Reviewing my Investments from 2014

Every six months or so I take the time to review my investment portfolio.  It gives me an idea of how things are going and if I should be refocusing my portfolio to get a better return on my investment.  While many of my friends count on investment advisors to do that work for them, I would rather do it on my own to make sure it is done right.

Looking over my portfolio makes me smile as I had some good growth last year.  I’m not exactly happy with how my mutual fund investments performed, so I might have to rethink them as an investment strategy.

The one shining light in the whole portfolio would have to be my money managed by algorates.  It has done remarkably well.  So well in fact, that I had to check the rate of return twice – you don’t find anything giving you double digit returns like it did.

Once I have looked at the rest of the portfolio, I am going to sit down and make a game plan of where I am going to put my money this year.  Algorates will for sure be a priority, but I am sure there will be other changes as well.

I hope 2015 will be a better year than 2014 for my investment portfolio.

Looking Forward to Seeing Hardcore

When it comes to movies, there really haven’t been a lot in the past few years that I have looked forward to seeing.  It seems that filmmakers are all stuck in the mode where they just regurgitate old films over and over again.

And quite frankly, that sucks.

But there is one gem that is supposed to come out in 2015 and it looks like it will be good.  The movie is called “Hardcore” and is shot entirely from a first person perspective, much like you would see in first person shooters in video games.

And it looks great.

You don’t have to take my word for it.  Just take a peek at the video below: I bet you will like it.

Trading with the Help of Computers

When I was younger, I was eager to make my money on the stock market.  I invested whatever money I had left over from my paycheck each month into whatever stock that I was hot at the time.  Back then I had the time, energy and passion to spend most of my day watching the trends happening on the stock markets, doing research of upcoming hot stocks, and I micromanaging my stock portfolio.

But now that I am older, I just don’t have a lot of free time, and what little I have, I spend with my family.  My passion for stock trading still lives inside of me, but I can’t devote as much time to it as I used to.

I recently started using algo trading as a means of investing my portfolio into stocks.  The idea of it really appealed to me because the computers would so all of the stock research for me, and I would just have to invest.  Instead of spending days and nights keeping up on the latest trends in the stock markets, the computer would do it for me.

So far, counting on the computer to do all of the research has been paying off, and I have seen huge gains in my portfolio over the course of the past few months.

It is definitely the best way that I have ever invested in the stock market in my life.

There is a Raccoon Living Under Our Porch

For the past week or so, I could always hear some animal growling or making noises at me when I went out in the morning to get the paper, but I could never see anything.

It wasn’t until last week when we came home late from a dinner party that we noticed raccoons in the yard.  We saw them dash away as soon as they saw us, but unfortunately for us, they disappeared under our porch.

We had to do something about them.

While my daughter would have loved if we could have kept them as pets, I knew that we had to get someone in to deal with them before they became a bigger problem for us or our family.

I looked in the phone book for pest control in Woodbridge NJ and called the first number I found.  On the other end of the line, they listened to my problem and suggested that we have one of their pest control officers out to assess and deal with the problem.

That made a lot of sense to me.

They will be coming out tomorrow to come deal with the raccoon while the kids are in school.

It will be a lot less stressful in our house once we know they are gone.

Finally Getting Decent Returns on my Investments

For years I was stuck using the investment advice that my father gave me when I was a child.  He said, “Son, invest all of your money in GICs as you want your money to be safe.”  At one point, that style of investing did make sense, but in the 21st century, that is a really bad idea.  Basically my portfolio of GIC investments were treading water against inflation and were not really growing at all.  I did want to retire at some point, so I started to look for alternatives.

While many people are happy to use mutual funds as the core of their investment portfolio, I wanted to look at something with a better rate of return.  I had quite a bit of time to make up, and I sure was not going to be working a day past my 65th birthday, so I needed something that would give me some real returns on my investment.

I’ve started working with algorates, a company that has developed the most advanced program for analyzing stocks and making trades.  The computer can do all of the analyzing that would be traditionally reserved for a human and allows the investor to benefit from trends in the market.  Their rate of returns are amazing, so I have invested a portion of my portfolio to test the waters out.  If my test investment does as well as they say it will, I should be able to retire by 50 at the latest.

Outgrowing my Reseller Hosting Account

It really puts a smile on my face that one of the websites that I started nearly ten years ago has become so popular that my hosting company isn’t happy with me.  You see, as a site receives more traffic, it uses more resources, and the amount of computing resources that you are allocated on a reseller account is very small.

