Thursday, October 15, 2009


Screen shots are pretty sweet, but they show everything on your screen. With a mac you can take a screen shot of a selected area by using command-shift-4. Pretty sweet.

US Debt Clock

Ever wonder what the national debt is, or what the GDP per citizen is? Well now you can find this data in real time! check out the US National Debt Clock!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Capitalism is not evil, no matter what Michael Moore says...

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Looking for 10,000

Where is the love? The markets are starting to turn and confidence is beginning to rise. I am still fully invested in the markets, although mostly in mutual funds. I am looking for a few stocks to jump out at me, so as soon as I find them I will post an update.

Sorry for the lack of posts, more to come soon!

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I sold my last position in apple today @ $140. I have not been following any stocks close enough to be actively trading, so I am just sticking with my mutual funds for now. I will jump back into following the trends shortly. More posts to come...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Is the worst over?

I think so! If you follow the DOW, you know that it has been above 8k all month. The media is starting to report more positive news and we are seeing more signs of liquidity in the markets. Credit is starting to loosen and lenders are starting to lend. Unemployment is still rising, but most economists say this is the last piece of the economic still puzzle to recover. So if you freaked out and sold all your securities during the fall, this may be the time to reinvest while you can pick up some stocks on the cheep. I sold out of most of my financials on the jump this past week, but am on the hunt for some good deal. I will post when I find something. Have a great long weekend!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Tonight was my last class! I have working towards my MS in Accounting from The University of Texas at Dallas, and I am finally done. I am going to be graduating next weekend, and will hopefully be sober by Sunday for the Texas Man. Next step will be to take the CPA exam this summer.

Tonight we had to give presentations on corporate governance. Needless to say I have done a lot of web surfing. Here are a few things I thought were interesting....

Yolo Boards - Basically a really slow moving surf board. I am sure this is a great upper body workout! I went to the companies website and they are pretty pricey, but they look like a lot of fun. Check out the link if you have a few minutes. Also here is the blog talking about them.

Twitter - has officially become mainstream. I have been on Twitter for about a year, but rarely check it or update my status. I like the idea, but am a little turned off when I see the White House or the Texas State Comptroller twittering (spell check did not pick that up!)

Texas Man Triathlon - Come and join me on May 17th! This will be my first open water swim, but I think I float so no worries:)

Aviva Saturn - Another cool water toy! You can probably see a trend here (I am ready for summer on the lake). Any game where you try and knock another person into the water is cool in my book.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Customer Service

Last week I went to Blockbuster to pick up a movie and was shocked to find that I owed $28 in late fees. The line was long and my wife was not in the mood to listen to me complain and talk to management, so we paid the fine and went on our way. The more I thought about this the more angry I became so today I called the customer service number to complain about these excessive fees. It was very obvious that my call had been sent around the world to somewhere in India where a lady named "Susan" answered my call. After giving Susan all my information including verifying my address we finally got down to business. Susan was nice enough, but I could tell she was reading from a script and not listening to my problem.

This confrontation with customer service got me thinking about why companies outsource such a vital part their business. This appears to be a huge oversight by top levels executives. The costs saved by outsourcing customer service is dramatically offset by the negative experiences by loyal customers. In todays internet based world a lot of companies never see or even speak to their customers. So when a problem arises, why don't they want a sympathetic understanding person on the other end of the phone? Companies should definitely think twice about outsourcing their customer service or they might just loose their business to NetFlix.

Here is the list of work customer service from MSN Money:

The Hall of Shame
1. AOL
2. Comcast
3. Sprint Nextel
4. Abercrombie & Fitch
5. Qwest
6. Capital One
7. Bank of America
8. Time Warner Cable
9. HSBC Finance
10. Cox Communication

Just so you know Blockbuster was not far down the list. Check out the complete list here..

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tour Dallas

What a great ride! My dad and I rode in the Tour Dallas this past weekend with about 3000 over bikers. I really enjoy ridding with my pops as it gives us a chance to catch up and talk about life. The weather was a bit chilly to start the ride, but it warmed up about half way through. I am looking forward to our next ride.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Best Prank Ever!

This is hilarious! Enjoy...

Monday, March 30, 2009

20 Best Guy Movies Over the Past 20 Years

A local radio show was doing a full bracket of the best guy movies of all time, so I thought I would put together my own list. Since this list is just the past 20 years I did not include some obvious leaders like Animal House, Caddyshack, Die Hard, Godfather, Stripes, Jaws, and Scareface. If I missed anything let me know...

1. Fight Club - 1999
2. Goodfellas - 1990
3. Pulp Fiction - 1994
4. Dumb & Dumber - 1994
5. Gladiator - 2000
6. Casino - 1995
7. Braveheart - 1995
8. Tombstone - 1993
9. Old School - 2003
10. Swingers - 1996
11. The Boondock Saints - 1999
12. Wedding Crashers - 2005
13. Shawshank Redemption - 1994
14. The Departed - 2006
15. The Matrix - 1999
16. Good Will Hunting - 1997
17. Unforgiven - 1992
18. True Romance - 1993
19. Saving Private Ryan - 1998
20. Dazed & Confused - 1993

I have to give some honorable mentions to From Dusk Till Dawn, Office Space, Blow, Boiler Room, The Devil's Advocate, & Snatch.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Triathlon Training

As a tax accountant this is the busiest time of the year. So to add to my stress level I am taking 12 hours of grad school and training for my first triathlon. I actually find a hard workout a great stress reliever, so the training has not been a big issue. Finding time to go to the gym, study, and get all my work done has been a challenge, but I think I am up to it.

