Mon. Feb. 8, 2021 – Monday morning quarterback… there’s a phrase from the past

Cool and windy, clear with sun.   Like yesterday.

Although it wasn’t dry.   I had water on the driveway that never dried.  I’m not sure what the humidity level was, but it was high.

I spent the afternoon cleaning up stuff and scrapping out stuff in the driveway.   I’ve got about half a pickup truck load of mostly aluminum and wire, so I need to run that to the scrap yard today.  I’ve also got to return the RugDoctor cleaner that my wife put to good use yesterday.

We only have carpet in the room we call the toy room/library/kid’s room, but was originally the formal living room.  We’ve got no need for formals, but we left the carpet in that room as a place for the babies to play.  White carpet.  More than 13 year old white carpet.  With two kids and a dog.

I cleaned it a couple of years ago but it was LONG overdue.   Looks much better now, but it’s still 13 year old white carpet.   We had planned to eventually put the same glue-down engineered hardwood in there as the rest of the house.  We even have the flooring already.  But.  Moving the bookcases out would be a BIG job, and there’s no reason to create more projects at this point.

I didn’t do any garden work, possibly today I’ll get the beds ready and move stuff around.   I’m home in the afternoon to pick up child two anyway.  I’ve got plenty to do around the house and I was making progress yesterday that I’d like to build on today.

Part of the work in the driveway is getting the shelves I put up moved into the garage (or some others).  I’d like to get the stored food out of the driveway under tarps and into the garage.  It will be a lot cooler in the garage this summer, with the A/C unit running, than under a tarp.  I made progress by scrapping out stuff that was on one shelf, and moving some of the canned soup to the other shelves and the can rack on the patio.   I’ve still got to reorg the patio shelves to add the two new can racks.  It was all a bit hurried when I shifted from stacking food to getting ready to USE the stored food. It needs to be tweaked a bit.

I really need to do a bunch of ebay listings too.  I’ve got stuff that is best sold to a worldwide market, and it isn’t going to list itself.

As long as people are still buying, I need to be selling.


The political and economic insanity continues.   Looks like the dems will try the former President of the United States in absentia for stuff he clearly didn’t do.  If you think otherwise, go to the primary source and watch the video in question.  I’ve linked to it before.

The stock market looks more rigged and more casino-like every day.

The left is screeching for blood from the right.  The deplatforming continues, and shows no sign of slowing.  People who have been plainspoken in expressing their views are taking steps and spending money to preserve their ability to use their public voice.  There’s no way to scrub your online persona, so you might as well own it, and continue speaking your mind.

You may want to take some steps to cushion any blowback you get if you come to the wrong sort of attention.  Other people are.

And I’ll say plainly, as long as we are ONE NATION, we have ONE National Anthem, and anyone promoting anything else is an agent of subversion.  You want apartheid, you’ll get it.  I don’t think you’ll like it much.

It will get worse.  Keep stacking.

nick

Sun. Feb. 7, 2021 – the post titles rarely match the content

Cool but clear after some misty drizzle and locally spotty rain.

As I drove around yesterday I did hit some pockets of very light drizzle and I could see that some areas were getting heavier rain.    But it was mostly dry for most of Houston.

Got my errands run, did a bit of work at my secondary, but weather and exertion took their toll, and my back was killing me.  When it sends various jabs and pokes, and generally feels like a bundle of glass rods with some cracks and breaks, it’s time to take it a bit easier before I really hurt myself.  Getting old and decrepit is a b!tch.

As a note about how my life works, one of my pickups was three spools of filament for my uPrint 3D printer.  Gnu only knows why, but the proprietary support material, and the ABS filament in the original (chipped) cassettes showed up in an auction.  ~$15 each, when they sell for over $100 on ebay.  Since it’s an old machine, it requires the cassettes and the proprietary filament, which hasn’t been made or sold new in years.  It was really great to get some so cheap.

Plan for today is more stuff around the house, to include prep of the garden beds, but likely NOT planting.  Seems we’re going to get a bit more winter before we really get spring, so I’ll keep the little plants where they won’t freeze until the danger passes.  I guess my laziness busy-ness worked in my favor this time.

Played the Harry Potter version of Clue for family game night.  Really liked it.  It solves some of the problems inherent in the game play of the original, and has a couple of neat additions.   If you like Clue, and are at all fond of Harry Potter, you’ll probably like it.

My ‘rip all the DVDs’ project is continuing apace.  27 discs so far.  Maybe it won’t be next year before I’m done after all.  Next choice is whether to use Plex or something built into windows to serve the streams to appropriate devices…   No hurry on that though.

Listening to the scanner while I’m in my office doing other things and it continues to reveal the techniques, tools, and limitations that the police and other agencies are working with.   It also gives me a lot more information about what is going on around my area.  By no means is it telling me all that is happening, but it reveals stuff you won’t hear from your neighbors.  Listening regularly gives me a baseline too- a sense of operational pace.  Definitely recommended.

Information, skills, people, and stuff.  You need them all.  Get to stacking.

 

nick

Sat. Feb. 6, 2021 – wow, that first week went by quickly

Cool and damp, but supposedly no rain.  We got misty drizzle late yesterday after a day of threatening skies and occasional sprinkles locally.  The national map has the front moving out of our area though, and that will be nice.

I didn’t get much done on my list yesterday.  It seems that for every productive day, I end up having one much less productive.  I did advance a couple of projects.  I started the ‘burn all the DVDs and get them out of the living room’ project.   This is very important to my wife for some reason, so I thought I could and should get started.   It’s not a quick process, but like ripping CDs, I just feed the machine while I’m sitting here anyway.  Like so many things, just getting started and then doing it is the only way to make it happen.

I spent some time doing PC maintenance too.  Deleting stuff, moving stuff.  Installing stuff I meant to install years ago…

And I went looking for something I remember writing and linking here, but couldn’t find it.  In the process though I reviewed some posts from last year at this time.  Pretty prescient if I do say so, at least as relates to prepping,  although the wuflu turned out to be less for us than it was for them.

I’m going to have to be a bit more productive today, and that means leaving the house.   For years the weekend has been ‘just two more days to work’.   Put it to good use.

And keep s t a c k i n g.   But also keep in mind, the anti-conservative white male three letter agencies will be looking hard at your purchases.   Start countering that.

nick

Fri. Feb. 5, 2021 – now the weeks are flying by

Cool and on the edge of a weather system, so we might be getting some rain.  I think the grass could use some, but my list would benefit from another day of dry.   We did get just a spritz in the late evening yesterday.  It was a bit of overcast and low clouds, mixed with sun throughout the day.  Shorts and T shirt weather.

I did mostly homebody stuff yesterday.  Laundry.  Leaf blower on the dustbunnies.  Kitchen clean up.  Vac seal and freeze over 20 pounds of sirloin…. that sort of thing.  It was very quiet in the house, alone.

Today I will keep plugging away at the list, depending on weather.  I won’t have to be home to pick up kid #2 from school in the middle of the day so that expands my options.

I’ve really got to make some progress on my secondary location.  I played  catch up on the home front, so if the weather allows, I’ll probably head out today.

Time feels like it’s getting short.


There is a feeling of acceleration in the changes going on.   There was a comment from Harold here yesterday- “I spent some time in the good old USSR and know firsthand where we are headed. I wouldn’t have believed it a year ago. ” -emphasis added.   The old joke is that it goes slowly, then very quickly.

That is what I’m seeing.   They are working very quickly to shore up their gains and lock in changes as a fait accompli.   The crazy sounding stuff they are proposing sounds perfectly reasonable to them.  They have been working toward the goal for a long time, either knowingly or as a willing pawn.   They are willing to lie, cheat, and steal.  They are certainly willing to have some deaths occur if it furthers their goals.  Gotta break a few eggs, don’tcha know…

You may want to accelerate your own preparations.  I’m not saying you should do anything that looks like panicking, or anything that is irrevocable, but your bank is ratting you out to the FBI regarding your perfectly legal activities.  The three letter agencies have been compromised, and are being weaponized against conservatives.  FBI, ATF, SEC, DOJ, are all aggressively coming after conservatives (and ordinary people who are not lefty enough)  after conspicuously NOT going after the new brown shirts shirts of color.

The pattern is for everything to degrade now.  Stuff will work, but not as well.   That includes social systems.  Eventually things will degrade to the point they don’t work at all.  Violence will increase.  Sectarianism will increase.   Things have ALREADY degraded from a year ago, and they have been degrading slowly for a long time.   But the pebble is rolling down the hill now, and gathering momentum.

I know, doom and gloom.  Show me the rays of sunshine though.  Show me where things are getting better consistently.  The barbarians are not at the gates, they are among us.   We are eating the seed corn of our culture and society.  When it runs out, things will get REALLY bad.  Who knows how long that will last?   Maybe the recovery will be as rapid as the decline, but I don’t think so.  I think it’s going to be a long haul.  Get yourself ready.

Keep stacking it up.

nick

Thur. Feb. 4, 2021 – a bit of a blast from the past…prepping for travel

Another nice day, cool but clear.   There was a bit of overcast late in the day yesterday but otherwise the howling wind kept the sky clear.  It was a little on the cool side, but I didn’t want a jacket.

Today I’m at home, hoping to catch up on some home things.  I spent part of yesterday doing pickups and drop offs.  Got my plumbing supplies.   Got some lego for youngest’s birthday if I don’t get something else before then (I’ve got a couple of months but hey, prepper!)

While looking for something else, I came across this old comment from 2015 and decided to clean it up and put it here.  The discussion started with an article about bug out bags, and EDC gear in your bug out vehicle.   It was a ridiculous article that thankfully is no longer online.  It did spark some good back and forth, and some froth from me….  hopefully there are some nuggets in there still… and it doesn’t have a gear list, because that is a whole internet’s worth of posts… and beyond a few critical things, the gear probably doesn’t matter as much as the person carrying it.

nick says:
  • @OFD

    “You gotta figure where you are, where you might have to hump it for a while, and what can you efficiently carry with the least discomfort and pain.”

    That means if you are building a bag-o-tricks to take with you while traveling, it should address your most likely problems. Those are:

    Missed flight, late arrival, stuck at airport, lost or delayed luggage.

    And the best things to combat those things are:

    Food, entertainment, toiletries, meds, glasses if you wear contacts, an airline lounge membership, a change of clothes, and cash or credit cards. Add a blanket or (microfiber) towel for cover, or a soft hat. Not one of those is tactical [the original article was filled with tactical looking stuff which draws attention, and your typical internet article full of “preps” like a signal mirror, fishing hooks, and knives-lots of knives].

    So if the UN-likely happens, and you are away from home and there is a local or regional problem, you need to get out of the region and ‘back to civilization’.   For whatever reason you can’t just fly and you decide to use your bag o tricks and leave. In the most likely cases, it’s weather, transit strike, local civil unrest, or (lastly) terror attack. Assuming you can’t just stay put in a safe place for a couple of days, MONEY is your best prep here. Cash in hand and credit cards that aren’t maxed out. No survival knife or kydex will get you a rental SUV to drive thru the snow. The stuff in your bag should make your life easier WHILE getting out of town and is coincidentally the same stuff that makes a missed flight easier to deal with.

    Flexibility is your second best prep. Flexibility starts with questions.  Since you can’t fly, can you drive? Are cars available? Can you rent from the airport/hotel/neighborhood storefront/rent a wreck? Can you rent a truck or moving van? Can you hitch a ride with a colleague or co-worker? Is there a train? A private party willing to drive? Cab? Cheap car to purchase? Driving all the way home or just outside the affected area? If you decide to drive, will you be able to get gas and food? Or should you hit the store for some shelf stable food and some boxes of granola? Again MONEY will make this all easier. Consider options you might not normally look at.   When all the cheap cars are gone, the Hummer might be available (this happened to a female co-worker who was trying to G.O.O.D. in Oklahoma before a storm. Only vehicle left at the rental was a Hummer at an eye watering rate.  She took it and Got Out Of Dodge ok.  Had to explain to corporate bean counters why she took a vehicle outside of the approved class, but it worked out and she got somewhere SAFE.)  Sometimes the only hotels with vacancy are the high end ones.  Money gives you options.

    Finally and least likely, there is a SHTF event, and all normal modes of travel are out.

    In that case you should start with some harder questions.  Is it better to look for allies and resources locally or to start off cross country? How do you know there is anywhere to go back to? Wait and see if things improve or move quickly? Any waterways going the right direction? Do you have family or friends along the way? Company offices? MONEY, FLEXIBILITY, and also INFORMATION are once again your best preps. In a collapse or major multi-regional event, info is gonna be the hardest thing to get. And there isn’t much you can do except carry some with you (to help you get home).

    I carried a garmin GPSIII for years. It had a built in basemap, with freeway exit info. It ran a long time on 4 AA batts. It showed RR tracks, waterways, and roads. (Now I download an area map in Google Maps that covers my journey.)   Before I left home for a job, I looked up and mapped the closest Home Depot and Lowes stores. I had that printed out and carried in my job site folder. I carried a compass. I always got the paper maps at the car rental agency (these are specific to the local area, about 11×17 inches, and have local points of interest on them too.   The local maps and points of interest were to help me gear up, and get away if I needed to.  The Garmin was for guidance along the route home.  In terms of gear I carried, I had my EDC knife and a multitool. I carried minimal first aid- bandaids and super glue. I had lots of flashlights, bug juice, and water purification tabs. I had a messenger style bag, not a backpack.  The plan was to gear up on the way out, if possible and if needed.

    If I had to start traveling, and driving was not an option at all, I’d be looking for waterways or RR tracks. I’d be looking for bicycles, canoes, or jonboats. (For one lengthy project, I mapped a route that I could get from my customer’s plant to within a couple of miles of my parents’ house by canoe.  I could walk from there.)

    If anyone would sell, I’d be a buyer. If not, there are always some laying around. Even a kid’s bike can hold the weight of your gear while you walk. What about a shopping cart? Wheelbarrow? I think normalcy bias will have lots of people still willing to exchange goods for money for a while until the new reality sinks in. Boots, appropriate outerwear, backpack, food and water. All should be available to buy if done right away. You are looking for packable stuff- water purification tabs, compact calories (powerbars), rain poncho, hat, what else do you need? Trash bags for rain gear and concealment are everywhere. So is clothesline or wire. You are already setting off on an impossible journey. It will only be harder with 20 pounds of stuff. Food and water should fill your pack. A partner will double your chances. Whole books have been written about the cross country journey after the SHTF, and they are worth reading for ideas and for the exercise of considering what might work for you.

    Now back to real life. The most likely SHTF is the same while traveling as while at home– personal SHTF.

    Sickness
    Auto accident
    Work accident
    Mugging/robbery/assault

    Rather than packing a bunch of kydex, in your EDC do you have a copy of your employer’s auto insurance rider? What about their Workman’s Compensation certificate? (If you are traveling on personal business, do you have the equivalent personal info?)  Do you know where the nearest Urgent Care or Emergency Room is? Do you have the address of your hotel or workplace so you can call 911? Does anyone expect you home at a specific time and do they know where you are staying? There are services that will provide a Doctor to come to your hotel, do you have their number in your phone or card in your bag? Do your co-workers at the worksite have your hotel info (to find you if you don’t show up on time, since you are vomiting your guts out from bad dinner?)   While driving, do you note the exits as you pass them, or the cross streets, so you could call 911 for help and know roughly where you are?

    Add travel outside the US and now you should ask yourself:
    Do you know where the US embassy is? The UK or Canadian? Israeli? Have you checked in with the Embassy? Do you have a medical insurance phone number that will send an english speaking doctor to your hotel? Do you know which hospital treats Europeans? Does your employer have kidnap insurance? A Risk Management Department? Do they know where you are? Do they have a contract with any of the international medical and rescue (extraction) companies? (You can buy this sort of insurance as a private person too, it’s surprisingly affordable.)   Have they given you any plans/contacts/security info? Will your company or local contact be providing drivers? Security? Accommodation? Is your local contact a native or ex-pat? Do you trust him? If you are on your own, or work for a small company, have you read the CIA world fact book entry for the country? Are you familiar with any factions or unrest? Have you read the State Department travel advisories for the country? Have you looked at a map to know where you are? What is the nearest friendly place?

