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I've been inspired by cartoonist and illustrators like Robert Crumb and Ernie Chan and copied their styles.  I practiced for several hours with their drawings and inkings.  I choose notebooks with no lines like Da Vinci and record everything in them.  I enjoy working with erasable ink pens because that gives me a color base for my drawings to fill in backgrounds with a blue tint to give balance or depth for my drawings.

Robert Crumb drew characters and created odd shapes

While in England I purchased a sketchbook of Robert Crumb's.  In his notebook he experimented with characters and odd shapes and inspired me to do the same.  In a notebook or journal like Da Vinci you can place down your unresolved ideas without critics.

Drawing loosens up the brain

Drawing exercises another skill set in the brain.  Transferring knowledge back and forth between brain cells I believe allows greater thinking.  Your mind doesn't become trapped inside itself or in one area.  It allows brain cells to make various connections that otherwise wouldn't have used.  Drawing can help with difficult logic decision making because additional skill set has been added.

Illustration classes at Pasadena City College

Taking classes refined my drawing skills and introduced me to comic book layouts.  My instructors was a professional artist and had us take a storyline and draw panels from that.  He told me I had a classical style of drawing and my classmates were fascinated on how unusual my characters's faces were. 

Everyone in class had their unique style.  Some were influenced by superheroes, some by foreign animation styles and some like a young kid studying with his father was just learning the ropes.  Our professor informed us that great animators like those who work for Disney for example would take figure drawing classes to keep their cartooning and illustration skills sharp.

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Drawing nude figures 

Yes, nude women I would love being in that class.  Since I haven't signed up for one, I conduct my own research.  I have tons of pages of nude models ranging from Virginia Bell stripper in the 1950's to Yulia Nova a modern Russian nude model.  I don't have a shortage of nude pictures to draw from.  I take full advantage of it.

The best class I took on drawing figures was a plant illustration class where I learn how to use shadow and how to direct light.  I was the only guy in the class drawing flowers but the lessons were taught by a professional illustrators and she felt that I had the right eye for my subjects.

I love comic books and artwork

I own hundreds of comic books and have attended the comic book convention in San Diego for several years.  What attracts me to comic books is the artwork even over the story line.  I search for independent comic book companies and I purchase books that have define ink drawings that are clear and detailed like Gilbert Hernandez's Luba's series.

Sending my ideas for publication

My cartoons have appeared on Yahoo.com/contributor pages when the site was still available and I've also been able to get them published in small newspapers and magazine.  I've sent my cartoons out to Funny Times and few other magazines, but I don't push as hard with my illustrations as I do my writing.

Da Vinci never published anything according to some authors.  Even when the printing presses were coming of age in his lifetime.  His notebooks were where his true genius was and as we discover more of his note pages we are taken back on how brilliant this man was.

 
 
This story hit the wire today according to "Buzz Feed" that an unnamed producer wrote an e-mail to Sony saying that to use Black Actors in any major block budget movie won't work because international audiences are prejudice.  The producer mentioned the recent film, "The Equalizer" with Denzel Washington wasn't doing well because international audiences can't envision of man of color in the at role.

As crazy as this sounds, it struck a core with me.  When I'm pitching my scripts to Hollywood over the years I never mention the color of the characters.  Hollywood is known for age discrimination, sex discrimination, discrimination of this or that and if they have any questions about a weak script they may determine to reject it based on these factors.  Hollywood is money making machine.  If it's a hit they don't care what color the actors, writers, producers, directors are.  

International audiences are not racist.  Have they noticed what the international audiences looks like. People of color.  Whether my wife and I travel to Korea or Panama people of color are more concern about a great story than what color the main characters are.

More films fail with white actors in them.  There has been so many film disasters using white actors that I can't even count that high.  Using white actors to play American Indians or Chinese characters is the greatest lie of.  What this producer doesn't understand is sometimes films just are not interesting and it doesn't matter what color you are if you are not seeing green backs at the box office.  

I haven't seen Equalizer because it not top of my list.  I've seen the TV series.  Why can't Hollywood offer me something new?

