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Archive for March, 2010

Felt the baby move!

I thought a couple weeks ago that I had felt something, but when I recounted the weeks I realized it was only week 15 so it probably wasn’t the baby moving. But today I’m almost completely certain that’s what it was. I’ve got a few bubbles from lunch, but there were one or two pops that were definitely not in my intestines! They were in front where the midwife first put the doppler to look for a heartbeat at our last prenatal. I was sitting slouched over at my desk and it’s like the baby said, “Mom! Give me more room!”

And that’s the first time I’ve really thought of that word as applying to me. “Mom.” I admit it: I’m getting a bit teary-eyed. Mom! This whole time, I’ve been waiting to feel the baby move and know it’s really real. Yeah, my belly’s obviously bigger; yeah, we saw it on the sonogram at 12 weeks; yeah, I feel stuffed with less food…but feeling the baby kick me, that’s real first-hand proof.

Tomorrow marks week 18, though I have had some confusion about the date of my last period. I swore it was the 21st of November, but I also thought it was a Thursday, and the 21st was a Saturday. So it could be 18 weeks as of yesterday. Not that it really matters, but I am a stickler for accuracy >_>

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Advice from Some Guy on Reddit Who Claims to Make Good Money Doing It.

Posted here, unedited, for my future records, since it appears to be decent advice.

Start here: especially if you are a “small fry” — say, less than 100k to invest.

Register with SogoTrade (I use them as an example because their trades are only $3, but there are a plethora of good and more-full service on-line brokers to use, Ameritrade, Fidelity, Vanguard…).

Link a checking account with them (they do it with a Paypal method of making small deposits that you report).

Send them $500 to get started, ACH, check, wire…Then, buy something using their online interface. Don’t worry about economies of scale yet. Buy a couple shared of Apple, a couple hundred of Citigroup. Wait a few days and feel what it is like when it goes down a bit, or goes up a bit. Say you buy 300 shares of C (Citigroup). when it goes up a penny, you have paid the $3 commission to buy; let it go up a dime and sell. Try buying at market, limits, stop limits, and so on to get the feeling of what those terms mean.

You have just made $24 dollars. Now through the miracle of compounding, you now have $524 to invest. Repeat until rich. Sometimes you will lose. Get over it.

Buy stock when it looks hopeless and everyone hates it; also sell when everyone thinks it is going to the moon and nothing will hold it back.

It’s called contrarian trading and it has worked very well for me, and a few other investors such as Warren Buffet.

For now, do NOT USE MARGIN (margin is borrowing money to speculate). For now, do NOT consider options, currency, commodities, ETFs, or even mutual funds. These trades are like the strange side bets you see at a craps or roulette wheel at Las Vegas. They almost certainly offer less chance to make money compared to losing money (that is, possible reward compared to risk) than straight buying and selling stocks.

Play around with just buying a few shares of an ordinary stock. Master the feelings of fear of losing and exuberance of greed. When you can allow these feelings to wash over you without succumbing to their distortion, you will win over those who cannot or do not.

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Saw Alice tonight.

First, one (relatively minor, but important) thing is that the most interesting parts were understated, not like most movies now where it’s “here’s where you think this, here’s where you feel that, and here’s the Strong Female Character (see? TITS!)” There was just enough to evoke emotion but it wasn’t like a political cartoon with labels plastered over everything.

But what really stands out is that the most powerful characters in Wonderland, Alice and the two queens, are female, and the (female) dormouse is tiny but bold. They are feminine and dressed as such, with tiny waists for the queens as was the fashion, but not displaying cleavage.

Unfortunately, the lack of cleavage does kind of stand out after a while (even to my unobservant eyes). But that’s only because, elsewhere, almost every Strong Female Character is marked with boobies thrown in your face every time they turn around. So the absence is noticeable, but not through any fault of this movie.

I can’t remember any other movie that had strong female characters where you didn’t get blinded by cleavage every other minute, or where they didn’t make a huge deal out of the character being female, or where the Strong Female Character (of which there apparently can be only one per flick) didn’t fall in love and suddenly become weak and/or unimportant to the story and/or suddenly need saving from her lover, making him the Strong Character instead. Or just plain didn’t fall in love, and ended the movie happy anyway. When was the last time you saw a female main character that was happy without love? And didn’t even mention it, because she had other things going on that were more important? like…the struggle of good vs evil, life vs death?

I don’t mean to harp on this, but it’s just so damn rare, and it was really well done in Alice. The movie didn’t have to point out how well it was portraying women, patting itself on the back every five minutes, or show that she was female by having her have to shut off her emotions in order to be strong, or what-have-you. It’s so nice to see a woman for once: a strong, responsible, self-reliant adult who faces her problems (even if she sometimes needs time to think first) instead of hiding from herself or her situation or ducking under the cover of the first attractive man who comes along.

But what I liked the best is how pretty much every character is strong — there’s no role reversal where the men have to be weak because the women are strong; there are strong male characters as well. I like movies where the characters take initiative and fix their own problems. Seems like pretty much every movie now has The Character(s) That Get(s) Saved and The Character(s) That Save(s). Strong ones and weak ones. Either you’re the master of everyone’s destiny, or you aren’t even the master of your own. Not so in Alice. There are circumstances beyond your control, but by making friends (who may or may not be able to vanish at will) and taking opportunities presented to you, you are pretty much the master of your own life within whatever situation surrounds you. You choose what you do; you choose to save yourself.

Also, Stephen Fry and the animators did a great job with the Cheshire Cat. Definitely my favorite character, both in voice and mannerisms. “Goodbye…hat.”

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