Friday, 1PM: I leave work early. I have to set up for the gun show early because the only time my mechanic has for the alignment rack for the next week and a half is friday afternoon and I am in need of an alignment to keep my Michelin Defender's in a nice predictable wear pattern.
My loadout this weekend includes a whole bunch of the usual stuff, Colts, Sigs, HK's, Glock's a few Springfields and four Daniel Defense rifles and an FN SLP Mk 1. I haul over a few used guns that I just took on trade too, a Tavor 556 LH and a Mossberg 500 that I got for $100 off someone wanting to trade it towards a new Glock 23. Four trips with the hand truck gets everything in before the rain starts.
I have reserved two tables but I have enough merchandise to cover three. The exhibitor tells me tables went up so two tables cost me $160 for the weekend and I consider it a small expense to view the express train to hell that is the gun culture.
45 minutes flies by as I set up my table just the way I want it and I get to Lenny's to get my alignment done. He's been doing an alignment for me no charge for the past 3 years after I told him NOT
to buy an old Browning shotgun he fell in love with on gunbroker. He wanted to use it for upland hunting, sporting clays, skeet and anything moving through the air killing. It was an old gun that had FIXED barrel chokes - Full and Full. I told him RUN LIKE HELL. He said my advice saved him from a $1500 mistake and the least he can do is keep my car on the road no charge. He gets my car set up on his $80,000 hunter alignment rack and finds my toe in is way out of spec. He spends a few minutes banging around with a wrench and everything is all good. As he's doing that, since I know he won't take my money - I walk to the 7-11 across the street and grab him a tall boy of Rolling Rock. His week is so shitty that he shotguns it faster than Brett Kavanaugh circa 1982. Time to head home. I'm halfway there when the phone rings ring ring
FC: Go for FC
1: Hey FC, it's Captain Bob. How's it going?
FC: Good! I got your stuff fixed and ready to go on my desk.
1: I can be there in 15 minutes!
FC: I'll turn around, see you in 15.
Captain Bob is a four stripe left seat pilot for Delta on the triple. We love talking airplanes and guns. He's had me tune up an old 220 he wants to use at a class he's taking at FLETC later this year. Like a good pilot, he believes in a comprehensive pre flight inspection. And since his type rating says B777 and not P220, he wanted someone to make sure he's not taking a dud to class. All I did to it was give it a visual, clean and lube and although it probably didn't need it - it had a 20 year old recoil spring so I installed a new one just as a precaution.
I get back to my desk and get his gun ready, cleared and slide locked back as he walks in the door. He just got home from running a 777LR to Johannesburg and back and is very pleased to see his old 220 ready to roll. I take my glasses off and point out he's got a little bit of slide peening in a few spots but just keep it lubricated and it's normal wear and tear since he does not shoot it much.
He asks me if I have any 300 blackout ammo, I pull a case of 220gr OTM off the shelf. I tell him $450 on the ammo and the pistol inspection and recoil spring is on the house and he's having none of it. Hands me five crisp hundos and tells me to keep it. Just as I'm tucking the cash into my desk drawer, my door opens up and since I'm not wearing my glasses - I see a blurry silhouette of.....is that wonder woman? HUGE TITS on a small frame. I can't tell what's going on.
Lady: Hey FC, it's Lisa. I was just getting my wedding dress altered next door and wanted to say hi!
FC: Oh hey! I'm not wearing my glasses so I have no idea what's happening!
Lisa: See you tomorrow!
FC: I'l be there! So anyways Bob, that was strange. I am normally not used to having my door flung open by halfway attractive women.....
Bob: Neither am I! You should see some of the FA's on the J'burg route!
We have a laugh. Some more airplane talk about the old 72's and I tell him about the time I greased it in the box on the A320. Turns out he flew A320's as well as boeings and we revel in the differences in both the airplanes. I really like the Airbus design and their workflow even though Boeing guys love to hate it. He's happy with his 220 and we pull chocks.
I head home, throw a ribeye on the grill and go to bed early. I've got a busy day in the morning.
Saturday morning I wake up at 7AM and look at my to do list. Shit shower and shave. The gun show closes at 5. Lisa's wedding is at 6. The venue is at the lake 39 minutes from the VFW hall. I have a plan. I will leave STRAIGHT to the venue from the gun show and I'll put on dress clothes below the belt. After all, how often do you look at another man's pants? I throw on an HK black NO COMPROMISE Polo shirt untucked with a black alligator belt and Canali navy slacks with my new Allen Edmonds boulevards in black. Socks by Brumell and boxers by Fruit of the Loom. I walk into the VFW hall with a non iron Lauren white spread collar shirt, Ted Baker tie and Canali jacket slung over my shoulder. Nobody notices the pitter patter sound of leather soles on the concrete as the show starts coming to life.
It's 8:55. Lets get this show on the road.
The loudspeaker crackles and lets everyone in the hall know the doors are about to open up and asks us to check all our guns for ammo and zip ties. I get my table ready and pull out my 4473's on clipboards and check my pens. FFL in frame is standing up on the table, everything is tagged and tied. There will be no discharge of firearms at my table as a result.
9AM: Show opens. It's dead. Deader than dead. Like, life support dead. Typically there is a line from the entryway of the hall and around the building to get into the show every time.
This is not the show of years ago. This summer has been atrocious. I talked to the promoter and lots of vendors did not reserve tables for this and the next show. The numbers are way down.
Some people start to trickle in but it's not a good sign.
9:30AM: A fellow walks up and asks me if I have a Sig 226 TACOPS with TB in stock. I don't but vendors do. He drove 2 hours to this show to try and find one since his local place did not have it. They're on contract with sig and refuses to order one from distribution to make him happy and Sig has no idea when they're going to make more out of New Hampshire. Well, thanks to Ron Cohen making 26 SKU's for every single pistol - that's what you get.
9:41AM: Fellow wearing an INFOWARS shirt molests way too much merchandise on my table than I'm comfortable with. I shoot a knowing eye roll to Noah over at the next table. He's a 27 year old jewish gold bullion dealer from Long Island that votes libertarian and laughs at all my jokes. He adjusts his RON PAUL FOR PRESIDENT banner hanging off the edge of his table as I wait for Finger McBangerson here to go away so I can wipe down all my stuff.
10:23AM: Guy walks up to me and he says he's looking for a shotgun for competition. I point him towards the SLP at the end of the table.
10:24AM: Older fellow walks up to me and says he's looking for a gun for his wife as he lifts up a Colt Commander. I tell him that will definitely kill his wife. Guy looking at the SLP cracks up laughing. Older guy looks at me mortified. Then he gets the joke. Asks me about suitability of a steel framed colt commander for her. I say probably not a good first choice. Perhaps you should send her to an NRA basic pistol class.
10:39AM: Guy asks me what's the best I'll do on a Glock 17L. I tell him the tag is already priced more than fair. He asks if he can buy it with cash if he can get a discount. I'm like let me see. I ask him if he's got a state CWL. He says yes. I take off $20. He says it's a deal, hands me a stack of money, current CWL and a California drivers license.
FC: Do you have residency in this state?
1: No, I'm here visiting for work
FC: And you want me to sell you a gun with a California drivers license and no residency?
1: DUDE! KEEP IT DOWN! Do you have any idea what would happen if people found out I didn't live here?
FC: YES I DO! They wouldn't be a party to you breaking the law!
I hand him all his shit back and tell him to get on the next flight to Fresno.
12:01 PM: Lunchtime. I pick up my sammich from Jersey mikes and nobody fails to interrupt me to throw money at me. This is not a very good sign.
12:16 PM: I am scarfing down the last of my sandwich as Infowars shirt guy comes back around. We chat a bit about 1911's and he eventually tries to convince me that I need to buy the water filter that Alex Jones is selling to keep us from turning homosexual. I tell him now I'm not gay, but look at these shoes. I pull my left hock up and put a nice shiny new Allen Edmonds boulevard on the table. He seems to recoil in horror. As he walks away, I tell him he didn't even notice that I had them straight laced! They're fabulous!
Nobody understands my humor.
12:33 PM: The vendor to the left of me is selling clothing offensive to the left. MAGA hats, anti snowflake shirts, ISIS hunting permit graphic tees, etc. I debate calling one of my guys and having "MAKE 45ACP GREAT AGAIN" hats made up. I call up r_shackleford
and he thinks this is genius. We trade witty banter back and forth for a few minutes.
12:49 PM: The vendor in front of me is a gigantic pawn shop with 16 tables. There's a woman trying to sell them a rifle, and not succeeding at all. Sam looks over at me and points and says to her "you know, he buys guns too!"
FUCK YOU SAM.
FUCK YOU LONG.
FUCK YOU HARD.
The hambeast approaches and thrusts a rifle in my face. "WE BUILT IT CUSTOM" she says. "I NEED MONEY FOR CHEMO" she says. The barrel says 223 Wylde. The lower says Aero Precision. The price tag says $1500 OBO. I tell her she'd be lucky if she got HALF that in this economy. She complains that they really need the money and her two demon spawn that are traveling with her seem to be tired of her getting the same speech from every vendor in the hall.
NO YOUR GODDAMN HOMEBUILT 223 WYLDE AR15 IS NOT WORTH $1500
It's not even worth $750
It's worth MAYBE the same price as a new PSA rifle - $350, $450 tops if you threw in the little girl.
Editors note (start voice over here): Hi, I'm Matt Damon. Human trafficking is no laughing matter. For just a small donation of $50 or more, you can fight human trafficking. I prefer that you donate to Rapha House International
, a charity dedicated to preventing sex trafficking and providing care and treatment to its victims. If you go to the post in the top of guns
and donate, you can even stop shitposters like FirearmConcierge
from posting stuff like this for the rest of the month if you donate enough money. This sort of support can only be made possible from viewers like you. Please, donate today. Stop the suffering. For the little girls. For reddit. For America.
The lady looks at me like a truck stop rapist and inevitably proclaims that SHE KNOWS WHAT SHE'S GOT. Words fail me. I shake my head as she walks away with her demon spawn and I shoot a look back at sam and mouth very carefully YOU FUCKER back at him. Sam cracks up laughing.
1:12PM: I'm asked if that's a Dead Air Sandman on my table. I say yes. Guy asks to look at it and explains to his friend that it's a DAA Sandman and talks about the mounting system.
FC: You know your stuff.
1: Yeah I just bought one.
FC: I'm the only DAA dealer around here, you don't look familiar. Who'd you get it from?
1: Silencershop. Used the kiosk at a dealer in another city 1.5 hours away
FC: Uh, I stock the sandman and would have made you a deal. Why'd you do go through them if you don't mind my asking?
1: Well it was a timesaver.
FC: How's that? I mean that place I know is an hour and a half away without traffic, so you made a trip there to do your stuff - then back. That's 3 hours. Then another 3 hours after your stamps clear - so that's 6 hours in a car total. I can call the PD, make an appointment for you to roll your prints and you're done in 15 minutes. Photos at CVS are another 15 minutes. How is 6 hours a timesaver instead of 30 minutes?
1: Well I just knew that if I had to make more than one stop I'd never do it, so it was spend 6 hours in a car and get it done in one shot or spend 15 minutes doing fingerprints or photos and being too lazy to do the other one and never sending in the paperwork. So this was the better choice for me.
FC: Uh. Okay?
1: Why don't you have a kiosk?
FC: I'm not paying $9000 for something that's going to save you time and cost me money and then have to deal with being tech support and having a device in my place of business that compresses my own margins. We're down to making $50 on a can from making $350. This isn't a position I'm interested in taking.
1: Well, sucks to be you. I'm buying all my cans from silencershop now!
FC: Enjoy your 6 hour drive.
1:30 PM: Man walks up with an old stainless combat commander colt. Series 70. No original box and sights. Looks well used.
Thinks I’m crazy when I say I won’t give him $1000 on trade.
1:39 PM: Guy comes back. Guy wants me to put a can on his 1917 eddystone that is not threaded. He asks what he can get for $150
1:45 PM: Lady picks up a Trijicon RMR and asks to turn it on. I shove a battery in it and turn it on.
1: This is a laser sight right?
FC: This is an RMR from Trijicon and RMR stands for Ruggedized Miniature Reflex sight - it uses a laser of sorts and projects it onto this lens here....
1: THIS COSTS $500? AND IT DOES NOT EVEN PUT IT ON THE TARGET?
FC: Well if you just look through the lens here you can see the red dot projected onto the glass.....
1: I CAN BUY A $30 LASER POINTER AND DUCT TAPE IT TO MY GUN AND I'D BE $470 CHEAPER AND IT WOULD PUT THE LASER ON THE BAD GUY! WHAT IS THIS GARBAGE YOU'RE TRYING TO SELL?
She walks away. My mouth is agape.
2:15PM: Old guy walks up and points at a Glock 34 I have on the table. MY FRIEND BOUGHT A GLOCK IN 89 WITH NYPD AND SHOT HIMSELF HOLSTERING IT. I DONT TRUST THE DAMN THINGS and shuffles away without me having time for a rebuttal
2:21PM: Someone walks up asking me if I want to buy a used les Baer Comanche. I tell him I buy when I can make money. I look at it. It’s clean.
He wants $1600. Street is about $1600, that's all the money. Street the gun sells for about $1799 NEW, which means I can buy it for less than $1600 new. I tell him this. He looks at me like Elizabeth Warren looks at Brett Kavanaugh and shuffles away. I shake my head as I notice a familiar face walk up. I can't place it. He looks at some guns.
2:25PM: I'm asked if I have a card from the familiar stranger. I reach down into my wallet and fish one out, I hand it to him and he smiles at me. It finally clicks.
FC: Dr Livingstone, I presume.
Doc: I haven't seen you in years, how have you been?
(The doc is FC's old therapist. He can't say hi to me walking around due to HIPAA but if I open a dialogue, it's okay)
FC: Eh, same old shit different day. I uh made some mistakes a few weeks ago and I thought of you.
Doc: Oh really? How so.
FC: Well uh. You remember that day when I told you to go back to the Office of the Bursar at UCLA and ask for a refund on your $125,000 post graduate education because it was nothing but academic detritus?
Doc: Well, I hadn't thought about it for a few years but it sounds like something you would say.
FC: It was right after you told me that I used 3 different quotes from 3 different academics in a span of less than 5 minutes to answer your question. You said that I intellectualize as a defense because I don't like getting close to people. I said you're full of shit. You asked me do I even know what intellectualize means? I said of course I know what it means, what do you think I'm some kind of idiot? Then you sat there grinning like a Cheshire cat at the thought of making me eat my own words.
Doc: Haha. Now, that sounds familiar. I remember that.
FC: Well I don't know how many patients are willing to say it but you were right and I was wrong.
Doc: I don't get much pleasure in hearing that, but did you learn anything about yourself?
FC: It took a few years to realize you may have been right all along but yeah.
Doc: Then what does it matter who's right or wrong as long as you learned something?
FC: Hmm. That's not bad. How's business?
Doc: Full appointment book and not taking new patients.
FC: I guess you could say it's........a little crazy?
Doc: I missed your humor. Tell me about this Glock 45...
I show him a few different guns and crack jokes about disgruntled patients. He says he'll think about arming himself what with crime and mentally unstable people being growth sectors in this post-trump apocalyptic nightmare. I tell him to be fore warned is to be fore armed. He seems reticent, but I can only lead the horse to water. I can't make him drink.
2:51PM: Fellow walks up.
1: I need a colt ladysmith. Do you have one?
FC: the colt or the ladysmith?
1: The colt ladysmith
FC: is it a colt or a smith?
FC: which model?
1: the ladysmith!
FC: I know but I need to know what model. They put that on a bunch of different guns
1: it’s the one with writing on the side of the gun. It says. LADY SMITH on it. You know the one
I realize the strongest case for repealing the second amendment is spending a day talking to people at the gun show.
3PM: Two hours left to go! The end is in sight! I haven't sold a single fucking gun yet!
3:02 PM: Man walks up. Hey do you have the new Sig 925?
FC: You mean 365?
1: No the 925
FC: Sig does not make a 925
1: Yes they do, it's the new one.
FC: The 365?
1: No! The 925!
FC: Can you show me a picture?
1: It's the one on the magazine.
FC: Most of sigs guns have magazines.
1: I mean the one in print. It's on the cover.
FC: The cover of the periodical you mean?
1: Yeah! You know the new one!
FC: Well if it's on the cover, it should be easy to find on google. Can you show me a picture?
1: There's nothing coming up on google for the Sig 925
FC: Maybe perhaps its because it's the sig 365?
1: I'm telling you it's not that. It's the new one they just came out with. It's the 925.
FC: Care to make a wager?
FC: If you bring me a photo I can try to narrow it down.
1: I'll find the magazine at home and bring it in tomorrow.
3:12: Numismatist neighbor Noah asks me a question
Noah: Hey! What's a hi point?
FC: A cry for help!
Noah: No I mean price wise?
FC: Like $100, they're garbage guns.
Me and Noah start talking. I am moving more and more libertarian every day. He's the treasurer of his local LP chapter in Suffolk county. For a jewish kid from Riverhead, we sure have a lot in common. We get into an animated debate on the virtues of Kelo v New London in that it was a shitty position for the town of New London to take Susette Kelo's house for redevelopment under eminent domain. If they wanted to redevelop it, for the government to use eminent domain is a government run amok. As a libertarian, he hates government overreaching - as someone who also hates that sort of thing, we are in very vocal agreeance.
The tshirt vendor is listening to us debate the merits of the case and how the SCOTUS created a TERRIBLE precedent regarding government using the takings clause and when we finish he asks us a question.
TShirtGuy: How the fuck do you two know so much about a supreme court case?
Noah: Well, when you went to college and you're an economics and pre law major....
FC: Let me make it simple. WE ARE NERDS!
Everyone has a laugh.
TShirtGuy: Speaking of funny, check this out! He holds up a shirt.
It says in big print on the front: the the reason gun shows exist is so women can know what it’s like for when they drag men to the mall
3:13 PM: I get in an argument with the republican candidate for office of something or other on gun laws. He is stupid and he is going to lose.
3:23 PM: A nice lady walks up. She looks familiar. She looks at some guns and feels up a 226 and remarks how well she likes how it handles.
FC: You're Bernice, aren't you?
Bernice: Why yes I am! You do not look familiar. How do I know you?
FC: You're still working at the courthouse right?
Bernice: That's right!
FC: Judge Snyder, right?
Bernice: No! He moved up to the appellate circuit last month it's...
FC: Judge Reinhold! That's right, one of his JA's called me to buy a gun last month. I forgot Christine told me, you're right.
