Tues. Oct. 20, 2020 – 10-20-2020 huh.

Cooler and wet.  Maybe some sunshine later.

Got rain and humidity yesterday.  Lots of both.  It kept me inside, since I was home with my student, and my wife was at the office.

So I decided it was time to mess with upgrading my NVR computer and software.  I was running ispy Agent on win10.  I am very tired of windows updating and killing my recording.  Agent has a version for linux….   well.   I updated agent and it failed to restart, so I had my motivation.

I also needed to add a much bigger hard drive, which has just been sitting here waiting for a good time.  Putting the UPS that’s sitting here in line with that pc has been on the list for a while.  Fractal.  That’s my to do list.

Had to clear a spot for the UPS and that meant vacuuming up the dust bunnies.  Then it wasn’t charged so I got to listen to that beeping for a while.  Pulled the pc and opened it up.  Blew it out.  I had installed the second 4TB drive with zip ties.  I don’t remember doing it, but I guess I did.  There isn’t any second drive cage in this little HP midsize case.  So where would the new 8TB go?  Pliers.  Case mod.  Foam and zip tie.  I fit the 4TB in tighter and strapped the 8 to it.  It’s pretty clean if a bit tight.  Budget models are technically expandable, but they (probably rightly) don’t really think anyone will.  Still would have been nice to have the drive cage included.  I noticed I still have a ram slot open.  I’ll have to look at filling that.

Why leave the 4TB drive?  Mainly as a place to archive any interesting video.

Formatted the 8TB drive under windows, made sure the Agent software really was borked by the update.  Inserted USB stick and booted to Mint.  Decided to just install it as a dual boot, but couldn’t.   The stock Dell drive has like a thousand partitions hidden on it– well at least 4.  Mint couldn’t or wouldn’t figure out how to just install alongside windows (even though that was a choice) and I couldn’t figure out what the heck I needed to do.  So I decided to try installing the Agent software on the live distro…

Which actually worked, after some cut and paste errors, and some user error on my part.  Remember that I’m just really sitting here monkey punching the keyboard.  But after several tries, I got it installed and started.  And it works.  It’s pegging all 8 cores, but the video is smooth and clear.  I did quickly run out of disk space, because the default install uses the same drive for storage, and there just wasn’t any space.  That’s when  I tried to point it at my new 8TB drive.  Sorry Charley, read only file system.  After poking at it, doing what seemed logical and watching it LOOK like it changed the permissions, it still didn’t really.

I shut off recording for the night, and have been just watching to see if the server is stable, which was my other issue with the software running on windows. (agent runs as a server, you interact with it using a browser.)   It’s always disconnecting from the server and I get a blank screen rather than the camera views.  So far it’s been stable and hasn’t disconnected yet.

Today I’ll be swapping the main drive for a blank and installing Mint for real.  I’ll have to reinstall all the codecs, software, and settings but hopefully that will be good and stable for a long time after that.

I might boot back to windows to do the file deleting and space clearing I want to do  on the 4TB first, just because I’m more familiar with it.

All in all it’s more messing around than I wanted, but MS is making it increasingly clear that they consider your pc to be theirs and they’ll do what they want, whenever they want.  I don’t care for that.

I’ve also got to pick up a couple of things today.  Wife is working from home so she can watch the younger one while I go out.

More household stuff from the auctions.    I’ve created a monster.

The news isn’t getting any better.  Biden would be cooked, resigning in disgrace if he weren’t their only hope to defeat Orangeman.  They literally can’t acknowledge that he’s crooked because of what they’ve got invested in him emotionally.  HE can bow out, but I don’t think he will.  I do expect a rash of single vehicle crashes, and overdose/suicide/mystery deaths.  I expect some other distractions too.

Stay away from crowds.  And keep stacking.



Mon. Oct. 19, 2020 – first day of school

Cooler and humid.

Yesterday got warm in the afternoon, and was crazy humid, but was very nice in the shade if you weren’t working too hard.

I got a couple of things listed on craigslist and ebay.  Sold one item.  First sale in 90 days.   Spent a bunch of time doing some more Halloween decor and lighting.

