» About Me
My random egotistical thoughts on myself, saunas, photography and stocks.

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About Me
Hi. I'm Kai. I love photography, stocks and saunas.
I want to photograph all the national parks in the United States and Canada.
It's more about the journey, than the shot.
I manage a trading floor, and teach students about quant screening, valuation, and portfolio management.
And yes, I know the market has sucked lately.
I love saunas, but I love the true Finnish sauna. There is a proverb... in a sauna, treat it as if it's church.
Laugh at life. Here's my you-tube video tribute to 'Ice Road Truckers'.
About Saunas
My parents were born and in Finland and so if it wasn't for the fact that I was born in Canada, or living in the United States, then I'm Finnish. As a Finn, I love Finnish saunas and I love hot saunas, so I was anxiously awaiting my arrival at the 'Le Spa Scandinave' near Mt. Tremblant in Quebec. They were advertising a 'Finnish Sauna' and so we made a visit. I had asked if I could throw water in the sauna and they told me, 'yes'. So, I walked into the 'Finnish Sauna' (labeled on the door), and people were resting and falling asleep in it. Half an hour later, I walked in again and the same people were still sleeping and relaxing in it, but hardly any water had been thrown. Being a Finn, I needed some 'loyly' mixed with a bit of 'sisu' and threw half a bucket on the stove. Suddenly 30 people ran out, swearing at me in French. They called management, who came in and inquired as to why I had thrown so much water. I explained that Finns like steam, but they insulted me by telling me there was a 'Norwegian steam room' nearby (not a sauna). More insulting occurred, and they asked, 'Have you ever been in a sauna'? Good grief. I wonder if they have ever had a real sauna? They really need some Finnish guidance before they advertise one. My experience sucked, I won't visit that establishment again, unless they figure out what a Finnish sauna really is.

I had a completely opposite experience at another spa location in Quebec. The place was called 'Spa Finlandais' (translation - Finnish Spa), and I was nervous, as I was worried they would butcher the Finnish name. They too had a 'Finnish Sauna', but this one was much better. Instead of having this aversion to steam, they would have an automatic dispersion of water on the 'kiuas' (stove), and someone would come in every so often and pour water on the rocks. Beautiful. Bravo. This was much closer to a true 'Finnish Sauna' and the 'Soumalainen' in me was not insulted by management. So, why am I complaining? Well, it's hard to get a decent sauna at professional establishments in the United States and Canada. Quite often, the hotels tell you that they don't allow water to be thrown as it could 'electrocute' you. Really? As I gaze at the loving 'kiuas', I noticed that it was made in Finland. I'm not aware of any Finnish person in their right mind who would make a stove that you couldn't throw water at. I'm not sure why you're not allowed to throw water in hotels, but I think it comes down to hotels being too afraid of liabilities, or water damage or something like that. But, I find it VERY sad, that although I've visited some very nice Fairmonts, Ritz Carltons and Relais Aux Chateaux, that very few have decent saunas. Why? I'm not sure, but it's a sad state for saunas. There are the notable exceptions to the rule... and if you are one of those hotels with a decent sauna, please let me know. I'd love to visit and put you on my list of uber-cool sauna hotels. And in case you are looking for a hotel with a decent sauna, check out this list.
About Photography
A few neat egotistical links:

My I-report page
My Flickr page
My Panaramio page


Matti Petainen, my father, passed away when I was 8 and left me with his cameras. Here I was, a kid, running around with 2 Hasselblads and snapping pictures of the world. He layed the groundwork for me, a passion in my heart for the shortness of life and a legacy of art in my world.

Paul Walz ran a photo store in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and he even took part in the Helsinki 1952 Olympics. When I visited his store, he would let me 'charge' things as a kid, and showed me cool little camera tricks. He created the technical part in my life, kept the thrill of photography and live and had faith that this little kid could take a photo too.

Eero Sorila, a Western Canada photographic genius, has travelled the world, saw places and sought the 'carpe diem' that few ever really do. I would hear stories of where he travelled, what he saw... he got me off my feet and moving.

