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December 30, 1999
two years ago

Learning Things

A neighbor of ours, in the air park is actually selling a hovercraft. John had seen it a few times in the open lot where the guy is usually selling refurbished items, and this morning we saw it, for sale in the guy's back yard. John sounded really, really excited about the fact, and I was mildly bemused at such a strange object in our neighborhood.

I naively asked, "What would you do with it if you actually bought that hovercraft?"

John falls over laughing even before he starts answering, "I'd fill it with eels!!"

Yeesh. Monty Python humor is never so sweet as when it can be applied to real life.

There were quite a few people at work today, though many left early. I was surprised to see how many there actually were, and the entire building was more quiet than our group's area. Most of our group was there today, and several other groups weren't. I actually didn't notice too much, because I was head first into coding. There are just a handful things I need to do before next Tuesday, and the end really looks like it is in sight.

I actually remembered the turkey soup this morning. John had a lunch meeting, so I would be on my own for lunch. During the lunch hour, I wandered around various financial sites and read a lot on various companies. The Montauk stocks are going to be handed over in the next few weeks, so I want to be ready to do what I need to do when I can actually do it. The book Carl gave me really has me thinking some more not only about the short-term of how to make money, the long-term of where I actually want to go with it all. That really has me thinking. There isn't a whole lot of practical "Do This" type of information in The Wright Exit Strategy, but there is quite a lot of "what should I be thinking of next?" kinds of things. Just knowing that there is a way to get out of capital gains taxes on stock options for a long-term and less taxed income is of great use.

This whole financial thing seems to be a new learning adventure. There's quite a lot of complexity involved, and Wright makes a very good case for tackling that complexity. I have one friend who so hated complexity of any type that he gave up hundreds of thousands of dollars simply because he didn't wanted to the paperwork. There's a point at which, in order to actually pursue long-term happiness, there has to be effort and learning and some pain of change and "things being different" in order to actually get there. I have run into a few too many people who just complain rather than figure out something that they can do to make things better to think that it is a natural impulse to just get up and do what needs to be done. The path of least resistance is often also the path to unfilled potential.

I really love the analogy of the tree falling in the forests. If one actually knows what to do and doesn't do it, can it be a problem? If one has cancer and doesn't know it, will it still kill? Often not knowing and not doing can be very damaging indeed.

So even though it seems to be quite the pain, I'm learning more about finances, about stocks, and about tax liabilities and shelters. There is a whole lot to learn, but I really want to safeguard my future financial freedom they really seem to be things I have to pay attention to and learn about. Especially after the fiasco of our previous broker. I think I may actually have to set aside time on a regular basis in order to catch up on all the things I think a need to know as well as get over the hurdle of not liking to talk to people than actually talk to some experts on various things. I'm really glad that I have stumbled upon The Motley Fool, which is an entire community trying to learn the very things that I find that I need to know.

The afternoon was filled with more coding and debugging. I also visited Tapestry and got to talk to Jonah. He and Stacey really liked their Christmas presents. That was a very good thing to find out.

Eventually, a got late. I still wasn't done with all the things that I wanted to get done, but instead of forcing it to be a late night, I decided that I should just bring the machine home and work on it sometime during the weekend. There is probably four or six hours worth of work left. There were a few issues that were left open, and are probably going to be resolved on Monday; but the resolutions would take time, leaving me no time for actual coding. So I should do what I can over the weekend so that I can actually meet the Tuesday deadline. John was really nice about carrying my machine to the car, and I carried everything else.

He hadn't managed to ride the bike in the morning, so wanted to ride it this evening before dinner. So I went and pulled out CTR and had a blast wandering around various tracks racing for time and for fun. When he was done with his exercise, John played a few rounds as well while I put together the second batch of crab cakes. When he actually went to shower I put them on to cook. They had a different extra this time, I think the extra time in the refrigerator homogenized the mixture and allowed the flavors to blend better. I also used the Japanese bread crumbs instead of fresh bread crumbs and outside texture was far more crispy as a result.

After dinner the two of us had a lot of fun just racing the arcade version of the game. I don't do quite as well as John does, because I don't have as much experiences he does, but it is fun to race the really complex tracks and learn how they work. Also, the different characters have very different characteristics in how they race, and each go cart behaves very differently under the acceleration and turning situations on the tracks. All in all, it makes for a very interesting and varied game with lots of combinations, possibilities, and good, old-fashioned chaos. The scramble of the situation during races always fun.

When my thumbs were tired, we stopped and I had time to read more of the Wright book. I stumbled upon an example that hinted at something my parents would need in the near future. So I called my parents up, and got their answering machine, but I left a message and Dad called me back. It was fun to talk with him more about the details and possibilities and he has an expert on his end who will answer questions in more detail. That was really fun. I also got to talk with mom about our Christmas party and how it turned out. She really like the fact that John and I really to know how to throw party easily. I think the only way we really figured it out was by doing it often and learning from the mistakes.

I guess so long as I keep learning, I'll do okay.

Brought to you by Dragon System's Point & Speak.

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