Mon. Nov. 30, 2020 – really counting down the year now

Cool but hopefully no rain.

We could use the chance to dry out now that we got all that rain.  The ground is squishy.

Yesterday I spent way too long monkey punching my linux install to get my NVR software running again.   Linux does some dumb things.  So does my NVR software.  Still, it’s orders of magnitude more stable than the windows version, and I don’t have Gates and Co.  messing with my computer every month or whenever they feel like it.  Still not something I’d put on a customer site unless they had a wild mix of cams that were not supported by hardware NVR or VMS (video management system).  With the ONVIF standard for IP cams, it’s getting to be rare that a camera isn’t supported by newer hardware.

I do feel a lot better with the cams recording to my NVR as well as internally.

The new range hood project should be finished today.  I’ve got to get the exhaust duct connected and supported, and Bog’s my carbuncle.

Christmas break is now only 3 weeks away.  I should get some decor out if the weather holds.   It was CHILLY yesterday, as well as damp.  I’ve got citrus still ripening on the trees, so I hope we aren’t going to get a frost for a while yet.  No fall garden, that’s clear now.  Except… my broccoli is putting out florets.  I’ll be happy to eat them, and the other dark leafy veg might be collards.  In any case, the leaves are looking edible to me…   But new veg?  Not happening.

So that means stacking some more cans of veg.  Because I won’t be feeding us from the garden.

Other supplies, especially defensive stuff has been very limited availability, and high price relative to last year.  Cheap compared to January, I think.   If I had money, and access to the stock, I’d buy a pallet of ammo.  But neither of those things are true.    If you are short of what you’d like, sign up for palmetto state armory’s enewsletter.  They are rumored to have one of the big manufacturers as a partner or owner, and while they are (in)famous for their inexpensive ARs, they also have been getting stock of defensive handguns, shotguns, and parts.  They’ve had more inventory than most of the other places I check.  AR500 armor had a sale on, if you think some body armor might be a good idea.  It takes a while to get your order fulfilled by them, so you might want to look around.  Their product seems good though, and their prices were low.  Ammo is hit or miss.  Rocky Brasss newsletter, or GrabAGun’s, or one of the linker sites like is probably your best bet.  Expect to pay $1/rnd for 556/223, and 50c to $1/rnd for common pistol calibers, much more for anything fancy.  Airsoft or BB guns will let you work common problems without breaking the bank…

Think about what you will do if some restrictive laws do get passed, and DON’T tell anyone that you’ve decided on anything other than selling all your stuff quick before the laws take effect.  Make sure you have a bill of sale… even if it’s just to A. Random Patriot.  When bad things happen they tend to happen all at once, and very rapidly.

Times are going to get tough, no matter what happens with the election, or the wuflu.  Too many cans have been kicked down the road.  Too many things have become un-tethered from reality.  Far too many people aren’t able to hold a contrary thought in their heads, and react violently to the suggestion that they should.

It’s not too late to shore up some weak spots, but it will be soon.  How soon is yet to be seen.  The longer you wait the more it will cost and the harder it will be.

So keep stacking,


Sun. Nov. 29, 2020 – still raining, still plodding along

And still raining.  Ground is SATURATED.  Bayous are full.  Some people are going to have a problem soon.

Slept late after being up all night with the power outage and restore.  Followed by an Amber alert.  Felt worse after sleeping until 10 than if I’d just gotten up at a normal hour.

I went out to do a pickup- got a 440mhz ham antenna for very cheap.  Turned out I missed the guy’s estate sale with all the radios and gear.  The house still had 3 big antennas, a multiband HF yagi on a crank up tower, a set of 144 and 440 yagis for EarthMoonEarth on a rusty old tower, and a multiband vertical ground mounted.   I asked, and she wanted $100 for all but I needed to take them down and take them all.   Closer inspection, I realized the crank up tower was cranked up.  The guy had been gone for a long time.  If the tower was still in the up position, it probably didn’t COME down… I offered on the ground mount, but she turned me down.  I don’t want the project or the risk of taking down a broken tower.  I sure would have liked those antennas though.  (The HF yagi was 35 feet across and 60 feet up.  The EME yagis are about 10 ft long.)

