18 Years Ago

Thanks to the Memories thing on Facebook, I was reminded that I joined the Army Reserve 18 years ago today. That means that about this time on that fateful Monday, SSG Nyman had dropped me off on my second attempt to join up, after having gone previously and failing to “provide a sample” due to my inability to pee on command in front of other people. Maybe I should have taken that as a sign, but I persevered and finally enlisted, even if I didn’t get my massive ($3,000) enlistment bonus on the spot when I signed on the proverbial dotted line.

This anniversary is often secondary or tertiary to all my other Army anniversaries, and I tend to forget about it until I see the annual reminder. I always remember my last day in the Army – February 6, 2011 – which, as you will note, was 10 years and six months to the day of the day I signed. Leaving then also led me to losing my job, something that I didn’t really prepare for fully and something that I never really recovered fully from until I started working for the Air Force two years ago.

I probably should have left about two years prior on my initial ETS date. I wasn’t getting anywhere, I hadn’t passed a PT test since November of 2001, shortly after I returned from AIT – and I barely passed that test as it was. I started to get fat not long after for various reasons, and I stopped missing weight by 2003 or 2004, and I was always on the “Body Fat Control Program.” I wanted to do so much more while I was in the Army and I was being held back, but I was also scared about my post-Army prospects with nothing but a degree in political science and no “real world” skills. Continue reading

My (Updated) Investment Philosophy

You can talk to 10 different people and get 10 different opinions about investing. Or even different definitions of investing. In this post, I intend to lay out my personal thoughts on investing, which have been cultivated over the past 10 years or so.

It started with a passing interest due to a friend in the Army Reserve that was interested in investing. We talked about interesting stocks and companies when killing time on drill weekends or while deployed in Iraq, and that led me to further research about investing.

When I returned from Iraq – and subsequently left the Army Reserve and lost my civilian job – I was looking for something to do as I entered my post-Army life. I was completing a degree in accounting, and on a whim, I applied for an internship with The Motley Fool. I wasn’t selected for that internship, but it was suggested to me that I should apply to their Writer Development Program that was starting up later that year, and I was accepted into that program. After spending six months in Alexandria, Virginia learning how to be a “Fool,” I was unleashed on the world as a contract writer for the site, where I wrote primarily about banks, specifically small and regional banks. Continue reading

TDOH: Alexander Hamilton, Part 2

Note: This is a re-blog of something I wrote previously. Please see this post for what I am doing this month. 

As I work my way through the biography of Alexander Hamilton (hopefully in advance of seeing Hamilton: An American Musical when it makes its stop in Salt Lake), I’ll be writing some thoughts about the book, or just thoughts about Hamilton in general. They won’t always be a direct critique of the book, but we’ll see what happens.

Alexander Hamilton wrote a lot. Three-quarters of the Federalist Papers. A report on public credit and the national bank. A pamphlet about an affair in an attempt to clear the air. Biographer Ron Chernow noted that Hamilton “must have produced the maximum number of words that a human can scratch out in 49 years.” If there were notes to be taken or thoughts about something, It was almost a guarantee that he wrote it down.

This was evidenced by his courtship of Elizabeth Schuyler. Granted, at the time, it wasn’t as if he could spend hours upon hours on the phone speaking with his future wife. For one, the telephone wasn’t yet invented; second, he was mostly away with the Army fighting the Revolutionary War as George Washington’s aide, so he didn’t really have a bunch of free time. Nevertheless, he wooed the young Eliza with his words on paper, sending her a letter nearly every day he was away (we know this because he chastised her for not keeping up with his prolific pace of letter writing). Continue reading

Alexander Hamilton, Part 2

As I work my way through the biography of Alexander Hamilton (hopefully in advance of seeing Hamilton: An American Musical when it makes its stop in Salt Lake), I’ll be writing some thoughts about the book, or just thoughts about Hamilton in general. They won’t always be a direct critique of the book, but we’ll see what happens.

Alexander Hamilton wrote a lot. Three-quarters of the Federalist Papers. A report on public credit and the national bank. A pamphlet about an affair in an attempt to clear the air. Biographer Ron Chernow noted that Hamilton “must have produced the maximum number of words that a human can scratch out in 49 years.” If there were notes to be taken or thoughts about something, It was almost a guarantee that he wrote it down.

This was evidenced by his courtship of Elizabeth Schuyler. Granted, at the time, it wasn’t as if he could spend hours upon hours on the phone speaking with his future wife. For one, the telephone wasn’t yet invented; second, he was mostly away with the Army fighting the Revolutionary War as George Washington’s aide, so he didn’t really have a bunch of free time. Nevertheless, he wooed the young Eliza with his words on paper, sending her a letter nearly every day he was away (we know this because he chastised her for not keeping up with his prolific pace of letter writing). Continue reading