Tues. Sept. 10, 2019 – just a day, before the world turned upside down

76F and 98%RH at 6am.  It did get hot yesterday, but not quite as hot as the day before.  We might really be on the road to Fall.

The anniversary of the murderous attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon should remind us – everything is going along as normal, until it isn’t.  No one woke up thinking the world and the country and the lives of thousands of people would change that day.

Nothing ever changes, until it does.


Keep stacking.



Mon. Sept. 9, 2019 – gonna be a long slog for the Bahamas

Cooler and humid.  Hot later.  ‘Cuz that’s how we roll…. [79F and 89%RH at 845am with mixed clouds and overcast, sprinkle of rain earlier]

I put up a link to some of the video finally coming out of the Bahamas in comments yesterday.   In areas that were hard hit, there’s very little salvageable left.  There’s almost no where to stand to use the lever either…*

My goals for this week involve more rotation of my secondary location, finally getting my primary garage storage sorted out and modified with lessons learned from the rat invasion, and getting more <s>carp</s> er, stuff, out of my driveway and off to auction.  All while trying not to have heat stroke.

Somewhere in there, I need to get the electrician out to hook up the gennie, get some garden stuff done, and get some more antenna work done.  All while gearing up for the Fall holiday schedule and school demands.  Oh, and hopefully ebay sales pick up and I start making money again.  (several small items have sold in the last week, which is encouraging.)

In larger economic news, there is more talk of recession and market flameout in the press.  My personal sense is that the real economy has been in trouble for a long time, didn’t get significantly better, and is in fact bad.

One of my proxies is trade magazines.  I get a bunch of them and they are all getting THIN.  Some are down to almost pamphlet sized, 32 pages.  These were all bound volumes during better times.  Even Machine Design and EC&M are thin shadows of themselves.  Machine Design was always the fattest (and most general interest) of them all.  One other indicator is in bad times, you get solicited for new trade mags.  IE, the publishers of mags you get start trying to increase their subscription base, pushing mags that are only marginally or even not at all relevant to their existing subscribers.  I got a bunch of new .mil, defense, and aerospace mags this month.   I love it because it gives me a window into places I wouldn’t normally be able to see.

Another proxy is getting emails or calls from businesses I haven’t had contact with in YEARS, possibly even a decade or more.  Suddenly, they are mining their old email lists trying to drum up new business.  When times are good, they’ve got enough customers as is, when times are bad, they start reaching deep looking for more.

Closer to home, thanks to Rick for modernizing some things around here, without changing too much.  Anything that helps Rick to maintain this place is a Good Thing ™, and anything that keeps him engaged is also a Good Thing.  I certainly can’t do what he does, and appreciate his efforts.

Thanks also to a couple of new commentors, and people who have commented after a long period of silence.  It is the commentariat and the community here that make this place what it is.  Hearing from someone new, or an infrequent commentor helps me ‘keep the faith’ that this is more than just an echo chamber of and for grumpy old men.

With that, I better get my day started.





*”give me a lever long enough and a place to stand, and I’ll move the world…”

Sun. Sept. 8, 2019 – Dorian did some damage…

76F and 99%RH at 830am.  That’s pretty cool, and means we may have turned the corner into Fall.

Even a cat1 hurricane will wipe your community off the map if you’re not built for it.  Cat5?  Well, we live in an age of outrage over the tiniest slight, the 24/7 news cycle, and the amplifying power of social media.  Doesn’t mean that SCIENCE is nothing but exaggeration.  F4, richter scale, cat scale-all defined by stoic guys in lab coats long ago.



Talking with the kids and looking at the headlines from the Bahamas, (which we’ll see for one or two more days, then they’ll get a handle on the press), oldest asked where the preps would be to keep them safe if we lived there.  I told her we’d prep differently if we lived there because the threats are different.  We’d have evacuated.

