Month: April 2018

Mon. April 30, 2018 – jeez, April is gone….

Well, not quite but mostly.

61F and damp but forecast calls for warm and clear. Another beautiful day in Houston.

Lots of stuff going on in the world of man, and the freaking Yellowstone caldera is heating up. Wouldn’t that just be the icing on the cake if a tabloid with scare headlines was right and the super volcano is gonna blow? Dude, that blows.

My little one is in less pain today, but staying home from school to see the ortho.

Wife is staying home too, and she’s in a cleaning and throwing out mood… which is both dangerous to preps, and ends up pulling me off my list of todos.

Oh well, add it to the list………..


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Sun. April 29, 2018 – ‘chicks to hatch and eggs to lay’

Busy day again.

61F and scheduled to be clear and sunny. Another great spring day.

Daughter got a waitress costume for her birthday, it’s the cutest thing ever, but I’m nominated as chef this am, and she’s a taskmaster! She’s already handed me the walkie talkie because “the customers don’t like it when she yells across the restaurant”.


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Sat. April 28, 2018 – GDPR Compliance

I’m getting an early start today. I’ve got one daughter at a special Girls run downtown, and the other has her normal softball game early this am. Currently 59F and damp, but due to get warm and dry later.

RickH, our site admin and all around go to guy has prepared the following about the changes driven by the European privacy act. Much like the ROHS directives, no force of law in the US, but companies are complying anyway as a way to sell into the EU, and because it’s easier to do one version of a product. No one wants to be the test case, so we surrender a bit more of our sovereignty one regulation at a time. Privacy is a good thing, but like most regulations, I expect the unexpected consequences of this rule will be very different from what was desired. In any case, here is Rick’s take on the subject and what it means for us here…. nick


It’s sunny/cloudy/rainy this morning in my little corner of the Olympic Peninsula across from “Mutiny Bay”. (It depends on when Nick publishes this post. I just wanted to start, as per custom, by a weather report).

I’ve put this in a comment Thursday evening (25 Apr 2018), but thought I would put it here so it is visible to all…and to allow comments.

There is a new ‘data privacy’ law from the ‘nice’ folks in EU, called GDPR, that will apply to everyone on this site. It requires web sites to notify you if any potentially personal information (like your name/email in comments, or for analytics, or cookies) are stored on the site. Compliance is required by 28 May 2018, and has hefty fines that can be levied.

GDPR applies to any site that collects info, even if hosted in non-EU countries. Since this site uses analytics, and collects your name/email if you comment, the site has to comply with the policy. And we do have visitors (and commenters) from EU countries.

So, you might see some changes come up as I try various ways to comply with the policy. There may be a ‘ok’ box before you see (any) content, and the comment and contact forms will have an additional checkbox to acknowledge that it is OK to store your personal information. You’ve probably seen them on other sites; the ‘we use cookies, okie dokie?’ messages.

In addition, there must be a way to allow people to ‘un-allow’ their personal information. Still figuring this out – there’s all sorts of advice on the googles, and some of it is wrong. I think there will be a process to allow you to remove your user profile, and then that will delete your personal information. But you will still need to consent to the use of cookies, since we use those for analytics. And you will have to re-enter user/email on comment forms.

So, changes afoot here. But we have to comply, even though we are not EU-based. We have EU commenters here. And I suspect that there will be “GDPR Trolls’ that will be looking for (and suing) sites that are not compliant.

I’m testing the tools on one of my test sites, but will also be installing the tools here….and on all the other sites I manage. Enabling all required aspects of GDPR compliance will protect the owners (Barbara) – and admins (Nick and me) – of this site  from massive fines and legal issues.

This needs to be done if you have any web site, especially if you allow comments, or gather ‘analytics’ data, or send visitor data to a third party (like Google Analytics). Even if your site and hosting is US-based. Any visit by a EU

You are welcome to add your comments below, as always. But thought I would alert you to why the changes are being done.

I wrote something on my “SecurityDawg” blog about it here, including how I will be implementing it in a way that will be easy to install on all the sites I own/manage/admin.

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Fri. April 27, 2018 – busy, busy, still…

55F damp and sunny this AM, which promises to be another great spring day here in Houston. Love them while we can…

Spent yesterday in classes with kids of all ages at my daughters’ school. Interesting to say the least. Wide variety of abilities and development levels in each class. Generally good classroom management, although I’ll observe that the ‘guidance’ technique, ie. “Jane, do we do xxxx in our classroom?” might not really be working if they still do xxxxx with only a month or so left in the year.

