Saturday, 6 February 2016

07:51 – We’re back to doing science kit stuff and getting things organized around here. I’ll have to devote several hours today or tomorrow to getting my new desktop system set up, so Barbara will probably just shelve books and do other stuff on her list.

I got a little bit done this week on the prepping front. Here’s what I managed to do:

  • We managed to get about 300 pounds of white sugar, oats, cornmeal, and flour repackaged for long-term storage.
  • I read another bunch of PA novels, most of which sucked. Ellisa Barr’s series, which I mentioned earlier this week, wasn’t too bad, and Franklin Horton’s Borrowed World series was actually decent. I read these PA novels mainly for ideas, and it’s gotten to the point where if I get one decent idea from a book or even a series, I consider it a win.
  • I started to outline and write character bios for my own PA novel. I haven’t done much, but enough that I can see some real possibilities here. Just as a point of reference, Franklin Horton’s web page mentions that the first volume of his series sold about 2,600 copies on Kindle in its first month. If I can get this book stubbed out, I may talk to Pournelle to see if he’d be interested in co-authoring it. Jerry’s already co-authored one PA novel set in the California mountains. Perhaps he’d like to co-author another set in the Blue Ridge mountains.

So, what precisely did you do to prepare this week? Tell me about it in the comments.

41 thoughts on “Saturday, 6 February 2016”

  1. Prepping this past week and currently:

    Fiddled with and researched well pump and oil burner for ideas on how to power them during a lengthy power outage.

    Identified locations on the property for webcams and more solar motion-detector floods, but couldn’t do much with that stuff as it was raining and VERY windy here.

    Continued online courses and other study for amateur radio licenses, and the paperwork for various firearms-related stuff.

    Read up on packet radio, mesh networks and the old Fidonet as potential alternatives for the existing innernet eventually.

    Loaded up a bunch of magazines and finalized the pistol go-bag, and worked on some more modifications; just about done with the radio and rifle go-bags. Working on a 72-hour get-home bag and several small emergency med bags. Got the home emergency med kit organized.

    Hooking up with other veterans to work on a newly acquired 1.7-acre garden plot down in Burlap (nearly impossible to get, very long waiting lists for these) and to learn gardening techniques from the VPR gardening guru guy who will come out to give us lessons. We also have local experts coming to give us fly-tying and fly-fishing lessons, and if we ever get any snow here, skiing and snowshoeing, too. I signed up to take the Vermont Master Gardener course next year and be certified as such, and will also be putting together a sort of root cellar down below here.

    Continued attending local meatspace organization meetings at the town hall, gun club, and parish; it’s been interesting. I get the fish-eye immediately because they don’t see many Visigoth types coming to these things, but they quickly realize I’m not a threat. To them.

    Transferred my scribbled and typed paper Master To-Do List to a LibreOffice Calc spreadsheet; it looks a lot better organized and I can easily color-code priorities and add comments. I will probably find a way to import this to Evernote and sync it to the iPhone and Kindle. Need to merge it with some kind of calendar function that I can keep updating on the go.

    Cleaned out and organized the kitchen library, so to speak, only keeping the cookbooks and related material that we’ll actually be using, and rejuvenated and re-seasoned some nice cast-iron pans.

    Again looked into deadbolt lock and strike plate options for the front and back doors and replacing the destroyed railing on the back steps.

    Monitored local emergency freqs throughout; pretty much the same old, same old, that I was hearing when I was on The Job nearly forty years ago. Nothing really exciting and no reports of swarming musloid or narcotrafficante hordes. Yet.

    Not a whole lot of actual substantive work done here, due to various factors, like no money and other annoyances, but kept chipping away at it.

  2. Girl scout cookie distribution day so I’m home this weekend. House full of screeching!

    Got little done this week. I started going thru stuff from last weeks sales, but got interrupted by screeching……

    Did get the ARRL antenna book, and a vintage intro to transistors book put away, and I put away some of the medical supplies.

    Garden is doing ok. Everything is taking about 2x too long, but I’m about to get some carrots. I guess that means not enough light. I’ve been paying attention and the beds get much less light in the winter due to shadows. If I get edible veg, I’m gonna be very happy.

    I did process the citrus into juice and froze it.

    Picked up another scanner for $20. Older, but a trunk tracker….

    Tried some canned food on the family. Turns out they are not fans of kale or of ‘creole style creamed red beans.’ don’t know until you try :-0

    Gotta see why the screeching stopped………


  3. My only prepping this week was to top off the gennie with Sta-Bil laden gas. I’ll run it once a quarter if we don’t use it.

