Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Looking Back

As I sit here pondering the moments, minutes and hours of the previous week, I am reminded of the yearly routine of it all and wonder (again) why we do it all. The gifts are nice, the smiling faces of the children are heart warming and the moments of joy seeing people that you may not see again until next year are needed. Can I learn anything from this year’s activities? I am bound by the schedule of it all. The trip north and the trip west are not set by me. They are a large part of the joy. I think it is the weeks’ previous build up only to come to a crashing thud in 1 day. One 24 hour period of time. From noon Christmas Eve to lunch Christmas day is the ultimate joy and the ensuing crash of its completeness.

How can we stress less in the preceding weeks and coast off the high as it winds down?


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Changes are afoot at the workplace. Promotions and lateral moves are happening with the new year. I avoided the shuffle. However, I didn’t avoid getting a new boss’s boss. It will be a change from the previous administration. I new look - a new voyage. The last trip was wild and turbulent. I smile as I watch the setting of the sun on that experience. I grew during it. I traveled places I would have rather not gone. However, I emerge the other side and see a new sun rising on the horizon. I choose to see clear skies, a warming sun and a calm tide. That is how I choose to wake up this new year. I will watch and listen to the winds and surf for shifting of the calmness that January brings. We shall see. We shall indeed see.


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Poker. It hasn’t bee much lately. A chance to play here and there. I don’t get online much anymore to play. I all but gave it up a long while back on a bad beat. While mathematically possible, not without raising an eyebrow. I am losing touch with the poker blogger community. I read a few blogs and post/reply on fewer. My afternoons are now filled with the joys of my daughter where they once were filled with turn hoorays and river rats. I am pleased with the change. The post change seldom gives me a headache or instant gut checking agony. If I am online now, I am watching the high limit players win and lose the value of my house in less than an hour’s time. Or, I am playing around to past time. I don’t see things changing much this year. Not on the poker front. I am focused on family this year. The poker is a hobby. A hobby that must not consume me or control me.

I have a high passion level for hobbies. I can get all consuming in what I want to do. I understand that. My wife can live with me getting exciting about heading out early Saturday morning to be the first to find the latest Geocache. She doesn’t take to kindly to all niters behind the poker screen only to drag along behind her on our Saturday & Sunday errands. I recall this past year and the general decline in my health from the lack of body movement online poker capsulated me into. I am feeling better and enjoying the outdoor activities of Geocaching and Waymarking. Yippee – a hobby that is good for your health. A winner winner in my book.

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Now, the sun is setting on this one day and I have Geocaching to do. Little one is out of school and with mommy today/tonight. I have a few hours of fun – I mean exercise.

If you see me standing near a bush/tree/light post all bent out of shape acting like I lost my glass slipper, just wave and say “good luck!”

Saturday, December 23, 2006

No Lies

Since I give stock tips on things I am thinking of buying, then I should tell you when I shed stocks as well. This past week I shed my Garmin stock. I haven’t lost confidence in the stock. However, I purchased the stock six weeks ago and the stock was up almost $10.00 a share. I was starting to see downward pressure on the stock and thought I had a nice profit to take off the table. So, I raked the table. Took my cash and invested elsewhere. I will be looking to pick up more Garmin stock in mid January. I still feel this is a good long term stock choice. I am convinced it will double in less than three years. Lately it has been getting good reviews and was a Motley Fool "best international stock of 2007". The television is routinely showing Garmin commercials. I think all these things have led to a short term inflated price. Look for a small dip in price after the new year. After it fads from peoples memory.

I picked up the stock "MIC". This is another international company who makes most of its money in the United States. This company invest in infrastructure type businesses. Mostly airport parking and some energy pipelines. It has routinely issued 6.5% and 7.0% dividends in the few years it has been traded. I am a dividends type investor. A $1,200 investment will yield me a quarterly dividend of $18.70. That’s over $78 to reinvest next year in more dividend paying stocks. I call that compounding dividend interest. I figure, If I do that often enough for long enough, I will have a retirement income.

I am currently updating this blog from the great area of Dalton, GA. I am here visiting my parents. Well, I am here letting my parents visit with their granddaughter. My father and I went out Geocaching today. We had a hit and miss kind of a day. Dad has trouble with his knees and back and was unable to traverse some of the steep slopes on some of the surrounding mountains in Dalton. However, he was a trooper while I dragged him out and about. Dad is more into metal detecting. Metal detecting is fairly more active in that area. There are many civil war sites in that area. Resaca to Chattanooga was a total war zone during the war of northern aggression. An interesting spot we visited today was a mountain ridge that was used by the confederate army in holding off part of Sherman’s troops. It was a great view of the area called mills creek. I didn’t see the state line but I am sure I was looking over into Alabama.

Well, I had better get off here. Company is coming.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Last day of weekend

I am very proud of my girls. Both did a very good job in their choir specials Sunday. Mom and her solo went very well. She was awesome. Little One was also wonderful in her own. Like most children’s choir specials, chaos was the norm. The youngest boys were pushing each other, playing with their ties, wrapping the microphone cords around their ankles. All this going on around Little One and she kept her composure, she said her parts correctly and on time. Mom had instilled in her to be a “lady” and be aware of her dress and what she didn’t want to show the audience. I thought the lesson was comical before the show. However, after watching other little girls sit like male baseball players, lift their dress up to look (apparently at what their parents were pointing at) but missing the point that the parents were pointing to get them to sit correctly. I then understood the lesson my wife had planned in advance.

Sunday on the Geocaching front was interesting. Wading through a stream under an interstate in December was very interesting. Luckily, Georgia is having wonderful winter weather in the 70’s. I found the cache, signed the log book, traded an item and was back home just in time to enjoy Sunday lunch with my family. A good quick trip to satisfy that Gotta get it urge. The cache was a new one placed only the day before. I was the second to find. Someone got up early and beat me to it. Seems it gave a few others fits as well. One Geocacher lost his $400 Garmin along the way. (maybe he will buy another one and help push the stock higher!!) Another took his kids along and didn’t find. I really wish I was retired so I could do this stuff 24/7.

