Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Absorbed by the Dark Side

It was destined to happen; I created a Facebook account. It was peer pressure and I gave in. But I have no remorse. All that I had heard about the site was that it was an easy portal to get in touch with old friends. So far, I have 26 friends. I know that it is no staggering count by any measure, but I am working on it. All in good time, or at least that is what I hear.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


So, it is Christmas time already. It has been raining here, so I guess you could say that we’ll have a ‘wet Christmas’. Yeah, not so glamorous or desirable as a ‘white Christmas’ but it is the best Mother Nature can do in the desert. However, stepping into our house you would think that you were at any house beautifully embanked by snow and the clear cold winter nights that are so common this time of year in many parts of the country. I can take no credit for it is all because of my wife’s doing; she is the decorator and mastermind behind the coordination in our lives.

I try to steer away from the mushy stuff. But I am thankful for my family and that I will be able to spend a few days with them over the holidays. My in-laws are in town (which can always be interesting) and we have some great activities planned with out little kids. Ahhh, to be a child; filled with that insatiable excitement for Santa Clause, presents, and all things Christmas that are not part of the daily routine. Merry Christmas to all you out there; and may you enjoy your holiday wherever your travels take you.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Our Judicial System

I just finished reading The Appeal by John Grisham. This was my first Grisham novel and I have to admit that it was pretty good. I enjoyed his style of writing and the additional detail he injects into the book through his first hand knowledge of the practice of law. This book, like so many others, is very timely for the subject matter. The story deals with corporate misdeeds, social accountability, the resulting liability litigation, special interest groups, and political campaigning. I won't spoil the read, but if you are looking for something to read and enjoy the legal/political drama that is a Grisham book I recommend this one.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Hey, it’s just dirt!

I feel lucky to be close to the financial industry at such a tumultuous time. No, really. It is not everyday that we have economic crises that are so deep and widespread. For those of us young Gen Xers or old Gen Yers, this is the first time that we have seen bad economic times that directly affect us. We were too young for the dot-com bust of the late-90s or the previous banking crisis of the 80s (if you don’t know, ask your parents or better yet CLICK HERE).

Perhaps it’s my cold-blooded side, but I do not feel sorry for those directly affected by the housing downturn. Those who are losing their homes either bought a home they weren’t actually qualified for, financed their home under terms that they really didn’t understand, were looking to make a quick buck on a flip or hold-and-flip, or simply trying to ‘keep up with the Joneses’. It is unfortunate that the correction in home values has to hit everyone, but that is part of living in a society.

If you own your home, are making your payments, plan on living there for the foreseeable future, and don’t have a job tied to mortgages, construction, or the buying and selling of real estate…just chill. Your home is somewhere you live and should not be seen as a ‘serious’ investment. After all, it is just wood and rocks on top of a pile of dirt.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Where She'll End, Nobody Knows

Man, the U.S. economy is in the proverbial toilet! It seems like everyday you hear about a new data release, and it’s almost never positive; unemployment claims are up, retail spending is declining, foreclosures are on the rise at unprecedented levels, and consumer confidence is at its lowest level on record. On the upside, the dollar is strengthening against other foreign currencies. Better put is that the dollar is not weakening as quickly as other currencies, thus creating the appearance of appreciating. Oh, and did we mention that the increase in the value of the dollar will have an adverse effect on commodity prices and the level of exports? Well it will. Every cloud has a silver lining, right? Or perhaps every silver cloud is followed by a bolt of lightning. And what do we do when the clouds come, go golfing.

The economic environment is truly amazing. Really! I was a student of economics back in another time, and the classroom discussions were always philosophical. Times were good; individual net worth was up, unemployment was optimal, and everyone was spending. I sometimes envy the economic and business students of today. I am sure that their discussions on various economic theories and principals are highly attended. It is an exciting time to be alive and a part of society. The next several years will shape our country’s future for some time. It is in hard economic times that people either make real changes or simply temporary accommodations to their situation. I am hoping for the former. We have a new incoming president with fresh ideas and a same party Congress. People are ready for something not the same. Be aware, be a part, and lets move toward real change that will last.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Appreciate...Emulate...Fascinate...Designate Your Love as Fate

So with everything that happened over Thanksgiving weekend I didn’t take a minute to declare my gratitude. I love my children. They frustrate me at times; but similar to what you may have heard it is worth it. To see their beautiful little faces running up to me when I get home from work, or their big smiles when playing games is enough of a payback. I may take that back when they get older, but for now…they are perfect.

I enjoy efficiency and convenience; the things that make my life easier: modern transportation, the huge array of electronics that fill our houses, progressive science. I am also thankful for the beautiful things in life; whether it is music, art, movies, poetry and prose, or nature. But all of these things loose their attraction without my best friend, lover, and companion to share them with.

My wife is the center of my support system. We have been married for a little over eight years now. I have to come to know her better over time; she is truly genuine and sincere. I awe at her ability to mind the kids day-in and day-out; often times with no break or help from me as I traveled for business. I have become even more aware of her value to me and her importance in my life. I love her dearly; wish to share our pain and laughter. And did I mention that she is gorgeous? The gods have been kind to me.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I Now Pronounce You Pumpkin and Wife

So, I just got back from one of the coolest weekends of my life! No seriously, this was one that I will remember forever. A few of my readers may recall that one of my first posts was about a concert that my wife and I attended last year by the Smashing Pumpkins (SP). CLICK HERE Well, we had the opportunity to make it all happen again. But this was like the same experience on steroids! We didn’t just go to the concert, but we got to meet the band, take personal pictures with them, stand in the front row, and all of this in Las Vegas!
Yes, on steroids!

Me chatting it up with the boys.

My wife playing it cool with the masters of rock 'n roll.

I know many have said it, and I will too, but Billy Corgan is one of the coolest people that I have met; very chill and on-your-level. You know, seeing him and Jimmy Chamberlain was like they had just stepped out of a YouTube video in front of you. I did notice being in person that Billy’s shoulders are really narrow; not something that I had paid attention to before; and Jimmy has huge biceps, but I guess that when Mr. Corgan writes songs that have you beating the drum heads for 9 min straight you need some serious muscle.
Ginger - a seriously cool bass-playing lady.

Being in the front row of the concert was awesome. I have never been that close to the stage and having done it as part of our SP experience made it that much better. The play list was fantastic. We got to hear many of our favorites along with several new songs. The stage set was great; the sound awesome; and the band was dressed as you would expect them to be. No disappointments.

I also got to meet several other fans that were SP VIPs. I can say that the Pumpkin fan base is diverse. We saw people from all ranges of the spectrum and many that were just like us; totally excited to be meeting one of their favorite bands and having killer seats for the show.

It is interesting what will bring people together; maybe it’s a religious belief, political view, or biological connection. It could be a certain person’s ability to unite others under a sense of oneness; to feel understood, important, and complete; Billy Corgan has that power. I thank God that I had this experience and that I was able to share it with the hottest Pumpkin Peep out there…my wife. Let’s do it again Babe!