Categories
Emotional Work

Day 500 and Halfway There

Five hundreds posts is a nice even number. In my heart I find myself fantasizing that I am halfway there. Halfway where? The emotion of a midway point is somehow powerful to me. That I could have known when I started that I’d make it even 100 days let alone 500 seems preposterous. And yet now that I am here I have the quiet confidence to say that yes I will make it to one thousand. That is what I’ve learned from writing every single day. I’ve learned I can do what I set out to achieve.

Writing every single day has transformed my life. I say this without guile or metaphor. I just drove back from Montana to Colorado today. I left Bozeman with the expectation that I’d be returning to spend my next decade in Montana. When I set off on this experiment to write something every single day I didn’t expect tangible impacts. I did it because I thought the exercise would be good for my thinking and my writing. And instead I found that the daily discipline pushed me to life my life more honestly.

It’s been good for my emotions. To have to bring some part of myself to every day and genuinely be present has quietly and slowly grown capacity to be present in the world. I’ve learned more about who I am as a person. I’ve learned more about my needs and wants and boundaries. I learned about how I love and who I love. By ruthlessly prioritizing one activity, I came to see what my actual priorities could be with some investment. Writing is the discipline that gave me the framework to become myself.

And so here I am picking a place to spend the next decade. It will be a huge transition. We are going to be rural people after decades of city living. Because finally we can.

I can’t tell you that all of this emotion about moving is about the pandemic and how much I’ve experienced it as profound sense of displacement. It’s all true. But also I’d been unsettled by illness and medical leave long before lockdown. I have felt like my life was unanchored for sometime. Previously I’d been a Manhattan woman through and through. And then an escape presented itself and I found myself longing to go through to see what else I could find.

We didn’t commit to rural living at first. We went to the Hudson Valley. The first foray out of the city after a decade didn’t stray too far afield. We’d seen friends of ours find farm houses nearby. But it wasn’t enough. It didn’t have the mountains we longed to see.

As our first summer wore down, we after an intense two weeks, decided on a townhouse sight unseen in Boulder. We’d discussed a move to Colorado for almost two years prior to that. We’d run scenarios on how we could pull it off. But it seemed like a fantasy. But then the pandemic made work remote possible. Plus telemedicine meant I could leave my doctors beyond a days drive. I was finally free to do what I wanted without it being a huge risk to my health.

And this is why I say the writing was so crucial. Doing it every day slowly focused my mind.

I’ve had five hundred careful days of assessing the life I was living. I had five hundred days where I thought about what I valued and what I wanted to invest in. And it paid off. Suddenly the things that I’d never quite seen clearly were manifesting themselves in our lives perfectly formed. And it was clear that we needed to make the leap to take these dreams and make them real.

After five hundred days of writing, I have a new sense of clarity on my desires. I am shedding the weak and thin desires. And I am honing in on where I want to build and with whom. And yes much of it centers on being in Montana and living a life of resilience.

I’m totally serious about the chaotic.capital thesis. I am preparing for a more volatile world and I plan to be as present and grounded as possible in it. I’m an American and I’m proud of what that used to mean. I’ll be building out there with everyone else who makes the choice to live a real life and make real things. It’s not going to be easy but I’m not going to live life on anyone’s terms but mine.

Categories
Preparedness

Day 498 and Safety

The reality is sinking in that my husband and I are actually moving to Montana. And it’s unleashing all kinds of powerful emotions and realizations.

Alex told me he’s much more willing to honestly look at unpleasant political realities in America. He’d been ignoring the news for fear it would distract him. But even if Trump wins another term, the populist wing of the GOP sweeps and Roe is overturned, at least we are safely in the demilitarized zone of the inter-mountain west. Want to fuck with us? You are armed. We are armed. Let’s keep it polite. Our libertarian preferences might still have a chance out here and if not it’s awfully hard to subdue gun toting mountain people.

That libertarian zone means business gets done. The important work of capitalism doesn’t stop because of conflict or silly culture wars. The companies that will do the best will be the ones that can get away with ignoring culture wars and focus on making stuff people need to keep their lives afloat.

