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Recent Entries
Song-A-Week #28: Jealousy and Greed
Song-A-Week #27: Sex and Gadgetry
Finance Geeks - Investment Allocation
What I've been up to
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September 25, 2007

Song-A-Week #28: Jealousy and Greed

Another junky laptop mic demo, since I'm waiting for the online retailer to ship me the correct KVM switch... not that you need to know that, but that's whyyyyyy. Its pretty neat though. Here ya go!

Jealousy and Greed
Copyright (C) 2007 Matthew C Good

I'm looking for a game
where no one has to lose.
Cuz it feels so good to play,
to live life by the rules.

And when it comes to this mess,
I am of two minds
cuz I wanna get ahead,
yet leave no one behind,

So what are Jealousy and Greed
doing with me?
Why are Jealousy and Greed
part of me?

I am just a man
who's never seen his face.
Just some photographs,
an image in the waves

So what in God's name does it mean
to feel so in between
all the subjectivities
and the ideal?
What are Jealousy and Greed
doing with me?
What are Jealousy and Greed
doing with me?


I was at two of my friends' wedding the other weekend, and my bud and fellow songwriter-guy Jonny Weaver was there and asked me what I had learned from doing the song-a-week thing. I told him that I just don't have golden ideas every week, and that anybody that has a major life epiphany or emotional crisis on a weekly basis can not survive long. What that means is that I've had to fictionalize a lot of these songs, and I've tried tricks like writing them from different perspectives, or thinking up a character in my head and writing about THAT person. It used to be that my songs were pretty personal and about me nearly all the time. They're still pretty personal, but they are less and less about me, and more about somebody I made up, who may or may not be based loosely on someone I know. That's still personal, and I still have some kind of emotional connection with the characters.... which is weird. I've never had that happen before, really. I would assume someone who writes a lot of stories would probably know what I mean, but even more so.

But this is the first song in a long time that I didn't really have to fictionalize much on. Greed is something that I could see, check that, have seen creep into my life and spill ink all over the part of my brain where I wrote down that all people can be redeemed and deserve good will, and that helping others is about the most uncomplicated good that I can think of. ::sigh::

I guess that's why there's the sermon on the mount, eh?

Posted by pedalboy at 10:04 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 19, 2007

Song-A-Week #27: Sex and Gadgetry

Hello, my sweet chinchillas!

Song-A-Week is BACK - with an attitude, a new haircut, and a (oddly enough) some kind of bizarrely-colored rash that I really autta get checked out. Jeez, that's awkward.

Dang, I must be in a silly mood tonight. Well, here's #27: An old one called "Sex and Gadgetry." This was originally written at the end of senior year at Greenville, and i was never able to record it or demo it because the guitars I had up to now would get nasty-out-of-tune when you played as high up on the neck as this song needs. But I just started playing kristin's nice fender acoustic. It has a really nice bright happy sound, with more sustain. And its more in tune than my old Epiphone (or at least out of tune differently). So I finally got around to demoing it, and here it is. Sorry, the audio sucks - things are still a bit crazy around the studio after the move.

Sex and Gadgetry
(C) 2007 Matthew C Good

So sell me on sex and gadgetry,
I almost believe you.
Beautiful people loving me,
I almost believe you.
Cuz I feel warm when I'm buying something
I feel warm when I'm going somewhere
and not when I'm there.

Gonna buy me another eastern philosophy,
I collect them.
Gonna get me excess eccentricity,
I need it.
And I feel dead when I don't have coffee,
cuz headaches and heartaches all mean something's

buh-buh-buh, buh-do-buh, buh-do-buh, buh-duh-bum.
buh-buh-buh, buh-do-dum, bud-do-dum, buh-dum-buh-dum.

So sell me a lifestyle from the magazines,
I want to be you.
Oppress me a thousand middle classes.
Don't you want to?
Cuz I'm tired of fighting natural consumer urges.
Let me become the focus of my own hatred,
you might as well cash in.

Sell me on sex and gadgetry,
beautiful people loving me,
I want believe you.


Yeah - so the audio sucks. But the song could be cool with the right production. Sounds good with the Nashville Hi-Strung Acoustic. Caitlin (chase's girl) played that sucker when me and my ragtag band played this on hogue steps that one time to a rousing crowd of at least 5 people.

Just what, you ask, IS a Nashville Hi-Strung Acoustic? Well, its an acoustic guitar that you string up with just the high set of strings from a 12-string guitar. So the lower-pitched 4 strings are actually tuned an octave up, and the b and e strings are the same. You end up with a really cool sound that is a mix between a harpsichord, a mandolin, and an acoustic guitar. neat stuff. I haven't used it in a long time, since uh, its been at home... Maybe I'll go grab it at thanksgiving time.

