Have I become more devout?

Not exactly.

But long after my literal belief in the Bible waned, I’ve gained deep appreciation of what Christianity does for society. I believe in believing.

Curt Doolittle’s advice to Hollywood (also applies to writers)

The movie business doesn’t scale any more than national narratives do. Understand? Anything interesting for everyone is impassionate for anyone.
the hero’s journey may be universal but the properties of that journey cannot be universalised.

I gave the same speech to the newspaper industry in 2008. There is a limit to scale. After that you must represent mini and micro-group interests.

But this destroys the evangelical self importance of journalists and the financial incentives in news distribution.

Like government, there is little advantage to scale except credit. Unless studios start getting into the military business they have run out of scale.

Movies and news are regional, meaning cultural, phenomenon.

Hence why americans don’t like movies: no heroes are possible without opponents.

The Rise and Fall of my Bitcoin Book-security, W4A-BOOK

I’ve completed a buyback of the asset I issued, W4A-BOOK, on btct.co. I’m posting here for the sake of openness and transparency.


The asset W4A-BOOK was a new idea in crowdfunding. Rather than relying on philanthropy or advanced sales of my next book, I wanted to try selling shares of it. This would allow philanthropists to share in my success, should I find it.

The book is a memoir about getting recalled for a third combat tour (to Afghanistan) while becoming a radical libertarian.

I already have credentials as a writers:

Anyway, after some conversations with btct.co’s Ethan Burnside (a great gentleman), I applied to have securities issued. My application was approved on August 9th. A few days later, I attempted (and succeeded) in selling 100 of the 400 shares I issued for .24 BTC each. The 100 shares represented 10% ownership of the book and a 10% claim on all proceeds I might earn.

The reason I only sold 100 shares was because I was more interested in proving a concept than in raising money.

Step one seemed like a success. With 24 bitcoins in my paper wallet, I’m began writing (and attending bitcoin & libertarian conferences).

Then came the bad news that Btct.co was closing. See their website (https://btct.co/) for the announcement or bitcointalk.org (https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=125629.msg3214807#msg3214807) for the discussion.


I considered the following:

1. Transfer of shares to another exchange.

2. Continued ownership of shares in private.

3. A buy-back of all shares.


I didn’t like #1 for several reasons:
– It takes time and effort to issue shares and since we still don’t know the details behind BTCT’s closure, I fear other Bitcoin stock exchanges might meet the same fate.
– The fee for issuing a security is usually 2 to 5 BTC. That’s a non-trivial amount when you’re only planning to raise 20-something BTC.

#2 was a possibility, though my main objective was proving a concept and perhaps generating a little publicity. If the stock exchange aspect was all handled privately, my goals wouldn’t really be met. There’d be no market for shares of the book.

My preference was #3, buying back all shares at the original issuing price — 0.24 BTC each. Since trading volume for this asset was extremely low, such a buy-back would cause most parties to break even or come close. #3 had another advantage: simplicity.


I communicated with shareholders via email. Those who responded represented over 90% of the outstanding shares. They agreed with #3. One of them, the largest shareholder, initially preferred #2, continuing our agreement in private. I was prepared to do that, but he deferred to my preference (which I described as a “slight preference” in our correspondence).

He gave me lots of encouragement for this project, and is another example of the good faith and integrity that always impresses me in the Bitcoin community.

Today, I completed the buyback. BTCT.CO had a system for actually buying back shares through their website, but they also had a warning that customers should withdraw their funds. I didn’t want to send money to a website which may be in regulatory trouble, so I shut off trading and executed the buyback by simply sending BTC to the public keys of all the shareholders. I emailed each of them a transaction ID.


I invite you all to purchase an advanced copy of the memoir: https://bitcoinstarter.com/projects/182 The new working title is “The Way Back”.


Originally posted on bitcointalk.org: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=307484.new#new

15 tips for Ranger School

A friend of mine shocked the hell out of me recently and told me he was not just going back into the Active Army (from the I.R.R.) but giving ranger school another try. He asked for advice. I thought I’d share it with the world.

Realize, I went through in 2001, so some stuff may have changed. I also went through in the winter.

1. Toward the beginning, they make you dumb all your bags and then stress you out as you repack. When I packed for ranger school, I had one stuff sack full of everything that was smaller than a fist, and I dumped it in a tight pile on the edge of my bigger pile. Made it easier to find things when they called for “chap stick,” or “sewing kit,” or whatever.

2. They allowed us to have neosporin for my class. I used the hell out of neosporin, rubbing it on my knees all the time to prevent skin infections. They also allowed generic lotions which I used on my hands, though they still cracked and bled a little.

3. I did the first part of ranger school twice (on my first attempt, I dislocated my knee). The second time, knowing the schedule made it easier. Knowing that I only had three more times in sawdust pit, two more times, etc, made it easier. So, learn the schedule before you go.

4. I think they tell every class that they are the worst ever, that they’re not going to pass whatever is next. This mind game is part of Ranger school. Focus on the task at hand. One day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time, one task at a time. Don’t worry about tomorrow’s problems until tomorrow.

5. Staying awake is hard. Eating helped me stay awake. I would save something for my guard shift at night, and eat it real slowly.

6. Don’t steal food from the mess hall, dumpsters or anywhere else. It’s not worth the risk.

7. Remember, the RIs continue watching you AFTER your patrol to see if you crash and turn into a shitbag. They’ll fail your patrol if you do. Your body will want to crash.

8. Know the words “roger, Sergeant” and get used to them. There is no arguing/reasoning with an RI.

10. Memorize the Ranger Creed before you go to save yourself a little heart ache.

11. Don’t bulk up with muscle. Muscle takes a lot of calories to sustain itself. I think rucking with 40-60 pounds is a great exercise.

12. A good way to dry socks or wool gloves is with body heat. Tuck the ends into your belt, and dangle the socks or gloves into your crotch.

13. If it’s winter, bring ten pairs of wool gloves.

14. On one hand, you have to want the ranger tab very badly, because ranger school is extremely painful, and you need a lot of drive to get through the pain. I told myself the only way I was leaving without the tap was on a stretcher. Unfortunately, this came true on my first attempt. On the other hand, lots of great guys don’t pass ranger school. There are all kinds of stupid reasons why you might fail. If you don’t, you need to be able to walk away from it with your dignity intact. Some guys attach way too much self-esteem to the Ranger Tab. A patch that says “Ranger” is not what makes you a man.

15. When you’re in charge, *everything* is your responsibility, whether you can control it or not.