Sat. April 6, 2019 – so many people don’t know

Probably warm and damp, but I’m still in bed. Stiff and sore from the work I did at the Spring Festival. Kids had fun, which is the whole point.

Spent part of yesterday dropping off a truckload of stuff at the auction house. I’ve been going there for years to buy, now I have some stuff to sell. Since ebay sales are off, and I need to move stuff, I figured that this might be a good time to use a pro.

Anyway, long conversation with one of the people there. She’s not actually a prepper, but grew up country, and that means being ready for hard times, being frugal, keeping out of debt, and having preps.

I brought up Venezuela as an example of how quickly and smoothly it can fall apart. She had no idea Venezuela was failing. NO idea they’d had a multi-day power outage and people died as a result. She had heard absolutely nothing about it.

She’s not the only one.

She’s smart, conservative, and in the family business, and had no idea what was happening. Given that we’ve been watching it here, for the last 5? years, I’m gobsmacked. There are like minded individuals out there that haven’t got the same awareness.

Spread the word.

n

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43 Responses to Sat. April 6, 2019 – so many people don’t know

  1. Greg Norton says:

    I brought up Venezuela as an example of how quickly and smoothly it can fall apart. She had no idea Venezuela was failing. NO idea they’d had a multi-day power outage and people died as a result. She had heard absolutely nothing about it.

    The US needs to back off in Venezuela. It is not in our best interest to turn another previously advanced (for the third world) industrial society into a failed state. Maybe the Chinese buy the oil and people get fed. Who the f*ck cares at this point? Mustache Boy (Bolton)?

    Trump was elected in part to get rid of a**clowns like Bolton.

    Make no mistake, grid down will be an extinction event for humanity. We should promote civilization wherever it clings to life. We’re running out of bug-out alternatives.

  2. brad says:

    I saw an article a couple of months ago, where people had tunneled under a section of existing wall. Tt looked like that had to dig down at least 2-3 feet. I.e., there was apparently no foundation beneath the segments – it was basically a fence sitting on top of the dirt. Really clever as border protection.

    Anyway, what’s with Trump saying he’s going to close the border, and then changing his mind. Does the man not understand that he actually needs to follow through on what he says he’s going to do? I’m having more and more doubts about him being re-elected – which would mean some second rate D would take the Oval Office.

  3. Greg Norton says:

    Anyway, what’s with Trump saying he’s going to close the border, and then changing his mind. Does the man not understand that he actually needs to follow through on what he says he’s going to do? I’m having more and more doubts about him being re-elected – which would mean some second rate D would take the Oval Office.

    BJ Klinton dropped a dime on Biden this week. The rest of the leading Dems are lightweights (Robert Francis) and/or outright frauds (Fauxcahontas, Kamala “slept her way to office” Harris) who Trump will tear apart on Twitter for months before any debates get scheduled.

    If the economy tanks (not impossible) Trump might be done, but I don’t see it happening otherwise.

    The question I keep returning to is what BJ might be up to with these dime drops.

  4. SteveF says:

    If the economy tanks (not impossible)

    Watch what the Fed does.
    And then give some thought to abolishing the Fed for partisan interference in politics.

  5. Greg Norton says:

    Watch what the Fed does.

    The Fed shouldn’t matter this much, but no one treats Treasuries as an investment anymore. They are a liquidity instrument for which the holders pay a fee in the form of negative real interest rates.

    “Borrowing” means the Fed prints the paper right now.

  6. lynn says:

    Wild, my Dad encountered a security robot at Methodist Hospital this morning. He took a picture of it and posted it to Facebook. It looks like this:
    https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/2018/11/23/312801/meet-holmes-watson-the-robot-security-duo-at-houston-methodist/

    The descendants of these may come to your door some day.

