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A jot a day: Thursday, October 26th, 2023

A jot a day: Thursday, October 26th, 2023

• I want to say I called it but TBQH it was the most likely scenario. BoC keeps prime rate at 5%.
Food Bank usage is highest it has ever been since we started tracking it in 1989.
Did the baby boomers ruin the housing market? while this is a US piece, it is also true for Canada. Governments got out of the affordable housing game 30 years ago but it’s biting us in the ass now. Combine that with Boomers whose wealth is mostly contained in their primary residences and you have a perfect storm. Governments need to act now to make housing a priority but don’t want to upset Boomer voters who may see their house values decline when more housing floods the market. Nightmare scenario.

The pharmacy I had booked our vaccinations with canceled our appointments so we pulled the kids out of school this morning and hit a walk-in. We were first, which was nice, but it still took awhile.

I also forgot to update all of our investments yesterday. I usually note all totals in our accounts once a month on the 25th. I do that just to make sure that we are on track and to note any trends.

I have a longer piece I plan to post soon but I also have a doctor’s appointment and some other chores to manage.

13 days of Halloween movies

When I chose this movie I had no idea that it was set in Calgary. When they said the name of the city the entire family SCREAMED! I guess we are all used to not having movies based in Canadian cities, let alone one that isn’t Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver. Of course, I am talking about the Clive Barker classic, Nightbreed.

The Youngest:7/10 Kinda long and the cops were freakin crazy and just seemed like dumb people running around being dumb.

The Eldest: 6/10 It was alright (from the parts I saw before I fell asleep). Nothing too special imo.

Mr. Tucker: 4/10 Not even half as good as I remembered. The whole movie is a lot of quantity over quality. Although the Alberta redneck army was amusing. Clive Barker is not a good director and David Cronenberg is not a great actor.

Honestly, I was overcome by a flood of nostalgia for the 90s. Even though I hadn’t actually watched it in the 90s the vibe was too real. Was it a fantastic watch? No. Was I surprised that David Cronenberg was such a fantastic actor (I disagree wholeheartedly with Mr. Tucker!)? Most definitely yes. It also made me realize that I hadn’t heard much about Clive Barker SINCE the 90s. Then I ended up going down a wiki spiral of authors I used to love in my teens and 20s…since we have all been there, I will save you the detailed discussion!

Happy Thursday!

A jot a day – second week edition – Wednesday, October 25th, 2023

A jot a day – second week edition – Wednesday, October 25th, 2023

A More Perfect Union has a short video on how medical insurers in the US use prior authorization to deny patients the care that they’re entitled to – and people are dying. A friend of mine who works for a large tech company tells me that they have an entire team who advocate on behalf of the employees with their medical insurance company. It seems so incredibly complicated and expensive but alas, not illegal.

This new data poisoning tool lets artists fight back against generative AI.

DYK: you can usually get your credit score for free through most major Canadian banks? I learned this because I had to set up an electricity account for the condo with a new company. They said they’d wave the $100 holding fee if I could prove I had a credit score of 700 or higher. That lead me to google it and sure enough, my bank gave me a free credit score. Of course, you are still entitled to one free credit report a year by law but this was a quick way to get the score without paying. I almost never check my score because I rarely need credit so that was good to learn.

Since my surgery I have been trying to track my moods as an attempt to manage my hormonal cycle – without the obvious way of tracking a hormonal cycle. A friend of mine on facebook yesterday posted a Grampa Simpson meme to the article on influencers I posted which lead to a discussion about how I have been in a *mood* this week.

Fair enough! I do feel a bit more cranky than usual so perhaps it’s best to cut this short.

So instead I give you my 233 song, 14 ½ hour’s worth of Halloween music playlist. It is a labour of love and I am continually adding to it. Are some of the songs only tangently related? Yes. But never mind that…

And of course…

13 Days of Halloween Movies
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.

Today’s movie is Psycho! An absolute classic, it’s also a movie I hadn’t seen.

The Eldest: 7/10 it was a good story and it looks amazing considering it was filmed in the 60s. It is a slow burn, making the movie seem like it’s 3 hours long but overall good.

The Youngest: 7/10 It was old and the murder was kind of weirdly done (ik it was 1960) but I liked how it was done.

Mr. Tucker: 10/10 I mean, it’s Psycho.

Honestly, Psycho is – as the kids would say – a vibe. It’s designed for suspense, the music is ingrained in our culture and of course there is the classic shower scene. Alas, it is really long for modern attention spans. It’s so bonkers to me that so much has changed in technology in 60 years that long scenes and no cuts or camera movements makes the film seem boring. I definitely noticed myself and so the kids were probably in agony.

I did learn something interesting though! In the movie the Private Detective keeps getting out of the car via the passenger side. This confused me so I googled it and two things came up; 1 – it was the recommended way to get out of a car in the 60s because it was safer. Since bench seats were standard, it was easier to slide over. 1 – Filming someone going out the other side vs. walking around the car could shave off 3-4 seconds AND Hitchcock preferred to keep the entire scene in one frame, with no camera movements. So that’s a thing you now know too!

Happy Wednesday!

A jot a day: second week edition – Tuesday, October 24, 2023

A jot a day: second week edition – Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Reminder: I have been writing a blog post every day since last Monday just to get back into a daily writing practice. If you look back through my posts I am a bit of a sporadic blogger so I wanted to try and be more consistent (*cough* like I was on Livejournal pre-2008). I am also writing every day this week and at the end of the week I will see how I feel about continuing to post. It’s a random hodge podge so as I tell my kids: you get what you get and you don’t get upset.

Links du jour
This senior sold his home due to interest rate hikes. Now, he can’t find an affordable rental. What on god’s green earth…? Who has a mortgage on a house they’ve owned since 1991 that costs $2600 a month? That means he has a mortgage around $375000 at 7% (or $415000 at 6%) when the average house price in Calgary was around $100 000 in 1991. He probably should have considered a roommate and/or a part-time job a lot sooner rather than hastily sell his house and then try to figure it out.

These articles always find these random people who if you drill deep into it their stories don’t add up. I suspect there is probably a lot more going on here that rising rates exacerbated, not caused.

• UGH. We get these all of the time because we are in a mid-century built neighbourhood with a lot of elderly people who these predators target. Cash for houses.

• No one wants to wor…oh wait…*checks notes*… to become a manager anymore.

20 Best Canadian Horror Movies of all time. (gift article)

Rant: working for money vs. found money

I have been re-watching Golden Girls lately with The Youngest. In one episode, Rose inherits a pig named Baby from her uncle. Of course, the other women don’t want Baby to live with them until they learn that Baby comes with $100 000 (appx $271 000 in today’s money) that Rose agrees to split with them.

The other girls go wild with shopping and Blanche buys a luxury car. Of course, Rose thinks Baby is homesick and ends up sending him home…where he promptly dies and her other relative collects the money. Dorothy says at one point, “I can’t believe we went all crazy buying things we didn’t even need!”

This is the nature of spending money without having to work for it.

I experienced a similar scenario in my 20s when a friend and I found $200 outside on the ground as we left a theatre. Since it was really late at night we headed to the late-night pharmacy and bought a bunch of makeup and other junk we didn’t need. What was absolutely bonkers is that we were poor students at the time! We were living on peanuts and we could have totally saved that cash for something worthwhile. But we didn’t: it was burning a hole in our pockets, as the old adage says.

I posted last week about Morgan Housel’s piece which had a great section on quick money:

I love the idea that the speed in which you made your wealth is the half-life for how fast you can lose it. Double your money in a year? Don’t be surprised when you lose half of it just as quickly. Blitzscaling? Blitz failing.

Two things happen with quick, fragile wealth.

One is that money that comes easily tends to be spent easily. When money comes quickly, the emotional cost of blowing it on something frivolous is low. You are only careful with something when it’s dear to you. Spending quick money that you didn’t invest much time or energy into earning can feel like the equivalent of a one-night stand: impulsive and prone to regret. Old money wants a tax shelter, new money wants a Lambo.

The other is that the quicker the wealth was made, the higher the odds it came from luck that will revert just as fast.

It’s so true. We hear all the time about people who win the lottery and then are broke in a few years. Professional sports players can live the life for awhile but those careers are generally short – and sometimes made shorter due to injury. Getting a huge windfall can sometimes be a double-edged sword.

I wonder if there have been studies on people who receive large inheritances? It occurs to me that it would be a similar kind of windfall. Do they not spend recklessly due to the fact it came from a deceased relative who they knew worked hard? Is there a difference in spending by degrees of separation. For example, it would be interest to know if people were not wasteful with their parents money but were wasteful with a great aunt’s cash because they never saw what she went through to get that money?

Personally, Mr. Tucker and I plan to give with a warm hand, which essentially means we want to help our kids while we are still alive. I think this can be done well by matching their own personal savings so it is tied to their own ability to work and save. This will all hinge on how things go with the condo sale and returns on our investments over the next couple of decades.

Both of us have never factored in inheritance into our retirement plans. Everything we base our projections on, is based on what we have.

13 Days of Halloween Movies
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.

Another new offering today, Disney’s Haunted Mansion. For what it’s worth, I do adore the Disneyworld attraction, The Haunted Mansion. It’s one of my favourite things and we have creepy family portraits that we had done there. I also have memories of getting lost in/separated from my parents when I was a kid. I do not recommend that trauma, which is probably why I remember it.

The Youngest: (they’re behind on their reviews. It will appear here when it comes in the family group chat)

The Eldest: 9/10 I really enjoyed it. The reason it’s not a 10/10 is because people in movies tend to move on from their dead partners too fast and it’s just annoying. You don’t have to fall in love with every girl you hangout with.

Mr. Tucker: 5/10 The first half was good (see what I did there?).

I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t remarkable in any way but it just was a heartwarming tale with good acting and good pacing. It was a nice way to spend a couple of hours.

A jot a day: second week edition – Monday

A jot a day: second week edition – Monday

Only 15% of Canadians use passive vs. active investing and are losing 17 billion to fees every year. Comparatively, USians are 45% invested in passive funds. OOF reading that felt like a punch to the gut. (sub)

17 billion in fees!

The Annoyance Economy. (sub)

Takes The Pareto Principal and personal finance. As I have mentioned before, I am not an optimizer. I assume that by doing *most* things right it will make up for the things I get wrong (I hope).

Toronto grocery store price tracker!

Why are cafes, restaurants, and even towns banning influencers?”

• Finally, in the WTAF? news, Goldman Sachs CEO stops doing controversial DJ gigs. I am just out here, bringing you the useless info that brings zero value to your life.

The weekend

I did some admin on Friday by booking the family in for covid boosters. It’s incredibly frustrating to have to book individual appointments with some pharmacies and even with ones with bookings for multiple people, the appointments are far and few between. But with two kids in two different schools I figured sooner was better.

Friday night we took a break from #13DaysOfHalloweenMovies and instead ordered Chinese food in and binge watched the entire new season of Big Mouth. It continues to be hilarious, disgusting, and downright creepy in parts. I am glad we got some great laughs out of it though & it was nice to hunker down in the living room eating food we didn’t have to cook and having a relaxing Friday night with the family.

They closed the Queensway this weekend for a bridge replacement which basically meant driving anywhere was a nightmare. The Youngest had Roller Derby – and while they are generally always organized – OF ALL days to forget their roller skates…it was that day. Mr. Tucker – world’s greatest dad – drove home to grab the skates and then drove back downtown. Crisis averted.

Meanwhile, The Eldest spent the day baking! We always buy around 45 pounds of a variety of apples from a friend’s family’s farm in the fall. With them we dehydrate some for snacks, make applesauce and bake some delicious fall desserts with them. The Youngest also eats a pile of them fresh and whatever starts to go we end up chopping up and freezing for winter baking. So now we have an abundance of delicious baked goods!

Saturday night I hosted book club where we had read Writers & Lovers. On one hand, this book was so ridiculously readable that I devoured it in one sitting back in September. On the other hand, I had also just had surgery and couldn’t do anything but lounge around reading books and watching tv. It was a good chat with good company and I am so glad that I got to see friends. The summer/early fall has been challenging as I haven’t been able to get out and be social as much so it was wonderful to have some in-person hangouts with people.

We also decided to go back to full novels and to meet every two months. Given how chaotic the pandemic was with online school and working from home we only did poems and short stories. We also only met outside or online. While that has worked, it’s now the end of 2023 and we are moving back to our regular system. It’s odd to think that I was pregnant with The Youngest when I joined book club 14 years ago!

Sundays are generally a day for prepping for the upcoming week, having a lovely roast dinner & chilling out. Mr. Tucker also took the dishwasher apart because it’s been leaking. While he discovered some things he could clean & fix it does look like we are going to have to call the appliance repair person we use to fix the bigger issue. At least Mr. Tucker tried to fix it himself! We continue to make an attempt to fix things ourselves – it may or may not work but we always learn something.

Work & the condo

The closer we get to Mr. Tucker retiring the more antsy he gets. Who can blame him? You can see the light at the end of the tunnel but you are still IN the tunnel! He also says that he feels like just when he resolves himself that work is pretty ok, some disaster strikes and he gets irritated that he can’t just quit tomorrow. Alas, with the condo still in a state of a (semi!) disaster and with the bills from the condo still needing to be paid, we are not quite there yet. With the road closures and traffic redirection this weekend it didn’t make sense to do some work at the condo but hopefully we can get it all finished by next weekend.

Since the appliances were destroyed by the last family member who lived there I find myself having to purchase new ones. I need to figure out which company will give me a buy-now-pay-later loan/store card for the longest length of time. While I generally ABHOR store cards, it would be great to buy the appliances on time and then just pay it all off when the condo sells (or a worse case scenario I have to design into our plans: pay it off before the condo sells). A friend of mine mentioned that some places will give you up to two years grace, which would be ideal.

The rate announcement for the Bank of Canada will be Wednesday, October 25th and while I think they will leave it at 5% for now, they are definitely not going to bring it down. I think it’s too soon to tell. Analysts are saying it will be 5% until the end of 2024 but I feel like Tiff Macklem is under way too much pressure in a zero-growth economy. Having said that: what the heck do I know? Still, a pause may warm up the market for real estate even a tiny bit and I am crossing my fingers that it sells quickly and for a fair price.

13 Days of Halloween Movies

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.

Today’s offering is a modern murder mystery called Bodies, Bodies, Bodies. A group of friends ride out a hurricane in one of their mansions and try and play a murder game called …you guessed it: Bodies, Bodies, Bodies. Unfortunately, real people start turning up dead so…whodunnit? As usual, potential spoilers.

So what did the family think?

The Youngest: 7/10 It was good but it is just a bunch of random rich people getting together and dying and blaming each other and strangers.

The Eldest: 2/10 It was just lame. It was watching idiots get drunk and high and then freaking out over a storm and then killing each other.

Mr. Tucker: 3/10 First half was boring. Second half picked up a bit with some funny moments and ok suspense. Ending was quite good. The only thing I kept thinking was, “Wow! Their phone batteries are amazing!”

From the start of this movie you just basically LOATHE everyone. A bunch of spoiled, drug-addled 20-something-year-olds (and a 40-year-old one of them met on Tinder) with a dramatic history who clearly are just friends because they’ve known each other forever. Otherwise, they hate each other and constantly are making digs at each other’s expense. It works because there is clearly some mistrust even before the dead people show up. There are a LOT of terms you would get from a group who is super active on TikTok and have podcasts etc. I feel like someone older wrote these characters so that you will absolutely hate them. The way they speak is grating, like over-the-top-internet speak. You know the acting is fantastic if you have any strong emotion towards a character – even if you hate them. So I have to say, great acting on everyone’s part.

It does pick up halfway through around the scene with the four women fighting over the gun. One woman had been shot in the leg and as they are fighting she is screaming, “My leg! My leg!” over and over again and I couldn’t help but burst out laughing. There is a lot of great criticism about online culture and how it can be ridiculous and over-the-top.

The ending is fantastic! I like the way that the story resolves itself so it is a good watch just based on that.

Anyhow, have a wonderful Monday!

A jot a day: Friday, October 20th, 2023

A jot a day: Friday, October 20th, 2023


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.

The Soapbox

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

Read More Read More

A jot a day: Thursday, October 19, 2023

A jot a day: Thursday, October 19, 2023


AI in property valuation: The Most Consequential Algorithms You’ve Never Heard Of. My friend Jenn sent me this, so, hat tip to her!

Inflation is cooling, the cost of living crisis is not. I found the graph on pessimism and inflation interesting as so much of the market is perception and not fact.

The Commonplace Book: where early modern thinkers collected ideas was the internet of its time. I never knew about Commonplace Books until I read this article and I love the idea. I have historically kept notes when I read books but that habit has fallen by the wayside this year. I think I want to start back up again keeping snippets of wisdom from various places. When I posted that article to facebook, a friend of mine told me that every year her mother assembles a Commonplace Book which she sends out at Christmas. What a lovely idea!

• “On the other hand, too many people ignore creature comforts and decide to spend their funds on investment management while they fly in the steerage.” One Size Fits One Spending in Retirement.

Feeling lucky, punk? Really lucky people may have a specific set of skills that bring chance opportunities their way.

30 things you can do today to reduce debt. I have a love/hate relationship with “little treats” culture. On the one hand, yes, you should definitely treat yourself regularly as a way to bolster your mood and reward yourself. On the other hand, if you are drowning in debt and it is keeping you up at night, maybe a $210/month latte habit should be revisited? This list is a good one if you are new to rethinking your spending and are wondering where to start.

Which kind of flips into a teeny rant about

Girl Math…what the everloving f..? Aside from being horribly idiotic calling it girl math is just a wildly sexist moniker for what is just poor financial management. Tik Tok trends are wild for their absolutely bonkers ideas that get traction because they feel good not because they’re right. You know what Girl Math SHOULD be? Setting aside a nice chunk of change for discretionary purchases that you just don’t beat yourself up over. But when it’s gone, it’s gone.


Mr. Tucker and I have started a habit of sitting down after he gets off of work, lighting a candle and just chatting for a bit before we start dinner. The other night I asked him if he had ever read The Wealthy Barber, and he said he hadn’t. I was surprised!

If I could recommend ONE BOOK to anyone trying to learn more about personal finance (aka, someone who has zero knowledge and doesn’t know where to start) I would 100% recommend The Wealthy Barber. Replace “mutual funds” with “index funds*” (in the 90s when this was written, index funds weren’t as well known). Having said that, it is extremely dated and some of the language and descriptions are – as the kids would say – CRINGE. However, if you can look past that and think of it as a product of its time, the narrative makes an easily digestible story about the basic tenets of personal finance.

Like I have mentioned before, humans learn best through storytelling so this is where this book really shines. I also think The Rule of 30 is great stab at a narrative personal finance book (albeit wrong about the trajectory of inflation post-pandemic – but smart people will look past that and realize that the core info is still good) but a little more complex with the charts and numbers. That makes it a bit more confusing for many folks.

Today I pick up a SUPAH SEKRIT non-fiction book that I happen to be in and so I received an advance copy of it.


Mr. Tucker is heading to the condo to finish off a few details. I am going to research new appliances in the hope that we can get them delivered soon so the condo can go on the market as soon as possible.


UGH. Last year The Eldest wanted to watch The VVitch (she loves Anya Taylor Joy) but we nixed it because we felt it was too scary. It ended up on the list this year and BOY HOWDY did it have mixed reviews. There be SPOILERS below.

The Youngest: 0/10 Unnecessary screeching and praying & naked children are weird and gross.

The Eldest: 0/10 I’m traumatized. Never again.

Mr. Tucker: 10/10 Uncomfortable. Atmospheric. Weird. Unpredictable. Original. Nailed the ending. (special shoutout to the scene with the mother and the crow)

So for context, my children always find anything we find terrifying to be NO BIG DEAL. They generally don’t get scared by much and are constantly trying to convince us that they can handle even the scariest of movies. We do try and push off the movies we think are bad but when we do eventually watch them the kids usually roll their eyes at us for thinking it was scary.

in the middle of The VVitch The Eldest got up, announced that she was absolutely done with the movie and then left. Her sister ALSO left with her. Mr. Tucker and I kept watching and were generally enjoying it but 10 minutes later, The Eldest came back crying and saying that she was really upset about the movie. In her defense, it would have been good to know in advance that a baby is brutally murdered and a dog dies in it. There is also a fairly graphic representation of both of these things. It also has some borderline themes of child sexuality which is fairly creepy (Mr. Tucker noticed that in the credits they had an on-site therapist). Also, the dialogue is incredibly difficult to understand, leading to some confusion.

We talked it out and I explained that I NEVER want her to stay in an uncomfortable situation (whether its feeling like she has to consume media, or whether or not people make her uncomfortable) and that she has every right to decide that it isn’t for her and to leave. We had a pretty big discussion about it and she felt a lot better by the time she went to bed. But I felt badly that it had affected her so much. Truth be told, had I known in advance I would have 100% eliminated this movie.

Having said that, I enjoyed it. I found it super interesting that he wrote the movie based on the records and folklore from the era. I originally thought it was going to be a psychological thriller based on a family going wonky in the wilderness, alone. So it was surprising when it went full supernatural.

The scenes were just so haunting. It managed to capture the absolute vastness of the landscape and lack of human connection through the lens of people who left the plantation. You could really feel how terrifying it must have been for the Pilgrims to come to the new world where it was nothing but miles and miles of new territory and unknown fears lurking around every corner.

Anyway, happy Thursday!

*yes, I know that index funds are a type of mutual fund which isn’t actively managed but for the purposes of not being a pedant where it is low stakes, I am going to define them as different things.

A jot a day: Wednesday, October 18, 2023

A jot a day: Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Some links

• I loved this article on creativity so much that I have kept a window open on my phone to post about it. The one thing I read over and over from creatives is: just do it and the inspiration will come. I am trying to do that by writing here every day this week.
Tech doesn’t make our lives easier, it makes it faster “We don’t just live in any economy. We live in a mega-scale corporate capitalist economy, and in such a setting technology is never used to save time. It’s used to speed up production and consumption in order to expand the system. The basic rule is this: technology doesn’t make our lives easier. It makes them faster and more crammed with stuff.” (via: Apex Money) I saw a quote recently on AI that said something like, “If you won’t bother to write it yourself, I’m not going to bother to read it myself.”
• I also had a link to Unbound books open. It’s a publisher that publishes crowdsourced books. I love the idea.
Shrinkflation continues to be an issue. Honestly, it would be interesting to see if standardization of what constitutes a “family size” or “club pack” would help here. But you just have to look at the Sisyphean task of trying to compare toilet paper packages to know what a fool’s errand it all is.
How to Avoid Tax on Severance Pay in Canada
• Today is the Canadian Financial Summit. It’s got a nice selection of interesting speakers (and some I don’t like at all) and topics. You can get a “free” ticket right from the website.


