The Price of Advice. No one cares more about your money than you do. If you want to set-it-and-forget-it because you don’t trust your own abilities/don’t want to do research just toss all of your money in an index fund that covers AT LEAST the S&P 500/TSX 60 and keep adding to it regularly either in a TFSA (if you make under $65000 CAD) or an RRSP (if you make over $65000 CAD or if you have matching at work. If you have RRSP matching, always max it. Otherwise it’s like saying no to free money).
My MRI from the end of the last month came back. I feel like they don’t release it for the patient to view online until their doctor has seen it. I read through it and basically I think it says that aside to some things that could be the result of me moving during the procedure, everything is basically the same. AND the thing that could just be a technicality reduced the amount of change so that would be a good thing. I will still make an appointment with my neurologist so he can go through it with me but overall I am pretty pleased with that.
Let’s talk subscriptions. I have many opinions on subscriptions.
1 – TV and Film companies have gotten out of control: so basically we are back to cable again with most people having an average of 12 subscriptions for just media and entertainment (millennials had a whopping 17!). Also 98% of us have a streaming service. My kids often complain that we ONLY have Netflix and Spotify when their friends often have many more such as Prime and Apple (we also recently got a Disney+ sub because Mr. Tucker’s company offered it as a free perk). It’s just so out of control to me and I guess a lot of it has to do with the fact that I am not really huge into watching tv and movies, which is why we have to discuss…
2 – Online creator subscriptions: I have often complained that I wish I could pay to read individual blog posts and news articles without having to sign up for a full blown account. It would be fantastic if you could have a browser app where you could approve micro-payments to read content. In some ways, Patreon and Substack has attempted to do this but Substack’s minimum is $5USD which is a lot of money when you read multiple authors and Patreon starts at $1 to support someone without rewards. In 2021 Patreon raised $155 million dollars and Substack $65 million. It’s quite the industry now!
Unfortunately, the quality of the creators tends to differ and that isn’t often reflected in the price. I follow two fantastic writers on Substack, one who posts amazing content twice a week and one who posts content once-a-week (sometimes once every two weeks). The quality is similar but by Substack rules I have to pay the same for both. So I pay nothing. It seems to me that it would be better to charge by article (again) rather than by sub. They could offer X posts for Y dollars and have a variety of options for people. Price points such as, 10 articles for $10 or 20 articles for $15 etc.
I have often bemoaned the state of the blogosphere with its unreadable layout due to all of the advertisements stacked in every nook and cranny. I have completely eradicated content that I can’t read on Feedly if the website is constantly resizing paragraphs when you are in the middle of reading it to change over to a new ad or pop-up video. It isn’t worth it to me to have to spend that much time trying to read a post when every paragraph break is a new ad. News websites are especially egregious at this kind of thing.
3 – Physical media: Having said that, I 100% believe in people getting paid for their work but it seems like all of the systems we have now don’t reflect the quality and price point people are willing to pay. I do subscribe to real, in-the-flesh magazines and newspapers. In fact, I feel like the world would be a much better place if people read/supported at least one newspaper. That way they wouldn’t have to rely on clickbaity titles to try and suck in audiences and the ads won’t be creepy things you clicked on by accident once – or worse things you already bought a month ago. I also have to admit: there is something soothing about physical media. I tend to remember the content more and since I don’t have a million other windows open and notifications on, I can concentrate fully on the task at hand.
But the real benefit to supporting actual newspapers or magazines is that it exposes you to a lot of different viewpoints, news you hadn’t even know was happening and explorations of what other interesting things are out there in the world that you haven’t been exposed to. Instead of an algorithm on google, youtube, or social media sites serving you up content that is similar to the content you have already engaged with, instead you get a plethora of new things. The Walrus and The New Yorker are two subscriptions I have that often have really interesting, measured takes on a variety of issues. I may not agree with every argument but at least I can consider them. These publications may not be interesting to you so feel free to subscribe to things that are more in your wheelhouse.
I worry that algorithms are making us more and more isolated against viewpoints that challenge us. To see a variety of opinions as a good thing. We should not only consume things we agree with but also read opposite points of view. Algorithms chain us to our past consumption and are used to reinforce what we already believe to get us going down a spiral so that they get our eyeballs on more ads.
Conversely, when I open my Globe and Mail on Saturday morning the ads are unmoving, mostly interesting (although not really my cup of tea) and don’t break up the text. The Opinion section is full of different views that I don’t necessarily agree with but that often make good points. I feel that makes me a more well-rounded person to read things I haven’t considered before. In a world that often lacks nuance, it makes sense for smart people to seek it out. Even the most right or left wing legacy publications often have columnists who take oppositional points of view (enragement has been engagement for a long, long time) and it does us all a lot of good to consider that.
To recap what this is: when the pandemic hit our kids were 10 and 12 and in their prime trick-or-treating years. It made me sad that they couldn’t do the more traditional neighbourhood jaunt so instead we created a new ritual: 13 days of Halloween movies. We chose 13 movies to watch in the days leading up to Halloween and we bought them each some typical Halloween candy to enjoy while we were watching them. I also posted their reviews to each movie online with a picture of the movie poster and friends and family told me that they really enjoyed the reviews and that they looked forward to them. So even though they’ve gone trick-or-treating since then, it’s a ritual we have continued – with less candy.
Well after the absolute trauma of last night’s movie, we decided to go retro-campy for tonight’s offering. So we queued up the original (aka 1988 version) of Child’s Play. Spoilers below: Hi, I’m Chucky! I’m your friend til the end!
(HAH: I went looking for a copy of the movie poster but when I Google it, they have emojis chasing each other on the top of the screen. Very cute.)
The Youngest: 6/10 Buddy, it’s a doll. I don’t care how possessed it is – it’s plastic! How did it take you that long to defeat it?
The Eldest: 7/10 It would have been good if they just left it when the mom killed it. The special effects and the slo-mos of Chucky flying were really funny.
Mr. Tucker: 4/10 Never saw it when it came out. Don’t know how I would have thought about it then. Now? HOO BOY it was no great. Giving it a 4 simply for the nostalgia. Even though I didn’t see it in ’88, I do remember how huge Chucky was.
I saw this in the theatres when it came out and I was terrified. Now of course, it’s not really all that scary. Of course, the man has to save the day – it’s never dead when the woman kills it – because that was all movies in my youth. BUT what differs for this movie is that there is no love story. I remember almost all of the movies from my childhood having to have a love interest and I find it great that this doesn’t.
I hope you have an amazing weekend, I won’t be writing here as I will be hanging with the family! I guess I should do a poll to see if I should keep up with #AJAD posts. Maybe I will do another week of writing and then see if people enjoy it.
CW: kind of gross, death
When I was in university my friend Lesleigh had a snake that she had called Damballa (the Haitian Voodoo god who makes an appearance in Child’s Play). Apparently – and unbeknownst to all of us – a snake can push out its own intestine when it gets stressed out. Since I was the only person she knew with a car, she called me to take her to a vet who was a snake specialist (as an aside, she was also a rabbit specialist and I had her as my vet when I had two house rabbits a couple of years later. What an odd combo of specialties!). Basically, the vet taught us how to use a Q-tip with Vaseline to push the intestine back up in there. So that is a skill I have now! …and you have the knowledge that snakes get stressed and poop out their innards. You’re welcome.
Sadly, my fascinating friend Lesleigh moved to New Orleans where she went through Katrina and worked in many pubs and restaurants before she passed away on New Years Eve, 2012. Rest in peace, you brilliantly strange and incredible human.