Scrapbook Two Hundred Six…


September, 2019


This is Michael Houle’s 22nd video. I think the guy is a genius. We recently spent 3 days together and had some very stimulating discussions. He is Canadian but teaches school in Japan. His wife lives in Indonesia. In a lead-in to the video Michael wrote:

To the best of our knowledge, every attempt so far to find Forrest Fenn’s treasure chest has failed. But in the Chase, without that risk of failure, there would be no Thrill.






98 thoughts on “Scrapbook Two Hundred Six…

    • A pattern that is well defined, lots of people who have found success have had an inordinate amounts of single event “failures”.

      an example would be a businessman.. many who have found success have had several bankruptcies. Most of us would grovel in our own pity after a bankruptcy; while a successful person would “shake it off” and simply look forward to the next “try”.

      however, luck and one minded drive with a healthy dose of confidence can not be overlooked. because we only hear about the ones that succeeded, behind ever success, there are 1000 people who had just as much drive and confidence, They just were not lucky (right place at right time), they were not lucky enough to bump into the right people, or simply didn’t have enough of a gate to jump over the next hurdle and then were never handed a lucky break to bounce over that hurdle.

      little known story about “Bill Gates”: when Apple created the first PC you could buy off the shelf with enough marketing that people actually knew what it was; a few years before that, IBM proclaimed, “why would anyone want a personal computer?”.

      after Apple showed IBM that they had no vision, IBM quickly threw together a PC, but didn’t have an operating system for it. They mistakenly called Bill Gates, thinking he had an OS, he did not, (lucky break 1) (Bill had a company that wrote problem solving code to sell to companies) Bill told them to call another guy who did have an OS… that guy didn’t negotiate very well with IBM (he had no vision), so IBM called Bill back. (lucky break 2) (at which time, Bill realized his mistake, and quickly made a deal with someone else for, I think somewhere around $50,000?? to buy “quick disk operating system” QDOS, he then renamed it MSDOS)

      already two lucky breaks for Bill Gates, breaks in which he had zero control over except to exploit those lucky breaks, but that was not the end of the “luck” at this early time.

      IBM was such a “monopoly” with such limited thinking, (you get that way when you are monopoly), they still didn’t think the “PC” business was going to amount to much, so instead of buying the OS from Bill, they negotiated to lease it from Bill.

      that was a third lucky break. Hey the guy was single minded, driven beyond belief, incredibly smart, a mind that was incredibly quick, came from a well off family, got sent to boarding school (met the right friends). etc etc…

      but without the “luck” that is filtered down from the fairy dust gods, we wouldn’t even know his name.

      • Good story. I didn’t even know that about bill,…I do believe that is true. The universe is so small, somehow we might even touch the edge of it… I heard this Hawking guy explain something called teacup theory…who know the arihtmatic, or writing, way over my head.;

      • Bill and Steve had a conversation while boarding a plane to SoCal from Albuquerque for a conference where Bill laid out his plan for the OS to Steve. Birds around these parts say that Steve spent that hangtime creating exactly what Bill was planning. What Steve lacked in vision, he made up for with fierce ambition and drive. He then spent the rest of his life protecting his plagiarized work by making it illegal for Bill to admit discovering the fact that Steve didn’t just beat Bill to the punch, but that he stole his idea. I was only A+ certified until the touchscreen and the Bluetooth, so I can’t remember how much of this has been embellished over the years. They are both geniuses in my book, and you too. Gey must have commented on this the moment it was posted…

        • not sure where that story came from, but it is so far from reality it would have trouble finding it’s way back to just be categorized as weird?

          the first Apple computer came out in 1976. The first IBM “personal” computer with QDOS on it (renamed MSDOS) came out in 1981. and even then Bill didn’t write it much less come up with it.

  1. My God! Look what has happened to another mental giant! They’ve gone completely off the reservation! My I Q plummeted about 30 points after watching this video.

    • Why the hostility, I don’t see any indication of “off the reservation” thinking. And I’ve watched Michael’s videos previously. He has a solid theory on approaching this challenge.