Did some small cleanup things.  Found some missing items, and discovered some others need to be tracked down.  Moving all my stuff around is messing with my sense of where stuff is.  The flip side is I’m coming across stuff that has been tucked away for a while.  Can’t sell it if you have stored it for later and have forgotten it was there.

Spent a little time on the backup house search.

Did some other auction stuff.  Bought my wife a better xbox controller since she and the girls are playing games.  A lot.   They did all get in the pool while I got dinner ready.  Not too many days of pool use left without some sort of heater.

Oldest daughter starts ‘in person learning’ today.  She’ll be riding the bus to her new school.  I’ve decided to wear flannel jammies and slippers to take her to the bus.  All the moms do it, and half wear yoga pants, not flannels….  I’m not quite insane enough to wear yoga pants.

Wife is in the office MWF this week and I’m home with youngest daughter.  She opted to continue virtual learning.  She likes sitting alone in her work area.

The tone of the school emails is shifting.  Not so subtle hints that parents need to let the kids do the work.  Threats that if the kids can’t follow the virtual rules they’ll be forced to return to in person classes.  Threats that if the kids can’t follow the in person rules, they’ll be kicked out for being ‘health risks’.  Lots of rules about verifying attendance.  No butt in seat = no payday for the district.  Lots of emphasis on ‘butt in seat’ time.  In other words, they had a chance to remake education, and they’re blowing it.

Lots of things are going to  be re-made after the crash.  They’ll be made in the shadow of what was, and shabbier.  Thus begins a dark age…


Or not.  We are clever monkeys well motivated to survive.  Just because it’s happened before, doesn’t mean it will happen the same way this time.  ‘Course, in September of last year, if someone just laid out the facts of our current situation, would you have believed it was possible?

Keep stacking.  Keep learning.  Keep testing your assumptions.



Sun. Oct. 18, 2020 – let’s get some stuff done today….

Probably 70s and humid to start, getting warmer throughout the day.

That’s how yesterday went, although the humidity outpaced the temperature.

After sleeping late, I got some of my errands run.  Not as many things got done as I’d have liked, but if you sleep half the day away, that’s how it goes.

Today though, today will be different!  Today I’m going to be like a demon, a whirlwind of doing!  Or perhaps not.  We’ll see.

I do know one thing– after spending yesterday cleaning the kids’ closets out, my wife will be looking at my stuff VERY closely.  And with an eye toward filling dumpsters.  So I better get busy moving it around, and making room.

And the normal house maintenance stuff needs to happen, and some more Halloween stuff needs to happen, and getting oldest ready to attend school in person tomorrow, after riding the bus for the first time ever needs to happen…

So, as mentioned…….. we’ll see.

I did get the last of the groceries put away, and the meat broken down and vac sealed.  Freezers are much more full and reassuring than they were.  New temp monitors are working fine.  Roof is done and looks great.  Some stuff is going to plan… touch wood.

I’ve got to make room and money so I can keep stacking what matters most.

Figure it out, and stack some yourself.



Sat. Oct. 17, 2020 – non-prep hobby meets today…

Cooler and damp.

It was 58F when I went to bed last night, and it was about that cool most of the day.  Overcast and misty rain finally burned off late in the afternoon.

Most of what I picked up yesterday was household related.  Of the prepper stuff, the Dometic porta-jon was brand new in the box.  The RV inverter wasn’t.  It was the old 12v power supply module from whatever RV old boy updated later with the part that came in the box.  It looks intact and included a fused multi-circuit 12v distro panel.    It will make a great 12vdc power supply for my ham radios, whenever I get around to it.  Lemonade from lemons and all that…

I harvested an actual lemon from my lemon tree.  The other citrus is getting yellower every day.  I hope some is not woody and hard, but I’ll take a dozen fruits, even if they’re not great this year, and hope for better next year.  Planting trees is an act of faith that there will be a future.

No other visible sprouts, so I’ll try replanting with different seed packets.  My neighbor at my secondary location is getting a good fall garden, so it isn’t just a bad year in Houston, it’s me.  Try try again.  (And buy more canned food.)

