Friday, February 25, 2011

Money Matters...

For more than a year I've been attempting to plant the seeds among a few friends to start an investment group - but no takers so far... It would be kinda cool to find another casual investor who shared my enthusiasm for the ups & downs of Wall Street.

I was thinking maybe a group of 5 or so buddies willing to invest $100 per month. As a team, we could decide which stocks to invest in on a bi-annual basis & watch our money grow.

I've done pretty well in gauging the potential success or failure of common stocks, especially tech related companies like Intel, Sony, Apple & Google. Since my goal is NOT to get rich overnight, so outside of tech related holdings, I pretty much invest in obvious, no-brainer stocks like Nike, McDonalds & Walmart.

Another simple strategy that has worked for me since starting to experiment with online brokerage accounts about 5 years back is to invest in products/companies that I frequently use - stocks like AT&T, Verizon, Netflix & Honda.

When Ford stock hit rock bottom, I took advantage & invested. The stock has has recovered well since that time. At this point, I'm becoming hooked! I now find myself checking to see whether the various stock markets (even markets in other countries) have closed above or below their daily averages.

When the recession took hold, sending the economy into the shitter promptng many to pull their money out of stocks, I bought, bought & bought! After all, that's the name of the game - buy low, sell high!

By no means am I a day trader, but every pay period, I set a little bread aside to invest. Fuck waiting for Uncle Sam to pull the rug from beneath me by announcing the termination of social security benefits - I'm growing my own nest egg!

Between my personal portfolios & 401(a) retirement plan, I hope to be taken care of should the US Government decide to hand me an IOU when social security benefits would normally kick in. Are you planning for your later years? It's never too late to plan for your future - you've just gotta start now...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Refocusing (on me)...

As much as I'd like to find myself in a relationship with someone special, 'she' ain't here & the reality is that it's simply not in the cards for me at the moment. Now that I've come out of the funk I've been in lately, I'm ready to devote myself to the person who matters most, me!

I've found that I've become emotionally spent & none of the people I expected to care, gave a shit. So rather than dwell upon past mistakes, disappointments & lovers - I'm turning things over to God. After all, there's no such thing as time wasted when it comes to self-development, so I'm ALL in.

Probably wouldn't make a very good boyfriend anyways, so in essence I'm saving 2 people both the time & trouble. Now I don't want anyone reading this to think I'm over here feeling sorry for myself, cuz I'm not sad - I'm angry. Who am I angry with? Myself of course. Had you not yet noticed the obvious theme of this post???


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Day DVD Died...

A few days back I (slowly) began converting the DVDs I currently own into specific file formats needed for future storage & playback on various external drives, computers & portable devices. Due to the slow-ass data ripping speed of my current laptop's DVD/CD drive, the process takes about 3-4 hours for most feature length films or performances.

Given the fact that I've accumulated more than 300 DVDs over the years (& that's not even counting pirated films), it's clear this process will take quite some time to complete. So I guess I'll get into the habit of ripping a DVD or 2 per day to expedite the process. On the flip-side, I've already noticed the many convenient advantages of having the few DVDs I've uploaded available in my iTunes library.

I'm not yet so sure what to do about the 30 or so BluRay discs just yet, but it's not of much concern at this point, since it's the newer disc format. Most of my BluRays included digital copies for media storage purposes anyway. In the years to come, I'll need to master preserving BluRay and/or 3D quality during the conversion process, but for now, I'm good with the standard format - I'm just tryna get all these damn DVDs out of my face!

Eventually, with all of the DVDs/BluRays uploaded, I'll be able to enjoy all of my media (coupled with iTunes & Apple TV) from almost any TV in the house with just the simple touch of a button, further eliminating the need for me to get off my lazy ass - such a spoiled society we've become, lol.

The way I see it, the day digital video disc manufacturers feared will soon be upon us & BluRay discs aren't where it's at either. It's not that there's anything wrong with BluRay technology, in fact it's the best right now. The problem lies in the delivery format. In this world of increasing portability, people are simply moving away from any disc format - whether they realize it or not.

You need only to look at how the sales of portable DVD/CD players have plummeted over the past 5-7 years. Folks are primarily watching & listening to media that has either been uploaded or streamed to their cell phones, car stereos, satellite radios, net books, e-book readers, PC tablets, so on & so 4th. There just isn't the need to have a physical disc in-hand unless of course, you're 1 of those unfortunate creatures technological of habit, lol.

