Month: April 2021

Tues. April 20, 2021 – special day for the dopey, not for me

Cool and sunny, scattered showers. That’s what we had yesterday. Beautiful blue sky, sun, and the occasional spatter of rain for a few minutes.

I made my dropoff at the auctioneer. He doesn’t want the second load today as he’s full up. I will be able to drop off a couple of big lab microscopes Thursday or Friday, if I can find the eyepieces. I’ve got several bins for the other auctioneer, and settlement to do for my last auction with her. She has a bunch of stuff already for the next auction, but I’ve got more waiting… I think I’m going to have to do some ebay listings because I’ve got more than anyone wants.

I picked up my new rent house fridge, so I hope to install it today too. Didn’t get in touch with the tenants yesterday but she works from home so it shouldn’t be an issue.

Then work the list some more. I am building a little bit of momentum that I want to keep going.

All I can say about the news is, there are now several places in the US with Army NG manning perimeters and providing security. If that doesn’t give you chills, I don’t know what will. And did anyone else notice how the local PD was outfitted for the search for their erstwhile colleague who went all shooty all of a sudden? See the pic of the one with the shotgun strapped to his side? It was stuck in his belt and strapped up under his arm. Pistol and rifle completed the loadout. So the PD has short barreled shotties in holsters and as part of their load out to make entry now? The guys were in full battle rattle. Cops. Cops that are undergoing a very strong selection pressure at the moment. Who’s gonna be left and what will their attitude be in a few months?

Keep stacking.


Mon. April 19, 2021 – a fresh new week, hoo boy, let’s get to work

Cool and damp, probably no rain, but it was scattered spatters of rain most of yesterday, and the forecast was for dry…

I got a bunch done yesterday. All little things, but several that were much easier in 60F weather than 90F.

I cleaned and seasoned 3 cast iron pots with lids. Those will go to the auction. They were Goodwill Outlet, so $1.20/ pound. I’ll make decent money on them and I like saving things like cast iron. Didn’t take long with the angle grinder and wire wheel, followed up with oil and a good bake. One piece is modern, the other two are vintage.

I hung another IR illuminator for my cams. This one points in the same direction as my latest camera and should light up half the street. I didn’t get the power hooked up yet. I got side tracked while going through a bin of wall warts, and ended up powering up several other things that have been kicking around waiting for power supplies. I’ll get to the illuminator soon, and in the mean time, the other things can either be put into service or put away, or sold.

Did a little bit of work in my attic. I moved all the light bulb holders to be above my head level. Since I store stuff up there, I’m moving around at least a few times a month, and I’m always afraid I’ll hit one of the bare bulbs with my head, slashing my face open. It didn’t take long and has been on the list for quite some time. I also put the Easter decor away and checked the rat traps- no rats.

Put another bin of auction items together.

Did some cleaning, poking around, and arranging in the garage too. And I wired the attic fan to a plug. I was going to put a receptacle in the attic for it and a work light, but didn’t have the right j-box, so for now it’s just a cord plugged into an existing outlet. I’m really hoping it will help keep the temps in the garage down. I need a Home Depot run to do some replenishing of plumbing supplies and any veg seedlings, so I might as well get a couple of j-boxes too.

The tomato plants are lush. There isn’t any other word for them. My wife is crowing about her success (I get one or two tomatoes from 3 or 4 plants every year, not a strong suit.) I’m claiming it’s the used coffee grounds I’ve been adding to the beds 🙂 The grape vine continues to leaf out, as does the peach tree. The frozen citrus is still not showing any signs of life. I’m starting to believe it was all killed, which is very disappointing.

I tried something new for dinner. I sautéed frozen shrimp with minced onion and bacon crumbles, and then used a can of Campbell’s Cream of Shrimp soup as a sauce, serving the whole thing over rice. Tasted good to my wife and to me, and the kids loved it. Quick, easy, low fuel cost, and a real change of pace.

