Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Kite Runner

I just finished reading "The Kite Runner." My ex-girlfriend recommended it. I'll admit I was skeptical at first. I thought--Afghanistan?? ehh??

It was by far the saddest and most beautiful story I've ever read.

It's a story about undying loyalty, family, respect, redemption, and overcoming the harsh realities of life.

I can't lie, I cried a couple of times while I was reading it. I guess, I'm just an old sentimental fool. It's such a beautiful story.

Plus, it reminded me of snugglepants. I miss her--"For you, a thousand times over!"

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A novice trader's lament...

I put a couple of stocks in my watchlist: Delta, American, and Northwest.

Northwest and Delta are going through bankruptcy.

My thought was, I would buy 10,000 shares of Delta and let it ride. Then someone by the name of Jeff M. was kind enough to point out to me what happened with United Airline's stock when they went through bankruptcy. Basically, their stock was cancelled and reissued just before emerging from bankruptcy. It rendered the previous stock worthless. So, I called Delta and sure enough Delta has the same plan-I didn't do my due diligence. Luckily, some random person named Jeff M. did it for me and probably saved me about $6,500. I still made $6000 on the trade--so, it was still a good trade.

Unfortunately, the thing I didn't do was call up Northwest's Investor Relations and see if they were planning the same "cancelation and reissue." Northwests stock was still trading at $.55 when all this Delta stuff was going on. If I was just a tad more on the ball, I could have taken that $6000 from the Delta trade and bought 10,000 Northwest shares for $5,500. Today, in one month's time, that investment would be worth $40,000-the stock closed Friday at $3.98 a share.

This is a tough lesson. It's not that I'm unhappy about not making more money on the Delta trade, or that Northwest's stock has taken off like a rocket. I'm unhappy that I didn't do my homework by making a simple phone call. I dismissed Northwest without really looking into it.

All I can do is make a note of this and be more inclined to investigate companies more thoroughly in the future.

Also, something that I think was throwing me off was reading the Headlines--not always the best thing to do. Delta always has great news coming out. Northwest's news is sort of lack-luster--something else to note.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

So, I wrote this book.

I wrote a book called "The New Bill of Rights." I actually stole the idea from James Madison, the creator of the original Bill of Rights. The idea of the original Bill of Rights was to give people the fundamentals rights they needed in order to be live and be happy and prevent an oppressive government from ruining everything. The original Bill of Rights is a pretty cool thing, and we are pretty lucky we have it.

Something I discovered while I was writing my book was that there was originally 13 Amendments in the Bill of Rights. Apparently, 3 didn't make the final edit. To me, this sounds like the Mel Brooks movie "The History of the World; Part One" during the scene where Moses was standing up on the hill; he had 3 stone tablets in has hands. Moses starts saying, "I have brought before you these of the tablets drops and smashes on the ground....TEN.....TEN Commandments!"

So, I naively wrote this book called "The New Bill of Rights" with the idea that there were some gigantic loopholes in the Constitution that need to be closed, and there is an equally gigantic "vested interest" interested making sure those loopholes never get closed.

A couple of people said I was crazy for wasting my time writing a book like this. I've even felt like my style of writing was a little amateurish--OK, it's very amateurish. But, it's still my 1st book, so what do you expect, Hemingway?

Every time I've edited my book it's cost me $300, which kind of makes me wish I hadn't been so hasty in getting self-published. But now, I've gone through and re-edited for the 3rd, and hopefully, the final time. I've simplified and re-worded some things. I've taken out parts that I felt were juvenile and other parts that I felt were condescending. I switched out a chapter that I felt promoted intolerance. I've fixed some sentence fragments and a couple of run-ons. I've even come up with a subtitle that I think I can finally live with:


For the most part, I think I'm getting to a point where the book is presentable. My plan is still to mail copies to key political, media, and business leaders. Hopefully, I can get permission from one of them to use a quote on the front cover.

I'm still set on the chapter titles:

The Education Amendment

The Drug Decriminalization Amendment

The New Progressive Sales Tax Amendment

The Balanced Budget Amendment

The Profit Sharing Amendment

The New States Amendment

The Campaign Finance Amendment

The Stable Leadership Amendment

The Anti-Obsolete Amendment

The Golden Rule Amendment

You can kind of see where I was going from reading the chapter titles. There's nothing too earth-shattering in it. It's pretty straight forward. You can also tell I picked some areas where there some major issues.

No one else has written a book like mine. So, I'm still proud of my accomplishment despite the luke-warm reviews it's received.

As far as I'm concerned, "The New Bill of Rights" is a copywritten work-of-art. I've written a book about my political views. How many people can say that?

The next book is going to about my religious views--some people already know the title.
Once these religious and political books are a done deal, I probably won't ever write another book that's "non-fiction." Although, anyone who's read "The New Bill of Rights" will probably tell you it's fiction.

The book after that is going to be a children's book titled "The 13 Year Old Astronaut." It'll be somewhat autobiographical, but in a less depressing sort of way. LOL. OK, it will be a science fiction adventure set in present-time America.