When Netflix rolled out their instant streaming video (to video game consoles, Internet tv/media consoles & mobile devices) last year, the end of a storied era in technology ended. So much that the idea of a disc as the standard for the portability of video & audio media already sounds archaic. Ironically, the last time such a shift in technology took place must have been when DVD/CDs replaced cassettes tapes & VHS. Remember how resistant folks were of that change?

I think what's made Netflix so successful, in such a short time, is the fact that it seems to satisfy those who remain on the cutting edge of technology, people who consider themselves to be somewhat tech savvy & also folks who simply don't have (nor desire) a clue. If you're not so hot on streaming for your video needs, or maybe you just don't want to wait a week or so for a new release to become available for instant streaming - just have the DVD/BluRay(s) sent to your home in 2 business days, piece of cake!

With Netflix providing the 1st highly successful model of how profitable & efficient video streaming can be, production companies are sure to notice the trend & will likely devote far more resources into (I promise no pun was intended here) streamlining the end user's consumer experience in terms of ease of use & overall practicability.

Apple, Roku, Google, Logitech, Nintendo, Sony & Microsoft are just some of the primetime players that gave rise to video streaming last year by incorporating services like Netflix & Hulu among others, into their own flagship devices & platforms while boosting the usefulness each respective device at the same time. In addition, it's no longer uncommon to see mobile phone applications with video modules built within the app, allowing for viewing of streamed or stored content.

Folks, I'm not saying go throw away your DVDs tomorrow, lol. I'm just pointing out that this slight shift in mediums is something you might want to keep in mind, especially in regard to any electronics you buy from this point forward. Already companies like Amazon have announced plans develop a vehicles similar to the current Netflix beast (Amazon expects to offer the same services at an even cheaper monthly rate).

I don't expect companies like redbox to go the way of Blockbuster, my guess is that they'll morph their company into a model not unlike what Netflix has put together in order to survive & provide more of that all-important element of competition that any free-market economy needs to thrive. That & the fact that there will always be be the need for same day service. In what now seems like a contingency plan, Redbox encroached upon Gamefly's top billing as kings of video game rental by beginning to offer similar services last year.

Still, models that rely too heavily upon disc-based formats will take an even bigger hit once the video streaming kings lay claim to a stake of that piece of the market as well. My suggestion, buy stock in all of em! As time passes, it'll be interesting to watch which implementation model, medium & format ends up standing above the others as the recognized standard - at least for a little while anyway, lol.

As far as my project, I've got just 1 little-big problem - file storage! It was much easier when I went this route, dumped my CDs & started using .mp3/.mp4 files exclusively. Even in 2004, most notebook computers had more than enough hard drive & RAM space to handle the typical iTunes library; however, taking the same approach with more than 300 DVDs is NOT an option unless I suddenly develop an affinity for severely decreased computer performance.

For the time being, I'm storing all my tv shows, movies, music videos & concerts (basically all large file types) in a 1 terabyte Time Capsule external drive which until now, it was dedicated for backing-up me & my brother's computer hard drives wirelessly. Now it doubles as the storage tank for all video files until I decide what I want to do long-term. That is all...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Ever harbored emotions for someone & wanted to share, but you just weren't sure how? It's still February, so I figured another blog focusing on my social life wouldn't be entirely inappropriate here, lol.

But getting back to my point, it's amazing how difficult it can be to express matters of the heart, even for the most eloquent of speakers. Where would I begin & what could I do to avoid that awkward moment?

To the casual observer, it probably couldn't seem more obvious that speaking my mind would be the best thing to do, but that's always a task easier said than done. Ughhh!!! I need help, lls.

It's times like this I miss my homegirl Vam the most, she'd know what to suggest right about now. Ironically, she's the person who connected me with the very woman I blog of tonight. While the 2 have been absent from my life for very different reasons, a special place for the both of them remains within in my heart.

There's nothing I can do to create new memories with Vam, as a result of her passing last year, yet the possibility does exist that the unnamed young lady & I could someday work things out - but if that door is indeed still open, for how much longer, am I running out of time?

