Month: November 2021

Sat. Nov. 20, 2021 – ow, that hurts!

But not bad enough to stop…

Cool and clear. Nice day like yesterday, although everyone thought it was a bit too chilly yesterday.

I fought with routers, software, hardware and other networking gear. I should be as famous as St George… Or not. I prefer the old ways of doing things, the new way, works great when it works. And not at all when it doesn’t.Still, I get paid by the day, not by the job, so I will do ok. I’ll be back out there today to do a bit more of the cobble job before leaving for “vacation” travel on Monday.

I’m not looking forward to that. Rather fight dragons.

Kyle Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all charges. Took a while though, which is concerning. The case, and the reaction to it, clearly shows the division in our country and the culmination of several trends and intended or un-intended consequences. I consider it an aberration though, and luck that he got a judge that would uphold the law and not put up with shenanigans. The next one might not be so lucky.

Avoid crowds.


(and keep stacking)

Fri. Nov. 19, 2021 – still plugging away

Cool and clear, damp. Still minor chance of rain. My client is out in the country (for now- housing developments are going in all around him ) and it was beautiful yesterday. So I was in a dim house, and a dim theater, and a dim rack room…

Made some progress but main tasks were held up until we got internet access back. That involved hard resetting the ATT DSL router/modem and re-entering account info. Ultimately it took a phone call to customer service by my client who knows how to escalate (he’s a C-suite guy, doesn’t normally hear ‘no’ without a whole lot of probing questions.)

I’m back out there today, trying to get enough hardware in line and on line that my erzatz partner can do some control programming remotely while I’m out of town. Enough has to work that my client can watch football over Thanksgiving. It is a challenge at this point.

But hey, challenges are why we do things, right?

And it all is money in the bank.

Which will help me stack all the things.


Thur. Nov. 18, 2021 – well, that happened.

Cool and clear for most of Houston, possibly someone gets some rain, but hope it’s not me. No rain on me yesterday, and suitably mild all day. Really nice weather.

Spent the day at my client’s house, doing stuff. Mainly getting networking up so my controls guy can work remotely. He even sent his guy to help. Together we got most of what we could get done. I’ll finish that up today and move on to video. That’s the plan anyway.

My local auction happened and was a bust. Something went wrong and stuff sold for no money at all, or didn’t even sell. I KNOW what stuff has been selling for in local auctions. I’m watching two that close later today that have unusually low bids at the moment, but not 0s like mine had. It’s possible that the mood could have flipped and I was just a month late. I predicted some time ago that there would be a point where it all just ended, but I was hoping it was farther off and I could get a couple of auctions in before then. Otherwise, I don’t know what the issue was. I’ll be talking with the auctioneer later today too. He’s got to be just as freaked as I am since he did all the work.

In other news, my wife wants to go look at a lake house this weekend. It looks nice in the pix and it’s on her preferred lake. I need to do other things, like get my pallet load auction listed, or spend the day on paying work if I have to finish up my client’s install. Having someplace to go if the need to go increases suddenly is a long term prep that I really need and want, but… it’s a big commitment and we’ve got a huge list of other things going on. Is it ever a good time?

I guess we’ll see if the Republic gets a pause on the downslope when the Rittenhouse verdict comes down. No matter what, I see fires on the streets of Kenosha.

Keep stacking. It’s getting more interesting every day.


Wed. Nov. 17, 2021 – just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

Cool and clear, chance of rain somewhere. Maybe out in the country, where I’ll be.

Did some things, shopped, did some more things. Picked up some needful things.

Money is always good.

Work, work, work.

Back at my client’s house today.

Short shrift. Again.

Stack up some money!


Tues. Nov. 16, 2021 – ATT DSL SUX

Another cool clear day in the making, warming later.

Spent most of the morning and early afternoon at my client’s house. I’ve begun removing old gear from the rack and installing new. We are not going anywhere near to a “Rip and Replace”. We are upgrading control and audio, with some minor changes to video.

My business partner (on these sorts of jobs) is down from Dallas to get the control and networking sorted. But he’s having an issue. Last night he thought he’d killed the AT&T DSL somehow and spent a bunch of his and my time chasing it. Well, AT&T finally got back to him saying that their service was down and would be down until the 18th. WTH? Even a cable cut gets fixed faster than that. I can’t wait to get fiber or fixed wireless there. DSL is teh sux.

FWIW, I can tell it’s winter because the skin on my fingers is cracked open. My dad always had issues with skin cracking around his finger tips and now I do too. The crazy glue sealer only hurts for a short time… while the exposed crack burns constantly.

My client is about 30 miles from my house, so I had more time with the Jack Reacher audiobook. It’s chapter 12 before he does anything the least bit active… and he’s on his third day of exertion in the same clothes. Jeez.