Bernice: Holy crap, you have an incredible memory. When was the last time you were in front of Judge Snyder?
FC: Four years ago. I was the one that filed the motion citing the big lebowski.
Bernice: OH MY GOD THAT WAS YOU? I remember that!
FC: Yeah and I had to go dumpster diving to get my phone back.
Shit, was that really 4 years ago? Fuck.
We talk more about guns and stuff. She loves her old West German 226. I tell her that if she really wants to have some fun, she should ask Judge Snyder to tag along on his next range day. About two years ago, the judge called me up asking for some advice. He's Tet offensive era USMC and wanted a new toy to reach out and touch someone and was dead set on getting a new SR25.
I talked him out of it because SR25's are stupid expensive. I knew of another dealer that had a T&E 20" SR25 that they were looking to unload cheap and I told him that with the amount of money he'd save going to the T&E gun versus the new one - the delta would more than cover a Nightforce NXS, rings and mounting and that would save him money and be a good performer. I'm friends with his daughter on facebook and they both looked like they had a lot of fun ringing the gong at the gun club.
Bernice is impressed. Too bad she's not my type, we'd get along fantastically if I was 15 years older.
4 PM: 60 minutes left to this shit show.
4:04PM: The loudspeaker crackles. ATTENTION ATTENTION: BRETT KAVANAUGH HAS JUST BEEN CONFIRMED TO THE SUPREME COURT.
The proletariat rejoices and hooting and hollering typically reserved for the LSU game breaks out in the hall.
ALSO WILL THE RED JEEP PARKED IN THE FIRE LANE PLEASE MOVE - YOU ARE BLOCKING THE BBQ GUY FROM LEAVING. RED JEEP. MOVE OR YOU WILL BE TOWED.
4:11 PM: Guy walks up in civvies.
1: I wanna buy this but I’m not a state resident
FC: well what’s your deal? Give me some more to work with.
1: I’m from Texas but I’m in the military
FC: if you got your orders - PCS to any base in this state says you’re a state resident, but if you don't - I can't help you. I know a lot of guys don't travel around with their orders....
JUST AS I SAY THAT the guy pulls out a wad of hundreds out of his pocket and his PCS paperwork, signed, rubber stamped and billeted.
THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE.
I give him the clipboard as I look at his paperwork. No blank spaces, approved change of station to Barksdale AFB, address reads base housing, everything is in order for the young airman.
HOLY FUCKING SHIT. THIS IS AMAZING.
Forms done correct on the first swing.
I AM WAITING FOR THE OTHER SHOE TO DROP.
I call in the transaction and they tell me that the national system is down. NO IDEA WHEN IT'S GOING TO BE BACK UP.
I tell the USAF that the system is down and we can't do anything. He takes my card and hands me money and says just call him when it's ready to be picked up. Huh. Okay, he's cool with that. His girlfriend lives over here so he's back here every weekend. Done! I mark up the paperwork with some notes.
4:23 PM: One guy just walked up and told me that he had no idea HK made rifles. Apparently made a bunch of rifles a few years ago and stamped glocks name on them for Glock. Since Glock can't be found out to be making rifles. This captures the attention of another guy who asks me if my Glocks on the table have fluted firing pins. I tell him they do not make fluted firing pins. That makes no sense. He says yes they do make sense. They're fluted so they shoot underwater.
4:28 PM: Noah's table has someone in front of it debating buying some gold. As they delve into the discussion of gold and FIAT currency, I hear the following.
1: Bitcoin is a webpage. It’s like buying stock. Bitcoin issues shares and it dilutes so the price goes down.
Noah: I don't think that's how it works.
1: You’re basically buying a part of a big webpage
FC: This is like listening to someone try to explain that pi is exactly 3.
Noah: What's wrong with you?
FC: I am the Anthony Bourdain of the gun world. I eat, I drink and I yell at idiots.
4:45 PM It's getting close to show close, I need to get ready for the wedding. I grab my Lauren shirt that thankfully is non iron and just dressy enough to work and just casual enough to be worn without a tie if you need to and whip off my HK polo. I put on the shirt and tuck it in as I notice a lovely couple walk up out of the corner of my eye. Its Jim and Jane, Jane is a pharmacist that works at the hospital and Jim is a Gastroenterology resident at the hospital too. They buy lots of guns from me. I finish tucking in my shirt as we talk shop.
Jim wants 6 cans, 3 handgun and 3 rifle and wants to know what his options are. I rattle off all the options I would look at and I write some down on a legal pad for Jane to show him on the computer when he gets home. We talk 762 vs 556, 45 vs 9mm and direct thread vs QD for about 10 minutes as I tie off my blue Ted Baker tie into a Pratt knot. The apex of the tie just touches my belt buckle. Length is right on the money, and I didn't even have a mirror. Jane approves of my knot and color selection. Go me.
4:55 PM: Fabulousness achieved, I call back in and find out national system is still down. FUCK. Well this is gonna have to wait till tomorrow. I shove Airman Cecil O'Malley's paperwork under the table and start stowing stuff since the show is about to close.
4:59 PM: Table is covered up and FC is walking out the door as the announcement crackles over the loudspeaker. THE SHOW IS CLOSED. PLEASE LEAVE THROUGH THE FRONT DOOR.
5:01 PM: On the way to the wedding! I stop at Target along the way because I've forgotten to get a card. I find one that says "It was meant to brie" on the front. It has some greeting card herpes, aka glitter on it but I have no time to be picky. As I'm in line to checkout I write something cheeky.
"I always said love was cheesy and I camembert it sometimes.....Love, FC"
The cashier scans it, I plug my amex into the card reader as I slip in a yard in there and seal up the envelope and slide it into my jacket pocket.
The ride to the lake breaks every speed limit in two counties.
5:45PM: I arrive 15 minutes before the ceremony is about to begin and the parking staff puts me in the back lot. I hike over to the open bar and get a fresca. I'm supposed to behave myself, so FC quit drinking and is just chilling with a fresca as he scans the room.
I know NOBODY at this wedding except the bride, groom and MAYBE the bride's massage therapist. Nope. I know nobody here. Awwwkward. I behave myself and sip on a fresca as the wedding starts. She gets married. She says yes. He says yes. FC is an ordained minister and can step up and marry someone in case there's an emergency but my services will not be needed at this wedding because things are going smoother than a cold filtered miller genuine draft. It's all good. The DJ announces the new couple and they walk down the aisle together as husband and wife for the first time. The music starts playing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNEgUPKxk7A
ITS HEAVY D AND THE BOYZ! I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO GO TO A WEDDING WHERE THEY PLAY THE COUPLE OFF TO HEAVY D! I mention this to the people sitting next to me and they're like it's just like hitch!
I'm like what?
They go on to explain to me that it's a movie. Starring Will Smith. Huh. Didn't see that one.
5:45 PM: The open bar and the food is coming out. I look around and I definitely do not know ANYBODY HERE. I need to eat and go home. I grab a plate of cocktail shrimp and some lobster sliders and sit down at a picnic table away from the crowd. I don't even notice a busty brunette with cleavage showing also sitting at the table staring at her phone across from me until she says hi.
(I scarf down a lobster slider. Munch munch)
1: So how do you know the lovely couple?
FC: Well she was a friend of a friend and next thing you know I'm showing up to the Christmas party and the wedding. Then Seth is showing up and then they're getting married. You?
1: I work with Lisa, I'm a flight attendant. But I've been out of work for a few months. We had this thing at work. It's called a fume event. I happens when well uh how do I say?
FC: Contaminated bleed air via the pneumatic air conditioning kit - or PACK - gets into the cabin, causing all sorts of respiratory irritation and all sorts of other things for the crew. You're on the 320, right?
1: The airbus? Yeah. Me and Lise are also on the....
FC: 321 and the 319. Yeah, I'm familiar with the technology.
1: You're a pilot.
FC: Not exactly. I just know airplanes really well.
1: So you're an aerospace engineer.
FC: I wouldn't go that far. Hahaha. That's stretching it. A lot.
1: Let me get this right. You're friends with Lisa and Seth, you know airplanes, you're the only one at this wedding actually wearing a suit......
FC: To be fair, it's Louisiana in October. We're lucky most of the folks here aren't wearing Mossy Oak and Realtree.
1: Hahahahahhah! You must live in Baton Rouge!
FC: I do.
1: Me too! What part of the city? I live in (names neighborhood)
FC: I'm over in (neighborhood next to her)
1: OH MY GOD! That's 10 minutes from my house! So anyways, you're smart, you're funny, where have you been all my life? I'm Ally.
FC: I'm Will.
1: You wanna get dinner together? I literally do not know anyone else here and I was thinking about leaving before I met you.
FC: Uh sure. Lemme just top this fresca off.
1: I'll join you.
6:15 We're told by the bartenders to grab a ceremonial wedding tervis tumbler with a patch commemorating the happy couple's nuptials hermetically sealed inside. They didn't want a bunch of red solo cups going to the dumpster so they decided to ball out. I walk up to the table where there's literally 200 tumblers in varying colors to choose from and I grab a random one as Ally grabs one too. We head to the bar, she fills her with vodka and sprite. I top off with ginger ale because I'm staying sober and I have to drive 45 minutes back to casa de FC in BTR.
