Archive for May 2012

What if I Had 100 Shares of Everything?

I was looking over my dividend holdings and my income from dividends over the past few months. I have different number of shares of different stocks, ranging from 12 to about 60. I thought to myself: What if I had 100 shares of each stock? What would my income be then?

For March, my income would have been $733.00.

For April, my income would have been $459.00.

For May, it looks like it would have been $588.20.

I think I have only cracked $300.00 a few times, and that was because of special dividends. It looks like automatic re-investing might be the way to go.

Image from Wikimedia

Notes on 3G Mindset

I will go over the book Put Your Mindset To Work in more detail later. I will get it from the library again. I renewed it, and I want to finally get to it before I have to take it back.

In one of the early chapters they reference research that the mind can be changed, that we are not simply fated to be one way our entire lives. The reference work by Carol Dweck about the growth mindset versus the fixed mindset.

The one G I am concerned with is Grit. They break it down into an acronym: growth, resilience, intensity and tenacity. I think this is the “G” that I need the most work on. The “growth” in Grit is the growth mindset that Carol Dweck wrote about.

There is a chapter on each “G” with questions and exercises to help you strengthen that “G”.

Growth has the characteristics of learning, improving, evolving, striving, being engaged and driven. The characteristics for Resilience are resilient, risk taker, accountable, brave, courageous, and optimistic. The characteristics for Intensity are committed, focused, disciplined, passionate, purposeful and energetic. The characteristics for Tenacity are tenacious, persistent, relentless, assertive, determined and resolute.

Microchallenge for Grit:
1: Growth: on a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you really crave and seek ways to grow and improve, or do you really bank off what you already know?
2: Resilience: on a scale of 1 to 10, how well do you stack up against the most resilient people around, those who truly and consistently shine in the toughest moments?
3: Intensity: on a scale of 1 to 10, how well do you maintain full energy and focus on the task at hand, or do you become distracteed by other factors?
4: Tenacity: on a scale of 1 to 10, how well do you relentlessly stick to your goals, no matter how difficult they become?

Growth builder: Microchallenge for growth: What can I do to improve today? What did I do to improve?

A resilience builder is the set of CORE questions.
Control: What facets of the situation can I/you/we potentially influence?
Ownership: how can I/you/we step up to make the most immediate, positive difference?
Reach: What can I/you/we do to minimize the potential downside? Maximize the potential upside?
Endurance: What can I/you/we do to get past this as quickly as possible?
They say you have to ask them with that exact wording.

For intensity, one of the microchallenges is to focus on one thing without any distractions. No internet, texting, etc.
Intensity Builders:
1. Nail the details. Look for small details in something.
2. Do the 3G Scan. Assess someone’s 3G’s when you talk with someone.
3. Create the Cone of Silence. Try to concentrate on something in a less than quiet place. Let the noise and distractions gradually increase.

Tenacity Builder: The Tenacious Why
When you feel like giving up, ask yourself: What is the most compelling reason I would pursue this? What is the grander WHY? Repeat the question “Yes, but why?” until you get to the most compelling, definite reason, the one that galvanizes you. Do this for any exhausting effort you put into anything.

Tenacity Builder: Brain Jolter
When faced with an impossibility, ask yourself:
If this were possible, how would I/you/we do it.

They also have a Twitter account.

Startups, Energy and Society’s Issues

I was in Austin last month for RailsConf. One of the keynote speakers was David Cohen of TechStars. He talked about startups. (I don’t feel like watching the whole thing again, so I will go from notes and memory.)

Granted, this was RailsConf. Rails is used for webapps, and it would be silly to model nuclear fusion with a Rails app. But if you accept my premise that a lot of what is going on in the technology space these days is useless and does not solve society’s long-term problems (like climate change and peak oil), then a lot of what he said was just more of the same silliness.

At one point he said that he actually knows investors who did not put money into Pinterest! Can you believe it???? Actually, yes, I can. I don’t know why anybody uses it to begin with. He advised people against getting funding too early, and I have to give him some props for that, since he is a VC. It takes a big man to give people advice that benefits the questioner and not himself.

But it was more of the web-payments-this, social-something-or-other-that, startups-uber-alles for the win. He is another example of the Bias Against Big. A lot of people these days do not trust Big Government or Big Corporations, or both. Institutions do fail and make mistakes. Corporations make promises to governments and taxpayers, and then renege. But as was pointed out in the now-defunct “Inside Renewable Energy” podcast, a lot of people are buying into the startup mythology.

I am not saying that startups should not be encouraged. But a lot of people, even some governments, seem to be betting on startups. A lot of people seem to think that startups will solve all of society’s problems. As was mentioned on “Inside Renewable Energy”, a lot of this may be due to IT. A lot of successful companies that went on to make billions were started by two guys in a garage or a dorm room: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook. And a lot of people think that “two guys in a room” will come up with ways to solve our energy problems.

But will two guys in a dorm room figure out how to design and build the next generation of nuclear reactor? Will a couple of guys drop out of grad school, rent a small space, and figure out how to store solar energy and transmit it across continents? I think that, whether we like it or not, corporations and government (including the military) will have to be involved in all of this. I think there needs to be some pushback against the “startupification” of the USA.