The debate will go on.  For the entire article check out this:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/maryanngeorgantopoulos/sony-producer-says-world-is-racist#.qtVRbnwmm
 
 
When I'm researching stock, I can't remember all the articles or essays I've read over a month.  I keep a notebook labeled "investments".  When I first discovered Baidu (the Google of China) I read three years before I ever invested.  It had gone from $8 or $10 a share to over $800 a share.  It was over $800 a share when started taking notes.  It was going to split 10-1.  I wrote all the information down in my journal.  They didn't say when it was going split.  The information was coming out of China.

It split and I purchased the shares at $82.25 a share today the stock is selling around $225 a share.  Not every idea is going to pay off.  Sometimes I review my notes years later and realize I didn't get in the market on a certain stock and wish I had.  Or I sold out and noted it went even higher.  

Recently I discovered an author who wrote about the newly found notes from Leonardo Da Vinci. Some churches were sitting on his pages and didn't know it.  In his notes, he never talks about how he made his living but what scholars can surmise it was about being an entrepreneur of entertainment and invention.  Da Vinci made money creating devices to entertain the rich and of interest to government.  He was politically connected and when a certain patron fell out of favor Da Vinci was packing his bags heading off to the next rich patron.  His notes detail more of his entrepreneurial spirit than what we have known about him.

Da Vinci coded his notes books.  It contained information on how he was making money on his inventions and he had a fear someone who discovered them.  As an investor keep confidence in your research.  It doesn't matter who you talk to you have your own agenda.  The only stock I told a friend to invest in over the years was Visa.  He made a mint when he sold it.  Usually, I don't tell anyone what to buy only what I'm interested and suggest they do their own research.

Over the past 30 some years of note taking, I discovered a few things about investing.  Sometimes I get it right.  As I'm investing I've made some good choices and not so good.  I try to keep my no so good to a small fraction.  
 
 
A new principle is an inexhaustible source of new views-Vauvenargues


A chapter from my book Spiritual Dancer

Do not become angry with yourself and belittler your mind for the lack of process.  Keep your mind on loving thoughts of yourself.  So many of us reflect what our parents said to us in order to socialize our behavioral patter sons.  My father could be tyrant.  Not because he was one, but because he was raised with the idea that he was not always worthy of the affections from his mentor.  My father was berated unmerciful according to my aunt and so when he had a son, the only lesson he passed on to me was a fracture ego.


I was never good enough, smart enough or hard working enough.  In school, my mother was a great student and I was not.  The lectures that ensued from my teachers about my lack of educational abilities plagued my own intellectual growth.


Soon I was playing out my parent's stories in my life.  I doubted my abilities even to perform a simple task.  There was incident in my fourth year of school that changed my life.


My mother had helped me in my homework.  I had missed the honor roll each report semester by a few points.  She decided that she needed to spend time with her other children and I would never reach such a goal.  I convinced myself. that only I could determine for myself what I was capable of.  I studied hard.  It was the lat reporting schedule for the year.  When I went home I showed my mother my report card.  I had made the honor roll without her help.  I was no longer tied to my parent's stories, limited script, from that day on.

My parents, the teachers were not bad people.  They were protecting some of their fears, lack of abundance and prejudices on to me.  Don Miguel Ruiz' book, The Four Agreements, states as one of the agreements: Don't Take Anything Personally.  "What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream" Ruiz writes.  even if someone tells you how wonderful you are, they are still reflecting how they feel about their own dream.

When your mind begins to echo some of any energy or thought that takes away from your spiritual good, keep loving thoughts around you.  Make what you believe your daily devotion.  Remember God made us perfect in his image.  God is perfect and your part of God.  I'm part of God.  He made me in his image.  and 
 
 
Investing mistakes I made in 30 years how to avoid them

The more risky the investment the higher the return and the more money you could loose.  My first investments were Penny Stock.  One was in casino company called Twin Crowns.  The investment was worth .001 cents and put in about $50 in 1984.  I didn't know anything about the stock.  I relied on my broker.  I didn't do any research on my own.

Over the years, Twin Crowns was purchased by several companies and finally when I sold after years of research to find the company my stock was worth about $8.  Around the same time in 1984 I invested in a company called Glaxo.  I was working at  a pharmacy at that time I knew a little bit about the new drug that this company came out with for ulcers.  It didn't have any side effects at that time and was slowly becoming the fastest growing drug in the United States.  I got in at $10 a share and saw the stock go over $100 share and then split.  Since then I have the bug for investing.

