With over 500 posts here on BbtP, I thought I’d put up a little “Best of” page to get new visitors started on what there is to read here.
About Blessed by the Potato:
It was revealed to me at a young age in a vision (induced by an overdose of caffeine and no sleep for 36 hours during a programming assignment — damn you Sze) that the the Potato was a great and powerful supernatural power, and that I must worship it and follow it’s teachings. I was blessed by the Potato that night, for my programming assignment got an A+ even though I don’t remember actually having my eyes open at all for the last third or so of it. Combined with the fact that there were a great many newbs taking my preferred handles at the time as the internet grew, I chose to use the name Potato, in honour of my new… whatever.
More to the point, Blessed by the Potato is the name of my sometimes-whimiscal, sometimes-serious personal blog. As a personal blog, it covers a wide variety of topics with no particular posting schedule — some weeks I’ll post every day, some weeks not at all, though it’s very rare for me to miss more than one week in a row. Hopefully this post will help you get started on the 3 years of material here, and find what might be of interest to you.
I’ve always had a passing interest in money and the stock market, and especially in the small numbers games, like figuring out how much you have to use the phone before a monthly plan becomes better than pay-as-you go. However, blogging about personal finance has only been a very recent thing for me. There are certainly more knowledgeable and experienced people out there writing about personal finance, but if you want verbosity then you’ve come to the right place.
My book: Potato’s Short Guide to DIY Investing
My Financial Mistake And What You Can Learn From It
Rent vs Buy
Mortgage Budget Sheet
Rent vs. Buy: the Investment Spreadsheet
Should I Sell My House and Rent?
Intro to Finance: Mutual Funds
Intro to Finance: Stock Market Investing
Intro to Finance: Leverage/Margin
A two-part series on the Flat Tax Fantasy part 2
TD e-series: A quick guide
Sector Focus with a TD E-series Portfolio
Retirement Calculator - Part 1 of 3 - Introduction
Cars, Hybrids, and Saving Gas:
I’m not really much of a car guy or a gear-head, but I write about my car a bit, especially since it’s been stolen… twice. That got me looking at replacements, in particular hybrid cars, which I’ve written about in great detail. I’m also interested in them since they seem to converge on that space between techno-geekdom, environmentalism, and personal finance.
ScanGauge - Part 1 - A nifty device that among other things can give you real-time feedback of your car’s fuel use; can be used to help you train yourself to drive more efficiently.
Hybrid Cars: The Benefits of My Research — A long discussion of almost every aspect of hybrid cars; unfortunately it’s starting to get a little dated.
Hybrid Payback - Them’s Fightin’ Words! — People focus so much on the financial aspect of buying a hybrid, but even then they do it wrong! Here I take a very large number of words to say that you should look at how much you could save over the life of the car, and not how long the payback is. Plus, I point out that at worst you’re out the hybrid premium, but if gas prices keep rising you could save a lot of money, so a hybrid drivetrain is also like insurance in some respects!
Fear of Hybrids — Magnetic fields? Really?
Nokian WR Review — I’ve become a snow-tire believer. These are great because I don’t have to take them off in the summer!
Gas Mileage and Winter — A discussion of why gas mileage is worse in winter, and some tips.
The Environment, Conservation, and Other Green Sundry:
One of my first posts to draw in a random visitor from the Google was one on a malfunctioning security light that was eating up half of my house’s total electricity consumption, and how I read the meter on the side of my house to track down the problem.
Insanity is all around us, and apropos to the heading, just about anything can be found here. In particular, after my car was stolen I commented a few times on stupid, insane thieves. Most of this stuff is more topical/timely though, so it might not be worth delving too much into the archives.
School and Science:
As the kids would say, I’m in 23rd grade (3rd year of my PhD). Science interests me enough to make a career out of it, however, I explicitly avoid trying to write too much about my own field: it’s not that interesting to other people, and I try to keep my professional life professional (and BbtP is anything but professional). That doesn’t stop me from writing about science in more general terms though.
I used to be an avid video game player. The last year or so I haven’t really found the time, and the Wii is just too much like exercise some days ;) While I do have some posts discussing and reviewing different games, I can’t really say there’s any I would highlight for new readers or include in my best of. Nonetheless, you know now that that category is there if you’re interested.
Food and eating is one of life’s great pleasures. However, I find it hard to write too much that’s meaningful about it. Note that I do have a recipe section in the “Pages” on the right.