Good idea?

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Well, I am not sure what to make of it, but the early indications are positive. I decided at the end of December to try something new and dabble in a little something I don’t know much about. I decided to “invest” in digital currency, or cryptocurrency, or virtual currency.

It’s not a large investment because I wanted to see how it works and just kind of dip my toes into it. Because of the high volatility of cryptocurrency, I am a bit leery of the stuff but at the same time kind of intrigued by it. As such, the time and money and opportunity all seemed to come together.

I have money that goes into a PayPal account that just kind of sits there. The long and short of it is that the money is basically “free money” that I get each month from resources that I published online while I was a teacher. I get sales from that each month and the amount varies widely based on the number of items purchased. So, there is a lump of “cash” sitting in the account mostly doing nothing. I could transfer it my regular bank account, but why? I look at it as a blind account for a rainy day.

Anyway, at the end of December I saw that PayPal was going to offer the ability to purchase digital currency. So, I decided to take a small-ish amount of that lump and see what happens. There isn’t a need to have access to that money, really, so it is mostly a long term investment.

I bought some Bitcoin and Ethereum, two of the most popular forms of digital currency. Why these two? Well, from what I can gather they are also the most stable – as far as that goes.

Anyway, I put $90 into Bitcoin and $20 into Ethereum. At that point, I was a very small, fractional, owner of the currency. Exciting right? Not really. When you look at the amount per share it is less than thrilling. One share is worth $55.4k at the moment. So, I own all of 0.00339408 for my $90 investment. Cool, right?

Well, that is the interesting part. For my original investment of $110, I now have a chunk of “cash” that sits at just under $242 (at time of publishing). I have more than doubled that little toe dip in just under two months. Is that a good return? I would say so, but at the same time it could go right back down to where I started in a heartbeat so I am not getting real excited.

BUT, I can certainly see why there are lots of people so enticed by this idea. Buy in, watch it go up, sell at a higher price. If you’re talking in BIG dollar amounts, this would make total sense. In fact, Elon Musk (he’s kinda bright, right?) just sunk $1.5 billion into Bitcoin from his Tesla company at the beginning of the month. He was looking to create more capital by leveraging Bitcoin. Seems it worked since the price has shot up since he invested.

I am not making or giving any financial advice, by any means. However, I am curious if there are any others out there that have ventured into these relatively unknown waters and what their experience has been.

Hit me up in the comments and let me know what you think. Good idea? Bad idea? Had good or bad success yourself?

Ad-versary

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Facebook, you are doing it to yourself. The revolt against you and your policies, oh and your very very underhanded and sneaky use of people’s data, are going to do you in. You still have an audience, but people are growing tired of being suspicious of everything you do in the background and they just want some safety and privacy from your all invasive practices.

No one wants to be bombarded by advertising. No one wants to be tracked everywhere they physically go and no one wants to be tracked where they go digitally either. So, this little deal you got going on here shouldn’t fool too many people…except that it likely will.

Perhaps Apple is actually trying to protect people and their data. Perhaps they are just making room for their own tracking and advertising. I haven’t a clue. But what I do know, is that I like the way Apple has shown that they are trying to protect people’s data. That goes a long way in trust, something Facebook doesn’t have and likely won’t have (for sure from me).

Facebook is scrambling to adjust over new alerts coming from Apple in the near future that will let people adjust how they get advertising from Facebook by opting out of tracking (or in, depending on how you view this approach). In essence, it will block tracking data so you don’t get “personalized” ads. I am all for that!

Actually, I don’t like ads at all. I’d rather not have my feed filled with ads that some company thinks I might be interested in. I could totally do without. I’d even consider paying a small fee to go ad free. But, at the same time, if I am going to pay a fee to not see ads I would also expect that I am not going to be censored for my views, thoughts, beliefs, etc.

Apple and Facebook have taken an adversarial approach to how they are going to work together and I like it. Big tech and other companies should have to fight over customers and the more people make them work for their dollars the better off we are as consumers. But we as consumers need to be smart about how we give our business to these companies in order to make them compete for it, otherwise we get all-encompassing monopolies who then dominate the marketplace and make up new rules and charge ridiculous fees because they have no one to oppose them.

I like what Apple is doing here. I hope they aren’t just trying to make space for their own scheme. But for now, I am glad to see Facebook about to take it in the nose for their privacy and data collection practices.

They actually deserve it.

You must think…

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You must think I am an idiot.

No, seriously, you must think so because you (and that is a collective “you” because there are a lot of you) seem to think I am going to be interested in your stupid money making scheme, scam, hustle, whatever. I don’t care if you’re the heir to a throne and need to dump money to hide in the US. I don’t care if you’re stranded in a foreign land and can’t get home but will double my “gift” when you return home. I don’t care if you have money to give me from some lottery I never entered as long as I pay a fee to get the money. I don’t care if your relatives are sick. I don’t care if you can’t feed your family. I don’t care if your crops or livestock died. I don’t care.

