Black Friday night.

My landlords decided to celebrate the end of the first lockdown week by inviting some friends, who are very definitely not part of their household. Smooth, guys. Real smooth. Judging by the noise, it was about three people, probably the same ones that come over every other week. It’s reasonable to assume that the guests are still staying safe and careful, but these are not reasonable times. Human nature being what it is, just about everyone else is probably doing something similar, even though the public health authorities specifically asked not to socialize with people from other households. Oh well, gotta feed that pandemic somehow, eh? Most people never think something bad would happen to them: only to some abstract “others.”

If foresight and strategic thinking are gifts, I’d like to return mine, please and thank you.

There wasn’t a whole lot of interesting stuff on sale this Black Friday. In terms of physical stuff, the only thing I got was a Fire TV stick from Amazon. In terms of non-physical stuff… I got a bit carried away and got 71 ebooks. The upside is that they cost me just $68 altogether. The secret is this page over here. It lists every Kindle ebook on Amazon, and at any given moment, thousands of them are free. (Authors run temporary giveaways sometimes; even if 5% of authors do that at any given time, that’s still a lot of ebooks.) The link already has two filters: four stars or higher, and ranked by price, starting with $0.00. Just click on your favourite genre on the left, et voila! – hundreds of free books to choose from. You can thank me later.

Some of the ebooks I downloaded are pure brain candy (science fiction… so much science fiction), some of them are entrepreneurial, but most are reference books. After all the exorbitantly expensive textbooks back in college, the best way to feel like a millionaire was to enter a thrift store and browse their fine selection of used textbooks, knowing that none of them cost more than $5. See it, like it, buy it. With that collection of free ebooks I discovered… That’s really rather remarkable: an entire shelf of college into textbooks available for free. I look forward to eventually devouring all of them.

I might end my health experiment a week from today, and get back to (moderate) consumption of cider and what not. Over the past few weeks, there were some significant positive milestones I passed but didn’t properly celebrate like I’d promised myself I would. To remedy that, I’ve acquired six bottles of champagne earlier today – to celebrate the past successes, as well as those that will happen soon. I know this is a plague year. Is celebrating macabre? Maybe, a little. But it’s a small and much-needed island of normality amid this crazy storm. There always must be something to look forward to: the light at the end of the tunnel, a promise of glory, or just a small treat to celebrate a milestone.

Speaking of which: the more I think of it, the more I’m convinced there’s no future for the cruise industry. I know, I know, I wrote that I invest in them. That is no longer the case. Even if vaccines get distributed to all the oldest (and most cruise-loving) people out there sometime around December-March, it’s more or less guaranteed that the hundreds (thousands?) of cruise ship workers won’t get theirs. Ditto for those, like myself, who won’t get their vaccine until much later. A single cough, and… If you also consider that a lot of normally cruise-friendly countries would not like to get potential plague ships docking at their shores anymore… Well, things will be pretty dicey. I don’t think they’ll get back to normal at any point in the first half of 2021, or maybe at any point in 2021 at all. Some of those companies might survive, but they’ll make for shitty investments. Their stocks will likely rise a bit, but I expect them to inevitably crash once the implications of the new reality sink in. As always, I admit I might be completely wrong about everything. Meanwhile, I’ve rerouted the money from my cruise stocks into five underpriced S&P-500 companies in the energy sector. They have some doubling potential, or at the very least 20% within five months. (The entire energy sector hit the rock bottom in March when the world shut down.) We’ll see.

Huh. Didn’t mean to babble quite so much.

In covid news, now that mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are awaiting emergency approval, logistics is the name of the game. There’s a lot of speculation as to how the rollout will work, when, how, and who will run it. In Canada, the effort will be spearheaded by Major-General Dany Fortin, apparently a highly experienced leader with excellent track record. In the US, their military and shippers like FedEx will distribute vaccines to all 50 days the day after FDA signs off. From what I understand, the local distribution will be run by individual states. Given how North and South Dakota have the highest covid infection and death rates in the entire world (and led by anti-science governors), I wonder if those two states will just burn their vaccine allocation in a great big bonfire simply to own the libs. There’ll definitely be a lot of variation in how different states execute the distribution: we’ll see examples of great efficiency and bureaucratic nightmares, likely at the same time.

The end is not yet here, but we can almost see it. Stay safe, folks.