Lots of articles out there about people bum rushing to rural housing, buying lots of guns and ammo, and stocking up.  The flip side is I’m seeing weird stuff in the amazon (and other store) returns auctions.   Most of the online and brick and mortar stores just take their returns and auction them off in bulk to wholesalers.  The wholesalers sometimes auction smaller bulk pallets, and sometimes auction individual lots.  That’s what I mean when I talk about ‘returns’ auctions.   Well, in the last couple of months, I’ve seen some interesting stuff.   Chicken coops (reviews were that they were too small.)  Chicken waterers.  Chicken nesting pads and nesting boxes (lots of people trying to grow chickens.)    Small animal nesting and bedding.   Farrier starter tool kits (several in this week’s auction.)  Farriers!  Moon cups (reusable menstrual supplies are a prepper staple.)  Solar panels.

Of course I’m seeing lots of other stuff that speaks of the lockdown, exercise equipment, bikes, and home reno bits and pieces, home decor too.

One puzzler is the TONS of child safety gates.  I mean TONS.  Every auction has dozens of lots.   And just general human debris, as summer ends a lot of yard tools are being returned.  Freaking thieves and returns fraud.  Tents and camping gear are being returned in bulk as well.

Firearms and ammo are showing up in the consignment and estate auctions.  Not much in the way of modern defensive arms, (except Hi-Point pistols- the modern ‘Saturday night special’.)  Most of what I’m seeing is single shot rifles, old single shot shotguns- unloved brown rifles in other words.  The ammo is usually sort of “cleaned out a drawer” quantities and a lot of non-defense calibers.  It all sells for high prices, and defensive ammo or modern defensive arms are bringing eye watering prices compared to a year ago.

Surprising me, there are a couple of campers/trailers in this week’s auction.  I figured people would hold on to them as a last resort living arrangement, but there must be folks who don’t expect to get to that point, who are looking to cash in on high demand.

On another note, I drove across all of Houston Friday, all the way to Baytown, and then up to IAH.  Today I’ll be going down to Dickenson and back up through Bellaire.  I crisscross Houston fairly regularly.  I’m seeing a LOT of empty commercial buildings.  I’m seeing a LOT of ‘For Lease’ signs.  I even saw two new ones a few blocks from my house.   The landslide has just started rumbling, a few pebbles are starting to roll down hill…  I’ve got a feeling that ‘we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.’  But not in a good way.

Keep stacking, and keep your eyes and mind open to opportunity.   There are always opportunities.



Fri. Oct. 16, 2020 -busy day

Hot and humid?  Or the cold front gets here and it’s cool and humid.  Either way, humid.


edit–  cold.  61F and misty drizzle at 7am.

Thursday was mostly nice, with some nasty moments of humidity.   I got all of my antennas back up, which meant I was up on the roof.   Even in the shade, with dead calm the humidity had me dripping sweat off my nose.

I cleared some shelves and moved several bins of auction stuff out of the house and onto the shelves.  I can’t have it just sit there while waiting to go to auction.  I’ll take the cleaning supplies and paper goods back to my secondary location.    It helped.   There are 4 bins that aren’t sitting in the foyer…

I did some small things in the garage.  Had to make some adjustments to the roll up door.  Somehow the cables got off their guide grooves on one side and the door wasn’t closing parallel to the ground.  It only took a half hour, but it’s always nerve wracking working around that spring.  Slow and steady, carefully considered- that’s the way to do it.

One advantage of working on stuff is getting a much clearer idea how it really works.  The first time working on the door had a bunch of discovery.  This time, I saw what was wrong very quickly and just fixed it.

I had to do a bit of repair on my discone scanner antenna.  Somehow during handling it I broke off two of the ‘cone’ elements.  They are hollow tubes with a threaded stud inserted into one end.  The stud pulled out of the tube.  I couldn’t re-crimp the tube, so I silver soldered them back together.  Worked well, and that’s another thing I bought far in advance of need.  I have no idea where or when I got the silver solder and flux, but I knew it was exactly what would be needed to fix something.  The antenna probably would still be 90% without the two elements, but it didn’t take long to fix them, and I had the stuff ready.  I’ll screw them back into the antenna today or tomorrow.  I’m listening to the scanner now, so some degradation didn’t make too much difference.

