Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Home and Garden TV. Not a channel I watch too often, especially since I became an apartment dweller. While on this roadtrip, though, I have had occasion to watch a few shows over the past few days. One that caught my eye showed couples who were looking to purchase or rent homes in some exotic locales - Maui, Nicaragua, the Bahamas and Key West. The budgets some of these folks seemed rather large, especially for some of the younger couples. One couple who looked to be in their late 20s had a monthly housing budget of  $3,600.

I must say I was impressed. I know that there are many people in the world that have more money than I do, but I suppose I am also always interested in learning how people make their money and became/are becoming/continue to be successful. It was one thing I really enjoyed about my time as a commercial loan officer, learning about different businesses and their models for success.

So I will live vicariously through these folks as they decide between these lovely seaside homes, with spacious floor plans and refreshing ocean breezes.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I must admit that I don't know a lot about investing. I have always felt that with my luck, if i bought shares of a pumpkin farm that Halloween would be cancelled.

I don't have a lot of money saved, sadly. Life with the NQEW meant that I cashed in everything years ago to try and pay the creditors. I have been diligently squirreling money away in the last three years, and feel confident that I will meet my retirement goals.

My 401k and retirement plans are "safely" entrusted to a variety of mutual funds, with risk and rewards spread across the market. But I don't feel terribly connected to the market without some single entity stocks to track progress on a regular basis.

So I have been purchasing some stocks every couple of weeks to feel more connected to the financial markets. I have been looking for cheaper stocks (generally) in companies that I somewhat familiar. Some of these are European bank stocks. They are probably very risky in the short to medium run given the turmoil in the EU, but I think that in the long run that they are undervalued. And you can pick up a share for @ $6 or so. 

Please note that I am not a financial advisor, not licensed, and am not offering any financial advice. If anything, my life has been lived more of as an object lesson for folks of how not to live their lives. You have been warmed.

So I have purchased shares in some Spanish banks - BBVA, Santander, and some other players, Deutsche Bank and Societe Generale. I bought some Ford stock, some Siemens, and, at the request of Little One, some Disney (one of the more expensive stocks in my portfolio). I am thinking about adding some Italian bank stocks as well. 

I only have small dollars at play, but over time I continue to put whatever extra dollars I have into the market while we are in a down period in the hopes that the markets will recover and ultimately I may make a modest return. Currently I am down a fair bit overall in these stocks. Again, don't do what I do.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Watching Cars go By

I am sitting at a desk on the 29th floor of a commercial building in downtown Denver at near noon on Memorial  Day, a bank and business holiday. From my window, I can see the interstate (which I don't know) and other fairly major thoroughfares. Traffic is brisk. Not rush hour level, but it seems to be fairly heavy.

It may be cliche to wonder where all of these folks are headed - to BBQs, memorial services, shopping, or perhaps to see the Rockies play some baseball (I think there is a doubleheader today) - but wonder I do.

I am trying to get caught up on work that is behind schedule and also get ahead on some other work. I chose not to rent a car this business trip, since I was able to find a hotel a block away from my work site. Denver has a good public transportation system and there are many things to see and do within walking distance of the hotel.

I must get back to work now, as the cars whiz by, and, oh, now we have a small plane pulling a banner past downtown, I suppose largely to attract the attention of those at the ball park.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Bob's Burgers

I just came across this animated show on Hulu. Apparently it is broadcast on Fox. I have it playing on a second PC monitor as I work and surf the net on this Sunday afternoon. Bob and his family own a burger shop. There was a line in the episode "Food Trucks", espoused by Bob's son that made me chuckle "It's not a lie if you lie to a vegetarian. Dad taught us that."

Today's Travels

I woke early after little sleep and drove to the airport. I had hoped that by taking an early morning flight I would avoid some of the crush of holiday travel - my hopes were dashed. The apart was awash with bleary eyed travelers.

Of late I have become a bit of a travel snob in that I have little patience for those who don't know how to travel. Those that slow down the line at security, that have luggage that will never be carry-on but try anyway, and those that think they will starve on a hour flight unless they have a picnic lunch. I tried to smile and stay calm, and I did. I was thinking that this commuter flight from my mid-sized city to Atlanta would be a smaller craft, one with a single seat on the left and two seats on the right, and about 25 rows deep. I was surprised that it was a larger jet, with a small first class section. The Fates were kind to me and I made the upgrade list on the full flight.

Soon after the cabin door closed, we were notified that it would another 45 minutes before we went "wheels up". This was problematic because I had a tight layover in Atlanta, and it seems that I never fly into the terminal where I will meet my connection. Weather was with us, though, and we had a decent tail wind and made it into Atlanta on time. I caught the tram and made my way to the correct terminal and joined my fellow flyers boarding the plane.

Denver's airport was bustling, and after a brief rest stop I made my way to collect my luggage and hit the cab stand. The first cab in line was "Freedom Cab", a mini-van painted white and lilac. Lovely. The driver was quiet and full of smiles, but no conversation. I listened to the mutterings of the dispatcher over the CB radio as we drove in from the airport to downtown. It was a cross between an episode of "taxi" and the class lecture from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" as the dispatcher sought to pair callers with cabs.

This dispatcher had a somewhat thick accent, whether from an African nation or somewhere in the Middle East, I don't know. He sought drivers to pick up a blond lady at the corner of Colorado and some cross street. The one that struck me as comical was a fare waiting outside the mosque. "When you get there, ask for Mohammed." I almost laughed aloud.

After checking into the hotel, I headed out for a later afternoon walk. At one point as I was heading back to Champa the wind really kicked up, and my Leinenkugel's baseball cap went flying off my head and into traffic. I turned for a moment, and almost chased it, but then recalled the line from Miller's Crossing, "there's nothing more foolish than a man chasing his hat."

So I let it go. I am almost hoping that over the next two weeks that I am in town that I see a homeless person putting the cap to good use.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Another weekend passed...

This weekend seems to have been long. Not too long, but long. Little One had a fever for 4 days last week and then went to the NQ ex-laws for the weekend. I caught her bug late in the week. My fever broke late Friday, but I have still been woefully lethargic and under the weather.

And as I await the dawn and the beginning of another new week, I still don't feel well. But to work I will go. Pupps 2.0 has kept me company this weekend. She sleeps near my right knee, slightly annoyed that I have slept restlessly and caused her to change locations in bed multiple times.

Time for some more juice.