Mon. Mar. 1, 2021 – glad that’s over with. Oh noes!! Here comes March!

We are supposed to get scattered T-storms, cooler temps, and locally heavy rain today.   I hope not.  I’ve got a dryer to install…

Yesterday was warm and moist all day.   Sweat dripping and uncomfortable with any exertion moist.  The wind and lack of sun were the only saving graces.  Yeah sure.  I guess I could have said, the warmer weather was a welcome visitor after last week’s record cold, with a springlike breeze providing a cooling action for any outdoor exertion.   I guess I’m not a professional liar like the folks on the Tee Vee.

I’m also not getting $2K to use my social influence to sell the city’s message like the cool kids in MN…  What am I doing wrong??  NO Russian media spend, no chinese bribery, no misguided city council money…   I guess I must still have my soul despite all those youthful attempts to trade it away.

I did get some stuff done around the house yesterday.  I’m almost finished with about all the yard work I’m willing to do.   I still have to run the sprinklers if we don’t get that “locally heavy rain” (and if they work), and spread some grass seed.   I’ve got most of a bag left and might as well use it.

I did some clearing out and organizing in my office.  Some being ‘very little but it’s a start’–  well, a continuation of what I started by moving my radios (a project I haven’t actually finished either.)  Still have plenty to do there…

Today, in theory, I’m installing a dryer and troubleshooting an A/C system at my rent house.  I’m hoping for a straight swap on the dryer, and something simple like a bad capacitor on the A/C.   The dryer died before the cold snap, the A/C might have been killed by cold, or the power going on and off.  I hope it’s just normal wear and tear though.  And of course, this is all inserted into my existing list of stuff that needs doing, without expanding the days in a week or hours in a day.  On the other hand, as long as .gov stays out of my business, rental property should be a pretty good hedge against inflation, if we’re not tied to a crazy long lease.

I think we’re going to need hedges against inflation.

And the way things are going, I’m making book on when we’ll see the first case of ebola outside of africa.  My record isn’t great, Biden made it to March… and the euro never did collapse, although Brexit did happen.  On the other hand, we are in the middle of a global pandemic.

The best advice I can think to give is HAVE REAL STUFF.  In other words…………… keep stacking.

nick

Author: Nick Flandrey

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

91 thoughts on “Mon. Mar. 1, 2021 – glad that’s over with. Oh noes!! Here comes March!”

  1. 37f and 70% RH at 6:30 AM in Indian country
    Expecting 56f this afternoon and a 50% chance of rain.
    Happy I’m not working outdoors.

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  2. That’s pretty moist.

    That’s what she said.

    Anyway, just checked and noticed that the toilet paper rolls I recently purchased are 1/2″ narrower. Just one data point but all the rolls in the package are the new narrower width. In the width of the bulk rolls after they come out of the big dryers that missing 1/2″ is enough to get an extra set of rolls.

    Was this done due to the butt paper shortage? Is it an intentional profit move by the manufacturer? The price for the packages remained the same as last purchase.

    So much crap going on in this world and they are shorting toilet paper. Life is not fair.

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  3. It’s the V8 XL sport edition. Plenty of power in a small package. I put some SeaFoam in it as it probably hasn’t been run in months. She put a new battery and tires on it about 10 months ago then parked it in the shed. I put a mobile XM radio in it as the factory unit was AM/FM/CD. The power steering has a slow leak I’ll have to look at. MIL dealt with it by keeping a bottle of steering fluid handy. We will see how goes.

    I have Stop Leak for the power steering on my 2001 Solara. It does the job, but do some research before buying a bottle. Some manufacturers don’t use standard fluids, and even though that gen Dakota went into the pipeline around the time of Iacocca’s retirement, Chrysler was always a little different.

    I’ve only had to use the Stop Leak twice in three years, and the amounts added both times were really small.


  4. I wonder who will really pick up the tab

    Silly you, you know the answer. The taxpayers, probably federal, will pick up the tab.

    Personally I think the people with the high bills need to pay. They took a risk attempting to get cheaper rates. They lost. Same as investing. There is risk and the participant takes their chances. Griddy did nothing wrong, did not price gouge, merely passed along what they were charged. The users of the electricity should have been monitoring the wholesale price. When the price jumped they should have turned off their electrical heat and any unnecessary devices.

    I have made a mistake (yeh, I know second one today but the day is young). I have been attempting to use the unsubscribe link in some of the junk emails I have received lately. I fear that all I have done is confirm the email as a valid working address. Opened the flood gates. I am now getting four times as much junk mail as I have in the past. Email from places in which I have never visited or had any contact. Some jerk site is selling my email address and I am the one that is suffering.

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  5. “Texans were clearly not prepared by their federal, state or local governments, or even their local news media outlets, let alone ERCOT, for the magnitude of this polar storm…”

    This year’s polar vortex may be a practice run for next year. Get more blankets. And toilet flushing water. And a generator.

    Another “once in a lifetime” event, and the actuaries will get busy at the insurance companies.

    Warren Buffett wins again.

    If “polar vortex” weather is going to be the norm, with the fronts getting names like hurricanes, when my daughter graduates high school in a few years, we’ll have to reevaluate what we are doing long term. It isn’t as much about the cold weather that surprised me last week as the response from both people and government around Austin.

    Covid and “work from home” didn’t help, but hopefully sanity prevails there by Summer so everyone really goes back to work. The entire country can’t spend daylight hours streaming Baby Yoda and reruns of “iCarly” or you’ll end up with what happened in Austin last week on a national scale.

  6. hah, we’re in a period of global cooling. These storms will only get bigger, ‘cuz “climate change”. Damn right climate change, here comes the little ice age we’ve been waiting for all these years.

    Or not.

    BTW, 90%RH in my neighborhood is light mist… some breeze, and temps have already fallen to 63F.

    n

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  7. @ray:

    The recommended action about junk mail is “Never click Unsubscribe”. It just confirms that your address is active, and hence worth more to the miscreant who sells the list that you’re on.