I’m old enough to remember when the Internet wasn’t a group of five websites, each consisting of screenshots of text from the other four.
– Tom Eastman

This one hurt: I remember seeing a tweet where someone was saying that they don’t watch videos on TikTok but wait until they appear on Instagram…like an adult! It’s so meta that I saw that tweet discussing a TikTok video…on Instagram. Recently, I have been served up a ton of Reddit posts on Instagram as well, which is why this quote shook me to my core. I am constantly battling with myself over my (even) meagre presence on social media.


I finished The Art of the Good Life and I can’t say I recommend it. Sometimes when I read a book I feel discomforted because the content doesn’t line up with what I believe so I take the time to process it so that I can either change my mind and add the perspective to my thoughts on the issue. Other times when I read a book I feel discomforted but continue to read because I feel like the book is a weak attempt at pushing someone’s beliefs and/or politics on me.

With a book like this which is a series of observations it had both levels of discomfort in it which makes it hard to review as a whole. While I want to review it more in-depth at some point my overall conclusion is that this is just another piece of #FinBro hot takes that really only seem to apply to rich white capitalists.

What I liked about it is that he starts the chapters with storytelling, which makes it highly readable and interesting. Humans are designed for storytelling, afterall. He has some interesting observations and enjoys quoting famous people (I am a sucker for quotes). He also has some good actionable advice, such as in the “Managing Expectations” chapter, and I do love the idea of subtraction being the key to appreciating what you have.

What gets confusing is his hero worship on the one hand (Munger, Gates and Buffet make multiple appearances) and then on the other he states that we shouldn’t put people on a pedestal because their innovations would happen regardless of their existence. He also seems to think that he is singlehandedly bringing back Stoicism into the modern world when in fact it’s been the dominant philosophical thinking of the 2010s in the blogosphere. It’s very odd that he thinks that it’s fallen out of fashion when clearly it has been very much in fashion.

I wish his editors had done a better job because this book is rife with contradictions such as we should definitely study marginalized people and their history but that we shouldn’t make it our focus. When I finally got 48 – The Secretary Problem, I basically just disengaged. Here is how the chapter starts:

Let’s say you want to hire a secretary (sorry: PAs). A hundred women have applied for the role, and you are interviewing them one by one in random order…

He then goes on to use gender-neutral language for the rest of this story about how to hire candidates efficiently using math. I just found that lede so antagonizing: the only reason to say that the candidates were women and to make a snarky comment about PAs wanting to be respected. It was just such an odd thing to do when their gender had absolutely nothing to do with the problem at hand.

While there is a notes section I find a lot of his arguments aren’t really arguments at all. I wish he had more references to back up his points but if we look at it as a purely opinion piece, sure, it works.

When I first picked it up I thought that it may be a book to add to my collection permanently because it had some salient points. But it starts to go off the rails and becomes a bit hypocritical part way through. In the end, what reading this book has taught me is that I really need to take notes about where I get my book recommendations from! I can’t remember what blog recommended it but I wish I did because that would tell me more about how to see their recommendations going forward.


I slept horribly last night which means that today will probably will find me sitting in my living room watching episodes of Golden Girls. I am on my second cup of coffee and I am still super sleepy so I don’t see myself doing much today.


We ended up watching Death Becomes Her which has a hugely star-studded cast for this type of movie, which is probably due to the director.

The Youngest: 10/10 Literally perfect. Funny, goofy and I love how it was done.

The Eldest: 9/10 It was hilarious and very fun. I thought it was pretty creative.

Mr. Tucker: 7/10 Pretty sure I saw it when it came out but I can’t remember. Anyway, it was thoroughly enjoyable in that early 90s fun, yet thin plot and primitive CGI kind of way.

As for me? I enjoyed it although as I mentioned it was strange to see so many A-listers in what is a campy horror/comedy. It really brought me back to the days where the newspaper had two full pages of movie listings – remember they would say things like, “40 WEEKS IN THE THEATRE!” because the amount of time it ran was determined to be a measure of how great the fil was? I really miss the days of studios taking chances on weird and novel scripts. It feels like everything that hits the theatres now are remakes or superhero movies with the odd art house film breaking through. I get why they do it: why take a loss on something new when we can just do another Star Wars spinoff? But I feel like we have lost something culturally because of it.

Also, I am old: get off of my lawn!

Happy Wednesday, I hope you are having a great day!

A jot a day: Tuesday, October 17, 2023

A jot a day: Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Canadian inflation is down this month. So I am crossing my fingers for no rate hikes.

Canadian rent prices in the past 30 years. I am always wary when people put Ottawa and Gatineau together. There are really big differences between those two cities even though they are geographically correlated. They are two entirely different provinces with the QC side being much, much, much cheaper for real estate but much higher in income taxes.

I will always read anything Morgan Housel writes: A few laws about getting rich. (I am working on a post about found vs. earned wealth, for…someday)

I enjoyed The road to self-renewal that Apex Money posted. There is a lot of great wisdom there.

