Month: October 2023

Tues. Oct. 31, 2023 – Halloween

Cold and damp, still. We had misty drizzle off and on all day yesterday, but we are supposed to be dry today. I hope so. I’ve got stuff to do. The cold and damp hurts in many places…

Despite the drizzle I did a series of pickups yesterday. Made a big loop and returned in time to get D1 from school, only about 40 minutes late. She says she’s fine waiting at school, just does her homework.

One of the pickups was a new seller, and when I went in I was surprised to see one of the old sellers… he’d sold his auction company to a guy who is continuing to run the business, and now he’s consulting for this new seller. The new seller has capital and an interesting idea to expand, it will be something to watch for the next few months. There’s a bunch of change in the online reseller marketplace at the moment and I expect more. I think the next logical step will be for the big money to start buying up mom and pop businesses and expanding to take advantage of economies of scale. It happens in most industries, so why not reselling? I’ll be looking for it, not looking forward to it.

Today I’ve got one pickup I’d like to make and one I should make as long as I’m out. The first has some stuff I’d like to use in my display. The second has some stuff for the stacks…

Then if it isn’t raining, I’ll be doing a blitz to get my main display ready. It’s always a bit of a rush but that’s part of the fun. If it continues raining, I’ll just add some more traditional stuff and save my idea/art project for next year. We usually have about 120-150 kids come by, and I have a great time doing it. Meatspace! Plus, CANDY!!

Connect with some people, preferably local. Chat with your neighbors. Take a walk around and see who has decorated… Call it local area intel…

And stack, if you DARE !11!!! /vincent price voice


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Mon. Oct. 30, 2023 – So close to Halloween…

Cool. Cold even. Front has arrived. Yesterday was hot, mid to high 80s with humid stagnant air. Nothing was moving and sweat was dripping off me as I worked on my decorations. Then the wind picked up, and the temps dropped. Mid 60s after dark, with gusting winds. Today should be cooler all day.

Yup, I finally got some decor set up. First I had to get a couple of pickups done. One pick up was some stuff to sell at my next non-prepping hobby swapmeet day, the next was for the BOL. The BOL’s was a couple of hundred feet of barbed wire. I’m not sure where I’ll use it, or if I’ll sell it to someone up there, but I’d rather have it than not. It’s used, but rolled neatly. I’ve been trying to buy some for a year but it goes for too much money. Finally got some.

Came home and started on decor in earnest. Felt a couple of drops of rain, but nothing real. Kept at it until dusk. Started lighting stuff, then the power went out. 3200 affected, mostly our neighborhood. Again. Freaking third world. One of the symptoms of a collapse is civic systems break down, and with increasing severity and frequency. We went years without a blink, and now we have lost power for more than an hour several times in the last few months. They are doing a ton of infrastructure, pulling high tension lines everywhere and building out and up… but we’ve never had issues like this before.

Since their estimate was for a 3 hour outage, I decided to fire up a generator. The whole house gennie is still not installed. My trusty generac was fueled and ready, so of course the pull cord broke. The Honda 3000 started on the second crank, once I’d connected the propane bottle. Didn’t use it, because I can’t feed the house with it– no 220v output. Power came back on shortly after that anyway. We used a Jetboil backpacking cook system to make some hot water for the Mountain House chili mac… we could have made just about anything in the house or pantry, but that stuff was sitting in the kitchen from my wife’s aborted GS camping trip and neither of us wanted to cook.

Wife fired up candles because she wanted to, and because her streamlight lantern is DOA due to leaking batteries. Mine is fine, and the big coleman LED lanterns worked well too. I got out a little oil lamp, and proceeded to fight with the wick. I don’t have any small wicks here… took them to the lake. I didn’t feel like trying a propane coleman, or one of the bigger kerosene lamps. I’ll be bringing a wick home as backup…

Not a bad little dry run, and I’m moving gennie maintenance up the list, along with trying to find an electrician for the whole house install. Maybe they’ll be a bit slower this time of year, and more willing to do the work without selling me anything.

Today I’ve got more pickups, and some more decor to do. If it isn’t raining. It’s showing 50% chance of light rain, with the cold snap continuing. We’ll see…

So it’s time to check your critical systems. Batteries in the smoke detectors, and in the gun safes. Fresh fuel in the stuff that uses fuel… Spares close at hand.

And stacks.


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Sun. Oct. 29, 2023 – time to stop delaying and get my decor out…

Cool to start but warming later. Some possibility of rain for the next two days. It didn’t rain Saturday, but there were plenty of low ugly clouds in various parts of the city.

