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Archive for December, 2014

out with the old, in with the new

December 31st, 2014 at 11:00 am

Sold some ITRN and MTR, bought CI, TRV, RPS and PRF today. Sold ONVI yesterday. Some of my losers I hang on to, because they're best in a bear market and they're not individual stocks. I used four stock evaluation tools for all my purchases (S & P, FinViz, Value Line, TD Ameritrade) and three for my sells (FinViz, Value Line, S & P).

Attempting a fruit trifle: the orange-scented sponge cake is a success; getting whip cream, vanilla bean, kiwis and blueberries'll be a cinch, but making crème anglaise -- heaps of egg yolks! Do supermarkets sell cartons of yolks only, like they sell cartons of egg whites?

Budding 2015 aims, brief analysis of 2014 finance

December 29th, 2014 at 11:07 am

Hey there:
I had a day of some accomplishments: washed the range hood filters, our bedsheets, bought clothes, retrieved my wallet. Ipod still missing. Not too worried because I paid nothing for it. It is probably in our house somewhere.

Saw Baselle on Saturday: she is radiant and fine. My child will participate in her Fantasy Celebrity Cemetery game and he made some good picks, some stellar unique ones, some cagey ones too. One person Baselle has on her list is someone I had on my first version, but discarded. I hope I don't have remorse over that, but I probably will. This year nearly everyone had good lists, and I just lucked out because I followed Baselle's 2013 winning strategy of finding someone in their forties.

For 2015 I want to be more creative and active. I am now mostly on Linux on one laptop, and I now have a Raspberry Pi. Raspberry Pis are the thrifty way for young people to learn computing, but I decided I didn't have to be twelve or under to make use of the Pi. I've played with software for designing sound, and dipped my baby toe into the Python programming shell (called IDLE, get it? Python? har! Those funny Brits!). I also installed Apache server and now I have a web page. All of this I did last night. I have now a SDF.org account for practising mySQL and using old-school UNIX commands. I think if I reduce my exposure social media (hashtag abuse rots the mind) and go on a news-information diet I'll be okay. News is 88% corporations and governments' dictated garbage, typos, and celeb blather anyway these days, am I right?

I want to be cleaner next year too. My eyes are terrible now and I can only feel the schmutz, not see it. I have some recipes for scented cleaning concoctions, so I'll be able to smell the clean as well.

I want every day to have some minor accomplishment at least, or average out the year in daily accomplishments. I will work on templates for my RedNotebook software so I have a framework: "What needs to be changed?" "What was good?" "What steps did you take toward ....?" "What are you going to read?"

I want to be more mindful. I wouldn't say I'm manic, but too often I see more books and CDs and DVDs from the library I want to borrow, and sometimes I misplace them if I'm out, especially on a bus. Then I have to pay for their replacement. update: case in point, I was going to play a CD from the library, then found a CD from the library I thought I returned (I returned only the case). I better read Philippa Perry's How to Stay Sane but that presumes I am sane. My spouse tells me I am sane in a crazy world.

I want to overcome my social anxiety and awkwardness. I have to be okay with rejection though, as well as other people's social anxieties and awkwardness, but I don't know how to be okay with rejection; that is, positioning the rejection as the other person's problem and not a confirmation that I'm unfit for society.

Financially, 2014 showed growth over 2013. Except for the house. Despite all these cranes working on erecting multifamily residences, and a 1 bedroom apartment in the city goes for more than our 3-bedroom mortgage in the city, Zillow values our house at $5000 less than this time last year, so I have 3% growth in equity from the $10000 I've paid down in principal. I live in an area with good transportation and most amenities are within walking distance. Gold and silver are down from 12 months ago as well. Stock accounts went up, except for General Electric. Bonds are up a little over 2%, money market account is up slightly. Debt you can look at in the sidebar, unless you're using adblock software. 8% principal paid on HELOC; 9.18% principal paid on mortgage; 22% principal paid on car loan. Car loan annual principal paid percentage is the only number that didn't increase from last year.

Stocks to look into next year: CI, DLTR, ONNN, SU, TRV, VIAB.

Must be how Scrooge got started

December 23rd, 2014 at 10:53 am

"I'm coming to your city. I'll call. Let's get together."
No call. No meeting.
Cards I sent out from BC: eleven.
Cards received from BC: two.
Package sent from BC to NL November 27. Told twelve business days (Mo - Fr) delivery.
Package still not in NL as of December 23.

Illustrious mail-order supremo bookstore (not global e-tailer, not the first one you think of) offers free shipping on orders fulfilled before Dec 15. I check my spouse's wishlist on the global e-tailer, then check for copies available at mail order bookstore (2, according to website. Website also claims inventory updated HOURLY) on December 12 so I put in an order that very day. December 16 I check supremo bookstore tracking, gift not available. I call to ask "what goes on" they say the retail area sold one copy, another can't be found. They have newer editions in a warehouse on the southern part of the state, twice the price, won't arrive at Christmas. So I had to use the global e-tailer, the one that's a poor citizen and doesn't pay taxes, the one that treats its warehouse staff like convicts, and the global e-tailer ensured my orders arrived before Christmas. Honest, I do try to support "indie" and "local", but lying to me about availability of items and not alerting me when there's a problem with my shipment does not help!!

