Wednesday night.

In late December, I plundered a bunch of “best of” lists on Goodreads for new book recommendations. Being a frugal bastard (never pay if you can get it for free later), I put a bunch of those ebooks on hold at my local library. Not sure how or why, exactly, but a whole lot of them suddenly became available in rapid succession. It’ll take a while for them to become available again, and in-demand e-books can’t be renewed after the three weeks are up, so I guess I volunteered myself for a lot more reading and a bit less gaming. Heh.

I’ve just finished devouring Anxious People by Fredrik Backman, and it was quite good. Beautiful writing, multiple LOL (literally LOL) moments, fun characterizations. In a nutshell, it’s a book about a failed heist, an accidental hostage situation at an apartment viewing, and idiots. Lots of idiots. (But mostly lovable ones, which is how you can tell it’s fiction and not reality.) The book takes a weird U-turn towards sentimentality somewhere in the middle, changing the tone and seriously cutting down on the levity, but it’s still quite good. It’s rather moving, if nothing else. Solid 4.5 stars, and recommended if you’re looking for something fun and moving to read in this long lockdown. (Just check out the first few pages of the e-book preview – you’ll like it.)

Next up: Why Fish Don’t Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life by Lulu Miller about the world’s most stubborn taxonomist. (Because it’s good to balance outlandish fiction with almost-as-outlandish non-fiction once in a while.)

The stock I wrote about yesterday, ADS, has finally closed that tiny gap – my online broker sold it at the exact price I’d requested: 5% below its highest pre-pandemic price. That made for a fine 77% profit, especially considering I’d bought it on November 12th, 2020. Just a bit less than four months, basically. (I’d swing-traded it twice before, starting in June.) I never post the dollar figures from my portfolio but it crossed a rather significant point today. I’m trying to be a bit more conscious about my health, so instead of celebrating with a whole bottle of champagne, I’ll just treat myself to a Tim Hortons lunch tomorrow by way of celebrating. (Besides, an entire bottle of champagne holds five glasses, which is entirely too much for one person, and those miniature bottles they sell hold only two glasses, which is just one too few. No justice in this world.)

It’s funny… The first time I researched ADS and added it to the “risky bets” section of my portfolio, in early June, it was trading at a 52.7% discount from its pre-pandemic high, just a few months earlier in 2020. And now, just nine months later, it’s come within 5% of reaching that high price again. (And, therefore, sold as per my standing order.) At the time, it seemed theoretically possible but unimaginable that all those beaten-down stocks would soar again, or that the world would get back on its feet (or at least start to), and especially in less than a year. That’s a weird finance allegory for the fight against covid, but hey, I deal with dollar signs and wild stratagems all day every day at work, so a lot of that carries over. I own 19 different stocks. One has doubled and sold, and I’ll use that cash to pay some of my 2020 taxes. (My company-provided accountant should send the grand total aaaany day now.) There are 18 to go. I sure as hell hope we’re more than 1/19th of the way to eradicating this damn pandemic, not only in the first world but everywhere, but still, this is a real-life proof of concept that at least some things can return to normalcy.

In covid news, there’s more drama in Canada, eh. Someone leaked a draft of the letter from Canada’s top scientists to the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI). The scientists, who include some of the most senior bigwigs at multiple institutions, are really not enthusiastic about NACI’s decision to turn all of Canada into guinea pigs by extending the gap between the vaccines to four whole months. In their own words, “What will the impact be on the variants of concern and potential others? This will remain a guessing game without being able to transfer knowledge from properly performed trials,”

The whole decision behind the four-month gap is a huge bioethical dilemma: try to vaccinate everyone fast in the name of the greater good but take a gamble due to unknown effects of just one dose over four months? Or follow the standard procedure that had been used in clinical trials (three weeks apart) and vaccinate only half as many people, but properly? You already know which side I’m on… The only course I ever failed in my life was Advanced Bioethics. I have a feeling that my professor (he wasn’t nearly as much of a relativist as he’d claimed he was, especially after the rest of the class laughed to the point of tears as he and I debated) would’ve sided with NACI. One big side effect here: I really hope they’re right about this, but if they’re wrong, if this backfires, then it will fuel anti-vaxxers everywhere for the rest of the century and beyond: “here are a bunch of scientists who broke their own rules, didn’t give Canada enough immunity, and made a mess of things when another new variant spread like wildfire among the partially vaccinated.”

Again, I hope it never comes to that, but the cost/benefit analysis here is absolutely bonkers.

And meanwhile, British Columbia has only now started booking vaccine appointments for folks over 85 years old. That’s good news on the balance, but the fact that it’s taken them this long… Oof. Oof, I say.

Stay safe, folks. Pick up a book or something, eh?