Article on Geocaching: Poconos

Poker night is Tuesday at the Ruby Tuesday’s in Newnan. Show up if you’re not too scared.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Birthday parties and traveling

Saturday was a very busy day for our family. Early morning moms choir practice followed by Little One’s choir practice. Then we jetted out to Anniston, Alabama for a birthday celebration. Then a return trip bogged down in I-85 Construction. Thankfully I live in the GPS age and we took the first exit and was quickly back on our way home at a good speed.

Saturday was also a good day geocaching. I was able to introduce 2 more people to the activity. Jason (Tater66) was the first –He’s our youth pastor. He and I went to pick up a few quick ones near the church while Little One was practicing. The second being my wife’s cousin David (Yell4Bama). While the family was socializing at the birthday part, I took him to a nearby park for some quick finds. I was sure to tout the greatness of Garmin.

I also got a few quick finds along the way to and from Anniston by using the Google Earth® function of routing. The first was outside a gas station along I-85 in Alabama. The second was at the Georgia rest area on the way home. Using the light function of the cellphone - was an easy find.
I hope everyone has a great weekend and see you along the trail.

Photo's of the past 48 hours.

Jason (Tater66) being introduced to Geocaching.
70 degree December weather will make anyone crazy.
Even Jason wearing that shirt!


Mary Thomas (Maggie)
Celebrating her 77th birthday with Family


Part of the exhibit at the Anniston Museum of Natural History



Sunset from the hilltop at Edgewood Congreational Methodist Church
Anniston, Alabama 12/16/2006



Friday, December 15, 2006

Stocks and passing time

The news is Garmin has planned a 2 for 1 stock split today. The share price has risen 14.5 % since I purchased the stock back in the first part of November. I was thinking about selling today if the price hit $57 dollars a share. I know I called this a long term stock hold a couple of weeks ago. My name is rakethetable. I was thinking of raking a $200 profit before Christmas on this one and then picking it back up after Christmas when all the hoopla dies down and the price retreats a little. With the stock spilt plan today, I think I will watch it and maybe pick up some more of it. Depends.

I am heading to Alabama Saturday. There is a family birthday party for my wife’s grandmother. First thing Saturday morning my wife has choir practice for their Christmas Cantata. I am running the sound board for that so I will have to be there also. After that, Little One has choir practice – she may have to miss hers since we have to be on the road to Alabama. I plan on hitting a few Geocaches while I am in Anniston. Maybe I can take an in-law or two with me. Give them a good taste of Geocaching and tell them they need to get into the activity. Then sell them on a Garmin unit. I always have an angle. Sell more Garmin units and retire early. Suggestion – Garmin, increase your dividends – you are a debt free company with about 18% of your value in cash. Come on guys – loosen up on the wallet.

Last Stock tip. MIC This is a pretty good looking stock. It is a trust company that invests in infrastructure type companies. This is not a glamour tip or a get rich quick idea. The company shows good steady growth over the years and pays a whopping 6.5% dividend at the current price. 6.5% baby! Currently, my wife is a fan of her savings account. It pays her .5%. I am a fan of dividends and especially of the ones that pay 6.5% baby!
Little one at Six Flags this past summer

Have fun – catch you guys later.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Meeting New Geocaching Friends

Saturday morning little one and I left home around 7:30AM. I first traveled to Fayetteville to drop little one off at Grumps and Grana’s house. Little one didn’t want to go Geocaching. So, she gave her sweet charm to Grumps and he said he would keep her. Mom was going to a meeting early at the church and then was headed to Fayetteville to pick her mom up for a full day of shopping. She said she would probably be finished around dinnertime. That gave me a full day of Geocaching.

After leaving Little One and giving her a goodbye kiss, I headed 40 miles north to the December breakfast meeting of GGA. (Georgia Geocachers Association). It was my first official event. My first unofficial event was a week earlier. The northside gang met at Golden Corral in Marietta. I am not sure of the final count but I would guess in the neighborhood of 75 people. All great folks.
While I was there, I was fortunately to meet some really nice people. The great thing was that some were fellow Southern Tech alum and students and their friends.


Aaron, Angela, Clare and Tyler were gracious enough to allow me to tag along and enjoy the whole day Geocaching with them. They were set to do just about the same run I had downloaded to my GPS. I didn’t know that – it just worked out that way. With Aaron driving and human GPS Tyler leading us, I was a learning machine. These guys are good. Clare with her electronic gadgetry, Scottish humor (and accent) was a treat to meet and be around. Clare, as I understood it, has only been in the states about 3 months. She picked a great set of people to befriend. Bamadaisy rode shotgun and was the resident navigator. She kept us in sidesplitting stitches all day.



We had a few other cachers with us at start up but they didn’t last long. I think the two that dropped out early had visited most of the caches that were on the list for the day. Being I was 40 miles from home, none were on my already done list. They were on my TO DO list. Thanks guys for letting me be your special guest – I truly enjoyed your company, your jokes, your knowledge of the game and you Aaron for driving. They definately taught me a few more hiding places. I will have to backtrack and look for those that have stumpped me in the past.


Bamadaisy and Clare using a stealthy sit-n-search method.
No luck - this is the only DNF of the day!


I believe the final total of caches found including the event itself was 32. The gang had a good laugh at my expense. Seems they doubled my total finds in one day. When I started out Saturday I had a total of 25 finds to my credit. Now, I think I am sitting at 59. Now that’s Geocaching! I was tired. Being that the gang was slightly younger than me, I was the old man of the group and at the end of the day I was really feeling like an old man.

I mentioned before about the human GPS. Tyler who lives in the Marietta area had already found probably 25 of the caches we done. Sorry dude – thanks for taking one for the group. Maybe someday I can be the driver and invite the motley crew to the Southside for a run on this side of town.
Well, it’s late Sunday night and time for bed. Work calls mighty early in the morning.

Photo Drop

The Sunday School Christmas Party at out house.
This is Little One playing dress up.

This is Emily and Christa doing ....well I am not sure what they are doing


This is Little One, Brianna, and Britton in the play room.






Saturday, December 09, 2006

Promises

Okay - I have been busy. no post lately.

I will publish a longer post soon. I am headed out this Saturday
morning to a Geocaching Event. When we get together and eat,
I have to be there :-). See you in Marietta today.

Then a full day of Geocaching and maybe some shopping.

I primise. Pictures even. I have some of little one I want to share.