She asks me how I know so much about airplanes, I tell her it's been a lifelong obsession and I've done some ground school on the 320 and the 737 and I much prefer the 320. I ask her what's tough about her job and she tells me that most people don't know they only get paid when the doors close. I say yeah, block time is a real bitch sometimes. She looks at me like I'm crazy. I'm like what? She's like HOW DO YOU KNOW ABOUT BLOCK TIME? I told you, I know airplanes. We chat some more as the crowd gets drunker and drunker and more ridiculous on the dance floor. Someone requested Strokin' by Clarence Carter and the DJ ACTUALLY PLAYED IT. Goddamnit Lisa! HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF A DO NOT PLAY LIST? Wow.
7:10 PM We find some seats for dinner as the buffet opens up, I pile a bunch of chicken marsala and beef wellington on my plate and we head back to the table. She's only a few years older than me and cannot believe that I am single. She asks if I've tried tinder. I tell her the tinder story about me being stuffed into the back of a police car and it is met with raucous laughter.
1: So, do you dance?
FC: I do a lot of things, but I don't dance. Baton Rouge is the city that rhythm forgot.
1: I don't really dance either. As a matter of fact, I'm perfectly content to people watch all night with you here by my side.
Her hand ran down to touch mine. It had a ring on it.
FC: What does your husband think about that?
Next thing I know, Lisa and Seth have dropped by the table to say hello. They're taking pictures with everyone and we can't continue the conversation we were just having. Lisa dives in to hug Ally, Seth gives me a handshake, sips my drink and asks why there isn't any bourbon in that tumbler.
FC: Gotta behave myself. Long drive back home.
Ally: OH MY GOD LISA! Will is FANTASTIC! Where have you been keeping him? He's funny, he's amazing and he looks hot in a suit! If I wasn't married, he'd be the perfect guy!
(We're cut off by Lisa, she looks at me sternly.)
Lisa: WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?
Lisa: Yesterday! When I was getting my wedding dress fitted! You called me a half attractive woman.....
FC: It's not a normal occurrence! Most of the women who open my door are total heifers! For real! Take the compliment!
Lisa cracks up, and Seth who has had a few drinks laughs so hard that he damn near falls over. You can hear the cackle of his laugh carry across the lake. The best man props him back up and they all have a laugh. The wedding planner slides in and tells the bride that her cake has been outside of refrigeration for an hour and 15 minutes now and is structurally deficient. They need to cut it now before it collapses in upon itself like a black hole. Lisa grabs Ally, Seth grabs me and the rest of the table follows. We're now part of the wedding cake cutting crew.
7:15 PM: The entourage all takes their Instagram positions as Lisa cuts into her structurally deficient cake and Seth resists the urge to do anything cheeky and fun with frosting. It's cute, everyone toasts the newlyweds.
7:20 PM: I pull Lisa aside privately and I ask her - what the fuck is Ally's deal? "If I wasn't married he'd be the perfect guy?" WHO THE FUCK SAYS THAT? A married woman? At a wedding? To a guy she JUST MET?
Lisa: Look, I have no idea how her marriage is going or what her deal is. But just because there's a goalie doesn't mean you can't score.
FC: WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN?
Lisa: It means that maybe, if she's throwing herself at you......you should catch her. I gotta go throw the bouquet. Brb.
7:25 Lisa goes to throw her bouquet and Ally has found me and is back at my side.
1: Where were we? I was just saying to Lisa that I was wondering where a guy like you has been all my life? You are awesome.
FC: I am awesome, and you are married.
1: Yeah, I know. Come on, I really want you......I mean I really want you......to go photobooth with me. Come on, it'll be fun.
She grabs my arm and drags me to the photobooth and she puts ridiculous hats and stuff on me. I'm like no, I've been looking ridiculous enough from birth. i'm good. She literally begs me with puppy dog eyes and does that thing where she shows cleavage.
FC: Isn't this like against one of the ten commandments? Thou shalt not......photobooth with another man's wife?
1: Hmm. Yeah, I guess. You're really sweet though. If I was single, I'd be all over you right now.
FC: Who says that? Really?
1: So, answer me this. You're not an engineer. You're not a pilot. What do you do?
FC: Gun dealer.
1: So if I had something like an AR15 that needed some work, you'd be the guy to call?
FC: Maybe, depending on what you needed - there's a lot of things where I'll just tell you flat out what you're trying to do is uneconomical and a bad idea.
1: Well, I'd really like it if you could check out some of my equipment sometime.
FC, internal monologue: WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE
FC, external monologue: Bring it by the gun show this weekend and I'll see what I can do.
I crack an uneasy smile as she gets up to go use the bathroom. I decide it's time to get the fuck out of here.
8:11 Making my escape plan proves to be a little tougher than I expected. The parking at the venue at the lake is dark and unlit and I have to navigate my way back to my car in the dark using the light from my phone. I reach into my jacket and I realize that their card is still inside. Fuck. I gotta go back. I turn around and head back to the gift table and I use some ninja recon skills I picked up in catholic school to make sure Ally is nowhere nearby. The coast is clear. I walk up to the little birdcage they have for cards, drop mine in confidently and get ready to turn on my heel and leave. I start making my way back to the parking lot when Seth is just walking out of the bathroom next to the gift table.
1: Hey man, you heading home?
FC: I am now, forgot to drop off your card.
1: Ally thought you left without saying goodbye to her, so she asked me for your number. I gave it to her.
FC: Oh dear lord.
FC: Did you hear that woman? "If I was single, you'd be the perfect guy!" Those words are not in a vocabulary of any married woman I know.
1: Dude, you just gotta chill out and go with the flow man. It's not your marriage. If she wants a piece of you, cut her off a slice.
FC: Are you serious?
1: When I met Lisa, she was still married to Freddie. Look at us now, 7 years later and we're happy. You want to be happy, don't you?
FC: Yeah but....
1: No but's! Go storm the castle! I gotta go, but I'll catch you at the afterparty tomorrow night! You going?
FC: Yeah at your house right?
1: Yeah, what time the gun show wrap up?
FC: 4, so I'll be out by 5.
1: I got steaks going on the grill at 3, I'll get save a nice one for you. You still a medium rare guy?
FC: You know it!
1: I think Ally is gonna be there too, you two should get to know each other a little better.
FC: That's what I'm afraid of!
Seth goes back to his wedding, I hop in the car and drive home. It's almost 10PM as I approach the Jersey mikes by my house. I stop in to grab a sandwich for Sunday.
Just as I walk up I hear one of the sandiwch makers swear she's going to slit the throat of the next person who orders a sandwich. Eep. I tell her I need a giant 9. She starts making me one. I ask her if she's trying to get out of here right at 10? She says yeah, she's trying to catch the end of the Yankees/Red Sox game. I tell her my old man was from Brighton and my mom was from Elmhurst, so there's no love lost there. We have a laugh. She caught the Yankees pummeling the A's in the wild card on Wednesday. I whip out my phone and check the score for her. Yankees are up 6-2. I tell her she should be able to catch the end of it at home or whatever sports bar she's going to. She tells me she's going to the outback steakhouse the next block over to watch it and they better have the game on when she rolls up in 15. I tell her I'll do her one better. I dated the bartender there (once, she friendzoned me) and I'll message her on facebook to have it on for you. It is at this moment, I am asked for the second time that evening - from a strange woman I've just met - where have I been all her life?
I head home, throw my sandwich in the fridge and head to bed wondering WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE?
Did FC like get game all of a sudden?
Donald Trump is President.
The Eagles won the super bowl.
You can't make this shit up.
I got one more day at the gun show too.
Postscript: As I write this, it's Columbus day and the Indians, the Redskins and Braves all got their asses handed to them.
We truly live in interesting times.
My name is Zander, and my best friend is trying to ruin my life. It started out very small, but has quickly grown out of control.
I'm currently sitting inside a church, using their WiFi to post this story and taking advantage of their air conditioning. I’m posting this story in case… Well in case he finds me and kills me soon. It's only a matter of time now, and I want someone to know what happened before I die.
Two years ago, my friend David and I were sitting on the couch at my house thoroughly bored. It wasn’t a temporary boredom either. It was a resounding boredom with life. We both worked full time at the local movie theater making minimum wage and cleaning up after idiots who couldn’t keep popcorn and soda in their mouths. We had graduated high school two years prior and had no plans to attend college.
Life looked bleak for us. College didn’t sound appealing, work was annoying, and the little free time we had was blown on video games and YouTube. We both still lived with our parents too, which made dating somewhat embarrassing. Looking back, I’m sure we were suffering from mild depression on top of everything else.
These life circumstances blended together to create the perfect storm for what I now have to call my reality.
As we sat on the couch at my parent’s house, channel surfing the TV, David asked me if I was bored with life. I responded in the positive, and he sighed.
“High school was so easy because we knew our purpose and our goals were set for us. Outline the english essay. Finish the math homework. Get decent grades. Pass the driving exam. Be home by curfew. Find a girlfriend. Now that we’re out of high school, there’s no structure. Our lives have become meaningless and we are just floating through space with no aim or purpose.”
“Would you go back to high school then?” I asked. He shook his head.
“In the moment, high school was annoying. It’s only after looking back that I see how much better it was than I realized.”
“What’s the solution, then?” I asked.
“Either go somewhere that has structure and can deliver what high school gave us, or create our own structure,” David replied.
“Well I don’t want to go to college or the military,” I said. “And I can’t think of anywhere else that provides the same structure. Guess I have to make my own, but I have no idea where to start.”