Today if the rain holds off, I’ll be taking a pickup load to my industrial auction. I will have no trouble filling the truck. Then I’ll swing by Lowe’s and pick up the fridge for my rent house. Maybe I’ll even get that installed if I hustle. We’ll see.

And out there in the world, we’ll see how soon it all falls apart. The recent spate of shootings, the lawlessness in MN, OR, and NYC, a Congresswoman inciting riotous crowds that then shoot up an NG unit, lions and tigers and bears… oh my. It seems like the violence is accelerating and escalating.

Keep improving your position, and keep stacking…


Sun. April 18, 2021 – keep plugging away…

Cool and damp, but precip should be limited. Yesterday was nice, cool, but damp, with periods of blue sky and sunshine. At least at my house. We did get a bit of rain but very little.

I got a bunch of little things done after a slow start, mostly outside in the yard, because it was a really nice day when it wasn’t raining or grey.

Still, not super productive.

Today I’m hoping to get to my secondary and load up a bunch of auction stuff. Forecast shows no rain for two or three days, so I can load the truck and make a delivery. If I can’t load up, I’ll stage it by the door and work on throwing stuff out. Or I’ll stay home and work on the garage and driveway. Either thing is a good thing, and I’ve got plenty to load up here as well.

I feel the need to do some inventory, at least by getting stuff in the same place so I can see how big the stack is. Then I can add to the stacks as needed. On the plus side, a lot of what I bought in March a year ago is stuff I’d be buying now, so other than being a year older, I’ve already got that base level of new stuff.

More is better when things start feeling this weird. I read through the last couple of weeks of my posts and I’m using the word ‘weird’ a lot. It’s appropriate though, and you’ll probably hear it a lot more in the coming weeks.

Someone used to say “When the going get’s weird, the weird turn pro.” I’ve been thinking that phrase often, although I can’t bend it to apply, it feels like it’s about 80% of a truth. We’re getting to pro level weird, or will be soon.

So stack it up. Learn about it. Think of two ways to do all the things. Make sure you have the stuff for alternatives. Get out and take a good look around, note the changes from the last time you really looked. Do it again later. Rinse and repeat. Keep your grocery receipts and compare them from month to month, week to week. Note what you see and act on it. There will be national and international events but the most important are going to be local, and it’s your local response that will have the biggest impact on you and your family. Consider that the conflict has already started, sides are already chosen, people already have mental plans. Act accordingly.

Head on a swivel…


Sat. April 17, 2021 – Rain? could be, or not, work to do regardless.

Possibility of rain, and moderate temperatures. Like yesterday. For some values of Houston. I heard on the radio that areas got hammered with hail Thursday night, while we got nothing. That’s why, despite looking at it every day, I don’t put much stock in the forecast. I don’t think anyone was predicting hail…

Spent a lot of time yesterday driving around. Between wasting time on the internet with my friends, and driving, I do come up short on actual work time, some days at least.

Cut my hair, did some laundry.

Bought some shirts a couple of sizes too big. Just in case I might find myself in a situation where I was wearing something that I wanted to put a shirt over, but it was thicker than my cool vest. I don’t know where that thicker vest or vest like garment might fall on your preparedness spectrum or threat continuum, or just contingency planning, but if you own or think you might have cause to wear something like that, you might want jackets and shirts that you could wear over it. So much of what we do to prep can be thought of as systems- a collection of parts that work together in a way that is more useful that just the parts themselves. The more complete your system is, the more effective it will be. I think being stealthy and unobtrusive is going to be the uniform of the day for a long time.

I’ll be working the list today, depending on weather.

I’m going to link Peter at Bayou Renaissance Man for today’s political/observational/situational update.

“If you’re stuck in a conflict zone, or a city likely to become one, I can only recommend that you prepare as best you can. This article and this one offer many helpful suggestions. Prepare today, so you aren’t caught unawares and unprepared tomorrow.”

Saves me a bunch of typing.

