Friday, October 28, 2005

It is a Strange, Sad World with Very Strange, Sad People

I realize daily how very blessed I am to have wonderful family and friends. I am generally happy and I know that should I ever need help from my despair, my family and friends would be there for me. This is incredibly comforting.

I read today that a woman near Chicago hanged herself from a tree in plain view of traffic on a residential street. Her death went unreported for half a day because passersby mistook her for a Halloween decoration.

The irony in this is that hanging herself was her last, terminal grab for attention and it went unnoticed, or it was misunderstood. I wonder if the same can be said of her existence.

I am so very glad for loved ones. This strange, sad world is made joyful and inviting when filtered by family and friends.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Hurricane, Hurricane. What's My Name? Hurricane!

So we get yet another bout of sustained winds at 50+ miles an hour with "stinging rain" and "unbelievable power." We're about to get hit again by Wilma. Fun. Luckily the storm is expected to drop to a Category 1 hurricane by then. Uh, fun.

I was preparing to send my family either up north with my cousin, or out west with my sister, but it doesn't look like we'll get the brunt this time. Probably just some very high winds and a whole lot of wet. Ah, the Sunshine State! But in Mexico there is a different story.

It looks like the eye of Wilma passed right over Cozumel with 140+ mph winds. A whole lot of vacationers decided to stay in Cancun and wait out the storm. Should make for some interesting diving. Was there a run on the hotel gift store to stock up on supplies? Really! What do you do to prepare if you are on vacation? That got me thinking about an idea for a TV series. Imagine this:

An entire plain full of passengers crashes on an uncharted tropical island forcing a bunch of people from different walks of life to learn how to live with each other to survive...

Oh wait, I think that's been done already. How 'bout this:

An entire boat full of passengers crashes on an uncharted tropical island forcing a bunch of people from different walks of life to learn how to live with each other to survive...

Oh wait, that sounds like...OK how about this:

A group of people find themselves on an island - no wait - another island - wait - the Serengeti - DOH! - a jungle - oh somewhere completely foreign to them, and they have to be the supreme victor! DOH! Smallville!

In all seriousness, my heart goes out to all those who will have to deal with the aftermath of Wilma. I pray that casualties are minimal. It has been a tough year for storms.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Da-da-da. I'm Five Months Old!

My daughter is five months old today! WOW! For all of you out there who have kids, did you ever go through this stage where it fully hits you? I mean, even though it is still surreal, it's not SO surreal anymore. And that makes it even more surreal! I have a beautiful five-month-old little girl. So weird, but oh-so-right. It is amazing how fast a little being can become the main focus of my life.

My wife and I have been reading a bunch of magazines, books and websites over the past year. I've looked for articles or stories on the surreality of having a baby. No one really does it justice. Most of the focus is on how your life will change or how your relationship with your spouse will be strained. Does anyone just stop in the middle of the day at work and freak out? WHOA! I HAVE A KID! Well I do! I'm even more freaked out at how perfect and innocent and loveable she is. She is my superstar, and today she is five months old.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

What the heck was he thinking? (Refco goes down)

In September of 2003 I ran into an old college acquaintance of mine who I hadn't seen since '89. It was the middle of the day in the middle of the week and we were both at Borders. Naturally, I assumed he was an entrepreneur, like myself as I couldn't imagine how else he could afford such freedom. I asked what he did and he responded under his breath, "finance," or something like that. Coming from the world of retail finance, I wasn't satisfied with that and I inquired further. He continued with a bit of apprehension until he realized that he was going to have to explain. "I trade currencies", he said.

I knew enough about currencies to be dangerous...To myself. But my old college friend, a former floor trader, was a guru. He gave me a mini-clinic, answered a few questions, gave me a few tips and it was all over. I was a believer! The first trading house he introduced to me was a company named RefcoFX.

I began to study currencies, and I became pretty familiar with this company. They seemed unstoppable with acquisition after acquisition over the next couple of years. Bennett seemed a genius. But after Enron, TYCO, Worldcom and Sarbanes-Oxley, one would think that all heads of publicly traded companies, or companies hoping to be traded publicly, first understanding the basics of accounting and GAAP, would refrain from doing anything stupid.

430 what?
The story, according to The Wall Street Journal, is that Bennett's private company owed Refco $430 million. A transaction completed by Bennett and another party is under a lot of scrutiny. According to The Wall Street Journal, "Mr. Bennett had Refco lend the customer $335 million. On the same day, the customer loaned the Bennett-controlled company, Refco Global Holdings Inc., $335 million, the complaint says. Mr. Bennett then used that money to pay down debt it owed Refco." Uh, yeah. Like I was saying, Ken Lay, Dennis Kozlowski, Bernie Ebbers, they all happened recently enough for the results to be fresh in all of our minds. What the heck was Bennett thinking?

Friday, October 14, 2005

This is a quest. This is only a quest.

Welcome to my rambling space.

Lets get right down to it, shall we? Currently I'm consumed with three questions.
  1. How do I become wealthy within five years...legally and morally intact? (that is, earn in excess of $20 million while maintaining family life)
  2. What is it in me that makes me so reject the status quo...American Dream...Social Security?
  3. Why do I never seem to have enough time...for anything?

Yes, this is another one of those blogs that rambles on about the struggle to break free of the college/credit/career/corporate/convalescence chain. I promise you much more self-scrutiny and much more exploration of core issues of wealth creation, intrisic motivation, social programming time management, business management, and management in general.

Make yourself comfortable, this looks like a long ride.