Got home and went to work putting up the range hood.  Finally finished that around 10pm.  Still need to get up in the attic and hook up the power and the duct.  It looks great, but ended up about 4 inches too close to my face.  I’ll either get used to it or not.

Did go through another bin of stuff for the auction.  Arranged to meet the plumber at the rent house on Tuesday.  So I got some stuff done but it still didn’t feel like a lot.

And everyone’s bedtime is now messed up.

Today’s plan is more of the same.  Finish the range hood.  More auction stuff.  Cleaning.   MAYBE some Christmas decor if the rain stops.

And of course, keep working on skills, keep building community, keep stacking.


Sat. Nov. 28, 2020 – the end is nigh, well, nigh-er

Wet, cool, and wet.  With a side order of wet.

Yesterday was rain alternating with drizzle and misty drizzle.

Plumbing was accomplished.  Plumbers will be arranged.

Leftovers were eaten.  These are the good old times.  Make the most of them.

I came into a conversation mid-sentence.  My wife was suggesting to Daughter 1 that she get started with me learning how to shoot, first the BB and airsoft, then the real guns later.  WELL.  Ok then 🙂  That’s not a change of heart on her part or anything but it’s the first time she’s brought it up and the first time with a timeframe.  FWIW, I think she’s right and probably a bit overdue.

Today I’ll be working on the kitchen range hood, continuing my local auction prepping, and getting stuff picked up so we can get the Christmas decor up.  I’d like to do several new things this year but I haven’t decided on anything specific.  (Yes, if I think CWII is going to kick off, why worry about Christmas decor?  Because that is normal real life.  Kids need to learn the traditions and the stories and they need the memories.  I need the memories.  The bad thing ™ usually doesn’t happen, so I prep for it, but also make sure to live my life right now.)



Speaking of, power went out and I’m closing this on my phone.  Keep stacking. You’ll need it.



Fri. Nov. 27, 2020 – just another day to work

Cool, overcast, possible rain later.

Well, Thanksgiving Day has come and gone.  We here at Casa de Nick have enjoyed another feast, with most of the traditional foods we are used to having.  We missed having friends and family over, but it did make for a more calm and relaxing day.

I actually managed to get some other stuff done too.  I went through a bunch of stuff and filled a couple of bins for my local auction.  I have more to go through, and the ebay bin will need to be listed, but it looks like progress…  And I repaired an item that should sell for hundreds of bucks on ebay.

My wife continued painting in the kitchen in addition to preparing some really good food.  If I wasn’t going to my rent house to do plumbing repairs today, I’d be in the attic getting the range hood installed.   I guess that will wait until Saturday.

I’ve never been interested in “Friday of Color” sales.  I can often find better pricing, or similar pricing but on better versions of the items and avoid the stampedes.  I did look at a few of the cyber- offers.  An ammunition reseller had Pelican cases marked down.  That was it.  They didn’t even have any ammo for sale.  Some other places online had weirdo import guns, and small manufactures I’ve never seen before, but no big names.  A few, very few, had name brand models, at high prices.  Selection and quantity were very limited.

Fry’s offers were about where MicroCenter is normally.  MicroCenter was competitive with Costco.  Costco expanded the tech they have for sale dramatically.   As an aside, a decade after leaving the field of large format, high resolution CURVED displays, the new hotness is curved monitors on desks.  I guess once you’ve sold everyone two monitors, and with 3D still a bust, curved looks like a growth space.   After a decade of putting in curved displays, we determined that they are essentially single user devices.  They work poorly for large groups unless the display is HUGE and the intent is awe, rather than work.  Large curved TVs had the same issues we saw with our much larger systems and didn’t fly off the shelves.   Desktop users might be the actual sweet spot for wide curved displays.  As long as you don’t need two…or three.*

It will be interesting to see if the shoppers ignore social distancing and masks in the rush to get cheap crap, like the holiday travelers did.

