Category: computing

Sun. Mar. 10, 2024 – work, work, work, fish, work

Cold and dreary? Maybe cold and clear. Probably cold though. It was chilly in Houston yesterday, I changed from shorts to long pants before I left the house.

Had a good hobby meeting. My website design and work was approved as was my plan to continue. So there’s no dodging it now. I’m learning stuff, which is good, but it’s another project and a time sink at that.

Picked up my wind generator on the way to the BOL, and I’ll at least take a look in the box today. It’s not huge, but I don’t know the wattage yet. Looks like it was designed for a boat…

I’ve got a list of projects, as usual. It’ll be pick and choose based on weather, mood, and timing. And if I got all the parts together. Setting up starlink should be at least a little bit interesting.

We’ve got the in-laws up for the first half of the week, so that will add a layer of complexity and angst. Good for the kids though, in small doses.

And apparently the garden has sprouted. So I’ll probably do some weeding over the week. And I might get some seeds in the ground in my plot too. We’ll see. Meanwhile I brought up more meat for the freezers, and two cans of freeze dried for the shelf. My thumbs are not green. So I stack.

So how does your garden grow? If not, better add some canned veg to your stacks.


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Sat. Mar. 9, 2024 – non-prepping hobby today, then heading to BOL

Warm and moist, probably grey and overcast. Like yesterday. It was pretty grey most of the day. Some brief periods of sunshine, depending on where you were in town… and I got a couple. Still, no real rain either.

Did my auction stuff in the morning, then started on the errands. First was picking up the ham gear I won in an estate sale. I got a nice all modes, all bands portable radio. It’s 20 years old but still pretty desirable. Yaesu FT-817, with an antenna tuner, and an external speaker. My current plan is to use it at the BOL as a portable, from the dock. I’ve got to get a battery or 13vDC power supply set up, and some sort of antenna, but then I’ll be able to actually take advantage of the nice radio quiet environment, without having to wait until I can build out a whole shack. One of my non-prepping buddies gave me an old cushcraft R4 or R6 multiband vertical antenna, and I can mount that at the dock or on the dockhouse. I can run a wire dipole or inverted v or sloper for lower bands. I’m itching to get on the air up there, so the ham project might jump the queue.

I found an entry door at Habitat reStore for the BOL. That will get me through all but one of my door replacement projects.

I got a costco run in, although most of the stuff I buy wasn’t on sale this cycle. I did manage some OTC meds, and about 40 pounds of beef.

Seems like beef is cheap the last couple of weeks, so I’m a buyer. Australian lamb is cheap too. The price at costco hasn’t fluctuated much over the last 10 years, but it’s actually down a little bit at the moment. Great quality for the money, and a nice change of pace from chicken, beef, and pork. The boneless leg roasts are economical, tasty, and easy to cook. Modern lamb has a lot less of the “gamey” flavor lamb used to have, so if you haven’t tried it in a decade or more, you might be surprised. Chops and rib chops are awesome too.

Today I’ve got my non-prepping hobby meeting, where I’ll share with the board the work I’ve done so far on the website redesign and hosting move. They should be pleased, and if not, they can volunteer instead. Meatspace is important. Community is important. Getting out of the house and talking with real people is important. There are costs though, even if they are minimal. It’s worth it in my estimation to do some volunteering, to be known as a good guy, and one who is willing to help. You get a lot more help if you are known to help others. I might never need it, but I’ve already been introduced to a local group of hams, and met some good folks, sold stuff to them, and gotten a free antenna… nevermind that I’ve had the pleasure of the company of people who share many of my interests for these last few years.

Get out and join a community of interest to you. You never know where it will lead, and it will probably enrich your life.

Stack some friends and acquaintances…


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Fri. Mar. 8, 2024 – another week passed without TEOTWAWKI. Hooray!

Warm and damp. Probably wet and overcast too. Might even rain. Yesterday was overcast most of the day, with some sun in the afternoon depending on where you were. Some people and places even got rain in the evening. Well, hard to call a few drops “rain”, but they did make the windshield wet.

