My Obsession with Uranus

From the time I was a child – I’ve been obsessed with space. In second grade, my science project was a 3-D map of the solar system. I spent a lot of time in the space section of the library and I can still tell you today that I pulled a lot of books from the 520s. I doubt that many people even remember what that is but in the 1970s and 1980s, we had things called card catalogs in the library.  Each book was sorted (and are still sorted – it might surprise people but we still have libraries and we still have books!) using the Dewey Decimal System. Each book was assigned a unique number and those numbers were then typed with the book title, name, author, and subject and filed in a huge cabinet that told you where everything was. It’s hard to even describe now. In any event, the books in the 520s were all about space and space exploration – in fact they still are. You can check.

Way back in those days – we had never seen Uranus. The planet. Not clearly. All we had were these fuzzy blue pictures with a couple of white specs on them. It was all we knew. Voyager One captivated us all with pictures of Saturn and Jupiter – I remember seeing them in National Geographic. This was before the Hubble telescope was launched. I mean, this was really ancient times.

Then, in 1986, when I was almost 15 – Voyager 2 hit the outer solar system. It gave us the first good photos of Uranus. 27 moons. Rings. Asteroid belts. A planet tipped on the side from some ancient impact. I remember reading some sci-fi story in a pulp sci-fi magazine (we used to buy magazines to read! I had subscriptions! Each was like a book!) about how Earth was a spaceship from a collapsed civilization from outside of the galaxy that smashed into Uranus on the way to the Goldilocks zone of our solar system (that area where a planet can orbit the sun and sustain organic life).

All of this by way of explaining why I am fascinated with Uranus. Oh, yeah – also because poddy humor. For those who are pronouncing it wrong, Uranus is said the same way as YOUR ANUS or to put that in the vernacular YOUR ASSHOLE.  I freely admit that as a 15 year old boy – puns, double entendre, and scatalogical humor all cracked me up – and as a 49 year old man – they still do. Maybe even more than they did then.

And here we are.

Six months ago – this almost half a century old geek bought into an NFT project called Punks Comic. Then, I bought into a bunch of other NFT projects hoping to get rich – it didn’t happen – I picked the wrong ones and/or had bad luck in my minting – BUTT (see what I did there), it turns out Punks Comic and Pixel Vault were a winner for me. Much to my surprise – the founders of the project kept growing and growing and growing it – they evolved a pixelated shoulders up portrait project into a comic book, then into a metaverse super-hero game with planets and heroes and villains. If I had been wealthy, I would have bought in much more heavily – but as it was – my little investment of roughly $2000 yielded some great returns (so far just lots of other NFTs) but among them – I minted a Metahero Villain from the planet Uranus.

Now, let me be frank – this, was at first, a deep disappointment. Mutants were immediately selling for 31 ETH. Heroes from Earth or Venus or Mars or Mercury or even Pluto were selling for 2-10x as much as a hero from Uranus. In fact, a Uranus villain – which is what I drew was pretty much the definition of the floor model. If I wanted to sell it, I would get pretty close to the lowest price available. I’d drawn a dud. But (I won’t do it again) – I had one shot and my superpower (in real life) is that I can create things, I can tell stories, I can build things, I can materialize things out of thin air and make them real. So, I listed my Metahero (a villain actually, more common than heroes) for as much as the most expensive piece had yet sold for and I decided that I would do what no one else was really capable of. I would create an actual fictional person and use this piece of art to represent him – for a time. A character, a protagonist. A piece of original intellectual property that was worth more than the entirety of the universe from which the placeholder art had come. In fact, I decided to use my character to define and create the entire universe!

Wow. Maybe I am a super villain after all. I sound like one.

One of the great features of these particular NFTs was that we own the IP that goes along with them. I immediately recognized that one of the great features of Uranus was that no one had told the stories of Uranus. There was no John Carter of Uranus. There were no movies about invasions by the Urani. There was no Princess of Uranus. There were no Men are from Uranus and Women are from Neptune. Uranus, largely because of the incredible innuendo that goes along with it has been left in literature and film just as it sat in astronomy in the 1970s – it was a fuzzy blue ball with a couple of white dots.

And – we live in the internet age and I’m working with NFTs – I immediately recognized that what others were considering to be the asshole of the universe was actually a huge goldmine honey pot. Memes, mother fuckers! Memes!

I got to work immediately. I created a separate Discord server, I started cranking out silly ideas like the rally call Up Uranus! and using the yellow fist in all of our responses. I wrote jokes and named my character Sly Doubt of Uranus – if you don’t get it say it out loud, if you still don’t get it read this in a booming voice “I, Sly Doubt of Uranus” – if you still don’t get it. That’s awesome. I had a flag made by a graphic designer. I created a ‘trading card’ template for my NFT art and other Metaheros (and villains).

A few visionary and degenerate souls were on the same wavelength as me. Doop, Jasper, DW77, Puck Uranus. The Brain from Uranus. Flare. Luchadad. The Bloot Miners. We began building. We invited people, we did raids, we created a fucking radio show! We had a YouTube Channel, a Twitter, a private Discord Server, a digital newspaper, and much more before most people had even considered that the intellectual property associated with these Metaheroes was worth more than the most expensive of them were selling for. Most people who owned these hadn’t even bothered to name them yet and we were already constructing the scenarios in which they would live, work, and die.

When Pixel Vault began selling planets to make money to build their video game, we saw it as a chance to expand. We love Pixel Vault, we want them to exceed everyone’s wildest expectations – but let’s be honest about something else here – if Pixel Vault crashes and burns to zero – what we are building will continue and will continue to build in value. What I am creating and what we are building is a universe that Pixel Vault can play in.

Hollywood is stale. Marvel, Disney, Star Wars, DC – it all leads to the same place. Sometimes a gem rises out of the big piles of shit they are squeezing out – but they keep doing it the same way – over and over. We, on the other hand, are building something brand new. It is funny, it is smart, and it is owned by no one.

I’m already well into writing the first novel of Uranus. It’s the origin of Sly Doubt.

“Sly Doubt of Uranus. The History of a Lovable Asshole.” and I’ve decided to make the chapters into individual limited edition NFTs as I write the novel. I am going to make the artwork I use to represent Sly Doubt (for a time) the most valuable piece in the entire Metahero Universe. I am going to make Uranus the most valuable planet in Hollywood. We are building a franchise here folks. Make no mistake about it. Uranus is huge.

Welcome to Uranus. Welcome to Ouranus.


NFT Updates – BJDC, Market, and NFT Holdings

It’s been a wild couple of weeks in crypto and NFT-land.

Bald Jesus Drinking Club Update

The Bald Jesus Drinking Club continues but is a slow burn. It’s funny, I’m pretty positive that if I’d have been able to launch it a month earlier – it would have sold out in 24 hours. As it stands right now, we haven’t yet been able to even sell 25% for a variety of reasons.  First is that (and I take responsibility for this) – I did zero marketing and zero paid promotion. I sincerely thought that the idea of fractionalizing a piece of land in Hawaii would drive sales – especially with tokens only around $150 each.