I was driving all over the west side to get some errands done. Had to do a pickup of some stuff for the BOL, then do a maintenance issue at the rent house. Spent some time fixing the rollers on the garage door, then lubed it all up and ran it a bunch of times. No idea how the roller came out of the track but it’s back and fixed now.

Hit a couple of thrifts on my way back home. Still looking for some last minute additions to my display. I could do some sewing, but if I could find the right clothing items it would save time. I found a couple of pieces I think will work. While I was hitting a couple that I don’t normally hit, I was shocked by how much development and new building has been happening even in just the last couple of months. Crazy amounts of mixed use and large multi-family buildings, right up against the street, inside the Loop.

If demographics is destiny then we’re F’d. Too much, too many, too fast. It’s almost like the herd has been driven here to eat up our pasture and then move on. Even if they aren’t of the locust class, the end result is the same. I’m reminded of a story, that one of the Kings of France, one of the Louis’ maybe, if he heard you were plotting against him, or a challenger to the throne, he’d come to visit, doing you the great honor of spending some time with you. He and his entourage would descend on you and stay until all your money was spent on hosting the King and the Court. Then he’d move on. Problem solved as you now can’t raise the funds to rebel and all your money is spent. I see some parallels… maybe we shouldn’t be so vocal about being a thriving economy or freedom loving…

And maybe I need to stack some more. You probably do to, somewhere the locusts can’t find it.


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Sat. Oct. 28, 2023 – weekend is just two more days to work…

Warm again, and damp, but maybe not raining… although we are still in the “could rain” area according to the national forecast. I didn’t see any rain yesterday, but it might have rained in other parts of town.

I got some stuff done. Stopped by my favorite gub store and dropped off some mags to consign. I picked them up at the state surplus store on my quick trip to Austin last week. Normally there isn’t much margin in them, but these were Kimber, and Kimber stuff is priced like it’s dipped in gold.

I did manage to hit Costco. F’me, prices are high. Charmin was $16-18 when I started shopping at Costco. It’s $30 now. Kleenex was $1 per box, now $2. What’s odd is what hasn’t increased. Australian lamb is the same price. Canadian maple syrup might even be a dollar a bottle cheaper. Spiral sliced ham is only up a little bit over the last 4 years, maybe 10%. Filling the Expy was a bit easier this week, 87 octane was $2.75. Rice is still up, and has increased a bit, and selection is way down. Christmas stuff has been in the store for a couple of weeks at least. Halloween candy was marked down. My tab for a cart that wasn’t even very full, and didn’t have meat, but did have a few heat and eat meals was over $500, and I passed on the TP.


Wife and D2 were supposed to be doing Girl Scout things this weekend but bailed on it. D2 has things closer to home she wants to do, and my wife wasn’t super thrilled to be volunteering to do a bunch of work at camp anyway. When one of the other girls bailed that was enough to kill the weekend.

I’ve still got most of what was on my list to do today. I’m hoping to get more done without having to pick up kids in the middle of the afternoon.

We’ll see.

I don’t really see how you can go wrong stacking, in light of inflation, especially if you stock up when stuff is on sale. Even normal prices will probably look pretty good 6 months from now. NOTHING is cheaper than it was…

So stack.

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Fri. Oct. 27, 2023 – plugging away…

Warmer, and wetter than yesterday, maybe. It was certainly warm and wet on Thursday. I saw 85F in the afternoon, in between rain showers. It’s been starting around 73F and warming pretty gradually til about 3pm. Pretty standard, for Fall. Likely that today is similar.

After cutting my hair, I did some small stuff around the house yesterday. Every time I got ready to do outdoor stuff, it rained again. Had to run some errands, and pick up the kid, which ate my afternoon. Got that done, did some meat shopping, and spent the rest of the afternoon cooking dinner and packing up the meat.

Today will be more of the same, trying to get some decor up, trying to get some auction stuff together, trying to do some domestic bliss. In other words, plugging away.

Yesterday I read this passage, and it struck me enough that I marked it for later…

“But my stars, boy, nobody can be alive and never have any trouble! Being alive is just meeting troubles every day and overcoming them. Just to stand up straight against the pull of gravity is a fight, isn’t it?” — Dr. Tresselt in Danny Dunn and the Fossil Cave.

Sums it up doesn’t it? And I’ve not seen anything as direct in modern young adult fiction… which might be part of the problem.

Stand up straight and fight.


(and stack, which IS fighting.)

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Thur. Oct. 26, 2023 – Thursday? How can it be Thursday already?

