Investing, Stuff

Posted in Uncategorized on October 30th, 2007 by byronkho

I saw Gone Baby Gone last night. Pretty good… a lot more depth and harder subject material than I though Ben Affleck would take on his first directing project. From his past stuff, I was expecting fluff. I guess that’s the reaction he wants to provoke: Ben is actually more serious and artistic than we give him credit for. Hopefully it lasts. I also started investing a bunch this week. Started buying really heavily into mutual funds, and getting started with a new business stock trading acount. No reason for our hard-earned profits not to start growing themselves. Imagine… we ignored our money for a long time, and it was just sitting in a low-rate money market at 2.9%. With average stock returns of 8-15% and inflation at higher than our measly rate, we were definitely losing out. Brian wants to experiment in penny stocks, so we may try that a little bit. Should be interesting. We’re pretty much invested in average growth/blend funds with a slant toward internationals. Obviously we have reasons for that, however arcane, and so far they’ve proven… well, profitable.

Lexy, Norman and I at Lexy’s birthday. Photo by Alexis Lerro.

Had an amazing party this past weekend. I managed to drink a huge amount (along with whisky shots during the show… but did anyone know about that? Nope! Or at least I hope they didn’t… haha) and stay engaged the entire time. I really was deathly tired right before, so the fact that I stayed to the end and was as funny and memorable as I could be on so little sleep was a godsend. I lived through Stimulus’ initiation ceremony… which was so not a big deal even though they built up a load of hype on it right before. I also learned who I really, really like – and it scares me a little. But I digress.

C. Brown, done.

Posted in Uncategorized on October 27th, 2007 by byronkho

UPDATE: Show is over. Went well… one entirely empty show because the scheduled kids couldn’t come (bah rain), but the other three were packed. I’ve heard that this is one of the better Stim shows of the past few years, which is gratifying. Had many rough spots, but the cast pulled through. I’m sure they’ll have a lot of stuff to go over at the post-mortem – political decisions that could have used some rethinking… but those are problems that happen in every group. With a little more organization, hopefully Stimulus won’t have to resort to as much compromise as they seemed to have to do this semester. Musically, “Sally” was the best. “My New Philosophy” went great every night, and she had great comic timing throughout the show (omg, I freaking love the coat hanger monologue… squeeky wheel gets the grease!). I think that Stim was very lucky to get the cast members it did.

I miss doing strikes. I guess that’s weird – but I love the manual labor component, it makes me feel good. I’m too lazy to do any DIY stuff around the house, so a structured session works great for me. The party, naturally, is the other best part of the whole experience (aside from the official performances themselves). I had an exceedingly fine time at this show party. Right next door to my old place, hookah, booze, great conversations. I think that was the fastest 5 hours I’ve had in a while. Seemed to me it started and suddenly it was over. A short initiation that was VERY tame (though PSP had it beat… and got the chapter disbanded and us blacklisted for that) plus some good gifting. I was extremely tired before the party, but I got it together because I wanted to actually have fun with these guys. Never actually had that time until Hell Week; the rest was just rehearsal and acting professional. Oh, what I do to make sure my reputation remains sound :)

UPDATE: I’m now a listed MD for the show, thanks to the kindness of the other MDs. I got referred by Dick Talens, apparently, to be pianist for the Fall 2007 production of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” by Stimulus Children’s Theater. While the production needs a LOT of work before it’s ready, I’m excited just to be working on this show again. It’s a fun show.

Denver, Charlie Brown.

Posted in Uncategorized on October 23rd, 2007 by byronkho

I went to Denver a few months ago for Media Breakaway’s annual conference. Basically, an event trying to bribe us into generating more business with them. I have definite issues with the way they run things, but that’s another story. Last year, they dropped lots of money on suites at the Rockies’ game, but this year, they cheaped out. The extent of it was stripped-down hotties at a club. Even so, there were some drunk sugar daddy ad execs spreading the love with thousand dollar magnums of Cristal and other champagnes. One of the bottles was $9,000… dunno what it was. I don’t think I’ve spent that much on alcohol ever. I was just thinking of it because of New York next month. Ad-Tech is considerably more tame and business-oriented, but New York is always a treat. Parties and open bars up the wazoo, and Spamalot on the 6th.

The cast of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and I, Evil Charlie Brown. Photo by Shira Bender.

Working on You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Surprisingly, I have more leeway in the job than I thought. I thought they’d keep me in my place as act 2 accompanist, but I’m making a lot of decisions that are over-riding or superseding Aaron and Elizabeth as MDs. None of them are very vocal about what they want musically – I’m not even sure what their overall vision is. I think Elizabeth is a little disappointed about something, and so got discouraged (but she’s PERFECT as Sally). Aaron lets himself get pushed around. I know it’s tough, but they’re lucky to get a cast that works well together and makes up for their lack of experience with enthusiasm. No diva-ness, and everybody’s patient… even though they clearly could use some work and the show starts WAY earlier than any other musical.


