Saturday, December 27, 2008

We win

I don't celebrate football as much as I used to, but it was nice to watch my alma mater win the Champs 2nd Rater Bowl tonight. It was played in Orlando but Bri and I got together with the Triangle Seminole Alumni club at Buckhead Saloon in Raleigh to catch all the action.

We had a great time at Aunt Heather and Uncle Sean's house in Chesapeake. Bri and I checked out a new park on the VA-N border, called Northwest River Park. It had some nice running/hiking trails. We also got a run in on the Virginia Beach boardwalk (a cement run next to the beach). I also logged 16 hours on Call of Duty 4.

Then we watched Marley and Me and everyone cried. If you haven't read the book or seen the movie, Marley is a lovable yellow lab, who terrorizes his owners, goes through lots of zany antics, lives a long, great life with a loving family, and then dies in a long, drawn out scene designed to make hardened criminals, stone cold Special Forces, and evil silicon trophy wives cry like babies. The end.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Investment advisory coaching

I've decided that Bri and I will open up an investment advisory firm, or hedge fund, or unregulated security pool, sometime in the near future. This whole personal coaching thing is great but it's time to take things One Step Beyond. Ha ha. We'll take the money and do wonderful magical things with it, until people start to ask for it back, in which case I will tell them all about the early redemption fees and penalties for leaving our fund. Our fund name will be called Phoenix & Ash Returns Wealth Advisory Management. It's like a clever play on words, if you're an @sshole.

The great thing is, since all these supposed qualifications and letters and fancy schmancy diplomas don't mean anything anymore, we're not going to get any of them. We'll just make you sign a document that states you trust us completely and we can do whatever we want with your money.

Our minimum account requirement is $100,000. We accept gold coins and small unmarked bills. A check will work if necessary but then add a 10% handling fee for check and bank stuff.

Here's our return since 2001:
2001: 12%
2002: 11%
2003: 12%
2004: 10% (a bad year)
2005: 13%
2006: 14%
2007: 12%
2008: 7%

As you can see, we totally kick ass at investing shizzle. Throw me your dollars, quick.

Friday, December 19, 2008

survey results

1. Did you miss the surveys?

47.4% Yes
10.5% what is a survey
31.6% I don't even know how I got here

2. Interests rates may go down to 4.5% for a 30-year fixed mortgage but only for home purchases, not refinancing. If they do, what will you do?

31.6% Buy a new house
21.1% Put some more newspaper in my clothes to keep me warm while I wander the streets
21.1% Shoot a banker
21.1% Refinance, because I don't have good reading comprehension skills

3. I am in danger of losing my job.

47.4% No
47.4% It is scary out here

4. My savings and investments these days are concentrated in:

5.3% Booze and hookers, like Eliot Spitzer, who now writes for Slate Magazine, so he must know something
26.3% I am too young/too poor to have things like investments and asset allocations, ha ha, you said assets
26.3% Stocks/ETFs - they always go up in the long run

5. In 2009, I will (triathlon related):

36.8% Race and travel as much as usual
15.8% Reduce my consumption in order to make my carbon footprint smaller, and smoke dope hippie

6. Next summer my big trip will be:

52.6% Somewhere close but nice with family/friends
36.8% No big trip for us

Have a nice weekend!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I've had tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, consistently for longer than I can remember. It was not something I paid attention to until a few months ago, when it kicked up a notch in volume. Imagine a subtle high pitched tone in your ear, that never goes off, ever. That's tinnitus.

It's not loud enough to make me stone deaf, but if you've ever sat with me in a crowded restaurant, you may notice that I have to turn my head or cup my ear to hear what you're saying. I literally can't make out words in those situations. You might say "So what did you do yesterday?" And I would hear something like "Sas vassid suyou sterday?"

This is great when people insult me, because I just nod my head and give them an idiotic smile. Which sort of takes the punch out of an insult. But if you're going to insult me, go &@^* yourself, really. (I just like writing that to you, oh dear reader).

Anyway, we picked up a product called Ring Relief from the local drug store. It is a homeopathic remedy, but thank God, it actually works. It doesn't completely stop the ringing, but reduces it significantly. The downside is that it is short term relief. The upside is that I'm not always going "Huh? Whaaa?" to Bri all the time.

The point is, don't go to 50 rock and roll concerts in your teens and 20s. Also, don't do drugs. And stay in school. And don't stay up late. And stop picking at that.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bond Park 5k

I ran the Bond Park Jolly Elf 5k this morning. The race is part of the Second Empire series so there were plenty of competitors out. Bond Park has a mixture of singletrack, paved trails and dirt trails. A lot of people took it out really fast so I had to fight my way through a bunch on the first mile. During the second mile I was with a group of 3 others and we missed a sharp right turn that was not well marked, and wound up adding about 15-20 seconds to our times. Fortunately since this is our local training run, I was able to get us back onto the correct course.

