Money for Nothing

Usually when I end up at the casino I’m eating or drinking instead of gambling. The other night I did the opposite. I don’t believe in playing blackjack or roulette because the odds are mathematically against you but with Texas hold’em poker I can rationalize the possibility of an advantage even though I haven’t played in several years. Reminds me of the time I thought surfing was a good idea when I knew I could barely swim.

Playing with 7 other strangers was a first for me. It’s always a little intimidating being in a new environment where everyone is trying to take your money. When I was waiting for a seat at a table an argument broke out. Players get upset when they think poker etiquette has been breached. I’ve seen guys get belligerent over next to nothing.

The most I’ve ever played with was $20 so $200 should have been way past my comfort zone but I had been drinking beer previously and I may or may not have been under the influence of an illegal substance. Within the first half hour I was up $200. Having only ever won $30 at a casino, I was joyous. I was insisting to my degenerate gambling friend at the same table that we should leave soon since he was also up $200. He wasn’t interested.

It was a table full of low level players who either chased bad hands or who were waiting for a sure thing that never materialized. Another hour passed and I had won a few big games. I roughly counted my chips and I was up $600! By this time my friend had lost all of his money, much of it to me. It was time to go.

On Sunday I had a dream that I won the lottery. I remember matching all 6 numbers and being in shock. After also winning in poker I had to buy a few lottery tickets. It makes sense, right? If you don’t hear from me for awhile I may have hit the jackpot.

 

 

 

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A Canadian in Las Vegas

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The first time I went to Las Vegas was in August of 2008 for a friend’s stag who never ended up getting married. It was kind of pathetic since I didn’t even walk the strip or see a show. Most of the time was spent with strippers, alcohol and taxi drivers trying to bring us to hookers. This time around I planned to be a legit tourist…walk the strip, see a show, visit the Hoover Dam and buy overpriced tourist souvenirs.

A small poll that I conducted has me to believe that a significant population of Las Vegas are people who have found southern California too expensive. Apparently, Las Vegas is a relatively cheap place to live that has jobs. It’s what people have been doing since the beginning of time…when a place becomes unlivable for whatever reason people find some place else. Some people refuse to leave though and hope that the government or crystal meth will make things better.

There’s no black people where I live so talking to black people was a highlight of my trip. Hey, you sound like TV. I could listen to an American black woman talk all day. Another highlight was paying $5 to the 2nd least attractive woman on Fremont St to take a picture with me. It was like a circus there full of people looking to make a buck by dressing outrageous. I fell victim to typical human behaviour. For $5 I could have taken a picture with her and her 300 pound friend who was also dressed skimpily but I automatically settled for good enough. The lesson is to always ask yourself how can you make it better.

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Fremont Street Experience

Final thoughts: Las Vegas is a cool place. Being required to tip is a stupid concept. Las Vegas is expensive. I’m surprised at the amount of people who play $25 a hand casino games. I gained weight. Use Uber or Lyft instead of taxis. Speaking of black people I caught a glimpse of Mike Tyson.

 

 

 

Retiring Youngish

If you ask someone what they want to do with their life they’ll tell you instead what they’re going to do which ironically will be something they don’t actually want to do.

It usually goes something like this…graduate high school, attend post-secondary to study something you don’t like, find a job doing that thing you don’t like until your’re 65 and then retire. Sounds crazy for this to be your intention but fear and conformity drives people to do crazy things. The reoccurring theme is that it’s acceptable because mostly everyone else is doing and thinking the same thing.

A fellow blogger turned me on to Mr. Money Moustache, a blog made popular by the story of a guy who retired in his early 30s. How is that possible? The main idea involves receiving passive income through investments and living frugally. After reading through a few of his posts I think it is possible for many to accomplish but you would have to commit a few sins against the religion of conformity.

For me, even in hindsight I don’t know if I would have been able to achieve early retirement through the MMM method unless if all the stars aligned for me. You need that decent paying job at a fairly young age. I know several guys who could have done it but they were too concerned with the idea of conforming and no woman wanting to be with them unless if they could provide them with a certain lifestyle and security. Life can be such a dirty trick.

If I had believed the MMM method was credible when I was 20 years old then things would have been different for me. I always quit my job hoping that I would one day land that cushy, union-type job that I would work for 30 years. That was such antiquated thinking. I watched too many sitcoms when I was a kid. Little did I know that my beliefs far outweighed the tolerance I had available. If I had believed differently I might have kept chipping away and been willing to take the necessary risks.

There’s still hope for Mr. Johnson though. The stock market has been more than kind to me for the last 2 years and I’m hoping to transition to MMM-type status in the near future with similar methods. I’m not there yet and it may not even happen but the fact that I’m even this close when I was so far away just 2 years ago means it’s possible for many people out there if they believe and start early.

