Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Give a Minute

Following the time theme, like money we should share time. Lately I've been feeling the need to give back. In our lives, we encounter a lot of grace from people. Whether it be from something small like a smile or someone unexpectedly returning something you lost. We often get caught up in our own troubles to recognize anything else around us. I am a victim of self-centeredness. But then I think of all the generosity that has come my way over the years and it makes me feel good. Now it's time to share that feeling with others. I have not figured out yet how I can give back. I do not write this here to be self serving or to boast, but to keep me honest. If I tell you, then I will be held liable for my word. I want to keep the cycle in motion.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

It's About Time

Time. The most valuable asset we have. More valuable than money, gold, and diamonds. We trade it for all these things. Knowing this, why then, are we so casual with our Time? Why do we want to "kill" Time? We spend much of our time doing worthless things. We even spend Time finding different ways to kill Time. Why do we do this? Would you burn money? Would you strangle your mother? Would you snuff your dog? No way, right? Then why would you do this to Time? Think of some of the ways time is taken away from us:

1. Commuting
2. Waiting in lines
3. Waiting for people
4. Waiting
5. Work
6 (insert your own)

Now think of the ways we intentionally "kill" Time:

1. Watching too much t.v.
2. endless chatter on phones (or online or what have you)
3. shopping (it's not a worthy hobby)
4. sex (and all things related)
5. (insert your own)

Knowing this, wouldn't you want to enliven Time, to give it life? Why would we want to take it away? . We often only see that value in something when it is dwindling or already gone. SomeTimes it's too late. Being young, we feel we have a lot of Time to figure out what to do. Now is the Time to start. If you take it for granted, then you'll take it to heart. Unfortunately time won't stop, time is not considerate in this way.
We should use Time finding the best way to utilize this asset. Time, investing, and personal finances are all very closely related. Just as you plan what you will do with your money, so choose to spend your time wisely. You wouldn't choose to spend money on nothing, would you? Spent some Time to think about it.
*To save some Time, I stole this picture from Thanks.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Free! states that, among many other things, free is something that is "provided without, or not subject to, a charge or payment."

Without a doubt, I am a fan of "free." I am a free person, "enjoying personal rights or liberty(s)," and for the most part, "not held fast" to anything or situation. Free-dom is a great thing. It allows us to go where we please, do what we feel (within or without reason), and enjoy the fruits of our autonomy. I am a very fortunate person.

However, in the material world, free is usually associated with words such as "junk," "worthless," and "not really free." All too often, free comes with strings attached, like *'s. There are hidden fees or catches that bind you into more trouble than the initial freedom is worth. So it is quite rare that things of value are offered at no price. That is why I am surprised when I see something of value offered for free.

One thing that I have found (and it is nothing new) is free phone service. Just a few years ago, we had to pay loads of money to call someone across the country. We would compare different carriers, wait for nightfall, hesitate on calling during "peak" hours, or any number of things to reduce the cost of making a long distance call. That has all changed with VOIP servers such as Skype ( or Vonage. You can call anywhere in the world for free. Free? Free! (I love saying that word.) However, there are a few *'s attached. First, you'll need a computer, and if you're reading this, you've already got that covered. Second, you'll need several minutes to set up an account. Third, you'll need a microphone and speakers, things your computer probably already has. After these, all you need is someone to call in Denizli, Turkey, some free time, and you're set. Calling around the world hasn't been so free since the days of phreaking!

Another nugget that I've found is in the online trading arena. With the advent of the online discount brokerages, commissions have plummeted from hundreds of dollars per trade to the cheaper rates being below US$10. I myself have been using Scottrade ( for the past several years to make the occasional hobby trade. They offer relatively low rates at US$7/trade. TradeKing ( also offers very low rates starting at US$4.95/trade. These are great rates for market trades. But one company has changed all that.
As I was surfing the land of the free (the internet), I came across an ad for free trades. Intruiged I went to their website ( and found out what this nonsense of free trades was. Low and behold, they were offering free trades. Mind you that these are for your basic market orders. More advanced trades such as option and margin accounts have other fees. But before you being acting like a day trader, make sure Zecco offers what you are looking for in a (discount) broker. Because there's nothing worse than getting something for free that will end up costing you more later.

