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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The holidays are once upon us!

It is that time of the year again that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Yep, indigestion, okay well not quite, I'm talking about the holidays. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I'm making a list of what I am thankful for in life. For starters, I am thankful for my friends and family, its that support network that keeps me sane and continually going. I'm thankful for the resources that have allowed me to do whatever I want to do in life, without an opportunity in the America, I would be far less off than now. Being a U.S citizen does not mean I take the system that I live in for granted. Most people forget that they themselves are lucky to be in a first world country and have all the available resources at their finger tips and not fighting for food and water, such as the other 6 billion people (Total population is nearing 7 billlion). I will continue this later, because right now I'm thankful for sleep.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why is the rent too damn high?

In this hilarious turn of events the race for governor of New York has taken brevity in the light of post-recession environment. Candidate Jimmy McMillan has a very serious message to the people of New York, which is the rent is too damn high. He also has very interesting ideas on how to fix the state but that was just ramblings, something about Obama's plan to reform schools or something other. I do tend to agree that the rent is too damn high in Manhattan and needs to be lowered to help the poorer people but, how does he go about this and change the property taxes that he so eloquently repeats over and over. He seems very charismatic and passionate about his platform and may get a few thousands votes based solely on "he's not the other guy." Although, he might be taken as an idiot in a very serious election I believe that he should get an honest and fair shot. Note: This is my due to listening on his sound bytes and not his plans to reform. Anyways, I believe he also blames the Jews for why the rent is too damn high. So maybe he isn't the perfect candidate, but then again who is?

Saturday, October 9, 2010

What's to drink?

Of all the things that people are fighting over these one would think that water isn't one of them, well think again. This article has brought to light the growing problem of fresh water around the world. With a growing human population up to almost 6.9 billion people it is getting harder and harder to find clean water for all those people to drink. There are efforts being made by corporations to try and privatize all the world's water, bottle it up and sell it back to us for a price. Water is one of the most essential tools nessesary to our survial and yet there are people who want us to pay for this lifeline.

Now granted, everyone who lives in cites pays for water especially in LA.. Los Angeles is a desert and we get our supply of water from the Colorado Basin or the Sierra Nevada, so the city is a paying other counties and districts to ship it to us. At least the water will keep coming until we have a bad winter and other cites like San Francisco and Las Vegas will try and siphon it from us causing water shortages like a couple of years ago. My point is that we are very lucky that America has the resources and the money to save LA in case of the a water problem, I mean the last thing that California will allow is a bunch of dehydrated movie stars causing a fuss and tanking the movie industry. Seriously though, people in the US have it better than the rest of the world, such as China, India, and Pakistan. These areas rely on one (small lakes and streams aside) source of water for their population and that is the Himalayas, this mountain range supplies almost a third of the world's people. Imagine, 2 billion people all fighting over one source of clean water. Unimaginable would be the answer from an average person who flushes several clean gallons of water down the drain daily. I'm one the offenders as well, by taking two showers a day I'm also contributing to this water conservation problem. It is just to easy to be careless and have no consequences. 

The world is a fast changing place, where there was was fought over oil there will be wars fought over clean water to drink. Where once there was plenty of clean lakes and rivers there will be dams and mass irrigation. I don't know how to solve this issue but merely bring it to light. On a side note, investing in private water companies might net you a massive profit in the future although it would be a morally ambiguous decision.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Investing in the future.

So this new movie "Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps," tells about a new wizkid (Shia LaBeouf) that is just starting in the world of finance and is taken under the wing of an old timer (Michael Douglas) that teaches him the ropes. I haven't seen the movie so I can't give you a perfect description of the events, but what has interested me in the movie was how a certain young actor prepared for the role. Shia LaBeouf, risked $20,000 of his own money and within months he has earned $489,000 with his initial investment. Now in order to prepare for the role, he was put into meetings with big time investors in New York, including the well known Donald Trump. Now the money that he made was a drop in the bucket compared to the millions of dollars that he earned making movies like Transformers, but for average people that are just trying to get into finance it is very risky to put down 20,000 with no experience.

This begs the question of if an average person had all the resources that Shia had for the training of the movie, could they have made that much money or even more? Certainly talking to Trump would be an eye opening experience to any newbie of the business world and definitely be far more valuable than playing the markets randomly. I do believe that the privileged in this world have all the resources to keep them in power for themselves as well as their children. Most of us do not have the luxury of growing up around wealthy people and learning their secrets and putting them in practice once we were older, nor are most people able to have the time nessesary to dedicate to studying the market intensively besides in business majors. Now of course there are those who have been successful playing the markets as a hobby, but the vast majority of the public do not particapate in our "capitalist economy" or are uninformed about how to properly create wealth in our society.

