Saturday, 9 September 2017

08:30 – It was 46.6F (8C) when I took Colin out at 0700, partly cloudy and breezy. More work around the house and on science kits today. We’re keeping a close eye on Irma. The latest forecasts still say we’ll get effects from the remnants starting late Monday and into Tuesday, heavy rains and winds gusting to 50 MPH (80 KPH) or more. We’ll get hanging pots, cushions from our outside furniture, and anything else subject to blowing away into the house Sunday.

I was saddened yesterday evening to learn that Jerry Pournelle had died. We’d been Internet/telephone friends for 40 years, dating back to the 70’s when I started reading his SF and we were both friends with Mel Tappan, although the frequency of our exchanges had dropped off a great deal over the last decade or so, as health problems started to affect Jerry.

Our last substantive exchange of emails occurred a month or so ago. I was still listed as technical contact for Jerry’s domains, and had forwarded him an email from Godaddy to warn him that lucifershammer.org and feathersnake.com were about to expire. He emailed me back to chat about that and other stuff. The last significant email exchange we had was this:

—–Original Message—–
From: Robert Bruce Thompson
Sent: Tuesday, August 1, 2017 12:17 PM
To: Jerry Pournelle
Subject: Re: Your domain(s) is set to renew soon.

Holy Crap!

I just realized that it was 40 years ago this year that we first exchanged email. You were on Compuserve, IIRC. I was 24 years old, still in grad school at RIT, and had a bang address.

I emailed you to harass you about a mathematical calculation in LH where you (or Larry) dropped a term or something. Kinetic energy of the Hammer, ISTR.

And his reply:

Subject: RE: Your domain(s) is set to renew soon.
Date: Tue, 1 Aug 2017 13:11:41 -0700
From: Jerry Pournelle
To: Robert Bruce Thompson

Sounds about right. I think we fixed that in the later editions. How’s the home chemistry market?

After which, we went on to discuss our move up to Sparta, how our families were doing, Jerry’s health issues, and some other personal stuff. I had no idea that that would be our last conversation. If I had, there were a lot of things I would like to have said to Jerry. How much his books and our conversations over the years had meant to me.

And I keep thinking of little snippets. Like the time Barbara and I were sitting in our den down in Winston with our friends Paul Jones and Mary Chervenak. Jerry called, and I talked with him for few minutes, at which point Mary walked over to me, motioned to me to hand her the phone, and then smacked me. She then sat down and had an extended conversation with Jerry, whom she didn’t know until then. They eventually finished their conversation. The next day, Jerry called again. When I answered, he opened by saying that my friend Mary was a real pistol, which indeed she is.

Jerry was a great man, both brilliant and well-educated. In earlier times, people would have called him a Renaissance Man. Millions of his fans and friends will miss him. It was a privilege to have known him.


I regularly get email queries from people who want to contribute articles to this site. Some of them are spam, but many are not. The latter usually provide links to other articles they’ve written, on their own or other sites. Most of those want to write about military or political issues, but some link to a collection of me-too prepping articles. I ignore all of them, although some are quite persistent. One guy has sent me literally a dozen emails over the last month. I guess he doesn’t take a hint.

Don’t get me wrong. There are one or two people who aren’t regular commenters here that I’d love to have as guest posters. R. Ann Parris, for example, or Angela Paskett. People who actually walk the walk, and know what they’re talking about.

Another guy sent me a proposed article a couple weeks ago. It was basically a shopping list for a medical trauma kit. I did reply to him and said that I didn’t consider his article useful. I’m not sure what he thought his audience would be. Not ordinary preppers, certainly. There’s not much point to having a pile of serious medical gear unless you have the skills to use it. And the article wouldn’t be useful for an EMT or a trauma nurse, because they already know what they need. And I didn’t get the impression that the submitter was an EMT or indeed had any other qualifications. His list would have cost, at minimum, $750 to $1,000 to purchase, and that’s money that average preppers could better allocate elsewhere.

So let me give such would-be contributors a suggestion: if you really want to submit guest articles here, you can start by becoming a regular commenter. After you’ve been doing that, if what you write is worth reading, I’ll probably offer you guest-posting privileges, as I’ve done for many of my regular commenters. (And just about anyone who makes frequent substantive comments here would be welcome as a guest poster.)

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71 Responses to Saturday, 9 September 2017

  1. Greg Norton says:

    I have no doubt that, without Jerry Pournelle calling BS on NASA all these years, we would not have SpaceX on the cusp of being able to deliver on demand access to low earth orbit … at least for the military’s space planes. Something big was quietly afoot this week at the Circle K, lost in the hurricane news.