  4. “Gotta see why the screeching stopped………”

    Almost always a bad sign.

    “Turns out they are not fans of kale or of ‘creole style creamed red beans.’

    Try mixing them together and dump some Frank’s Red Hot on it.

  5. Prepping work: in the middle of an NCIS binge-watching. Noticed in Season 7 Episode 8 that it started off with a city-wide power outage. No electronics, but Gibbs was ready: he had a ‘go’ bag with flashlights, snacks (can of sardines), and some Polaroid cameras and film for crime scene picture taking. He also knew how to operate an old mimeograph machine to make copies.

    The bag was next to his desk. Next to that was a baseball bat, which I suppose is a backup defense item.

  6. He also knew how to operate an old mimeograph machine to make copies.

    My last tour in Korea, 1993, we still took a mimeo to the field along with our xerox copying machine, just in case. Ah, the smell of that fluid…

  7. Back in high skool several of us student reprobate wise-asses got into the supply closet and used the mimeograph machine to run off memos about an upcoming phony fire drill and distributed them to all the teacher mailboxes. The next day, bingo! Boy, that was fun! The principal and other staff were NOT amused and instituted a witch-hunt investigation but no one ratted and we were never found out. In our senior year we also recruited a kid whose dad ran the local big construction company and we used a crane to put a VW up on the roof; the cops got involved in that one, but again, no rats. The kid got jammed up a little at home but I think his dad thought it was funny.

    Overcast and windy again today with some very light snow flurries. Working on firearms mods and listening to Saturday afternoon opera.

  8. Ok. No bleeding, no tears. Sneaky snackers.

    Did get some cheap items.

    Growing herbs in Texas 1$
    Illustrated Anatomy 1$

    4 d cell maglight, LED bulb, 3$
    netgear 10/100/1000 8port switch 3$

    2 boxes canning jar lids
    12x wicks for alcohol lamp (for chemistry set)
    2x rolls of silver solder
    2x rolls of aluminum solder
    4x rolls of “Extreme Repair Tape” as seen on TV, 25c/roll

    some vintage ham stuff for sale at upcoming Hamfest
    -box of crystals
    -grid dip meter and coils
    -box of vacuum tubes

    I went thru the first aid kit I got a couple weeks ago. Here is a list of the meds I immediately disposed of.
    -50mL lidocaine, exp. 89!
    -benadryl in glass ampules
    -prednisone something in a premix vial, dry power on the bottom, liquid on the top
    -ephedrine in glass ampules

    There were a dozen syringes, a dozen mixed suture sets, and some pads, all expired. TEOTWAWKI bag, otherwise not worth it.

    The steristrips still good, and the prep wipes, and a few other things into ‘secondary’ only if there is no other choice bag.

    I’ll point out that all the expired stuff is still good for practice, vet medicine, or craft projects.

    In other news, missed out on the intense/fasttrack EMT class. Family issues conflicted with the schedule. Fall is out too, so I’ll have to substitute some other skill building class, TBD.

    Time to get some more stuff in the ground. Dark green leafy veg, and root veg are due. If I’m gonna get any asparagus, more needs to go into the ground.

    I’m giving in to my ego and starting a gardening journal. Everyone recommends one, but I thought I could remember with photos. Nope. NEED to document to see what works, how long it takes, what fails. Gardening is a learned skill with a lot of luck too. GET STARTED.


  9. “Gardening is a learned skill with a lot of luck too. GET STARTED.”

    Roger that, see above. We are limited by space, sunlight and season/climate zone here. I figure northern country tier of the usual; root veggies like spuds, carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, onions, garlic, etc. Plus our tomatoes seem to do pretty well. I’ll be talking with the gardening radio celeb this spring and summer about this stuff, natch, plus getting more info from local gardeners, farmers and the state and university extension offices.

    Our gardening radio celeb:

  10. Sneaky snackers.

    When more than one kid is here, that’s the explanation about a third of the time when they mysteriously go quiet. A non-trivial fraction of the time, one of the visiting kids shared a YouTube video name which was whispered from kid to kid and they’re watching a video they think won’t get parental approval.

    This shows how dumb kids are. I’m very tolerant as regards snacks. I’ll sometimes tell them to have a proper meal first before they can pig out on the six boxes of Girl Scout cookies I got them last night, and even then I’ll remind them not to eat too much supper because they need to leave room for dessert. There’s no need to sneak, at least if I’m the one watching them.

    I’m tolerant with the videos, too. Just bring the tablet into my office and I’ll help them find it and watch it with them, and closebox it only if it exceeds my rather high threshold. But no, every single time they try to sneak it. The failed attempt to sneak annoys me more than any video they want to watch.

