Friday, November 28, 2008

Mr. Stock Market......?


Nov 27th marks my first foray into the land of investing in the stock market. With stocks at incredible lows that haven't been seen in some cases since the 1930's it seems like the best time to get involved. I will be posting some of my findings, investments, strategies, lessons learned (I hope there aren't any hard ones) and I would love to hear people's comments and opinions as well. Since these investments are not short term the goal initially is to look at dividend paying companies that should stand the test of time. This means that financial outlets should be in there prominently ( regardless of the current condition of the financial sector and Citigroup )Also, whether we like it or not the world is addicted to oil and gas, so in my life time this seems like a safe bet.
The companies that I'm looking at right now are the following: Bank of Nova Scotia (although I was told yesterday that TD should be a better performer), Talisman Energy, H&R real Estate Investment Trust, Nexen, Boyd Gaming (this is a favourite of a friend of mine as it's related to construction in the gaming industry in Vegas), Citigroup, Aecon Group, and Encana. ( there are others) Of course investing in all of them at the same time would require a lot more capital than I have, so I have to keep my picks limited and maximize the investment (what I mean is, it makes no sense to put >1K in 8+ investments - it will take too long to see any results - as an example, If I invested 500$ in Nexen on Nov 2th at 16.50, today at 24.50 I saw a 50% increase and my investment is 750$, but had I invested 10,000$ I'd now have 15,000$. Also, since I'm after dividends, the more shares I own means more dividends I receive...as a side note - I met an investment broker through my partner that doesn't even speak to new clients unless they have 250K to invest...)
So....wish me good luck and who knows, maybe I'll write a book about how Joe Everyman can do the same thing and become wealthy (let's hope the book I write is not entitled "How I ruined our lives and became a bum by stupid investing")

Thursday, November 27, 2008

U.S. Thanksgiving - and why Canadians eat the turkey in October


Happy Thanksgiving to our neighbors to the South. Enjoy your Turkey and NFL !
And for those that had no idea why we as Canadians have the turkey in October:
The history of Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to an explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Orient. "Canada's first Thanksgiving: Frobisher set stage for our celebrations in different spirit than U.S.The first Thanksgiving celebration by Euro-peoples in North America was not in New England but in Newfoundland (Canada) by Martin Frobisher, 42 years before the Pilgrims." Frobisher's Thanksgiving was not for harvest but homecoming. He had safely returned from a search for the Northwest Passage, avoiding the later fate of Henry Hudson and Sir John Franklin. In the year 1578, he held a formal ceremony, in what is now the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, to give thanks for surviving the long journey. The feast was one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in North America, although celebrating the harvest and giving thanks for a successful bounty of crops had been a long-standing tradition throughout North America by various First Nations and Native American groups. First Nations and Native Americans throughout the Americas, including the Pueblo, Cherokee, Cree and many others organized harvest festivals, ceremonial dances, and other celebrations of thanks for centuries before the arrival of Europeans in North America. Frobisher was later knighted and had an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean in northern Canada named after him — Frobisher Bay.
At the same time, French settlers, having crossed the ocean and arrived in Canada with explorer Samuel De Champlain also held huge feasts of thanks. They even formed 'The Order of Good Cheer' and gladly shared their food with their First Nations neighbours.
After the Seven Year's War ended in 1763 handing over New France to the British, the citizens of Halifax held a special day of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving days were observed beginning in 1799 but did not occur every year. After the American Revolution, American refugees who remained loyal to Great Britain moved from the United States and came to Canada. They brought the customs and practices of the American Thanksgiving to Canada. The first Thanksgiving Day after Canadian Confederation was observed as a civic holiday on April 5, 1872 to celebrate the recovery of the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) from a serious illness.
Starting in 1879 Thanksgiving Day was observed every year but the date was proclaimed annually and changed year to year. The theme of the Thanksgiving holiday also changed year to year to reflect an important event to be thankful for. In the early years it was for an abundant harvest and occasionally for a special anniversary.
After World War I, both Armistice Day and Thanksgiving were celebrated on the Monday of the week in which November 11 occurred. Ten years later, in 1931, the two days became separate holidays, and Armistice Day was renamed Remembrance Day.
On January 31, 1957, the Canadian Parliament proclaimed:

A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed … to be observed on the 2nd Monday in October.