Keep stacking.


Fri. April 16, 2021 – half way through the month already

Warm and rainy, or not. Yesterday we were supposed to get rain, but we got very little to none anywhere I went. It was mostly overcast and occasionally the light was a funny color, but we only got occasional spatters.

My morning was eaten up with orthodontia, my afternoon with school pickups. In between I got a little bit of auction and ebay stuff done, but not much. I’m starting to sound like a broken record, even to me…

I did get out the soldering iron and repair a couple things last night. Somewhere I picked up some LED strip lighting, but the connectors had popped loose from the solder pads. I put them back on, and I’ll use the strips in my office somewhere. I also did some soldering on the battery pack for my mini-pool vac. Something else is going on with it, as the leads aren’t putting out voltage, even though the pack is. One successful repair, one partial repair with ongoing attention needed. In the mean time, I put the pack on the ground in the center of the driveway. If there is an issue, I want it to happen where it won’t burn my house down.

In the wider world things are getting even weirder. Reparations? You never picked cotton and I never owned slaves. So F YOU, NO! White supremacy was “weaved” in to our founding? Maybe that’s because it was done by white men. Almost exclusively white men. Until Kennedy opened immigration to third worlders, the US was OVERWHELMINGLY white. And the dominant culture in the US was Western European, and Christian in nature. So yeah, it was “weaved” in. (and I can’t find the article to link, english is apparently not her native language).

Shootings WAY up, and during a push for gun control. Hmm. Name calling and shouting in Congress, two superpowers flexing, I almost want to go back to simple muslim terrorism.

Shortages, outages, collapses in public order… systems breaking down…. we are well along the predicted path and it happened pretty freaking fast. Get your stuff in order. Build some networks to get you the stuff you inevitably will miss. Learn and practice something useful. And stack what you think you’ll need.


Thur. April 15, 2021 – normally tax day but not this year

Warm and wet. Like yesterday. Only with more wet. Yesterday was classic Houston weather, in that many areas got no rain, but some got a lot. The clouds and rain seemed to chase me from south east, through downtown, and out to the west. That’s the opposite of our normal weather pattern, but that is actually what the map showed- rain blowing in from the Gulf.

Anyway, ran errands. Checked out Habitat ReStore and what used to be called the Sears Outlet looking for scratch and dent fridges. They both had some, but not what I wanted, and for too much money. Sears had some upright freezers in stock too, which was a BIG change from 6 months ago. I did pick up a Leatherman Crunch, new in package, for $2 at Habitat. Score!

My industrial auctioneer pushed me off until Monday for my drop off. They were still too full of other stuff.

I got my payment links sorted out at ebay (they changed the way they handle money, getting in the middle of everything and requiring a linked bank account) so I can receive money from ebay again. The couldn’t make the deposit to my business account work. What a charlie foxtrot. I really dislike their new scheme. Unfortunately I have a ton of stuff that is probably best listed there for a national and international customer pool. Otherwise, I’m over their nonsense and have considered just not selling with them over this change in policy. On top of everything else on my list, I have to move the Facebook Marketplace test exploration up the priority list.

Today should be rainy so I’ll do inside stuff. Lots of that to do.

And then I need to get back to stacking, because it looks like the devolution of our society and standing in the world is accelerating. Russia and China are openly sneering at us and poking us in the chest while saying ‘what are you gonna do about it?’… The leftists in our own government have removed the mask and are pushing their destructive agenda HARD. Certain violent and ignorant sections of our society are feeling their oats and looking to seize the moment. I think there will be a backlash and atrocities that will make South African Apartied look like a kid’s birthday party. I’m quite sure there will be people who decide to proactively start addressing the crime and lawlessness, and it won’t be by marching in the street and ‘demanding’ anything. The only limiting factor will be the high cost of ammo.

And that sort of thing will be disruptive as heII. So get to stacking.


