Month: August 2020

Mon. Aug. 31, 2020 – second week of school

Hot and humid although we might be on the downward side of the hill.  I think it only got to 107 in the driveway yesterday.

Regardless of the high temp, I hid inside most of the day.  All hail Mr. Carrier, without whom, life in Houston wouldn’t be tolerable for most people.

I did some exploration on the honda gennie in the late afternoon, and either found or created an issue with an O ring, so I’ll be waiting for the parts to come in before trying the thing I just discovered.  I took my own advice and searched on youtube with a slightly more general string, and the first hit described two things that historically fail on this model, and how to fix them.  This was the first time I saw the particular info, and I suspect it’s my problem.  I was almost there with my exploration before I obviated any more work by tearing the O ring.   There is a filter INSIDE the tank that “looks fine” but the mesh swells with time and exposure to gas, and restricts flow.   I was getting steady flow out the bowl drain when I emptied the tank of old gas, but maybe it wasn’t enough.  There is also ANOTHER filter inside the fuel petcock, that needs to be replaced sometimes.  Both filters are in the petcock replacement kit.  According to the YT creator, these are a common but hidden and non-obvious problem with old eu3000 gennies.  F me.  I hope that replacing those works.  They’re not even expensive.  Ebay has the petcock kit for ~$30.  I went ahead and bought a new spark plug, the O ring, the fuel level gauge, and I’ll get the petcock if cutting a hole in that filter solves my problem.  (keeping in mind that this is a ~$2000 gennie new, it’s worth fixing.)

I also spent some time with the manual for my inverter, and started actually planning my little mini-backup battery solution.  It looks like the inverter only works as a charger when connected to shore power (120v AC) and not from solar panels.  I’m willing to work around and compromise, since I am getting the stuff piecemeal and cheap.  It’s not perfect, but it’s better than nothing.  Some time ago I got rid of the big pile of commercial UPSs that I was using as battery backup.  The batteries finally failed and I wasn’t interested in rebuilding what was only a temporary measure anyway.  Plus, I had a running generator…

My wife asked how many backups I planned to have.  The quiet gennie, the bigger noisier gennie, the whole house natgas gennie, and eventually installed solar…. with individual inverters and car batteries to back that all up, as well as LiON jump boxes, 7Ah gel cells, small solar USB charging panels, and maybe a biofuel fed peltier USB charger.*  Kinda like my plans to keep cooking…

There is no overkill…

Anything worth doing is worth overdoing, right?

More cops killed this weekend, more civil unrest.  I’m long body armor, bear spray, and staying away from crowds.  That means stores too.  Which you can do if you keep stacking…



*I have all these already, but don’t have them all in working condition or ready to run.  That’s what I’m working on now with a renewed sense of urgency.   I’ve listed my plans for cooking before, starting with my electric range and going all the way down to open fires.

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Sun. Aug. 30, 2020 – daily grind, and not the delicious arabica kind

Hot and humid.  So much of both.

It was a little bit less hot and humid yesterday, with thunder, lightning, and some light rain late in the day.

I did some work on the Honda gennie.  Cleaned the carb, checked out the starting system, but didn’t solve the ‘runs for about a minute then dies’ problem.

Spent some time cleaning the pool, naturally, since it’s a pool.

Didn’t cut the grass or work on the gardens.  I’ll do that today.  There is always something to do around the house.

I really want to get at least one gennie running.  I’ve got a lot of food and money in freezers…  I do have the batteries and various and sundry inverters to run stuff if I need to but I’d prefer less of a rigged up solution.  I’m mentally moving the solar panel project up the list too.

Pulled some stuff out of the stacks to solve issues for wife and kids this week.  That’s satisfying, I can tell you 🙂

Thanks to the alt-media and blogs, the MSM has had to start at least flirting with the truth of the Kenosha events.   The original perp did have a knife.  There is a pic of him holding it during the arrest.   His background as a real scumbag and the reasons he and the cops were all there (he violated a restraining order) have come out.  The kid who shot the rioters is finally getting aggressive defense with truths coming out about the scumbags who attacked him too.  There is a ton of video and once you get walked through the video, it’s pretty clear what really happened.   If people can be convinced to actually watch the vids, the kid has a chance.

In MN, the Coroner’s report has come out and casts a different light on the situation leading to Floyd’s death.  The cop might get a break too.  I am not a proponent of a lot of the things that the cops have done, and this looked really egregious, but the reality of the series of events may turn out to be quite different than the initial story.  The community anger and the destructive power of the mob will remain though.