I’m not one to panic, but I do take the wuflu seriously.  It didn’t kill us like it killed chinese, but I’ll put some of that down to unknown factors, and some down to masks and distancing.  It’s hard to catch something if you aren’t around anyone who has it.  The number of people traveling this week pretty much ensures that we will see a large spike in cases, on top of the current increases, just in time for Christmas travel, which will either not happen if things are REALLY bad, or will put the nail in the coffin of containment and mitigation.  You can argue severity, transmissibility, lethality, and the legality and effectiveness of the actions taken by political figures, but you can’t argue the ACTUALITY that the disease exists, is spread person to person, and makes some percentage very sick, and kills a smaller percentage of those.  With very large numbers exposed, we WILL see large numbers of sick, and larger numbers of both very sick, and lethally sick people than we have been seeing.

That will cause a number of responses, both social and political.  I can’t predict which way it will go.  I expect political ‘leaders’ to try more, harder.  If you are in an area with already repressive government – I think you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.  Those of us in less restrictive areas are going to see increasing restrictions.  Or despite everything we’ll lose control and it will sweep through like a wildfire, in which case you’ll stay isolated voluntarily.

Either case or anything in between can be made better on an individual level by avoiding people.  Get ready to increase your personal protective behaviors.  This isn’t going to be a time to be out shopping or ‘living your best life’.    Get that stuff out of the way NOW, right now, before the wave hits.  And stack it high, because a surging hospitalization rate is actually likely to be only ONE of our worries as the next month or two plays out.

I know it’s doom and gloom.  But we ARE living with social unrest (rioting/insurrection), a global pandemic, and an uncertain election and transfer of power, which could turn into full on fighting in the streets.  France fell in 2 weeks to the Germans.  Just last month, suddenly Armenia and Azerbaijan were lobbing mortars and bombs into each other’s cities.  Venezuela fell to failed state in less than two years.  It can happen very quickly.  Be ready to live with it and through it.

Keep stacking.  Be thankful for every day without those issues.



Thur. Nov. 26, 2020 – Thanksgiving Day (USA)

Cool and damp, chance of rain.  ‘Cuz Houston in winter.

Wednesday was the same, no rain at the house but I’m sure someone got some.  Well, there might have been some, the concrete was wet in some areas, a bit more than just from dew.  Nothing like real rain though.

I tried to do some plumbing, I tried to do some work around the house.  I’m feeling better but still moving slow.  And I’ve got a crick in my neck that makes it painful to look to the right.  Meh, pain is just weakness leaving the body.


And today is Thanksgiving Day.  And I am thankful.  I’m thankful

-that we don’t have 2 million dead from wuflu

-that Hillarity still isn’t President

-that we had a 4 year respite from the advancement of the globalist agenda

-that the enemy has finally decloaked and self identified

-that 70 Million Americans made a choice that for some of them was very difficult personally, but they chose NOT to vote for socialism

-that we have time to prepare for what comes next

-that I have family and friends to go along with me on the journey

-that I have a voice and a place to use it

I am thankful to all those who helped me along the way.

I am thankful to those who are still here, and those who have gone on ahead, peace be upon them and their families.  Raise a glass and remember,

Absent friends.



Wed. Nov. 25, 2020 – and the beat goes on

Cooler, damper, maybe some rain.

It was overcast most of Tuesday, with some very light sprinkles to keep me from doing much outside.  Did a bit inside, chronicled in the comments yesterday.

My wife got one coat of mud on the repair, so maybe she’ll get another on today, and maybe we’ll get the hood hung.  At least getting the ceiling penetration done and the mounting bracketry in  place would let the painting progress.  I bet we get there, someone is strongly motivated.

