Monday, November 24, 2008

Chess vs Life

I recently started playing Chess again (the last time I played, I was in college). It all came back to me quickly and I realized that there were many life lessons in the game:

1) Always be mindful of the "little guy" because even a pawn can become the most powerful piece on the board.
2) Don't make moves until you have a plan - hasty moves can result in costly mistakes.
3) The real threat may be in the distance and waiting for you to make the wrong move.
4) Be mindful of distractions - look at every possible angle.
5) To be successful, you must anticipate your opponents next possible moves and be able to adapt.
6) Don't be baited into making a move - you may lose more than you gain.
7) Sometimes you have to make sacrifices to get what you want.
8) Always protect the things you value - nothing is worse than losing a valuable piece due to carelessness.
9) Always be on the offensive - playing defensively is never going to win the game for you.
10) Always learn from your mistakes.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Lazy Mouse and the Industrious Mouse

I was watching Ricky Gervais' (the creator of The Office)comedy special on HBO. He was analyzing children's fables and came across the story of The Lazy Mouse and The Industrious Mouse. All summer/autumn, while the lazy mouse was eating berries, having fun, and doing nothing, the industrious mouse was saving berries, chopping wood, and preparing for winter. When winter comes, the ground is cold and hard and the lazy mouse can't find any berries. The industrious mouse is in the "cottage" that he built for himself with a warm fire and plenty of food. The lazy mouse knocks on the door because he's cold and hungry. The industrious mouse lectures him that he should have prepared for winter after his numerous warnings and eventually lets him in. The morale of the story is "work hard and be prepared for the future," but Gervais interprets the morale to be: "f*ck around, do whatever you want, and then scrounge off a do-gooder". It sounds exactly like the mortgage crisis and corporate bailouts.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Good Life

I just came back from my vacation at the Excellence Punta Cana in The Dominican Republic - it was the best vacation ever. Each room in the resort has a jacuzzi, a patio with a hammock, flat screen TV with "special channels", and a fully stocked complimentary bar (which I took full advantage of on the first day). It was the first vacation that I completely unplugged myself from my Crackberry (aka Blackberry) and couldn't have cared less. I settled into my routine pretty early: breakfast, laying out in a cabana by the pool, lunch, laying out on the beach, nap in the room, dinner, evening entertainment, and dancing at the disco. The resort had 8 restaurants (French, Asian, Italian, etc) which did not require reservations and 10 bars. My only problem was ending my vacation and having to return back to the "real world".

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I Love Jersey City

I was born and raised a New Yorker (Bronx, NY). After 3 year of religiously saving money, it was time to purchase real estate and I had a real dilemma: where should I live? I work in lower Manhattan and was mostly familiar with The Bronx and Westchester. I narrowed my search to White Plains, Brooklyn (Brooklyn Heights, Carroll Gardens, or Park Slope), and Jersey City. White Plains seemed perfect because it was an up and coming city and is close to my family, but the commute and commuting costs (bus to Metro North to MTA) was bound to add up. I have always loved Brooklyn for its brownstones and have family there, but the maintenance costs ($1,000+) seemed staggering. I decided on Jersey City because of its minimal commute (30 minutes door to door), lower real estate / maintenance costs, and nothing beats the water view of Manhattan and the Statute of Liberty. I patiently did my research and decided on the Paulus Hook neighborhood with its historic brownstones and family atmosphere (it seems like everyone either has a dog or a young child - I have neither, but it makes the neighborhood quaint). It is also within the boundaries of the Urban Enterprise Zone - it allows business to charge only 50% of the sales tax rate (3.5%). I've lived in Jersey City since 2007 - I'm still slowly exploring and finding great new things to do.

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