Sat. Mar. 6, 2021 – no Hamfest for YOU!

Supposed to be a nice day today.   Yesterday started with light misty drizzle, got sunny and warm, and then ended with drizzle.  Don’t know yet how today will play out.  I’m cautiously optimistic.

Friday was full of the normal stuff.   I did a bit more cleaning up and putting away.

I consolidated some stored gasoline into fewer cans as I put them back in the storage cabinet.  I took the opportunity to get the water out of the cans too.   One I just stopped pouring before the water came out, the other I used my pump to suck it off the bottom of the can.   I’ve got a can dedicated to ‘dirty gas’ that collected the stuff left in the cans or pumped out.   In a pinch I can pump the gas off the top and avoid the water and sediment that settles.   Most of the time I just use it as a cleaner or hold it for disposal later.  The little hand pump has been so useful during this disaster that I am going to stock a couple more.  They’re cheap, and are a versatile tool.

Speaking of ‘cans’, I’ve had several plastic five gallon cans fail in the same way.  They are name brand cans, so it’s not a quality issue, but a design one.   The welded seam at the top of the can, in the ‘handle’ part, breaks open.   It’s hard to even tell that it isn’t sealed, and the can is still useful short term, but water and air can get in, and gas and vapor can get out through the crack.  I suspect that something in hand oils might contribute to the problem, or it could be a manufacturing issue, but they do separate.  If the can doesn’t puff up when hot, pressure is getting out somehow, and air can get back in.    Check your stored cans.   (and for this reason, I no longer buy them used to save a few bucks, because they’ve already got age on them and the clock is ticking)

The post title refers to the Greater Houston Hamfest, which was cancelled for 2021.   In 2020 it was the last public exposure I had before locking down for wuflu.  I was worried, but the swapmeet is outside, and I set up so my back was to the wind, blowing everyone else’s germs away from me.   In about 8 or 9 days it’ll be one full year of this pandemic.   Time flies and it drags.   I buy radio stuff all year with the intention of selling it on the one day at the Hamfest swapmeet in early March.  While I haven’t been buying as much radio stuff, I do still have  a bunch to sell.   I’ve talked to one of my local auction houses and he was agreeable to doing  a sale that featured radio gear, sometime this month.     I might sell stuff, but I won’t have the chance to spend the day chatting with other hams, and seeing some people I only  see at the Hamfest.  They’ve scheduled 2022 for March 4th and 5th.

As others have pointed out, the lockdowns have severely limited out ability to meet in groups, which has some benefits for an oppressive government, or a larger group that wants to limit the spread of information or ideas.   Without the ability to get together in an unmonitored environment and compare notes, the lies and lies by omission can spread and ‘soak in’ to the culture to the point where they are very hard to challenge or dispute.  When all your interactions with people are mediated (literally) they are also more easily controlled.   Consider too, that when people gather in larger groups, or public social environments, they are exposed to a much wider variety of beliefs, ideas, and experiences than if they are sitting at home on a computer.  I don’t think it was intentional at the beginning, but I think too many ‘powers that be’ realized the advantages and shaped policy and reality to their own ends.   This is especially visible in the inconsistency in applying the policies.   This activity is verbotten, but this identical situation is allowed if it’s something we WANT people to do.

There will never be a ‘return to normal’.   There never has been, and there really can’t be, because we are changed by our experiences.  Start planning and prepping for what comes NEXT.    Stacking will probably help.

 

nick

Author: Nick Flandrey

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

74 thoughts on “Sat. Mar. 6, 2021 – no Hamfest for YOU!”

  1. Had the second Moderna shot yesterday afternoon. So far just a little sore in the arm this morning. Feeling lucky. Beutiful day yesterday, sunny and warm. Air was so still the sky had contrails crisscrossing everywhere. Fodder for the crazy peeps. 44F this morning going to 68F, so a good 10 degrees cooler. Rain expected next week. Good for most things except the nut and fruit trees in blossom. Farmers will be applying lots of fungicides.
    Would just like to be lazy for the weekend.


  2. But hey, at least ORANGE MAN BAD ain’t making rude Tweets to hurt your feelings anymore.

    Was this his plan all along? To maintain power ‘behind the scenes’ with strategic public appearances (eg CPAC)? He could be on the reborn Parler or a website but so far hasn’t. Wants to be the backstage puppet master for 2024? Just some musings for an early Saturday morning…

    2

  3. I’m looking for a low miles 2013-’15 with the heavy duty tow package.

    @nick; are there Ford dealers there that are as big as the ones that I recall seeing in Dallas that had hundreds of new and used inventory? If so, maybe a used one might be available in an odd color or oddly equipped sitting in the far corner of the used car lot?

  4. Hi Steve Mac, the pump I’m using is very similar to this one

    https://www.amazon.com/Katzco-Liquid-Transfer-Siphon-Hand/dp/B01BGZ9TXG/?tag=ttgnet-20

    I can’t say that I’m endorsing that particular one, but it looks like the one I have down to the color. I actually got mine at a dollar store or Harbor Freight, or an auto parts store, or possibly a yard sale. The hose got stiff, and I had to add hose clamps around where the hose goes into the pump. I remember paying $7 for it though, because I thought my lawn guy stole mine and I was going to ding him for it… It moves a lot of liquid quickly and has good suction.