Lars Jensen, a guy who picked up a camera and just started taking pictures. He'd go on hikes and take pics with his puny pocket camera and I'd take pictures with my massive lenses. His pictures would gain popularity, and I'd sit back and watch. He's a humble guy, but I think he's one of the best landscape photographers out there. He motivated me to make a webpage and start sharing my stories.

Perfect Pictures

i'm not sure the 'perfect picture' even exists.
i'm picky of my own photograhs. i think of the guy who took the photo of mt. st. helens erupting... .
that was lucky, but was it perfect? i'm not sure.... i could probably find some tree that was 'out of place'...
or some exposure setting that was wrong...

i think of those who do a lot of photojournalism.... is the perfect picture the one that stops a war?
i remember taking a photo of some teenagers getting arrested by some cops on a highway.
beautiful shot. but i can't publish it, because they were underage.

i can think of many U.S. iconic photographs, but i have a hard time thinking of Canadian iconic photographs...
surely there must be some? but even in stocks, the perfect stock is hard to find.
even if you find a stock, it's impossible to buy it at the extreme low and sell at the extreme high.
and even if you could do that, there must be some stock or trade that would have yielded better results, or more fun?
perhaps the same is true photography, don't expect to get the perfect photograph, because it doesn't exist...
someone out there will hate it for some reason, someone out there will love a crappy photograph for some reason.

i think of photos that my dad took, many are great, but even a few of those make me pause.
there is a photo of a cat and a fence. i told my mom that i thought it sucked.
that although i have respect for my dad, it was a rather boring photograph and without much 'artistic' merit.
my mom laughed... she told me my dad liked the fence in the photo.... he took it for fun.
so even if a photo isn't great artistically to some, to others it can mean something.

i think of ansel adams, and i think of how i was amazed at how he got lucky and took the 'perfect' photos.
that was until i went to an exhibit and realized how much he altered those photos. dodging, burning, etc etc.
he was manipulating the shots. so was it a perfect photo, or did he make it perfect, or what was it....

i think of a shot that i took of some foxes running in pictured rocks... i goofed up... the shot was blurry... an imperfect shot
but the end result was a neat line of blurry foxes running.... boring to some, but i thought it was cool.

i think of the shots that i took along the dempster highway and at battle harbor, i goofed up... i shot at a high ISO and perhaps i should redo the digital editing... you can see them here and here.

and although i'm critical of the photos, i saw something that very few canadians ever see. those sets of pictures represent the
extreme ends of canada... and so although they are imperfect, they allow a window into a world that few will ever see.

i think of how i was a kid. photographing all sorts of things... nature, cars, women... and i look at those photos and i think...
my, i wasn't all that good... and perhaps in a few years i'll look at the photos now... and think... my i wasn't all that good then either.

i think of how i wanted to grow up and become a photographer for national geographic or vogue... and how my life was altered and i went down this path instead.... i chose this path, because i found that when i was taking professional pictures... i wasn't having fun... the enjoyment of photography was lost... and it mattered to me... that if i took a bad shot or a good shot... i had to ask myself... was i having fun? and that's what i'm doing now... having fun. good shot and bad shot.

i think of how i once took a photo, sent it to CNN and they published it. i thought it sucked, but they liked it.

i think of how i once bought a stock (first stock i ever bought) and within a week it shot up 70% and i sold it. i told my boss... 'that was easy'... and he laughed and said.. 'it'll never happen again'. it has never happened again. was that stock perfect? perhaps... but perhaps not. perhaps i wasted time finding it, perhaps i wasted 'opportunity cost'... and could have done something more meaningful....

i think of how i'll go try and photograph every national park, and although i won't shoot one perfect photograph, perhaps i'll get a few cool shots... perhaps i'll get a few people to explore a new area, or get off their lazy ass and see something in the world, or perhaps just think i'm nuts. my photos probably won't be blown up huge, they might not even get on someones computer screen, but perhaps... i can make a neat website that encourages the national parks... good pictures and bad ones... and certainly no perfect ones...

in otherwords... the perfect photo will never exist. or perhaps it will... i'm not sure.

if it does, then let it be me on a mountaintop at sunset with the world at my fingertips as a comet flies into the earth. at the same time, a mountain nearby will erupt with madness, a river nearby will flood the country, a puffin will sit at my feet and express fear in its eyes...

that will be the perfect shot, but as the world is decimated, i'll have no one to show the picture to.