    And we may yet see SSTO fly via Blue Origin.

    Heck, even Boeing might fly a manned capsule not developed under the usual NASA-contractor agreements which Jerry criticized. I do have my doubts about that, but anything is possible.

  2. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I forgot to mention something new with Walmart. When I ordered eight #10 cans of the Augason potato slices yesterday at $4.99 each along with a couple other items, I was surprised at checkout when Walmart offered a discount if I was willing to forego 2-day shipping. I clicked the box to accept ground shipping, which meant delivery this coming Friday rather than Tuesday. Instead of charging me $4.99/can, they charged me $4.42/can, a discount of 11% or so.

    That 20-ounce can of potato slices rehydrates to the equivalent of 80 ounces, 5 pounds, of fresh potatoes, or about $0.88/pound. That’s pretty good for potatoes packed for long-term storage and a shelf life of 25 years.

    I just looked, and Walmart still has them priced at $4.99/can, so if you need some now is the time to grab them, before they go back to their regular price of $11.99/can.

  3. Matthew Farr says:

    I am not weepy mourner, but the loss of Jerry is a tough one for me. His was the first column I read when I received my copy of Byte every month. I read most of his books. His website was (and is) quite possibly one of the best on the web. His intellect and breath of knowledge was so impressive to me. How many other polymaths of his stature exist in our time? I daresay very few. The man could quote freely from Macauley, or Shakespeare, or Kipling (he loved Kipling!) to illustrate a point, and in the next paragraph discuss the rocket equation. His writings inspired me to fill some of the gaping holes that the public school system had clearly left in my education. I had the privilege of meeting him once on a bus at a Microsoft developer conference, and I corresponded with him a few times regarding my service as a Cold Warrior. I will truly miss reading his delightful insights on…everything.

  4. MrAtoz says:

    RIP Dr. Pournelle. I had several conversations with him on the “digitization” of the Army. The loss of a Titan. Sadly, the MSM won’t even obit him.

  5. Julián says:

    Jerry Pournelle opened for me the door to home-build computers, later I switched to “Building the perfect PC”. For many he was a sci-fi writer, I think I have only read one of his books “Inferno”, for me was the “Chaos Manor” columnist. For a decade I was a “Byte” subscriber. For me his column was an invitation to upgrade the computer, to fine tune the boot process – ah! those MS-DOS times – I really enjoyed it. Even if I was not so hooked on Chaos Manor lately as I was, I will miss him.

  6. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Barbara just talked to her sister, Frances, in Winston. Frances said Costco and Sam’s Club are both out of bottled water. Winston is expecting about the same level of effects that we are: high winds, very heavy rain, and some flooding. The emergency management agencies there and here have recommended stocking up on water and food, and it appears that a lot of people are taking those warnings seriously.

  7. eristicist says:

    Very sad to hear about the death of Dr Pournelle. I’ve checked his site every day (along with this one and a couple of others) ever since I was 14. It was his site that got me reading RBT’s site. RIP Jerry — I hope I can achieve even a fraction of what you managed. Wishing the best to his family and friends…

  8. nick flandrey says:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4867668/For-Miamis-homeless-choice-Take-shelter-held.html

    “Miami’s 1,100 homeless people face a stark choice: Come willingly to a storm shelter, or be held against their will for a mental health evaluation”

    Rounded up.

    “‘You are trying to make me go somewhere I don’t want to go,’ he insisted.

    Finally, the man was handcuffed without a struggle and taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital for a 72-hour psychiatric evaluation.”

    n

    Of course, “it’s for their own good.”

  9. DadCooks says:

    A fine article about Dr. Jerry Pournelle:
    https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/9/16279582/jerry-pournelle-science-fiction-author-writing-computers-obituary

    Like many here I have been a follower of Dr. Pournelle since he started writing for Byte. How I wish I still had my collection of Byte. He helped to stimulate and foster my interest in computers, before most of the world had any idea on what the future would be.

  10. vkimball says:

    So sorry to hear about Dr. Jerry Pournelle’s death. His column in Byte was something I always looked forward to. A great man.

  11. Dave Hardy says:

    “Of course, “it’s for their own good.”

    Outrageous. Worst thing you can do to someone who really doesn’t want to go to such a place. We become more and more like the old Soviet Union every day. Soon we’ll probably have their shortages, high prices, lousy food everywhere, thugs running the country…oh wait….

    Back from college lab class; four more to go. Should be over in early November before the snow flies, maybe.

