Tues. Dec. 17, 2019 – cold front came through

Cold and wet.

That brief thundershower yesterday was the front coming in. It went from 60/70s to mid 40s in a matter of minutes. Then it stayed cold for the rest of the day and night. From 85F to 43F in a day. Welcome to Texas!

Ordered a couple of Victorinox Swiss army knives for my daughters. This will be their first knife, and they’ve passed their girl scout knife unit. I picked the Manager multitool style knife, based on Ferfal’s recommendation. I like it. The only thing I don’t like is the lack of a blade lock. Kinda ironic that I bought two new from amazon, when I’ve got a bag full of knives from the TSA seizure store. But I didn’t grab any like this, and I think that they’ll be well served by a small multi bladed knife.

I’ll be out and about, mostly getting a haircut and finishing up at my customer’s house. It looks like my fixes might have been good…. and I’ll be relocating the tv we removed into the mother in law suite/guest house.

I bought a bunch of stuff at auction this weekend. I need to get it listed. And some of the other stuff that’s been sitting around needs to get photographed and put in storage.

The Christmas decor isn’t quite done either.

Tomorrow, I’ve got my science class in the morning, and my ham lunch, which I’ll try mightily to make. It’s the last of the year for me, and it’s the closest restaurant too.

So much to do before departure… and the kids want to take an afternoon and go shopping for mom….

Gah. I had more time when I was working 80 hrs/week.


Author: Nick Flandrey

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

50 thoughts on “Tues. Dec. 17, 2019 – cold front came through”

  1. That brief thundershower yesterday

    Storm rolled through here about 9:30P just as I was leaving the basketball game. Got soaked walking to the vehicle, a one minute walk. Strong rain and strong blowing rain. Overall this area got 1.5 inches of rain in about two hours.

    Off to get truck tires today. Trying to get wife’s medical history straightened out. Will get a letter from her doctor stating she does not have a heart condition. She was also able to get her “real id” driver’s license. State used the wrong middle name 32 years ago. Thus had to get birth certificate and marriage certificate from the safe deposit box, originals, no copies allowed. Found out the SS card is no good as the middle name is also incorrect. So she is off to get that fixed today. More documents required.

    Lesson learned. Have this stuff verified and correct before the need arises. The medical would not have been possible as it was a surprise to us and we are not certain of the source of the incorrect information. We suspect it was from wife’s insurance coverage was fraudulently used in New Orleans at a hospital. We informed the insurance company about the fraud but apparently the insurance company’s correct only extends to financial, not actual records. Cretins.

  2. Medical info is even worse than credit as it is much more opaque.

    Used to be the MIB, Medical Information Bureau was the only one tracking your medical info across platforms. They were mainly interested in lawsuits and payouts for medical issues. I don’t know if that is true anymore, or if they have changed their name to something more obscure.


  3. Medical Information Bureau was the only one tracking your medical info

    Now it is LexisNexis, an organization that aggregates information from multiple sources. They have a lot of information on people, a lot. Also about any property you have lived on or owned, vehicles owned, insurance claims by you or on any property you have occupied, your driving record, credit history, etc. a lot of data.

    You are allowed by law to get a physical copy of the report each year. What you get is several dozen pieces of paper with mostly indecipherable information presented in such a way to make it difficult to understand. This is intentional. LexisNexis does not want anyone questioning the information they have. If you find something in error getting the organization to correct the information is almost impossible. Once something gets in their database it is difficult to have it removed.

    I tried once to have some incorrect information removed. Their response was to prove it was incorrect. They were asking me to prove a negative. How do you prove you never owned a particular vehicle? How do your prove you were never cited in Montana for a traffic violation? I demanded they provide me the proof and never heard back.

    This company, LexisNexis, is purely evil. More so than the credit reporting agencies.

  4. I think I need a new tag for “so much fail.”


    “A disturbing body camera video has emerged … showing a deputy allegedly blindly shooting into a hotel room and striking an unarmed woman. ”
    ” in search of Resendez’s boyfriend, 19-year-old Arturo Galvan, who was a suspect in an earlier drive-by shooting.”
    “As the door to one room begins opening, Verenzuela fires inside while sprinting past it. ”

    “ABC Action News, which obtained the video, reported that the deputy moved so fast that his camera did not catch a glimpse of the open door. ”

    “police officer shot and killed Resendez’s boyfriend and the father of her four-year-old son, Galvan,”


    So much fail. The deputy shot without knowing his target, or his backstop. They never linked the guy or the woman to the original case, the driveby shooting. Both were unarmed.