Procrastination. This really speaks to me as I was saying to Mr. Tucker (in response to this Instagram post) as someone who has been on the internet for 30 years I would say that around 2005-2007 are the years where the internet peaked. There was still eBay and livejournal but no smartphones making you available 24-7 and no social media (yes, it was my career but as I have mentioned repeatedly, when I retired the first thing I got rid of was twitter). “…Jefferies economist David Zervos had a really cool theory about technology and social media: he said that in the early days of the internet, we had a huge productivity boom (Look! I can order these plane tickets online!), and as the internet progressed, and social media appeared on the scene, then the internet became a huge productivity suck, as people spend hours and hours doomscrolling and looking at 49 photos of Fun Dinner at Pam’s.”

I think yesterday was the first day post-surgery that I felt really good & was able to bend over for long periods of time. Healing is definitely a process and I am always shocked when I read about people heading back to work at two weeks post-surgery. To be fair, in 2016 when I had neurosurgery booked AND broke my ankle 3 days beforehand (leading to two surgeries in 3 days) I went back to work within two weeks (from home) and within a month was getting Mr. Tucker to bring me downtown in my wheelchair to work half days in the office, half days from home. Looking back, that was a completely BONKERS thing to do given how much I had been through but it also explains why the next two years were an absolute nightmare, health-wise, for me. We were under so much stress from 2016-2018 that my final diagnosis was almost a relief because I could go on EI and apply for short-term disability. Finally, a break!

The problem is that in our modern world doesn’t allow for the realities of illness. I read Ask a Manager daily and I am always shocked when there are stories of people with terminal illnesses at work despite being severely ill. It breaks my heart because if they don’t work, they don’t keep their medical benefits. When I read supposed “heartwarming” stories of people who have donated their PTO so a colleague with a grave illness can take time off I am horrified. Is this the best we can do in 2023? Hustle until you die?

One of the things I have noticed about the FIRE movement is that the US version is way different than the rest of the world’s. I read things like The New Escapologist and The Idler and it is more philosophy than practicality. US writers are more focused on money because they have to be. The rest of the west has a plethora of safety nets that the US hasn’t historically had. With the ACA it has become much better but it is still super expensive. There are a lot more variables to account for. It makes sense that most advice is more practical in nature because it has to be, there are a lot more pieces on the chessboard. I am open to being wrong about this though, it is – admittedly – a small sample size.

Mr. Tucker is struggling at work lately and I suspect it is because he is >this close< to being able to retire. I played with the numbers though and without selling the condo, we can’t manage it. We can definitely live off of my income and our investments but not with the mortgage/condo fees/insurance still on the books. So it’s not what the sale will put IN our coffers so much as what it is NOT taking out of our monthly budget. It’s frustrating when you can see the light at the end of the tunnel but you know there is still a little ways to go until you get there.

The #13DaysOfHalloweenMovies2023 movie for today will be The Last Voyage of the Demeter. WARNING: SPOILERS AHOY

The trailer looked good and it is a movie from this year, so I figured we’d throw it on the list. So what did everybody think?

The Eldest: 8/10 It was good but the end sucked. Wasn’t very scary, but still enjoyable.

The Youngest: 7/10 I liked it but it dragged on, like Dad said last night. 45 minutes too long – it was only 10 pages 😢 (note: in the actual book, which the youngest has read)

Mr. Tucker: Two hours of guys walking around a ship’s topside yelling if anyone is there, then dying. Then they find Dracula’s coffin and do nothing. Movie was easily 45 mins too long.

I do like stories that branch off from the original (à la Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead) that gives us a side quest from the main story. But with the Demeter we already know from the original story that the crew is all dead. It’s right there in the book and the first five minutes of the story reiterates that. So all that is left is to really see the story of how they died, which isn’t surprising. What is surprising is the canyon-esque plot holes. It’s very strange that they a> see two infected people burn up in the sun; b> have the main character and the woman find Dracula’s “sleeping” place and then…just leave it? And not tell anyone? Has no one put two-and-two together and maybe thought of moving the coffin to the deck in daylight? I don’t mind stories where we know the ending but the actual plot has to be decent. What it is even more weird is the ending had a bit of a cliff-hanger and wow do we ever not need a sequel.

That’s it for today’s random thoughts! Have a great Tuesday!

A jot a day: Monday, Rocktober 16th, 2023

A jot a day: Monday, Rocktober 16th, 2023

I have long neglected writing on any sort of cohesive schedule so I thought I would jot dot down my thoughts on every weekday this week. While I don’t typically edit my blog posts aside from grammar and spelling, these may be even worse. The point is to just get some day-in-the-life thoughts out there.