Most of the classes (of older kids) were doing review for the mandatory testing. Very specific review. “The test will try to fool you, think carefully, true or false, All polygons are rectangles….” When I was in high school we signed up for and paid for additional testing coaching, outside of class time. I don’t remember specific test prep coaching during class.

VERY marked differences in behavior and work output between the boys and girls at all grade levels. VERY different.

And yeah, some of the kids were starved for a daddy figure, (providing same is one of the stated goals of this program and the one I object most to.) It wasn’t just the boys either, there were some very sad little girls looking for attention which is something I hadn’t considered.

All in all a very tiring and rewarding day, with a small glimpse behind the curtain.


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Thur. April 26, 2018 – good morning!

Well, that’s a bit of an assumption. I’m out of the house all day today, and surrounded by kids. I can’t believe how apprehensive that makes me feel.


Solve some of the world’s problems while I’m away.

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Wed. April 25, 2018 – another beautiful day

62F and damp with blue skies and a gentle breeze… gonna be a nice day.

Houstonians learn to embrace days like this as the only really NICE days of the year. I hope we have another long spring, I’ve got lots to do.

I had to file a claim with UPS for a lost package last week. First time for that. USPS has lost Priority Mail, but when they lose it, it’s because it never makes it into the system. UPS showed the package got to the local depot, but never made it out of there.

The process was pretty painless, and I got a call from a human to correct an error in the paperwork (which was pre-filled online.) Check came yesterday. Luckily I had additional units of this item and could send another to the customer. That is one risk if buying from an ebay seller. The item may be a one off and if lost or damaged, the seller might not have another.


added- yesterday’s visits spiked to 3x normal at ~6500

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Tues. April 24, 2018 – another day another dollar….

56F, cool and sunny. Looks like it’s gonna be an awesome day to be outside.

[RBT always started with a weather report, and so I do, for continuity and as a measure of the passage of the seasons]

I’m committed to doing some work at our rec association today so I may/will be AFK most of the day.

[RBT usually updated what he was working on]

” Swedish Activist: “Everyone’s Afraid To Be Branded A Racist”

“I always say to my Christian friends, ‘What do you think, what will happen to you if Islam becomes dominant here?'” — Mona Walter.”

[RBT often commented about a headline that caught his eye, esp. on prepping, decline of the west, muslim invasion, or terrorism.]

I could go on in this format, but I hope I’ve made a point. If not, here’s where I get out the whip and poor dead Trigger gets a beating…


Yesterday late in the thread bgrigg made a comment that I think opens up a couple of interesting points.

The first is ‘tone’. When I read it, I thought it was so over the top that it must be sarcasm and regretted that the internet hasn’t produced a widespread \\sarc tag or font. Upon re-reading I think it was sincere. Still seems out of proportion to me, but people are affected by things we don’t know about and in ways that don’t look rational from outside. I admit that I had to scroll back up to see what the joke was. I’m still not certain if it was the ‘ban white vans’ comment or my South Park ‘aaannnnd it’s Muslims’ meme.

If it was the van, well, after the mooslim mass murders in Europe, there were serious calls to ban white vans. Which is idiotic on its face, but our culture has been so degraded that people WILL NOT blame the actor (when it’s certain actors ie. muslims, blacks, illegal alien invaders) and so must blame the THING. For some of us in the gun rights blogosphere this is old hat, and we mock it reflexively. If it was the “rayciss” part of the comment, well, that triggers reflexive mocking now too. Far too many people have been screeching about racism in this country WHEN WE’D ELECTED A HALF BLACK BASTARD (literally- born to an unwed mother) TO THE MOST POWERFUL POSITION IN THE COUNTRY AND POSSIBLY THE WORLD. Pretty hard to cry about your lack of opportunity when someone who shares the supposed cause of your misfortune proves out the aphorism that anyone in this country can grow up to be President.

More likely that bgrigg was objecting to my South Park based meme though. All I can say about that is — it sure looks like sudden jhihadi syndrome from where I’m sitting. Attacks like this are nearly ALWAYS mooslim murder. To deny this is to deny reality. Even the Basque separatist ETA terrorists are apologizing these days. I mean, srsly, WHITE RENTAL VAN! Sidewalk in busy downtown! The only thing missing is him screaming Aloha Snackbar as the cops slam him to the pavement. Watching the video, I think he expected to be shot and killed by the cops, but forgot that he’s in Canada, not the US.