    Kunstler figures this to be a huge hit and possibly the first of the line of dominoes to fall…two states with huge populations and all kinds of economic value and now these impacts:

    http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/swamp-fever/

    While we play footsie with the NORKs and Russians and Israel launches attacks on the current and legitimate Syrian government and forces. Gee, maybe another world war will distract us from our own hordes of refugees and major areas of at least two states destroyed, maybe permanently.

  12. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Looking back, it stuns me that I knew Jerry BEFORE he started writing his column for Byte. Tempus fugit.

  13. Dave Hardy says:

    Yeah, you were just a kid then. 24, IIRC. And around the same time I was reading Tappan’s stuff in Guns & Ammo Magazine and his books. He was just off by about 40-50 years. I think his wife Nancy is still active with something or other out there in eastern Oregon. Yup:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Tappan

    Bigtime. I didn’t know she was from the Mack Truck family.

    Jerry was especially decent to me several times when discussing my military experiences and I got some historical/political information for him concerning 19th-C British politicians and some of their quotes, like, for example, “Bob’s your uncle.”

    Like others here, it was the Byte columns that got me hooked on messing around with computers, his and the late Terry Shannon’s concerning DEC and its products and policies.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terry_Shannon_(IT)

    From there I worked at DEC down in MA, and later EDS, which ran their products. As did my department in the state of Vermont when I originally came up here, remarried, etc. Funny how so many things touch or change our lives.

    I don’t believe there is his like currently in the world and we are all poorer for his passing. Condolences to his family, and Pace vobiscum.

  14. brad says:

    I’m yet another of those who read Jerry’s columns in Byte. Indeed, in Byte’s last few years, as it lost directly, Jerry’s columns were the only thing I read. From there to Chaos Manor. I wrote him a couple of times about something he had said – even though he must have had masses of email, he always answered thoughtfully.

    His fiction is among the very best. His “There Will be War” collections are thoroughly dog-eared, even though many of the non-fiction parts are out of date. I’ll have to look at the re-issued version from Castalia house – I believe they updated or replaced the parts that needed it the most.

    The passing of a giant. His voice will be missed.

  15. Mark says:

    A book could (and should) be written about Jerry Pournelle’s life and accomplishments. For years, I was only aware of him as Byte’s best columnist. Towards the end of Byte’s publishing run, he was the only reason I continued to subscribe. At some point I discovered that he wrote science fiction as well and had an online presence. I began reading his books and he became one of my favorite authors. The GEnie online service was where I first began reading him electronically. Eventually Internet access became widely available and I followed him on his website. Over the years of reading that, his many other accomplishments came to light and I began to realize how remarkable he was. He was an amazing individual and probably had more influence on my thinking than any other person for the past decade or more. He is the reason I began reading this site. Even at his age, his passing is a loss to several different fields. RIP Dr. Pournelle.

  16. paul says:

    I’m going to miss him. We tossed a couple of e-mails at each other, that’s about as personal as it was. I don’t remember who I found first. RBT or Jerry. I’m thinking RBT from Daynotes. And Daynotes from Johnathon in Tasmania, builder of the House of Steel or Tom Syroid.

  17. paul says:

    Today’s Super Fun Project!!! Take the passenger door apart on the accursed 2004 Freestar van to fix the window. Accursed because it has all of 40,000 miles. Up from 24,000 in the last 4 years. Sitting in a carport in Edinburg is hard on fiddley things like relays. Uh, it was about 400 miles of use to discover the doors have auto lock. That’s turned off.

    The locks seem to have come around with use. If they act up again, I have found the under-dash relays. I wouldn’t care much about the power locks other than the van has one keyhole. On the driver’s door. It’s really a pain to put groceries in through the tailgate and then the tailgate won’t un-lock.

    The window? I don’t know. It went to the dealer when it was less than a year old because the window didn’t work. Of course “no problems found”. It has stuck a couple of times but with a hand on each side of the glass you can jiggle it enough to work again. I’ve taken to running it all the way up and then a tap down… enough to un-bow the door.
    Today I pulled the door panel off and tapped the motor with a screwdriver handle. Not hard, either. That got the window working. I loosened the bolts that attach the tracks to the door and the bolts for the window mechanism. Ran the window a few cycles and parked it up but with the tap down and tightened the bolts. There are no obvious adjustments that can be made. Unlike a mid-seventies Chrysler (and earlier) this Ford has round holes for the tracks and window lift mechanism. The old Mopar stuff had a few elongated holes which let you adjust the level of the glass. I think the van’s holes are misdrilled a mm or two.
    If it sticks again I’m going to loosen the various bolts before tapping on the motor. If I still have to tap the motor, it’s a dud from the factory and will be replaced.