That leads to the next issue – Ethereum gas fees went through the roof pretty precisely at the time of our launch. The affordable $150 (.04 ETH) tokens I hoped to sell spiked up to as much as $1500 with 90% of that being gas fees. Nobody wants to pay 10x the price of something with 90% of it being taxes and fees.

Finally, the reason why gas went so high was because suddenly there were 10-20 new high profile projects with marketing and hype driving people into frenzies. This hasn’t stopped. I’ll get into all those projects in a few minutes but first I want to address everything I’ve said above.

I’m not worried that we haven’t sold out. This is a slow burn project and that is fine. With the revenue from the sales so far I was able to pay out all the developers and contractors who assisted and worked on the project. In addition, I was able to pull enough from the contract to start putting together our business structure – ‘The Bald Jesus Cult’ – yes, we’re going to call it that. I’m going to endeavor to make it a tax free religious organization. If Bob Dobbs, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and the Dude can make religions and be religious figures, I don’t see why Bald Jesus shouldn’t be. The people who did buy BJDC tokens are cool and willing to be patient. There hasn’t been a single person who has suggested sweeping the floor, asked ‘Wen Moon?’ , or made issues about the pace of progress. This makes me incredibly sure that I will enjoy drinking a beer with these people in Hawai’i when we get this all put together and working.

One of the things I didn’t expect from this project was the deep sense of responsibility I feel towards the people who invested in it. I won’t rug, I won’t disappear, and I won’t let you down. We are all gonna make it. 100%

Crypto Markets

The crypto markets appear to be taking off. Bitcoin is pushing towards breaking the all time high and if things go as they usually do – ETH and then alt coins should follow. As a result of this, a lot of NFTs are being sold as people buy into the crypto markets. This has created a lot of downward pressure on prices of some really good projects. This combined with the many many many major projects being launched has created a liquidity crunch for many people (myself included) – where we are trapped in projects we really believe in long term that are selling far below where we bought in. Only a loss if you sell, but it still doesn’t feel good and creates a strange psychological pressure on holders.

The Many Many Projects

Big projects used to happen once or twice a week – lately there are one or two a day and many of them are not going well. Metasaurs had a screwed up launch where people who promoted  and supported the project to get white-listed were left out to dry. The Boonji launch was upended by spam bots and postponed. Mekaverse launched to huge numbers only to have people realize that all the rare and valuable offerings had been handed to known wallets – in other words, people got scammed. Even respected projects like Pixel Vault’s Metaheroes and Gutter Cat Gang’s 3rd and 4th species reveal weren’t without controversy as PV’s planet sale had insiders seemingly front running the sale of Pluto and GCG stuck half their users with big breasted pigeons and gave the other half fierce looking dogs – a price disparity of more than an ETH on the floor prices. There have been art projects and AI projects and projects by adult magazine cartoonists and projects by known NFT artists and the bottom line is – it has been too much for me (or most people) to keep track of.

That being said – I’ve watched a few people in insider groups I’m in (Alpha Groups) get positively rich in the past few weeks from starting with about $10k or so. Meanwhile, I picked different projects – and didn’t get rich. Lol. But, maybe with time my picks will yield rewards. I hope so.

Projects I’m Holding

I’m likely not going to invest in anything else until some of what I currently hold yields rewards of some sort. Also, a word of caution. I feel like we are in that stage where everyone is denying that we have entered an actual bear market for NFTs. This is like the period from Feb-Jun with altcoins back in 2018. Things will pump, lots of profit to be made if you are in at the right time and out at the right time – but I’m lousy at that. I think for this moment, being in solid projects with people you like and feel a connection to is the only way to go. Personally here are the projects I feel confident about that I’m currently in:

1. Pixelvault & Metahero. I’m including Monkeybets in this group.
3. Raini Lords of Light
4. Doctor Who Worlds Apart
5. Impact Theory
6. cMyKatz – I just trust this dev. and love what they are doing.
7. Dotdotdots – I still feel like this could be Banksy
8. Buzzed Bear Hideout – There is hidden value in BBH
9. On Chain Monkeys / FLOW – I love what they are doing.
10. BYOP and MTA – These are my Metaverse play and I feel like they are connected.

Additional Projects:

I’m also in Deadheadz, BOTB, GCG, Nifty League, HoK, and a slew of others that I hope will win but don’t have the same certainty about. They could all be losses – total losses. And – I can certainly be wrong – in fact, I often am.

It seems like Creatures, Cool Cats, Cryptoadz, Anonymice , VeeFriends , and a few others are probably all going to make it in the long term. I’m just not in those. I missed them.

I’m in a fair number of strange speculative spaces – Spottie Wifi (blockchain rapper), Tiki Festival (blockchain music festival), GG (Art Collective), Heaven Computer (I can’t quite describe it), Pixelglyphs (blockchain code as art), Cubeverse (generative geometric art), Aivatars (generated fake people giving AI generated answers) , Template (hard to explain), Genetic Chain (again, generative geometric art) – just kind of innovative and adventurous ideas that I hope make it.

And…then there’s the purely for fun category. Cheap, bright, funny, fun, projects: One Day Bae, Hobo Beards, Bear Market Bears, Bloot, Invaders – I really don’t expect these to make it in terms of money, but somehow I think they will all survive because they are fun and cheap and I like the art and communities.


God, that’s a lot. If you want to talk about any of these or get links to their project pages or Discords – come ask for them in my Vagobond Discord server. We’ve got a fun community forming there of people who like NFTs, travel, and more.

The Bald Jesus Drinking Club – Own a Slice of Paradise – More than an NFT

As many of you know – I created the Bald Jesus project on a bit of a whim. It’s been an amazing journey. The end game of all of it was to learn the ins-and-outs of the NFT space – and on that level it has been an astounding success.

The ultimate achievement that I was aiming for when I began was what is now before us – a generative Ethereum based NFT project built on my art that would be used to create an innovative non-profit membership organization – and which would buy a piece of land on the Big Island of Hawaii for all the members.


Welcome to The Bald Jesus Drinking Club!

I envision a time when members of the club get together on our Hawaiian property to drink mai-tais and single malt scotch while enjoying the perfect weather in Hawaii. Tilt your glass and imbibe the holy spirits with us!

I’ll write more later – but at the moment, I’m incredibly excited and doing a million things at once!

@everyone Please excuse my excitement but this is the culmination of a lot of work. Aloha Everyone – BALD JESUS DRINKING CLUB mint is LIVE!!!!!!!! 777 Unique Generative Jesii – please join me in imbibing the holy spirits! If you can spread the word – I will be forever grateful!

I know there are some of you that aren’t trading with ETH / Matic on Opensea yet – when you sign up – please use my referral link:

Hamm and the Bear Market Bears – An Artist, A Project, A Mission

The Bear Market Bears are Here!
The Bear Market Bears are Here. Mint yours at

Andrew Hamm is on a mission.

“The nft space is the world I live in now and I want to build a thriving community that helps its members and encourages people. I will be here every day, that is what sets this community apart.”