So, I have been looking at my options as to what the next biggest hosting package would be.  I know that I could move up to a virtual private server, but the truth of the matter is that the performance just wouldn’t be worth the expense.  My busy forum would be better off having access to a complete server on its’ own.

I am going to rent a dedicated server from, a dedicated server provider based out of Italy.  It is the hosting company that most of my colleagues use, and if their services are good enough for them, then they will be good enough for me.

The only thing that I am not looking forward to is moving the sites from the current hosting account to the new one – it will be a lot of work.  I might just have to hire someone to do that – I don’t really want to have the headache of doing it on my own.

Thank Goodness for Gig Harbor Towing

A few days ago, I had the bright idea to go for a little road trip.  With gas prices being as low as they have been, it seemed a very inexpensive way to have some fun.  So, I gassed up the car, packed some snacks and started driving.

I hopped on the I-5 in Tacoma and headed north.  I didn’t have any plans as to where I was going, but I was going to enjoy every minute of it.

I toyed with the idea of driving as far North as I could, as it has been a few years since I had been up in Canada.  But I didn’t know how far I would go before I got too sleepy to continue.

Well, I shouldn’t have went on the trip because at some point along the way, I must have fell asleep, and my car ended up stuck in the ditch.  Seriously, I must have picked the muddiest ditch to get stuck in because I couldn’t get my little Dodge Neon to budge one bit.

I called Gig Harbor towing company and they were out right away to pull my car out of the ditch.  Thankfully, there was no damage too it, so I decided to pull over at the next motel for some much needed rest.

I guess next time I can’t be so ambitious with my road trips.

Great Gift Idea for Your Friends Who Vape

If you are like me, you have a group of friends who like to vape.  Some of mine are casual vapers, while others are more regular, much like smokers.  While I love the smell of their vape pens, I haven’t had any interest in trying it on my own.

One of the things that I have noticed is that all of my friends are just using disposable vape pens that they buy from the convenience store.  This didn’t make a lot of sense to me, so I decided to do some research to see if there was something better that they could do.

After a bit of research online (and talking to a couple of my other vape fanatic friends), I decided to get a refillable hoookah pen for everyone this year for their birthday.  The refillable pen will allow them to save quite a bit of money compared to buying disposable ones, and they will have the opportunity to buy their own liquid to put in the pens.

I think they will all appreciate the gifts, and if you have friends that vape, I am sure that they would too.

I just hope my friends remember my birthday…

Hiring Employees for Summer Positions

For the last five years, we have operated a landscaping business during the summer months.  We take care of cutting lawns, weeding flowerbeds and pruning trees for a few hundred clients and we need the manpower to make it happen.

While we have a number of people that come back to us each year, there are always job vacancies that need to be filled.  Traditionally, we just put an advertisement in the local paper, but after the lack of applications that we received last year, I wanted to try something different this time around.

I figured I could find somewhere online that would let me make a job posting that would reach a large audience without having to do a lot of work or that would cost a lot of money.

After some digging around, I discovered Catalyst Five, a website that makes it easy to hire employees.  I was able to post my job listing easily, and they made sure that it made it out to their best candidates out of the 3.5 million that they have in their community.

While the job posting isn’t closing for another three days, I have had hundreds of resumes pouring in.  Some of them won’t make the cut, but there are a lot of people that I am adding to my list for interviews.

It will be nice to be able to choose from a group of candidates this year.  Hiring new employees has never been so easy.

Working on the Family Home

Whenever I stop at our family home, I am just amazed at the place I grew up.  Our family home is situated on the top of a riverbank, and it has some of the most wonderful views I have ever seen in my life.  Truth be told, it was like waking up in some exotic place every morning, and I do miss living there.

But living on the top of a riverbanks comes with some challenges.  Since we are perched up high on a dirt bank with water flowing constantly against it, we are continually fighting erosion.  Years ago, we built some reinforcements along the entire bank with the intention of stopping mother nature from slowly gnawing on the land the house was sitting on.

While our work has helped, it has got to the point where we need to call in professionals to do something about the erosion.  Our father has hired someone who specializes in Pierce County erosion control to come out and assess our situation so that they can give us some options.

Once we figure out what needs to be done, we will get them to do the work for us.  We don’t have the time or equipment to do the job properly, so we will leave it to the people who do it for a living.

Hopefully they can stop the erosion altogether so that our parent’s house can stay perched overlooking the river.