    I used a different style to refuel my gennie during the last hurricane, but it came apart over time.

    https://www.amazon.com/2-PK-TRDP14-Manual-Liquid-Transfer/dp/B08DCD7NH7/?tag=ttgnet-20

    NOT recommended.

    One of the inline bulb type, like motor boats use, would probably be ok for small amounts of fuel, but if you want to move 5 gallons into a generator, but find lifting a can to be difficult, get a better one.

    Get a couple of A style spring clamps or big clothespin looking clamps too and use one to keep the output hose in the tank and the input hose in the can. The pump has enough force that the end of the hose will move and spray all over unexpectedly…

    n

  5. The post title refers to the Greater Houston Hamfest, which was cancelled for 2021. In 2020 it was the last public exposure I had before locking down for wuflu. I was worried, but the swapmeet is outside, and I set up so my back was to the wind, blowing everyone else’s germs away from me.

    The Progs are still having their fun out at Sherwood Forest Faire bacchanalia in McDade starting in April.

    Hamfest doesn’t strike me as much of a big alcohol/FOMO event as a typical renn fest.

    If the Hamfest was cancelled by the organizers out of a sense of caution, fine, but if it was cancelled by a Judge’s order, your county needs a new Judge.

    Williamson needs a new Judge, but the problem is the incumbent is a RINO and the alternative will be Prog.

  6. @dkreck, my wife is out getting the shot this morning. I am nervous. She’s excited, but I can’t figure out why.

    @alan, there are some HUGE Ford dealers around here and just outside of town. I’ll be looking at their listings too. So far I just did a quick online search thru carguys.com and edmunds. I really don’t want to trudge all over without some good idea that what I want is there. I find the process enervating.

    n

    1
  7. “Hamfest doesn’t strike me as much of a big alcohol/FOMO event as a typical renn fest. ”

    –unless someone has a flask, or is drinking in their car, I don’t think there is so much as a can of beer there. And not a single kind of meat on a stick.

    n


  8. She’s excited, but I can’t figure out why.

    FOMO?

    He could be on the reborn Parler or a website but so far hasn’t.

    He might be taking a rest for a month or three. I imagine the past four years were rather stressful and tiring. Plus, he lost a sizable fraction of his net worth while he was hands-off his holdings.

    1
    1
    5
    1
  9. Nick, Auto Trader has (or did last time I checked) some of the best search options of any site, especially if you know exactly what you are looking for. You might need to sign up for it to remember your search criteria. Lately they have added dealers as sources; not just private party. You can choose either or both.

    Not familiar with the others you mentioned.

  10. They were just the first two that came up for a search “used ford expedition for sale houston”…

    Edmunds has been involved with cars for decades. The other? I just wanted a rough idea of pricing so I could decide on the repair.

    Search hasn’t started in earnest yet 🙂 And it’s not going to be something that I agonize over. First one that ‘feels right’ will probably be the one I buy.

    n

  11. Paul, sorry to hear about your PU. It is much newer than my 94, and has a different engine family, so I am not much use to you. I did look that engine up once a few months ago, and it is very different from my 360 Magnum, which is an updated LA small block that goes all the way back to 1966 or so. I probably said this before, but always get second and third opinions when some shop says you have something expensive; never forget what is good for them is not necessarily good for you. In general, cracked blocks are very rare, and I would want the mech to show me the crack. Otherwise, I would move on. Maybe doing some online research will help, but there is so much bad info out there that it can be frustrating. One of the best sites for general design history on Mopars is Allpar. I would start there.

    Casting and head gasket sealers are worth a try, especially considering the low cost. If it fixes the problem, and depending on where the crack is, keep the rpm low and it might last forever. Engine speed is one of the greatest stresses on the block.

    AC leaks are often found without UV dye, but you probably already know that. The first things to look at are the many fittings and seals in the system. Often, oil seepage shows the leak. Better than dye, IMO is to spend something like $50 on an electronic leak detector. I used to use the old torch ones on R12 systems, and was very impressed when I bought the electronic one. Mine is from Harbor Freight. It is a little fragile compared to the $300 ones pros use, but it is just as sensitive if used carefully. It found a Schrader valve leak under a plastic cap on my PU; there was no oil dampness, just a leak. I replaced the core and the cap, and no leak.

  12. Edmunds. Of course. I wrote that before first coffee. Still like Auto Trader.

  13. Gave autotrader a whirl. Got some good results. Mostly dealers that don’t have a ford franchise that took a trade in. That’s a good complement to the sites with mostly Ford dealer results. Carvana listed there too.

    I’m not looking for private party.

    What I’d really like as a search option is for them to do the math, and give me Miles/Year… so I don’t have to think so hard 🙂 I can’t believe some of the one and two year old trucks with REALLY high mileage. I know people were driving rather than flying, but more than 20K in a year is crazy.

    n


  14. I wrote that before first coffee.

    How do I apply for a grant to study “Mistakes before first coffee versus mistakes after fifth whiskey”?

