Friday, February 20, 2009

The Dartboard Experiment - Revised

In my investments class, we were given an assignment to pick 5 stocks and put a fictional $2 million in each of them for a portfolio of $10 million. (Yeah, obviously fictional, right?) At the end of the semester, we have to see how our portfolio performed against the class-selected portfolio, which was chosen by the dartboard method.

I selected: Royal Dutch Shell, Pfizer*, Procter & Gamble, Netflix and TJX Inc.

As of today, I've lost $500,000. That's a lot of money! On the other hand, it's "only" 5%. I still have $9.6 million to buy my sweet party condo on the beach and lot of really great shoes.

*Update: I'd forgotten that I'd meant to include Pfizer in my list initially. My strategy was to pick companies I thought would do well in a crummy economy because people would still need their products, like Procter & Gamble, or switch to it to save money, like Netflix & TJX. Shell is on the list because at the time, gas/oil prices were stable and predicted to go up, and Shell also has interests in all kinds of energy, including green options like wind energy.

So why Pfizer? It was my dad's recommendation: they make a popular anti-anxiety medication, and he thought they might experience increased demand. (Hmm, wonder why?) They replaced Southwest Airlines which I'd selected mostly because I am a fan. Although I suspect travel in general isn't going to do well for a while, I thought they had the best shot since they've stayed profitable even when other airlines haven't. However, when I realized I left off Pfizer, I dropped them because they weren't as close a fit with my strategy.
-- Copyright Rebecca's Miscellanies ( )

Monday, February 9, 2009

Resolution Update

After going public with my New Year's resolutions this year, I decided to post an update every now and then, as a way to force myself to be honest about my progress. It's so easy to talk myself out of my goals, but in the end that only leaves me frustrated with my own laziness and lack of motivation. So... here's the update.

1. Read through the Bible chronologically.

I'm glad to say this resolution is going well. The schedule means reading 2-3 chapters a day, and I'm right on schedule. The early books of the Bible, Genesis and Exodus, are pretty easy reads. The stories are familiar, although reading through them reveals some subtle sub-plots and asides that I don't remember from my Sunday School days.

I admit that my personal devotion habit has not been consistent, and one of the things I hope to accomplish with this goal is to create a pattern of daily reading that becomes second nature. However, a group of us from church is doing this together and we met yesterday to talk about how it's going. There I learned that I need to challenge myself more to think critically about what I'm reading and ask myself more often some questions that can bring greater meaning to the process. For example,
~ What does a particular story teach me about God?
~ What am I learning about myself as I read through scripture?
Using these questions to dig a little deeper is going to influence my reading in the next couple of weeks until we meet again.

2. Finish grad school.

I'm showing up for class, I'm studying, and my head hurts occasionally from trying to absorb it all. So far, so good!

3. Lose 30 (+/-) pounds.

Ugh. I've only lost 2.4 pounds so far, and since I had gained 5 pounds over Christmas, it's hard not to think that I still haven't even overcome that little setback yet. But I just keep eating my veggies every day and trying to work at it. Speaking of which... time to wrap up this post and head for the gym!

Originally posted at:

Book: Remember Me?

Sophie Kinsella's books are pure fun, and this one was no exception. Although I didn't enjoy this tale as much as the Shopaholic series, it was still a fun way to pass a few hours. The main character in this book wakes up from a coma, the result of a head injury, to find she has no memory of the last three years, but finds herself living the perfect life: beautiful home, handsome husband, high-power career.

Her quest to discover how she arrived at point B from where her memory left off is the adventure of the book.

Remember Me?
by Sophie Kinsella

That said, I can't resist mentioning that I can't wait for Confessions of a Shopaholic to hit theaters later this month. Might have to plan a study break around this chick flick!

Originally posted at:

Book: Loving Frank

I am a Frank Lloyd Wright fan. Not a huge fan by any means, but a fan. I like his architectural style, and really anything sort in the American/organic/craftsman vein. I remember the cover of this book catching my attention last year, and put it on my "to read someday" list. Over my winter break from school, I had the opportunity.

This book was a very well-written and engaging story, a fictionalized account of the relationship between Frank and his lover, based on real people and actual historic events.

I'm a bigger fan now. I find myself looking up the locations of Wright homes that are open for tours, and searching the local library database for books about him. Although fiction, the book gives insight into who he was and some of his ideals and that has fueled my interest in actually seeing some of his work first hand.

If you enjoy a good fiction read, even without the sidebar interest in Frank himself, you may like this book.

Loving Frank
by Nancy Horan

Originally posted at: