Saturday, December 29, 2012

Stock Trades, Year in Review

I figure I'll join the crowd and add this to the plethora of "best of", "worst of", "top X# of" etc for 2012.

Best Trade: ATT (T)
Bought in two lots in Dec 11 & Feb 12 at an average price of $29.40 and sold in late Sept at $38.35, near its highs this year. Accounting for commissions and dividends, a 32.5% total return, annualized (counting time actually held) at 48.2%.

Missed Trade: United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG)
An ETF. Bought in mid-April at $14.98 near its all time low and sold about two months later in late June at $19.00. Accounting for commissions and dividends, a 23.9% total return, annualized 117.8%. This is a miss because I simply didn't buy enough to make much actual money.

Which set up my....

Worst Trade: ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (UVXY)
High on the success with UNG, I read more and more about ETFs. Knowing that the VIX was way down from normal and knowing we're coming up on an election and the "fiscal cliff" I bought in got hammered and I averaged lower in mid-Sept just to get hammered some more. Cut by the "falling knife". I bailed shortly after the election, down a composite 20% or so. Only my 2nd loss ever, but valuable lessons learned about how ETFs (especially leveraged ones) work and investing (betting in this case) on things I don't fully understand. UVXY finally started moving up, up over 40% in the past month, 34% of that just in the last week...and it is just...just back to where I SOLD at.

The jury remains out on:

Pitney Bowes (PBI) bought back in July at $14.29. It just hit a new 52 week low this past week in the mid-$10 range. It continues to pay awesome dividends (at Friday's closing price, 14.4%).

Intel (INTC) Bought in mid-late November at an average price of $19.80
Conoco Phillips (COP) Bought in late July at $53.13
Both INTC and COP were near their lows when I bought in and have dividend yields in the upper 4% range at my buy in prices. I knew PBI was a flyer when I bought it, at some point soon, maybe the shorts will either cover or get squeezed out, in the meantime I'll take the dividends (assuming they continue to be paid).

Monday, December 24, 2012

Organic...NOT! (at least temporarily)

I noticed this label on a lot of the produce today. I hope no one minds the parsley in the stuffing tomorrow was temporarily not organic...from what I can tell, it is not plastic either. (at least the stuffing will be made with real butter!)

Not Organic Parsley

Christmas Cranberries

Getting ready for a little Christmas dinner tomorrow with friends. Elesa is fighting a nasty cold ... and now the fire alarm is going off, it is telling me I'm apparently burning down the whole building...

Cooking Cranberries - Christmas Eve

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Back to Turkey

Figuratively and photographically speaking. I still haven't finished photos from our trip in late summer to Istanbul. Here are a few photos from our last day, when we visited the Blue Mosque. Still really not sure, even after reading all about it, why they call it the "Blue Mosque". The ceilings were cool, but the bazillion wires that hung down from them to hold the lighting and chandeliers in place were a bit distracting. I thought the Mosque of Mohamed Ali at the Citadel in Cairo was more impressive.

Tourists at the Blue Mosque - Istanbul, Turkey

Blue Mosque - Istanbul, Turkey

Ceiling Details - Blue Mosque

Main Dome from Inside - Blue Mosque

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Finding Art in Bathroom Explosions

I know what you are probably thinking....but that isn't what we were thinking when we heard a tremendous crash tonight. Our bathroom shower, a big thick glass thing, had....EXPLODED!

The Scene as We Walked In

Not being one to miss an opportunity to get a few cool photos, here is the "art" part.

Shatter Pattern On Door

Broken Bits

More Broken Bits

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pioneer Cemetery

I have a long list of "things to do" for my times in Cincinnati. Any given trip, I only have time and opportunity to do a couple of them. One of the things that has been on my list for a couple years is to take my camera and check out the Pioneer Cemetery (aka Columbia Baptist Cemetery) down by Lunken Airport. This past trip, Shelby and I woke up relatively early on a very crisp clear morning and had a look around. Buried in this cemetery are the earliest white settlers to the area.

Pioneer Cemetery - Columbia-Tusculum, Cincinnati


Frosted Headstone

Frosted Grass

Friday, December 07, 2012

Along the Little Miami

During my time in Cincinnati, Shelby and I took a walk along the Little Miami River near Camp Dennison. It has become almost a tradition when I'm in town that we go for walk there with our cameras. Here are some of the photos I took.

Wavy Glass - Little Miami River Reflections

Bench - Camp Dennison

Red Leaf - Little Miami River

Fossils - Little Miami River

Monday, December 03, 2012

Yellow Springs

Had a couple weeks off back in Ohio for Thanksgiving with the family including a couple days of a get away up in Yellow Springs. The entire two weeks was a great break from work. The weather was generally crisp and clear, a beautiful late fall.

I'm sort of surprised they don't call it "Orange Springs".

The Yellow Spring - Yellow Springs, Ohio

The Yellow Spring - Yellow Springs, Ohio

The Yellow Spring - Yellow Springs, Ohio

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Upset Alert???

I think CNN/Sports Illustrated needs to learn what "upset" means.

When a team is 1-9 and they are losing...I don't care who they are losing to...newsflash...not an upset.

When a team is 9-0, ranked #1....and they are losing....I don't care who they are losing to...upset.


Everyone loves fireworks. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of its constitution, Kuwait put on what is reportedly a world record fireworks show. Tonight's extravaganza was over an hour long, a few miles of fireworks along the Gulf Rd. We watched from a friend's apartment.

Traffic Looking for Parking

The Red Ones

Grove Of Palm Trees

Blue Ones (My Favorite)

More Blue Ones
(Because this is my blog, and they're my favorite)

White Ones (My Second Favorite)

Friday, November 02, 2012

walking around

with my camera and here is what I saw today.

Minarets - Salmiya, Kuwait

Rocks in Black and White

Sunset in Abstract

Kuwait Towers - Kuwait

Monday, October 29, 2012

been very busy....

and blogging isn't what pays the bills (somehow, I don't suspect that surprises you).

Finally got a break in a very long weekend and I took the opportunity to start working on my photos from our trip to Istanbul. Still have a way to go, but I've worked through the food and market themed photos... here are a few:

Carpets - Istanbul, Turkey

Lamps - Istanbul, Turkey

Schawarma in the Making - Istanbul, Turkey

Turkish Delight - Istanbul, Turkey

The Evil Eye - Istanbul, Turkey

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Medusa in the Baslica Cistern

I did think of it earlier...I just didn't generalize from underground and indoors darkness to the darkness after sundown...

The Basilica Cistern was well worth the visit. Pretty cool how they light it in modern times. I'm sure it was an engineering marvel in its time too. All the way back in the corner are two pillars with Medusa heads at their base. I took these photos just moments before hoards of tourists literally gridlocked the walkway around them.

Medusa - Istanbul, Turkey

Medusa - Istanbul, Turkey

Second Medusa - Istanbul, Turkey

Friday, September 07, 2012

Istanbul at Night

I wish I'd thought of this earlier...just putting the camera on the ground to hold it still with the 16-35mm wide angle on it, a real small aperture (f22), slow shutter speed etc. Unfortunately, I only started messing with it on our last night there. Here are some night time shots of the Hippodrome with the Obelisk of Theodosius aka the Egyptian Obelisk, and with the minarets of the Blue Mosque playing a supporting role.

Obelisk of Theodosius - Istanbul, Turkey

Hippodrome - Istanbul, Turkey

Back From Vacation

And our luggage made it too...apparently that is an uncommon miracle when flying though Istanbul's Ataturk Airport.

Lost Luggage - Istanbul, Turkey

Lost Luggage - Istanbul, Turkey

Lost Luggage - Istanbul, Turkey

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Rust and Iron

Via the wayback machine....from 25 June 2006...I can't believe I've had my camera for over 6 years!

Rust and Iron - Antigua, Guatemala

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Little Bit of Green

It has been a month, insert the usual excuses here:________
A bit of green from our visit to Hawaii in the spring.

Valleys and Waterfalls - Na Pali Coast - Kaua'i, Hawaiʻi

Waimea Canyon - Kaua'i, Hawaiʻi

Waimea Canyon - Kaua'i, Hawaiʻi

Monday, July 16, 2012

Photos From Our Greek Adventure

Finally finished with my photos from Greece. I ended up with 146 or so, which is too many and I still may cull a few. So if anyone wades their way through the entire slide show, and sees ones they don't like, tell me and I may remove them. Here are a few teasers. The full slide show hosted on Photobucket can be seen HERE.

Column Details, The Acropolis - Athens, Greece

Grand Vista & Monasteries - Meteora, Greece

Water Taxi - Hydra, Greece