July 2023 – Ill communication and a failure to show

I finished a book, swore at my car (again) and cut out another financial service that said ‘Please sir, can we have some more money?’ Now that July 2023 is ticked off, it’s the downhill slide to keep my sanity where I’m looking forward to things calming down again.*

*Using this year as an example, results may well and truly vary.

July 2023 – the basics

What I watched: Silo season 1, Shadow and Bone (great so far!), Witcher (Happy to see it’s return), The Grand Tour and Good Omens 2. Mother of god, what an unexpected ending for GO2. Both David Tennant and Michael Sheen are just incredible! Bring on the third season already!

What I’m reading: Proofreading my own work. I really should get into the small pile of unread books that’s growing by the month..

What I’m playing: Still mainly Battle Brothers which has become horribly addictive and some occasional time on Elder Scrolls Online.

On the last day of July 2023…

I finally, and I mean finally finished my latest book. And I say that because some of my books come easy and some naturally, this one was neither. But hey, here we are!

July 2023 sees the release of Last Thief Standing by Al Shield

His attempts at clearing his name have just taken a horrifying turn.

Down-on-his-luck professional thief Mark dreams of redemption, but his luck takes a turn for the worse when he wakes up on a mysterious island in the middle of nowhere. He’s surrounded by strangers, including the woman who dragged him there, and they must work together to find a way off the island while avoiding the crazed cultists known as ‘The Chosen’. The island’s dark history is revealed as they encounter the Master and their true purpose, and Mark realises he should have left things well enough alone. With the clock counting down, will he and his companions escape the blood-stained jungle or become the latest addition to the cult’s ever-growing flock?

Last month I took a look at how things were faring for the first book in this series Last Thief Standing only to find that progress had really stalled. It was barely getting looked out on the digital bookshelves out of the Amazon universe, where as something like the Hack Trilogy that was in Bezo’s backyard was really starting to fire. And so with a few clicks and some formatting tweaks, it crossed the digital gulf of self publishing and joined the rest of the roost on Amazon where in less than a month it’s made more coin there than over 7 months elsewhere. (Kindle Select certainly helps there.)

And now that I’ve got the interest fires burning on that one again, I knew it was time to push on with the second which has been languishing for quite a while. It took quite some time to finish and then a bit longer on account of life, distractions, tiredness and Battle Brothers on Steam which has been ridiculously addictive (no seriously, what a game!) And unfortunately no matter how hard I wished, it didn’t finish itself. And so in the last week I’ve knuckled down and got it done and now it’s out. Phew!

On to the third one in the series now! Oh wait, someone accidentally loaded up a game of Battle Brothers again, er..give me a sec…

July 2023

July 2023 – First Spaceship, now Raiz

Earlier this year I looked at streamlining the amount of micro-investment services I was using because it’d make it easier to track and to be honest, things weren’t growing much at all. Out of Spaceship and Raiz it was the space faring option that got the chop due to fees and Raiz stayed thanks to the occasional cashback from when I bought presents for family through the app.

However they too (like everyone else) are raising their fees and while it’s only a small hike, it was enough for me to decide after quite a few years of using it, my money could be used somewhere else. From the email I received today:

What’s changing?
From 1 August 2023, the monthly maintenance fee for standard Raiz portfolios will increase to $4.50 (from $3.50) for active account balances of less than $20,000 (the previous threshold being $15,000). For accounts with balances equal to or greater than $20,000, the account fee remains the same at 0.275% per year. The new fee structure will be charged from 1 September 2023.

For the Sapphire Portfolio, the monthly maintenance fee will increase to $4.50 (from $3.50) for active account balances, plus 0.275% per year (this rate remains unchanged).

Why are we making these changes?
In order to meet the increasing corporate governance costs associated with delivering financial products and to continue investing in technology and growth, we have made the decision to raise our fees. This is necessary to ensure compliance, protect your data and investments, and consistently meet or exceed your expectations.

-Raiz, explaining the hike in fees

Again, these fees aren’t much at all. The problem is that I’m not investing much at all monthly which makes what I do put in worth even less. My paltry $10 a month is having a huge 35% chunk bitten out of each month. I’d increase that investment but I’d be looking at $175 per month to make the monthly fee eat just 2% of that input and right now that kind of money is focused on shares and paying off credit card debt. So Raiz thank you for your years of service, but now it’s time to go.
(If you’re in the same boat, don’t forget to stop your reoccurring investment if you’ve set one up.)

July 2023 – It’s decided, I hate people.

Okay, perhaps that title is a bit harsh. I don’t hate all people, just some. And when I say some, I mean closer to ‘a few’. And those few happen to be people who have enquired about my car getting my hopes up over an eventual sale, only to be let down time and time again for really stupid reasons.
Seriously F those people.

-I’ve had people ask to inspect it this month, only to never show up.
-They don’t read the ad and the first question is ‘What’s wrong with it’ or ‘Where is it?’ when it clearly states everything in the ad and would be abundantly clear if you took 30 seconds to read it.
-People want to know if it’s still available but never read your reply of ‘Yes.’ (Why did you ask??)

12 days later now, Nik still hasn’t read it. Seriously Nik, get your shit together.

What hasn’t helped my mood is the couple of times now in the last few weeks where the heat gauge has felt like dancing up and down. Normally reserved after a drive on a freeway, it did it this morning on the way to work signifying that things (well the engine mostly) really are on their last legs. Great.

I was hoping to sell it to someone mechanically minded by now but no, no one seems in a buying mood (not even the idiotic low-ballers have come a calling which is remarkable in itself.) Trading it in will barely get anything and my tax return will be delayed on account of services like BT Online taking forever to get their tax paperwork through. For my own level of frustrations, I need to act now.

Maybe I should get a loan, get a working car for now, sell the Subi when I can and move on before I get even more stress from this ideal. After all, driving with a wary eye on the temperature gauge even for short trips is no way to drive at all. Open to your thoughts below, especially if you want to buy a Subaru Impreza project..

July 2023 – Supercoach. The Machine went hungry..

It started off average and went downhill from there at a rapid rate of knots. And then by the end of things, I pretty much failed to show up as coach of my fantasy footy team Feed The Machine on more than one occasion, letting autopilot take over with mixed results.

One of the better weeks of not many.

In all honesty, my interest waned and my attention wandered over the year. Same with conversation about all things Supercoach in the office, outside of the football tragic die hards I don’t think anyone really cared. Of course as soon as I got back to it after forgetting to submit a team again, it was a case of ‘Whoa, too late son – this competition is over!’ Whoops!

Yeah unsurprisingly I didn’t make the finals and ended up 3rd last in the comp. Oh well, go me! Maybe I’ll fire up next year? (I think I said the same thing last year..)

July 2023 – The rest


I’ll admit, I’m not feeling inspired to work out so much as usual. Possibly mood, weather, dealing with idiots, I’m not sure. But I finished the month run of barbell sessions, took a weeks break…and then struggled to get back into it. Grabbing the kettle bells for a swing made me super sore and yeah, I’m not as pumped up as I’ve been.
On a positive note though, the numbers keep increasing even if I’m failing to get excited about it:

2023 goal – 85.1% done (5 months left to go!)


Stalled again thanks to birthdays and bills. Debt pile might be growing soon due to a car loan. On a positive note the share haul is growing and I’m close to $1000 invested this year, so I’m counting that as a win.


Most of it’s done, it just needs paint. Oh and some innovative storage ideas for drawers..

Right, that’s July 2023 done – onto August! (Happy birthday to all the horses on August 1!)

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