    The woman’s age isn’t listed, but she had a 4 yo kid with a NINETEEN yo father. So 15 yo or 14 yo at time of conception.

    So much fail.


  5. MIB is still going strong.


    This is where they came to my attention, there was an article about insurers using mailing lists and magazine subscriptions to determine if a person was a higher risk. In other words, Joe wants life insurance, but he gets Skydiving Today, Rock and Ice, and LowRider magazines, shops at Eastern Mountain Sports, and owns a motorcycle. Joe is not getting a low rate….

    Due to the limited number of MIB codes, MIB’s codes often represent somewhat broad categories of verified medical conditions or other conditions (typically hazardous avocations and adverse driving records). Nevertheless, these codes are very effective for highlighting medical impairments or avocational risks that were previously reported by a member company. Because MIB uses these codes and not actual medical records, MIB does not report the complete details about a person’s medical condition. “

    You can get a free copy of your file if you’ve had an adverse underwriting decision, or once a year. They claim that they will translate the codes for you.


  6. Some prepping talk. My extended grid down plan is my 4 x 100W solar panels that feed some golf cart batteries connected to an inverter. It should be more than enough to run the fridge, a couple of lights, and a few small items around the house. But the last month I have really questioned how well that would work, the sun is just not reliable enough lately.

    Over the last month the 3 out of every 4 days have been cloudy, rainy, or snowy. The % full (I have a battery monitor on the system) is lower every day. I just have a lamp and a battery charger plugged into the inverter. It was reading 38% today so I hooked it up to the car battery charger to give it a boost.

    I do have a small (700W) propane generator and 4 x 20lb tanks but now I’m thinking if power goes out and the weather is bad I’m going to need a lot more propane.

  7. We had tornado warnings in northern AL last night. They were all to the north of us, which is the typical pattern for this area. We got 50 mph winds for a little bit, and the power blinked, but stayed on. I’m glad I finally got our fireplace converted to natural gas, as our primary house heat is an electric heat pump.

    The Christmas dinner put on by my wife’s employer was cancelled last night, so the evening wasn’t a total loss.

  8. @jlp, I pick up tanks at estate and yard sales if I see them. I have about a dozen total. I also have 3 of those “mushroom” style outdoor heaters, a gas grill, a gas smoker, and a turkey fryer, so if anyone accused me of hoarding I have one tank and a spare for my propane appliances. I am REALLY interested in getting a camping/outdoor propane on- demand water heater. They are cheap and heating water for hygiene and comfort is otherwise a pain and strenuous.

    The big problem with solar is when there is no sun. Can you add a wind generator for those times? IE does the wind blow when the sun don’t shine? I’ve noticed a Vertical axis wind generator added as a supplement to a small solar panel on a camera pole on US 290 north out of Houston. It’s not big, and must be worth at least trialing.


    (my understanding is VAWT are less efficient, but they take less space, make less noise, and kill fewer birds)

  9. Regarding the tornadoes in the south FEMA had this in the daily summary–

    “Severe Weather in Lower Mississippi Valley
    Situation: Multiple thunderstorms, some severe, affected portions of the
    Southeast and Tennessee Valley. Reports indicated as many as 27
    tornado touchdowns.
    • Damage is reported to homes, businesses, vehicles, trees and power
    poles; better assessment will begin after dawn (6:23 a.m. EST in
    • 2 confirmed fatalities in AL and 7 injuries; Media reports at least 3
    • Minimal power and communications outages across the affected area
    Lifeline impacts: All lifelines remain stable
    Food, Water Shelter (Red Cross shelter count 5:55 a.m. EST)
    • MS: 3 shelters open, 5 occupants
    • LA: 1 shelter open, 6 occupants
    Energy: Minimal power outages
    State/Local Response:
    • MS – Partial Activation; (Region IV SpotRep 9:14 p.m EST)
    • LA GOHSEP – Crisis Action Team Activated (Region VI SpotRep 4:35 p.m EST
    December 16, 2019)
    FEMA/Federal Response:
    • FEMA Regions IV, VI, and NWC continue to monitor
    • No requests for FEMA assistance”

    The DailyMail had some coverage–


  10. Thanks for the wind turbine link, Nick. I’ll do a little research. Not sure what the neighbors would think of that. Massachusetts residents say they are all for renewable energy but seem to really oppose wind power. Turbine projects on and off shore are constantly being proposed and shot down. Most don’t seem to understand that wind power only works where it is windy.