Hopefully these free things will allow me to "act without self-restraint or reserve" and "not (be)subject to rules (or) set forms" in the future. Until then, keep on the lookout for freedoms for all.

Monday, January 15, 2007

A Penny Saved

As I rethink the function of this blog, I will focus it to an audience looking for interesting tidbits to help them along. The range of ideas is broad and will not always (ok, not usually) be my original thoughts. I will borrow the ideas from other sources. I don't have all the answers and don't intend to act as if I do. Actually, I will post ideas here to help me remember as well, what I have learned through my meanderings of life and the internet.

Saving's Basics: Assuming you have a little saved money sitting around collecting dust, why don't you collect dollars? In my searches to find a decent rate of return on a savings account in these times of rate fluctuation, I have found several places that offer decent returns on a standard savings account. An online bank, Emigrant Direct ( for example, offers a 5.05%APY. Now as far as I know, my the national average is much lower (somewhere below 1%, but don't quote me). There are many other banks like this and if you do a little google search, you will find them (or go to to compare banks). They are basically all the same. Depending on how much you have to save, you should go for one that has no minimums, no fees, and is insured by a reputable institution (member FDIC). These work just like savings accounts, except that there is usually no bank to go to, and you'll need to connect it to another account to fund from or withdraw to. The process is simple and in no time you'll be making a measley 5% on your savings account!

I also accept advice, so if you have anything you'd like to share, please feel free.

Friday, January 12, 2007

The 2nd First Post

Okay, I guess I'm really a newbie and unadapted to this as I thought I had already made two posts but apparently put them somewhere other than my front page. This will be my first "post." The week has come to an end and my eyes are tired.
I'm also new to the game of investing. I hold some stocks in companies, but followed the advice of market guru, chair throwing Jim Cramer. So far, his advice has been on point and I've made good returns on his recommendations. In the long run though, I know I should learn how to analyze investments on my own. I am in the process of doing this, but it is difficult. On this journey there have been some beacons of light amongst the snake oil peddlers of this industry. Part of this blog will be dedicated to finding these spouters of knowledge, as well as other random interests of mine (not to discredit my other interests). I will add links to sites that I find interesting pertaining to investing such as this There is a wealth of knowledge out there for you to sift through and make the decision if it's worth anything to you.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Evidence of todays temperature at 12.5 degrees C. Pretty cold for what I would consider a tropical island. Taiwan is strange like that. I've been here for about a year and a half and I've noticed some things about being here:

1. If there is a "Chinatown" where you live, you know its dirty and smells wierd. Imgaine an entire country like that. You'd be imagining Taiwan. Then there's China, but thats another story.

2. There are lines on the road for a reason.

3. Mopeds are the norm, and so is cheap health care. Go figure.

4. Fur Elise will never sound the same.

5. There is no such thing as a line.

6. Women think bone has fat.

7. Men think having muscle is weak (unless you're a foreigner or gay).

8. It's amazing how easily you don't get sick.

9. It's amazing how sick you do get.

10. You can make a 7 course meal all based on corn and eggs.

But enough cynicysm. I enjoy Taiwan, despite it's sometimes backwardness. I've had the opportunity to experience a different culture and feel better for it. You should take a trip, anywhere and live there for a while. You will definitely have an experience. At the least you will find a different perspective.

Update 1.29.07: I just realized that I am dyslexic and read the thermometer incorrectly. It says 15degrees, not 12.5.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Breakin the Seal

The first entry. I feel like this will remain for perpetuity so what goes down must be good. I won't go into boring intros. You will find out soon enough what I'm all about.
It is about time that i (re)join the world of online literature. Here will be posted my thoughts, ideas (however mundane), pictures, and whatever else I see fit. I don't write for an audience, unless one shows up. These days, to be "in," you have a blog. To be a conformist, I will have a blog, although I'm not conformist, just want a way to get my words out to the world on a different platform. Stay tuned and see if you like it.
I just read a blog about a man that spent less than $30 for his food in a month ( This is an amazing feat to me. We often get inspiration from others and this is one occassion. This inspires me to try something of the like. I will get back to you once I figure how I will torment myself.