    2
    1
  15. I can’t believe some of the one and two year old trucks with REALLY high mileage.

    Probably owned by commercial enterprises.

    I have always preferred private party sales, so can’t be of much help. Over the years, I have preferred cars (remember, I call all of them cars) that were highway driven to those that sat around, especially in rust country. Highway miles are much easier on a car than short trips. Of course, maintenance is critical, especially oil changes. It is hard to verify that.

    One reason I don’t like dealers is they often replace things that are cheap and have a lot of markup. Some states mandate things like brake replacement if the linings are worn more than about 50%. Modern disc brakes are cheap and easy to service, and good parts cost trivial amounts compared to having it professionally done. Some dealers also replace tires, and use types and brands I wouldn’t use. More markup.

    I figure when I buy a car I will go over it very carefully and invest in whatever it needs to make it mine. After that, I usually have long trouble free service. I also try to buy what I am familiar with, so I know what to expect. That is getting harder as radical new designs are coming out; some are good.

    Sometimes I have a car in mind for years before I actually find a good one. I agree with you that having multiple cars is a good prep. I always try to have a good “trip car,” a “daily local driver,” and at least one other for versatility; I call that my “spare spare.” Also, having a sacrificial “beater” is a good strategy. I have read that people in Minnesota have “winter cars,” something that is reliable but can save the good car from the ravages of climate and daily cold starts. Finally, a “hangar queen” is a luxury. Every time you start an engine, 90% of the wear is in the first minute. I can’t prove it, but I would bet the number of cold starts is one of the most important indicators of wear. Ford did some studies back in the 60s or 70s that demonstrated this. Also, taxis sometimes get a LOT of miles out of an engine because they never cool off.

    1

  16. How do I apply for a grant to study “Mistakes before first coffee versus mistakes after fifth whiskey”?

    It looks like the ~$2 Trillion *COVID* relief bill will get approved minus the minimum wage hike. It won’t surprise me if you could get your grant. Very little of the $$ goes to Joe Citizen, most will go to more bureaucracy which will need annual funding for ever. Soon, if you don’t work for the goobermint, you will be a pauper. MrsAtoz still makes a decent salary, so we won’t see a dime of our own tax dollars.

    And, LOL!

    plugsy McSpongeBrain at NASA to Indian Americans: youse guys is taking over everywhere. The guy doesn’t even have to try and it comes out insulting.

  17. How do I apply for a grant to study “Mistakes before first coffee versus mistakes after fifth whiskey”?

    IDK, but I would have volunteered to be a test subject when I used to drink whiskey. I remember the WKRP episode when Johnny Fever performs the sobriety test better the more he drinks. 🙂

  18. IDK, but I would have volunteered to be a test subject when I used to drink whiskey. I remember the WKRP episode when Johnny Fever performs the sobriety test better the more he drinks.

    “Fish Story” is the name of the episode IIRC. The series bounces between MeTV and AntennaTV.

    “Johnny is from Mars, officer. Alcohol has no effect on alien beings.”

  19. When I was researching replacing my 2008 Highlander with a newer (used) one, I would use the Toyota VIN lookup site to see the factory and ‘port’ (dealer) installed items/packages.

    I ended up with the 2019 model; even though the 2020’s were a new ‘generation’, the 2020 didn’t have a back window that opened. That was important, as sometimes I have to use the wheelchair ‘rack’ on the back hitch. With that installed, you can’t open the tailgate, so having a back window that opened up was important.

    Most listings will have the VIN number in the listing. So I made sure that the factory/dealer-installed items I wanted were detailed on the VIN listing. Then I made sure that the VIN number was correct when I got to the dealer.

    There are many different sites to look up VINs, but I’d got with the manufacturer one if available. For Toyotas, their VIN lookup site is here: https://www.toyota.com/owners/my-vehicle/vehicle-specification .

    I did a lot of research to find the right Highlander. Ended up with a 2019 Highlander XLE with 24K miles on it. It had CarFax indicating no problems. Has worked just fine since purchase.

    It does need the fuel pump recall, which made Highlanders harder to find on the rental car sales sites. I had bought my last 4-5 cars via Hertz car sales, all Toyotas, and all have lasted 200K miles. The 2008 Highlander (since given to daughter when I got the new one) and the 2007 Camry all have been reliable cars.

    I’m going to be selling the Camry soon. It only has 135K miles, still runs nicely, but it hasn’t been used much in the past year. Being retired, no daily commute now. No separate trips for wife and me, so it is unused. I should be able to get $4-6K for it.

    I’ve always had good luck with buying from Hertz; but they aren’t doing that anymore. Enterprise is an alternative. Even though they are rentals, they are well-maintained. The idea that car rentals are harshly driven is mostly a myth, IMHO. Just check the CarFax (do that no matter where you get it) for damages/etc. The car rental guys will auction off any that are less than perfect.