Stop following the blog.

I am not interested and I never will be – no matter how many times you change the name of the blog.

It doesn’t do any good to follow me because I won’t be following you back, not matter how good the “deal” or offer sounds.

So, if you must think I would be interested in your thing, think again.

I’m not.

Boosting BS

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There is a commercial out there on TV and probably on your streaming service that has me questioning the whole validity (not that I didn’t already) of credit scores, and the credit services in general.

Have you seen it? The commercial from Experian that says if you go to their site you can get a “credit boost” and raise your credit score simply by following the instructions once you have logged in. *disclaimer: I have not logged in to do this because I don’t need to, so I don’t know the exact steps.*

It’s all a marketing ploy.

As a reminder, this is one of the “big three” credit monitoring services, a for-profit company, so they are one of the companies that reports to other companies about your financial status and health.

Now, they will give you a “boost” for nothing.

Seems weird to me and causes me to ask a several questions: What good are credit scores really if a company can just “boost” it? Are they artificially inflating the numbers to make you (and of course, them) to look better in the consumer’s eye? If they aren’t artificially inflating the numbers, then are they artificially suppressing the numbers in order to give you the “boost” you supposedly deserve?

We are told that your credit score will go up over time if you manage your money well, pay your stuff on time, keep your credit usage level low in regards to your income, and not have companies always inquiring about your credit. This can only be done over time. So, if they can boost your score then time really doesn’t have to be a factor in calculating that credit score.

If they are artificially inflating the number then your credit score really means nothing in regards to accuracy since it doesn’t really reflect your true score.

If they are suppressing your true score so they can gift you a “boost” then your credit score really means nothing in regards to accuracy since it doesn’t really reflect your true score.

Since your credit score has always been based on time and actual financial transactions, either of the two actions above would mean the company is being dishonest about your credit score. Doesn’t it? I can’t think of any other conclusion.

So, either Experian is full of sh*it or your credit score is actually meaningless.

What do you think? Can you think of another conclusion based on this so called “boost”?

Arbitrary

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No rhyme. No reason. Definitely not science. Just arbitrary rule making and enforcement. That’s just where things have been and are when it comes to a government that is willing to grab power and the ability to make decisions from the people.

A local establishment has caught the wrath of the government because it’s “outdoor dining” doesn’t quite fit the same description as “outdoor dining” that others are doing. No common sense enforcement, just arbitrary wielding of power because some of the local “Karens” have decided the business doesn’t fit, in their judgement, the safety standards set out by the government. Oh, and there isn’t any science to support the enforcement, just opinion and personal preference.

The restaurant in question has five giant garage doors that it can open up to elements. FIVE. Essentially, these are removable walls and is a trend in many other places around the country (dare I say, world?). Difference is that in many places the weather is warm and a nice cross breeze can be generated with the doors open. Here in the Northwest it isn’t warm but when the doors are open at this place there is one hell of a cross breeze, along with some sideways rain, or mist, or general damp air.

In WA, the rules right now say that “outdoor dining” can only take place in a temporary structure with, for all intents and purposes, one open side so there is adequate air flow.

The establishment above, according to the state, doesn’t qualify because it is a permanent structure. Doesn’t matter that two of the major walls of the structure are virtually non-existent then when the doors are open. It doesn’t take a lot of common sense to realize that the walls of the structure are open, regardless of the roof over one’s head being permanent, and there is air flowing through the room like the breeze blowing through a deck or park gazebo.

Hell, there is less air flowing through and airplane but we are allowed to do that? See what I mean? Arbitrary.

So, I know where I’ll be ordering food from this week.

Get out there and support those local businesses you want to see stay open. Hell, get out there and support any local business, because in the end they are your family, friends, and neighbors that working there. Don’t be arbitrary about that support. Be very intentional and very targeted.

Wait times…

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“Wait times maybe be longer than usual due to higher than anticipated call volumes.”

We’re all familiar with that little phrase, right? We have all be stuck on hold with companies that play this over and over while you sit and wait for someone that isn’t a robot recording to pick up the actual phone and talk to you. In times of an emergency or in times when your system isn’t working as designed, I can see a legitimate reason for getting this message.

What is irritating is that you don’t have the ability to answer a high call volume should it happen or you have purposely caused your system to be overloaded because you caused it to be by your actions.

Case in point:

You send an email to all your subscribers with an offer to add something to their account for free for a limited time.

BUT, in order to take advantage of this offer you have to have your customers actually call you, thus clogging up your phone system.

NOT, make it available to be done on your website with a special code to make the discount apply when it would normally be done there in the first place.

Yeah, that’s good marketing!