“The thing about high school was that it required a minimum effort. If you didn’t give that minimum effort, you would face the consequences. The consequences were bad enough that you and I would put effort into school. When high school ended, that minimum effort level decreased. Now our minimum effort is not enough to improve ourselves. Whatever structure we build has to have those consequences built in and a minimum effort that forces us to improve constantly.”
David was, and is, a very intellectual person. He thinks about everything, if you can’t already tell. I was pretty dumb compared to him, but I stuck around because he always had interesting things to say. This conversation definitely counted as interesting.
I won’t bore you with the entire conversation that we had, but it lasted an hour where we discussed how to build structure into our lives.
I want to emphasize here that boredom is dangerous. Well, it’s not dangerous by itself, but it can quickly lead to dangerous things. Boredom can lead to pain, accidental children, technology that disrupts a monopoly, and even death.
Our boredom led to a dare.
“I dare you to try and ruin my life,” David said.
“What does that mean?” I asked.
“It’s a way to build structure into my life. If I know that you are always trying to ruin my life and actively trying to make me fail, then I am driven to fight back and act on initiative.”
“But how could I ruin your life?” I asked.
“You could ruin anyone’s life if you gave it enough thought, planning, and action,” David said with a smirk. “I’m not going to give you any ideas. I just want you to try and ruin my life.”
I remember sitting back and thinking about what he meant. The first thoughts that came to mind were about tripping him occasionally, or hiding his toothbrush every time I went to his house. My young mind didn’t fully understand how serious David was being. His mind was running three tracks above mine, so I didn’t know what I was getting into when I said, “okay, I’ll try to ruin your life. But I dare you to do try and ruin my life as well.”
He smiled with a newfound enthusiasm, and I smiled back. I had hoped it would be a great way to relieve my boredom with life. David stood up and punched me in the leg as hard as he could. I shouted at him, mostly out of surprise. He just laughed.
“The dare starts now,” he said, grabbing his shoes. “We are no longer friends, we are nemeses.” He opened my front door and looked over his shoulder. “Good luck,” he said. “I hope you’ll work half as hard as I will.”
Once he left, I just sat there rubbing my sore thigh. Okay, I thought, if he wants a war, he’ll get a war.
That night, I had laid awake trying to think of ways to make his life harder for him. My ideas were all so childish and useless compared to what he would later throw at me. I’m too embarrassed to list my ideas from back then.
I wish I could say I remembered the day David turned against me for real. But it was so subtle that I didn’t notice right away. To my face, David acted completely normal.
While we were at work, I would sprinkle popcorn over a section he had just cleaned and point it out to him. He would just laugh, and say, “is that supposed to ruin my life?” Then he would clean it up. I expected him to do the same to me, but he didn't. His lack of visible retaliation made me bored again so I stopped. Looking back, I suspect that behind my back he was sabotaging my image with our other co-workers and our boss.
Out of the blue, my boss called me into his office and told me that I was fired because I wasn’t doing a good enough job. David acted sorry i was leaving and we promised to hang out again soon.
I left, thinking I could make this something good and get a real job. That dream died, and I ended up at McDonald’s instead.
After I had been at McDonald’s for a month or so, my parents confronted me. They asked me if I had been stealing cash from their wallets. I had never stolen a cent from them, and told them so. They backed off, but only for a week until my mom’s debit card went missing.
They confronted me again, this time very angry. They accused me of withdrawing several hundred dollars using my mom’s debit card. I have no siblings, so it wouldn't have been anyone else in the house. It turned into a screaming match and they demanded that I move out as quickly as possible. With my small cache of savings, I found an apartment near the local community college that housed college students. The rent was affordable enough for me, so I moved out within the month.
I moved in and became instant friends with two of my roommates, Clark and Ivan. Our other roommate, Isaac, kept to himself and stayed in his room playing video games 24/7. Life got good again because I hung out with Clark and Ivan frequently.
David and I had stopped hanging out after I was fired from the movie theater. I hadn’t forgotten about him, but I had forgotten about the dare. Every once in a while, I would message him on Facebook or shoot him a text to ask if he wanted to hang out, but my messages were always ignored. Eventually I gave up.
Within six months, I had a great life going. I was dating a girl named Katie, I had been promoted to crew trainer at McDonald’s, which paid better, and my bank account was slowly growing.
I only recognize this as David’s doing when I look back, but an obscene amount of junk mail showed up with my name on it every single day. Magazines, credit card offers, vacation ads, and even physical letters from real people who claimed to be excited to be my new penpal. I sorted through them every day trying to find some pattern. Clark and Ivan thought it was hilarious. When I came home late from work, they would sometimes toss the junk mail in the air like confetti as I walked through the door, cheering that the Mail King was home.
One day, I remember feeling sick of getting all this junk mail and deciding to sit down, call every subscription to cancel. I recruited Clark and Ivan to help me, and we sat down with snacks one afternoon and started to crank through phone calls.
In a few days, the tide of junk mail subsided and we celebrated our efforts. That only lasted a week.
The next week, it started coming back in full force. There was twice as much as before, and even some pornorgraphic magazines in the mix. Not only did my physical junk mail increase, but my email became unnavigable through all the new spam messages. Google moved a lot of it to the spam filter, but there were still hundreds of emails that made it through. My email had been subscribed to websites I’d never even heard of.
Clark and Ivan were blown away by the new tide of junk mail. The event was dubbed “Return of the Junk” and became a great ice breaker for Clark and Ivan to introduce me to other people at parties.
One day I was browsing Facebook’s “People You May Know” section when I came across someone’s profile that had my picture, but a different name. The account was open for anyone to view and had a lot of porn posts, status updates full of swearing, and praises to Hitler. I frowned when I clicked on their pictures. Most of the pictures were the same ones from my Facebook account, but there were some pictures of me that weren’t on my account or anywhere else online. Keep in mind, I didn’t remember my dare to David, so I was feeling pretty creeped out.
I hit the report button and let Facebook know that the account was a fake and went on my way.
I think three months or so later is when more stuff started to happen. Katie and I are getting very serious and discuss moving in together. The junk mail still rolls in and I’ve started to just throw it away. Ivan has moved out to go to an actual university, so a new roommate Jackson has moved in. Clark and I attempted to befriend Jackson, but he’s similar to Isaac and locked himself in his room most of the time.
A new game became available for pre-order, so I submitted my email to reserve a copy. When I tried to log into my email to make sure the reserve code was there, I couldn’t log in. I hit “Forgot Password” and it asked if I wanted to use my phone number to reset the password. I pressed yes and waited for my phone to light up. It never did. I pressed the button three more times, but no text ever came. I tried old passwords I used to use, but none of them worked. I frowned, but eventually just walked away from my computer. I’d try again a different day.
I sat down on the couch and pulled up Facebook on my phone. A popup appeared. “You’ve been signed out,” it said. Then it jumped to the login screen. I thought I’d hit the logout button on accident, so I just typed in my email and password. It didn’t work. I tried again, but it still told me the password was incorrect.
My phone buzzed in my hand. Katie was calling me. I answered it and immediately became concerned. She was sobbing.
“Katie?” I said.
“You coward,” she spat. “You don’t get to just Facebook me that shit, no you have to talk to me and tell me with your voice.”
“Katie, what are you talking about?” I asked.
“Don’t play stupid, asshole. Say it.”
“You Facebook me and say we are through, but when I call, you deny everything? What the hell are you trying to pull, Zander?” Katie hissed.
“Katie, my Facebook got hacked! I was literally just trying to log in when you called. Are you at home? I’m coming over. We are not done, we are far from done, sweetheart.”
It took me some time to convince Katie that it hadn’t been me, but she relented when I showed her that I couldn’t log in. I googled how to get my Facebook account back and contacted their helpcenter. Thankfully, they were able to get me back into my account. Lots of links to porn sites had been posted all over my page by whoever jacked my account, so I spent time deleting all of those. I also spent time answering family members who asked about the “strange content” I had been posting. Awkward.
Katie also found out through her feeds that my Twitter and Instagram had been hacked. The accounts were posting hundreds of crude messages and pictures. Those two sites took a little more effort, but eventually I regained control over those too. Fixing my email took a couple of days, but I got access again.
Not wanting to repeat the experience, I made my passwords into really long strings of numbers, letters and symbols. Each account had a different password. For anyone who has done this, you know how impossible it would be to memorize your passwords. I wrote them down on a sheet of paper and put it in my dresser drawer. I didn’t intend to get hacked again.
I'm telling you where I put the paper so you'll know how freaked out I was when Facebook signed me out again the next week. I checked my other accounts. Locked out again. I shot Katie a text to warn her and then called the Facebook help center again. They gave me access to Facebook and gave me the same warning about making a long password.
When I told them the type of precautions I had taken last time, they suggested checking my computer for viruses in case there was a keyloggers collecting all the information I typed.
I called a computer repair center and asked what I needed to do to get my computer scanned. They asked me to bring it down and they'd check it out.
I had a desktop, so ‘bringing it down’ required a lot of unplugging. When I got down behind the computer to unplug everything, I found a tiny USB stick that I'd never seen before. I frowned and tried to locate its contents on the computer. The computer said no USB was attached.
The computer repair guy confirmed that the USB drive was a keylogger. He asked if my computer had ever been anywhere that anyone could walk up and use it. I told him no and he said he had no idea how it could have gotten there.