    In my opinion, if you can’t answer these questions, you are NOT prepared for any problems with your travel, no matter how tricksie your gear is.

    -and that is the crux of the matter, info and brains are your best preps for EDC or BOB or GOOD, supplemented with a bare minimum of ‘things’.

    And lest anyone think all that travel stuff was overkill, while traveling for work, I’ve had co-workers in serious car accidents. I had one fall on the job and break her hip. I’ve had a friend of a friend die in a hotel room. I had a boss slip and fall in the hotel shower and be unable to work for the entire event. I’ve been food poisoned on average 5 times a year by hotels and restaurants. Once I was so sick with pneumonia I couldn’t get out of bed in Miami until I got some antibiotics. I have co-workers who were robbed at gunpoint. Two that narrowly missed getting drugged and raped in Miami (men, and they were drugged but got out of the bar in time.) One that had to race to get out of town before a hurricane hit, and one that had to drive a Hummer to Texas to avoid a tornado storm. (Same female used steristrips to close a cut on her FACE after a server fell on her at work.  Her daddy didn’t raise any snowflakes.) I’ve driven home when my flight was canceled. I’ve rented SUVs to get thru snowstorms. We drove from NYC to St Louis after 911. One coworker had a car bomb explode outside his hotel in Europe. Another passed bodies stacked along the road like cordwood in Indonesia after an attack by rebels. Same guy was locked in and threatened by OUR CUSTOMER in the Middle East. And yes, my employer had kidnap insurance as we worked worldwide and throughout Africa and the middle east, as well as Colombia and some other more southern sh!tholes.

    You really appreciate the value of a paper copy of insurance coverage when you’re bleeding from several places and have a broken foot after your taxi gets hit in a strange city.   Or having your own first aid while bleeding from a cut on your hand in China…

    I’ll admit that I carry a few more things now, since I’m traveling with my family. I have a much more complete first aid kit for example and better weapons. And several times people here have volunteered safe havens or way points if things went pear shaped while I was traveling with family.   But MONEY and FLEXIBILITY are still the best preps for travel and “getting home when it drops in the pot” and they weigh very little.


    Still a bit disjointed, and meant as more of a memory jog, or food for thought than a finished article, but hopefully worth the time it took to read.

    And while I’m an advocate for carrying just a few critical items when traveling, and acquiring the rest as needed, I am a firm believer in having as much of the stuff you think you’ll need close to hand when at home.

    So keep stacking!  But also organize, “curate”, and use what you’ve got.

    nick

Wed. Feb. 3, 2021 – just not feeling it.

Cold to start, continuing the nice clear days.  Warming up later.

Yesterday was another beautiful day starting with an absolute light show of a sunrise.   I get to see the sun come up while I stand on the corner with daughter 1 waiting for her bus.   In the old days I’d have said that sunrise should come at the END of a good long day…

12 years and 24 days since I quit drinking.    Missed the anniversary, but realized it yesterday.  It’s not normally a big deal for me, I figure the running total out when I think of it- I’m not actually counting the days any more.  Without any judgement either way, I can say definitively that it saved me a LOT of money be spent on other things.  And probably saved my life and my relationships….

I made my drop off at the ‘industrial’ auction, so that’s another pickup load gone.  Still lots more to go.   Funny how the auctions and estate sales sometimes go in ‘waves’.    No O gauge trains for a long time, then trains in every auction.  Or loose wrenches and sockets.   Or coleman lanterns.   None for a while, then they’re everywhere.

Since yesterday was an ‘office’ day for my wife, I picked up youngest from school.  2:30 in the afternoon is not a convenient time.  For anyone.  And having the kids start at 7:15 makes little sense for most people.   What it does do is let the district reuse the busses to pick up the high school kids for their later start time.  One more example of the district running things for their own convenience and not the parents’ or students’.  And the mid afternoon ending time created a whole industry of “after care” babysitter organizations.  All of which cost money by the way, and almost none of which are running due to covid.  Anyway, it puts a limit on what I can do in the afternoon.