  7. hcombs says:

    A day for unplesant news. Sigh. The Heating & Air guy came out to do our spring inspection and noted that not only are both our units R22 but the blower motor on the upstairs unit is starting to make noise. Bearings are going after 20 years. I asked how much to replace the motor, thinking maybe $300 or $400 but he said IF he could get a replacement for a unit that old it would be $1500 + labor and recommended we simply upgrade the whole thing for $3400. Oh sure. Like that’s going to happen. At least it’s still working and just noisy for now. Then, this afternoon when I went to open the garage door it went !! BANG !!. Broken spring. One more thing to spend $ on. The house is 20 years old and we plan on moving in a year so I don’t want to throw $$ at it that I don’t have to. SIGH

  8. paul says:

    $1500 for a simple blower motor? Wow.

  9. Greg Norton says:

    A day for unplesant news. Sigh. The Heating & Air guy came out to do our spring inspection and noted that not only are both our units R22 but the blower motor on the upstairs unit is starting to make noise. Bearings are going after 20 years. I asked how much to replace the motor, thinking maybe $300 or $400 but he said IF he could get a replacement for a unit that old it would be $1500 + labor and recommended we simply upgrade the whole thing for $3400.

    R22 won’t be available after the end of the year.

    That was the dilemma we faced a couple of years ago when the coils on our 20 year old downstairs AC went, and the repair was $3000 vs. replacement of the whole system, $7000-10000.

    We did the replacement. I’ve noted here before that my biggest regret was the variable speed furnace with the proprietary Nexia-based thermostat. Otherwise, the new unit runs fine, and R22 is only an issue upstairs.

    When the upstairs goes, I’m not accepting bids on anything other than a single stage heating/cooling system which can be run with a $10 thermostat. I will, of course, use a more sophisticated control, but I want the option .

  10. Greg Norton says:

    Then, this afternoon when I went to open the garage door it went !! BANG !!. Broken spring. One more thing to spend $ on. The house is 20 years old and we plan on moving in a year so I don’t want to throw $$ at it that I don’t have to. SIGH

    Spring was a $250 job the last time one of ours went. Definitely a job for a pro.

  11. SteveF says:

    Definitely a job for a pro.

    Eh? I’m sure styles differ, but on ours the springs aren’t under tension when the door’s up.

    I had to replace one of the cables a while back (on account of someone-who-isn’t-me not noticing that a cable had jumped the pulley and didn’t move so well and managing to shred half of the strands; luckily a breaker tripped before the motor burned out) and found that the springs are just sitting there, connected to a pulley on the one end and held loosely in place by a bolted-on shackle. I’ve never had call to look closely at any other garage door mechanisms so I don’t know if that’s standard but don’t see why it wouldn’t be.

  12. Nick Flandrey says:

    I’ve got a torsion rod system that the springs are under tension. MASSIVE amounts of tension. I put on my welding leathers, face shield, and was nervous AF [as the kids say]. I did get the cable back on the guide rollers, and was able to adjust the tension. Scary amounts of energy in there.

    n

  13. paul says:

    The house in Austin had coil springs. I think that’s the name. Ball point pen springs. When the door was up the springs were slack to the point of sagging below the tracks. I adjusted the cables to take out most of the slack and the doors worked much easier.

    Most of… I left enough slack so that just unlocking the doors didn’t raise the doors.

    Many squirts of lithium spray grease into the wheel’s bearings helped, too.

    But torsion bars? Nope. Not unless under a Chrysler to raise the sagging front end to spec.

  14. JimB says:

    Never had anything other than coil springs on the shaft across the header. Yhese are sometimes referred as torsion springs, although they are not really. They are easy to adjust, and safe as long as you use good “winding bars” which are actually half-inch cold rolled steel rods about 18″ or 24″ long. Use two, and always make sure one is propped against the header before you take the other and move it to the next socket in the spring retainer. If a spring does break, it is retained by the shaft. There might be a small piece of shrapnel, though, so caution is advised. Never, under any circumstances, get under the path of a moving door. If it lets go, which is rare, it can kill you. Even pros have had this happen during installations.

    Those other designs, with springs under tension, should have double safety cables that run through the springs. They should also have double springs on each side, in case one breaks. Then you still have 3/4 of the spring force to balance the door.

