In which I’m on to this now

In the past time-has-no-meaning-anymore-so-let’s-say a month or so, I have developed and abandoned several new hobbies. I was super into woodturning for a while, and recently I’ve developed a fascination with paper- and bookmaking. I have turned no wood, made no paper, crafted no books, but I’ve been watching a lot of videos. I’ve managed to avoid spending any money on anything, although the fact of the matter is investing in the few things I’d need to make some shitty little notebooks with my copious spare time and brain cycles would actually not cost very much.

The other day I discovered that an app I was already using for something else allows me to buy stocks and Bitcoin. On a lark, and because I’m so unused to the concept of having spare funds that I don’t know what the hell to do with it, I bought $20 in Apple stock and $20 in Bitcoin, and at some point in between then and now I bought $25 in Moderna stock and upped the Apple buy to $25 so that they were even. Because that is how you make stock decisions; you look at how much you’ve spent on two entirely different companies and even the amounts out just for the hell of it.

Bitcoin has plunged in value since I bought it. Like, to the point that there are articles being written about it. I’ve made like two bucks on the stocks. But the fact is, I don’t know anything about any of this and in theory I would like to retire some day, so … maybe I should learn something about how, like, investments work? When I was unemployed a few years I had to cash out what little retirement I had so we could, like, keep the house, so in theory I have some investments in some funds somewhere and some retirement accounts, maybe something with a K in the name of it or something, although it’s not a 401K because something something public employee, I don’t know. But I don’t know anything about this.

(An example of how little I know: I found out earlier that a Pfizer … subsidiary … named BioNTech may be close to a Parkinson’s vaccine. I don’t know what a subsidiary actually is or whether BioNTech is one, but the companies are related somehow. BioNTech is BNTX on the Nasdaq and the app I’m using appears to not know it exists and I don’t know why, because I don’t actually really know what the Nasdaq is, or if it’s different from what I’m using to invest, and blah blah blah blah. I do not actually really know what “The Dow” is, in any functional way, other than it seems to be a graph that reacts to the emotions of rich people on any given day. I’m real real real dumb about this. I need to be less dumb, so I need a way to learn.)

So here’s my question, if there’s anyone out there who knows a useful amount of information about this: if I were to want to fiddle with the idea of being a small-time investor for a little while, making the occasional trade to the tune of, like, $20-25 a week or something like that, what apps or services should I be looking at for something like that? Ideally with a portfolio that has independent existence outside the app, so that I can take it with me, so to speak? The Bitcoin thing isn’t something I’m dedicated to, and I’m fine with the idea of selling everything I’ve bought in this app before moving to another one– I’m using such small amounts of money right now that even if I took a hit on it it’s not a thing I’m worried about.

Also, before you say anything, yes, I understand that right now is probably not a great time to get into the market, what with the impending civil war and all; again, I’m just dipping my toes in and only putting in money I’m willing to lose. I’m not about to suddenly invest an entire paycheck and cross my fingers that I’m going to get rich or something like that.

But all that said: any suggestions?

In which I have reawakened the beast

… not for roleplaying, mind you– for buying dice. I took my son to the Griffon yesterday and it somehow managed to end up costing me fifty bucks, coming home with a new set of dice for him and my wife (each) and several totally unnecessary new sets of dice for me, including that metal d20 right in the middle there. I have, since then, taken to perusing Amazon for full sets of metal dice, since the Griffon’s metal collection appears to be limited to individually purchased d20s and not entire sets.

I have enough dice. I already had enough dice before I bought more dice yesterday, and I do not need to buy more dice to complement the more dice I just bought and the many dice I already had, and the part of my brain that is going dude your mom just died you’re entitled to blow some money on bullshit that makes you happy needs to shut up and go away. If I’m not careful I’m gonna end up with a dice tower this week and I don’t need that even more than I don’t need more dice.

The boy, meanwhile, is getting more demanding on a daily basis that we actually start playing. We’re gonna have to start designing characters soon. I mean, hell, we’ve got the stuff, right?


On a more serious note, I want to take a moment and thank everyone who sent thoughts or prayers or well wishes or sympathy or naked pictures or really anything my way regarding the loss of my mom this week. I was originally planning on going back to work tomorrow but I don’t think I’m quite ready yet; I’ve been reasonably busy the last couple of days and I think I need a day to be alone and quietly stare at the wall, by which I mean “read and play video games,” before I go back. I am doing a thing right now where I feel like this process should be harder, because I have not at any point in the last few days cracked open like an eggshell or collapsed into a sobbing heap, and everyone around me has told me that there is no wrong way to mourn, so believe me, I have heard the message. There is still a lot to be done, but I need some normalcy, too, and a couple of days at work worrying about other people’s problems– which, I note, will be immediately followed by a three-day weekend, since Monday is MLK day– will actually do me some good, I think.

And, hey, if you really feel bad for me and want to do something, you could always buy me more dice.

(That was a joke. Do not buy me more dice.)

Some random thoughts and also I build a toy

Stayed up last night and livetweeted the convention up to the point where Tim Kaine’s speech finished; I’m always amazed that I don’t have a ton of unfollows during these things, as I tend to tweet a lot when I’m watching anything remotely political.  But no!  Only six people all day yesterday, which is a perfectly normal number.  I ended up liking Tim Kaine more than I thought I would– a thought that I think my Twitter feed shared.  There was a lot of making fun of him going on but it felt affectionate, if that makes any sense, and dude has succeeded in making his stupid Donald Trump impression worm its way into my brain– meaning that every time the idiot says “believe me” again, people are going to hear Kaine doing it.  He’s like Ned Sanders, but with a really sharp knife, the kind where you don’t realize anyone cut you until your head falls off.  I still would have preferred several other options, but I’m starting to think I can get to like this guy.

Anyway it’s my day off and I decided to build the Millennium Falcon.  Legos have gotten fucking complicated, guys.

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That’s a lot of bags.  They are labeled 1-8, but several numbers have more than one bag, some of the bags have other bags inside them, and one bag has no number on it at all.  There’s maybe 12 outer bags.  IMG_4265That is one big-assed instruction manual.  I got through about 90 pages of it before deciding I’d had enough for the morning.

IMG_4266This is the part where I realized I’d screwed up for the first time, as you really need to pay attention to the colors in the instruction manuals and the right pieces were inexplicably in the unlabeled bag.  At any rate, you start by building the superstructure of the thing and I made mine too short.

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There, that’s better.  As it worked out, this was my only big mistake, or at least the only one I’ve noticed so far.  The engineers for these things are crazy people and the people who make the manuals are crazy geniuses.  IMG_4268IMG_4269

Adding the floor.IMG_4270Finishing the first step of the build with some work on the underside.  This is crazily complicated already.  All of this was the first bag, by the way.  IMG_4271On to the second bag.  We’re making progress!  IMG_4272The end of Bag Two, which was mostly furniture and detail stuff.  Also, I got to put in some decals.  IMG_4273

The end of Bag Three.  Which, weirdly, doesn’t look all that different from Bag Two at first, until you look a little closer.  IMG_4275

And here’s the end of Bag Four, putting me halfway through the build.  At this point I realized my eyes were bleeding and decided to be done for a bit.  There are at least two more minifigures in the bags somewhere, because I haven’t found Rey or BB-8 yet.  The first four bags took about two hours, so I’ll probably end up finishing this tomorrow.  Whee!

Very brief and simple question

How long do you give a book you aren’t enjoying before you bail?