's. In any case...

Ponderations and contemplatings about the future have made me more proactive about seeking out financial security. Real financial security is a goal for years and years down the road of course but it's never too early to start building capital. But what's a good goal? I'd say $1,000,000 would be a nice sum to hold. It wouldn't make me independently wealthy but it would definitely help support a decent life. OK, so what do I start with?


A pretty paltry sum but let's say you double your money every year. 2^10 = 1024 so you'd have approximately a cool million in about a decade. OK, but who earns 100% on returns every year right? True. How about 50% ever year? That will get you 437 times your original investment in 15 years. Let's say 16-17 gets you a million. 20% every year? That'll take you nearly 40 years.

But nobody is sitting on their butts all this time too. Putting in a few thousand each year will not only give you more savings at the end but increase your investment capital. 5% earnings per year on investment may not be spectacular and it's absolutely pitiful on $1000. You get $50! But on 1,000,000, even 5% represents a respectable sum of $50,000. It's just getting up over $1,000,000 that's difficult.

So my personal progress? Well I lied about that $2k. I actually started with $2k and put in another $1k less than a month later. Still, I started late October 2006 and now it's almost mid December 2006 and where does my account stand? $6k! So doubling in the first year has been achieved! How?

I'm fairly risk tolerant at this point because I'm a young'un and also because I don't have all that much capital to lose. So to maximize the efforts of my research and gains, I've been putting all my money into one stock. Risky, yes, but I also control losses fairly tightly and monitor company performance tightly. BRLC, so far has risen 50+% from the point at which I bought it back in October. OK, so where's the other 50%?

The other 50% almost gave me a heart attack and is not something I will attempt very often. I looked at a promising micro-cap stock that had been growing to absurd levels based on momentum alone. It had been steadily rising for more than week with accelerating gains in PPS and volume. The day before I bought the volume really started to kick in and I thought perhaps the next day it would accelerate even more. Checking up on the thought the next day, I saw it had risen by 20% already. The bounces off temporary drops and volumes all looked good to me so I went for it. By the end of the day, it was up nearly 50% from its open (and a none too shabby 17% from where I bought it). I set a sell trigger for when it dropped to +10% of my investment and waited over night.

The stock opened at at nearly +35% of my initial position the next day and was already halted. Uh oh. The news that eventually was released was basically "We don't know why our stock prices are going up." There was no question the stock was overbought. It was just a matter of when to sell. It didn't take a genius to figure out that the safest position at that point was to just sell as soon as trading resumes. I monitored news and sold a minute or two after trading resumed (caught the downward fall of a huge spike that took it briefly to +60%) for a tidy +40% profit.

Putting all my investment eggs in that one basket is risky for sure but I was set for at least 10% or so after the first day. Risk = reward I suppose. But now that I'm at 6k, I'm eyeing a 50% gain to end up near 9k by late april (half a year from my starting date). It's a rather lofty goal but I have faith in BRLC, especially over the holiday quarter. If BRLC meets its target of 14, I'll be pretty close to that 60% already.

The one downside of all this is that in buying my short term speculative stock (ATA), I missed a 6% jump in BRLC today. I knew something like this might happen soon so I'll just have to offset that with my 40% earnings to come out a bit north of 30%. Still not bad for a few days. As soon as the SEC allows me to trade though it's back in to BRLC I go.