Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Amazing Ronald Reagan

February 26, 2012:  Today my appreciation of Ronald Reagan went up another notch. Please take the time to see this short message. I was amazed!

The BelAir Presbyterian Church put this tribute together for his birthday.  As you hear his comments on religion you too will be amazed.  Where is this kind of leadership today?

Jesus promised that there will never be a dark night that does not end.  Our weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.  He promised that if our hearts are true, his love will be as sure as sunlight.   And by dying for us, Jesus showed how far our love should be ready to go... all the way.  For God so loved the world He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." -John 3:16

I haven't heard this good a sermon in many a week.

Today I am reminded it is never wrong to speak of your faith in God.  Let's read our Bibles more.

"Within the covers of that single Book are all the answers to all the problems that face us today, if we would only read and believe." -Ronald Reagan

February 27, 2012:  Are you worried about higher gasoline prices?  You should be.

Did you know that for every $1.00 increase in the price of a barrel of oil, US GDP decreases $100 billion per year!  ...you say so what?  You will feel it when you put gas into your car.

And for every one cent increase in the price of gasoline, US consumer disposable income decreases by $600 million per year.  -source: zero hedge.com

Unfortunately we have become dependant upon our cars to get around... and we all expect the food in our stores, that only gets there by some form of transportation that uses fuel.

So get prepared for another testing of higher oil prices this year... and higher gas prices at the pump.  The way I plan be ready for higher fuel prices is by investing in the Energy Sector.  Now instead of complaining about the high price of fuel at the pump I smile because we own shares in Chevron and Exxon Mobil.

This is a Lesson Learned from the last time the price of oil went from $40 to $150 a barrel.  Plan ahead and you won't be a victim in the coming crisis.

"Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning." -Winston Churchill

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Learn Something New Every Day Feb 19-25, 2012

February 19, 2012  When I saw this poster on Holstee with the Holstee Manifesto… and I read it… I thought what a cool idea.  It was pretty generic… and very self-oriented… but I thought why not make up a Christian Manifesto?  I could feel the urge to steal something coming on!  After all, where do artists get ideas from?

“Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent.” Jim Jarmusch

“If you steal from one author, it’s plagiarism; if you steal from many, it’s research.” Wilson Mizner
February 20, 2012  Today I learned that Less is MORE.  I had my first “getting acquainted” phone conference with my new trading coach.  After telling him my story with the myriad of trading experiences, he asked me to tell him about my most successful trade and my worst trade experience ever... it was hard to choose!

Then he told me that he thought I should stop Day Trading.  Less is MORE... that I needed to become a specialist.  I needed to stop trying to do a little of everything.   He asked me, “If I could only pick one sector to become an expert in, what would it be?”   I liked both energy and precious metals.

He told me he thought I should go into energy and do research there.  Pick out a list of energy stocks to follow.  Print up their charts.  Study their trends and look for patterns for entry points.  Read up on what is happening in the news in energy.  Stop trading for a while and just do research for a week or so.  Less is MORE.

"The less routine, the more life."
-Amos Bronson Alcott, educator

February 21, 2012  So with my limited knowledge on how to do things on an Apple computer, this was my first attempt at putting quotes together… using text boxes.  Pretty primitive.  But I felt a need to get more inspiration… I needed to find a source of more cool quotes.

Then in the middle of the night I woke up with a great idea.  I went to the Bible Department where we have more than 30 different Bibles and my eyes gravitated to a paraphrase called, “The Message.” It was just the New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs.  Perfect! 

If I copied verses from this paraphrase it wouldn’t sound as much like “The Bible” and not turn non-Christians off as easily.  As I read I started a new Word Document just to enter the verses that caught my eye.  From the first chapter of Proverbs I entered:


Wow! That just ties into my new focus from yesterday… Less is MORE is even in the Bible.  Thank you, Solomon. Awesome!

February 22, 2012  Today was the Elevation Group Webinar on "Is 100% Returns Per Year Possible?"  Apparently they had over 10,000 attendees... and it caused an overload to their system, causing a delay in getting the thing started. But they still had the event and if you would like to see the replay you can watch it by clicking this link.  They say friends and relatives of Elevation Group members can participate without having to join the Elevation Group.

