I KNEW IT

As some of you know, Electronic Arts stock has been doing great for the last several months, with many analysts putting it in their top ten list of performers. As I still own several hundred shares of EA stock, I’ve been watching the price intently. The share price hit an all-time high of just over $75 recently and I seriously thought about selling it all for a nice profit. I didn’t though and today, EA released their latest quarterly earnings results.

Despite the earnings report for the last three months exceeding Wall Street’s estimates, shares of EA dropped as much as 5% or more than $3 in after hours trading. This was because EA’s earnings outlook for the future was lower than what analysts had predicted. Shares dropped to about $69 initially after hours but it seems to have stabilized to just above $70. It’ll be interesting to see what happens once the market opens again tomorrow morning.

The stock probably won’t hit $75 again for a few months (and there’s a chance it won’t ever get there again). The next opportunity for a jump in stock price is after this Christmas, when sales of Star Wars: Battlefront are included. This title is expected to bring in massive sales for the company but it’s also saddled with massive expectations from financial analysts. I’ve read some people are expecting the game to sell 14 to 15 million copies, which is an astounding amount, even with the draw of Star Wars factored in. I can see a situation where Battlefront sells 12 million copies, which brings in new revenue that wasn’t there year over year, but that still disappoints Wall Street and the stock price drops. It seems stupid but that’s how the stock market works.

In hindsight, maybe I should have sold everything a few weeks ago. Well, it’s all moo now. I have to ride this out until after Christmas.

TECH SUPPORT

The above video shows one of my favourite Conan O’Brien pieces that actually doesn’t involve Conan himself. If any of you have dealt with outsourced tech support, you’ll find this interesting.

US CREDIT CARD

I’m of the opinion that everyone should have the least amount of credit cards they can get away with in their lives. Credit cards, for the most part, are not your friends. Despite this personal mantra, I am thinking about getting another credit card. Hear me out. In this case, I might get a credit card that is billed and paid in U.S. dollars. Of course, this type of card is only useful if you plan on traveling to the United States. There is a chance I might have two trips to America in the next twelve months or so.

If you take your Canadian credit card to the U.S. and use it, there are several disadvantages to that. First, you incur the wrath of the currently very unfavourable exchange rate. Second, your bank will tack on a 2.5% exchange rate fee on top of the terrible exchange rate. How does a U.S. dollars credit card avoid these pitfalls? These cards don’t have the 2.5% exchange rate fee because all transactions are done in American dollars. There is no exchange of currencies. Unfortunately, these cards can’t directly avoid the bad exchange rate. There is no way around that. It does allow you to pay for your credit card bill with the American greenback though. This means that if you have a stash of American cash lying around, nothing ever gets converted. You are billed in U.S. dollars and you pay with U.S. dollars. Fortunately for me, I already have a U.S. dollars savings account that I put all my proceeds from selling EA stocks. Because of this, I would be completely insulated against the bad exchange rate and any additional fees.

Of course, nothing is ever perfect and in this case, these type of credit cards always have an annual fee, ranging from $35 to $65 USD depending on which card you get. If I were to spend very little using the U.S. credit card (by using cash instead for example), then it wouldn’t be worth it. Still, it’s something I will consider.

MORNING ANECDOTE

This morning I was feeling like it was definitely a Monday morning, so I was especially keen on starting my consumption of green tea. I was at the coffee station at work, getting some hot water. Next to me was a co-worker, who was getting her coffee. For whatever reason, she removed her cup from the machine way too prematurely, causing a lot of coffee to just spill into the overflow tray below. She uttered her surprise and I simply said:

“You pulled out way too early”

We looked at each and then laughed. I dared not to say anything more, lest I invoked the wrath of HR. I then went back to my desk and watched a cat video.

APOCALYPSE NOW

In less than two hours both the power and the water will be unavailable in my home. I’ve prepared for this event by ensuring all my portable electronic devices are charged to 100% capacity. I also charged up my portable chargers so that if I need some extra juice during the night, it will be available. Since there won’t be any water either, I’ve stockpiled some water in some empty containers I had lying around.

As for light, I have a flashlight with fresh batteries and lots of candles. Seeing won’t be a problem I hope. The only sticky situation might be the toilet. I’ll have one good flush past 11pm and after that I’ll be on my own. Hopefully, I won’t have to drop the kids off at the pool during power outage.

Well, I gotta go enjoy this electricity while I can.

GO SEE THE DOCTOR

Almost two weeks ago a friend of mine and also a co-worker fell ill. Symptoms included low energy, a nasty, nagging cough, and a general feeling of crapiness. He thought it was just a normal cold but then it got worse. He began getting violent coughing fits at night that would keep him awake until he would be just exhausted and only then did sleep come. He also started coughing up coloured bits of mucous. These are not signs of a normal cold.

