It's been a long time since I wrote in my semi private scribbling space ...

I've been living alone for five months, but I don't feel I've been saving a whole lot and I want to invest regularly in the stock market instead of haphazardly. I just want someone relatively quiet to live with, I guess ... who doesn't watch much TV ... I haven't watched TV in forever and at a gathering of people last Sunday was completely out of touch with what's on. They were talking about "Medium" and "Jekyll" and various other shows I'd never heard of. While watching Eurovision I saw ads for "Salam Cafe" which looked interesting. Oh, the things I'm missing out on!

I haven't decided on where to go on my overseas trip this year, but I am inclining towards Iran and Iceland ... as I have been for a while now. It would be good to climb Mt Damavand and be 5600m above sea level -- none of my friends have been that high, I don't think. The world should look different from up there!

I have been failing pretty badly in the book reading goals; but I have managed to finish some finance books, like "The Black Swan" by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, lately. That book made me wonder if all the energy modelling I've been doing at work has actually been incorrect or inaccurate. If I can write a paper and have it accepted to a conference, then my boss will support me going there; I would never decline a free overseas trip. In fact I'd never turn down a free trip to anywhere...

Investing in the US seems so unattractive right now; I had thought about investing in the Vanguard International Unhedged Shares Fund (which is like the world ex Australia) but with the Iraq war, the sub prime crisis, and the US's dependence on oil, my feeling is just that I'd rather keep my money in Australian or emerging market stocks. Consider this Reuters commentary:

Peter Schiff, president of money manager Euro Pacific Capital, warns that after years of profligate spending, the "chickens are finally coming home to roost".

"Our whole phony standard of living is imploding," he said. "We have borrowed and spent ourselves into oblivion."

"It's amazing that people can't figure out that America is broke."


Thanks to the "rosy spot" of exports helped by a weak dollar, plus strength in commodities like coal and grains, the UCLA Anderson Forecast Center predicts the U.S. economy will suffer only a mild recession this year.

But without that retail engine of growth, "our long-term prospect is for sluggish U.S. economic growth," Leamer said.

"Unfortunately, there is nothing on the horizon in the U.S. economy that will take over from the consumer."

Combinatorics has really gone on the back burner, and I want that to change too ... so I'll write up a new set of goals and things to do, and begin again.