  11. Most don’t seem to understand that wind power only works where it is windy.

    One can stand underneath and harvest the golden eagles.

  12. Anyone thinking about a lappy for some dedicated purpose, or struggling with old gear, Microcenter has an HP for less than $200.

    I’m tempted.

    If the memory is maxed out at 4GB, it is useless for anything other than a light duty Linux laptop. Even a kid laptop needs 8 GB anymore.

  13. @greg, if it’s soldered on like the old win8 atom lappys that would be bad. No idea, but I’m gobsmacked by the price. It’s also HUGE with room for a full number pad.


  14. @greg, if it’s soldered on like the old win8 atom lappys that would be bad. No idea, but I’m gobsmacked by the price. It’s also HUGE with room for a full number pad.

    15″ 1366×768 and an A4 AMD APU with a 3 cell battery. Plus, you have to drive in and pick it up at the store.

    On the plus side, the machine obviously has a SATA port. Dell laptops in the same price range often do not. Plus you get at least one USB 3.1 port if that isn’t a misprint.

    Given the size, I’d be surprised if the memory wasn’t a removable DIMM, but the question mark would be what the machine supports in terms of expansion. I know the A6 can support up to 64 GB RAM 2400 DDR4 with AM4, but I have no experience with earlier AMD APUs.

  15. My current laptop is an ancient Dell with 8GB and a 1366×768 screen. It’s fine for web browsing but not much else. You should definitely have 16GB and at least a 1080 screen, preferably 4k.

    The AMD Ryzen chips are amazing for the price. For instance:

    $399, 4 cores, 8 threads. 1080 screen, 8GB and a 256GB SSD.

  16. Remember when the computer mags all speculated if we’d ever see a sub-$1000 lappy?

    Thanks Moore’s Law! Thanks chinese slave labor!


  17. Barack Obama says women are ‘indisputably better’ than men and if every country had a female leader there would be ‘significant improvement in living standards and outcomes.

    I’m sure he was thinking of Margaret Thatcher when he made that comment 🙂 She turned the UK economy around completely. It was very painful for a lot of people though. More recently there was Theresa May. Not so great.

    Both Conservatives, not Labour, who for all their diversity talk haven’t had a female party leader yet. I heard the conservatives just had a gay Muslim elected. There’s a contradiction!

  18. “Barack Obama says women are ‘indisputably better’ than men and if every country had a female leader there would be ‘significant improvement in living standards and outcomes.”

    I’m sure he was thinking of Margaret Thatcher when he made that comment

    No. Obama was thinking of Valerie Jarrett, the real power behind the scenes in his Senate office and, later, the White House. Thanks to Roseanne’s stupidity, Jarrett is now beyond criticism, and we will all pay a tremendous price for that if Moochelle decides she wants an “Immaculation 2.0”.

    I once saw Jarrett show up on one of the morning news shows unannounced near the end of Doh-bama’s second term, and anyone who doesn’t think the press is biased didn’t see the kiss-kiss hug-hug between Jarrett and the hosts.

  19. $399, 4 cores, 8 threads. 1080 screen, 8GB and a 256GB SSD.

    We bought that laptop, but with the standard 1TB drive. $349 direct from Lenovo a few months ago.

    I’ve seen them offer even better deals on the machine since then, but you have to check the website daily.

    Dowsides: The AMD chip runs a bit warmer than the Intel alternative in the same model, and the laptop is heavy since it includes a DVD-RW drive.

  20. I do have a small (700W) propane generator and 4 x 20lb tanks but now I’m thinking if power goes out and the weather is bad I’m going to need a lot more propane.

    Is that 700 watt or 7,000 watt ?

    I would think that either would go through at least one propane tank a day. If 7,000 watt then 2 or 3 propane tanks a day.

    Power generation without battery storage is problematic. You really need something like 5 or 10 Tesla Powerwalls in order to cover the down times of your generating equipment.

    When I worked at TXU, we had 125 generating units from 22 MW to 850 MW. We also had 30 or 40 diesels from 1 MW to 2.5 MW scattered across the system for black star capability. Backing up those diesels were battery banks on each unit for a minimum of 6 hours of power for 3 phase 480 volt at 1,000 amps through a huge inverter. The care and feeding of all those systems was employment for several hundred people across the system.

