December 22nd, 1999

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Holland has been getting colder with temperatures approaching freezing. There has been dustings of snow. I also discovered that Dutch people can't drive in slippery conditions. I was stuck in one 27 kilometer traffic jam for 3 hours.

I'm doing real good heathwise. I haven't had my annual cold or flu yet.

My boss and I are talking about an extension to stay here for a while more. I'll give more details when I know a little more.
Firepond BV is moving offices. I live near the current office, in Hofddorp, and the office is moving to the other side of Amsterdam to Naarden. It's a ways away from the new office. I'm not excited about it. But we need the space. We are expanding and adding people to handle the business. Maybe the new office will grow on me in time.

The new James Bond movie was pretty good. I now think that Pierce Brosnan is the best James Bond. He has snuck in front of Sean Connery. With 3 good films behind him, I like how his character has developed. In "The World is Not Enough", he has a little more of the killer edge in him, reminding us of why he is 007, License to Kill. I was totally shocked to discover that Sophie Marceau, the love interest, was 33. I thought she was much younger. Denise Richards was totally out of her depth in this film. One of my main other criteria for Bond films is how good the movie poster is. TWINE had a real good couple of posters.

"The World is Not Enough" was the first film I ever saw in the main Tuchinski theater. Very historic and it has a surprisingly good sound system.

BBC2 showed Pulp Fiction uncut and uncensored on TV. I was amazed. That never could have happened in the US.

The latest Robert Parker wasn't as good as some of his other books. He writes pretty much the same detective whether or not the character is male (standard) or female (this time). He is the master of the hardboiled detective novel.
Rick Reilly's latest book, Missing Links is one of the funniest books I've ever read. Focusing on golf there are a ton of laughs in this.
Dave Barry's first novel, Big Trouble is also funny, but read like one of my term papers. Due to doublespacing and big margins, there really only was an extended short story here rather than a novel. Writing the shooting scene from the viewpoint of the family dog was truly inspired and hilarious.

Bill was here for 10 days back in November. We got to get over to Appeldorn, where the Royal family has a castle. Really cool and I'll have to go back when the gardens are open and the fountains flowing. Then it should truly be a mini Versailles. We also got to drive the numerous dykes that hold back the sea. We explored some new parts of Amsterdam and found some new restaurants. We found a great Greek restaurant and some other new stuff.

This time of year is not much for visiting, in fact the common trip is for Americans to return to the US for the holidays. Most of my friends left on the 22nd or 23rd for the US.

My daily rountine on the WWW

My homepage is usually ESPN on my main computer, on my laptop it is whatever is my largest stock position. I use Yahoo!'s portfolio tracker to watch my stock portfolio. Currently it is Global Crossing's stock price.

Everyday I read the front and editorial pages of the Washington Post newspaper and the NY Times. I guess anything truly important is going to hit one of those.

Then for home news I hit the Star Tribune. There it is front page, opinion page and then the Sports page. I trust Dan Barriero's column on Sports, probably from listening to him on the radio at KFAN so long.

Next is comics - from the Washington Post's website I enjoy Doonesbury and Boondocks.

After the incredibly liberal views of the newspapers listed above, I read the Drudge Report. Matt gets quite a bit of stuff sent to him and filters it in a very cool way. From there it links to the Inside the Beltway and Inside Politics columns in the Washington Times, a conservative newspaper.

After the serious stuff of politics, to maintain the common touch I feel with everyone, I read the gossip column of the NY Post, called Page Six. It's how I keep up with who Jennifer Lopez (the Billion dollar Babe) and Mariah Carey are dating this week.

To maintain my professional standing, I check out It's about computers, Linux, and pretty much anything else that programmers like.

The programmers of computer games have files called .plans which they share with the world. These have their worklogs sometimes, their thoughts on things, news for the fans of their games, and information about games in development. I follow the Quake genre of computer games pretty closely and the best place to read the .plans is at QuakeFinger.

During the day I keep updating my stock portfolio page and checking out for new financial news. There is a hedge fund manager named Jim Cramer that posts there constantly throughout the day and I always learn something about money management and stocks.


I've watched the collapse of Big X motorcycles with close attention. I remember when this stock was brought up in every MMIC meeting and proposed for purchase. Bill regularly sends me the updates from the Minnesota papers.

My personal portfolio has become mainly telecom and internet networking plays. I've rather ruthlessly pruned most other lesser performing stocks. Except for LACO, the remnants of Grand Casino that I have 6 shares of. It's an 8 dollar stock and would cost me $19 to sell it. It also has a P/E of under 2 and I constantly contrast that with my other stocks, most of which don't have earnings. Global Crossings and Cobalt Networks are my two largest holdings currently.

I'm very aware of being sector specific. For example, I hold Cisco, Lucent, and Nortel at the same time. They all pretty much do the same thing, selling networking equipment. As do Cobalt, Clarent and JDS Uniphase, other companies I have an interest in. So when the sector is hot (and it really, really is!) this is a good strategy. I'll have to be very nimble to figure out the next big thing when the sector cools. I'm willing to do this because of my retirement funds being composed of mutual funds which are diversified.

This ongoing expansion of the economy and the growth of the stock market are just amazing. We live in an amazing time.

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