Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Oswego Harborfest

Today will be my last blog post for the week.  I leave tomorrow AM to head on home to Rochester and Oswego NY!  My next post will probably be next Tues. 

It'll be a full few days of activities, starting out with Pontillo's pizza back at the parents house tomorrow evening.  Thursday is lunch with Gma/Dad at Charlie Riedel's followed by family festivities at the parent's house for dinner and family fun.  I believe most of my mom's side of the family and my dad/gma will be there.  It will be good to see everyone, since it's been a few years.

Then Friday it's off to Oswego for Harborfest with my man Timmay!  On Friday evening the festivities begin at 7pm at Breitbeck Park with Frostbit Blue, followed by Barenaked Ladies.  Not sure what we'll do for an encore on Saturday, but there are several more bands, a huge fireworks show, etc.  It looks like Old City Hall has some good music going on from 4pm on, so might check that out if we can get near the place. 

I finished making a sweet mix CD over the weekend for the hour drive over to Oswego.  It's got plenty of Frostbit Blue, Barenaked Ladies and some other blast from the past tunes to pump us up for the weekend!

It's back to the dorms we go!  I'm sure we'll be too excited to contain ourselves and it will spill over with lots of Facebook check-ins all around town for the benefit of all my former Oswegonians on Facebook to live vicariously through us for the weekend.  I'll also be sure to take lots of pictures and if my battery allows, I'll upload some along the way.  You can play around with the SUNY Oswego webcam also.  If you are controlling the camera and go all the way to the right and then start going left, we'll be staying in the first brownish building that is closest to the camera and you can see the smoke stacks in the background.  That's Hart Hall.  We used to live in the identical building across the way, Funnelle Hall.  Have a great rest of the week/weekend!

Monday, July 25, 2011

WNYer Meet Up - Recap

As I mentioned in Friday's post, we were heading out Saturday night to the Tilted Kilt to meet up with the Western NYer's Jacksonville group. I must say, it far surpassed what the organizer, Jay, thought he'd get for a turnout and we were quite surprised as well! This was the first meet up and there were approx 30 people in attendance.  Here are the pictures from the event. 

It was a really great time, everyone was super friendly. Prior to going, we only knew the organizer from Facebook and we knew the owners of Ann O'Malley's were going to be there, but other than that we weren't sure what to expect. I was a bit concerned that it would be all strictly Buffalo peeps and lots of hardcore sports talk and what not, but that was definitely NOT the case.

The first couple we were chatting with has been here for 28 years and Bruce was originally from Niagara Falls and Lucy was from Binghamton. She is the head of HR for the Goodwill in Jax/Gainesville/Palm Coast/Lake City and he works for GE Aviation, nice couple.

Then Vanessa came in and sat on the other side of us and she was hilarious! She just sat down and started chatting like we'd known her for years and she wasn't holding back. She moved her 2 years ago and is a chiropractor and lived in Buffalo and Syracuse prior to coming down.  It was great to have someone be so comfortable and open to just let it all out 10 minutes after meeting them. That isn't something you'll normally find here in the South very often.

We were talking to those folks until about 9pm mostly and then once the peeps not used to being out 'late' headed out, we moved down the table and met a few other folks. One woman Barbara is a volunteer at the main Feral cat clinic in town on Saturdays, so we had lots to talk about with her, she was there as a friend to Bob from Buffalo, she's a Jax Beach native.

Then we also spoke with Jay the organizer a bit and he was real excited about upcoming events, such as the Bills games, trips to so see the Sabres play in FL, future meetups, etc. We also talked with Bob, the organizer of the Bills Backers of Jax, he's pretty much just a fan that wanted to get together with others to watch the games and Jay talked him into taking over the Bills Backers group and we're all just one big combined happy family now. He's a real nice guy from Fairport and we talked Pizza, garbage plates, etc.  He knew the girls that were in this picture for the opening of Mark's pizza in Bradendon, FL, where we got our pizzas from.

We're super glad we went and looking forward to the monthly meetups, Bills games and trip to Tampa to see the Sabres play Oct 22nd. We made some new friends that I'm sure we'll definitely see again soon. Good times!

Friday, July 22, 2011

WNYers in Jax Meetup


Back when the Sabres were in the NHL playoffs a few months back, we came across a post from Ann O'Malley's bar in St Augustine in a Facebook Sabres fans group.  We found out they bar is owned by a former Buffalonian and they had beer specials for anyone wearing Sabres gear, anytime they scored, etc.  They also served Beef on Weck, which is a Buffalo favorite, not my thing but a taste of home for the wifey.  We went and had a great time, it helps they won the game in OT!  