    And if you cannot walk up to the system, isolate it, and start generating power within minutes then it is all for naught. I went out to a plant in Tyler, Texas one fine day for us to try and start a 240 MW plant with five 2 MW diesels. We isolated, started the five diesels, and then started booting up the plant. Got two hours into the test and tried starting the single boiler feed pump, a 3,000 hp 4,160 volt three phase motor. The motor took 45 seconds to wind up to 3,600 rpm. We kept on tripping one or more of the diesels at 30 to 35 seconds on overamp. And we were limited to one start per hour on that motor. We finally got it online the fourth or sixth time by walking around the plant and killing everything that was not vitally important.

    Even though we had 2X the diesels on the books required for the black start, we really did not with all the systems running all over the place.

  21. No. Obama was thinking of Valerie Jarrett

    I forgot the sarcasm tags.

    I do find it amusing that the best example of a female western leader is totally ignored, since she led the “wrong” party, by the media’s standards.

  22. I do find it amusing that the best example of a female western leader is totally ignored, since she led the “wrong” party, by the media’s standards.

    A lot of the Journalism department chairs and editors in newsrooms these day are my age or a little older. I don’t think they have any foundation for hating Margaret Thatcher beyond coming of age during the punk movement invasion in the early 80s.

    As with love for Communism, I wouldn’t doubt that there is more hatred for Thatcher in academia and media in the US than there is in the actual location where she governed.

    Too much “The Young Ones” on MTV late on Sunday nights.

  23. This wifi stuff is absolutely freaking crazy. The xfinity dude recommended that I put in a mesh orbi triband system. Expensive !

    I am standing in Best Buy totally overwhelmed.

  24. One ubiquiti AP AC Lite will cover your house. Two if you want the patios and yard.


  25. @Lynn
    I use the prior model of this one

    TP-Link AC1200 Gigabit Smart WiFi Router – 5GHz Gigabit Dual Band MU-MIMO Wireless Internet Router, Long Range Coverage by 4 Antennas(Archer A6)


    $10 off, net price is $39.99. Has worked just fine for all the devices around here.

  26. I just added a quick plugin that will (hopefully) stop spam bots from directly posting comment spam. Everyone here shouldn’t see any difference in reading/entering comments.

    But you won’t see (with any luck) any spammy-type comments on past entries. You can usually tell them from normal discussion here, and by looking at the comment list for an entry that is from several days previous. (Most comments in the comment list area are sequential by date the comment was posted.)

    All should be able to use the comment form, even on old posts. But the automated ones that don’t even ‘see’ the comment form, but post directly (via CURL or WGET), should get blocked.

    Let me know if there are any issues.

  27. @nick
    I grew up in Sonoma County, not far north of Santa Rosa. It used to be blue collar and farmers. Hasn’t been that for a Very Long Time Indeed. Friends down there have 40 year mortgages on tiny cracker box houses and endure stupidly long commutes. I don’t understand why. It’s a beautiful region, to be sure, still when do you enjoy it as a wage slave? The region is a curious mix of high high high income and the desperately impoverished. They haven’t managed their burn risk since people belly achedout of it in the 80’s. They’d like to blame climate hocus pocus however historically it’s a burn zone.

    There’s a reason I left in 1993 and haven’t looked back.

    The fairgrounds have lost a number of big events over the years. Now the annual fair is getting out of sync with the horse racing circuit, which will be the death of both of them. I assume the powers that be see the writing on the wall for the fair and other events, and in their role of “saving” the homeless hav3 thrown the fair under the bus.

    I have no faith the homeless will be kicked out once the grounds have been ceded.

    Knives – our daughter is likewise receiving a knife for Christmas but a kitchen knife. Next year a decent pocketknife. She likes whittling.

    I’ve managed my time poorly this week though I got a LOT done for daughters school and other people. Crunching through the last few assignments for this weeks assignments tonight. Midnight oil.

  28. Knives – our daughter is likewise receiving a knife for Christmas but a kitchen knife. Next year a decent pocketknife. She likes whittling.

    A kitchen knife, just like in Favreau’s “Chef”. Part food porn, part redemption saga, and part coming of age movie.

    Rated ‘R’ for naughty words, but that’s it. The “cornstarch” bit is as racy as the flick goes.


