The search continues

Today is Memorial Day, which means pool party cookout at my sister in law’s house. The entire house is up, which is slightly unusual considering it is a holiday. I plan on going by my stepmother’s house and checking on my dad, letting the girls see him. I want them to make him a get-well gift.

Part of my brain is having trouble accepting that I don’t have a job anymore. Rather, that this is it. There’s a vague tingling in the back of my brain about “getting ready for work”, like an ex-smoker’s muscle memory.

I’m adding exercise into the list of things that I do in the morning. Tea, meditation, writing, workout. I’ve got to get back into shape. I’ve put on quite a bit of weight over the winter and want to lose the beer belly and put on some lean muscle. The main challenge I have is lack of weights. There’s a new community center opening up down the street, but their gym isn’t ready yet, so I’m not sure what I can do. I guess I’ll need to stick to the measly thirty pound dumbbells that I have, otherwise I’ll have to figure out a way to do more with bodyweight, either mine or the girls.

I had an interesting call last night. An ETH OG popped in the IA Discord last night asking lots of questions about SAIADao, so I had a half hour conversation with him about what we were doing. This place is amazing. I get to talk to so many interesting people. Going to meet with them in Miami. These are exciting times.

The BTC/ETH markets seem to have actually gone up overnight. I don’t think I could take any more bearishness from CryptoTwitter. So many people calling a bear market it’s ridiculous. I haven’t made any trades, just keeping an eye on my Perp positions, which are still underwater but seem safe from liquidation at this point.

My experiment with Vesper doesn’t seem as lucrative as it did several days ago. The emissions APY has come down to three hundred percent. The borrow rate is down to on hundred as well, but my net is now only one fifth of what I need to make ends week to week. This is going to be a bit harder than I thought.

Finding neutrality

This is either a galaxy brain move or is going to get me rekt:

I’m trying to find a way to generate some income for myself. Since it looks like the market could go either way right now, I’ve been looking for a way to generate yield in a market neutral way. Traditionally, one would do this by buying one asset and shorting it at the same time while capturing the spread. Vesper’s vVSP pool has a quite insane APY, so I wanted to see if I could capture enough off of this to cover living expenses, and decided last night to try a position for a week. So I staked my Yearn Iron Bank position as collateral on CREAM and borrowed VSP, which I then staked on Vesper. The borrow APY is quite ridiculous as well, but if my math is right, I should net a couple hundred dollars this week.

It’s not quite enough to live off of, but it should open doors for other similar strategies if it pays off. Since my collateral is in stablecoins, my main risk is that the price of my borrowed asset appreciates and puts my collateralization ratio at risk. Due to the current VSP issuance rate, I don’t believe it’s at risk for some sort of pump. Regardless I think reduce my risk by restaking the VSP back into CREAM, but I’m really not sure about the secondary effects of that. It might put me in a position where I’m stuck and might need additional collateral to rotate out.

My plan is to let this ride for a week, remove some of the staked vVSP, swap some of the VSP to USDC and use the rest to pay back the interest on the debt. Gas costs will be a factor, as will changes to the VSP APY and CREAM lending rates. If it works, I’ll be able to generate cash flow and not be concerned if the price of VSP continues to drop.

When VSP’s emissions rate dies down enough that it’s no longer providing me with enough incentive, I can try other pools. CREAM has a huge number of assets available to borrow, I just need to figure out the best opportunities for them and figure out where to go. UNI is only 3.55% to borrow right now, and I could stake that on Impermax for 57% currently. That’s probably more risk than I’m willing to take on, given that protocol’s only a few weeks old.

I’ll have to look at some other platforms as well to try and figure out other ways I can generate some yield while staying market neutral. Since I’m mostly in stables, ETH and wBTC, I’m sort of in a bind, since returns on ETH/wBTC are pretty lousy across the board, and borrow rates on stables are already pretty high. All told, I’m not sure that this is a viable long-term strategy, but I’ll continue to investigate. I just don’t think I’ve got enough capital to make it work unless I am willing to put a lot of my eggs in one basket. It may be to risky a strategy to pursue.

The day after.

Well I did it. Yesterday I signed off for the last time and packed my work phone and branded polos up in a box. I’m done. Then I spent a few hours working on this quitting my job post, which got sent out to some seventeen hundred people. Whew.