    My 18×9′ steel doors only weigh about 400lbs, but even so there are four springs on the spring shaft.

  15. paul says:

    I had a txt from Straight Talk yesterday saying there are changes coming to my phone!!!
    It appears they are going VoLTE. Which I’ve never heard of until yesterday but actually does make sense… data is data. Bonus points for my current phone not working at the end of this year so Click Here to choose an new phone. Not a free phone. Of course.

    They are really going to kill off everyone that has not replaced their phone by the end of the year? That’s an interesting business plan.

    On one side of my house I have 2 bars of 4G LTE. On the other side, I have 2 bars of 3G. Sometimes I have 4 bars of either.

    I like my current phone. It’s an LG mumble mumble Straight Talk model that I think is like an LG K10. I have had no luck finding a way to root it. Replaceable battery is on my required list.

    I think I’ll look on eBay for an unlocked K10 that runs on Verizon. Then again, I have a Galaxy S4 sitting here. It’s full of Verizon “stuff” that seems to only “disable” and not “delete”. The screen is smaller than my LG but rooting should be possible. I should take it to Verizon and get it un-locked first. Then, if rooting works I’m going to go to Consumer Cellular.

    Scratch that plan. I just looked and their “Bring your own device” plan is for “Our SIM card most commonly works with phones used on AT&T or T-Mobile service. ”

    AT&T sucks here. I’ve had phones turned in at the HEB that were on T-Mobile, 5 bars signal and can’t connect to make a call.

    No rush. I have until the end of the year.

  16. lynn says:

    My 18×9′ steel doors only weigh about 400lbs, but even so there are four springs on the spring shaft.

    I am jealous. I want some 18 ft by 9 ft doors in my garage (two would be awesome !). We are squeezing the 2005 Ford Expedition and the 2019 Toyota Highlander into the 16 ft by 8 ft door of detached garage. It is a tight fit and the wife snatched the straight in parking place with her new Highlander. I am getting the cockeyed space but, it does not bother me like it bothers her.

  17. Greg Norton says:

    They are really going to kill off everyone that has not replaced their phone by the end of the year? That’s an interesting business plan.

    Lots of places in Texas don’t even have 3G data. And keeping the GSM voic carriers separate is one of the reasons the government prohibited the AT&T/TMobile merger.

    Maybe TMobile and AT&T changed their terms of service for the MVNOs. Still, that’s a big user base to cut off.

  18. lynn says:

    From my aunt in Irving, Texas:

    “This ‘killing them with kindness’ is taking way longer then I expected.”

  19. Nick Flandrey says:

    i replaced the squirrel cage blower motor for my HVAC system. I’ll never do that job again. It is a miserable, hard, brutally physical job getting the old one out. You are squatting or laying in the hot attic too. Then there is balancing the new fan/motor assy. Not easy. I finally gave up and said ‘good enough for the girls I date.” The whole system is due for replacement as my freon will be very expensive next time I need some, if it’s available.

    I’m thinking, $200 for the motor/fan, and several hours of labor might be $500. Should be able to get it for less if it’s not hot as hell in the attic.

    n

    (try grainger.com for the replacement blower. They’ll likely be the HIGHEST price available, which should give you a good indicator.)

  20. lynn says:

    Make no mistake, grid down will be an extinction event for humanity.

    Nah. Just 90% of us. The weak, infirmed, and stupid.

    BTW, I am fairly sure that an extended grid down in the USA will prompt an invasion fleet. Probably China on the west coast and a mix on the east coast. Ain’t nobody stupid enough to try invading the gulf coast (too many rednecks with gubs).

  21. ITGuy1998 says:

    I recently replaced the blower motor in our upstairs unit. Around 8 years old and it just died. The hardest part was just learning how to troubleshoot. Less than $200 for the motor. This one has the control board built in. I’m lucky I have easy access to it, and the main unit too, in the attic.