Bye!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Saturday = Peaceful

Saturday started out good with meet & greet and eat time at Golden Corral for Geocachers. It was my first Geocaching event to attend. I placed a good many faces with the names I see on the forums and caches. Little One really enjoyed playing and laughing with the kids of Atlanta Beach Bums – thanks. I didn’t win the raffle – Oh well. Maybe next time.

Afterwards we headed back towards Newnan so Little One and mom could have a movie date with a friend Little One hasn’t seen in a while. They went to see happy feet. I thought there might be a movie for me to see. I was wrong. I ended up taking a good nap in the van. After eating all that food, I needed a nap.


A good and peaceful day. I definitely needed one of those.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Holiday wrap-up

Thanksgiving holiday was a good one. I ate a lot of food and had some good time Geocaching. Thursday was spent with my wife’s family at her parent’s house. We had about 20 people there. Little one got to play with several cousins she gets to see here and there around most holidays. We had a large spread of food. Afterwards there was a kick ball game in the back yard for the kids. My father in law and his son spent most of the weekend cutting trees.

Thursday afternoon was all mine. The ladies and kids went to see a new house of one of my wife’s cousins. I took advantage of it and went Geocaching around the Fayetteville area. It was a very nice day. It was a pleasant temperature outside and the sun was shinning. I think I found 5 in about an hour and a half. One was a nice walk around a lake in a subdivision.

Friday – Shopping. I know I said I wasn’t going to do it. However, I felt like time with the wife was the best thing. Little one had spent the night with Granna. We tore out at about 7 am and hit Wal-Mart first. The Peachtree City Wal-Mart was pleasantly noncrowded. We shopped there for a while. We visited an aunt-in-law’s shop. We even went to the Avenue. My wife wanted to visit Kirklands. She did and she bought a few things (can’t say for who!!!). I talked her into doing some Geocaching with me along the way back to Fayetteville to pick up little one. She amused me and we got a few on the way.

We stayed a while at the in-laws and ate some of the leftovers. Little one really didn’t want to leave. Her cousin from Anniston, Alabama was there and they had a blast playing around the house. He is 6 or 7 and not much of a rough wrestling type like some of her other male cousins. We ended up heading home and getting a few things done around the house.

Saturday little one and mom headed out for more shopping. I spent the day – you guessed it – geocaching. Saturday proved to be a little more difficult than Thursday and Friday had been. Sometimes you run into those kind of days. Since I was using Google earth and the route function, I was doing a more “urban” cache run. Those can be hit and miss types of caches. As I discovered on Saturday, most of mine were misses. I found the first one just fine. The second was near a soccer complex in the woods. I got cut, scrapped stabbed and anything else that you can think of looking for that one. I didn’t find it. However, I did see a very large hawk. I think he was laughing at me. So, I left disappointed. It didn’t end there. Next was a micro cache in the bushes of a parking lot. Well, there was a family hanging out right there in the spot. They were not geocachers and wouldn’t leave. So, I left that one disappointed also. Next up was a cache in the rear of the Wal-Mart complex. Well, guess what. They had a shipping container sitting near the cache. I thought it best I pass that one by as not to make anyone think I was a thief. Next up was one near target. The same thing – I guess the holiday rush has extra stock everywhere. I gave up and went window shopping at BJ’s and Dicks sporting goods. It was my first time in Dicks sporting goods. I was not impressed. It looked more like a yuppie clothing store than a sports store. I guess I am an old timer when it comes to my bait and tackle stores. I didn’t look close but I could tell everything was overpriced to pay for the motif of the store. I left and went home to take a nap. Good thing there was a James Bond marathon. Nice TV for the rest of the weekend.

Have fun and see you around.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Good time to GEOCACHE

No doubt that Thursday will be spent with family eating my fill of turkey, ham, dressing, cranberry sauce, green beans, slaw, potato salad, cream corn, macaroni and cheese, pumpkin pie, pecan pie and aunt Faye’s delicious strawberry Jell-O® pretzel pie ( I am not sure it has an official name around the family). Just thinking about all that food gives me a smile and heartburn all at the same time. I had better stop by the local supermarket and pick up some TUMS®.

Friday is typically a shopping day. However, my wife and I swore off that day a couple of years back. Seems we didn’t know what we were getting into when we showed up at Wal-Mart® near 6:00AM the day after thanksgiving. We had a small child at Granna’s and the toy we wanted to get little one was on the “sales” list. We saw the crowds as we approached. We exited our vehicle and stood in line (luckily inside the store), they released the crowds to the store at 6:00AM and I have never seen a more unruly, disrespectful group of American in all my life. We lasted all of about 5 minutes and we headed out the door with nothing but out dignity still in tact. So, I don’t think much shopping will be on the activity list Friday.

Saying that, something I am placing on the list early is a good day of Geocaching with a waymarking or two thrown in there. I have several waymarks located and photographed. However, I haven’t loaded them to the website. I should go home today and map out a good route for a day of Geocaching. I will look for somewhere not near a mall – that’s for sure.

Last night I spent the night downloading and learning an awesome new tool. I downloaded Google Earth® onto my home computer. www.geocaching.com and Google Earth® have a way cool application. Let me explain. (But first - $500 a share for Google® incredible! – I thought people were crazy in August 2004 for $84 a share).

Everyone is probably familiar with the Google® and the mapping and directions part of the software. Well, with Google Earth® you can create a “route” and directions of that route and save them in a .KML format to your computer. What does this do? You then log onto www.geocaching.com and upload that .KML file to their server and set a few parameters and press BINGO! (Not really BINGO – But it feels that way) What www.geocaching.com calculates for you is a day of Geocaching along your route.

For instance. I loaded the directions route from my house to my in-laws to their server, set my parameters as: 0.5 miles from route, single cache only, and all sizes, and pressed BINGO (not really Bingo remember). Their server calculated 17 different caches that met my set parameters and listed them for me. Now, that is a lot of the hard work out of the way. I have 17 caches that are less than a half mile from the road I will be traveling on that are simple enough that should be “quick” drive by’s.