    Question – Are you using a webmail provider, like Google or Outlook? Or do you have a domain where you receive email? In the first case, I would investigate how the provider implements spam filtering – can you mark mail as “Spam”? If so, do it.

    If you receive email at a domain you control, change your email address at the domain, and implement “one address per mail contact”. If the contact sells your address, this will let you do 2 things – never deal with them again, and block the address.

    I did this back in the days of Demon Internet, of blessed memory, when I had a subdomain of Demon, and had effectively infinite email addresses under that domain. I could then instruct my mail client to black-hole such mail traffic. And also, when there was a fashion for spam email to random-alphanumeric-string@domain I could refuse all email to unknown recipients. This typically got rid of 90+% of the dross.

    G.

  8. I’m contemplating reviving this, since my webhost offers email service @domain. That said, gmail’s spam filtering is superb.

    G.

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  9. Personally I think the people with the high bills need to pay. They took a risk attempting to get cheaper rates. They lost. Same as investing. There is risk and the participant takes their chances. Griddy did nothing wrong, did not price gouge, merely passed along what they were charged. The users of the electricity should have been monitoring the wholesale price. When the price jumped they should have turned off their electrical heat and any unnecessary devices.

    There is more to that particular story, but someone is employing a sophisticated media strategy as well as spending serious money in court.

    The plaintiffs had enough money that they passed what I assume is due dilligence on the part of Griddy with regard to credit checks, and $1200 disappeared from their checking account over the course of a week in the middle of a month before anyone noticed.

  10. and now temperature outside is 59F. I’d call that ‘falling rapidly’. I think #1 child is going to regret the shorts she chose to wear to school today…

    n

  11. Treat it as a prepper lesson, Nick: If she dresses for warm weather she should bring some non-bulky clothes for colder weather in her backpack.

  12. Yep, time to listen to dear old dad, and not fact check him against some online weather liar….

    n

  13. In the first case, I would investigate how the provider implements spam filtering – can you mark mail as “Spam”? If so, do it.

    Google (Gmail) has both ‘Mark as Spam’ and ‘Mark as Spam and Unsubscribe’ options. I always pick the former.

    –added
    Of course sometimes I get lazy on my phone where it’s easier to ‘swipe right to delete.’


  14. I think #1 child is going to regret the shorts she chose to wear to school today…

    In elementary school, yes, because… recess. We used to get an email from the school every late Fall and early Spring to make sure your child was dressed for the weather. Around here, if the temperature is above 20°F they have outdoor recess. Once they’re in middle school and high school you’d be shocked how many wear shorts year round or wear those tear-way snap-off gym pants that they take off as soon as they get into the school and then go around school all day in shorts. I suppose if you don’t leave the 72°F building all day… Though, a January fire drill would suck.

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  15. recommended action about junk mail is “Never click Unsubscribe”

    Lesson learned. It is time to change email address and route all email to the affected address to Comcast support.

    provider implements spam filtering – can you mark mail as “Spam”? If so, do it

    I do that. But I suspect Comcast gets paid for delivering junk email. Don’t know for certain but I would not put it past Comcast.

    All my email is processed through Outlook. I move a lot of stuff to the spam folder and then empty the spam folder. Email is text only, I do not allow the downloading of images.

    Those SOB’s are persistent. Same as the car warranty people. How many times do they have to call my number, which I do not answer, until they realize that calls at that number will not be answered? I guess it costs them nothing so they just keep at it. Unable to block the number as the number keeps changing.

    Anyway, I shafted myself by trying to unsubscribe.

  16. shouldn’t the Governor had more insight into an independent entity whose proper functioning, or lack thereof, has such a big impact on the residents of his state?

    ERCOT is overseen by the Public Utility Commission, the members of which are appointed by the governor. The head of the PUC is ex-officio a member of the ERCOT board. The board is self-appointed, with some slots reserved for nominations by stakeholders – the power generators, the distribution companies, and consumers.

    Texas has a weak governor, with most of their power coming from appointing people to boards and commissions. The state attorney general and the comptroller of public accounts are independent and elected. The railroad commission, which oversees the oil industry, is also elected. The comptroller has a lot of power over the budget. The comptroller has to present the legislature a certified statement of what state revenues are going to be for the upcoming two year period, starting on September 1 of odd years. (The legislature only meets in odd years for a 140 days starting in January.) That is a ceiling on how much the state can spend – they can’t issue bonds without approval from the voters.

    In the legislature, the Lt. Governor is in charge of the Senate, and has the power to kill any bill by not bringing it up for a vote. If there is work that still needs to be done, the governor can call a special session, but they can only address items on the call for a session. Occasionally, things get backed up on the last day of a session and they have unplugged the clocks in the Senate and House chamber to get all the bills passed before adjourning.


  17. The Arctic blast and severe winter storms that pounded Texas weeks ago have claimed another victim as the credit crisis widens. Texas’s largest power cooperative filed for bankruptcy protection in federal court in Houston Monday, citing a $1.8 billion bill from the state’s grid operator, ERCOT, according to Reuters.

    According to court documents, Brazos Electric Power Cooperative, the largest generation and transmission co-op in the Lone Star State, filed for Chapter 11 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas. The company said it could not pay a $1.8 billion bill from ERCOT stemming from a severe cold snap last month.

    ru-rho shaggy

    n

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  18. “Predicting and planning for the next polar vortex?”
    https://www.iceagenow.info/predicting-and-planning-for-the-next-polar-vortex/

    “‘Texans were clearly not prepared by their federal, state or local governments, or even their local news media outlets, let alone ERCOT, for the magnitude of this polar storm…””

    ““We’ve spent billions on wind turbines and solar panels that were useless when people most needed electricity.””

    This year’s polar vortex may be a practice run for next year. Get more blankets. And toilet flushing water. And a generator.

    And alternative heat. Don’t forget the heat.

    n

    Yup, my plan for heat is the natural gas supply to my house to power both the generator and the natural gas heaters in the house. My backup plan for heat is the fireplace. I do need to stock more firewood at the house though.

  19. The Arctic blast and severe winter storms that pounded Texas weeks ago have claimed another victim as the credit crisis widens. Texas’s largest power cooperative filed for bankruptcy protection in federal court in Houston Monday, citing a $1.8 billion bill from the state’s grid operator, ERCOT, according to Reuters.

    According to court documents, Brazos Electric Power Cooperative, the largest generation and transmission co-op in the Lone Star State, filed for Chapter 11 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas. The company said it could not pay a $1.8 billion bill from ERCOT stemming from a severe cold snap last month.

    ru-rho shaggy

    n

    Yup, here comes the second disaster as the electricity http://www.griddy.com users and electricity resellers like the Brazos Coop go bankrupt.

    I have no idea how to fix this with the $5,000 to $15,000 per house electric bills from last week for these people. As the financial clearinghouse, ERCOT has a tiger by the tail and may have to go bankrupt too.

    After all, Texas used as much electric power in those four days as it normally uses in the entire month of February. This was an extraordinary event and deserves extraordinary treatment.

  20. Please. They knew the risk, and filing a class action as a first step is a sophisticated strategy.

    Griddy and places like Just Energy always smelled like scams to me. I wonder who will really pick up the tab.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/woman-files-class-action-lawsuit-against-texas-power-provider-after-249500-electricity-bill/ar-BB1e3inl

    What is wrong with Just Energy ? I use them at the office with a fixed rate contract at a total cost of 10 cents/kwh. I am moving the office on to http://www.energyogre.com at 9 cents/kwh (with my demand charge).

    ADD: Never mind:
    https://www.zerohedge.com/commodities/first-texas-freeze-casualty-just-energy-implodes-issues-going-concern-warning

  21. Just got notified that my main business got its PPP 2.0 loan / gift / grant. This will help a lot and keep me from laying off two employees like the first PPP loan / gift / grant did in 2020. Anything I can delay another year is a big help as the oil bidness is starting to recover.

  22. Yup, my plan for heat is the natural gas supply to my house to power both the generator and the natural gas heaters in the house. My backup plan for heat is the fireplace. I do need to stock more firewood at the house though.

    Atmos cut gas flowing to one of the fancy lad neighborhoods up in Leander on Sunday night/Monday morning, just as the serious weather began. I don’t think it was a big deal because the houses had resistive heating backup and Leander didn’t lose power, but that could have been really ugly.

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  23. I have no idea how to fix this with the $5,000 to $15,000 per house electric bills from last week for these people. As the financial clearinghouse, ERCOT has a tiger by the tail and may have to go bankrupt too.

    I’m not buying the story that Griddy customers were clueless about what could happen in an extreme situation. Everyone should take a haircut of some kind or else the entity/entities left holding the bag — most likely the state and city governments — are subsidizing the same customers’ 2019 AC bills at wholesale rates.

    I understand Griddy is popular with homeowners in the McMansion development on the other side of our HEB, all 5000-6000 sq ft monstrosities with multiple AC units cranking all summer.

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  24. If “polar vortex” weather is going to be the norm,

    Climate change is real, and it’s happening, but the scientists got it right the FIRST time; “global COOLING”. Back in the 1970’s, everybody was freaked out about the coming ice age, which is still coming in a few thousand years, but between now and then, we’re going to have our current CYCLES of warmer and cooler temperatures, with cycles that are about a thousand years. We’re near, perhaps just past, the peak of the current cycle, and it’s going to get cooler. Perhaps even a LOT cooler. The cause? Diminished SOLAR output, as depicted by the flattening of the sunspot cycle. I suspect we’re in for a “Dalton Minimum”, perhaps even a Maunder Minimum, with the corresponding weather patterns.

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  25. That’s the way I’m leaning too.

    12000 years ago, there were glaciers a block from my mom’s house south of Chicago.

    The midwestern states were covered with a giant inland sea….

    Climate changes. That’s what it does. To think we have much to do with it is hubris.

    to spend resources on it is foolishness.

    n

    (NB- if you don’t like the pollution associated with industrialization, then attack that on a quality of life basis, and be prepared to show a balance sheet comparing the starvation and grinding hard work of a pre-mechanized, pre-industrial society vs modern society. Don’t make your argument based on me believing your story about warming.)

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  26. And the single garage door opener remote would not work today at an outside temperature of 62 F. This is getting frustrating. Oh well, we won’t have many more days of 62 F until next November.

  27. Anyway, just checked and noticed that the toilet paper rolls I recently purchased are 1/2″ narrower. Just one data point but all the rolls in the package are the new narrower width. In the width of the bulk rolls after they come out of the big dryers that missing 1/2″ is enough to get an extra set of rolls.

    Was this done due to the butt paper shortage? Is it an intentional profit move by the manufacturer? The price for the packages remained the same as last purchase.

    So much crap going on in this world and they are shorting toilet paper. Life is not fair.

    Scott ? Charmin ? Sams Club ? Mexican Lo Libre’ ?

  28. I was looking at some stuff on best batteries for solar backup, and up popped a video of Rick Harrison (of Pawn Stars fame). He has an isolated compound in Oregon. Powered by solar using Battle Born batteries for storage, but, he also installed hydro on a stream on the property. With those two, he rarely uses a generator, and has two houses and a large shop on the property. I’m jealous. Money, money, money.

    A Conversation with Rick Harrison on his Off-Grid Property l Battle Born Batteries

    1
  29. Yup, my plan for heat is the natural gas supply to my house to power both the generator and the natural gas heaters in the house. My backup plan for heat is the fireplace. I do need to stock more firewood at the house though.

    Atmos cut gas flowing to one of the fancy lad neighborhoods up in Leander on Sunday night/Monday morning, just as the serious weather began. I don’t think it was a big deal because the houses had resistive heating backup and Leander didn’t lose power, but that could have been really ugly.