Wed. April 14, 2021 – things to do outside the house today…

Probably raining, probably warmish, although yesterday wasn’t rainy despite the forecast. It did start misty, and it did sprinkle later in the evening. Big fat lot of nothing during the day.

Spent the day arranging for my next dropoff and cleaning my office. Did two loads of laundry too. Had to stay close to home so I could pick up child 2 from school at 230.

Moved some stuff to storage, brought home a duffel I forgot about. Some stuff from the Goodwill Outlet, for the stack. While the vast majority of the outlet customers were fighting over 25c tshirts, I got an Orvis light weight fishing gear type long sleeve shirt, an Orvis heavy plaid long sleeve shirt, a fleece vest from Helly Hansen, and a rain shell from Mammut. The duffel was Eagle Creek. That’s about $500-600 new retail worth of stuff, all in like new condition. The whole bin was full of outdoor active wear, but most of it was cotton and (other than the plaid flannel shirt) I’ve stopped wearing cotton shirts. They must have dumped one guy’s donation box straight into the bin. It looks like it was never worn. If it’s raining later today I’ll be trying out the Mammut jacket to see if it’s really worth what they get for them. I paid $1.20 / pound. Better living for less, that’s me.

Quick update on my linux NVR… since reinstalling, and letting the update run for everything, it runs ok until it crashes. Seg faults, bo>virtual fail faults, and another one, happen at least once a day. The NVR server crashes, and just stops running. I notice that there aren’t any cam views displayed because the browser lost its connection to the NVR server, restart the server, and it works again. Well, I also noticed that 3 of my cam streams, all from the same model of camera, in the same aspect and resolution, were having visual artifacts. The bottom half of the image would ‘tear’ and turn into vertical lines, and jump around before looking normal. Watching the terminal output log, there were ffmpeg errors thrown at roughly the same time. Anyhow, I recall the install instructions talking about not using the ffmpeg that came with the distro, and there are instructions for getting the version they want you to have… which set me off to google to figure out how to downgrade or undo the update. Looking more closely at it though, the installed ffmpeg was from the correct place and was the same version. So what was different? Firefox updated too.

Guessing that FFox might be the issue, I installed chromium (the NVR developers preferred browser), and noticed there were ffmpeg helpers to install specifically for chromium, so I monkey punched the install, accepted whatever it offered or required, and started chromium instead of FFox to attach to the server… I haven’t had a crash or artifact in the stream since. If this keeps up, I may be finally to a stable and up to date state for the stupid thing. I had also installed chromium on the previous installation, but used FFox most of the time. Maybe the codec, or ffmpeg helpers or something needs to be there and they didn’t notice because they all just use chromium. Since I’m not using the browser for anything other than displaying the live cam views and managing the server, I don’t care what browser it is.

That messing around ate part of the day too.

So today I’ve got one pickup, some other errands to run, hopefully a visit to do some work at my secondary, and more office cleaning (which is also moving radio power supplies, UPSs, antenna feed lines, power strips, storage drawers, my vinyl cutter, monitors, and the huge pile of accreted ‘stuff’.) And that leaves off any attempts to get my old drives re-mounted in my new NAS (for recovery), or to get my existing NAS back under the desk and back on the network to run a good backup. I really don’t want to lose over 500 movie rips, or the hundreds of albums either.

I like civilization, and I really don’t want to lose it. Can’t get a backup in place…

So I keep stacking, and going through the stacks, and sorting, storing, and selling. You should too…


Tues. April 13, 2021 – baby steps, time to get moving again

Warm and rainy. Or warm and sunny. But the forecast is for rain. Beautiful day yesterday and I spent it all inside.

I was making progress in my office, moving stuff around, cleaning, and finding stuff for ebay or the auctions, so I kept at it. It needs a lot more work too, but I have to get out of the house today. Unless it’s pouring down rain, then I’ll be happy indoors.