      • I’ll agree New Chaser, while on the surface it may seem like nothing, I believe that his videos are helpful tools for new and old hunters alike.

    • What did you gain by posting such a negative comment? Forrest Fenn requested the video be linked via a scrapbook and you go further than just discount it. Not very “wise” imo.

      • free speech is sometimes inconvenient
        but without it we would all be writing in code to avoid big brother

  2. I’ve enjoy watching his videos and had the pleasure of meeting Michael in person in Santa Fe this summer and I must say he has some valuable insights. Thank’s for sharing.

  3. A very well considered video. Thanks for the link.

    Although I don’t agree with any of the algorithms or your solution, I fully agree that each trip should be about the trip and the fun and not the treasure.

    Hi-dee hi-dee!

    • As he stated, the algorithm is unrelated to the chase, and he only realized it could be applied after the fact. I’m sure the algorithm is sound for its intended purpose.

  4. Hi Dal: since there is no “f” at the end of this Scrapbook, I assume *you* were the one who recently spent 3 days with Michael, not Forrest. (Doubtful that Forrest would have spent 3 days with Michael, and yet have Michael not mention that in the video.)

    • Sure seems like Fenn’s writing style.
      Michael is a smart guy who knows how to break things down to its simplest form and then shows you how complicated it really is.

    • That intro is all from Forrest. I didn’t add anything…He probably forgot to put an “f” on it and I didn’t notice it was missing before I posted it or I would have asked him about it…

  5. I couldn’t get video to load . Sounds similar to a man i know that not only is a teacher he is a jack of all trades and a master at most . I did some HVAC work for him , I was hoping he was still in the states I NEED to get in touch with him. The last time i spoke with him was cut short ,due to one of those yellow Cadillac bosses . Teachers have a quality about them that makes them unique and very valuable IMHO.

  6. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the blaze and what down means to you, the loop and reflecting.

  7. So Dal when is you’re failure video coming out? I got a little feeling you didn’t stick to the poem and got distracted by everything else or else you would have it. Hate me, love me, doesn’t matter. I’m curious – if someone sent you an email and you thought it was ground breaking or whatever, would you share it quickly or keep it for yourself till you investigated it. I’m just asking to figure out which site is what. I think some try to provoke private email ideas, others try to make money, some are creative, some do it for good causes and others do it to be a legit and trusting source with no agendas. I’m just a guy who asks a lot of questions ….. rr

    • rr-
      Not a video of my attempt. I filmed interviews with Forrest. Those I will edit and post once I am back home from this trip. I do not expect to be back home til middle of next week and then it will take some time to prepare the videos for the blog.

  8. Micheal, why don’t you believe in unicorns? We are more likely to stumble upon one than understand your math genius.

  9. I enjoyed your thought process and your conclusions. Great success only comes with a healthy dose of failure. Thank you for sharing!

  10. This is a very helpful video, having come back from a failed Botg myself it’s very relevant to me, very poignant. Thank you very much for making it and sharing it Michael.

    • Hmmm, and for some reason I thought of pie only because it was round. I’m. Not good with numbers, so I’d like help here.

  11. Hi, Dal. I don’t see an “f” after this scrapbook. Is this scrapbook from you or Forrest? Thanks so much..

    • Hi Heidini — Dal may be too busy driving back to have time to address the question. However, no need: Michael has confirmed that he did meet with Forrest on three occasions (there’s that 3 again) in August, including at his birthday party at La Fonda. So the only lingering question is why Forrest left his signature “f” off the end of this Scrapbook.

    • Heidini-
      Forrest left the “f” off…probably an accident. He has done that before…sometimes I catch it and ask him if he wants to add the “f”…This time I didn’t notice…
      I’ll ask him if he wants to add the “f”…

  12. Michael, this is another well done video; great work. Failure can build character among other things.

    The video brings up something else – there is more than one type of genius. And one should step back and not miss the elephant(s) when in tight focus with the ant(s).