Wikipedia is so informative...........

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Crazy s**t going down in Mumbai



If you haven't seen the news, there is some crazy terrorist s**t going down in Mumbai right now. According to CNN there is 87 dead, 185 wounded, the five star Taj Mahal Hotel is on fire, there are hostages being held and terrorists have struck at popular tourist locations. See the story here http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/11/26/india.attacks/index.html

One of those days........



Everyone has one of those days where all around you seem to be born without their brains intact; and my day was yesterday. From beginning to end...all culminating in a massive headache that kept me from getting to sleep until after midnight. It started like this. I drove to work at my usual time - got behind a guy doing 50K in an 80K zone (not due to safety reasons mind you...just driving slow). Arrived at the office to 5 voice messages from the same guy asking the same question that he already had the answer to (funny, he was aware we start after 8am, but his calls started at 6am and he commented "why hasn't someone called me back?"). Then calls from customers asking ridiculous questions "I'd like this to be white - but black...small - but large...heavy - but light". Another asking me to stop everything I was doing to complete something for them that was critical - so I did. Then once completed and emailed, they immediately asked if I was also finished the original request and that what I had just done wasn't really all that critical as it was due in a couple weeks - and then got bitchy when I told them it would take another day to finish. nice - business would be easy if it weren't for the customers. While driving at lunch I was cut off by a guy texting while driving with his knees and took a couple nice rocks to the front of my car (thank god only rocks and not his car...this is when my headache started behind my ears...mild at first, but I knew it was going to be a doozy). The rest of the afternoon was spent arguing with multiple vendors about the wrong products they had sent, and more conversations with the aforementioned customers with more comments/questions that at this point were going in one ear and out the other (I'd tell you what they were, but remembering them is making the headache come back). The icing on the cake was the notice that an important transport truck wouldn't arrive until 8pm. So I volunteered to stay (since I had to finish the work for the customer who interrupted me all day). At 8pm the truck was no where to be seen and the dispatch guy, who for convenience sake, nicely gave us his cell phone number...decided to turn it off. My freight forwarder and I spent the next hour and bit trying to track the driver down. Finally he called at about 9:15 (i guess that's close to 8pm, right?). We loaded the truck...faxed the documents and I got to go home. Arrived at home with a pounding headache at 10pm. For the next 3 hours I sat there in silent pain as my head throbbed...I contemplated eating a couple Tylenol 3's we had in the medicine cabinet, but settled for an Advil and a glass of water instead. Finally somewhere around 1am I managed to fall asleep. Needless to say right now I'm a bit sleepy and cranky (and hungry...thank god it's lunch)

You can begin the 'awwww, you poor thing...' comments now. ;-)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Big Laughs for Itsy Bitsy Spider

I managed to catch a few seconds of Mama's rendition of Itsy Bitsy Spider that was quite the entertaining ditty. The little guy almost blew a gasket laughing....until he realized he was on camera and that was that...ended with a look at the paparazzi (darn paprazzi ruin all the fun stuff...just ask Lindsay Lohan). The lights were low so it's not a great video (I had to act fast..no time to turn on the lights), but you can hear him laughing which is great. Enjoy.

Big Boy is 5 Months Today


Big Boy turned 5 months today and showed off by sitting on his own and played with his feet. He's pushing 20 lbs and at least 28" long. He's getting strong enough that if you hold his hands he'll sit up and then push up into a standing position (of course with a bit of help...he usually smiles and laughs at this). He's passed a new milestone; that being, when he's tired he doesn't just fall asleep....he gets crazy cranky with screaming and kicking...and then after what feels like hours (more like 5 minutes) passes out and 'sleeps like a baby. He's starting to get the hang of 'napping' so hopefully the crazy freak out tired thing will start to disappear.....let's hope.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

STAMPS WIN !