Writing is something that makes me happy.

The feng shui of things...

Evidently, it matters where you put your furniture.

I turned my loft bed, and it made it easier to climb in and out. So, I sleep in it more often.

I switched my couch and chair around, and I sit in the leather chair more often--it's more comfortable. I put sheep skins on the couch, which made it cozier.

I switched my desk and kitchen table, and I actually set the table. Now, I eat meals at the table instead of the coffee table.

It's weird how seemingly little things make a big difference.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A Recent Invention Of Mine Called A "Chute Cannon" Inspired by 9/11

Did you ever the see the movie 9/11. It was a documentary done by 2 French brothers on 9/11. It's probably one of the most gripping and bone chilling documentaries ever made. NBC aired it this past 9/11 I believe.

One of the sadest things I've ever seen is the people trapped on the upper floors of the Twin Towers. They had their heads stuck out the windows, and they were gasping for air. They even showed a few people jumping to their deaths. It was horrifying.

I started thinking about the people in that situation. They were trapped. They had the choice of suffocating, being burned alive, or jumping to their deaths. A few jumped to their deaths. If you watched the documentary 9/11, you could actually hear them as they hit right outside lobby of the Twin Towers.

They also showed footage of all the helicopters hovering around the buildings--there was about 7 of them.

So, I started thinking. I asked myself the question, "What if there was a way for those helicopters to get parachutes to those people who were trapped on those upper floors?"

I came up with something called a "Chute Cannon". Basically, my invention would use compressed air, a long tube that extended out past the "propeller wash" of the helicopter. It would shoot a specially packaged parachute out through the tube and into a window.

Have you ever been to an NBA or NHL game and watched a halftime show? You may recall the guys who come out and shoot balled-up t-shirts into the crowd using compressed air and tubes. Well, this is the same concept, only I'm talking about parachutes and helicopters.

In my opinion, this invention could have saved hundreds of lives on that tragic September morning.

I think this invention could still be useful today. It might cost about $50 thousand dollars to manufacture, but I think it would be beneficial for every city with at least one building over 20 stories to have a "Chute Cannon".

I think a "Chute Cannon" could be attached to the side door of a helicopter in a matter of minutes, and the helicopter could be on the scene of a major building fire in a matter of a few more minutes. If someone was trapped, and they were faced with a choice of base jumping for the 1st time, suffocating, or being burned alive, I think they would happily choose jumping out of a building with a parachute strapped to their back--I'm sad to say this, but they proved this on 9/11.

Given our current political environment it behooves governments to want something like this to protect its citizens. It might cost a grand total of about $30 million to outfit every major city in the U.S. with one of these, which is a drop in the bucket when you consider its life saving potential.

I started a project to call companies who I think would make good candidates to manufacture this product. I've submitted my idea to a patent attorney. We'll see what happens.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Today, on 3 seperate occasions I was told I looked like Tim Robbins!!

I think I just set the unofficial record for people telling me I look like Tim Robbins.

I was sitting at the Dixie house eating lunch and the waitress said, "Has anyone ever told you look like Tim Robbins?"

I was sitting in my office and a guy walks in to meet another agent and he goes, "Has anyone ever told you look like Tim Robbins?"

I walked into the bank to cash a check and the teller goes, "Has anyone ever told you look like Tim Robbins?"

I'm not kidding. I usually average that comment only about once a week, but today I was on fire.

Interesting Factoid About Me

When I was in the Navy I got Tom Hanks autograph while I was standing in my boxers.

They shot some scenes from the movie Apollo 13 onboard. The skipper gave Tom Hanks a tour, and they went through my berthing space, and I was laying in my rack trying to take a nap when Tom Hanks walked in. Naturally, I grabbed a pencil and a piece of paper and asked him for his autograph.

During the scenes where the helicopter went to go fish the astronauts out of the water, and it shows the helicopters taking off from an aircraft carrier, I was actually standing at the helm during that scene. Pretty cool, eh??

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The workouts are working!

I jumped on a scale yesterday and it said I weighed 195. I had been hovering around 205 for years.

All my pants are now loosely fitting around my waist for the first time in a while. Cool.

My buddy Jeff and I have been working out every 3rd day religiously for the past 3 months. We do the same routine of chest, back, shoulders, and arms. The workout takes 45 minutes and it's been slowly producing results. I've even been doing my least favorite exercise--situps.

I don't have any goals about where I want to be physically. I just want to keep doing the routine along with occasionally cycling around the lake and just see the changes that are taking place.

If I peaked out around 190 that would be fine by me.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I need to redo 1 math class

I went up to UNT and discovered I'm pretty much complete with all my prerequisites to getting into Film School.

I've taken 2 math classes, and let's just say I didn't do so hot in them.

If I could just retake the second and get a C, I'll be accepted into UNT's film school, and the state of Texas will pay my tuition. That's kind of exciting.

This solves 2 of the fears I wrote about earlier-leaving and incurring debt.