About 3 years ago we also became aware of a local Buffalo Bills Backers club online and they now have a  Facebook page and they're ramping things back up this year with some new energy and new folks running the show.  We usually attend the first game at a local place in town, Wing-It in Mandarin and it's always a good time.  It's always a great turn out and always great to be surrounded by fellow fans to cheer on your team. 

Around the same time that we found Ann O'Malley's, we also found a website for former Western NYers in the Jacksonville area.  We were pretty excited, since it's always great to find out there are people from where you're from around town.  The WNY-2Jax site says: "We wanted to create a central location where all the former WNY'ers can find old friends and make some new ones. A place where we can find like-minded people to socialize with, network and more. You may just find some old friends from your old neighborhood that you lost touch with."  They also have a Facebook page. 

This Saturday from 7-10pm they're having their first meet and greet at the Tilted Kilt and we'll be there to hang out for some drinks, eats and good times!  Come on out if you're in the area.  Now I have to go heat up some Mark's pizza for lunch....all this talk of the homeland has me hungry for some hometown eats!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Financial Stock Follow-up

I was checking out some stock charts last night and watching Fast Money when I remembered back to one of my first few blog posts.  I mentioned very briefly that I thought financial stocks would do very well this year, with the momentum they had starting around the September 2010 time frame continuing.  I wanted to follow-up on that with a few tips that I think anyone can benefit from. 

I had previously purchased two bank stocks, Citigroup (C) and Huntington Bank (HBAN) a while back in 2009.  Additionally, I purchased one of the main financial stock ETFs (XLF) in November of 2010.  An ETF is nothing more than a collection of similar stocks all rolled up into one.  For example, if you like the financial stocks like Bank Of America, Wells Fargo, JP Morgan, etc. You can either buy them individually, or if you want to reduce the risk of owning the individual stocks, but think the overall sector will do well, you can buy the symbol XLF instead.  Rather than go into more detail on that, I'll have a separate discussion on ETFs and some of the common ones out there in a separate post.

So, going into January, I was feeling pretty good since they were all doing well compared to where I bought them.  But a key thing to remember is that things can change rather quickly.  Never be so set in your ways that you can't change your outlook once the overall picture changes.  You may firmly believe that things should go up, but price is king and if it's going in the wrong direction, take your gain or cut your loss and move on to the next trade.

I ended up taking my gain on all 3 in Feb/March. Turns out that was a good move in hindsight, since all 3 have gone down substantially since then. I was out and haven't looked back. My outlook did a complete 180 shortly afterwards. With all the new banking regulations and anti-bank sentiment by the government, there appears to be no end in sight to the downturn. At some point they will be a value, but until there is more clarity on the upcoming Dodd/Frank regulations, a turnaround in the housing market, or an about face on the constant daily rhetoric from the goverment about the 'fat cats on wall street' or the vilification of all the banking executives, it's a wait and see situation.

As a result of finishing the one Trend Trading book and getting 1/2 way through the other, I have changed my trading system a bit. One of the most important new parts is that whenever I enter a trade, I must know my desired sell price on the upside as well as my sell price to limit any potential loss on the downside. That is called a stop limit order. That is really the most important part, to limit your losses if things don't go as planned, so that you can live to fight another day and can move on to the next trade.

For example, my pick for this week on SpikeTrade.com was Qualcomm. My entry price for the pick was 54.93, my target sell price was 56.36 and my sell price on the downside was 53.97.  It would automatically sell at 56.36 on the upside and would automatically sell at 53.97 to limit the loss on the downside. In that way, you also take most of the emotion out of the trade, an important factor so that you don't trade on hype.  Stick with your plan that you setup before you entered the trade and just set it and forget it.  I'm finishing up this post Tues morning and it just automatically sold at 56.36 on a gap up at the market open.  Positive news from IBM and other companies overnight Monday helped spark a rally. 

I just wanted to make sure you're aware I haven't been positive on the financial stocks as an overall sector since March, but again that can change on a daily basis.  One of the stocks on my radar is actually Prudential Financial, the insurance company and I may enter that trade tomorrow depending on the charts.  That just highlights that a blog is a difficult place to express a market/stock opinion, since things change so rapidly.  I also wanted to highlight the importance of having an upper AND lower sell price on a stock trade, PRIOR to placing the order to buy. Hope that helps! As always, leave a comment or let me know if you have any questions since I'm always interested in talking stocks.  Happy Trading!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bachelor Pad Weekend Recap

For the benefit of my sister Michelle, who emailed last night and asked where's my weekend update blog post, here's my recap from my bachelor pad weekend!  I know she is expecting/hoping for something way more exciting than this post is probably going to be, but here goes anyhow....

