Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Tampa Redux - Part I

Considering I spent all of my time in Florida by myself, I had a great time. I got a chance to visit so many places while down there.

I arrived Wednesday evening around 9:15 PM without incident. After taking a shuttle to the local Alamo and picking out a compact car to drive in, I drove an hour & a half to Sarasota. I spent the evening at a Country Inns & Suites. I remember being impressed by the chain when I visited Providence, R.I. last September for a friend's wedding. This one wasn't too bad but I think I preferred the one in R.I.

Thursday morning I headed straight to DNAP headquarters, which was 20 minutes away from the hotel. The outside grounds were as I remembered it in 2003 when I last visited. Instead of letting us inside the facilities this time, the company sprung a giant tent with chairs and even had a continental breakfast (translation: bagels, donuts, juice, coffee) for the investors.

I parked my rear on a random chair and since I had eaten Country Inns and Suites continental breakfast earlier, I passed on the snacks. About five minutes later, DNAP Chairman Hector Gomez began DNAP's annual stockholder's meeting.

The meeting definitely had its fireworks, especially in regards to the reverse split that the company wishes to implement. A lot of investors, myself included, was quite upset by the prospect of losing their current stock percentage. The arguments were mute, however, as the Board of Directors hold the majority of the shares and have already pretty much decided on the split. Basically the reason cited for doing the split was to ensure that the company could tap into their new equity provided by a third party group of 40 million dollars. The only way the deal with this group would happen is with the reverse split.

With that formality out of the way, the real exciting part of the meeting (and the new reason why I'm still sticking with this stock, even though those who know about it think I'm crazy) began. The company basically received an exclusive deal from Beth Israel to produce a "Super EPO" drug that'll help increase "red blood cell" counts in humans. Currently an EPO drug exists for this and is produced by pharmaceutical giant Amgen. The drug, however, is only effective for one day and has to be readministered. The proposed "Super EPO" drug is effective for up to seven days. Since the drug currently is administered by a shot, that means less shots over time are needed.

Dr. Frudakis, the Chief Scientific Officer of DNAP, is quite excited by the prospects and seemed quite confident that this would be a win/win situation for the company. The potential market for the drug is $10 billion dollars. Assuming the drug is successfully created, this would prove to be quite the coupe for DNAP and could possibly propel the stock to much, much higher levels.

I may even consider plunking more money into the stock. But that would have to be after the current Reverse Split, which is proposed to be a 1:20. Also I would have to see that the company's making progress on the drug creation and testing. I currently have 109,000 shares. After the split, I'll only have 5,450 shares.

I stayed afterwards to check out the 3D-technology that they want to incorporate into their DNAWitness package. The gist of the technology is that based on DNA, this package would provide police with a 3D composite of a suspect. Pretty exciting stuff, though I think the Super EPO drug is definitely where the excitement is at.

I, alongside with a few other investors, including a few from the infamous message boards, chatted with the good doctor. I greeted Dr. Frudakis and was pleasantly surprised when Dr. Frudakis stated that he remembered me. Ironically it wouldn't have been too hard to remember me, seeing as I was the only African-American male present both in 2003 and this year. But I was happy nonetheless by the shout-out.

I told Dr. Frudakis that I was amazed that Beth Isreal chose them over say, I don't know, Amgen. I figured since Amgen created the original drug that they'd have a vested interest in protecting their cash cow. Dr. Frudakis stated that Beth Isreal did actually enlist Pfizer for the job of creating the "Super EPO". However, Pfizer sat on their asses (in other words, they had lots of other drugs in their pipeline and were too busy to focus on BI's needs) and thanks to a loophole Beth Isreal provided in their contract, they were able to break the contract and thanks to connections with the current CEO of DNAP, DNAP was able to secure the deal.

The estimated time that the drug could be ready would be sometime in late 2007 - early 2008. So I have to patiently wait even longer. I've been in DNAP since 2000 and I guess I'm still relatively young...*LOL*. So wait on!

Maybe my other potential hot stock, NCDP, will take off sometime next year and I can take the profits from that and buy back into DNAP. That's assuming progress is made on the drug and of course, I'm assuming that NCDP does, you know, do something. Let's keep hope alive!