Take a few minutes to REALLY think through what Abaco is like right now, and in two weeks.  Those people aren’t able to go anywhere.  There is NOTHING there for them.  Imagine a city with all the bridges destroyed, and no power or water.  Lots of cities in the US are essentially islands.

Add people in the surrounding area shooting any infected trying to leave as a plague takes the city.

[Insert clever segue]  to ebola– not an omnibus, but just a few quick headlines from allafrica.com

Why is that important


It’s still spreading.

9-Year-Old Tests Positive For Ebola in Uganda

“The health ministry has confirmed that the blood sample of a 9-year-old Congolese girl was drawn and sent to the Uganda Virus Research Institute for testing and confirmed positive for Ebola virus on August 29. In July following the completion of the recommended 42 days without any new Ebola case since the first Ebola cases in June, Uganda had been declared Ebola-free by the World Health Organisation.”

–US airports are hiring ebola screeners.

–Africans are showing up in the border crossers from Mexico

and now I’ve got to make some waffles, because life needs to go on.





Sat. Sept. 7, 2019 – I’m up, I’m up, leave me alone, I’m up!

77F and 97%RH this fine am. Probably from the overcast. Got plenty hot yesterday by afternoon.

There are experts who say you can’t ‘catch up’ on sleep. They’re wrong. Oh so wrong.

The dreams were unpleasant, mainly because they involved me doing my old job. I really don’t want to do it again, but I find myself having dreams about it. Bah, the money was terrible when it wasn’t great, the hours were long when they weren’t super short, and you only get ONE chance to get it right each time, but you’ll get another chance tomorrow.

Normal weekend stuff for me today and tomorrow. Some kid stuff involving me as chauffeur, and lots of yard work.

I’ve lollygagged around enough, I better get moving . . .


Fri. Sept. 6, 2019 – you are not alone…

Cooler, but humid.  [75F and 96%RH]  End of summer weather in Houston. Super hot by late afternoon though, hit 109F in my driveway yesterday.

Dorian continues to wreak havoc and destruction as it heads up the coast. The pictures out of the Bahamas are of devastation. 70K displaced people is a LOT for that area.


As it turns out, FEMA tracks preparedness in the general population, and it has been increasing.

This graphic summarizes the 2018 survey results compared to 2017.


“Estimates from the 2018 NHS suggest that an increasing percentage of the American public are actively preparing for disasters.

57% percent have taken three or more basic actions to prepare. That’s eleven percentage points higher than last year’s estimate.
94% percent have taken at least one action to prepare.
67% percent of adults have set aside some money for an emergency, although most have set aside less than $500.
When focusing on areas at higher risk of certain disasters, residents in areas at risk for hurricanes are most likely to have taken preparedness actions.”

You can read the story yourself at https://community.fema.gov/story/FEMA-Releases-2018-National-Household-Survey-Results-on-Individual-and-Community-Preparedness?lang=en_US

Prepping is going mainstream. There may be hope yet.


Thur. Sept. 5, 2019 – still tearing up the coast…

Cooler but still humid. [74F and 97%RH at 6am]

Spent yesterday picking stuff up, and dropping it off.  I expect to do the same today.  I’m sore, dehydrated, and mildly sunburned.  No sir, I don’t like it.

Dorian is still making trouble, and for people who didn’t really expect it.  Preps people, you never know when it will hook north…

Speaking of preps, I forgot to mention that Taco Tuesday consisted of canned chicken from Costco, with a 2015 date, a pouch of chicken taco mix (in date), and a variety of sides and fixins.  The “Mexican Rice” was 2014, and tasted great.  Cool and dry seems to be the key.

Tonight was leftovers and included chunks of my failed pork roast, served as an open face sandwich and smothered in “Pork” gravy from a mix.  I didn’t look at a date on the mix, but it wasn’t yesterday….  I stock a large variety of gravy mixes, and large quantity too.  They are cheap, versatile, and even if you wouldn’t normally eat gravy from an envelope mix, they add variety and options to otherwise plain meals.  Add gravy to instant mashed potatoes, rice, or pasta for a better/different side.  They keep well and are easy to prepare, and will extend your staple foods if needed.  The kids loved the gravy and pork (which was very dry otherwise) getting seconds and thirds.  Success.