I’m not the only one who has noted the seeming increase in people ‘losing their sh!t’ over seemingly minor stuff.  If you’re going out, Remain Calm.  De-escalate and move away.  If you can’t, be prepared to act violently and decisively.  Pay attention so you have time to make a choice.  Have an exit plan, don’t get boxed in.  Carry.  Better to have it and not need it, than the opposite.  Best case, don’t be there.

And keep stacking…



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Sat. Aug. 29, 2020 – hey, second weekend of the week…

Hot and humid.  Probably crazy hot.

Certainly hot yesterday.  And then rainy in the evening.   So hot and sunny in fact that I got little done outside.

I did confirm that the Honda gennie dies after about a minute even with a charged battery.  I also confirmed that there was enough oil, and that the oil monitor light wasn’t coming on when it dies.  I suspect that it was trying to drop to idle, and the idle circuit in the carb is blocked.  Maybe today I’ll pull the carb and clean it.  Unless it’s so freaking hot my brain boils in my skull.

I’m glad I left the tarps on everything.  It rained HARD in the late evening.  It didn’t last very long though, which is good as there would have been flooding.

Other than the work on the gennies, I’ve got my normal stuff to do, still putting the garage back together.  Still pulling stuff for auction.  Maybe even yardwork, since it’s finally the weekend.

In Kenosha, the plain facts shown by the video evidence are finally making it into the press, the kid has representation, and is getting financial support.  The first and second will be a cause celebre’ but not the next 10 or 20 or more.   Don’t get caught up in it.  Avoid crowds.  But if you do have to act, act appropriately.  You will be on video.

Keep in mind you won’t get caught up in the crowd if you don’t have to go out and play in it.  Get what you need together now.

Keep stacking, but also take time to enjoy these, the ‘good old days’….



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Fri. Aug. 28, 2020 – School’s back in session

Hot and humid.  Sunny and bright.  Probably.

Yesterday was hot, but also very nice when I wasn’t dripping sweat.  I chose to leave all the covered stuff covered.  We were forecast to get some of the trailing weather from Laura Friday or Saturday.  I guess we’ll see about that but it left me some time to work on the portable generators.

Neither was running at the end of the day.  Neither had the issues I thought they had.  Parts are ordered for the older one.  I’ll be exploring issues on the Honda today.

That wasn’t a lot to get done, but I am beat up and needed a ‘recovery’ day.  Sore in places that I’d forgotten about.  I really need to work on this actively.

The civil unrest and lawlessness is increasing.  People in general seem to be closer to violence than previously.  I don’t see that getting better anytime soon, and I can think of a lot of scenarios where it gets a whole lot worse.  Add politics and the election year, and we’ve got a mess brewing.

Consider what might happen in the next month, 3 months, and year.  Make some plans based on your thoughts.  Start working your plan.  And whatever it is, it’s likely to work better with a big stack backing you up.

Keep stacking.




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Thur. Aug. 27, 2020 – wave as it goes by…

Hot and humid.  Probably.

Yesterday was both, although the humidity was the bigger issue.  No cooling off with sweat if your sweat won’t evaporate.

I spent the day in the garage, driveway, and back yard.  I moved, grouped, covered, and put away a bunch of stuff.  And it looks like Laura will completely miss me.  I’ll have to undo some of the work to get to stuff after today.

But, for the moment, I’ve got momentum going and I’m going to stay with it.   I’ll keep working in the garage and on prepping the gennies.  That should keep me busy.

I have no idea what the aftermath of Laura looks like as I write this.  The storm just made landfall, and I’m headed to bed.  I’m so beat from being in the sun and working all day that I intend to sleep in.   I’m sure it’s bad, and I’ll update anything when I get caught up.

They arrested the shooter from the rioting in Kenosha.  He’s 17 according to reports.  Blogs are trumpeting that it was a righteous self defense shooting, based on video from the scene.  The other media, and the prosecutor- not so much.  I guess time will tell, but Ol Remus’ advice should be taken to heart- Avoid Crowds.

And keep stacking.


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Wed. Aug. 26, 2020 – well, better get ready

Hot and humid.  Sweaty like a fat guy’s thighs.

I did move some stuff from the house to storage yesterday.  Not enough.  Not nearly enough.  I’ve got so much loose stuff laying around that I can only hope we don’t actually get high winds, or whale oil beef hooked.

Both of my auction contacts pushed me off on taking them loads of stuff.  Jeez.  I can’t get rid of this stuff.

