Fri. July 12, 2019 – community involvement, you need it

82F and 88%RH and I believe it. Last night was like a wet blanket when I let the dog out. The radar clearly shows rotating storm in the gulf. Last night it was round, today it looks a bit squashed, but still clear rotation. New Orleans looks like it is still getting the brunt of the storm, although I haven’t gone looking for pictures or reports.

Community. Sometimes used in the sense of ‘a group of people that share similar interests and concerns’ (which is us by the way) and sometimes used in the sense of ‘the area we live in, and the people around us, who share some common needs or concerns based on our colocation’, the word and ideas are increasingly showing up in discussions about surviving what’s coming.

For years I lived here but didn’t engage at ALL with the community. Then we had kids in school. As the kids went out into the world, so my awareness and involvement expanded. Meatspace. Another idea, related, but a bit more brutal when distinguishing between our communities of interest, our voluntary communities, and the real world around us. (Meatspace baby, being the admonition to get out and engage that world around you, with the added idea that it will be very important soon (from WRSA)).

I took the admonition to heart and started engaging. I went to the PTA meetings, the school festivals (and volunteered for them and with the kids in the classrooms.) I went to the community meetings for our Capital Improvement Plan to learn what TPTB had in mind for our area physically. I went to the community meetings about crime, and the Positive Interaction Program with HPD where they shared some of the threats in our neighborhood and what they were doing about them. I talked with our City Councilwoman, listened to the Mayor, the city engineers, our local cops. I took the classes offered by our local police, first the Constable’s Office, and now the Houston PD. I learned to listen to the scanner to get more information (more accurately ‘data’) about what police ops were going on around me. And last night, I had a continuing education class with HPD specifically because of my previous classes (they are learning about you during those classes too.)

Since engaging with the community, I’ve learned a LOT more about the true state of my surroundings. I’ve learned about how our local politicians will be spending money in our area, about how much they care about US vs others. I’ve learned about some heinous crimes against children not two miles from home from our Councilwoman. I’ve learned from the scanner about major drug dealing in the surrounding area, about a known drug house in our neighborhood, and about the sort of people living in and around our neighborhood, specifically down to apartment complexes.

I’ve learned a bit about how the people policing our area think, what techniques and equipment they can use, what works for them and what doesn’t, and about their politics and loyalties. I’ve got personal contact info from some, and carry several business cards that might give someone going through my wallet on the roadside pause. I’ve got official ID, identifying me as a CERT member (an actual thing in our EMgmt structure) which puts me into an official chain of command. I’ve got ID from two of our main police forces, and while it clearly says I’m a civilian, it also says I’m a friendly, and supportive, and have been investigated/vetted/cleared. That opened up more opportunities to learn and participate in things not available to the general public.

Last night I learned a lot more about one of the scourges that plague mankind since, well, forever- slavery. It’s alive and well, still generating misery and money, and it’s happening in normal looking houses less than 3 miles from my home. I can almost guarantee it’s happening within 10 miles of where YOU live, whether it’s a worker in an ethnic restaurant, a massage parlor, or a truck stop, or a no tell motel near the freeway, or that apartment complex down the street. It’s being done by the same cast of characters as the illicit drug trade, and is expanding along with the illegal alien invasion. The organized cartels can move people or things, as long as they get paid (and can sample the goods) they don’t care what or who they move.

These are the people who you are stuck with when the sh!t gets real- the people already around you. And in the mean time, these are the people who will determine if you get new streets, increased policing, beautification projects, or any of the other benefits of civilization. They determine how the kids get educated. The other side, these are the people who will be looking at your stuff, deciding what to take- and that includes your wife and kids. These are the people who occupy the same space as us but whose worlds rarely intersect ours. Most of the time, that intersection won’t be to your benefit.

Get to know what is really going on around you. NOTICE things. Who are the homeless in your area? Where do they hang out? Any changes in that population? What areas around you are notorious with law enforcement? What are active nuisances? Who is just hanging out on a corner, minding his own business (the most dangerous thing in america- SOCMOB – almost always where they were just before getting shot and going to the ER.) Where are the murders? The prostitutes? Fights and drunkenness? Areas of lawlessness aren’t going to get BETTER as things around us get worse.

Meatspace baby. It’s where you LIVE and it needs more attention than you are probably giving it.

nick

35 thoughts on “Fri. July 12, 2019 – community involvement, you need it”

  1. Nick

    Meatspace baby

    GREAT ADVICE
    We are moving to a tiny town but it’s still the county seat of Seminole county. One of the first things I plan to do is introduce myself to the local police and county sheriff, looking for opportunities in Meatspace. Being in the county seat, I can walk to all the county meetings from my new home. Top of the list.

