A week of random thoughts

My blog tonight is a hodge podge of random thoughts.  Last night I missed my usual blog session because I was at a buttoned-down affair for some members of the local community.  I met people from all over the world.  We do similar types of work and spent the evening talking about our countries, backgrounds, and what we do.  I really enjoyed it.  I don’t have an opportunity to go to these types of events very often, so I made the most of it.  This week at work I received several emergency calls at various times of the day.  There’s nothing like being startled out of a deep sleep at 1:30 a.m. to answer an important call.  I also started my new job assisting Americans in Korea.  My new assignment is very different from the type of work I was doing just last week.  For example, this job will entail much more travel.  Yesterday I visited some Americans in Seoul, and next week I will head to Daegu to visit more Americans.  So far, I’m really enjoying the change of pace, although the level of responsibility I’ve taken on now has multiplied exponentially.  The past few days have left me busier than I would like.  Now that I’ve transitioned to a new assignment, I’ve been heading home later than usual and have less time to enjoy a quiet evening at home. 

I spent some time tonight watching my son play with other children while I talked to their dads.  That’s a nice change of pace.  My son’s mom often takes him out to play with other children; by evening there are far fewer opportunities for me to take my son out to play.  Between dinner and bedtime, there’s not much time in the evening.  At first we were going to take him to the store, but I didn’t feel like shopping and chasing him around the store.  Then we decided to take him for an ice cream cone, but he changed our minds after he started playing in the neighbor’s children’s sandbox.  He loves playing in the sand with all sorts of toys such as bulldozers and dump trucks.  I enjoyed watching his young, creative mind at work as he guided the toys around the sandbox.  I’m really glad that another three-day weekend is coming tomorrow so I can spend more time at home.  This weekend is Korean Memorial Day, time for the masses to head out and enjoy a well-earned day off.  My wife and I have been planning some family trips we would like to take during the long weekend.

Did I make a mistake selling Google too early?  I jumped off the bandwagon at $200/share.  Just six weeks ago the stock price was hovering around $200/share, and then all of a sudden the entire investment community decided the stock price would rise to $300-$350/share because it will likely be added to the S&P 500 index.  After I liquidated my shares, the stock briefly dipped to $165/share before recovering.  I thought about buying it again, but I did not want to take the risk that Google would head in the other direction.  That’s what happened with DreamWorks Animation, which dropped like a rock after it failed to meet quarterly expectations and its newest release, “Madagascar,” performed poorly at the box office.  I sold early and avoided losses with that stock.  At $284/share I can still buy Google with plenty of upside, but the price is too steep for me.  Still, it makes me proud to know that I got in on Google at the beginning when few in the investment community had faith it would fly.  Zig when they zag, I say.  My other IPO investment, Morningstar, is also doing well.  It is now hovering at $23.19, a 26% gain.  Not bad for one month’s investment.  It was the third best performing IPO in May.  I just received notice from W.R. Hambrecht that I can invest in the upcoming HemoSense IPO.  I have some cash left over I didn’t invest when I bought Morningstar.  Should I try my hand a third time through Dutch auction IPO?  I really don’t know yet.  I’ll think about it.  I don’t know anything about HemoSense, and they say you should buy what you know.  I should probably be patient and wait for another Dutch auction IPO.  Impatience is not a virtue.

Note to renshai_colby:  Hi, thanks for stopping by to read my blog and post a comment.  I always like to respond to comments when I get a chance.  You asked how we keep our travels from turning into disasters.  Well, sometimes they take a turn for the worse!  During our trip to Egypt, our hotel room was robbed, and we lost quite a bit of money.  The bus we took to Sinai had a flat tire, and we almost missed our connection to Jordan.  The day after we returned home from Egypt, our car was totaled less than a mile from home.  Our trip to Seoul was trying because we were all really sick (see the archives from February 2005).  Traveling can be very trying.  It’s easy to get nostalgic when you look back on those trials and tribulations.  I also have to admit that I sometimes when I write this blog I gloss over events that happen in our lives, especially if the press is negative.  I try to dwell on the positive and yet keep this blog as realistic as I can. 

You also asked whether Korean food is salty.  Yes, it can be pretty salty.  Asians, including Koreans, tend to use MSG (monosodium glutamate) in order to spice up dishes.  One unfortunate side effect of MSG is that it tends to make one’s mouth really dry after eating it.  Have you ever eaten Chinese food in the U.S. and found that it’s left you very thirsty?  That affect is caused by MSG.  Many people avoid MSG when eating Asian foods, and you’ll find that some restaurants put up signs saying "No MSG" to advertise that they don’t use MSG in their food.  Korean food is spicy as well.  It’s a sharp, quick spicy tasty that fades quickly.  It’s a type of spiciness different from what you find with Mexican, Thai, or Cantonese cuisine.  I think it’s because Koreans tend to use red chilis exclusively in their cuisine, whereas other ethnic foods use a wider variety of hot spices.  I prefer the quick, sharp kick of Korean food over other spicy ethnic foods.

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