Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I Live in Iowa: Week 14

Another good week.Another nice week living the dream or something like it. I feel strange when I say that, because I never dreamed that I would live in Iowa and work at a logging company. Yet, life is strange and I am incredibly fortunate.
Let’s get on with the week’s highlights, shall we?
I engineered my way through more than 43 hours again this week. That’s the second most hours I have worked yet, second only to last week. The design guys are coming through with semi-finished designs that we are putting through FEA so we have more work to do. I worked on 3.5 separate projects this week. (I started the second half of a project so it’s not entirely new, but for the most part it is new.) In fact things are getting busy enough, and there is enough work that I might even pop in the office on a Saturday a few times this fall. I don’t get paid an overtime rate, but my standard rate is somewhat better than minimum wage, and I don’t have to pay extra health and dental insurance on those extra hours.
As for athletics, I had a very nice week of running. I still haven’t updated my log completely but I ran 60-61 miles including an 18 mile long run, a set of short steep hills, a set of 8x400 (Aussie quarters), and a six mile tempo. That’s the kind of quality that I’m doing in the build up that I never really did before but I am sure that it will make a bigger difference in my race results. I am totally in shape to go sub 16 in the 5k. I feel I have been in that kind of shape twice before but instead ran other distance races. I am running a 5 mile this weekend so we shall see what kind of shape I am in. No Bix 7 this year.
I put in around 120 miles on the bicycle I think. I haven’t added it all together but that sounds about right. It was incredibly hot this week. The hottest temperatures and humidity I have had to deal with since I was a teenager. Five of the last six summers spent in the mountains has sure helped avoid the heat. Bicycling is nice because there is a constant breeze and I can drink from my two water bottles whenever I feel like it.
I have mentioned a little in the past that I have been doing some stock market investing, well I made my first sale of 2011 so I’ll give you the story. When I heard that the US was releasing oil from the reserve I knew that the price would drop temporarily only to go up a few weeks later. Is there really anything easier to predict than the price of oil? So I bought shares of USO (United States Oil, it’s based on the price of west Texas sweet crude as I understand it) at $37.45 on June 29th. If my limit orders had gone through on the 27th or 28th I would have made even more, but the price of oil went up linearly by the hour both days. Fast forward three weeks, it was time to pay for my new carbon fiber bicycle so I sold my shares with a limit order at $38.60 on July 19th. I have to say I’m quite happy that the price spiked around 1:30PM or my order for the day might not have been met. Although, had I held on at least two days longer I could have sold for $38.90.
What is the point of all this? Why did I put in an hour of work just to make 3.1% interest? Simple, 1% interest per week repeated over and over equals 50% interest per year. That is kind of the golden standard for investors. All of the big names have done 50% at some point in their careers. All I did was pay attention to the news. My savings account makes only 1% interest per year! I made 3.1% interest before commissions and after commissions I still made more than 1% interest, in three weeks!

US Oil (USO) on July, 19th 2011

The Tour of France ended this week and with it three weeks of me watching videos and looking at stats of the various bicyclists. It was a really exciting tour to watch. The sprinters were fighting all the time, the breakaways succeeded a number of times. Unfortunately, there were many crashes this year and I was excited to see Bradley Wiggins race, but he crashed out. I am happy that Cadel won because he is 34 and this is really a career capping thing for him. Andy Schlek will be back with his brother and I have a feeling that they stand a good chance of improving on their 2nd and 3rd place finish.

Also, the Shuttle landed for the last time. It makes me rather sad because the Shuttle did, for 30 years what no other vehicle has done, or probably will do for several decades. More importantly, the United States has no clear plan of what we are going to do next in space. That is really sad. I spent four years and tens of thousands of dollars learning about this stuff, and now where are we headed? I feel that it is all a little vague. I like clear cut goals, such as: Moon: done; Space Station: done; graduate: done; run a marathon: done; survive Broad Peak: done; get an engineering job: done.

I hope you had a good week as well.

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