Fri. Nov. 2, 2018 – another week gone, and 2 months left

45F and wet this am. Fall has definitely arrived in Houston, maybe Winter too.

Power outage killed my first post… came back quickly but took a while for FF to update, etc. I need to make some changes today, get the UPS in line and have the pc restore after power failure. Had to change the scheduled record for the last camera I added to ispy too. Somehow I missed that.

Mad scramble today until departure time.

I’ll be in the Eastern time zone, but will have irregular hours.

If I don’t have a post up by 9am Central, someone else please do the honors.

And if things really go pear shaped while I’m away, and you can offer a safe haven in the Orlando area, please email me.


Author: Nick Flandrey

Mid 50s, stay at home dad, with two elementary school age girls. Love my family and my life.

36 thoughts on “Fri. Nov. 2, 2018 – another week gone, and 2 months left”

  1. 52º and mostly cloudy in the land that Tom forgot.

    I’m feeling more than a little “chippy” today. Have been for several days. I’m feeling put-on and abused at work, and it’s affecting my interactions with people. Yesterday afternoon a cow-orker managed to lift my spirits by talking about his challenges. That helped.

    I still want to pee on somebody’s Cheerios.

    On a brighter note, I also realized I didn’t run yesterday or the day before, and that’s part of my feeling bad. Running ALWAYS makes me feel better. So at lunchtime today I’ll lace up and save somebody’s life. (I feel better already.)

    It’s raining again today. Supposed to clear up on Sunday, so my final Fall work will be done on Sunday. Get the snowthrower oil changed, new belt, air up the tires, and make sure there’s no mouse nest in the auger drive. Also (maybe) a last mow of the orchard and put the lawn tractor away.

  2. 42f and overcast at commute time (6am). Forecast says rain sometime in the day.
    I’ve had very little free time this week. Between dealing with Spear Phishing attacks at work and two Halloween nights* it’s been far too busy and I’m not as young as I used to be.
    That got me thinking on Halloweens of my youth. I was raised mostly on a small dairy farm miles outside of town with no close neighbors so my first memory of Trick-or-Treating is after we moved into town when I was 10 after the tornado destroyed our house, with us inside. I recall dressing as a spaceman with a plastic helmet and a ray-gun I had constructed by wrapping solder around a gun shaped soldering iron. I somehow associate the Adams Family TV series with that first Halloween trick-or-treat experience. Perhaps I wanted to get home in time to catch the show. Amazing how things have changed in 50 years. From 3 TV networks to an almost unlimited supply of video entertainment channels. I recently backed up my entire MP3 music collection onto one 512 GB micro-SD card so I can carry it with me. Over 55,000 tracks on a device the size of a fingernail. And back when I was taking Computer Technology courses in school they were still teaching us the magnetic doughnut memory technology.
    *Two Halloweens this year.
    As the 31st was predicted to be stormy and cold, many people in the (extended) neighborhood decided to do Trick-or-Treat on the 30th, warm and balmy. Caught me by surprise, so I grabbed my Pirate costume and sat on the front stoop muttering “Arrrgh, Ye’ve come fer me treasure Ye black-hearted scoundrels. Give me the secret password and Ye can have a taste.” Stayed there from 6 to 8:30 then called it quits, turned off the exterior illumination and had a late supper. We had over 100 kids and about depleted our candy bucket. On the 31st, the rain held off, so some crazy family’s decided to honor tradition by running the route then. Caught me unaware yet again. This time went without the costume and handed out the remainder of the candy till it started pouring buckets about 7pm. Mostly very little ones the second time.

  3. Halloween Shmalloween. Bah humbug. We shut off the outside lights, drew the shades and pretended there was no one home. Just didn’t feel like dealing with the goblins. I have been asked if I worry about tricks (retaliation) because we give no treats. The answer is “no”. We live right near the police station and those intent on mischief have a tendency to move a street or two away. Plus the house diagonally across the street has a barn where they put on a big Halloween event. That deflects attention away from our dark house.

    Living near a police station has its benefits. As mentioned above, bad guys avoid the neighborhood because police cars are constantly driving by. We almost never lose power and when we do it is only for a short period. An officer told me that is because the police station is a public safety priority zone. There is more than one line bringing power into our little block and we get fixed first after a storm. The police have outgrown their facilities, though, and a new building is nearing completion ~1/4 mile away so all this might change soon.