I did spend some time in meatspace chatting with my buddy and his wife at the gu–  toy store.   He’s gonna consign a couple of things for me.  He’s still doing a brisk business in transfers, but what happens when ALL the inventory is gone and no one can buy anything that needs transferring, and there is no new inventory?  Other people have commented elsewhere that in the short and medium run, gu— toy stores are in economic trouble, despite high demand and prices.

There was a steady stream of people looking for ammo, and not finding it.  I’ll drop a small box by today if I get a chance to sweeten the deal on one of my items.

School is cancelled for today and tomorrow, with Friday still up in the air.  It all depends on Laura, and what she leaves in her wake here in Texas.  I’m hoping for a non-event.  Prepping for a big one, but hoping for small.

And I’m watching the insurgency spread.

At some point in the not too distance past, the move toward ‘officer safety’ started.  Cops began training to avoid going ‘hands on’ to prevent them from being injured*.  At the same time, someone decided that it didn’t look good for cops to be hitting The Usual Suspects(tm) with their fists or ESPECIALLY with sticks.   So someone made a change to policy, and the end state of that is cops are trained to shoot rather than grapple or fight.  Guns are stand off weapons.  Nightsticks, batons, etc, are close in weapons.  The cops can now keep their distance, but changes in doctrine let to changes in tactics.   Policy changes led to us being where we are today.  The same people that don’t want to see a cop with a stick hitting a suspect now cry out when the cop uses the tools and tactics he’s been trained to use, and shoots instead of strikes.  How’s that working out?  Ripples turning into waves….

Speaking of that, John Wilder throws out a number in his recent post, saying ” the dollar losing 7% of its value in three months”.   Without knowing where he got it, I was caught off guard because it was the first time I saw it put so starkly.   It’s what you’d expect when .gov makes the money printers go “brrrrrrr”.  It’s what you see when you’re paying more for everything, especially metals like gold and silver.  But upon reflection 7% seems way too small.  TP is almost double.  Gold went from $1500/oz to almost $2000.  Silver went from $17 to 26 (with higher spots in the last week).  Ammo and gun prices are sky high.  Granted that a lot of the increase in consumer goods pricing is due to scarcity, the metal pricing is more purely inflation for monetary reasons.  Either way, it looks like the dollar is buying a LOT LESS than 93% of what it did in March or June.  Taking a step back, that ripple looks like it could be a really big wave if it gets going.   Ask yourself why it isn’t front page news.  And why no one is framing that decline in purchasing power in terms of inflation.  Venezuela here we come.  Everyone will be shocked when they realize we’re suddenly there “without warning”.  Consider this (and the last couple of years) your fair warning. **

Everything’s better with bacon.  And butter.  And a full pantry.  Keep stacking.



* also about the same time, physical fitness standards were relaxed, and the recruiting pool was broadened.  A whole lot of cops were produced that couldn’t go hands on if they wanted to.

**I’m no financial guru and nothing I say is “financial advice” but I’m certainly taking a hard look at what my condition would be if all my cash and cash equivalents bought me half as much stuff, or one quarter as much, next year.   It might be a good idea to turn some of that cash into something that holds value a bit better, especially if there are bargains to be had.  Assuming I had any cash tucked away…


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Tues. Aug. 25, 2020 – more school, more to do, wind coming

Hot and humid, slightly less so.

Monday was a tiny big cooler and dryer than the last few days.   It still got pretty hot especially once the sun came out.  It was ‘roast your scalp’ hot then.

So when it got hot I did my errands.   Picked up my client’s dead projector.  Still dead.  Picked up my auction items.  Went by my secondary storage.  I really need to get stuff to auction.  I’ve got piles here and I need to get them under cover or out of here before the big wind.  Both of my local auctions are not returning my calls, which means they are super busy with their own stuff.  Bummer for me.

I’ll be trying to get a bunch more stuff into the garage and out of the driveway today.   I’ve got a bunch of stuff sitting on the patio that I don’t really want torn up by the wind either.

On the other hand, the pool is sparkling clean now.  Keeping the pecan debris, and the squirrel waste out helped a lot.  Of course it will be messed up by rain and hurricane wind.

I’m debating what to do with my antennas.  I might try to get the big one down.  The little ones should be ok even if the wind gets high.  I will see what kind of time I have after doing the other ground based stuff first.

Lots to do in little time.  Time to get the lead out.  I was really hoping to do this in an organized way but I think it’s going to come down to chucking stuff in a pile.  Oh well, best laid plans and all that.