On a side note - I started working on a song the other day that makes me more excited than I've been about a song since... Well... i don't know, maybe standoff, vision, or you know where I'll be. Or maybe not even those. This song makes me really happy. So far. And its the kind of song that I could see getting picked up by a non-screwed-up band, so if any of you have any songwriter-publishing contacts, I might be asking you to call in some favors in a few weeks. ha. peace out dudes.

Posted by pedalboy at 12:26 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

September 18, 2007

Finance Geeks - Investment Allocation

Hi everyone. Since there seems to be several finance-geeks in the kordix community (and by several, I mean two), and since i think sites like are soo neat, I thought I'd post something that I've been thinking about for a while... and see if anyone seems to care.

When I first got the job I'm at right now over a year ago, it got me access to a 401k. Of course, I really didn't have much of a clue about what that actually WAS at the time, however. Being the kind of guy that likes to learn tons of stuff, with a sort of do-it-yourself spirit, and not one to make decisions without doing a ton of research, I set out to figure out what the heck this investing thing is all about, anyway.

I've begun to accumulate some knowledge in that area, and have started to fill out a mental list of concepts that I've accepted regarding long-term (i.e. retirement) investing... Here's a few of the conclusions i've arrived at so you can get an idea of where I'm coming from.

First off, hot-shot wall-street types most of the time aren't going to help you. What that really means is that actively managed funds seldom beat low-cost indexing over long periods of time when fund fees are factored in. Trying to get into the new hot fund and get out before it starts underperforming is trying to time the market, and I'm not smart enough to do that. This tendency to think that somebody in new york is smarter than you and should be the one in charge of your money is a bit dangerous, I think. They don't have your best interests in mind. That should be enough to make you think twice about it right there. Another problem is the fact that they are moving HUGE amounts of money around when they make a trade, it can throw the market off a bit, and they may not be able to buy a stock at as cheap a price as they'd like. But it really gets down to the fact that these guys are really trying to predict the future. Heck its hard to know what the heck is happening in the present, let alone the future. Some guys appear to be able to do it. To cite the obvious, Warren Buffet has consistently beaten the market (though he's not just buying and selling stocks, to be fair), but they appear few and far between. For a number of other reasons, I just think that most of the time, an active manager doesn't really add value. Google "efficient market hypothesis."

Secondly, weird as it sounds, adding two risky investments together can reduce your overall risk in your portfolio. The trick is that the two kinds of investments need to be noncorrelated. This is the basis for diversification - i.e. owning all kinds of companies, large and small, value and growth (which i won't get into here), US and foreign, stocks and bonds, etc... For more information, Google "Modern Portfolio Theory."

Third, expenses are the one factor that is guaranteed to affect your investment value a predictable amount, year after year - so try not to pay too much here. Remember - no mutual fund will guarantee you a certain rate of return, but they WILL guarantee a certain rate they'll take from your money every year. Lower is better. I can't cite sources, but lots of studies have shown that this has a more profound effect over a lifetime than you might initially think.

That basically sums up my current thinking on the issue. So, if you're still reading (and NOT asleep), take a look at my current asset allocation:

Investment Allocation, 9-18-2007

hrm... all that talk about diversification and... 70% in plain old large cap US? That does seem like I'm talking one way and living another. But, we're talking about a 401k here - which doesn't have a TON of great options. The large blend that I'm using happens to be one I like, with a nice .88% expense ratio. Other expense ratios for my funds are 1.2%, 1.15%, 1.26%, and (eek) 1.6%, so I overweighted the fund for that reason. I'm not really sure if its smarter to favor the better fund or to keep the better diversification and eat the expenses. If anyone can register a comment on that issue, I would appreciate it.

And take a look at those bonds. Corporate bonds. Not a big fan of these nowadays... I pretty much chose them because I didn't know much about bonds (bonds are boring), and the expense ratio and trailing rate of return weren't too bad. I had about 10% in this fund at one time... But - they kinda have been taking pretty steady hits lately and I've started to think that a bazillion years from retirement is a bit too early to have a realllllly significant bond allocation... Plus I don't really like any of the bond funds in my 401k... so what is a boy to do? Eh... just throw more money at the stocks, I guess...

About the International vs. US large cap stock funds - I think this is the only international fund available to me, so I'm in it for diversification's sake. Its also my most expensive (1.6%) and I'm starting to wonder if it is really doing its job. Its mostly large European companies, and seems to be pretty well correlated with large US companies. Its different enough for me to keep some money in it, but not different enough for me to want to throw a lot at it. Thoughts, anyone?

Small/Mid and Mid are going quite well so far, but are a bit more expenseive (1.15% and 1.26% respectively) than I would like, so I haven't been throwing a TON of cash their way for that reason. Wise? Stupid? Let me know.

For future contributions, my allocation breaks down like this:
Bonds: 3%
Small/Mid Value: %15
Mid Growth: 13%
Large Blend: 54%
Int'l Large Value: 13%

Am I still weighted too much toward Large US companies? Leave some comments if you have an opinion, and let me know if you care at all about finance-type blogs or if I should just stuck to the music and randomness. Peace.