    Probably natural gas control valve failure. Failing shut is way better than failing open.

  30. I have no idea how to fix this with the $5,000 to $15,000 per house electric bills from last week for these people. As the financial clearinghouse, ERCOT has a tiger by the tail and may have to go bankrupt too.

    I’m not buying the story that Griddy customers were clueless about what could happen in an extreme situation. Everyone should take a haircut of some kind or else the entity/entities left holding the bag — most likely the state and city governments — are subsidizing the same customers’ 2019 AC bills at wholesale rates.

    I understand Griddy is popular with homeowners in the McMansion development on the other side of our HEB, all 5000-6000 sq ft monstrosities with multiple AC units cranking all summer.

    We will see what happens when the bankruptcy court starts sending demand letters. Plus the bankruptcy court can reopen bank accounts. I have been very surprised at the power of the bankruptcy court in the past who enforced a contract without turning over the property to a friend. Yup, he got burned hard, had to pay the down payment money in the earnest account and did not get the property.

  31. maybe a cracked solder joint? opens up when cold…

    n

  32. “Deranged Leftists Froth After Trump Slams Trans Takeover Of Women’s Sports”
    https://summit.news/2021/03/01/deranged-leftists-froth-after-trump-slams-trans-takeover-of-womens-sports/

    “How dare he point out a biological fact!”

    I am very surprised that women are not up in arms about this. I wonder how many of the college scholarships that the trans women are now taking ? Are there any trans women on the professional women’s sports teams yet ?

    Hat tip to:
    https://thelibertydaily.com/

  33. was looking at some stuff on best batteries for solar backup, and up popped a video of Rick Harrison (of Pawn Stars fame). He has an isolated compound in Oregon. Powered by solar using Battle Born batteries for storage, but, he also installed hydro on a stream on the property. With those two, he rarely uses a generator, and has two houses and a large shop on the property. I’m jealous. Money, money, money.

    Port Orford is somewhat temperate in Winter, cool in Summer, so location is another factor working in his favor. It isn’t unusual for that part of the coast to be 60+ in Winter, and the beach area north of Coos Bay is essentially a desert.

    That part of Oregon is very red with a serious succession movement along with parts of California just across the border to create a new state, Jefferson. For now, however, they still answer to Salem.

    When we left Vantucky, the two SW Oregon counties were in a tax war with the state government over 911 services, and utility taxation was being targeted to generate revenue to cover 24/7 police response outside of Coos Bay and Port Orford, something the residents didn’t feel they needed but the Governor felt necessary. Another reason to live off grid.

  34. And the single garage door opener remote would not work today at an outside temperature of 62 F. This is getting frustrating. Oh well, we won’t have many more days of 62 F until next November.

    maybe a cracked solder joint? opens up when cold…

    n

    In the remote or the garage door opener itself ?

    I have a new remote, the old remote had the same problem. Sounds like the GDO may need replacing. Maybe in 2022.

  35. @lynn

    IANAGDR * , but it sounds like the circuit board on the opener itself – a solder joint that doesn’t like the cold might be the issue. If you are inclined, you could climb a ladder on the next failure and aim a hair dryer at it.

    Or, take out the control board and safely re-heat all visible solder joints (although it could be in the circuit traces).

    Assuming a standard garage door, a belt drive Genie is an easy install. I helped my son-in-law install this one from Home Depot: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Genie-StealthDrive-1-1-4-HP-Belt-Drive-Garage-Door-Opener-with-Battery-Backup-and-Added-Wireless-Keypad-7055-TKV/310485802 – battery backup, 1 1/4 HP, external button controller, etc. Excellent instructions.

    Well, he did the work, and as the senior member of the installation team, I read the instructions and watched him do it.

    *IANAGDR = I Am Not A Garage Door Repair-person.

  36. “Are Highways Across America Now Racist?”
    https://thelibertyloft.com/are-highways-across-america-now-racist/

    “According to CNN, racism activists see the removal of highways as a key to helping restore the racial injustices that were done, decades after they were built. Yes, we must pay reparations for developing highways to help promote growth of cities and towns and making travel easier.”

    The wackjobs are getting even wackier.

  37. February zoomed by this year. A week or so of snow and breaking pipes does make the time past.

    I have a couple of UPS units coming via UPS. Tracking is broken. On Friday afternoon tracking showed the packages as being in Round Rock. Ok, so, delivery on Monday. Or maybe not. Now Tracking says:

    “Severe Weather Delay
    Significant weather events across the globe are impacting the UPS network. Although your location may not be impacted by adverse weather, the movement of packages in the network may be impacted by weather conditions in other areas.

    Scheduled Delivery
    Check back tomorrow for an updated delivery date.”

    Yeah, whatever. Their website is broken. It misted drizzle this morning and it’s now 49F and cloudy.

  38. Scott ? Charmin ? Sams Club ? Mexican Lo Libre’ ?

    Charmin. The prior set of rolls were from Costco. The last set were from the grocery store as I did not want to drive all the way to Costco for butt wipes. I don’t like Scott as I associate that with paper towels. As for the Mexican stuff, no thanks. Wood splinters and slivers in the hemorrhoid’s is not something I do on a regular basis.

  39. What’s wrong with Scott paper towels? The Select-A-Size work great for us.

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  40. The Select-A-Size work great for us.

    Nothing. That is what we use, in the kitchen, not in throne room.

    Or I missed sarcasm, again. Sigh.


  41. We will see what happens when the bankruptcy court starts sending demand letters.

    My guess is that the courts will tell the power providers that stayed online to take lower payments. The windfall they got was so huge that it begs for their billing rto be cut to a much, much lower rate.

  42. “According to CNN, racism activists see the removal of highways as a key to helping restore the racial injustices that were done, decades after they were built. Yes, we must pay reparations for developing highways to help promote growth of cities and towns and making travel easier.”

    The wackjobs are getting even wackier.

