Archive for August, 2006

My thought zigzags

There are a lot of things and plenty of somethings running in my mind. I cannot comprehend the many somethings but I can say a lot of things about them.

I had my field day yesterday browsing, hopping and surfing the blogosphere. The net makes this world of ours very small. You could be anywhere and somewhere is just a few clicks away.

My nights seemed to be getting shorter nowadays as my waking hours extend to the wee hours of the morning. I used to sleep for 7 hours at the minimum and 8 hours at the maximum. My proven solution – tire myself to the max by playing tennis or doing crazy workouts, does not work these days. Instead, it keeps me awake longer than I should. I do not know why this is happening.

I am not stressed. My family is okay. My love life is great. My sex life is zero. I am not homesick either. The weather is still very hot. My air-con, my Internet connection, and my new computer are all working well. My room is okay although I still need to arrange few things but it does not matter at all.

My little investment is making a little money (money makes money therefore more money makes more money, little money makes little money, right?) even if the local equity market is getting volatile. No good knowledge of technical analysis works here now as prices fluctuate without comprehensible or reasonable basis. Fundamentals, forget about it! The behavior of the (boiled) water of your Starbucks coffee is more predictable because when it reaches the boiling point, it will boil. No wonder a lot of small investors have to drink something else instead of a real coffee.

My work is great. Our big boss is on vacation. I have few things to do except for that revised SOAP (Standard Operating and Accounting Procedures) that I hate to review. Would you believe that even the step-by-step manual that specifically says which key of the keyboard to press, etc… is included in this document. A SOAP cum system manual, what is that?

My wife told me that the University of the Philippines would increase its tuition fees next school year for students whose family income is PHP10, 000.00 and above.. I am still lucky because my wife, as member of the UP Manila board of trustees of something was able to lobby the big people (Board) in U.P. to retain the current tuition fees of PHP5,000 plus for the students of batch 2006 until 2010 which fortunately my daughter is part of.

Truly, the government has money for war (against their conceived enemies similar to that of Mr. Nash’ in the movie “The Beautiful Mind”) but nothing for education. I sometimes never wonder why our young intelligent brave students are abducted nowadays for the simple reason that if they are eliminated now, someone will (in the future, I already wrote “will” right?) save some funds allocated for this purpose, the so called all-out war on something.

People did not notice that in Congress, there are also too much slick, more dangerous than all forms of oil slicks. Yes, it is saliva slick from our stinky politicians that caused the death of the new but already dead impeachment complaints against Gloria, who by the way added another saliva slick to the dying (dead already I guess) environment of Guimaras. That saliva slick of Gloria has a price though. Instead of forcing the irresponsible owner of the oil tanker slicker, your money and my money will be used to clean up the oil slick. There is no news about what these seemingly untouchable owners would do.

  • Isn’t it strange why the government is not forcing the owner of that oil tanker slicker to clean up the mess?
  • Why the government is still slicking their saliva somewhere conducting an investigation of something while the oil slicks continue to damage the environment, the neighboring towns and the local residents?
  • Why can’t these crazy politicians and corrupt officials of ours do something good (the first time) for the environment by having their heads cut, er shaven and give the hair to help stop the oil slick.
  • Mas maganda after magpakalbo, magsuot ng orange, maglagay ng kadena, mag-privilege speech, mag thank you at mag sorry at umupo sa electric chair.

If Gloria can only issue a presidential decree (Save Guimaras, Satisfy Yourselves), ordering all her corrupt officers, senators, congressmen, relatives and friends to satisfy their thirst and hunger for wealth by using their big mouths sip the oil slicks, this problem would have been solved long time ago.

My mind really zigzags today. Could it be the hot weather? Remember, I am alone here cooling each night away. We (my wife and me) are very near (web-cam my friends) yet we are too far away to make something equally hot.

Could it be the food? I have been eating a lot of Thais lately – Thai food that is (sounds thypoid ha. ha.).

Anyhow, do not mind me. I am just thinking aloud. Maybe my mind farts too much.

Without you knowing it or without you understanding what I am saying here, you have reached the end of this post. For that, I say, Thank you so much.

A little bit lighter : My broken shoes

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Deal or no deal: a matter of common sense

I was surprised that I could still play tennis straight for three hours. That was unbelievable of me yesterday. I could not remember what food I ate that gave me that energy and stamina to play.

As expected (not a surprise anymore), right after arriving home, I was back to my normal state and age. I was very tired. I wanted to sleep immediately but I could not.

The thing with a not too young person like me (my life already began few years back) is that when you are tired, it takes more time before you get to sleep. Unlike when you are still young, once your body hits the bed, your system turns off immediately and you are off to a blissful sleep.

Being the case and as if this modern world has every possible (or alternative) solution to your earthly problem, I had the chance to watch the Kapamilya Deal or No Deal show hosted by Kris Aquino through the ABSCBN’s The Filipino Channel. The contestant was Amy Perez, a Filipina celebrity (an actress, TV host, whatever).

I will not say something about the show. What I will discuss here is the way people react on a very crucial situation where the world is too noisy offering their decisions aloud and how an individual decides using one’s emotion rather than tapping the uncommon common sense – in this case, to take the deal or no deal at all.

