Fri. May 11, 2018 – again?

72F and humid, but clear skies. Should be another hot sweaty day here in Houston.

Friday again. More school activities. More stuff to do around the house. More, more, more…

This week I ordered (and received some) parts to rebuild the Portacool cooler I pulled from the trash. It should help me work outside in the heat, so I’m calling that a prep. It’s the reciprocal of making sure you have heat in the winter for those of us in a warm climate.

I think I won this round with the caterpillars that would eat my grape vines. I’ll keep an eye on them. Not sure what to do if you don’t have the right pest control. Soapy water and picking them off by hand seem to be the recommendation. Growing food takes a lot of time and effort if you don’t have access to modern tools. There’s a reason farm employment is down to like 1% of the population here.

The rats continue to make their presence known. I’m VERY reluctant to re-establish my shelves of food while I know there are some around. So the food sits in big black bins in stacks in the driveway. Even though it’s not as much food as I’d like, it still takes up more space than you’d think, stacked in the driveway. It’s also more difficult to USE the food when it’s in random stacked bins.

What have I learned from the rats? For canned food, a simple sheet of cardboard on top of the flat of cans would have kept the rat ‘debris’ off the can tops.

For boxed food, I’m not buying any more unless the contents are in plastic bags. The packaging can get ‘wet’ or otherwise damaged, and the food stays usable. Cheap pasta seems to be the biggest issue, with the pasta just in the treated cardboard.

For cases of plastic containers, like fruit cups, rotation is key. The damnable rats ate into the case from the rear, ate out the contents, and I never saw an indication… but when I went to pick up the case, it was nothing but an empty box, filled with empty cups and ‘debris’.

Rats are smart, adaptable, and seem to communicate. You probably won’t be able to get them with the same trick twice. This means lots of different control strategies.

Be aggressive in your response. I was tepid, let them get established, and they ate some very expensive food (and a ton of cheap food too). I’m still fighting them. They will eat your cooking oil, flavor packets, sauce mixes, shelf stable, pouch meals, boxed food, and anything else they can get their teeth through. They will ruin you cans if it goes on too long, even if they can’t eat them. Man up and KILL the little thieves.

So, what have you done or learned this week?


Thur. May 10, 2018 – trouble in the middle east, what? Again?

66F and very nice out this am. Too bad it won’t stay that way.

Trouble in the middle east is heating up again. Between the iranians stomping their feet and demanding the death of the west (us specifically, but the israelis too), and the israeli response (which is meant to remind the mad mullahs that they can and will ‘reach out and touch someone’), and turkey up to its own game, things are once again getting sporty.

Don’t be sure it won’t spill over and slosh onto us.

Macro economic and geo political times are changing. During periods of great change, there is great stress. Lot’s of rice bowls get threatened. Lot’s of people just biding their time might suddenly make a move. Not much we can do on a global level, but we can make individual decisions and take individual actions to position ourselves to ride thru the changes.

If you’ve been dragging your feet about a prep or action that would help you, time to move on that.


Wed. May 9, 2018 – more of the same, only harder

71F and 90%RH so far this am. According to my weather station, we got to 100F in my driveway yesterday. Low humidity helped tremendously in the shade. I’m thinking that today will be similar.

Picked my first sweet banana pepper yesterday. Blueberry bushes have fruit on them. Grape vines were covered with dead tiny caterpillars, so the bio stuff must be working. Sprayed them again. Hope the vines make it. Acorn squash sprouted and is about 2 inches high. Pole beans are about 6, they doubled in height. Picked up a 1 gallon ziplok full of seed packets for $3 at the thrift store. Name brand seeds, about a dozen varieties of green bean, 44 packets. That’s $60 in seeds for $3, I can afford a slightly lower germination rate….
and I can try a bunch of varieties. Maybe some will do better than the standard blue lake bushes that fail to thrive.

I think I may have finally made a break through on OFD’s computer. I finally got the right USB extension cable, and a wall wart USB charger with enough amps to get the eye tracker to light up properly. The express card USB 3 port didn’t have enough power to drive the thing consistently. Windows d/l’ed a huge update, 20 plus minutes of disk thrashing, and the lappy wouldn’t do ANYTHING else while that was running, including CTRL-ALT-DEL. I left it running and went to bed. More later. (some of my issues are from my droopy right eyelid, the tracker lost my eye and got very inaccurate when I was tired or my vision was poor (squinting)).

I’ve got a bunch of stuff to do today, but we’ll see how much I get done while taking breaks from the heat.


Tues. May 8, 2018 – meatspace

67F and sunny with some clouds this am. We’re getting into the 90s by afternoon.

I did some work on my rent house yesterday. And then had a bunch of family stuff.

Which is part of today’s topic.