    Next project is the tailgate. The plastic pocket (for lack of a better term) where the license plate is mounted is loose on one side. No, I’m not buying the “supposed to be like that” nonsense.

  18. lynn says:

    The emergency management agencies there and here have recommended stocking up on water and food, and it appears that a lot of people are taking those warnings seriously.

    If they were serious, they would have already stocked up on food and water before the emergency. After the emergency, they will let their food and water stocks go back to nothing. They are not serious, they are just panicked.

    I have already brought my water stash back up to over 120 cases. That is taking this stuff serious.

    And we are going to move. I am not happy with a 12 ft levee between my home and the river as the nearest exit from our subdivision is two miles away from here. If water is coming over the levee, we cannot get out as the streets will flood first.

    It may be a year, it may be 10 years, but we are going to move. Probably to the back of our 14 acre office property where I can build a 4,000 ft2 1.5 story house on a tall pier and beam foundation. And, I will build a large room and bathroom upstairs where we can retreat if needful.

  19. lynn says:

    While we play footsie with the NORKs

    Not playing footsie with the Norks has dire consequqnces for 1 to 10 million South Koreans. We owe them an orderly retreat from their lands before we turn them loose to the fire.

    And speaking of prepping, if I was the South Koreans, I would be evacuating Seoul right now. Seoul is nothing but a city of hostages.

  20. lynn says:

    Today’s Super Fun Project!!! Take the passenger door apart on the accursed 2004 Freestar van to fix the window. Accursed because it has all of 40,000 miles.

    Sorry dude, the only vehicle that Ford makes well is the F-150 and its various derivatives. My 2005 Expedition has 185K miles. The factory camper top never leaks and the independent rear suspension allows you to go around corners real fast. Just be ready for full brake jobs every 60,000 miles and tires every 30,000 miles. I also got mine with the trailer towing package which give you a five row radiator instead of a three row and a transmission cooling system, both factory.

  21. paul says:

    Sorry dude, the only vehicle that Ford makes well is the F-150

    I get it. The van was made in Canada. But when your sisters abandon the old lady and mail the car keys a month later…. so we moved her here…. and hey, it’s not my first choice of a vehicle. But 40K miles compared to 150K on the Stratus is sort of easy to decide.

    Notes taken on the brake job mileage.

    I would like the van a lot better if it didn’t have all the power stuff. Because it’s all nice until you can’t unlock the freaking doors. Or put it into gear because there is a solenoid that stops you from taking it out of Park if your foot isn’t on the brake. Ah, yeah, the solenoid is still there… to make the computer happy, it’s just swiveled out where it can’t engage.

    I’ve had a few cars. Most bought used. First was a ’76 Cordoba. I loved that car. Then I had a Cavalier. Fun car, lots of tickets. Cavy hydroplaned into a z-something that deciding my flashing yellow light meant I should stop for his flashing red light. My car wasn’t leaking anything. Ruined it tho.

    So I bought a ’78 Volare wagon in San Antonio for $1000 and a couple bucks of change. A fading Earl Scribe paint job was part of the package. I ran that car for years. Learned how to adjust valves. I had that slant six running smooth enough to stand nickels on edge on the air cleaner. Good times.

    Wagon threw a rod and went across the scales. Meanwhile, I had an ’81 Imperial so I wasn’t walking.

    ’81 to ’83 Imperials…. Pretty cars. Primitive throttle body fuel injection. The shop manual will make your head hurt.

  22. Greg Norton says:

    Water is gone again at HEB near our house. Did I miss something today?

  23. lynn says:

    Water is gone again at HEB near our house. Did I miss something today?

    There will be a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico tomorrow. All bets are off on the track in my opinion.

  24. Greg Norton says:

    There will be a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico tomorrow. All bets are off on the track in my opinion.

    I noted that the weather geeks at the Fox station in Tampa have been toying with their radar for the last hour. It looks like the eye hasn’t started moving north yet and the meteorologists are trying to figure out why.

  25. lynn says:

    We have decided to foster the 20 lb Jack Russell Chihuahua mix dog that showed up in our backyard yesterday. He is socializing with us now and wants to be an inside dog like Lady. The daughter wants to call him Harvey, I am thinking Toby. He loves being loved on, especially by the wife. I’ve got a bad feeling that we have a new dog.

    The wife has put up a dozen posters, Facebook, and Nextdoor. No chip, no collar. And if we take him to the county shelter, they were full of dogs and cats before Harvey. Now, the shelter is a freaking disaster.