I said my goodbyes to the group and left feeling better about my investment. Short-term will be disappointing and since I've already lost money on DNAP, it doesn't even make sense to sell at this point. However, the long-term potential, thanks to this deal makes my investment much more promising than when I originally invested. Time will tell. Maybe 2008 will be my year.

We'll see.


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Panic Post!

Oh my gosh, I leave for Florida later this evening and I haven't packed a thing. Guess I need to go pack, huh?

This profound moment. Bought to you by the great, eric g.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

It Wasn't Me

Yesterday started out typical enough. I woke up around 7:30 A.M. and decided to get some early housework in. I completed that just around 11AM. So I then went online to goof off. I decided while online to go pay my credit card bill for the month. So I log in to the site and check out my transactions. I was shocked to see transactions that didn't belong to me.

What caught my eye was multiple charges to Marathon gas station ranging from $30-$50. First off, I drive a Cavalier and the most money I could spend filling it up would be $25. Then I saw a $200 charge from Menard's when I hadn't even gone there recently. Needless to say, I was upset.

So I called my company and spoke to their security department. We went over the different transactions to determine what were my charges and what weren't. It was suspected that my account number was pulled when ordering from a website on June 1st. It was a gift card for my sister at a restaurant. I should've checked if it was a secure website. In viewing the site in question, nowhere on there did they mention how they were secured, so I'm assuming that's how my account was compromised. I did confirm from my sister that she got the card.

Once we finished going over the charges, the card company immediately closed my account and will issue me a new card that'll arrive sometime late next week. It unfortunately will likely not arrive until after my trip to Florida and it was my only card so I hope my debit card will be okay. I have to add that my card was still in my possession. Whoever stole my account information was also able to create a new card.

The fun just never ends for me.

Oh yeah! Today's Father's Day! I called my Dad yesterday and we spoke about different things, including his financial woes. I wish there were more I could do to help. But until some financial windfall comes my way, that's not happening. I do wish him the best today and every day.

Hopefully better days are in store for all of us.


Saturday, June 18, 2005

New Found Respect

I was talking to my Mom this morning on the phone, looking to catch up on happenings. Everything was pretty much status quo. Mom as usual was griping about some things. She noted how much tighter my Dad has been with the household money. He pretty much controls all the finances in the house and gives my Mom money for groceries, bills, and other miscellaneous things my Mom sneaks in the house. My Mom wrote her first checks ever around Thanksgiving 2003 when my Dad was sick for three weeks with a stomach virus with my assistance. So she's been pretty much dependent on my Dad for money.

I do agree with my Mom regarding my Dad and money. He's still working part-time at our Church as a "consultant" of sorts to what he quotes as an "incompetent building manager". From what my Dad told me and from what I've seen, he's telling the truth. Actually my Dad was the building manager for almost 20 years before retiring in 2002, though it's more like a semi-retirement. Unfortunately the little pension that he gets goes to insurance for my Mom and him. He has a bit of money saved, I think it may be a little over $100 grand though I'm not 100% sure, but he doesn't feel it's enough to stop working.

In a way he may be right, which is something that's hard to explain to my Mom since she doesn't really deal with the finances. On the plus side, my folks don't have a mortgage, so that's money that's not going towards that. Also his car has been paid off for several years, though he's spent money here and there for numerous repairs that have cost maybe approximately $2500, still I guess cheaper than a note in the long run. Plus two of their three children, yours truly included, are living outside of the house.

On the flip side, unfortunately since they live in Detroit, insurance for the car and home are very high. Even though my Dad dropped collision on his car, his insurance bill still is close to $2000 for the year. Home insurance is about the same. Let's not even talk about health insurance, which I touched on earlier.

Speaking of home insurance, my Dad decided to drop it when the insurance company wanted to raise it even higher. That's gotten my Mom quite upset for the obvious reasons. In a way, my Dad's playing russian roulette but at the same time I understand totally where he's coming from. Besides if push came to shove, they could always come live with me. That'd be a party, especially since my sister "Octavia" may be part of the package, but that's what children should do for their parents.

So I totally feel my Dad on still working. I pray if/when I get around his age, deity-of-your-choice willing of course, I don't work because I have to. My folks should be enjoying their retirement instead of worrying about money.