He didn't charge me anything, just warned me to keep an eye on my computer.
I changed all my passwords again, going through the motions to get my accounts back.
A few days later, I received three, yes THREE credit card bills in the mail. I still had the habit of skimming through the junk mail in case there ever was anything super important. I'm glad I did, because I might never have found out about the credit cards that were registered in my name.
I called the credit card companies to inform them that they were mistaken. I had never signed up for a credit card. My parents had warned me about them so often that I'd been deterred from ever getting one. Before you comment and tell me I need them to build my credit, yes I know that now.
A quick google search told me what to do next. I called Equifax, which is a company that calculates your credit score and tells creditors that it's okay for you to open a credit account. I placed a 90-day fraud alert on my credit. They said they would call me if anyone tried to open a credit account in my name.
The dude at Equifax was kind enough to tell me what I needed to do next. He asked me to go online and view my credit report. If I saw any accounts I didn't recognize, I was to write them down and fill out a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) explaining the situation. Once I had that submitted, I was to file a copy of it with the police and create a police report. Then I had to take those two reports and call each of the credit companies that had issued credit to my identity and start the dispute process. I instantly felt very discouraged at the amount of effort this would require. It felt utterly insane to be required to follow all these steps just because I was the victim of identity theft. God damn.
Clark was horrified at what had happened and looked at his credit score. He was relieved when it came back clean. I made Katie check hers too just in case. Also clean.
I'll take a minute to tell everyone reading that you are entitled by law to one free credit report per year from each of the three credit score companies. That means you can and should check your credit three times a year. Clark and I set reminders on our phones to check the scores again in 4 months. I asked Katie to do the same.
When I first found out about the accounts, I had called my parents to ask if they had opened any accounts in my name. If they had, I'd at least know who the culprit was. They told me they hadn't opened any accounts, and I warned them about my problems. They promised to check their credit score.
Two weeks after I had called them, my dad called. They found fifteen fraudulent accounts between the two of them. What the hell? I told him the steps he needed to take, and he was grateful for my help and warning.
I know this is boring to read, but I want you to realize how insanely painful it was to fix all of this shit. Seriously, watch your credit reports and nip identity theft in the bud before it happens to you.
I had requested detailed bills from the credit card companies that had issued the fraudulent accounts, and they mailed them to me. The bills were full of online purchases. The accounts had been opened almost a year ago, and in that time they thief had spent $62,000 between all the fraudulent accounts. I was pretty upset that in a full year, I had only just found any credit card bills in the mail. I must have been tossing them with the mountains of junk mail. Now I know that the masses of junk mail were deliberate and calculated so the bills would blend in and hopefully get thrown away
The first few transactions were from stores like Target, Walmart, etc. But the further down I went, the less I recognized. One word stuck out to me: bitcoin. I had learned a little about it from my Facebook feed as I had some friends from high school who touted it as the next real currency. According to the credit card statements, several thousand dollars had been exchanged into bitcoin.
I started really researching bitcoin and trying to figure out what it was and why an identity thief would want it. To make the explanation short, bitcoin allowed my thief to make completely anonymous purchases online. It was as if he'd gone to an ATM and drained all the credit cards into cash. I didn't foresee the credit card companies ever getting their money back.
David now had a hell of alot of cash he could use to ruin my life. I didn't know it was him at the time, obviously, but now I do.
Guys, identity theft is a serious crime and is very damaging to everyone in the economy. And while the theft had been bad, my life was about to get a whole lot worse.
That’s all I have time to write for now. I have to go and get some serious shit taken care of. I'll write again as soon as I can.
My name is Zander, and my best friend is trying to ruin my life. Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Series 2
In a generally quiet overnight session, renewed hopes for a thaw in U.S.-China trade relations at the upcoming G20 summit helped global shares rise to a one-week high on Wednesday, though lingering fears of a no-deal outcome weighed on European bourses. U.S. futures rose, extending on Tuesday's rebound and tracking gains in Asia as investors rekindled their risk appetite before a key speech by Fed chair Powell who many hope will reverse yesterday's hawkish rhetoric by Clarida, and come off as dovish, especially after this morning's report that Steve Mnuchin has been pushing for a shift
from hiking rates to balance sheet reduction. The dollar and Treasuries were steady.
While President Donald Trump talked tough on the trade tariffs issue ahead of a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday, markets focused on comments by White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, who held open the possibility that the two countries would reach a trade deal. Kudlow’s comments helped Wall Street close higher and allowed Chinese and Japanese shares to rally 1% as the MSCI index of Asian shares ex-Japan gained 0.7%.
The mood however fizzled into the European session, with the pan-European index giving up opening gains to trade flat and Germany’s DAX trading unchanged. Technology companies and retailers were the best performers in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index, which struggled to maintain early gains as a Tuesday report that Trump may soon decide about new taxes on imported cars, still weighed on sentiment, keeping Europe’s auto sector shares 0.6 percent in the red.
"An expectation is being priced into markets ahead of the G20 meeting that we will see some deal or at least a framework for a deal between Trump and (Chinese President) Xi Jinping,” said Bernd Berg, global macro strategist at Switzerland-based Woodman Asset Management. “But if they come out with nothing this weekend, it’s going to be very bad."
Traders are also focusing on a speech at 12pm ET by Fed Chair Jerome Powell to see if he offers clues on how many more times the Fed could raise interest rates, following yesterday's modestly hawkish if cautious take from vice chair Clarida.
While Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida took a less dovish stance on Tuesday than some had expected and backed more rate rises, Powell and his colleagues have in recent weeks alluded to global volatility, leading many to speculate the bank’s three-year-long rate rise campaign could pause in 2019.
Continued uncertainty over global trade as well as Brexit and Italy’s ongoing conflict with the European Union, have supported the U.S. dollar, which rose to a two-week high and approached the highest level hit in 2018.
While the main driver for the greenback is the U.S. interest rate path, Rodrigo Catril, senior strategist at National Australia Bank, said it was also benefiting from the uncertain mood. “Markets seem to be jumping at shadows at the moment and against this backdrop of uncertainty, the dollar remains the preferred option for weathering the storm,” Catril said.
Investors are also monitoring developments in Italy’s row with the EU over its budget spending, with Germany’s Handelsblatt and Italy’s La Stampa quoting EU commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis as saying the draft budget needed “substantial correction”.
The 10-year Treasury yield drifted ahead of Jerome Powell’s speech as European bonds nudged higher and the Euro was range bound. Italian bond yields flatlined after sharp rallies that were triggered by what appeared to be a more conciliatory stance from the government over the issue.
The dollar was mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers, trading in narrow ranges ahead of key events this week and EUUSD hovered below 1.1300; Treasuries were little changed with the 10-year yield at 3.05%. Sweden’s krona gained even after retail sales and an economic tendency survey missed estimates. The pound trimmed some of the previous session’s losses as U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May appeared to back down in a key Brexit battle with Parliament.
Brent crude handed back earlier gains to trade little changed. Brent (-0.4%) and WTI (-0.1%) are lower heading into the US open after initially trading positive. A larger than expected build in API crude stockpiles of +3.453mln compared to the expected build of +0.8mln had little impact on the price rebound at the time which instead focused on the larger than expected gasoline draw
. Additionally, three North Sea forties crude cargoes which were scheduled to load in December have been cancelled due to the temporary closure of the 150,000 BPD capacity Buzzard oilfield. Saudi Energy minister Al Falih stated this morning that Saudi will not and cannot reduce output on their own, and is hopeful that upcoming meetings will result in agreement to stabilise the market.
Gold is slightly lower as the dollar continues to firm, although the yellow metal has rebounded from lows of USD 1211.3/oz in the previous session. Separately, copper is higher following a 3-session decline although, gains for the metal have been restricted by ongoing US-China tensions, with the most recent comments coming from White House Economic Advisor Kudlow saying that US President Trump is prepared to raise tariffs if G20 talks are not constructive.
On other markets, cryptocurrency bitcoin jumped 6 percent to above $4,000, its biggest one day jump since the summer, and extending its rebound from a low of $3,475 touched on Sunday.
