Month: February 2023

Tues. Feb. 28, 2023 – ah February, I hardly knew ya…

Another warm, damp day, but hoping for a bit of sun.   No pre-assigned tasks to break up my day, so I should be able to get stuff done.  If it doesn’t rain.

Did less than I’d hoped yesterday.    There were bills to pay and paperwork to update, as well as the vet visit.   Poor doggie has a very sore backside from his shot, and spent the day whimpering and looking at me.   The LOOKING, and the little pathetic yips are very hard to resist, so I spent some time on the floor comforting him, until his girl got home and took over.

I had to get on the phone and wait for about half an hour for the ability to pay for insurance with a check… reading the numbers to a human.  Gah.   Did the same with the gas bill at the BOL, but that at least took a credit card.   Three sets of humans I didn’t expect to talk with and it felt like the 80s all over again.

I did receive my new driver’s license.   Shiny.   Lots of new security features.   Texas went RealID some time ago, despite very real misgivings and a public anti- stance, but this new card has even more anti-counterfeiting features than the old.   Got my FCC renewal a couple of days ago, so just waiting for the CHL (or LTC as it’s now known) to come  through.  Need to do my passport too, but that isn’t a priority.

Did some cleanup prep for pulling together my hamfest stuff.   Made a bunch of lists and started remembering where everything was, and WHAT everything was.   I’m pretty sure I will order a uhaul trailer today so I can take all the extra stuff I want to unload.

One thing about finally having a BOL is that it collapses some uncertainty states and solidifies some of the needs and wants.   I don’t just need a tower, I need legs for the tower I have…  A lot of just collecting potentially useful things is solidifying into WHICH useful things will be useful at this particular BOL, and not some hypothetical BOL.

And some of my “enthusiasms” have passed.   Which means stuff I stacked in the throws of that “enthusiasm” are now surplus to needs.

I should be able to take a whole bunch of stuff to the swapmeet.   Whether it will sell, depends on whether people still have money and the desire to spend it on ham stuff.    I’m going to price pretty aggressively to encourage them to buy.  That is really all I can do.

So take a look at your stacks.   See if the stuff is still fit for mission.   See if the mission still needs doing.   And adjust.  Stack what you need NOW, instead of what you thought you needed a year ago.



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Mon. Feb. 27, 2023 – and a new week gets started

Damp.   Warm.   Springtime for Houston.   Today should be just like yesterday with a bit more cloudiness and maybe more damp.   Even if the sun wasn’t burning the sky and the heat wasn’t tightening my skin, it was kinda uncomfortable outdoors yesterday.   Right on the edge where every movement brings sweating…

So I did some stuff outside, more than I did the day before, and then called it quits and came in and read.   No chance of whinging on about not having time for what I need to do when I don’t use the time I am given.

For reasons I’m not going to go into, this past week has been loaded up with stress, which was suddenly relieved, but I’m feeling some whiplash.  Add to that today would have been my dad’s 90th birthday, and I’m feeling a bit out of sorts.  It’s leaving me filled with a certain lassitude that isn’t helping things.

Still, have to keep moving and push on through.

This week I am UN-stacking things and piling them up to sell at the hamfest.   Do I need to be able to equip a neighborhood with 2 way radios?   Do I need to be able to equip more than one neighborhood?  There is probably a reasonable limit to the stuff I really need to have on hand, and I’ve crossed it in some categories.  Blister pack GPRS and FRS radios is one of those categories.    Motorola handie talkies is another.   I can’t program them, so do I need bins filled with them?  No.  I need radios I can program.   I can use the money to buy those radios, or to improve some other area of preps.

It’s a bit like the guys who bought 22LR as “trade goods” or to “sell when the price goes up”.   Only they never do sell.   They never sell the cheap ARs or the Pelican cases of pistols they bought just to sell later either.   It’s far too easy to hold on to them, thinking the time isn’t right or that now that the drought has come, they need them more than they need to sell them.

It’s and easy trap to fall into.

Anyway, I’m hoping to sell far  more this time than I normally would be ready to sell.

Which will let me stack something else… or improve my position elsewhere.  Which is ultimately the goal.


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Sun. Feb. 26, 2023 – can’t think of anything snappy

Warm, wet.  Supposed to be clear.   Didn’t stay clear around here yesterday though.   The overcast came and went but mostly came and stayed.   No precip that I noticed at the house.