  13. Michael,
    You’re so smart and that math equation behind you intimidates me. Every hero has to first overcome a struggle. It’s an essential ingredient to the pie at the end. It’s a personal process for certain.
    Thanks for the video!

  14. Failure is not an option. I love the Thrill, and the challenge. Every Boots on the ground has been worth it. I hope to prove that. 🙂 ha ha.

  15. I’m going to just keep wearing my size 7 dunce cap which is this big [ 1/3(3.14 x 12.25″ x 16″) ] and keep moving forward. There is no failure in this adventure. To me it is always a win win from every angle. Thanks for the video…

  16. Thank you for this. It reminds me of the 9 dot puzzle. I fail everyday trying to find a solution. Failure reaps wisdom at some point I’m hoping. So far I’m learning how much I don’t know, that Forrest’s world is vast and he seems to have a lot of friends.

    • Katballous: 9-dot — do you mean the one where you connect 9 dots in a 3×3 grid with four lines without lifting your pen/pencil? Amusingly, the solution has some Chase relevance.

      • yes, that’s the one – seems fitting for this to me as well.. “think outside the box” , “get back in the box”. Also riding backwards bicycle – we don’t naturally think this way so makes it difficult to solve. there are so many layers to this that it’s overwhelming and choosing the correct ones are as well. I have discovered so much and just feel like those things are taking me around the edges of what I’m supposed to see. The more I discover the less I know.

  17. I don’t know that I believe in failure. If knowledge, inspiration, or other valuable insight is gained then where is the failure? I’ve taken two botg trips into the Rockies and never returned home with the chest, yet on each of those trips and during all of that research I gained an immense of knowledge, inspiration, etc. I see all of this as being a huge success.

    • There will always be failure. It’s part of evolution. For you to become more than you were, you must fail. Either that process, or you have some very big dice rolling around in your hand. The problem in the word is that so many people equate it to “loser” or “worthless”, which is not at all the case. So embrace the term failure and rejoice in it’s teachings.

  18. I have viewed some on your videos in the past and enjoyed listening to your thoughts, especially those of subject materials in the book, Michael. I hope the formula you’ve been working on the whiteboard proves to be successful.

  19. So if I add in aiming left a little at my big red target bird. Wait a minute I lost
    myself with that one. Big red round bird. I am still messed up with the missing key
    word. The word AND. there’s nine and clues in my poem. Well that can’t be.
    So calculate my target. AND forget the word AND. Just messing with the poem.
    That’s about as confusing as the math. Why not just go to it.
    Never Mind.
    Stay safe Hunters.

      • I was just trying to lighten things up. Sounds like his wife is a
        little mad about something. I am trying a more stay home and
        go with confidence as there is a correct solve somewhere.
        It got me thinking about a target looking object. Flying in on it.
        Red round white center. Looks like a target. I don’t know anyone
        except myself that thinks there is a treasure out there.
        That’s all I have heard. But the target is one of four possibilities
        where my solve ends. Never been there am only in this the
        price of 3 books. I am as all I don’t really know where it is.
        Shout out to C.M. her tribute to forrest video was Great.
        My plan is not to fail. Sounds like a failed plan.
        Stay safe hunters.

  20. Hopefully failure is just a stopover. I don’t look good in dunce caps. Actually, going home to play canasta sounds really good right now!

  21. Why can’t people just accept failure for what it is? It’s just failure. It’s not the end of the world. How you handle failure is a measure of who you are. Try to rationalize it and say how it isn’t really failure is dodging reality. As I’ve progressed through life, I have failed, been humiliated, succeeded, and been honored. (not in any order).

    Quitting isn’t failure (as in, it’s only failure if you give up). You set a goal, attack it, and you don’t achieve it …. that’s a failure. You try again and again and finally achieve it …. that’s success. If you decide you are aiming at goals that don’t work for you anymore, you quit that quest. That isn’t some sort of new failure, that’s moving on to your next quest.

    As a design engineer, I take on quests to do things that I have never done (and sometimes have never been done). I do so with the confidence that I will achieve my goals (or change them?). Usually, well down the road, I realize I have gotten myself in way over my head (I call this phase the “tunnel of despair”). I keep moving forward with the knowle(d)ge that this is a phase that one experiences just before the final breakthrough. Just when it looks the most hopeless, the Universe provides and success is yours.