  4. For the third or fourth year in a row I got candy but zero callers. Perhaps because my area is hilly and not densely populated…

  5. I still want to pee on somebody’s Cheerios.

    Oh man, so I am not the only one !

    I am so tired of the election season. Tuesday night cannot come quick enough for me. This rivals waiting for Christmas back when I was in the single digits of age.

  6. 45F and wet this am. Fall has definitely arrived in Houston, maybe Winter too.

    Nah. It is suppose to be 80 F tomorrow. Should get everyone’s allergies going though.

    Oh crap, I just remembered, I need to get the flu shot now that I am two months post heart surgery. Maybe that is enough time.

  7. We usually get hundreds of kids in our neighborhood. Most come from the nearby areas as we are in a relatively “upscale” neighborhood. They come in vans and by the trailer-load. At least we don’t get any progs from nearby south Memphis. It would be bolt the doors and bar the windows time if they ever show up.

  8. @harold, if they came, you could get rid of those kale chips, and those snack bars you bought at Costco that have no far, sugar, salt or flavor…….

  9. @Ray

    Brad’s correct in re collecting back royalties. Just get the line of succession with the proper documentation lined up and you should have no problem. I’ve overseen this twice with OxyPete and it went fairly easily. If you can reach someone by phone and not email, they’re more likely to be more experienced than some script monkey, and will tell you exactly what they need.

    In case the oil was in California, they may have withheld California’s pickpocket taxes (10%!), in which case I would just ignore it and wait for Jerry Brown to come after you.

  10. I recently backed up my entire MP3 music collection onto one 512 GB micro-SD card so I can carry it with me. Over 55,000 tracks on a device the size of a fingernail.

    Cool ! Does the thumb drive ??? work on any device including proprietary car radios ?

    Do you have the music separated by author / album / song using directories ?

    Something like Beatles / Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band / “When I’m Sixty-Four ???

    I have started MP3ing all of our CDs using the above directory structure.

    Neither of our vehicles has USB input so I need to find something to test my directory organization structure.

  11. “Trump’s Brilliant Response to the Caravan”

    “RUSH: As to the caravan, I have some thoughts on this caravan business. ‘Cause, folks, I’m serious. What are we supposed to do? We’re just supposed to stand aside and let them in? Anything other than that equals racism and bigotry and homophobia and anti-transgenderism and what have you, we’re just supposed to stand aside? That’s exactly right! And if we don’t, we’re the bad people, we’re the bad guys, we’ve got a caravan of whatever it is, 3,000, 7,000, I don’t know.”

    “Here’s what I think is going on. The global left headquartered in the United Nations and a number of other despotic places has run this exact same type of caravan of thousands ploy against western governments for years. This is exactly what’s been happening in Europe. You remember…? Stop and think, folks. You remember the videos, tons of videos that we saw showing Syrian military age men marching into Germany?”

    If we let them in, then thousands of caravans will follow. In twenty years, the USA will not be the leader of the free world.

  12. Here in the Olympic Peninsula, there is a wind event overnight and this morning. Strong winds coming from due west through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. At my place opposite Muntiny Bay WA, we were protected from the winds by the Olympic mountains; winds under 10mph. Still windy in the Strait of Juan de Fuca; not much here – overnight and into this morning gusts only to about 15mph at my location.

    But a tree fell into the main transmission line somewhere, and power went out for the whole eastern Olympic Peninsula. That happened about 930am. The local PUD FB page said it was a main transmission line, so I figured it was a good time to test my generator preps.

    I have a 6k-7k gas generator, and have my bypass switch all set up for the important circuits. (Did that install myself last summer.) All of the lights have been changed to LEDs.

    The generator fired right up after moving it out of the garage. (Manually opened the garage door, which was much easier with the springs that were replaced last year.) Had to use the pull rope, as the gennies little battery had died and I haven’t replaced it yet – since the pull rope works just fine with 2-3 pulls. Full take of gas, and 10 gallons of extra fuel (left over from last year, but Stabilized; I probably should rotate it).