This spawned a call with an old roommate who I haven’t talked to in a year. They wanted to do some more investing in Bitcoin, and it was good to talk to them.

I also wound up making a huge mistake in taking the kids on a bike ride to the dollar store for ice cream. It was way to hot, Elder moaned and complained the whole way there and back, and we made a huge mess eating our ice cream outside the store. Plus it was rush hour and traffic was really bad. Maybe next time I’ll wait for the weekend.

And it looks like we might finally be able to close the door on COVID here. The gov’nor lifted restrictions Thursday and so we might finally be done with the masks.

Last night was party time. I let Elder play some of Dragon Age: Origins, it was interesting seeing her set up her character and try to get through the introduction. After the rest of the fam went to bed I stayed up too late watching Castlevania. Spent most of this morning recovering, watching TV until lunch, cleaned the house, and puttered around on the computer for a few hours. After I finish writing I’m going to cook some burgers and watch Cruella for popcorn movie night.

The Solana multisignature bug has been worked out. I just needed a missing switch. So we’re ready to form the vault control team with four other people. Once that’s worked out I need to figure out how to build a program that can make trades off of Serum. That’ll be interesting.

Other than that, BTC and ETH continue to range down. CryptoTwitter is a mess. Half of my feed is people calling for a bounce, the rest think we’re in a bear market. I don’t know what to think. Holding my coins to zero, I suppose. Just looking over my reFIREment fund and trying to figure out what moves to make. Some of my C-tranche is only getting 15-20%, so I got to move it. I just don’t really know to where. I’ve got a couple plans, but nothing is really doing anything spectacular. I’m going to have to work harder than I thought to get the yields I was looking for.

I’m also trying to figure out a strategy to take some market neutral positions that I can farm. For one of these positions, I’ll need to take half of my cash, buy and stake an asset with degen-worthy yield, then use my other cash to borrow the same amount of tokens, and sell them. Then I can sell the yield for cash. When that’s no longer sufficient to cover my maintenance fee, I use my staked position to pay back the loan and I’m out. I believe that’s how it’s supposed to work. There are lots of risks, depending on where I stake and where I borrow from, but it might be a good way to earn that income I need to extend my retirement and keep from having to dip into my stablecoins. We’ll see how that works out. I really need to think about that some more.

Last day at Zombie

Well, today is the day, my last day at Zombie, LLC. I don’t even know what to say right now, other than it feels like really bad timing. I don’t really have doubts, per se, but I’m worried about the short term. Bitcoin’s fifty percent drop last night really messed with my plans, so this might not be so much of a retirement so much as a hiatus from work. We’ll see. I went over the reFIREment fund last night to see what my returns were looking like, and it’s not that great. We’ll have a full evaluation after I return from Miami. I should have no problem making it to September, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to justify things much past that unless the market does really well and I’m able to make some real income.

So I wrote a small post as a send off for the home office, and there is a small list of things that need to be done and I am out. My main priority today is writing a broader post for my LinkedIn and Substack. This is really it. I am taking my life into my own hands.

I’m going to keep this short today as I have a lot to do. I think I’ll start with a jog.

Bug hunter

I’ve spent the last two days trying to get multisig on Solana working. I scripted everything out to make sure I wasn’t making a stupid mistake, using bash variables, command substitution and even regex to make sure the damn thing worked right. I got really close at one point when I got a new error, but I couldn’t get it. Turns out there might be a bug.

I had also reached out to the Perpetual Finance team, about some issues with their liquidation price calculation. I had spent several hours trying to take the CLI JS code and translate it to something I could stuff in an Excel spreadsheet, but I couldn’t quite figure out if I was doing it right. Just got word from the team there was a bug for that as well.

I’m apparently really good at finding bugs in programs. I think that’s the easy part, but being able to isolate the issue and communicate it to the teams in a way that is helpful is the hard part. Maybe I should pay more attention to bug bounties.

The the Solana bug puts the SAIADao process on hold for the time being, I need to turn my attention to the next, biggest, hardest thing: my resignation announcement and Substack article. I should probably post it earlier in the afternoon, instead of waiting until late afternoon like I usually do. We’ll see.