I do try to help out every now and then, especially since you know, my folks helped me get to where I am. But obviously there's only so much I can do since I have my own bills to worry about, including a $12,000 credit card bill, which I don't even wanna talk about. Yet. Okay fine, let's just say, over half of it is borrowed money that I've used on stocks that haven't quite materialized to their full potential. Let's just say the credit card companies love me. Incidentally if you wanna save me, buy lots of DNAP.OB and NCDP.PK. *LOL*.

So hey, back to my phone call with my Mom. Inevitably the conversation turned to my younger sister "Trina". As you may or may not remember, Trina expressed interest in visiting me with her guy. Her guy as it turns out is her store manager at her job. The 411 on this guy is that he is/was married w/kids, may/may not be involved in crime, really stellar fellow to say the least.

Obviously my Mom doesn't like the guy and has expressed her displeasure to Trina. Trina, of course, has a different opinion on the matter. So my Mom was complaining about the situation while I silently listened. From experience, I've learned it's a losing battle trying to reason with my Mom.

It's not to say I don't agree with my Mom, if the things I've heard about SM is true, as I've never met him. The thing is, though, especially since Trina moved out of the house last year, is that Trina obviously has to live her life the way she sees fit. In a way, I have a new found respect for Trina, since she does what she wants without giving a shit what anyone thinks, including my parents. I don't necessarily care much for the situation but I have to give Trina credit where credit is due.

Unfortunately when Trina left, she left behind her kids, basically the two cats in the household. So that unfortunately has fallen on my folks, with my Mom doing the brunt of the work taking care of them, which pisses her off to no end and I always have to hear about whenever I talk to her.

The cats were basically a birthday gift from one of Trina's friends three or four years back. Wow does time fly! My parents reluctantly went along with it, probably knowing that they'd wind up being stuck with the responsibility of caring for the cats. Technically though, even when Trina lived at home, my Mom usually took care of them because Trina would always be "out with friends". So actually not much has changed.

Scary thought, would I have to take in the cats too if something happened to the house. Neither cat can stand my guts and the feeling's pretty mutual. But as much as my Mom complains about the cats, she definitely loves them. That's why once in a blue moon when I come to town, I may bring cat food along. I may hate the cats but they're a part of our lives so I just have to deal the few times a year I do visit. Because that's what families do. Deal.

So changing the's less than a week to my Florida trip. Part of that trip is in regards to one of those stinker stocks I've been stuck in for six years: DNAP.OB. The symbol is basically for DNAPrint, a up and coming biotech firm based in Sarasota, FL. Check out their website for more information about them. The biggest issue is that they want to do a reverse spilt, which is generally the kiss of death to a stock, unless they have some "blockbuster news" like finding a cure for AIDS that'll make it skyrocket. If you want to see some lively discussions on DNAP.OB and actually NCDP.PK, a recent stock I've entered that actually has a lot of potential despite being in the pink sheets, check out here and here.

Oh well. I have to get ready for the weekend. I don't have any plans yet but I'll be doing some housework in the morning. Fun times indeed. Until next time. Ciao.


Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Double Trouble

I'm back from my weekend trip. I couldn't leave a moment too soon. Not necessarily because I had a horrible time. I had a pretty enjoyable weekend. My problem is had I stayed one more day, I would've gained another five pounds. Yes, the food was excellent as usual and I ate more than my fair share of ribs, chicken, potato salad, ice cream, and other sinful foods. I was able to get a workout in earlier this evening, though, so hopefully I've offset most of the damage. Heh!

I was chatting with "Eugene" and one of the subjects that came up was having a twin. I've actually thought about it in the past. I could just imagine the trouble I'd get into with a double. I think I'd be more popular too. I think my twin would bring me out of my inner shell. Who knows where my life would be right now if I had a mirror image staring at me?

But ah-hah! I do have a mirror image staring at me. I'm talking about the 'man in the mirror'. It makes me think of Michael Jackson's song by the same name.

The lyrics of the refrain go like this:

I'm starting with the man in the mirror.
I'm asking him to change his ways.
And no message could have been any clearer:
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change!

Hmmm. So if I look at myself in the mirror, it'll force me to look at what I don't like and perhaps change those things about me. Profound message there. It's one that I need to seriously take to heart. Today.