We also feel safer about our personal resilience. We will be less reliant on failing electrical grids with backup power from both solar and fuel generators. Considering the warnings being issued for this summer’s black outs and I suspect we will be glad to be less dependent on the grid. I’ll be glad to be somewhere cool where my air conditioner won’t be going out. And in the winter I’ll have a wood burning stove. I’m excited for having a stream on the property along with a pond and a well that does 25 gallons a minute. I look forward to making it a home that has backups for any emergency.

I’m also a big believer in traditional skills. Having a close relationship to the land benefits our bodies and souls. Putting time into the natural rhythms of the planet keeps us healthier. I want my circadian cycle to be nurtured. And if I am ever so lucky to grow some of my own food not only is that good preparedness but it’s certainly next level wellness shit. I want that kind of power for me.

The kind of safety and sense of security we are accessing with a homestead will help us access our deep talents. There are no excuses anymore to ignore the instabilities in our dusky lives. The crumbles have arrived. And I’m so deeply relieved we are finally taking the right steps to live with them.

Categories
Preparedness

Day 497 and Collapse

You ever find yourself so stressed by a big decision or important event that you become sick as soon as it’s end is in sight? Adrenaline and cortisol take a strained body pretty far, but eventually your central nervous system is like no. I’m not at all surprised by how poorly I feel now that we’ve resolved our dilemmas on housing. In fact, the offer on the house was accepted today. If all goes well, we will move to Bozeman Montana in August. Prayers and chaos magic sigils.

I went to the urgent care center to get tested for Influenza A this morning as my husband had it last week. My Covid test was negative as was my influenza test. But I am coughing so hard it’s a challenge to get a breath in if I so much as talk. I got handed codeine cough syrup and Tamiflu and told to get back in bed. My body knows it can let go. We’ve got the house.

I want to be excited. I want to feel the joy and relief that I know is underneath the exhaustion and sickness. I want to feel the security from knowing my my job is done. We’ve been working towards buying a homestead for years. My husband and I have been doing our homework and working through preferences on the ideal land for what seems like our entire marriage.

But with the pandemic, we finally set about finding a home that could house us for decades. We’d been freed from dreaming about rural living while being stuck in cities and could now go about doing something with our desire to live in the mountains. Work from home changed the game for us completely. We could finally live where we wanted.

I want a homestead because I think we are in for hard times. Abundant opportunity exists to be sure but only for those that are prepared. My husband is skeptical on how extreme any event will be but trusts me to care for our family. Look at me doing the ultimate feminine act and standing for the home and hearth.

And I simply want harder times to be easier for my family. I don’t want my people to suffer because the world is changing too fast for them to adapt. I want to set up my tribe to succeed and thrive in a new chaotic world. Preparation takes work and making strange even crazy sounding bets before anyone else thinks it’s sane. I don’t mind being seen as crazy so long as me and mine are safe. I am a woman. You should fear this primal energy. It’s strong.

Close over the horizon we’ve got a new world of uncertainty coalescing into possibility that is emergent. Chaos will reign. How? Who can guess. Our simian minds can barely grasp the first order effects of our current landscape. Of course, we haven’t figured out second or third order issues from war and pestilence just yet. We just aren’t that smart. How could we ever predict the future? We are struggling to make sense of the present.

We are just now seeing the supply chain issues and commodity shortages from the pandemic collide with our globalized economies. This is just the start of the complexity era. Just wait till fertilizer shortages in global farmlands intersects with the war in Ukraine and the super hot and super dry summers brought by climate change. That doesn’t scar you enough? It should.

Wealth has bifurcated and American cultures are at war. It is literally a culture war playing out as fifty years of consensus in reproductive rights collapses. I don’t kid myself on it stopping there. Our sex lives are about to be the governments business and some folks feel good about it. Some fuckers are celebrating it. We are about to face some weird times and I want to face them on my own land with my own guns.

I am preparing myself for much harder times ahead. Because hard times create wealth. I am putting myself somewhere remote with a cold climate to mitigate climate disruption. But until it’s an emergency I’ve got a top notch airport with daily flights to any city where finance or technology does business.

I’m still on good supply lines but I’m also in a community that can do a lot of trade on the basics of food, water and services. I picked a state that has abstained from the culture wars. I pray it remains a libertarian “live and let place” as I fear for the theocracy that is coming for southern states.