Taking that technology to Geocaching was brilliant. It is ideas like these that lead me to inform you “the public” or the 1 or 2 people who actually read this to the Garmin® stock. Each week the latest technologies are being innovatively weaved into popular activities. If you take a 5 to 10 year span of continuous weaving and creating, you will have a winner in stocks. I didn’t buy Google® (go figure) but I am not going to miss out on a Garmin® (GRMN) who is using Google® and its’ technology to lead us into the clear blue (or green if you buy the stock and make millions) yonder.

So, there it is. I have said a lot of stuff without saying much. Friday, I will take this new technology mix use and apply it to a fun filled day of Geocaching. Currently, my mind is thinking about a southwestern tour of suburban Atlanta. Starting my directions from my hometown of Sharpsburg, GA. I will set the route towards Columbus or LaGrange Georgia circling around and returning through Warm Springs and back home. This route should be a good one for some excellent Geocaching.

It sure should work off all that ham and turkey I plan to eat on Thursday.

Cache in – Trash out!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Stuffing days are upon us

It is quiet this week at work. Most working stiffs don’t find enough time throughout the year to use their vacations. The end of the year rolls around and there are all these people taking vacation days. It’s peaceful around here this week.

Stuffing. I will eat a lot of stuffing over the next couple of days. A full feast on Thursday at the in laws is scheduled. I am sure leftovers will be in store for me for several days afterwards. Yum yum!!

Everyone have a good turkey day!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Score

Mississippi boys 1
Georgia Boys 0

The trip is over and it was not successful. A lot of locals and not enough time to make a dent in the game. I did place 12th in a re-buy tournament at the Gold Strike. It paid out to 10 places. I was not too bummed because I could look back at a few choices I would have changed. The overall rating was “card dead”. In a three hour session when we first arrived, I won 2 hands. I won the first hand about 2.5 hours in with a pair of 4’s. Yeah- that was a large pot!! (NOT) The second hand I won with middle pair on a 10 high board a few minutes later when I pushed after the flop. A few minutes later Justin told me he had dropped his buy in and was ready. I was still down but up from my low so I said I was ready also.

We did hit two Geocaches while out there. They were good ones. One was soaked and the other was in a very nice place in the woods. I came home to find this article linked in a weekly email from www.geocaching.com. It helps support my idea that GPS units are a big hit and will continue to sell. Buy your stock now.
It’s late – I am tired. Later.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Photo Download

It's been a while since I downloaded photos.
Cleaning out the camera for the next trip.

Here are a couple (Hundred)

Halloween


A geocache goodie box



At a Dakota's Birthday party

Same Birthday party - Swing Little one swing !!

Little one at her first school play (She's a pumpkin)

Let’s talk stocks

Blogsphere is in slow motion lately. Many blogs aren’t updated regularly. With the warm sunshine days a distant memory, people are not blogging. Fall brings on many activities that may interfere. School starts back, football, basketball. Is it these activities or is it the cooler weather and more slumber moods.

I gave you a promise a couple months back to try and blog a couple times a week. I picked up new hobbies of Waymarking and Geocaching. I have settled into a new lifestyle with little one starting school and our afternoon together. My life isn’t much different from any other average guy. I do a little of this and a little of that. I write a blog, tend to my wife and kid and eek out a living doing the daily grind behind the desk.

Today’s topic is not poker but stocks.

My stock tip (already a little late but not too late): I picked up Garmin about 2 weeks ago. It was in a slump from a previous high. Today it is $2.00 higher per share than when I bought in. Garmin is a manufacturer of GPS units. It is my belief that this industry is sitting on an explosion in use. I know they have been around for several years. However, I think they are now in the stage where intelligent people are creating innovated ways to use them. That is why the industry is going to explode. Cramer from MSNBC is hesitant on the stock. The last statement I read from him was he didn’t like the quarterly report from the company. Like it or not, Garmin is the industry leader in an industry that is going to burst at the seems.

We all know that when you rent a car you can get a GPS unit. However, watch TV tonight and see how many new car ads show GPS units preloaded in their vehicles. This will be a hot race between Magellan (Tom Tom) and Garmin to capture the hearts of automakers to ink partnerships. While both companies will see incredible growth, Magellan is a subsidiary of a much larger company and the impact on the bottom line of that publicly traded company will be a lesser impact than Garmin.

Don’t believe me. Talk with runners. They probably own a Garmin unit that tells them all the information of their run. Distance, speed, etc. Talk with Geocachers and waymarkers. We buy a new unit every other year to keep up with the latest and greatest. The biking industry is the same as runners. It is not too much to think that in the future these guys will not get a printout of the race map but will get a downloadable GPS map to load onto their GPS units. Hikers and sportsman (land and marine) are learning the importance of GPS. Garmin has a hammerhead lock on the sportsman and marine industry GPS units. All these areas I wouldn’t expect Cramer sitting in his lofty New York office to understand. This is a product for the masses across the world (not just USA baby). For those market makers living their life in a 10 square block area in New York riding in a taxis everyday, I don’t expect them to understand.

Let’s also look at the replenishment market. Like computers, these things have a short lifespan. So, mix that with the way they are going to weave their way into our daily lives over the next 5 years and you have a “computer” like revolution on your hands.

Buy it for long term 5~10 years. Come see me when in 10 years that $5,000 investment has made you a millionaire.

Let’s not forget about my trip to Tunica ( I will be taking my GPS unit). See you across the felt. Hopefully with me looking over my large and growing chip stack at your dwindling and re-buy stack.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Solo to Duo

Watch out west Mississippi. The solo trip has turned into a duo trip. The many pot slaying (but Aces cracked by Rake’s QUAD KINGS) Justin is now loaded and on board for the trip. As planned, we will be arriving late to the Gold Strike Casino on Thursday. Batten down the hatches it will be an all out assault across the felt. I feel good about the trip. With Justin traveling along, I feel more confident that play on the felt will be increased to a better skill game. I will be working on my reading skills while there. I will play tight aggressive and look for those small fish swimming around in the big School Yard.

If I have any readers out that way, I hoe you will stop by and say hello. You may even sit and play a while. Who knows, we may even leave a little behind. I will tell you though. Justin is coming off a live tournament win down on the Gulf. So, his expectations are high and his confidence is even higher.

Where will this tyrant end on the mighty Mississippi River? Only the future holds that.

When you look up and see the mighty hand of the Hammer fall upon you, then you will realize that the Georgia Scorchers have landed at your table.