I did do a little bit of prep for the hamfest.   Not nearly as much as I wanted to, it was too stinking hot and damp and it was triggering my allergies.   So I found other stuff to do.

I imagine today will be very similar.    I’m not even going to make any other predictions, I’ll just play it by ear with the idea of a hint of a goal somewhere in mind.   Perhaps if I just go with the flow?

I did find stuff in the stacks I’d forgotten about.

It’s important to check and re-stack so you know both what you have and what condition it’s in…

so that when you stack more, it’s the right stuff.   You are stacking more, right?


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Sat. Feb. 25, 2023 – no school like the old school

Warm and damp.   Spring in Houston.   Definitely feels like time for gardening…   never did get much warmer or sunnier yesterday, just a grey, blah day.  Today should be clearer according to the weather liars, but we know how that goes.

Didn’t actually do much yesterday.   Slept in my chair more than I’d like to admit to.   Had some issues going on that took up a lot of  mental energy, and didn’t leave much for work or play.    Everything resolved itself, but the day was a write off.

Today I’m going to start pulling together my stuff for the hamfest swapmeet.   I’ve got stuff at home, in storage, in the attic, out back, in the driveway and garage, at my secondary location- basically everywhere I’ve ever stashed anything.    I hope to just pile all of it, take it to the swapmeet, and hopefully turn a bunch of it back into cash.   Even with stacking and multiple vehicles and residences, I don’t need all the stuff I’ve got.   Plus I’ve got a bunch of parts, salvage, and industrial stuff that I hope to sell.  There should be a lot of pent up demand, if people have cash.

Of course if people don’t have any money, it won’t matter how motivated a seller I am, and I’ll end up dragging a lot of stuff back and forth for no gain.   I have no idea how it will go, but I am hopeful there is still money out there looking for bargains.

Take a look at your stacks.   See if what is there still meets your needs and goals.   Adjust accordingly.   Stack more of the good stuff…


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Fri. Feb. 24, 2023 – in which our hero discovers another week has flown by…

Warm and humid.  No rain in the forecast but maybe some more overcast.   Yesterday was mostly overcast, but we didn’t get any rain in the places I visited.   I’ve got stuff in the back of my truck that I don’t really want to get wet before I can get it put away…

Did get pickups done.   Last pickup for the one auctioneer, who is calling it quits.   We may be at the same stage of returns and overstock reselling as house flipping was just before that collapsed.   New players with no experience are paying too much to buy in, thinking it’s easy money, while more experienced players are finding it hard to stay in the game, or no longer profitable.   A crash and consolidation seem to be headed this way for this nascent but quite large market activity.

It is actually a new version of an old business.   There have been resellers, wholesalers, surplus outlets, auctions, and fire sales for a long time.  Probably since the first failed product in the market.  But the old business model of insiders and somewhat disguised markets (Ross Dress for Less did pretty well selling the stock other retailers couldn’t move, ditto for Marshalls and the “outlet store” fiction) expanded and shifted and combined with online auctions, cottage industry, and the idea of the side hustle to spawn a whole new crop of reseller businesses.   There has been a huge increase in the size and scope of the market, as new sellers pop up and buyers become aware of what’s available.

Shakeout and consolidation is probably inevitable.

One consideration is that it has broken the traditional retail model, and opened people up to the idea that goods don’t have to come from a store (or a big company  — I mean selling platform– like Amazon).   As the general economy worsens, there will be an increase in bargain hunters, of necessity.  That means more person to person selling, more non-traditional venues (like swapmeets, black and grey markets, permanent yard sales, etc.)   If it happens it means I was right to advocate learning about this way to shop before it became a necessity 😛

Anyway, consider your own habits and routines for getting the stuff you need and use.   What if those options are not available, or not available at a price you can afford?   It’s always easier to learn a new skill while you still have the backup option of doing things the old way.

Get out there and start learning about the secondary economy, or the “informal” economy.   Use the practice to increase your stacks, and kill two birds with one stone.



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Thurs. Feb. 23, 2023 – 02232023 – wouldn’t be prudent…

Warm.  Damp.   Warm and damp.   Felt like we missed Spring and went right into Summer yesterday.   Once the rain stopped anyway.  Today is supposed to be similar but clear.   I hope so.

I’ve got stuff to pickup today and rain won’t help that.   It’s stuff I couldn’t pick up yesterday because of the morning ‘moisture from the sky.’