Hamm is an artist and illustrator from Halifax, Nova Scotia but now lives in New York. Originally he went there to be a stand up comic but quickly realized that art was where his heart had always wanted to be. He drew a cartoon and posted it on his Instagram feed every day for a year before he began submitting his work to The New Yorker magazine. After another year, they finally published one of his submissions. Hamm has several superpowers – two of them are consistency and perseverance.

Hamm’s first cartoon was published on his birthday. From that day forward he found commercial success with publications such as, The Guardian, and The New Yorker. His work has also been seen in High Times Magazine and widely on the web … but commercial success as a cartoonist means needing a second or third job. Selling cartoons has rarely made anyone wealthy. The ones you know about are among the few. Life as a working artist was a struggle – especially with a family to support.

Like many, it was during the pandemic that he became aware of blockchain, then crypto, then NFTs. His first awareness of the power to control his own financial destiny was through watching the GameStop saga unfold. This led to stocks, then crypto, and finally NFTs, a journey Hamm describes as going from terrible to less terrible to pretty good.

His start was rough – he helped develop a collection for FM Gallery, a Chinese NFT platform that fizzled with the advent of the Nifty Gateway/Beeple craze. Old school cartoonist and artist friends ridiculed his choice to enter the NFT space, but Hamm didn’t let that stop him. Realizing that working for other people was the opposite of how to make it as an artist, he developed his own project, taught himself to code so that he could create a layering program, and recruited a team to build the next big thing. A big thing that was the antithesis of the big pump and dumps and celebrity cash grabs that have been happening in the NFT space. Thus was born the Blazed Cats which raised over $300,000 for mental health on the launch and continues to raise money for mental health causes. Blazed Cats was the first NFT project featured in High Times. Blazed Cat holders were given 0xHeads as companions a month later.

Shortly after this, Hamm inadvertently downloaded a malicious virus that asked him to enter his seedphrase into a fake metamask page. The result was that his prized Cool Cat, his favorite NFT, was stolen from the wallet. Not having enough spare ETH to buy back into the project, Hamm channeled his anger into creating his own version of Cool Cats – the Bear Market Bears. The Blazed Cat team was having some internal strife and Hamm used the opportunity to start putting together his dream team of people he wanted to work with for the Bear Market Bears.

Blockchain and NFTs have changed Hamm’s life. As a result, a part of the motivation for creating them was to teach kids about this emergent technology and to help people avoid making mistakes like the one that cost him his Cool Cat. Bear Market Bears will be a fun avatar project, an educational platform, and a community for building the future together.

What’s next? In addition to remaining fully committed and present with Bear Market Bears, Hamm is hard at work on a project he calls ‘The 100k Free NFT Project’. It involves layering male and female punk traits to make new jpegs and will be launching sometime in the coming months.


The Many Kinds of NFT Projects

There are so many choices and options right now in terms of NFT projects. For this post, I’ll look pretty strictly at projects on the Ethereum blockchain – but there are equivalent projects being developed or taking off on ADA, Solana, Ravencoin, and more.

The best of these projects incorporate aspects of all of these. The most top of mind examples are Pixel Vault which has avatars, daos, game (coming), tokens, staking, and much more. Bored Ape Yacht Club. I’m also betting on the future of Raini Lords of Light (game, staking, defi, art drops) , Doctor Who-Worlds Apart, Non-Fungible Heroes, and Buzzed Bear Hideout. Many of the other projects I’m interested in (Monkey Bets and Ape DAO) are offshoots or aligned projects.

I find myself getting into several different kinds of crypto/nft projects lately. They are:

  1. Avatar/pfp projects – I’m pretty well done getting into new ones of these and generally look for a good reason to get in that is more than just fun/funny/amazing art
  2. Communities – things like BAYC and MetaHeroes or Gutter Cat Gang – vibrant active communities that support each other
  3. Games – things like Influence Asteroids, Lords of Light, Doctor Who
  4. DAOs – decentralized orgs that have a purpose – Ape DAO, Monkey Bets DAO, United Planets (Pixel Vault) DAOS
  5. Curated Drops – Good Guys, Holmo Viemiento etc.
  6. Generative art  – Genetic Chain, Pixelglyph, Cubeverse.
  7. Tokenomics/coins/defi Unstable Horses Yard,, Bulls on the Block,
  8. Innovative use of blockchain/nfts – Spottie Wifi, Deadheads, The Adventurers, Heaven Computer, Tiki Festival, Jenkins the Valet.
  9. Funky/quirky art communities One Day Bastards, Crypteriors, Invaders, Deebies and Mighty Manateez
  10. Metaverse stuff – I’m kinda late to this and missed out on a Metaverse Jetpack which was a big win even though I was whitelisted for it. With all of these communities and projects – liquidity is the big issue and also I don’t have the ability to play whale games by buying up big mints or speculative bets.

God – there is so much happening in NFTs and blockchain right now – what did I miss?

The Bald Jesus NFT Project – An Update So Far – The First Three Months

Bald Jesus as born back in May when I suddenly saw NFTs taking off and realized that I could probably build an NFT, a community, and maybe a brand in the chaos that was happening in the NFT world. I’d gotten involved starting with Doctor Who – World’s Apart in November of 2020, then with Godzilla on Wax, and finally with some Ethererum projects. “What should I make?” I thought. “Maybe I have a domain name I can do something with.” I’d bought quite a while before. I thought it was funny. I mentioned what I wanted to do in the Doctor Who Discord. I was encouraged by some and others were (I think) a bit offended by the name.

I drew my first Bald Jesus (BJ) and set up a WordPress site at on free hosting. I set up a Twitter account. Now I needed to learn how to set up a Bald Jesus Discord server, how to mint with BJ NFTs on WAX, how to get white listed on Atomic Hub, how to mint with Bald Jesus on Ethereum, and how to build a community, create drops, mint a generative project, and turn a wacky idea into something.

From the beginning until now, none of this would have happened without the support and love of the crypto and NFT communities. I’ve had help from people who wanted to help our project and from people who just wanted to help me. I’m eternally grateful. From the beginning I knew that I wanted to build a new kind of project – something that was both commercial and communal, cooperative and profitable, something that would allow for innovation and rewarding hard work, while also building a cooperative community. We have a long way to go – it’s only been three months – but when I realize that and then look at what we (to a larger extent) and I ( to a lesser extent) have accomplished – my mind is blown. None of this would have been possible without the community giving me support, helping me to learn, and also, in some cases, helping me when the lifting was too much for one person – but, that being said, one of my super powers is bringing things to life from the idea stage and another one is carrying loads that are seemingly impossible for one person – but that being said, I wouldn’t have made it without all of those who have been there for me on this journey so far. I could not have done this alone.

One more thing before I jump into the timeline so far – we’re just getting started!

6/12/2021 – First BJs minted on Wax. The Bald Jesus Discord was born. First Bald Jesii were drawn by @vagobond (aka @cryptopherjones & BaldJesus#1) 2nd Bald Jesus drawn by Gacha Sophia (aka Mushroom BJ) 3rd Bald Jesus drawn by Funestation (aka Velociraptor BJ)- a key ally in the beginning who I’d met through the Doctor Who Discord.

Whitelisting on Wax and Atomic Hub. Drop site created on Nefty Blocks.

