May 23, 2022


I know it’s been a while since my last trade. Some of you may have thought that I stalled out or quit. Here is a quick recap before I tell you the details of the rubies I have now…
Back in July, I saw that a guy had used an old fundraising technique in which the band, or cheerleaders, or art department or something hands out paperclips to the kids and asks them to offer to trade paperclips for items to auction off to raise money. Kyle MacDonald traded oneredpaperclip for a house in Canada.
I admired what he had done. I had written about some other ways of acquiring what you want with what you have in Rough Living: An Urban Survival Manual , a book I self published a few years ago that tells you how to get what you want from life and how to survive with little or nothing.
I loved the way everyone was able to win in the trading. There is such a thing as a win-win. Sometimes it is hard to remember that in this “war on this, war on that” culture. Someone does not have to lose for you to win. That is why Kyle was able to trade a red paperclip for a house. I heard a lot of people grumbling that they wished they had done it, it would only work for one person, it would never work again, etc etc..
Bullocks. The win win is a universal availibility. If you are able to look for the win win situations, you will find them. I decided to prove all the naysayers wrong by repeating the same thing. I would trade for a house too, only instead of starting with a paperclip, I decided to start with my old veraflex skateboard.

When I started posting on craigslist, I was surprised to hear from people that were angry, annoyed, and really just mean jerks. They actually took the time from their day to write me emails about how stupid I was, how worthless my skateboard was, and how much it annoyed them to see me trying to do what someone else had already done. I imagined what it must of been like for the guy that decided to build a plane after the Wright Brothers flew or the guy that wanted to build a factory with assemblylines like Henry Ford’s for his car. The world is home to many miserable people that want nothing so much as to see you fail.It is also home to lots of people with imagination, creativity, and a sense of adventure. I like to think that the people reading this are among the latter. I was contacted with words of support by many people and I was offered great trades from all over the United States. Because I am in Hawaii, it was important to find someone that was willing to trade by mail. There were at least a dozen offers for my old skateboard that I considered and along the way I met a lot of interesting folks. I even exchanged a copy of Rough Living: An Urban Survival Manual for a copy of The Hillbilly Dikshunery with the author of it, a guy named Tom Legg in Florida who was also looking to do some trading.
After weighing all the offers, I decided to accept an offer from Bryan Dodd , an artist in Georgia who wanted to use my old skateboard in his art. Bryan generously agreed to trade the Red Devil below by R.A. Miller, a famous “outsider” folk artist that recently passed away and painted his work on the tin from old chicken houses. This was a very kick ass first trade.

And that almost brings me to the rubies. The Red Devil brought several false starts because of logistics or the trades changing along the way and in the midst of that a sociopathic nutcase decided to start sending me hatemail and try harrassing me into stopping my quest for a house. He got me virtually barred from posting ads on craigslist using my standard email and did some really slimy things with my email address and phone number. A real jerk.Once I began ignoring the loser sociopath, I was contacted by Bob Grove of Alexandria Barter Exchange.
Bob, a gemologist, has a lot of high quality gems and jewels and, being a fan of R.A. Miller’s work, he offered to trade me Rubies from Madagascar for the Red Devil. It took us a while to work out all the details and get the trade to the point where I could write about it and because of the false starts for the Red Devil previously, I was a little wary of talking this trade up before the rubies were in my hand. Well…as you might have guessed, the rubies are now in my hand, and I am willing to consider new trades?Consider the ruby…Ruby, July’s birthstone, is aptly named the King of Gems. Both the Bible and ancient Sanskrit writing depict the ruby as the most precious of all gemstones. To the Hindus, ruby burned from an inextinguishable internal fire. The name ruby is derived from the Latin word for red, rubrum. Its color varies from purplish and bluish red to orange-red in medium to dark hues. Sister to sapphire, ruby is known in the mineral world as corundum, which is a crystal structure composed of aluminum oxide. Only red corundum is ruby, all other corundum colors are classified as sapphire. Ruby is considered the most valuable variety of the corundum. In fact, large rubies have consistently brought higher prices per carat at auctions than the most flawless, colorless diamonds! This is primarily due to the rarity of gem-quality rough ruby.
Now, what will you give for a handful of rubies?
A house perhaps?

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