I felt solid and ran 19:30 despite being out late at a Christmas party last night.

Tassie and Bri cheered me on.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


On Monday I bought a few shares of SKF, an ultrashort financial ETF. This is basically a bet that financial news will be bad. We got it at 104.5 and yesterday and today sold half at 118 and another half at 116. I had to go to lunch so put a sell stop order in on the half that sold today. It proceeded to close at 130 but I didn't want to give up the gains. It might go to 200 but you never know.

Bri and I will be running in the Bond Park 5k this weekend, just down the street from our house. Looking forward to it.

I played poker last night and came home up 130%, but was out later than planned and Bri wasn't happy with me. :( But I have to practice for the world series of poker.

My race plans for 09:
Dec-Jan: local runs
Feb - Coach Bubba 20k and Gasparilla 15k
March - Azalea Sprint tri
April - Virginia Smithfield Sprint
April 26 - St Anthonys
May 2 - White Lake Half 1
May 9 - White Lake Half 2
May 30 - King of the Mountain
June 28 - Philly Tri
July - ?
August - USAT Nationals
September - VA Beach Tri
September - Wilmington
September - Duke Half

Monday, December 8, 2008

New open water swim series in town

We bring you the Triangle Open Water Swim Series:

April 18 - The 5280 Swim at Beaver Dam (Falls Lake)
June 7 - Jordan Lake Open Water Challenge (Jordan Lake)
August 30 - The Nuclear Swim at Harris Reservoir (Harris Lake)

Proceeds will benefit the Triangle Aquatic Center, where we swim.

Since Bri and I started the master's group, we'd been discussing starting an annual open water race in the area. I used to do tons of these and we have all these great lakes around. So last month I started the process of organizing a swimming race in Jordan Lake.

After looking around a bit, I found out that Jason and the gang at FS Series were planning a one mile race in conjunction with a triathlon at Beaver Dam in April. I got in touch with him, we sat down, and decided to join forces. We came up with three events. So next year, you'll have ample opportunity to jump in an organized open water race here in the Triangle area.

We're still finalizing sanctioning, but it'll either be USA Triathlon or US Masters swimming. Unfortunately, USA Swimming (age group) has a tremendous amount of hoops to jump through, and if you haven't figured it out, I don't jump hoops.

We'll have all the details for each event up by mid-January.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Weekend survey

By popular demand: Weekend survey is back!

weekend update

Mortgage rates at 4.5%

Another article here

That adds up to a big savings over time. Finally Joe Responsible on the street is going to get a chance to participate in the handout process. Buy 3 or 4 of them if you can.

This morning we swam 3x through: 4 x 100 fast on short rest, 200 easy. I got in with the group and felt good, held 1:02s leaving on 1:10 for the last 2 sets (with paddles).

Next week I move up to the Silver Eagle classes in Kung Fu, which means I will be taking on 10 to 12 year olds. I will rule them.

We're off to Charlotte for a day to see my sis, niece, and bro in law and family tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

swim test

Yesterday morning I tortured our master's group with a 1,000 yard swim for time. Everyone was psyched to do it. :P

What most of them don't know was that I'd go on to do the same test in the evening. It's been a long time since I've done a 1,000 for time, and it was good to see I haven't completely lost it after this past easy year of training. I swam an 11:15, which is 1.07.5 pace per 100.

About 600 yards into it I realized that almost exactly 20 years ago, I swam a December dual meet my freshman year in college, and swam a 9:40 (my PR). Point being, I've only slowed down 10 seconds per 100 yards - or 1/2 second for every year that has passed.

Which leads me to my deep thought of the day: The clock is always ticking. 20 years have got behind you, no one tells you when to run, don't miss the starting gun.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cyber Monday

Bri has mentioned it in person or on her blog, but in many ways I can be a tightfisted cheapskate. I don't like to part with money unless it's on:

a) beer and food
b) investments of any sort
c) travel
d) races
e) worthwhile stuff for family or friends

Things that don't make it onto my list:
a) expensive restaurants
b) clothing
c) consumables of every sort.

But, for the past year my laptop PC has been getting slower and slower. We also have an old desktop that is even more of a dinosaur. The stuff that most internet sites streams down these days is high tech, takes up huge memory, and even some basic programs like Outlook move in very frustrating motion. I can't take it anymore, and Bri's laptop is also dying of old age.

So today we bought a new computer. My laptop has 384 MB of RAM, and the new desktop comes with 2 or 3 gigabytes of RAM. We also got a 20 inch monitor for $100 as part of the package ( until 12/4). Not bad at all.

I weighed the pros and cons of buying a 1/2 oz gold American Eagle instead. But we need a fully functional PC that will last us for the next few years and the constant hangups on this thing have driven me around the bend.