Tag Archives: Money

Charleston

Well that was a bloody mission and no mistake. Finally booked our hotel in Charleston without breaking the bank. Charleston is an expensive place, but then it’s a historical resort, so fair deal. What we aren’t spending on the hotel we will spend elsewhere, of that I have no doubt. The good news is, we’ve saved money on the midwest leg of the trip and I’ve just fed the details into a spreadsheet to calculate the cost and the overall trip is running slightly under budget. Which is nice.

That being done, I’m off back to my studies and will leave my one remaining reader with the talents of notorious 1920’s dance icon, Josephine Baker, performing her version of the ‘Charleston’.

Another day, another booking

The road trip planning proceeds apace. The first two weeks are pretty much mapped out and sorted. We have our ‘America the Beautiful’ National Parks pass, which covers us for most of the big National Parks without us having to hang around in line at a ticket booth. As far as I’m concerned we’ve got all the mechanisms and insurances in place for a jolly nice time. A hundred and twenty eight CAD now will probably save us two or three hundred (and a lot of blood pressure) later. Well, that’s my thinking.

However, this isn’t enough for Mrs S, who has chosen this week to go all obsessive compulsive and anxious at me, then refusing to discuss various route options, getting all bent out of shape when I don’t agree with her right this minute. She’s been like this since last weekend, obsessing over tiny details we covered in last years experimental road trip through Washington and Oregon. To tell you the truth I’m half way inclined to take out extra separate insurances, just in case hers fall over. Something is very wrong and she won’t tell me about it. She’s also been visiting the Doctor, who has put on his black cap and pronounced that her Cholesterol is borderline high and written her a prescription for Statins. Then there’s the rule changes on the UK state pension that I’m not going to rely on. Two months ago I was pronounced eligible for a full whack, now it’s looking doubtful – bloody hell. Notwithstanding that your pension value gets ‘frozen’ if you’re an expat. She’s obsessing over that as well, despite having full eligibility and two other fully paid up schemes.

Statins sentenceNow I’ve read the pharmacopoeia and various studies on Statins and I’m not convinced of their necessity in her specific case. She’s worrying about stroke risk twenty years ahead when I think she should be getting more exercise and eating an apple a day, which will probably do her far more good than all the prescriptions in Christendom. My big issue with Statins is that once you’re on them, you’re taking the bloody things for the rest of your days. Which is a long time, and a lot of money. Given that the link between Cholesterol (naturally produced by the liver) and heart and stroke risk Atherosclerosis has been found to be relatively weak, seems like a massive pharmacological sledgehammer to crack a relatively small health nut. Statins can reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol by five percent, but all that fuss for five percent which diet and exercise can handle just as well? That’s without considering the arms length list of side effects like muscle cramps, muscle pain, higher risk of Diabetes 2, memory loss and liver problems. Me, I’ll take the apple and brisk walks route thank you very much and enjoy active life to die at an active ninety with all my marbles rather than sit in front of a screen, bunched up with anxiety and serial popping pills until my body decides it’s had enough and major bits stop functioning age ninety one. Hey, but what the hell do I know? I’m not a Doctor.

It’s all very frustrating. Oh well, never mind, it’s Deals Day on Booking.com and I’m off to take advantage of the deeper discounts on some very nice hotels. Perhaps what I get out of it today will help get her out of this fugue.

Note to self; blessing count. The kids are fine. My college results are great. So far so good. As the falling man said as he plummeted past the tenth floor. Going down.

Today’s lack of amusement

Today I have the signing of forms. Legal matters in the UK require my notarised signatures, so off I went to the local Notary Public to get my drunken spider crawl witnessed and stamped. Such are the occasional inconveniences of being an Expat. That and having wills in multiple jurisdictions. Not to mention the extortion that Canada post tries to apply while delivering a distinctly third rate overseas service. I’ve all but given up expecting Air Mail to be delivered within 4 to 7 working days. From Canada it’s more like three bloody weeks. So in future I’ll be sending important post UPS or Fedex. They’re actually cheaper would you believe? And they do express post to places Canada Post seems unable to reach.

Of such is the coarse cloth of my lack of amusement cut. Still, I stand to make a pretty penny, so I shouldn’t bitch. I just wish I didn’t have to send hard copies via an insecure means because of companies whose business models haven’t quite made it into the 21st century. Why my Bank and Lawyers won’t accept a fax or have a secure portal I can update my records on is a source of all too frequent irritation. Every time I have to authorise changes, with legal costs and postage we’re talking about a hundred and ten dollars, which is about fifty five quid a pop at the time of writing. That’s a hell of a lot to have your signature witnessed and to send ten sheets of paper. I don’t care how ‘carbon friendly’ the service is.