    Seattle would be first on the list for reparations. From what I understand, I-5 runs through what used to be the Japanese community before everyone was rounded up and sent to camps during WWII.

    The Progs also believe that eliminating freeways and returning the surface streets would generate urban renewal similar to what happened in San Francisco when the Embarcadero and Central Freeway came down after the 1989 earthquake damaged both elevated roadways.


  43. Or I missed sarcasm, again. Sigh.

    Oh! I missed the joke. But I was raised using Scott TP and still do. Septic system….


  44. The wackjobs are getting even wackier.

    I-35 through Austin went over East Street. Zigged around a bit, somehow covered over Middle Fiskville Road between N. Lamar and St. Johns. Yeah, central business and UT on one side of the road and sorta slummy and colored on the other side.

    I-10 through Mobile did much the same.


  45. sorta slummy and colored on the other side.

    It’s rapidly gentrifying.


  46. Texans were clearly not prepared by their federal, state or local governments, or even their local news media outlets, let alone ERCOT, for the magnitude of this polar storm…

    What kind of coverage did the local network-affiliated stations have? I remember living in NYC and there was a major (15+ inches) snowstorm they would preempt the soap operas and game shows and drone on and on about the snow.

  47. RE: TP Size – Just measured a roll of Charmin I got from WalMart last month.
    4 Inches even. Does this mean anything?

  48. Charmin. The prior set of rolls were from Costco. The last set were from the grocery store as I did not want to drive all the way to Costco for butt wipes. I don’t like Scott as I associate that with paper towels. As for the Mexican stuff, no thanks. Wood splinters and slivers in the hemorrhoid’s is not something I do on a regular basis.

    Charmin Blue, Yellow or Red ?

    If Charmin Yellow then you are on your own. Anything that has the word “Essentials” is telling you that it has been minimized.

    BTW, I have not seen any Charmin Blue or Red at Sam’s Club in over a month. Maybe two months. I get all of my Charmin Blue at HEB now. Bounty also.

  49. We will see what happens when the bankruptcy court starts sending demand letters.

    My guess is that the courts will tell the power providers that stayed online to take lower payments. The windfall they got was so huge that it begs for their billing rto be cut to a much, much lower rate.

    They can’t. The spot market for natural gas rolled up to $600/mmbtu way before the storm hit. The price before the storm was $3/mmbtu. Those gas turbines use mostly spot market natural gas as they cannot guarantee that they will run for the take or pay natural gas. Of course, many of the older gas turbines used stored diesel that prices out at $14/mmbtu.

    gallon diesel / 139,000 btu * $2 / gallon * 1,000,000 btu/mmbtu = 14.2 $/mmbtu

  50. What kind of coverage did the local network-affiliated stations have? I remember living in NYC and there was a major (15+ inches) snowstorm they would preempt the soap operas and game shows and drone on and on about the snow.

    The NBC affiliate in Austin kept the weather geeks and news crews on the air the night of the storm, at least until 1 AM when we went to bed, but the snow storm itself was really not that interesting, only the aftermath starting in the wee hours of the morning.

    On the local Faux News station, reruns of “The Big Bang Theory” start at 10 on Sunday nights, and nothing preempts that programming. Those reruns are big money.

  51. Texans were clearly not prepared by their federal, state or local governments, or even their local news media outlets, let alone ERCOT, for the magnitude of this polar storm…

    What kind of coverage did the local network-affiliated stations have? I remember living in NYC and there was a major (15+ inches) snowstorm they would preempt the soap operas and game shows and drone on and on about the snow.

    I haven’t watched non streaming tv in over a year. We do not even have rabbit ears on our three TVs. I keep on thinking that I should and then go right back to binging Star Trek Voyager.


  52. Griddy and places like Just Energy always smelled like scams to me. I wonder who will really pick up the tab.

    @Greg; look in the mirror and hold on tight to your wallet.

    Please. They knew the risk, and filing a class action as a first step is a sophisticated strategy.

    +1…just clicked the “I Agree” button without reading the T&C? That’s on you. Best is to put the text in a scrollable window, disable Ctrl+End and put the button at the bottom of the window.

    In court:
    Defense Attorney: So Mr. Jones, you’re telling the court that you purposely had to scroll through all this text (waves printed copy for jury to see) before you could click “I Agree”?
    Mr. Jones: Uhh, yes sir.
    Defense Attorney: And did you thoroughly read and understand what was stated before you clicked “I Agree”?
    Mr. Jones: uhh, umm, not really.

    Does TX have any laws requiring T&C’s to not be in legalease?


  53. shouldn’t the Governor had more insight into an independent entity whose proper functioning, or lack thereof, has such a big impact on the residents of his state?

    ERCOT is overseen by the Public Utility Commission, the members of which are appointed by the governor. The head of the PUC is ex-officio a member of the ERCOT board. The board is self-appointed, with some slots reserved for nominations by stakeholders – the power generators, the distribution companies, and consumers.

    Texas has a weak governor, with most of their power coming from appointing people to boards and commissions. The state attorney general and the comptroller of public accounts are independent and elected. The railroad commission, which oversees the oil industry, is also elected. The comptroller has a lot of power over the budget.

    Sounds like the politicos have the deck shuffled enough to have CYA in effect as needed. Yet another example of the need for term limits.

  54. “Terra Wind”
    https://camillc.com/terrawind/

    “The Terra Wind is a first class motor coach that is as comfortable on the lake as it is on the land with a highway speed of up to 80 mph and up to 7 knots on the water.”

    You know, a real prepper would have one of these.

    2

  55. You know, a real prepper would have one of these.

    … because Zombies can’t swim ?

  56. “You know, a real prepper would have one of these. ”

    … because Zombies can’t swim ?

    Max Brooks zombies shuffle along the bottom of the bottom of the body of water.

  57. 53F and drizzle here.

    Got my used dryer installed without issues. Couldn’t get the A/C to run at all. Not inside not outside. Fan only didn’t run either, but the heat ran normally. That tells me Blower fan = ok. tStat = ok although the wiring COULD be suspect if it had never worked. At this point I’m calling a guy. I think the control board has issues. Shouldn’t be a crazy $$ fix ,and we’re not in a hurry because the heat works.

    I noticed TP rolls got narrower some time ago. LONG ago. Did you bring a case out of deep storage?

    Anyone else notice that the “select a size” paper towels are almost back to the size they were originally?

    Traffic was very light today, but people still managed to bang into each other on surface streets.

    — the execution of the freeway system thru inner cities has been identified as negative to blacks for a long time. They went thru cheap neighborhoods. They went thru ‘slums’ as part of their ‘urban renewal’ scam. They cut cohesive neighborhoods apart and devalued what was left. Haven’t read the article yet, and I’m not sure I’d ascribe the decisions on where to route the freeways to racism, more like ‘cheapest’ since those areas were already typically in decline. Didn’t help the residents much though.

    n

  58. Got my used dryer installed without issues. Couldn’t get the A/C to run at all. Not inside not outside. Fan only didn’t run either, but the heat ran normally. That tells me Blower fan = ok. tStat = ok although the wiring COULD be suspect if it had never worked. At this point I’m calling a guy. I think the control board has issues. Shouldn’t be a crazy $$ fix ,and we’re not in a hurry because the heat works.

    A generic control board is $250 but installation can be tricky depending on the manufacturer.

    We had the board on our upstairs unit replaced a couple of years ago.

  59. I noticed TP rolls got narrower some time ago. LONG ago. Did you bring a case out of deep storage?

    Sam’s Club TP is 4.4 inches wide and Charmin Blue is 4.0 inches wide here at the office.

  60. @greg

    Doesn’t the AC pump/compressor require 240V? If the fan runs (needs 120v), then half of the 2 phases needed by the AC pump is OK.

    Since the 2 phases are supplied by a double-breaker at the panel (each breaker supplies one 120v phase), perhaps one of the double-breakers (if tied together) is bad or tripped. I’ve seen half of a double breaker trip before.

    If it is a fat double-breaker, then could be it is half-bad. A careful measurement with your digital volt meter on both halves of the breaker should tell you if the breaker is bad, or tripped.

    I’d force off both halves of the double breaker, then flip them on. Check for one of them blowing when the AC is turned on. If one has failed, replace them both.

    (IANAHVACG = I Am Not An HVAC Guy …. but I watch a lot of DYI shows…and have had half of a double-tied breaker fail.)

  61. Evidently, proper prepping requires not only FLASHLIGHTS, but a tape measure to measure your TP width.

    But, like everything else, the size/weight/pkg size of items is smaller, while the prices increased.

    Like graham crackers. Each cracker is not as wide as I remember. Used to be you couldn’t fit them in a standard milk glass. And a whole package (dipped in milk, of course) used to fill me up. Now I have to get two packages of them for a snack.

    Food is shrinking, prices are going up. Unfortunately, I am not shrinking…..

  62. @greg

    Doesn’t the AC pump/compressor require 240V? If the fan runs (needs 120v), then half of the 2 phases needed by the AC pump is OK.

    Me? I leave high voltage work to the pros. A qualified repairman swapped out our HVAC control board for a generic model.

    I’ll stick to low voltage, coax, phone and alarm systems tinkering.

  63. “Terra Wind”
    https://camillc.com/terrawind/

    “The Terra Wind is a first class motor coach that is as comfortable on the lake as it is on the land with a highway speed of up to 80 mph and up to 7 knots on the water.”

    You know, a real prepper would have one of these.

    … because Zombies can’t swim ?

    Yup. But mutants and bikers can. So, only 2/3rds of the MZBs can follow you through water.

    You never know when you have to cross a river while bugging out. Just gotta have some boat ramps for this beast.

  64. @Lynn

    After all, Texas used as much electric power in those four days as it normally uses in the entire month of February. This was an extraordinary event and deserves extraordinary treatment.

    You’ve mentioned that before, but I don’t see it in the graphs.

    David Middleton, who is usually pretty good, does some debunking here:

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/03/01/texas-wind-was-operating-almost-as-well-as-expected-part-deux/

    and the ERCOT graph shows a large hump, but not that large, more like 40-50% over the weeks before and after. Were those other weeks also hugely up from average?

    [in this case Middleton has not done such a good job. Two examples:

    His statement with regard to the correlation of wind generation vs. departure from DFW temp avg graph “Note that the correlation is just as good when temperatures are above freezing.” is provided without calculation, and the Mark I eyeball doubts it. The correlation is not good for all 31 data points, but dividing them into two groups probably yields two better correlations.

    And his comparison of natural gas electricity generation among ERCO, SWPP, and MISO with the conclusion that ERCO “outperformed” the other systems simply demonstrates a failure to recognize an apples to oranges comparison: The role of natural gas in heating is fundamentally different in colder climates where natural gas is burned directly in home heating–most of the increase in natural gas usage for the other two systems is not shown in the graph at all.]


  65. But, like everything else, the size/weight/pkg size of items is smaller, while the prices increased.

    Yes, but it’s a two-step process – first reduce the package but leave the price unchanged, most people don’t notice, company profits, then down the road start the price increases.

    Used to be you couldn’t fit them in a standard milk glass.

    MIL-SPEC # for Glass, Milk, Standard?

  66. After all, Texas used as much electric power in those four days as it normally uses in the entire month of February. This was an extraordinary event and deserves extraordinary treatment.

    You’ve mentioned that before, but I don’t see it in the graphs.

    I stole that from one of the leaders of ERCOT. Now that I see the MWH plots were only 50% to 60% above the previous and trailing days, it does not make sense. One wonders if they meant that if ERCOT could have supplied the entire demand without fixed (the blackouts were NOT rotating) blackouts, the demand would have been that much.

