Happy Halloween ?!? What the…

When I was growing up, Halloween was a time for kids to make a costume (or have their mother make them one), go out, get some candy, collect some UNICEF and then feel sick for a week (and make their dentists much richer). There was 1 Halloween special and that was the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, and people gave apples (plain and candied) and other tasty home-made goodies. You carved a pumpkin with triangle eyes, and jagged smile and a candle lit it.

For a while Halloween fell off my radar, mostly, but then I had kids and Halloween returned, but now:

  • Costumes are mostly bought (for a significant cost)
  • You have to decorate your house (no half measures either, if you don’t spend at least 3 days setting up your house you are some kind of loser)
  • You must buy tonnes of candy
  • Going to work in costume is normal (although I must admit the various salacious costumes I have seen are quite entertaining)
  • You must spend a day carving an image of Jack Nicholson from The Shining onto your pumpkin.

My Actual Front Door Last Year (stark eh?)

The amount of money that can be spent on this day (no it’s not a holiday either) is astounding. All of this in the shadow of American Thanksgiving and of course the Big C (we shall not say Yuletide’s real name just yet (it is a Yang worship word)).  It used to be my wife and I could easily blow upwards of $300 on a small part of this, but we have curtailed it all back to not very much (and we usually end up eating most of the candy we buy, since we don’t have many visitors).

What do I do on Halloween, if I am not a true Halloweeny? I wish my daughter Happy Birthday, I wish my in-laws a Happy Anniversary, I give out some candy, and watch my son go out trick or treating, and that is enough.

Bah Humbug to Yet Another Hallmark Holiday (with my apologies to the various Witches, Wickens and Druids that view this as a holy day).


Snow and Sunday’s Best

Should be a very interesting winter, if we are already seeing snowstorms in the U.S. Northeast maybe it is time to get my snow tires on my car?

Is the European Economic Fiasco finally on track to being fixed? Let’s hope so, but my guess would be that there will still be a few more undulations in the road if a recovery is out there somewhere (and I bet President Obama is hoping for that).

I did manage to find some interesting oldies but goodies in my Twitter feed:

Enjoy the weekend and I hope you didn’t get any snow where you live (yet)!



Less Stuff Makes You Happy

Not really on topic about finances specifically, but an interesting talk from Ted about footprint, possessions and less stuff (and how much money you can save without that stuff).

I have this discussion with Michael James and other folks about how hoarding in general and the accumulation of stuff seems to be normal these days, when in fact maybe living in stark emptiness might be a better thing.

Writer and designer Graham Hill asks: Can having less stuff, in less room, lead to more happiness? He makes the case for taking up less space, and lays out three rules for editing your life.

I’d love to make room for MORE good stuff, that is for sure.


Random Thoughts: Spooky Finances

All Hallows Eve comes on Monday (happy birthday to my favorite witch too), and that must mean more financial hobgoblins and silliness? We shall see, yet another deal for European debt which seems to be causing some optimism in financial circles, but then again, haven’t we been down this dark and spooky lane before (seems like something out of yet another Friday the 13th movie), Don’t go into that dark room!!!!!

November is coming soon, and that means one more month until Christmas, and all I can say is Holy Holly! that came up fast on me. Luckily my family isn’t worried about material possesions or the exchange of gifts, they simply enjoy the fraternization and family bliss, and of course the Ca$h (see what I did there, I changed it around at the end).

All my Quebecois brethren must be happy that they are getting 3 more MP’s with the new distribution rules and shake up. More Quebec representation in parliament, that will spice up the political scene that much more. If we could just get Rob Ford in there too, it would be better than Cirque du Soleil!

Lots of interesting news about Inflation and the Bank of Canada’s hope that this is simply a blip and prices will be going back down (I am not that optimistic):

And thanks to those who added me on Twitter I am now over 900 folks who follow me, wow!

Haloween may be coming soon, but there are no ghosts and ghoulies written about this week:

Carnivals this Week

I did make it into a few carnivals this week too:

Other Bookkeeping

John Cleese in a bowler

Birthday Boy John Cleese

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“I used to desire many, many things, but now I have just one desire, and that’s to get rid of all my other desires.”

Author: John Cleese his birthday was yesterday.



Odd Letter from my Credit Card Company

I received yet another interesting piece of mail (by Canada Post) a few days ago, which had me scratching my head for a second. The letter congratulated me on being a good customer and for paying off my credit card debt in a timely fashion (that is an odd thing to read from your creditor, these days), and because of this I was being offered to have my credit limit raised.

My initial thought was, how nice and confusing. Normally this letter would be included with my latest statement which would then reflect the increase in credit rating, but then I remembered that the government had enacted new rules (you can read the release here) changing how this all works, in specific:

Requiring express consent for credit limit increases.

The letter did go on to say that I had to contact MasterCard to increase my credit limit, which of course I don’t plan on doing, but it is good to see that the new rules have come into play.

I thought that there was also a mention of not allowing the credit card firms to send out those “cheques” (aka Cash Advances) mailings, but I don’t see any mention of this (and I have continued to receive those in the mail, which I then must shred).

I’d like to see more regulations on other aspects of the Credit Explosion but these are a good start.



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