Stamps have done it. Final Score 22-14. Looks again like the Stamps defense is what kept them in the game. Although Burris did do a great job staying calm and doing what he needed to do to advance the team down the field. River woke up to watch the final quarter. And now ? River and I are watching Star Wars Clone Wars TV Series........big night....

Sunday Night - Grey Cup...


Sunday action is in Montreal with the Stamps facing the Als. 1:54 left in the 1st half and the Stamps are suckin' the hind tit losing 3-13. River seems unimpressed and has passed out on the couch. Maybe the half time show will get him (and the Stamps) going. Although, doesn't it seem strange that Theory of a Dead Man are playing? They usually hire some bigger names. We'll see how they do. FYI - while I was typing Calgary scored a touch down bringing the score to 10-13 with 44 seconds left. I'll update when the game is over.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mr. Fall Catalogue Guy


River is getting ready for a lunch date today and was showing off his fashion sense. Today he is Mr. Fall Casual Outdoorsy Guy. Also today, he's showing off his Brad Pitt hair a la "Burn After Reading". I'm sure he'll charm the pants off all of the waitresses.

Better video and update of Meteor crash

Here's a link with a much better video of the meteor. It looks like something out of a movie.

http://www.globaltv.com/globaltv/national/story.html?id=978054

Friday, November 21, 2008

LOOK ! UP IN THE SKY ! METEOR OR UFO ???


All over the news was the reports of a large fireball jetting across the skies of Saskatchewan and Alberta. It supposedly is confirmed that it's NOT man made (not a plane or space junk). Was it a meteor ? UFO ? Superman falling to earth ? Starman ? E.T ? We'll see if they find the impact point. Have a look....

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Um........yah....


So....I guess this my Seinfeld post...a post about nothing...or maybe it is about something...just nothing important.
Here's a couple news items from today.
So...big story...the stock market tanked today. The TSX plunged to a 5 year low. See the canada.com article here http://www.canada.com/topics/news/story.html?id=5a971002-b24d-4a07-b938-4dc5e6d37c4f
Oil dropped below 50$
Here's something that happened today.
Big boy spent the day with his Mom and Grandma and went shopping at Costco and IKEA.
And...what I did...
Went to work a bit late after dropping the wife and little man at his Grandma-ma's. Made it to work around 9ish. Spent most of the morning cleaning up jobs/projects. Did a few errands at lunch and had a pizza at CoCo Brooks (actually it was a Calzone...a Big Al's Calzone to be exact) because I left my delicious lunch my wife made me, in the 'fridge. Headed back to the office. Got into some new project work, closed a deal, finalized details on another project, sent a couple faxes. Left the office at 5:30. Drove home. Got Home. Carried in 2 boxes of MALM's from IKEA. Made a 0 calorie carbonated water and lime juice. Watched Coronation Street (I love that show), while putting together 1 MALM. Ate lasagna (very tastey). Played with the big boy. Watched Kitchen Nightmares (Love Ramsey...starting to dislike the American Version of the show..they're all the same), watched the office and chatted with wife while she calmed the possessed kid, started posting while 30 Rock started and am now watching the wife snuggle with a sleeping/quiet baby and listen to her make inappropriate comments >wink<. It's 10:38 and I think I'm going to bed.....soon. Actually....now it's 10:43....10:44
thank goodness tomorrow is Friday......