About Stocks
If you made or lost money on a stock, and you think I helped, forget it. It's not my fault, or anything related to me. I like to give opinions on stocks, but they're just opinions for fun, education, whatever. I'm wrong, I'm right, I'm sometimes partially right, or partially wrong.
That being said, I don't mind giving an opinion sometimes.

My new blog is here.
My old blog is here.

A list of the Top 50 ranked virtual funds over 5 years, and how some virtual portfolios rank against them.
I'm ranked 8th, 42nd and 60th in that list.

I have some cool virtual portfolios, you can see them here:

Diversified virtual portfolio at Marketocracy
Energy virtual portfolio at Marketocracy
Material/Staples virtual portfolio at Marketocracy
Industrial virtual portfolio at Marketocracy
Global virtual portfolio at Marketocracy
Financial virtual portfolio at Marketocracy
Health virtual portfolio at Marketocracy
Information Technology virtual fund at Marketocracy
Discretionary virtual fund at Marketocracy
Virtual short fund at Marketocracy

A listing of the top 100 portfolios at Marketocracy -- I have 3 spots.

In The Press
Sometimes, I'm in the press:

CNN.com. "Offbeat iReports: Your fun and amazing photos". Feb. 24, 2009.
CNN.com. "iReporters Marvel at Majestic Alaska". Jan. 9, 2009.
CNN Headline News. "Alaska: Golden Memories". Jan. 5, 2009.
MSN Money. "Ahknaten of the Blog 'Maybe a Pine Tree" Feb. 13, 2008.
MSN Money. "That's the Entertainment Industry" Jan. 28, 2008.
MSN Money. "One Who Saw Trouble" Jan. 28, 2008.
MSN Money. "Can't Beat an iPod that Makes Phone Calls" Oct. 22, 2007.
Globe and Mail. "Playing the Market", by Matthew Kirdahy. Oct. 15, 2007.
Forbes. "Playing the Market", by Matthew Kirdahy. Oct. 15, 2007.
MSN.com. "Ahknaten Doesn't Like AAPL" Sep. 14, 2007.
MSN Money. "Can the iPhone Drive Another Double for Apple" Sep. 14, 2007.
Santa Cruz Sentinel. "Value Ideas" May 27, 2007.
San Francisco Chronicle. "Don't Overlook Free Sites for Smart Investment Advice", by Harry Domash. May 27, 2007.
Forbes. "Seven Buy-And-Hold Stock Stars", by Matthew Schifrin. Feb. 1, 2007.
Forbes. "In Pictures: Seven Picks from Top Armchair Gurus", by Matthew Schifrin. Jan. 31, 2007.
Welt Am Sonntag. "Vom Kollektiven Anlegerwissen Profitieren". Oct. 15, 2006.
Forbes. "MyStocks", by Matthew Schifrin and John Dobosz Oct. 2, 2006.
Ross School of Business News. "Tozzi Center Manager Earns National Recognition", by Heather Thorne May 12, 2005.
MoneyShow.com. "Buffett Buys from the m100...", by Mark Taguchi May 6, 2005.
Forbes. "Wolverine Shorts", by Matt Rand Apr. 21, 2005.

About Relationships
Great relationships involve: commitment, companionship, communication and forgiveness.

Bad things will happen in life, your heart will get heartbroken and you might break someones heart too... but learn to move on, forgive, maintain civility and not hold bitterness. If you can't do that, then the bad karma in your life might wreck you to pieces. Wish the best for others and try to live in peace.