Wednesday evening. Yay hump day.

Working at my company can be stressful. Today, a high-ranking coworker finally snapped under pressure and literally yelled at me via webcam because I’d dared to say that I have zero bandwidth while doing four times more work than my job description entails. That is not what I signed up for… If we weren’t in the Q2 planning stage right now, I probably would’ve used up my personal time and taken the rest of the week off. (How do you like them ̶a̶p̶p̶l̶e̶s̶ bandwidths? Heh.) Alas, I’m cursed with tactical foresight, and I know that there’d be even more stuff to deal with on Monday: it grows exponentially on busy weeks like this one.

That little work laptop is the only real-time human contact I have now. (Not counting the asynchronous communication on social media, which is just text, never sound or video.) To have one of your own coworkers show their ugly side like that… It’s a little ironic, because my productivity got absolutely shot to hell after that morning surprise, and I accomplished even less than I would have otherwise. So it goes. He’s too high-ranking to suffer any consequences from HR, so for now they’ll just assign some other analyst to take over the building ASAP while I concentrate on the other building I support. I’ve been with the company for over 11 years now… Days like this one will make it much easier to quit when the time finally comes. Not yet, but someday soon.

The Big Short movie last night was pretty spectacular. They took a fairly dry financial scheme an wove a great narrative all around it, with brilliant performances by everyone involved. It’s a shame that the only Oscar they got was for the best adapted screenplay: I didn’t even recognize Brad Pitt until well into the second half of the movie. Next up: Modern Times, a 1936 Charlie Chaplin movie. Maybe tomorrow, when I have more energy and/or motivation.

Fun news in the stock market: someway, somehow, the Gamestop stock (GME) took off again. It went up 104% today, going from the low of $44.70 to $91.71. (It also briefly reached $200 in the afterhours.) There’s absolutely no visible catalyst: the media is claiming that it was due to the CFO’s departure, but that happened yesterday and should’ve had zero effect on the spike that began at 2:30pm. (The eternal question: are financial reporters really that stupid or are they throwing everything at the wall in a cynical attempt to find some semi-plausible explanation for the unfathomable forces at work?) This looks to be another epic short squeeze, but it’s unclear what exactly drove it: that could’ve been SEC’s new rule on short-selling, or maybe something else entirely. Alas, I didn’t own any Gamestop this time around, but Blackberry (BB), which I’m currently holding at a small loss, also took off – on a smaller but similar trajectory: up 9% for the day and up another 9.5% on top of that in the afterhours. The $12.50 calls I bought for January 2022 are already up 21% overall: tomorrow will be an interesting day, eh.

In covid news, the FDA is about to approve the Johnson&Johnson vaccine: all that remains now is the final emergency use approval, which is all but guaranteed. The J&J vaccine isn’t quite as effective as Pfizer’s or Moderna’s, but it’s still quite good – and more importantly, it’s a one-shot vaccine which doesn’t need to be stored in a freezer: it can survive up to three months in a regular refrigerator. In other words, this will be a huge game-changer. A one-shot shop could be established just about anywhere, and vaccinate a lot more people without having to worry about scheduling their second appointment.

In Canada, and specifically in Ontario, the local media is confirming that there is, in fact, no enforcement for the supposed quarantine for international travelers. They’re simply walking away. The local police said they don’t detain those who are non-compliant. Evidently, the fine for ignoring the hotel quarantine is just $820 CAD, or less than the cost of the hotel. That is spectacularly bad system design… An attempt was made, eh?

And just to make things even more fun, Ontario has botched the local vaccination program, even though there was literally nothing to do but plan during the weeks without Pfizer vaccines. Ontario’s online portal for registering for vaccinations (as well as the call center) will not launch until March 15th, almost three weeks from now. That’s even as other provinces have already launched theirs. (Their launches were buggy, yes, but bugs can be fixed.) Retired general Rick Hillier is the person running Ontario’s vaccination effort. (Why is it always former military people?..) He had some grim news: he would not commit to Trudeau’s promise that any Canadian would be able to get vaccinated by September at the latest. There’s also a chance that folks won’t get their second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine (no J&J approval in Canada yet) if there are supply chain issues. As Hillier said, “The federal government has been saying you can depend on the supply of vaccines now. It is stable and here are the numbers that are coming and more are coming later. Well we are going to take them at their word and starting from here on out, we are not going to be saving them in our freezers, that second needle.”

This is a dumpster fire. Online, my US friends are posting pictures of getting their entire families vaccinated at a drive-through vaccination site: they’ve been running long enough now that one of my friends in Nevada just got the second shot for her entire family earlier today. And that was in Nevada: one of the poorest and lowest-ranked states in the country. I’m not eager to entertain the idea of flying back to the States just to get vaccinated, but it may come to that in a few months. (I’m still and always will be a US citizen, and I still pay taxes to the IRS, so I think I’ll be in the clear, ethically speaking.) Things will get pretty bad here in Canada (and particularly in Ontario) if most people still won’t be able to get their vaccines this coming summer…

Good night, y’all. I hope your day was at least slightly better.