Anyway. While browsing the pilots forums at PPRUNE.org, I see the desperation about so called ‘man made climate change’ has sunk to a new low. At least according to the propaganda machine called the BBC. Apparently it’s supposed to make transatlantic flights longer, although the mechanism detailed in both the article and study looks like some sort of doomsday fantasy, which is what the lamestream keep feeding us. Yay! Wreck your economy and doom your descendants to penury over ‘science’ that would even make a Fourteenth century alchemist go “Carbon Dioxide? Really? Pass that philosophers stone will you and bugger off, I’ve got to transmute this lead into gold by next week or I get shortened by ten inches. Monarchies, eh?”

Well just let me pull my worn and tattered scepticism out of the drawer, yet again. The models this ‘science’ is based on makes Piltdown Man and Phlogiston look like cutting edge. None of these carbon dioxide driven climate models has ever made an accurate prediction three days ahead, let alone a century. So isn’t it about time they were consigned to the junk pile of failed theories? Like the flat Earth, Earth centred astronomical model, celestial spheres and Angels dancing on pinheads? The climate changes, and if you listen to people who are thinking outside the CO2 box, you start to get the idea that the Earth’s Atmosphere in no way resembles a greenhouse (Lack of glass, no frames or doors), and that a trace gas which is essential to photosynthesis could be a whole lot higher and actually improve the biosphere of dear old mother Earth. Cut the level of CO2 below 150ppm, and photosynthesis stops. The plants die and so do we. We need more CO2, not less. The whole ‘back radiation’ thing is an assumption based on the work of 19th century Swedish researcher Svante Arrhenius, whose equations assume straight line values for temperature response. Which is fine, to a point.

However, anyone who has studied meteorology in any depth, like those whose livelihoods are shaped by atmospheric physics, for example pilots, will understand that there is nothing straight about nature. A few years decades ago, when I was much younger and flush with funds, I had an ambition to learn to fly. Part of this entailed taking lessons how to fly gliders, light aircraft and even on two wonderful occasions in a helicopter (Once as navigator, once hands-on). Necessary background study gave me a rough working knowledge of atmospheric physics, airflows over laminar surfaces, cloud formation, air currents, the Jet stream, Anabatic and Katabatic winds etcetera. In short, what causes your tiny airframe to be lifted and tossed around by outside forces and how not to die when it is. Wish I’d kept my log book, now lost in multiple house moves, up to date. But that’s by the by.

What my studies have taught me is that Nature is curly. Things have limits. The speed of sound is a good one. Flying faster than sound requires much more complicated mathematics than simple straight line equations. Supersonic pressure wave build up is not a straight line response. Likewise, the speed of sound is not an absolute, it’s a variable which changes with pressure, density and temperature. Likewise, the IR absorption of Carbon Dioxide does not follow a straight line or even, as some have claimed, an exponential relationship with proportion. Any increase of temperature down to CO2 drops off rapidly after 20ppm.

Wait a moment. Twenty parts per million, but our atmospere contains around four hundred now? WTF? If it was an exponential relationship, shouldn’t we be baking in a Venus-like hell already? Apparently not. CO2 and Temperature H/T to Jo Nova for the original graph based on the work of Lindzen and Choi, 2009. So all this stuff about CO2 being a major climate driver doesn’t look so solid when you take a long, cool look at the real information.

So why is CO2 even an issue? Possibly because there are a lot of people with money tied up in Carbon derivatives, and politicians who have already spent all your tax dollars and need an excuse to raise even more taxes, who would like us all to think otherwise. So a number of very able Public Relations specialists are paid to keep the issue on the boil, brain dead media luvvies who leech off the whole apocalyptic drama of the thing, protestalot ‘climate’ activists who get back door funding from rich donors, and the politico’s making sure that grant money is directed to those who are (unsuccessfully) trying to prove that CO2 is the big climate bogeyman come to murder us all in our beds. Notwithstanding the ‘groupthink’ by the underinformed and credulous. If it wasn’t for the constant demands with menaces, I could laugh at these people a whole lot more.

Under a buck

Over the past few days the current oil glut, which looks like it’s going to go on for a while, has seen local gas prices plunge to levels we haven’t seen since our first trip through Ontario back in 2003.  See this screen grab below from the Gasbuddy web site this morning.