    I actually think there was something wrong with that motor since new. It never seemed to turn off at temperature. It would always run longer than what seemed necessary. I had previously change the thermostat, with no change. Now, with the new motor (and associated control board), the unit cools and heats like it should, and turns off when it should.

  22. lynn says:

    A day for unplesant news. Sigh. The Heating & Air guy came out to do our spring inspection and noted that not only are both our units R22 but the blower motor on the upstairs unit is starting to make noise. Bearings are going after 20 years. I asked how much to replace the motor, thinking maybe $300 or $400 but he said IF he could get a replacement for a unit that old it would be $1500 + labor and recommended we simply upgrade the whole thing for $3400. Oh sure. Like that’s going to happen. At least it’s still working and just noisy for now.

    How big is this system ? The squirrel cage on my 5 ton Trane system has a noisy bearing. And it has been noisy since we bought the house six years ago. And it is a monster fan too, one foot in diameter and 18 inches tall. I have no idea how big the motor is but it is a low speed fan, maybe 500 to 600 rpm. I suspect that it is an efficiency thing since the system is rated 16 SEER.

  23. ITGuy1998 says:

    Today was productive. We have one sprinkler zone that isn’t used – was put in for flower beds that we decided not to do. Last week I started digging to find where the lines ran so I could reroute to the raised bed. Today I found the main trunk line, cut it, and connected a new line that runs to the bed. Tomorrow, we will plant the first batch of vegetables and I’ll get the drip irrigation installed.

    I have to move one yard sprinkler because of the raised bed, but luckily it’s in the trench I had to dig to explore. Just need to pick up a longer hose for it and all is well.

    What I’ve learned from this experience is that sprinkler guys don’t put in lines according to logic. It is only by path of least resistance. Where I thought lines would be turned out to not be the case. Now that I’ve figured out their thought process, it actually makes sense – dig as little as possible, even when you are using a trencher.

  24. lynn says:

    @mr. nick, I know how you could be the most amazing dad ever to two little girls:
    https://www.har.com/7218-rustling-oaks-drive/sale_71009323

    Yup, horses !

  25. Nick Flandrey says:

    Well, I got a lot done today, even if it wasn’t high priority.

    Volleyball game.
    Softball game.
    One estate sale, one yard sale, one thrift store.

    Washed 3 vehicles. That took most of the late afternoon.
    Cleaned inside one.

    Unloaded the lighting gear from the pickup used for the Spring Festival last night.

    Restocked kitchen fridge with some items.

    Ate some leftovers.

    Washing the vehicles was way overdue. Between the pollen, pine sap, and grey rain mud, they were all disgusting.

    I’ve got more to do, but if the weather holds, garden is taking priority tomorrow.

    n

  26. Nick Flandrey says:

    Hey Rick, that comment was the second one tonight that gave me a 500 internal server error when I hit post.

    Reloading the page (which resent the data) worked to post the comment each time.

    I never get server errors.

    n

  27. Nick Flandrey says:

    Wow Lynn, that property looks sweet!

    n

  28. Nick Flandrey says:

    “Nah. Just 90% of us. The weak, infirmed, and stupid.”

    –and unlucky.

    n

  29. mediumwave says:

    Replaced the bulb in an outdoor spotlight this evening; was able to keep both feet firmly planted on terra firma while doing so.

    Hey, it’s something! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  30. lynn says:

    “Nah. Just 90% of us. The weak, infirmed, and stupid.”

    –and unlucky.

    True dat.

  31. Rick Hellewell says:

    Regarding garage door springs and replacing them – we’ve had this discussion before – starting here https://www.ttgnet.com/journal/2017/04/25/tuesday-25-april-2017/#comment-125072

    Those over-the-door ones can be deadly. Was worth it to me to let the professionals do it. They replaced both springs, lubed everything, and total cost was $125 including new springs. They did a fine job, only took about an hour (even with me watching).

    @Nick: regarding the 500 errors – I’ve seen a couple today; a reload usually fixes them. I’ll take a peek, but 500 errors are usually server-related, and since we share servers (on DreamHost here), it may not be anything I can do other than complain. But I’ll keep a watchful eye out for them.