Don't invest what you can't afford to loose

A few people I knew were day traders.  Watching the market everyday and trading when the market was up and buying when the market was low.  They would borrow money to trade with.  I was a low wage earner.  I never gambled or risked more money that I could afford to loose especially in stocks that were extremely risky.  Day traders went bankrupted.  The people I knew lost a lot of money.

My money was tight so each pay check I would go to the local bank and purchase US Saving Bonds.  At that time I could get a $50 bond for about $25 dollars.  US Saving Bonds matures in 7 years.  I kept mine 10.  US Saving Bonds don't pay out high interest rates but they are the safest investment you can make.  Of course at that time no one was threatening closing down the government and not paying the government's debt.

Join an investment club

Because I was new to investing in 1980's I wanted to learn as much as I could so I joined The National Association of Investors Corporation http://www.betterinvesting.org/public/default.htm

They have a monthly magazine called Better Investing and give you tips on how to join a investment club or set one up yourself.  I purchased some stock that they recommended and did well.  Each week there are articles on investment.  Also listed are investment clubs where you can join.  It seems that investments clubs which are actively investing do better than individual investors.  In clubs there is a pulling of resources and communication among its members about investment opportunities. 

Not every stock will be a winner, diversify 

No matter how keen you are as investor, currently I'm doing better than the market, not all your stocks are going to be winners.  Be prepare to loose money.  I purchased a stock a few years back in China called Renren (The Facebook of China) at $19 a share.  Renren went down to $3 a share within a few months after its IPO.  Because I diversified in several other industries not just China I was able to balance my loses over my gains.  

I had a great gain with Visa as IPO but lost money when I invested in other stock.  Diversification helps spread the risk over your entire portfolio and your gains.  It allows you to make some choices, free up cash and place in more stable investments balancing out your portfolio.

There are no sure things

If anyone tells you that this is a sure thing in stock market or any investment, Run.  There are no sure things except taxes and death everything else is a risk.  You have to do you own research no matter what analysts write find out for yourself.  In real estate my wife and I have taken a lot of seminars and classes.  When the housing market crashed we were not one of those people that purchase property with no money down or was skimming off the equity to purchase a lot of other properties.  Most of the seminars were wrong when it came to investing in the real estate rental market.  We made a lot of mistakes but finally were able to determine for ourselves what was the proper course to take.  There are no sure things in any investment model.

Don't be afraid to make mistakes

In my investment life I made a lot of mistakes and lost a few dollars along the way.  But success is given to the person who continues to try.  My first Penny Stock in 1984 I lost money and I have lost money since in other stocks including my last investment in General Motors, but I keep trying.  Being able to brag about my successes readers must be reminded it is only part of the picture.  I also write about my failures as well.  

When you make a mistake, get back out there.  Read more and research some more and stay true to yourself.  Keep it fun!  I love investing in the market.  I know I have made money in the market and few people that I encounter don't understand the market so they are afraid of it.  I took classes and continue to improve my understanding.  Educate, study the companies, take a chance, diversify, don't try to time the market and when you hit on a winner, brag about it.  I know I do.

Let me hear from you and what are th

 
 
The bargains might be in China.  The stocks I continue to write about and put some money in are Baidu (BIDU), Qihoo 360 Technology LTD (QIHU) and since its IPO, Alibaba (BABA).  Looking at several investment boards including the one I set up on Motley Fool very few investors are looking at these stocks.  Why?  Even some of the large and small brokers I've talked to are not so keen on investing in China and are not researching or looking into these stocks.  Why?  They stocks are making money.  Let's look at the opportunities.

Alibaba (BABA) the largest IPO in history.

Since my purchase of Alibaba at $91 per share within a few months of its IPO rose to over $100 per share.  Alibaba operates an on-line marketplace where retailers and wholesalers can trade.  Alibaba has made plans to continue his platform to give more international commerce and consumers opportunities to purchase products.  Enabling China titan to become bigger than Amazon.  Currently Alibaba is trading around $105.21.  I see this stock expanding and may next year pricing itself over $200 a share.

