PROPERTY TAX 2017

I received my property tax notice in the mail yesterday. Paying your property tax is one of the joys in life. More so than other years, I was interested in seeing what the damage would be this particular year. If you’ve been following along, my apartment’s assessed value for this year jumped about 20% from last year, bringing it to its highest assessed value ever. There’s a common belief that your property tax is somewhat tied to your property’s assessed value. This isn’t necessarily true and every municipality calculates their taxes in slightly different ways.

A few weeks ago, I went onto my local municipality’s web site where they had a property tax estimator. I entered in all my info and the number that got spat out wasn’t too bad. Still, this was only an estimate and the real number came in yesterday. To my delight, the property tax I have to pay this year is the second lowest amount ever. Three years ago, I paid over $300 more than I will this year.

At least for my municipality, this does prove that your home’s assessed value cannot predict your property tax with any degree of accuracy.

OFF THE WAGON

I’ve been trying to eat healthy (for realz) for the last two years now. Sometimes I fail here and there but for the most part, I try real hard to make the right choices.

For some reason, last week, I fell off the wagon a bit. On Tuesday, I had poutine for the first time in months. Not only was it just poutine but poutine with chunks of chicken strips tossed in hot sauce. It was so good. Then on Wednesday, I had pizza for dinner. On Thursday, I found a coupon for A&W and had a teen burger with onion rings for dinner. While I was ordering, I saw a sign that told me A&W was now offering blueberry turnovers. I could resist, so I got one of those as well. Then on Friday, for the start of the long weekend, a friend and I split a bucket of ten pieces of fried chicken for dinner.

You could say last week was a bit of a binge week. I’m over it now though and I pledge to eat healthy once again. Tomorrow, I am having a salad for lunch and then choose a sensible dinner. Did I mention that the A&W turnovers are dusted with cinnamon sugar?

AH LONDON

One year ago I was in London, having an amazing time. It’s difficult to believe it was that long ago. I remember my trip with fond memories and dream of the day when I can return once again.

It was on this trip that I discovered the joy that is the full English breakfast. Such a breakfast is not common here in Vancouver and I would love to find a convenient establishment that would offer that on their menu. I shall dream tonight about eggs, beans, bacon, sausage, toast, and that grilled tomato.

LONG WEEKEND

Usually long weekends take me by surprise and I realize very late into the week that I don’t have to show up for work on Monday. This long weekend, however, is something I’ve been looking forward to since the previous weekend. I’m very tired and feel kinda run down for the last several weeks. It’s mainly due to my lack of sleep during the weekday. I gotta do a better job of going to sleep earlier.

Anyways, tomorrow is Friday and I can’t wait for the long weekend to start. May you all have a pleasant end to the week.

GREAT TIMING

Late last year I envisioned that a Trump regime would send the global financial markets into turmoil. I was so worried about this that I actually sold off many of the mutual funds and stocks that were in good standing. My thinking was that I would be foolish not to realize those gains and solidify them to insulate myself against turmoil.

It didn’t surprise me that the Trump regime wasted no time in doing or attempting to do terrible things. What did surprise me was how Wall Street wasn’t phased by any of this. The markets didn’t even wobble when the Muslim ban came into effect. There was barely a blip when they tried to repeal the ACA healthcare bill. The DOW marched towards 21K even as the National Security Advisor was fired.

I was thinking nothing could phase Wall Street as stocks kept on going higher and higher. Perhaps yesterday I was proven wrong. On the news that Trump asked now-fired FBI Director Comey to drop the investigation into much maligned NSA Flynn, Wall Street appeared to finally been spooked. Markets experienced a pronounced decline, as the DOW lost almost 400 points.

On a personal note, the timing of this is just the sort of luck I have or the lack thereof. The first batch of my restricted stock units vest in exactly one month. I won’t be a millionaire or anything but the number of shares vesting isn’t trivial either. Note that the EA stock price cleared $100 USD for first time in history this month. Unfortunately, because of today’s downturn, my RSUs lost 6% in value in less than 24 hours.

Hopefully the markets will rally again before my shares vest next month but who knows what crazy news will come from the White House in the meantime.

MID-MAY

We’re half way through the month of May, with June just around the corner. This technically is “spring” but today it rained like it was a monsoon and the temperatures were well below double digits tonight. Jackets and long pants are still the norm here. Meanwhile, the high in New York city tomorrow will be 32 degrees Celsius, with sunny skies.

Vancouver had a particularly rough winter this year, with an excessive amount of snow and days were the mercury dropped to ferociously low temperatures (at least for this region). I was hoping that we might get a pleasant spring but so far that hasn’t happened yet. Apparently, we might get a high of 20 on Friday, with no rain but we’ll have wait and see what happens.

I foresee a very typical short Vancouver summer in the future.

DISAPPOINTING HELPER

Today was Mother’s Day in North America but I ate dinner by myself because my family celebrated our Mom last week when restaurants weren’t so busy and the service isn’t so bad.

I didn’t really know what I wanted to make this evening but then I realized I had a box of salisbury Hamburger Helper sitting in one of my cupboards. Without looking further, I went to the grocery store to get meat and milk, which is required for required for this particular type of Hamburger Helper.

When I returned home, I grabbed the box out of the cupboard to begin my culinary journey. I’ve made salisbury Hamburger Helper countless times so I was kinda on autopilot for most of the cooking. When the time came to add the hot water to the saucepan, I casually glanced at the box, at which I noticed the recipe called for more hot water than usual. What was this? I looked at the box more carefully and I realized this was actually Beef Taco Hamburger Helper. Ugh. Some time in the past, I must have accidentally bought this instead of the salisbury version.

Well, I didn’t have any other boxes of Helper at home so I was pretty much committed at this point. I followed through and made Beef Taco Hamburger Helper. It wasn’t very good at all. The box came with this odd cheese topping mix that you put on after it’s all ready. That was not good either.

I know people make fun of Hamburger Helper for being not tasty but honestly, salisbury is the only one worth making. Now I gotta eat the leftovers tomorrow. Bleh.

TRUMP RESPONDS TO COLBERT

Since Trump took the office of the President, Stephen Colbert has launched an unending series of comedic salvos at the orange one. Just recently, Colbert let loose his most devastating attack, going as far as saying Trump was Putin’s “cock holster“.

Surprisingly, Trump has been silent on the matter for weeks, even though he has demonstrated he can be easily baited and manipulated. He is silent no more however, as he finally commented on Colbert via an interview with Time magazine.

In the video above, Colbert responds to the comments (which are summarized in the video as well). Let’s just say he doesn’t feel too bad about Trump’s rebuke.

I was told the name of the movie would not appear on the hotel bill