Bald Jesus Collective formed and Bald Jesus Wax Vault established to hold all Bald Jesus #1s from our Wax Collection.

6/28/2021 Bald Jesus Collective (BJC) Membership opened up to anyone who drew a Bald Jesus and donated it to to the BJC. 1000 BJ Artists initiative begins. “ #1000-BJ-Challenge Here’s the challenge. Encourage 1000 artists both new and aspiring to submit one original piece of BJ art to the Bald Jesus Collective with all rights and privileges. All 1000 artists become core members of the Bald Jesus Collective DAO (along with Staff and project boosters/contributors) Mint those 1000 pieces of Bald Jesus Art on OpenSea as 1 of 1 NFTs. Sell them all at once as a huge drop. Not animal prints, not fucking pickles, but legitimate art of the most compelling bald character in history. We’ll drop them here. Each original buyer also becomes a member of the Bald Jesus Collective DAO for as long as they own the art. If they sell the art, they keep the proceeds and are no longer a member of the BJC-DAO. Secondary buyers do not become BJC-DAO members.. All proceeds and secondary sales will go into the BJC-DAO which will be managed and use decided upon by the BJC-DAO. Original contributing artists never lose their place unless they want to exercise the ‘Fuck this shit’ clause which allows them to cash out for 20% of their contributing art’s original sale price. Treasury funds can be used for projects agreed upon by the BJC-DAO membership.”

6/29/2021. First pack release. 100 members in Discord.

7/12/2021 First blends on Niftyblocks

8/10/2021 – We reached 100 Bald Jesii created by the BJC.

8/11/2021 Bald Jesus Major Arcana Tarot completed by Vagobond

8/29/2021 Metaverse 3-D Bald Jesus Gallery opened at

9/10/2021 Pack #2 released on Wax with pack art by Ammee

9/11/2021 Bald Jesus Tarot Reading packs released on Wax

9/21/2021 Bald Jesus Pack #3 released on Wax

9/23/2021 Our book of Bald Jesus Stories by BJ Artists is released as an NFT on OpenSea. Full book available at the link included in the locked field of the NFT. The cover has many of the original 114 Bald Jesii created by the members of the artist collective (the BJ Artists) – My Unsuccessful Jump into Marvel and Movie NFTs

In my house, I’ve started to use VeVe Me as a substitute for Fuck me. It works out the same way.

Update: After a solid week of no response beyond the boiler plate ‘We care about you and will get to you soon’ email after I filed a ticket, there is still now response from the ‘help’ desk at Veve. I went to the Discord server and asked if anyone else had suffered a similar problem and was treated pretty rudely by the community – they effectively said “Nah nah” and blew raspberries at me. Many of them told me that it was a normal issue and some of them told me I was stupid. One friendly user from a different server told me that it was common to have people get locked out and shared some advice from a moderator that had been given to someone else. No moderator responded to me or my request for help. Yesterday, I posted in the ask for help here channel and my request was ignored while other requests above and below mine were answered. Finally, today, I decided to make one last attempt before telling my credit card company I had been scammed and filing for chargebacks – I posted my login issue in the help channel and finally a friendly moderator responded. This piece of advice (using 10 characters instead of 8) finally allowed me to change my password successfully, but the 2FA to login had apparently been shut down in my failed login attempts. If this works, it will have solved 1/3 of my issues – but it will be at least progress. I had an assignment from a major publication to look at major ecosystems in NFTs, my editor has since said that Veve should be left out of my piece because my hatred for it was seeping through all of my writing on it. She’s not wrong. Update to Update: It didn’t work. Update to Updated Update: Someone in the Doctor Who Discord told me to try a different device. That combined with information below solved the login issue. I can’t buy or sell on the iPad however so unable to see if the original issue has been solved.

One of the biggest nightmares in the Ethereum ecosystem is the gas cost for every transaction. It’s so fucking expensive. I’m a minnow in this world but even so – my gas fees according to has been 3.842 Eth which in USD is a staggering $11,526! – and that’s just since I started using Metamask. It’s absolutely insane – almost $1500 of that was in failed transactions where someone else paid more gas than I did and ‘sniped’ the NFT I was trying to buy from right out under me. Gas wars are common with every big drop and despite the big hoopla that said the ETH update would solve the issue – it has only gotten worse. The NFT dropped by Time Magazine this morning saw gas go to new record levels – Thousands of dollars just to have the opportunity to buy an unrevealed piece of digital art. Seriously, WHAT THE FUCK ?????

So, I’ve decided to jump into some other NFT token chains, some controlled ecosystems, and a few different marketplaces. I’m already a part of a few of them – an established one that has been getting a lot of buzz and I decided to jump into this morning was

Veve has gotten the license to produce NFTs of the biggest blockbusters of our time, Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, Star Trek, Marvel and DC comics – and much more. It’s a mobile app based system where you guy gems for one US dollar each and then you participate in drops for comics and digital collectibles. Here’s some great info that came from Ian at our Intelligence Desk channel on the Vagobond Discord Server.

If you’re not familiar with VeVe, it’s basically digital collectibles that come in limited edition releases. They’ve been able to partner with some of the biggest franchises/brands going, including Marvel, DC, Star Trek, Ghostbuster etc… so many big names.

Everything is based around a smartphone App, and by using VR you’re able to see your collectable in your home. It’s pretty awesome.

When a new product is released they sell out in seconds… heck… sometimes it’s impossible to get anything they sell out fast! If you’re lucky enough to get the rarest stuff you’ll make a fortune on the marketplace.

You purchase using ‘gems’. 1 gem = $1. Note that at the moment you cannot withdraw your gems.

The product is not your traditional NFT. It’s all contained within the companies own ecosystem. It’s based on OMI.

Something worth noting is that the market is constantly up and down, so if you time it well you can sell high (which is usually immediately after the drop), then buy back low.

I decided to jump in. They do drops every Thursday morning at 5 am my time. I wanted to be ready so I set up the app on my phone, funded it with $120 worth of gems and then decided to buy something. I bought a Borg Cube for $80. The cool VR app allowed me to actually place it in my office space:

I was actually pretty excited. Then I woke up this morning, waited for the drop knowing it would sell out in seconds and smashed the buy button – to get repeated errors. Then it sold out. I tried to buy the comic in the secondary market for double the price. Still getting the error. I wrote to their support – and got a ticket number but no response. I decided to uninstall and reinstall, but my account credentials wouldn’t work. I tried to reset my password, it wouldn’t let me. So – at this point, I’m sitting and waiting – and no response yet. It’s been six hours. I feel like I just got screwed again in this space. I’m sure it will be resolved – and I’m sure that during the time it takes, the comic that this technical issue wouldn’t let me buy will grow to at least several hundred dollars.

I’m not sure why I always have these technical issues, but it feels personal. I’d like to file a complaint with whomever is running this motherfucking simulation.



NFT Advice from Some Pros – #1 – Investor Psychology

I’m fortunate to be involved in a couple of groups of people who I deem experts on the topic of NFTs and Cryptocurrency. It’s still kind of hard for me to get my head around the fact that I’ve flipped this site on it’s head and turned it into an NFT/crypto site – but when it comes down to it – I haven’t made any money from travel or blogging in a long time – and the enjoyment I’ve gotten from either is almost as distant a memory. So, for as much as I find the NFT and Crypto spaces to be frustrating, annoying, and stressful – I’m also more than a little obsessed with both. Also, I like to write – and in the world we live in – that’s a problem.