I implored him to see a doctor but he resisted, partly because his family doctor had moved away. A few days passed and when I saw him again, I could see he was not in good shape. I again suggested that he should go seek medical assistance. This time, I did all the leg work for him. I looked up a walk-in clinic that was a five-minute drive from work and had doctors on duty. To his credit, he went straight away to the clinic.

The doctor who saw him believes he might have pneumonia, which is way more serious than your common cold. It was urgent enough that the doctor also ordered chest x-rays, which haven’t been looked at yet. In the meantime, my friend is on prescription strength cough suppressants and antibiotics.

I’m not saying that everyone should go to the doctor for every little ache and pain but when your illness prevents you from sleeping and you’re coughing up gross bits of mucous every night, it’s time to get some help.

MAGIC MESH

For years now I’ve left my sliding glass door open in my living room during the warmer months. The cooler air circulating in from my patio is great but invariably flies find their way into my home. This summer, I decided to finally solve this problem, in a way that I was hoping to be both cheap and convenient.

I’d seen the commercials for the “Magic Mesh” for quite a while. It’s a simple soft fabric mesh that you install over a doorway. The gimmick is that the mesh is split down the middle to allow people and pets to continue to use the doorway. A series of magnets hold the mesh together in the middle so that it keeps pests out when people/pets aren’t going through it. Admittedly, the reviews I read online were mixed. Some complained it was difficult to install. Others said their “Magic Mesh” fell down after just a few weeks. A few people said the magnets weren’t strong enough.

I was hesitant but at about $20, it wouldn’t be that great of a loss even if it turned out to be complete junk. I bought my “Magic Mesh” at a local store and my box stated that it now had “stronger magnets”. I suppose this was in response to some of the reviews. Upon opening the box, I found the instructions to be clear and simple. Installation essentially involves sticking on some adhesives to the mesh and then applying the other side of the adhesives to your door frame. After a bit of measuring and eyeballing, I had the mesh over my doorway in minutes.

The adhesives they include in the box are really quite strong and just half of them could easily hold up the mesh without any problems. I can’t see how the mesh would fall down during regular use. Even if you tugged on it, the mesh would rip before the adhesives would detach. It’s possible I have the improved model but it certainly feels sturdy to me. As for the magnets, they don’t require much force to separate and I can easily walk through the mesh. Once you’re through though, the magnets snap together with authority, which let’s you know everything is sealed up tight again.

I’ve had it installed for about a month now and the biggest test to me is how many flies I’ve had to chase down since the mesh went up. The answer is zero. What was a daily bug hunt is now something I don’t even have to think about. I can only speak for my own experience but the “Magic Mesh” was well worth my $20.

THE POWER OUTAGE

On this upcoming Sunday, the power at my apartment building will be turned off from 11pm until 6am the next morning. The reason for the shut down to have maintenance done on our electrical vault.

This is a considerable undertaking as not only is my building affected but the two other residential buildings in the complex plus the shopping area below. Hundreds of people will be without power along with the many businesses downstairs. Some of those businesses will actually be still open at the start of the shut down. The Safeway is open until midnight every day. I wonder if they’ll close an hour early. The movie theatre frequently has shows that don’t finish until after 11pm. Will they just not have late showings that night?

I’ve been told that some businesses will be on emergency generators for the duration of the outage. I’m certain that’s how Safeway will be able to keep all their stock from spoiling. Will the movie theatre be able to function on emergency power alone? The projection and sound system of a single auditorium draws a significant amount of power and I can’t see emergency generators running ten separate screens at once.

I usually don’t go to bed on Sundays until well after midnight, so I need to find something to do until then. The easiest solution is to just go to sleep but I like doing things the difficult way. Internet access will be limited to what my phone can give me directly or making it into a wi-fi hotspot. I also have my tablet as well. Both of these devices will need to be fully charged at the beginning of the shut down. I’ll also utilize the portable chargers I have to keep the juice flowing if need be.

As for light, I have lots of candles and a flashlight. I will likely just read a book on my tablet or do some light surfing until it’s time for bed.

PAN AM BASEBALL

Probably a very few people realized that the gold medal game in baseball for the 2015 Pan Am Games was played this evening but it certainly was. I didn’t know until it was over. The USA faced Canada in the match up.

The game was won in the bottom of the 10th inning after a crazy finish. You probably won’t see many baseball games ending in this fashion, especially ones where a gold medal is on the line.