 

 

Spending Money and Loser Habits

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When it comes to giving up bad habits people tend to find alternatives rather than quitting altogether. An alcoholic might go from hard liquor to wine and then beer until they realize there’s no happy medium. I’ve went the other direction. I bought my first bottle of hard liquor last week. The idea is that I’ll be able to pretend that I’m a mixologist, it’s more cost effective and it’s also low carb if I use soda water as a mixer.

I also bought a $10 crystal glass so that I can drink it in style like I’m a somebody. It’s made in Germany and fit for royalty. If I use it 1000 times then it’ll work out to be 1 cent a use.

I believe by using soda water as a mixer I’m counteracting some of the negative effects of alcohol such as dehydration. This all sounds like a bad idea but I’m not capable of being an alcoholic not because I can quit anytime but because I have acetaldehyde dehydrogenase deficiency. Most east Asians have this condition. Basically, it makes drinking alcohol less pleasant.

I like red wine but it’s expensive and you can’t open a bottle and come back to it in 3 days. Beer is okay too but sometimes I just don’t want to drink that much liquid plus it contains more calories and carbohydrates.

Every time I’ve had applewood smoked bacon it just tastes like regular bacon. I’m convinced applewood is just a marketing gimmick. Every time I eat potato chips I feel like a loser.

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When you feel life has betrayed you then you build a workshop to make bombs. I watched the Unabomber show on Netflix recently and several times I thought, that sounds like something I would say or do. Luckily for the world I’m not smart enough to construct mail bombs. Why is it that when a perceived mad man writes something it’s always referred to as a manifesto?

The real reason why I assembled this tool display was because I saw it on some TV show and thought, hey, I think I have a peg board. I had a lot of fun doing it. Now when a robber comes in my home he’ll have an easy time finding the tools he needs to torture me. Man, there are countless horrible ways to torture a person. Any one of these tools could be effective for torture even the LED light. You could force someone’s eye open and shine the light in close proximity to the eye. Tell me where the gold is!

If you don’t tell him where the gold is then he could tape your hand to your face and bang 2 hammers together right beside your ear for an hour. If you think your life is bad now just think about that possibility and you’ll be grateful for your boring existence.

 

 

Stock Tips

The stock market is often seen as a vehicle for getting rich quick. It happens but far more often that approach leads to horror stories.

It always starts off the same way. Someone they know who is supposedly smarter than them gave them a “stock tip.” My tip to you is to be careful about stock tips. The thing about stock tips is that it does something to a person psychologically. The monkey brain wants to believe that it stumbled upon something special that no one else in the tribe knows about. This unique circumstance will hopefully catapult their rank among their peers and take them away from that average schmuck status.

A woman I know in my neighbourhood told me how when she was younger she put in some money into a stock that was supposed to make her rich. A wealthy relative had given her this tip and the fact that he was wealthy gave him more credibility. He was wrong and she owed $10,000 to her credit card because of it. She said, “it took me a long time to pay that one back.”

Lesson #1: Be careful about stock tips and don’t use your credit card to buy penny stocks.

In the year 2009 a guy I knew told me he was putting some money into the natural gas market because it was at an all-time low. Like a monkey seeing a banana in an alligator’s mouth I saw it as an opportunity even though it was based off basically nothing. The funny thing is that I knew that this guy had been consistently losing money in the stock market since 1999 and yet I thought this time would be different. Well, I wanted to believe that anyway. In a month I was down 75% of my money. Eight years later and the price of natural gas is roughly the same. If I stayed in that stock I would be down 90-something percent today.

Lesson #2: Be careful about stock tips.

Shortly after high school a guy I knew informed a handful of us of this new tech stock that was going to begin trading soon on the public markets. If we got in early we would see our money go up 100 times. They piled in with their money and some of them with their parents money. Everyone was talking about the islands they were going to buy. This company never went public. This company wasn’t even real. They gave all this money to some guy who had nothing but a story and some suckers who bought into it. The question is why didn’t anyone do any research or ask for some kind of proof of existence? I don’t know, maybe they didn’t want to discover any information that would give them doubts.

Lesson #3: Be careful about stock tips. And you’ll never be able to afford an island.

This is not to discourage anyone from getting involved in the stock market. Actually, I encourage it in most cases. Just don’t bet the farm on penny stocks or companies that have not been around for very long. A long-term approach investing in solid companies or just the S&P 500 index has historically proven to work well.

 

 

 

The Road to Average

20 years out of high school can allow you to see the paths that people chose which led to their current circumstances in life. Probability being probability, most ended up somewhere in the tier of average. Wherever their position on the scale of average lies has more to do with circumstances rather than merit.

The few that became successful did what the average didn’t. They separated themselves from the herd. I don’t believe their actions were rooted by this philosophy. Their ambitions just forced them away. Herd mentality will keep you in the herd where the main objective is to not be left out of the herd.

The herd leaves high school unaware of their anxious intentions to sign the rest of their life away to a mundane average. To them it’s what you’re supposed to do. Perhaps “average” should not be the term used but instead, “uninspiring.”