Pride aside, even if there were only a 5% chance that I could again find sanctuary in her arms, wouldn't that alone warrant another attempt? Or would it, on the contrary, be selfish of me to exploit the plutonic friendship in a hapless effort to turn back the clock.

I'd hate for her to not to know the way I feel. Besides, even if she rejects the concept, it won't end up being something I'll always have to wonder about in life. So with that being said, I WILL speak my mind at some point - but that just brings me back to the 1st sentence of this post...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Is it Really that Serious?

I've gotta be honest in that, I expected my Twitter timeline to be laced with tons of bitter emotion today, it being Valentines day & all, but not nearly THIS much, lol. If you could see the seething anger dripping from some of these tweets, you'd certainly understand the point of this post.

I get it; people don't like to feel left out, guess I've got far too much pride to use Twitter as a vehicle to vent 'those kind' of issues, lol. Though I too am disappointed to not be spending the evening with that special someone, I take solace in knowing I'm hardly the only person without a valentine on this day & that's more than enough to get me by.

To me, it's not a big deal. Anyone who wanted to be here, would've made their intentions known by now & forcing the issue has never been my thing. But the day is certainly no cause to hate on people either, yet I've noticed quite a bit of that as well in recent days. If someone asked for my opinion of it all, I'd say, "it's down-right pathetic."

Don't get me wrong, I fully subscribe to the misery loves company theory, but damn... to down-play someone else's situation simply because yours is not what you'd prefer - well, that's just selfish & I really do pitty those who find themselves in such a mood on a day that's supposed to be reserved for love.

In an attempt to demonstrate that I practice what I preach, allow me to share how I recently got off the phone with a previous girlfriend (she & I remain good friends) who was looking for gift ideas for her current boy-toy. We enjoyed a pleasant conversation & I gladly assisted her as best as I could - so I ask you, how down to earth & non-hypocritical is that??? Lol.

But seriously - it's only 1 day to get through (even for the loneliest of people), so avoid the Anthony Hamilton music, curl up with a good book, watch a movie or hell, hit the streets anyway - that's what I'll be doing! There's no rule that states single persons shall remain in-residence on February 14th & there's certainly no shame in this kid's game over here :-D

Happy Lover's Day to you & (if your blessed) yours too...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Back to School?

Well... maybe. I'm considering enrolling in a program that will allow me to earn some sort of an IT degree. I was thinking something along the lines of a Master of Information Technology degree (with a special emphasis placed on homeland security management).

I swore years back, when I got my undergraduate degree from Howard, that I was done with school & always ran (full-speed) in the opposite direction whenever anything of the scholastic nature was proposed. But now I'm having second thoughts about that.

It's not that I feel I've hit some sort of glass ceiling or anything with regard to my current career as a policy writer, I'm just a little bored with what I do & quite tired of the bureaucratic red tape that slows the progress of many assigned duties. I guess I need something more interesting to bicker with appointed officials about, lol.

My background in both civil service & law enforcement appears to fall in line with the programs I've checked out thus far, so this is definitely the general area I want to focus on at this point. I'm interested in Mobile Telecommunications as well, but my experience in that arena is more hobby/investment related, so I'm hardly classically trained outside of the standard industry telecom speak.

Given the fact that I have no current student loans (nor have I ever had any), I figure it would be relatively easy to obtain financial aid, should I indeed decide to enroll. No clue if I'd be primarily interested in online courses or traditional classroom settings, but it's definitely something I'll be researching over the next few months.

There's also the question of which grad school I'd want to attend. Mainly my background has been in journalism, so I'm not very well-versed in the knowledge of which institutions turn heads with regard to IT/managent positions, so I'd obviously be rolling that into my research as well.

At any rate, hopefully the act of getting these thoughts out of my head & documented will spawn the additional motivation needed to get off my ass & look into my future options. Hell, nobody's gonna do it for me, right?

Monday, February 7, 2011


"Nothing I buy, can buy more time for your ears to tell your heart to listen to it. Diamonds: a girl's best friend is what they say, but believe me with the right allegiance shawty, you gon' shine anyways" - Wale

I've been thinking about my current relationship status (single) & the past women I found myself involved with over the years. Just trying to make sense of how I feel about each individual while evaluating the things I could & couldn’t have done better in regard to the failed relationship.

