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.