Between the holiday and all the running around doing pickups and dropoffs, I’m not getting much else done.  The garden prep work needs to be started, and some other home maintenance needs doing too.  No rest for the wicked I guess.

And on that note, I’ll schedule this and head for bed.


Wed. Sept. 4, 2019 – Fla. dodged a bullet, mostly

slightly cooler, but just as humid…

More running around today, picking up and delivering auction items. Ham radio group lunch in the middle, and I sorta promised to bring a couple of things for guys in the group… I hope I can make time in the middle of the day.

The Bahamas got hammered, but Florida has mostly been spared to date. I won’t count all the chicks until Dorian hooks out and heads east across the Atlantic. The pictures from the Bahamas should give everyone who thinks they can “ride out” a cat5 storm pause. You better be pretty confident in your location, and construction and maintenance… and have a plan for the recovery.

Which brings up a good point. Most people have at least a vague plan for bugging out or in, but how many have a plan for the aftermath and recovery? Our government has conveniently provided a disaster ‘framework’ that describes the steps,


and the structure of what ‘recovery’ phase should look like.

I’m not suggesting that their doc is particularly useful, beyond knowing what they have planned for you, but the IDEA of a recovery phase is one worth considering.

We have at least a few contributors here who are still in various parts of the recovery phase from their disasters. If anyone wants to share their story, whether they had any ideas or plans for recovery, and how that worked or didn’t work, either make a long comment here, or email me a long form post, and I’ll promote it to it’s own page.

Something to think about…


Tues. Sept. 3, 2019 – hurricanes are no joke

Slightly cooler, but humid. [76F and 83%RH at 6am]

Spent yesterday at the beach, which was surreal considering what was going on east of us.  The beaches were mostly empty too, to my surprise.

The pictures and video that are coming out of the Bahamas are shocking.   It’s been a while since we had good video of such a devastating storm.  Waves washing the second story windows should convince anyone that evacuation is the better part of valor, if that’s what you might be facing.

There are reports of “price gouging” coming out of Fla.  I’m of the opinion that laws prohibiting charging more than the usual rate when un-usual events are happening are un-American and counter productive.   Let the business earn the opprobrium if that’s what people decide is fair.  Otherwise, let those without the ability to plan pay those who have the ability for the privilege of their ignorance and lack of self control.

Complaining about expensive bottled water WHEN IT’S COMING OUT OF YOUR TAP is about as stupid as stupid gets.  Gas is a <i>bit</i> different, as it can be difficult to store safely, but if you are motivated you can do so.  I did, and do.  If it’s a priority, you will find a way to do it.  If it’s not, then you will pay the tax.

If there are any new readers, let me point out that I live in a hurricane zone, have been through several, and THAT’S WHY I PREP.

Read through anything tagged with prepping related tags.  Read the comments.  Learn it for next time, as there will surely be a next time.

Also, accept that there are some things that are out of your control and you will just have to deal with them as best you can.  That’s another good reason to have resources set aside, so you can adapt.

Speaking of which… my mom decided that the best thing to do was fly into Florida EARLY this year.  She’s in Sarasota as of YESTERDAY, so should be ok unless things go very wrong with the storm track.   However, I’m reaching out to MY resources, with a ‘heads up’ that I might need some sort of help in that regard if things go pear shaped.  She doesn’t “believe” in preparedness of any sort and so I find myself in the (not completely unusual) position of having a loved one firmly in my darwin column, and yet I can’t actually leave her there if push comes to shove.  I hope to convince her to do her shopping today, and to pick up some extra, if it’s even available.  (FWIW, I was under the impression that her flight would be canceled and she’d stay safely in Chicago, I was shocked to get her text that she had landed in Sarasota.  No idea what she was thinking.)