I’m not very good at recognizing people, and terrible with names. Never have been. Don’t care about most of them, so I don’t spend the energy. This is ‘bad’ for some levels of ‘bad’. I know that, but am just not wired that way. This precludes me from certain jobs, like Concierge, personal assistant, mobster, politician, club owner, hollyweird dealmaker, etc. Jobs where people and relationships trump ability to get the job done. Unlike some, I don’t whine and cry about how unfair it is, I just find jobs that I AM suited to.

BUT, I’d argue that in a disaster, people and relationships are going to be critically important. Not just as “tribe” or your personal group, but for any interactions during recovery. This puts me at a disadvantage.

The good news is, you can learn to remember names, and people, and learn to get along and motivate, etc. I’ve had a masters class in that during my years of working on the road with local crews. This is not perfectly useful, as our interests aligned, and we both knew the relationship was short term.

Short digression- One of the guys I worked with had a reputation for being able to remember every attendee’s name by the end of the event, and something about them. Keep in mind, we’d get a new crop of attendees every day, 50-100 of them. He demonstrated it for us one day, and he was in fact able to do it. I asked him How? Mnemonics? rhymes? His answer was simple and devastating. He said “You just have to CARE.” No way could I apply that!

Anyway, I’m seeing the same people now at events. Our social circle, which condensed down to wife, me, dog, kids, one other couple….. is expanding. This happens when you have kids in school and activities. It occurred to me last night at the Girl Scout event that I recognized at least a dozen kids, and the same number of moms, with a couple of dads thrown in. Our circles overlap, school, neighborhood, sports, rec assn pool, and Girl Scouts.

Since I started going to the neighborhood city meetings, I recognize our City Councilwoman, the Mayor, and possibly a couple of aides, at least in context. I recognize my estate sellers, their helpers, and many of the other buyers. I recognize some of the people in the stores around the neighborhood, especially in the Goodwills and other places I go frequently.

I make an effort to recognize our local homeless and panhandlers, as a security issue. If we had obvious gang bangers hanging around, I’d make an effort with them too.

It occurs to me that I REALLY need to make the effort, find the desire to CARE with the good and decent people in my life too. They are the community that I’m embedded in. They may not be ‘tribe’ * (in the sense used by various blogs on the right and patriot movement) but they are the ones most likely to impact MY life, mainly thru my kids.

So that’s my resolution for now. I’m prepped up in terms of gear, now I need to address the social aspect a bit more. I need to acknowledge that I’m part of the broader community and start working on that.


* I will never, and have never used ‘tribe’ to mean Jews or israelis. It is an unfortunate choice on the part of some in the patriot, liberty, alt-right, etc. to have adopted the word to describe those affiliated with you and sharing a common mindset, giving the amount of anti-semetism that is often present in the comments of many blogs that are alt-media and right leaning. The word has been and continues to be applied to the descendants of David in a negative context and that is unfortunate.

Mon. May 7, 2018 – Good morning All….

Rise and shine! Time to start your day.

63F and slightly less damp this am. Sunny and clear. Hoping for another nice day.

The headlines all look the same, sorta. More slow motion coup attempt, more disconnect between ordinary people and those who would rule. More bad stuff in the world, and more march to war.

It’s enough to make anyone prep! (since despair is a sin.)

Anyone got plans for this week that they’ll probably not get to?


Sun. May 6, 2018 – tab clearing

Bright crisp day here in Houston, sunny and light clouds. Currently 76F with a tolerable 70%RH.

The NOAA national forecast has been a bit hit or miss lately. Maybe spring weather in the Gulf Region is harder than the rest of the year to predict. I found them to be right on for a long time, but it hasn’t been right lately.

Tab clearing.

There is more to this story. Got to be.

They know where the staging area is, and are set up to harass them. This suggests intel and planning. NOT something I really want to see in a street gang… ie. multinational insurgent army. Couple this with the 2 officers shot in Chicago, while sitting in their surveillance van, and a disturbing picture begins to emerge.

And wrt the use of drones, they also use them to deliver drugs and phones to prisoners.

Check out this drone, and it’s touted capability….

Now imagine a half pound of fentanyl dumped into a crowd from height…. there’s not enough Narcan in the city to respond to that.


The broader world is beginning to wake up to the issue. Don’t we feel smart for discussing it some time ago?

“Should self driving cars be programmed to sacrifice their passengers? New study calls for ‘urgent’ debate over the ethics of autonomous vehicles”

Note the use of standard tactics here, calls for debate. Form a committee. Talk and nonsense while the thing under debate becomes a fait accompli.

And that should give us something to talk about, if anything is needed!


Sat. May 5, 2018 – another made up holiday

66F and wet out. We got most of an inch of rain last night.