I took some time out to fix a couple of things as I came across them too. I’m really stuck in this weird malaise, and I’m having trouble shaking it. The best cure is actually making progress on the list, and I am making progress, but it’s very slow going. The most positive light I can put it in would be to compare it to ‘operational tempo’ and thinking that I can’t stay at that high level for a long time without a period of reduced effectiveness after. Sounds a bit like whining though.

One of the things I found behind my desk was an aphorism I had printed out. “Change is not death, fear of change is death.” It struck me at the time, but now I feel like it doesn’t quite get to profound. Change is our normal condition and leads to growth, stagnation leads to death. We’ve all been stagnant to some degree for the last year. Waking up, moving around, an end to the Groundhog Day we’ve been living- it’s harder than I thought it would be.

Do something from before the past year. Do something new. Start to get the blood flowing again. We’ll need to be fully awake and vigorous for what’s coming. Get started. And stack something. That will certainly help.


Mon. April 12, 2021 – a whole new week, a new beginning … [music plays]

Cool, damp, and breezy. Or warm, dry and breezy. We had both yesterday at different times, but it was generally a beautiful day. Not too many more of those before summer starts to kick our butts.

And then it will be hurricane season, which is predicted to be heavy. I bet they’d be a lot more cautious in their predictions if they were publicly flogged when they were wrong. Just sayin’.

I did get a bunch of small tasks done yesterday so it wasn’t totally unproductive. It wasn’t as much work as I thought I might get done though. I’m still having periods where I just don’t feel good. No idea why, but it’s frustrating. Call them hot flashes. Don’t really feel like exerting myself during them. If it doesn’t clear up in a week, I’ll make an appointment, but it’s not really like anything I’ve experienced before.

Today I’ll be doing more cleanup. I’ve started making visible progress and that helps motivate me, and convince my wife stuff is happening. Twofer!

Maybe I’ll get enough done to spend a few minutes on another project, getting some air guns ready for my girls. I’ve got a bunch of old pump .177 BB and pellet guns, and they need cleaning and paint or they need to be sent back to the auction. I need to move them from where they’re stacked anyway, so maybe… Sometimes having a bunch of little tasks I can peck away at makes sense, and sometimes it would be nice to focus on one thing for 8 hours. I worry sometimes that I’ve lost the ability to do that, and I used to be good at it. It’s been a while since I just cranked away at the same thing all day.

There are some things that need to be done in the garage too. I have gotten rid of some stuff to make more room for other stuff… and that needs to continue. Before it gets too hot, I need to get my A/C unit outlet wired, and the exhaust fan. I had the roofers install the fan, but haven’t had a chance to run the circuit and hook it up. Most nights are cool, but the garage holds the day’s heat, so it will help keep the temp down if I can just exhaust the hot air and draw in some cool air at the end of the day. Once all that’s done, THEN I can move some of the food shelves to the garage. There is always something to do before I can do the other thing…

So I should get the kids off to school and quit playing around on the intarwebs and get busy…

(and get busy stacking)


Sun. April 11, 2021 – not gonna be a day of rest for me…

Supposed to be another nice day. Yesterday turned out to be absolutely gorgeous. 92F in the sun, but cool-ish breezes and most of the day it was low 80s and dry. So I spent most of it indoors. Jeez.

I just didn’t feel great and so after my non-prepping hobby meeting, I took a nap. Or passed out from too much sugar, but I’m going with nap… After which I was pretty unproductive.

Which means today will be a scramble to get the house back in good shape before my wife gets home. Wild women and parties, gotta keep up the traditions…

Lots of shootings in the news. None of the articles mention Chicago, DC, Philly, or Baltimore. Hmm. Couldn’t be that the media has their own agenda. Nope. That would be a conspiracy theory and we know those are bad.

It was nice to see the guys in my hobby club. It was nice to get out and about and meet up socially. It makes me wonder if the control freaks will every be defeated or relent on their own. And I thank God I live in Texas.

Keep stacking. We’re going to need it.


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