Monday, August 27, 2007

News from financial ground zero:

Being like the only builder in LA county that has a job at the moment, I must post a little information. . .

You people have no idea what's going on here. We're a inch away from real financial disaster. In a number of neighborhood here the foreclosure rates are no running 1 house in 20--that's right--and there is simply panicked selling but no buying. When one stops to consider the amount of paper wealth that has simply vanished in the last 3 months, well, one becomes desperate to move to Hawaii or someplace like that.

I'm certain that home values here will slide 30 to 40 percent. Certain.

But that's not the end of it all. The credit crunch that just ran through the world and is far from over has a peculiar cause. It ISN'T the sub prime market defaults. These haven't even hit the books yet. The defaults that are coming so far are from builders, with houses they can't move, and from developers in general. The sub prime will hit the market soon(november) and all hell will break loose.

No, the simple cause is that someone somewhere called bullshit on the A ratings of the garbage bond ratings that have floated this whole market. That's all. They didn't buy 'em. And that was the end of that. People panicked, tried to sell what they had, but there just wasn't anybody dumb enough to buy that crap anymore. Finally, in the greater fools game, we ran out of fools.

Or almost, there's still the fed.

Actually, the fed knows exactly what it's doing. It's just waffling on the repercussions of what's going to happen and is nervous about the fallout of it's next move.

That move, of course, is a bailout.

A bailout is the absolute worst thing that could happen to the average financially responsible American citizen. The bailout will and can only come in the form of a expansion of the monetary supply, with the result of high inflation and the immediate devaluation of the dollar(which has already slid 30 percent in the last two years). And of course, none of this will help the economy for the average person, as recession is where we're headed, we're looking at real loss of jobs, economy, high prices, high inflation--far worse than just what an honest crash will cause.

But that's been the point all along--it's just the trick needed to shed cooperate debt, especially debt in dollars-- ie, pension obligations, wages to current US workers, etc. It also solves the social security and Medicaid issue. These won't go bankrupt. You'll just receive your payments at vastly devalued rate while the government receives taxes at the current rate of taxation and inflationary pressure in the real value of present dollars.

So screwed we are.

It's 12 o'clock, do you know where your 401k is?

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A busy few weeks


So as of last post was ready to start building the new catamaran, had very nearly purchased plans, and fate strikes. . .

So the yard that I was lined up with for a build site calls and says the deal is off. They're done with boat building and don't want to have anything to do with it anymore. They're going through an eviction with someone--a "boatbuilder" just like me--who has been squatting in the boat yard and it's all going to go to court, and well, its just not worth it to cater to the likes of me, apparently.

Well, so it goes.

This was discouraging to say the least. This particular yard was the most affordable by some measure the the whole area, and the only one I could find that was remotely favorable to a boat building sort of project. Elsewise it all involves one-sided leases(I sign up for a year but they can kick me out any time) huge costs of 1200 bucks a month or more for an unimproved site and generally a hassle altogether. And it's not like THIS yard was convenient, nor comfortable, nor serviceable really. It was the only option and the only I could find that would work.

So what next?

Well, I just bought 3 acres in Hawaii as a build site. Why not? The cost of the property is near to what the rental cost of the build site would be, I actually own something, and any improvements I make to the site, ie, boat shed, etc., I actually get to keep when I'm done. Besides, it's Hawaii, and the thought of building a double voyaging canoe there sounds like much more fun in spite of the rain.

So, it's official, the Seasteader's Institute exists. #45 Kalaponi Rd, Mountain View, Hawaii, 96720. Other project minded people welcome.

I'm heading over there in November/December and will bash a build site out of the jungle and build some sort of cabin/bunkhouse. I hope to have help with a pole building for cat building, and will likely set up from the start to crack out cylinder molded cats. I plan as well to plant Paulownia trees all over the back two acres which should provide the lumber to build boats as fast as I can build boats. True, green, sustainable boat building? Really? I'm going native.

I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

So, the new boat project.

So my new boat will be designed to be as practical, as minimalistic, as capable, and of course as fun as possible.

A question that I've been asked a few times, however, is this: Jay, are you going to build this boat out of renewable resources?

Hell no, I reply, at least not purposely.

Simply by the fact I intend to really build on the cheap I'll obviously engage in a lot of personal recycling, and have already started my scrounge for bits and pieces to work into the boat. But, by and large, none of the plywoods, epoxies, nor sailcloth will have a renewable aspect.

Why? Because it's pointless.

From my perspective of NON-PARTICIPATION it's very clear. At this point conversation policy only emphasizes voluntary reductions in personal consumption, not mandatory caps, the best I personally can hope to achieve by my personal reductions is subsidizing someone else's excesses. And I'm not willing to do that. While I might currently drive the highest gas-mileage pickup that can be bought, I do so because I'm cheap, not because I'm trying to save the world. The world is fucked. I can save some cash, but I'm very aware that while policy is what it is, if I personally don't burn the gas, it just lesses demand that very infinitesimal amount, which lowers cost, and encourages someone else to drive a "hummer." Mandatory caps on personal consumption would change all that, but I'll put that concept under "fat chance."

So again, any ecological aspect of this project is simply a net product of living, in essence, non-consumptively. The whole of this boat in terms of it's carbon footprint is more or less equal to that of the average American's fuel usage for two years. Considering the boat should have a lifespan of 50 year, and should produce no emissions during that period, its damn green without trying much to be.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Hi all, getting started here.

Of course I'll try to keep things up on the website as well, but I'm going to try to keep my more political and philosophical views here rather than there. Looks like it all works and we're up and running! Posting pictures is easy here too.

Anyhow, as we work through on the Alpha Pod project, it's important to keep our eye on the prize, even if the prize isn't anything more than just getting caught up in the forthcoming crisis. That's prize enough!

Talked to the film crew today, and they're as ready as ever--chomping at the bit even to see some Sea-Steading in action. So here we go. It's up to us. If we fail, it only us that makes it so.