I was able to drop off a small bin of mostly Pokemon stuff at my auctioneer, and pick up a check for my profit on the last several auctions.    My big score was an antique book that brought $400.  The most I paid for it was 50c…  that’s good return on investment.  If I bought it on a day with more books, it might have been 33c…    There were some other good sellers too, with high multiples for ROI.    I need to focus on those type of items.    FWIW, they tend to be vintage, and unusual or even unique.

Books that have some local interest, a Texas subject, and are at least 75-100 years old do well for me at the local auction.  “Smalls” or small collectible items did very well in the last auction as well.   Bigger items, sports cards, and household things didn’t do well.   Old toys, even in bad condition, usually do well, and sometimes do VERY well.   It’s always  a crapshoot, and sometimes things I thought were a slam dunk barely sell at all.  The trick is to be there every time with a variety of stuff.  And don’t pay very much for your stock.

I’ve got some other running around to do today, and some maintenance stuff at home.   The wifi needs attention, as signal levels are very low in places.  My wife has moved dealing with that to the top of my list.  I’m going to add  two Asus nighthawk access points at opposite ends of the house.   That will probably be overkill, but we have a lot more wifi devices now than we did when I set everything up originally.   Getting the wifi off the att fiber router will allow me to specify my own DNS and use openDNS initially,  and set up a pi-hole later.   I’ve got a stack of wifi routers from the goodwill, some from client sites, and some from estates or yardsales.   I’ll use the asus at home for now, and save the ubiquiti for the BOL.   That’s the current plan…   Or I could just add a couple of ubiquiti UAC access points here and be done with it… I haven’t made a choice yet, which is why it hasn’t been DONE yet.

SWMBO has spoken though so I will be making a choice today.

External deadlines.  I needs ’em.

Other than DVDs ripped to my server, I haven’t done much stacking this week.   We’ll see what I can do later to improve my situation.

I will say that stacking food and money  probably isn’t a bad idea.  You should give it a try.



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Wed. Feb. 22, 2023 – 02222023 – more silliness ensues, no blame attaches.

Warm and damp.   Back in Houston, so overcast too.  Hot and sunny at the BOL yesterday with a very steady wind.   Not for the first time I’m thinking about a VAWT or even a small wind generator.

Did a few more things, mainly cleaning and organizing, before heading home yesterday.  Didn’t get any more fishing in.   Didn’t even try to fly a kite.   I’ve got some big ones that really  need a strong steady wind, and it would be fun to try them at the BOL.  Not really enough space though.

Today I might head over to my remaining client’s house to do some updates and installs.   Or not, if it’s not convenient for them.  I do need to get over there this week though, and the week is half gone.

Gotta do a pickup today too, and maybe a drop off.    Should be some checks waiting… had a couple of nice surprises in the last couple of auctions.

I’m also looking at the pile o stuff here and thinking I need to jump on some of this before it gets completely out of hand.   Always something to do…

And stacking, there’s always stacking…



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Tues. Feb. 21, 2023 – getting stuff done…

Warm and windy.   70F and blowing 10-15mph when I called it quits last night.    Probably the same today.

So no slash pile got burned while I was up here.   Some nice fires in the pit were had.  It was actually pretty nice on the dock last night.  Fire was small and I put the screen cover on it.   The wind was blowing steady with the flags fully straight out.   Despite that it wasn’t chilly, so I listened to the radio for a while, then when the small fire was out, I came in.

Got my plumbing goal done.   Didn’t get to the hose bib, so we don’t have any working at the moment, but we don’t have any that will freeze either.  Seems nuts to worry about freezes, but we could still get another before Spring is really sprung.


Some more time in the attic and too much time crouching behind the tub and in the closet have me sore in places that haven’t been sore in years.  Do not like, can not recommend.   On the other hand, I’m getting pretty quick with the pex, once everything is ready to actually start putting it together.

Looking at my mug in the mirror I realized I didn’t have a razor up here.   That’s an oversight I’ll correct next time.

Today I’ll do some smaller chores, put things away, maybe organize a bit, then it’s homeward bound.  Stuff is piling up there too.   AND I need to start pulling stuff for the hamfest.   I need to decide if I want to rent a trailer.   I’ve got a bunch of stuff and want to blow it all out. Usually I stack my pickup higher than the cab, and I always leave some stuff behind.  This year I’d like to clear a bunch of stuff out and don’t want to  play ‘truck tetris’ fitting it all in place.  I’m thinking there will be some really good bargains.  Motivated seller.

