Monday, January 22, 2007

Self Pity by D.H. Lawrence

I never saw a wild
thing sorry for itself.

A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough
without ever having felt sorry for itself.

(This was the poem at the end of GI Jane. For some reason, I've always remembered it.)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Note to self: placing a "stop loss" order

I think I'm pretty good at picking a stock that's been beat up and is poised for a rebound. I find a stock that meets all my criteria about once a year.

The stock has to be cheap; preferably less than a dollar. It has to have volume; over one million shares need to trade daily. It has to be a world class company, or it at least needs to be company that's got a very cool niche. Most importantly, I have to be sure (a really really good gut feeling) the stock isn't going to zero, and I need to have done a moderate amount of due diligence, which would normally entail reading a couple of articles and calling Invester Relations and asking a few pertinant questions.

A couple of companies that fit into these criteria in the past have been JC Penny, Kmart, Sirius, Delphi, American, and Delta. I was watching, planning, and at the very least, I was paper trading each one these stocks as they hit their lows.

Currently, I'm not zeroed in on any new stocks that are set for a huge rebound. I'm not even looking really, but there are companies out there. A good play in the future might be a company that does video rental downloads, but I haven't found a company that stands out--the world may not be ready for such a company.

Anyway, the point of this post is to talk about something I've realized about trading regarding placing a "stop loss" order. I have never used a "stop loss" order. I'm embarrassed to admit this, and I don't even know why I haven't. Maybe, it's because no one's really shown me how to trade, and I've kind of been figuring all this out on my own. I can't say how much money I've left on the table because I just sat there watched a profitable trade fizzle, it's a lot.

From this point forward, anytime there's money on the table there will be a stop loss order. Actually, anytime I place a trade the next thing I do is going to be placing a stop loss order.

It's kind of foolish to own a stock that's not doing what it's supposed to do. It's worth the $13 bucks it costs to make a trade, and the stock hasn't hit its bottom.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Eat less more often--a dieting "secret"

I read a book by Larry North not too long ago, and in it, he recommends eating 4 small meals a day.

He also recommends cutting out fried foods and replacing things like french fries with rice and mashed potatoes--"starchy carbs". There's something most people don't realize about french fries--each one has 2 to 7 grams of fat.

Each meal should have a lean protein, a starchy carb, and a vegetable.

I've been trying to do this program now for about 6 months, and it's been working. I was on the very last notch on my belt when I started this program. Now, I'm down to the very 1st. Cool!!

The philosophy behind the 4 small meals a day program is pretty simple--when someone is eating only 2 big meals a day, which is pretty common, their metabolism slows down. In other words, the body thinks "food is scarce" and tries to save fuel.

In my case, I have a problem with low blood sugar. 2 meals a day always had me feeling tired because I wasn't getting enough food. I would get up in the morning and drink coffee and that would be breakfast. At lunch, I would have a big meal and try to eat as much as possible, and I usually felt like I ate too much. Then, I would wait until about 5 or 6 and have a dinner. By this time I felt like I was starving, but I would feel guilty about eating too much again. By the time I went to bed I would be hungry again, which made it difficult to fall asleep. It's a weird way to live.

Nowadays, I get up around 8:00 and eat something. I don't stick to the plan perfectly--I usually only have a bowl of oatmeal. Oatmeal is good because it never spoils, it's good for you, and it's easy to make--all you need is some hot water. I buy a variety box with 55 packages at SAM's for $10 bucks--it will last about 3 months. Another good thing about oatmeal, you never get tired of eating it, but sometimes I'll have a bowl of cereal or a breakfast sandwich. I still feel hungry afterwards, but I also don't feel like I'm starving either.

The thing about eating this way is this, after I eat a meal I'm noticeably still hungry, but it doesn't really concern me too much because I don't feel starved. I just feel like I can wait a few more hours before I eat again. In other words, the "eating to excess" part of my diet is removed. It's 4 small healthy meals a day, period.

When lunch rolls around, I usually eat a lot, but I don't feel like I need to gorge because another meal is right around the corner around 4 or 5 6 o'clock. Lunch is the one meal that I usually try and stick to the lean protein, starchy carb, and vegetable.

Diner is the same as lunch, usually, but not always. Healthy Choice makes some great soup that has protein, starchy carbs, and vegetables. Lean Cuisine has similar items. They taste good, and they're super easy to make.

Then, before bed, I usually have something again. It varies, but most of the time it's a bowl of cereal or a can of soup.

I've only had about 6 Cokes in the last 6 months. It used to be a weakness. Before this "diet", I think I was substituting a Coke for a meal. Now, Instead of drinking a Coke, I'll eat something something small and drink water. One of the things the book stresses, It's important to stay away from foods where the 1st ingredient is sugar--I think every diet book pretty much says that though.

Something else I heard, which makes a lot of sense, animal protein takes longer to digest than vegatable protein. It can take up to 2 days to digest a steak. Whereas, it only takes 12 hours to digest vegatable protein. It only makes sense to try and limit one's intake of things that take a long time digest if one is trying to lose weight. Also, you just feel better after a vegetarian meal.

Happy New Year!!

The Richest Man in Babylon--the book

I just read "The Richest Man in Babylon."

It was originally written in 1926, and it's one of those books that keeps getting reissued year after year because it's just a damn good book.

It basically gives you the financial advice you've always wanted someone to give you, and it gives it to you in a way that you can easily accept. It reaffirms everything you thought you've ever known about work, money, and how to spend your money.

I'd recommend to anyone this book. It's well worth the $6 bucks, and the afternoon you'll spend reading it.