Cool and wet. Rained overnight, might rain today. Rained in the afternoon yesterday too, depending on where you were… Some people got light sprinkles, some people got a downpour that didn’t last long. I got both when I was driving around.

Did some auction stuff, and some small stuff around the house, then had to pick up D1 from school and do some other stuff. Not much actual work got done.

I’m just not feeling it lately. Don’t know why, but motivation is not there. I can grind away, but I’ve got to get started to do it. Getting started is the problem.

Which brings me to today, which by some strange effect is Thursday, meaning the week is mostly gone. Ay carumba. Not enough work got done this week for it to already be Thursday.

At least I don’t feel particularly productive. I don’t think today will be much better if it’s drizzling all day. Plenty to do indoors, but I’d rather do some outdoor stuff too. Oh well, we’ll see. Because I can’t change the weather- yet.

Stack all the things. Seriously, stack them. And it’s time to be practicing with them too. Make a meal from your stacks. Use another backup cooking method. Wear something you don’t normally wear. You might not want to wear your normal tactical pants, cover shirt, and boots when you go do that thing. Do you have some stuff that still fits? Do you have some clothes you could just ditch if they got something unappealing on them? Do you have something to wear to the swapmeet or bodega that won’t make you a target?

Practice paying attention to your environment as you go through your day. Popo was running surveillance on someone yesterday on the scanner. He lost them. They are not yet panopticon. At least not until afterwards. If you don’t have a polite plan to kill everyone you meet, at least have a plan to leave in a hurry and know where the doors are… things continue to get weirder, and more dangerous.

Stack up your options. That is what it is really all about.


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Wed. Oct. 25, 2023 – counting down to pumpkin slaughter day

Warm and humid, maybe some rain today. Forecast called for it, but it’s Houston, and you just never know. It threatened all day Tuesday, but never rained on me. It did get uncomfortably warm and humid. I’m hoping it doesn’t rain for the next 4 days.

Did auction stuff yesterday. Took another load to the auctioneer. Chatted for a bit. Did a bit of sourcing on my way and just added that to the drop off.

Went to see D1 play ball. Her team, (and in fact all the various levels, JV, Varsity, Freshmen), sucks. They can barely play at all, and watch the ball fly by about half the time. Oh well, they’ll get better next season. And they look like they’re having at least a little bit of fun. I left after her games, but she stayed with the team. There were at least three school cops there, and STILL a fight broke out. I should note that she was playing an away game against the school we’re actually zoned to. They apparently have an ongoing issue with fighting, according to one of D1’s friends that goes there. Joy. Diversity is our strength…

Speaking of the diversite’, there was a guy at the goodwill who was totally tatted up with south of the border prison tats. Side of his head was Saint Mary, so one of the variants that venerate her… He was disabled, walking with a cane and a soft cast on one foot. So now we’re re-habbing gang bangers. The older illegals are almost all crippled in some way. Joy.

Sliding down the slippery slope. Got stacks?


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Tues. Oct. 24, 2023 – Taco Tuesday! Or maybe carnitas…

Warmer and damp. Supposed to be partly cloudy today, and then light rain for the next week, so I’ve got work to do…

Spent most of yesterday not doing what I was planning to do. Yeah I know. Kid needed to be picked up from school, and that is a hard stop in my afternoon, and so I did some other stuff, then left the house early. She needed her Halloween costume, and I usually find all the pieces for it. I’ve been slack this year, or unlucky, so I thought I’d better make an effort and complete that project. It’s pretty hardcore work avoidance, but someone’s gotta do it. I shopped before picking her up, then we both shopped on the way home. I think we got it.

Stopped in our local Aldi on the way home, and bought a pack of gum. Really. And it turned out to be the exact gum I have at home too. But I’d never been in the Aldi, and we were already in the car, so I agreed. Aldi was barren. HUGE wide aisles, empty spaces where product should have been, very limited selection, and prices are not lower than elsewhere. I don’t know what modern Aldi stores typically look like, but I wasn’t impressed. Lots of quick meals, and ‘meals for one’ with the sort of fake healthy prepackaged food the yoga pants crowd likes, but very little meat or veg. In fact there were two empty coolers in the meat section, and several empty open front coolers in the aisle. Weird “fake loft” feel to the whole place too. Kinda like when they call a completely styled and furnished 750KUSD condo a “loft”. Polished concrete floors and no ceiling don’t a loft make, only the ersatz version. Place was empty too. Two employees, two shoppers.

Today, well, more of the same. I still have a load to drop off at the auction, and I’ve got stuff to put out before the rain comes. D1 has her last sportsball game in the late afternoon, and I’m going to that, so it will be a short work day. I’m having a hard time with motivation this week.