  32. Ray Thompson says:

    As a small unscientific test I did a speed test on the WiFi on my iPad. First I used 2.4 MHz and got speeds of about 75 megabits per second. I then switched to 5 MHz and got almost 175 megabits per second. Thus it seems that 5 MHz is much better. There are other WiFi networks in my range while at home.

  33. lynn says:

    “Making video games is not a dream job”
    https://www.osnews.com/story/129758/making-video-games-is-not-a-dream-job/

    Sad but true. The people that I know working in the game industry are always performing deathmarches.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_march_(project_management)

  34. Greg Norton says:

    “Nah. Just 90% of us. The weak, infirmed, and stupid.”

    –and unlucky.

    I wouldn’t count on humanity surviving beyond a generation or two after grid down. 70 years tops.

    I’m already annoyed with the way people are dishonest with my wife, hedging their bets that they will need a favor when the healthcare racket fails them. One uncle who hadn’t spoken to us in 15 years reached out last week for help getting his kid admitted to medical school on the basis of “family”?

  35. Greg Norton says:

    Sad but true. The people that I know working in the game industry are always performing deathmarches.

    Managers never run out of the young, stupid, and marginally qualified looking to prove that their failing grade in Calc I was a fluke.

  36. Nick Flandrey says:

    @greg, you mean WESTERN humanity?

    Nothing significant will change in africa, the jungles, or deep china and india. HUGE die off in the cities in China and India, but the rest?

    n

  37. Nick Flandrey says:

    When I started work for BigCorp, they were involved in their first real ‘design build’ project. The subject matter expert was running the install and field work, and was PROUD of pulling all-nighters.

    I was very vocal and derisive that pulling an all-nighter is a MANAGEMENTt FAILURE not a badge of honor.

    Under my lead, we had to work long hours due to understaffing and over-promising and half-baked product, but we went home and slept. (exception was a couple of overseas sh!tshows, where the nature of the problems was hidden from us and return tickets had already been purchased. Still a failure, not something to celebrate.)

    n

  38. Greg Norton says:

    Nothing significant will change in africa, the jungles, or deep china and india. HUGE die off in the cities in China and India, but the rest?

    Is any part of humanity truly isolated anymore? Even infrequent contact?

    I saw a story last week that the Brazilian government was attempting to reach an isolated pair of stone age tribes who were preparing for war against each other out of concern that the violence would spread into encroaching civilization.

  39. Greg Norton says:

    When I started work for BigCorp, they were involved in their first real ‘design build’ project. The subject matter expert was running the install and field work, and was PROUD of pulling all-nighters.

    If it was a big blue corp in the last 30 year, I doubt the subject matter expert was where the expertise to get things done really resided. Some junior employee was doing the real work while the SME sat on a conference call monitoring that the underling didn’t head off to bed.

    My generation really got hosed being stuck between Boomer managers and their equally ambitious weasel-like offspring.

  40. Nick Flandrey says:

    ” I doubt the subject matter expert was where the expertise to get things done really resided.”

    This, in spades. NO WAY should he have been in the field, or anywhere near a work crew.

    To make it worse, he was self taught, and very insecure, so he hoarded knowledge. He also had big gaps in his general (and industry) knowledge that he was blind to. Management at that time also was clueless about actual work, and what it took to get the neat idea built in the real world, by ordinary people.

    n

  41. Nick Flandrey says:

    @greg, they may not be isolated, but most of rural africa can go back to where they were, and get along just fine with minimal first world inputs.

    Rural china same same. No direct experience with rural india, but no reason to expect the peasants there wouldn’t return to peasant life. They aren’t too far removed from it now.

    n

  42. lynn says:

    There has only been electricity generally available in the rural USA since the 1940s and 1950s. Not even 100 years.

  43. Nick Flandrey says:

    yes, but, the infrastructure that supported rural america no longer exists. Africa never had any, so they won’t miss it.

    n

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