The situation:

At the last part of the show, Amy Perez was offered an amount of PHP501,000 by The Banker against her chances to win either one of the last two remaining brief cases containing PHP300 and PHP1,000,00 prize.

To make the story short without describing the pressure that Amy took during those final moment, she opted to take her chances because as she said, the briefcase she chose early in the show was his son’s choice. As it turned out, the briefcase contained PHP300 only.

Points of consideration or common sense pegs:

Pay-off – High: PHP1, 000,000.00
Pay-off – Low: PHP300.00
The Risk/Gain%: 50:50
The Cost: PHP501,000.00

Putting the above figures in simple terms, it was safe to say that at that time, before Amy Perez decided to go with the “no deal” option, The Banker bought her 50/50 chances of winning the PHP300 or PHP1,000,000 prize with an offer of PHP501,000, the cost

In short, Amy Perez gambled her PHP501,000 for a chance to win PHP1, 000,000 or PHP300 when she went for a “No Deal” option. Using simple formula, it would look like this: PHP501,000 = PHP300 and PHP501,000 =PHP1,000,000.

To make this more interesting, here is my simple risk/gain analysis:

The difference between PHP300 and PHP501,000 is PHP500,700 (the risk) while the difference between PHP1,000,000 and PHP501,000 is PHP499,000 (the gain).

This means that Amy Perez risked PHP500,700 to gain PHP499,000. The factor that affected her decision was her emotion (his son’s choice) rather than common sense.

As we live in the noisy world like ours, we are sometimes ruled by our emotion or by the noises that other people make. As pressure mounts, we always fail to use our common sense. We do not realize that it is our best weapon and our strength

Most often than not, our problem is that we always leave our common sense somewhere (sometimes under our sole). At the end, we feel sorry for our decision.

My simple advice, each day as you live in this world, always bring your common sense with you. Chances are you may be asked, deal or no deal.

Happy Weekend.

Related post: Strategy or greed

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The digger of the ditch

I would like to share to you a simple story that my philosophy professor told me when I was still in college.

I am posting the story as is, with the same words as it was told to me many years ago. I will not add my thought nor will I talk about the relevance of this story to my life and to my philosophy class.

How and why this story got stuck in my limited brain cells this long, is for you to find out – if you care to understand.

So clear your minds and read on.

Not too long ago there were two good friends. Kulas was an ambitious kid, a risk-taker and a dreamer. Everyday, he tells himself “I will become big one day.” On the other hand his friend Pedro, was his exact opposite. Pedro never dreamed of anything and was satisfied with his life.

Kulas left to follow and fulfill his dreams while Pedro stayed.

After many years, the two good friends met. Somewhere near their old homes, he found his old friend doing something by the roadside. After the usual kumustahan (exchanges of hellos and how are you), Kulas, now a successful man began asking Pedro these questions.

Kulas: What are you doing?
Pedro: I am digging the ditch.
Kulas: Why are you digging the ditch?
Pedro: This is my work.
Kulas: Why do you need to work?
Pedro: I need to work so I can earn money?
Kulas: Why do you need money?
Pedro: I need money so I can buy food.
Kulas: Why do you need food?
Pedro: I need food so I can eat.
Kulas: Why do you need to eat?
Pedro: I need to eat so I will have strength.
Kulas: Why do you need strength?
Pedro: I need strength so I can do what I am doing now.

My question, what are you doing?

Related post: The never-ending stories 2006, The story of our lives.

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Am I normal or ab-ove normal?

Last Friday, I was invited by my tennis buddy to watch him play his singles match in the All Filipino Tennis Association Tennis Tournament. Although I was halfhearted to go because the weather was not good, (windy and a little dusty due to sandstorm three hours ago) I obliged myself to see his game out of pakikisama (similar to: for the sake of friendship).

The game lasted for two hours; my tennis buddy lost the match with scores of 7-2, 4-7, 5-7, all tiebreakers.

We get out of the tennis court at around 11:00 pm. While going to the parking area, he was saying sayang (similar to: I should have won.). Although, he felt sad for losing the game, somehow, I could tell from his face that he was happy about his performance. This was his first time to play singles in a tournament and to stay in the match for two hours was an achievement in itself for a new player like him.

While he seemed to enjoy his feat, I felt bad and remorseful inside because when on the crucial second set tiebreaker, the score at 4 – 5, my buddy called an in shot (about six inches inside his court) as out. His opponent contested the call but my tennis buddy stood firm on his decision. Although I saw it was in, I kept my mouth shut! (Some tournaments here do not have an umpire except for finals game. The standing rule is gentleman’s act of honesty.)

I could understand that at crucial moment like this, some people has the tendency to forget what is right and what is wrong and that dishonesty happens out of sheer desire to win at all cost, desperation, or somewhat similar to Gloria’s lapse of judgment.

What I could not understand is why I kept my mouth shut when I was supposed to open it to speak out the truth; why I was silent when I knew that being so I would compromise my beliefs and my principle of fairness and honesty that I hold dear.