I finally got the feed line attached for my UHF antenna that I intend to use to D/L weather maps from the satellites.  (That’s the plan anyway.)  All the talk of using the SDR dongle for other things motivated me (since I was up on the roof anyway) to complete that antenna install.  Now I just have to get a PC set up with the software and get the dongle running again.

I got my Instacart grocery deliveries today too.  I found some cuts of beef on sale, although not the killer deal of the last couple of times.  More food in the freezer makes me feel better.  I added frozen fruit and vegetable mix as well as more bread.   My wife is making smoothies for breakfast and likes the frozen fruit for that.  Now that I have the additional freezer space, I can accommodate her.  (frozen fruit is a definite  luxury in prepping terms, if push comes to shove, I’ll reclaim the freezer space for meat or other protein.)

Today I’ll be doing some auction pickups.  I got a bunch of household stuff, and what I believe to be an RV sized battery charger/inverter.  It was $3 so worth the gamble.  I also got a small Dometic camping toilet, suitable for in vehicle use and at least part of a Dakota Alert driveway monitor.  There was a lot of camping stuff in the auctions this week, but I’m full up.  I’m actually looking to sell several coleman lanterns and maybe a stove or two.  I’m a whole lot less interested in keeping them in my “here you go, here’s a disaster kitchen” boxes than I was.  My teats are running dry of the milk of human kindness at the moment.

I’ll leave you with that unfortunate image burning in your brain, and suggest that you take what time and resources you have, and keep improving your position.  The easiest way is to keep stacking!



Thur. Oct. 15, 2020 – Home with the kids today

Cooler and mostly overcast.  Or raining.

Yesterday was fairly cool, and mostly overcast, but not unpleasant.  Even in the attic doing the last walkthrough with the roofer it was cool.

Knocked off a couple of little things, and did some meatspace relationship maintenance.  Today I’m home so I’ll be working my list.  If it’s cooler, it will make everything go that much easier.

I’d also like to get some more Halloween decor out, and get some of the house cleaned up.  I’m hoping that there won’t be any rain though as I also need to get my antennas back up.

I checked my gardens, and it’s been long enough I should be seeing sprouts if I’m going to get any.  I’m not seeing any.  So I’ll be replanting with a different seed packet.  It won’t take long but it’s another little thing on the list.

Mainly though, I need to get stuff out of the house.  That’s hardest because I’m relying on other people.  I may have to take some interim steps and move stuff twice, just to get it moving.

Meanwhile, out in the bigger world, it sure looks like Biden has a problem to address.    In a normal political cycle, he’d be toast at this point.  Certainly a republican would be falling on his sword and looking to ‘take more time with family’.   In the current bizarro world, I can’t even begin to make predictions other than ‘standard program of denial’ and ‘accuse the opposition of doing what they say I did.’

Every chop at the rule of law, every political prosecution, every new act of violence and I want MOAR!!!!!!11!!! .  More food, more guns, more ammo, more friends, more skills, and most of all, more time.

Work on what you can.  Keep stacking.


Wed. Oct. 14, 2020 – half way to Halloween

Milder but still humid.  Sweaty.  Probably.  Probably nice in the shade.

It was sweaty but not super hot, and almost pleasant in the shade for most of Tuesday.   The roofers are finished, but the boss will do final inspection today.  The roof looks great.  They did a really fantastic job of cleaning up too.  All the lines are straight, the edges crisp, and there isn’t any inadvertent pattern in the shingles.  Win all around.

I got a couple of little things done while trapped in the house of thuds, bangs, and shudders.   Mainly I did some sale listings.  I also bid on and won an IR emitter to replace the one that died.  It’s a serious pro level unit that I’m hoping has superior performance.  With my low bid, it cost about the same as the chinesium ones.

I’ll be doing more chipping away at tasks today, with a pickup scheduled in the middle of the day.  I got a piece of gear I’ll be flipping to my client.  He’s ok with used gear if he gets to approve it, and the price is right, and it’s not a critical piece.

I’ve got a bunch of paperwork stuff to do too, that I’ve been putting off since the start of the covid lockdowns.  Some tax related, some income related, some vehicle related.  All in all, a big pile.  I need to push past the funk and crank it out.