Today's expected data include mortgage applications, wholesale inventories, and new home sales. Burlington Stores, Royal Bank of Canada, Tiffany, and Weibo are among companies reporting earnings. Market Snapshot
Top Overnight News from Bloomberg
- S&P500 futures up 0.1% to 2,686.75
- STOXX Europe 600 up 0.06% to 357.60
- MXAP up 0.7% to 152.77
- MXAPJ up 0.7% to 490.34
- Nikkei up 1% to 22,177.02
- Topix up 0.6% to 1,653.66
- Hang Seng Index up 1.3% to 26,682.56
- Shanghai Composite up 1.1% to 2,601.74
- Sensex up 0.8% to 35,785.59
- Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.06% to 5,725.08
- Kospi up 0.4% to 2,108.22
- German 10Y yield fell 1.3 bps to 0.337%
- Euro down 0.05% to $1.1283
- Italian 10Y yield rose 2.0 bps to 2.92%
- Spanish 10Y yield rose 0.2 bps to 1.556%
- Brent futures down 0.3% to $60.05/bbl
- Gold spot down 0.2% to $1,213.28
- U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 97.38
Asian equity markets traded mostly positive
- Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin privately asked bond dealers and investors in October whether they want the Federal Reserve to tighten monetary policy by raising interest rates or through faster cuts in its securities portfolio, six people familiar with the matter said; Mnuchin’s question could be seen as suggesting a way for the central bank to accomplish its goal of preventing a strong economy from overheating without triggering the ire of President Donald Trump
- U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has backed down in a key Brexit battle with Parliament, ditching moves to stop lawmakers trying to re-write her plans, according to an official. Risk of no-deal Brexit choking ports rising, U.K. lawmakers say
- President Donald Trump and China’s Xi Jinping will meet over dinner Saturday evening in Buenos Aires marking a pivotal moment in the escalating trade war between the world’s two largest economies. Trump-Xi meeting puts emerging markets on pain-or-pleasure watch
- President Donald Trump renewed his attack on Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, telling the Washington Post he’s “not even a little bit happy” with his choice to head the central bank
- Federal Reserve officials on Tuesday sprinkled small doses of concern into otherwise upbeat assessments of the U.S. economy. Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Clarida backs Fed’s gradual hikes with neutral rate uncertain
- The U.K.’s effort to rejoin a key World Trade Organization agreement that governs public procurement opportunities worth $1.7t a year gained provisional backing on Tuesday
- Credit Suisse Group AG is set to make Madrid its post-Brexit trading hub in the European Union after initially planning to move only some investment banking positions to the Spanish capital from London, according to people with knowledge of the matter
- Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the budget negotiations with the European Union “won’t be easy,” as the government sticks to its spending plans, according to an interview published by Corriere della Sera
following a similar lead from Wall St. but with the session initially mired by lingering uncertainty regarding US-China trade relations. Nikkei 225 (+1.0%) outperformed as the index coat-tailed on the recent advances in USD/JPY, while ASX 200 (-0.1%) was subdued by weakness in miners after the metals complex felt the brunt of the recent USD strength and with financials subdued by AMP Capital amid risk of further mischarging cases and provisions. Elsewhere, Hang Seng (+1.3%) and Shanghai Comp. (+1.0%) were higher but with price action choppy in early trade amid tentativeness heading into the Trump-Xi showdown at this week’s G20 and as participants mulled over various comments from officials including White House Economic Adviser Kudlow who affirmed that Trump could hike tariffs if no constructive talks occur at G20 and that the White House is disappointed in China's response to the trade issue. However, Kudlow also noted that Trump is open to a deal with China and there were recent comments from China’s Vice Premier Liu that China wants a negotiated solution on trade based on mutual respect. Finally, 10yr JGBs weakened amid a lacklustre tone in T-note futures and with the BoJ’s presence in the bond market overshadowed by the outperformance of Japanese stocks. China's US envoy said selling or reducing purchases of US Treasuries would be very dangerous like playing with fire,
while the envoy doesn't think anybody in Beijing is seriously thinking about pulling back from US Treasury debt market should tensions worsen. Furthermore, there were reports that China’s Ambassador to the US warned of dire consequences if the trade war leads to economic separation and that China prefers a negotiated solution, while the Ambassador warned that China will retaliate in proportion to any US sanctions regarding Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang. Top Asian News
- Bank of Thailand Minutes Signal an Interest-Rate Hike Is Coming - Furor Over Gene-Altered Babies Deepens With China Project Halted - Pakistan’s Umar Says No Hurry for IMF Deal as Talks Resume - Turkey Sinks to Last on Emerging-Market Scorecard; Malaysia Tops - Brookfield Is Said to Be in Talks to Invest in Dubai’s Meraas In a slightly choppy session thus far, European equities (Eurostoxx 50 +0.3%) have held on to opening gains
seen in the wake of the upbeat US and Asia-Pac sessions, despite lingering trade concerns. The most recent interjection came from White House Economic Adviser Kudlow who commented that Trump is open to a deal with China and that the raising of tariffs to 25% is not a "certainty" but will be implemented if no constructive talks occur at the G20. In terms of sector specifics, IT names are the clear outperformers at this stage of the session with Wirecard (+1.3%) and Dialog Semiconductor (+3.1%) notable gainers in the tech-space after trying to recoup recent losses with not much else in the way of key newsflow. Noteworthy individual movers include EDF (+3.1%) with shares buoyed by reports that that a potential increase in the French government’s stake in the Co. would take place next year. To the downside, Tenaris (-8.2%), sit at the foot of the Stoxx 600 after the Co.’s chairman was indicted in a graft case, whilst Continental shares (-5.4%) have been weighed on by negative comments from Redburn who have warned over the group’s EBIT prospects in 2019. Top European News
- Continental AG Falls After CFO Sees Margin Pressure Persisting
- Italy Premier Says Social Stability Takes Priority Over Finances
- Fevertree 2018 Stock Surge Erased Amid Tonic Maker’s Silence
- LafargeHolcim Says Cost-Cutting Drive Will Lift 2019 Profit
- Commerzbank, Helaba Are Said to Drop Out of NordLB Bidding
was off bet levels but retaining an underlying bid with supportive month end flows alongside HIA and SOMA redemption (24.9bln comes due on Friday) all impacting, while market participants keep a close eye on Fed Chair Powell’s speech scheduled for later today where he may stop the USD in its tracks or exacerbate the rally. The index has gained more ground above 97.000 to just over 97.500 before losing some momentum but still on the course to challenge the YTD high at 97.693, technically if not fundamentally. EUR:
more choppy trade for the single currency with EUUSD trading around the middle of a 1.1267-1.1304 range having taken out stops at 1.1275. Italian politics keep weighing on the currency with the European Commission unimpressed as it will begin disciplinary actions on Italy regarding debt before Christmas. EU Commissioner Dombrovskis also added that a cut of 0.2% of the 2019 budget target is not enough. EUUSD is being drawn towards a large amount of option expiries between 1.1275 – 1.1300 (1.5bln). Looking ahead, markets will be keeping a close eye on the budget discussion between the Italian PM, two Deputy PM and Finance Minister for any hints of a budge towards EC’s direction. CAD
– Another victim of the USD strength and global trade jitters as Trump’s economic advisor Kudlow said the USMCA agreement is to be signed on Friday at the G20 summit, but sticking points remain in regards to dairy. Note, choppy oil prices have hardly helped the Loonie slide to fresh multi-month lows around 1.3330. JPY
- Edging closer to 114.00 vs. the buck with heavy option expiries around 113.50-55 (1.47bln) and 114.00 (1.9bln). EM
– Mostly weaker as the greenback hold firm with RUB as the standout underperformer amid the ongoing escalation between Russia and Ukraine, though Germany and France stated they are against stricter Russian sanctions for now, while there were witness reports of a Russian minesweeper ship heading towards the Sea of Azov share by Russia and Ukraine. On the flip side, the Russian Central Bank governor emerged earlier with a hawkish tilt whilst keeping options open for the next meeting. Note, USD/RUB is at 67.4000. In commodities,
Brent (-0.4%) and WTI (-0.1%) are lower heading into the US open after initially trading positive. A larger than expected build in API crude stockpiles of +3.453mln compared to the expected build of +0.8mln had little impact on the price rebound at the time. Additionally, three North Sea forties crude cargoes which were scheduled to load in December have been cancelled due to the temporary closure of the 150,000 BPD capacity Buzzard oilfield. Saudi Energy minister Al Falih stated this morning that Saudi will not and cannot reduce output on their own, and is hopeful that upcoming meetings will result in agreement to stabilise the market. Gold is slightly lower as the dollar continues to firm, although the yellow metal has rebounded from lows of USD 1211.3/oz in the previous session. Separately, copper is higher following a 3-session decline although, gains for the metal have been restricted by ongoing US-China tensions, with the most recent comments coming from White House Economic Advisor Kudlow saying that US President Trump is prepared to raise tariffs if G20 talks are not constructive. Looking at the day ahead,
the focus for the market is likely to be squarely with Fed Chair Powell’s speech. Away from that we also have the second revision of Q3 GDP in the US where no change from the +3.5% qoq saar estimate is expected. The October advance goods trade balance reading should also be closely watched with the consensus expecting a widening in the deficit to $77bn from $76bn last month. Also due out in the US will be October new home sales and the Richmond Fed manufacturing index print. It is another busy day for ECB speakers however with Coeure, Guindos and Praet all due to speak. The BoE’s Carney will also speak at the Financial Stability Report press conference this afternoon when we will also get the latest annual bank stress test results. US Event Calendar
DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap
- 7am: MBA Mortgage Applications, prior -0.1%
- 8:30am: Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.4%, Retail Inventories MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 0.1%
- 8:30am: Advance Goods Trade Balance, est. $77.0b deficit, prior $76.0b deficit, revised $76.3b deficit
- 8:30am: GDP Annualized QoQ, est. 3.5%, prior 3.5%; Personal Consumption, est. 3.9%, prior 4.0%
- 8:30am: Core PCE QoQ, est. 1.6%, prior 1.6%
- 10am: New Home Sales, est. 575,000, prior 553,000
- 10am: Richmond Fed Manufact. Index, est. 15, prior 15
- 12pm: Fed’s Powell Speaks to Economic Club of New York
One thing I haven’t heard much about this year is a Santa Claus rally but the US has now had two up days in a row for the first time since mid month so maybe Santa is trying to get some momentum going. In fact given the conviction with which markets have moved in recent weeks, yesterday was a actually a rare calmer day with US equities opening lower but floating upward into their close. The S&P 500 ended +0.33% despite opening down -0.66%, while the DOW gained +0.44% and the NASDAQ closed flat. Attention continues to focus on this weekend’s meeting between Presidents Trump and Xi. The White House’s top economic advisor Larry Kudlow confirmed today that the two leaders will have dinner on Saturday night at the G-20 in Buenos Aires. He said that “there is a good possibility that we can make a deal” and “I don’t want to go overboard, but he [Trump] has indicated some optimism.” So hopes are continuing to build, and emerging market equities, which would benefit from a benign trade outcome, outperformed yesterday gaining +0.70%.