My Disclaimer: Please do not take this as an endorsement on my part that this is a safe way to make money.  I have learned the hard way that when something seems too good to be true, it usually is.  With high returns expect HIGH RISK.  If you put any money into this program do so knowing you may never see it again.

I am attracted to this kind of thing like flies to a manure pile... I want to believe everything they say is true... I want to trust them... but I trust my family above everyone else... and the caution flags are up.

What have I learned today?  
Don't rush in where angels fear to tread.

February 23, 2004  This week has been full of so many good responses to our belated Christmas and New Years wishes.  I cannot possibly include them all, but an old classmate and farming buddy from Alberta, Dale Trefz, who now lives on the Big Island of Hawaii told me he is going in April to Saskatchewan to help get the equipment ready to put in the crop.  I used to love seeding and harvest.  There is nothing more wonderful for a farmer than the joy of planting in the spring and harvesting in the fall!  It was my favorite times of the year before dad sold our farm in 1965 and sent me off to college. 

When I sent him a link to my blog showing this huge tractor pulling a train of equipment behind, he recognized it right away.  I had never seen such incredible farming equipment before.  They don’t use that kind of stuff in BC... the farms are not big enough to even turn the tractor around!  …and I have been out of the loop for many, many years.

This week Dale gave me a real good education on the Bourgault way of planting a crop.  The link to their brochure on the equipment blew me away!  What a totally different world it is to farm today.  Dale says he loves it a lot more now that he can do it and not have any of the worries.  Farming gives new meaning to the Risk/Reward Ratio.

February 24, 2012  Years ago when I worked as a graphic artist at the Loma Linda University School of Public Health in their Educational Media department, the son of  one of my co-workers used to stop by the office after school and visit with me.  He loved what I did for a living and wanted to learn everything he could.  I would sometimes stay after work and we would do things together.  It was not until last year Fred Knopper told me I was his mentor.  Scary thought!

Now, about 40 years later Fred is in charge of productions at It Is Written at Thousand Oaks and the teacher (me) is asking his student (Fred) how to do things on his Apple computer. 

I have been using a word document to try to perform a design function.  Fred tells me in language I can understand… it ‘s like trying to build your new addition using only a shovel.  So he kindly wrote me a long email with links to get me pointed into the right direction.  Thank you, Fred, for your kind help.

As a bonus he sent this link to the Piano Guys on YouTube.  What a treat!

February 25, 2012  Inner Peace: This is so true 

If you can start the day without caffeine,

If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,

If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,

If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,

If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,

If you can conquer tension without medical help,

If you can relax without alcohol,

If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,

...Then You Are Probably 













The Family Dog!

I bet you thought I was going to get all spiritual.

Hope that you are having a great weekend.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Learn Something New Every Day -February 15-18 2012

February 15, 2012  Quote of the Day is thanks to the Happiness Project:  

“Contemplate the extent and stability of the heavens, and then at least cease to admire worthless things." 

I really needed to read this quote today!  I know that some days it would have been better for me to just look at the sky and contemplate the heavens... and stayed away from the market. It is a trick to know how to ride the horse in the direction that it is going.  A cowboy has a lot less problem understanding that then does a stock trader.

February 16, 2012  Received an email from the Elevation Group asking, “Are 100% returns per year possible?”  They say “yes” if you know Senen Pousa of Investment Intelligence Corporation, Brisbane, Australia.  Mike Dillard has just returned from Australia where he spent several days talking to Senen.

It was a most interesting story to follow Senen’s trail of research that led him to the highest yielding passive investments on planet earth.  It makes one pause and wonder, “If it seems to good to be true, it just might be.” 

However, when it comes to doing research, it is often the case that one tends to find what one is looking for... if one is persistent in the pursuit for truth.  And Senen has been one persistent researcher.

Senen will be doing a live Webinar this coming Wednesday evening with Mike Dillard, founder of the Elevation Group where members will have opportunity to ask questions and get answers directly from the guru.  Should be interesting.  To learn more about the Elevation Group click this link.