Things I read this morning
• The October update from The New Escapeologist.
Why you should invest in yourself by Tawcan.
Invest in the index, not individual stocks.
• Every Monday Wealthsimple sends out a newsletter called TL;DR which is a fun little round-up of financial news from last week. It is truly a fun read to wake up to on Monday morning.

Books I am currently reading
• Non-Fiction: The Art of the Good Life: 52 surprising shortcuts to happiness, wealth, and success by Rolf Dobelli.
• Fiction: VenCo by Cherie Dimaline

I suspect that I will be reading these books for the rest of the week at least. As usual, my library pile continues to explode upwards.

The weekend

The painting in the condo was finally completely to our satisfaction. Last week the painter said he was done and it was horrible: no baseboards or ledges done, paint drips down the wall, doors not painted. Again, another nightmare to add to the pile of the nightmare condo project. So Mr. Tucker followed up and he redid it. Apparently it looks passable so now we move onto buying appliances and finishing some of the fixes for the laminate floors. I feel like we may never get this condo on the market! Maybe come October 25th the Bank of Canada will raise the rates again and it will be even worse. I am crossing my fingers for it staying right where it is.

Friday night Mr. Tucker took the Eldest and 4 of her friends out to a local farm to do their haunted hayride & haunted houses. They then all came here for a sleepover and Mr. Tucker made them all homemade crepes with local maple syrup for breakfast. Typically, the Eldest doesn’t want a birthday party so we have decided to pay for her and her friends to do this in October. We are, afterall, SUPER into Halloween around these parts so it makes more sense to just do this in the fall than to have something in the spring that she feels lackluster about. Unfortunately, the Youngest also had a last-minute costume party because it meant Mr. Tucker and I couldn’t make an appearance at our friend’s last-of-the-year backyard hangout. October is always busy and even though I have planned less official outings it’s still pure chaos some weekends.

We buy all of our chickens for the year from a local farmer in the area. Typically, Mr. Tucker goes day-of to get them whole/fresh and then he processes them himself. One evening of work means we have meals for the entire year. It also means that we end up with a pile of bones that we freeze so that we can make chicken stock when we get to it. A glut of celery and carrots in our CSA combined with the crisp fall weather meant that yesterday we ended up making a huge batch of chicken stock. Just in time for soup season!

The kids managed to harvest the rest of the garden yesterday – mostly tomatoes and peppers – and then tore it all out. I had such high hopes for our garden this year! It was also an amazing year for tomatoes which we couldn’t take advantage of because I have been convalescing since June 25th. I guess there is always next year but we had such good intentions of caring for our gardens properly. Another year, another learning experience. But I am glad we cleared it out early so it is one less thing we have to do in preparation for the winter. We did set up a little grow centre for herbs in the winter (*cough* in 2021) so maybe we will do that this winter.

At the cottage last weekend I really enjoyed doing art, reading and writing by candlelight. Mr. Tucker mentioned how much he loved beeswax candles and he especially found them comforting around the darker months of the year. Well, yesterday I discovered a local business called The Wax Studio that makes these beautiful and seasonal beeswax candles & so we spent some of our pocket money on a couple.

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. So Saturday I chose the 13 movies for 2023 and we started watching them. We used to do the 13 days leading up & including Halloween but now with our schedules it makes more sense to just get through 13 in the month. We try and do a mix of classic, retro and modern as well as scary, campy and funny.

For our first movie this year, we started with a new & campy movie: Renfield

Here are the reviews:

The Youngest: 9/10. I loved it. But the whole thing with the dead dad was kind of cliché and I don’t like when they kill the parents off.

The Eldest: 8/10. It was a good movie but I found it to be rushed. Some parts didn’t make a ton of sense at some points, but overall it was good.

Mr. Tucker: 7/10 cause I’m lame and thought the dad thing was cliché too. Cool action and imaginative kills. Nick cage looking like current Marilyn Manson was fun.

As for me? I did enjoy the gore and creativity. I also like new takes on old stories if they are done well and I found this modern take on Renfield charming. I like a nice, low stakes watch with good pacing and so this worked for me. Generally, I am not a movie person so I am easy to please.


My plan is to journal and read today and maybe watch something. I am still supposed to be convalescing but yesterday I felt better than I have in a long time. My walking has improved exponentially and I am mostly back down to one sidearm crutch again.

The only real chore I have is to do a meal plan for the week. I find it’s easier to plan in advance by the things that need to be eaten from our CSA box. It also stops food waste by eating things before they start to go bad. Writing it down on the whiteboard – and writing down the movie we are watching that night – stops the constant cacophony of “WHAT’S FOR DINNER?” & “WHAT MOVIE ARE WE WATCHING?” questions every night. It’s purely for my own sanity.

Have a great Monday!