Oh, power went out yesterday too, which is one of the reasons I decided to hit the thrifts and shop. “Damage to equipment” was the reason given, with no further details. It was back on in about an hour, but I really need to get the gennie set up. We are sliding faster down the slope. I need some new UPSs and extended run batteries too. I’ll be buying new, in case I won’t have a chance to do so later. The last round of ‘new’ didn’t last very long, or maybe they did their job and died in the line of duty, but I wasn’t impressed. Back to commercial grade APC– if I can find them at a price I can afford.

I’m thinking hard about what is most critical to top up. Food is obvious, and I’ve got a lot aging out, along with meds. We don’t actually use many OTC products though so that should be covered, and the food is mostly “do I have room for that” at this point. Water filtration and purification, along with power are my most serious concerns at the moment. Both will take more thought, some scrounging or luck in the auctions, and more time and planning. Gah. It’s always something.

But, it’s doable. And I’m doing it. Stack with me my friends…


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Mon. Oct. 23, 2023 – 10232023 – Fun but pointless? Pointlessly fun? Of just funny…

Cool to start, but mid to high 80s later. That will be warm. It got uncomfortably warm yesterday as I was working in the attic and garage, even though it didn’t seem that warm outside. I guess I’m starting to adjust to the cooler temps.

I got a few things done yesterday but didn’t get much decor up. I had to clear a path to it, and that was probably the cause of my reluctance to get started- the 10 things that needed to be done first. I’m still not completely ready to even start getting the stuff out of the garage attic. I did get a few things out of the house attic, some flags and bones for the yard, and some decor for inside the house.

I got sidetracked for a bit working on getting the laser engraver set up. It was on the kitchen table, needed to be moved (stored for a while), and in order to do that, I wanted to see it make some smoke…which it eventually did. I did some cuts in paper, some burning on cloth and paper, and some surface removal on a multi layered piece of a food box. I probably won’t do much more until I have a place for it to live, and an enclosure to make it safer. I tried burning a pattern onto a piece of ham, but didn’t do much more than get a blurry soft outline of grey-er cooked ham in the middle of the pink piece. I have no doubt that it would burn me though…

Cleaning up that, getting stuff into and out of the attic, and some other general cleaning pretty much filled my day.

Today will get some more decor, some auction stuff, and some drop offs if everything goes right… and maybe that trip to Costco.

Until the deflationary spiral sets in, this inflation is starting to really have an impact on people. I looked at the take out menu from our local chinese place, and prices have gone up 2-3$ on 6-9$ items, in a very short time. Unfortunately the menu isn’t dated, but it was in the cabinet with the other menus and it can’t be that old. The weekly ad flyers from our local grocery stores have been getting smaller and smaller. The Randalls ad was only a half width single sheet. The Kroger ad was missing, and the three hispanic markets were either a full width single sheet, or a half (newspaper sheets.) That’s down from multi pages and full size sheets. The Aldi ad was at least 75% not food items and was half what it used to be. I think the companies don’t have enough sale items to fill the old ad sizes, and they don’t want to spend the money on extra pages. Both bad indicators.

Stack what you can while you can. War gets worse, someone starts sinking shipping, or interdicting it, and prices will got nuts. Ditto if the middle east oil stops flowing and shipping becomes more expensive. Too high and the trucks stop moving. We were really close once already. I know I’ve been banging this drum for a while now, but look around and tell me I’m wrong…

So stack. Prep like your life depends on it. It might.

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Sun. Oct. 22, 2023 – 10222023 – and just another Sunday

Cool again, but warming later. Still pretty damp. Yesterday and today.

I did my pickups, and since the truck was full, and most of the stuff was going to the BOL, and because I was already a third of the way there, I blew off my other plans and did a speed run to the BOL. Dropped off the stuff, grabbed a couch that needed to be thrown out, and headed home.

Which means that today I WILL put out decorations. I don’t know why I’ve been finding other stuff to do, I love decorating for Halloween. This might be a year to pull back a notch though, even if I have a good theme in mind, and most of the stuff to execute it. Or it could be I’m just making excuses for poor time management skills. I guess we’ll see how it goes today.

It’s all part of being IN a community. It’s a wacky thing to be known for, but it gives people a label for me (oh, the guy who does the cool decorations at Halloween) that ISN’T (oh, the weird loner with all the junk in his driveway, always knew there was something up with that guy). It’s like wearing a distinctive hat, all the people remember is the hat. And that can have a number of beneficial uses…

So stack up some meatspace time, manage people’s perception of you, and be a part of your community.


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