People consider this⬆️ above to be a ‘wall of text’ – unbelievable but true – so I’ll bring my longer form writing here and also share it in the Vagobond Discord. With that being said – here is some good advice.

This comes from two guys in our Intelligence Desk Channel:JaggerForReal and IncarnadineAubergine

Investor Psychology in NFTs:

Part 1:

Specifically NFT investments with large discord user base. At least 1.5 members:NFT ratio

Need to consider: internal and external factors. Internal factors are passionate group members who easily get FOMO. External factors are dispassionate investors, many of whom have the ability to mint way above average numbers of said NFT and only care about profiting off them.

Phases: 1 – pre mint. 2 – early access for ‘loyal/lucky group members. 3 – Public Sale. 4 – pre reveal period. 5 -reveal
Phase 1 everyone wants in, thinks they are going to be a millionaire, make a big gain. Dispassionate investors watch quietly, only looking at numbers
Phase 2 – Lucky group get to mint without gas war (this is the only group that pays close to mint price). Some will be happy to sell or list at 4x profit, which is normally the trading range. At the same time, group remains hyped, but normally ‘hold off’ on actually buying, as they still have the prospect of getting in at mint price (even though gas costs in reality make this unlikely)
Phase 3 – 4 public sale. The majority miss out. Dispassionate investors who are better resourced normally take a decent chunk of them. Initially the group is annoyed, but enough people get one and are excited, that FOMO prevails. After a brief period, floor rises, usually to just under 10x mint price. The passionate investors need their ticket to not miss out. The dispassionate/calculated investor holds a big stake, normally at 2.5-3x floor price paid.
Phase 5 reveal. Only about 10% from the collection are ‘special’. The Dispassionate investor see’s what they have, keep any good stuff and quickly sells average pieces at floor, this sends floor price down. 50% of Passionate investors panic, having spent (for them) a lot of money, and pursue the floor price down to not lose money. This causes further downward floor pressure, reinforcing the sell quickly strategy amongst the panicked. 50% say diamond hands. Floor can crash quite spectacularly.
These patterns are repeated in NEARLY EVERY drop Ive looked at. The buy/sell points ‘seem’ fairly clear. Timing the absolute floor can be difficult. The last one I looked at was the sevens, which dropped from 2.5 to 0.4
In this instance, a ‘whale’ minted 1000, but gave 500 back (dont know why, probably felt over leveraged). The team spent ages deciding how to distribute them to people who tried to mint. Naturally, this disincentivised buying, as why buy, when you still have a chance at the floor. I didn’t time my buy perfectly (0.5), but since distribution, buying has increased (there were 34k discord users), and I think this will only increase.
Other projects dont recover at all. Key is to look and appraise art, perceived demand, and what team plan on doing to see if worth buying in.

Part 2: 

I missed 4 months of NFTs but since April i joined here and basically shared my journey here asking and answering questions. It’s been amazing. I bougth 3 Pak Cubes for $500 each, now they peaked at 5 eth each last week or so. I mean solpunks, and punk comics are just 2 things i look at on my spreadsheet and my head spins. There will be dozens of opportunity, jus postion yourselves to know the industry inside out !!!!!

Spend your time analysing projects by: team composition (check their twitters, sometimes folks don’t realize a great person is on a team) team dedication even after initial pump and dump (they lined their pockets, they can piss off if they wanted) Study volume patterns of most projects and why they end up pumping and becoming blue chips (I’ll post the roboto example I showed my family member in a minute, it worked out, i looked like a genius) Find great sites to help you navigate the space. Do your own work, don’t solely rely on discords to help you find everything

DegenTracker – – Track which projects NFT influencers are aping into in real time. CryptoSlam! NFT data, rankings, prices, sales volume charts, market… An NFT industry data aggregator backed by Mark Cuban. Features project analytics, NFT values, rarity, scarcity, most popular collections, activity history & more. NFTs ranked and sorted by rarity. See the rarest CryptoPunks, Bored Ape Yacht Club, Hashmasks, Gutter Cat Gang and many more NFT collections. Dashboards Ethereum Ecosystem analytics by and for the community. Explore and share data from Ethereum Mainnet, Matic, Optimism and xDai for free. – NFT trends, price data & tracking Get the latest floor price, volume, & sales history on NFTs. Discover new projects being minted now & track portfolios.

Here’s the robotos example

See the initial pump and dump, followed by a liquidity test pump on 8th september… then a failed retest on the 13th, then the true pump. Most of them do this .. on their way to being a Bluechip, this should be enough homeworkz that chart is from cryptoslam site ii posted above, totally free.

Part 3:

It’s great being able to plan and have trades come to you, that’s the best way way if you ask me. And that’s just one strategy of many you should have under your belt :slight_smile: . That above example may have not been the best example as it pumped and dumped , but as you explore, you’ll see the pattern, so if you do get in one of these volume pumps, getting out (before the top) is as important as getting in early. You need to train yourself to sell on the way up, it’s not easily and it’s not human nature. It may pump much more, but who cares, just get in after it crosses your trend line and sell once you see any sign of weakness. Honestly, i did this for bayc here and posted it a few weeks back and just this week it’s getting popular on twitter now due to better tools being available. But even with all the tools like cryptoslam, icy tools, and others, this pattern should remain.

Here’s a good guy to view If anyone has thoughts, i’d love to hear. NFT Llama (@NFTLlama) What is your opinion on minting projects nowadays? I’ve had greater success buying projects after the initial mint selll-off stage and when volume begins to pick up – such as the chart below. This is where I enter the markets down below. I only mint blatant winners now wbu? Twitter•09/17/2021 He’s a pumper, but he’s also smart. lol ok, im gonna stfu, i’m having a week of relaxation, i’m burned out. Be healthy everyone !

Part 4:

Just wanted to share something that will also expose you to the nft marketplace on tezos, it’s called hic et nunc (HEN) and there is an artist who is named Shvembldr (alien clocks and alien insects on artblocks), but has tons of work on HEN. But anyways he produced a piece of art that you can use to create your own art. AND OMG ITS FUN scroll down to read the instructions, but to get you started ‘,’ changes canvas color press ‘t’ right away to get rid of lines ‘e’ allows you to start from somewhere else ‘v’ lets you change color feel free to experiment.. FREE to mess around and save your own artwork to your own pc (the art in the middle of my avatar is from this) press space to pause… and also mess with ‘chaos mode’ hic et nunc decentralized digital assets

Also since you guys mentioned profits, please please remember that we are in a bull market right now. Everything is up which makes everyone feel like a genius for buying in. The bear will come as it always has. The usual warnings apply, don’t invest more than you are willing to lose. Remember to cash out your profits or at least park some into stablecoins. No one really knows how nfts will perform in a bear market since the space is so new. My personal stance for nfts is, buy it if you like it. There’s many really nice artwork out there, but I wouldn’t pay 1k for a profile pic for example. I’d pay that for something I’d hang on my wall maybe. Don’t know how many of you guys are old enough in the space to remember the last bear market so just a friendly reminder

Oh yes I love HEN but sadly I’m too lazy to set up a tezos wallet. Shvembldr does some really cool work and if you get into his club u can get free mints of his stuff.

