In a post I wrote less than a week ago I mused whether or not to cash out all investments and shelter my money in anticipation of a financial collapse, like what occurred in 2008. Well, in these crazy times a lot can and does happen in a week now. The weekend was filled with protests across the United States, as people rallied against the latest executive order to come from the Trump regime.

For the first time since the White House changed hands, the US markets noticed. The DOW dropped about 200 points today, in sharp contrast to the steady gains it saw post-election. It’s almost as if Wall Street is slowly realizing things aren’t exactly rosy in the United States. Is this just a slight nervous blip that investors are having or is this a signal that something bigger and more drastic is about to happen?

It doesn’t matter to me, I’ve seen enough. The time to contemplate is over. My attempt will be to either cash out or move the majority of my investments to safer bond funds this week. This will be the most cautious and conservative thing I’ve ever done with my money and it probably isn’t too far off from just stuffing my money into a mattress.

I won’t say that everyone should follow my lead because I can’t guarantee this is the best thing to do but at the very least, you should take a hard look at what you have to lose if this all goes south fairly soon.


Earlier this month I wrote a post that explained I was suffering from a bout of diarrhea. It turns out that wasn’t a one-time thing. About four days prior to that post, on January 2, was the first day I was hit with the watery stools. Recall that during that time, I was also fighting a very bad sinus infection. So I was dealing with both maladies at the same time. Suffice to say, I was not enjoying life.

The diarrhea was affecting me anywhere between once to four or five times a day. As bad as that may seem, the sinus infection was way worse because I couldn’t breathe. Sure, having loose poops ain’t fun but not being able to breathe sucks. The treatment for my sinus infection included antibiotics and I was hoping that whatever was causing my diarrhea might be a bacteria because it would be killed by the drugs. No such luck as 24 hours after I started the antibiotics, I continued having the loose poops but my sinuses felt so much better.

Once my sinus problems were behind me, I could concentrate more on fixing my gastrointestinal problem. Everyone has had such issues before but this one was different for me. There were no cramps nor pain associated with it. I would be fine and then all of a sudden, I’d have this massive urge to go, as if it just snuck up on me. Sometimes I could feel things working through my body way too fast. I would have a drink of something and I could feel my intestines letting that liquid go really quickly through me, where only a single muscle (that critical one) was holding it back from escaping into the world again. Sometimes I’d have the chills before and after releasing my bowels.

This went on for weeks and of course this is not normal. As I was approaching four weeks of this madness, I decided to go see my family doctor and not some walk-in clinic physician. Unfortunately, my own doctor was on vacation until February so I had to settle for his stand-in. I told her about my four weeks battling this, the sinus infection, and all the gory details of what was coming out of my butt. She also got me to lie down and she pressed on my abdomen in a few places and asked if it hurt. It did not. After all this, she said she suspected that I was suffering from some sort of viral infection, which was causing all the mayhem. Something like this has been going around and no medication nor drugs could help me. I would just have to wait for the virus to poop itself out of me and run its course. She guessed that I would have about one more week of the diarrhea before getting better. The doctor told me to continue to stay hydrated and to return if the symptoms got worse. I thanked her for her time and left the medical clinic.

It made sense that it was viral since the antibiotics didn’t do anything. I was a little skeptical of her estimate that I had one week left before it would get better. Like how could she guess that? Well, I saw the doctor on Monday and I had my first solid poop of 2017 on Friday morning. It was quite a milestone for me and I haven’t been that happy in a bathroom in a long, long time. I had another solid, non-diarrhea poop Sunday morning so everything indicates my gastrointestinal system is returning to normal. It’s crazy that it took about four weeks into the new year before I pooped normal.

Now I can have some perspective on this, I’m trying to compare it to the other times where I’ve been felled by a gastrointestinal malady. I’ve had norovirus (or norovirus-like symptoms) at least three times in my life. The intensity of the discomfort that norovirus brings is an order of magnitude (or several) worse that what I’ve been dealing with this January. With that, you’re going to the bathroom ten times a day or worse. There’s also vomiting and an overall intense feeling of nausea. With my recent illness though, I didn’t have to miss work or anything, nor was I in pain. It just sucked having diarrhea for a month. The times I had norovirus though, I was better after a week or so. Quick but intensely painful or mild but an extremely long timeframe, what’s better? Hard to say. I think I might prefer to the mild diarrhea for a month but only by a little bit.