Second day of school too.  We’ll see how that goes this time around.

I did get some stuff taken over to my secondary.  I’ll work on building that back up and it will help me to get some of the stuff out of here too.

Always something that needs stacking…  gotta keep it up.


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Mon. Aug. 24, 2020 – first day of school, remotely

Hot and humid, although perhaps not as hot as last week.

Hurricanes on the way though, so that weather is going to suck.

Yesterday started a bit cooler, so I decided to do my outdoor work.  It did get to 108F in the sun in my driveway though.

I did a bunch of stuff outside, mostly in the shade.  It was a sneaky kind of hot that I really didn’t notice until I came in to drink and let my brain cool down.  THEN I could feel that my head was dumping heat into the room…

I did go back out and finish the yardwork.  I’ve got a ton of stuff to secure before we get hurricane winds though.  I’ll get started on that today, but I’ve got two pickups later in the afternoon.  And I’ll be getting an early start- it’s the first day back in school for us.  Middle school, 6th grade, for the older one, 4th grade elementary for the little one, who is getting a growth spurt and isn’t particularly little.

It will be interesting to see how their day goes.  I’m guessing no real learning for a few days.   Their in person first week is all filled with rules and procedures normally, but since they’re not in school, they don’t need to practice fire drills.  Presumably they’ll have distance learning specific stuff in place of that.

With hurricanes in the Gulf and soon to be in the Gulf, I need to concentrate on that for a bit.  In the mean time, the insurgency is getting more serious in Portland, and now Colorado too.   It’s organized, and anyone willing to do the grunt work of stuffing balloons with sh!t and p!ss is willing to do a whole lot more.  We are seeing the beginning, not the end.  In the end, it’ll be blood in the streets, assassination squads, arson, general strikes, and a bunch of innocents will be caught in the crossfire.  Plan accordingly.

You won’t need to worry about getting shot at the quickee mart if you’re prepped… so keep stacking.



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Sun. Aug. 23, 2020 – more to do, big wind coming

Hot and humid.  Rain?  Wind?  No idea, but it’s sure to be hot.

Saturday was overcast and rained, so it was actually cooler than I expected.  I got some of the yard work done.

Mostly I was watching auctions closing throughout the day.  Preps and stuff for the house, mostly.  I got some good bargains, and I’m set for life wrt butane lighters.  I got 100 of them for $14.  I also got an arrow fishing reel, that should go perfectly with the little crossbow pistol I was talking about last week, to make a line thrower for getting ham radio antennas up into the trees.  The rest of the stuff was very mixed.  Some magpul gub parts- mainly rifle furniture, some shotgun shells, several bike maintenance items, roof rack rails, knives, and some target stuff, cleaning supplies, political items, flags, and some building supplies rounded out the list.  Mixed bag indeed.

Took a few minutes to break down and vac seal the meat I got from my grocery order, and put away all the things.  I moved stuff into the new, very small, refrigerator part of the fridge/freezer.  I think it will be fine for the stuff I usually put in the garage fridge, and it will force me to get my vac seal and freeze done promptly.   It’s very strange putting gallons of milk and cartons of eggs into what 40+ years of conditioning tells me is the freezer….

I’m going to put the old fridge on a local FB sale group.  The shelves and door system fit a ton of other fridges, so someone might want an unreliable fridge, if only for parts.  I DON’T want to have to figure out where to take it to get rid of it and my scrap yard won’t take it.

Today will be more cleaning, more organizing, more putting stuff back in place.  After getting the yard finished, that is.  And maybe some pool maintenance.  And some indoor stuff to let my brain cool…

My gardens are a shambles.  I have one cabbage left.  The corn stalks turned brown, and the ears are about finger sized.  The mini ears had full sized kernels, where the squirrels didn’t get them, which is weird.  Several of the peppers died.  The brusselsprouts are hanging in but aren’t producing the stalk or buds.  A couple of the broccoli plants are still alive but not growing.  The asparagus is about 3 feet tall and very fern-like.  Tomatoes have lots of plant, not much fruit.  I got one good tomato, smaller than a tennis ball last week.  Turns out that tomatoes and potatoes are enemies, so maybe it wasn’t just the heat that killed my potato towers.  They are right next to, and in between the tomato plants.  I did get one volunteer, either a watermelon or acorn squash.  So far it’s about 6 inches tall.  We’ll see if it continues to survive and thrive.  I need to start thinking about fall planting.  I feel like Charlie Brown and the football with this garden nonsense.