I’ve started organizing my work board, a Trello board I named personal, but I should probably rename it after my LLC, as that’s what it is. I’ve got a bunch of stuff that I’ve been procrastinating on like domain and certificates renewals, and I also want to migrate this site over to the domain that I bought long ago.

But first thing on my list after I’m done here today is to workout. I have got to get back in a routine with that. My legs still hurt from two days ago, but my work has been sporadic. I’m pondering joining a fitness center or re-subscribing to Daily Burn so I can start doing some HIIT again, but I think resistance training is going to be the most important thing I can do, and I don’t know how I’m going to be able to do that without access to a weight room. I told Missus and she said there are a bunch of logs in the backyard, why don’t you go and lift those a bunch of times? Not a bad point, actually.

Note to future me

I do not want to be writing this right now, as I’m currently residing in Hangover City, but I’m forcing myself to do it before I allow myself to do anything else. The markets were up when I checked earlier, so I want to add to my leveraged longs, and I’m behind on stuff for SAIADao, but I’m going to crank this out before I do anything. I guess I’m on vacation from Zombie, LLC this last week. I got the Dell tech swapping the hard drive on a server later today then I’m just about done. Just a couple so long, and thanks for all the fish posts and I AM OUT.

Our quaranteam family came back from Tennessee yesterday afternoon, and the kids couldn’t wait to play. I cooked a pizza for the kids while the adults ate chicken tacos and drank scotch. I may have overdone it a bit.

I did a lot of work on the Solana multisig for the dao, but I’m having problems with the offline signing portion of it. Once I figure that out we should be good to go, but I still need to put the proposal together for the poster purchases. xDAI’s network was all jacked up yesterday. Graph Protocol was having an issue or something, hopefully it’s resolved so I can carry on.

I went through and read some more of last May’s posts. They’re like time capsules, and I think it emphasizes the importance of this blog/journal as a daily exercise. Earlier this week Missus was talking about some things that happened earlier in our marriage, was all do you remember when you did this fucked up thing and we almost got a divorce? and I was like no, thanks for reminding me. So it’s like that but for stuff that I want to remember here. This Hustle and Flow post is interesting, as it reminded me that a year ago I was worried about Zombie going under, and I was trying to figure out a way to double my salary, and here I am a year later quitting my job. Life is weird.

So, future me, if you’re reading this a year or five in the future, you can recall the beautiful day in May of 2021 when you, Missus, Elder, Younger and the cats were happy and content, the last week before you quit your job and embarked off to see what awaited you on the other side of your fear.

Wrapping up

Yesterday I basically signed off with Zombie, LLC for the last time. I had one project I wanted to wrap up, a predictive hard drive failure ticket on a RAID array that I had missed months ago. I escalated it to Dell for next day support and signed off. I told my boss that I was done. I would stick around to handle any escalations that our helpdesk threw back at us, but I wasn’t doing any more break/fix work, and I was starting any new projects. Now all I have to do is clean out my file folders and hand over my VM and LastPass export to the team in St. Louis. I’ve got a few things that I need to bring back to bossman and I’m done, and I just want to announce it to the world.

One thing that I can’t wait to turn in is my desk phone, a VOIP unit that sits in my front office. I told Younger that I was getting rid of it and her face lit up. I think, in a way, that phone represents a lot of conflict in this house. If I’m on a call with a client, I can’t physically isolate myself by closing a door since the front living room is effectively my office. And if I’m on the phone and the kids come in, I’m muting the phone to tell them to scram, or yell at them to pipe down. And in the event that they’re being so disruptive that I have to hang up the phone, well, then there’s hell to pay. I’ll be glad to pack the damn thing up and send it back.

I’m not saying that everything’s going to be roses just because I get rid of the phone, but I know it’s going to be a huge improvement in my quality of life, at least for the next few weeks. We’ll see how long my runway lasts. Once I was able to sign off with the Dell dispatcher yesterday I closed my windows and had special time with Younger before lunch, and actually made some good progress with the Solana multisig that I’ll need to write up for SAIADao.

BTC and ETH recovered quite a bit yesterday, and I tentatively added to my longs on, but I’m not really sticking to a plan, and will probably get rekt. The market had a little pullback overnight, some alts are still getting killed, but I haven’t looked at my positions yet this morning. At least I know what I need to do this AM.