    2
  20. It does need the fuel pump recall, which made Highlanders harder to find on the rental car sales sites. I had bought my last 4-5 cars via Hertz car sales, all Toyotas, and all have lasted 200K miles. The 2008 Highlander (since given to daughter when I got the new one) and the 2007 Camry all have been reliable cars.

    My 2018 Camry is one of the many vehicles under recall for the fuel pump. Toyota still doesn’t have a resolution AFAIK. The last piece of correspondence I received from the manufacturer suggested not driving the car long distances and/or on the freeway since it may stall in the event of fuel pump failure.

    1
  21. @Greg: my local dealers are doing the fuel pump recall – I’ve scheduled the Highlander for next week. Parts are available, according to them. Have to get the car down to under 1/2 tank of gas, since they need to drop the tank.

    I knew about the recall when I bought it last June. But have had no problem with it – and have done three long trips since purchase: WA to UT and WA to CA.

    I suspect that most fuel pumps will keep on working; only a few will fail. But when the do, it’s probably no fun.

    I suggest that you contact the dealer again to see if parts are available. I suspect the part is the same for Highlanders and Camrys. Seems reasonable, as they are on the same chassis, I think.

  22. The COVID bill passed along party lines. ~$2 trillion down the drain. What does it matter? The country is so far in debt it can never get out without nationalizing the debt. Enjoy your check if you get one. Meanwhile, the FUSA is dead.

    I wish the missing R was there. We could watch the Camel waltz out in her latest *kicks* and give a cackling thumbs up.

    2
    5
    1
  23. @Greg: my local dealers are doing the fuel pump recall – I’ve scheduled the Highlander for next week. Parts are available, according to them. Have to get the car down to under 1/2 tank of gas, since they need to drop the tank.

    I’ll check with the dealer in Temple.

    The car is due for the first paid maintenance now, but the local dealers have all burned me on this vehicle. Replacement was a project that was sidelined last Spring.

  24. The COVID bill passed along party lines. ~$2 trillion down the drain. What does it matter? The country is so far in debt it can never get out without nationalizing the debt. Enjoy your check if you get one. Meanwhile, the FUSA is dead.

    The debt has been nationalized at a rate of $1 Trillion annually since 2009. Treasuries are only liquidity instruments, not investments, so the auctions never completely sell out anymore.

    The Fed has no choice but to buy the paper as long as they can. Even a reversion of 10 and 30 year Treasury rates to above 4% would probably crater the housing market.

  25. I wish the missing R was there. We could watch the Camel waltz out in her latest *kicks* and give a cackling thumbs up.

    It comes down to 13,000 Georgia Libertarians “voting their conscience” that led to the runoff in which 200,000 Republicans simply didn’t show up.

    For once, it wasn’t Florida Man at fault.

    2
  26. I’m looking for a low miles 2013-’15 with the heavy duty tow package. They all have at least the first step of upgrades to get the tow package and beyond that it’s all gravy-not a requirement. I like heated seats, and I’ve heard that the cooled seats are VERY NICE here in the South. Not a requirement though.

    I met a guy with a 2019 F-150 (not 4×4) and the Max Tow Package with the 3.5L V6 biturbo yesterday. He tows a 9,000 lb trailer full of tools for his business all over the state. He loves the truck, no problems, but he only gets 8 mpg towing the trailer. His last V8 got better mileage according to him.

    Got the Annual Auto Issue of Consumer Reports today. They do not like the 2017, 2018, or the 2020 Expy from a reliability point. They do like the Expy for its carrying ability. I do miss the factory camper top.

  27. “Sol Survivors 2: Nashville Nightmare” by Ken Benton
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08NTTM8YZ/?tag=ttgnet-20

    Book number two of a two book fantasy apocalyptic series. I read the well printed and well bound trade paperback POD (print on demand) self published on Amazon in 2020. I ordered the second book in the series dead tree book from Amazon Monday night, they printed it in Coppell, TX (300 miles north of here) and delivered it to on Tuesday ! The book says printed in Coppell, TX on March 1, 2021. I will probably read future books in the series.

    The Earth gets two days warning of a major solar flare event of a magnitude not seen before. The protagonist and his girlfriend with a couple of other people take off from Washington DC to his off the grid house in Tennessee through 500 miles of chaos, dead modern cars, dying cities, thieves and murderers, and martial law across the USA.

    After the solar flare passes and destroys most electronics and the electrical grids, it is noted that the sun has changed somewhat. People are now less sensitive to the sun and continue the normal pattern of working during the day and sleeping at night. Other people become very sensitive to the sun and nocturnal, sleeping during the day, and awake during the nighttime.

    Two of the protagonists friends show up and then decide to head to their families in Idaho. They have skirt Nashville to get there as to not use too much gasoline. But Nashville is not what it used to be.

    The author has a website at:
    http://survivaltales.com/

    My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    Amazon rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars (5 reviews)

  28. @alan, there are some HUGE Ford dealers around here and just outside of town. I’ll be looking at their listings too. So far I just did a quick online search thru carguys.com and edmunds. I really don’t want to trudge all over without some good idea that what I want is there. I find the process enervating.

    enervating = tending to deprive of strength or vitality; physically or mentally weakening; debilitating
    https://www.dictionary.com/browse/enervating

    Dadgum it, I learned something today.