As I mentioned previously, the wifey was going away from Thurs morning to Sunday evening to visit her sister in Albany, or more specifically Duanesburg, NY.  I had mentioned that this was only the second time she has been away without me.  I've been away several times for work/training classes or what not, but hadn't had the place to myself in quite a while.

Where do we start...Well, Thursday night I cooked up some mini penne pasta/ragu and Armour small frozen meatballs and let me say, if you've never had them, go get some!  They are really the best frozen meatballs ever.  I let them sit in sauce in a bowl for about 30 minutes and then microwaved the sauce for 2 minutes with the meatballs in there and it was good stuff.    I then vacuumed and steam cleaned the carpets, with the 4 furry kids that is a pretty common activity and something I'm an expert at by now.  I watched some Big Brother, some other random shows and that was about it.   

Friday I worked from home.  After work I read a bit of my stock trading book, did some stock research for next week and had leftover pasta/meatballs.  Caught up on some stuff on the DVR...Pawn Stars, American Pickers and a new one I recorded, American Restoration.   PARTY!

Saturday I woke up, had a family chat on IM and began my day of stuff that needed to get done.  I mowed the lawn and then went to Five Guys for lunch.  Yummy good stuff and they were insanely nice in there for some reason, asking if there was anything else I needed, how the food was and even opened the door for me when I left.  WeIrD.  After that, I got the oil changed in the wifey's car, gassed it up and went to Publix and did a tad bit of grocery shopping.  I even used two coupons, pretty impressive eh?

I'm known for hating the grocery store, but by myself with a short list of specific items that I put together and going when it's not busy wasn't too bad.  I then came home and then took a little cat nap, with the cats of course.  After that I ran the dishwasher, did some laundry, did some cleanup and then watched a TV movie 'The Fall of Sam Axe'.  It was a movie staring one of my favorite actors Bruce Campbell and it's related to the USA network show Burn Notice.  Needless to say, it was terrible, but at least I saved the wifey from having to watch it.  By then it was around 10pm.

At that point it became the 'night of 1,000 clicks'.  When I say clicks, you know that sound a screen door makes when you open it and walk away?  It starts to retract on it's own and then CLICK.  It latches and the door closes.  Well imagine that times 1000 over.  Let me explain...

Our neighbors on the side closest to our living room/patio recently moved in over the last few months.  They're renting from our prior neighbors that we really liked and were sad to see them go.  Overall the new peeps are nice and relatively quiet, no dogs or anything and it's a couple around our age with a son around 8-10 I'd say.  She just had a baby maybe 3 weeks ago and I think her mom and some other relatives have been over.  I remember our prior neighbor saying they were a Colombian couple.   I only mention that because I think it's relevant to the story.

Like I mentioned, it was 10pm Saturday that the clicking began.  That is only a factor when he cooks out, the problem is he cooks out relatively often.  I'm not quite sure what he is cooking on his smoker type grill, but whatever it is he goes out there well over 100 times to check on it, no joke.  And I'm assuming he doesn't want to let bugs into his patio and with all his patio stuff there isn't room to put it in his patio, like our last neighbor and I do, unfortunately.  This went on until at least 1:30am when I finally went to bed.  Normally you probably wouldn't notice it, but houses are close in Florida and where I sit is right next to our sliding glass door and just outside that is our screen patio and on the right is their screen patio and once you hear it, you can't not hear it. 

So anyway, it is what it is and I thought the odd thing was that they had just started to head outside at 10pm and were still up past 2am.  This is a couple with a new born less than 3 weeks old hanging out with what I think are older parents and maybe a sibling.  I think the mom has been staying there for a few weeks, so I would think she'd be exhausted also.  Pretty sure there were drinks involved too, but they weren't being loud or anything.  But, what do I know eh?  Maybe it's a cultural thing that they function well on a lack of sleep and like to cookout after 10pm, or maybe the baby just sleeps really well.  At any rate, once I went to bed I could no longer hear the clicks, so all was good...