Today I’ll be headed to my client’s early to go over system design with my partner, then a lunch break to do shipping (4 cases of Mold Armor brings the total for the last 15 days to 8 cases, the algorithm loves me for some reason) and some pickups. I’ve also got gear at my secondary that I need on the job.

And speaking of auctions, my local auction went live with over 300 lots. I hope it sells well and he doesn’t decide he’s not making enough money off my stuff… some stuff already has opening bids but it’s always nerve wracking.

I need to dig out more industrial stuff for him for the next one. Not really a problem.

And just like that, ebay is finally moving some stuff, I have stuff in two local auctions, and I’m earning in my “real” sideline business. Now I need to get some of the big ticket items listed so I can cash in.

And then I’ll buy some more stuff, and stack it high.


Mon. Nov. 15, 2021 – which is crazy, since that means we’re half way thru November

Cool and clear, with sun! Supposedly for the next few days the weather will be nice. I hope so. It was Sunday, with a bit of dark scattered cloudiness in the afternoon, clearing later.

I spent Sunday cleaning the house, hoeing weeds in the raised beds, greeting my returning pack members, and generally doing home front things.

Later in the evening, I sat down to do some quick drawings for my install this week. Oy vey. When I was doing it full time, I used a specialist CAD package tied to a DB for system layout drawings. I even bought my own copy when I went independent, for $1500 US. It’s been a while, and I don’t even have it installed anymore, but I looked and I can D/L the fully functional demo for free. So I did. And 8 years later it still sucks. The main selling point is their library of symbols for all the av gear you might put in the drawings. 1200 manufacturers, many thousands of symbols. And they suck. Balls. Still. Back in the day I ended up drawing about 1/3 to 1/2 of the symbols myself and I am still seeing the same thing. No rack gear symbol for Directv receivers? REALLY? They have schematic blocks for the DVRs, but no “front view” for the rack layout drawing.

Worse, the style of all the symbols is horrible. I’d need to print C size or bigger just to get text labels that were readable, and since that used to be one of the major problems with the software, I’m not even sure that would work.

I’ll be taking a big drawing pad to site, free handing the layout, and then drawing it from scratch in Visio. At least in Visio I can produce a good looking drawing that accurately and simply conveys the information needed. And once I get back in the groove, I’m almost faster producing the ‘stencils’ than looking them up in the other software and adding them to the drawing.

The same company also produced a tool that was the best in the business for what it did. It was called ‘Rack Tools’ and let you build drawings of equipment racks from their library of symbols, or easily add your own. I started my old version up, it phoned home (said there were updates, and asked, but I said Yes) and then bricked itself saying it wasn’t supported any longer. Flocking Axholes. I can’t even use the old version anymore? can’t open old drawings and print or copy them out…? I’ll reinstall the software, and not update, but iirc it phones home to ‘register’ so that might not even work. Who nukes your installed copy without warning? Jerks, that’s who.

Proprietary tools that self destruct are the absolute worst. And anyone who builds them that way sucks. I hope you get ransomwared out of business you jerks.

So that’s what I’m doing this week, starting today. Rip and replace, with some reused gear, that I’ll find out about today when I meet my partner on site. I don’t like ‘winging it’ for things like this. I like to solve as many of the issues before starting the work, because I know there will be plenty that arise as we go. But it is what it is.

Stacking some FRNs with this project, and for a while at least, they are a useful thing to stack.

Stack some of your own.


Sun. Nov. 14, 2021 – we’re gettin’ the band back together…

Cold and clear warming to cool and clear. Probably won’t get to hot and clear… It was beautiful on Saturday. I even got the mower out and cut the grass in the back yard.

Did my non-prepping hobby meeting with mini-swapmeet. We had a good turnout. Some cash was exchanged for some stuff I’d picked up over the past couple of months. Not much, it’s more about the camaraderie than making money most quarters. Nice to see people getting together for a shared interest. Lots of donuts were eaten too.

Came home and did some ebay listing, some housework, and general ‘real life’ stuff. Didn’t do much ‘prepping’ outside of building community and getting out into meatspace. In the mean time, my daughter is learning to shoot a rifle, so that is cool. She officially knows more about sailing very small boats than I do too. They had good weather for their day, with a chilly night. Wife and eldest will be home today some time around noon. It was a short camp outing.

Turns out that hamsters don’t like syringes full of liquid meds poked down their throats. Who knew? Yes, had to give the furball some meds last night, and this morning. Not an easy thing to do. Certainly harder than I expected. Little fluffy has a couple of tumors and a bare patch on his flank. So far he’s still active and eating. We take on an obligation to the animals under our care, but with $7 hamsters, there are limits. Meds and comfort are about as far as we’re prepared to go with this one. So the kids will probably soon get another life lesson. And the parents too.