  29. IDK, but I would have volunteered to be a test subject when I used to drink whiskey. I remember the WKRP episode when Johnny Fever performs the sobriety test better the more he drinks.

    Wasn’t that based on a true story from the 60s or 70s? A NASCAR driver who was doing a live radio show with the Highway Patrol testing him after each drink?

  30. What I’d really like as a search option is for them to do the math, and give me Miles/Year… so I don’t have to think so hard I can’t believe some of the one and two year old trucks with REALLY high mileage. I know people were driving rather than flying, but more than 20K in a year is crazy.

    My plumber buddy has 50K miles on his 2019 F-150 Limited 4×4 that he bought in Nov 2019 right after I bought mine (16 months !). He drives a little bit around Fort Bend County (a lot !) and has been to Colorado in it twice, both times towing his Jeep Wrangler on a trailer.

  31. It does need the fuel pump recall, which made Highlanders harder to find on the rental car sales sites. I had bought my last 4-5 cars via Hertz car sales, all Toyotas, and all have lasted 200K miles. The 2008 Highlander (since given to daughter when I got the new one) and the 2007 Camry all have been reliable cars.

    The wife’s 2019 Highlander LE with the V6 motor has had the fuel pump replacement. They kept it overnight because the fuel tank gave them some trouble. The LE is the base model and still had the CD player so the wife can get her books on CD from the library. The higher models already dropped the CD player.

  32. And, the DC National Guard creates a ribbon “supported the Presidential Inauguration”. It’s already being mocked as “deployed to a war zone” ribbon. The Army is getting worse than the Air Farce with it’s ribbons.

    2
  33. he only gets 8 mpg towing the trailer

    Sounds about right. Towing my RV at 7,400 pounds I get between 8 and 10 MPG. 2014 F-150, 2WD, tow package, Platinum Trim, crew cab, tows as well as my prior V8, which I think from memory was 5.4L. Lot has to do with a better transmission with a setting for towing that changes the shift points, plus a couple more gears to select.

    Towing is difficult, takes a lot of energy. With the push to conversion to all electric vehicles I have no idea how I would tow a trailer. An electric F-150 might get me 30 miles before needing a recharge unless the bed was full of batteries. Those heavy batteries will also reduce the towing capacity unless the frame is beefed up thus adding more weight. Climbing that three mile 8% grade to Fall Creek Falls would probably cook an electric motor and drain the fully charged batteries.

    I would like to get a Platinum F-250 with the tow package. But wife sort of nixed that idea. Probably a good idea as we don’t tow that much and the F-150 rides a little better than a F-250.


  34. With the push to conversion to all electric vehicles I have no idea how I would tow a trailer. An electric F-150 might get me 30 miles before needing a recharge unless the bed was full of batteries.

    Ray, you’re just going to have to mount a windmill in the bed. The faster you drive the more charge you get.

    5

  35. Ray, you’re just going to have to mount a windmill in the bed.

    Sometimes I overthink and miss the simple solution.

    3
  36. Wasn’t that based on a true story from the 60s or 70s? A NASCAR driver who was doing a live radio show with the Highway Patrol testing him after each drink?

    Most of Hugh Wilson’s material for early “WKRP” episodes came from real events he witnessed working at a radio station in Atlanta in the early 70s.

    With the exception of Gary Sandy, a choice from the network, Wilson also had a free hand in casting to make the characters authentic. Howard Hesseman was a real pioneering DJ in the AOR format in San Francisco under the pseudonym Don Sturdy.

  37. The wife’s 2019 Highlander LE with the V6 motor has had the fuel pump replacement. They kept it overnight because the fuel tank gave them some trouble. The LE is the base model and still had the CD player so the wife can get her books on CD from the library. The higher models already dropped the CD player.

    Yes, they have to remove the rear seat to replace the fuel pump and/or filter, and that is a beast of a job.

    Don’t let them rip you off for a fuel filter in 10,000 miles. That should have been replaced with the pump assembly.

    And I thought the fuel filter in my Solara was inconvenient, located under the air filter box.

    The tradeoff for the CD player going away wasn’t as bad as I originally thought. I figured out the right voodoo for the thumb drive, and I loaded one with music. Eventually someone will make an aftermarket drop-in if I find I really miss the CD.

    Between Covid and my sentence -er- tenure in Taylor, I haven’t really spent a lot of time driving the Camry. I always took the Solara to Taylor — you can see my last employers test site from the highway that runs south of the airport, directly across from …. ERCOT!

  38. How long is it going to be before someone builds a truck with an on-board recycler and a front scoop big enough to scoop up a Prius, strip out the batteries, and eject the rest to the curb?

  39. Sam’s Club run today. Every single roll of toilet paper and bulk packs of paper towels were gone despite Limit 2 signs.

    Austin went bonkers again.

    No pork. Scant beef. Sirloins almost $7/pound. 2 Liter Coke products back in stock.