See you soon Mississippi.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Case Closed

My last vacation day is come due.
I have to take it before December 1st.
Thanksgiving week is out - everyone else beat me to it.
I am taking it November 17th.
I will be heading out like a fireball on November 16th to Tunica, Mississippi.
That's right. I am going to do a little trip. A solo trip.
Me, myself and I.
I will cruise the Casino's. I will cruise the Geocaches.
I will see what waymarks lay out there to discover or visit.
If you are in the area and want to try your luck across the felt from the famous Rakethetable, then move your sorry excuse for flesh over to the Gold Strike and see if you have what it takes. I am sure I will be there as the night falls on the 16th and most of the afternoon and evening of the 17th. Do you feel lucky punk?

Well, DO YOU? ( LOL )

I will catch you next time.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Is life insurance outdated?

Let’s face it. Some of the largest companies in America are Insurance companies. I am in my mid thirties (dead nuts mid thirties). I have a wife and a kid. Comparing my life with my parents and grandparents life I find some remarkable ideas for not holding $$ in insurance policies. We are talking about comfortable middle class America. This example cuts out the high and the low wage earners.

Grandparents / Parents: The concept of the American family life was different in account holdings back then (1900 ~ 1980). The typical American household had a male working bread earner. The wife stayed home and the male had either a pension plan or nothing. The majority had the nothing choice. My linage is the later. Social security was their path to retirement. My Grandparents still keep all their life savings in CD’s. CD’s are safe and secure. Sure, they are not gaining anything on inflation. However, they are not losing value. What they have should carry them out – not withstanding medication cost. I am not touching that issue.

My parents in the family building stage started as a male bread earner and a stay at home mom. Things changed and both parents were eventually working. So, we developed the latch key generation. I am smack dab in the middle of that one. While I was young, my parents purchased life insurance. After the bills where paid and a little deposable income was spent on life’s pleasures, there wasn’t much left to save. Savings accounts at the time paid fairly good return. Many times better than they pay these days. So, an insurance policy where you pay $20 a month (not too painful) ensured a $100,000 pay out upon death. You sure weren’t going to get to a $100,000 in your savings account. This ensured your spouse would not starve to death. Stock purchases were out of reach as a savings path since the starting balance and agreements made them out of reach for this class of society.

After raising their family (my sister and me), my parents were introduced to a new thing called 401K. This is a good way to invest. However, by the time they are entered and the remaining years to participate, there is not a long time to build that nest egg. After all, this is the generation that is going to break the social security bank. Thanks mom and dad! Just kidding – I am not relying on that one. Insurance policy – okay, I understand the value here.

Now, here I start speculating. My generation is so totally different from the two I describe above. The tools and avenues in which I have to garner a nest egg are so vastly improved from my parents. If I am savvy enough, I should be able to bypass the insurance scam (life/annuity/term/whatever).

I started my career in 1994 with a 401K plan after my 90 day probationary period. I socked it away. Let’s put the whole amount away. If I don’t have it from the start, I will never miss it. Currently, here I sit with as much money at 35 in my 401 as my mom and dad. I will pause here and say the $100,000 example is covered. Let’s continue before conclusions.

I married in 1998 and my wife walked into one of the sweetest jobs on the planet. From the start she had a good salary, great benefits, well stocked selection of 401K items. She starting putting away before tax income and has built a really nice account. Hers blows mine away if you ratio it out by Total dollar value / Years of participation. Together, we are comfortable sitting in the middle class. We don’t have visions of being ultra rich. We are down to earth people who make good money, pay tithes, save good money and spend good money. We don’t have extravagant taste. My vehicle is 7 years old and paid off. We purchased her a used van last year. As long as the creek don’t rise and well don’t dry out, retirement is covered very well. (Southern slang thrown in for effect).

The Internet Boom: One of the best avenues of saving was brought to the masses via the internet. Online stock trading rivals sliced bread for the greatest thing ever. How Edward Jones and others stay in business is just a testament of how lazy American have become. I have an online account. I am building it larger and larger every year. I have learned a lot over the last 4 years of having that account. This account isn’t sitting in some large company’s coffers paying bonus to jerks that make cold phone calls or door knocks to the mindlessly lost buying annuities. Side note: Every Blogger either dreams of writing a book or will be dreaming of it one day. My dream is the common investor book. I just know I have some wisdom that can help many people. (It’s not time for that now.) For less than $10 you can buy and sell stock. You can buy as little as 1 share. This opens up the door to stock investing to anyone with the brain power of how to turn on a computer.

Little One: Our child was born in January 2001. She barely missed being a binary child. By that, I mean she could have had a binary birthday code. 011001. The geek in me is laughing even if you are not. Around that same time a system came out that I think is still way under used. Can you say 529? I bet you can. (Mr. Rogers – remember the latch key segment). Another savings avenue that allows you to save post tax – tax re-credit dollars. Little one is only 5 and she has thousands tucked away and growing for that important time of party days – I mean college days.

This post is getting long and I am exhausting my thoughts. Let’s ask some questions.

If a middle class family:
Who both parents are employed by established companies.
Who both participate heavily in their 401K plans.
Who are routinely buying stock and seeing standard stock gains.
Who are stock piling college funds in 529.

Extras:
Live in a low crime area – “odds” of us dying in a midnight drug raid is slim

Drive small distances to work, school and around town mainly – “odds” of us dying in a midnight high speed chase is slim.

Healthy and come from healthy families. Diabetes is the only odds that get any mention of validity.

Young enough to be able to change a few things to overcome a young death of a spouse to compensate for the loss in income. (Just downsize to fit single income source – either income could pay a middle class starter home mortgage (might even be able to pay cash for it with 401K beneficiary payout))


Does this situation lead you to think they need to purchase a Life Insurance Policy?

I just don’t see the point. Insurance is a “bet” on things going wrong. As a very amateur poker player, I can’t calculate any odds that would make me place my money over the insurance line. I prefer to place it in stocks and own the money 100% and make the small gamble that while it builds in value, nothing will happen to me. Betting that once the value is grown, my payback benefits will be expedientially higher than the comparable insurance policy pay out.

I need to hear some comments on this one – Please. Anonymous or not.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Weekend Review Plus

Well, let's see. Where was I when we left off last time?