Honestly, I am going nuts thinking what I did wrong. Was it the expressions of gratitude? Was it the effort of getting a book autographed by its author up to another country in time for Christmas? If I told the universe to spread its cheeks and mudslide on me it must be in some non-verbal, unconscious way.

The most thoughtful people I've encountered this season are my former sister-in-law who doesn't even celebrate Christmas, and my mom's cousin who knows my pain as he lost two sisters at once much too young. In short, the people with whom I share a great and untimely loss. Even the cemetery where I delivered my brother's bones to be interred sent a card. A Catholic business entity is more thoughtful than my so-called Catholic relatives.

Here's how I'm whiling the holy days: Buster Keaton 3-film set; Umberto Eco paperback; Dorothy Sayers paperback; Making Space by Thich Nhat Hanh; Middlemarch, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Gravity's Rainbow, film "Le Corbeau" and DVD of "The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle". Plus cleaning, cooking, exercising, writing, plotting, walking, whatever it takes to reduce reduce reduce and get clear clear clear.

Update: All it took to snap me out of this funk were -- a two-car collision at the nearest stoplight intersection. I don't have a neck brace, don't have to wait for an ambulance, won't be spending Thursday dozy from painkillers, won't have holiday travel cancelled with perhaps no deposit returned. Plus, my spouse cooed with delight at the Monks CD I brought home. Protopunk on a dark night is reviving! Plus an intuitive three-card Tarot spread: The Magician - (Reversed) Five Swords - Ace of Swords. Kind of a "get clear, wake up, smell reality" thing. I have electricity, people to hug, food to eat, and apparently lots and lots of media for escapism. Not so bad.

Paulette's Helpful Hacker-Humbug Hints

December 18th, 2014 at 12:09 pm

Note: these work best in North American countries with a shameful GINI index. I have not tested this in Cuba or Nauru or Kazakhstan.

1. Have a terrible credit score.
2. Have outstanding warrants in as many states (or provinces?) as you can visit.
3. Live in such a way where you never have more than $132 in your chequing (checking) account.
4. Have a plethora of illicit and prosecute-able content on any computer you are worried about someone hacking. (Ask me about my Deep Web scores -- then again, don't.)
5. Be Black or Hispanic.
6. Leech your terrible internet from your neighbor's unprotected Wi-Fi. OR! Name your internet "FBI Surveillance Van" or "fbi furgoneta de vigilancia" if you're going the Hispanic route something similar.
7. Keep all important documents, including banking files, resumes, etc. on your Windows desktop so that hackers can quickly verify that your life is worthless.

Do as many of these as you can, and your PC/gateway to the world for shutins will be protected better than anything Symantec or Norton can come up with.

#7 I do for physical security. Keep a sour "honeypot" wallet with only a 5000 Korean Won note and print copies of "Archie Fan Club" membership cards when asked to surrender my wallet. However, as I rarely bring my cheap phone with me anywhere, wear a watch so I can answer someone's request for the time, and look like a homeless person reading a used paperback or a library book while riding transit, I haven't tested #7 yet in real life, but it's gotta be better than walking alone in high-density neighborhoods at 2:30 AM after visiting an outdoors ATM, head down intently gazing at one's tablet or texting away on an iPhone or Galaxy, then complain to the police you've been robbed, which is what people in my city do.

Sold some books

December 15th, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Oh gee, what a sensitive laptop I have. Sold some but not all of my brother's books for $33 in store credit. We are a family of readers so this should be useful.

Serious question: what does "being good to oneself" mean? Yoga stretches, vegetable juices, massages, aromatherapy baths? What activities corral the mind when the mind is everywhere yet nowhere at the same time?



update: Just saw that the pantry is down to 2 cans each of tomatoes, tomato paste and tomato sauce. :-P And this weekend we did not do much grocery shopping as I did not plan for meals or did not find sufficiently low prices for staples or did not feel like driving to the market for farm produce after a "zippy" (20% shorter time, excluding border stops) trip to White Rock and back for gift exchanges. So I must figure out a cheap, healthy meal plan for the next two weeks.

Year to Year Comparison

December 12th, 2014 at 09:49 am

My finances still have not fully healed, but then neither have I. I want to replenish the cash reserves to twelve times a mortgage payment, and I'm $200 short. I've been using coupons, BOGO promotions and sales where I can.

Last year at this time I owed $12253.69 on the car and am down to $9018.54. Over 25% principal paid, down from five figures to four. When you owe like I do, a digit drop down is a milestone. The biggest milestone so far was getting from six-digits to five-digits for mortgages.

The HELOC I have paid $1105.80 this year, with an additional $73.90 to come December 15. I could round this up to $1200 principal for the year, 10% reduction of principal.

The good news is my debt sums and liquid taxable sums have reached a difference from each other where I could resume paying down the principal on the loans.

My three stocks Robbie (bank stock: hahaha!), Blue Chip and Earnie (they are DRPs, no personality whatsoever) have appreciated by 11% over the past year, including dividend reinvestments.

I don't count on having many Xmas presents under the tree this year, but with new hiking boots and pillows, and lots of NHL reading material for the bicultural tot, most of us are satisfied, if not lonely. We have too much stuff as it is, so memberships and events tickets are going into stockings. I am three weeks away from taking first place in a 2014 dead pool, so that helps a little, and from winning a Dead Pool side bet (gift certificate from an eminent global e-tailer). Will I be doing the Dead Pool again? Probably. 700% return on my investment is not bad.