And there is turkey prep that needs to happen.  Every year we try some new method, and every year I hear “this is how we’re doing it from now on, this is great”, and then the next year we start afresh.  Alton somebody’s method this year.  Sides, french meat stuffing and pie, and dessert all need to get started today too.  We’re not doing a lot of sides, because we’re not having anyone over, but we do need the traditional stuff…

And I have to go to the rent house and do some plumbing work in the tub.  The tenants are away this week, so I feel ok going over.  I’ll wear my mask and gloves.  I am feeling better.  Not fully 100% but better.  Still moving slow.

Kids have been playing Skyrim, both are working their way through the assassins guild and the thieves guild quests.  Kinda fun to watch how each one approaches the moral dilemmas.  Both have adopted orphan kids and gotten married in game too.    Weirdos.   The most recent version also lets you design and build houses too.  You have to quarry stone, forge nails, cut wood…  MORE freaking grinding, but the kids love it.  Minecraft is ALL grinding, so I guess it’s what they think gaming IS.    Funny that my favorite movies are 30 years old or more, and my favorite computer and console games are 10-15 years old.    Older than my kids.  I’ve had my gmail account for 21 years it told me the other day.  That’s my “new” account.

Time flies.

And time is getting short.  Get your stuff in one bag and keep stacking.



Tues. Nov. 24, 2020 – a literal dumpster fire…

Cool and overcast, some chance of rain.

Like yesterday.  Only cooler.  Maybe.

Hid in the house all day.   Didn’t feel good.  Can’t go back to bed, as then my neck and back get messed up.  Did a tiny bit of work.  Cooked dinner and made bread.

The title is about what I passed on my way home the other day… the loony bin up the road had a fire in their dumpster.  I’ve never seen that before outside of a meme.  Yea me!  Now my 2020 is complete.

Nothing I’ve seen suggests that things are going to be better in 2021, except possibly we’ll have an effective and safe vaccine.  I’ll let the other guys go first on that one… and wait until we’ve seen what happens with pregnant women and kids before making up my mind.

I’m ready to stay home for a while if they start to mandate things like papers to move around.  Shortly after that the roundups starts, so I’ll be getting ready.  History might not repeat but it rhymes, and we’ve heard this tune before.  If old hoof in mouth Joe gets into the Whitehouse, which do you think will come first, the modern yellow star, movement passes, or midnight raids?  There will be calls for gun registration and confiscation too.  The AR pistols will be first.  “Shockwave” style shotguns too.

This time around, the populace is armed, but this time around, the panopticon sees all.

I think I’ll go long on road flares, soap flakes*, and bottles.

Keep stacking.  Figure out how to keep your head down, and what side you’ll take.  You may try to stay neutral, but I don’t think circumstances will let you.


*I’ve heard styrofoam is good too.


Mon. Nov. 23, 2020 – stayed up too late, so short shrift

Darker and cooler.  Possible rain.

Spent most of yesterday moving slowly and not doing much.  Brain is slow and so is body.  Coughing was better, throat was more sore than before.

Plan for today is sleep in a bit, then work.  Missed my chance to do big stuff at my secondary location on Sunday, but I was really not up to climbing around on stuff or running a forklift.

Need to plan and provision Thanksgiving Day dinner now that we’ll be home, and I need to get a grocery run or order in.  I wonder what stock levels will be like?

I spent almost two hours reading through old days here.  Some from 2016 and some from 2017.   We made it through the things we were most worried about, and that was heartening.  Of course, not all of us made it.

OFD’s presence is large on every page, and RBT is there, but not necessarily front and center.   It’s clear that even then the comments here are what creates the value.  Some voices are the same and some have dropped out.

Spook?  Eugen? MrK?  and a fairly long list of others that were so familiar but have not spoken up in a while.  Miles_Teg?  Time for a lurkers roll call….

If you guys are still coming by, check in and say “Hi”….

And don’t forget to keep stacking.




Sun. Nov. 22, 2020 – Still in Houston, not going to FL

Cool and damp, occasional sun, breezes to make it all better.  That’s my plan, we’ll see if the sacrifices accomplished anything…

I think that Saturday was pretty much like that but to be honest, I was inside all day.  Didn’t feel well at all.  Sore throat was worse, some coughing, and the feeling of being ‘not right’ was stronger.  So I called our trip to FL officially off.  Wife and kids are disappointed but I don’t want anyone getting sick.  And given that I believe the pandemic to be a serious thing, traveling cross country seems to be wrong on its own merits.