Baidu (BIDU) the Google of China

Baidu is the second largest search engine in the world behind Google.  It dominates the Chinese market place.  I have watch my shares of Baidu grow from $82.25 a share to over $225.  Baidu doesn't have any competition except maybe Qihoo 360 Technology.  Baidu wants to expand into other markets.  If so, Baidu could experience a growth beyond Google in tightly controlled nations.  With Chinese government controlling information very few outside companies have been able to penetrate their market.  Currently, Baidu is selling at $227.83.

Qihoo 360 Technology LTD (QIHU)

If any Chinese company is competition for Baidu Qihoo is.  Qihoo has picked up 17% to 29% of Baidu market share.  Analysts believe that Qihoo might grow 42.5% next year.  However, Qihoo has been facing some setbacks.  First of all there is a board change announced this week which might bring to doubt leadership issues.  Qihoo stock have slide 25% in recent months due to poor performance numbers.  Baidu has been investing heavily in mobile applications while Qihoo which started out as anti-virus software company has not done so.  Baidu likely to grow 62% next year.

While the market seems unpredictable for Qihoo their stocks are trading around $59 a share as today.  Which given the research into the company this might be a bargain.

Why are brokers reluctant about promoting these stocks?  China is still an unpredictable and scary marketplace for some.  Unsure of what outcomes can arise brokers might not want to look into these markets.  The current market might be over inflated now and the profits might be harder to come by. 

Do your research determine if these are the stocks worth investing.  Have fun!

 
 
When we first purchased our property and decided to spend some of our retirement years in Panama we were frustrated on how long it took to get things done.  Our house closing we had to hire more than one attorney to close the deal and it seem that took forever.  When we went for our driver's license the government wasn't quite sure how to register foreigners for the new driving permits at that time and we wasted an entire day to find out this.  Pretty soon we were being turned off to Panama.  It took a few of our Panamanian friends to calm us down and told us you have to have patience, this is not the US.

Living or visiting Panama you better learn paciencia

Paciencia means patience.  When our homebuilder was following behind in the project plan we laid out for them, we didn't go out crazy on them, we gather our thoughts and learned patience.  Most of the foreigner who retired to Panama that we have talked to over the years their first few years are the hardest living in Panama.  They want things done on US or European time tables and Panamanians just don't work that way.  Our friends become angry frustrated and some even move out of the country.  

The government proceeds in the same mindset.  We have never got our Panamanian driver's license and operate our vehicles using international license from AAA in the states.  Panamanians become upset with other Panamanians on how slow they are.  When we were building our home, our cabinetmaker told us he would fix our front door Friday.  Since he told us during the week we believed it was that Friday. 

After a few months went by and the door still wasn't fixed, we had lunch with him.  He apologized for not fixing the door.  We told him you told us Friday, you just didn't say which Friday.  He laughed so hard and told us, "You think like a Panamanian."  Within a few days, he returned to our house and fixed the door.

Take time to reboot your attitude

We continuously watch our blood pressure when we are visiting and dealing with Panama.  Lately, we are waiting on some important information from one of our Panamanian friends.  It was Friday when he was suppose to get back to us.  That was few days ago so we are hoping it won't be a few months.

He called us today before this post was written and gave us all the information we needed.  Paciencia!!!  Practice Patience.
 
 
Leonardo Da Vinci wasn't impressed with theories, he wanted to make sure it worked.  Being a child born out of wedlock Da Vinci couldn't pursue a life as a scholar through the university so his father decided to give him art classes.  Da Vinci letters and notes hardly ever mentions his mother probably a poor peasant girl, but his father recorded in his notebooks, was a degreed accountant.  Da Vinci was motivated to show that even without being college educated he could deliver works of scholarly worth.  This desire made him one of the greatest thinkers in history.

If Da Vinci designed your diet

Da Vinci looked beyond the theories of the day and went to field to see if it worked.  Most of the time the written theories didn't work in the field.  A diet or control intake has to work.  My wife and I have monitored our diet and change it over the years.  What wasn't working for us was eating out and fatty meals.  We decided to purchase a "Bullet" blender to mix our fruits and vegetables in the morning for breakfast.  What I have watch is my waist slim down and my blood pressure stabilize.