  40. How long is it going to be before someone builds a truck with an on-board recycler and a front scoop big enough to scoop up a Prius, strip out the batteries, and eject the rest to the curb?

    Taking those batteries out is another painful Toyota task. My wife’s cousin dropped $4000 for the job about six years ago, and he bought reconditioned batteries IIRC>

    The Chinese EV manufacturers have been experimenting with batteries which can swap out in five minutes. Wait until those start showing up here.

  41. Thieves are using tow trucks to grab a parked car off the street, take it a few blocks, then stop long enough to strip the catalytic converter.

    The auto insurance companies will probably just increase the deductible to the equivalent of one battery pack.

  42. @lynn

    The LE is the base model and still had the CD player so the wife can get her books on CD from the library. The higher models already dropped the CD player.

    On my 2019 XLE, there is a CD player. Think it was part of the premium sound package that was installed on the car.

  43. Any recommendations from the group for a robot vac? Wife is tired of sweeping up the dog hair. Or maybe it’s she’s tired of reminding me to sweep. 😉
    Considering one of the iRobot Roomba models based on reports of reliability, durability and (end-user) reliability.


  44. Recently a City of Brownsville spokesperson said that 108 migrants have tested positive for the virus since Jan. 25, when rapid testing began. Brownsville was doing the testing, not ICE or DHS. The city has no authority to refuse to allow the migrants to board a bus out of town even with a positive test result.

    https://hotair.com/archives/karen-townsend/2021/03/06/ticket-ride-greyhound-ceo-demands-dhs-provide-covid-19-negative-test-results-illegal-migrants/

    Somewhere there is an authority that has the power to keep a bus in the station if they have a non-working rest room. The company has a requirement to provide safe working conditions for it’s employees and safe conditions for its passengers. There are probably a hundred regulations that could be applied. And there’s that federal id requirement for riding the bus. No papers no tickee?

  45. @Alan

    Any recommendations from the group for a robot vac?

    I don’t have one, but I’ve always have good success with the products from Wyze – good quality, work well, and are much less expensive than other choices. They claim ‘Room mapping. Path planning. Efficient cleaning’ for $249.

    Here: https://wyze.com/wyze-robot-vacuum.html .


  46. Carvana listed there too.

    As I’ve mentioned here before, take a peek at their BBB listing before proceeding. If you find a good deal consider a thorough inspection by a trusted mechanic within the terms of their 7 day money back guarantee.
    Regarding used car search engines, I’ve been happy with cars.com


  47. How long is it going to be before someone builds a truck with an on-board recycler and a front scoop big enough to scoop up a Prius, strip out the batteries, and eject the rest to the curb?

    In terms of our supposed migration to EVs, is an automated battery swap station a viable solution? Sort of an advanced version of the propane tank swap with smarts added to calculate the condition/range/etc. of the swapped out pack vs the swapped in pack and debit/credit you accordingly. And yes, there would need to be standardization of battery packs across car makes.

    2
    1

  48. Any recommendations from the group for a robot vac?

    I have Roomba, the unintelligent model that just wanders. Many times I have to hunt it down as it just quits somewhere inconvenient.

    I also have a Roborock for the upstairs. It builds a map of the space and knows where it is at all times. If the batteries get low it will return to the dock, recharge, then complete the cleaning. I have my space broken into two zones, on zone on M,W,F the second zone on T,W,S with no vacuuming on Sunday.

    I am impressed with the vacuuming ability, especially for dog hair. I have to empty the container every other day.

    Using the app I know what the machine has accomplished and exactly where it is located. It has never gotten lost.

    A friend has one with the same experience. I very much recommend Roborock. If you chose a different brand I highly recommend getting one that maps the space.

    Also vacuum proof your home. No cords, strings, thread, etc in the vacuum space. The sensors on the vacuum don’t detect those items. Phone charger cords will get wrapped up quickly and stop the machine. Thread will result in a tangled mess requiring brush removal which is fairly easy.

  49. We used several versions of the iRobot roomba, but stopped when we got the dog. The scuba was a nightmare.

    I hated emptying the debris cup and cutting all the hair loose from the beater bar. I understand that there are new models that have self emptying…

    DON”T get one of the chinese models that looks like a roomba. They all have vaguely weird brand names. There are a LOT of them in the amazon returns auctions. There are a lot of iRobot products too, but no where near the number for the knock offs.

    I really do blow the house out once a week with that little dewalt leaf blower. It’s fun and works a treat.

    “enervating”– sometimes the right word is the exactly right word 🙂

    first come the predator cars, eating others for batteries and materials, then come the cities…

    Welcome to the astounding world of Predator Cities!

    https://www.amazon.com/Mortal-Engines-Philip-Reeve-audiobook/dp/B076Q132R1/?tag=ttgnet-20

    Emerging from its hiding place in the hills, the great Traction City is chasing a terrified little town across the wastelands. Soon, London will feed.

    n

  50. In terms of our supposed migration to EVs, is an automated battery swap station a viable solution? Sort of an advanced version of the propane tank swap with smarts added to calculate the condition/range/etc. of the swapped out pack vs the swapped in pack and debit/credit you accordingly. And yes, there would need to be standardization of battery packs across car makes.