Sunday I went to the pool for a bit, played some games on my phone and finished cleaning up the house.  Then I went to pick up the wifey at the airport around 7pm and all was back to normal....I have to say, I really did enjoy my solo time.  Normally I'm not a big fan of being alone for extended periods because I tend to get bored quickly, but this wasn't an extended period, so it was a fun little change of pace....And another amazing thing was the cats did NOT wake me up to be fed.  I told the wifey when she left that they would be perfect while she was gone and not wake me up at all and it was true.  Normally they wake her up without fail between 5:45am-6:30am with other potential middle of the night noises/playing.  While she was gone, nada...I woke up around 9 and they still weren't even bugging me for food. 

It was fun and I know she will enjoy her alone time next week when I head out myself for the trip to NY for Harborfest, but I'm glad to have her back home safe and sound....As you can see, it wasn't all that exciting, but hopefully I at least made it into an interesting read....Happy now Michelle?  :o)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Cool Phone Games

I think it's been a while since I've talked about fun phone apps, so why not.  Someone at work forwarded me an email with the top 100 Android Apps and it's not a bad list. It has a few games I am going to download right now, Chalk Ball Lite and Game Dev Story Lite.  Alchemy I got free through Amazon Appstore recently and that's pretty cool too. 

The Amazon Free App of the Day provided a good game recently, which was Fieldrunners HD (above).  That's the one I've been playing this week.  It's similar to Plants vs Zombies where you setup/buy various types of weapons and then the guys you're supposed to be taking out come out one side and try to get to the other side.  You setup the weapons in whatever pattern you want to try and slow them down long enough to take em out. Pretty cool. 

I've also been enjoying some Gin Rummy, which is something I used to play using actual cards (what are those?) with my mom when I was little.  In addition, I also broke out the NESoid lite Nintendo emulator and played some Tecmo Bowl football from back in the day, as a result of my post yesterday referring back to my college days.

Here is a list of the top 25 iPhone games also.  Looks like some overlap with the Android games, so may be a decent list.  Have you pulled down any cool apps or games recently?  Let me know, I'm always looking to add to my collection.  Currently I'm rockin' 229 apps and got room for plenty more!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wifey Out of Town

Today I dropped the wifey off at the airport on the way to work for her Thurs-Sunday getaway to visit her sister in Albany, NY.  She was originally going to go to her 20 year High School reunion, but turns out they did not have enough people wanting to pony up the cash for the event and it was canceled for the first time in school history, but what can you do.  That worked out well, because she's been wanting to head up to see her sister and this provided a perfect opportunity.

She has plans to go to Lake George and Dinosaur BBQ and plans to enjoy the lack of humidity and cooler temperatures!

This is only the second time she's gone away somewhere without me, the last time was for a day/night to visit a friend at Epcot.  Sooooo....Party time?  Excellent?! 

First off, food...As most of you know, the wifey is the cook, end of story.  I'm a terrible cook, or at least lack the motivation to cook.  So for sure I'll probably be having pasta with sauce and meatballs (that I can do, they're frozen meatballs, but they're sooo good) and also will be having some of the Mark's pizza we have in the freezer.  That's 3 meals, I'll be sure there are pasta leftovers.  If I come up with no other ideas, there's always takeout or probably other frozen stuff I can throw together, so no major worries here.

Another big thing is the wifey will no longer be here for the morning feeding for our 4 cats.  She is the sole provider when it comes to getting up to feed them at whatever time they wake her up in the AM.  They never try to wake me up, they know they won't get anywhere.  The time varies, but is usually from 5:30-6:15am, but the other night they were being bad and it was 3:30am.  Either way, that doesn't work for me.  Since I work from home Friday and it is the weekend after that, the earliest I plan to be awake is 8am Friday and 9:30am on the weekend.  Hopefully they adjust to my schedule, otherwise we're gonna have to throw down. 

Other than those two main issues, what shall I do with my new found freedom?  Weather looks to be 50% chance of rain/cloudy, so beach is probably out.  And it's been super humid, so outdoor activities aren't too appealing.  Harry Potter starts this weekend and I'd have no problem going by myself, but either the wifey would have to be seeing that in Albany this weekend also, or I'd have to go again....that's a potential option.  But what else? 

It's not like I don't have the freedom to do what I want normally anyway, so I don't really feel the need to let loose.  And since the wifey is usually my designated driver, going out to party wouldn't work out too well.  Add in that I'll be having my little weekend getaway with my college roommate back in the dorms in 2 weeks, I'm really not feeling the need to do much of anything actually.  The wifey never gives me a honey-do list of stuff to accomplish, so I'm good there as well.  Guess I got it pretty good normally, shhh, don't tell the wifey. 

