What's New

This is the news from 2005 for benturner.com.

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news from 2005...

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12M/10D/05Y:

Well, it's the month of Happy Holidays, so from Iraq (or not-Iraq, where I am, named for the complete lack of evidence in this base that I AM in Iraq), best wishes to you and yours this giving season! I wish I were back home with Julie and my family, enjoying a hot Christmas dinner, Christmas pudding, snow, and my girlfriend's lovely company. The stuff I thought was cheesy before, I miss now -- the Christmas lights, the tree, the decorations around town, even the pristinely white, clean displays in the malls.

My Christmas tree and living room at home!

Just to remind you how out of touch the debate is back home, people are worried about talk of sending the troops home being demoralizing to the military effort here. These are not the days of people spitting on soldiers and calling them baby-killers like Vietnam was. I think what's on most soldiers' minds these days is the fact that many of them have missed their children's births, their family members' last three birthdays, and a couple of the last few Christmases and Thanksgivings. Speculation about returning home is just shrugged off by tired soldiers in their third year of constant deployment. But hey, you keep writing those morale-boosting "keep the troops away" blog entries in between family get-togethers this December, Mr. Concerned Citizen!! Or better yet, join your fellow citizens and serve a tour or two over in Iraq or Afghanistan!

I think it's interesting seeing GOOG above 400$ -- they continue to release more web applications that seem to point towards a vision of the Internet that hardly seems attainable right now. Yahoo! just bought del.icio.us, the link tagging site I now post my links to pretty regularly. (I will start feeding my del.icio.us into my other links page soon) While Yahoo! now owns this and Flickr, two of the most popular web geek apps, I can't help but think that Yahoo! will never integrate Flickr nor feel Flickr-ish (which it should try to do), and that spending money to buy small web app companies (for anywhere from 15$ million to 40$ million for the latest two) is a waste of cash -- they could've designed these by themselves, at a fraction of the cost, from the ground up, learning from the small startup's mistakes and limitations. But I guess Yahoo! is paying for the communities and (if this is a real reason, that's sad) reputation transference. Put the checkbook away though: communities can be fickle, ephemeral online -- offer superior features, reliability, and innovation and people will move at the drop of a hat. I mean, who's going to use Skype now that Yahoo! is offering cheaper VoIP integrated into Messenger?

Right now I'm contemplating the effect of massive Google networked-ness and bandwidth along with an energy situation relieved by massive estimated alternate energy growth this year of 30% for solar and wind power. The gains in productivity and capital for companies and individuals will be shocking. I see this as bullish for the American economy, but even more so for international economies, which still have yet to benefit as completely as the U.S. has from the Internet, global commerce, and post-bubble corporate re-structuring.

Chart of the Shanghai index, which has been losing for a while now.

I'm bullish on international funds for the next decade or two. And I want to invest in China, even though it still needs to reform many aspects of its economic and political infrastructure, and coöperate better with its blossoming, more expressive society, before foreign investment will really begin to flow in confidently. I am interested in their long-term strategies and their attempting to create eastern brand alternatives to western powerhouses.

I'm almost through this deployment and as a late Thanksgiving notice, I'm very thankful I've had Julie this whole time. Julie's been an awesome, patient girlfriend even while I've been away in Iraq. I love you, darling. You're totally being spoiled this Christmas, that's for sure! And whenever I get to see you next! And your soundtrack song right now is Jamiroquai's "Loveblind", a killer track off their new album.

 
11M/17D/05Y:

It's been a while since I've written and it's coming up on Christmas, a time I savor this year more than I have in years past, for obvious reasons! I'm excited about the Xbox 360, the economic figures and the stock market, GOOG, possible options for my future.

I know the Soapbox and forums are broken right now, and they won't be fixed until I return home and can manage it better/make sure it's sterilized of military information in light of recent events. My command found certain components of my web site to be in violation of operations security so I removed it all and got in big trouble. Sorry if things are in a bit of disarray right now but I hope you will understand.

 
07M/30D/05Y:

I've been in Iraq for over a month now. There's a sort of purity and clarity of mind living here in Iraq, which is nice. The "war" in Iraq is so convoluted back in the States, full of politicism and agenda and name-calling, but here it has texture, and, well, pertinence.

