November 12, 2007

Piano Man and other things

I took today off - a floating holiday from work. I'm sitting at home, and there's so many things I'm thinking of doing that I can't seem to focus on any one of them before my mind flits to something else. I've thought of my mind as a giant ferris wheel before, and it's really been like that for me today.
I have a new Yamaha YPG-525 keyboard. Have I mentioned this? It's an 88-key midi keyboard, with lightly weighted keys (the fully weighted keys are available on its big brother, the YPG-625, but it was $280 more - perhaps one day when I'm wealthy I'll splurge.) I've produced a midi file with it, and been playing with all of its functionality. A family member has borrowed my favorite fake book, though, so I'm stuck with the tunes I can remember, and a Christmas fake book, until they return. Learning the keyboard has been a wonderful experience over the past few years. I like fake books because I can only play in a simplistic style. (Full chorded left hand and simple right-handed melody) But, I enjoy playing, and I like the escape it brings. After two hours of playing, though, I have to get up and go do something else.
One of the songs I've taught myself is Piano Man by Billy Joel, and I've recorded it as a midi file which you can play (click on the song title). It sounds better on the Yamaha than it does in Windows because of the richness of the instruments. Of course, my piano playing won't win me any awards anytime soon.
On the other side of my brain is thoughts of new web sites that I want to create, should I get the right motivation. I'm thinking of starting up an incubator for web ideas and putting some irons in the fire to see if any of them get hot. You just never know what people will go for, and you'll never know just what will work unless you try it. I've convinced the wife that we may want to invest some cash into some of my more hair-brained schemes (or is it hare-brained, ala Bugs Bunny?)
Then, there's my stock investing. I've bought into some companies recently. And, like golf, there's always the one shot that keeps you coming back no matter HOW much the rest of your shots suck. I made $500 on a three day trade on a $2000 investment in my IRA trading into and out of a company named TRNS. It was a simple gimme - someone on the board was offloading a ton of stock and it depressed the price temporarily. Noting that the company itself was fine and actually undergoing growth, I bought up some stock and made a nice 25% profit, turning it around a few days later.
But, much like my golf game, the rest of my picks haven't been doing so hot, except perhaps my investment into gold (ETF: GLD). The dollar is sliding into oblivion with almost no end in sight (go Ron Paul for President - fiscal responsibility needed NOW).
If you're interested in a stock pick, though - now might be the right time to buy into Nautilus (NLS) - an investment group is trying to get rid of current board members, and the CEO has just been changed out to try to turn the company around. With the proxy fight and the past performance of the company, the stock price is pretty depressing. I bought some on the downslope, but certainly didn't hit the bottom. Once the proxy fight is over, though, the company should see some real turnaround. Nautilus owns some pretty big names in exercise equipment, and they won't be going out of business anytime soon.
Then, there's my website. Boy, does it need a makeover. I got rid of one component that added no value, but added plenty of UGLY, and I've changed the default stylesheet, but I'm not sure that's the best I can do. It's bugging me enough that I may take the time to do something about it this week.

No comments: