Tues. Feb. 16, 2021 – it’s cold. Real cold.

Don’t know what it is in the am.   It was 19F at 7pm when I wrote this.  Wanted to get it up in case I had a problem.   Gennies never have problems on clear sunny days, but they sure seem to in the middle of the night when it’s in the teens.

After spending the day taking my neighbor food and heat, and getting my own heat up and running, every time the gennie stumbles my heart does too.

Currently (7pm Mon) have two generators running, the honda ex3000i running a couple of oil filled electric space heaters, and phone chargers, and the generac gasoline 4600 running the furnace and fan, fridges and freezers, and networking.   I damaged the idle control when fixing the carb today so it has  a piece of foam as a speed (and voltage ) adjustment.   It works very well, but occasionally hiccups.

House is warm, 72F and the garage is above freezing.   The gas fireplace helped a lot.  I even got a very quick shower.

I think we’ll have more of the same today, with added bonus misery as stuff starts failing.

WRT some comments, you can’t engineer for a 100year event.  No one can afford it.  This freeze is the very definition of an ‘act of God’ for planning and insurance purposes.  That’s why that phrase exists.   Sometimes the extremely unlikely thing happens.   Sucks to be us.

Preps have certainly helped.   Food is not an issue.   Lots of ways to cook it.   Heat has been manageable with the propane heaters, and the electric space heaters, and the gas log.   Lots of extension cords.   Generators.   Even enough to share.

It’s a disaster.  We are getting through.  That’s what we do and why we prep.

Much more detailed AAR after the disaster is done.

Until then, keep stacking.  And evaluate whether it’s worth it to cover an unlikely risk, especially if you can do so cheaply.  (Protip, yes it is.)

nick

 

And thanks t o everyone for sharing.  Connectivity has been spotty as has my available time.  Still here.  Still getting by.

 

Author: Nick Flandrey

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

82 thoughts on “Tues. Feb. 16, 2021 – it’s cold. Real cold.”

  1. Just got a call from the dialysis center they have a spot available if we can get there in 90 minutes. Leaving now. It’s normally an hour drive and local roads are listed as “severe” so we’ll be going slow. Wish us luck. I threw the BOB in the back seat,added water and extra blankets and put fresh batteries in the Motorola gprs radios. We are not prepared well for travel in ice & snow so I’ll be cautious.

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  2. Apparently 400,000 homes in Austin have been without power since last night. Somebody is going to be little upset.

    Austin VA outpatient clinic and the surrounding area have been without power for two days so my wife isn’t seeing patients today. The clinic was closed yesterday, and most of the Subcontinent doctors didn’t show on Friday, openly planning to call out on Thursday afternoon.

    I know planning for an outage on this scale is impossible, but I’m surprised the VA doesn’t have a backup generator. Someone my wife spoke to last night mentioned burst pipes.

    As for the Subcontinent … I’ll leave it at the VA reaping what they’ve sewn recruiting from that demographic.

    On a side note, the VA clinic in Austin sits right across the runway from Austin-Bergstrom airport, and my former employer sits next to the VA. No priority on power for that complex from Austin Energy. Maybe my former management is dealing with burst pipes this morning. One can only hope.

  3. Likewise Nick.. Hope all is well, as can be expected under these conditions.
    Weather is slowly on the improve, which might ease power blackouts.
    Fingers crossed anyway…

    As always, thoughts are with everyone and their families..

  4. My area has been spared. Roads are dry, 22f so not too bad, high today will be 30f. Nothing in the next few days will get into the single digits. Precipitation is negligible at my location. 30 miles north it is a different story. Roads completely blocked from ice.

    West of here in Nashville the roads are generally unpassable unless one has chains and 4WD. 4WD there is a lot because of the bubbas, chains not so much. Lots of bubbas in ditches and off the shoulder because they don’t realize that going is not the issue, stopping is the problem. And all vehicles have 4 wheel brakes and 4WD makes no difference in stopping.

    No power issues, nary a blip. Power here is very reliable and generally plentiful. We have hydro, coal, natural gas and nuclear. A few windmills on the mountain I can see from my house. Most of the time, out of the 12 windmills, only one is turning. A huge waste of money and resources not to mention the defacement of the top of the mountain.

    Longest power outage I have had here is was for 8 hours when a tornado took down the power lines at the end of my street, about 1/8 mile away. Destroyed three homes in that area along with the lines. The second longest was 5 hours when the utility company was replacing the poles and the lines. Poles had been replaced a couple of days earlier and the outage was to move the lines to the new poles.

  5. No power issues, nary a blip. Power here is very reliable and generally plentiful. We have hydro, coal, natural gas and nuclear. A few windmills on the mountain I can see from my house. Most of the time, out of the 12 windmills, only one is turning. A huge waste of money and resources not to mention the defacement of the top of the mountain.

    When we lived in WA State from 2010-2014, the buzz was that a relative of Governor Gregoire was connected with the windmills replacing dams in the state’s power grid. Something similar is probably taking place in Texas.

    The local Faux News anchor ripped into Abbott in a live interview on the 10 PM newscast last night. First question, “Governor is this a failure?”

    If Abbott runs again, it will be ugly with regard to media.

    I see the trucks with the big carbon fiber windmill blades constantly on I35 heading … somewhere.

  6. Freezing rain here. Overcast but not especially cold (by our standards). Not a bad day if you don’t need to go anywhere.

    Best wishes to those dealing with their unexpected bounty of Global Warming™.

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  7. Good to hear, Ray, Greg & SteveF..
    So according to the NYT…
    but research suggests that frigid temperatures in Texas could be a consequence of global warming, a phenomenon that has prompted the climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe to use the phrase “global weirding.”
    At least they are not blaming DJT……. yet.

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  8. Lots of bubbas in ditches and off the shoulder because they don’t realize that going is not the issue, stopping is the problem.

    I can only imagine. I was in Dallas in ’81 or ’82, when there was a major ice storm. The roads looked clear, until you realized that there was about a inch of perfectly transparent ice sitting on them. Took out a lot of trees and power lines.

    But still: I have to disagree with Nick about engineering for 100-year events. From the very limited information available, it looks like a lot of the power problems are failed sensors. So the plants shut down, because they didn’t know that the grid needed their power, and had no alternative way of finding out.

    This is like IT disaster recovery. If you are running a critical service, you plan how you’re going to keep your service up, and you test your emergency procedures. From the sounds of it, the Texas power grid didn’t, and didn’t. Heads should roll.

    research suggests that frigid temperatures in Texas could be a consequence of global warming

    Of course. Everything is the fault of global warming. The big lie, that has been repeated so often even normally sensible people start to believe it. Let them make falsifiable predictions with their theory. Oh, right, they did.

  9. We hit -23°F (-31°C) here just before 7AM in our Great Plains state. Car turned over for a while before finally firing up.

    you can’t engineer for a 100year event.

    Seems to be more of a 30 year event. Didn’t Texas get slammed with cold weather in the late 80s?

  10. 1°F here at 7am. It’s going to be sunny today. I’m ready for some of that Global Warming stuff.

    The power has not blinked at all. PEC does a good job.

  11. I’m surprised the VA doesn’t have a backup generator.

    Where are people’s priorities? Our Home Depot has a big diesel generator. Our hospital supposedly has enough generator power for full operation, and fuel for several days.

    Best to all who are struggling. As someone said, by Sunday it will be 70F.

    Our weather forecast is as usual: sunny with several imperceptible earthquakes expected. We are still getting aftershocks from our big two in July 2019. We feel some. I have stopped counting at something over 30k.

  12. This is like IT disaster recovery. If you are running a critical service, you plan how you’re going to keep your service up, and you test your emergency procedures. From the sounds of it, the Texas power grid didn’t, and didn’t. Heads should roll.

    I interviewed with ERCOT about two years ago. The engineers seemed decent enough, but the management was … weird. The direct manager was former IBM still bitter about losing his job for life in Global Services doing something for one of the railroads.

    I didn’t know what an icehouse was until recently thanks to @Nick and @Lynn. The follow up interview to the site visit took place in an icehouse in Taylor.

    Ultimately, ERCOT passed on me, probably due to my lack of hands on with databases. I wondered if they did the interview because they simply wanted to know what was going on at my former employer’s test facility, just across the runway from their complex at the Taylor airport.

  13. -11C (12F) with a fresh 10 inches or so of snow. This is normal for the Toronto area at this time of year so just staying home for the day. With the lockdown in place we were mostly staying home anyway, so no big deal. My best wishes and sympathy for everyone down in the southern US. What is normal for us up here is a 100-year event for you and that is no fun at all and could become deadly. My special wishes to Harold and his wife who have to go out onto icy roads. No matter how well you are prepared for driving in this weather, somebody else out on the road won’t be and they are a danger to you. Not much you can do about that but check carefully all around you and that just adds to the stress of winter driving. Everyone please be safe.

  14. From yesterday,
    …she mashes the screen and keeps pressing. Or touches in places she does not realize.

    My wife’s problem, but not as bad as you describe. My wife and I started with resistive touchscreen phones, so some pressure was needed. We next bought Samsung Galaxy Notes with capacitive touch screens, and she failed to adapt. She immediately started using the stylus, but only as a pointing stick, and now can’t operate without it. This also means she can’t zoom in or out, because that requires two fingers. Oy!

    I have tried to teach and suggest, but it just gets her angry. She now has her new notebook computer, but doesn’t seem to use it much. I have suggested we schedule Q&A sessions, but there is never ‘time.’ Rather than learn, she is becoming a tech hater. I am worried.

  15. For those that are interested the Dark Sky app is one of the best apps for weather information. My opinion. Really good local weather at the user’s location. To get a notification that rain is starting in 10 minutes and 9 minutes later the rain starts is nice. The app was much more accurate than the weather liars looking 10 days into the future. The liars said there would be 2f, Dark Sky said 16f, it got down to 17f for the predicted day.

    With the rest of the news feasting on sensationalism, it seems that mindset has migrated to weather forecasts.


  16. Rather than learn, she is becoming a tech hater.

    Sounds like my wife. She clicks in spots because she thinks that is where something should be located. Then complains that the system is stupid. Everything should be how she wants, not the way it actually operates. When something doesn’t work the way she wants, I have to deal with the rants. About once a month I have to get her iPhone back to normal. Her outlook mail is a complete mess that I refuse to touch.

  17. Best wishes to Harold and his wife.

    Chilly night here but not horrible. It only got down to 49 in the house. I have the generator chilling the freezer and running a space heater at about 700 watts. Can’t turn that up full and run the freezer. Also have a small fire going in the fireplace. The dog and I are curled up together in front of the fire. 53 now.

    Ironically, the wife is in upstate ny, where is colder but they have power. No power here since about 6pm yesterday.

    Many lessons to be learned from this. Especially by ercot, but I think much of this is simply that they engineered the system for Texas summers and not freaky cold weather.


  18. For those that are interested the Dark Sky app is one of the best apps for weather information. My opinion.

    Now owned by Apple. That’s what pops up when I start in on my iPhone etc. I’ve used it for a long time now, but I didn’t know Apple bought it.

  19. Winter problems:

    1. There are some outside water lines that were run for a masterbath reno. I have them covered with insulation and kept a trickle going in the shower. Looks like they froze last night. I don’t see any signs of bursting in the exposed lines. Buried portion might have. It’s supposed to hit 32ºF today and I’ll heat them with my portable heat gun.

    2. Heat pump outside unit is iced over and not turning. Inside aux heat and blower are keeping up with 73ºF. The company the install company did all the heat pumps they installed are like that. They expect them to start running by the weekend when temps rise. If it isn’t turning by Mon, call back for a service call.

    3. Did I mention not snow shovel, brush, or ice scraper? FAIL!

    LET THE HEELING AND THAWING BEGIN!

  20. There are some outside water lines that were run for a masterbath reno. I have them covered with insulation and kept a trickle going in the shower. Looks like they froze last night. I don’t see any signs of bursting in the exposed lines. Buried portion might have. It’s supposed to hit 32ºF today and I’ll heat them with my portable heat gun.

    I have one spigot I’m concerned about which needs to be checked today, located on an outside wall of the garage at the corner of my house. I had the spigot covered and the garage door closed, but the drywall inside the garage hasn’t been repaired from where we cut into it last year to fix a leak. The plumber covered the copper line emerging from the slab with foam padding so I may be ok in the thaw. Still, the garage isn’t insulated/heated.

    Gotta get that drywall patched. I’m as guilty as anyone else not anticipating this kind of weather. The previous owners hid several holes in the garage drywall which I also have to patch, and the job was on my list. I have a huge/complex drywall replacement which needs a pro in another part of the garage, and I considered throwing the minor jobs in with that. In 100 degree weather, exposed cold water pipes running to an outside spigot aren’t a huge concern.

  21. Got the wife into dialysis safely. East-west roads not too bad, north-south roads and intersections are dangerous. Thank goodness not many people on the roads as I actually slid through a couple of stop signs.
    She’s having an abbreviated session today as next snow storm is expected after noon. Taking advantage of the short break to stock up on supplies we found were running low. Wife wanted macaroni and cheese yesterday, no problem, I have plenty stocked away. Went looking and surprise, the grandkids had been helping themselves so only one 5 box pack left. Also running low on mayonnaise as the wife wants homemade coleslaw which takes about one 16 oz jar to make enough for two meals. Sigh. Stopped in at the storage facility office to see if the pipes had frozen, not yet. Running the faucets to ensure no breakage. I wish I had a spare electric oil filled heater for the place. I think they are much safer than radiant heaters.
    Will fill the tank then pick up the wife for the trip home.

    I don’t know how Texans put up with the nonsensical outages they are suffering. This should be a wake up call for the renewable energy supporters. Ugandan villagers have 100% renewable energy sources, wood and dung. Is that what we want for our children?


  22. Of course. Everything is the fault of global warming.

    And the new revealed truth is that global warming/climate change is caused by Americans inherent racism. So global cooling would be a sign of better American race relations? Never. Without a divisive issue like racism the left couldn’t keep their base enslaved.


  23. Ugandan villagers have 100% renewable energy sources, wood and dung. Is that what we want for our children?

    There is enough “dung” in DC and every state’s capital to supply 150% of our greatest needs.

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  24. I don’t know how Texans put up with the nonsensical outages they are suffering. This should be a wake up call for the renewable energy supporters. Ugandan villagers have 100% renewable energy sources, wood and dung. Is that what we want for our children?

    We haven’t lost power, but we don’t live within the city limits of Austin.

    Our neighborhood is also home to a large amount of the local ISD infrastructure such as the purchasing dept. warehouse, IT, central food services (bakery?), and bus maintenance depot as well as a sizeable LDS church on the same block so power may be a priority.

    Power generation, distribution, and retail are handled by separate companies, and, prior to this event, I received at least one sales pitch a week from a retailer touting their exclusively “green” philosophy when buying from generation companies.

    Distribution goes through Oncor exclusively, another Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary.

    That reminds me — the shareholder letter is due this weekend, usually Saturday after Valentines Day. I have no doubt some revision is underway in Omaha.


  25. There is enough “dung” in DC and every state’s capital to supply 150% of our greatest needs.

    Perhaps, but the odor would be most intolerable in the process of burning.


  26. Is that what we want for our children?

    Your children can huddle around dung fires.
    Their children will live in mansions with all the modern conveniences and will receive educations suitable for the next generation of leaders.

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  27. Nuclear is really the only option for baseline power generation. There is no second choice. Use the windmills when available, use solar when available, but bottom line: civilization needs reliable power, and those…aren’t.

    Two of our four nuclear units here in Texas are down. Apparently their cooling ponds froze over. They should be back online by this weekend.

    No power here today. No water here today. My house is on the same circuit as our community well pump so they got that also and the generator failed to start.

    So many failures. All traced back to our flaky electrical system in Texas.

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  28. This is like IT disaster recovery. If you are running a critical service, you plan how you’re going to keep your service up, and you test your emergency procedures. From the sounds of it, the Texas power grid didn’t, and didn’t. Heads should roll.

    I am fascinated at the concept of testing the freezing over of the nuclear reactor cooling pond on the Texas gulf coast. If I remember correctly, it is 400 acres.

  29. This is like IT disaster recovery. If you are running a critical service, you plan how you’re going to keep your service up, and you test your emergency procedures. From the sounds of it, the Texas power grid didn’t, and didn’t. Heads should roll.

    I am fascinated at the concept of testing the freezing over of the nuclear reactor cooling pond on the Texas gulf coast. If I remember correctly, it is 400 acres.

    Disaster recovery may include safe shutdown if you are unable to continue. Now for IT, it is easy to have remote, duplicate facilities available. Not so much for power generation since no one wants to pay for unused plants siting idle (Having 98% of facilities in use on average when bragging to shareholders about ROI does not look so good today). For most renewables, you are supposed to have some amount of backup power (typically NG plants) ready for when the wind don’t blow (or blows too hard) and the sun don’t shine. I pay for having some of those plants sit idle in Ontario. What is the backup for 25,000MW of wind generation in Texas?

  30. I am fascinated at the concept of testing the freezing over of the nuclear reactor cooling pond on the Texas gulf coast. If I remember correctly, it is 400 acres.

    Right on the Gulf coast? Something doesn’t seem right.

    Gulf temps are already 70 not far off shore. This will be a fun storm season.

  31. Many lessons to be learned from this. Especially by ercot, but I think much of this is simply that they engineered the system for Texas summers and not freaky cold weather.

    I wish. ERCOT took a grid engineered for reliability in 1995 ? And converted it to economics.

    I have a fix. Anyone wanting to sell energy on the grid must have one week’s worth of fuel on their site. And ERCOT must pay them to store that fuel. Plus just about no units built since 1995 has dual fuel capability. Double plus, no gas turbines can make epa regs on liquid fuel without steam atomization. And to have steam atomization on startup requires a steam boiler running liquid fuel …


  32. If you are running a critical service, you plan how you’re going to keep your service up, and you test your emergency procedures.

    If you’re competent you do.

    But that costs money. And cuts into profits and ROI and executive bonuses. And once-a-century events don’t happen hardly ever.

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  33. I wish. ERCOT took a grid engineered for reliability in 1995 ? And converted it to economics.

    Toss in IBM Global Services IT managers. The guy I met can’t be the only one there.

    His specialty was the railroad industry.


  34. I wish. ERCOT took a grid engineered for reliability in 1995 ? And converted it to economics.

    Toss in IBM Global Services IT managers. The guy I met can’t be the only one there.

    His specialty was the railroad industry.