Today I’m picking up auction stuff for my ongoing home remodeling and maintenance projects.  Then I’ll see what else I can get done either on my list for home, or for my secondary location.  Gnu g-noes there is plenty on the lists…

Meanwhile, our would be rulers are continuing to show their true nature.  Some are now calling for the creation of a ‘ministry of truth’, while others want to purge the ranks of the military along political lines.  I can’t see the leadership allowing that, but I don’t see them staging a coup either.  It will probably just get slow rolled with everyone hoping someone else will deal with it.  Everywhere I look I see the breakdown of the institutions and cultures that led to our great success.   It’s much easier to destroy than build.

I’m focusing on Yoda’s advice for the nonce… “Save you what can.”

Stack it high.

 

nick

 

Tues. Feb. 2, 2021 – still busy. Trying to live my best life!

Cool but clear, generally very nice.  Like yesterday.  Clear with a blue sky and sun, still mid 60s into the 70s.    Pretty cold at night.  40F last night and the night before.

Spent the day doing auction stuff.   Dropped a load off at my local auctioneer,  did a pick up that involved a bit of driving, and rescheduled a drop off at my industrial auctioneer.   I’ll be doing that one today.   I did some Valentine’s Day shopping in last week’s auctions and I will try to pick that up today too.  I met my neighbor at my secondary and gave him some of the stuff I needed to get rid of.  DIDN’T get the forklift moved.  Today I’ll try again.

Stuff is slipping.  I need a big ‘make up’ day.

I did get a great score at the grocery last night.  HUGE discounts on sirloin and ham.  I piled it up in the cart.  That is one issue with using Instacart or a curbside service- you miss some special deals.


I’ve got nothing more to say about any of the political situation or financial situation.   It feels like the calm before the storm to me.  Bad things headed this way.

Keep stacking.

 

nick

Mon. Feb. 1, 2021 – Here we go!

Cool and clear, dry and very nice.   That’s the forecast anyway.

Yesterday was very nice.  Clear and mild all day.  A bit windy as the front pushed the weather out, but you’ve got to have one to get the other.

Spend some time at my secondary.  Got some more stuff moved and organized.   Pulled out some stuff for the industrial auction.  I’m supposed to drop off a load to them today.  I’m also supposed to drop off a few more items at the other local auction.   Then back to the secondary to try and get the forklift sorted and stowed.

I didn’t get anything done around the house however.  I’m very sore from all the lifting and moving I’ve been doing and the change in the weather is always good for a few extra aches and pains.  Hands are like paddles, for example and the knees ache.  Getting old is not for the weak.

Good thing I’ve got help.   Last night my wife made chili in cast iron, over a wood fire using our firepit/cooker.  Corn bread muffin mix in tiny cake pans, and cheese and onion rounded out the meal.  SO GOOD.  And practice cooking over wood…

One of the spring tasks it taking down the pecan in the back yard.  Whether it’s to make room for a pool, to allow sunlight to get to my garden, or because it’s hollow and might crush the house in a storm, it’ll be coming down or getting cut WAY back this spring.   We got a quote and it was reasonable.  He’ll remove the stump, cut everything into logs and stack it.  I hate to lose the shade on the house and yard, but it’s turning into a safety issue.  It’s always something.  And the squirrels have never let me get any nuts anyway in 13 years, so as much as I like watching them, they ARE going to lose their home at some point.  Then I’ll have LOTS of wood for back yard firepit.

I have to say, maybe my wife is right, if I can barely keep up with the maintenance here and at the rent house- 11 acres of homestead might have been a bit much for a one weekend a month time budget.  It’s pretty clear I’d have to change my habits at a minimum.


Could be a lot of people might have to change their habits real soon now.  This mess in the stock markets, and possibly in commodities as well, could blow up in everyone’s face.   Consider your current financial situation, and think about if you want to move some stuff around.   I think this might be one of those times when having more cash close to hand might be a good idea.  If stuff blows up, there will certainly be restrictions or outages wrt banking.

And typical prepper advice is in full effect.  Cover your basics, take some precautionary measures, keep your eyes and ears open.

And keep stacking while you can.

 

nick