I also need to get my Halloween plans in gear.  We’re going for it this year and I need some new stuff to put out.  Much more fun that cleaning the garage, but I don’t think my wife will let me skip that part.  I hope I can find the time.

Speaking of, no time like the present.  I better get started or there won’t be time to keep stacking later.



Tues. Oct. 13, 2020 – back to school

Another fairly hot and very humid day.  No rain forecast though.

Monday was so humid I was sweating just standing outside talking with the roofing contractor.  It got up into the low nineties too.  Hotter in the sun, I’m sure.  Roofing is one of those jobs that I would do just about anything to avoid.  Septic pumping is another.

I did my pickups.  Got my roof vents and the rest of my household stuff.  Not much for resale in these two auctions.

The roofers got the back side of the house and some of the garage done.  Today they’ll finish with the garage and do all of the front side.  The new color shingle looks great.  It really freshens up the look and I can’t wait to see it on the front from the street.  House will look good for the riots at least.

I really don’t like having the crew in my driveway and around the house in the back where all the good stuff is.  The generators and water tanks are pretty hard to miss if you are in the yard.  The food is a bit more undercover.  @paul would probably recognize what I’ve got going on.  I’ve used night shields (aluminized fabric set up like an old school movie screen) horizontally to cover my three sets of shelves where my canned goods are stored.  The night shields are normally used in a grocery store to cover the open face of reach in coolers and freezers at night.  I picked up three at some point.  They work great as retractable ‘doors’ in front of the metal shelves.

Hard to maintain OPSEC when you’ve got people crawling all over your house.

Once the roofers are done and gone, I’ll be able to get more Halloween decor out.  That gives me a sense of normality that I kind of need right now to counter my sense of dread for what I see coming.  Every one of these milestones I want to make as normal as possible for the kids, so if things do go pear shaped, they have that to remember.  And if they DON’T go pear shaped, all the better to have celebrated the small events, instead of skipping them.  On the other hand, I can be pretty sure we won’t be doing 4 Trunk or Treats this year.  As long as we get one Trick or Treat night I’ll be happy.

Ate one orange from my tree today.  A bit sour and woody.  Very disappointing.  I hope the others are better.  Daughter 2 wanted to make cookies, and used a box of mix Best By 2018.  It was pretty bad.  There is something bitter in there.  For everything that lasts well past its BB, there is something else that doesn’t.

On the other hand, I used a skillet flavor mix from 2018 to make chicken tacos last night and they were REALLY good.  Chicken from the freezer, ‘street truck’ one skillet flavor packet, and I made the tortillas from the big bucket o mix.  Just add water!  I’m getting the hang of it.  They aren’t round, but I’m getting them cooked more consistently and rolled out to a more consistent and thin thickness.  The dough really needs to be kneaded, and it really needs to rest.  After that it rolls out nicely.  The tortilla press was a failure again.  Operator error or just not needed, the press is going to Goodwill.  I don’t have a comal but the western rolling pin works just fine and I’ll keep trying.  Sometimes the simplest things are much harder than they might look.  That’s why we need to practice the skills.

And keep stacking.  So you have the resources to use with those skills…



Mon. Oct. 12, 2020 – Columbus Day.

Hot and humid.  Because why not?

Happy Columbus Day.  Without whom we might still be serfs in Europe.  And because FYTW.

The air was saturated all day Sunday, to the point that water in the driveway didn’t dry.

I worked on little things all day.  Got ready for the roofers.  Did some stuff in the house to make my wife happier.   Did a little bit of stuff in the garage.  Set another rat trap for whatever is roaming my food shelves.  There was gnawing on a bucket overnight so the visitor is still coming.  Nothing in the glue traps, so I moved them around a bit.  I’ll add more if the problem doesn’t resolve itself in a day or two.  I may add more anyway.

Spent an hour in the pool with the family.  It was a good day.

I’m starting to see stuff online that is adding to my concerns about the insurgency.  People are noticing and identifying the Command and Control structure for the socialists driving the protests and riots.  Well, not the structure, but that there is one.  Things are starting to show up in the live streams, and during the incidents that are clear indicators to people who know what to look for.   There is an organization at work.   They are training.  They are supplying.  They are escalating.  They are exploring tactics.   The latest incident is the “security guard” shooting a ‘patriot’ protester in the face and killing him.

