Unhappily Satisfied

I know a guy who has hated his job since at least 2012 and as a bonus he gets to go “home” to where his 70-year-old diabetic dictator of a mother in-law also lives. Basically his life is comprised of mostly punishment but he tries to convince himself and others that there is happiness in hell. His evaluation of happiness is not based on the general feeling that occupies his mind but instead is calculated based on how well his life is aligned with what culture typically sees as happiness. Any part that falls short on the balance sheet is made up with a contribution of ego.

Satisfaction and misery can dance together as long as the mind decides it’s an acceptable place to be. There’s nothing joyful about putting on a vest of dynamite and blowing yourself up but if your beliefs decide that it’s worth it then it’s satisfactory. But you didn’t die a happy person. Maybe the 63 virgins will make up for it.

The illusion of happiness has always been the idea of having a story to tell that will garner admiration or at least satisfaction from others. Often it’s not happiness that we strive for but the absence of social embarrassment which will give us a passing grade of acceptance.

We want to believe we’re living for ourselves and our happiness but we are perpetually living for others because that’s what the primitive wiring programs us to do. It also tells us to tell others to do what we do regardless of how unpleasant of an existence it is.

 

 

 

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Stock Market Tales

2004: I read about a new business that provided digital photography printing technology to big chain stores. It seemed like it had promise and their shares were cheap so I put $1000 into it. It went nowhere for a while and I cashed out of it at a 10% loss.

2010: A friend who had been investing in the stock market for years with poor success convinced me to invest in an ETF natural gas stock. The rationale was that natural gas was at an all time low so that it should bounce back up soon. I had an extra $2000 kicking around so I put my money in. The very next day I was up $400. That would be the last day I was up at all. In the end I was left with $500. I could have bought 150 homeless people dinner with the money I lost.

Since I departed from my job back in Sept 2015, I’ve been involved in the stock market game. Near the beginning of this new venture I was up $1200 from a $6000 investment within a matter of days. If I had cashed out right then my return would have been better than 90% of what professionals accomplish in a year. Of course within another few days my $1200 went to zero and then -$1200.

This time around was different though. I had learned from my mistakes and from the mistakes of others, and had a different strategy before I even purchased a share. Fast forward 8 months and I brought my stock portfolio back to the positives by staying disciplined and following the cardinal rules. Today, I’m back in the negatives because I made another mistake.

Managing your own money in the stock market is like lifting weights…most people have tried it but a small percentage stick with it and an even smaller percentage achieve any meaningful success.

Most people look at the stock market like they do a casino…they hope to score big in a short amount of time. What I’ve learned from my most recent folly is that having long-term success in the stock market is no different than achieving success in anything else. No one can be very good at any profession without taking the time to learn and make mistakes. To think you can succeed in the stock market with an uninterrupted upward trajectory from the beginning is the same as believing you can build a house for your family because you built one for your dog.

They say 9 out of 10 people fail at making money in the stock market. I believe the failure comes from biting off more than your stomach can handle which will emotionally and/or financially cripple you.

To anyone thinking of getting in the stock market game, I would highly recommend that you take it slow and not have your first priority be making money but instead to learn. Have a small amount of money invested so that it has your interest but not enough that you will potentially lose sleep or your kid’s lunch money for the year. Expecting to score big from the beginning would be like trying to be a professional without ever completing the amateur level.

 

Future Stigma of Reproducing

Some of what was accepted within the last 200 years in developed nations is now seen as horrifying. I’m not going to list them off because I’m sure you can think of at least a couple off the top of your head.

I’m predicting that one day, bringing in a human life will be looked down upon as much as murder and racism are today. It sounds crazy but there was a time when murder was probably done recreationally. You captured some guy from another tribe, tied him up and yanked on his nipples to see how long they would stretch before they ripped off. Actually, members of the American military may have engaged in such activities in the most recent wars.

When there is an over-abundance of a resource it becomes worth less and if the resources needed to sustain this said resource become more valuable than what they are sustaining then it becomes a liability.

For most of history, having offspring was out of necessity and lack of sufficient birth control. Besides, what else were people going to do in a time when climbing trees was the favourite pastime. Give people something else to occupy their time with and the idea of having kids becomes less favourable.

A man in the post-war economic boom era could rely on the idea that his wife would be a full-time homemaker. He shoots his load in her, goes to work, comes home and sits on the couch with a beer. Then masses of women entered the workforce and some of them said, “screw having kids, my career is priority.” Now money is more of an issue for more people which pushes them to the idea of just getting a dog and treating it like it’s their kid.

Reasons for having kids are becoming less convincing than they used to be. The best reason now is the same one to as why people still consume so much meat…because they want to and it’s so ingrained in the culture. We needed to eat animals in the past to survive then it became a luxury and now it’s seen as cruel to the animals and the environment. You probably get the stink eye and silent condemnation by a small percentage of passersby when you’re ripping into a half chicken.

We used to need people to work jobs but now there are not enough jobs and rumour has it that in the future there will be even less jobs. Sure, there could be a system designed so that humans aren’t so dependent on jobs to exist but in the eyes of capitalism that’s glaucoma.