Quite honestly, my current plans involve sleeping in, trying to finish up the stock trading book I'm reading and hanging out with the boys, but I feel like I should do something that the wifey wouldn't normally care to do, or something to take advantage of the situation.  Any ideas?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Oswego Bound!

It's official!  Yesterday I booked a dorm room for my friend/college roommate Tim and I to return to where it all began, SUNY Oswego, for Oswego's Harborfest celebration!  In 2 weeks and 2 days, we'll be heading to the land of Oz.  We're sharing a dorm room and going to kick it old school and by that I mean we're old and back at school!  The funny thing is that it seems like just yesterday we were still back there partying it up like rock stars, while somehow still managing to graduate with honors. 

We loved staying in the dorms because everything was so close and convenient.  We lived in Funnelle Hall, room 502 (right arrow in picture above) for the first year and 501 (left arrow in picture above) for the remaining 3 years and Tim and I roomed together the whole time.  We were friends from elementary school-high school and it worked out great.  Our dorm, dining hall and fitness center were all connected.  We were also right in the center of campus and could pretty much wake up and make it to most classes in less than 10 minutes, 15 minutes with the crazy snow/wind during the winter.    And we were legends, at least in our own minds.

We were a really close knit group on the 5th floor of Funnelle Hall and had friends on other floors in the building as well.  On most weekends we'd either be cramming 10+ people in a 12x12 room or rotating between several rooms or heading out to one of the many weekly ritual spots.  Typically that was either a Sigma Tau Chi frat party, Delta Kappa Kappa frat party, Psi Phi Gamma frat party, Omicron Xi sorority party, Phi Lambda Phi sorority party, 6-9 party at the Wheel, Rugby Social 6-9 at the Caddy Shack, trips out to any number of bars including, but certainly not limited to Broadwells, The Shed (just recently re-opened!), The Shacki Patch, Greens, etc.  All of the events were all you can drink for either $3 or $5 and typically all you had to show was that you were 19 to get in or for many of them, all you had to show was your college ID, which didn't have any age/birthday info on it.

We were not members of any of the various greek organizations, but the cool thing about Oswego is that the big ones with the huge houses in town were open to anyone.  Show a college ID and you were in.  All you can drink for $5 from 9pm till-?  And we'd either walk or take a cab everywhere for $1 each person each way, can't beat that!  That made for quite the crazy time and lots of great memories, many of which are a little foggy, due of course to the previously mentioned all you can drink events. 

We can't wait to head on back.  Talking back and forth with Tim yesterday via email, we were thinking we need to get ahold of some retro Genny Light posters or our old Bartles and James lifesize cutout we had in our old dorm room and maybe get ahold of a Nintendo and play some Tecmo Bowl as we so often did on a daily basis. Cool, you can play Tecmo Bowl online and I just found the Bartles and James cutout for sale on Craigslist, cheap too, how funny!

We're planning to meet up with at least two former Oswegonians at some point and hopefully it will be great times had by all!  I will be sure to do a post or two after the main event as well.

WoodShed Tavern; Closest bar to campus and I found out it MAY be re-opening for Harborfest!

It was the Caddy Shack when we were there, Bucklands before and a McDonalds/Gas Station now
Broadwell's Tavern

Halloween masks that would surface on multiple occasions

These were our Halloween 'costumes' to get $2 off the Phi Lamb $5 Halloween party
My buddy Mike and I hanging down at Lake Ontario
Tim heading to campus safety to answer to 'serious charges' 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Picture of the Day

Two of our kitties, Poker and Sage, catching a cat nap this morning...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Google +

I've had Google + for a week now and they finally opened things up slightly.  Friday they opened things up enough to where most of the people I work with are now using it as well.  In addition I was able to get my wifey signed up and I believe one of my sisters is on as well.  In case you're not aware it's an alternative to Facebook that allows some features Facebook doesn't currently offer, or makes certain things easier. 

The main reason I wanted to check it out was for the 'Circles' feature.  Basically, that allows you to place people into 'Circles' that are really nothing more than designations such as 'Family' 'Acquaintances', 'Work' etc.  That is the main thing I think Facebook lacks.  As you know if you're on my Facebook friend list, I tend to post often, especially if we're away from home somewhere.  Many times I'd like to post an update and share pictures, but would rather limit that to family and some friends.  Other times I might have something more technical or work oriented that that I'd like to post, but I know 90% of people could care less, but isn't an easy way to accomplish that. That's where Google + comes in.  You can put people in one circle or multiple circles and you are able to specify what circles can see individual posts or pictures that you share. 

