Dreams of Being Rich!

Wake up!

Okay, this is just one of those dreams I can’t make sense of. No, not the dream of being rich, but an actual dream I had last night. One that I can’t make sense of. I’m not making this up, I really had this dream last night & I think you’ll be tickled with the kicker at the end of the story.

I like to read my way to sleep but I happened to listen to an audio book last night. It’s a book on a high-yielding, income-fund investing strategy. This is an investing approach that I don’t really buy into. But that’s why I need to learn more about it, I could be wrong. It might work for a chunk of a retiree’s portfolio, so maybe I’ll want to use it down the road. I was pausing the book periodically, to jump over to the browser on my phone. I compared the total returns of some of the recommended funds against those of one of the Canadian banks. And that’s about when I fell asleep …

Now I’m at my dream-desk. I had a list of four funds that I wanted to compare & I was reviewing these on screen when I was introduced to a new employee. Next thing you know, I’m sharing a sheet of paper with the new guy. It started out with the ticker symbols of the four funds on it, but now it is a list of four of my brilliant suggestions for design improvements on a reflow oven. A reflow oven is a big, industrial version of the oven you might find in sub sandwich restaurant. You know the kind with the flat conveyor belt? It toasts those open-faced sandwiches.

Anyhoo, an industrial reflow oven solders electronic components onto printed circuit boards. It’s one of the machines that helps manufacture the electronics inside your phone, TV, laptop, & so on. This machine has been part of my day job for decades already. I probably know more about reflow ovens than I do about investing in high-yielding funds! I’m talking about my brilliant ideas with the new guy & I invite him to join me at a meeting I’ve scheduled to share these suggestions with the engineering department.

Next thing I’m sitting in the meeting room opening up my laptop. The new guy is sitting to my left & … wait for it … Warren Buffett is sitting to my right. I’m not kidding, I dreamed of Mr. Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha himself! We’re all waiting for the design engineer to show up for the meeting. As I open my laptop, I glance out the window. I don’t know why I’m not surprised that the office window is looking out over the park in the small Irish town I grew up in!

The design engineer finally shows up. A tall, smiling man. With his shaven head, he looked more like a martial artist than any design engineer I’d ever worked with. He is 6″ 8″ tall & I have to look up, a lot, as I shake his hand. His name is Do, but pronounced dough! I introduce him to the new guy, whose name I couldn’t drag back from dreamland, but Mr. Buffett needed no introduction. I guess we were used to working together! LOL

I fired up my laptop & was about to review the list of the four items with the group, but then the recollection fades.


After a solid eight hours of sleep, I woke up. Exhausted. I took my morning coffee out to the balcony, in the dark, & tried to gather as many threads of the dream as I could. But, try as I might, I could not remember if The Oracle had passed judgement on the four ticker symbols on my list. I finally gave up & carried on with my daily ritual. I usually play the day’s Wordle® game as I enjoy my coffee.

You won’t believe the word that proved to be today’s solution to the Wordle® puzzle!

And I’m not telling you the answer!
Go to The New York Times Wordle® website & play it yourself.

And then tell me that isn’t just weirdly, wonderfully, mystical … or something.
I don’t know if I’m supposed to buy these funds when the markets open. Or run away screaming!

Okay, if you don’t play the game, just search for Wordle® #337 online for the answer.

Investing is so Exciting, eh!

Going to the Moon?

When I assumed control of my own portfolio during the pandemic, nobody told me how exciting it was going to be. Buying & selling stocks & ETFs, watching the numbers go up & down, checking out colourful little charts & graphs, it’s all great fun. Way more fun than getting fake coins for completing a crossword puzzle app on my phone. I must have missed my game time though, because I bought some crypto. Now I could carry on watching fake coins on an app, just like before. But without having all the pressure of figuring out which letters I needed to make a word. Crypto wasn’t that much fun though. I didn’t get the idea behind this game. So I sold them & bought these other stocks where you can win dividend coins. Every now & then, these coins just tumble in out of nowhere. Even when you have no idea what you’re doing. It’s great!

Investing is a fun game. I’m still learning & I don’t know all the rules yet. Is it better to own single stock warriors or little ETF armies? What does it mean when the numbers turn red? Am I trying to get the squiggly line to go up or down? Are we supposed to make mountain shapes with the lines? I think the overall objective of the game is to beat “the Market”. The Market is like the evil empire & if you beat the market, you get treasure.

That should be easy, no!