Equally I’m disinterested in liberal states that want to decide how to best allocate my resources. I’ll build my own communities and see to them if I can. Bozeman was a very deliberate choice that came from literally thousands of variables. It’s my last stand where I think I can battle the future and win.

People talk a good game about their vision for the future. They talk up their investments and their bags and their confidence in a whole new world and yet they live in precarious cities and lifestyles a single crisis could derail. I’m telling you that I see chaos and it will not ruffle my feathers. It won’t disrupt my breakfast. And I intend to set myself up to be able to ride it out in as much comfort as possible with as little disruption as possible.

Because I want to win this churn. I want to make money. If chaos is a ladder I will climb. And I’d suggest you consider what you are willing to do to win the next decade. It might not be the collapse. But even the crumbles will require you to change. And if your answer is nothing. I cannot guarantee your comfort in the future.

Categories
Internet Culture Media Politics

Day 482 and Vibe Shift

A month or so ago a piece written by a New York marketing executive titled Vibe Shift went viral among the chattering classes. The premise is that we are on the precipice of a cultural change that is upending everything from politics to fashion. And depending on your perspective, this shift might include crumbling dystopian decay or vibrant fuck it optimism. Or in the case of web3 absolutely both.

I think the Vanity Fair piece on the New Right is chronicling one of the first emergent vibe camps to emerge from the vibe shift. The article is a look at the art, intellectual environment and personalities of the “not quite conservative” new right. And it’s a largely positive even glowing send up.

If you believe the Citadel is a corrupt institution and moral moral crisis then the Vanity Fair piece should have been negative. It’s a surprise that it wasn’t. Not long ago we were subjected to intense narratives about the dangers of nRX neo-reactionaries and it’s infiltration of Silicon Valley. It was a real and urgent issue that the center of so much money and power might doesn’t align with the cultural values of media or academia. If you don’t speak this language the Citadel is code for the left leaning creative and cultural institutions like Hollywood, academia and media.

So why isn’t it a crisis any more that there is a new breed of influential “not quite” conservatives? If anything the right in America has shown itself to be capable of so much more than just boat parades and goofy hats. Some of these fuckers were expanding the Overton window on peaceful transitions of democratic power on January. It might actually be getting worse.

Except now the left fucking sucks too. Now I’m not justifying fascists. These Christian Nationalists are trying to roll back modernity and pluralism. Fuck them. They fuckers don’t even have a demographic majority. So it pains when I say the vibe shift is showing the left as the worst version of themselves while the right is showing a new cultural ascension.

To a lot of normal moderate people the left looks controlling, scolding, frigid, and conformist. Everything from mask politics to gender relations has started to make the left look insane. It’s entirely rational people would be seeking a vibe shift for something more welcoming.

My theory is we are about to see a massive resurgence of affection for all kinds of conservative hobby horses. Especially of vibes that used to be the province of the traditional left. Everyone is sick of being shamed while they go about living their lives. And whoever wins that vibe war will win America.

Categories
Politics

Day 478 and Extremists

Over the past twenty four hours I have spent time in two communities known for attracting extremist viewpoints; immigration reform and education. And I feel a bit demoralized by the level of discourse that I’m having in person.

I attended an event on Friday for an organization I’m excited about as I wrap my head around why the American immigration system is so broken. I wrongly labored under the assumption that our system was flawed and inefficient, but still had the occasional success story. Now I realize it’s a hopelessly broken set of incentives wrapped inside heavy emotional baggage.

I don’t think the average American can conceive of how bad it is until dealing with it personally. And it’s crushing our competitiveness as a country. In twenty years when our population continues to age we will regret not fixing it. It’s actually an existential problem for our country’s future.

But somehow the entire debate centers around comical battleground partisan issues where they argue for the least relatable shit. We will never find common ground if we leave it to the extremes on either side. We are letting a crucial issue get sidelined.

I experienced something similar on the education front as well. Families are arguing over truly crazy shit that you cannot imagine any same adult bringing to a classroom of children. But this manifests in small ways too. We fixate on the purist forms of educational pedagogy instead of being pragmatists about protecting our children’s sense of self.

I only bring this up because sometimes I assume that real life must be better than whatever discourse is happening online. That social media must be reflecting some unnatural tendencies we only see thanks to access. But alas I’m seeing these fights happen in person. In communities that know each other. But we are adopting some of the tenor and habits of “the discourse” with our neighbors. And that worries me a little.