    ERCOT was consistently predicting that the demand was between 60,000 and 70,000 MW in Texas during the extreme weather event from Feb 15 to Feb 18, 2021. ERCOT was only able to produce 35,000 to 45,000 MW over the four day period. Not good. Leading into the event, ERCOT was able to make 60,000 MW and the below 32 F weather had not hit south Texas yet. So those demand numbers from ERCOT could actually be in the 70,000 MW to 80,000 MW range if there had been zero blackouts.

    And the wind turbines are back to producing 20,000 MW each night in Texas, causing major issues with the base load power plants when the state demand is only 25,000 MW or so.

    Buy a generator. You are gonna need it. And two weeks of fuel. You may need eight to twelve weeks of fuel though.

    BTW, my area is supplied by four natural gas wells that can flow a BCF (billion cubic feet) of natural gas a day. The wells are about a quarter mile away from my office (on the same Booth farm) and four miles away from the house. I just have to share them with my 250,000 neighbors within 10 miles and the five natural gas power units at the Parrish Power plant. So we have plenty of natural gas in this area of Texas.

  67. My charmin blue is 4.5 inches, in the mega pack from costco. I think I am using current production, but I could be rotating old stock. I know I had narrower rolls at one point.

    A/C breaker appeared to be fine.

    n

  68. MIL-SPEC # for Glass, Milk, Standard?

    –ask and you shall receive!

    https://www.nsncenter.com/NSN/7350-00-170-8330

    FSG 73 – Food Preparation and Serving Equipment
    FSC 7350 – Tableware
    NSN 7350-00-170-8330

    7350-00-170-8330
    TUMBLER,DRINKING
    7350-00-170-8330 (7350001708330, 001708330)
    Part Numbers (4 listings): 1910HT | DD-T-101 | A-A-1061 | A-A-1061TM2STA |
    Summary
    FSG 73 / FSC 7350
    DEMIL: A
    DEMIL INT: 1
    HMIC: N
    Date Created: 1 Jan 1961

    https://www.nsncenter.com/NSN/7350-00-141-0965

    7350-00-141-0965
    TUMBLER,DRINKING
    7350-00-141-0965 (7350001410965, 001410965)
    Part Numbers (5 listings): 7350-00-141-0965 | 10XT-G | L-T-48CL2TM7 | L-T-48 | A-A-2870 |
    Summary
    FSG 73 / FSC 7350
    DEMIL: A
    DEMIL INT: 1
    HMIC: N
    Date Created: 10 Jun 1968

    signed, Nick, Mr Smartypantalones

  69. and the ERCOT graph shows a large hump, but not that large, more like 40-50% over the weeks before and after. Were those other weeks also hugely up from average?

    Somewhere between the last week of January and the first week of February, we were running the air conditioners in the office and the house. My yard guy mowed my yard at the house (1 acre) and the warehouse tenants at the office mowed the 14 acres.

  70. https://www.zerohedge.com/commodities/texas-ag-hits-electricity-provider-griddy-deceptive-practices

    “Griddy passed skyrocketing energy costs to customers with little to no warning, resulting in consumers paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars each day for electricity,” the statement said.

    “Griddy misled Texans and signed them up for services which, in a time of crisis, resulted in individual Texans each losing thousands of dollars. As Texans struggled to survive this winter storm, Griddy made the suffering even worse as it debited outrageous amounts each day. As the first lawsuit filed by my office to confront the outrageous failure of power companies, I will hold Griddy accountable for their escalation of this winter storm disaster,” said Paxton. “My office will not allow Texans to be deceived or exploited by unlawful behavior and deceptive business practices.”

    –without knowing anything about griddy or their TOS, or contract terms, they’d have to have very dumb lawyers indeed to have “misled” anyone. I’d be willing to bet money that there is a clear statement in the contract that rates can go up, and might go up a lot.

    One Texas resident was slapped with a multi-thousand dollar power bill. She said:

    “I’m not exactly sure what I’m supposed to do – should I take from my 401K? Should I get a loan?”

    Maybe customers with variable-rate plans should get into the game of hedging? Or perhaps, for starters, at least keep an eye on power rates…

    –um yeah, if you are looking around the table and you don’t see the sucker, the sucker is you…

    These people, presumably saved hundreds or thousands of dollars over the last 4 years, patting themselves on the back for being smarter/cleverer/better informed than all the chumps paying full price for electricity. NOT ONE DIME of taxpayer or rate payer money should be given to them.

    When you gamble, you sometimes lose. Gamble long enough, and it’s almost a certainty.

    n


  71. When you gamble, you sometimes lose. Gamble long enough, and it’s almost a certainty.

    And the ‘House’ always (well, there are a few exceptions) wins.


  72. signed, Nick, Mr Smartypantalones

    Carney Barker: “Give That Man a Prize!” 🙂

  73. From an article about Boston gutting education —

    A district analysis of the program found that more than 70 percent of students enrolled in the program were white and Asian, even though nearly 80 percent of all Boston public school students are Hispanic and Black.

    School Committee member Lorna Rivera said at a January meeting that she was disturbed by the findings, noting that nearly 60 percent of fourth graders in the program at the Ohrenberger school in West Roxbury are white even though most third graders enrolled at the school are Black and Hispanic.

    –think about that for a second or two. How can the census numbers that are widely quoted about the racial makeup of America, and the number of hispanic illegals be anywhere close to true, when pretty much every major city school district has these or very similar compositions?

    –is it that white people don’t have kids? Or white kids don’t go to public school? Because I don’t see private schools full of mostly white kids either.

    –blacks supposedly make up ~13% of the population in the US. If HALF are school aged, how does that 6% end up being the vast majority of students in public schools?

    –illegals are supposed to be about 10% of the overall population. Since we don’t have a legal immigration path that lets millions of new hispanics in every year, and the numbers increase every year, they are logically mostly illegal. Our district certainly is. So again, how can so many of the kids be hispanic, especially in an eastern city like BOSTON?