The skinny of it. Friday not much happened. No high school football. I am not even sure we went out to dinner on Friday. Hmm Maybe it will come to me. Saturday, I think I was starting to be sick. I stayed home the whole day. I got up long enough to make it to the couch. I watched movies all day and night. I took a small nap in there. The wife and little one went out for a little while. Little one went to see our neighbors near our previous house. They adopted her as their grandchild. Wonderful people.

Sunday night was the harvest festival at our church. It was good and I think everyone had a good time.

Monday and Tuesday I took vacation days. Monday I spent the day Geocaching. I also had time for a movie in there. Marine is an action packed movie. There was one cache that was a good hike. Just the reason I have embraced this activity. I need the excersise. If you are in the Douglasville, GA area, check out Rapids overlook.

Tuesday (today) I went with little one and her class on a field trip. We went to Uncle Bob's pumpkin patch. It was a pleasant day and the weather was very nice.

I still can't remember Friday. Oh well. Little one wants me - gotta go!

Passing Notes

Grown men passing notes in Church.

Justin passes me a note in the sound room Sunday.

It simply stated KKKK not equal to AA.

:-) that's right Justin. My Quad Kings can Crack your Aces anyday!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Orange Eggs and Green Pancakes

What’s for dinner? Yeah – That’s right! Oranges Eggs, Green Pancakes with bacon and Gatorade is what's for dinner. As you have probably already guessed, mom is away at a Team National business meeting. Little one and I have the evening to see what kind of trouble we can get into. I decided dinner is where we would make our mess. This picture is little one starting out on the right path of a mess.



The usual is putting food coloring in milk shakes. I purchased a bullet mixer a while back. The most use I have for it is a quick milk shake after dinner. I think it is awesome. Little one’s favorite milk shake is a blood red vanilla milk shake. I like mine with some M&M’s or Heath bar mixed in with it. One of these days I am going to try the whipping function of it – Chocolate Mousse mmmmm.

Here is the mess coming to life on the heat.


I didn’t have a successful geocaching trip today at lunch. I went in search for 2 near my place of labor and came up with nothing. One I was muggled. That means spotted by someone who isn’t a geocacher and he wanted to know what I was doing. I dodge that one with some GPS speech and he was off to other things. I left that one and search another with no luck. I will go back and try again soon.

I just thought I would leave you a picture of tonight’s dinner.



Since mom took my poker night, I will have to find another night to indulge on the felt.

See you later!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Saturday Night Fever

Just when I thought I was ready to change from Geocaching to Waymarking a trip to woodbury and warm springs changes my mind. Wife, little one and I left this morning about 11:30 am to go geocaching. I know I told you before that we were going to go look for a new vehicle. The wife wasn't in the mood. So, I suggested geocaching and see excepted. I quickly got online and downloaded about 7 places around Warm Springs, GA. This is a special place. A small town with lots of tourist. We head out and it's about a 45 minute drive to the area of the first hide. It's an awesome location. It is the oldest covered bridge in Georgia. The builder "King" was well known for building covered bridges here in the south. It was truely a unique place. I am glad I got to see it with the family. I have a picture look! Here is the weblink: http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=10addb30-6006-434a-861c-cf77c911f734



So, the next stop on our tour took us to a really neat place off the beaten path. It reminded me of the north Georgia mountains. However, it is located in middle Georgia. We traveled shortly down the dirt road and pulled over and I was the only one to get out. The site was some sort of major communications location. There were satelite recivers as large as my house! I found the small cache, signed the log and moved on. By now, we are all getting tired and hungry. Little one was the only one that ate before we left the house. We headed to downtown - whatever town we were near. By this time, even I wasn't sure. But we ask the GPS to take us to a chicken eatery and off we went in that direction. Well, the small town we landed in I really didnt find anything I would like to eat at. However, I was very near another cache. Little one had dozed off to sleep. Mom was hungry. I talked her into letting me look for one more. As we pulled into the location, we noticed a playground right next to the cache. Little one awoke when I opened the car door and her and mom went to the playgrouond. This one was a micro cache near a fairly busy park. Those are the most difficult. I looked for a while. Luckily, I had brought my laptop with me and I open it up and located the saved page of the cache. I took a hint and went right to it. Signed the log and returned it. I then watched little one play for a few minutes and then we were off again.

This time we drove the 5 miles to downtown Warm Springs. We found a pizza and sub resturant that looked good and we went in. I ordered an italian sausage sub, little one ordered a pizza and my wife had the hot ham and cheese. We both got Onion Rings with our orders. The food was excellent.



After our meal, we did the touristy thing and toured some of the downtown shops. We even ran across a bear.



My wife had a candle party to attend at 4:00pm so we headed back towards Sharpsburg. I stopped on the way back at Greenville, GA. The Greenville court house is awesome. It was built in 1904. It's a mamouth of a building. On top of the court house is a clock. So, I waymarked it for town clocks on waymarking.com. This is the current location of the waymark. It may change when it is approved by the site. http://www.waymarking.com/wm/details.aspx?f=1&guid=b8812444-9b63-4713-a954-8e47126ec637&r=100&tp=6

The party is over and we are all back home. I hope you have enjoyed my daily update.
See you soon. *Edit: posted Sunday due to Blogger issues**

Friday, October 20, 2006

Wrap Up

The Northwest Whitfield Bruins tied the JV football game with arch rival Dalton Catamounts late on a scoring drive capped off by a touchdown run by Skylar Brown. The rain was heavy during the game and it was a mud fight all the way. Congrats nephew for the touchdown run.