The reason for my topic is that I have been wanting to start investing as a side hobby for some time now. It is something that many have told me is very important to know once I have a stable income. Many of the IRA's and retirement funds that I will be putting my money in will rely on the information from the markets. I do not want my life savings to be wiped out because of some companies bad business decisions, as many have during the last recession. There is also the aspect of being financally free that entices me the most. The ability to not be in debt and being able to buy without worry. With my busy work schedule it is hard to put in time and research the markets as much as I would like. It is a slow process learning the ropes of the business industry and not very exciting as the movie presents it. The payouts can be astronomical or you can lose your entire life savings playing the stock market. I will tread lightly on this subject for now.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Katy Perry does America.

As you can see from the posts so far that I have not found an identity for what my blog could be yet. So I will continue to to test the waters until I find a niche to write about, and today's niche is the lovely and talented Katy Perry.

Many of you are wondering why I decided to do a post about a pop star whose target audience is millions of teenage girls, tweens, and guys who have a thing for her. I guess lately shes been on a tour promoting her new album, because I am seeing her a lot more often. If you know anything about her and her videos, in general they tend to be fantastically crazy or curiously interesting. If you ever seen California Gurls then you know what I'm talking about, if not watch it and be mind blown. It gives you a new spin on an old childhood game of Candyland. My question is why the heck is Snoop Dogg in it?

I'm guessing shes trying to find more people to buy her albums, because she was to be featured in an old childhood tv show "Sesame Street." In it she is on a play date with Elmo, (I wonder if Russel Brand was okay with it) and the whole premise of the skit was have Katy running after Elmo to a kids version of "Hot and Cold," all in a low cut dress. After many complaints about the its "sexual" content it was shelved. It begs the question, Why was it made in the first place? No doubt, it was to attract higher ratings for the show, but it had to educational content at all. I mean I grew up loving the show Sesame Street for its kid lessons about honesty, hard work, and caring for others; not to see a pop star finding more tweens to follow her. Granted, I'm sort of a hypocrite by showing this video just below, but its hard to look away ;), maybe I should start watching Sesame Street again.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Education..... Is it up to us?

I recently saw a movie trailer about the failing education system in the United States. From trailer (in which you can see below), concerns are raised about the future of our country if our school systems are allowed to wallow and deteriorate. The reason for my fascination with the school system is because like the most of us, we were all part of this big epic school failure (private schools aside). How many of us have been bored to death or uninterested in school because it didn't apply to our daily lives? How many of us have had dreams or aspirations shut in our faces because we didn't get into our dream school to further our passions?

Well, I was/am still relegated to the limitations and barriers that I got from my education system. That is not to say that I'm blaming it all on the schools, part of it is family upbringing and personal motivation. I believe that everyone has to have a fair shot at living out our dreams. Those who live in inner city communities and poor areas of the country have very little real chance of getting out of their situation. (I am generalizing, of course there are many exceptions) But, good teachers tend to want to teach better and safer neighborhoods, leaving the the poor/bad teachers to educate the rest. 

I think that the way schools are pushed to "study for the test" is a incomplete way to learn. One cannot study and memorize facts without significant context to support it. The material is much more personal if it can be related to something in our lives no matter how inconsequential it is. For example, learning about physics can enlighten one's views about the world that they live in, how the motion of the planets can effect the climate and seasons. Or history, studying that the world has been conquered over and over and that it might happen again if we aren't to careful of who we chose to power.

School is to promote ideas, foster minds, and generate creativity, but it seems the complete opposite in reality. How many of us fell asleep during school? I'll have more later on, as this is a topic is close to my heart. Watch the movie and be scared of what might happen to our youth.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

In the beginning there was man.

I have chosen to start a blog as a creative outlet to expand my horizons. Hopefully, the viewers (if any) will find my comments and opinions witty and satirical enough to keep on reading. It is mainly for my own personal benefit that I write down some of the feelings and issues that I have with society and my own need to solve problems far beyond what one man can do. If you know me well enough, I tend to get very passionate with problems at hand and over-analyze them to complete exhaustion. I guess that is why I decided to head towards a career studying problems.

So, a little introduction is in order. My name is Steven, I like long walks on the beach, walking in the rain, smooth jazz, I'm a Gemini, hates turtlenecks and loud people. Hmm sounds an ad for e-harmony. Anyways, I'm starting graduate school at USC with the hope of being a Dr. Steven in a few years. It is an exciting time filled with new adventures, new people, and awesomeness! In reality, so far it has been a lot of work and homework. This blog is my way of keeping sane the next few years of my life. I have always had an interest in writing and storytelling, so my goal is to be able to harness my untapped skill.

and now a comedic break...

and we're back.

I think she was okay. There will be more educational material further down the line, so stay tuned.