These are the ‘good old days’ so make hay…

and stack all the things.


Sat. Nov. 13, 2021 – Friday the 13th falls on a Saturday this month…

Cool and clear, maybe even chilly. Except in the sun, then it feels hot.

Did a couple of pickups yesterday in the bright sunny coolness. Lots of driving. Since I tend to fall asleep while driving, I thought I’d try listing to a book on tape (well, cd.) I picked up the second Jack Reacher, and since I’ve been seeing the books at Goodwill, I was thinking I might as well give it a try. Geez what a tedious pos. I’m 7 chapters in and he JUST thought to ask how the girls have been murdered, and NO ONE has yet asked how the killer might FIND his [extremely specific] type of victims. Given the huge popularity and success of the series, I think it must get better. MUST. I’ll keep listening to see, but so far, not impressed.

Today is my non-prepping hobby meeting, and tiny swapmeet. I’m bringing a couple of things. Leaving the expensive items at home… it’s close enough that I can pop home if someone asks about them.

Wife and eldest will be learning about shooting rifles. Youngest will be home with me. Full weekend.

Store up some good times while you are at it. These are the ‘good old times’.

Stack it up.

Fri. Nov. 12, 2021 – all out of fox to give

Cool and hopefully clear. We got some good rain yesterday but after it stopped everything dried out. We got more than an inch in about an hour at my house. Sun came out, the humidity was down, and it turned into a really nice day.

I sold a couple of items, so I had shipping to do. Listed a few smalls to keep the ball rolling. Sorted a couple of bags of inventory. Messed around with the parts truck a little bit (tried putting a battery on it to start it. Battery terminals have been removed so I shelved that for now.) There are a few parts I can grab, even if I sell it ‘whole’ to the repair shop. I need some switches from the doors and steering wheel. I also sprayed the interior liberally with anti-mold spray. I’ll get the switches today or this weekend.

This weekend. Busy again. Non-prepping hobby meeting and one day swap meet on Saturday. Wife and oldest off to GS camp for “Intro to rifle shooting” while youngest stays home with me. And somewhere in there I have to do a set of drawings to figure out what I am doing with all the new gear at my client’s house, which I’m supposed to spend next week installing. All the normal weekend stuff needs to happen too. Joy.

Daughter 1’s first theater show opened last night. Proud papa! Stage crew rocks! I’ll be helping with teardown tonight after the show. The show is a one act musical adaptation of the Junie B stories. It was pretty cute, and the kids did a pretty good job. I didn’t bring hearing protection, but I should have. WAY over mic’d and amplified. D1 says “they need the mics because they can’t project”. I say, “They’ll never learn to project if they have mics.” You can make an argument that because everyone uses mics, the kids should learn how to use them, but I argue that that MUST come after they learn to do it without a pile of gear. Kids today. We didn’t have mics and we survived. Bah.

I’ve got a couple of non-prepping hobby related pickups today, and hopefully at least a couple of bins to drop off. And a vet visit with the hamster late in the afternoon. He’s got a bare patch, that is swollen up like a nickel sized blister, with a couple of lumps in it. He’s eating and active, doesn’t flinch when you touch it, but it’s ugly. I guess were gonna spend some money to find out if Fluffy is ok or not. The wife and I agree that hamsters do not get expensive surgical interventions. That’s the current plan anyway.

Life proceeds as if everything was normal. It clearly is not, but we want the kids to have as much as possible, for as long as possible, a normal life. And if it never goes pear shaped, they had their childhood. We do talk about the issues though, and we had a lesson on percentages and inflation, and food prices at the dinner table the other night. D1 instantly understood that when I said, ‘we might be eating a lot of rice and pasta with a whole lot less meat for dinner’ that there were a lot of people that wouldn’t even have that. I’m getting a whole lot less “you have too much food” nonsense lately too.

“Laugh-a while you can, Monkey Boy!”

And stack while you can.


Thur. Nov. 11, 2021 – Veteran’s Day.

Thank you to all who have served, and for the sacrifices you and your family made.


Cool and very damp. Today someone will be getting some rain in the Houston area. Hopefully it won’t be me.

Yesterday I dropped off 6 bins at the auctioneer. Picked up 11 empty bins. He’s still willing to take more, so I’ll keep giving him stuff.

Of course that was after I had a bit of dizziness in the morning. None of us is immortal or invincible, and I’m getting that loud and clear. I’ll be trying to get in and seen by a doctor asap.

Lots of people have pointed out that your best prep before everything goes pear shaped is to get your physical self in order. So I’ll do a little work on that.

In the mean time, I’ve got ebay stuff to list, one sale to pack and ship, and house to clean. D1 has opening night for her school play tonight, so that will eat late afternoon and then the rest of the day.

Short shrift today.

Get to stacking.

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