I better stack the cans a little higher, since I’m not growing anything but frustrated.

On the ‘decline and fall’ front, in Portland the cops are finally doing what Chicago cops have been doing for decades– nothing.  They decided to just let some lefties and righties fight.  Nobody got shot or stabbed this time.  The Chief says if they are voluntarily looking for fights, he doesn’t really see any way the cops could make that better… And the cops were no where to be seen when the insurgents ran through the suburbs harassing the sleeping normies.   Soon it won’t be loudspeakers and threats, it’ll be sticks and stones, fire, and gunfire.   You are on your own.  Ammo up.

Stay away from crowds.

Stack it high.


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Sat. Aug. 22, 2020 – home again home again jiggity jig

Hot.  Humid.  and now ocean breeze,    yet…

Left Galveston for home after spending an hour in the water, and a half hour flying a kite.   Wind was too variable for my new stunt kite (well, technically, too variable for ME to run my new stunt kite.)   The early part of the day the sea was calm and quiet, cooler, and there was no breeze at all.  It was like floating in the bathtub.   The wind picked up and so did the waves, and it eventually started raining.  So we beat feet back to Houston, where — it started raining shortly after we got home.  At least we didn’t have to drive in it.

Everything was fine at home, and the dog is happily tucked into his bed next to my wife as I write this.

I had a couple of observations comparing this trip to our last visit to Galveston.  We never go into town, or do tourist-y things, just the beach.  That said, it was super quiet in town and at the beach.  To get to where we stayed you have to basically drive along 12 miles of oceanfront, which I’ve never seen as empty as this week.  Even if I went down for an auction pickup, the beaches and parking along the beach, were always busy.  Not this week.

Our beachhouse rental happened because they didn’t have a booking and reduced the rate enough that my wife jumped on it.  They didn’t have a rental for this weekend either.   As is normal for second homes/beach/lake/or other houses, the owners use them for part of the year and count on rentals during the rest of the year to pay the upkeep and outrageously high taxes.  With rentals down, there are sure to be families that lose houses that have been in their families for a long time (pretty much the only way normal people end up with beach houses is they inherit them.   The only way to keep them is as income properties.)  If investors and speculators playing a cash flow rental property game lose out, I’m not that heartbroken.  There are risks with every reward, and airbnb super renters are not much more than gamblers in my book.

There was a lot of economic collateral damage visible too, with  restaurants and other small businesses closed.  Even the strip clubs were shuttered.  We would normally have eaten out at least one night, and probably would have bought at least some food and drink in local stores.  Instead we brought it all in with us (the owner told us we should) and cooked for ourselves.

One of the things I noticed was the complete lack of commercial shipping visible.  Last time we were down there, there was a line of ships waiting to get into the bay to unload that stretched across half the horizon.  This time there were NONE.  I didn’t see any steaming in or out either.

There are usually a couple of sport fishers out and visible too.  Only one this trip in three days of looking.

Road traffic was light both going and coming home, even though we were coming north on the Beltway into an area that is reliably congested on most afternoons, and backed up and slow on a typical Friday.  We sailed right through the toll plaza with barely a brake light showing.  This is the last weekend before school starts, and would normally be crowded with trailers and RVs trying to get out of town.  Not now.

There are going to be some really long term effects on real estate from this year’s events.  If you have the money and want to live in NYFC, apparently rents and sale prices are WAY down already.  Elsewhere there are going to be vacation houses for sale soon, as people can’t make the payments, or pay the taxes.  Local economies based on tourism are either going to crater, or see an influx of new ‘refugee’ residents, vis The Hamptons or other toney areas near NYFC.  Good schools and high speed internet are probably going to be very important to which way each community goes.  The influx of people from a different culture is going to be disruptive to those communities too.  It’s also probably going to depend on if the community has a lot of outsiders who are familiar with that community.  The Hamptons are already familiar to the new monied ‘refugees’ whereas Panama City Beach, or Galveston draw primarily from the local area anyway.   There will be some even longer term effects when the new ‘refugees’ realize there are good reasons not to live in those resort areas year ’round…

Stepping aside from all that for a moment, it looks like Florida and the Gulf Coast are about to get smacked around by TWO named storms in the same week.   Or one giant superstorm, if the Gates have opened and the Horsemen are on the prowl….

All of it tells me that we really ‘ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.’   And there will be opportunities for the prepared and well positioned, as well as devastation for the unwise and unlucky.  I know which of those groups I want to be in.  I want you in there too, so get stacking…



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