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

New Star Trek Trailer

Spock, Scotty, Sulu, Bones, Uhura and of course KIRK are back for a re-boot of the of the Star Trek franchise. First thoughts after watching the trailer.....wow ! ( I wonder how many red shirts get it in this movie )

What do you think ?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

First Flames Game a Success for River and the Flames

Dressed in red we ventured into the Sport Check seats to watch the Flames vs. The Avalanche. For those of you who don't know, Sport Check Seats = nose bleed section. The big man was all smiles and wide eyes watching all the fans move to their seats with their $7.25 draught beers. During the first period the action on the ice was mild so River entertained himself by pulling the hair of the nice lady next to us and flirting with the British woman behind us. He didn't seem to be too concerned that the Flames were losing by a goal at the end of the period. In fact, he seemed confident the home team was ok and he showed his confidence by sleeping throughout the uneventful second period (it should be noted that Calgary hit a solid Avs post with a fraction of a second left in the first). River awoke for the third period and was ready for excitement , and the Flames did not disappoint. The explosive cheer from the fans when the Flames tied up the game gave him a bit of a start, but eventually he was all smiles listening to the crowd scream. He played paddy cake to the chant of "GO FLAMES GO" He was glued to the ice when the Flames went ahead 2-1 and was all smiles again when the Flames clinched it with a third empty net goal and a fourth in the last 9 seconds.

Even though the game was over the little guys night of flirting certainly was not. He gave all around us smiles and while we waited for an elevator ride to the main floor (no, not lazy, just worried about the spilled beer on the 'ladder like' concrete staircase and the 'stumbly' drunks around us....the stairs seemed steeper going down than going up) he entertained a blue haired lady who was quite taken by the boys blond locks and big blue eyes.

I think all in all the Saddledome NHL experience was a good one for Mom, Dad and Son and I'm sure we'll do it again.

Now...we'll see if we can get the man to sleep.....

First Flames Game.....


The little big man will join his parents tonight for his first Calgary Flames game. The game starts at 7:30pm and is against the Colorado Avalanche. Let's hope there aren't any melt downs and we get to stay and watch the whole thing. It should be a good game. I'll let you know how we made out when we get home.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Vacation....where to go ?


So we're planning a vacation for mid Jan 09 but haven't 100% decided where to go. We're pretty sure it will be somewhere hot with a beach and serves those fruity drinks with little umbrellas in them. So the question is where. Mexico ? If so...where ? The gulf or pacific side ? Or do we go to Barbados ? St. Lucia ? Dominican ? The Bahamas ? Puerto Rico ? Virgin Islands ? What do you think ? Leave a comment with your suggestion or experience if you've been to a place you liked.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hello Mr. President...Good-Bye Mr. Blackberry...


We all know that if you;re a BlackBerry user, you find it tough to put it own, let alone quit using it. Well, what if you're the Commander and Chief ? Looks like the new president will have to learn to live without.
See the New York Times Article here

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bond....James Bond



Just got back from the new Bond flick, Quantum of Solace. Over all I'd say it was a pretty good show and Criag again does a great job of playing the "cool as ice" man in the tux with a license to kill...and kill he does. From the opening sequence car chase to each and every "bad guy" he comes face to face with.

Quantum begins immediately after Casino Royale so you'll need to have seen Royale to understand what is driving Bond throughout this movie. For the most part, this seems like the last chapter of Royale and almost like it was a chunk of the original movie cut due to time...so they released it later a-la Kill Bill. Quantum does zero character development and doesn't explain his past relationships with people like Mathis and Felix, so again, make sure you see Royale before seeing this movie.

I think it's a solid movie, albeit short (105 minutes) and will do well at the box office. The fan boys will like the action and the Bond girls. I did like the nod to Goldfinger in this movie (the bad guys dispatched one of the girls in a similar maner).

Speaking of action, I'm not sure why directors have this facination with filming action sequences with all these blurry/jumpy quick shots. The director of Quantum, Marc Forster, most recently filmed 'The Kite Runner', 'Stay', 'Stranger Than Fiction', & 'Monster's Ball' which by no stretch were action films. This might explain why that techique is used as he's not an old hand with this type of genre so he might have fell pray to using cliches.

All I hope is that they keep Bond in a world that's believable and not give him invisable cars and have him go into space again and I'll keep coming back for more. I would assume that if this movie does well this weekend, production will begin on the next one.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Star Trek Update


Here's a first look at the Star Ship Enterprise in the new Star Trek flick J.J. Abrams style. The look is classic T.V. Star Trek with a taste of the new updates.