This week has been uneventful and fun all in the same time frame. Monday little one and I played clue before mom got home from work. Monday night football was the call of the wild later that evening. On Tuesday, a pouty faced child asked for her daddy to stay home and not go play poker. Her wish granted, she climbed up in my lap and we watch some sort of animal kingdom show. Precious moments. With a late night Monday, I was off to bed early on Tuesday. Wednesday afternoon is met with little one coming home from school and being “on red”. Daddy wasn’t a happy camper. No games – she went straight to her room. Mom had cooked in the crock pot. We ate a good chicken dinner. Thursday, my in-laws came to visit. Mom cooked a good pot of Chili. After diner, we all sat in the living and let little one Karaoke to us. She done a fine job and mom joined in on one of the songs. After visiting for a while it was time for them to leave. As I retired to bed, that’s when I got the phone call about my nephews triumphant gallop into the end zone. Before they all arrived my daughter managed to beat me in both Clue and Texas Hold’em. Out of the blue on maybe the 3rd guess of the game, she picked 2 items that neither she nor I had. The very next guess she named all three items that were hidden away. We then settle into a poker game. We split the chips and I started dealing. We play several hands and mom comes home. She is getting the Chili ready for dinner. Little one and I continue to play. She is playing fairly well. She takes a very unfortunate beat well. She flops 2 pair only to be caught on the turn by my flush. She conferred with mom that she indeed lost and then gives up the hand. Soon after, I announced that I am all in ever hand until we have a winner. She folds about 7 hands until she picks up King Ten. She beats me and we clean up for company and dinner.

My wife has been disappointed with the van we purchased her about 6 months ago. It’s a ford and what I think is the power steering is making a winding sound. So, I am trying to get her to go test drive other cars. This is the time to do it. Deals are everywhere. Unfortunately, the deals are mostly on “can’t sell” American cars. She has allowed a Nissan Maxima to catch her eye. I think we are going to test drive one this weekend. I am a Carmax customer. I just about refuse to purchase a brand new car. I don’t trust a single dealership to sell me a used car. I like Carmax for their quality guarantee. Even though we purchased this van from Carmax, I don’t think it is really a quality problem. I think it is a Ford issue. I have heard several other fords making the same noise. This weekend maybe I can make my wife happy again.

On Tuesday, my daughter brings home an excellent 1st report card. Every category was marked accomplished except one. The one lone stand out that my 5 year old has yet to accomplish is reading her site words at 30 per minute. That’s one every two seconds. I can live with that –for now. I told her this morning before I left for work to think of something to do in celebration of her good report card. I am sure the first stop will be CeCe’s pizza.

We will see.

Monday, October 16, 2006

So Sue Me

I haven’t posted in a week. I have been busy okay. I will try and run it down chronological for you. I knew I had a few things pre-planned for Saturday. Therefore, I didn’t plan any Waymarking or Geocaching. I hope to get a good session in soon. I am still planning on hiding a cache. I have that still to plan.

Monday – I don’t remember – too long ago. Tuesday, I got to go outside and play. Well, at least I got to go out Tuesday night and play poker. I am not into it heavily lately. I have played some online here and there. I have only been out maybe twice in the past 2 months to play live. Tuesday night was not much different. I saw the same no life people hanging around living their life around the poker table. I find myself looking at people and wondering about their lives outside of the couple hours that I watch them across the felt. I am truly amazed at the level of conversation that surrounds these people. There is one in particular female that is a regular. As best I can tell, her “real” job is somewhat of a probationary officer. So, I am sitting there waiting for the tournament to start and a dead beat guy and a nice looking but liberal girl walks by. The girl heads for the tables outside. The guy stops and says hi to said probationary officer. Then, standing about 8 feet from his conversational piece, he asked her what the status of his girlfriends bond was. Fair enough, but the 5 ~ 10 minute conversation that ensues is somewhat interesting. I get to listen to the details of the case. Anyway, he has lingered long enough she reenters and pulls him from the conversation. I still wonder if he told her what he was talking about. It came across to me as if he really didn’t care for his current girlfriend. If that wasn’t enough, after he left, the probationary officer for the next 10 minutes tells her guy friend sitting next to her that she has known the guy forever and goes on to tell him about all the crap the boy and his family has been involved with for the past 10 years. Yes – interesting stuff.

In these quick blind tournaments, you have to gain a chip stack early to survive the onslaught of increases. About an hour into the tournament I usually have to make a move or be blinded to death. I am in the same pickle this week. I play tight aggressive poker. The first 10 hands or so, I see pocket paint maybe 5 times. I raise only to see the flop totally miss me and another player play strong at it. That kind of stuff cripples my stack early. About 45 minutes into it, I find myself all in with middle pair. I have Q J and the board holds Ace, Queen, four. I have 4 callers (whatever) and no one has an ace nor improves. My stack becomes healthier. However, the bottom hits. I don’t see anything over a 9 for the next 30 minutes. With me sitting with about 8 X BB, I get JJ under the gun. I am perplexed. I know I should push but UTG? I want a little more information. I call. After 4 other callers, the big blind raises to 400. If I call, that leaves me very little. If I push, it is a no brainer for the BB. I push. The only caller is the BB and she turns over A 9 off suit. (Whatever) She spikes an ace on the flop and I go home.

The rest of the week is busy for the family. I didn’t take many notes so I can’t remember much about it. Friday night I had a date. When you are in your mid thirties married with a child, dates are seldom to never. My wife had a business meeting with a coworker and little one and I made a date night out of it. Oh Yeah, mid thirties with child also limits the number of people you can date. My date was a bright and cheerful 5 year old. Mom’s meeting wasn’t until 7PM so we all went out to eat at the box car café. Little one and I dropped mom off at home and headed out. Our first stop was the bowling alley. Wow, what a racket they have going on these day. It was $24 for little one and me to bowl 2 games. Sure am glad I am not a teenage boy making minimum wage trying to impress a female with those prices hanging over my head. My game was so off. Little one was having a good time. No matter what her ball did, I would smile cheer and give her a high five. I could keep that smile on her face only long enough for her to ask who was winning. With my answer would come the “oh shucks” look. But, she went on in stride. She ended up breaking 50 each game and a high second game score of 76.

After our bowling excursion, little one and I head out for the dollar story. It’s shopping banaza! As long as she thinks her dad is the greatest for buying her a $1.00 doll and a $1.00 doll outfit, I will continue to shower her with gifts. My brakes are finely tuned to the hearing of “Daddy, I need to buy an Abercrombie & Fitch sweater”. That’s when my years of rehearsal of the “get a job” speech will be unveiled in its entirety. We cruise through the stores of BJ’s and Best Buy before heading home. About a week ago, I pulled all my speakers from my passport. I have got the two rear smaller speakers installed. I am having fit problems with the front two.