In December, the Vancouver area got hit by weeks of terrible wintery weather. There was lots of snow, ice, and freezing cold temperatures. It was very unlike a Vancouver winter. The accumulated snow and sheets of ice on the sidewalks necessitated that I wear my hiking shoes to work. Each day I wondered if I could wear something else but all the snow and ice remained, so it had to be the hiking shoes. I tell ya, it gets boring wearing the same pair of shoes for weeks on end.

For the last three weeks or so the weather has returned to normal. The temperatures are in the double digits. Any precipitation now falls in the form of rain and not snow. As such, most of the snow has melted and what used to be deadly sheet of sidewalk ice are now just wet patches. To celebrate, I wore a pair of canvas sneakers to work today. I didn’t slip nor did my shoes get wet. It was so odd not to have to wear that pair of hiking shoes to work.

I hope it doesn’t snow for the rest of this winter.


The Dow Jones Industrial Average crossed the 20,000 mark for the first time in history today. The Dow is one of several stock market indices and tracks only 30 companies. While crossing the 20K mark is significant, it is purely a psychological construct. No one gets any extra money just because the Dow hit that number. It does signal the US stock market is currently doing relatively well.

From a personal point of view, however, I wonder if this is a perfect time to sell most if not all my stock and mutual fund holdings and move them to safe havens. The mantra of selling high always rings true. The reason for this move is that there is clearly continued turmoil coming from the new Trump regime in the US. Every new pronouncement from the White House seems more ridiculous than the last. So far, none of these have seemed to negatively effect the US economy but it’s not difficult to see where one or two policy changes could cause problems. Remember that the last global recession of 2008 was built up and happened during the watch of the last Republican president.

I think back to the last part of the year where the seemingly impossible turned into reality quite easily. As of this moment, a global recession seems like an unreasonable prediction but we live in unprecedented (notice the correct grammar) times, where anything can (and unfortunately does) happen.


The end of the 2016 US presidential election and the events beyond it were a real eye-opener for me. For the last several months I have frequently read or watched a piece of news and asked myself, “is this really happening?” Unfortunately, every single time the answer was a disappointing “yes”. It seems every new political development coming out of the US is more ridiculous than the last. Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does.

Throughout my life I’ve heard people say that “the world is a crazy place”. I don’t think the world has seen the type of crazy that has emerged in the last year or so. There are dangerous forces at work now and what seemed impossible before, should not seem so impossible now. It’s gotten to the point where if I looked outside my windows and saw a mushroom cloud in the distance, that wouldn’t be all that surprising now.

It wasn’t a coincidence that on Friday, a horribly depressing day, I took stock of how prepared I was for an emergency. Recall that over a year ago, I began assembling my emergency gear, piece by piece. I bought an emergency kit which contained many essential items. The kit was missing food and water though. To rectify that I purchased emergency rations, good for the next decade. I also bought a few jugs of sealed water.

As I went over my inventory in my head on Friday, some missing items became clear. I didn’t have a portable radio. In an emergency I’d expect to have no Internet nor cell phone service. An old-fashioned emergency radio broadcast might be the only way to get information out to people. To fill that need, I bought a hand- and solar-powered portable radio. It also has a flashlight and contains a battery that can charge a smartphone via a USB connection. With so many useful functions, I’m amazed I didn’t get one of these early on.

The next missing item was a water filtration device. I can buy as much water as I can fit in my apartment but the possibility exists that I will eventually run out of water. Or, if I’m forced to leave my apartment, it would be impossible to take all that water with me. In dire circumstances I would be required to seek sources of water where ever they may exist and that water may not be directly potable. A water filtration device will make safe water that you might come upon. The I bought fits over a water bottle, hydration pack, and even has a straw attachment so that you can drink straight from a stream or puddle.

Both these items should arrive by Tuesday in the mail. Now even with these items I don’t think I’m done yet. I still think I could use more water so I will definitely get a few more jugs. I also think I need more rations. My initial supply would last for three days but I think it’s silly not to have more food. I would feel more comfortable if I had a minimum of a month’s worth of food.

Lastly, it’s a bit of an unfortunate thing but the reality is I have no weapons. If it all goes to hell, you will need to defend yourself. I’ve seen enough post-apocalyptic scenarios to know there will be terrible people out there who will do you harm. Now does that mean I’m going to buy a gun? Well, if I were “balls to the wall” serious about surviving a doomsday scenario, then yes, I definitely would buy a semi-automatic gun or even a carbine. There’s something troubling to me, however, about having a firearm in my apartment. It’s one thing to have a bunch of water, food, and candles lying around but once you own a firearm, that is a serious responsibility. Perhaps, that’s just a mental block that I need to get around.

