Browsed by
Tag: links

5 interesting things

5 interesting things


Skaters on the Rideau Canal

I have been focusing on reading a lot to catch up on all of my library books and subscriptions. Of course, there is also family time and playing the Witcher II and a good amount of time drinking tea and having conversations with Mr. Tucker. I don’t plan to keep to any schedule here but I do enjoy sharing what I’ve read and a variety of thoughts I have had on certain things. For example, I realized that I have been online for THIRTY YEARS and it’s funny that my original optimism has reversed-course and I find myself divesting from the online world. Perhaps that is a conversation for another time. Here are some things I read this weekend:

1 – The Prestige Recession, “The decline of the critic mirrors the decline of the mediums they cover. Music and film are industries whose relative cultural value has dipped, thus their critics’s cultural influence has plummeted. In realms like politics and the culture wars, however, critics are thriving. Where there’s power and money, critics can have influence and get paid. When the money and power dry up, the beat does too…Cultural criticism and contextualization aren’t going away. They’re being de-professionalized. They’re switching mediums. What was a grand(ish) vocation has been demoted to a hobby and another form of “content.” It feels inevitable. We’ve gotten so used to it by now.”

2 – I first heard about Neal’s Yard Dairy in the book, The Lost Supper by Montreal writer, Taras Gresco. I didn’t realize how firmly planted the place was in the counterculture of the past few decades, nor how important of a piece it played in bringing back a British food culture. Nicholas Saunders: the forgotten genius who changed British food. “The central question of Saunders’ life is what happens when you try to create an alternative and it becomes so successful that it is co-opted by other people into the dominant culture. It was a tension he was never quite able to resolve, except in a few small projects… The compulsion that made him treat the question of yoghurt production in the same way as the chemical composition of an ecstasy pill found its purest expression in things that were done solely for the fun of it.”

3 – Great, as soon as I build a gaming computer and get back into it I read, The Tremendous Yet Troubled State of Gaming in 2024. This is really for econ and gaming nerds. “There are several reasons behind the many layoffs detailed above, but the first may be the most important. It’s also the most overlooked and most counter-narrative: video game revenues are falling… A lot of the challenge here is economical. In addition to the aforementioned increases in costs per developer, the number of people needed to produce a AAA game have grown as publishers expand the scale and scope of their games —more and higher-fidelity cinematics with professional motion capture and vocal performances, greater environmental and enemy diversity, more thoughtful NPCs and side quests. The enormity of this effort is easy to measure, as is the output.” Clearly, this piece goes on to describe all of the likely challenges facing the industry.

Adjacent, but as for myself, I was shocked to learn that even though it’s been 15 years or so since I played a game, the prices for top-of-the-line games were still hovering around the $80 mark – which hasn’t really changed since the 90s. Moreover, I could play older games that I had missed over the years for a measly $1-$20 – and I am not a multi-player kind of gal. I get that people who have gamed over that period of time have probably finished all of the games they want to play, but even today I get *flash sales* for brand new games with great worlds, stories and graphics. I also recognize the sheer amount of titles being released probably dilutes potential customers in ways that were impossible in the 80s-00s.

4 – Advice from people who really started living when they found out they were dying (H/T to The New Escapologist). I have a love/hate with these sorts of articles. On the one hand: yes! Please go out and live your one wild and precious life! On the other hand, it’s much easier to explain your erratic behaviour of skydiving and mountaineering if you have a terminal diagnosis. Otherwise, people just think you are shirking your responsibilities as an adult. It would be amazing if we could reconcile the two things. Wouldn’t it be amazing if people could sell everything and travel for a year without getting the side eye and tsk tsks from their friends and family? Either way, this is good advice for the perfectly healthy as well: don’t delay, do what you love, enjoy every moment you can (except the painful ones, like the time in the dentist chair and the like).

“You get caught up in that world of work: pay your bills, eat dinner, sleep, repeat. But now I truly feel very different about money. What’s the point of earning, earning, earning if there’s no joy in your life? When I watch really power-driven people who want more and more, I want to tell them it’s the small things in life that are beautiful. We live in quite a toxic world, but it’s your choice what you expose yourself to. I get up, I walk my dog, I listen to every single bird that chirps. I’m grateful for that.”

5 – I came across this recently (at least, the short Instagram post that inspired it) and it has really resonated. I have stepped away from some social media lately in an effort to reduce my exposure to things that make me upset but that I have no control over. Instead, I am focusing on doing a daily photo (#DITL) on the Post Morbus Instagram. If people want to throw hands in their own comments sections, Imma LET THEM.