    Now, I’ll admit that the kids’ caution would be well advised if my wife (or most of the other kids’ mothers) were keeping an eye on them, but you’d think they’d be able to tell the difference between my wife and me. I’m taller, balder, and have a deeper voice, if nothing else.

  11. “…but you’d think they’d be able to tell the difference between my wife and me.”

    A: Parents are parents, period.

    B: It’s more fun to sneak.

  12. Former Secretary Albright at rally for @HillaryClinton — “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other”

    Wow, Cankles had to roll out that old battle-ax? She is really desperate or maybe that concussion is liquifying her brain.

  13. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Hillary Bitch Clinton verbally attack the women who claimed they’d been raped by her beard, as well as direct others to dig up dirt to enable other attacks?

  14. Ah yes, Madeline Not-Too-Bright, who remarked to former My Lai cover-up officer Powell that since we have such a wunnerful military, why not use them? And also, half a million dead kids is an OK price to pay for nation-building in countries that wouldn’t know a nation if they tripped over one and have been living in and around desert caves since the days of Abraham and Noah.

    I seriously think something really IS seriously wrong with the Cankles brain; she’s taken some hits over the years and her behavior and speech at times is downright weird. I’ve seen ex-NFL linemen with a better grasp and control than she’s got. Or Muhammed Ali, for that matter.

    And we seem to have fallen into yet another memory hole on the Cankles email fiasco and the grievous national security violations that would have put MrAtoz and me in prison for decades; hell, they woulda thrown away the key.

    “Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Hillary Bitch Clinton verbally attack the women who claimed…”

    No, you’re not wrong. She tried to destroy them. And what do we hear from the usual fembat “movement” and young people all so concerned about womyn? Crickets.

  15. It’s more fun to sneak.

    True enough.

    But note what I said above: failed attempts annoy me. I specifically encourage the kids to learn how to cheat, to sneak, to lie with a straight face, to wheedle. As the boys got older, I guided them on judging when it’s appropriate to do so, and I expect to do the same with my daughter and any other kids we may be taking care of. At the girls’ age, 8, judgment is questionable at best, so teaching the skills is a better use of our time.

  16. “I specifically encourage the kids to learn how to cheat, to sneak, to lie with a straight face, to wheedle.”

    Gee, no one did that for me. I had to do self-study and OJT. Damn.

    “I guided them on judging when it’s appropriate to do so…”

    Like when dealing with lawyers, politicians, bureaucrats, and corporate and academic matriarchies.

  17. re Headlamps: lots of them on Amazon. Took a look at the reviews for real-world experience. (As with all Amazon reviews, check to see if the reviewer got a discounted item to review.)

    This one was most interesting; features a motion-detect switch. I’d look for one that used regular batteries in addition to any special batteries. Lumen ratings can be misleading, so check reviews. I’d also prefer one with a tri-strap (headband plus the over-the-top strap), and one that had an adjustable angle to the lamp. And look at the date of the reviews..some units have been around for a long time; I’d prefer ones with more current reviews.


  18. If you are serious about headlights, the climbing ones are serious lights.

    look on for brands and models.

    Petzl is the leader, or was when I was doing that sort of thing. SAR or cavers would not be using energizer….


  19. But-but-but…O Kanada has a better medical system than us…don’t they??? And Cuba, too, doesn’t it??? And what about the UK?? And let’s not forget Germany…oh wait; are rape and assault victims getting treatment there? Enquiring minds wanna know…

    Once the commie bureaucrats here get better control they’ll be rationing out the med care a little differently than they do now…THESE are the “good old days.”

    Just watched “Sicario;” remind me to never, ever visit the El Paso/Juarez area of the border down there. And another reminder that night-viz devices are to be devoutly wished for and that prices will drop considerably. The War on Some Drugs is a disgusting and obscene failure; legalize all that chit, tax the chit out of it, and let those who wanna destroy themselves have at it, and good riddance. There’s a place we can ration the health care, no treatment. Ditto for all the booze-hounds. Anyone struggling with an addiction gets one chance to get out from under it; after that, fuggetaboutit. That right there oughta cut down the pop by 50% eventually.

  20. Just watched “Sicario;” remind me to never, ever visit the El Paso/Juarez area of the border down there.

    El Paso is not bad. Juarez was nice in the 60s. Don’t expect to ever visit it again.