    Well, dispatching trains – dispatching power. Both involve engineers. What could possibly go wrogn?

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  35. Yay! Outside master bath water pipes are thawed. Hot water flowing. I took the opportunity to put new pipe insolation on. I’ll try water trickle again tonight to see if it keeps thawed.

    Car now melted and started with no problem. I brought in my jump battery and supercap to make sure they are OK.

    Now just wait to see if the heat pump revives. I did turn down the temp to 70ºF to save some unicorn farts.

  36. I am fascinated at the concept of testing the freezing over of the nuclear reactor cooling pond on the Texas gulf coast. If I remember correctly, it is 400 acres.

    Right on the Gulf coast? Something doesn’t seem right.

    South Texas Project in Bay City, TX on state highway 35 between the Gulf of Mexico and 35. Look at it on Google earth.

    Each one of the reactors uses about four million gallons of water per MINUTE for cooling Those are 4.5 ? GW reactors with 25% efficiency. Guess where the 3.25 GW of non electricity heat go to ? Yup, the cooling towers which use recycled water from the pond.

  37. For most renewables, you are supposed to have some amount of backup power (typically NG plants) ready for when the wind don’t blow (or blows too hard) and the sun don’t shine. I pay for having some of those plants sit idle in Ontario. What is the backup for 25,000MW of wind generation in Texas?

    What backup ?

    Don’t forget the 5,000 MW of solar that is running at half power from 8am to 5pm. And is adding another 2,000 to 3,000 MW per year now. Google the Duck Curve to see the problem with solar.


  38. I interviewed with ERCOT about two years ago.

    Way back in 2008 I interviewed with EPCOT for an IT security position. I was surprised at the competency of the interview team. They knew their stuff and exhibited extreme competence in IT forensics. Not what I expected of a power generation operation. They took external
    attacks seriously. Decided I didn’t want to move to Austin area so didn’t pursue.

  39. Each one of the reactors uses about four million gallons of water per MINUTE for cooling Those are 4.5 ? GW reactors with 25% efficiency. Guess where the 3.25 GW of non electricity heat go to ? Yup, the cooling towers which use recycled water from the pond.

    I was about to ask how a pond freezes over when each reactor dumps about 2GW of heat into it. Does all the heat go up the cooling tower or does some go into the pond? Closer to 33%, I believe.

    I’ve had 3 hours of power now. Upstairs is toasty, downstairs still only 64. I want warmer for the next outage.

    I would run the dishwasher but my water pressure is low today. I unplugged the water heater just in case.


  40. you can’t engineer for a 100year event.

    They had a blurb on the TX power outages on the top of the hour news this morning.
    “…The local elected officials want answers…”
    If only we could store the hot air the inevitable hearings will generate.

  41. They had a blurb on the TX power outages on the top of the hour news this morning.
    “…The local elected officials want answers…”
    If only we could store the hot air the inevitable hearings will generate.

    City of Austin has a special election in May to change the city government in several ways, including adoption of a “Strong Mayor” model and shifting of the Mayoral election to Presidential election years to avoid Midterm voters’ wrath.

    The election also includes a ban on camping on the streets, but only in specific places around Downtown and the UT campus.

  42. Each one of the reactors uses about four million gallons of water per MINUTE for cooling Those are 4.5 ? GW reactors with 25% efficiency. Guess where the 3.25 GW of non electricity heat go to ? Yup, the cooling towers which use recycled water from the pond.

    I was about to ask how a pond freezes over when each reactor dumps about 2GW of heat into it. Does all the heat go up the cooling tower or does some go into the pond? Closer to 33%, I believe.

    Nope, all four reactors in Texas are PWRs, pressurized water reactors. Efficiency only about 25% since they are double loops and the steam side inlet pressure is only about 600 ? psig.

    Most of the cooling heat loss is in the cooling towers due to evaporation of water. The cooling pond is for subcooling and makeup water storage.

  43. I see the green energy apologists are already on network news making it a point to note that the fossil fuel and nuclear power generation also failed, so the problem isn’t wind and solar.

    Things are 100 year events until they’re not. After three 500 year floods in the span of 50 years around here they finally decided that maybe they needed to redefine what was 500 vs 100 year flood plain.


  44. Things are 100 year events until they’re not. After three 500 year floods in the span of 50 years around here they finally decided that maybe they needed to redefine what was 500 vs 100 year flood plain.

    QFT

    I don’t know if it’s some glitch in the math or science in determining “100-year events” or some managerial interference, but it’s been obvious for decades that very rare events occur much more often than they should.

  45. I don’t know if it’s some glitch in the math or science in determining “100-year events” or some managerial interference, but it’s been obvious for decades that very rare events occur much more often than they should.

    With regard to National Flood Insurance, those categories involve a lot of politics.