In addition, one of the other main features I want to try soon is the 'Hangouts' option.  That allows you to have group video chats with specific people or circles.  I'm familiar with the idea of using Google chat or AIM and as of last week, Facebook video chat with one person at a time, but I'm curious how the multiple people video chat works.  I used video chat with my sisters recently, but since I didn't have a webcam/mic, it was all one-sided.  I just got the Logitech C525 over the weekend and am curious how well that works with multiple people using the Google + Hangout feature.  I'm sure we'll try it out this week.

There are also other features similar to bookmarking or the Facebook 'like' option, but Google + keeps track of sites that you hit the +1 option on and saves them for you to refer back to, etc.  I haven't tried that or many of the other options just yet, but I definitely plan to. 

All in all, it seems cool, now that I have a few people in there to try things out with.  Will I convert over and only utilize Google +?  Time will tell...the likelihood all my Facebook 'friends' will change over probably isn't high, but then again who thought everyone would convert over to Facebook from MySpace so quickly, abandoning the later.  I think Facebook will be forced to add the new features that Google + now offers, seeing how popular Google + is becoming, at least among techies.  And if that happens, I think Facebook will remain at the top, but if Google keeps offering new/cool features that Facebook doesn't have and are improvements, I can see Google + picking up steam.  Will see how things unfold!

Do you have Google +?  Plan to try it out?  Not at all interested in another social networking site right now?  I'm curious to know what you think.  As of right now, I can invite people again, not sure if that will be true by the time I post this though.  If you'd like an invite to try it out, let me know!  If you're on there already, add me to one of your circles and we can try things out.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Space Shuttle Atlantis - Final Shuttle Launch!

Launch Date: July 8
Launch Time: 11:26:46 a.m. EDT
Landing Date: July 20
Landing Time: 7:06 a.m. EDT

Today, Friday July 8th, 2011 is scheduled to be the final launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis, which is also the final manned shuttle launch of the NASA space program altogether.  I'm typing this up Wednesday evening and as of right now, the weather looks like it has the potential to postpone the launch.  The 1,000,000 fans expected to attend the event will be mighty disappointed if that's the case, but not much they can do about that.  Will hope for the best!

Here's the latest update as of Wed evening:

"We had a really smooth Mission Management Team meeting today," said Moses. "The vehicle is in fantastic shape." In regard to the launch-day weather forecast, he added, "Before we go load the propellants into the tank we'll take a look at the weather and make sure it's really a good day to try that, and so at that point we'll be making a decision."

"The countdown so far is going extremely well," reported Leinbach. "We're not tracking anything at all that would prevent an on-time liftoff Friday morning."

"We have a tropical wave that's out in the Caribbean," explained Winters. "That wave is actually going to come into Florida along with a lot of tropical moisture that's down to the south, and it's all going to roll into Florida in the next couple of days." Based on these conditions, Winters predicted an 80 percent chance of weather preventing tanking operations, with a 70 percent chance of it standing in the way of launch at 11:26 a.m. EDT on Friday. The forecast for the following days improves to 60 percent no-go on Saturday and 40 percent on Sunday.

It's been quite an inspirational program for the United States over the years and hopefully this will continue with future space missions/trips with the help of private companies such as Virgin Galactic, Sir Richard Branson's space division and other companies mentioned on the Space tourism Wikipedia page

Space Shuttle Atlantis Over the Years
Shuttle Legacy: Soaring Achievement, high costs

(A wish for success/fortune for one setting out on an enterprise, voyage or adventure)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Big Brother 13 Premiere!

This is my Thursday morning blog post, but had to post it early cause my sisters were jumping the gun and checking out stuff on their own that is posted in my blog so had to post it early!  :o)

There's your new cast for Season 13 of Big Brother!  In case you aren't aware, the new season starts tonight on CBS at 9pm and goes to 10pm.  We've watched every season religiously since it started and this will be no exception.  It used to be that nothing new was on during the summer, so you were excited for that reason alone, but now that we've watched consistently, we look forward to it every year.  It's a family thing also, my mom, both sisters and wifey all are into it and once the controversy gets going, which doesn't take long, we have many family chats online about the latest happenings.