Spent the day doing some domestic bliss- laundry, haircut, picking up stuff around the house… Spent the rest doing auction pickups. Same stuff as most days, except for the haircut. I did get a little bit of moisture from the sky on the truck as I was coming home.

Hit the HEB for some lunch stuff for the kids. Picked up some onsale prime sirloin, vegetables, and stuff to take to the BOL next week. There were a few things on sale but not many.

Today will be auction pickups, namely the ham radio I won last night, and some other things from the same estate sale. I’ll do some more poking at the hobby web site, as I’ll be demoing what I have for the group on Saturday. I didn’t get much done yesterday. So I’ve got some more to do tonight.

I watched the State of the Union address last night, and commented here as I did. Joe held it together longer than he has in the past, but the address itself was classic Joe, more government, more taxing, more fighting issues most people don’t care much about, and more blame for anyone but the career politicians sitting in the room. What I didn’t see was anything to unite the nation, to heal the rift between Right and Left, woke and conservative, sane and insane… I didn’t see any grand plan to make any significant changes, just more of the same, harder.

I don’t think that is going to work. I think we’re on the same path we’ve been on, and I think it leads to disaster for the nation, and a whole lot of dead people.

In short, keep prepping. Stack it high, in several places. Find the people you can trust. Be a trustworthy person. Get ready for change, lots of it, and most of it unpleasant. But know that just as there are still Romans in Rome, we’ll get through whatever is coming.

Preps will help.


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Thur. Mar. 7, 2024 – the only thing we have … is the thing we have.

Warm and sunny, clear and beautiful. That’s the way yesterday turned out, and it would be great to have that again today. I guess…. we’ll see 😉

Spent yesterday doing auction stuff, and plumbing. I won a wind generator for a dollar. Looks complete, new in box. Not a huge one, but I’ve wanted one to play with, and there is a natural wind tunnel effect at the BOL so I have a good place to put it. I’ve been eyeing the spot since shortly after we bought the place, now I’ll have to find some time to put it up. Should be interesting.

Finally finished the plumbing repair to the drain in the bath tub. Used the parts from goodwill, with a few add ons from Home Depot. The goodwill assembly saved me about $80. Had to go and get a part I didn’t know existed until I tried to put the thing together. That was fun. Things don’t quite line up but I made it work. (They never lined up, and the previous guy made it work…) That should let us delay ripping up the bathroom for a bit longer.

Spring Break is coming up and we’ll be at the BOL for most of the week. I’ll be working the list and getting all the “spring” things going up there. Sprinkler system is top of the list at the moment. Stabilizing the hill and retaining walls is on the list too, but that will have to be other specialists. The tree guy still has to come by and do the trimming and removal. I’d like to get a couple of fruit trees planted, but I’m not finding anything in the big box stores. I missed the apple trees apparently. I’m not going to plant anything that isn’t cold hardy either, so the cherries at HD right now won’t do. I don’t care for plums, and HD only had one variety of pears. You need two to get good yields. I’m not planting citrus up there either. I knew I should have bought the apple trees when I saw them….

Oh, and I’ll be tasked with getting the starlink set up and wifi coverage installed.

Today I’ll be doing a pickup for the wind generator and some other smalls I won. I’ll probably do some more hobby website, and maybe unbox the starlink too. I would like to have all the net stuff ready to go when we head up. Minimum is the starlink and some additional wifi… I’ve got the gear, just need to do it.

Maybe I can find some time to fish during the week…

One can hope. In the mean time, I’m stacking infrastructure. Stack some of your own.


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Tues. Mar. 5, 2024 – Erect– I mean Election Day… at least for the small fry…

Warm and damp. Clear if the forecast is good, but locally we could get anything. After yesterday’s misty start, it did clear and turn into a pretty nice day. Windows down until later afternoon, then the humidity with the higher temp made A/C welcome…

Did one pickup, although it was three invoices. Got my ventless propane heater for the BOL backup heat. Got a couple of other speculative things too. Sometimes I’ll get something without knowing why at the time, but it usually works out. Has to be cheap and close by.

After getting the kids from school, I went back to poking at my non-prepping hobby website build. I’d spent the morning doing auction stuff and poking at it, and thought I’d poke some more. All I can say is that if you want to do simple things, it can be simple. Still not as easy as the demos. The demo guys are NEVER trying to re-create something existing- I don’t care if it’s a website or a CAD drawing, it’s always easy to just breeze along adding new stuff. Much less easy to keep referring to the old, and trying to incorporate that stuff into the new.

I made progress though, so that was good. I’m hoping I can poke at it enough to have a pretty good “go live” site by Saturday. My non-prepping hobby meets this Saturday and it would be good to put it in front of the board and get sign off on the switchover. It means I’ll be poking more than I’d like during the next few days.

Took some time off to watch Red Dawn with the kids last night. It held up pretty well. I’ve got a list of formative movies and books, and they are receptive to it. Just have to make the time.

Culture. It’s important. They are a bit surprised by movies from before PC and the diversite’. They can name 3 female scientists, but can they name three male? Yeah, that is just one of my issues with school… and it crops up in the strangest places. So, pop culture from the before time as a balance.

Might work. I like watching the movies anyway.

Stack some together time. And ammo.



(“it’s fried rice you plick!”)

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Fri. Feb. 23, 2024 – Friday the 13th happened 10 days ago this month…

Warmish, and clear. Yesterday started with a lot of overcast, and very wet, but turned into another beautiful day. Today is forecast to be the same. It’s definitely time to get the garden going.

Bit of a mixed bag yesterday as far as getting stuff done. I was able to get the plumbing parts I need, and should be able to get the tub back together today. They even had the transition fitting to attach to the lead pipe sewer connection. Good thing the HD managers are allowed to pick some items to stock for their local market. We have lead sewer pipes coming up through our slabs, and it’s been long enough that they are falling. Probably not something you needed to stock 20 years ago.

I also got the Ranger smogged and inspected, so I can remedy my registration issues. Expy too. Maybe I’ll do both at the same time. I have some maintenance due on the Ranger too, that I’ll have to find time for. Won’t be this week or next.

I wasn’t able to do my auction drop off, so that gets pushed to today. I have one pickup on the south side of town, and one near me that I forgot to do last week. Then I’m loading for my trip to the BOL. Still not sure if I’m going up today or tomorrow, but today would be better. Turns out I need to cut the grass there, which means doing some service work on the mower first… and pitching in on my neighbor’s garden plot. I might try to get something planted in my own plot too. Then the irrigation needs to be sorted out, with the broken line fixed, and the sprinklers re-installed…

It’s fractal. The closer you look at a task, the more tasks there are to do.

And when I get back, I’ll spend the next week getting ready for the Hamfest, and getting my hobby website up. Whoohooo. Fun times.

Better to be busy than bored I guess. Meatspace. It takes more work than a hermit’s life, but it’s worth it.

Stack some facetime with people. Start on your garden.


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Thur. Feb. 22, 2024 – 02222024 – and just like that, half the week is gone…

Cool but not cold, forecast says mid 60s F. And clear. Warming later. Sometimes we’d call this nearly perfect weather. Yesterday was certainly nice. More driving around with the windows down…

And I did drive around. Pickups all over the south side of town, and beyond. Got some good stuff though, so even with mileage and tolls it still saves money. Went to Lowes for the plumbing parts I need and came up empty. I’ll have to hit HomeDepot today.

Doing another pickup today, a chest freezer. It’s the season for them again I guess. The retail prices have come down from the wuflu peak, and so they are even better in the auctions, if you don’t mind a dent or a scratch. I’ve mentioned before that I prefer several smaller freezers to one big one. Better chance of not losing everything if you have a failure. Plus they fit into the space better, being only 24″ deep.

