--Fun fact: 2003 is ninety-three days old, and I haven't *touched* any paper currency or coinage so far. I'm on a completely virtual cash basis. I put the plastic down, when the bill comes I write a check. Who the hell needs cash anymore anyway? Maybe the fact that I hardly buy anything helps.
--I did buy some games over Spring Break. For Dreamcast, I bought Grandia II and Daytona USA. For N64 I bought Space Station Silicon Valley and Rocket: Robot on Wheels. I sold a few games--a couple Pokemon games, Duke 3D for N64, South Park, Namco Museum, Twisted Metal 3 (worst of the series) and maybe something else. We found Jet Moto 2 and Starfox 64. I didn't buy any PS1 games, though I almost bought Ape Escape and thought about Incredible Crisis.
I also bought a brand new PS1 controller and I'm happy to see the analogs feel much more like the Dual Shock 2 than my first Dual Shock. I also borrowed Baldur's Gate II for PC. I bought a USB gamepad, but hoo-boy, it sucked. The USB was totally screwed--it would freeze for three seconds about every minute and a half. And the digital pad (it also had analog sticks and triggers) had a really hard time not going in a diagonal direction. I took it back for a full refund and decided I'd have to learn to play SNES games with the keyboard better (which is really no problem in many games, including Tetris Attack and Super Punch Out).
I haven't had much time to play though. I tried out all my Dreamcast games, and they all work with the VGA box on my monitor. It doesn't quite one-up Xbox on HDTV at 720p resolution (it's only 480p resolution, and it does seem to flicker a bit more than HDTV mode on my brother's TV) but it's much better than a normal TV. Daytona looks phenomenol (although it has tons of aliasing, moreso than the arcade game did I think--probably due to a lack of mip-mapping). Grandia does well on the monitor as well. PowerStone and Virtual On are okay. I also have a couple demo discs, and all those demos (MDK2, Rayman 2, etc.) work on the monitor as well.
--The Mavericks still have the best record in the NBA, but they're very close to giving it away here in the last few games. I don't think they'll get very far into the second round. The team needs help! Right now, they're about to lose another game to the Lakers.
--Motorcyclist is out with part one of their 2003 600cc Supersport comparison. They're concentrating only on the Japanese cutting-edge middleweights--no "nakeds", no second-tiers, no Ducati or Triumph to be found. Look out, the new Yamaha R6 weighs an amazing 415 pounds with a full tank of gas and makes 105.4 rear-wheel HP in stock, $8000 form. The slick new Honda and Kawasaki bikes are great, but the Yamaha just has everything going for it. If you look back at my report on the bike show, I mentioned how nice the Yamaha felt to sit on--perfect aggressive riding position and amazingly narrow and manageable. I just wish it wasn't by far the ugliest of these four state of the art corner carvers. I'd still take the Kaw ZX-6R (636), in silver or red, please.
--I registered for Summer and Fall. I've got only one Summer I class, Mondays and Wednesdays from 6 to 10. In the Fall on Mondays I've got a 2-5, Tuesdays and Thursdays I've got an 11-12:30, then Tuesday nights and Wednesday nights I've got a 6:30-9:30 each night, and I've got a Thursdays 2-5 class. Fifteen hours. One of my business electives is Business Ethics. I've also got three SIG meetings per week, an hour and a half each, two on Tuesday and one on Wednesday. And in December I get my diploma.
--SIG is a hell of a lot of work these days for me. Oddly enough, it's very comparable to my time in Killing Squad, my first UT clan. I have about a dozen different tasks that I've taken on in my role as the Portfolio Management Committee's Research Sub-Committee Chairman (what a mouthful). Next semester I'll be the PMC Chairman and on the Board of Directors. We're learning a ton. I'm in touch with David Johnson, the financial guru from KRLD and Channel 8 News. He's got a hundred contacts--for instance, I need insurance policy guidance, so he's putting me in touch with a guy who does insurance policies (on salary).