I was lucky enough to get to mint 2 alien clocks and bought a few afterwards, I didn’t think they would appreciate like they did, but i’m not whale enough to get into his club tho 😦 haha, get that tezos wallet, look at those tezzards tho. I see good things happening there.

My NFT buying/selling Journey

(note: If you’re not in the NFT space and don’t think in Ethereum (big person dollars) this will likely make no sense whatsoever – come join my Vagobond Discord Server and we can get you up to speed. ) 

I was thinking about and looking at the data for my NFT journey this morning before I jumped in any Discords or did any buying or selling.

My buying/selling journey started back in March/April with Punks Comic. I bought two of them.

I’d already been in Doctor Who for quite a while but this was my jump into ETH NFTs.

I bought two. I declined buying BAYC at .5 ETH because my family was forced to move by our landlord surprising us with an End of Tenancy Notice so money was a bit tight.

I scraped together enough to mint one each in a couple of mints which were picking up in number. I stayed up late picking the pirates I wanted in Pirate Treasure Booty Club. I got one. The next days were spent in an amazing treasure hunt with new friends. I was hooked on NFTs and Discord Communities.

But – PTBC started to fall apart – it was a slow rug but we didn’t know it yet. The other two mints I was able to get in on were Degenz and VOID (Visitors of ImmaDegen) – I minted floor models. Both projects ended up just being pretty blah and while not rugs, not making it. At this time the fucking pickles showed up. .01 for what was promised as a rug and ultimately was. I minted one. Floor model.

I saw the takeoff of BAYC – I wanted in desperately. I found one on OpenSea for .6 which was significantly under the floor price. I pulled the trigger, got the confirmation, went to the BAYC discord – and was informed it was a fake. Then Opensea delisted it. I was DEVASTATED. That was a lot of money for me.

I told my story in the Doctor Who discord and a kind woman who had recently minted a bunch of things called Gutter Cats sent me one – it was one of the kindest things I’ve experienced from a stranger.

I had watched while all my DWWA friends minted Bulls on the Blocks and Deadheads, the two projects I had passed over to get into Degenz and VOID. They both seemed to be going really well – my friends were selling their for 10x and 20x profits. My PTBC, VOID, and Degenz were all floor. The Gutter Cat sat at .18 for a long time. I minted a Lucky Maneki – again a floor model. The project made a lot of promises but wasn’t keeping them.

My friends with BAYC were killing it. The comics were stalled at .4 eth or something like that. I figured I had thrown around $5k away. My gutter cat gave me a gutter rat. The cat shot up to 1 ETH. I sold it. I bought a World of Women and a Curio Card. A guy had recently bought all the floor punks and when I looked in his wallet, I saw the WoW and Curio Card. Meanwhile, I passed on buying Cool Cats thinking they looked silly and simple.

I had landed a free Parallel Alpha Rug Poll card. I got my first offers .26 each for my curio card and my Parallel Alpha. I accepted the offers and got a shock at having to pay gas! Then I realized they had both taken off and I’d accepted 50% – even though it was profit for me of about 50% over what I’d paid – it was a losing move. Meanwhile BAYC was mooning and gave dogs to their holders. BOTB was giving bears. My Gutter rat was ugly and floor. I didn’t have any liquidity. I wanted liquidity. Everyone else was winning and I was losing. I bought a BOTB with my curio card money and a Deadhead with my Parallel Alpha money. I minted a bunch of things that didn’t go anywhere. Gutter Cat, Parallel Alpha Card, and Curio Card had started mooning now that I sold them.

Punks Comic started their burn and mintpass mechanism. I burned one for a PVFD and kept one to stake and claim physical comic with. The mintpasses started taking off.

WoW was mooning and I sold mine for 2 ETH finally getting some liquidity – but then I had FUD about not being in it and bought another for 1.45.

I sold a mintpass for 4.2. I bought a Mutant Ape for 2.9 sold it for 6.1 bought another for 4.8. Got a drop from the WoW and sold it for 2. Bought MonkeyBets, Buzzed Bears, BYOP, and took what was left and threw it into speculation from the PVFD channel. Bad speculation and bad mints. I bought a mintpass for thenext Gutter animal. I’ve minted and bought a lot of things – but the big issue is always missing out on the things that go up and going into the things that go nowhere and selling the things I have that go up!

I have wallets filled with NFTs at this point. I feel like I’m in a good place.

I have exposure to MAYC, GCG, MetaHero, Invariant Labs, Non-Fungible Heroes, Buzzed Bears, Influence Asteroids, Doctor Who – and plenty of others. I’m in a good spot.

My realization this morning however – brought to mind my dad showing me his networth and then showing me the house he sold in 1975 which had appreciated in value to more than his networth. If I would have sat and done nothing with what I had in the beginning – I wouldn’t be far from where I am right now.

I would have 2 mintpasses, pvfd, punkscomic, gutter cat, gutter rat, TWO GCG mintpasses which would add up to almost the same value as all of my other stuff. Maybe more…not totally sure though. The issue is I would be concentrated in two ecosystems and I wouldn’t have the opportunity to win with all of this other stuff. So, six of one, half dozen of the other.

I do feel like I’m at a good point to reflect on all of this though and to start sitting on my pile and letting it either produce or not.

There have been a couple of projects that I’m really glad I minted into: Monkey Bets Dao, Buzzed Bear Hideout, Pixel Vault Stuff, Influence Asteroids, and I feel really good about Non-fungible heroes but it’s still pre-reveal. I’m also really glad I minted into Hobo Beards because I love the project and the team.

Big Takeaway #1 : I’ve minted into DOZENS of other projects and pulled nothing but floor models and depreciating crap that fills my wallet. Minting is usually a losing game unless you can go very big. I cannot go very big so I’m better off on secondary after the post minting dip.

Big Takeaway #2: Good projects continue to reward and are worth holding until the money is life changing.

Big Takeaway #3: The biggest rewards often come from the smallest investments

Big Takeaway #4: Liquidity is hard to come by if you are spending everything on gas and minting shit-pegs.

Vagobond Discord Server – Join the Conversation

The internet has changed and blogs are largely dead as old timers like me think of them – places where you could post an idea or thought or photo and then have conversations about it with strangers who would possibly become friends.


This blog used to be a place like that but gradually, like most blogs it turned into a place where I tried to monetize content and conversation shifted to Twitter and Facebook.


The past months I’ve been rediscovering that original space that I loved and it isn’t on the big social media sites – it’s on Discord in private servers. I’ve set up the Vagobond Discord Server. It’s mostly focused on blockchain and nuts – but for anyone who wants to talk travel, I’ve also set up a dedicated travel channel.


With threaded conversations, searchable content, and the ability to have dm conversations – Discord is actually an improvement on blogging (OG sense).