After the pickup, I should be doing a drop off too. More stuff to the auctioneer.

I’ll be loading the truck for a run to the BOL too. Wife and kids are doing Girl Scouts, so I’ll head out for the weekend. I’ll have the dog with me, and I’m sure I’ll find stuff to do beyond just dropping off a load of stuff. I’m bringing the huge ladder, the meat saw, a 40 gallon water tank on wheels, a patio heater, and whatever else I can fit in the truck. Maybe I’ll be taking a freezer up with me too. Just brought one home, but then bought another. It’d be a sickness if it wasn’t so useful. Dunno when I’ll leave, probably Friday, but maybe Saturday. Depends on if I have to do any pickups on the way. I’m bidding on more solar panels and another generator. Don’t really expect to get the gennie, but the panel would be a nice addition.

Time to start cobbling something together with the solar, so I can find out what I don’t have and don’t know.

There’s always something that needs doing. I don’t understand how someone retired can have “free time”…

Stack up some more stuff. It’s getting sporty out there.

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Fri. Feb. 16, 2024 – half way thru the month, already…

Cool and damp, maybe some rain today. It was overcast and damp all day Thursday, but never did rain. Today the forecast says “some rain”. I hope not much.

I looked at my posts and comments for the month around this date 4 years ago, and my lime tree was budding, the weather was similar, but prices for food were half. It’s very useful to have a daily journal to track what changes and what doesn’t. I felt like the lime had budded way early, and that $2/pound for pork on sale was reasonable. Checking allowed me to see that even “on sale” prices have doubled, and the weather is very much the same. Last year I suggested to D1 that she start a journal so she had something she trusted when the world tried to gaslight her. I recommend it to everyone now. Write down what is happening to you and around you. First person and contemporary accounts are valuable. Hand written hard copy is best, but anything you control is acceptable. Our memories are fallible and we adjust to accommodate our circumstances.

Didn’t get much done yesterday, I spent most of my day doing auction stuff online, and exploring my options for my new position in my non-prepping hobby club. I’ll be sharing some of that journey here too.

Today I’ve got a couple of pickups to do, which will involve some driving. I’m really hoping for minimal rain as I need to use the pickup truck and rain always messes up the freeways. There’s a three day weekend ahead of us, and I’ll be using it to do stuff around the house here. It would be nice to have cool, dry weather for that. Anything else will mean picking and choosing what I can do. Pouring rain means I’m working on ebay listings, or my new website project. We’re not going to the BOL because it’s GS cookie sales weekend. Support your local troops, it really helps the girls do things, even though the price has increased per box. It makes a difference in getting them out of the house and interacting with people. And it’s a great way for you to impact your community.

Which is a good thing.

Stack up all the things. You won’t regret it.


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Thur. Feb. 8, 2024 – fast or slow, here we go!

Cool and overcast. National forecast is clear for a couple of days, while openweathermap says “light rain” but the daily hour by hour forecast says “0%” chance of rain. Liars gonna lie… We’ll see what actually happens. Only impact on me is if the stuff in the back of the truck gets wet or not…

Did my big loop of pickups yesterday, then did my kid stuff. Nothing of interest with either. Then stopped at HEB grocery for my prescriptions, and to see what was on sale. Bought some more meat. Tasty cow. If it’s on sale, I’m a buyer. I’ll break that down today, and maybe put some brisket in the slow cooker. Gotta find another solid slow cooker recipe.

Hit the chiropractor too. I’m sore. I let my misalignment go too long. Y’all might remember I’ve been trying to learn to manage my typical issues without outside help, for when there isn’t any available. Well, I let the experiment go on too long this time. I’m paying for that now. Use civilization for what you can while you can.

Today I’ve got one more pickup. There have been a ton of dewalt and Milwaukee tools in the auctions lately. I own both, so I’m always looking to get more if the price is right. And it was last week. Dunno why all the brand new tools in unopened boxes are in the secondary markets right now, but there are a LOT of them. Maybe the manufacturers need to generate cash so they’re dumping stuff? I can’t really think of a good reason for it. New unopened current production. Nuts.