FWIW, there are plenty of examples of EXACTLY how RBT felt about pisslamic murderers to be found here, and I was hoping to make a point without the vitriol. Because frankly, I’m worn out. No, I don’t care much about the people in Toronto beyond the general loss of my fellow human beings who just wanted to live their lives. I feel anger at the murderer, and it is un-leavened by any sort of sympathy or understanding, especially if it turns out to be SJS. I am SADDENED but not SURPRISED that almost the first thing the Mayor of Toronto said was to reassure those listening that the city values its DIVERSITY. As noted above, there are certain people that you can NEVER blame for their actions, and the mayor is getting ready for the (inevitable) #Not all muslims statement…


And so we circle around back to ‘tone’. bgriggs says “This place has gone downhill fast.” THIS bothers and worries me.

JimL observes:

“I believe I have noticed a shift here. RBT set the tone and steadied the site. We followed Bob’s interests with his daily posts.

Nick sets a different tone. More prepping, more of what Nick does daily. There is also an almost daily summary of what’s going on in the world that supports the proposition that we should prep. Definitely more TEOTWAWKI than RBT’s posts. “

…which gave me pause…

because I don’t really want to change the tone! I re-read old RBT posts at random as a ‘gut check’ and I’ve tried to stay within the framework he established over the years. Of course, I read his posts and comments thru MY filters, and you all have different filters, so we probably do remember different things.

What I remember (and shapes my efforts here) is during the run up to the move to Sparta and after, Bob started focusing much more on prepping. Part of that was his work on the book, part was his planning for a different future after the move. Prepping is part of my life and provides a framework for much of what I do, and most of my previous contributions here were prepping related, so I’ve continued to emphasize prepping.

Bob would also comment almost daily on his work on the science kits, shipping, writing effort, or how sales were doing for the month/year. Since I also work from home, I’ve continued posting about my work, but of course I’m selling on ebay (and the bit of other work I do) and not making science kits so the content is different. I think it’s important that everyone have some alternative stream of income, and a ‘home based business’ provides that. Hence the ongoing coverage of my efforts, provided as encouragement toward everyone doing something to take control of their work life.

As I remember it, Bob was less likely to pull more than one ‘current event’ per day, or link to headlines. OFD was much more likely to do so in a comment. Since OFD is recovering (and I owe an update on Project OFD), and not commenting here, I’ve been more likely to put links in the actual post, although I am aware of it, and USUALLY will save the linkfest and political commentary for the comments (I think). And yeah, I know that I’m linking to a tabloid and doom pron. Over the last several years I’ve distilled my ‘daily reads’ down quite a bit. I’ve found that between the Daily Mail, zerohedge, and gateway pundit, almost everything will come up there. Each has its own editorial slant and obsessions, but together they provide a better ‘heads up’ to what is going on in the world than a dozen other sources. If I’ve double checked or looked for an alternative point of view, I try to link that so it’s not Daily Mail and “peachy posteriors” or “ample assets” all day long…………….

And then there is ‘home life’ for lack of a better term. I don’t have a [hyper]active border collie to provide ‘blog fodder’ so you guys are going to get more ‘family’ stuff from me. I DO have 2 young kids, who are very active and that probably gives my posts and comments a different ‘feel’ than pet anecdotes. WRT other interests, I only post here about a subset of my life. I DO have at least one other hobby that I don’t post about at all. I’m trying to not overshare (and perhaps ironically) or inject TOO much of my own personality!

So thank you bgriggs for giving me a chance to look at this. I don’t want the ‘tone’ to change much. I liked coming here before, and am trying mightily to keep this a place where everyone who wants to continue coming by will find something worth coming for.


ok, some ‘meta’ stuff….

I remember what seemed like years of Bob posting that ‘there probably won’t be much posting’ and then continuing to post at pretty much the same rate and level 🙂 At one point, I was even going to do a search and poke at him about it. I also remember all those long months when he and Barbara were dealing with aging parents. I kept coming back, despite the pain, because I know I’ll have to go thru that eventually, and having someone else scout the territory ahead is a great help.

