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Saint Louis

BB’s Jazz Blues and Soup

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Went to the BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soup at 700 South Broadway, which is quite a blast. This is my first time to a Jazz bar, although I have listened to the Jazz on NPR in the Sunday evenings for a long time. I thought about going to New Orleans, which is the birth place of the Jazz, but never made the trip. I heard St. Louis has the Jazz and Blues traditions especially in the 50s, the scene I saw at BB’s confirmed this. There are quite a good turn out at the bar. Although I may not be the best person to comment on the music, I enjoy it very much. Life is more than work, computer, stock and other cold hard stuffs. Music and friends should be a big part of it, especially in the holiday season.

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Saint Louis

Check out Heelys HLYS in the Stores

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I loaded some Heelys HLYS stocks at its IPO yesterday: pulled the trigger a little early and I am under water for now. Since I can’t do anything about the day to day stock price, I decided to check out it in the real world…Please note this is by no means a substitute for the fundamental or financial analysis of the company, this is just my informal reality check of heelys in the market place.

I visited some retail stores which carries Heelys in the area. Here is what I found:

1) Sports Authority: I visited three stores, one in Brentwood, one in St. Charle Rock Road, and last one at Ballwin. They all put the Heelys in the main aisle; but they don’t have a nice display like Nordstrom’s. I saw some action about Heelys: one customer exchanged her son/daughter’s shoes at the Brentwood store. SA sells about 11% of heelys in US domestic market (from its S1).

2) Nordstrom: St. Louis only Nordstrom is at West County mall, it has a good display for the product, although not extensive. As I mentioned before I happened to see a customer buying a pair for her grandson. I noticed the Nordstrom did not offer as many styles as Sports Authority, and they don’t have any discount (SA gives 10$ off for a few products).

3) Dick’s Sporting Good: this is a big outdoor sports gear store. But it has a small display like Nordstrom. Not very impressive.

4) Finish Line and Journeys. The former is a sports shoes store, the latter kids/teenager shoes store. I am impressed by Finished Line’s display (see the photo below). But from S1 we know Journeys sell 11.6% which is even higher than SA. This is the first time I went to the Journeys, it seems a very popular place. I saw the Converse shoes, which sponsors Dwyane Wade. One of my coworker told me his son likes his Converse all-star shoes very much (it costs more than 100, although it’s not good for his foot), and eventually he hurt his foot by wearing them. I think that’s a typical phenomena in American teen’s spending: fashion is much more important than substance.

I still have not seen kids skating in the malls or streets, according to its road show presentation, I heard it just started getting into midwest market. From Heelys web site I saw they have a demo team and here are their calendar. It seems to me their focus is the two coasts (east and west), and southwest for now. Like many other things, the trend starts from California or NY 🙂 

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I also searched “heelys” at flickr and found there are 70 pictures. Some are pretty cool.

(Update 11Dec06) I went to Galleria on Sunday. Besides Journeys, I found Kids Footlocker also has Heelys. I went to Chesterfield Mall this evening, both Journeys and Finishline have Heelys, again Finishline puts the Heelys in a more obvious location.   

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Saint Louis

Back to St. Louis

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I came back to St. Louis today. The weekend San Jose trip was great; both the weather and everything else. I got to see the Montery Bay, which includes 17 miles drive and world famous Pebble beach (golf course). Not to mention the Chinese food etc. As a guy in the tech industry, I always have great respect for Sillicon Valley and its entrepreneurships. There are just too many familar names: from big players such as Yahoo, Sun Micro, Cisco, Adobe to smaller ones such as Tivo, Redback Networks, Foundry Networks, Hyperion…Today’s San Jose Mercury News featured a little known startup called PanDigital which makes the LCD picture frame: it has only about 10 people in San Jose, and it oursourced manufacturing and support to China and India respectively; it is expected to sell 50,000 units with $50 million revenue. The key component is a chip which stores and shows the digital photos. I started to appreciate the innovation of chip: software combined with hardware really make the difference in our digital lives.

St. Louis is cold, and still covered with snow. Tomorrow is going to be warmer.  