We're going on a number of different investment tangents. Our first purchase will be 100 shares of the Chelsea Property Group (ticker symbol: CPG) Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). Woo-hoo! We're also looking at Microsoft, Yahoo, the Third Avenue Real Estate Value Fund (not a REIT), Limited Brands (they own Limited, Bath & Body Works, Victoria's Secret, etc.), the Templeton World Fund, different Exchange-Traded Funds, the Wired Magazine Tech Basket Index Fund, some Ginnie Mae bonds, a couple Vanguard small and mid cap mutual funds, Starbucks, and ATI + nVidia.
I've had to take a leadership role and try to get people motivated and informed enough to get some action. I'm giving the REITs presentation myself in two weeks (although Larry has done the bulk of the research and preparation)--I have to wear a suit and tie, and several professors and important people will be there. I need to practice in that room using the microphone and Powerpoint.
For Summer, we have enough tasks to easily last us fifteen weeks. I have to completely redesign our website, put together a bunch of documents, collect everything we learned and did this Semester into a "post-mortem" report, continue to research, shop for lenders so we can borrow against the death benefit of our life insurance policy, help prepare a slick prospectus that will hopefully be used to encourage future donors to invest in the SIG, and basically just help turn the SIG into a well-oiled machine by September of this year so we can go full steam ahead at that time.
--I'm trying to figure out what I need. What I need to make, what my needs are, what my wants are, which wants are transient or artificial or irrational. I'm living on just about $6700 a year right now (not including income spent on school). I was talking to a guy in International Finance today before class, he was telling me a cautionary tale about someone who graduated with a 4.0 in Business but "only" makes $25 grand a year now. And it struck me that twenty-five thousand dollars is still alot to give somebody in one year.
And that's almost $1700 per month after income tax. Not enough to buy a nice car, or a home, or to live somewhere nice, or to buy a luxury item like a bike, or go on vacations, or start a business, but enough to stay in clothes, have food on the table most of the time, pay most bills, put a little away for savings, emergencies, or investments, buy a few Christmas gifts, have a couple of moderately nice things, spend a little money on the weekend a couple times a month, etc.
See, sometimes people say that the SIG is good because it will help us learn how to invest *our* money... That's NOT why I'm here though. I'm here to learn how to help OTHER people invest, so that eventually, one day, I might actually have a level of expertise that people would pay me for. Having money of my OWN to invest is gravy, but I'm not necessarily expecting to have that. And I've been suspected of treating college as a trade school for that opinion--but I'm also not here just for the money, I'm genuinely interested in this stuff. So I look at it as the opposite of a trade school in a way.
I guess I still can't imagine making $40,000 a year or $150,000 a year (like Steve M.). Doesn't seem real. If I ever get there, that's great, but I didn't go back to school so I could pull in six figures, I went back to school so I could afford food while doing something besides a McJob. Something I enjoy, that engages my mind and challenges me. Something that helps people. And helping people save for retirement, or for a small business, or for a home, or for a child's college education is helping people.
I guess I've kind of turned off a few areas in my mind. Motorcycle? Hell, my insurance quote for a good bike is $6000 a year. And I will admit it--I am nowhere near ready to pilot something like the new R6 on a track. Marriage? Kids? Ha! I've realized that I will never get married and never have kids. That cuts out a bunch of resource management and planning. Expensive car? Watch the EPA systematically dismantle the performance car industry over the next decade. I like reading about em, and thinking about em, but I might as well aim a whole lot lower and just try to be like all the other people who hate their cars and think of them as "point A to point B and cel-phone in between" utility machines. World travel? Nope. I'm staying right here in the good old USA. I've already got a fine bed, a great stereo, a bike (bicycle), all my kitchen stuff, some other furniture, etc.
A house? Ahh, now that would be nice. I am so very tired of living with assholes on the other side of every wall, of not having my own lawn or property, of only having one room, of paying out rent and getting no equity in return. I'm sick of this K-Mart brand neighborhood. Okay, so I want to buy a house. I guess that's the tangible reward I'm shooting for (the intangible one--a job I enjoy--already having been mentioned).By the time I start saving for retirement, I'll already be thirty years old! I should have $150,000 put away by then, they say. I've got nothing (since I'm going to demolish my trust fund by using it to pay off my school debt). So I presume a large percentage of my income will just be for investment and savings. And that brings me back around to investing my own money...Modest needs. Money is just stored work. Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it.