Dec 30, 2013

Stock Buy Blow-by-Blow

Pigtails wants to start investing.  I'll walk the process of opening a trading account and feeding cash so she's ready to go with purchasing stock.

We'll start by setting up an account with a trading company.,, TD and are reputable online self-service brokerage houses.  I picked E-Trade for Pigtails, here's a link for creating the new account:

Dec 28, 2013

Taking Investment Ownership

Order of operation for short and long term savings should go something like this:
  1. Cushion the unexpected by saving six months worth of expenses for emergencies
  2. If family, life insurance
  3. 401K, contribute at least enough to score the full company match if your employer offers it
  4. Roth IRA, max limit is $5,500 per year, withdrawals are taxless
  5. Buy a house
  6. Stocks, bonds, mutual funds or gold
  7. If kids, then start a 529 college savings plan
Notice that retirement funding for self and spouse should come ahead of building a pot for your brat's education.  Also better to start on the 401K and Roth BEFORE buying a home.  The longer we wait saving for our hoary headed days, the more compound interest we forgo.  

I recommend letting the pros manage your 401K and Roth.  Principal is a solid retirement and investment company.

Let's talk about #6 above.  Over the past four years, I've transitioned to managing my own stocks via eTrade.  Generally, I buy $1,000 of stock from one company at a time.  After several years of throwing $1K at various companies, the portfolio starts to spread out and diversify.  I've got a range of corporations in there like the rusty but trusty General Electric and Ford to new tech, riskier bets like Tesla, Netflix and China Mobile.  

Dec 22, 2013

Honey Badger Don't Care - 6, Running in < 10F

Best to run with a partner or bring a phone when the mercury tickles < 10F.  A black ice slip with ankle sprain on a wooded trail means frostbite and worse if you don't prep for contingency.

Body warms up and stay toasting during the workout, but exposed skin will get cold burns, so cover up!  

Layering is similar to what we talked about last time for the 10 - 20F range.  Just need to thicken up the torso middle layer, go heavy on the gloves and make sure your cheeks are coated with scarf, gaiter or mask.

Dec 19, 2013

Honey Badger Don't Care - 5, Running in 10 - 20F

Blocking air flow down your neck hole is the secret to staying warm as temp slides under 20F.  A neck gaiter, balaclava or Insane Clown Posse mask will get the job done.  They prevent body heat from venting and retard icy wind infiltration.

Dec 18, 2013

Honey Badger Don't Care - 4, Running in 20 - 30F

Check the wind chill when lacing up for a run.  If the air temp is 35 and wind chill 25, dress for 25 degrees.  A thin nylon vest or jacket is an effective wind fence.  Zippers are helpful in regulating body temp.  Unzip a little on the tailwind when you're warm, zip back up against the biting headwind.

For a 20 - 30 degree run, combine a medium base layer:  

+ Plus + 

Running pants, thin vest or jacket, medium mittens and hat:

Dec 17, 2013

Honey Badger Don't Care - 3, Running in 30 - 40F

Yesterday's pop quiz: During a hard workout, max internal muscle temps reach:

A)  100F
B)  110F
C)  120F
D)  None of the above

Answer is D, muscles burn @130F when you really get after it.  This explains why you can head out in shorts and thin shirt at 30 degrees and still drip a sweat trail.  First 10 minutes of a winter run are chilly, then the internal furnace stokes and you're comfortable.

Base layers come into play in the upper 20s/lower 30s range.  Base means slim fitting wicking shorts and shirt to trap body heat and block the external chill.  Mostly it keeps your junk warm.

Heads up warning on the man spanx...I mangled Curls and Pigtails' eyes and innocence as they snapped these.

For a 30 - 40 degree run, combine a short base layer:  

+ Plus + 

Shorts, sleeves, thin gloves and cap:

Dec 16, 2013

Honey Badger Don't Care - 2, Running in 40 - 50F

Forecast shows the mercury's touching the 40s on Wednesday, yee haw!  Ideal running temps, I'll pack shorts, long sleeve wicking shirt, thin gloves and a ball cap to retain a smidge of heat.

The Most Important Part...
Let's talk running shoes.  Don't skimp on this one, otherwise the injury fairy may force you to tap out.

It will take some time to find the right brand and model that's right for you. Depending on how God decided to knit together your lower extremities, your foot either rolls inward (pronates) or outward (supinates) when you jog.  A neutral footstrike is desirable, and means your foot initially rolls outward as you strike the ground, then rolls inward slightly on push-off.

Dec 15, 2013

Honey Badger Don't Care - 1, Running in 50F+

A coworker asked what her 10-yr-old daughter should wear for the Jingle Bell 5K run.  Forecast was 10 degrees and windy.  Conditions sounded daunting, but loaded up with the right layers, her girl stayed toasty and smiled through the 30-min race.

I run a bunch, usually more than 2,000 miles a year.  We do the deed daily over lunch, plus 12+ mile trots Saturdays in all conditions.  Iowa temp ranges from -20 to 110, with clouds spitting all sorts of unholy precip'.  Experimentation, sweaty hands and CC (cold crotch) have taught me how to stay comfortable on winter powder trails and through 40 degree spring monsoons.

As it starts getting colder, layers need to be added in roughly 10 degree increments, else things will start to invert.  I'll split these posts into temp ranges and layers.  We'll start the series today with warmth and end the week with permafrost.

50+ Degrees
50F and above, shorts and shirt will do.  Be sure to wear wicking when working out.  A cotton shirt on a hot day will cling and feel like you're doing laps in a wet bedspread or a moist toga.

Workout clothes are branded with names like Dri-Fit and performance cotton, but they're all pretty much the same thing.  100% polyester or a blend of 85% poly' with traces of cotton and spandex for soft 'n stretch.

Target carries a Champion knock-off brand that I like.  The shorts have a built-in liner (look ma', no undies!), wick well on greasy days and are 15 bucks on sale.  I don't recommend buying a workout shirt, as nearly every race from 5K up gives out Dri-Fits with entry and they'll soon be coming outta your ears.

I probably have 30 race shirts, gently used, you want one?  This one's my favorite, the winged foot Market-to-Market Relay, with an ear of corn in place of wing:

Dec 9, 2013

A Svedish Smörgåsbord

Our family's only a few fingers of generations from ancestors that bucked the Atlantic, blowing from Horn, Sweden to New York in timbered ship.

Dec 4, 2013

B&P Week in Review - Pigtails Honks and Beard Interpretive Dances

I'll show you our week instead of tell you, carry on:

Track the B&P FB page this weekend for live updates on our Memphis Marathon trip.


Dec 2, 2013

Kickstarter, Crowdsourcing and Fresh Joe

Crowdsourcing - The practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people, and especially from an online community, rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.

Our economy hightails down the path of globalization.  Automation, speed-to-market and the rise of computers are here to stay.  Employees that are innovative, flexible and work quickly are the baseline for what companies expect today.  You gotta paddle hard and keep up or prepare to cough water in this fast moving stream.  I'm a hyper sort of dude that likes to try new, so this all sounds good to me.

It's in this vein of globalization, technology and flexibility that crowdsourcing works well.