    You don’t need to rationalize failure as some sort of success. Suck it up, accept lessons learned (hopefully there are some), and move on.


    • MBG.
      I don’t disagree with your post only because your thoughts or opinions are based on how you see failure within your own experiences and how you expect and deal with it.
      But your experiences and personal failure is not and never the same as others.
      That word or definition does not apply to every situation.
      When a handicap person try’s and failed at picking up a fork to feed themselves they should just suck it up it’s life. Tell them that.
      Failure is not a word to be thought of in some basic po hunk way of terms.
      You surprising from an engineer of all. Have been formally informed. Your response does not fit every situation for those alone define failure in of themselves.
      RAndawg somed it up nicely. Failure effects the one who excepts it and makes it a corrected failure. That’s the positive. You can’t d fine failure in any way other then yourself.
      Coming from an engineer this hit me a little off
      My father was an engineer, and as a child I got to go down to the plant with him. In the yard there carpenters and welders would come to him with problems saying the blue prints were wrong and they couldn’t do it the way it was drawn. My father would say to them your the carpenter or the welder. You figure out how to make it work. They shook their heads and walked away with a new challenge.
      My father new that the guy doing the work could find a solution as easily as he could. Not only that but if they solved the problem they were beyond failed and could feel a sense of accomplishment. And that they could contribute as much as the engineer. I will never forget that time and I will always instill that principle in who ever I associate with.
      Failure to understand or create what’s on that blueprint is not a failure it’s just a failure to connect one individuals drawing to another.
      There have been no failures in this chase. You have only failed in your own mind if you say so.
      No one else can tell you you have failed. If so that’s just there opinion.
      Until that blueprint is worn out and there is no air left to breath no one is a failure.
      This I hope is the last of failure.

    • “You don’t need to rationalize failure as some sort of success.”

      Everyone gets a trophy. Everyone’s a winner.

      An unfortunate decline in civilization.

      • My point exactly. For some reason failing is deemed a bad thing beyond what is rational. It’s like the word has been ruined. I’m not saying failing is good. I’m not a philosopher, so these concepts are hard for me to logically express. An analogy would be like losing a game. Losing a game is a failure of sorts (failed to achieve the goal of winning). There are good losers, and bad losers. Bad losers make excuses and rationalize, have trouble accepting their loss. Good losers accept (embrace?) their loss and move on to the next goal.

        Maybe the problem is the difference between failing, and being deemed a failure. Like the difference between losing, and being deemed a loser.


  22. “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

    – Henry Ford

  23. Do I get a participation award? Seriously, I get the expectation of finding a solution; the world of engineering. I also know the value of collaboration. It appears I’ve overcomplicated my research and solves. Best advice is KISS. Don’t forget the HUGS.

  24. “Failure” doesn’t have to have a negative connotation; it’s simply a label indicating a lack of success (thus far). As Michael indicates in his video, it’s an integral part of the process. What matters is how we respond to it. On a lighter note, this has reminded me of a limerick:

    There once was a man from Australia,
    Who painted his arse like a Dahlia,
    The color was fine,
    Likewise the design,
    But the smell — ooh, that was a failure.

  25. To the best of my knowlege, there is no statistical correlation between the number of u-toob videos one has produced and the number of times the producer has found the tc. AAMOF, if every searcher were assigned a numerical value based on the fraction where number of times they found the tc is the numerator and number of u-toob videos they posted is the denominator — it’s one big flat level playing field as far as the eye can see. Everyone is a zero. Congratulations all around.

    Initially, the Thrill was (correctly and admirably IMO) associated with the wilderness experiences it motivated people to have and, hopefully, an appreciate for Nature that might result. What a noble cause.

    If the Thrill has now somehow become measured by volume or content of u-toob puke, it doesn’t seem to be quite so………..thrilling.