Gas Price Victoria Jan 2016

I’m almost tempted to fill ‘er up and head up Island just for the simple, inexpensive joy of doing so.  We’re also planning a serious road trip during April and May down into the good old southern US of A down through Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas, then back via Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Utah and Idaho before heading for home.

That’s GBP0.48 per litre.  48p. Forty eight pence or GBP2.18 per Imperial Gallon at current exchange rate.  US$0.68 per litre.  Sixty eight cents.  About US$2.57 per US Gallon.  Down in the USA, I’ve seen prices as low as US$1.91, or CAD$2.77 (US Gallon).

Hang on.  Oklahoma City reports US$1.29.  Blood and sand.

From one ‘wassock’ to another

Investors showcase tonight, where people who call themselves ‘financial experts’ will be making a bid to increase our capital. Not that they will, I’ve seen these guys come and go (normally with your cash lining their pockets) over the years, and can’t help but think it’ll be a wasted evening. I’m only going for the freebies. When it comes to signing on the dotted, we Stickers have a limpet like hold on our resources and will no doubt come away from the event slightly bemused and waiting for the cold light of day to help us sort the real from the faecal cow residue.

In the meantime, I made time between coursework, work and cooking to have a look at the fuss over this Trump fellow. He certainly has polarised people hasn’t he? Out of the mouths etcetera.

My goodness, he hasn’t even won a nomination or even a primary, and a bunch of spineless gimps have already got their undergarments all rucked up.  If you believe what’s in most of the left leaning lamestream media, the floppy haired Barbarian is at the gates and we’re all dooomed if he so much as sets an ignorant, stupid foot within ten miles of elected office.  Stefan Molyneux on the other hand, no matter what you think of his sometimes apocryphal style, does one of his excellent dissections of what the lamestream get completely one hundred and eighty degrees from reality.

What the lamestream and their owners are all frightened about are that the Barbarian is complaining about the real barbarians who indulge in such things as, oo lemme see, rape attacks and sexual assaults and celebrating notorious terrorist attacks, which threatens the blatant gerrymandering and vote buying commonplace in the west. The real barbarians are not already inside the gates, but are messing up the living room, hogging the couch and Xbox with their booted feet up on the coffee table demanding more Nachos and playing grab-ass with every comely young female within reach. What’s worse is that these racist, sexist, hostile slimeballs can’t be kicked out because mainstream politicians need their fresh votes. Even worse is that many of the bad guys are second generation. Born and bred. Not simply ‘immigrants’.

As fans of the X-files will attest, the truth is most certainly out there, (but lies are definitely in your head) and as Stefan ably demonstrates, easily found courtesy of the jolly old Interweb. All you have to do is go to the source data, which is far more easily accessed if you’re prepared to do a little digging on your own account.

Like it or not, I’m tempted to believe my a strong suspicion that we’re at a cultural nexus, the kind that brings down civilisations. Such a collapse probably won’t happen in my lifetime (Despite rumours to the contrary – the people in charge have too far to fall), but if we carry on doing the same old thing, ducking the issues, subsidising, importing, pandering to and protecting a hostile culture, perhaps the western way of life and the prosperity it brings will be a fading memory by the end of the century. Some of the more philosophically short sighted out there might be tempted to think that this might be a good thing. I would disagree. Classical civilisation, for all it’s faults produced great art (A lot of which was defaced by zealous early Christians) and great literature (Which also fell victim to zealous early Christians). The arts and sciences fell into disarray for centuries afterwards. Anyone else see the parallel?

Which may be a comfort to our great grandchildren. Or not. Clinton’s the next US President anyway, she’s Wall Street and the lamestreams preferred candidate. Despite his wealth, I think Trump won’t even get a mention, but I wouldn’t be totally displeased if he won. Just to hear the outraged wailing and gnashing of teeth of sore losers.

Sex and the thingle Igor

Thorry for the lakthity in pothting, but itth been hell down here. Igor hath caught a nathty computer virus, Igor is on a thtake out, and young Irog ith indithpothed with a bad cathe of dythlekthia. Dethpite all thethe perthonnel problemth, we at the Bill Thticker inthtitue for Irony and Thatire have notithed the reathonth behind all thethe nathty terrorith attacks and people lothing their headth to the Daeth. The prethident of Turkey hath been buying their oil, the Various Gulf thateth thent them money, and the United Thtateth ith thending them gunth.