Daily blogging is HARD. Doesn’t seem like it would be, but it is surprisingly difficult some days. On those days, just flipping on the lights, unlocking the door, and setting out a bowl of snacks is about all you can do. Grabbing a quick headline or a garden/prep update is the easy path. And some days it’s just “here’s an open thread” which is the equivalent of tossing the keys to the door to the first patron to show up as you head the other way.

It is probably inevitable that there is a change in ‘tone’ as more of me comes out. It feels very different now (to me, internally) than it did when I was just a ‘caretaker’ while Bob was sick. There is a stronger sense of responsibility with the ‘legacy’ than there was when Bob could come back and ‘set me straight.’ YOU guys will have to set me straight when needed.

Even more meta- watching the numbers, attendance here has stayed pretty constant. The graph of number of visitors is a pretty straight line, with the visits varying a bit. This is gratifying, and I take it as indication that I’m doing my job, and that people are still coming by and hanging out. Incidentally, it’s roughly 2x visitors to number of registered commenters, so we still get some lurkers (HI!) The top ten posts are separated by only a couple of hundred views, and span from 2013 to just a bit ago, with about half being since Bob got sick.

And even more meta- I’ve noticed a bit of a change in my ‘style’ with more word play, and even the occasional pun (which is NOT AT ALL like me!) Bob would be poking me for my fondness for commas, which is much in evidence in the post above.

And lastly, finally, and just a tiny bit defensively, I’ll give the last word to Bob. In June of 2016 he asked OFD and me if we would be interested in guest posting. I was flattered and a bit intimidated. He was very encouraging, and had this to say:

“Post away. Anything you wish: personal observations, links to news
sites, prepping information, ham radio stuff, advice about how to get
started scavenging at yard/estate sales, etc. In fact, you may want to
go back and pull out some of your earlier comments and turn them into
posts. It’s a lot easier to do that with admin access.

Looking forward to your and OFD’s first posts.”


(yeah I miss him too)

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Mon. April 23, 2018 – empty brain syndrome

51F and damp. Chilly. But the sun is out, and I’m sure it will warm up.

So much in the news, but I can’t seem to gather a cogent thought about any of it. Freakin’ FBI had the Waffle House shooter’s guns and gave them back. Now 4 people are dead. His dad should get Federal charges for the transfer to a prohibited person, and possibly accessory to murder. I think “shall not be infringed” applies to ALL the current gun laws, and they are all unConstitutional on their face, but until we get rid of them (and accept that there will be lots of situations we don’t like, kinda like with ALL the Amendments) ENFORCE THE LAW. If he’s too crazy to have guns, he’s too crazy to be walking around dressed or NAKED.


Decided what to put in the redone raised beds. It’s a bit late, but I’m going to do a row of snap peas, just in case it stays cool a bit longer. I’ll do a row of bush beans (long and purple) in front of that, with a row of carrots, some turnips, and somewhere a couple of collards.

I’m now pretty sure the onions I moved to the fence boxes are really leeks. Which is ok, but not what I was hoping for. I harvested the last beet from last year. Damnable squirrels.

Cilantro never did get big enough for harvest.

I’ll find some sort of bean or pea that will grow here, or I’ll kill them all trying….


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Sun. April 22, 2018 – big storm… but done

60F and damp, which makes sense, since we got almost 3 inches of rain last night, mostly in one hour.

Haven’t had a chance to walk the neighborhood, but I expect the normal debris in yards.

We had a busy day planned, but most of it involved the pool, and dumping 3 inches of rain into it messes up the chemistry. I guess we’ll see.

Yesterday’s HOA sponsored SpringFest was a hit. Good food from local sellers, petting zoo, bouncy houses, and a banjo band. The band had about 750 years of life between the 10 members! And they sounded pretty good.

Life in modern America- pizza, taco truck, bouncy houses, and fruit flavored frozen ices (cantaloupe, rice, and hot sauce (which is a fruit like tamarind but spicier)) . The overcast and stiff wind kept the heat down, the occasional sprinkles cooled it as well.

I better get some breakfast on the table or there might be blood shed 🙂


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Sat. April 21, 2018 – family stuff today

Cool and overcast this am.

We’ve got our neighborhood spring festival this afternoon, softball game this morning, and a variety of other family and kid stuff….. Saturdays are not my own anymore. I wonder if they ever will be again?

I feel hungover. All I can think is that I must have gotten quite dehydrated yesterday without noticing. I’ll take a salt tablet and drink more fluids today. Have to say, glad I don’t feel this way in the morning anymore……….


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