There is evidence that the security guard/ bodyguard is more than he seems, or at least a fellow traveler.   There is some video that looks suspiciously like the event was instigated and controlled and provoked.  What happens with the guy next should be revelatory.  Spicy times are here for some people and in some places.  Don’t be there applies.

What would your life look like if your movements were constrained by real, well considered fear/concern over being physically attacked in public if you just happened to be in the wrong place?  The baying mob can make your supermarket a no-go zone.  Or your bank.  Or the mall where your kid works.  Or your block.  What if they decide your day care or private school has too much ‘privilege’ and mobs it?  Can’t happen?  There are places where the private school kids don’t wear uniforms anymore because it marks them for kidnapping.  There are places where having a sticker for your kids’ school on your vehicle can set you up for all sorts of bad things.

Do you have a company parking sticker or hang tag on your vehicle?  Does your neighborhood have parking stickers?  Do you have a school or team sticker on your car?  What about your license plate trim ring?  A school sign in your yard?  Any political slogans?  Vanity plates that are easy to remember?  How easy would it be to dox you from a picture of you or your car?  There are people on the right making note of campaign signs in people’s yards, I’m certain the left is doing so too.

I don’t want to believe that is the direction we’re headed, but I see escalation wherever I look.  We all know the end state of marxist/socialist government- people kneeling next to an open grave.  As I pointed out at dinner to my kids, it has happened within living memory and on this planet.  100 Million dead.  There are wealthy and powerful forces at work here trying it again.

Yes, resist.  No, don’t stick out.  The best partisan is the guy no one would ever suspect.  It may come to that.  I hope not, but because hope isn’t a strategy, I’ll keep working to improve my situation, and to keep stacking.



added- note too that whenever there is an incident like this now, someone finds the pics that link X person to other protests, other gatherings.  Often it’s their own social media that provides the link.  The cops and three letter agencies are using social media as the world’s most pervasive intelligence gathering tool, even our locals mention it on the scanner.   Don’t feed the beast.  And don’t be complacent.  If your smartphone, vizio tv, or alexa can hear you talk about vacations and you start to see targeted ads, it can certainly hear political speech too.  Is anyone doing that today?  Will they be in 6 months?  6 years?  The recordings never go away.

Sun. Oct.11, 2020 – 2020 11 10 10 11 2020 11 10 10 11 2020

Maybe a bit cooler?  It would be nice.

Despite the overcast, yesterday stayed hot and stuffy all day.

I got a laundry list of small things done, and I’m going to take the ‘baby steps’ are still steps award.

Other than taking down my 40m dipole wire antenna, very little involved preps.  Oh, I had a can of mango explode, and another bulging.  I cleaned up that mess, and washed out the bin, and the cans.  Used another can to make cobbler for dessert.  I like mango cobbler better than peach so I stock mango.

While cleaning up that mess, I found some mouse droppings and a 2/3’s empty peanut butter jar.  Another jar was gnawed and open.  F me.   Set some glue traps in the shelves.  Cleaned up the mess.  Putting the cans (everything really) in shallow lidded bins payed off.  The mold from the exploding can only affected the one bin.   All the other food was untouched by mice except the aging peanut butter that wasn’t in a bin.  Given enough time, the peanut oil seems to migrate through the plastic jar, and I’m sure that was an attractant. The cans that failed were the ‘pop top’ style and the top did indeed POP.  It couldn’t be rats because my colony of rats learned that peanut butter = death, and they wouldn’t touch the stuff.  Time to refresh the poison bait boxes too.

I did manage to go through a couple of boxes in the garage that I haven’t opened in a while.  Moved some of the contents to the trash, some to the ebay pile, some to the local auction pile, and some to the ‘hamfest’ pile.  I really hope we can have our hamfest in March.  My non-prepping hobby club is planning a meeting next Saturday in a much larger space than we used to use.  I intend to attend.    I’ve got no problem masking and staying masked, most of the guys are older than me.  Funny, my ham radio meetings are that way too.  My part of the hamfest is the swapmeet and that is all outside anyway.

My plan for today is the same as always.  We’ll see how the plan does against reality.   Keep stacking.