    Let the engine run for a minute, then connected the new (and longer) power cord to the bypass box. Started flipping switches on the bypass panel; all was well. Power to the kitchen (refrigerator), garage (freezer and garage lights), den (DirecTV and LCD TV), and bedroom (wife’s oxygen machine; she used the portable which has about 8 hours of battery available). All worked just fine. Total load on the gennie was under 3Kv.

    Kept an eye on the local PUD page (plus the text alerts from the county) as to their progress. They were able to identify the transmission line, and posted a nice picture of the tree leaning against it. Updates from them on their FB and web page (via my phone, which has unlimited data) about every 45 minutes.

    Power came on at 2pm, so about a 4 hour outage. All systems worked well, and it was nice doing the test during the day (partly cloudy here, slight breeze in my protected area).

    So, my preps for generator usage worked well. Total cost for the gennie and bypass switch about $700 (I got the gennie slightly used from someone who needed a larger one). Power outages here happen a couple times a winter, but recovery time is pretty good.

  13. Hurricane Update, Day H+23

    Personal: All the debris that can be dragged to the street has been dragged to the street. The current pile is ~ 60’ long x 6’ high x 5’ wide. What remains is (a) one downed tree, which absent a chain saw I can’t cut up & move any further (b) the remains of a raised flower bed, trapped under the above tree (c) the last of the destroyed fence, also trapped under the remains of the above tree (d) the still standing 1/2 of a destroyed tree (e) the 8’ high stump of the pine that rotated into the neighbor’s roof (f) three other destroyed trees which are still standing, but which will have to come down.
    The insurance adjuster made it to my house on Wednesday. I had made contact with him last week, and asked him to put me at the bottom of his list, as my damage was minimal as compared to that of a lot of people. He readily agreed, and showed up at the appointed time. As soon as he got out of his car he looked at my house and said “You’re going to need a new roof.” He then spent about 90 minutes walking all around the property, taking various measurements and making some drawings. He told me that the insurance carrier won’t want to pay to take down two undamaged but potentially hazardous pines, which are more or less right beside the one that bashed the neighbor’s house. He also said that he would submit his information to the insurer, and that they would be getting back to me in a few days. Obviously they are overwhelmed, so I won’t be holding my breath. In the meantime I’m going to contact some tree services to get quotes on what has to be done, along with the optional work on the two other trees.
    My job had a multipurpose cookout / meeting on Tuesday. First, they wanted to count noses, to try to get a handle on how many of the 1500+ people are going to be back at work, and when they might be back at work. Secondly, they were distributing relief supplies to those who needed it – water, diapers, tarps, etc. Finally, they told us that Mega Giant Defense Contractor Inc is in the process of selling us to Very Large Call Center Company. The sale is supposed to be completed sometime this month, but the status of the center here is still very much up in the air. No one knows just how many trained people will still be available as of say January 1, 2019. A huge % of the housing in the county is uninhabitable, and the laws of supply & demand can’t be avoided, so rents are going to go up. That will be especially hard for this particular place, because the base wages are very poor. We officially returned to work Wednesday, spending the entire time resetting computers, wading through an ocean of emails (about 300 in my case) and catching up to the necessary training. Those who didn’t show up Wednesday will spend their first day catching up. I would estimate Thursday’s head count at less than 1/3 of those who would normally have been there.
    Right now my biggest need is monetary. The paycheck of 10/19 was about 1/2 of what it should have been, today’s paycheck = $0, and the paycheck of 11/16 will be about 1/2 of what it should be. I am eligible & have signed up for disaster unemployment, which will be about 60% of my lost base wages, but none of the expected 20 or more hours per week of overtime that I should be getting right now. In the meantime, I had a job interview this morning. A good friend called Wednesday, saying that his employer’s bookkeeper is leaving town, and was I interested in the job. I think the money will work out about the same, but the uncertainty at my current job makes me willing to jump ship. I hope to know more by Monday.

    Electricity: Gulf Power (part of Southern Company, for the time being) serves most of the county’s population, and they claim that every customer in the county that can safely receive power now has it. As far as the really damaged buildings, they are pulling meters. The electric co-op that serves the rest of the county is mostly finished here. The more rural counties around us are still heavily damaged. Quite frankly they have lost more or less all of their infrastructure, so all the poles, transformers, lines, et cetera have to be rebuilt, and there are simply fewer customers per mile of wire so the progress seems slower. Most of the repair crews are staying here, and having to travel quite a ways just to get to the work site.

