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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: 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.