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Saint Louis

Snow Storm

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We had worst snow storm in my 6+ years stay in St. Louis. The thing makes life harder is the “sleeze”, or ice rain (instead of the snow). It freeze the car windows and doors quickly. I spent about one hour for normal 15 to 20 communte from work to home. This morning I spent another hour to scrap the ice on my car.

I also lost electrcity last night. This morning when I walked to Schnucks (the grocery store) for ice scraper, I noticed it is on its own generator.

====================================== 
Outage start date/time:   Thursday Nov 30, 2006 11:37 PM
Outage status:   Order is being investigated
Cause of outage:   Cause not yet determined
Estimated restoration time:   Not Available
Number of customers out:   112
=====================

On positive side, I tried to help pushing two cars last night. One van was successful, another car Ford Taurus not successful. I felt as good as I solved a hard problem when I saw the van made it out of icey driveway. So far I still see my plane to San Jose on schedule. I believe there are many cancellations from Chicago ORD and St. Louis Lambert airport these two days.

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Saint Louis

80 20 Rule

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I heard about this 80-20 rule from a friend a while ago. It says “we spend 20% of our effort to accomplish 80% of the things; and then we spend remaining 80% of the time & effort to complete the remaining 20%…” I think that pretty well summerize what I was doing at my work lately. I think I want to add more here: the second half is more tough sometimes. Because it seems just never ending.

OK, enough about whining. I am going to do something meaningful: read some SEC filings for the companies I am interested. I have not forget writing about Chinese software companies, will resume soon…

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Saint Louis

Happy Thanksgiving !!!

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I am watching the annual Thanksgiving parade in downtown St. Louis (from TV). The weather here is great. I went to Panera Bread and the newspaper is already gone (hint: people are gettting the newspaper ad. and do research about tomorrow’s shopping deals now). Of course you can get the electronic version from dealsea.com nowadays.

Seriously, I want to thank my family, friends and coworkers for the past year. Life is not easy from time to time, but with your support, I enjoyed a lot memorable moments and got more strength…    

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Saint Louis

What’s this

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Normally I had it in a “to-go” cup. This is the first time they put it in the glass cup.

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Fun Saint Louis

Some pictures from Wash U. Diwali

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Diwali is the most important festival in India. I went to the Indian students Diwali party here at Washington Univ, Olin school of business. This is the second time I went to the Diwali: the first one was 7 years ago (1999) when I was in graduate school at Rolla. I like the enthusiasm Indian students showing their cultures to people from other background. Although I still can not take their curry. By the way, the dean of Wash. U. b-school is originally from India.

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Saint Louis

Talent Election Party

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As promised I put some of the photos I took last night at Jim Talent election party. It’s interesting to see some young people (high school, college) to show up. The McLaskill photo was taken at my home TV.

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Business Saint Louis

Election

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By now I think most people are happy with the election being over. At least we don’t have to bear with the silly ads on the TV any more. While I am not a political junkie, I went to the Jim Talent’s US senate re-election party in Frontenac last night. I figured rather than watching the TV at home, why not join the party as I used to saw people (mostly supporters) gathering for their canidates. I just want to get a feel of election party, that’all. The reason I picked Talent’s party because it’s only 10 minutes drive for me (hint, I lived near republican strong hold, Ladue). Later on I learned that Mclaskill’s party offered free bear. There are many interesting people there; I will post pictures later on and let them do tht talk.

Wall Streets obviously did not like the Democrats taking over house (expected) and likely control of the senate (unexpected). But in my mind, other than those stocks heavily influenced by the goverment policies, i.e., drug, oil/gas, defense, health care, stem cell, alternative energy, most stocks are unaffected by this. Also, (little noticed), Wall Street’s biggest headache, Mr. Elliot Spitzer won the Governor race in New York. That means he will leave the Attorney General post. I bet many people in the Street will be very happy 🙂

On the immigration issue, it could be positive because Democrats are pro immigrants in general. This could means the revival of immigration reform bill currently deadlocked in congress. Note President Bush is for the bill. Can we expect getting Green Card faster? I would not speculate on it because it’s way too early to tell — note there are some conservative democrats got elected, and they could make things uncertain.