Categories
Internet Culture

Day 469 and the Discourse

On the one hand, the discourse today is horrible. Elon Musk threatening to buy Twitter is breaking people’s fucking minds. On the other hand, it’s the height of culture to be so singularly obsessed with a topic of such little consequence. The zeitgeist is full on psychotic.

This isn’t about free speech. Fuck that. No one gives that much of a shit about corporate governance that they’d super impose a civilizational problem like free speech onto securities law. This isn’t an episode of Billions. In except that both make me want to scream “that’s not how this works, not how any of it works” into the void.

This is all an elaborate publicity stunt to feed the narcissism driven logic of markets obsessed with celebrity and personality. Because everyone knows what everyone knows, pricing discovery is a function of lurching forward a narrative for the vox popli. Except everyone is convinced they are uniquely brilliant so they can’t possibly also be manipulated by the transparent agitprop. Yeah yeah sure I’m a galaxy brain too. We’re all playing 4D chess. Everyone is winning and the markets only go up.

Categories
Travel

Day 436 and Got A Guy

“I have a guy” was the most reassuring phrase my godfather could say to me as a child. I’d be trying to get something done or get access to something and he’d tell me a story about “his guy” and how we’d fix the problem. I decided when I grew up I wanted to be someone that “had a guy” for everything just like my godfather.

Before I give the impression that my godfather is a mafioso I should probably clarify he’s a nice Irish boy from Long Island and is a music agent. But agents do have to solve all kinds of weird problems. Heck, I went to him when I was thinking of getting married but wasn’t sure if I was emotionally prepared and he said “I’ve got a therapist” and well I’ve been seeing Dagmar for seven years now.

Needless to say I’ve prioritized networking as a life skill. Not the grimy kind you associate with parties or LinkedIn, but the sort where I take time to meet new people and shoot the shit. If you spend any time on Twitter you’ve probably noticed my greatest joy is just talking with folks. I follow all kinds. And I’m pretty hooked up because of it. I’m usually only one or two people removed from the person I’m trying to reach. Maybe that’s why venture capital has worked out so well as a career for me. I’m a master of the warm introduction.

But after the last 48 hours or so I’ve finally found an institution that I cannot seem to crack. I’m running headfirst into the limits of what my “I’ve got a guy” skills can do. And that system is the United States Immigration System. Apparently I am just not good enough to get an appointments for a tourist visa. I cannot even imagine how hard an actually immigration or work visa would be.

And I’ve tried everything. I’ve tried my Congressman. I tried my Governor. I tried people that have worked for the state department. I’ve tried folks that work in foreign affairs. I’ve tried rich folks that are immigrants. And holy shit I’m getting absolutely no where. I feel pretty fucking defeated. I’m not giving up but I’m starting to realize that Americans have no idea just how broken our immigration system actually is in the wake of 9/11 and the Trump years. We can’t even get tourist visas done. And frankly I’m angry about it. But mark my words I’m going to find a guy.

Categories
Internet Culture

Day 421 and Disassociated

My scheduled was packed today. I took several pitches. I spoke with an internet friend about some mutual interests. I did some travel arrangements for a real estate transaction I’m hoping will go my way.

I really felt the need to be busy today. For once I didn’t want to be too immersed in the zeitgeist. I somewhat dreaded checking Twitter. I actually listened to a whole podcast and went for an hour long walk in the freezing winter cold. I spent some time organizing my calendar for next week.

I’m rarely this task oriented. I generally need spaces that are open where I can lay down and soak up the current moment. I’m usually calmed by the drumbeat of information. I thrive on input.

But I couldn’t bring myself to be online. The Russian invasion of the Ukraine is too unsettling. The implications it has for a changing world order. The instability it represents. The second and third order impacts my mind can only grasp out but not fully see.

So I’m going to order some takeout. Maybe something fried. And I’ll watch Netflix. And I’m pretend that I’m comfortable in this consumption mediated disassociation. And I’m going to assume that it’s normal. Because my life is absolutely fine but I’m bearing witness to a tragedy being played live online.

Categories
Emotional Work Preparedness

Day 420 and Oxytocin

Stress is sneaking up on us everywhere. Just opening up a newspaper or scrolling Twitter is enough to spike your cortisol levels. I’m not quite ready to make jokes about World War III but I can see why people are.