I have signed up for two triathlons this spring. The first race of the year is called the Caveman Triathlon in Flower Mound Texas. The break down for this race is a swim of 275 yards, bike 11 miles, and a run of 5k. The second race is called the Texas Man Triathlon in Denton Texas. This one is a bit longer with a swim of 500 yards, bike of 17.6 miles, and a 5k run. Both races have their own challenges, but the Texas Man open water swim has me a little nervous. I have stepped up my training and hopefully will be in good enough shape for both races.

If you are looking for a challenge, sing up and I will see you at the finish line (hopefully!)

Caveman Triathlon

Texas Man Triathlon

Monday, March 9, 2009

Interrogator Shares Saddam's Confessions

Fascinating interview with an FBI agent who spent time with Saddam Hussein after his capture.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


How do you manage the 8,274,527 people occupying just under 305 square miles in NYC? You take back the streets! I found this very interesting... Check it out Streetfilms for similar stories....

Monday, February 9, 2009

Going Green

I was flipping through the new HD programing that my cable provider FINALLY put into service and I noticed a new Green channel called Planet Green. They have a whole channel devoted to green living, eating, development, and sustainability. As a son of two very liberal thinking parents I am on board with this transition. My wife and I took a road trip a few weeks ago from Dallas to Park City Utah (about 21 hours each way) in efforts to see the country and enjoy each others company. I was amazed by the number of wind turbines along the drive (especially in Kansas and Wyoming). See earlier Pickens Plan post here...

The country is really progressing into an environmentally conscious and progressive nation. Many companies have jumped on board the Green train and are trying to capitalize on this transition. I applaud the companies that are truly trying to make a difference and wish more companies would move in this direction. Here is a list of the 11 most energy efficient companies (some of them will surprise you) and a NFP devoted to getting companies to donate 1% of sales to environmental groups around the world.

Monday, February 2, 2009


I watched the Super Bowl over at my folks house with a bunch of Frito-Lay executives. The game was great, although I was pulling for Arizona (at least the beat the spread). The Doritos commercial one the USA Today Ad Meter poll. Check out the story here... I was impressed with the advertising overall and you couldn't even tell we were in a recession. I must have missed the one second Miller High Life commercial, but they got a lot of free advertising with a creative approach. See hulu below with the best commercials of 2009!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Super Bowl XLIII

Pittsburgh is favored by 7 points (one pollster says 6 1/2) to win the Super Bowl over Arizona. I was surprised to hear the spread was so large as Arizona is rolling into this game after an impressive win over Philadelphia. I am not a big fan of either team (I am a Cowboys fan), but I will watch both the game and the commercials. Tampa will host the big game with Jennifer Hudson singing the national anthem and Bruce Springsteen performing the halftime show. I am not really excited about either of these performances or the game for that matter, so lets look and see if any of the advertising will impact the market.

With 30 seconds going for $3 million bucks many companies will be looking for the most bang for their buck. A successful commercial should follow these three simple steps.

1. Be Memorable - If you are going to drop $3 million on a commercial make sure people remember you. In a year I probably wont remember who won the Super Bowl, but I will remember that e-trade baby that spit up.

2. Be Funny - Monday morning everyone is talking about the funniest commercial, not the most informative. Keep it light, funny, creative and unpredictable.

2. Keep it Simple - Spectators are not going to write down your 1-800 number or website. Don't try and squeeze in to much information into 30 seconds. In a beer induced haze nobody will remember your message so keep it light and follow number 2.

Last year these companies had the most successful commercials (according to USA Today) so watch for movements on Monday.

1. Budweiser (N/A)
2. Fed Ex (FDX)
3. Bridgestone (BRDCY)
4. Doritos (PEP)
5. Bud Light (N/A)
6. Bud Light (N/A)
7. Coca-Cola (KO)
8. Diet Pepsi Max (PEP)
9. Planters (KFT)
10. Tide (PG)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Rough start for 2009

Craziness has taken over the markets! It is very easy to point out the faults in the markets, but if you want to find the bottom simply keep your ears open and listen for good news. You have to be able to filter the horror stories and look for the positive spin. Be optimistic, and try and find what could turn the markets. If I could find this positive spin, then I would share it with you, but I have no idea. I am listening, but there is a lot to filter. Today, Pfizer (PFE) announced that they are going to be buying rival Wyeth (WYE) for 68 billion. This is a huge positive for the markets because Pfizer is borrowing 22.5 Billion to make this deal possible. This means that there is some money out there for companies to borrow! Are the credit markets "thawing?" I have no idea, but this is some positive news. Let's keep our ears open and if you hear some good news leave a comment.

On a personal note, my Dad has started a blog for Frito-Lay called Snack Chat. Check it out!!