I went back and looked at posts from last May. I don’t seem to have anything further back for May, even going back to 2004. Last year this time I was graduating from college and trying to pick up a six-figure job. To think I just turned one down a few weeks ago… hopefully that won’t come back to bite me in the ass. Reading Deep Work last night got me thinking that what I’ve really been looking for is some isolation from interruption, the ability to sit down for a few hours and work on a project with really intense focus. Even after resigning from Zombie, that won’t be automatic. I’ve still got distractions in the form of TradingView, Twitter, and numerous Discord servers that I allow to distract me. And there’s the kids of course.

But still, I was able to make some good progress yesterday with Solana; it was a problem that I’d been trying to figure out for a week or two, and the solution seems to be much simpler than I had been anticipating. I should probably take note of my horoscope or the phase of the moon, y’know, just in case. I think this weekend with my dad really affected me, I caught myself tearing up at one point while writing yesterday, but it set my mind and my motivation, which may have had something to do with it. We’ll see how long it lasts.

Going home

My dad got out of the hospital yesterday. He went in twenty-one days ago for open heart surgery. He has an irregular heartbeat, called atrial fibrillation, that causes palpitations and shortness of breath. He’s had several treatments to try and stem it, including medication and catheter ablation, where they go up a vein in your leg and create scar tissue on the heart by cutting it or using electricity to burn it. He hasn’t responded to any of that, so the next step was cutting open his chest.

The responsibility of taking after my dad has defaulted to me. I’ve never been close to my dad’s wife, and she’s got some sort of issue with driving. My brother has been in Germany for the last seven years or so, and the rest of dad’s family lives about eight hundred miles away. So I was his primary point of contact, the one the nurses and doctors to provide updates during his surgery and recovery, and it fell to me to provide updates to the rest of the family. I was the one to visit him after his surgery, and spoon fed him hospital eggs the day after his surgery. He looked like he’d been hit by a truck and was so doped up on painkillers that he later told me that he didn’t remember me visiting him.

The whole question of his post-op care was a tough one. Open heart patients can’t drive for several weeks, and aren’t supposed to lift anything more than five pounds for about eight weeks after the surgery. My dad assumed that he was going to have some sort of extended stay in a rehab facility, but the hospital didn’t recommend it, so he would have had to pay out of pocket for nursing home care. So there was a bit of scrambling to figure out where he was going to go. He couldn’t go home, and he didn’t want to go to his wife’s house, (they live in separate homes for some reason,) and he couldn’t stay with us for more than a day or two. So out-of-pocket nursing home it was. So I went to pick him up from the hospital.

When I got there dad told me that he had to stay. His breastbone had separated six millimeters, and the doctors wanted to go back in and tighten him up or rewire it. So he would need to spend another week in the hospital. But hey, at least he was out of afib.

So when I went to pick him up yesterday, he had spent a total of twenty-one days in the hospital. Thankfully, he’d been able to recover enough that they had lifted restrictions on his driving, so I brought him home so that he could check on his house and get his truck. Going back to my family home was very strange.

I haven’t been to the house in over ten years. So driving through the small town that I grew up in and see all the changes was very surreal. It’s a small town which could almost be considered a suburb of one of the larger cities around here, but the major roadways are a bit too roundabout for regular commuting, you have to take a series of winding, single lane back roads to get there. The closer we got to the house, the weirder things seemed, as the playgrounds and ballparks that I grew up around seemed so small compared to what I remembered. Houses that had belonged to friends brought back waves of nostalgia as I tried to remember who had lived where.

And then there was my dad’s house.

There was a reason that I hadn’t been to the house in ten years. After my mom left, and my brother and I moved out, my dad had lived in the house with his wife and my two stepsisters for a number of years. That hadn’t worked out, and so my dad had been living alone for the last dozen years or so, and it would be putting it mildly to say that he hadn’t kept up with things.

The last time I had been at the house was prior to my wedding. Missus and I had gone out there to try and clean up some things. Hoarder is about the only way that I can describe it. It just seemed that nothing got thrown out, and my dad is not the type of person who, how do you say, cleans. It was a mess, and my fiancée and I spent a few hours trying to tidy up things. After we left, she vowed never to come back. And in a way, I did as well.