  26. Ray Thompson says:

    bathroom upstairs where we can retreat

    If the water is that high just hang your butt out the window and let it rip.

    Just be ready for full brake jobs every 60,000 miles and tires every 30,000 miles

    I am at 62K on my F-150. Still factory original tires which I figure have another 5K on them. Will replace them with Michelins although I may got back to the ones that the factory installed as I have gotten really good service. Brakes (disc all around) are at 50% thickness on the pads.

    I’ve got a bad feeling that we have a new dog

    Bbbbbzzzzzttttt. Wrong. The dog has a new family. The dog chose you and carefully manipulated you into keeping him/her. Good for you for being chosen. Such dogs generally make some of the best canine companions.

    It’s really a pain to put groceries in through the tailgate and then the tailgate won’t un-lock.

    Battery died on my Highlander due to a short in the alternator ($700 repair as battery was destroyed). Drivers side door could be opened with the key. Passenger doors with the interior handle. Rear hatch. Nope. Not without power.

    There is a tow hook for the vehicle. It screws into a covered opening in the front bumper. Specifically designed to allow the vehicle to be winched up on a flat bed tow truck. Without that hook the cable on the truck would impact the front of the vehicle and cause damage. Guess where the tow hook is stored? Yep, under the spare tire, under the cover in the back. You have to climb over the seats to get to the cover and spare to get the tow hook.

    What was even more surprising is the tow truck driver was aware of the requirement for the hook. When I went to the dealer to pick up the vehicle the service adviser asked what it was. I had to explain it was the tow hook. He had never seen one before. This was at the Toyota dealer. You would think they would know.

  27. lynn says:

    Just be ready for full brake jobs every 60,000 miles and tires every 30,000 miles

    I am at 62K on my F-150. Still factory original tires which I figure have another 5K on them. Will replace them with Michelins although I may got back to the ones that the factory installed as I have gotten really good service. Brakes (disc all around) are at 50% thickness on the pads.

    Ah. I drive my Expy like I stole it. Just about doubles the required maintenance. I am on my fifth set of tires. And my fourth set of brakes.

  28. OFD says:

    Youse cah guys make me laff; try working on a Saab. Brilliant squarehead engineering. Note the sarcasm. Try, for example, replacing a headlight bulb on the driver’s side. If you can get YOUR hand in there to do that gig, you’re either a tiny wittle midget or an infant.

    IIRC, the hurricane in the Gulf is Katia, which was behind Jose, amirite? Where is Jose now?

    Yes, that made me shake my head in rueful amazement on how stupid most peeps are; you have a Cat 5 almost upon you. So why not rush out NOW to buy plywood, and shopping carts full of wotta. Instead of, as others here have already pointed out, having them always on hand, since you live in a FUCKING HURRICANE ZONE, and it’s not like they only roll by every fifty years or so….

    Also amusing as to how many of the pics and vids of these peeps show them to be morbidly obese, male and female. Or maybe that’s just the MSM fooling around, but I doubt it. Once the water over Florida goes ten feet deep statewide the sharks, gators and pythons will be feasting like it’s 1999.

  29. Miles_Teg says:

    “Once the water over Florida goes ten feet deep statewide the sharks, gators and pythons will be feasting like it’s 1999.”

    Wotta critters gotta eat, same as worm…

    h/t: Josie Wales/Clint Eastwood.

  30. lynn says:

    IIRC, the hurricane in the Gulf is Katia, which was behind Jose, amirite?

    Irma is forecast to head into the Gulf instead of the eastern seaboard. I am not trusting the cone at the minute.
    http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/storm_graphics/AT11/refresh/AL112017_5day_cone_no_line_and_wind+png/204937_5day_cone_no_line_and_wind.png

    And the gasoline is now running out around here. The jobbers are now running out of gasoline.

    Generally, refineries sell to the jobbers. Jobbers sell to the gas stations. Gas stations sell to you and me. All three entities have their own set of of tanks.

  31. OFD says:

    Brings to mind what it might be like for much longer periods, with no gasoline being delivered except to Fed, state and local gummint and the military. And of course, on the black market at highly inflated prices for those who can pay. Why, then, bother to store any on one’s property for the long term? It will run out at some point and then you have dead vehicles in your driveway and a dead genny at the back of the house. (this goes for propane, too, so our dual-fuel gennies and Coleman stoves would likewise be kaput).

    I could see keeping some gas and propane on-site for a month’s worth, say, but beyond that, why bother. We’ll be back to circa 1900 at that point, and with no fossil fuels to power the electricity, either. Which means no A-C in AZ and no electric heaters or well pumps working up here.