    Update: What type of police scanner do you use/recommend?

  2. When I moved into my home in March 1988 I put some stuff out on the end of the driveway for pickup. This is the first day I was there, had not spent one night. Within two hours I got a phone call. They called me by name and asked if they could have the stuff I put on the end of the driveway.

    So in less than two hours the had my name and phone number. Little too mosey for my comfort.

  3. When I moved into my home in March 1988 I put some stuff out on the end of the driveway for pickup. This is the first day I was there, had not spent one night. Within two hours I got a phone call. They called me by name and asked if they could have the stuff I put on the end of the driveway.

    When we lived in WA State, I received several inquiries about buying our vacant Florida property via home phone (unlisted), personal cell (ditto), and att.net email. I have no idea as to how they got those except for the essentially extortionary phone call I received from a person who worked in the Property Appraiser’s office.

    “I will give you [value of property/2] for the lot if you’re interested in selling.”

    “Oh, come on, you assess the lot at [value of property].”

    “Well, you aren’t homesteaded. That appraisal for tax purposes could double. You never know.”

    “Ok, well, I’ll take my chances. The land is vacant and lacks county utilites. Even if the taxes double, it would require 30 years for me to lose enough to consider your offer.”

    Before anyone asks, no, I didn’t. African American female in Tampa/Hillsborough County civil service — I would be wasting my time filing a complaint.

  4. Plugs: “I promise Global summit on democracy. I respect no borders.” He just lost any Independents. Global summit on democracy? What planet is he from? There are a shit ton on non-democratic countries out there. What a dooshnozzle! But, I bet, if he gets the nomination, there will be many, many flip-flops.

  5. But, I bet, if he gets the nomination, there will be many, many flip-flops.

    The cocktail watiress’ handlers have her playing the race card. Plugs, Stretch, Schumer, and the other Dem old guard have more of a problem on their hands dealing with her in Congress than Trump does right now.

    Heck, Plugs probably wants to have a go at the cocktail waitress himself. He has nothing to lose since he’ll be done by September.

  6. Before anyone asks, no, I didn’t. African American female in Tampa/Hillsborough County civil service — I would be wasting my time filing a complaint.

    Weren’t you making an unwarranted assumption–that it was female, I mean? 😉

  7. _Armada_ by Ernest Cline
    https://www.amazon.com/Armada-Ernest-Cline/dp/1984823159/?tag=ttgnet-20

    A singular space opera first contact book, no prequel or sequel that I know of. I am fairly sure that this book would not have received the attention that it has except due to first book written by Cline, _Ready Player One_. Apparently the book has been converted to a screenplay and is in development to be made into a movie. There will be much CGI !

    I really enjoyed this book. Pulpy space opera is the best ! The book is a curious amalgamation and tribute to _The Last Starfighter_, _Contact_, _Ender’s Game_, and a few other SF hits. I liked the ending but many other reviewers did not.

    My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    Amazon rating: 3.7 out of 5 stars (2,560 reviews)

  8. From @nick yesterday:

    There are two different things, one being the sex trafficking, the other forced labor. They are really both forced labor, and are in fact slavery. Several of the PSA type videos they showed us made that point, “Human trafficking is modern slavery”.

    Human trafficking is not the same as human smuggling, which is a different crime. Smuggling involves crossing a border, and can BECOME trafficking (like when the coyotes decide you need to give them more money to ‘pay off your debt’, in addition to whatever you thought you’d already committed to.) That’s what was going on a few miles from my house in this story —

    https://abc13.com/18-kidnapping-victims-found-enslaved-inside-home-hpd/5369918/

    https://www.houstontx.gov/police/nr/2019/jun/nr190628-3.htm

    I had a very curious incident happen about 7 years ago. I was working in my office at my office about 6pm when somebody rang the front door bell. I went up to the front and met a young lady with a 12 month old baby in a stroller. It was a nice July ??? day and there was no car outside. I invited her inside to the air conditioning and she said that she had walked a mile pushing the stroller from the subdivision down the way from us. She had even pushed the stroller across the front five acres seeing that our roads were gravel. I gave her some cold water which she shared with the baby and then asked what she needed.

    She replied that she had called a cab to take her to a nearby hotel but it had not arrived. I showed her how to use the phone and she called the cab company again. They said that they would be here in a hour or two. She hung up and I said that I could take her to the hotel, it was only five miles away. I asked what was going on and she said that she had come from Australia six ??? months before and hired as a personal assistant for a family in the neighborhood.

