Robert Writes a Book – Bonus Edition


When I first started this little project, I didn’t think that it would consume me as much as it has. I figured I’d start off like gangbusters – like I did that first day – but eventually slow down and eventually peter out to nothing. Just like everything else that I start and never finish. Nevertheless, this is the longest that I have ever consistently written, and that’s coming from a person whose livelihood used to be based on (mostly) daily writing about stocks and investing.

About a week into this thing, and based on the favorable reaction that I’ve received when I’ve shared my daily updates, I decided that I would share something from this (as yet untitled) fiction book that I’ve started writing. Parts of this have been shared with someone, who gave it generally great reviews – though he did see it before I doubled the length and added some other stuff. So, without further ado and after the break, please feel free to read the “Prologue” to the book. It has been lightly edited and most likely not in its final form, but I welcome any and all comments that you might have. Thanks for following along to this point, and I hope that this little snippet piques your interest further. Continue reading

FR: Avoid the Post Office With This Industry Leader

Article: Avoid the Post Office With This Industry Leader

My first “Fool Revisited” piece in a while looks to be about a company that has done quite well for itself in the nearly seven years that I wrote the article. I’d like to think that my stupid little piece had an impact on that, but I am also humble enough to know that that is not the case.

If you listen to any number of podcasts, you might here advertisements for (Nasdaq: STMP). The pitch is that they send you a free scale and you can “buy and print postage” from your house, avoiding the post office altogether. Even then, this seemed like a quaint idea, as if a majority of people were still going to the post office to mail things. With the advent of social media and wider acceptance of email, it seemed to me that the act of mailing things to folks was going to be reserved for packages and companies like FedEx (NYSE: FDX) and UPS (NYSE: UPS), among others. Continue reading

PepsiCo Buys SodaStream

Note: I’ll occasionally pop up back on here to write stuff about the stocks that are in my mother’s portfolio (which I manage). Though I missed the latest round of earnings for all of those companies – a complete failure on my part – I do continue to keep abreast of what is happening to those companies. If you want to read the bulk of my writing these days, check out (@SportMuseNet on Twitter), where I spend a lot of time writing about sports. I am also looking for freelance writing opportunities, so feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @GuruEbby if you have any available. Feel free to peruse the archives here to see what I’ve written before, or even some of my published stuff that I once got paid to write for the Motley Fool.

In news that took me by surprise, PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP) announced plans to purchase SodaStream Internation (NASDAQ: SODA) for $3.2 billion. This was quite a substantial premium on the current market price of the stock – as evidenced in the chart below (that big jump at the far right is after the announcement) – but something that seems totally in character for out-going Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi.

Back in my earliest Motley Fool days, I wrote about my appreciation of SodaStream, primarily because of the affection that one of my friends had for the product (and stock). After submitting myself to a taste test, I was sold. I bought myself a SodaStream machine, which remains buried somewhere in my mother’s basement because it was taking up counter space when I went away to college, and even owned the stock for a while too. Continue reading

18 Years Ago

Thanks to the Memories thing on Facebook, I was reminded that I joined the Army Reserve 18 years ago today. That means that about this time on that fateful Monday, SSG Nyman had dropped me off on my second attempt to join up, after having gone previously and failing to “provide a sample” due to my inability to pee on command in front of other people. Maybe I should have taken that as a sign, but I persevered and finally enlisted, even if I didn’t get my massive ($3,000) enlistment bonus on the spot when I signed on the proverbial dotted line.

This anniversary is often secondary or tertiary to all my other Army anniversaries, and I tend to forget about it until I see the annual reminder. I always remember my last day in the Army – February 6, 2011 – which, as you will note, was 10 years and six months to the day of the day I signed. Leaving then also led me to losing my job, something that I didn’t really prepare for fully and something that I never really recovered fully from until I started working for the Air Force two years ago.

I probably should have left about two years prior on my initial ETS date. I wasn’t getting anywhere, I hadn’t passed a PT test since November of 2001, shortly after I returned from AIT – and I barely passed that test as it was. I started to get fat not long after for various reasons, and I stopped missing weight by 2003 or 2004, and I was always on the “Body Fat Control Program.” I wanted to do so much more while I was in the Army and I was being held back, but I was also scared about my post-Army prospects with nothing but a degree in political science and no “real world” skills. Continue reading

Robert Writes a Book – Day 38

In an effort to find the story a little better, I decided to try something new. Instead of working on the same section, filling in page after page of background and “world building,” I wrote what I hope is the start of the thread that gets my protagonist heading onward on his journey. We’ll see if anything comes to pass over the next few days.

It must have worked, because I wrote a lot more than I was expecting. I was dreading writing about the same old boring stuff that I have been for the past few days and was almost going to not write anything. I didn’t want to keep chasing a story that was probably never going to come unless I got closer to it in my timeline, so that’s what I did. There’s still a lot to do in what is now the vacant middle, including some tragic, character-building stuff that will be a major part of my “hero’s journey,” but I’m a little more excited to see what happens next, and if I can find something for him to do in the meantime.

On with the stats:

Total words written: 28,499 (+1,243 from yesterday)
Daily average: 750 (up from 737)
Approximate days to end goal: 175+
Approximate days to next reveal: 28+