  46. Hey guys finally got to an area where my cell phone works just checking in everything’s fine with us we got power back and we’re running our heat.

    N

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  47. Haven’t had a chance to read comments still trying to buy some gasoline I found a station but I left my wallet at home so that sucks I got plenty a gas at the house but some of its been contaminated and I won’t know until after the Gennie stops running so I’m trying to get some fresh voice to text working fine I will try and check in when I get home hopefully we’ll have something back up.

    N

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  48. The weather liars are saying that my area will get 10 to 12 cm of snow on Thursday. I will believe it when I see it. Already a run on bread and milk at the store. I think the stores pay the weather liars so the stores can move old stock.


  49. but I left my wallet at home

    Reminds me that I still have $10-15 in quarters in the console from back in the day when you actually put coins into parking meters, vending machines and the like, but can’t recall the last time I needed one. But i left them there just in case. Also it’s been about nine months now that I’ve stopped paying for anything with cash. So far never been refused even for a one dollar purchase.

  50. Lynn, we were talking about reliability of rockets the other day. Specifically landing.
    One Falcon 9 component landing just failed. Stats can be done with the below comment:

    The also was SpaceX’s first failed landing since March 2020, breaking a streak of two dozen successful launches and landings both at sea and at a land-based landing zone. The previous failure occurred due to cleaning fluid used as part of the engine refurbishment process.

    Not quite there yet. 🙂

  51. I am fascinated at the concept of testing the freezing over of the nuclear reactor cooling pond on the Texas gulf coast. If I remember correctly, it is 400 acres.

    The plant doesn’t have an aeration system in the pond?

  52. The weather liars are saying that my area will get 10 to 12 cm of snow on Thursday. I will believe it when I see it. Already a run on bread and milk at the store. I think the stores pay the weather liars so the stores can move old stock.

    What about the eggs for the french toast?

    The candy aisle at my store was picked clean Sunday afternoon, but the seasonal aisle still had a decent assortment of Valentines Day candy which the staff had to load into carts for clearance before the store closed early due to weather.

  53. Well, tomorrow’s post is scheduled in case we get hammered tonight.

    At the moment, we have light, power, heat, and internet. We’ve had some limited combination of those things, but not all of them…

    Oh, and if you read on a couple of kindles, and think you’ll read during your down time when the internets are down, don’t forget that you need to D/L to EACH device you might want to use BEFORE losing your internet… Sure, I’ve got books, but they don’t have back lit pages. I discovered that of the 5 new books in my ‘to be read’ pile on the kindle, I’d only actually D/L’d one, and it wasn’t the one I felt like reading. And if that’s not a first world problem nothing is…

    Summary for the day… lots of messing around, non-stop action, moments of heroically saving the day, and a lot of stinky messing around with gasoline. Read all about it tomorrow.

    n

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  54. The After Action Reports here will be interesting. Assuming that there is a recovery.

    Interesting to remember (or know) that ebooks don’t ‘live’ on your device. If you have an e-library – how will you access without the interwebs? Same goes for movies – are they in the ‘cloud’, or in your hands?

    Maybe them ‘dead tree’ books are a good idea…

    Wife’s relatives are in Katy TX. Her sister’s extended family (5 kids, 2 husbands, 2 wives, 6 dogs, and a lizard) are at her sister’s house, which has a whole-house gennie running on natural gas. But internet and cell service is spotty, if even available.

    I bet somebody is prepping the “I Survived the Texas Coldpacalypse of 2021” t-shirts. Or “We’re Texas – We Do Power Fails Big”. (Any other ideas?)

    Maybe even grabbing domain names…..I can think of a few that might be appropriate short-term.

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  55. Oh, and the neck gaiter things may do F all for covid prevention, but they are the BOMB for keeping your ears and neck warm. I’ve been wearing a sort of thin spandex one around my neck and it’s very comfortable. I pull it up over the back of my head and ears when I go outside. It makes a HUGE difference in comfort. I top it off with a ball cap.

    nick

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  56. The candy aisle at my store was picked clean Sunday afternoon, but the seasonal aisle still had a decent assortment of Valentines Day candy which the staff had to load into carts for clearance before the store closed early due to weather.

    Went to Kroger this afternoon for a couple of items for the wife. They were open 12 to 4 with emergency lighting only. Half of Rosenberg was there. I stood in line with 50 people as they were staging us in. Inside was a managed disaster as they were busy roping off and pulling all the refrigerated item for the dumpster. Dry goods and vegetables only.

    Still no power and no water here at the house. And no power at the office and warehouse. I turned off the office well pump for now so that it does not try to pump into ice plugged lines.

    I’ve got a big fire going at the house. Looks to be the first time this fireplace has been used in this 23 year old house. I had to cut the logs down from 6 ft and 9 ft which was fun on the two inches of ice on the back patio. We are at 35 f and all is very slowly melting.