Who came up with this idea? Why would you require an action be done over the phone when said action could be done on the website you have for doing said action? Makes no sense.

Irritating and takes advantage of your customer’s time.

Streaming

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So, this article was kind of interesting and made me think, “Say what? Clearly I am not in the right business.”

What do I need to do to sign up for this racket? Not that it is illegal. It is all above board, but the it is definitely a racket.

It seems that most top streamers don’t reveal exactly how much they make while doing it. This article was written based on one of them making a mistake and revealing the earnings inadvertently. As such, we get a glimpse behind the curtain and see that this top streamer is pulling down somewhere around $170k a month. That is some serious coin.

Throw in some sponsorships and other contracts and there is a serious flood of cash getting deposited into accounts across the globe.

All from creating content by streaming games and other stuff for people to watch. People watch.

Interesting.

I wonder how hard it is to get started. Obviously, the key is to getting people to follow you and watch you. Anyone know of an instruction manual to get set up?

Sales?

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Anyone else feeling like the Black Friday & Cyber Monday sales are a little lacking this year?

I haven’t found anything that I have said, “Oh, I gotta get that cuz it’s a great deal!” Seriously. The sales are kinda disappointing this year.

Considering that most people will be shopping online, it’s felt a little underwhelming. I know there have been lots of calls to “support local” and I would like to do that too, but gift cards (or cash) sure seem rather impersonal and not real exciting.

I have been looking for three very specific items and only one (general category) has good sales. Of course, the item will also have (typically) good sales again in two months for the Super Bowl so it isn’t like I have to rush right out and get something.

The other items I am keeping an eye have either not had a markdown at all (Ryobi leaf blower), or the markdown was so piss poor (Sonos sound bar) that it was hardly worth the purchase (not even 10% off!!). So, I will continue to wait on those items too. Nothing exciting or anything to feel good about at the moment.

Has anyone found anything that excited them or enticed them to buy?

Tell me about your exciting purchase in the comments, or give me a recommendation of a sale you think is worth getting excited about.

Paranoia

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I went to Costco this last Sunday. It was a regular trip for me. Nothing of immediate need and I was actually going to do some research on a possible big purchase.

It just so happens that this was also the day the moron of a governor was announcing his new mandates for the next foreseeable future. Those mandates would go into effect the following day, or the day after. Lockdown Part Deux.

Anyway, it seems others who were visiting Costco that day were simply there to buy toilet paper and paper towels again. REALLY? Gosh you people are stupid. Panic buying.

Oh, and the panic was on the outside of the building too. The line, in the wind and rain, to get into the fricking place was the entire length of the building. Also, the sheep were wearing their masks while standing outside in the wind and at least six feet apart.

Apparently the fear is so great or they have now been so conditioned to wear the mask that they don’t even mind wearing it outside in the fresh air! Gosh you people are stupid.

Well, I was the only person in line that I could see that wasn’t complying with the mask thing. I stood there, with my mask off, will I got right up to the door. Yes, I will wear it inside (though I don’t really like it) to help others and also help businesses stay open. I am not going to intentionally get people in trouble (well, at least not yet…).

I just couldn’t believe all the stupidity on display. Actually, I guess nothing really surprises me. No, actually, there are still things that surprise me. I guess this was one of them.

How quickly people let the paranoia set in and control the.

Here we go again…

Dear Washingtonians and businesses,

As your governor, I have done my best to ruin you and your lives this year (and, quite frankly, hopefully an hope of a financial future for you too). I have been successful in many aspects, as I have seen thousands of you just up and quit under my rule and rules. Quit your business, quit school, quit life, quit everything.

I am now instating a second, financially destructive lockdown. If you barely survived that last one, congratulations. I was hoping you wouldn’t, but your resilience and perseverance are admirable. I underestimated you, your supporters, and those of you who would dare to question me. I won’t let you succeed and survive this time.

Really, we don’t need the mom and pop shops and restaurants and such. We need big businesses to be more successful so I can tax them and require them to pay higher wages. I am trying so hard to make more people dependent on the state by covering the gaps that I haven’t forced you to cover yet. Financial recovery and actually letting Covid run it’s natural course like the flu isn’t acceptable. Hopefully this is the final and proverbial “last nail in the coffin” for you.

I’ll let you know in three weeks that I am extending the lockdown, just before the new current four weeks is about to expire, for no good reason other than there are lots of sheep who will follow my every word.

Listen, I have won re-election by catering to the extremely liberal, and Socialistic voter base in three counties. I really don’t have to beat around the bush now and pretend that I care about you, because I don’t. This is what’s best for my agenda and that of the Socialist/Communist movement.

Your unquestioning compliance is appreciated.

With my sincerest, insincere vocal tone and look,

Jay Inslee

WA Governor