 
06M/17D/05Y:

Well, the time has come. I'm leaving for Iraq. Hopefully I took care of everything that needed it. Stay tuned. =) Julie, I love you!

I redesigned the soapbox. I think it looks worlds better. I also wrote a soapbox about going to the movies.

 
06M/08D/05Y:

GOOG will go higher. People will stop saying they don't understand it and they'll stop saying it's a hype stock. (now, TZOO, that's a freaking hype stock!) But not yet. GOOG's chart just put in a textbook evening star pattern. However, this pattern did not occur at the end of a long up-trend; GOOG has been consolidating. Still, it might take some time before it heads higher.

GOOG

I love my PSP but the releases for games/movies won't start ramping up until a few months from now. Also, Sony needs to release some helper apps like a web browser. Why did Sony have to cripple v.1.5 for third-party apps? And why can't they release DVDs that include UMD versions also, so we don't have to pay $20-30 a piece for different formats for the same movie? It's such a scam.

I like the new Army of One ads. They emphasize the important things and not the money. I guess recruiting numbers are down lately, since people don't want to go to Iraq. Well, I'm deploying next week so I'll let you know how it is. =)

 
05M/27D/05Y:

Today is my girlfriend's birthday. Joyeux anniversaire, ma cherie! May I get to wish such an intelligent and beautiful French-Canadian woman many more happy birthdays. You make me feel extremely happy and strong!

My favorite movie theater in Nashville, Green Hills, no longer shows indie films. =( That totally sucks and is why I haven't been seeing many movies lately. Now they show the wide-release films only. When I'd go, there'd be maybe three or four people besides me for some films. Oh well.

 
05M/22D/05Y:

Just got back from a week in Cocoa Beach, FL for some training. Bodysurfed every day, went out to bars every night, and wore shorts all the time. =P

Bought a Sony PSP for my deployment. The screen is crisp, the controls are familiar, wireless and bluetooth and movies add extra potential, and I love the sleeve the PSP slides into. I'm hoping it will really catch on. Read MonkeyPope's mini write-up of E3.

I think the whole Koran/Newsweek mess shows that there's a lot of people who would do well pausing before they spoke.

And finally, a picture from 2001:

bodypainted chick in Dallas
 
05M/15D/05Y:

So I've been feeling a little under the weather and didn't want to write anything, but I'm getting better now. Plus the air conditioning was finally turned on here so I don't feel all hot and dehydrated just sitting in my room. =P

I spent an amazing half-week with my girlfriend in NYC. She makes me extremely happy. =) Definitely a vacation I needed and made good use of.

The Mavs continue to surprise me, but they need to attack the Suns at the basket the WHOLE game to win this series.

 
04M/26D/05Y:

I just got back from seeing Trish and her awesome family in Ft. Lauderdale. I posted pics at my flickr page. Next up: NYC for 5 days!

A couple experiences that will stick in my mind: a mojito full of mint leaves and my feet dipping in the waters of the hotel Delano's pool in South Beach. And the drive back from Nashville, which looks wildly different than winter now because all the trees are huge and green.

Wired neglected to publish this graph of outsourcing in the U.S. on its web site. Paints a different picture. (click to expand)

Wired Infoporn on Outsourcing

And finally, the Mavericks are killing me. =( They don't have the heart to come back, down 2-0.

 
04M/12D/05Y:

The weather lately has been fantastic! I'm glad spring is here -- it's fun to be in shorts again.

Read Monkey Pope's site. He's one of my best buddies, and his writing style is excellent. He and I share a lot of the same opinions on the Army and poker and life in general, except he tends to word it all better.

 
04M/06D/05Y:

So I was watching Roger Federer play Rafael Nadal in the finals of the NASDAQ-100 and, strangely, he was DOWN two sets to love and 4-5 in the third. Then he smashed his racket against the ground. Then he did a fist pump and got into a tiebreak. Then I turned off the TV and went out, figuring Nadal, an 18-year-old who's been on a tear, would close it out. Later that evening I found out that Federer, the best player in the world, had come back to WIN! He had hit 74 unforced errors in the match. This guy's amazing.