Posted in Uncategorized on October 22nd, 2007 by byronkho

UPDATE: Rob McLemore from Camp Hill was in Chicago. Nick Lake too, but nobody’s seen that guy since… well. He’s running the standup circuit and doing odd jobs around town. I think he likes it. As far as the engagement goes, the Serbs got along fine with the Indos, and no huge gaffes were made. I’m sure Louisa is relieved not to be super-embarrassed by us… yet. We still have the wedding to cause a huge scene. Chris did have one cute cousin who just started an accounting job at KPMG. Speaking of KPMG, I just saw their Philly offices. Didn’t notice it before, and I walk by there a lot. Selective blindness I guess.

I’m going to be in Chicago during this weekend in order to attend my cousin’s engagement party. Though I will be busy with getting drunk and making a scene during the party Saturday night, I’m free the rest of the time to see people and chill out.

Wedding, Personal Issues, Charlie Brown!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 3rd, 2007 by byronkho

In two weeks, I will be attending an engagement party for my cousin Louisa. She’s marrying into a Serbian family, so we’ll see if there will be any weird ceremonies and traditions. The wedding, when it comes, will be in Chicago by request of her fiancee. It’s going to be strange – only a few of our relatives will be at the engagement party, while the whole crowd of his relatives will be there. Well, at least I can relax… not the same pressure as I had at my friend Jonathan’s wedding a few weeks ago. I grew up kinda simultaneously with him, and while I’m closer in age to his brother David, I can say that I was around for a good portion of his younger life. Now he’s a dentist and doing all sorts of fancy stuff in North York, and now having fun with his posh, hot wife. A few rich, beautiful society girls at the wedding… I at least got one entree into their circles because I didn’t botch the wedding music. One is a opera singer training for a professional career at the Mannes School of Music. She’s got an awesome voice. And everything else is just super too.

In November, I’m headed off for my yearly European jaunt. I feel like such a douchebag for having a “yearly European jaunt,” but since I’ve been for three straight years, I probably qualify. This time, I’m hitting up Paris and Amsterdam with my brother, who will mark his first time to Europe. I’ll be able to hit up all the museums I didn’t last time (the Louvre, the Rijksmuseum, etc.). I’ve used up my Continental gift certificates, Hilton HHonors Points and more than a few of my Visa Extras points to get me some swanky flights and stays. If I can time it right, I might be able to see a few of my friends there as well… Matt Kalamar, definitely, and maybe Caroline, Becca and anybody else I can dig up that can fly for a quick trip to Paris.

Louisa and I at an expensive Vancouver “ranch”.

As I do on a random basis, I’ve been keeping up with the political news. Blackwater, for example, had me riled today. More than $1 billion in contracts, rampant disregard for both Iraqi civilians, US Army soldiers and US civilians on the ground, disregard for Army planning, etc. Halliburton’s $2.7 billion profit equal to 50% of the cost of Gulf War I…. their PROFIT. RUsh Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly being retards as usual, with their racist and insulting sentiments. And then their outraged accusations of everyone else “spinning.” I’m fine that they can spit out crap, but they don’t take criticism like men – I’m sure it’s good for ratings, but do they have to be so blindingly obvious? And then Hillary beating Obama with fundraising… that has me totally surprised. Why is she so attractive to donors? Obama is a lot more daring in his positions, a stance that seems to go well with what Americans are feeling these days according to those recent New York Times and Washington Post polls (aka against war to begin with, for pulling out troops, etc.). Funny how Democrats seem to be saying and doing nothing, even though this is the perfect opportunity. Public is with you, Republican scandals are never-ending…. grow some balls, Dems, please.

I think I’ve managed to burn a bridge without seriously meaning to do so. By basically stonewalling and dropping communication with an old buddy for several months, I basically lost out on our friendship. I guess I don’t yet have the balls to start doing something about it, but it’s hard to do for so many reasons. We were going to go into business together, but my gut told me his business savvy was not up to par and so I would decline to work with him – a fact that should not have interfered with the other facts of our friendship, but did because I was too embarrassed to tell him so. I delayed it because I had a few business trips, then delayed it some more, and it kept going. At the moment I stopped talking to him, I think he had also just resigned from his job. Therein lies the other reason: I have no idea if he intended on making his living from the business venture, and if he hasn’t done anything with the other partner, I don’t know if any blame is on me. I’m sure there is some… but I never legally agreed to anything. I’m more concerned that I did not break the hard facts to him personally, and that means I screwed up on a personal level. Bah. I’m sorry, and that does make me a partial douchebag.

I just got asked to help out on “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” I’ve worked on the musical a few times, once in community theatre back in 4th grade, another in middle school during 7th grade and again now… totally different capacities each time, of course. I get to work with Stimulus this time, which will be a first. I’ve worked, I think, with every other group on Penn’s campus that does musical theatre.