    When she arrived from Australia, the mother told her to send the baby back to Australia which she refused to do. So that was a point of constant conflict. She was not paid like she was promised as they said that food and lodging for her and the baby was enough pay. Etc, etc, etc.

    Anyway, I took her and the baby to the hotel and that was the last of it. She said that she had enough money to pay for the hotel and to get a ride to the airport to go back to Australia. I offered her some money but she refused it. I have no idea what happened after I dropped her off.

  9. Stopping to pay our power bill at HEB, I noticed the news chron on their in-store video feed had a story about the hurricane affecting oil production in the Gulf, with half the rigs shut down.

    The media want a gas shortage story so bad they can taste it. Clear Channel took one for the team last time, but it is someone else’s turn.

    I suggest that they careful what they wish for. New Orleans is a major transit point for gas headed to Central Florida and Disney World.

  10. I asked what was going on and she said that she had come from Australia six ??? months before and hired as a personal assistant for a family in the neighborhood.

    We have an employee in our testing group who did the story in reverse, US to Australia on a whim. Something bad happened there and she had to return home in a hurry. It wasn’t poverty but adventure — good home, wealthy parents, high education (MechE from a “public ivy”), and, afterwards, flunked out of grad school at TAMU before ending up with us.

    I find the story fascinating because my wife and I never had parental backup to the point that we would get help out of a jam requiring significant expenditures (thousands of dollars) in cash. And, for the record, I had a 3.79 GPA with the full class load done when I dropped out of my first grad program.

    I’m guessing the girl who showed up at your door was working for an Arab couple or wealthy Asians. That isn’t an unfamiliar story. Lots of “human trafficking” happens at that informal level in the US. My father-in-law’s Thai girlfriend (the nurse who arguably later killed him for the insurance) talked about keeping her imported nannies locked up at night “so they wouldn’t steal”.

  11. I’m guessing the girl who showed up at your door was working for an Arab couple or wealthy Asians. That isn’t an unfamiliar story. Lots of “human trafficking” happens at that informal level in the US. My father-in-law’s Thai girlfriend (the nurse who arguably later killed him for the insurance) talked about keeping her imported nannies locked up at night “so they wouldn’t steal”.

    She said that they were from India.

  12. She said that they were from India.

    Not surprised. Dishonesty seems deeply ingrained in that culture. What’s a little human trafficking, especially if the trafficked is white?

    (Hindu is a superior level of life on the reincarnation ladder. If you are not Hindu, they feel sorry for you. I’m not kidding.)

    My grad school experience is a much flogged expired equine.

  13. “It’s part of a bigger push to get rid of passwords”

    This may not be a good idea.

    I don’t let my Windows 10 laptop associate with any online accounts. Lately, it has been really insistent that I give it a password to my Microsoft login, but I ignore the requests.

    I wonder how long I can avoid providing it with the login.

  14. Currently at the son’s house. My old ZTR mower which I gave to him threw the drive belt. Ordered new belt, idler pulley, mower deck blades, and mower deck belt. Got everything replaced except for the drive belt. The mower deck clutch must be removed to replace the drive belt. There is a bolt on the bottom of the crankshaft that holds the assembly. That bolt is not budging.

    Soaked in penetrating oil. Impact wrench (air powered not very powerful, not enough pressure or big enough impact driver). Used the DeWalt impact driver (mainly for fasteners but thought I would try). Blocked the bolt on the top of the crankshaft, nope, top bolt came loose. Who knew sockets got hot from the impact force.

    Plan is tomorrow to go to AutoZone as I need some strong steel wire to reinstall the tension spring. Then see if they have an electric, or even air, impact tool that can be rented/borrowed. Will also need to get a couple of impact sockets as using regular sockets will destroy them with a stronger tool.

    Failing that we will reinstall the used belt and lick our wounds.

  15. The media want a gas shortage story so bad they can taste it. Clear Channel took one for the team last time, but it is someone else’s turn.

    I suggest that they careful what they wish for. New Orleans is a major transit point for gas headed to Central Florida and Disney World.

    The local media is flogging the storm for all it’s worth:

    https://wwl.radio.com/categories/local-news

    I turned on the TV around 2:00 PM just to see what’s what. There was maybe ten minutes of actual news about Barry. The balance of the half hour that I could stand to watch was filled with nannyism and fear-mongering.

    Having lived through both Betsy and Katrina, I take my hurricanes very seriously. Unless Barry suddenly and dramatically intensifies, it’s not worth the hype.

  16. @lynn, that is human trafficking. If she was reluctant to do anything about it, it’s probably because she wasn’t on the right visa.