I knew when I started chaotic.capital that folks might think I was a doomer and even a bit crazy. But I was confident that we’d be moving in a more chaotic world. I didn’t mean it in a bad way. Merely that in a world with increasing complexity we must all become more adaptable.

But today I didn’t feel like I was at my most adaptable. I felt as if my parasympathetic response was all out of whack. The inputs were overwhelming my nervous system. So I did what seemed most rational and also most emotionally appealing. I snuggled up to my husband and asked for a hug. I needed the oxytocin that is released from touch to counterbalance the cortisol that was flushing my system. If this is the new normal I need to up my oxytocin doses.

Categories
Internet Culture

Day 403 and Hurt

It’s ok if someone hates me. It’s ok if someone thinks I’m bitchy, stupid, obnoxious and self serving. Hell I’m ok if people think I’m a lesser human being. Which judging by Twitter could be a multitude of reasons ranging from “I’m a woman” to “I’ve got bad taste in tv.”

I am alright with you not being alright with me. My existence is not threatened by your philosophy or personal preferences. My existence is only threatened if you literally threaten me. Call me evil if you like. I’m not offended. Until you take an action against me it’s alright that we disagree. Even if the disagreements are existential.

It’s quite possible this is wrong. I’m open to debate on what constitutes harm. In fact, my entire philosophy centers on that debate being fine. I can take it. I actually pay someone to cuss me out for being stupid and then I pay again to spend time in a group where we regularly tell each other how much the group members anger us. It’s called therapy.

So take that as context when I say I wasn’t particularly personally hurt by Brantly Milligan, aka Brantly.eth aka one of the ENS Foundation cofounders, suggesting women who use contraception are perverts. I’d probably be a lot more hurt if I was a gay trans woman who had an abortion though. But I figure that demo might be used to being called evil by Catholics at this point. Like maybe it’s more of an annoyance than existential threat if you are wealthy and privileged enough to be working in crypto. We aren’t really a population that is hurting

Brantley.eth “homosexual acts are evil. Transgenderism doesn’t exist. Abortion is murder. Contraception is a perversion. So is masturbation and porn.”

The Ethereum community is experiencing this speech with a lot of pain, hurt and anger. Brantley was voted out of his contract with True Names Limited the foundation that manages ENS Domains. But he remains one of the largest holders of tokens and will obviously have plenty of influence over the future of the platform. The debate has become one of cancel culture versus DAO governance working as intended. But the split on that is not clean and it’s not always clear where people will fall. An informal poll on my timeline is pretty evenly split.

Twitter poll asking if Brantley termination is governance working or cancel culture.

I’m tempted to assign him my tokens as a delegate to be honest. Though I won’t because I think he’s unprofessional. But I want to because I don’t love how any of it played out. Brantly doubled down on telling folks to fuck off compounding the feeling of being hurt. That’s unprofessional and not the kind of behavior I’d expect out of my management team. But I also don’t know that simply holding unpleasant or intolerant beliefs is enough. And it shouldn’t be in a decentralized system. I respect that the right voting and governance may have happened here but I’d argue we all want more control spread out over more people for exactly these scenarios.

I think Brantly basically Shrekli’d himself by doubling down on asshole antisocial shit and the DAO equivalent of the Feds coming for you happened. You can’t attract negative attention and be shocked when bad shit happens to you. But I don’t think being a retrograde weirdo is enough on it’s own to get you booted from an ecosystem.

The entire reason I’m walking you through this sensitive topic today is that I am committing my year to self love. And you might think how does self love and DAO governance overlap. But I really do feel empathy to everyone involved in ENS and the ethereum ecosystem right now. The pain of feeling like you are not seen and loved for who you are is primal shit. This is core human nature “do I belong” to my tribe stuff.

If you don’t love yourself than you are going to have a reactive stance to something that questions your morality and worth. And I’m guessing a lot of people are reactive judging by the uproar. But the thing about self love is that you just won’t be as hurt by assholes being assholes. Because you’ve taken care of yourself first. So whatever the right and just outcome of this ENS governance issue, I think it’s important we all check in on ourselves and why we reacted in the first place. Only then can we get on with the business of design the future and it’s technology.