    • One can choose how to measure the Thrill. In the context of it, you-toob pyoook
      shouldn’t count at all, and neither should much of the pyoook I see on various
      blogs. I think both types of these pyoooks are counter-productive (related to the association with the wilderness experiences) to that part of the reason this treasure hunt exists. As always, part of my opinion.

  26. Could the number of “videos” have something to do with it? 22? That number could have something to do with a hint. That 22 could be significant IMO.


    • Through enough degrees of separation, probably. Even if the number of existing
      videos keeps growing. I think anything about the number 22 is a rabbit hole
      (I don’t know how deeep) at best.


    • I think sometimes f’s most important message to searchers is hidden in plain sight. Yes, he wants to help support us through our failures, but if you read between the lines, I think f is saying he will not give anyone confirmation of their solve (even if it was correct) because it would take away from the thrill of finding the chest and the awe it will inspire. My support for this is Michael’s quote, “But in the Chase, without that risk of failure, there would be no Thrill.

      How many people emailed f recently asking for some kind of confirmation? I know I’m one. There are probably hundreds.

  27. Thanks for sharing Michael’s video. Idea, Plan, Test, Fail, Try Again. I’ve never looked at it in such scientific terms, and it makes my head hurt a little, but it’s true. If we don’t test our ideas we can’t fail, but we can’t succeed either. There are no guarantees, but never give up hope. And in the meantime we get to have a great adventure along the way. Thanks again for the video.

  28. Clues, clues, solve the clues. Read the book! Solve the clues. Everything else is a distraction. It’s a big puzzle. I’ve opened a lot of mail. I’m sitting by my fireplace dreaming with my children, for starters. The hot chocolate is farthest away. Every day we get one foot closer to the treasure.

    If you get my meaning.

    “In my book there’s a poem. There are nine clues in the poem. And the clues are in consecutive order. If you want to find my treasure chest, I’ll tell you how to do it. Read the book just normally, the poem and the book. And then go back and read the poem 6 8 10 times. Study every line. Every word. Then after you do that, read the book slowly with the idea of looking for clues or hints that are in the book that will help you follow the clues. You can find the chest with just the clues. There are are hints in the book that will help you with the clues.” Lorne Mills interview

  29. A pool of information. Something struck me as very funny when he said it and I related it to my own personal search. Success with the chest, canasta without. Who, after being in the loop could ever exit for canasta on their own free will. I don’t know how to play, but it certainly doesn’t sound as exciting as the chase. Also, I like the diagram to help visualize moving down.
    It is funny how things can just kind of match. g

  30. Just an observation….

    If one goes to youtube and searches on ‘fenn treasure’ or ‘forrest fenn treasure’, the results include vids from all the usual suspects — there’s AGK, Jason, Sascha, Mike and Kpro, FlipSide aka Seannm, whacky Bill Gorman, Man Alone (now there’s some real American home-bred thinkin!)…

    But you don’t get any Canadian academic types in Japan. Even after 22 vids.

    How come? Is it a google conspiracy?

    • Depends on your search filters. Usually you get recent popular results. Also, there is no word “treasure” in the title. When I search for “forrest fenn” or “forrest fenn treasure” I do get #22, though. I guess it is trending.

      Try searching for “The Forrest Fenn Learning Curve” since that’s what it is called.

    • I’ve not watched any of these. I have perused some of the comments from time to time on other blogs just to keep up on what folks like to chat about. So far the topics are a rehash of the rehash with the same differences of opinion… almost universally.

      I like to stick with Dal’s for the latest from Fenn.

  31. I never thought in the 7 years of me searching, that I would have such a difficult time just to go straight forward. How ridiculous.
    I like your strategy

  32. Michael is an award winning Poindexter with a walking encyclopedia IQ … A Genius !

    In other words :
    It`s your choice…

    Michel’s you-tube videos are award winning : Genie, Academy Award, Japan Academy Prize, Indonesian Choice Award or the Mirror Ball for
    Dancing-with-the-Stars. All of the above !

    Is there a-genie-in-a-bottle walking amongst us ?

    I dunno ? Keep up the good work Michael


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