Well, this is an evolving process so as long as I’m making progress getting better prepared each step, then I’m happy. Of course, every part of me hopes I never have to use of this.


The home reno company that I signed up with sent two of their dudes over this morning. They were polite and courteous from the start which I appreciated. I had cleaned up the area around the fireplace so they had lots of room to work with. The one exception was my TV. It might be considered a relic now since it’s a plasma and it weighs about 80 lbs. The contractors were nice enough to lift the TV off the fireplace for me.

Once that was done they got right to work on removing the fireplace. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get any info on how the fireplace was attached to the wall so they had to discover that themselves. It only took them about five minutes of exploratory smashing and prying to figure out the fireplace mantle had two screws which held it in place against the drywall.

In less than ten minutes they were able to pull the mantle off the wall. The mantle was actually just a hollow shell made from pieces of wood. To my relief, behind the mantle was actual drywall. I was somewhat afraid there would be a giant hole there and it would require a massive drywall patch. This probably saved me a few hours of extra contracting work.

The electric fireplace insert required a bit more work to remove since there was wiring involved. One of the contractors had to cut the wires to insert and then cap off the wiring. It looks like it’s a 240V connection.

With everything finally out of the way, they mixed up some drywall mud and covered the areas of the wall where the mantle met the wall. They left it in a paint ready state so that if need be I could paint it tomorrow if I wanted to.

Unfortunately, that’s all they could do today, leaving behind three remaining tasks. First, the pictures above don’t show it but there are two outlets that need to be moved from their current position six feet above the floor, down closer to the ground. Second, you can see that long silver wire conduit that’s sticking out from the wall. That needs to be tied off in a more permanent state. Lastly, you’ll noticed there’s a massive gap in the floor moulding where the mantle used to be. Unfortunately, one of the contractors told me they don’t make this particular moulding anymore. To fix this, they can either make a custom length of moulding back at the shop for me or they can just completely replace the moulding on this section of the wall with something new. For the second option, I’m not sure how that would work given the new moulding would need to connect to the old one in the corner.

Anyways, the first two tasks require an electrician to come in and we’ll be scheduling that work tomorrow. It would have been better if the electrician was available today as well. The moulding will also need to be installed on another day too.

The one thing that won’t be addressed in the near future is the big chunk of missing carpet. I’ve always been quite dissatisfied with the carpet in my apartment so I’m not going to look for the same carpet and try to patch it up. It’s also very likely they don’t even make that carpet style anymore. In the short term, I’ll probably just buy a rug to cover up the spot.

After all these years I’m glad the fireplace is now gone and only a few more things need to be done!


Since I moved into my apartment about six years ago I’ve complained about my stupid fireplace mantle and how it forced me to put my TV on top of it. As such, it requires me and anyone else watching it to have to crane their neck up.

For years I’ve thought about hiring someone to rip it from the wall and take it away. Well, after years of thinking and talking but no action, it all changes tomorrow morning. I’ve hired a general contractor and in the morning they will start work on removing that damn piece of crap fireplace mantle.

It’s going to cost $1000 to have it done but I think it will be worth every penny. Once the work is complete, I’ll put my TV on a TV stand and it will so good to finally have the TV at eye level when I’m sitting on my couch.


I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve lost a piece of clothing that’s part of my everyday wardrobe. I find that losing clothing is a difficult thing to do since you’re wearing the item. To lose it means you actually have to take the item off, place it down somewhere, forget to put it back on, and then leave. As difficult as it seems though, sometime in the last two weeks I managed to lose one of my dress shirts that I wear quite frequently.

The last time I remember seeing it was putting it on about two Fridays ago and going to work. I’m very confident that I arrived at work still wearing the shirt. I feel like I’d remember if I somehow took off my winter coat and then took off my shirt, all while on my commute to work. I’m also very confident that I arrived back home that day still wearing the item. I’m not in the habit of randomly taking off items of clothing at work and with the weather being so cold, it seems unlikely I was taking off layers.

So the odds are I arrived back at home with that shirt on. Logically then, the shirt must be somewhere in my home. Yet I’ve checked my closet, the washing machine, and the dryer, all the likely places for a piece of clothing to be and come up empty. If the shirt isn’t in a likely place, then it’s quite possible it’s in an unlikely place. I don’t exactly live in a mansion though, so the other possibilities aren’t limitless. It’s not in the garbage, not behind the couch, not in any of kitchen cabinets, nor is it on my balcony.

I may never find out where that shirt went. In the grand scheme of things, this is an inconsequential mystery but it is a mystery nonetheless. I shall keep looking.