Sat. Oct. 24, 2020 – lots to do, as usual, so let’s get started…

Cooler.  The front arrived.  It was 61F last night, and is likely to be cool most of today.   Yesterday’s weather was a mixed bag, with a HUGE wind coming in with the cool front.  One of my weather stations has a full memory, since 2014, and didn’t get a good windspeed today, the other didn’t see any wind above 13mph.   It’s entirely possible that it didn’t as the wind was very gusty and mixed.  Flags were tearing free but I felt no wind at ground level.   My guess is 30-40mph gusts in places.

I did some domestic bliss stuff, laundry, cleanup, restock the kitchen fridge, that sort of thing.   I also move a small bit of stuff around in my office.  Man that needs a bunch more work.  Spent about an hour on the pool.  It was pretty sunny while I was working on the pool, but got very overcast later in the day.  I also spent some time moving and cleaning some stuff in the driveway.  I need to spray the house foundation with bug killer, but I’ve misplaced my jug of poison.  I have that on my list for today again…

Also on the list, getting some stuff out of the house and over to storage.  And moving some stuff around in the garage.  I figured out where to put a cabinet I took down during the initial re-org.  I’ve got to tetris some stuff around to get it into place.  That should also expose some older auction stuff that just got buried and forgotten.

I don’t know if we’ll have a hamfest swapmeet in March, but I’m still gathering stuff as if we will.  It’ll be fewer radios, and more random electronic parts and ‘stuff’.  Switches and relays sold well, so I’ve gotten more of them.  Power supplies and wire always do well too.  In the mean time, it sits in bins in the garage.

Halloween should be a big deal this year, weather permitting.  Last year we got rained out, and there is a LOT of pent up demand for ‘normal’ things.  I’m going to do my part and stay distant while feeding candy to the little beggars.  We’ve got a lot more little beggars in the neighborhood now than when we first moved here, and that’s nice.  People have an incentive to support the area when they have kids here.

We got a note from the elementary school that they had  a teacher test positive and enter self-isolation.  The kids affected have been notified to ‘be mindful’ of their health.  My elementary student has been virtual all this year so it didn’t affect us, but it did come right on schedule with the new crop of ‘in person’ learners.  No indication of which way the infection went.


Still not seeing many Biden/Harris signs or bumper stickers.   I see lots of Trump signs.  They look much more ‘vigorous’ for lack of a better term.  Trump supporters REALLY support him, Biden supporters seem to be kind of reluctant.  Not sure how that translates at the polls, but I can hope.

There are moments when the weight and enormity of what I believe is probably coming  just slams into me.  My number one daughter and I had a very intense discussion about racism, BLM, and rioting last night.  At the end she was looking for reassurance and asked me “would you shoot someone who was coming to burn down our house with a torch?”  “Yes sweetheart.  Right in the head.”  “I love you daddy.”*

So take some prudent steps to secure you and yours if things do indeed go pear shaped.  Decide when and how you’d leave, and where you’d go.  Or what you’d do to stay.  And keep stacking.

 

nick

 

*FWIW she initiated the conversation, and definitely brought stuff she’s getting outside our home.  She’s angry and frustrated by the double standard for acceptable behavior depending on what you look like.  She does not approve of rioting or violence toward innocents.

Fri. Oct. 23, 2020 – home again today

Cooler with a chance of rain.  We got some short but strong downpours yesterday.  Different parts of town had very different weather.

Spent yesterday driving around and doing some errands.  Had some auction stuff, a radio for me, some household stuff, and I needed to get my ebay item out of storage and packed up. Everything was very spread out geographically.  Very poor planning on my part.

I had to buy a special box to ship the big ebay item in.  It will eventually end up in Germany so it took a while to safely pack it.  Still, nice profit on a quick flip.  $275 on $25 investment, not counting taxes and fees on both sides.   I sold another case of disinfectant too.  Maybe my sales are picking up?  That would be nice.  The UPS guy seemed happy to see me twice in the same week.

The stuff I put in my local industrial auction went for about a dollar a lot.  It was a blowout.  I’d have been better off dumping it in the trash.  No idea why prices were so low.  They were generally low for all the items in the auction, not just mine, but mine were exceptionally low.  Yikes.  I hope he will accept my next load of stuff for consignment.

I didn’t watch the debate.  I’ll look at clips today if there was anything surprising.  I’m betting ‘not’.

FWIW, far more Trump Pense signs in my area than Biden.  Lots of signs for the Dems in lower and state offices though.  Clearly the battle is local.  Vote.  Even Bob voted in the last Presidential election, and he was pretty convinced of the futility of it.  Vote.   Especially for Sheriff and Judges.  Local.  When everything blows up, local is what’s left.

And keep stacking.

 

n

Thur. Oct. 22, 2020 – lots of weird looking dates this month

Cooler, maybe some rain.  Certainly humid.

Almost 10F cooler outside than in my  office when I wrote this late last night.   During the day it got into the low 90s in the sun, but it took longer, and it didn’t stay there very long.  I expect the same today, only there is a bigger chance of rain.