Unfinished projects seems to be a family tradition. My paternal grandfather lived in the country, down an old dirt road amid oil derricks and strip mines. He had a earthen-covered home that he had built, but never really finished, with an old bus which had been surrendered to nature, as well as a herd of goats that he kept. To this day I cannot stand goat cheese.

My grandfather passed away after a heart attack in his sleep. He left without a will, and my dad and his sisters fought for years with my grandfather’s much younger wife over certain sentimental mementos. There wasn’t much money in the family. But I can just imagine the unfinished projects and junk that was left behind, yard barns and car parks full of tools, backhoes and tractors, other heavy machinery. My grandfather was an orphan, and a bit of a gypsy in a way, and had some sort of self-sufficient homesteader mentality that came from a hard life growing up poor in the midwest.

So that’s the backdrop, walking into my dad’s house for the first time in a decade. Driving past the landscaped family homes in this small suburban subdivision, and there’s my dad’s house, dingy yellow siding with green shutters that were fading to white. I walked in, and there was a great twelve foot oak dining room table, every inch of it covered with junk. The fridge was in the middle of the kitchen, the island covered with more junk. There were three TV’s in the den, the couches were covered in clothes, there were three computers sitting on the floor. I looked on a stack books and saw my high school graduation program, from 1997. My brother’s rec-league participation trophy was still sitting on the bookshelf.

I’ve got pictures of my dad at the house from when I was a kid, my mom and dad in their thirties, young and thin. My dad went into the hospital weighing almost three hundred pounds, and he lost thirty during his stay. I walked into the house and saw cases of diet soda, empty bottles of bourbon, and I looked in the fridge and saw only ice cream bars and lollipops for some odd reason.

I went room to room, surveying and documenting the state of the house so that I could commiserate with my brother. Closets of clothes that hadn’t been worn in decades; games, toys, coats, and books that had belonged to either me or my brother. I checked the attic and found a box of magazines from 1999 that were mine. I took them down and out to the curb, it was the least I could do and about all I could do given the overwhelmingness of the situation.

I didn’t know what to say to my dad. I guess I tried some tough love, but I don’t know if there was a bit of contempt there as well. I just couldn’t believe that the man had been sitting at home during coronavirus for the past year, and had retired, and was living this way. Nothing had changed since the last time I was out there, I suppose. I told him we needed to start cleaning stuff out, because as his trip to the hospital had made clear, I was probably going to be the one sorting through all this stuff for him when he passed, and I really didn’t appreciate him leaving such a fucking mess behind. I’m not sure how I said it, but that was the gist, I’m sure.

He said something smart-assed about my legacy, and I just continued through the house, like a shell-shocked refugee, cataloging the list of repairs that would need to be made, and the list of things that would need to be disposed of. There was an entire wing of the house that was unfinished, and addition that had been built over the garage as a master suite for my dad and his wife, that was abandoned after she moved out.

I gave my dad firm instructions to check in with the group chat I had started with the rest of the family. He promised he was not staying, but just needed to check some things and would drive himself to his wife’s that evening. (He did.) He thanked me, and I left, driving halfway home in silence, processing what I had seen. I sent the pictures to my brother, and talked to him, and afterwards to my wife.

I meditated on it this morning, and went and marked the fourth Sunday off on the calendar for June and July. I figure I’ll need to start going home and spending a few hours doing what I can do. I figure I’ll start by cleaning out the attic, taking things down and putting them in rooms where they can be cataloged and hauled off. There are a couple boxes of fifty year-old LPs along with a turntable and reel-to-reel tape deck. There are Persian rugs, train sets, Boy Scout hats and a number of Tom Swift books from when my dad was a kid. There are dressers and Christmas ornaments that haven’t seen the light of day in forever. There are so many things.

I’ll just keep going home, once a month, moving things and hauling off what I can. I told my brother we needed to drop a dumpster off in the front yard and call 1-800-GOT-JUNK, but for now it has to be me to go over there and start combing through the wreckage.

