Crude Observations

Money is so easy to lose

This is starting to sound like the proverbial broken record, but yet again this is going to be another short blog since I am once again on the road – had to make a quick family visit to Toronto. And by quick, I mean quick. I am back home tomorrow. Ironically not for Thanksgiving, because we did that in October and I’m Canadian after all. No, this was purely a visit for the sake of visiting. Although given that the Alberta vaccine QR code generator apparently is on the fritz, who knows, right?


At any rate, what this means is that I’m not in my usual creative spot to work on the blog, which affects quality, not to mention I am on a laptop and don’t have my usual magic keyboard. And Joe Biden has stopped calling me and asking me what to do about energy prices, especially now that Omicron is going to shut down the planet again, or something like that. So I’m grumpy.


Seems a bit silly I know, but we all have our own particular peccadillos and foibles, habits that we rely on and are convinced are critical to delivering the best product possible. Or, alternatively, superstitions that we convince ourselves are solely responsible for the outcome of something instead of, say, skill. Or dumb luck.


Speaking of dumb, I have recently become very intrigued by cryptocurrency. Probably because there is no longer Bre-X stock available.


If I’m being honest, I really know nothing about crypto. What I know isn’t enough to fill even an introduction to a blog. From this limited base, I have formed many opinion, some of which are correct, some of which are just stupid. And I have yet to separate one from the other.


First, It’s not really a currency, right? it’s more a notional store of value. Some of it seems almost legit, yet opaque (Bitcoin) and some of it is downright grifty – and also opaque (Dogecoin and all the other shitcoins out there). But in a world where someone will pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for an exclusively created and validated JPEG (umm, right click, screen-shot anyone?), the existence and massive market cap of an entire parallel financial system based on code, scarcity and pan-global security seems lie it should be something I pay attention to, and not just with an eye-roll. After all, Trump got elected, so the more absurd something is, the more real it will be!


So, what’s a guy to do if he knows nothing about something? Research? Nah. Start following the market with a healthy dose of skepticism and caution? Who are you kidding! Download an app and start trading? You bet!


That’s right folks, that’s exactly what I did. I am now the holder of a diversified portfolio of crypto-currency.


To be fair, I’m not a madman. I didn’t bet the farm, the nest egg or the house on this experiment. I took $100 and rolled the dice. That’s right, $100. Seems like nothing but it really is all it takes to open an account. In fact, $10 was the minimum. It was super-easy which I guess is what makes it so attractive and fun. Transaction costs were $0.50 pe trade. Bingo, bango, bongo. Upload the money, pick the crypto and check the value of the portfolio. Compulsively. Like every minute, it’s that easy. In fact, I’ll do it now – $178.67. Wait, what?


That’s right – it’s up from my $100, that’s for sure. Ironically down from yesterday (we all know that Black Friday is Red Friday today because of the new “Nu” variant), but not a bad return. It’s kinda like online gambling, right?


Of course it’s also down from the $200 it hit last week when I should have cashed out, but didn’t. Which is also completely like gambling.


Speaking of online gambling, my little foray into crypto wasn’t actually without purpose. There was a method to my madness. In reality, I wanted to see how the world’s latest and greatest way to take all my money compared with some of our other favourite ways to waste and otherwise lose cash.


To wit, at the same time my Crypto account hit its high water mark, I also elected to go online and buy some random lottery tickets, bet on some football games and, finally, buy an oil and gas stock. Because I wanted to see which one of these was going to either make me rich beyond my wildest dreams, make me cry or make me want to bang my head against a wall, repeatedly.


In other words – compare crypto to games of chance, where the odds are clearly stacked against you and the house always wins. And by always, I mean always.


So how did it go? Well as of Thursday, if we go from the original investment, then the crypto portfolio was clearly the winner, but we can’t use that, we need to start from when I made my ill-advised decision to “let it ride”.


Today, the crypto portfolio is at $178, so it is down $22 or 11%. This seems rather extreme for a week, but as you learn in crypto, it’s as easy to get a 100% return one week ($100 to $200) as it is to lose 11% in a day (yesterday to this morning). It’s risky business that’s for sure. I’m not sure I have the stomach for it.


On the lottery ticket side, I bought $30 worth of 6/49 and Lotto Max tickets, targeting the grand prize of a super enticing $10 million and $55 million respectively. You can buy a surprisingly large amount of tickets for $30 by the way, with all sorts of extras and bonuses. Anyway, so far I have won $20 and a free play, so the jury is still out. I could still be a major winner and take home the grand prize in the weekend 6/49, which I understand to be


Next up was the football betting, which I don’t typically do, but I am after all super smart and all-knowing so I decided that I could take the princely sum of $30 and wager it, safe in the knowledge that I could easily outsmart all the sharps on the strip and win enough to afford at the very least a pound of bacon.


My first sure thing that I played last week was to place $10 (I know right?) on the Baltimore Ravens, favoured by 5.5 points against the ghastly Chicago Bears. Easy peasy right? Wrong! Lamar Jackson – undisclosed illness, so Tyler Hundley (who?!??!??) got his first start. But it’s Chicago and they are terrible. So I kept my fingers crossed. Baltimore ends up winning, but they don’t cover. Dammit.


Next up, Green Bay against the defenseless Minnesota Vikings. Playing in Minny, but still only favoured by 5.5. We all know ow this played out. Well maybe not all of us, but Green Bay’s defense failed to show up and the Vikings won outright in a 34-31 shootout against the immunized, COVID toe denying narcissistic Aaron Rodgers. Dammit.


$10 left. What to do? Let it ride, that’s what! But on who? I had a blog to write and the Thursday games were all a hot mess. Detroit against Chicago? Not a chance I was going to bet that. Buffalo against New Orleans? The only side of that bet that makes sense is Buffalo but I need to make some money back which means I have to take the points too and Buffalo? Well they inexplicably lose the games they should obviously win, I mean they lost to Jacksonville! The only other option to bet was the reeling Raiders against the almost reeling as much but still favoured because they are a better team Cowboys.


Fine. Raiders with the points it was. 2 to 1 payout. $10. What could go wrong? Nothing apparently, they won outright, in overtime!


Back to $20, down only 33%. I may cash out or I may let $10 ride on one of this weekends games, if only they weren’t a bettor’s nightmare.


Finally, my biggest gamble of the week. Buying an oil and gas stock. How to pick? I have no idea. My track record has been a combination of hot garbage and fear and loathing. And I work in the damn industry!


The traditional dartboard approach came to mind but ultimately I settled on “Stu’s lunch rule” whereby I buy shares in the oil and gas company that employs the last oil and gas dude I had lunch with. Searched the memory banks and presto – Tourmaline it was!


So, $43.96 last Friday and today? $43.88, down 4.4% today on the whole variant scare. But basically the same price as what I paid. So even.


What does all this mean? Well, I guess the lesson here is that when presented with a range of options that historically will lose you all your money – crypto, lottery, sports betting or natural gas, the right choice is…


Mike Rose, natty and Alberta.


Time to double down.


Oh, and don’t try and outsmart the sharps.



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