    We won’t be much better off; somebody besides the two of us is gonna have to go out into the woods and cut down timber for firewood and then haul it back here, cut into smaller pieces and then stacked in my racks. I could help with the latter two operations if my back and legs were in normal shape. But how much could we do in our 80s and 90s?

    Off again, most likely, to the Moh-ree-all airport in the AM, always a barrel of fun. Can’t wait.

    Pax vobiscum, fratres

  32. OFD says:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2017/09/report_hackers_can_now_cause_blackouts_on_us_electrical_grid.html

    Speaking of the juice cutting out…

    We’d manage for a while here with batteries, candles, lanterns, stored food and water, cooking on the woodstove and the grill, etc., but after a month or two in the dead of winter it would be kinda grim. The main issue at that point would be the food storage. So gotta get LOTS more. And more batteries, probably.

    OK, now I really gotta hit the sack…

  33. nick flandrey says:

    @lynn, I’m with you, I don’t see any curve northward yet.

    I don’t see any reason for the northward turn, and the weather liars never give the reason why the models show that. There was some mumbling about a front, but nothing in a couple of days.

    Anyway, I’m continuing work on getting my closet reinforced. Got almost all the hurricane clips installed, electrical rerouted, support beam in, and insulation on site. Tomorrow I’ll get the anchor bolts in, and start sheathing. I can’t get to actual FEMA recommended “hurricane room” because of the anchoring requirements, and I’m not adding the layer of 14 ga steel, but I’ll have doubled 3/4 ply walls and ceilings, with an external 1/2″ on the ceiling too. Extra studs to support some big headers and an extra shear wall to reinforce next to the door. It’s gonna be as tough as I can reasonably make it, starting with a retrofit, and a damn sight stronger than a standard closet.

    Life is compromise.

    n

  34. nick flandrey says:

    Ah, the truth is coming out….

    “‘We allowed standards to drop’: US Navy ADMITS it is using under-trained sailors and uncertified ships as senior officials begin probe into the two aircraft carrier collisions that left 17 dead”

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4869378/We-allowed-standards-drop-Navy-ADMITS.html

  35. lynn says:

    I don’t see any reason for the northward turn, and the weather liars never give the reason why the models show that. There was some mumbling about a front, but nothing in a couple of days.

    Me too. We cannot do this again, so soon to Harvey.

    Anyway, I’m continuing work on getting my closet reinforced. Got almost all the hurricane clips installed, electrical rerouted, support beam in, and insulation on site. Tomorrow I’ll get the anchor bolts in, and start sheathing. I can’t get to actual FEMA recommended “hurricane room” because of the anchoring requirements, and I’m not adding the layer of 14 ga steel, but I’ll have doubled 3/4 ply walls and ceilings, with an external 1/2″ on the ceiling too. Extra studs to support some big headers and an extra shear wall to reinforce next to the door. It’s gonna be as tough as I can reasonably make it, starting with a retrofit, and a damn sight stronger than a standard closet.

    So are you going to use this “closet” as a safe room for your family ?

  36. nick flandrey says:

    Yes

    n

  37. nick flandrey says:

    I’d like a 20ft sea container in my garage, bolted to the floor, but that ain’t gonna happen.

    Alternatively, one half buried in the woods, but that ain’t gonna happen.

    The closet/bath project, which has been torn up for 6 years, is finally going ahead. Cool weather and a storm on the way motivated me.

    n

  38. brad says:

    House projects – the house we’re hoping to build next year: and the wife is having fun imagining her dream kitchen. Despite the best intentions of our younger days, we wound up with an absolutely traditional division of labor: she likes to cook (I just like to eat). I like fiddling with tools (she figures she ought to learn…but…). So the kitchen is her’s to design, with me only there for some practical sanity checks.

    One debate is having a wood stove. I love having one in our current house, but it is a poorly insulated building from early last century. The builder we’re using recommends against one: modern houses are so well insulated (20cm in the walls, more in the roof, triple-glazed windows, etc.) that using a wood stove only makes you open the windows to cool things off. The one argument would be for prepping purposes, but the heating system is likely to be at least partly solar, so we just need solar cells or a generator to run the circulating pump.

    Plus OMG downsizing. In our current – huge – building with a full basement and a full attic, we have so much stuff. Lots of which hasn’t been touched or looked at in years. I still have a pile of boxes from cleaning out my mother’s house – things I just couldn’t face sorting out under the time pressure at the time, which have been collecting dust in the attic since. I hate the process of sorting things out, but love the result: less is definitely more.