Roger Federer at the NASDAQ-100

Also, when I get out of the Army, I'm going to try to grow my hair longer for the pro tennis player look.

 
04M/02D/05Y:

As you can see, I re-designed the main menu here. I think it reflects what the site's strengths are a little better now.

Stock charts got ugly in March! Will the indices bounce at their 200dma's? The Naz is a little below its own, the Dow is right above it, and the S&P needs to fall another 20 points or so to hit its own. Right now I'd say utilities and oil have run their course and growth has underperformed and could use a rally.

Walmart dumped two-year support on heavy volume. Retailers are sucking. Inflation is a concern, but what about that 3.8% U.S. economic growth?

Walmart (WMT)

Few stocks are doing well besides oil and utilities. One that's done awesomely well is Pixar:

Pixar (PIXR)

I wrote a new Soapbox about the stickiness of the newest Honda Prius.

Wasn't Sin City grand? Read the article about the director, Robert Rodriguez, in the latest Wired.

 
03M/31D/05Y:

Lately I've been working pretty long hours getting trained up for Iraq, which is coming up on about only three months away. I feel pretty confident that I know what I'm doing now though, a marked contrast from how I felt just at Christmas.

Parts of my site are finally beginning to irk me -- I will probably re-tool them, make them more modular, etc. soon. There's a lot of data on my site, but it's not very accessible currently.

 
03M/20D/05Y:

Don Nelson, the playoff curse, is gone in Dallas. Jason Terry and Dirk are one of the best tandems in the game. And Dampier has been a good pick up, along with Henderson. This is the best Dallas team going to the playoffs in a long time. If we could just get rid of Finley now...

 
03M/17D/05Y: The stock market indices are getting precarious, but I'm not convinced the up-trend is over yet. ... So Bush picks Wolfowitz for the World Bank, Bolton for the U.N., and Hughes for the undersecretary of state. Politics aside, none of these people have the credentials or connections you'd think their nominated positions would require. At least Porter Goss has the credentials.
 
03M/06D/05Y:

I wrote a new Soapbox about the stock market. Speaking of the Soapbox, I'm putting everything into a database, adding many features and statistics. You can also now comment directly to a Soapbox and follow-up on it in the forums.

How come I can't find any damn Cadbury creme eggs, but there's always 20,000 cases of Peeps at the store?

 
02M/28D/05Y: I wrote about Bush, Iraq, and the Army. ... From Kottke, I watched the trailers for Gunner Palace, a documentary about an artillery unit in Iraq. And my buddy told me about September Tapes, which he described as the Blair Witch Project meets a guy going to Afghanistan for a news story.
 
02M/26D/05Y: Deployed soldiers were asked what gear they used in Iraq, and most of it they had to buy themselves, because the issued gear was not adequate. Commercial solutions are filling the void for the requirements of today's fully-loaded self-sufficient soldier. ... 82games.com is like a Moneyball stats site for the NBA. Dirk comes up as the #1 point differential player and there's tons of info about how players really impact their teams beyond the usual box score stats.
Me in DCUs and no magazine in my M4!
 
02M/20D/05Y: Back from Joint Readiness Training down in Ft. Polk. Lots of fun stories and experiences, including a Mark 19 jammed with a grenade, requiring a .50 cal barrel to get it out. (below) =P ... I finished Barnett's The Pentagon's New Map, which blew my mind. The guy's been looking for connections between the marketplace and the military, which is exactly what I've been doing, for reasons that now seem clearer! What's best about the book is not only does it confirm what I've been feeling but couldn't explain, but it also provides an optimistic, yet still realistic view of the future. A breath of fresh air! ... Is Angelina Jolie fucking hot or what? Arabic AND Latin tattoos...so familiar. =P
mark 19 picture
 
01M/28D/05Y: Going away for training until late February. Bye. =)
 
01M/19D/05Y: Totally digging the Aussie Open!
 
01M/01D/05Y: Here are my 2005 resolutions. Happy New Year to all my buddies. Some have recently deployed, some are getting back. Hope you all stay safe. ... I like the new front page designs -- don't you?

 

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