This led to the cancellation of ONE of the SIX scheduled kid and family commitments today. Busy day.

One of those commitments is a birthday party at my house. A dozen 6-8 year old girls running around screaming. Oh my.

And it’s Cinco de Mayo. A holiday made up by a beer company. We’ve gone from holy days, to holidays, to Hallmark Holidays, to holidays invented by beer companies to sell more alcohol. Awesome.

With that, I’ve got stuff to do! Be careful of the amateurs on the roads today…


Fri. May 4, 2018 – star wars day

76F and humid this am, with some overcast. Prediction yesterday was for T-storms. ONE month until the start of hurricane season boys and girls!

It’s Friday again, and while I’m glad to be here to see another one, I’m beginning to feel like Time is Lucy and I’m Charlie Brown, and the weeks are the football. This time for sure!

This article puts some numbers behind our discussion of schools:

“New Test Results Reveal A “Lost Decade” For Academic Progress In Public Schools”

This is consistent with what my buddy, a school superintendent sees. His research found that kids were LESS proficient after 4 years of high school in his urban district.

This line sums up the problem… “the flat trajectory in education progress for public school youth have[sic] left education reformers baffled.”

Well, gee, since you started “reforming” education, results have been lower student performance. Hmmmm, better spend more money and invent some more cr@p ways to confuse kids and obscure the processes that worked to put HUMANS ON THE MOON.

No mention that the percentage of white middle class kids* has been declining steadily, while the percentage of ESL kids from cultures that don’t value education, as well as our own EFL kids from cultures that don’t value education has increased. Can’t blame the kids. Can’t blame the teaching. Must be the economy.


*used as a proxy for “a culture that traditionally values hard work, education, and a stable home life.”

Thur. May 3, 2018 – say what?

78F and humid with overcast skies. We never got rain yesterday, although it blew and gusted, and was overcast all day. Hoping for the same today.

So I’m skimming thru my alumni email, and I see this gem…” A new kind of career

Kristin Antkoviak, who is graduating with a master’s degree in landscape architecture, hopes to use landscape architecture as a path to social justice.”

MASTER’S DEGREE. Wonder what her debt looks like?

“A neighborhood landscape architect would help educate people on water use and the tradeoffs of different kinds of trees they like, as well as coordinate with government and advocacy agencies.

“After 100 years of these social environmental injustices, I think these native plants can give a healing aspect to the community. Nature has so much to offer.””

I wonder who will be paying for it? and her?

Oh, I guess that would be these guys. Here’s a nice list of the sort of parasite on the body politic that sprouts when there is just too much money:

“There are a couple groups in the community that would be good to talk to too: The Arizona Alliance for Livable Communities, the Arizona Partnership for Healthy Communities, the Downtown Voices Coalition. The Sonoran Institute is a great connection and also the Sustainable Cities Network.”

““There were no street trees. The first thing I started to do was pull historical maps from 1930 until now and you can see there were almost no trees from then until now,” she said.”

Oh my, let’s help those poor unfortunates that don’t know about some of the trees available, or how to plant stuff IN A DESERT. Good thing someone is working with “vulnerable populations.”

Jeez o pete, woman was already working as a microbiologist for 6 years. Wonder what THAT debt looked like? Then she goes back to school for a masters. Hey maybe she’s independently wealthy and this is just her ‘giving back’ to the community. Doubt it though.


Wed. May 2, 2018 – more work

75F and HUMID this am. Still overcast too. Basically, yuck.

Very little reporting on any protests/riots for May Day. Wonder why that is? Gateway Pundit has some links to primary sources, ie. twitter accounts showing lots of smoke and angst in different cities around the world. I’m not linking because they have about 40 things adblocker stops and 20 scripts for all the garbage providers. No way to know if this was more or less than usual.

Which brings up the subject of disintermediation and it’s mirror- mediation and the ‘media-ation’ (for a really ugly word) of our society. Almost every experience of the world is mediated. Both in the sense of someone getting between us and the experience, and in the sense of ‘shaped by the media’. They have created a world that reflects their philosophy- there really IS NO objective reality any more for most people in the West.

The May Day is an example. Many media outlets were calling it a ‘celebration’ or a ‘holiday’. I even got an email newsletter/flyer wishing me a Happy May Day, FFS. No history, no context, and an attempt to change the perception (with possibly a bit of gaslighting) where there was coverage at all.

Now, I’m not unhappy that the foot stomping mental toddlers didn’t get the attention they wanted, in THIS case. But it is a disturbing glance behind the curtain. What ELSE is going on in the world that no one is seeing? What will the world look like when the current trend to ‘de-platform’ conservative voices becomes more effective?

How will you pass on your values in the face of a complete media blackout of any conservative view? What can be done to disintermediate the public sphere? Or our lives?