  39. Miles_Teg says:

    Brad, why not stay where you are?

  40. brad says:

    Hi Miles

    The building we are in now is huge, with the business downstairs and us living upstairs. We’re not intending to run the business forever, plus the kids are leaving home soon (they’re 20 and 22), so the place will be too big. Also too expensive to afford on a retirement income, both the mortgage and the maintenance.

    Finally, we’re currently in the Swiss lowlands, which means that clouds back up against the alps 6 months of the year – gray and rainy all winter, yuck.

    The new place will be a lot smaller, half the price, and is in a sunny valley up in the mountains.

  41. MrAtoz says:

    If you can get YOUR hand in there to do that gig, you’re either a tiny wittle midget or an infant.

    You could hire President “Little Hands” tRump.

    MrsAtoz and I are driving to Farmington, NM, for a gig. Taking the Escalade Battle Wagon on the road. Eight hours each way.

    I got my Senior National Park Pass Friday. Lol! I’m a Senior!

  42. OFD says:

    Congratulations, MrAtoz, you a Senior now! Got my Pass last month or the month before, I forget. Mrs. OFD has to get hers separately or be with me when we hit a Park.

    Just dropped her at the Montreal airport; kind of a PITA but it got done and I got outta there w/o too much hassle; Sunday afternoon is mostly the imbecile shoppers in droves but at least no rush hour horror.

  43. lynn says:

    The builder we’re using recommends against one: modern houses are so well insulated (20cm in the walls, more in the roof, triple-glazed windows, etc.) that using a wood stove only makes you open the windows to cool things off.

    20 cm of insulation in the walls ? That is 8 inches of insulation in the walls. That means 2×8 studs ?

  44. lynn says:

    I’d like a 20ft sea container in my garage, bolted to the floor, but that ain’t gonna happen.

    I want a 20×12 safe room / pantry in any new house that we might build. With a potty. Maybe a shower.

    Although, my former USMC son says that safe rooms are no good with an attacker in force. He witnessed several houses in Iraq burned down to get to the safe room.

  45. SteveF says:

    Your safe room needs Claymores around the perimeter. For that matter, so does your house. And the front and back of your truck, long as you’re buying in bulk already.

  46. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Lynn’s talking about a girlie safe room. A manly safe room easily survives having the house burn down around it.

  47. SteveF says:

    What Lynn is really saying is he needs a safe space. It’s ok. I’m wearing a safety pin, designating me as an ambulatory safe space. C’mere, ya big lug, and get a hug.

  48. brad says:

    “. I’m wearing a safety pin, designating me as an ambulatory safe space. C’mere, ya big lug, and get a hug.”

    Ooooh yeah, can I get me summa dat?

  49. SteveF says:

    Sorry, Brad. My supply of kindness is very limited, and ran out merely in the course of making the offer a few minutes ago. Maybe there’ll be enough for a hug in a year or so. Two or three years, more likely.

  50. SteveF says:

    Setting aside my deficiencies as a caring person, am I the only one who gets all stabbity when people talk about needing safe spaces?

  51. lynn says:

    Huh. I remember a conversation here in the not so recent past about the efficacy of thermite grenades.

  52. DadCooks says:

    I almost forgot about that safety pin thing. So now we have snowflakes, safety pins, and cupcakes, that I can remember.

  53. OFD says:

    I have one of those safety pins, too, but it’s just a diabolical ruse so I can lob thermite grenades at cupcakes and snowflakes and unmanly safe rooms.

    @MrDadCooks; if ya can remember nuthin’ else, Chief, remember this:

    THIS SIDE TOWARD ENEMY

  54. DadCooks says:

    Thanks @OFD.

  55. SteveF says:

    I was lying above when I said I was wearing a safety pin (though I have some in my backpack, along with five pounds of other tools, medical stuff, and other supplies) but after last year’s election, when the weeping and safety pins were a thing, I did wear a big, brightly colored safety pin on my shirt a few times. I was hoping someone would come to me for a hug and other comfort and I could get all stabbity (or get all gropity if it was a hot babe) but it never happened. Alas, it appears that predator vibes overwhelm the safety pin’s promise of a safe space.

  56. OFD says:

    “Alas, it appears that predator vibes overwhelm the safety pin’s promise of a safe space.”

    OFD is all too familiar with that phenomenon; I thought wearing wire-frame specs and tweeds would help, but nope.

  57. Ray Thompson says:

    Alas, it appears that predator vibes overwhelm the safety pin’s promise of a safe space.