Come join the conversation. We can talk travel or tech or whatever you want. I really like the Discord space and I hope you’ll join me there

Thoughts on the Metaverse NFT Space and other ethereal things.

First of all – I’ve put together a couple of online galleries in the metaverse that showcase the work I’ve been doing the past couple of months:

This is the best of the art that I’ve created since coming into the NFTverse

This is the collective work of the Bald Jesus Collective which I’m proud to have built, regardless of what the end results are

This is the cautionary gallery of largely worthless NFT animal avatars I’ve purchased in these past months – also a couple of Crypto Kitties that go back to 2017 when the modern crypto ecosystem really took off.

I’ve said it before, I’m in love with the potential and the community that has grown up around NFTs on the blockchain. There are however, problems. Not the least of the issues is the insane amount of money that this space is generating and the types of people that brings into the space.

The metaverse is an NFT space or will be so I might as well start calling it the Metaverse – but I’m hesitant so let’s say

  • NFTverse for the NFT centric internet
  • Cryptoverse for the more coin/token/finance
  • Metaverse is more the online world ecosystem including things like Roblox, Decentraland, and even  the online NFT gallery space.

In any event, the NFTverse is the most fascinating place I know of right now. Art, technology, community, finance, entrepreneurship, marketing, game theory, and scamming have all collided. I’m fortunate to be in it as early as I am and it’s been strange to watch the migration of new groups into it over the last six months – at first, we were artists, crypto-geeks, and cypherpunks, geeks, nerds, and countercultural types trying to learn how to survive and collaborate in a post-covid society. Then the money started flowing with Bored Ape Yacht Club and the Crypto Punks and Beeple – that’s when it started changing.

In a way, it was a huge process of gentrification. When I worked as a community organizer in Seattle, Tacoma, and Portland’s lower income neighborhoods – I developed a theory of gentrification that I think stands pretty good to the test of time. It’s not entirely PC but it works – here is the cycle of gentrification in low income neighborhoods.

  1. Rents are low. Policing is low. Residents are those who have stayed while things have gotten worse or those who simply can’t afford to live anywhere else. Large numbers of scumbag landlords who exploit and abuse tenants for as much as they can.
  2. Artists, musicians, and counterculture types who can’t afford to live elsewhere begin to populate the neighborhood. Low rent and dangerous conditions provide opportunity to express art without having to have the soul sucked out of you.
  3. Hangouts with some cool cachet begin to appear – coffee shops, dive bars, restaurants from those who can’t afford to start in a better place. The artists and musicians energy is absorbed into and creates these spaces. Other businesses might follow.
  4. I call this the Lesbian Vanguard. Lesbians seem to be the next catalyst that accelerates the gentrification process. Lesbian couples begin moving in, lesbian businesses open. A softer edge is added to the crustiness that existed before.
  5. The Gay migration begins. Male/male couples traditionally are more affluent and when they follow the Lesbian Vanguard into neighborhoods the property values begin to rise. Also, there starts to be a more focused approach to business and dominator capitalism.
  6. Young hip professionals follow. First time home buyers, young childless couples. Predatory lending starts ramping up and developers begin buying property for future development. Policing goes into overdrive.
  7. Rents go up as property values go up. Families that survived the neighborhood in decline now are either legally scammed out of their property or sell before the values begin to skyrocket. Artists and musicians and counterculture types who have not successfully rode the wave of capital are forced to find the next cheap neighborhood to move to – eventually.
  8. Development kicks into overdrive with luxury condos, remodeled single family homes, and businesses like Starbucks and Whole Foods moving in and driving out locally owned business.


The process in the metaverse is eerily similar:

  1. Empty space largely unused and mostly free for those who are early. No monetary utility.
  2. Artist, musicians, counterculture.
  3. People start making money. Bankers, finance, and scammers enter the space.
  4. LGBTQ, minority voices, early innovators
  5. Fashion, streetwear, influencers. Projects backed by bigger teams and more money.
  6. Brands that appeal to young people. Rug pulls. Lots of people enter the space hoping to get life changing money.
  7. Organized process of separating small holders from their holdings with hype, pump and dumps, celebrity cash grabs, influencers
  8. Multi-million dollar developments and platforms begin to claim the lions share of profits with one or two early businesses rise to large status while the rest slowly are eaten or fail into obscurity.


And this brings me to these random thoughts:

Jesus it’s hard to get any interest or traction in this space. The other thing that’s really hard is that while there are a lot of really great people in the nft-verse, there are also a lot of money hungry sociopaths who will gladly take the last twenty-five cents out of a beggars bowl and laugh about it. Because it is the internet – it’s really hard to tell the difference until you’ve either been helped or been robbed. Even in the pay to play groups there are plenty of predators waiting to take advantage of you – but like my Dad told me – it takes two to make a thief – one to create the opportunity and the other to take it – so buyer beware in this wild west world.
As with writing and tech – I waiver between – what I’m offering isn’t any good and I”m not offering what I have that is really good to the people who can recognize it or need/want it – and I don’t know how to reach them. Sometimes, as with all the drops that malfunction, the floor model after floor model in reveals – it just feels like bad luck. I don’t know.
I’m pretty naive, I always have been. My initial assumption is always that people will not only look out for each other but actually not put themselves first. Sadly this assumption is proven wrong almost daily. Especially in new and lucrative spaces like nft-land. Just because you share an avatar family with someone doesn’t mean they won’t rip you off no matter how much you wish it were so. It doesn’t mean that the incredibly wealthy in this space won’t grind and hustle and manipulate to take all they can from the poor in this space, just like what happens in the world outside. The past few days, I’ve watched the naive and gullible and poor be manipulated into loss by the wealthy, the connected, and the ruthless – on a massive scale. I fell prey to it.
Bottom line, the NFT world is not the world it was six months ago when I entered it – when it was artists and geeks and misfits. WE are still here, but now we are joined by shysters, sociopaths, bankers, financiers, and stonk brokers with no moral code but more more more. It’s far more dangerous now than it was before. I feel like the only way to truly survive in this current and future world is to either get lucky or to join forces with people who have your back – that’s the hard part – figuring out who has your back versus who is going to sell you down the river to the highest bidder.

Vagobond’s Latest Art

I’ve built a Discord Community for Vagobond. If you want to talk story about travel or crypto or whatever, come join. Here’s the link to it: cSpUEzcmM4.

And as always I’m still on Twitter @vagobond though it seems that after 15 years, Twitter has put me in a silo where even the people who follow me generally can’t see anything I post. I have no idea why. I hate Twitter, but it’s essential, like money and the internet – unfortunately.

This NFT world is so new and time consuming. I love the creation and the community building aspects of it but the money part drives me crazy – but this is the world we live in, the American consumerist capitalist world and so money has to be a part of it. Which led me to this:

This is a piece of art that comes from a place of truth:

I’ve been busy though and I injured my knee while trying to improve my health (fucking irony) and now it hurts to move at all. The BTPC pirates that scammed many of us – I like the art so I’ve been playing with the ones I own, you can see most of that on my OpenSea page which is becoming a bit like my forever artist journal – at least I think it is forever. Who the fuck knows…

The Bald Jesus Pirate Club

finally, I decided to redo the cover of Rough Living and attach the pdf file of the original book to it. As always, I’m a shitty capitalist, so I decided to give them away.