    The numbers do not add up. One thing is pretty clear though, in any big city in America, and most medium sized ones too, white kids are distinctly underrepresented in the public school system.

    n


  74. “Terra Wind”
    https://camillc.com/terrawind/
    “The Terra Wind is a first class motor coach that is as comfortable on the lake as it is on the land with a highway speed of up to 80 mph and up to 7 knots on the water.”
    “The Terra Wind shown is approximately $1.2 million.”

    You know, a real prepper would have one of these.

    With $1.2M would a ‘real prepper’ instead perhaps want:
    An MB Sprinter-based Class B 4WD motorhome – well equipped at 250K;
    towing an off-road 4 wheeler – 10K;
    and at an accessible location, a fast, maneuverable powerboat (if a water escape is warranted) – 40K;
    900K in supplies, including gold and silver?

  75. The DoD can’t keep amphibious craft floating with a massive logistics effort and lots of incentive. NO WAY would I drive a $1.2M motorcoach into the water…

    n

    1

  76. “Terra Wind”
    https://camillc.com/terrawind/

    I did NOT realize that this actually existed.

    I have a Fleetwood Terra motor home, that we purchased (used) one year ago. The previous owner had had it stored in Roseville, CA, so it was extremely convenient when we bought it. But the owner lived in Hawaii, and the RV still has Hawaii plates.

    MORE THAN ONE person has asked “Wow, how did you get that over here from Hawaii?” And my wife tells them, in deadpan serious tone, “It has inflatable pontoons!”

    But the end is near; we had procrastinated getting it re-registered because the California DMV was locked down then and never re-opened until we left California, and the Texas authorities had a waiver that we didn’t have to re-register it until the end of COVID. That time is next month, so we’re about to lose our Hawaii plates. But then, everything we have will say “Texas”, and that’s good, too.

  77. @ken, I have to get both trucks smogged and the tags renewed. I admit I let it slide and took advantage of the covid waivers.

    It’s on my pile o stuff to do. Just before covid I was going to move all three vehicles, or at least my two trucks to “amateur radio operator” tags. I have to actually install the radios to do that though, and that, like so many other tasks, is fractal in the number of things that have to happen to have to happen…. kind of the ‘for want of a nail’ story in reverse.

    n

  78. @Nick; “Radio Operator” plates only require that you plan to regularly operate a ham radio from the vehicle, not that you have a radio INSTALLED in the vehicle. I have an HT in the center console of my new truck; that’s close enough.

  79. I used to have ham plates in Michigan and Iowa. Only requirement was a valid amateur radio license. That was a long time ago.

    I believe California puts ham plates in the same category as Environmental License Plates, which include vanity plates. No way would I pay into that scam fund.


  80. the toilet paper rolls I recently purchased are 1/2″ narrower. Was this done due to the butt paper shortage?

    That’s probably what triggered it. Assuming that the factory is already running at capacity, that’s the easiest way to increase output.

    Of course, it’s also how to hide price increases. Sell at the same low, low price – but provide less product.

    Griddy and places like Just Energy always smelled like scams to me.

    Perhaps. OTOH I don’t understand how the wholesale price of energy can vary by multiple orders of magnitude over such a short time. Seems to me that something is wrong with the system, for that much volatility to be possible.

    I suspect Comcast gets paid for delivering junk email

    Nope, I doubt it. The whole problem of spam would go away if there were any real cost to sending out millions of mails. Even a tiny fraction of a cent would do the trick.

    FWIW I’ve been seeing a lot more spam since Corona started. Pretty deceptive, well-targeted stuff that makes it through the filters. For example: lots of people doing more mail order, so emails supposedly from DHL or the post office, claiming you have customs due on a package, look awfully legitimate.

  81. In TX there is specific language about the vehicle and operating (radio) from it that made me think it was necessary to have a radio installed….

    In any case, you can have multiple vehicles on the same plate and it’s cheaper than the normal way.

    n

  82. @brad:

    but provide less product

    Here in UK, we call this “shrinkflation”.

    wholesale price of energy can vary by multiple orders of magnitude over such a short time

    It’s entirely by design, as a way of managing demand, and means that the generating companies can try to restrict supply at peak times. Of course, the ultimate consumer doesn’t see it, so it doesn’t really work.

    paid for delivering junk email

    Not likely. In fact, I suspect all email providers would like nothing better than to find a way of preventing what the spammers see as free publicity, because it costs them money to over-provide the infrastructure. I saw, some years ago, a quote that 90+% of all email traffic is spam. I make no doubt that the percentage is higher now.

    I don’t see much, if any, myself, not even in my spam folder, because gmail’s spam filtering is extremely efficacious, probably by filtering on ingress, not delivery.

    What I am plagued with, and this is not new, is unsolicited phone calls, both to mobile and landline, despite my numbers being registered with the Telephone Preference Service in the UK (think: Do-Not-Call in US) Mostly “we can help you get out of timeshare contracts”, or “We’ve heard that you recently had a accident. Is that right?”, plus a few “This is Microsoft Service”

    Oh for a button to push that would shoot a sharp-pointed object up the fundament of the call-centre’s MD. Not the poor operator – (s)he’s only doing a (often poorly-paid) job. Doesn’t stop me being rude, though.

    G.

  83. @nick:

    That option is not available in UK. All you can do is vanity plates with your callsign. On one vehicle. If the desired plate is unissued, and fits the format of a (previous) UK number –

    year-letter, 3-sequential-digits (starting at 101. 2-digit numbers are considered more desirable, hence chargable), sequential letter, 2-letter registration district.
    The year-letter is assigned based on registration date, in 6-month increments.

    In all cases, certain letters are not used, due to the possibility of confusion, notably I, U and Z. There is an over-riding requirement that the combination be non-rude.

    So I could get my callsign (G8KBZ). Last time I checked, it was unissued, but there is a charge of £450 (or more, for particularly desirable numbers). I don’t want £450 of that, it’s not worth it.

    G.

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