    The Chinese EV designs are simpler than Tonymobiles, lacking such features as “Ludicrous” mode. They are basic transportation, not intended for someone who would have otherwise bought a BMW.

    If private car owneership survives the shfit to EVs in this country — and that’s a big IF — mass market cars will be a lot simpler than what’s rolling out of Fremont currently.

    As the Texas mess a few weeks ago demonstrates, the infrastructure can barely support status quo in most areas of the country.

  51. Thieves are using tow trucks to grab a parked car off the street, take it a few blocks, then stop long enough to strip the catalytic converter.

    About 10 years ago, before I left the Death Star, thieves cut out my office mate’s catalytic converter at the office, while the vehicle sat in the garage next to our office building.

    1
  52. There are a lot of cat converters being stolen in Houston. I was talking to my neighbor a few blocks over and he said the guy across the street had his stolen. He watched his video and it took 3 minutes car to car… They even make and sell a special tool for cutting the cats loose.

    One of my local auctions had the cats stolen off their work truck. A couple of days later the thieves hit the same lot again. A houston youtuber I watch had his wife’s cats stolen from her vehicle a week or two ago.

    There’s a lot of it going around.

    n

    catalytic converter cutting tools https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=catalytic+converter+cutting+tools

    1
  53. As the Texas mess a few weeks ago demonstrates, the infrastructure can barely support status quo in most areas of the country.

    The infrastructure is fine in Texas for 98% of the time. But for extreme weather events, that 2% of the time, you can kiss off getting any appreciable amount of electricity off the grid. And that miniscule amount is going to cost somebody 1,000X more than normal.

    If you want to be able to get electricity off the grid 100% of the time, the cost of electricity in Texas is going be about 20% more than it is now. There will be a lot of payments to people to store fuel, winterize, etc.

  54. If I had to park a car with a desirable catalytic converter outside my house at night, I’d get a few bags of Quikrete and some 2×4’s and make a 2’x4’x3.5″ pad that I could park the car over and deny the thieves the space to work. Probably shouldn’t embed broken glass along the edges.

    Note to self: Next time the cars are up, get measurements on the cats and make sure to have test pipe components in case I want to deliver an operable vehicle to Cash for Clunkers 2.0.

  55. “How do you Extinguish a Lithium Battery Fire?”
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/03/04/how-do-you-extinguish-a-lithium-battery-fire/

    “A few weeks ago I asked a fire fighter friend how they extinguish electric vehicle battery fires.”

    “He said “Oh you mean like a Tesla or something? The answer is you can’t. You cordon off the area, and spray a fine mist of water on the fire to try to keep the temperature down until it finishes burning. Takes a few days until it is safe”.”

    That is not good.

    3
  56. One of the many “features” of EV’s that should be borne by the owners–in this case in the form of higher insurance–but will doubtless be extracted from all of us.

  57. They often re-ignite days later too. Basically you cool them down, then wait. If the damage is the right kind of damage, they heat back up, et viola’.

    n

  58. I believe it was truecar.com that lead me to my manual trans ’18 Subaru. Looking at their site again, seems really easy to navigate to find just what you specify.

  59. Any recommendations from the group for a robot vac?

    I bought a Roomba on ebay in 2010 and ran it for 10 years with only one set of new batteries and brushes needed. Have a Roomba look alike now that has Bluetooth. Bluetooth not a big deal. My phone will suddenly say “vacuum starting” or vacuum complete” and surprise me.
    Upside is it gets the pet hair that accumulates next to the baseboards and usually returns to its charging station. Down sides are any cables or O2 hoses lying on the floor will cause problems. Also NEVER use a robot if you have pets that aren’t 100% house trained.

  60. Changing an in-tank fuel pump can be hard or easy, depending the car. I’ve done the easy ones an the slightly harder ones. I would not buy a car that has a hard one. Part of my car shopping drill.

    Dang, that “catalytic converter removal tool” is something I already have; I just called it a tube cutter. I actually have two kinds. One is rigid and has four cutting rollers. Works fast. The other is the chain type. Slower, but can get into tighter places. A reciprocating saw or cutoff disc are also useful, but would be too noisy for theft work.

    Where do the thieves sell their ill-gotten goods? Replacements or recycling? Asking for a friend. 😉

  61. I found a couple I like, googled the vin and it looks like there are a dozen websites with the same listings. It must work somewhat like the MLS service for homes. Or the appliance parts websites, where it’s pretty clear that most the sites are front ends for the same data.

    Still, some of the sites didn’t have the trucks the others do…

    In looking at pricing, it looks like mileage makes the biggest difference in price. Trim levels, and options, including size, don’t make much difference, and there are 2014s for the same price as 2017s if they are low miles…

    Only one dealer has gone to the effort of listing payload capacity and towing package. Some of the others list an option (trailer sway control) that only comes with the heavy duty towing package, but no mention of the package, hitch class, or payload.