    2
  57. @lynn …..since you turned off the well at the warehouse, did you also leave some faucets/spigots open just in case?

    And, I wasn’t familiar (or remembered) where Rosenburg was, so asked the googles. The map came up with the city and boundaries — the city boundaries look very ‘tentacly’ or gerrymandered .

    https://www.google.com/maps/place/Rosenberg,+TX/@29.5330424,-95.8927273,12z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x86411d93213b393b:0xd61c59ce286b8895!8m2!3d29.5571825!4d-95.8085623

    Hang in there !


  58. I’ve got a big fire going at the house. Looks to be the first time this fireplace has been used in this 23 year old house.

    Hope we never get to the stage in which we need a fireplace. For a few years now, all new dwellings in Sydney can’t have a fireplace. 🙁


  59. The ice on the back patio is slicker than pig snot !

    When is the last time you slid on pig snot? Being raised on a farm I can state that pig snot is neither slippery or tasty. Working with animals is sometimes messy.

    1
  60. I used my generator to drive my circular saw to cut some wood. Blade on the circular saw came loose and stopped turning but I didn’t feel like tightening it in 20 degree weather so switched to the sawzall.

    That wood was frozen. It’s now sitting in front of the fire drying out. It burns well anyway.

    Several of my co workers live in apartments and aren’t so warm.

    1
  61. @lynn …..since you turned off the well at the warehouse, did you also leave some faucets/spigots open just in case?

    I drained the office water lines yesterday so those are ok. Then I closed the valve to the office. I tried to close the valve to the warehouse but it is frozen open or closed. And the kitchen sink was wide open. I suspect that my 120 gallon pressure tank is frozen also. I may have a mess when everything unthaws which is why I cut the power to the pump. I don’t want to buy another $9,800 water well like I did in 2013.


  62. What about the eggs for the french toast?

    And don’t forget the syrup – real maple (good price at Costco), not that Log Cabin sugar water cr@p.

  63. Well, we stayed up so I rebooted the pc.

    It was like clockwork that as soon as I updated tomorrow’s post it went dark…

    My garage is 46F thanks to the heater, and it’s only 33F outside. I’m thinking of shutting down the Honda generator as it’s only powering that heater. It’s funny, it doesn’t sound that quiet when you are standing there, but you really can’t hear it outside the yard unless you listen closely.

    It’s in the back yard behind a locked gate.

    I forgot to mention that if you are running less than a full load on the honda, the ECO mode really saves gas. It is using half or less than when running full out. Figure one gallon of gas per hour, depending on load. The generac will run 10-13 hours on one five gallon tank, in theory, and depending on load if you use the throttle control. It tends to surge and lag, so I usually just run it full. Not tonight though, touch wood.

    We filled the tub in the bathroom early on, and now we’re using it to flush, since we’ve turned off the water and drained the pipes. Have to treat the tap water as if we had a boil order anyway. In order for our tub to hold water, we need to scrub it absolutely clean, then dry it thoroughly, then using high quality duct tape, seal the drain. Duct tape will not stick when wet so it must be completely dry and soap scum free. Having done that, it’s held for two days.

    I have baby wipes for body cleansing in this situation too. I like the cool aloe unscented ones from Costco.

    Kids and wife got quick showers, so we didn’t fill the other tub in time. One bathroom is sufficient I guess…

    n

  64. Costco has the best price on maple syrup. That’s all we use here, although I was raised on Aunt Jemihma, and Log Cabin. When I was a kid I thought pure maple syrup was WAY too strong.

    My kids love it. There are certain things that you need to be raised to I guess.
    n

    I shut down the gennie. Even as quiet as it was, the constant drone does irritate some people. I just get used to it and monitor it subconsciously. I did a LOT of that when I was doing live event production. You never wanted to hear the big gennie change pitch, ‘cuz that meant something was very wrong.

  65. Interesting to remember (or know) that ebooks don’t ‘live’ on your device. If you have an e-library – how will you access without the interwebs? Same goes for movies – are they in the ‘cloud’, or in your hands?

    Not understanding this. Buy on the web, download either directly to the device (I do this rarely) or download to my PC and from there load to my reader. All the ebooks live on the reader device. The reader does not need to be connected to the web for me to read any content. Is this a Kindle thing? I use a Kobo reader which means I don’t buy books from Amazon (Which is a bit strange since I seem to buy just about anything else from them).

  66. @tv, with the kindle it auto d/ls to your ‘default’ device. Sometimes it also d/ls to one or more additional devices but usually it just shows up in you ‘library’. It’s not actually on the reader though until you d/l it from that device. Some publishers put limits on the number of devices a title can be on at the same time too. I’ve got around a dozen kindles that I use interchangeably but I’m using my paperwhite more than the others. It’s not my ‘default’ device, so I thought I had titles to read, but really just had a list of stuff in the cloud because I hadn’t taken that extra step.

