Part 86

Hello and welcome back to Mortgage Advisor on FIRE.  This week is a slightly different post, as I talk about trolling on social media, and a little bit about literary theory.  Also, the usual financial updates and a huge change to my financial position.

I don’t even know where to start with this.  During the past few days I’ve noticed a little surge in crackpot, anti-vax conspiracy theories being posted on social media.  This seems to come in waves, and it’s always a source of entertainment for me.  I’m also known as someone who likes to troll on social media, and when my trolling mentality is confronted by batshit crazy beliefs, I can’t let it pass without comment.

Someone I’m acquainted with, let’s call her HSC to hide her identity, has been posting the most absurd theories in recent days. She has posted an incoherent ramble that stated the European Championships were being played to divert attention from the government’s plan to reduce the age of consent to 14, but in Scotland it would be lowered to the age of 10 for some reason. Now, make no mistake, I despise the Tory government but even I would be shocked if Darth Johnson tried to push this through Parliament.

Every now and then I like to throw a net out there and see how many fish I catch. As expected, HSC took the bait and hilarity ensued. I’m by no means a medical expert, but I have some understanding of the scientific method and some experience with logical thinking. Earlier today (as I’m writing this) I had a real back and forth with HSC about vaccines. She was insistent that the Covid vaccines should not be called vaccines as they are “not licenced”, to which I responded I would refer to vaccines as “God’s Magic Potion” if it made her feel more comfortable.

I love a good debate, and I love learning new things. I don’t get insecure when I find out I’m wrong; it’s a learning experience. However, there are some instances where two people are at such different points that reasonable debate becomes impossible. I will cite three examples from the behaviour of HSC.

  1. HSC claims that science can prove things. Anyone with a basic understanding of science will know that science does not prove things. Science is about testing theories. It’s about collecting and analysing data, and creating a catalogue of research that supports or opposes different theories. People talk about “laws” in science, like the “law of gravity” but scientists will tell you that these are not “laws” that are 100% “proven”. Science just doesn’t work that way.
  2. “Everyone who has a vaccine dies.” I used this statement to test whether HSC can think logically. She failed. The key here is to pay attention to the language used. I never stated that “everyone who has a vaccine dies because of the vaccine.” The point is, everyone will die eventually whether they have a vaccine or not. Think about it this way; all men are humans, but not all humans are men.
  3. I’m not a grammar nazi but there are times when you can tell whether someone understands what they are talking about by the language they use. This can be linked back to my first point about science not proving things. We can say that research suggests a particular point with varying degrees of certainty but if a scientist says something is proven, then it’s a red flag. Another red flag is getting a word completely wrong. HSC talked about the “ethicacy” of the vaccines. This is not even a real word, and I suspect she was talking about efficacy.

I ended the debate because, frankly, it was a waste of my time and I’d had my fun.  I wasn’t going to achieve anything more and all I was going to do was upset her.

Weekly Update

It’s been a bit of a confrontational week, which is a little disappointing.  I had a very minor disagreement with an author I like on Twitter.  This brings up an fascinating issue, regarding whether an author can claim ownership over the readers’ interpretation of their work once it is in the public domain.

I posted a tweet asking if I was the only person who detected sexual tension between two characters.  One of them is a woman who suffers extreme anxiety and the other is a man who is misogynistic and a bit of an asshole all around.  The author stated that there is no sexual tension and that I need to sit down and have a think about what it says about society if I felt the portrayal of these characters hinted at sexual tension.  

The thing about writing for the public is you can’t control the reader’s interpretation.  Words have power, and it is extremely difficult to wield that power in such a way that describes or explains the thoughts you are having.  The author may have an intention in their writing, but once the words are on the page and being consumed by the reader, it is the reader that creates their own interpretation.  The author may disagree with that interpretation, but they can’t say it is wrong because that interpretation is unique to that reader.  If you are still with me, please don’t think I spend all my time arguing with people on the internet.  I spend most some of my time doing this, because I’m a troll, but I do have other hobbies.  Honest.

Bob is continuing to settle in and we had to take him to the vet for a day of tests.  He was very well behaved and appears to have no major health issues, although he may need his teeth removed in the future due to a long standing gum infection.  I’m going to admit that it took me some time to connect with Bob because I was, and still am, grieving for Sweep.  However, Bob is a real character and is starting to show some of his personality.

2021 Goals – to be achieved by 31/12/2021

1 – Reduce weight to 92.8kg.  (Current weight 123.2kg).

2 – Finish 104 new books. (Current total: 50).

3 – Complete RO3 for my DipFA. (In progress).

4 – Complete RO4 for my DipFA.  (Not started).

5 – Complete RO5 for my DipFA.  (Not started).

6 – Complete RO6 for my DipFA.  (Not started). 

I’m really enjoying my books at the moment and I’m now up to 50 completed in 2021.  I’m itching for some more quality science fiction, so if anyone has any recommendations I would love to hear about them in the comments.  I’m still struggling to lose weight and to motivate myself to get to the gym.  I don’t know what the answer is, but at some point I need to get a grip and start changing my routines.  

Financial Update

Assets

Premium Bonds: £16,500.00 (up £15,000.00 from last update).

Stocks and Shares ISA: £27,384.18 (up £4,274.42 from last update).

Fuck It Fund: £500.00 (up £198.30 from last update). 

Crypto: £473.97 (down £14.19 from last update). 

Pensions: £46,936.17 (up £164.45 from last update).

Residential Property Value: £199,355.00 (no change from last update).

Buy-to-Let Property Value: £128,644.00 (no change from last update).

Total Assets: £419,793.32 (up £19,622.98 from last update). 

Debts

Credit Card: £160.39 (down £10.07 from last update).

Residential Mortgage: £159,392.09 (up £19,800.00 from last update).

Buy-to-Let Mortgage: £93,103.52 (no change from last update). 

Total Debts: £252,656.00 (up £19,789.93 from last update).

Total Wealth: £167,137.32 (down £166.95 from last update).

Investment Income in 2021: £1,005.97 (target £5,000).

A lot to discuss this week.  We raised some money from the equity in our home.  This was going to be used to help my family with a holiday and they were going to pay us back, but in the end the money wasn’t needed and so it was able to be directed towards my investments.  I put most of the money into my Premium Bonds with a smaller portion being invested in my ISA.  This extra cash should help speed up the plan to buy a second BTL property.  I also sold some shares that I held elsewhere which I had been unable to touch without paying tax and national insurance contributions.  However, that holding period recently ended and this should bring in approximately £700 in the coming days. 

I had hoped to reduce my credit card to zero for this week’s update, but vets are expensive.  I don’t mind though, as it’s part of having a cat. 

Looking at my finances I am hopeful of having a deal in progress for my second BTL by the time my birthday comes around in September.  Going into 2022 I need to have two properties earning income if I’m to have a chance of achieving FIRE by the age of 40.  

Before I wrap this week’s post up, I just wanted to remind you that you can sign up for email updates.  Near the bottom of the page there should be a button saying “follow”.  If you click that link and follow the instructions you can choose to follow the blog and receive email notifications when I publish a new post.

Please show your support

I spend several hours each week writing this blog and make it freely available to all readers.  I do not hide my content behind a paywall.  However, maintaining a website incurs costs.  If you can afford a small donation, it would be gratefully accepted.  Click on the Buy Me A Coffee image to be taken to my supporter page.  You can either make a one off donation, or sign up to a monthly subscription.  If you can’t make a donation, please share my blog on your social media.

My Instagram is @david_scothern and my Twitter is @advisoronfire. You can also email me at mortgageadvisoronfire@gmail.com.  Also, if you are on Facebook please check out the Mortgage Advisor on FIRE page here.

You can still see Sweep’s Instagram @sweep_the_kelham_island_cat.  

Finally, have a look at Darren Scothern’s fantastic blog at darrenscothern.com. 

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