  29. I run an Asus WiFi router which isn’t available in stores anymore. This is probably the closest to what I own.


    Asus has been good about keeping firmware up to date on my router, better than the Linksys it replaced.

    All, thanks for the recommendations.

    I am kinda thinking about this expensive ($349) mesh system by Orbi:

    But this Linksys system is $90:

    I am running an ethernet over power system at the old house right now. I may just move it to the new used house with the $50 TPlink wifi router.

  30. I have a NetGear ReadyNas Duo that has been running for many, many years 24×7. Released 2008…
    Good hardware, not so good software.
    There are a number of Reviews in Anandtech about the Orbi systems. The site is normally non-biased and in depth technically.

  31. I’m starting my powerpoint for Geology, my topic for tomorrow’s Hands on Science…

    (I always hear “science” with a lot of echo and reverb in my head…as in “she blinded me with science … SCIENCE!”)


  32. Well, I never hit post on the first part. I usually spend a couple of hours putting the slides together. I’ve got last year’s slides to start from, but they were done by a blind spider monkey on crack. My daughter is doing nicer looking slides, and she’s 10. So I did a background and template for my own use, and I take the ideas and translate/rearrange/supplement until it flows for me. I also usually have to find new images and/or clipart as they seem to have used the first hit on google that vaguely fit the idea.

    There are things I still don’t like, but hey, no one is paying me for this and ppt rangers get good money in the corporate world. I’ve done enough speaker support to know what good looks like though, so I do strive just a little.

    Of course, I save it to thumbdrive as a folder full of images, so I can plug it into the projector and not worry about a lappy. No animation, moving images, or transitions allowed. Also no editing. Still, way easier than getting a lappy for the lab room.

    And now I’m really off to bed.


  33. I am kinda thinking about this expensive ($349) mesh system by Orbi:

    No experience with mesh networking, but that was the last “spin” of the dumpster fire I worked for briefly in Seattle. They ended up getting bought out by Nokia and put to work on that company’s mesh products, but my guess is Nokia was more interested in their patents for first responder wireless communications more than any of the “talent” at the company.

    Damn, that was nearly seven years ago.

  34. @Nick: I prefer locking blades as well, but so few knives have them. Victorinox is a good brand, though. I might be slightly biased 🙂

    Warm weather here, for December. I thought they would take advantage of it, and get more work down on the new house, but there’s been nothing. Typical for the building industry: they probably have a bunch of parallel projects, and all of them are urgent. Scheduling by “who yells loudest”. At this point, I’ll wait until after Christmas to do my yelling.

    The town has organized a mediated meeting with our favorite neighbors, for the December 27th. Our sincere hope is that the neighbors continue to be just as irrational as always, and dig themselves a nice, deep hole. My personal goal is to try for detachment: they irritate the hell out of me, but letting that show would not be helpful in any way. Deep breathing exercises…

    – – – – –

    Greta Thunberg: As a person, I’m sure she’s just a typical, naive teenager who has found a cause she believes in. And she happens to be a good public speaker. The real question is: who is backing her? Someone is handling the marketing, the social media, scheduling the appearances, funding her publicity stunts, etc, etc.. Who? Funny how the press never bothers to look behind the curtain, if it’s a lefty progressive cause…

    – – – – –

    “I pick up tanks at estate and yard sales if I see them.”

    Can private people own tanks? I mean, an M1-Abrams is great for local defense, but…

    – – – – –

    Leftists are the same everywhere. Switzerland has a relatively small number of illegals, probably in the low tens of thousands. This includes around 7500 illegals who have been denied asylum and told to leave the country, but haven’t. There’s now a leftist movement saying “well, since they aren’t leaving, maybe we should give them residence permits.”

    What a slap in the face for the legal immigrants. Not to mention a huge incentive for more illegals to appear. WTF do these people think? Oh, right, they don’t…

    Fortunately, that proposal has almost zero chance of making it through parliament. Even if it does, a popular referendum is guaranteed to take it down before it does too much damage.

  35. My daughter is doing nicer looking slides, and she’s 10.

    I, too, peaked early. In drawing and the graphic arts, I was as good at 5 as I’ll ever be.

    WTF do these people think? Oh, right, they don’t…

    Yep. As I sometimes say, “A minute’s thought would have showed them the problem, but a minute is a long time and thinking is hard.”

Comments are closed.