Vagobond Digital Art

I don’t particularly care if this is good or bad art – if such a thing exists. I’m just enjoying making art. Here are some of the pieces I’ve made in the past few weeks – mostly Bald Jesus stuff, but also some non-BJ  – you can find most of this on my Open Sea profile page if you want to buy it, you can own it. Most of these are 1/1 NFTs.


Beauty Strips – and the Failure of America

I grew up in logging country. Oregon, Washington, Northern California. In logging country they had something that people in the rest of the world may not be familiar with. It was called ‘Beauty Strips’.

Here’s how beauty strips work. Timber companies go in and they clearcut all the old growth forests. They harvest everything they can and completely destroy the natural environment in the process by cutting roads, extracting timber, and destroying habitat in brush, streams, fields, and forests. The timber companies pretty quickly realized that when the non-timber families of America see nature raped and despoiled, people complain to the government – and since most of the clear cutting was happening on land owned by the government – this created a big issue they had to solve. Did they solve it by adopting a more environmentally friendly timber harvesting method? That would have been some intelligent long term thinking but it would have cost short term profits – so instead, they solved it with beauty strips.

Beauty strips are swathes of forest that are left in a natural state on either side of highways and tourist traveled roads. They are usually about 100 feet thick and provide almost no benefit to wildlife, the forests, or the planet – but they allow people who are driving through and don’t understand ‘timber families’ to blissfully think they are driving through a pristine forest – even though just 100 feet away is a clear cut monstrosity that is a literal crime against nature (and humanity).

Over time the greed of the timber companies thins the beauty strips – little by little – until finally the devastation is visible. Then, when ‘environmentalists’ complain – they cut down the beauty strips, replant the area with taxpayer dollars, and post signs that say things like “This area replanted by Earth Rapers, Inc. We support Timber Families”

So, now you know about beauty strips.

My recent trip to the Pacific Northwest has reminded me of beauty strips. All of the old growth timber is mostly already gone – so beauty strips no longer really apply but it has occurred to me that America has been living in a world of beauty strips for the past forty years or so. Rather than around environment, this has mostly been a result of homelessness, poverty, and the degradation of the American human condition. Our beauty strips have been malls, gated communities, and urban renewal programs through things like Americorps. The pandemic has pushed the illusion away though – cutting away the ‘beauty strips’ along the side of the roads and now – for the first time in decades – America is on full display.

Our human environmental degradation in the United States has been exposed. I thought that maybe homelessness such as we have it was limited to Hawaii or San Francisco or Los Angeles – but as I talk with people, I realize – it’s everywhere. There are homeless people EVERYWHERE in America. Portland, Hawaii, Los Angeles and San Francisco are perhaps where you see it most obviously – but it is everywhere, this huge problem.

The number of homeless people in Portland, Oregon, and up and down the west coast is astounding. It’s sad and depressing and mind blowing. It would be unbelievable if it wasn’t right in front of my face without the beauty strips hiding it any longer.

The beauty strips are almost completely gone – so, now we just need to wait for the moment when the signs come up “This urban area renewed by Human Rapers, Inc. We support Families”

It’s coming. Watch for it.

Posted in USA

Travel is Awful – Don’t travel – Travel Sucks

I’m not sure if it is the intersection of Covid-19, technology, and travel or if I’m just older and grumpier but the only conclusion I can reach is that travel is awful and if you don’t need to do it to see friends or family or escape death squads – you should probably avoid it.

That all being said – this trip to the Pacific Northwest has been a wonderful chance to catch up with some old friends and see some family that have been absent from my life for far too long. My thought was that while we were here, we could do some tourism things and enjoy a little of the wonders of the Northwest. That’s where the awful part comes in.

Case in point: The Tillamook Cheese Factory which used to be a favorite stop on the Oregon Coast but which could now accurately be described as the Tillamook Covid Incubator. I’m not saying that people have Covid there or have caught or spread Covid there – but God Lord Almighty – no masks, no restrictions, and no social distancing. If there were cheese samples out, I wasn’t going to touch them. We went in, panicked, bought ice cream so as not to disappoint our kiddo and split. In the parking lot were waddling people by the score and one bizarre dude who tried to pick a fight with me when I paused to let him cross in front of me as we were driving by. As usual, I ignored him and just moved on. Can you imagine? Trying to pick a fight with someone at 11am at the Cheese Factory? Someone who stopped their car so you could cross? Someone with their wife and kid in the car? WTF is wrong with America?

The bottom line – it’s just not a good time to be doing anything ‘tourist’ but there are thousands and thousands of people doing so. Hawaii is overrun with tourists who feel entitled to be on vacation after a year in Covid mode – they seem to forget that everyone else was in Covid mode too. My Dad and his wife were explaining a trip to me and justified it saying ‘We’ve been locked up for more than a year in our golf community’. I nodded my head to it and bit my tongue. There is no other way to communicate with that generation. If I would have said “So was everyone else, they would have had a new reason – they are of the generation that tells every other generation not to act entitled.”

My other big carps are technology and restrictions. Insanity. To go home to Hawaii we had to prove our vaccinations and we jumped through the hoops but they didn’t recognize the vaccination cards in their database so it has to be verified again at the airport – that was a solid hour of doing something that was required only to find out it was meaningless.

We were going to get the free covid test for our daughter but Walgreens only allows you to book it online and you have to book it at least 24 hours in advance so we were left with no option but using Hawaiian Airlines trusted partner which only offered tests at mid-day – which caused us to have to cut our time with family that lives to the south short so we could make it to the test on time. Also, it wasn’t free and the cheap version wasn’t available so there was another $150. To be honest, $150 starts to feel like not very much money – every hotel in Astoria was $300 or above with taxes – per night. More than most Hawaii resorts charge in peak season. Or at least more than they used to charge when USD money had value.

My $1600 Apple phone in my $1000 rental car was connected to Blue Tooth but the navigation app didn’t tell me that we would be delayed on the road from the coast for over an hour by road construction and when we hit it, we were in a cellular dead zone so couldn’t tell our family we were delayed. Every time I enter the car, the car bluetooth audio starts to play music on the car stereo and if I use the navigation app, the stereo drowns out the navigation voice causing me to miss important turns..

I asked the desk clerk at the hotel if she could recommend a good pizza place that would deliver since they no longer put the binder with local information in the room. She told me “Dominos” to which I responded “That’s not good pizza” and she said “I’m not from the area.” Really? Does she helicopter in each day from Alberta? The desk has never been asked about local pizza before? I tried to find something or use an app – but it was about 50% above menu prices for everything – so I called Dominos and it was an hour late – Remember it used to be 30 minutes or free? This time it was ‘Sorry we were late, here are some Dominos points -enough to buy a personal pan pizza’. Gee thanks.

Yeah, I admit it. I’m older and grumpier – but the other side of the equation is also true. Travel has absolutely been ruined by technology, capitalism, Covid-19, and inflation. When I get home from this trip, I won’t be planning any others unless it is to escape from America forever (again – but this time for real).

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