Although my situation at that time was somewhat strange because: I was not an umpire nor a party to the game of two supposedly gentlemen, I was never asked about it, my tennis buddy was the one who called the shot (which I find odd to contradict at that time), I was wondering why my inner self tells me that this does not give me a reason to just keep quiet.

So instead of going home happy because my tennis buddy accomplished something that I was a part of, I was instead very sad. Damn it! This little thing bothered me a lot. I should have known and done better than that! (Am I going crazy?)

Sometimes, people can learn all the skills in the world but the hardest thing to master is doing what is right at times when there is a call for it. At times, one either comes out as a hero, a villain, and a fool or just like me.

Am I normal or ab-ove normal?

Related post: Who Knows?, What is the English of…

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A stock that could make you a millionaire

I was sitting in one of the very comfortable couches located at our customer-trading lounge yesterday. While attending to the concerns of one of our customers, a guy on my left, a new customer I guess, approached me and asked me this question. “If one billionaire is willing make you a millionaire by giving you a thousand shares of a U.S. company, what would it be?”

My tired eyes brightened and so my face. In my mind “Aha, this guy is trying to pull a trick on me.” He had no idea that 10 years ago when I started working with the U.S. Equities Market, I have been salivating on one particular stock and dreamed of owning a share or shares of it. It has been in my mind ever since I found it in Reuters while writing my daily materials for our customers about NYSE and NASDAQ gainers and losers, hot or not, buy, sell or hold and all sorts of information.

Although (nowadays) my eyes blink in succession and faster than normal due to computer related stress, this time it did not. I told him “I would settle for 500 shares or even 100 shares.” The guy was surprised and thought I was kidding. “Where would that 500 or 100 shares bring you? That is only a hundred thousand dollars for 500 shares at US$200 or two hundred thousand for a thousand shares.” He laughed, “Yes, that would make you a millionaire if converted to Philippine Peso. Is that what you are thinking?

I said, “No! We are talking about becoming a millionaire in U.S. dollars right?” “Right!” He answered. “Definitely not a thousand shares of IBM – International Business Machine, MSFT – Microsoft Corp., QQQQ – NASDAQ 100, CSCO – Cisco Systems, INTC – Intel Corp or QCOM -Qualcomm Inc. So what is it?”

I told myself “I got you!”

So what really is this stock that I am salivating to own and that a hundred shares or even fifty shares would make me a millionaire in U.S. dollars?

Warren Buffett If you followed the news three weeks ago, or you know Warren Buffett, the Forbes number two richest man in the world who donated US$37 billion or 85% of his fortune to B&MGF (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), you will have the idea of which company I wanted to own a thousand, five hundred or one hundred shares of stocks. I am talking about the company owned by this man. The company is called Berkshire Hathaway Inc. traded in NYSE with a symbol of BRKa.

As of yesterday’s market close – 14 August 06, the last price for Berkshire Hathaway Class A share was US$92,685.00 per share. Yes, that is true, US$92,685.00 per share. Click here and here to check.

It is now your turn to compute. How many figures did your calculator come up with? Am I right that owning a hundred or even fifty shares would make me a millionaire?

You may wonder what happened to the guy who asked me the question above? He was astonished and shook his head faster than my blinking eyes. Never thought that there is something like this traded in the U.S. stock market.

Now you know why Warren Buffett can afford to donate such a huge amount of money.

Interesting reads:
The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America
Letters of Warren Buffett regarding pledges to make gifts of Berkshire stocks and how his plan will be carried out..
Conversation with Warren Buffett by Carol J. Loomis, Fortune editor-at-large

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Do you want to talk to me?

Are you thinking about ways to get total interactivity with your blog visitors? I mean, talking or chatting to them in real time directly from their browser wherever they are located through your blog page.

Is that possible you may ask me. Well, my answer is a very BIG YES. I am using it now, check my sidebar and you will see or go find out here.

Thanks to meebo. Yes, the tool or device or client, whatever you may call it, is created by the creative people of meebo.

Meebo is a web based IM that lets you log into your IM networks from any computer with a browser and internet connection with no firewall issues.

With Meebo it allows you to manage all your IM accounts in one place.The best is that you do not need to download anything thus saving some space of your pc.  You do not believe me ha. Well see it for yourself here at meebo.

Well, that is not all folks. This is the interactivity I am talking about earlier – the meebome widget (for your blog) that will allow you to talk to your visitors in real time directly from their browser through your blog. Do not mistake this for as a tag board or shout box. It is far more advanced and very different.

You do not need to do much to use meebo. In the same way, there are only few steps to set up meebome on your blog. It will only take few minutes and you are all set to go. The first one that you have to do is visit the to get the code and then you do the famous cut and paste procedure. That is all to make it available to your blog. The next and the regular thing you will to do is sign on to meebo. That is it.

The good thing here aside from the chatting, is that you can see how many people really visit your site at any given time. When you logged into meebo, you can see them login and log out through you meebo IM console. Cool ha?

Before I forget, I would like to thank WordPress for creating a sidebar widget for meebo.

Do you want to talk to me now? Check my meebo me “usap tayo” box at my side bar. I will be online few seconds from now.

Note: Thank you to meebo. They recognized my native language: Filipino and Tagalog.

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