Because social media & 24 hour stock market channels provide an endless supply of expert advice now. And it’s free. What other game do you play that has it’s own TV channels? It’d be crazy not to take advantage of all that free wisdom, right? Though I must admit, they’re messing with my head a bit. One says buy this, the other says not. Next week, they both reverse what they said last week. Is this some clever gaming strategy? It takes a while to get used to a new game. To understand all the tricks & sly moves that get you ahead. But I have noticed that if you buy anything that a rich & famous person buys, you usually get a great result. Right now, I’m trying to figure out how to buy the right armour & weapons stocks before the famous guy does. That’s a good strategy, right?

It’s the same with all these games though. Kids learn much faster & play much better than us slightly older folk. Kids were getting rich buying these funny game company stocks. And that silly fake-money coin. While I was still trying to work out what to do with those dividend coins. I also didn’t know what bonds were. Was that like some kind of protective potion that you could drink when your stock warriors were under attack? Experts say older people should have a lot of bonds.

Anyway, I was too busy learning about how to attack the market with my stock icons, so I was late to the game buying a few bond ETFs. I know I should have spent more time looking into the powers of the bond potion but, so far, they blow. I’ll just park them in the corner for now & worry about them later. Though most of my stock icons are pretty boring too. All the exciting icons are with the high-flying gamers. This year however, they seem to be flying below my boring stocks. I’m guessing this is another strategy I haven’t figured out yet. Maybe they fly below to look for weak spots in the underbelly of my stodgy stocks? I might pick up a few of those high-flyers now. I don’t know what else to do with those dividend coins.

Back when I had advisors, the market would usually beat me. Except, sometimes, when I lost money. In years when I lost coins, they’d tell me that we (meaning the advisor & me) didn’t lose as much as the market. And that this was a very good thing. It was, I agreed. When the market was up, I didn’t think it was quite so good when the market beat “us”. But I learned that was normal & that we weren’t trying to beat the market. I’m good with that too. But I can’t believe I used to pay advisors to do all this fun stuff for me. They were having all the fun playing the game & I was paying them to play for me. It’s almost like paying someone to go out & have a nice dinner for you. And on you!

Now I have all the fun myself. I’m pretty sure I won’t beat the market either. But it costs me nothing extra to play now. And I can try to not lose as much as the market when things are down. Though I know I’ll miss those fireside consolation chats I had with my advisors when things sucked. Gaming solo can be lonely.

If I lose all my coins, I’m truly shagged. But I gotta say … so far … it’s been a whole lotta fun using a little money learning how to play the game.

Let’s see if I’m still enjoying the game as much by the time the next heroic bull emerges to battle the market.

Game on! 😜

The Authoritarian State of Canada

Protest Weather!?!

I have no idea how Canadians can feel like they’re losing their freedom. If wearing a mask is all it takes to make us feel like we’re living in some kind of authoritarian regime, we’ve got it pretty good. While I was hesitant to sign up for a vaccine in the beginning, I stopped worrying about it as the ranks of the vaccinated grew, mostly without any adverse consequences. Being as fat as I am, from that point forward, I was vying to be first in line for the next jab. I can still see some folk worrying about having to get a vaccine though. I’m of a mind that if some people don’t want it, they shouldn’t get it. If the majority, moral or otherwise, want restrictions imposed because of that, I’m really not sure how we handle that to satisfy everyone. We probably can’t.

Most of us wouldn’t want to send our kids to school without all the regular childhood vaccinations. Nor without all the other kids being vaccinated too. There are a lot of things in life like that. I don’t have the freedom to smoke in restaurants any more. But I doubt I’ll be starting a freedom movement because of that.

Now my purpose isn’t to waffle on about the rights & wrongs of people having the right to protest. Nor is it about the rights & wrongs of either sides’ opinions, I’m sure there are some great arguments to be made on both sides. Most of us have already picked our side & we’ll probably stick with our choice. I’m curious though as to why anyone would want to go out in -18°C temperatures to protest something that’s going away soon anyway. We’re all fed up with this covid bullshit & I’m way overdue for a trip back to Ireland. I certainly don’t want to pay an extra three hundred bucks for tests to get out & back again. I’m equally pissed that I didn’t get a winter break to the sun the past few years. With another $300 in test costs added to that holiday.
(Nice first world problems to have, eh!)

But the reality is that some version of normal is coming back soon anyway. Most people know that they’ll survive covid just fine & we all desperately want to get back to normal. Now that we’re over (hopefully) the hump of the fatalities, we can be reassured by the graph trending down & we’ll return to being statistically oblivious again. We’re a pretty shitty species, eh? But we probably have to be this way. We’ll lump the reduced number of covid deaths in with those from the flu, heart disease, cancer & accidents, & we’ll all get on with our lives again. It’s the way it’s always been. And if for no other reason than us telling ourselves we have no other choice, it’ll be the same this time around. So why spend time protesting stuff that’s about to change anyway?