Photographer: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images copied from Bloomberg Feb 16, 2012
February 17, 2012  What is Linsanity?  Today I learned a new word.  I saw this word on CNBC early in the morning and it made no sense to me.  Then on Bloomberg later this headline caught my eye: ‘Linsanity’ Contender for Word of the Year.  So I find out for the first time about this meteoric rise to popularity of Jeremy Lin and his Linderalla story… how a past bench warmer, who was turned down by two other NBA teams, has been sleeping on his brothers couch... this guy scored a career high 38 points, out dueling Kobe Bryant in only his fourth career start, hitting a game-winning 3-point shot against the Toronto Raptors in the final half-second of the game.

Then I saw another headline: “Lin vs. Tebow: Who Does God Love More?  Both thanked the Almighty for their phenomenal successes.  Does He return the love?  Both have become known for their outward professions of faith.  Tebow with his prayerful knee in the end zone… and Lin… His twitter icon has Jesus saying, “No, I’m not talking about Twitter.  I literally want you to follow me.”  Lin claims to have thought about becoming a pastor if his NBA career had failed, which it almost did.  So now you know. That is what the Linsanity is all about!

February 18, 2012  Today I learned how to post a YouTube video on my blog.  Here is another example of teaching an old dog a new trick... and I did it today all by myself using HTML.  Pretty cool, eh?

I'm not a huge basketball fan, but when you watch this amazing guy perform under pressure... he is amazing!  It is just plain Linsanity!  ...a rush to a new hero.

Monday, February 13, 2012

More Lessons Learned -February 7-16

February 7, 2012  This week I learned how to make an end dam.  You can buy drip flashing to go above exterior windows and doors… it comes 10 feet long and you cut it for the width of each window.   But the new building code now requires that at each end the flashing be folded to create an end dam.  Without an end dam the wind can blow the water sideways and it might get in behind the siding.

To make an end dam is kind of like origami, except it is a little trickier to fold sheet metal than paper.  I watched this video many times to learn how to make the template, trace the pattern on the flashing, then cut it out and fold it properly.  It really is cool to get it right and create an end dam that does not need caulking to prevent leakage.  

This is a lesson learned for a change that wasn’t learned the hard way.

February 8, 2012  This Quote of the Day is a wake up call to anyone who doesn’t have their head in the clouds. 

“Total credit market debt in the world has gone from $80 trillion to $200 trillion in the last ten years, an 11% annual rate, while GDP has grown by 4%.”

“This cannot continue.  It’s a simple matter of arithmetic,” said Kyle Bass, of hedge fund Hayman Partners.

February 9, 2012  Q.  What is the fastest way off an Italian cruise ship?  A.  Follow the captain. 

February 10, 2012  I have been waiting for a chance to try out my new Wagner paint sprayer and decided the conditions were perfect today to see how it worked for pre-painting some shingles for siding our new addition.  It takes paint directly from a one-gallon pail and sprays it on what you want to paint. 

And if you don’t follow the directions it can spray paint where you don’t want it… another lesson I learned the hard way.

When I hooked up all the parts and assembled the unit for the first time the directions said to use a wrench to tighten the hose connections to the spray gun and to the compressor unit.  I did it as tight as I could by hand.  I am pretty strong… right?  Wrong!  Hand tight is not the same as wrench tight.  

After priming the unit and getting the hose filled with paint, I switched the unit onto spray.  Instantly there was paint spraying everywhere.  Quickly I put my hand over the fitting to the nozzle to cut down the spray from that source while I came to the realization I had to turn off the power switch.  I couldn’t get it turned off fast enough before we were both pretty well sprayed with paint.  

We were both a mess!  I wish now I had a picture of us... we were quite a sight!  The only picture I ended up with was of the painting site after all was done and washed up.

We were set up in the parking area by the cottage… so we had to come back to the house to get cleaned up, change our clothes and wash off our good running shoes.  Shirley put our clothes into the washing machine right away.

Then we went back to our painting project with wrench in hand.  I tightened the two fittings and now the paint came out in only one place… the spray nozzle.  It didn’t take long to spray the shingles... 