Saturday morning mom has a church meeting and little one and I get to sleep late. If you call 8:00am with little one jumping on the bed and my head yelling “come on daddy I want to play a game”. I muster up “what game you want to play?” I am hoping for a game that will allow me to go back to sleep. I hear “Clue”. My 5 year old is obsessed with the board game Clue. I think it is awesome. I tend to play dumb and help her through the game. I help her mark what she has, I help her ask the questions and I ask questions I know will giver her more information. I get her on a tangent of a Disney channel cartoon and stay in bed for another 30 minutes.

When mom arrives home a little later we all finish getting ready for little ones elementary school fall festival. Mom and I have signed up to manage the class booth from 11:00am to 11:30am. First off let me give a yell out to all the low life parents for not signing up to help out. Come on guys, you laid down and decided to have children, now get off your backsides and get involved in their lives. Out of a kindergarten class of 27 students, only 4 parents signed up for a 30 minute booth watch. The festival lasted 4 hours. That’s real honorable of you.

The booth was a simple one of stacking cookies. Each person had to use only 1 hand and had 10 second to stack as many cookies as they could without the stack falling over. 0~7 they got a prize from the toy box and over 7 they got a piece of candy. Most children were in the range of 7~9. As I watched these kids, my mind drifted off to chip stacking. I watch for a while and surmised my tactics. Using my superior industrial engineering skills, I recognized the wasted movement. The standard process for all the children was to pick up one cookie and place it into position and then to retrieve another cookie to stack. Knowing that movement waste, displayed my talents to my wife and child once the other children had moved on. I was able to stack 13 cookies on my first try. As far as I know, I left as the champ.

After our booth time, we spent the next 2 hours walking around the festival. There were many games for the children to play. Inside the cafeteria was an interesting basket auction. Being my first year, I was not ready for this. They had some basket of goodies worth over a $1,000 going for much less. Not all were that extravagant. They had college themed baskets. They had golf themed baskets. They had movie night themed baskets. You name it, they had it. I will bring lots of money next year.

Saturday afternoon little one had a tea party to attend. She dressed up in her ballerina costume. I stayed home to sit that one out. The girls were gone for a few hours and that left me a little time to watch some football. I couldn’t watch the Georgia Bulldawg game. To lose to Vanderbilt is like loosing to a high school team. That’s all I can say. Momma taught me if I didn’t have anything nice to say – don’t say much.

Upon their return, it was again time to eat. Little one loves Ce Ce’s pizza. Mom hates it. We settle on going to Pizza Hut. We ordered the family feast and stuffed ourselves. We had pizza for lunch on Sunday and I will probably have enough for lunch twice this week.

Monday, October 09, 2006

1st waymarking trip report

Saturday was one of those days that seemed like the perfect day. The cool crisp morning air tingled on the skin as I walked outside to retrieve the morning paper. The air was fresh and full of the morning dew. The sun slightly up was beaming low in a cloudless sky. My wife and child had gotten up a little while before me and cooked breakfast. I had a trip planned for my 1st waymarking trip. Mom had a lunch date with a college roommate. Little one was going to spend the day with her Granna.

We all bathed and got ready for our day. My wife had cooked Sausage muffins and we were going to take them to Granna’s and eat breakfast over there. Since she lived in Fayetteville, I had planned my trip for Fayetteville and Peachtree City. Granna had her mom and dad staying the weekend with her from Aniston, Alabama. We all sat down and had a good breakfast. Soon we would be on our way.

Leaving little one with Granna, my wife and I headed for some points I had planned on stopping and waymarking. My wife was not too sure of the new hobby I had been excited about. However, she tagged along like a good trouper. The first stop was a fountain not far from her mom’s house. This one was easy. We quickly got a good picture and a grab of the coordinates. The second grab was easy to get to. However, I encountered my first problem with waymarking. Simple enough, it was the sun. I am not anywhere near a perfectionist nor am I a professional photographer. However, I am a little particular with my photographs. The background, the content and the lighting should be good. The spot of the second stop had two points of interest. One of the items at the first stop was a U-pick yourself strawberry patch. Easy. The other item of interest was a water tower. My position to the water tower and that of the rising sun was not idea to picture taking. I took some pictures and hoped they would work out. (Later at computer – pictures really stunk. I will have to return to complete that one.) We were soon onward to the next stop.

We found a parking spot in the Dunkin Donut parking lot. Later I would learn that this parking spot would eventually cost me 5 bucks. We parked and headed towards the town court house. Fayetteville, GA is a gem. I have lived in the area for about 14 years. The more years I put on my birthday cake the more I gain an appreciation for those things historic. Hence - my new found hobby of waymarking. I should be able to turn this hobby into a learning experience. I married a young chick and her appreciation for those things historic has not yet settled into her young mind. (Ha-ha). So, for now, she is following but not yet bought into the whole idea of making this a routine thing.

We arrive at the court house. We take some pictures and log the coordinates. The Court house and clock tower are amazing. Clock tower built in 1888, clock added 1908, elevator installed in 1998. Play on the eights don’t you think?



We walk along downtown and the next stop is a Coca-Cola Mural. Mark it and move to the First Baptist Church of Fayetteville, Mark it and move to the city fountain. Mark it and move to the city Mural. With a total of 8 marks and a time crunch to return my wife for her lunch date, we headed home. Oh yeah, two coffee’s and 5 dollars later we head home. No time for the Peachtree City marks. Maybe I can catch those in the next trip.

With the house all to myself, I turned the CD player on to Alan Jackson’s gospel album and I sat for my data entry of the waypoints. A couple of hours of loading and writing and I had 5 of 8 waypoints documented. I choose not to enter the water tower due to poor photographer skills ( J ). I was tired; my wife was not yet home so I took a nap. She later awoke me and told me it was time to go pick up little one from granna’s. We ended up picking all of them up and going out to eat at Golden Corral. I was a stuffed pig.

Sunday was Church and an afternoon nap. I documented the remaining 2 valid waypoints from Saturday before my nap. Sunday night we enjoyed cake and ice cream after the evening service. However, we had to say goodbye to a very active couple in the church. Their lives are headed elsewhere in the world. They will be moving closer to children and grandchildren in Kansas City. I think the idea of being closer to grandchildren was a major point. The point is well understood.

If you see me wondering the streets, just throw up a hand and wave with a smile on your face knowing I am enjoying being outside.