    WRT MS and passwords, they really want to unify everything behind their one password. It seems like a really bad idea to me. I’ve resisted, except with the xbox, and that saga was so messed up I still haven’t gotten it straightened out completely.

    n

  17. WRT MS and passwords, they really want to unify everything behind their one password.

    As much as I despise the concept of Slack as a multi-billion dollar company, I’m more worried by the latest post-IPO meme pushed by Weggener-Edstrom in various forums this week “Microsoft Teams is better than Slack — check it out”.

    Our IT people got bit by the meme this week. We’ve been through three group chat systems in the 18 months I’ve worked there. We may be about to adopt #4.

    Either way, Teams or Slack, we’re screwed. If the monetary price is free …

  18. @lynn, that is human trafficking. If she was reluctant to do anything about it, it’s probably because she wasn’t on the right visa.

    Yup. I got the impression that she was here on a tourist visa, not a work visa. It was definitely a weird situation that she was desperate to walk a mile+ in the July heat with her baby in a stroller to get to somewhere that she could call for transport.

  19. Also went to the VA facility in Murfreesboro to see about getting hearing aids. Place is really large and was quite busy. Saw the audiologist and decided on a type of hearing aid. It will go behind the ear with a small tube entering the ear from the top. Comes in many colors, chose silver to match my hair which is basically over my ears. Should be hidden nicely.

    Device will be fitted on October 28 which is the earliest date. At that time the VA will make a mold of my ear canal and create the device to attach to the tube and go into the ear. The device will be controlled by an app on my iPhone. Batteries last about a week and the VA pays for all the batteries. I asked about rechargeable but those units were larger.

    The VA provides top notch hearing aids, some of the best on the market. I will also get a new device every two years at no cost to me.

    Getting old sucks and it is time to admit that my hearing is getting really bad, as was indicated on the chart. High frequency above 10KHZ is almost completely gone and above 5KHZ starts dropping off sharply. Anything above 15K will not be helped by the hearing aid.

    Had to drive the 143 miles to Murfreesboro as the closest office in Knoxville would not see me until September with a six month wait for devices. Murfreesboro has a shorter time to get the device. The VA will pay me mileage of $0.415 for the trip so not too bad.

  20. “The VA provides top notch hearing aids, some of the best on the market. I will also get a new device every two years at no cost to me.”

    That was not my dad’s experience. The VA’s hearing aids were decidedly behind the standard, and did very little for him but squeal with feedback. I took Jerry Pournelle’s advice and sent him to Costco. He got the second best digital set they had, had the curves programmed, and for the first time in years initiated conversations with those around him. They worked great until the end. I have one unit but between the EMTs and mortuary, one got lost.

    I donated his old set to the Lions Club. In Indiana they collect glasses and hearing aids to provide for the needy.

    n

  21. Ray: re hearing aids
    I got mine 5 years ago to compensate for my horrible high frequency loss. I got the behind the ear type too. Works wonders. You will find that one ear may suddenly go silent, its usually due to wax blocking the tube. They will teach how to replace the wax filter. After all this time I still find it startling when a disembodied voice whispers “battery low” in my ear. There are new units that connect to bluetooth devices but my employer insurance won’t cover that. Good luck.

    Update: Mine are bright red so they’re easy for me to find on the counter.

  22. Not in India or far away…

    “Carjacker, 54, who stole vehicle with three children inside is chased down and beaten to DEATH by angry mob ‘including the kids’ father’

    A woman, 25, visited the pizza store where her boyfriend worked in Philadelphia
    She left the car running outside the restaurant and a 54-year-old suspect stole it and drove off for about a mile-and-a-half with their children inside
    He got caught in traffic and the parents pursued him and took him out of the car
    A confrontation ensued and the man tried to flee before other men from the neighborhood allegedly punched and kicked him unconscious
    He died in hospital and police say it’s not currently clear if charges will be filed”

    And in Florida…

    “Retired Florida police officer flashes his old badge to scare off two AK-47-wielding thieves who tried to steal his Chevy Corvette

    Two men wielding AK-47 assault rifles attempted to carjack a man behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Corvette in a parking lot in Lakeland Florida
    The driver of the sports car pulled into the lot outside of Ben’s Paint Supply when suddenly two masked men ran up to his window, brandishing the rifles
    The driver of the Corvette, however, stayed calm and didn’t get out of the car
    A retired police officer, the unnamed driver then flashed his police badge at the thieves prompting them to run off and drive away from the scene at speed
    Nobody was injured in the ordeal, but officers from the Lakeland PD say they’re still on the hunt for the two suspects and have asked the public for help ”

    AKs, in broad daylight.

    n

  23. Kid’s hamster died. Had a good life and lasted a few extra months over the average with no signs of illness or deterioration. Daughter is quite upset as it’s her first pet. She’s worried she did something to kill it. Just old age apparently though. Burial will be tomorrow with full hamsterly honors. From my point of view, it’s far better today than next week while the kids are away at camp.