We need to stop thinking that the way to fame and fortune is through whatever some VC in “the valley” can take public. 30 to 40 years ago, guys would go to college to get degrees in engineering so they could design rockets to send men to the moon. Now people think the way to success is to drop out of college to make yet another social network, or build even more games that are played on a three-inch screen.

What is bringing success to the valley is not really doing a lot for the rest of California, let alone the rest of the country. High tech jobs in the valley do not create as many jobs in other sectors as high tech jobs in other states. Part of this is due to geography (lots of mountains in California limit what can be built), and part of it is the tunnel vision.

Abu Dhabi, which makes a LOT of money from oil, is building a city that will run on solar energy. At least that’s the plan. I think this is the sort of thing that should be done in this country. If you think the answer is to simply “Drill, baby, drill”, then explain why an oil exporter is preparing a city that will not use any oil. At some point there will be nothing left to drill. What happens then?

Speaking of the world gone wrong, Facebook went public last week. It looks like the stock is not doing as well as people hoped. Why anybody cared about this company is beyond me. Facebook is really just a big email client. Except instead of the spam landing in your Inbox, they put it on the side and called it a business model.

In the IPO letter, Suckerberg wrote that “If we want to have the biggest impact, the best way to do this is to make sure we always focus on solving the most important problems.” What does he regard as important problems? Making sure the lights are still on and the trains are still running in twenty years, or figuring out how to sell you more junk?

Image from Wikipedia

May 2012 Latino Atheists Meeting

There was a Latino Atheists meeting out in Warrenville. There were not as many new people as we had hoped. It was me, Jaime, Jose, Martha, Jaime’s wife, and the only new person: Jaime’s sister.

Contrary to predictions, Jaime’s wife did not lay down the law and give us a to-do list and set out some plans. She had to leave early to save the world. That’s her day job.

Jaime talked about the web site, and is thinking about some new layouts. We decided that we should consistenly produce some more content before we worry about the layout.

Martha will write about science fiction (we spent a lot of time explaining “Doctor Who” to Jaime and his wife) and give dating advice. Jose might write about why he started the group and what the plans are.

We would also like some contributions from Latinos in other states. If you would like to write an article about the growing Latino Atheist movement, contact us. You could send us a message on Twitter. I don’t think too many of us are into Facebook.

Image of Mexico City flag from Wikipedia

2012-05-09 Blog Title

New blog title: Wearing Assless Chaps In the Office

Fitness Journey 004

For my second semester at WIU, I got a new roommate. Two guys on the floor did not get along, so we swapped. My new roommate was a runner in high school, and still ran non-competitively. Most of my other friends were sci-fi and D&D guys. The sort of people that today we would call geeks. Before it was popular.

He got me into running. The first few times he went with me, then I started going by myself. I would run to the center of town, the same center of town that I was not able to walk to for Thanksgiving break a semester earlier. Sometimes I would run to the town square, rest on a bench, and run back. I think it was about 3 or 4 miles total.

Once I had a chat with three high school kids who seemed impressed by my running routine. Perhaps they were stoners.

I also ran during that summer between freshman and sophomore years, and into the fall. I would put my ID in my left shoe, which might have been a bad idea.

Thoughts On Senate Race in Texas

When I was in the Austin Amtrak station about to leave Texas, I saw a commercial for David Dewhurst, the Texas lieutenant governor who is running for the Rethuglican nomination for US Senate.

His ad said that his dad fought in WWII. His dad was part of the “greatest generation” that made this country great. According to the ad, the next generation brought this country into financial ruin. And Dewhurst thinks we need to send him to DC to make this country great again.

But according to his own ad, isn’t he part of the generation that is bankrupting the country, and therefore part of the problem?

2012-05-01 Mad Money RSS Typo

There were two typos in the RSS feed for Mad Money for the entry for the 2012-05-01 episode.

The Dow closed at a 4-year high today, climbing 66 points after strong manufacturing activity gave the market a boost.  Tongiht, Cramer beraks out his playbook and reveals the methods to his madness.  Learn the tricks of the trade Jim used to evaluate stocks during his over 30 years of money managing experience.

It was a repeat. I was hoping he was going to talk about PSX after it was spun off from COP. I think tonight will also be a repeat. I wish he would do a new episode tonight because there are new issues about the CEO of CHK, and a few new stories about energy.

2012-04 Dividend Income

For April, 2012 my dividend income was $218.56.

For comparison, I will not just list the income from three months ago. I will list the income for three, six, nine and twelve months ago. It is not always good to compare to three months ago since I have some stocks that only pay dividends twice a year, pay special dividends or occasionally shift their payout schedule.

For January 2012, it was $188.68, for October 2011 it was $208.90, for July 2011 it was $204.83 and for April 2011 it was $203.10.

  • Automatic Data Processing: $21.64
  • Coca-Cola Co: $26.08
  • MDU Resources Group Inc.: $8.71
  • Chubb Corp: $8.53
  • Kimberly-Clark: $38.27
  • Illinois Tool Works: $18.33
  • Altria Group: $22.12
  • Family Dollar Stores Inc: $5.56
  • Piedmont Natural Gas Inc: $15.62
  • Cincinnati Financial Corp: $17.20
  • Valspar Corp: $11.24
  • Sysco Corp: $13.98
  • RPM International Inc: $11.28

Image from Wikimedia