    Water: As far as I know, all of the public water supply has now been tested & certified at potable. People who have private wells are being urged to test, which the county health department is doing for free.

    Telecommunications: Again, this is very slow going. They had to wait for the power crews to finish, and now they are in the process of restringing wire, replacing damaged equipment, and so on. As with the electric service, the presence of underground service in some places is going to speed this up, but the task is going to take an immense number of man hours. My understanding is that much of the county is still without CATV, internet, and land line service. It’s been reported that one particular cell phone company has about 80% of the market here, and they are really struggling to get back up to speed. My home phone and cable returned on Sunday 10/21, the internet service was up and stable by Wednesday 10/24, and my cell phone came to life on Friday 10/26.

    Overall: The immediate disaster relief has begun to draw to a close. What’s going on, and will continue for a long, long time is the recovery / repair stage. The amount of debris is staggering, and the level of damage has to be seen to be believed. As I’ve said, essentially every tree crew within 500 miles could find work here. The roofers are also going to be swarming in, along with all the people who do things like fixing water damage and mold remediation. Finally there will have to be a lot of simple “scrape it off and start over” reconstruction. Housing is going to be a problem for the immediate future. We do have a very large inventory of hotel rooms & rental condos on the beach, but quite honestly the people who have lost much / everything won’t be able to pay the normal market rate for those places. The beach hotels are full right now, and have begun canceling reservations for the normal snowbird influx. The vanguard of those folks would normally start showing up today, and although we don’t have the crowds that South Florida has we typically get up to 20,000 for the winter.
    I also have to take a moment to tip my hat to the local Supervisor of Elections. Normally, we have about a week of early voting, at four sites in the county, and around 50 regular precincts the usual election day. Right now, there are six sites active October 27 – November 6, with two extra sites today only. Through about 4 PM Central Time today, we’ve had about 20% of the eligible voters walk in and do so, including me. From the time I got out of my car to the time I turned the ignition was less than 10 minutes. One of the workers told me that the Monday after the storm the staff was in the office, testing the computers and equipment on generator power while repairs were going on around them. It’s less than an ideal situation, and will certainly be inconvenient for some people, but I’m of the opinion that it’s the best that can practically be done.

    Other people: I saw my co-worker at the cookout on Tuesday. She said she’s now living with a friend. Her apartment complex didn’t have power, and the landlord had removed the damaged windows. She was having to commute twice a day to tend to her pets, because her friend couldn’t house them. She said that she didn’t have any way to clean the broken glass and other debris. I offered the use of a shop vac, extension cord, and transformer, but she declined. She said that her sons are still with her ex-husband. One is supposed to be going to the Parris Island Boy’s School any time now, the other will be back in school in another couple of weeks. My old friend and her son are living with family about 90 minutes away. She’s got temporary work, but will probably have to come back & forth to oversee repairs to her house and find out about her regular job. I assume that her son is going to school in his current location. My mother’s friend is doing fairly well. Other people in her condo complex are checking in on her, and since she has power & water the worst of the problem is over. All the units have been damaged to one degree or another, her building looks like it had roof and eave damage.

    Feel free to post any questions, I’ll be glad to discuss any details.

  14. “Surging Texas early voting may exceed total 2014 turnout”

    “AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — More than 4.3 million Texans have cast early ballots in the state’s 30 largest counties alone, an impressive tally that’s within striking distance of the total number of ballots cast statewide during the last midterm elections in 2014.”

    “Data through Thursday from the secretary of state includes counties that are home to nearly 80 percent of Texas’ population.”

    “That’s compared to the 4.7 million-plus total ballots cast in 2014′s top-of-the-ballot Texas governor’s race.”

    I am not surprised. My county, Fort Bend County, has had over 40% of registered voters vote so far. That is 175,303 voters out of 432,342 registered voters.

    Early voting in Texas ends today.

  15. Neither of our vehicles has USB input so I need to find something to test my directory organization structure.

    If you’re targeting a new Toyota long term and using EAC to rip the CDs, make sure to prefix the song titles with numbers which include leading zeros (I believe two digits is the default)

    00 – The First Song.mp3
    01 – The Second Song.mp3

    Also, you want to use *FAT32* as the format on the drive (no exFAT) and sort the directories after you’re done dragging/dropping.