 

 

 

Thoughts on the O.J. Simpson TV Series

In 1995 when the verdict of the O.J. Simpson trial was about to be announced, I clearly remember I was in grade 11 drafting class because the school administration must have decided that it would be a good idea to broadcast it through the school’s airwaves. Not guilty.

It was a double huh? for me during that one minute when I realized they were airing the verdict over the P.A. and then when the verdict was read. The O.J. case was like all those Dateline NBC murder mysteries except the mystery part.

Last night was the final episode of O.J. Simpson: Made in America which was a well-crafted series. It didn’t just focus on the case itself but also the events within the 40 years preceding the trial that may have shaped O.J.’s personality and the opinions of African Americans towards the justice system.

Before watching this series my thoughts were that his DNA being at the crime scene solidified his guilt but if the glove does not fit you must acquit. When it all started on TV with the White Ford Bronco chase it was apparent to me that he was guilty but a massive amount of people disagreed. Crowds of white and black people were cheering for him.

After the “not guilty” verdict was read they showed African Americans all over America rejoicing. Either they wholeheartedly believed he was innocent or they perceived it as a victory for African Americans.

I can understand the victory mentality but believing O.J. didn’t commit those murders is slightly delusional…I have more faith in the idea that Donald Trump should be president.

Russell Peters Bit Comes to Life

 

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Not the actual camera. This one is in better shape.

A few weeks back I had an old manual film camera advertised on Craigslist for $60 and someone replied to it…

looks like the grab is missing. Will pay $40 if still for sell. I have a lens. Please text me either way.

I had it advertised for a while with not much action so I decided to let it go.

An Indian guy in his late 40s or early 50s pulls up in a mid-90s Toyota Tercel, inspects the camera and begins the bargaining.

Him: Oh, I didn’t know about all these marks and dents.

Me: I mentioned it in the ad and there were pictures.

Him: How about $30?

A bunch of “no” answers followed by “c’mon” a bunch of times ensued.

He grabs my arm and tells me that I’m a nice guy. My balls shrivelled and I decided that if he got any more homosexual on me that I’d have to go for the eyes and then a palm strike to the solar plexus. It was one of those moments where I reminded myself to never be creepy around women in the future.

Him: $30 and that is my final offer.

Me: I’d rather keep it.

Him: C’mon man, I drove all the way here. Gas is expensive.

In the end he gave me $40. After the transaction I kind of regretted selling it to him because I had this fear that he would come knocking on my door in a few days asking for a return.

 

 

The Great Backdoors

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If you take away convenience, the day is actively taken up by just a few tasks. Without detailed retrospection the memories of igniting lumps of charcoal was a fairly quick chore but I forgot that the use of lighter fluid played a vital role.

Being a more health conscious person now, I tend to gravitate towards the more natural pathways in life. The above photo is one of success but it was probably over an hour in the making. Without YouTube it may never have even happened. Leave it to YouTube commenters to bash people giving free advice.

Nice shorts buddy.

Your method sucks!

The method I ended up using was attempting to get a few lumps lit first instead of a pyramid of 20. A few small twigs from the yard were integral.

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The adventure of picking up the chicken, assembling the BBQ, getting the charcoal going, cooking and eating took up nearly 6 hours, finishing just in time to watch that new O.J. Simpson series.

The BBQ I have is sufficient to cook a meal for 4 people. I could use a BBQ half the size for myself but they don’t make loner BBQs…yet.

The Inheritance Factor

One of my volunteer gigs is driving old people around to wherever they need to or want to go. A client that I recently met is an 80-something-year-old lady who lives alone in a house. A few weeks back I picked up some gardening soil for her because she didn’t feel well enough to walk that day. I asked her who was going to help her with these 25 pound bags of soil and she told me one of her 30-year-old relatives would be coming by soon.

Today we went to another gardening place and she was telling me how her 50-year-old relatives were coming to her place tomorrow to hang out and sleep over. Most of the old people I have met have no one coming around except maybe the semi-annual 2 hour visit from their kids so I thought how lovely it is that she has these relatives taking a 1 hour drive just to be with her.

After leaving her place, on the way home I had this thought that these relatives have motives of being beneficiaries to her estate. I realize it sounds extremely cynical but it makes a lot of sense…to me anyway. Or maybe these relatives are just doing what family does? I just can’t bet on that after talking to all the old people I have met this year.

This old lady never had kids and I’m guessing her husband is dead. By the looks of it she can go any day now and her relatives are probably thinking the same. See, if she had kids that were still alive regardless if they came around to visit her or not, these relatives wouldn’t bother coming around because they know the kids will be entitled to the estate. But since there is no other next of kin or friends, the ravens are circling.

I could be wrong and an asshole for even thinking like this but people are capable of anything when it comes to large sums of money especially if they don’t have a whole lot and very especially if they are 50 years old and don’t have a whole lot. During our conversation she told me about the house that she is living in that she bought in 1974 for $29,000 that is now worth $1.5-1.8 million. I believe the woman across the street is avoiding me because of the $55 she owes me, and she drives a Lexus.