And when I came back from my trip, to my home that I share with Missus and the girls, my unfinished business stuck out like a sore thumb: the deck that needs staining, the broken hot tub; the patched bathroom hole that needs sanding, filling, and painting. The landscaping, all of the things that have to be kept up, but that haven’t been. We’ve been minimizing our things, and I’m glad that we have been. Cleaning out the clutter and getting rid of all the junk we’ve accumulated. I joked to Missus that most of my clutter is scattered around on hard drives, most of my junk are just files.

At least ones and zeros do not clutter our living room.

Catching knives

So I’m trying real hard to stay cool right now. I woke up to find that my levered ETH position got liquidated earlier, so I lost about $1500. It’s worth like $60 right now, and the market still seems like it wants to dump. CryptoTwitter is going a bit nuts right now. Everyone thinks we’re at the bottom, no one wants to risk a long right now. My BTC position has some room, but apparently alts are dead. I don’t even need to look, but I’m wishing I’d taken some risk off my EOS and ADA positions last week. Oh well.

I spent a few hours last night looking through the Perp Finance repos, trying to come up with a calculator I could use for position management. Opening a second order when you have a position open in a market doesn’t give you one position, it just modifies the already open one. And when you go to add or remove margin, it will give you the new leverage amount in the pre-transaction page, but you can’t tell what the updated liquidation price is from there. So I tried to build a spreadsheet for it, translating BigNumber JS calculations into something I could render in a sheet. I wanted something that would let me calculate the liquidation price for any given change in my position, but it was too much for me at 1AM.

My ETH position is essentially worth $20 right now. My BTC positions are good for the moment, less than a thousand dollars from my liquidation price. Meanwhile, Twitter’s calling for low 20’s. And to further compound things, I accidently went all in on my position the other night when I meant to put a quarter in. So things are a bit of a mess right now. So I’m locked in in my IRA position, but I’ve still got 50% of my allocation for ETH and BTC sitting on the sideline. I’m not sure I want to bet against the trend right now though. Things are looking pretty ugly.

I guess my only choice is to shut my computer down and take a walk outside. I’m not going to cut my losses, I’ll just take the L right now and try not to compound the issue. I’ll need to plan out exactly what I’m going to do from here to prevent any (more) stupid mistakes.

Altseason over.

It’s been a bit of a mixed day. We partied a bit last night, took out some leveraged positions on ETH and BTC on Perp.Fi. Almost got liquidated so that was fun. Seriously though, I was actually under my estimated liquidation price, but I still had a couple basis points on my position, and the price rebounded. It was quite nerve-wracking. That was last night, with a small position in my regular account. I opened another position with about five grand in my IRA funds. That’s underwater right now but holding steady.

What do you call this pattern?

Spent the rest of the night playing video games, and was pretty useless this AM. Took Younger to get a haircut, bought her a bike at the thrift store, then did some grocery shopping. Spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning the house and getting ready for Elder’s friend to sleep over. Missus has been sick all day, has barely left the bedroom. Cooked pizza for dinner and spent the afternoon playing video games.

I bought the fourth Start Atlas NFT poster. That one is $512, the next one is $1024 and then I’m done. First I need to figure out where I’m getting the cash from. Now is a really bad time to sell. Alts are bleeding all over the place. I don’t think a single coin in my watchlist was up by the daily close. Anyways I’ll find something to dump, maybe harvest a tax loss and get this last poster to bring me up to tier two. SAIADao has raised about $60,000, so I’m going to move forward with a proposal to buy the tier three posters. That’s only about a quarter of what we have in the bank, so we’ll see how things go from there.

I did really pick a horrible time to retire. May has been brutal. I haven’t done too bad, mainly as I’ve just been buying spot. I probably should have tapered off my ETH2x-FLI position, but it’s still up from where I entered, so we should be good. If this is the bottom and I can keep from getting liquidated, then I’ll be feeling fat and happy. But I am underwater right now, and most of my cash is deployed. Sentiment on Twitter is absolutely horrible, but it’s out of my hands now.

One more thing about yesterday. I had the second handoff meeting with the St. Louis team, and spent about ninety minutes going over the particulars of my client list. Of course the guys asked me why I was stepping down and I told them about my crypto activities. I was probably a bit too open, but oh well. I also called the last one of my clients that I wanted to touch base with and said goodbye to. They were actually very interested in my crypto activities, so I might keep in touch. I need to draft a statement or something for social media, and my various publishing platforms. Time to get serious.