If Da Vinci was designing your diet, he would keep asking you questions and taking notes on the results.  Keep notes of your results and find things that work for you.  What might work for you might not work for someone else.

Da Vinci enjoyed results and experimentation.  

Diet become boring over time.  As we age our bodies change.  Our minds adapt so the same things don't excite us like they use to.  Da Vinci will continue experimentation with your diet.  He would suggest different vegetables or herbal supplements. We are extremely fond of Dr. Schulze's herbal supplements and have been taking them for years.  He sells several cleansing formulas including my favorite Intestinal Formula #1.  Check him out on www.herbdoc.com.

Find time to experiment with different diet and enjoy the results.

Da Vinci grew his mind

Read continuously.  Health information changes over the years due to research.  The ideas my parents had about food was completely different from their kids because of the available knowledge and information at our time.  Egg were first consider great sources of protein, then bad source of fat and then okay if you ate a few a week.  Keep up on the latest research.

 
 
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We might be denied access our own retirement property

It's been an on-going struggle for us to keep our sanity while living in Panama especially on the beach in a so-called homeowner's association.  Homeowners Association like in the states really don't exist here.  It's mainly one person who owns the water, road, electric and holds all to all rights without negotiation.  If you are a retiree, think several times before moving into one of these establishments in Panama.

Since we are challenging some of the homeowner association laws we placed ourselves in the middle of an ongoing dispute that has been going on for over six years.  Can the laws be swayed if the developer is a Panamanian? We don't know.  Every attorney we spoke to has told us that no one can deny us access to our property even if they claim to own a limited access road.  But what the law says and how they can enforce it are two different animals.

We are planning to challenge one of those laws in a few days.  We don't know what the outcome will bring.  It will cost my wife and I a time and money few but let's give you an understanding what the disagreement is about.

  1. We purchased our property "free and clear without restrictions".  What the developer or seller didn't understand that once they sold the property they couldn't come back and make a side deal for another agreement.  Though the property was located in a so-call development it was never officially registered until after they sold it to us.
  2. US government will not get involve with local civil suits so we are on our own.  We have informed the State Department where we are and when we plan to leave.  So, if that does not occur they know where to look.
  3. Corruption is an element and a possible outcome of this lawsuit.  We can't always depend on the courts to uphold their own laws, so far we have not been disappointed but when you are a foreigner it's any one's guest.
  4. All private property is registered in one place in the country.  It's the reason we purchased property in Panama.  We thought we were purchasing property in an area that would keep the maintenance up like drinkable water, road conditions with fairness and honesty.  
  5. We have asked for clear documentation of expenses of income as our right as homeowners if you are charging us a certain amount or intend to increase your charges.  Our fees went up 100% without any vote.

Understand we love Panama and its people.  This is not a blog against the Panamanian way of life or understanding.  It's a blog identifying some problems when retirees move into another country and when they feel they are not being treated faily.  We just hope we can be treated fairly.

 
 
In 2008 I purchased the book The Warren Buffett Way by Robert C. Hagstrom, JR.  What I learned from this book is that Buffett studies companies and doesn't worry about the market place. Buffett puts no confidence in market projections or in inflation.  Buffett believes that inflation is more political than about the economy.  I remember reading that Buffett doesn't follow the market on a daily basis where I look at the market almost every chance I get.

Last year I decided to purchase a little of Warren Buffett gold.  I invested in Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B) at at $116.32 and today it's trading around $150.52 a gain of 29.5%.  When I picked Berkshire it wasn't just because Buffett sits at the helm but also because of reading about how he invest.  Buffett loves stocks like IBM a steady company with a long history of returns.  

I have lost money over the years by investing in Penny Stock but made money over the years investing in IPOs.  IPO stands for Initial Public Offering. The first sale of a stock by a company to the public according to www.investmentwords.com
The most successful stock I have purchased over the years has been IPO stocks like Visa and Dollar General.


Below is Buffettlike principles according to writer Hagstrom:
  1. Focus on return on equity, not earrings per share
  2. Calculate "owner earnings" to get a true reflection of value
  3. Look for companies with high profit margins
  4. Fore every dollar retained, make sure the company has created at least one dollar of market value
This is why I have invested money in Berkshire Hathaway.  I'm making my 29.5% and I'm in the for long haul.