Contrarian the Barbarian

So, I guess there was some sort of stock market hoo-ha recently.

The biggest drop since 2001 yesterday? Is that what it said?

I checked my portfolio, it didn’t move yesterday.

Today, it’s made a bigger single day jump (up) in I don’t know how many months (years?).

Strange times.

In related news, it seems that Bank of America is going through a lot of trouble to get me back as a customer. I ditched them as a bank years ago, after they bought out my NationsBank account. A couple years ago, they bought out my Motley Fool credit card from MBNA. And now they’re buying the company that has one of my 401(k) accounts. I try to get out, but they keep pulling me back in.

In other financially-related news, I just got a kick-ass performance review. I performed, if you catch my drift. The drift of doing well in my job, not that other thing. Perv.

What’s Round On The Side and Mah in the Middle?

In Ohio, there was a song we sang in school that had the line “What’s round on the sides and high in the middle? O-HI-O!” In fact, that may be the whole song. Not sure. It’s all fuzzy.

But what’s not fuzzy is that by 8pm Nebraska time tonight, I will be in Omaha, NE, prepared to geek the hell out.

It’s only just dawning on me that I will be without a computer for more than 48 hours! Unless you count a Palm! Which I don’t! Because it doesn’t have internet access!1

I will have a trusty Moleskine Ruled Notebook and Mini G2 Gel Pen, which means that all the notes I take will be Hemmingway quality, except more gel’d.

I will be sure to give Warren and Charlie a big hug from all of you.

And pick their pocket while I’m at it.

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1 Yes, I’m spazzing out.

Foolin’ with the Fools

As an added bonus, I just got an email from one of the editors of the Motley Fool newsletters to let me know they’ll be holding a Fool event at the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting. How very, very cool1 will that be?

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1 Cool in the geekiest sense of the word, of course. I hope my shipment of monogrammed pocket protectors arrives in time.

A Long Way To Go For A Coffee Table

I have a plane ticket to (and from) Omaha, Nebraska.

I have a car reserved in Omaha, Nebraska.

I am anxiously awaiting a phone call from a nice lady who will book me a hotel room in Omaha, Nebraska.

I have a request for credentials about to go in the mail, which will get me into the Qwest Center in Omaha, Nebraska.

This trip is 8 years in the making. What will I be doing in Omaha, Nebraska?

I will be sitting in an auditorium with 27,000 people listening to a 77 year old man and an 84 year old man talk about life, investing and business.

I will be walking around, admiring the products of all the many, many businesses owned by the company that the 77 and 84 year old men run.

I may tour private luxury jets that I could spend thousands of dollars to buy a small percentage of.

I will be shopping for a coffee table in the largest single-building furniture store in the world.

I may watch a 2 time U.S. Chess champion play chess against 6 opponents simultaneously, blindfolded.

There will also be a magician.

Why am I doing this?

Because I am such a geek I even shun myself.

Also, so the Dragon*Con folks can have someone to roll their eyes at.

R.I.P. Netbank

Netbank’s accounts (including ours) were acquired by INGDirect a few days ago. It was sinking fast, and declared bankruptcy.

We had all but one of our accounts with Netbank (including my business account), the other one was with INGDirect.

So… effortless consolidation!

But the thing about INGDirect is that they don’t like you to send in deposits. They prefer you deposit money in another bank, and electronically transfer it in, sortof a bank parasite. Previously, my other bank was Netbank so… what shall happen? Shall I be forced to open an account with some brick and mortar monstrosity? Ye GADS!

The one point of pride in this is that I analyzed the financials of Netbank in 2000 and saw some subtle red flags that prevented me from investing. It’s good to include our averted-disasters in with our clean wins in the investing world.

Little Monday Morning Heart Attacks

Nothing like idly checking your portfolio on a Monday morning and seeing it down 12%.

What??

Deep breath, check the numbers in detail…

Okay. One stock split, and my portfolio tracker needs to be adjusted. Whew. Back up 10%.

And… for some reason I can’t figure out, Yahoo! finance has decided that the company Paxar (ticker PXR) no longer exists, and therefore doesn’t provide a quote, knocking a few percent off. TD Ameritrade provides a quote, as does the Motley Fool. Yahoo must have had a hiccup.

Whew. Back to normal.

Vote Fritz!

7 days left in the Motley Fool Video Stock Pick contest, in which I’m entered.

So, if you haven’t voted lately (you can vote once a day!), and if you can vote, and if you’re not allergic to registering at the website, Vote today!

I’m in the top 10 right now! Although only 18% of voters like my video!

Popularity contests. Sheesh. I didn’t do very well with them in high school, either.

Bachelors & Bucks

The next 30 or so hours will mark the first time RocketBoy and I have been left
to fend for ourselves overnight. has not gone on a
business or other trip without me since Roan was born, so it’s a
monumental couple days.

And by monumental, I mean party. Let the debauchery begin! Break
out the blocks and legos! Crank up the Music Class, Elephant
Edition
CD!

Also monumental, it’s been about 5 years since I bought a few books,
subscribed to the Motley Fool and took over the management of my own
retirment funds. I invest exclusively in independant stocks. I sat down
yesterday and did an analysis on how I’ve done, downloading all the
deposits I’ve made into retirement accounts since 2001 and performing an
Internal Rate of Return calculation compared to how equivalent investments
in the S&P 500 would have performed.

The verdict?

S&P 500           9.4% annual return
HM Invest Club   15.8% annual return*
Me               20.1% annual return

BOO-ya! I’m going to call that “worth it.” Now let’s see if I can keep
it up for another 30 years or so.

* Overall performance of Hundredth Monkey Investment Club, of
which I am a contributing member. (founded spring 2001)