I managed to sleep in, and then mostly just sit around all day with my brain and body in neutral.  I did do a little bit of work for my client, in that I took apart the dead amplifier and looked at it to see what I could see.  Dead power supply board is my diagnosis, cause of death?  I couldn’t find a smoking gun.   One swollen cap, bigger than my thumb, but the capacitance was still within range.  Didn’t put it on an ESR meter, so the internal resistance could be too high, but I suspect the real problem is in the control circuit.  It’s not cool to just have a physical power switch these days.  No, you have to have  a momentary that activates a latching circuit, etc.  Much harder for me to poke at and make work.  New amp is $350, used ‘as is’ on ebay they are $125, and there is one “parts” amp listed for $75 including shipping.  I could swap the power board from it.  I’ll ask the client what he wants to do but it’s not worth the cost of my time to spend any more effort on it.

I felt like I had to do something useful yesterday and it got the amp out of the foyer, as I can now add it to the pile of dead electronics with a clear conscience.

Went to bed early, slept late, and I’m planning on the same today.

Keep the faith, and keep stacking.



Sat. Nov. 21, 2020 – still in Houston

Cool, maybe a little rain, possible overcast, but generally nice.

Like yesterday.  I got the tiniest little spritz in the late afternoon, but otherwise a nice day.  Some sun, some warmth, shirtsleeves and shorts, no sweat dripping off my nose.

I am not feeling great, but still  have things to do, so I’ve been doing them.  More slowly to be sure, but still moving.  I took a couple of hundred pounds of scrap to the recycler after breaking down a bunch of electronics and a bunch of wiring harnesses.   I won’t get rich, but the stuff leaves, and I get some money back for it.  It does take time, but today paid me at better than $20/hr for the time.

Assuming that we can have our Hamfest in March, I’m planning to bring bins of salvaged electrical and electronic parts to the swapmeet.  I didn’t get a bunch of radios this year so I need something to sell, and I’ve got bins of “something” that need to leave.  The parts are things that seemed too good to just break up for recycle, like panel meters, power supply modules, connectors, fuse holders, stuff like that.  It sold well for me last year when I finally brought it out.  I’ve got spools of cable and wire too.  They always sell well when priced right.  Assuming we’re not in the middle of a guerrilla war, or facing terror attacks from the insurgency.

Plan and prepare for bad things, but continue living your life in case they don’t happen.

Still not feeling well.  Less of the sharpness in my lungs today, but still coughing and sore throat.  Still the feeling of being unwell.  No test results.  I did finally get the CVS online portal thing set up and working.  Some part of the process failed the first time, and I didn’t really get my account set up.  Now it is, and it says “no test results available”.  It also now says 3-4 days to process, up from 2-3.

Haven’t definitively called off the FL trip, but I’m 99% certain I better get a turkey defrosting here.

My third local auction company agreed to take a bunch of stuff on consignment next week.  I will fill up some bins for them.  My auction items seemed to sell well last night, but I haven’t seen final numbers yet.  I want them to do well so the auctioneer makes money and wants more of my stuff.  And I need to get it out of here.  The time from Thanksgiving to February historically has been a slow sales time for me, but maybe the old rules have changed.  I certainly hope so.

So much is changing now, or set to change dramatically, that it’s hard to plan for any specific outcome.  I’m trying to plan for the worst but still be ready if it doesn’t materialize.  My prepping can’t have irrevocable consequences.  That’s been one of my rules from the beginning.  That might change at some point, but for now, that’s bedrock.  It leaves a pretty broad range of choices still in most situations while hopefully protecting me from excess.   We’ll see I guess.

Meantime, I’m sleeping in a bit, then continuing to nibble away at the pile of stuff that needs doing.  Keep working the problem, keep learning, keep stacking.