It's pretty much the same format every year, a bunch of people live in a house together and someone wins a competition and becomes Head of Household.  Then they nominate 2 people to be evicted.  Those two people and a few others can then compete in a competition to win the Power of Veto.  If one of the people slated to be evicted wins, they can take themselves off the block and the Head of Household has to nominate someone else in their place.  Then the group votes who they want to leave.  That's basically how it works, but the motto of the show is to "expect the unexpected", so there are always slight variations along the way to stir things up.

This year it looks like the main twist is that one or more of the famous duos from prior Big Brother seasons will be entering the house to compete with this year's crew.  I was initially thinking it was one group of two, but after watching some of the preview videos on the Big Brother Facebook page, it sounds like it will be more than one.  I also took a look at prior Big Brother seasons on Wikipedia and the last three both had 13 people and there are 8 new members for this year, so it will probably be at least two I'm thinking.  Other years had as high as 16, so who knows.  This video clip also says there are 3 twists this year, should be interesting as always!

Right now Jeff and Jordan have the lead in votes of who people THINK will enter the house with 33%, however the vote has nothing to do with who actually will be coming back.    I hope it's anyone BUT Brendon/Rachel and Jessie/Natalie.  I can't stand Jessie and the other two, so they'll probably bring back both those couples just to piss me off.  Hope not, it would be tough to watch with those 3 on there, but I'm sure we'd still do it anyway. 

Based strictly on the pictures above alone, I think the guy in the lower left will be the strongest player.  After just watching this video,which shows each of the players above for a few seconds, I still agree.  How long he'll make it, who knows, but he seems likable with a big game plan.  We'll see if my 5 second first impression holds up. Of the two rather attractive females, I think the model on the upper row will prove not so smart.  In her quick few seconds in the video she said that she had a lot going on upstairs in addition to her looks.  Anyone who says they have a lot going on upstairs probably doesn't.  

Here are a few individual interviews with new cast members. 

Just talking about the players and trying to figure things out already has got me psyched and ready for the season!  What are your first impressions of the players?  If you had to pick one person to do well, who would it be and why?  Any party plans for the premiere?  Bring it on!

P.S.  Happy Anniversary to my sister Michelle and her husband James!!

P.S.S.  Looks like my original prediction was WAY off.  The guy I picked to win it was the first one evicted. Heh.... 

Trend Trading Update

I mentioned a few weeks back that my daily blogging might suffer a bit due to my interest in and time required to read through/learn from 2 books on Trend Trading in the stock market.  Unfortunately for the blog, it has suffered a bit, but I've tried to not neglect things too much.  I have been diligently learning/reading a bit each day and so far so good.  It's made a huge difference in the way I research and approach a stock trade and I'm pretty excited about it!

Rather than get real deep into specifics, I just want to make you aware of another whole side of the stock market called Technical Analysis.  Maybe one day this info will make you a whole bunch of $ and you can thank me by buying me a cheeseburger, or better yet an oceanfront mansion!  Or if not, I hope to be able to at least explain this in such a way that my wifey will understand and give me less of a blank stare when I try and explain something new that I'm excited about and have no one else to share it with!  :o) 

Most all of what you're probably used to is buy and hold type trading.  You might like a particular company's products, like Apple for instance and decide to buy the stock (if you happen to have $335 for one share) and hang onto it for the long term.  If it goes up and down over time, you just hang on and hope for the best.  You might buy more if the price goes down to average down, but overall you're not doing much with it after you decide to buy. 

401k's are pretty similar, you keep putting in regular amounts of $ into specific funds on a regular basis and if the overall market goes down, your strategy doesn't change.  You just keep putting in the same amount and when the price of your mutual funds drop, you're able to buy more and you're averaging in over time.  That's a perfectly fine way to manage your 401k and in most cases your options are quite limited, so that's pretty much all that may be available.

Most of that is called Fundamental Analysis or no analysis at all.  However, there is a whole other side to the market called Technical Analysis.  Technical trading involves checking stock charts for patterns and using other tools called indicators, which are free and readily available from places like Yahoo Finance

Just be aware that much of the reason why a stock or the overall market goes up or down has to do at least in part to chart patterns or technical levels.  There are lots of reasons a stock might go up or down, Apple may announce a completely new product called the iShoe, which will revolutionize footwear as we know it and the stock goes up $20 in one day.  Or Apple might have it's quarterly earnings announcement come out and find out they sold 2 million less iShoes than everyone thought they would and it drops $20 in a day.  These situations are unavoidable and can't be predicted, without illegal insider information, but luckily these types of situations are rare. 