And then we carried the shingles into the cottage to dry.

February 11, 2012  “Behind every great man is a great woman telling him he is not as great as he thinks he is.”  Isn’t that wonderful?  I am just so delighted to have a “Great Woman to keep me in line!”

This reminds me of one of my most favorite quotes by Erma Bombeck.  “You would worry a lot less what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” 

February 12, 2012  Today Shirley and I completed the revamping of our address books for our Mac computers.  There was no simple way to import them from Microsoft Outlook… plus we needed to do a major edit of both of our old lists.  Then Shirley and I merged our Contact lists together.  We each printed hard copies of our old Contacts, went thru them together and crossed out all names that we have lost touch with.  Tried to update the changes to addresses where we had new information and deleted those names of those who passed away… or we lost touch with.  Life goes on. 

The most beautiful thing was that we both focused on getting the job done TODAY.  With one eye on Phil Mickelson playing the most amazing round of golf at Pebble Beach on TV, we forged ahead, dividing the lists up and each taking a part to do the data entry.  Before the golf tournament was won, we also won.  I phoned Rob Sauter, our local Apple tech support guy and in just a few minutes he taught us how to merge all of our address book entries on multiple computers.  It was so awesome!  And it happened so fast and easy.  We just emailed our updated lists to each other, did a “merge” and in just a few minutes we had four Apple computers and our iPhone all updated with the same list of Contacts.  Once again we proved you can teach an old dog new tricks.

February 13, 2012  This Quote of the Day was a new thought to me. 

'There is one peculiarity about mass psychology in that when you are in a bubble, you can't see it. Bubbles are invisible when you are inside the bubble,' said the charming Jim Dines, of The Dines Letter.

Something to think about, eh?

Photo and quote credit to the John Thomas newsletter, the Mad Hedge Fund Trader.

Accomplishments this past week include completing the last item on the structural  engineer's deficiency list... I had to double up the top cords on a couple of trusses that were cut off when making way for the new addition to over lap the existing garage. This is a major milestone... marking the end of any further engineers inspections and he can now sign off to the CRD Building Inspector.

After several weeks of anxiety over the best way to install and wrap the windows with 1x4 cedar trim boards, the inspectors asked me to do one window so they could see how I wanted to do them before getting them all installed wrong.  This week James Robertson, CRD Building Inspector gave me two thumbs up in less than a minute.  He liked it... so I am free to go on putting in the rest of the windows.

We had to wait for a few days to get some help to take this larger piece of granite off the truck and get it in place in the laundry room.  A young man, Dan Phillips, came up on Tuesday evening and about 15 minutes we got this slab off the tractor and into place in the laundry room.  Could not have done it without him.

An hour later I had the faucet installed and the sink back in place with a new strainer/waste fitting.  We still plan to replace the cabinet doors... but there is no panic on doing that right away, as part of that program will involve purchasing a new stacking washer and dryer.

On Thursday Dan came to give me a hand with installing more windows, but it rained all day and we didn't want to get wet... so we finished putting in the last couple of pieces in the main garage ceiling and then we insulated the garage ceiling by noon. With no break in the rain we ended up insulating more of the studio for the rest of the afternoon.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Learn Something Everyday -Getting Outlook Back -Feb 5, 6

February 5  The most significant thing that happened today in my world was not the super bowl… or the salad bowl... which went just fine with pizza.  It was that I got my old Microsoft Outlook back… and in it were over 13,000 unread messages and all my Contacts, which were not backed up anywhere and had been lost since December 21, 2010. We take a lot for granted until we don't have it any more.

The short version is: After six weeks of working on fixing Outlook, we have it fixed and working again at long last. Thank you Shelby for all your help.

Lesson Learned:  My son tells me that Outlook is not designed to have more than 2GB of data in it… so when I got close to 6GB accumulated there it crashed on me.  I need to not let unread emails pile up for years and years.  Sorry.  I will try to do better.

Here is the long version of what I went thru to get the problem fixed:

After spending more than 4 hours and $200 with a computer tech guy here on Mayne Island… and taking my computer in to Future Shop, where they could not figure out how to fix it… they gave me my corrupted Outlook file on a portable hard drive so I could work on it. 