I’ve been reading the “Laundry” series by Charles Stross.  I’m enjoying it a lot.  Finished the first 5, started the sixth.   He’s got a gift for jargon, and a razor sharp eye.  Book five involves a scrum and agile programming along with his normal skewering of management buzzwords and the latest trends.  Since in his universe magic is really just applied math, usually through computation, things go terribly wrong for our group of quants.  Plenty of pop culture and SciFi fandom shoutouts too.  Fun.

The world as we know it is rapidly changing.  The pace of change is accelerating too.   And while it might not end soon, SOME PARTS undoubtedly will.   Hard to know WHICH parts and how it will affect anyone specifically.   Preps will help though.

Keep stacking.


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Mon. Feb. 20, 2023 – President’s Day

Cool to start but warming later?  Maybe.   Yesterday was pretty nice, sunny and warm.   Windy as Chicago until afternoon.  Decided not to burn my slash pile.

Also didn’t mow the lawn.   It would look better but I spent the time doing plumbing.    Took a while in the attic to get holes where I needed them.   Lots of belly crawling, lots of kneeling.  Lots of fiberglas.   Old boy used a kraft faced batt, and the facing is brittle and weak, so every time you touch or move it, it crumbles.   My N95 mask is filthy but my lungs are probably ok.

I didn’t buy the right sized adapter to connect to the existing tub controls, so I’ll head into town today and see if I can find what I need.  If not, I can solder on a copper to pex adapter, and leave a little stub of copper attached to the tub.  I’d prefer to do it without soldering, but if that is what it takes, well, that’s why they make that adapter.

Getting pex to the last hose bib was a challenge too.  I couldn’t get access from above, so I removed more paneling (fortunately in the bedroom closet behind the bath) and made a horizontal run, through a 90 degree bend where the walls meet… couldn’t have done that with plastic or steel pipe.  I’ll feed it from the toilet feed, and will put a valve on it.    It’s not ideal to have a valve in the closet, but there are nifty ‘snap in’ plastic access panels that will hide the mess.   As long as I get the valve in, I can turn the water back on to the toilet and tub, and worry about the hose bib later, with all the other spigots.

Getting the pex dropped into the wall for the toilet supply involved a lot of belly time, with my face down in the insulation.   I pick up yoga mats when they are cheap for just that situation.  Cardboard works too.  No matter what, it’s unpleasant and good PPEs are recommended.  Pex makes it a lot easier to do retrofit than any other system besides copper tube, and we don’t use copper tube for that anymore.

Finishing the tub/toilet/hose bib will leave just the hall bath sink, and the master bath shower on the old copper.   The sink should be straightforward if I remove the vanity.  The master shower is NOT straightforward, unless I open the wall in the bedroom.  Not looking forward to that.  That shower was replaced recently so I’m hoping the pipes are in good shape.   Yeah, I know.  Unlikely.

So today will be more plumbing.  Maybe some organizing.  And later a fire.  Hope the music is more uptempo though.

Stack some stuff and the skills to use it.



Oh yeah, it was pretty clear when I started my fire, but got hazy later.   The lake was dead flat- I could see the reflection of airplane lights in it.   I did see one long shooting star before the haze got too bad.

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Sun. Feb. 19, 2023 – date feels weird somehow, what am I missing?

Cool here at the BOL, and damp of course.  Yesterday was nice.   Cool and clear with some clouds.  Bit nippy in the evening.  Today should be nice.

I did a couple of errands before heading up yesterday.  Dropped in on my gun store buddy.   Helped the wife and kids get ready for 6 hours of cookie booth…   then loaded up the truck and headed out.

Didn’t get much done other than putting food away, and unloading the truck.  Didn’t really expect to with the late start.

Today should be plumbing and electrical with a side of cleaning and organizing.  I might run the mower to keep the weeds down, and the gas fresh.  Battery is probably down though, in which case, I’ll get the charger going.   I need to do the full spring service before too long.   I have all the stuff but have been putting it off.

There are some branches to collect and maybe if there isn’t much wind, I’ll try burning some of my slash pile.  Lot of burning brush piles on the way in yesterday.  Given the level of the lake, there has been a lot of rain lately.  I might need to use an accelerant.  Always a good time…

The journey of a thousand steps– yada yada.

Prep.  Improve.  Stack…



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