As for the movie, there seems to be some rumblings. Have a look at http://blog.wired.com/underwire/2008/11/jj-abrams-previ.html


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Long Live the English Pub


Have I mentioned how much I love English Pubs ? Not the nasty clones found in North America mind you, although there are ones I like. I'm talking about the REAL pubs in the UK. I'm not entirely sure what the attraction is. I think it's the vibe and the coziness. I could sit and hang all day sipping pints and talking with the punters in their local. This is why I find it sad and odd that UK pubs are closing at an alarming rate. Some blame the recent smoking ban. Some blame the increase in booze prices and taxes. Some blame the recent credit crunch. Some blame the new generation who would rather sit at home than gather with their mates at the pub. In any case the stat I heard was somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 pubs a week.
I think it's obvious that the jolly ol' pub will never disappear from the English landscape. However, the look and feel is changing. A number of the pubs that close are being bought up by the chains and are becoming a bit like cookie cutter pubs. And in other cases they're renovating to become gastro-pubs, which isn't the end of the world. If you do get a chance to visit the UK, I encourage you to visit as many pubs as possible as they all have distinct feel and charm. And for the reason that if the current trend continues, they may not be as easy to find as walking a few blocks in any direction (which doesn't bode well for a lazy guy like me)
cheers mate

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A new picture........

I'm trying to keep up with the "post every day for a month" thingy....and really, I've got nothing interesting to post, so, here's a new picture of River from the weekend and here's what I did today.

I flew out to Vancouver for the day for a business trip. I decided to fly cheap and went with WestJet. I forgot how much they are like a "cattle car in the air". I'm not a super tall guy, but my knees ride close to the seat in front of me and thank god there was a small girl next to me so I could sit back and not have to sit sideways to fit. The flight is short and was uneventful. When I checked in at 'Budget' at YVR I thought I would go with a GPS (I used one before and it was really handy)...well, not this time...for some reason it wouldn't load where the car was and wouldn't update so I drove around for a while (got myself lost) then screwed withe the little garmin until it finally did what it was supposed to. Although, the route it created for me was a tour of all the back streets...and constantly had me turning left from a side street onto a major artery (painful). Then when I arrived at the address I realized that I just typed in Vancouver and not North Vancouver (in other words...I went to wrong address...duh). So, I figured that out and got back on route. All was good until I ended up in a cemetery and the GPS was telling me to go straight...unfortunately the dead peoples families would have been pissed with me if I did...so after spending 15 minutes finding a path around all the tombstones I made it.

I had a very productive meeting and got back in the Ford Escape and reprogrammed the garmin to take me back to the airport (god knows how I got where I was going with the path I took). Funny thing...the damn thing [GPS] must have remembered and figured that route was pretty neat, so it pretty much returned me to the airport the same way...and I can tell you...it was not the best way (I checked against directions from the google maps..had I done that route it would have taken 25 minutes...the garmin route was over an hour). Finally made it back the airport and after a very bumpy ride I'm home...put the little man to bed and now I'm typing while watching hockey highlights...exciting day huh ?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Stupid Vibe 98.5 contest website.....


Well...the vibe site finally seems to working enough that you can look through all the cute kid pictures (and of course, they'll all cute)..but as we have now found...our little guys picture is no where to be found. We checked to make sure the email we sent was complete and did indeed have a picture attached...both confirmed. So who knows. I guess we'll wait until next year. Or, I could just submit his pictures to Kelly Streit of Mode models and get him a day time modelling gig :)

A Day to Remember



November 11th is Remembrance day. Take this time to remember the sacrifice of the people who have fought and are fighting so that we have the freedom that most of us take for granted. For those of you who don;t know the history or the info have a look at this site http://www.vac-acc.gc.ca/remembers/sub.cfm?source=history/other/remember

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Spirit - Frank Millers New Movie



Frank Miller, the man who brought us 300 and Sin City is now bringing us The Spirit. It looks, from the trailer, that this should be an interesting flick. My only concern is the visual similarity to Sin City. It's a cool effect, however, it could become stale if it's used too much. We'll see when it's released on Christmas Day.