    On the PA novel front, if you want a fun romp, try to get a copy of The Texas-Israeli War by Saunders and Waldrop. It’s set 7 years after WW III, fought with bioweapons and some nukes that killed 90% of the world population. Texas has seceded and the US president is kidnapped from a peace conference in OKC. Israeli mercenaries are hired to rescue the president. There are some funny scenes in the book. There is also a tank fight in downtown Dallas that is well done. I was living in Dallas at the time I read it and went downtown to look at the various buildings and parking garages where the fight took place.

    I finished Harmony Black and rate it as pretty good, 4 stars. It’s the first of a new series by the author. Imagine if Criminal Minds was investigating paranormal baddies instead of your everyday serial killer. Although there are some plot points set up for further books, the main plot is resolved. The title character was apparently a minor character in a previous series of books set in the same universe. If you like Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden books, you’ll like this one.

  21. “Any recommendations for a good quality LED headlamp?”

    LED Lenser brand. I just bought a H5 model to live in the bottom of my hunting rucksack, just in case. If I needed *really bright*, I’d get a H7, and accept the slight weight penalty. I see the US pricing on the H.7 is excellent.

    I like the Petzl brand headlamps too, and have used one for a long time. It has a nice feature, which is a flip-up red lens cover, providing illumination but not destroying one’s night vision.

  22. Well, I got some prepping stuff done today after all.

    I drove the ground rod for my office/shack.

    I tore down some big UPSs that used to be part of my backup power here at the house. Some of the batteries were still good. I’ll take those to the hamfest, see if I can get a couple bucks for them. The 2 I grabbed at random took a charge….

    I added alligator clips to one of the small solar charger panels I got oh so long ago. Last summer I got 2 charger panels, branded as VW trickle chargers, with a plug on them to connect to the diagnostic port on some VW cars. $5 each at yard sales. Two different sales, about a week apart. Never saw them before that, haven’t seen them since. Sometimes it gets weird like that. Had good full sun today, and charged up the gel cell in a few hours.

    Got another IP security camera stripped out of it’s old housing and it tested good.

    Opened up one of the thermal cams, trying to get connected. It’s got a mil style connector on the outside of the enclosure and I’ve got no idea of the pinout. It has a custom wedge clamp device holding it in. I need a 2.5mm allen key, 8 inches long to get to the clamp and release it, so I can slide the cam and boards out of the enclosure. That’s gonna have to wait for a while until I can get the tool from my shop.

    watered the gardens.

    Sold some ebay stuff.

    Worked on organizing the pile by my food storage. Still fighting thru that.

    So a good day.


  23. Good day here, too; finished one pistol go-bag, the radio go-bag and loaded a bunch of mags; assembled a kinda tricky adjustable Hogue holster; finished mods on two long firearms, with lights and sights, baby.

    Listened to a Boston Symphony full-scale production of Mendelsohn’s version of de Vere’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which was outstanding. While reading up some more on the early stages of the German blitzkreig on the Soviet Union and the siege of Leningrad.

    Speaking of which, someone at the Western Rifle Shooters site posted a pic of an Audi luxury SUV with Jersey plate: “LENIN.” Naturally. And I guessed it was some rich, tenured humanities or social “science” prof down there; during my time nearly a quarter-century ago as a grad student/TA, the place was swarming and pulsing with commie vibes and commie symps everywhere. The skool paper was run by a “collective.” The handful of actual conservatives were exiled to an out-lying campus house that was the home of Transaction Publishers, headed up by the late Irving Louis Horowitz, a genuinely nice guy whom I met there during my sentence. He had a framed b&w photo on his wall of Joan Baez sitting on his lap many years ago.

  24. And EVERYONE on the continent is trying to work him. Maine, GA, LA, chicago, all booming in too.


    Propagation is crazy

  25. Probably ’cause of my snarky comment about Rhodesia/Zimbabwe.

    They’re watching and listening….oops…someone’s knocking on the door downstairs…be right b

  26. Yup, just funnin’ here. And that knock can come at any time; the NKVD and Nazis would do it in the middle of the friggin’ night; our krews over here like O-Dark-Thirty or what our son calls “the ass-crack of dawn.”

    I got to that link/site OK and registered myself, though I don’t have a callsign yet, and not doing real well on the practice exam, either. Gotta ramp up the study time in that area; been on the firearms a lot lately.

  27. Yup, since I’m not doing the EMT course, I’m gonna shift back to firearms, if I can find something good and cheap.

    I am thinking about USPSA competition locally. That would get me out of the house and work my skills.

    Anyway, bedtime…..

    Gotta do a bunch of network config stuff and fighting with att indians regarding their DSL modem settings. Their just doing the jobs Americans won’t do, ’cause if an American gave such poor service, someone would hunt them down and publicly shame them.

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