    Yeh, when your knuckles drag it is a real turn off.

  58. SteveF says:

    I thought wearing wire-frame specs and tweeds would help, but nope.

    Try bunny slippers. If that doesn’t do the trick, nothing will.

  59. OFD says:

    Bunny slippers! That could be it!

    I’ll give it a whirl and report back here accordingly!

    Oh wait–wouldn’t they nail me for stealing that old SNL schtick where a shark knocking on the apartment door is disguised as “Maintenance” or “Pizza Delivery?” In their heads that “Jaws” theme would probably cue up.

    Plus, knuckles dragging, long hair, facial hair, lots of grunts (mainly from pain and movement), thousand-yard stare….maybe the bunny slippers won’t work….

  60. nick flandrey says:

    Bunny slippers — Real Genius starring Val Kilmer, awesome cult classic.

    Safe room- not a panic room, not bullet resistant, mainly because the wife wouldn’t authorize the purchase of the FRP resistant panels. At ~$500 for each 4×8 sheet, you have to really think you might need it to justify the cost. And no easy way to get a back door installed. Pretty sure cutting the slab and burying the storm drain culvert tunnel out to a shed in the backyard would be the last straw… however if we every build from scratch, it’ll be on my list.

    Just gonna be as tough as I can make the existing closet. Double layer of overlapped 3/4 ply, hurricane straps on all the studs, tripled studs in the corners, additional 3x header across the middle, 1/2 ply outer skin on the ceiling, additional concrete anchors into the slab with oversized washers, that sort of thing.

    Trying to do it on the cheap and inside the normal envelope.

    n

  61. Ray Thompson says:

    maybe the bunny slippers won’t work

    My youth years in high school were doomed. Wore glasses, carried a slide ruler (still have it), and about once a week drove a hay truck fully loaded with 60 bales of hay to school. Had to go to Central Point after school to deliver the hay to be pelleted and pick up last weeks pellets. So glasses, slide ruler, took math and science classes and drove a hay truck. It could not be worse. Well maybe if my knuckles were to drag. Did make the mistake of picking up a girl I knew at school that had missed her ride and giving her a ride home in the truck loaded with bags of pellets. She was at the gas station when I pulled in for gas. Should have let her walk.

  62. OFD says:

    “She was at the gas station when I pulled in for gas. Should have let her walk.”

    I get the feeling there is more to the story. Or maybe that’s just me being a hyper-literate dipstick, also having gone through skool with glasses, buck teeth, and red hair. Over-compensated by doing track-and-field, soccer and football, and being a smart-ass.

  63. lynn says:

    Over-compensated by … being a smart-ass.

    No ! Say it is not true !

  64. Ray Thompson says:

    I get the feeling there is more to the story.

    Not much. Just saw her at the gas station and asked if she needed a ride. She said yes. Then she realized I was the one in the truck. By then it was too late and she could not think up an excuse to say no fast enough. Almost total silence on the 12 mile ride to her house. Don’t think she spoke 20 words with me the rest of the school year. Probably felt humiliated. Riding home with a hayseed in a truck, how horrible.

    Over-compensated by doing track-and-field, soccer and football, and being a smart-ass

    I was the class clown. Also the dork who was always assigned the task of operating the projector.

    being a smart-ass

    Still over compensating?

    Oh wait, that was a smart-ass comment itself. Damn, I have now risen to your level. I feel honored.

  65. DadCooks says:

    I’ve got you guys beat, I also wore braces and walked with a limp, sometimes crutches or a cane. Also had a crew cut.

    However, as I have mentioned before, us band geeks had it all over our pathetic sports teams. As first chair trumpet I dated the head cheerleader. Triple-tonguing is not just a skill useful in playing the trumpet.

  66. SteveF says:

    However, as I have mentioned before, us band geeks had it all over our pathetic sports teams. As first chair trumpet I dated the head cheerleader. Triple-tonguing is not just a skill useful in playing the trumpet.

    And this one time, at band camp…

  67. Mike G. says:

    The first trumpet handshake,

    “Hi, I’m better than you.”

    .mg

  68. Miles_Teg says:

    DadCooks wrote:

    “As first chair trumpet I dated the head cheerleader.”

    Hillary Rodham was the head cheerleader? 🙂

  69. SteveF says:

    DadCooks’s and Hillary Bitch Rodham’s relationship was no so much “dating” as “currency transfer in exchange for favors”.

  70. DadCooks says:

    Sorry to disappoint you @Miles_Teg but hIllary was not head cheerleader or anything else. She was just a well known tease and really preferred girls anyway.

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