Like, if they couldn’t fix it, how in God’s green earth would I ever figure it out?  So I talked to my son and he said he thought he could fix it… so I mailed the hard drive to him.  When he received it and finally got home where he could work on it, he had it fixed in just a few minutes… but it took several hours to scan the 6 GB file and clean up the problem.  Then to speed up my recovery time Shelby sent me back the repaired file in the cloud… as well as mailing it back.  It took me several days to find the cloud… I had no idea which cloud had my file and when I did find it the download failed four times before I finally realized I had to stay with my computer to keep it awake to the absolute end of the download.  The download took over 3 hours and 27 minutes. 

Next there was this huge problem of how to get the file into the right place and figure out how to open the file.  I needed Shelby again… and so after the Super Bowl he guided me thru how to do it.  We spent about an hour on Skype and my computer working on finding the right file.  We ended up getting it off the returned portable hard drive.  Then Shelby left me to work thru getting it to open.  This was no small job… and shortly after 10 PM there was a scream of ecstasy from my corner of the house!  Eureka!  I did it… and all my contacts were there!  Equilibrium has been restored to this part of the planet!

What a hard way to learn a lesson.

"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." -Winston Churchill

February 6, 12  Have you ever heard of “The Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun?”  I stumbled on the guy who did this in my recovered Contacts file.  Even if you have seen this before you need to check out this great little inspirational animated flash presentation again.  It is full of choice quotes and a good way to spend five minutes.

The Eight Irresistible Principles of Fun:

1.    Stop hiding who you really are and take time to figure out what makes up your DNA
2.    Start being intensely selfish
3.    Stop following the rules… except for gravity almost all of the rules are negotiable.
4.    Start scaring yourself.
5.    Stop taking it all so damn seriously.
6.    Start getting rid of the crap.
7.    Stop being busy.
8.    Start something.

Hope that you all are off to a great start on the week... 
full of FUN!  :-)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Learn Something Every Day -Feb 1-4, 2012

February 1, 12  Today Shirley and I put 4 windows in the wall closest to our house.  We are still learning how to use the Blue Skin product and perfecting the technique of applying it correctly.  It was not until a couple of days later when I went up to check how we were going set up scaffolding to get the four windows in place on the dormer above that I realized some of the corners on the Blue Skin were peeling up. 

Lesson learned: the primer must be sprayed wide enough before using this peel and stick product.  It is kind of like using contact cement. You don’t get the full affect without having the adhesive on both surfaces… and you have to wait 3 minutes after spraying the primer before putting the Blue Skin in place.

February 2, 12  If you are ever looking for a good deal on a major purchase at Home Depot, check to see if there is a capital “C” after the SKU number where they print the price… that is a clue that the item has been discontinued… and can be bought for less.  I have been shopping around for an air stapler to put the cedar shingle siding on the house.  I ended up getting a Bostich staple gun…original list price $459… reduced to $349.  I offered them $250… and they came back to me with  $275.  It kind of reminded me of the old days of buying or selling real estate. 

February 3, 12  We picked up the granite counter tops yesterday… but getting the heavy slabs into the house is a bit of a trick for the two of us.  So I built an elevated ledge out of 2 x 4’s with a 2 x 6 top plate that was the same height as the cabinet where the granite was going and attached it to the frame of our appliance dolly. 

From the truck we slid the slab onto the extended front-end loader of the tractor.  I could then drive it over to the front door and eliminate having to take the thing up any stairs on a dolly.  We used a couple of wooden dowels (cut up old broom handle) to roll the slab off the tractor loader so one end was received on the 36” high ledge on the dolly.  Shirley managed the dolly and I carried the other end of the 55” long slab as we walked it thru the front door and into the pantry.  

It was pretty neat to lay the granite over on its side and slide it right into place on the cabinet between the refrigerator and freezer.  Worked great. The pantry is now officially finished.  Yesterday I caught Shirley standing in the room with a huge smile... just looking around.

