As I pulled up to the side of the building, my heart sank somewhat. I was not so much bothered by the industrial feel of the neighborhood, but the lot next door was an abandoned factory, with rusted scrap metal heaps, garbage, and a sleeping wino next to the rear entrance. But hey, I picked the place, so I sauntered in. Image cannot be displayed The first impression was that this is nowhere near as dark and dinghy as I’d thought (and perhaps hoped) – but seeing the beer sampler tray (a treasure map with 5 X’s to select your brew) put my mind at rest. Nevertheless, the hunt for a regular meeting place shall have to continue, and this time the emphasis will be on my own judgment of ambiance and privacy, rather than ‘boating accident’ theme and pirate treasure connotations… :-) Image cannot be displayed I’d received a total of 5 (five) direct inquiries (and one decline) to my call for participants to the first meeting of the Pacific Northwest chapter of the ‘Secret Society of the Turd’, which was a little (lot) lower than I’d hoped BUT still ∞ times more than the number of Turdites I had met in person prior (though I HAD had the pleasure of seeing a few of you via Skype, you know who you are… :-) ). As clearly as I can see the faces of the folks who arrived, I could not tell you for the life of me (for sure, at least) who came first. Perhaps it was longtime ZH-reader and then Turd follower William, with his dry wit and slender frame. Then maybe Ginny, the TFMR lurker/reader who liked guns, and looked elegant not so much because of anything she wore, but rather who she was. Gary, who responded first (and lived practically next door) was next, I think – followed by Jeff, who had trekked quite a ways to make it to that part of the metro area. Despite never having seen any of them prior, I almost instantly felt at ease with the group. We each recounted how we’d found Turd, where we stood on ideas like prepping, bug-out locations, talking to friends and family (or the impossibility thereof), and which our favorite local LCS was and why. We discussed the derivatives pyramid looming over the global financial system, an extinction-level event suspended for now, but waiting to happen: Image cannot be displayed In retrospect, I should have (and thus of course now will) come with a bit more structured agenda, and perhaps a ‘homework assignment’ or two. But in all, the meeting was a relaxing, refreshing and very welcome reminder that I am not alone, none of us are. What was (at least to me) a bit surprising: everyone present (except myself) was either a lurker or an ex-user on the site – but I felt much like I might on a Main Street thread nevertheless.
One of these newly-found fellow Turdites mentioned to me a long-running organization not unlike what I was trying to start up – the Casey Phyles. Originally suggested by Doug Casey (with whom I know Turd has some not-so-minor disagreements) for readers of his newsletter a LONG, long time ago, Phyles are self-organized, self-sustaining organizations – loosely anchored by having all at one point or another been started by a member who was a Casey subscriber. Doug himself explains and elaborates in detail in an interview on the Phyles (https://www.caseyresearch.com/cdd/doug-casey-phyles): When I received the invitation to join a meeting of the local chapter, and finally found their table at a local coffeehouse, I KNEW I was home. I often get a sense of (false?) déjà vu, of having met someone before – but never had I felt so with a whole tableful of people. It literally was like coming home, listening to a large Christmas dinner conversation between a large, extended family of Turdites. Membership ages ranged from mid-thirties to mid-seventies. Engineers and businessmen, energy consultant and grad student, network security guru and real estate broker alike were to a person friendly, knowledgeable, inquisitive, and willing to share their experience and knowledge. They also all had a damn good sense of humor (which is a requirement for anyone who owns PMs these days, I suppose…). I met a mobile network security expert with an ACTUAL bug-out residence in a sparsely populated area of a nearby state. I met a businessman with the skills and perseverance to not only found, successfully run and sell a medium-sized local manufacturing firm – BUT then to actually consistently make money in PM miners. I met a stacker who started accumulating in the early seventies – preserved wealth, sold out and started buying again when the time was right. One member brought a (to me) impressive COMMO bag full of radio equipment, from scanners to long-range UHF/VHF handhelds made for non-US markets (with 3rd gen chipsets and no blocking of DHS frequencies), as well as CB radios – and held a detailed and informative presentation on their use, advantages and disadvantages, and gave me in particular a forehead-slapping a-ha moment. Even such a basic, hand-held unit can be boosted/relayed pretty much around the world, if one programs the transceiver correctly with relay stations – news that I certainly want to find out more about. Reasonably high-performance 8W handsets for around $60, step-by-step YouTube videos ( “Doug: Okay, well, a phyle is a group of people that’s self-defined by whatever values they share. A phyle is not limited by race or language or geography – or, most importantly, by borders on maps or other such fictions – although it could be, if its members chose to be so limited. The word phyle was coined by science fiction author Neal Stephenson in his masterwork, The Diamond Age. It comes from the Greek, φυλή which means "tribe” or “clan."But it would be at least as apt if they were called philes, stemming from the Greek word philia, which means “love”– the same root in the word “philosophy”. The basic idea is that man is a social animal, and we tend to prefer to run with others who are like us – or who love what we love. Birds of a feather flock together, in either case.”https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=baofeng+gmrs+relay) on programming protocol – free. Being able to reach your family halfway, or ALL the way around the world even in the case of a massive Pacific Fault earthquake or Bernanke Buck Meltdown Worldquake – priceless. TFMR was a regularly read by all around the table – and news of the Secret Society of the Turd© meeting from the previous week was eagerly awaited. Despite the relatively small size of our initial ‘official’ Turdville gathering, I am far from deterred -- quite the contrary. Having met not one but TWO groups of people with similar values, perspectives, concerns and hopes – I am ever more convinced of the need for such real-life connections. In the course of just a few hours, I learned quite a bit that was more than just the (somewhat vain and self-serving) reassurance that I am not alone – even though that itself is of course nothing to sneeze at. I learned specific, immediately useful and low-cost survival skills that will help me whether TEOTGKE happens tomorrow, next year or a decade hence. Even more important, I had the privilege of meeting independent thinkers who believed in freedom, and were coming together to help themselves and each other achieve it. It was also a reminder that for every registered Gold-membership holder, there are 10 or more members of the free side of the site – and that for each of THEM, there are at least an equivalent number (or possibly multiples) who never registered at ALL, never commented in the posts or the forums – but follow and agree with the basic values of our proprietor and (most) of the other members we see, read and interact with each day. And what I had set out to try to bring together – a meeting of like-minded, curious, independent people united in their desire to seek truth and gain knowledge (and preference for precious metals helps, too… ) – it seems already existed right here in my area. But it took this exercise for me to be able to find it. Long story short – the next Seattle Turdville meeting is tentatively scheduled for the afternoon of Saturday, March 14th. Apparently the single barrier of an email to me for the location of the meet was too effective – but I am still reluctant to post this – so the same routine remains. I AM, however, interested in location recommendations – either in an easily accessible Seattle location, or even more preferably on the Eastside. I hope to see all of you who can make it. I hope to meet more of you, and to learn more from you. If you have had other meetings of a similar nature in the last few weeks (or earlier, for that matter), please continue to share them here in the comments, or in the forum thread below. Proposed date: Saturday, March 14th, 4:00 PM Proposed location: to be released to confirmed participants. Most likely on the Eastside of Seattle, where we can not only lament our individual and collective boating accidents, but also sketch a plan for ongoing meetings, if there is enough interest. Contact: john dot yossarian896 (what goes between username and domain) hushmail period com Forum link: https://www.tfmetalsreport.com/comment/635622