Anyway, she has three parts to this theory that I find is so profoundly helpful to me, especially as I revisit my investment into family, friends, acquaintances AND online interactions:

A – Detachment: just let people do what they are going to do & detach yourself from an emotional response.
B – Let people fail: let them learn and grow by not rescuing them.
C – Let them be themselves: don’t try and change people.

That is all for this Monday. I cannot believe that we are heading into February this week. I did end up cancelling my Globe and Mail Saturday paper subscription (ugh. They made me call on a telephone and speak with a real human and everything!) but I kept the digital version. Naturally, this concluded with them charging me for both. Modern life is rubbish, indeed.

Have yourself a merry little update…

Have yourself a merry little update…

We are fully in our #12DaysOfChristmasMovies era. So basically our evenings are dinner and a movie every night!

Today my friend K dropped off a fruitcake for Mr. Tucker – who loves the stuff! Her fruitcakes are particularly special because she candies all of her own fruit. He is very judicious with the fruitcake and savours every bite.

Tonight we are heading over to our friends The Cohens for dinner and Latkes and we are so stoked to see them! Life has been busy with all of our kids getting the flu and colds all through the fall so it’s been pretty impossible to make time to hangout. Since I had so much medical drama we haven’t really even seen them since the summer.

I am planning to host a Winter Solstice party on the 21st but I am trying not to get my hopes up that it will happen (but I bought food for it anyway, because I am an optimist!). It’s been canceled for the past 3 years for obvious (covid) and non-obvious (also covid) reasons. My hope is to have a wee party with crafts and fireside chats. I have also convinced The Eldest and Mr. Tucker to perhaps play some music for the event. Solstice is my favourite part of the holidays and it’s sad that I haven’t been able to celebrate it. I will send the invites out today.

Other than that, I am basically just playing The Witcher, reading books, hanging out with the family, and trying to plan for the new year. I have a few things I usually do and while I am not a resolution person, I am a planner by nature and have some plans for 2024.

To round this off, two links:

I cannot disagree with this list of books to buy for the beginner. In fact, I lost my OG copy of The Wealthy Barber and just bought a used one online. I still maintain that it is one of the BEST (albeit dated) books for a young adult to read if they are just starting out.

When the foundation is broken: Both Taylor and Britney had great success early on. They broke records and appeared destined for Great Things. Two decades later, Taylor is TIME’s Person of the Year, while Britney spends most of her time isolated inside her home and putting out weird Instagram posts. She is, by her own admission, struggling to put her life back together…I know we all know this, but it bears repeating: It is really, really hard to make a success of your life if your foundation is broken. It is hard to be “a source of light” when you are constantly fighting darkness, both inside and outside of yourself.

Link dump

Link dump

Hello! I have been busy reading a GIANT pile of books I have taken out from the library as well as tackling some video games. I have been mostly pleased with my divestment from social media (do blogs still count? They used to). I have kept a few links that I’ve enjoyed lately so today’s post is just sharing those. Hopefully, something longer will be written soon.

Canadian personal finance
The best free retirement calculators in Canada.

Parents lack an RESP financial plan. “I crunched some numbers to find out the cost of going to university in Ontario…Taking an average of … four, I calculated that students need about $125,000 for a four-year undergraduate arts degree, if they live away from home.”

Society
Why kids are quitting sports.

Millennials say that they need $525000 a year to be happy.

Relationships
Social media is not your couples’ therapist. I have noticed similar advice for diagnosis’ as well. Accounts need to keep people engaged & constantly sharing to remain relevant and to curry favour with the algorithm. I have seen weirdly normal behaviours pathologized as being indicative of a problem. People repost these things because they’re relatable but I think a lot of them are relatable because they are things most of us do. There is a lot of self-diagnosis happening and it’s worrisome.

I just finished the book The Good Life and I highly recommend it. Here is a good primer on how to craft enduring happiness.

Further to that, I do appreciate the friendships I have with both older and younger folks.

How men can build better friendships

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

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

Links
• 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.

Today
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 – 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

Links
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: Thursday, October 19, 2023

A jot a day: Thursday, October 19, 2023

Links

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.

Books

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.

Today

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.

#13DaysOfHalloweenMovies

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.

QOTD

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.

Books

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.

Today

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.

#13DaysOfHalloweenMovies

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!