If you are in the threatened area, please take what time you have and do what is needed to ensure you have the best chance at safety.  If you are not directly threatened by this storm, take it as a warning- there will be other storms, quakes, floods, tornadoes, riots, pipeline explosions, derailments, plagues, and pestilence.   Get prepped.



added-  looks like Dorian has started to turn north.  That is good news for Florida but it’s still gonna be a mess up the coast and central regions.  Freaking thing sat for 40 hours on the Bahamas.  That is nuts.

Mon. Sept. 2, 2019 – life’s a beach

Cooler I hope, but probably maxed humidity…

Don’t know how much time I’ll have in the morning so I’m writing this Sunday night. Despite all good sense to the contrary, I’ll be going with the family, and a couple of extra 10 year old girls to the beach. Yep. Avoid crowds. Not me. I’m going to join 10s of thousands of others at the beach, on the last holiday of summer. ‘cuz reasons.  Oh, and while a hurricane is pummeling beaches just a bit to the east…

I’ll be able to test the site’s new features from my phone, so I guess that’ll be a plus.

I do get to bring some kites. With wind predicted to be 10-15 knots, I should be able to get a couple of the new big ones up. The breeze is pretty steady on a normal day, and we should be seeing some weather from Dorian, I’d think.

I’ll leave it to others to pontificate on the significance and history of Labor Day, and just note that “Under socialism, every day is labor day for you, comrade.”

Stay safe today if you venture out, keep you eyes open and your faculties about you…


Sun. Sept. 1, 2019 – yikes, we’re headed for fall

Cool and humid, I’m guessing.  [90F in the shade, 100F in the driveway at noon.]

It did get hot yesterday, but locally spotty rain and high winds kept temps down.  It was relatively cool at my secondary location, which gave me a chance to work on restacking stuff that needed restacking.

I found a package of Kirkland AAA batteries, labeled “good til 2023” that all burst and grew big mounds of gunk by their ends.  That will be going back to Costco.  I’m keeping rough track of my spoilage as I go through the stuff I put up in 2014 during Ebola 1.  So far, it’s the batteries and two cases of UHT milk.  The milk is a fairly short lived product, not suited to long term storage.  $36 gone so far.  I put it up for fairly immediate use, and because of the kids, but I haven’t put any milk in long or even medium term storage in a couple years.  I do still have some liter boxes, but they are really only backup for cereal if I miss a trip to the grocery store.  I’ve got Nido powder on the shelf for long term.

I’ve shifted away from the Nestle’ canned “medium table cream” too.  It will turn to a block of cheese-like substance in the can if it sits too long.  I have been stocking powdered cream instead.

I suppose I should count the case of instant mashed potatoes too, since they died in the garage storage.

Maybe I’ll try a carton of hash browns this morning… they are from the same period and are probably high in fat.  High fat items seem to fare the worst.

The prepper bible says ‘store what you eat, eat from your stores’ and that will help you rotate your food.  I’ve known from the beginning that there were items I stored that we do not normally eat, or that we eat in much too small a quantity to ever keep up with the rotation.  Most of those items are shelf stable meals (which are generally horrible tasting) in my ‘medium term’ stores, or bulk items like rice and flour, salt and sugar.  The shelf stable meals aren’t cheap, but they do go on sale.  The flour and rice are  so cheap I don’t mind replacing them (although the totals will add up.)  Salt and sugar don’t go bad if vermin are kept out.

My storage conditions are far from ideal, but having food and getting some spoilage is much preferred to not having food that doesn’t spoil.  So I deal with it and accept that there will be losses.

What isn’t good form is losing track of it.  I’ve got a lot of improperly stored panic buys at my secondary location.  Ebola spooked the heck out of me last time around so I was just throwing food into storage.  I’ll be going through it as I dig it out over the next few weeks.

I’ll be sharing the results so all y’all can benefit too.

And now, I better go cook some breakfast.