Thursday, December 10, 2009


In my attempts to maintain some level of physical activity, I've attempted to keep a routine program of rowing. It has been a success so far, but I only row every other day. I've been desiring to do a less aggressive form of excercise on the off days. As a result, I've recently taken up yoga every other day. The practice along with pelatis has always fascinated me, that simple body positioning and breathing techniques can have such a dramatic impact on energy and health.

So in my curiosity, I've brought this practice into my evening activites. I have to admit it is a bit more difficult that I imagined. Some of this is largely due to my relative lack of limberness, but some of the positioning is quite tiresome to maintain. I'm still working on synchronizing the breathing with the positioning though as I know that is an important element.

Overall, it has been a positive experience, even if I do feel rediculous doing it on occassion. You can guarantee you won't see me in a class trying to do a sunward bow position anytime soon :P However, if anyone is looking for a low impact form of exercise with positive mojo, I would definately recommend it. Hopefully in time it will increase my flexibility, body energy, and general gracefullness. Until then, I guess I'll stick to looking silly.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

10 Items or less.

While looking through the movies available on demand recently, I settled on watching an independant film with Morgan Freeman. Partially because I find Morgan Freeman a fascinating actor and the premise sounded appealing. I was greeted with a pleasant film that was highly dependant on its dialogue. Ultimately at one point in the film the two protaganists encourage the other to make an list.

10 Items or Less: 10 things in life that you would do without.
10 Items or Less: 10 things in life that you would keep.

The lists were whimsical and pertinent to the characters. Although it isn't an exact science, and would probably be heavily edited I think this is at least a fun excercise. So here are my 10 items.

10 Items I could live without:

1. People in a rush
2. Circling the runway in an airplane
3. Gossip
4. Texas heat
5. Predictable endings
6. Poor grammar
7. Partisan blindness
8. Tardiness
9. (open)
10. (open)

10 Items I would keep:

1. Great stories
2. Laughter and Romance
3. My mother and father
4. Free Will
5. A gentle spring/fall breeze
6. A warm bath
7. Good food
8. Great music
9. Comfortable place to sleep
10. Purposeful work

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thoughts on simple investing

Some individuals I know asked me my opinion about investing recently. I make no qualms about my interest in finance and personal finance. That being said, I always get cautious when asked these questions. I guess, I'd hate for anyone to take my opinion, act on it, and be less than satisfied. I usually stick to some simple rules though:

1) Don't invest money you can't risk losing.
2) Make investing a habit.
3) Don't invest in something you don't understand.
4) Invest for the long term and don't watch it every day.

I usually tell people to invest in a blend of investments and review them every 3 months and ask the following 3 questions:

1) What happened with my investments the last few months?
2) I'm I happy with the results?
3) Do I forsee these investments being where I want my money in the immediate future?

Then think of those answers and extend your time horizon out over 4-5 years. It's a bit simplistic, but I guess I don't think personal finance is that complicated. People tend to make it too difficult or sway to much with emotion of what happened to this or what happened to that. Everyone knows the rule of "buy low, sell high", but the fact is most people "buy high, sell low" because they are motivated by emotion. How many people pulled out of the market at the beginning of this year due to the plunge of the market and locked in their losses. This years market returns are in the teens and twenties for growth stock investing.

It just amazes me sometimes, how investing from a personal standpoint works. So many out there selling products that are complicated that they can't even explain or would invest in themselves. They pawn themselves off as professionals. I guess that is what steered me away from personal finance. I dreaded selling a product to a consumer they didn't need simply because it was what the brokerage house wanted to push that year. I love working with people, teaching people, educating people, but I didn't want to sell trash.

Oh well... I guess the best we can do is talk over these things with people we respect and trust, and make the best decisions we can.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

My impressions of jolly 'ol England

While it is fair to say my overall experience in England was limited to London and that my not be completely representative, I did come away from my trip with a positive inpression. I was overseas to visit my good friends Jon and Andy. Whether it had been England, France, Japan, or Turkey I'm sure that my time would have been delightful simply due their company. The unenviable chore of being my host primarily fell on the shoulders of Andy, and she did a delightful job of it. I think it must be hard to entertain someone like me, that sometimes lacks on the vibrant emotion side and doesn't keep a rigid schedule or plan. But she managed through.

When I had planned to visit, I sort of had an idea in my mind that London would be a rather fast paced city. I had the pleasure of visiting Jon a few times in New York, and always felt it a bit too rushed for my liking. You had to have a plan and stick to it around town, or otherwise you might be run over. Los Angeles felt like this to me as well during my last visit there. However, I found London much more balanced than that. I chalk it up to the fact that the city isn't built as high as our modern cities and the English are so used to queueing for things. This creates a society that isn't as jam packed and has patience to do things in time. It made the city much more enjoyable than I imagined.

I would say my favorite piece of the adventure was the sitting down to dinner with my friends at the Eagle and Child pub. The obvious draw to this location is the relative proximity to Oxford University, and the historical draw of Tolkein and C. S. Lewis. While I do find this fascinating, it did little to spark the imagination of the two great writers actually sitting there. However, despite that it was still a very lovely locale and served a pretty reasonable meal. I was just able to relax with good food and good company.

Ultimately, I could see myself returning one day despite if my friends were in town or not. But next time, a few more trips out of the city might be enjoyable. Someone I know needs to move to Japan though, so I have an excuse to go there next :)