Dorion Mode

October 7, 2021

Sober October

Filed under: Ego — Robinson Dorion @ 20:28

In mid-September I decided I'll abstain from alcohol for the month of October. I wouldn't say I have a problem with alcohol ; over the past decade I've gone weeks without it and though more recently I've been a handful of drinks a week drinker, I pretty much always keep it limited to a couple and stay sober enough to drive. Since about my last quarter of being 20 years old, I recall being drunk no more than a couple special occasions a year. This stint is driven more by curiosity about how much better I might feel alcohol free1. I've read recently that even if you don't feel hungover, it can take days for your body to recover from even a couple boozy beverages. Then, in my case, if I'm drinking a couple of drinks every couple of days in social settings, I'm not recovering. So I've not had a drink since mid-September, though I've continued to go out a few times a week. A prime advantage of Panama being situated in the tropics is pretty much every place you go will serve juice2 hecho en casa3.

Thinking back, I don't think I've been a month without booze since June 20084, when I had my first beer following my final high school sporting event sitting on the back porch with my Father. I'm quite thankful for both sports and my Father for helping my stay sober in my high school years. You see, when I was in grade school and various high schoolers had to miss games for getting caught using one party drug or another, my Father would always point it out to me and ask me how I'd like it if I had to miss a game and let down the team because of it. From the time I was a Freshman, various upper class men took me under their wing and brought me to parties. My Sophomore year, I was on the varsity team for each of my sports, American football, basketball and baseball and pretty much exclusively hanging out with the Senior class which was in full blown party mode by winter and spring5. I went to pretty much every party from Sophomore year on and after the first couple peer pressure encounters, everyone accepted I'd be there sober6. While there was always the threat and sometimes reality that cops would bust a party, give everyone blowing non-zero numbers drinking tickets, which'd force athletes to miss games, they never actually showed up to any of the parties I was at. So, in theory, I could've skated by ticketless. Nevertheless, I think this sobriety helped me substantially both in terms of protecting my developing brain from intoxicating binges and, perhaps more importantly, showing me the value of saying no to peer pressure7, which allowed me to see how weak it actually is and how I could be fine following my conscience.

Once I made the decision on alcohol for October, I decided to go all the way and stay away from the other drugs I consume from daily to occasionally, i.e. coffee, tobacco and marijuana. I've been drinking a cup or two --and sometimes more-- of coffee pretty much daily since 20 year old me tried it for the first time while studying in Spain. That'll be the harder one to kick, but let's see how it goes. Jacob seems to have kicked it just fine. So instead of Panamanian coffee to start the day, I'm substituting in herbal tea. Kombucha has some caffeine, I make it with half green tea and half black tea. That being said, the caffeine diminishes the longer the brew.

The smokeables are much easier as while I've puffed a couple times when offered in social settings in recent weeks, they are by no means habits by now. I have gone through phases, which looking back, may have been somewhat beneficial. For example, once the high school sports governor was lifted8, I would only drink and with my low tolerance combined with drinking games, that meant to drunkenness pretty much every time. However, once I realized one couldn't practically overdose on the wacky weed and started to look into the history of it being banned and the propaganda around it, I decided to try it. What I found was, I could take a couple puffs have a couple drinks, get a nice buzz, stay social and thus it really helped me take the emphasis off alcohol and I pretty much quit the binge drinking to drunkenness as underage parties in Gringolandia so often devolve to. I also happened to have some of life changing for the better ideas after a puff. For example, I was sitting on the front porch at my college house on Charlotte Street, listening to Schiff Radio following a gravity bong rip when it occurred to me that I could call into Peter's show the next time he was on and I'd have that conversation to support my case to my parents for dropping out of communist university. Maybe I'd have had that idea sober and I'm sure I've had some bad ideas and wasted time spinning9 after inhaling combusted plant matter, as Jacob refers to smoking. That being said, today I don't see it as harmless as I once did. In particular, I've learned that it suppresses Random Eye Movement (REM) sleep which is where dreams happen and emotions are regulated. Given your feelings are out to get out to begin with, the herb hurts more than helps.

As far as tobacco, I've lightly smoked for a couple stretches. A few cigs a day during hunting season for strategic wind checks, reaping the benefits of nicotine's powerful nootropic effects and usually a few more if there has been a kill. If there has been a kill, there's greater chance more booze will be consumed and tobacco's good for balancing booze for which purpose I've employed it from time to time outside hunting season. At times I've used tobacco to balance the bud in a Ken Spliffey Jr. if it's rolled or in a mole if it's bonged, the latter obviously being much more intense. I've only seen it Raiders in Rutland rip moles, probably both a function of that place and my limited travels.

I'm not sure why I've gone into so much detail here, not sure how much it's to my advantage, but I suppose purges are messy in nature and sweeping puke under the rug doesn't make the mess less messy. So, the idea for this month is to limit the exogenous inputs to only the necessary and sharpen my straight edge while focusing more on the endogenous drivers of culture in coping with the great tension. Perhaps I'll have a sip in November, perhaps I'll carry the sobriety into the new year and beyond. I'm pretty sure I'll have a drink again at some point ; no one lives forever and I'll be game to embrace a little liquid chaos again when the time is right. For now, I'll leave the liquor to chill in my freezer and wine to hang on my rack and take this sobriety process one day at a time and see how I can use it to my advantage. Sanatate ! Salud ! A ta sante ! Cheers !

  1. I suppose I'll not be completely alcohol free because I'll continue consuming my home brewed kombucha daily, which by now is on a two week fermentation period. I've not measured or estimated the alcohol content of this tea. Store bought kombucha is typically less than 0.5% alcohol by volume because greater than 1.2% in certain jurisdictions requires registration with the nanny state. I'll pay closer attention to temperature, experiment with less sugar and longer fermentation time to limit the alcohol content and increase the lactic and acetic acid I'm consuming the kombucha for. []
  2. Not drink, nigga. Juice. []
  3. So far they've offered 2-5 fruits, e.g. pinya, fresa, papaya, maracuya, naranja, etc. I tend to go for half of one, half of another and add some hierba buena if they have it. []
  4. Thinking a bit more, I stayed alcohol free for about 4 months while caddying in Long Island during summer and autumn of 2011, though I was going through a Dr. Dre Next Episode phase with the bud. []
  5. Football season pretty much everyone stayed clean apart from dipping tobacco, which was quite prevalent. The football program had earned more prestige as we were going for a three-peat, on top of 5 titles in 6 years and 7 out of 10. We were upset at home in the semi-finals, but we did win the next year making it 7 out of 11. Keep in mind, Vermont is a small pond with just over half a million people. There were only 7 teams in our top division in 2006. On top of that, for some brain damaged reason, only one high school in the most populous county had a team in the top division, Essex. In 2005, MSJ won the top division with less than 200 boys in their school, though we did beat them on their home field in the regular season. ;p Anyways, independent of being a small state, no one wanted to risk being the class that didn't win because of booze.

    The only time I broke training rules was to puff black and milds with Bijan Rizzaghi and Jason Foster on the back steps of the party to celebrate the football title in 2006. It was a Saturday night and basketball season started on Monday. []

  6. Though at times I might get high fructose corn syrup high on Price Chopper Orange Soda. Not exactly sure when USia became too poor for real sugar and started sweetening everything with corn poison, but when I realized the issues there in 2010 or so, the corn sweetener was seemingly everywhere. []
  7. Peer pressure can be good if you're in a sane environment and your peers help you overcome irrational retardation. From my view, USian drinking laws are criminal and I was opting out of the game where they could take something important from me based on their stupid rules. When they no longer had the thing to take away from me, I broke their laws and started drinking with my family and then publicly, as the gods intended. []
  8. I played a couple years D3 college baseball, but by then the threat of missing games or getting kicked off the team had dulled and I wasn't going to let it keep me from "fun". []
  9. Trilema is down as I write this, so I'll replace with the canonical log when it comes back online, as I'm sure it will be in due time. []

June 26, 2021

Late June Road Show

Filed under: Ego — Robinson Dorion @ 01:13

I'm headed away from my green mountain base for about a week to handle some business.

If you need to encrypt to me before I return, I'll have my road key. Saludos.

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May 22, 2021

Simple Steps Part 3: Smiling, Dialing and Closing

Filed under: Ego — Robinson Dorion @ 02:55

Still warm is the blood that courses through my veins, so how about I dust off skeleton of The Fables Outlines and trace the steps I took along the path of my life.

The first question Peter Schiff asked me when I sat in his Westport, CT office to interview for the commission only "Investment Consultant/Private Banker" job for Euro Pacific Bank in late January 2012 was, "So, you ever sold anything before ?". I stumbled a bit, but if I recall correctly, I managed to tell him about the car detailing business I had started in high school and volleyed the conversation back to him. He told me about his first sales job going door to door selling cable TV. I later learned from Mark Anderson, the President of EPB and the guy who Peter started Euro Pacific Capital with, that Mark had found a young Peter cold calling the L.A. phone directory from his bedroom. Mark, a few years older than Peter, had a book of business of corporate execs that he focused on selling niche municipal bonds to1. That flow keep the lights on and Peter did the hunting for the new clients, always fishing for whales, breaking the ice with lines like, "You got any money ?" "When you gonna have it ?". The ~90 minute sitdown mainly consisted of him talking, telling me about the bank, how there were hot leads, but I'd have to work really hard. I listened, threw in comments now and then and kept eye contact, didn't ask too many questions2, but tried making it clear that I was ready put in the work and earn. He asked me if it was okay with my parents that I was dropping out of school. I made it clear that it ultimately didn't matter and that my call in to his radio show ~9 months prior asking his advice about dropping out of school had helped in my conversations with them on the matter. He told me about taking time off to work during his stint at Cal Berkley.

About 45 to 60 minutes in, his second interview arrived and for whatever reason, I was permitted to stay. This guy, Julian Something-or-Other, had a radio voice to write home about and a list of questions in his little notebook. He was probably in his late 20s, early 30s, married, and had worked at another wire shop3. Observing him, I thought I might be outcompeted, but it turns out being ready to go first paid off. James, Ashe and I were first to start work in the 2012 crop of hirees4 and when we were doing our stint in Barmalos that March, Julian came down to scout it out. Island food, both in Barmalos and St. Vincent was scarce and relatively expensive. Neither James nor Ashe cooked much, so we'd end up going to a fish shack at the end of our road north of Holetown. That's where we met up with Julian and were left mouth wateringly shocked when he sent a plate with half eaten fish back. It wasn't shocking that he never ended up joining EPB in the 2 years I worked there though.

Our set up was rough, some might say tougher rough than the U.S. Open5. If memory serves, we had Bria softphones on 2012 island Internet calling a lead pool on which the sun never set6. It's probably overly dramatic to say the original website looked like it was put together by n00bs to MS paint, but not too far off the mark78. The CRM was an unmodified Zoho web thingamigig9, the online banking site was a NexoreOne LAMP stack that Adrian spent months working with the Panama based company to beat and massage into shape for our needs. The brokerage platform was a whitelabel of Saxo Bank. At first, I think it was Winblows only and the client had to download and install a binary, as those things go in Winblows word. It took months of Adrian pounding the table to get a browser based version10. In the first couple months, as a less than year old bank, EPB didn't have a correspondent banking account and was piggybacking off the Bank of St. Vincent, which means that getting a wire in was even more of a pain in the dick because on top of navigating the correspondent labrynth you had to deal with the island bank and their slow clocks. This brings us to another point of who has ever heard of St. Vincent anyways ? "You want me to send my money where ? What're you Nigerian ?" The unspun sales spin was, "Looky, SVG is a poor jurisdiction so the robbers calling themselves the state are going to go after the islands with beaucoup doubloons11 prior to this one." There was a point early on where Ashe was raising complaints over chat to Mark about the poor tools at our disposal. Mark's reply was something along the lines of "poor worker complains about his tools", to which Ashe asked if Mark "really wanted to question his work ethic" and it escalated to a call on which Mark was ready to fire him right there, but fortunately for me, Ashe kept his cool and diffused it and we kept moving forward on the trail we were blazing together. Realistically, if Ashe left early on, it's unlikely I'd have managed to stay afloat and then wouldn't have ended up in Panama, etc. And Ashe and I were the ones that talked Adrian into staying in summer 2012 and he ended up putting the bank on his back and staying the longest. I don't know how deep Peter's pockets are (aparently he's got bags of junk silver all over the place), but that thing coulda easily been dead in the water in 2012/2013. The cherry on top12, go look at that candle on the XAUUSD chart on February 29th, 201213 or picture this in your mind's eye : open at $1784, high of $1790, low of $1688, closed at $1696, a pretnear14 5% drop on the day. I'm too lazy/indifferent presently to look up how many standard deviations that is from the mean, but it's for SURE a tail event in the gold market and guess what, it never got above $1790 again until, drum roll please... July 2020. And don't even get me started on the gold miners. Anyways, we obviously didn't know about the cherry at the time and meanwhile kept smiling and dialing through the thicket and managed to survive15.

There were essentially two sources of leads : 1) the inherited lead pool of Peter Schiff subscribers, whether it be newsletter or research reports or radio show16 or video blog or the few that managed to trickle in on the website ; and 2) Referring Agents that ranged from law firms and registered corporate agent companies --primarily in offshore tax neutral jurisdictions-- to investment newsletter writers and so on, i.e. people and companies with clients of their own that we'd sharing commissions with should they refer us clients, hence the name.

At first, I was all in on the lead pool. Thousands of names, scores of countries across pretty much every time zone and I tried to touch as many with my voice and the logic I was aiming to transmit with it. Consult a timezone map for a week or three until it's tatoo'd in your brain ; jump outta bed at 04:00 UTC -4 and it's just about to be happy hour in Hong Kong and Perth, Australia at UTC +8. By the time you're ready to collapse at hour 20 or 21 UTC -4, it's noon in Christchurch, New Zealand for chrissake, so take one last shot at squeezing selling a Kiwi. Sunday's were the only days we didn't call dawn to dusk (apart from the daily p90x rip with Uncle Tony) and we'd go the the beach and have Goldfinger take us the grocery store. To me, as a 22 year old with massive trust in ol' Peter and also the faith that his "100% reserve" model held water, everyone needed the bank, so if I explained it well enough, they'd obviously open right up and send their moneyz for EPB to protect and for me to make the commissions. If they didn't it was all a numbers game, so keep smiling and keep dialing. After a couple months of this, I scratched together some sales, but was not yielding the results I wanted or expected. I realized I didn't know how to sell, so started researching different approaches. The text that reasonated the most were reading some blog posts by "Shameless" Seamus Brown and Ashe and I ultimately went halvsies on one of his courses, which turned out to be transcripts and recording of a series of conference calls. Anyways, the biggest takeaways were : 1) As a salesmen, you manage the sales process ; 2) The client isn't doing you a favor by buying as long as you're actually bringing value to the table, so approach the conversation as a trade, don't just give away value "explaining", "selling ain't telling" ; 3) the biggest time sink is clients that'll never buy17, so the first responsibility of the salesman is to identify ideal clients and qualify the leads he has into prospects he wants to pursue and deadbeats he can strike off and move on from ; 4) the salesman controls the conversation and identifies his prospects through the questions he asks. So think of the problem you solve, who you solve it best for and questions to sort the whos from the whats and guide the conversation to the consummation of the deal.

Ashe later dubbed the lead pool the Peter Schiff nostalgia file. Recall, Peter got a lot of notoriety leading up to and after bubble burst in 2008 because he was publically pounding the table on TV, giving speeches to mortgage bankers in 2006 how the bubble was already leaking and how he was shorting it, in his book Crash Proof, published in 2007 and The Little Book of Bull Moves in Bear Markets from 2010, etc. about the fundamental imbalances caused by the FED fixing interest rates too low, i.e. the problem of too much money, that would ultimately lead to massive price corrections that'd likely result in a big bunch of bankruptcies and massive depression ~or~ more inflation in a self-defeating attempt to pretend "everything's okay, go back to your regular scheduled programming, 'no one' was smart enough to see this coming, but 'we' have it under control", that'd eventually lead to a Mugabe style currency collapse. His hedge on this was and STILL is gold and companies in Europe and the Pacific that'd benefit from the decoupling of the fat, unwieldy caboose of the global economy that is the gringo consumer and his/her/their/zher/bler/fusupersizemeandferfree USD that Keynesian scum like Paul Krugman falsely represent as the "engine of the global economy"18. Peter's problem with capitalizing on this international exposure through Euro Pacific Capital --and the reason he started the bank in the first place-- was all the unpaid police work thought crime investigations fiat financial institutions who want to use the Unified Standard Dubaloos/Universally Simplified Dosidoes are forced to do made it unprofitable for him to serve foreign clients from the US. So someone subscribes to a newsletter in 2007 and fast forward to 2012 and they have me calling them up (from a number you can't call back) asking you how you're doing and ready to tell you about how the bank is all set to take your investment please and thank you. Of course it wasn't all like that, some people kept up with Peter and recognized right away and there were multiple one call closes19 ; nevertheless nostalgia file is the name it retains.

Ashe focused first on registered agents, in part because in the first couple months we were sitting across the table from one another and I was relentlessly talking at high volumes through the weak Bria softphone line which'd jam up his speaking channel and the registered agents, being a business, were more approachable via email, which was also a style of communication he was more practiced with from his software support days. He had some success with this and also emailing the lead pool too20. I started working on my RA game after a while and eventually worked up a decent flow from both the lead pool and RAs. Back in those days banks were pretending to be private, but were slower than molasses on a Vermont winter night and some young, motivated white dudes who'd get an account open in 24 hours and be your personal banker was a competitive edge in that bureaucratic swamp. In spite of the flow, I wasn't getting rich, in part because although we were commission only, we didn't get paid on a multitude of activities we were expected to support and the bank meanwhile cashflowed, e.g. bank wires and debit cards21.

I kept at it and probably would've kept going for a while longer had I not walked up to a baby face, glasses wearing fellow sitting with a cute chick and hanging a Bitcoin sticker on his laptop in New York Bagel Cafe on a Sunday morning in July 2013 in the El Cangrejo neighborhood of Panama City to introduce myself and share that I'm game with sound money too22 who turned out to be Erik Voorhees. Meeting him and the Coinapult crew accelerated my path to learning more about Bitcoin23 and helped me contrast this parallel, math based system deployed over the Internet to the not even really written on paper promises of fiat system shitshow run by and through the rogue states that print the virtual monopoly money and control all the transactions making you prove your innonce if you're sending money from one of your accounts to another, nuckin futs. By Q3 2013 I had trouble making calls because I thought I was selling clients a false sense of security and if I was honest to the ones smart enough to ask the smart questions24, they'd be unlikely to become my client at the bank. So in a sense, I couldn't turn my frown upside down and still look myself in the mirror when it came to the bank bezzle25, so by January 2014 I issued EPB my own pink slip and joined Coinapult. As simple as it was to drop out of school and then jump to an island and live with strangers to join EPB in 2012, it was just as simple to leave the bezzle with the knowledge I'd gained by going for it.

Now have some pics and follow through commentary, if it pleases you.

First morning in Panama at the Continental Hotel on Via Espanya.

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Above, Campo Allegre in the foreground with Punta Pacifica and Oceania (Coinapult's office to be) in the background. Below, looking north up Via Espanya with El Cangrejo on the left and Obarrio on the right.

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Above, veraneras and ladies hats in the forground, PTY skyline in the background with the early stages of Cinta Costera tres peaking through the fence posts. Below, La Puente de las Americas --the artificially reforged earth elements connecting North and South America since the gringos installed that 7th wonder of the world-- and the Pacific parking lot with what looks like some petrol vessels biding their time to traverse the busiest tunnel in the hemisphere.

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Two above is Ashe's work station at La Fuente, which on the one hand was a bit better than the Vincentian dresser he used for a bread machine, but on the other hand he had that pastey wall to stare down all day. One above is me smiling and dialing. Below, a trophy tucan that visited my view.

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Above, Ashe on New York Bagel Cafe in Plaza de Einstein in El Cangrejo. Below, me. These pics were taken a few years apart, but perhaps at the same table. Anyways, it was the main cafe in our neighborhood and we'd go there 4-5 days a week.

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Above, Vultures26. Below, what a typical dinner plate looked like at our Del Caribe residence on Via Veneto cca 2013.

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Above, a meet up I organized at Tantalo. If I recall correctly, it was just about the day Silk Road got pinched. Below, the baby face in glasses and a partay.

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Above and below, I went back to the farm for Thanksgiving and Christmas, Ashe went 'LaBitConf' in BA. Apparently there were a couple soon to be ghosts there.

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S.DICE swag was sneaking out in those days, but talks of the real conference never emerged in substance, talk about toxic, indeed. I didn't know it was toxic and one can get intoxicated from alcohol in the end, but use it as social lubricant if he's not very adept at talking sober. Anyways, at the time, I was making the best decision with the information I'd marked important and my priorities as I'd ordered them. Granted, I coulda, woulda, shoulda asked and done better holy due diligence, but that dun account for shit, but shame.

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Above, skyline again from las terrazas de las Bovedas. Below, golden hour sky line from Isla Flamenco accessed via Amador causeway. Headed to meet some EPB prospects from Japan, who were VERified friends and some of the Coinapult crew ; Ver owned a piece of Coinapult too. In less than a year, Erik went from, "there can only be one", to shapeshifting alts, but I suppose for his sake he's extracting the BTC outta those spreads. What more is being extracted outta that SSL based API is an exercise for the reader.

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My last day at EPB was conducted at the Coinapult office in Oceania, it must've been Friday, January 17th or 24th, probably the former. We'd often go in to work there and then go out after. On this day, I did a lot of reflecting, went through my entire list of clients. I called Adrian Murray and Vincent Le to tell them directly my plans. Ashe knew of course, but they were the other two that started in 2012 and managed to stick around. I tried to talk to Mark, but he was busy. I was busy too. Erik and Ira Miller, had bought a banking license in Dominica and were in talks with Ashe to run it. I was set to start at Coinapult building out their customer support department27, but it was unclear how long I'd be there because Ashe said from the beginning that if they went forward with him running it, he'd make me and Adrian28 his first hires. We discussed over happy hour and steaks at Los Anyos Locos on Calle 74, San Francisco.

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Then we went to the driving range on Via Israel for a "drinking and driving" special with several others from Coinapult. It's certainly a convenient range --being located between two of the busiest streets, Via Israel and Calle 50-- and pretty cool too as your targets are sky scrapers like, "El Tornillo". The special was something like a bottle of Abuelo and all the balls you can hit for $30. The swing below is clearly prior to my Jesse Larson golf lessons. He'd probably say my posture could strengthen and I'd have to agree.

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Then we made a fire and crushed pipas frias before hitting Veneto Casino, or as Ashe liked to call it, the onion patch, cause that's where the working girls with the fake and natural butts did their own smiling and dialing and closing prior it being condemned in 2018 or so.. I don't exactly recall.

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I woke up the next day pretty hung over and managed to get on a call with Mark probably around noon to tell him my decision. It was a pretty quick convo. I spent the next couple days in bed, sick for the first time in a while. I think I was filled to the brim with emotional tension. I still have a lot of love for Peter Schiff and what I learned about the world through listening and reading him and ultimately working for his start up bank. At the time, EPB was the best opportunity I knew of in the world and I went all in. It introduced me to a life long friend/older brother I never had, got me outside the zone, showed me how bezzle banks move their scrip unSWIFTly and how corporate structuring and jurisdictional arbitrage mattered back before the fiat international law was eviscerated and Bitcoin and GPG contracts swooped in at the nick of time to restore capitalism.

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Stay weird and true Panama -- y nos vemos prontito !

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  1. The SEC gave Mark a hard time in the 90s. None of his customers ever filed a complaint, but bureaucrats wanted a piece of his action. The way he told it to me, he'd find muni bonds in upscale places (at least as upscale as they can get in USian backwaters) like Beverly Hills that paid a big coupon because a) Greenspan had interest rates above 6% at the time --still too low, pero imaginate hombre-- and b) the market was opaque, so he did his digging to find them and his clients were happy because of the relatively high rate of risk adjusted return. The SEC threatened and threatened and threatened him with the accusation he charged too much and so he should settle with them, but he never signed the papers so it went to court and he won with the argument that essentially, "If the yield was not competitive, the client wouldn't buy.". Despite winning, all that drama caused him to leave Euro Pacific Capital prior to it really taking off and meanwhile he set up a brokerage business in Anguilla. []
  2. It wasn't a question in my mind of if I was going to go do this thing, but if I'd get the chance. Recall, I'd been working on working for EuroPac for close to a year. We sat with the branch manager of the Westport office to (not recalling his name and he's on their website any longer) and he tried to neg us with, "Well, if you go to the tropics, gotta be careful to not get lazy." I don't think I said this to him, but upon reflection my thought was, "Sir, I'd go live in a tattered tent in tropics of Thailand for this job." []
  3. Slang for TBTF bank/brokerage []
  4. A couple bottom rung Euro Pacific Capital guys had tried their hand in 2011, but didn't stick around long enough for us to meet them. []
  5. Apologies to the non-golfing readers. While at amateur golf venues one can typically get a decent lie and pretty much always find his ball in the lawn length grass that line the carpet cut fairways, U.S. open venues are notorious for disappearing balls that enter their thicket. []
  6. After a few months of enough of us bitching, we ended up with Skype which had much improved call quality, but we lost the ability to give a number that'd identify us and on which calls could be returned !! "I can't give ya my number, but send me an email and I'll call ya right back..." How you like them apples ? []
  7. If anyone has a screenshot, plox to share ! []
  8. Eventually, Adrian Murray made some snazzy PDFs he was kind enough to share with the sales team and he eventually got pissed off enough to make on his own time and dime what has served as their website since about May 2013. []
  9. Eventually Ashe and Adrian got the keys to customize it to our use case and needs. []
  10. Not sure Saxo offered it the whole time and Mark drug his feet or what, comments are open for clarification ! []
  11. Yeah, I know I'm using a French adjective for a Spanish coin. Problem ? Did you know the ~6.8g doubloon is ~double the weight of a ~3.5g Venetian ducat ? Did you also know that ~ before the grams, i.e. an approximation, is a reason Bitcoin is superior to gold ? That is, Bitcoin's fungibility is perfect, while precious metals can be clipped or the scales can be tipped in a much cheaper manner when answering the question, "How much ?" []
  12. Though I suppose this is the bottom of the paragraph, *shrug*. []
  13. We flew from JFK to Barmalos March 1st. I vividly remember sitting in my hotel room listening to Peter hand wave at it. []
  14. Vermont woodchuck slang for effect, they mean to say pretty near, alright bud ? []
  15. At least until I gtfo of there and joined the "hackers" doing Bitcoin. []
  16. Prior to joining the bank and until about April 2012 James, Ashe and I were avid Peter Schiff Radio listeners. That's where he announced the job openings and received our resumes to begin with. We pretty much quit that we he wouldn't stop talking about George Zimmerman shooting Trayvon Martin to end the fist pummeling and pavement pounding the latter was delivering the former's head. Yeah, Huessein Bahamas was fanning the race war flames and Peter was probably scared, but if the radio show was going to help our job, we needed to hear his view on the market, not how it was clearly self defense and also, OMG I can't believe the GOP is stealing the nomination from Ron Paul !!! Amurica is a country of laws and all that jazz. He also lost some points when he debated Stefan Molyneux --a self-identified anarchocapitalist we'd all been listening for a while by then as well-- with Peter defending the existence of the state, whereas stefbot maintained the market and private enterprise would sort out the various problems the state allegedly solves and at a cheaper price too ! []
  17. Some people just like talking to salesmen, I'm looking at you Patel. []
  18. As fucking if an economy is a train, anyways. []
  19. This was unsolictied, but the quickest money was a couple dudes that we later learned were working together, one of whom was Indian, but Mark kept calling Robert Horry (aka Big Shot Rob to anyone who knows about 1990s-2000s basketball history), who kept buying sleeves of ounces of physical gold. It turns out the had stolen the money from a trust or something. We thought we were going to be fired, but it turns out we were taking good notes the entire time and the cops didn't put us at fault and never talked to Ashe or myself and meanwhile Loyal Bank in St. Vincent was in much deeper shit cause they didn't really write anything down. []
  20. He closed the biggest account at the bank, something like $1M, exclusively over email. Never spoke with the fellow. Turns out the client's primary language was Spanish so preferred to write in English anyways, but nevertheless. []
  21. After I left, they started getting cut in... until Ashe started really raking and then Mark took it away... what the fucking FUCK. []
  22. It's clear to me now such an approach is uncivilized, but it worked in that case. []
  23. I'd definitely heard of it in 2012 and even had a client arbitraging the Mt. Gox-Bitstamp spread using EPB as the conduit. The correspondent bank raised flags about this JP-SVG-SK action, but fortunately buddy had told us he was using the account to trade currencies and thus he and we didn't get slapped by ze Germans at Commerzbank, EPB's fresh correspondent account following the Bank of St. Vincent stint. And of course, when Cyprus went tits up in April 2013 we thought Gold would rally, but it was Bitcoin that was going parabolic. []
  24. "So who are your correspondents ? Ok, German. Hm. Didn't you just say the Euro is having problems ? If your accounts are in Germany anyways, why don't I just go to them directly instead of going to you ? I can even get deposit insurance from them and you told me aren't going to give me any." "Myeah, point taken, Sir." []
  25. Ashe and I didn't have that term of art in our vocabulary then, but we were saying things like, "The bank is a racket." "Working for the bank is depressing." []
  26. Some of us, we're hardly ever here
    The rest of us, we're born to disappear
    How do I stop myself from being just a number?
    How will I hold my head to keep from goin' under?

    Down to the wire
    I wanted water, but I'll walk through the fire
    If this is what it takes to take me even higher
    Then I'll come through
    Like I do when the world keeps testing me, testing me, testing me

    How did they find me here?
    What do they want from me?
    All of these vultures feds hiding right outside my door (at least for the next couple weeks)
    I hear them whispering
    They're tryin' to ride it out
    They've never gone this long without a kill before

    Down to the wire
    I wanted water, but I'll walk through the fire
    If this is what it takes to take me even higher
    Then I'll come through
    Like I do when the world keeps testing me, testing me, testing me

    Wheels up
    I got to leave this evening
    I can't seem to shake these vultures off of my trail
    Power is made by power being taken
    So I keep on running to protect my situation

    Down to the wire
    I wanted water, but I'll walk through the fire
    If this is what it takes to take me even higher
    Then I'll come through
    Like I do when the world keeps testing me, testing me, now

    Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
    Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
    Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
    Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
    Whatcha gonna do about it?
    Whatcha gonna do about it?
    Whatcha gonna do 'bout it?
    Don't give up, give up
    Don't give up, give up, give up
    Don't you give up
    Don't give up, give up, give up []

  27. With Ashe's 8+ years in software support, he advised this would be a good role for me as I'd allow me to learn through building out processes and documentation. []
  28. I betchya if Adrian reads this it'll be the first time he learns about it, cause that bank never did get very far past the filing cabinet. []

January 25, 2020

Simple Steps Part 2: Hopping Caribbean Islands to land in Prospect Point

Filed under: Ego — Robinson Dorion @ 09:55

After an extended hiatus from the Simple Steps series, I'm pickup up where I left off in School Spirit to start filling in The Fabled Outlines. This article primarily paints the backdrop of the picture of the life I lived during my 22nd year, 2012. Future articles will cover the actually causes I was working from, the output of which was primarily the work I did with Euro Pacific Bank, what I learned, etc.

Disclaimer: This is another mega-photo article, I hope all the pics didn't crash your browser.

The Investment Consultant position1 with Euro Pacific Bank I'd applied for back in early January wasn't officially offered until early February.

The interim involved deferring the transfer admission to George Mason Univeristy and a sit down interview with Peter Schiff at his Westport, CT office2. He shared with me that he'd taken time away from university to work as well prior to eventually graduating. We spoke for at least an hour about his plan for the bank. It was mostly him talking, I didn't ask many questions as I wasn't in the mode of actually considering the offer, I had already decided I wanted it3.

Once the offer was made and contract signed4 I made a day trip to the New York Euro Pac office to shadow an entry level broker, made travel arrangements with two other hired hands I'd be moving with, packed my belongings5 as if it'd be my last time at my childhood home and on US soil6, took Amtrak from Vermont to New York City February 29th for the March 1st departure from JFK to Barbados7.

The other hired hands I made the move with were Ashe Whitener8 (archive) and James Guzman (archive). As Ashe and I were boarding, we shook hands for the first time and pretty much simultaneously he received a call. It was James, he was at JFK, but too late for security to allow him through and he'd be catching a later flight. Ashe hung up, relayed this to me and followed through with, "I don't give a fuck, I'm not here to hold hands." "Hah, neither am I," was my reply.

We9 arrived to Barbados and received a 30 day tourist visa at the airport; stayed in a hotel for a rather annoying10 week house hunting until managing to rent a house near Holetown on the Leeward side.

Below is James outside our 3 bedroom, standalone crib, I'm in the background locking up.

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We settled in and started to learn what the bank was. I'll get to that in an article to come, but Barbados turned out to be a short term stay. You see, three weeks in, we went to immigration to renew our tourist visas and promptly had our passports confiscated. Yeah, that's right. We returned to immigration a day or two later and were interrogated in the basement to learned they essentially had pinned us as narcos ; paraphrasing :

"What're three early to late twenty year 11 old gringos doing wanting to live on our island? We only want retired, baby boomer gringos."

They didn't want to hear the truth, which we backed with documentation, that we worked for a foreign bank. They presented us a catch-22 and required us to have work visas to stay; given we didn't work for a Bajan company, it would've required us to form such a company and then apply for their "work"12 visa.

By that time we had been referring to it as Barmalos13 anyways so said what we had to say to recover our passports and were on an evacuation flight to St. Vincent and the Grenadines within a few Earth spins.

The volcanic island of St. Vincent was a polar opposite14 to the flat dinner plate of Barmalos.

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Above, areal view of Kingstown ; below, view of Kingstown from the harbor. A shade over 10% of the island's 130k people live in the town. The bank had an office there, but we worked from home and pretty much only went to the office once a month to pick up our cash 15.

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Above, the luxurious Young Island just off the southern coast. Below, demonocracy slogans...

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Unlike Barmalos, since the bank was headquartered there, we had connections on the ground from the jump in the form our drivers "Pops" and "Goldfinger"16. We also had connections reaching to the top as Marcus Ballantyne, the son of the Governor General, was the registered corporate agent for the bank and its mutual funds.

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Above, Ashe, Pops and yours truly. Below, Robert, a.k.a. Goldfinger. Goldfinger picked us up every Sunday (the only day we didn't make calls) to bring us to the grocery store and back.

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You're probably asking why Mark didn't recommend we domicile there out the gate. In one part, he didn't want brokers domiciled there and in another, his gringo baby boomer tastes seemed to favor Barmalos. The reason he only wanted admin there and not brokers was because in theory there would be labor laws applied to us. We simply worked from home and didn't tell the bureaucrats we were working. Then we didn't go back to renew tourists visas, stayed illegally and paid the $10 or whatever it was in December when we left.

Anyways, the bank covered our flight and first month at the Prospect Point Racquet Club on the southeast corner of the island, about 30-40 minute winding drive from Kingstown. "Once you're home, you're home," noted Pops upon our initial arrival.

Mark had booked us a two bedroom, two beds and a cot place at the Racket Club the month of April while we looked for more permanent accommodations. Mark had claimed business people stayed there, and we let him know how pissed we were he'd set us up in a dump over the phone the hour we arrived ; hence our renaming it the racket club. After being asked to leave one shitty island, being kept from making calls, and a month facing the reality of how poorly Caribbean islands are provisioned with food, "Our pet's heads were falling off" and we didn't exactly have the presence of mind to notice the windows were open and our shouts were pouring into the kitchen of next door neighbor, who happened to be the owner, lol.

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Above, our unit was on the first floor of the building to the right. Below, yours truly making calls from the porch.

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At least two good things came from the racket club. On the one hand, our future landlord was a member and that's how we met him. Other places we looked at were not nearly as good as the place we landed with him. On the other hand, we met Cecilia, the lady that ended up cooking us lunch every day the remainder of the year, who lived on the premise.

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Cecilia, above and below.

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Above, a goat tied to a post. Below, guard dogs on high ground ready to pounce.

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Despite the struggles, we had settling and it was really a beautiful time in my life. On the one hand, I had a lot of enthusiasm, but up until that point, no one really to share it with. Ashe and James had been studying Austrian economics, libertarianism/anarchocapitalism, etc. much longer than I had so they were like the older brothers I never had. Plus, everyday I was talking to people all over the world about a solution I genuinely thought was in there best interest to utilize.

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Above, myself, James and Ashe on Easter weekend, 2012. We took a ferry 15km from Kingstown to the second biggest islands, Bequia, where they were having a regatta.

Below, Ashe. He grew up in the Charlotte area, N.C. His Dad and Grandfather worked on engines and motorcycles and being from stock car racing central, one of his first jobs was with a NASCAR team. He was an Eagle Scout and was laughing at me and James for not bringing flashlights with us to the islands. Being a teen of the 90s, he was into computers and says he was on Napster the first time it had 100 simultaneous users. He studied electrical and computer engineering at NC State (hence the wolfpack gang sign he's flashing) and worked 6 years as a support engineer at SlickEdit, a licensed IED, in the Research Triangle Park17 in Raleigh prior to making the jump to the bank.

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Above we make our approach to Bequia. Below, some structures carved out of the rocks on the south end.

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Above we enter the bay and harbor, below we view from a nearby vista the same.

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Watch your step, but throw up a cheer.

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We went for a tailgate tour around the island and found Fort Hamilton.

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Spring had sprung and with it, new life.

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It's always fruit season in the tropics. Papaya above, if anyone knows what's called the one below, holla in the comments.

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Whale vertebrae for bar stools.

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According the Ashe and Steve (who was a diving instructor and you'll meet in a bit), Bequia has some of the best diving they've experienced. According to me, that sunset was quite nice.

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By the start of May, we settled on the unit on the left hand side of the duplex pictured above. It was owned by a Club member and located adjacent to the Club who let it to us for $1k monthly all included. It had 3 bedrooms, but by that time, James decided he'd move instead to Acapulco. He'd been working Jeff Berwick and The Dollar Vigilante 18 people for referrals and through that process decided to go live there. So after fighting two months of chaos, Ashe and I established order, hunkered in a finally got to the work that had us on planes, trains, boats and automobiles to arrive at.

The place sat on a hill and the windows were designed to catch the wind whipping through. The design was Robert Horry clutch 19 since we didn't have air conditioning and consequently, we named our headquarters the wind tunnel.

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Above is where we'd eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the mornings we'd watch the ferries such as the one below come in from Bequia and in the evenings we witnessed countless pure sunsets 20 over the ocean.

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Above an eggs scramble breakfast about to be crushed, below a Paul Purest sunset on the horizon and okra growing along the picket fence in the foreground.

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Above, a view from the roof and below later in the year after the yard had let its long, blonde, wavy locks grow.

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Above, the morning twilight anticipating the sunrise ; below, you can see our view from Prospect Point provided us a vista of Bequia.

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There were rainbows.

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And double rainbows.

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And more double rainbows.

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So intense.

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Our wind tunnel at Prospect Point was strategically located on top of a mountain with the volcanic, blacksand Brighton beach to the southeast, pictured above, and the white sand Breakers beach to the southwest, pictured below.

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We went to Brighton beach more because it was easier to access. I had my closest tempting of death there one the first times we went. The east side of the beach is protected by a coral reef and is much more calm, but we didn't know that then. The west side of the beach has long waves. I decided I wanted to get out passed the waves, but then found myself out a bit too deep and realized the east-west current was threatening to either sweep me out to sea or smash me into the rocky shore and I wasn't down for trying out either. I wasn't sure if it was life threatening, but my conscious said, "Might as well pretend like it's life or death and swim for everything you love in life." I listened and took a diagonal path to the northeast and ended up cutting my way back to safety in short order to collapse on the beach from adrenal fatigue as soon as my feet touched the sand.

From that point, I realized why the Vincentians gathered on the east side and tended to hang out over there :)

Directly below we're viewing the peninsula south of Breakers beach from our road with Bequia in the distance center and, probably the most notable Grenadine, Mustique, further in the distance left.

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Ashe turned 30 on Cinco de Mayo, 2012 and his young brother Zane paid us 21 a visit. So we decided to hike the active volcano, La Soufrière, which last erupted in 1979 and still smells like sulfur. Above and below we're at the top, where the wind was whipping.

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This hike was our first, so we let a guide take us. After the hike, he took us to a tunnel so we could get a pic to highlight how white the Whiteners and yours truly are. Or maybe to show us the industry 22 that used to be. Or maybe show us the bats, pictured below. Probably a mixture of both. Anyways, the bats are great and would come out every night around dusk to wave to us with their wings and feast on the bugs.

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Those Whitener's are funny guys. Zane above pointing out the Chino hat looking island with his eyes. Zane below drinking black people beverages23.

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Uhm, Elaine, jerk stores may not exist, but Diana has a bone to pick with you given her Jerk Centre keeps long hours in light of all the demand.

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Speaking of jerk, we ran through bottles of the seasoning --from the jerk store-- to cover too many chickens to count.

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The owner's brother moved into the unit next to us. He was on his death bed and his caretaker, Craig, kept a dog that at first barked and barked and barked at us --in between itching his skinny, flea bit self-- until we started throwing the dog bones. He gained several pounds off chicken bones alone and we named him Itchy. We'd buy a ham once a week, bake it, throw him the bone and it'd be gone in the morning. Itchy the Vincentian bone crusher.

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Our kitchen, with a plate of the aforementioned de-boned ham on the right and a cracked coconut to the right further.

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A typical eggs scramble with mad coconut oil from the market. We'd have Cecilia buy us the oil to get the local price. I did a lot of the breakfast and dinner cooking since Ashe wasn't too strong there and he was helping me in plenty of other places.

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Fruit of the sea.

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Island banana stand.

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Bananas not yet ripe or frozen, though there's probably money under the treestand, scroll for it...

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Nevertheless, Ashe is the banana bread baking Baron.

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In brief, beautiful.

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Below, Ashe's bread machine.

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Ashe, Cecilia and I above ; the neighbor Craig 24 and me below on a Friday towards the end. The party was goin' on and we kept their heads ringin' that night.

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Wa gwan ? Rastaman Ebbo doin' rasta things below. A lot of the neighbors thought we were religious since we didn't go out so much. While we thought that was funny, we didn't go out so much since we were on a mission25 and it was quite the hike to get to town.

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A stickbug on our patio.

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Our resident gecko we named Leo since he liked to hang off the stern of the ship. Would ya look at the size of that sucker ? How many bug bites you reckon he saved us ?

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Above, I view from the top step; below a crescent moon paired with Venus. The night sky was a real treat and in December there were at least a couple meteor showers.

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What up dawg ? Yeah, you read that right, that's 100% juice. The drink is over there, next to the chicken and giblets.

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In June, Ashe's friend --from high school, NC State and beyond-- Steve came to visit for a week. Strong thumb game.

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We made another hike of La Soufrière. This time, Pops just dropped us off at the trail head and we made our own way.

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A steer or two showed us their snout and wisely steered themselves to the side as we made our way.

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The Dudes abided the sign above and couldn't help but notice the palm tree below growing right out of the middle to tower over and shade the towering shade tree. Do you like apples ? How you like 'dem apples ?

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Youngblood on the ascent...

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...given the fog and that rain had washed out part of the trail, we took our time and made piles of rocks toward the top to mark our path. If I recall correctly, Steve was an Eagle scout as well, so dudes were prepared.

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The rum distillery was paid a visit.

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Craig lent a machete and a hand in removing the inner coconut from the outer.

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We managed the rest in putting the lime in the coconut.

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Cheers to you.

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While Steve's visit was all well and good, shortly after marked a defining moment. You see, he was recently engaged and Ashe was to be his best man later that Autumn. The rub was, Ashe had meet the bride to be and listened to Steve talk about her and their relationship during the trip. He told Steve he didn't think it was a good idea to marry the chick, said he didn't support it and declined to be the best man. He thought he was marrying her for the wrong reasons and that he shouldn't settle. That was some of the most keepin' it real I'd ever witnessed to that point in my life. Ashe wasn't just mouthing off talking about being a friend. He was cool, calm, collected, rational, empathetic, courageous and serious. It wasn't easy, but he made it simple. He might not of been there to hold hands, but he stepped up and had his buddy's back. Steve didn't want to hear it, went through with it and they didn't talk for many years. I don't know how the marriage worked out, but for sure this showing of character strengthened my relationship with Ashe because apart from Zane, I was naturally the one he spoke with most about. I saw exactly where he was coming from and I listened and supported him in speaking up.

Through working together on what we thought was the most important thing we could be working on, i.e. Euro Pacific Bank, moving to a couple different countries together, learning about philosophy and self-knowledge and talking to each other every day for months that turned into years, Ashe and I formed the strongest friendship either of us had had. He was always really close with Zane and we formed our own level of brotherhood.

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Ashe and I blazed our own trails pretty much side by side from 2012-2015. We grew tremendously on levels we certainly weren't expecting prior to deciding to move to a foreign country with some strangers to work a start up bank. I'm about as old now as he was when we met and I wouldn't be standing where I am today without the guidance he was able to offer me then.

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We've grown apart in recent years by focusing on different roots, branches and fruits of the tree of knowledge, yet there remains plenty to reap from natures bounty.

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Onward and upward, through the mist and to the peaks above the clouds.

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  1. The buy your ticket, eat what you kill, starve otherwise arrangement, i.e. not what you'd call a job. The log link there was gifted to me through whaack's comment on my previous article. Isn't engaging the world great ? []
  2. I couldn't help but make leap the office was built as if Howard Roark designed it. It lie into a hill and stepped up 3 levels away from the road with the hill. Peter's office sat in the southeast corner with large windows overlooking the harbor and sunrise. []
  3. How does this relate to the present ? Hm. While I didn't ask Diana Coman any questions, her process is public and works from the cause of "killing stupidity on sight", which has a higher likelihood of providing a stronger foundation than previous leaps of faith I've taken. Similar to Peter, I'd observed her answer more questions than I counted prior to talking to her. []
  4. The contract included a 5 year non-compete agreement; not that it was likely to be enforced, but I mention to note lack of strong negotiation. Also, being even more optimistic in my youth, I was of the mindset I'd work for this organization my entire life. I couldn't imagine anything better. []
  5. Essentially clothes, computer and a stack of dead tree books. []
  6. "Dollar could 'collapse', i.e. hyper-inflate, 'any day now.'" When people asked at the time, I said I'd go back when it's the former "United States". Little did I know then it was, against the BTC, and I had the wrong numeraire. []
  7. Barbados was recommended by Peter and Mark Anderson, the Bank's President. Their concept was the 10-12 newly hired hands would all move there with the three of us being the first batch. []
  8. Fun fact : the start of this Oro pseudonym was when we started hiring junior brokers to work under us and forming teams. EPB being a precious metals shop, one of the other brokers named his team "Team Gold", which Ashe partially trolled with "Team Oro" (we were living in Panama by then). []
  9. James made it that night []
  10. Primarily caused by being keen to get to work while interfacing with the island... pace, let's say. []
  11. I had just turned 22, Ashe was about to turn 30 and James was somewhere in between. []
  12. As if any work's being done there whatsoever, pfff []
  13. I'd certainly not step foot out the airport, it's a hub of the region, for really any reason. Place is a tourist chumpatron to the hollow core. Dun be a chump, aight ? []
  14. To the degree Caribs can differ. Apart from sailors and medical students, St. Vincent has very few tourists. Those tend to frequent the Grenadine islands such as Mustque and Bequia. In all there are 32 islands in the Grenadine chain, including St. Vincent. As such, the eat loose change shaken from cruise ship tenants for breakfast, lunch and dinner Barmalos culture wasn't present in SVG. []
  15. The bank was for non-U.S. people, we weren't allowed to have accounts (not that I prefer some "account" to cash anyways). []
  16. The Vincentians love their nicknames. []
  17. Where RedHatrathead started []
  18. To his credit, I understand he had a big falling out with them by calling bull on that Galt's Gulch scam. []
  19. This dude was a role player who played 16 seasons in the league and managed to win 7 titles. Hitting clutch shot after clutch shot was pretty much all he did along the way. []
  20. A Paul PiercePurest sunset was when no clouds obstructed the setting and the sun melts into the water. You don't know it'll happen until it does because there may be clouds kilometers out on the horizon that're only visible when the sun is behind them. []
  21. Part of what he paid us with was a suitcase full of goods. The most important item was a Berkey water filter, which was Reggie Miller clutch* since there was something off with that island water. No wonder the elite Hawaiians positioned themselves to take it directly from the clouds.
    --
    *These layers of '90s-'00s basketball references may have you lost, but they were legit part of our slang. While I'm here, I'ma just go over the top with it and barf out Puke Walton --if you get that one, hat tip. There, I think it's out of my system, roflmao. []
  22. I don't remember what industry the tunnel was used for - sorry, it was 8 years ago :/ -- but I'll bet you dollars to doughnuts the Masters kept the slaves moving and producing. []
  23. I don't think we were quoting that Chappelle bit then, but I have it now, so I ask, "Nigga, what the fuck is JUICE !!?!?! I want that grape drink. Ingredients : sugar, water and, of course, purple." []
  24. Looks like he vote labour, me say. []
  25. "Like keep grindin' boy your life can change in one year, and even when it's dark out the sun is shinin' somewhere. Look here I pay dues, my own worst enemy so either way I can't lose." - J. Cole., Premeditated Murder []

October 28, 2019

Simple Steps: The Fabled Outlines

Filed under: Ego — Robinson Dorion @ 05:56

Following what seemed to be a strong start of mapping my past to the present, I found I had bit off more than I could chew in the time I had allotted imagined to do the chewing. I was assigned to type my hand written article outlines into one post, so that's1 what you find here, laid bare2.

Part of my assumption causing the, "5 articles in total by Sunday," claim was the first flowed relatively well, the following ought flow better, and after all, I'm writing my story not something I have to research. Then I found myself wanting to explain in more detail, take more negative space into consideration and add pictures, i.e. do it better. So then the break pumping started and here we are.

To make it explicit, it may appear fingers are being pointed and blame cast at others. I am 100% responsible for the people I chose to include3 in my life and my intent here is sanity which means to describe what is/was. Names have been named because it's not like any of it was a secret anyways. I'm not claiming perfect memory from events half a decade ago and comments are open for corrections.

I hope it's obvious, but before delving into the content here, a note on the list structure: There are 4 articles outlined, numbered 2-4 in the respective headers, each with its own set of nested lists. Picking an example off the top, point 2.2.2.3 is, "Sit on volcanic island, call globe, sun never sits on lead pool, learn to take good notes."

2. January 2012-January 2014: Diving into EPB, shifting from Schiff Radio to Freedomain Radio, Barmalos -> SVG -> PTY, XA{U,G} -> BTC

  1. Preparing to make the jump.
    1. interview
    2. contract
    3. moving with "strangers", James Guzman and Ashe Whitener, and discovering the joy of having people to talk with and learn from about my interests.
  2. Settling in to the islands.
    1. Barmalos4
      1. overcoming island pace to find a house, scarcity of food on island.
      2. making calls all day everyday was the constant, the refuge that maintained sanity.
      3. tourist trap that confiscated passports
      4. evacuating to St. Vincent.
    2. St. Vincent
      1. Living at Racquet club was a racket.
      2. Ashe and I settle into "wind tunnel" for hunker, James departs for Acapulco.
      3. Sit on volcanic island, call globe, sun never sits on lead pool, learn to take good notes.
  3. Working the bank.
    1. Bank business processes, technology infrastructure woefully underdeveloped.
    2. "Gold backed debit card" more expensive than it was cracked up to be.
    3. How many banks in a bank - describe centralization of asset custody.
    4. Lead pool stale, "Peter Schiff's nostalgia file." "The leads are weak ? The fuckin' leads are weak ?"
    5. I was not well organized, didn't know how to run a computer. Ashe was guide.
    6. Breakthrough: Selling isn't telling, selling is managing the sales process.
    7. "Changing world: helping clients protect purchasing power, collapse immanent!"
    8. Developing business from referral sources.
      1. Competitive edge: streamlined account opening, Private Banker to call that's not an islander.
      2. Offshore Corporate Agents, newsletter writters, etc.
    9. 2012 Gold rally fades into what has turned out to be multi-year pull back.
  4. Freedomain Radio evicts Schiff Radio from mental real estate.
    1. Real Time Relationships, in practice.
    2. Shift to introspection/self knowledge, evaluating childhood, new words to describe weak foundations felt.
    3. The state is a function of the family. Change the society/state by applying values to personal relationships.
    4. Anarchocapitalism displaces minarchism.
    5. Arguments for embracing strong atheism.
  5. St. Vincent visa tightens from 3 to 1 month, stay illegally.
    1. Island paradise turns to island fever by year's end.
    2. Panama is selected, after considering western hemisphere only. Reasoning: offshore banking hub, 6 month tourist visa.
  6. Arrive to Panama, January 2013.
    1. bank was improving
    2. new website built by a broker for free, he5 needed it.
    3. improvement of products: trading platform improved, commission on debit card usage.
  7. Start Freedomain Radio Meet Up Group.
  8. BTC takes shine from gold/EPB during Cyprus bank run of 2013.
    1. client arbing Mt. Gox/Bitstamp spread.
  9. Meet evoorhees and Coinapult, July 2013.
    1. Develop relationship through the autumn.
    2. Ashe joins them at La Bitconf in Buenos Aires.
  10. Paradigm shift: EPB/XA{U,G} -> BTC
    1. AML/KYC pressure grows, unpaid gov't spy, client assumed guilty, has to prove innocence.
    2. Commerzbank fires all Caribbean banking clients due to too much USD volume causing greater regulatory requirements under FED.
      1. More compliance agents than bankers.
    3. Not actually private.
      1. CRM in the clouds, calls/chats on Skype, client email docs in the clear/upload to website.
      2. Get exposure to GPG through Coinapult.
    4. Not actually secure.
      1. Counterparties abound; exposed to leverage via counterparty risk.
      2. Flimsy legal layer of protection.
    5. Begin to understand an alternative.
      1. Conversation with Coinapult people.
      2. Negative space: while Romania mentioned, #bitcoin-assets, trilema never linked6.
      3. Let's talk Bitcoin, Reddit.
  11. Previous paradigm crushed in December with Erik and Peter debating.
    1. Peter counters Austrian theory claiming gold has intrinsic value, Erik demonstrates better grasp on Austrian theory, value is subjective, son.
    2. Peter seemingly falls victim to sales pitch of intrinsic value narrative helps people protect purchasing power, so justifiable, even if incorrect.
    3. Previous passion turns to guilt.
  12. January 2014:
    1. Erik and Ira bought a banking license, plan to hire Ashe to run, he'll hire me.
    2. Coinapult position opens up, I jump.

3. January 2014-March 2015: Launched for a ride with Coinapult, taking ownership of personal relationships.

Q1 2014
  1. Day Quitting Bank
    1. Meeting with Ira, Erik and Ashe to discuss bank, out on town with new Coinapult hires.
    2. In bed for 3 days, emotional reset, how much unprocessed emotion am I holding in body ?
  2. Describe Coinapult
    1. Market making/arbitraging fiat interfaces
    2. brokering/merchant processing
    3. email/sms interfaces
  3. Transformation and First projects:
    1. Move to Ubuntu from Windows.
    2. GPG via thunderbird plugin.
    3. send transactions regularly in support role.
    4. document on boarding experience by writing new employee handbook.
    5. responsible for choosing CRM, business requires open source, on premise.
  4. Storm clouds evident:
    1. Charlie Shrem7 picked up by USG.
    2. Goxxed, despite knowing better.
  5. FDR meet up pays: Meet JFW, talks about weak RNGs in first conversation.
Q2 2014
  1. LOCKS imagined to be killer app.
    1. Major focus on website development.
  2. Ticker drift bug causes need to rewrite orderbook.
    1. symptoms of move fast and break things abound.
  3. Move from sales to website copy writing, marketing, QA.
    1. experience power/appreciate technical ability.
    2. Become bridge between business dev and technical teams.
  4. Establish permanent Panamanian residence.
  5. Coinapult employees harassed at border, property confiscated.
  6. Start Talk Therapy : have a professional listen to you, ask questions you don't want to ask.
Q3 2014
  1. LOCKS/website flop.
  2. After 2+ years of attempts at real conversations with parents is met with continued hostility, I tell them off.
    1. They must change if they want to earn their way back into my life.
    2. Everyone in my life is my choice, but how strong is my evaluator ?
    3. "Are they implying what I'm inferring ?"
  3. Living alone for first time, personal responsibility stakes are raised.
  4. Coinapult lays off in-house counsel.
  5. Bridge loan/convertible note + employee option plan.
  6. Friendship with Ashe strengthens as we move apart.
    1. Bank business w/ Erik/Ira is abandoned.
    2. Ashe wants out of EPB, would've worked for Coinapult on incentives only, no salary. They don't hire him.
  7. The Bit Drop waste abandoned.
  8. SMS launch, I do much of testing and documentation.
Q4 2014
  1. Coinapult returns to trading/market making/arbitrage
  2. Pivot to aim at high volume brokerage rather than masses.
  3. Missed Thanksgiving family reunion, first Christmas without family, Co-workers and friends become surrogate family.
Q1 2015
  1. Office landlord tries to raise the rent 50%, liquidate office.
  2. By January know I need a break, 6 days/week since start, first in office last to leave most days. Make plans to unplug in February.
    1. By now, much of business communication depends on me being present, make moves to prepare for off time in late February.
  3. Unplug from Coinapult and Internet generally final week of February. Start handwritten journaling habit.
  4. January 2015 : Bitcoin blocksize war boiling.
    1. Find TMSR: #bitcon-assets, http://trilema.com, http://qntra.net, http://loper-os.org, http://thedrinkingrecord.com, http://contravex.com, etc.
    2. Difficult to understand, but understand it's important.
  5. March 2015 Coinapult denied Series A funding round from wall street investors.
  6. Too volatile to press on, clean wind down to ensure all customers made whole, final paycheck, talks of alternative investors.
  7. The following week 150 BTC spent away from company control.
Q2 2015
  1. Coinapult sold to group in Panama, customers made whole, unaware of situation of previous investors.
  2. Ira Miller and Guilherme Polo (Coinapult CTO) spin off Deginner and negotiate technical support and development contract for Coinapult; plan to rewrite brokerage, exchange and wallet software as opensource.
  3. I take job with them as support engineer.
  4. Coinapult shifts from ~12 employees to four with outsourced engineering.
  5. Integrates with Crypto Capital.

4. Poorly done salt mining with Deginner.

May 2015
  1. Ashe leaves Panama.
  2. I start spending more time with JFW ; he actually has capacity and curiosity to parse the log and help me process technical concepts, but he's less inclined to grapple with politics.
  3. Development of Deginner tools drags.
  4. Coinapult increasingly difficult to work with8.
  5. Deginner incubator model of $25k worth of cash and equity for software and consulting.
    1. DASH is only client landed, December 2015. I wasn't directly involved, in part because log/blog reading had me very skeptical.
August 2015
  1. I read Absolute OpenBSD9, install on laptop. First real Unix-like install.
  2. I reconnect with Justin Mabanta, fiat finance contact who later brought brokerage motivation.
  3. Find myself stuck in a petrified state of knowing Deginner work isn't worthy, from tmsr reading and discussions with Jacob.
  4. Lack of managerial oversight at "work" allows me to read more, try grappling with what's being said.
  5. Intimidated to interact due to witnessing countless idiots make a fool of themselves/waste time of people I value and fearing my past is sewage in the wine. Also, the two prior business leaps without sufficient due diligence had resulted in progress overall, but in quite the disorienting manner.
  6. Steal from saltmine was not my ethos/understood, which further damaged psyche/self-esteem.
  7. Prior projects, where passionate and 'nuke' driven -> had floor removed.
  8. tmsr quite the learning curve, took "6 months" to heart, much easier10 to spend time reading than engaging ; reading exposes more previously unknown complexity.
December 2015
  1. Deginner development projects never delivered.
  2. Coinapult transitions from Deginner poorly managing servers to bringing JFW on in part-time capacity based on my recomendation. Key management being key.
  3. After a couple months, JFW decides to walk away, our relationship strengthens through the process.
  4. By April 2016, Guilherme Polo left Deginner and Ira transitions to bounty-based model, renamed Git Guild.
  5. May 2016: Justin Mabanta expresses interest in starting a BTC/fiat brokerage with me.

5. Failed brokerage development leads to birth of JWRD Computing.

June 2016-June 2018
  1. Roles : Justin: bring clients and investors ; JFW: all matters technical ; Myself : act as bridge as well as business admin.
  2. Justin said while he could fund himself, preferred to bring in strategic investor, market to his book to start11
  3. I wrote the business plan, focus on HNW clients, stay away from retail, security is top priority, I bring in Jacob.
  4. Initial Plan was to terraform Ira's exchange/brokerage packages12 to our needs, only use what's useful, discard what's not, build what we otherwise need
  5. Justin demonstrated a resourceful network, e.g. introduced us to several of his contacts13 that he thought would invest, but nothing closed.
  6. Our project turned out to be a low priority for Justin as he continued fiat securities business and other venture deals, would be unresponsive for weeks and didn't commit to the technical training we offered him.
  7. Jacob and I understood technical development was taking a long time, Justin had other responsibilities/investments, and when we did talk, he continued to say he was interested and would come up with new potential paths.
  8. I continued networking locally throughout 2016-2018, by June 2018 unresponsiveness reached a breaking point and we began looking for other partners.
  9. In autumn 2016, reconnected with family based on questions I wanted answered and observing positive change from them.
  10. I registered for Chartered Financial Analyst exam during this time, didn't properly study.
June 2018-Present
  1. Based on the Panama networking I'd done and JFW's technical development14, we pivoted to explore opportunities locally.
  2. While we've brought on clients, a relationship development hang up has been lack of publishing/public presence.
  3. JFW has solid outline of essay describing design philosophy/goals of Gales Linux since July 2018, but yet to publish15.
  4. Guide clients in transitioning from fast food computing culture to home cooking computing. Learn command line, minimize complexity in system, compile everything from sauce.
  1. As I was typing, I couldn't help but expand/clarify some points as the thoughts arose. Perhaps I should have asked, but it seemed silly to not capture the improvements here. []
  2. Please pardon there's not proper sourcing and referencing. When I add meat to the bones below references there will be in all their glory ! []
  3. Enumerate goodness. []
  4. They want you to call it Barbados. []
  5. What we ? []
  6. Of course it was my responsibility to find via due diligence. []
  7. Coinapult and Bitinstant grew together, from same Manhattan office. Erik worked Bitinstant prior to Coinapult. []
  8. Ira recommended the most passive person, Gabe Sukenik, from Coinapult v1 to figurehead Coinapult v2 to the new owners. I reckon Ira imagined he'd steer from the outside. Gabe grew some teeth, but didn't know how to use from previous passivity, thus tension. []
  9. OpenBSD was still relatively well regarded in the forum at the time []
  10. In short term []
  11. By then he was running multi-family office, had numerous IPOs in Canadian markets, etc. []
  12. By mid 2017 Ira had abandoned his, I stopped communicating with him and Jacob said he'd take on the development. []
  13. The most serious was Jake Cormack, COO of Cantor Fitzgerald, HK and Justin's partner on several deals. Jake managed GPG key and IRC connection. []
  14. I first installed Gales Linux in autumn 2017 and synced TRB node []
  15. Autumn 2018 shifted to Gales Scheme development in lieu of publishing; January 2019 decided to do a review of system prior to publishing, review of completed June 2019. []

October 25, 2019

Taking my blogging lumps and asking for help.

Filed under: Ego — Robinson Dorion @ 17:42

I made the claim in the #ossasepia forum that it'd take me five articles to cover my intellectual and ideological development from 2010 to the present to be delivered by Sunday, October 27th. The periods I had privately outlined were:

  1. January 2010-January 2012: Extracting toxic university from my life as an intellectual awakening.
  2. January 2012-January 2014: Starting at the ground floor of a startup bank I thought was changing the world, while moving to foreign lands with a stranger who became a brother.
  3. January 2014-March 2015: After identifying Bitcoin as a parallel system without the inherent flaws of fiat financial system, taking a job with what turned out to be a fiat company pretending to Bitcoin, Coinapult (archived).
  4. March 2015-May 2016: Reading about Actual Bitcoin Corporations, and a whole lot else, while becoming rapidly disillusioned with my work with a another pretender, a software consulting spin-off from Coinapult, Deginner (archived).
  5. May 2016-October 2019: Investing in what I believe to be a strong technological arm, while keeping the political arm in a cast by embodying the coy failure modality to presently working to eviscerate the inner coyote.

I published the first article Sunday evening, which clocked in at just over 3k words, going by the mp-wp counter.

As Diana Coman noted: dorion: your text is quite dense and at times touching on several directions at once but at any rate, it seems useful to you especially if you never took the time before to look at it all in a more structured way.

It was useful for me and my thought had been, I'll work through getting these dense, multi-directional articles out, then recurse to drill into the density of the various topics as I develop the blog. Fast forward to 2.5k drafted words into article number two by Wednesday noon. While I managed to describe the trials and tribulations of settling into a foreign land and the weak asset custodial structure that lie at the foundation of Euro Pacific Bank, I wasn't even half way through my outline. Is this about to explode into a 5-6k word article ?

Two thoughts then came to mind, the first being, "is this compressed memoir path I chose a continuation of the coy avoidance of conversation?" ; that is, the stupid internal protection mechanism I've submitted to Young Hands to help kill. After all, in an article, the author is in control of the information flow, while in a conversation, questions can and will be raised midstream to disrupt the flow.

The second being, the point / focus of submitting to being a Young Hand is sustainable growth. Is 15 or even 10k blog quality words in a week remotely sustainable for the blogging n00b I am? While I'm satisfied1 with my first article, it was Dunning-Kruger stupidity to think I'm going to write quality articles in a dense multi-directional fashion at a sustainable pace given I've not scratched with regularity, let alone mastered, the simple article.

Where does this leave me then ? While I've not yet properly outlined the article list2 of chewable chunks to document my past 10 years3 and thus, have yet to make an estimated delivery time, I am committed to finishing the job at a sustainable pace. In terms of my Young Hands application, I infer this failure means I've lost whatever control I had of the process and it's now in Diana Coman's choice. I would gladly accept to provide her context about me through conversation as Jacob Welsh did, but that carries its own costs to her. In the meantime, this is me failing forward by attempting to act out the Page Boy's Pledge.

"So help me my own intelligence and cursed be my own stupidity that is holding me back."

  1. Given my noo0b level. []
  2. Since my priority presently is to make note of my failure. []
  3. Which must also pull in prior context. []

October 21, 2019

Simple Steps Part 1: School Spirit

Filed under: Ego — Robinson Dorion @ 04:57

This is the first in a series of articles which will document the path I carved to the chair I'm seated in today, in Panama City, Panama.

The path was first summarized publicly in the #ossasepia log, in response to my application to take The Pageboy's Pledge and become a Young Hand for Her Ladyship the Marquess Eulora, Diana Coman, WoT : diana_coman, but some context was left out, let's begin to fill it in.

In January 2010, I found myself in a University Mary Washington economics class structured around debating economic policies. The assignment at hand was to argue either for or against the minimum wage, Resolve: The correct minimum wage is $0.00. The professor seeded some citations arguing both sides. For the affirmative, he linked a 10 minute video of a fellow, who turned out to be Peter Schiff, sitting in an office explaining how the minimum wage destroyed the American Samoan economy.1 I was interested both by how I'd never heard the case against the minimum wage effectively argued and how logically and seemingly effortlessly he delivered the argument.

Over the coming months, I learned the logic Peter demonstrated there wasn't a fluke; he'd taken plenty of arrows in the back from the socialist savages on lamestream media networks prior to the 2008 financial crisis for correctly pointing out2 "the real estate boom" was actually a big, fat, stinking speculative bubble fueled by price controls of interest rates and moral hazard perpetuated by the central bank propaganda bureau. That a recession is not the problem, a recession is the necessary price and resource allocation adjustment for correcting the malinvestment made during the bubble. That to fight a recession with further inflationary price distortions only causes a bigger bubble to form and means a deeper recession is required to purge the additional malinvestments.

Thus, it can be said, January 2010 was when my personal US-centric bubble burst3 and deflation and working through the initial phase of recession would take several months. Up to that point in my life and during that spring semester, athletics were the central focus of my life and identity. The 30 hours weekly minimum commitment to baseball, on top academic requirements, standard UStarded university binging and general youth being wasted by the young resulted in me not really getting the implications of what Peter was forecasting until about May, when after watching documentaries such as, The Dollar Bubble and Melt Up, which feature him, I said, "Holy shit, we're fucked." What did this mean for myself, family, friends and the entire paradigm which I'd grown up in ? Whatever it meant, I knew I had to pay closer attention and change.

Summer 2010 was the first time since before I can remember not playing baseball, which gave me the experience of getting out of the athlete rhythm and provided more time and space to grapple with the potential consequences of the federal reserve note being proper fucked. By the end of the summer, I told my parents I was likely quitting baseball to focus on preparing myself for the real world. My old man was rattled to hear that, which for my immature self wasn't easy to process, but I said it and meant it.

Looping back to January 2010, I had decided to add a minor degree in Spanish to my economics major and use that autumn to study in Spain. Living outside the USian bubble for the first time was extremely healthy on a lot of levels, including further disrupting the athlete rhythm. My god was it nice to live in Europe! I took Spanish classes at Universidad de Deusto, across the river from the Guggenheim in Bilbao and boarded with an Andalucian lady whose place was a couple blocks from the beach. I visited San Sebastian, Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid, Toledo and London among some other sites in Vizcaya whose names now escape me.

My intellectual life was allocated between learning Spanish and consuming all the Peter Schiff material I could. I read his three books, How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes, Crash Proof, and The Little Book of Bull Moves in Bear Markets a couple times each, subscribed to his newsletter and when he started his daily call in radio show that November I became a daily listener. The radio show was quite stimulating as while he discussed markets daily, the scheduled guests and listener calls touched Philosophy4, Politics5, History6, Education7, and Economic Theory8. Meanwhile, gold and silver were on a ripping rally9, and I watched my USD savings lose ~15% against the Euro watered down Deutsche Mark falling from ~$1.22/EUR in June to ~$1.40 by October 2010. My thinking was on the one hand, this dollar collapse situation is frightening, but on the other hand, if I commit myself to understanding the situation for what it is and capitalize on the change a fortune could be mine.

I was energized to commit myself to study for the first time and returned to universtitty in January 2011 excited to engage my professors and extract the most value I could from the experience and extra time available as a full-time student, rather than my previous life of full-time athlete working in studies when convenient. In addition to whatever books they assigned me, I filled my shelves then my mind with titles from Peter's recommended reading list10, including Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal by Ayn Rand11, The Road the Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek and Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis12 by Ludwig von Mises. Nevertheless, the enthusiasm and hope with which I entered the semester quickly transformed into disgust fueled anger as I realized these so-called professors were dedicated to socialist propaganda13. I decided I wasn't going to regurgitate their propaganda and used the assignments to apply what I reasoned to be true14. By the end of the semester I concluded : a) going to class was taking away from my education, b) the university environment was toxic, c) online courses with the Mises Institute were a couple hundred bucks,15 and d) the businessman I aimed to work for didn't care about some paper16. Meanwhile silver and gold continued to tear USD purchasing power to shreds with silver piercing $50 per the ounce as the spring's buds were blossoming.

I made a verbose written appeal to my parents explaining the situation and to at least take a semester off and work, continue studies through the Mises Institute, etc, to which I received the reply from dear old Dad, "You will get your degree." I didn't accept this and made a call into Schiff Radio May 2nd17 to serve Peter a softball question framed as seeking career advice I knew he'd hit out of the park in my favor about the value of a university degree. Armed with a conversation with the man I aimed to work for supporting my position, I returned to Vermont for a couple months. The first book I read when I arrived on a suggestion from a university girl who listened was The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand and I'll be damned, it was as if it was written to me : Howard Roark laughs at idiot professor who failed him out of architecture school for not regurgitating idiocy and decides he'll go work for an outcasted Master who shared his philosophy and would help him develop his skills of expression. I barely put the book down until it was read and by the end of the first week back, the parents had accepted my plan to replace the fall semester with an attempt to get an internship with Euro Pacific Capital, Schiff's brokerage.

And now for a brief interlude : "Told'em, 'I finished school, started my own business.' They said, 'Oh, you graduated ?' 'Nah, I decided I was finished. Chasin' ya'll dreams and what you got planned, now I spit it so hot you got tanned.'" - Kayne West, College Dropout, School Spirit18.

That summer I had a job as a caddy at a Hamptons country club on Long Island, New York. The pay ranged from $20-$5019 an hour and was my first regular exposure to upper class Americans, who included executives and principals from a range of industries from finance to media to law to booze. Whether correctly or not, interacting with these folks gave me confidence I could compete in their world20.

When I wasn't carrying golf bags, tending pins and raking sand traps, I took several online classes through the Mises Institute, which covered texts such as Rothbard's Man, Economy and State, Hazlett's Economics in One Lesson, Mises' Theory of Money and Credit and spent a week in Auburn, Alabama at Mises University21. I also read Rand's Atlas Shrugged, half a dozen Ron Paul books, and an English translation of Bastiat's The Law22.

Despite applying and even showing up without an appointment to the Westport, CT office, I didn't manage an internship that fall. Instead I worked the course23 until Halloween and continued my studies. I returned to Vermont in November and upon parental prodding, George Mason University accepted me as a transfer for the spring semester. I chose GMU because they had a more free market oriented faculty.

November and December 2011 were the most precious months I had to date. I had no external commitments and awoke early everyday to chew through the backlog of study I had laid out for myself. Sit and read Rothbard or Mises all day, I did. That period is also when I dove into Stefan Molyneux's books and Freedomain Radio podcast. On the one hand Stef showed me the Statist gun in the room24 opening me up to anarchocapitalism and on the other hand he focuses heavily on self-knowledge and bringing integrity first and foremost to personal relationships. The latter point on relationships I had taken very much for granted up to that time, but in the years to come would have profound impact in my life.

January 5th, 2012 I was 9 days from making the move to Langley, VA to enroll at George Mason. After supper, I listened to that day's Schiff radio to learn Peter was accepting applications for sales people to help him launch his newly established Euro Pacific Bank in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, one of the requirements being non-US residency. I was filled with energy and immediately talked to my parents about applying, which they certainly resisted. One point I raised was I was about to move to the belly of the police state, which trigged my Father's temper causing him to walk out of the conversation yelling25. Anyways, I sent my application the following morning, along with analyses of Euro Pac's mutual fund strategies in the context of Austrian theory.

My move date was January 14, so I did all my packing the morning of the 12th. I laid down for a siesta early afternoon, to be awoken by a call from Mark Anderson, the President of Euro Pacific Bank, in which he negative sold me to test if I really wanted to leave USia for a commission only, no moving fees included, bring your own computer, need six months savings to give it a chance, are your parents going to let you26 etc. I remember talking with him for half an hour or so at which point, at his demand, I'd get back to him after talking to the parents. I got back to him the next day to learn next steps.

My next article will cover taking the job, moving to a foreign land with strangers, working the business and then leaving it after having more bubbles burst.

I decided to provide this context for the move from USia decision at this juncture because it didn't happen in a vacuum, it had priors27. If I didn't go to Spain, would I have quit baseball ? If I didn't quit baseball, would I have quit school ? The answer to those questions isn't clear, but demonstrates the importance of choosing the thing that needs to be done, the right thing at each juncture. Every decision you take changes your situation. If I'd not quit school in spring and picked up Benjies28 off the golf course throughout the summer and autumn, I'd not have been in position to take the job come January. For all I know, if I stayed in school I'd have had an Everclear29 bottle sucker smashed over my head at a party that autumn because some pantsuit got all triggered because I laughed and called him and his family tax slaves when he claimed freedom30. That could've been the end of me, but acting out enumerated goodness resulted in the potential of that poor outcome being killed, rather than yours truly. Was it easy to make the right choice then ? Was it comfortable ? Fuck no, but it was simple.

  1. The short story is the price fixing priced the Samoans out of the global market, wrecking their one industry : tuna canning. Unemployment was widespread and prices sky rocketed because without tuna to export and pay for imports, ships leave empty rather than with tuna. Moral : if for whatever reason you want to help the tuna canners, pay your tuna canners what they're worth, not what you wish them to be worth. []
  2. and positioning himself and his clients on the short side []
  3. Not that it had reason to form in the first place and emerged from unexamined intellectual inertia. []
  4. What is the difference between economic freedom, i.e. owning the product of your labor, and political freedom, i.e. having franchise ? Would you rather not vote and not be taxed or "vote" and be taxed through the nose ? Hm ? []
  5. Primarily libertarian, free market principals, discussions of the US Constitution and its context, i.e. Federalist Papers and Articles of Confederation, and promoting Dr. Ron Paul while ripping regularly on the Hussein Bahamas regime. []
  6. Pretty much exclusively American history. At the time, Peter was the best scholar of America I'd encountered and made me appreciate being an American and motivated me to work to restore what had been lost. []
  7. He was the first person I heard say a modern university degree is essentially worthless due to the dilution of quality of accepted students and artificially inflated costs, both of which caused by government subsidization. []
  8. Which meant Austrian School and introduced me to The Mises Institute. []
  9. I sold my minimal share holdings in around September and bought metal. []
  10. Link previously at Euro Pacific Capital website since rotted. []
  11. A collection of essays by Rand and company, it was the strongest, most thorough explanation and case for Capitalism and also best use of the English language I'd come across, which was a bit of a mind fuck at first to be reading from a Russian lady. Notably, Alan Greenspan's Gold and Economic Freedom essay is included, in which he explains not only the inflation tax, but also the 1920s FED actions to prop the GBP causing the late 20s stock market bubble and subsequent and necessary crash. []
  12. In part, Mises deduced socialism must fail due to lack of market pricing mechanism to allocate resources. []
  13. I shit you not I witnessed a professor instruct a class to read aloud Das Kapital in unison like some cult, which promptly caused me to pack my things and walk out. []
  14. I applied this most notably in a macroeconomics final where the task was to write monetary policy recommendations in response to some crisis, to which I detailed why the central bank ought to be wound down, a re-institution of precious metals as money and slashing of the state were the only sane choices. To perhaps no one's surprise, the scum failed me. []
  15. You know the etymology comes from the Dollar, 371.25 grains (troy) silver (1792 Coinage Act), being worth a buckskin on the frontier ? []
  16. Even to the point of telling some people to lie on a resume to get past whatever filters the corporate HR has in place, lol. []
  17. Starts at 52m 20s mark on mp3 []
  18. For better and worse was for sure on my soundtrack of those days. []
  19. Tide dollars, of course. []
  20. To the various members who asked about me, I replied I was a student at the Mises Institute. Out of that number, none had heard of Mises, which I inferred as unfamiliarity with the virtue of sound money and free markets, since Mises and the Austrians are stout proponents of both. []
  21. This week was one of my most enjoyable experiences to date as I went from studying essentially by myself on an island to conversing with hundred's of free market people. While I felt I was the dumbest in the room, I noted I knew what I wanted to do with the information, while the more informed seemed to lack direction. []
  22. Despite my surname, my Québécois ancestors failed to pass down the language leaving me in my late 20s grasping to reclaim my cultural heritage, failed European colonies and all that. []
  23. The Esau comment wasn't exactly idle. []
  24. He operates from the non-agression principal, i.e. the initiation of violence violates property rights and is immoral and given the state has a legal monopoly on the initiation of violence, the state is immoral. []
  25. As fate would have it, he walked into the other room and turned on (TV is an emotional coping/avoidance mechanism) Freedom Hour by Judge Andrew Napolitano to promptly find a segment covering the increasing frequency of SWATing in "The Phreheheheeest Motherfuckin' Country on Earth". A win for the truth. To his credit he returned and apologized. []
  26. I reckon that was the moment where I stopped asking them. []
  27. There are various Republicans above my rank making their own exit plans, so I hope this helps. If my 21 year old self can do it, you obviously can too. []
  28. You know Franklin himself was a runaway ? That when he returned to Boston after earning his keep in Philadelphia he was damned proud to flash his pocket full of precious metals in the face of those Bostonians who had provisioned themselves paper bills ? Go read about it in his Autobiography, you and your English and whomever else has to listen to you will thank you. []
  29. Have to buy out of state, e.g. D.C., because Virginia prohibits the sale of grain alcohol. []
  30. That's partially based off a true story from the spring before quitting. No Everclear bottle was involved and no blows were landed on me, but when it's time to get out, it's time to get out. []

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