Daughter one got on the right bus twice yesterday and got where she was supposed to be first try.  Nice change of pace :-/   She’s still adjusting to being at school all day.  She says “it’s exhausting”.   Daughter two likes virtual better than in person, but is getting bored being chained to the lappy.  The district (passing the buck to the state) has managed to crush the best aspect of remote learning by requiring the kids to stay in sight of the lappy camera for their  required time.  No more finishing your work and taking out a book… no  more working ahead either- by diktat of the district.

I managed to sell a couple of items on ebay, so I’ve got shipping to do today.  One is easy, just a medium flat rate box.   The other is sensitive and going to Germany, so needs a sturdy and large box.  I hope I got the weight right, for the buyer’s sake.  He’s pre-paying for the shipping based on what I had in the listing.  I was offering free shipping so I didn’t worry too much about the weight I listed.  Hmm.  I wonder what happens if it weighs more than I thought? Never came up before.  Nice to have some items selling though.

Spent a bunch of time getting some stuff ready to list.  It ate more time than I thought, so I still don’t have my NVR running on linux.   It’s running under windows, even if I can’t see the live cam view, it is still saving the video files so I’ve got coverage if something happens.  I got really used to just glancing up to see what’s going on outside though.  I can still access the stream from the cameras individually, it just takes another couple of steps.   Carry that task over to today.


Not much movement on the campaign trail, given the explosive nature of the allegations against the Bidens.  There must be some frantic activity behind closed doors.  If the stuff in the emails is true, and no one seems to be saying it’s not, then the only way to avoid jail is to win the Presidency, or hope that being the failed candidate is a shield, like it was for Hillarity.   Or fake a medical issue and then retire to ‘spend more time with family.’

Uncertainty is not good for markets.  The markets and the ‘financialization’ of our economy have gotten us into a lot of trouble and will likely get us into more.  I feel better with food in the freezer and a big pile of stuff to use if the going gets tough.  I think it’s probably a question of ‘when’ not ‘if’, so keep stacking.

n

 

 

Wed. Oct. 21, 2020 – busy at home today

Cooler, cold front supposed to be coming in, and I can’t wait.

It was very humid but a bit cooler yesterday.  That made it nice for most of the day.  It was a bit too warm in the afternoon for me to wear my LA Police Gear Covert Casual Shirt.  I don’t know why but it’s the hottest shirt I own, short of flannel.  The idea is great- longer tail and hem, snaps instead of buttons, pattern to break up any ‘printing’… all details that are well executed and aimed at concealed handgun carriers.  Unfortunately, I broil in the shirt.  Oh well, maybe it’ll be cool enough next month.

Today’s agenda includes the computer work I didn’t get done yesterday which is mainly getting the PC I use with my security cams completely switched over to linux.   If that goes well, maybe I’ll get my NAS out of the safe and run some backups.

At some point, in the interest of reducing clutter (for my wife) I want to start ripping all my bluray and dvd movies.  Anyone who has built a home media library, I’d like to hear about what you did and if you like the result. Also, what you use to access it.  It’s something I can do in between other things, just feeding disks into  a machine while working at my desk.  I think it’s a massive undertaking, but I might as well get started.

I’ve also got to get more stuff out of the house.  I did get a few more things listed, and even got a lowball offer one item.  SO MUCH more to go though.

Socially, there is Halloween coming too.  With the rain, I haven’t done any more decor, but I did decide what I want to do to keep my distance from the little disease bags that come begging…  I think I can do it with a minimum of effort, using stuff I already have.  Just have to dress it up a bit.  I want to do at least one of the new elements I’ve been planning for a couple of years to the displays too.  I’ve got everything I need for an awesome 3D Eye of Sauron.  I haven’t picked a spot for it or put all the elements together yet.  I still have a couple of days to do something.   I think it’s REALLY important to continue participating in the social and cultural milieu especially as things get bad.  Not ‘band on the Titanic’ bad, but I want to keep the normal traditions going as much as possible.  It’s our culture that needs to be preserved.

Add in the normal ‘kids are home’ and domestic bliss activities, along with my never ending list of cleaning and organizing, and my day should be full.


I can’t even begin to make a prediction about the current Presidential race, but I don’t see how Sleepy Joe can avoid the taint of what’s coming out involving his son and family.  If it was Trump’s son in Hunter’s place, the mob would be screaming for his blood, not making excuses and trying to discredit the revelations or bury them.  The world has gone mad, with the population gone bi-polar.  I try to sit on the fulcrum and watch both sides move up and down, but I know which side I’d declare for if I had to.  I put up my Thin Blue Line flag last night, even if it gets me on some lefty’s list.  It’s not very grey man, but then I normally fly the Stars and Strips, and the Lone Star, so adding a flag isn’t much of an additional statement.  They already know where my sympathies lie.

I’m trying to get my house in order, and make room for more stacks… I’ll suggest that if you haven’t started putting some by, it’ll cost you more at this point, but it will likely be invaluable later.  Get started.  Keep going.  Keep stacking.

 

nick

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.

 

nick

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.

 

n

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.

nick

 

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.

 

nick

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!

 

nick

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.

nick