Posted by pedalboy at 11:57 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

September 12, 2007

What I've been up to

It sure has been a long time since this sucka has seen any activity, and all of my matt-good-fanboys are all like, "why hasn't he written, that pansy-sailor!" Okay so real life hasn't been anything nearly that interesting (nobody's called anybody a "pansy-sailor" lately), but nevertheless there ARE a few items of note that may explain why the blog has seen such little activity as of late.

1) Well - um, I packed.
Kristin found this awesome cool bigger nice-looking apartment a few months ago, and we had the sucker locked in for a long time. While we were anxiously waiting, it sort of became a fairy-tale, or myth, or something. Like something that "one-day" would be nice, but will probably never happen. Well, it started happening. We packed up stuff in our kinda junky small one-bedroom apartment and headed for the nice two-bedroom. Lets just say that there was a lot more crap in that tiny place than we thought would fit. Good times....

2) Moving
We moved - parents came and helped, saw the new place, visited nashville a bit. that was neat-o. Thanks to my very good greenville friends, Seth and Ian, we got everything moved in without any major incidents. In-CREDIBLE. Thanks, guys.

3) Car trouble
It had to happen. Car trouble. The dreaded plague of american life, the bane of my existence. We had bought a new (to us) car - nissan altima - for kristin, and it was having some problems starting - turns out its the alternator... and its not that hard to fix. But at the SAME TIME what has turned out to be sort of an old junker Toyota Corolla has this demon-possessed wiring problem that prevents it from starting, and spins up all the engine fans in the car WAY fast and you can't shut them off, draining the battery. Anyway, it was sort of a lot to bear all at once, and car problems really bother me more than they should. On the upside, I changed my own alternator and that was kinda neat. If not a little scary.

4) New Furniture / IDIOTS
Well, we have an actual living room now, so we got some new furniture. The idiots who came to deliver it - well, as I mentioned before, they were IDIOTS.
Kristin notices that the finish is a bit irregular on the coffee table, and these guys, being the rhodes scholars that they are, say "no problem! We've got a MARKER! Yes, a marker. So they get out this thing, color on our furniture, and subseqently leak ink-nasty all over our brand new carpet. Uncool. Then they ask us to use our soap and towels to clean it up, getting ink on our towels - unprofessional and uncool. THEN they rub so hard into the carpet that it is no longer just stained, it is ALL MESSED UP. The pile is not... piling. Unprofessional, uncool, and just plain destructive. so anyway kristin's upset and I'm in the middle of all this between the rental complex, kristin, and the furniture store. yowza. But I stick it to the man and they replace the carpet. w00t. they're still going to be replacing/fixing a lot of the furniture.
Of course, they didn't actually bother to call us and let us know when they were gonna replace the carpet. No. Instead, these workmen randomly showed up at the apartment, and (not speaking very good english) said "Carpet?" Kristin, a bit confused, asked if they were there to replace the carpet. They repeated, "Carpet?" Kinda odd. They were also really confused as to why there was stuff like A COUCH, TABLES, CHAIRS, A BOOKSHELF, AND A TV in the room that they were supposedly going to recarpet that day. It was an odd experience for her, I'm sure. But it all worked out

5) Revenge of the Car Trouble!
I'm an idiot. I left the lights on in the Altima for a while and it killed the battery. I had jumper cables, I thought "no problem." Well, they were short, scary cables - one was sorta um... frayed?? Well anyway, it didn't work, because as soon as I made the final contact, the alarm started going off... I didn't even know we HAD an alarm. so i'm pissing off the neighbors late at night - anyway, we're getting into really boring minutiae here but.... we eventually got it jumped, but man I felt dumb.

6) The antidote to feeling dumb is...
...Getting a promotion! w00t! Had my annual review, nothing even remotely negative. I had sortof weaseled my way into doing the job of somebody more advanced than my position for a while, so they eventually realized that, and gave me a new title and a fairly hefty pay raise. I went from being a Web Developer (which really means "some guy who can lay out a site with tables and photoshop and dreamweaver") to Programmer (which really means "we would make you a software engineer, but we'd like you to have a little more experience first"). Personally, just by the sound of it, I think Web Developer has more prestige. Programmer sounds a little.... "code-monkey"-ish. But - its a bit step up, and I'm gonna keep kicking butt and try to hit the SE mark next year, after I get my MCTS cert and maybe take some classes, and roll out this dang project we've been working on. GOOD THINGS.


oh... and I soaked my cell phone - I'm blaming Sonic, but that's another story altogether. Its toast, so until I get another one, email is best, or call kristin.

But that's my life in a nutshell. Been a kinda good, kinda stressful month or so. That's why I haven't really put out any new songs or anything. Please forgive me, I hope to resume that soon, and with a vengance.

Posted by pedalboy at 6:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack