Hingham, MA, day thirteen, part II (actually Manassas battlefield visit 2018, day I)

Well.  That was a  bit longer drive than I expected…But the best of plans, they taught us at the Infantry Officer’s Basic Course at Fort Benning way back in 1986 will immediately turn to chaos once battle begins.  I’ve had that little lesson confirmed to me over and over in my adult life…”Improvise, overcome, adapt” doesn’t belong to the Marine Corps (sorry my Leatherneck friends – We doggie officers have been using it as long as you have, perhaps longer).

So I simply reversed my itinerary and went straight to Mosby’s Rock in Herndon, had a one-sided conversation with the ghost of one of the most legendary Rangers in Ranger lore (he was actually known as “The Gray Ghost” by his adversaries – If his ghost is in fact gray, he wasn’t present today – But then I like to think of Mosby, Rogers, and Darby much in the same way I think of the Infantry god: He’s always there, and he sees what you’re up to, and if he disapproves, he’ll make it known).

I sat right on that rock, as I always do, and pondered questions on all of the things I think I did wrong as an LRSD (Long Range Reconnaissance Detachment, a sub-specialty Ranger unit whose job is the opposite of Mosby’s – We were to insert without being detected, patrol our area of operations, moving our “base camp” (which just meant digging fighting positions in a new location every morning…most of our movement was done at night)) Team Commander.  These are the sort of things I’d love to discuss with formidable Ranger officers of the past like COL Mosby, for example…

Continue reading Hingham, MA, day thirteen, part II (actually Manassas battlefield visit 2018, day I)

Hingham, MA, day thirteen, part I – BTC woes

Before I head in the direction of Manassas, VA, I have a question about Bitcoin that I hope one of you can help me with.

Just like my 401K and my Sep IRA, I contribute a percentage of my income each payday to a secure, encrypted, hardware BTC wallet.  It’s a very modest contribution, but the price of BTC fluctuates so wildly that on a couple of occasions I’ve made +/- $1k in a day’s time – At one point I would have left any such accidental windfalls right were they were, in the most secure of secure wallets, because the price of BTC was rising daily, and it was a good short term investment.  It still is, actually, just a shorter term investment…When there’s a big bump in the price of BTC and I make a little money, I sell the profit immediately and deposit the cash into whichever of my retirement accounts is performing best at the time.  I keep 0.050000 (worth $413 at this moment according to preev.com – It may be worth only $200 tomorrow depending on what the price of BTC is, or it may be worth $500) BTC in an Airbitz wallet on my iPhone simply because Airbitz provides a list of brick and mortar vendors who accept BTC at the tap of a button, and based purely on the fact that I hate Apple’s guts and liver, if a brick and mortar vendor accepts BTC, I’d rather pay that way than with Apple Pay.

What vexes me (and this is what will lead us to my question) is how expensive the fees are when one buys BTC to deposit into a wallet.

Xcoins is fast and convenient, but they are just an exchange…When you buy BTC with your debit card there, you’re actually taking a peer-to-peer loan from some anonymous person on the Internet: That person sets their own interest rate (profit margin, really, since the transaction is instant and there’s no long term payment – The interest rate is deducted from the amount of BTC you actually receive, along with the fee Xcoins charges for brokering the transaction).  An example: I bought $300 worth of BTC last week to send to my oldest daughter’s Airbitz wallet (those shoes she just had to have, or she’d die, “…seriously Daddy, I’ll like totally die), and for a $300 BTC purchase on XCoins, I actually received $230 worth.  That’s insane, I’ll use good old Western Union next time and just send her cash.

Coinbase has so many problems I hesitate to even go into them – Most larger banks won’t allow you to purchase BTC with a debit card via Coinbase any longer (too much fraud and crime, I suppose), so you have to purchase it using an ACH or Wire Transfer from your checking or savings account, and the purchase takes 5-8 days to clear.  Usually, when folks buy BTC they need access to the cryptocurrency right away, making a purchase today and waiting gods only know how long the BTC will take to show up in your Coinbase wallet is unacceptable (though the exchange rate is locked in as of the minute of purchase, you don’t have to worry about exchange prices rising or falling).  They also take a fee when you purchase BTC and when you then then transfer them to one of your other wallets (nobody leaves money in a Coinbase wallet).  Finally, they are as slow as molasses in Winter regardless of what transaction you’re performing, and their service is unreliable – I get SMS messages from them once or twice a week that they are fixing this, that, or the other, and the site is unavailable until whatever it is is fixed.

LocalBitcoins is shady – My sense is that most folks who use it (and Paxful too) are only using those sites because they need  a way to purchase BTC quickly, without presenting ID, so that they can spend them on who knows what on one of the DN markets.  I don’t want anything to do with those exchanges, one of the three-letter agencies is going to come down on them pretty hard one day.

So here’s what I need to know: What’s the best, safest, legal, and fastest way to purchase BTC without paying 30-40 percent brokerage fees?  By fastest, let’s call it no more than 24 hours from time of purchase to BTC in my wallet.

Thank you in advance for any advice.  I’m off to Northern Virginia.

Hingham, MA, day twelve, part I

Winter Storm Skylar sure did f*** up the mail around here, my regularly scheduled deliveries of L-Arginine (Nitric Oxide booster, keeps one’s muscles full and “pumped” much longer than they normally would be after a workout) and Glutamine (recovery aid) were shipped on the 12th of March via USPS Priority Express (2-3) day delivery time.  Says USPS this morning:

The package is delayed and will not be delivered by the expected delivery date. An updated delivery date will be provided when available. Your item arrived at our BROCKTON MA DISTRIBUTION CENTER destination facility on March 15, 2018 at 1:15 pm. The item is currently in transit to the destination.

In my experience, since they haven’t provided an updated delivery date yet, I probably won’t receive the package until tomorrow.  That’s OK, today’s an off day from the iron for me, tomorrow is leg day, as long as I have them by then I’ll be fine.  I can imagine the piles of mail stacked up at the Brockton distribution center – There was NO mail delivery on Wednesday (USPS planes and trucks obviously weren’t moving because of the storm), and there’s been none since…Hell, two inches of snow in Georgia would cause the same sort of delay, we had upwards of twelve inches here on Wednesday, and the roads were impassible.

Stacked up with meetings from 0930 – 1200 today, then end of the week reporting…Should be an easy day, if a long one.  Who cares?  It’s Friday!  I’m not on call this weekend (that’s next weekend), so on the spur of the moment I’ve decided to visit Manassas (Bull Run) battlefield after tomorrow’s early workout, will probably spend the night somewhere in Northern VA and drive back up here to Hingham on Sunday.  Walking Civil War battlefields is an obsession for me, and I haven’t been to Manassas in some time – I’m long overdue for a visit to the Stone House and Mosby’s Rock.  Shame on any Ranger who visits the Manassas / Herndon area and doesn’t stop to commune with Mosby’s ghost.

Have a great weekend, all.

Out here.

Hingham, MA, day eleven, part IV

Oh, this is a good one.  Starting with the beginning quote from one of my favorite presidents of all time:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

And on to one of my favorite professional bodybuilders of all time, a Texas cop who managed to build a Mr. Olympia winning body in his off time, then improve on it every year to win the title eight years in a row:

Everybody wants to be a bodybuilder, but nobody wants to lift no heavy-ass weights.

Read the whole thing:

The 7 Lies That Will Keep You from Ever Reaching Your Potential

Hingham, MA, day eleven, part III

Well damn:

Antifa Radical Charged with Hateful Vandalism Raises Over $80k Thanks to L.A. Times Article. Ismael Chamu allegedly spray-painted people’s cars and fences with “F— White People” and other epithets.”

$80k?  Makes me want to buy a few cans of spray paint – But then again, given what I’d paint (epithets unnecessary) it probably wouldn’t result in a GoFundMe, the charges would stick and I’d have to do some time.  And then I’d refuse to shave my head and get a Swastika tattoo (my wife is a black lady, that s*** is against everything I stand for) or join up with the skinheads, the  black guys would shank me to death because I’d have no protection, and my wife would be a rich woman given all the life insurance I carry on myself.

Oh-oh.  She’s probably having Lowe’s ship a case of spray paint to me right now.

Hingham, MA, day eleven, part II

Of Not-So-Bad men and gym etiquette:

I suppose I’m still surly this week.  I went to the men’s room in between sets of standing dumbbell curls (thought I was going to puke – I killed my biceps today), and upon my return a pinch-faced woman about my age in skin tight leopard print tights was doing some sort of whack a** rotation stretching in front of the mirror, obviously fascinated with herself.  She’d placed a mat on the floor behind her, which I didn’t notice, as I was fascinated with her fascination with herself, and gods forbid, I stepped on a corner of her mat trying to get around her without being smacked in the face by one of her whirling arms…And she stops, turns to me, and pinching her face even further, says snippily “Can you not step on my mat?  You’re wearing sneakers.”  Then goes back to her routine.

Just damn.  Of course I’m wearing sneakers – so are you, lady, we’re in a gym!

So I snarled to myself through my final biceps sets, then completed my triceps training, gathered my sweater, towel, iPhone, and car keys, and as I had to maneuver my way around her and between a couple of Lifefitness machines on my way out of the gym, I noticed now she’s doing some sort of rabbit hopping thing – On the mat, wearing sneakers.

I couldn’t help myself.  I stopped next to her, and snapped “Hey – Can you not step on your mat?  You’re wearing sneakers.”

The look on her face almost soothed my rage at the “Assault Weapons” discussion they were having on the local Boston TV station during my triceps workout.  Almost.

Out here.

Hingham, MA, day eleven, part I

Just finished up an 0300 call with the boys in India…Hey, when life hands you lemons…


No one else is going to be in the gym at 0430, might as well have it all to myself.  The 25g of protein in the shaker cup is just to give my body something to work with while I train, I’ll force down 50g post workout with 25g of carbs to let it soak in.

Out here.