Speaking of new, I was behind a flatbed truck loaded with the wheel carriages for freight trains- boggies? No wheels, but the huge casting with the springs inserted. New old stock, casting dates clearly visible from the mid and later 90s. That stuff has been sitting for a long time. It was strapped and stacked, so I think it was finally being delivered for use, and not sent to the scrapper. If they’re just getting to inventory that is 30 years old, I wonder if anyone is still making the parts currently? Houston features a locomotive on the City Seal, and we have a lot of track, switchyards, and other RR infrastructure in use. I see them switching out ties, reballasting, and updating grade crossings, so it’s still important to someone here.

But there is a lot of infrastructure that is going un-repaired, and un-replaced. I don’t see that as a good thing. Wait too long and you lose the facilities and craftsmen who make the stuff. You lose the stuff when it fails catastrophically instead of just having small issues routinely fixed. Look around your area. If you don’t see infrastructure projects, whether new or maintaining the existing, your area is probably in decline and it won’t be long before the failures start, or worsen to the point of no return. Get out while you can if you are facing that.

Whatever happens in the next 5-10 years, where you are is probably going to be the biggest factor in how well you do, or how poorly.

No matter where you are though, preps will help. Stack!


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Tues. Feb. 6, 2024 – well, if not hell, then heck?

Cool and clear. It never did rain on my house yesterday, but it did rain on my wife on her way to work so BOTH forecasts were correct! Hers and mine. Peace in the house, hooray. Today should be clear, and warming later in the day.

I didn’t get everything done, or even started, and what I did do took longer than I hoped. Sometimes it be that way. I got some stuff pulled out for ebay, some for my local auction. I sorted some stuff that has been sitting since October. My back was hurting so I’ll claim that as my excuse for not doing heavier work. Well, hurting more than normal…

Then I had to get the kids from school, and do some cooking. I was going to make some frozen fish, but I started breaking down some bulk meat and vac sealing it, so after doing beef brisket, pork shoulder, and a spiral sliced ham, I decided that I could just throw the ham in the skillet and make that. I was browning chunks of the pork shoulder to make carnitas in the slow cooker. Freeze some, cook some… so the ham was a natural choice. The vintage cast iron performed beautifully. I’ve got a good seasoning on it and with some bacon fat, even the sticky sugar from the ham scraped away with a smooth utensil. A quick rinse, then dry and re-oil with clean peanut oil, and back into the drawer for next time. Cooking with good cast iron is a joy.

The pre-browned chunks of pork will go into the slowcooker today. Some of the ham I packed in 1 pound bags, and I’ll take that to the BOL for when I’m up there alone. It’s a quick and tasty dinner. The rest is in 2 pound bags. The pork is in 3 pound bags, and the brisket is in 4 pounders. That is one bag per meal, with some leftovers. I mentioned before that I have increased the weight of my “per meal” packages. Freaking kids eat like crazy. Buying in bulk, cutting to meal size or portion size, and vac sealing before freezing is economical and convenient. Takes a bit of time, but not much more than putting the groceries away. The savings make it worth it.

Late in yesterday’s comments I linked to a couple videos of shootouts involving cops, and civilians. One is a guy who’s just had enough, the other is a young thug. There are lessons to be learned from watching other people experience violence, and violent situations. Note too the police response and tactics. In the second one, the neighbor threatening to kill people, note when the cop reminds the neighbors that he’s recording and asks if it’s alright. Remember that they didn’t do that while interviewing people on the Rust set, when Alec Baldwin shot and killed his Cinematographer. No Miranda warning, and the video is admissible. Something to keep in mind if you are in a bad situation, or even witness to one. Like I said, lessons to be learned.

Today I’ll be doing the same, over and over again. It’ll be fun! Well, it’s never boring.

Learn something new today. Practice a skill, or start on a new one. Stack experiences like you’re stacking food.


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