  16. “Satya Nadella: The cloud is going to move underwater”

    “Low latencies and easy deployment make underwater servers convenient and effective.”

    I’m sure that nothing can go wrong. However, as the email says, you are going to need a scuba suit and tank to reboot that unresponsive server.

    Hat tip to:

  17. It is release day ! Am releasing version 15.15 of our software today. Fun ! Not ! So much stuff to modify and update.

  18. got here safely.

    pcb_duffer, thanks for the update. Hang in there, it sounds like you are doing what needs to be done. Good luck with the work situation.

    It sounds like the best prep in most situations is solid finances. This idea is hitting home with several other prepping bloggers at the moment too.


  19. I’m sure that nothing can go wrong. However, as the email says, you are going to need a scuba suit and tank to reboot that unresponsive server.

    Salt water always wins.

  20. Caravan: That is a no-win situation if there ever was one.

    If lets them in, then the next 10 caravans will start up the next week. This is the mistake Europe made, and the reason we now have so many “refugees” – too many of whom are uneducated, unemployable, uncivilized young men. Latest mass rape of a girl, by a bunch of Afghani migrants, just this week.

    On the other hand, if you don’t let them in, the military must be prepared to use violence. The media will focus on the (few) women and children present – or will just use pictures from somewhere else – to create a PR catastrophe.

    It looks like Trump is willing to risk the violence; certainly it’s the right way to go. The best approach is the hardest: close the border, clear the area, and shoot to kill if anyone dares cross. Scare off the rest of the caravan as soon as possible. That will actually save the most lives, and make the most dramatic statement to other potential caravans. PR is going to be a disaster whatever he does, so he just as well go “all in”.

    Whatever approach he takes, the most important thing is: he must hold the line. If he starts hard, but then gives in and admits a single person from the caravan, he will reap the worst of both worlds.

  21. the most important thing is: he must hold the line. If he starts hard, but then gives in and admits a single person from the caravan, he will reap the worst of both worlds

    Sort of like substituting at the school. Be RUTHLESS from the beginning and the rest of the year is not a problem. The students know I will come down hard and fast for any infraction. Seems to work.

  22. As much as I want the idea of shoot to kill illegal boarder crossers the optics suck. Instead arrest them, try them in special fast track courts and deem them guilty for illegal acts and send them back. Hell of a lot cheaper them letting them in.

  23. At least tRump upped the troops to 15K (looks like). We’re heading for a Corps level deployment now. The fact the crimmigrants refused sanctuary in Mexico tells me they are not political refugees and should be stopped at the border.

    You gotta love Shep “I’m Gaaaay!”Smith on Fox News. “There is no threat.” He should move over to MSNBC or CNN. You know, the peeps who would just let the caravan creeps stay in there house with them. Lol.

  24. “Instead arrest them, try them in special fast track courts and deem them guilty for illegal acts and send them back.”

    Sorry, but I don’t see that working. Put them into the legal system at all, and they suddenly get lawyers and will tie up the courts for months. Thousands of them. They try to cross a border illegally, they must be pushed back, with as much force as necessary. Anything that lets them across the border is a losing move.

    I agree that the optics suck, especially since the MSM will twist anything to make Trump look bad.

    They do the same here. There was a pic, last year I think, of all these African refugees in the water, in life jackets. In danger of drowning in the middle of the ocean? Only, oops, in the background one of them was standing – making it obvious that the water was shallow, and the whole photo-op was posed. Take a group of 1000 migrants, almost entirely young men, and the pics will feature the handful of women and children in the group. Fake pics for fake news, driving the progressive agenda.

    The optics are gonna suck, no matter what. Y’all just as well do what needs to be done.

  25. They have to get aggressive with their own media, like Ringo does in The Centurians.


  26. No need to waste bullets on the “unarmed” invading army. That’s what bayonets are for.

  27. The invaders are economic refugees. The law does not cover people like that. They want to sell drugs and rob people.

    Trump must stand the border. Anyone trying to cross the border must be shot.

  28. remember that T always tosses out the extreme position and negotiates back from there, although if forced to carry out the threat, he has.


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