    File this under things I never thought I’d be doing…

    n

  24. Ray, you probably need heat to loosen that bolt. My only experience is with an acetylene torch, but propane might work. Never tried MAPP. The idea is to quickly heat just the bolt. Apply loosening force as it cools. Counterintuitive.

    Careful with the impact tool: it is easy to break the bolt. BUT, impact is safer than steady torque. Also counterintuitive.

    Another old trick is to hit the bolt head straight on with a light hammer. That sometimes helps break the rust bonds. An air hammer set on low is even better.

    Aero Kroil is a very good rust busting penetrant, but hard to find. Break Free CLP is OK. Some swear by acetone and ATF, but I have never tried it.

    Of course, you already knew all of this, but frustration sometimes helps me forget. I am gaining back some unfrustrated wits each year I am away from rust country.

  25. Burial will be tomorrow with full hamsterly honors.

    That’s important. The first time we lost a pet, we also had a ceremony and burial in the garden with the kids. I do believe it helps them learn to process and accept death. Which unfortunately does become an essential life skill, especially as one gets older :-/

    Overly tight bolts: I was trying to remove the blade on our lawn mover, so I could sharpen it. In the Spring, the lawn is full of the old nut shells falling off the beach tree, and they had taken the edge off. I had to give up before I broke something – I just did the best I could with the blade in place. I’ll let the professionals argue with it over the winter.


  26. That was not my dad’s experience. The VA’s hearing aids were decidedly behind the standard

    Apparently things have changed. My research on the web seems to indicate low quality is not what the VA is providing. The unit I was shown appears to be close, if not, state of the art. It was very small, about an inch long, and 1/4″ wide at the widest and even less depth. The unit that I am getting is bluetooth enabled and will be controllable from an app on my iPhone. Batteries last about a week which indicates newer low power technology.

    Squealing is the result of feedback and that would be from an ill fitting earpiece. That fitting I have no experience with so will see how that goes.

    sent him to Costco

    That echoes what others have stated. Get the information from audiologist and then head to Costco. Good prices, good products and good service.

    compensate for my horrible high frequency loss

    That is the same problem that I am experiencing, terrible high frequency loss. As in according to the audiologist, profound, bottom of the chart. I already knew what was confirmed.

    Mine are bright red so they’re easy for me to find

    That had not occurred to me. It was surprising the range of colors that can be obtained. They also have difference curves to accommodate different ear shapes.

    Burial will be tomorrow with full hamsterly honors

    Will that include a 21 “pellet” salute.

    you probably need heat to loosen that bolt

    I had thought about doing that. But I am not certain about the tempering on the bolt and the shaft and don’t want to disturb. The shaft is actually the crankshaft extending out of the engine block. I am also close to the blade clutch and would be concerned about possibly burning some wire or something.

    it is easy to break the bolt

    That thought has occurred to me and is a large concern. If I did that I would need professional help to get the bolt out and it is the crankshaft from the engine.

    The old belt is still intact, some wear, just jumped the pulley. Don’t know why. May have been a stick. The belt is back on the pulley and just needs the tension spring reattached. So I may just leave the belt and wait until it actually breaks before replacing.

  27. These people are absolute loons. When AOC becomes president in 2025, we may be in for a problem or five thousand as she destabilizes every system in the USA.

    You mean Chakrabati, the chief of staff, destabilizes every system in the USA.

    The cocktail waitress won’t survive redistricting. And, after this week, Pelosi will slip money to a primary challenger for next year.

    The theory I’ve seen lately in various outlets is that the real goal of the crazy stunts is a permanent chair on “The View”.

  28. I don’t think that they think the stunts are stunts or crazy. Some time ago we had a discussion about manias sweeping across the country. I think she and her supporters are caught up in a mania.

    They usually end with peoples’ lives in ruins.

    n

  29. That was not my dad’s experience. The VA’s hearing aids were decidedly behind the standard, and did very little for him but squeal with feedback.

    My wife’s job provides a first hand look at the problems in the VA.

    From what I’ve heard, the biggest problem is that the Iron Law is firmly ensconced there.

    Also, way too many ex-military people in the organization don’t have an “off” switch. I see that where I work. Way too much time and energy is devoted to teaching life lessons and “who’s the boss” instead of getting a job done.

    People can quit a civilian job if the superior is “Colonel Bat Guano” crazy.

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