    Amazon can and will grab back books if they get caught breaking copyright or for other reasons. You don’t actually own the ‘books’ even after d/l. you can take additional steps to secure them though…

    I like to own physical media. It can’t be made unavailable, or edited without my knowledge (Lucas I’m looking at you), or blocked in certain countries. I like to have digital COPIES for convenience though.

    There have been other instances where services went bankrupt or were shut down leaving the buyers of ‘content’ with nothing. Google comes to mind with music and books, iirc. Video that lives in the cloud on other people’s computers goes away frequently when rights deals expire.

    n

    and now I’m off to bed.

  67. All my eBooks are on my pc. Use Calibre as a library database. Transfer to reading device when required. One thing with Kindle is that when you buy the eBook from amazon, it appears in your library on the Kindle. But this is only the “cover” image. You still have to download the eBook to read it. But it does remain on the device.

    Just read Nick’s reply re eBooks.. He tells it better.. 😀

  68. Good to hear from Harold, Nick, Lynn et al…
    Hope all your families are managing ok..

    Pleasant, but cloudy day here in Oz.. 25C (77F) @ 3.00 pm..

  69. Water shut down?? I guess that is related to your flat terrain, which means you must be using constantly running pumps with no elevated tanks, so immediate fail when electricity fails.

    Here, we have tanks at various elevations on the hills. All of the tanks are on the ground for earthquake resistance, with spill containment berms to prevent flooding if one should collapse. They are mostly filled at night when commercial electricity is lowest cost. The water company is private, not municipal, and serves most of the valley.

    They have trailer mounted generators they can move to pumping stations if the electric grid fails. They also have a pretty good fuel dump, backed by our nearby military base. All this is due to the fact that we have only two electric transmission routes to our remote location. Both are needed for full operation.

    AFAIK, our water system has never failed, even during one extended electricity outage, which lasted most of a 24 hour period, and then about 12 hours for scheduled repairs a day later.

    We used to have about ten nuisance electrical outages per year at our house, each usually lasting a few seconds to a minute or so, but some new distribution equipment and rerouting have greatly reduced that. However, there are only two substations in the area, and a major transformer failure at either one could cripple us for a long time.

  70. Re phones and computers:
    Everything should be how she wants, not the way it actually operates. When something doesn’t work the way she wants, I have to deal with the rants.

    I hear ya. I often suggest that there are settings that can be changed to suit, but she has no curiosity to experiment with them. Maybe that is a blessing, because I often find some things changed on her phone, probably because of random poking. I try to tell her that almost nothing on a device changes without operator input, but she swears she didn’t do that. Sometimes it is true. There are just so many possibilities.

    To be fair, my wife wants a printed manual, and is frustrated that they are largely extinct or very poorly written. I suggest the “Help,” but she doesn’t like it. Right, help is often not very good. I also suggest simply Googling for her question, but she also finds that lacking. So do I, but I often find my answers that way; it requires dedication. I will spend time helping her, but she wants to write everything down, so it is very tedious. I also suggest that I am not a very good teacher, which is obvious.

    Reminds me of a friend who once worked as a support tech for Best Buy. He tells the story about a phone support tech, who, after a long frustrating call and no progress, asked the customer if they still had the box the computer came in. The customer said they did. He said to please get it, put the computer back in it, and ship it to the manufacturer. He said they had no business owning a computer. Of course, apocryphal, but amusing.

    A lesson is that computers and phones are enormously complex, and there should be better ways for people to learn to use them. Most of us have spent nearly a lifetime getting to where we are, and we tend to forget all that.

  71. Bit more on amazon/kindle, use Calibre and add the Alf DeDRM plugin (do a search to find it).
    Download you book from Amazon (download and transfer via usb option)
    Drag the downloaded book into calibre, Alf will remove the drm.
    Then,for completeness I convert to mobi format which is readable on all ebook devices.

    I’m firmly of the belief that the guy who wrote calibre deserves a knighthood/medal/nobel peace prize (delete as applicable)

  72. @Norman Hills:

    +a bunch on Calibre and the DeDRM plugin. Although Big River are making it more difficult with changes to the .azw file format. Also Calibre+Alf chokes on really big Kindle files – I bring to mind the recent “MIT(?) Classics”, which is 55MB. Calibre tries (or appears to) until it turns its toes up after about 2 hours – “Out of memory”.

    G

  73. +1 on Calibre. I donate a little each year.

    For prepping, there are a bunch of “5,000 ebook”torrents out there. Put em on a flash drive or in Calibre.

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