Nonetheleth; over the weekend, the ladth fell to talking about that old perrennial, thex. You know, bonking, boinking, beatht with two backth, humping, shagging, fukcing and fornicathion, and how whole magathineth theem so fixthated by what ith, after all, a natural human functhion. Which ith, if one thinkth about it logically, ith rather like having magathineth dedicated to going to the toilet, although at thith point we recalled the experimetth of Great Uncle Igor, who briefly potheththed two penitheth. “Double the pleathure, double the fun.” Ath he wath moved to thay at the time. Great Aunt Igorina, a broad minded woman by all accountth, got thick of him fainting every time he and the were in the mood, tho he went back to jutht the one, tho they lived happily ever after.

Thith being the cathe, and after much discuthion, we thent young Igor out to find out what he could.

He found thith;

Which rather contradicth all thethe claimth of North American and European collegeth camputh ‘Rape’ culture, which ith, according to one of the nativeth ladieth, more of an African phenomenon. Thee her TED talk below.

Thith tendth to confirm Young Igorth experienth of Englith Colleges, where it wath not tho much ‘rape’ ath waking up in acute embarathment with the wrong Igorina after a heavy night on the embalming fluid. Thtorm, teacup. Ath marthter William ith wont to obtherve; “Nothing to see here folks. Move along.” Thame ath the whole ‘Thlutwalk’ protethth being originally bathed on one Ontario Politheman’th public pronounthement. It’th jutht activitth posing with their pet peeveth. Maybe if they had better thexth they’d be happier? Probably not.

The Marthter hath popped in on hith way home and pointed out that both hith thtepdaughterth went to two theparate Univerthities, and while they had thteady and not tho thteady boyfriendth during thothe timeth, neither young lady ever complained of anything untoward.   No young gentlemen of their acquaintanth ended up with their trthticleth for tonthilth either.  Ath would have happened if unwelcome advanceth had occurred.   Youngetht kickboxeth and Eldetht doeth Karate and Krav Maga tho we are told…….

Nothing new under the sun

Life trundles on with no big deals apart from several ongoing sagas over legacies and banks. I won’t bore you with the details. That’s for my lawyers (Lye, Cheetham and Runne). Suffice it to say, someone was trying to dip into my cookie jar and I’ve cried ‘havoc’ and set the dogs of law onto them.

Nice display of Sundogs in the late afternoon a couple of days ago. Nothing unusual for August. Although they do presage a change to cooler, rainy weather which will have everyone crying for the return of unremitting sunshine after three days. Mrs S and I are now both getting back into the swing of work before relatives descend upon us in the latter half of September. ‘Les Girls’ (Wife and sisters) are off to Seattle while I play host to Youngest, which will give me a fine excuse to go see all the movies and go a few places Mrs S doesn’t much care for. The Imax beckons.

The only thing of any note is attending various lectures at UVIC, oh and Neil McCollum over at Forgotten Weapons has uncovered this little gem (See video below). A Gyrojet carbine? Well I never.

As he says. No flying cars or jet packs, but a rocket rifle? What fun.

Seriously, I’m quite a fan of Neils videos because unlike so many firearms blogs he brings a thoughtful and considered approach to studying antique and not so antique firearms, often field stripping them on camera so you can see the innovation that made the gun either ground breaking or prematurely obsolescent.

Greek out?

Just saw this little snippet begin to spread across the Forex world;

Due to the possible exit of Greece from the European Union, we would like to inform you that from 29th June, 2015, instruments may be temporarily set to Close Only mode.

While I’m not exactly sure what ‘Close only’ mode entails, this does not bode well. Such measures are only put in place when there’s a sign saying “Crisis – this way up – do not bend” above the Foreign Exchange markets.

My own currency brokers are closed over the weekend, but I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of fallout over the next 72 hours. Looks like it’s one of those financial ‘Hang tough’ moments. So that’s what I’ll do. Take a step back and let the markets oscillate a bit.

Greek ruins Parthenon and EuroFor most people, shifting money across borders is the province of those so-called ‘rich’ buggers. For me (I’m ‘modestly well off’ not ‘rich’) it’s a case of necessity. I have assets to buy, money to shift, taxes to pay, but if the landfill has hit the wind turbine, while the Greek tragedy plays itself out I shall put my Fedora on and go soak up some sunshine, stick me rod in my hand and go stand on some rocks to see if the fish are biting. We’ll see what doom and gloom, if any, that Monday brings.

Will the powers that be let Greece fail? We shall see who blinks first.

P.S. Watch this Twitter feed
Update: Also this breaking news feed on the Eurozone.
And just to throw more fuel on the fire, we hear the State Governor say that Puerto Rico can’t pay its debts.

While the rest of North America seems to be going to see Gay Pride parades, What’s that creaking noise?