Wolverine Trailer


According to www.comicbookmovie.com the trailer for the new Wolverine:Origins movie will be with the new Keanu flick "The Day the Earth Stood Still" which opens on Dec 12th.

Cutest Kid Contest.....Vote for River

Yes....we're whoring out our kid for a "Calgarys Cutest Kid Contest"...but really, the prize pack is worth 50K$$$ so why not give it a go. The voting was supposed to start today but it looks like there have been a ton of entries so it will start tomorrow. Please vote as much as possible (It says only 1 vote allowed from each I.P. address, but I think if you clean out your cookies and cache you'll be able to vote multiple times). The site is
http://www.vibemorningshow.com/
The pictures won't be named so you'll need to look for the picture that is attached here.







Thursday, November 6, 2008

Crichton dead at 66


It's a sad day for science fiction. The man who made Yul Brynner a terrifying wild west terminator in 'West World', brought us a "beyond-real" world with Dinosaurs in 'Jurassic Park', made Demi Moore guilty of sexual assault in 'Disclosure', made Sean Connary the coolest old dude in 'Rising Sun' (wait...Sir Sean Connary doesn't need anyone to make him the coolest...he just IS the coolest) and made Dr. Ross (Clooney) a household name from ER, passed away yesterday from a battle with cancer. Crichton's books (good and bad) were interesting from the fact that everything was rooted in science and could be found in research in modern times such as the amber that the Dino DNA was found in along with numerous other details of his stories. To be honest, some of the stories did not translate well onto the big screen, such as Congo, Sphere & Timeline and some were a bit slow such as Terminal Man and Andromida Strain, but for the most part, the novels were interesting and good reading. Even if you've seen the movies I would encourage people to read his books ( reading Jurassic Park is a million times better than watching the movie ).

Obama Wins ( and I'm 1 day late )


Obama wins and is now President Elect. This is an interesting and historical time for North America. It was interesting to me to see the U.S. states and how they voted and how there was a distinct seperation between Red and Blue. Almost like you could divide the country in half as it were. I think he has a big job to do....but considering he's starting at almost a rock bottom ( where Mr. Bush has left the U.S. ) the only way he can go is up. It will also be interesting to see the interaction with Canada considering that historically Democrats have not been good for this country. I guess I have to blog twice today since I missed yesterday...already off to a bad start :(

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Curb Your Enththusiasm - and an election

I have to say that Larry David is the king of making people [viewers] uncomfortable and does an incredible job of getting himself into so much s**t....his show 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' has got to be the second best show on HBO next to Entourage. Oh...and someone told me there's an historic election tonight...wild. So far (8:24pm) Obama seems to be in the lead. We've been looking at CNN on the commercials. Should be an interesting night.

Monday, November 3, 2008

NaBloPoMo



Well....I think I'm going to try my best to participate in NaBloPoMo (which is just blogging every day for a month). I did miss Nov 2nd, but I'll count it since I've posted twice today. We;ll see if I can find something interesting (or not so interesting) to yak about daily. You would think, for a guy who likes to hear the sound of his own voice this shouldn't be too hard....only time will tell.

River's 4 month shots


River went in for his 4 month shots today (a little delayed). The big man was a trooper. Just a bit of crying and that was it... I think he was flirting with the nurse so he might have been trying to show how tough he is (or it was the magical hands of the skilled nurse, thanks Julia). He is now 17.25" long and 18lbs 6 oz which keeps him in the 97th percentile. He's almost doubled his birth weight. He's now pretty much wearing 12 month + clothes. He's almost rolling back to front (99.9% the way there) and he's kicking his legs when on his belly so we figure he'll be mobile by Christmas.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Post Halloween


The excitement from the trick or treat'ers was a little too much for the big man. After the first few ghouls knocked on the door, the pumpkin man decided it was time to crash on the living room chair.