I don't think we ever really move on from anyone we've ‘truly’ loved (the way I see it, if you’re actually able to do so, just means you probably didn't love 'em too much in the 1st place). But just because 2 people love 1 another doesn't necessarily mean they can be together & that's something that's taken time for me to learn.

Sometimes no matter how much you care for someone deep down inside, it just won't work & I guess that's the game of it all. At some point, you've gotta master the elusive art of knowing when to cross a bridge & when to just fuckin burn it. Then there’s the bridge that you can neither cross, nor burn.

Saturday evening I found myself face-to-face with my very own impassable/indestructible bridge. I had a wonderful time with the woman I've been in love with for more than 10 years & though I know she & I could never be the way we once were, she undoubtedly holds the key to my heart. Should she ever decide to be forreal about things again, I’m positive I'd melt in her hands.

It’s fascinating how she compels me to the point where I find myself absolutely refusing to let the fantasy die. Regardless of how she feels about me now, at 1 point, those magical stars were aligned & the passion pulsed through both of our veins – good times indeed.

But things change, even when the people, themselves, don't. So as much as I’d love the opportunity to make things right with her, holding onto the slightest of hopes that she’ll 1 day desire the same wouldn’t be the wisest decision. So my former feelings of hope are now closer to those of acceptance.

What do you do when you find yourself haunted by the memory of a previous romance? Sometimes I wish I could just hit the reset button and start fresh. But the baggage follows me from house to house & I can’t help but to feel I’m somehow handicapping myself.

Unfortunately, there's no such button - you get 1 chance to do things right. Even still, I’m proud of the man I’ve become & thankful for each & every woman who has helped shape a clearer vision of my ideal woman. God isn’t finished with me yet, but I’m definitely alot closer today than I was yesterday.

"So what I do is, I channel my aggression with no cable or antenna. Just intentions to impress you if capable..."

Friday, February 4, 2011

Feature Friday: We are the Clumsy Passersby...

This month's feature is a favorite poem of mine by Chilean poet, Pablo Naruda. Though it was written years ago, it's never been more appropriate in my estimation. I think the thoughts represented in this particular passage are ones we all could stand to read whenever we find ourselves so busy with the hustle & bustle of everyday life, enjoy.

Any great literary works you'd like to see shared? Or perhaps you've got some good stuff yourself. If so, shoot me an email at & I'd be glad to post it, if it cuts the mustard, that is, lol. It's my goal to post a Feature Friday blog entry on the 1st Friday of each month. Pablo Naruda's poem, 'We are the Clumsy Passerby,' reads as follows…

We are the clumsy passersby, we push past each other with elbows, with feet, with trousers, with suitcases, we get off the train, the jet plane, the ship, we step down in our wrinkled suits and sinister hats. We are all guilty, we are all sinners, we come from dead-end hotels or industrial peace, this might be our last clean shirt, we have misplaced our tie, yet even so, on the edge of panic, pompous, sons of bitches who move in the highest circles or quiet types who don't owe anything to anybody, we are one and the same, the same in time's eyes, or in solitude's: we are the poor devils who earn a living and a death working bureautragically or in the usual ways, sitting down or packed together in subway stations, boats, mines, research centers, jails, universities, breweries, (under our clothes the same thirsty skin), (the hair, the same hair, only in different colors).

Wide Awake...

Ok, here I am wide-awake at 3am (again) with an alarm set to go off at 5:30 - something has gotta give. Lately, I've been keeping the most irregular sleeping hours, chronically waking up late for work & then sleep-walking through the day (an unfocused mess).

Usually when this occasionally happens, things simply fall back into place after a few weeks or so, but it's been a couple months now & the restlessness is beginning to annoy me, quite honestly.

I'm not sure if it's a stress thing, simply alot on my mind, or what? I do know I'm gettin pretty damn close to reaching my breaking point, so I'd better figure something out quick!

Maybe I'm just bored or under-stimulated, who's to say? This Sunday, after the Super Bowl, I'll do my best to get in bed before midnight (in yet another attempt to "reset" my system for the week ahead). Idle hands are indeed the devil's workshop, so hopefully I'm back on track soon.

Until then, I guess it's back to the dvr...