Apple continues to struggle and traded -0.22% lower yesterday as concerns continue regarding the company’s demand outlook and possible tariffs on components for their goods. Notably, Microsoft overtook it to become the world’s largest company by market cap again for the first time since October 2003! The last time Microsoft was larger than Apple was back in May 2010 (though at that time, Exxon Mobile was larger than either of the tech giants). Since Apple peaked in early October, it has shed around $300 billion of market cap, while Microsoft has shed ‘only’ $60 billion, or the equivalent of Pakistan’s GDP to the equivalent of Panama’s respectively. So in 7 weeks Apple has lost the entire annual GDP of a country with 197 million people in terms of market cap.
Europe struggled after an early positive open to close slightly lower across the board with the STOXX 600 ending -0.26%. Part of the reason for the dip in Europe seemed to lie with a story in the German business magazine WirtschaftsWoche (WiWo) which reported that President Trump may, as soon as next week, impose tariffs on cars imported into the US. However the details of the story appeared vague with the source also referencing “EU circles,” while the EU later rebutted the story. That said, autos lagged the wider market in the STOXX 600 yesterday with the sector down -2.52% with EU Trade Commissioner Malmstrom also repeating the warning of the risk of US tariffs on cars.
Making much less of impact on markets yesterday than his speech from two weeks ago were the comments from Fed Vice-Chair Clarida. It’s hard to argue that there was much new information for the market with many of his points a rehash from the October speech. Interestingly, there was no mention of financial conditions, global growth, or recent market volatility which is perhaps a touch hawkish at the margin, as it potentially signals the Fed isn’t hugely concerned about recent developments. Also, Clarida had previously outlined both upside and downside risks to the inflation outlook, but yesterday he dropped his reference to the downside scenario. The flip side however was Clarida’s mention that market- and survey-based measures of inflation expectations had slipped and also that, with an uncertain r-star, the Fed should infer its level from incoming market and economic data. Treasuries appeared fairly nonfussed though with 10-year yields moving as much as +1.8bps higher but quickly snapping back before ending the session close to flat at 3.055%. The USD index gained +0.31%. Later in the session, Chicago Fed President Evans highlighted that inflation is at target and said he favours getting policy back to neutral. The market did not react, but his comments are significant as he will be a voting member of the FOMC in 2019. His most recent vote was a dissent against the rate hike in December 2017.
Staying with the Fed, today the baton passes to Fed Chair Powell when he speaks at the Economic Club of New York at 5pm GMT on “The Federal Reserve’s framework for monitoring financial stability.” Our US economists previously highlighted that they expect Powell to reiterate the Fed’s plan to get back to neutral. However, since Powell has previously emphasized that neutral is highly uncertain, they are also watching for any hints that Powell sees recent market developments and/or slower activity in rate sensitive sectors like housing and capex as evidence that neutral could be lower than previously thought.
This morning in Asia markets are following Wall Street’s lead with Nikkei (+0.96%), Hang Seng (+0.91%), Shanghai Comp (+0.86%) and Kospi (+0.30%) all up with a rally largely driven by technology shares. Elsewhere, futures on S&P 500 (+0.03%) are pointing towards a flat start.
Moving on. Yesterday’s slew of data in the US was unlikely to move the dial for policy makers much at the Fed. The S&P CoreLogic National Home Price Index rose 0.33% mom and 5.15% yoy on a seasonally adjusted basis, roughly in line with expectations. The FHFA purchase only house price index rose +0.2%, the third weakest month since January 2015. Higher interest rates and tax changes continue to weigh on the housing sector. On the other hand, consumer confidence and the labour market continue to look strong, with the Conference Board Consumer Confidence index printing at 135.7 as expected, down 2.2pts but near its multi-decade high. The labour market subindex rose to 34.4, a new cycle high.
In other news, the daily Italy update consisted of another comment from the League suggesting that the deficit could be lowered to the 2.2% to 2.3% range, this time from Armando Siri. Reuters also reported that EU government delegates are today expected to back the EC’s disciplinary move against Italy, however a formal disciplinary proceeding may not begin until February. Also out yesterday was an MNI article suggesting that the ECB might be willing to consider OMT as an option for Italy should spreads come under further pressure. The story did appear to be rightly ignored by the market however, especially considering that OMT is conditional on an ESM programme. We are not close to being there yet, even if our head of research David Folkerts-Landau believes that the ESM and structural reforms will need to eventually be negotiated together in a grand bargain to deal with the Italian problem (see the op-ed here from David).
After a good run, BTPs were slightly weaker yesterday with two-year yields closing +3.3bps higher and 10-year yields +2.0bps. As we go to print Italian daily Corriere Della Sera reported PM Conte as saying that dealing with the EU over the budget wont be easy while adding that Italy will push ahead with reforms as social stability is more important for Italy. Elsewhere, the EC VP Dombrovskis said in an interview with La Stampa that Italy needs a “significant correction” of its budget. Indeed as we’re pressing the send button HB is reporting that the EU will open deficit procedures before Christmas. So the pressure is still high even if the news flow has improved of late.
Over to Brexit, where Prime Minister May continues to try to sell her Brexit Withdrawal Agreement to the public and to lawmakers. The leader of the DUP, Arlene Foster, said yesterday that “as far as I can see, this [deal] is not going through parliament” and the pound dropped -0.73% versus the dollar, as passage looks less and less likely and a hangover from the Trump comments the previous night on it being a better deal for the EU and that it precludes a UK/US free trade deal percolated. Nevertheless, a reminder that we turned bullish on the pound on Monday due to two key factors: first, the Government will allow amendments during the legislation process, and second, Labour has signaled their willingness to work through the amendment channel rather than try to topple the government. Together, these ingredients should enable the ‘soft Brexit’ majority in Parliament to coalesce around a non-disruptive exit plan. Voting on the motion to accept or reject the Brexit deal will start in the House of Commons at 7 p.m. on December 11 but the “Meaningful Vote” debate will start on December 4. There will be five days of 8hrs debate, each led by a different cabinet minister. So we may get an idea of potential amendments from next week.
As far as the day ahead is concerned, as noted earlier the focus for the market is likely to be squarely with Fed Chair Powell’s speech. Away from that we also have the second revision of Q3 GDP in the US where no change from the +3.5% qoq saar estimate is expected. The October advance goods trade balance reading should also be closely watched with the consensus expecting a widening in the deficit to $77bn from $76bn last month. Also due out in the US will be October new home sales and the Richmond Fed manufacturing index print. This morning in Europe it’s quiet with December consumer confidence in Germany and the October M3 money supply reading for the Euro Area the only data due. It is another busy day for ECB speakers however with Coeure, Guindos and Praet all due to speak. The BoE’s Carney will also speak at the Financial Stability Report press conference this afternoon when we will also get the latest annual bank stress test results.
Though a lot of people around the world want to invest their Money in bitcoin and use it carefully to earn more still bitcoin is not a very big share market as it should have been this may be due to the shortage of bitcoin in the market. It is not a very big market as it was expected to be because some people use it as a method of exchange for other countries rather than taking advantage of ... Keep in mind that bitcoin’s future is bright as more and more people are willing to invest in it. Today is the best opportunity for you to invest in this cryptocurrency. Bitcoin eliminates the need for any physical barrier that can make the transaction slow. At present, the value of bitcoins is increasing, and so the users. On January 3, 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto mined the first-ever Bitcoin block, dubbed the “genesis block,” setting the Bitcoin protocol in motion. While he was actively involved with the Bitcoin project in the early days, Satoshi Nakamoto vanished in 2011, leaving few clues as to who he might be. According to the latest Theatrical Market Statistics report released by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), global box office revenues reached $38.3 billion in 2015, up 5 percent from 2014. But Chris Dodd, chief of the MPAA, said that if the issue of piracy could be tackled it would add a healthy $1.5 billion more to the movie industry’s bottom line. Bitcoin Magazine Issue 8 March 2013 Bitcoin Rises Again
Start Here https://websitelearners.com/get/logomaker Get a Professional Logo Designer: https://websitelearners.com/get/logofiverr Watch how you can create ... chanel »coco in motion« stop motion film for v magazine issue #62 / directed by stephen smith - duration: 1:01. roptv 20,158 views. 1:01. Little preview of the WILD Motion Issue fashion editorial SPECTRO PHOBIA with Ana Beatriz Barros The WILD Magazine uploaded a video 5 years ago 0:22. REBEL REBEL - Duration: 22 seconds. The WILD ... Bitcoin Magazine 2,027 views. 26:05 "Drinks in Quarantine Week 6 Bitcoin Magazine 10 watching. Live now ; Bitcoin 2019: Destroying Bitcoin - Duration: 24:10. Bitcoin Magazine 637 views. 24:10. WTF ... This week Andrew Wagner from the Bitcoin Coop and Bitcoin Magazine will present on blockchain bloat and Also, Peter Kirby of Factom will be beaming in to address the issue and present Factom's ...