You can’t help but wonder if we’ve all missed an opportunity to learn how to do this whole pandemic thing better. Instead of protesting & blocking streets, we should all be pulling in the same direction. If all that protest time, money & energy went into supporting our healthcare system, would we have been better off? If all the protesters volunteered their time & money to supporting the healthcare system, would that have helped remove the concerns about the stress brought on by the peaking of hospital cases? Would that, in turn, help remove the last of the lockdowns & restrictions sooner? And isn’t that what the protesters want at the end of the day? Stop whining about the problem & figure out how to be part of the solution instead.

Look, I really have no idea how realistic it is to have us all pulling in the same direction. I also have no idea how we can do pandemics better. And we probably should learn how to do it much better, for when we’re faced with a far deadlier & uglier bug than omicron. But I’m guessing that wasting our time on this kind of protest doesn’t contribute a whole lot. Besides, our politicians couldn’t organize a piss-up in a brewery, so I’m not too worried about them getting sophisticated enough to take away my freedom!

At the end of the day, I’m still worried about covid killing me. Despite that, I’ve had enough with some of the restrictions too. Just not enough to have me thinking that my freedom is at risk.

With or without masks, we’re still the true north, strong & free.
Be nice & polite to each other out there, Canucks! 🇨🇦🍁🇨🇦

Christmas Cat

See the Cat?

In our house, I’m always the first one up on Christmas morning. I clatter & bang around the kitchen until someone else gets up & starts yelling at me for waking them up too early. The ensuing “conversation” usually wakes everyone else up. Mission accomplished! It is only this Christmas that I realise that I might not be the normal one.

I thought every other household was up at 5am on Christmas morning. I was sure that all kids (of all ages!) wanted to be out ripping open their gifts. Doesn’t matter if all we’re getting is socks & underwear, it’s exciting to see what we got, no? But this year, I learned something new. It’s not true. I’m back in the city & I can see many more houses & apartment buildings now. Most households are still dark. Hours after I’m up. Waiting. With the cat!

At least the cat shares my enthusiasm. She’s right in there amongst the brightly coloured bags & ribbons. I’m being patient this year. And quiet. Though maybe it’s time for another cup of coffee now. A louder one!

Whatever the light that lights your way, I hope it shines brighter this holiday. And if you are one of those early risers, at least you know you’re not alone! 😜

Merry Christmas to all! 🎄☃️

I Still Don’t Like Batteries

Battery Power

I’m sure I had battery powered toys as a kid. Back then, recharging the batteries meant throwing a tantrum until Mom or Dad replaced the dead ones. The first battery powered gadget that sticks in my memory, however, is my cassette tape player & recorder. Do you remember those things? You could fast forward & rewind them “offline” by sticking a pencil in the sprocket & twirling it. For ages!

The biggest problem with this battery powered thing was that the batteries always died when I was recording that hugely important song from the radio. The one I’d waited weeks to catch. Recording was a sloppy business back then. You had to time starting & stopping the recording process to eliminate as much of the DJs chatter as you could. Without clipping too much of the track’s intro & tail off. And yeah, the recording quality sucked. But at least you had a tape of your favourite songs to take along on that beach picnic.

Later, I moved to LPs. Vinyl records. These weren’t battery powered machines, but the quality was much better to record from. My big hang-up with LPs was that you had to pay for 15 or 20 tracks, but I really only wanted 2 or 3 of them. I dreamed that, one day, you’d be able to walk into a record shop & select the tracks you wanted. Stick your money in the slot. And out would pop your very own custom LP, with 20 tracks you really liked. I also dreamed that I would be playing my homemade mixes on my tape player. Powered by batteries that lasted waaaaay longer. Like weeks or months. Not just hours.

Fast forward to today & the ceiling on some of my dreams have been totally & utterly smashed. Way back then, I could not have imagined the convenience & flexibility of today’s streaming music services. There wasn’t even a glimmer of the potential for streaming, not only audio, but moving pictures too! Who could have imagined watching a movie or a concert on a little mainframe computer, like our phones.

The technology leaps that allowed for such amazing capabilities in sound & vision were not matched by equivalent improvements in battery technology.

I’m not saying things haven’t improved but, today, I continue to worry about my battery dying. So much so that half the electrical sockets in my house have power bricks & USB cords. Our cars, bars, airports, trains & planes all sport USB charging ports now. Bearing testament to our mass societal worry about our batteries dying. It’s just overwhelming proof of our collective dissatisfaction with the advances in battery technology, isn’t it?

Do you think I’m going to buy an electric car any time soon!?!