February 4, 12  This past week we had a meeting with Bob White, our financial planner and insurance guy from Kelowna.  We came to know Bob since he basically inherited our account from Jerry O after he passed away five or six years ago.  Jerry O sold us each sizable full term life insurance policies… an amazing feat since for most of my life I considered buying any life insurance a total waste of money.

I had sold Jerry and his wife Myrna a lot in Peachland on Lipsett Ave when I was a realtor, and then Honeybear Homes, a building partnership with Mark Albrecht, built a house for them.  Jerry sized me up as a potential insurance candidate and thru his kindness and persistence eventually sold us each one million dollar whole life insurance policies.

As we sat down together in the Beacon’s Landing Restaurant in Sydney the first thing Bob handed me was a page out of Jerry O’s files.  Attached to the page was an envelope with several newspaper clippings Jerry collected over the years that we were involved with him.  What an incredible flashback of memories!  It was amazing.  As I thought about Jerry… no longer with us in person, I looked at those clippings and my mind was flooded with fond memories. 

With those clippings I learned something about Jerry O… how his attention to details about his clients endeared them to him.  He was one of the top insurance salesmen.  And I have to say that he made the process of being sold most enjoyable.  What these newspaper clippings told me is that Jerry O didn’t stop “selling himself” after he won our business.  He never missed a birthday and often gave us a music CD or a movie DVD… like “the Waking of Ned Devine.” 

"You don't close a sale, you open a relationship if you want to build a long-term, successful enterprise." -Patricia Fripp

These are just a few of the clippings Jerry had saved in his file on me.

The two large condo buildings are Chateau on the Green and the Ponderosa Golf course is in the foreground.  This is the view from Chateaux on the Ridge... a 40-unit condo project.

There was a time I let my hair grow and not my beard... and I didn't always wear a cowboy hat.

In 1999 Acorn Homes offered a variety of products and price ranges from affordable condos in The Falls At Glen Canyon to luxury homes at Sunset Beach in Kelowna.  Leisure Village was an 80 home adult community, Morningside was a four phase single family and duplex community in Glenrosa, and Shannon Woods was seven phases with 175 single family homes and 42 condos in Fairway 3. 

We had a lot of fun raising money to build two homes with Habitat for Humanity... and our annual golf tourney basically was the main source of raising money and contributions from our main trades and suppliers.  As developers we gave the building lot, and most all of the rest of the materials and trades were donated.  The first home that we did in Shannon Woods was built in 5 days.  The foundation was ready for the building blitz beforehand and the main deck was in place, and from there the walls went up the roof was on the first day, the plumbing and electrical went in and it was insulated by day two. On day three the drywall went in with a crew of 18 guys... the board was on in the first hour and the tapers started by 9 AM.  With lots of heat and fast setting mud, the whole house had three coats with sanding between each coat... plus the ceilings were sprayed with Spantex.  Day four the doors and finishing went in and the house was painted... and day five the cabinets and flooring went in... the finish electrical and plumbing was done and by noon all that was left were some final touch ups.  Outside the landscaping and irrigation was completed on Friday afternoon and the turf was in place.  Dennis Kort, Acorn's main project supervisor, took a week of his vacation time to manage this incredible feat.  Truly a very memorable experience for all involved... it was a lot of fun.

The Cove Resort went thru a pretty controversial development approval process... as the property already had zoning for the existing Lakeshore Villa cabins.  But initially the Regional District asked me to include the Dobbin property and the Gellatly Nut Farm property in our first comprehensive development scheme... and that really opened up a can of worms.  At that time the property was still in the Gellatly family, and this brought a lot of pressure from the community to save the famous farm as a heritage park... which I totally agree was the right thing. 

So now instead of a 20 acre development, we focused on our 7 acre property.  The scaled down plans now had only 150 hotel suites and rooms... still a huge project compared to the 29 unit Lakeshore Villa operations that were there.

Our plans to build the orphanage in Mexico were in the newspapers more than once.  I don't remember ever clipping out the news stories... my mother used to do that... and Jerry O, unknown to me was doing it too... but I had other things to do.

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count.  It is the life in your years." -Abraham Lincoln