    Since I’m only looking at dealers, they are all pretty much clean, one owner, no accident vehicles. Everything else goes to the auctions I guess.

    n

    added- surprisingly there are several 4×4 Expeditions available. I didn’t even know they made the Expy in all wheel drive.

  62. Ran most of the day filling ATMs then helping the MIL.
    Discovered that most stores and convenience stores have taken down the “Mask Required” signs. Wal-Mart still has the signs but isn’t enforcing it. No covid deaths in Oklahoma for almost a week.

    The MIL has been complaining that she can’t watch her large library of VHS tapes since other son-in-law threw out her old VHS player and bought her a DVD box. So I found an old Magnavox 4 head tape player at goodwill with remote and got an RCA to HDMI converter, cleaned and tested it and took it up today. Got it all set up and popped in a tape. She was impressed. Then she went to the tape player and tried to insert a DVD. I showed her that DVD went in the other box. “Well that’s stupid. Why don’t they make a machine that uses both kind of tapes?”. Showed her how to use her TV remote to select TV / DVD / VHS inputs. At that point she gave up in disgust. “Why won’t it simply play whatever I put in? Why do I have to tell it?” And explaining anything to her when she’s not wearing her hearing aids is like talking to a wall. I doubt she will ever watch any of the hundreds of VHS movies she has collected.
    NOTE: watching a relatively clean commercial VHS tape circa 1995 made me realize just what a HUGE leap in quality of video we have seen in two decades.

  63. EV batteries as a service:
    https://www.nio.com/baas

    It’s already in the works in China. Supposedly, the major EV manufacturers are looking into this, probably to stay competitive if it takes off.

    Extravagant, but then so is the whole EV thing.

    On another note, I never thought I would prefer a gasoline car for fire safety!

  64. Harold, I feel your pain with your MIL. Maybe this would help:
    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=yUQRbqc2qtY
    or maybe not. At least you might enjoy it if you haven’t seen it before.

    A few years ago, there were boxes that could play both DVDs and tapes. Probably gone.

    I also noticed VHS “players” a few years ago. Not recorders. Huh. I still have DVD recorders, and once hoped for Blu-Ray recorders. I guess those didn’t happen. If DVRs are discontinued, TV is doomed in our household. We’ll go back to books.

  65. Go Video combo units still sell well on ebay, or they did when I last checked. I still see them occasionally in the thrift stores (or I did pre-wuflu).

    NTSC was designed for a max 13″ screen size. VHS doesn’t even use all the resolution that was available, and the colors were NTSC (never twice the same color) to begin with. (Color being a hack on top of the black and white spec.)

    It always amazes me how bad VHS and standard def looks to me now. But I’m looking on razor sharp large screens. On that 26″ sony tube, it looked pretty good. On the 54″ rear projection tv it STILL looked good, but that involved some Faroudja Labs black magic and giant pixels.

    The first fully digital cinema projectors were only 1280 x 1024 and we marveled at seeing individual hairs on the actors’ heads.

    In my former job (about 10 years ago), I built a display with 54 Megapixels, about 16ft wide, with a pixel pitch equal to about 18 or 20 per inch, iirc. You could barely discern pixels standing a foot from the display. The Air Force wanted “eye limited” resolution for their flight simulators, meaning you couldn’t see any difference from looking out the window. We could have done it too, but it would have been MASSIVELY expensive, and there weren’t any source computers to drive the display… and it was unneeded for the task. And this was before 4k projectors were available. I could easily double that pixel density today.

    You need some hella good source material, or a bunch of VERY expensive processing, to have great images on a display that big though.

    n

  66. A few years ago, there were boxes that could play both DVDs and tapes. Probably gone.

    Still have one. No idea if it works but if my Bravia, that came with a free PS3 is still working -except for the remote- then that one should work just fine. 🙂


  67. Any recommendations from the group for a robot vac?

    We’re pretty happy with our Ozmo 950. We have pets, and it does fine with the hair. We have hard floors, so I can’t speak to how it works on carpet. You do have to empty it after each run. With four pets, it runs frequently.

    Fwiw, we have an older model (Ozmo 920) on another floor – vacuums well, but screws up its map about once a month. Also an old (random walk) Roomba, but that’s just annoying compared to the more modern beasties.


  68. Any recommendations from the group for a robot vac?

    We’re pretty happy with our Ozmo 950. We have pets, and it does fine with the hair. We have hard floors, so I can’t speak to how it works on carpet. You do have to empty it after each run. With four pets, it runs frequently.

    Fwiw, we have an older model (Ozmo 920) on another floor – vacuums well, but screws up its map about once a month. Also an old (random walk) Roomba, but that’s just annoying compared to the more modern beasties.

    Just ordered a Eufy 11S for delivery Saturday. I will report back with initial impressions. Consumers Reports likes this model (not that great a recommendation in my recent experience, but we will see). The Roomba products scored higher but were in some case 5 times as expensive ($1000 or more for a vacuum cleaner?). The Eufy is also short enough to get under all my furniture. More when I know more.

Comments are closed.