Friday, December 21, 2007

Ron Paul Campaign Contribution

I've been highly tempted recently to donate to the Ron Paul campaign. I have many reasons to do so:
  • He's the only candidate that I believe when they speak.
  • He's seems to have an understanding of the issues - and more in depth than any of the other candidates, or at least more understanding than they are willing to show to the unsophisticated masses.
  • He will work to eliminate the IRS - my contribution could even be viewed as an investment in this light.
  • He's the only one trying to make the country freer. Less interference and monitoring sounds good to me.
  • Most of his other issues found at
  • I have more money than I really need.
So, you may be asking, "Why haven't you gone ahead and contributed, Mark?" I'm opening it up for comment first; I want to be sure I'm making a good decision. So I ask you: Why shouldn't I contribute to Ron Paul's campaign? Is there a more deserving candidate?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Music and Parties

I went to a great party tonight. It was a graduation party for an old friend from high school (and a bit in college). The thing that made it a hit, though, was the live music. People brought guitars, a banjo, bass guitar, upright bass, harmonicas, shakers, and voices. People would start playing a song and whoever knew the lyrics would sing aloud.

I only wish I were musical in some way. I don't play any instruments and I have no rhythm for even shakers. I can sing (poorly and never in public), but I know no lyrics. It makes me want to keep a guitar in the house, though, so other people can play when they come over. It'd be kind of like how I keep alcohol strictly for the enjoyment of others.

It also got me thinking about how seldom this happens anymore. I can't personally attest to the good ol' days, but the old movies often show impromptu musical fun at neighborhood gatherings. Really, neighborhood gatherings have also stopped, for the most part - maybe an occasional block party if you happen to live on a social block. I'm going to ask my brother if he has a spare guitar he'd like to leave at my place. Perhaps we can revive this tradition.

Dining Room Set

I went to Nebraska Furniture Mart with my mother and my little brother, Jake. I decided to take advantage of their 30 months of 0% interest financing and fill up my dining room, finally. We walked the floor for about an hour with a sales lady before setting in on 4 sets. They weren't all next to each other, so it was a long process of taking a mental picture of one and then running over to compare it to another. I'm sure that sales lady loved us.

I found pictures of things online!

My table and china hutch thing!
My sidebar/buffet/server! (The chair shown in this picture is like mine - the wooden back.)

It's exciting, most definitely. And surprisingly expensive. I had priced tables before, but I hadn't counted on having to buy two extra chairs for when the leaf is in (always for a lazy bum like myself), a sidebar/buffet/server, and a china hutch thing. I understand that it's necessary to fill the room with something, and that these things probably have an actual purpose, but I hadn't considered them until my style consultant (my mother) said I needed them.

Options Update: Savient (SVNT) (again)

Whatever news Savient (SVNT) released on Thursday ended up being good news. I only skimmed the release and saw something about gout. Gout didn't seem to be a big deal in the episode of House M.D. that it played a role in. Oh well, the important thing is that SVNT is up to $18.90, which is well above the $12.50 it needs to be at in order for my shares to be called away and for me to be done with this. I don't particularly like being invested in a company I know nothing about. But for a 25% return in a few weeks, I'm willing to make an exception every so often.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Options Update: Savient (SVNT)

So, it's been awhile since I've updated things on the financial side. I realize it's not anything people read in detail, but tonight I have nothing else I can write about.

So, if anyone happened to check up on Hythiam (HYTM), they'll quickly realize that it is far below my $5.80 break-even price. Yes, I seem to be losing money on that. But, this hasn't stopped me from experimenting with highly volatile options writing. Enter Savient, another small pharmaceuticals company. They apparently have some data coming out sometime in December, but I have no idea when. No matter when the data comes out, though, it is causing the implied volatility to be in the 220% range, which is ridiculously high. I bought 300 shares at $12.10 a couple weeks ago and was able to sell 3 covered call options for $2.60 each. Thus, I made roughly 21% for the month of December.

It is possible that whatever news is coming out will be negative and the underlying stock price will plummet, but there is more call interest than put interest, and I do have 20% downside protection. Plus, the stock price has reached $15.40 today, so any plummet starts from a profitable position. I see it as much more likely that my shares will be called away at $12.50 and I will be done with the matter. Of course, now that I've said that, the exact opposite will happen, as with Hythiam. I should learn to keep my fingers from typing such things. Well, wish me luck.