A great majority of the time stocks or the overall market trades either in a range or gives signals that the current pattern may be about to change.  Additionally, certain indicators give you good information on when is a good time to get into a stock and when would be a good time to take profits or cut your losses.  For example, if a stock has been consistently going up over a period of months on strong volume and then it starts to pull back maybe 5-10% or so on lower volume, chances are it's going to go back up on increased volume in the near term.  All this information is out there for free, you just need to know how to decipher it.  And it's not an exact science obviously, or everyone would be rich, but it can help put the odds in your favor for a successful trade.

It's more about recognizing a pattern and using indicators to figure out when to get in and out.  In addition, the most important thing I've learned so far is the importance of proper record keeping/documentation for every single trade to lay out the exact reasons why you're entering the trade.  And MOST importantly, you need to know exactly where you will sell the stock if the trade starts to go in the opposite direction.  Your goal is to cut your losses quickly without emotion and let the winners run.  This is not a buy and hold strategy.

Let's say Starbucks is currently trading at $20 per share.  You run one of your free stock scans and Starbucks is one of the ones in the list, you check the chart and see it's in a long term uptrend, but it has recently pulled back from $25 to $20 a share and some of the other indicators indicate that the stock is in an 'oversold' condition and the selling is losing momentum.  Everything is lining up and you want to enter right around this spot.  You put in an order to buy 100 shares of Starbucks at a price of $20 a share.  As soon as your order is filled, you immediately put in your order to sell at your upper price target, but MOST importantly, you put in an order to sell if the price goes down.  For example, if you think the price will go back to $25 you would put in an order to sell if it hits $25 on the upside but you would also put in an order to sell if it instead goes to $19 on the downside.  In that way, the maximum amount you lose is $1 per share with an upside potential of $5 per share.  That is absolutely key to technical trading.

Not all of your trades will work exactly as planned, so you need to cut your losses quickly and move onto the next trade.  Limiting your losses allows you to keep the vast majority of your account ready for the next trade.  If you just hang onto losing trades or keep averaging down in hopes that it might come back, you could end up wiping out your account completely, game over.  In addition to protecting you from big losses, it will also help you sleep at night knowing any losses are very limited.

There are a bunch of other useful items I've learned, but I've already spent way too long on this post and taken up enough of your time for today.  Hopefully some of your out there are interested enough to take the next step and read more about Technical Analysis for yourself.  It's a great tool to add to your trading toolkit.

I'm really enjoying it way more than I even thought I would and I also signed up for SpikeTrade.com where I can see technical trades from about 50 other members and get daily analysis of the markets from the author of the book Come Into My Trading Room.  As part of the site, once you are comfortable, you submit your own pick every week and submit your charts to backup why you're making the pick and what price you want to buy at, sell at and where your price is on the downside to prevent loss.  There are about 10 people called Spikers that have been with the site for years and earned free membership to the site based on solid consistent winning picks over time.  You compete with the others on the site and if your pick does better than the 3rd place Spiker, you win $20 that week towards your membership fee.  If you do well, they could actually end up owing you $ at the end of the month.  It also makes you step up your game and do your homework, because your trade will be out there for everyone to see.  I just submitted my first pick this week and am pretty excited to see how it does. 

If you're at all interested, I'd recommend starting with the book that I recently finished, which is Trend Trading For a Living.  It will present some of the main indicators and a real good explanation of chart patterns and is a bit quicker of a read.  Additionally they give you specific scans that you can plug right into Yahoo Finance or other sites to return a list of stocks that have a high probability of going one way or the other based on their price pattern.

I haven't quite finished the other main book yet, but already know that one will have a more profound difference in my trading over the long term.  That one is Come Into My Trading Room.  That one has already gotten me to completely document every aspect of every trade and give myself a grade on your entry price, sell price and an overall letter grade based on specific criteria. 

For anyone REALLY interested, I'd be glad to send you an email with the trade that I submitted today which was for the stock AHT, complete with my analysis and charts to give you a visual example of what I'm speaking of.   Thanks for reading and definitely let me know if you need any pointers or explanation or just leave me a note to let me know you made it down this far!  That's impressive enough right there!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy 4th of July Weekend!

Happy 4th of July Weekend!  Any plans for the holiday weekend?  We plan to see Transformers 3 in 3D and maybe take a day trip somewhere, not sure where yet.  There is also a Cirque de Soleil - Alegria in town, but don't quite think 50-90 per ticket is worth it....what are you up to for the long weekend?

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