Mon. Apr. 25, 2022 – birthday and anniversary this week

National forecast says we might be getting some rain today and tomorrow… which I’m hoping against.  I’ve got stuff to do that needs dry weather.   It was 76F and 91%RH when I went to bed.

I did some stuff Sunday.  Mostly fled the house and the squealing of tiny proto females.   Did two pickups, both mainly for my non-prepping hobby.   Did daddy daughter stuff, then wasted time on the internet with my friends. Oh, and during that time the dog ate an unknown quantity of Easter chocolate and caused some concern and an attempt at making him vomit it up.  The little poop factory eats aluminum soda cans, a teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide didn’t phase him.  He’s still alive so I guess he didn’t eat too much of the chocolate.

Today’s plan is to figure out what’s gone wrong with my pickup truck, get some bins of stuff ready for auction, and do a pickup or two of BOL stuff.  Rain complicates all of that tremendously so I’m hoping it misses us.

I’ve got so much going on this week, swim team practices start, D2 has a birthday, I have a wedding anniversary, and all the normal things too.  It’s crazy.


Some comments at the end of the day yesterday regarding supply chain, food, and corn.  If you haven’t caught up, take a minute and read them and consider how they’ll affect you if it happens that way.

Beyond local and national farm issues, the brutal lockdown in China is backing up shipping and supply chain like crazy.  The effects will start showing up in a couple of weeks and it will take months to un-flock this clustered mess.  Expect anything coming from or through China, and particularly Shanghai to be delayed or unavailable, possibly for months.

The situation is worsening folks, in just about any way you look at it.  I know, I know.   Sky is falling yet again.  Yep.  Look at the material and make your own conclusions.  If you decide it’s overblown, then at least you’ve considered it, and didn’t just keep running forward with your eyes closed.

If like me and others, you see all the signs pointing to things getting worse, not better, ACT on that.  Take actions that work for you and your family and for your financial situation.  I’m still in “don’t do anything irrevocable” mode, but we did turn a whole pile of cash into a whole pile of bricks and dirt because my wife agrees that inflation is eating our savings like a fat man at a buffet.

Interest rates are rising.  They’ve already risen.   If you are selling a house, do the deal.  If rates rise too much the housing bubble will pop again.  If you are buying a place to live, and it’s within your means, know that you might end up underwater on your loan for a while, and that might limit you for a few years or longer.  I wouldn’t be buying any place as an “investment” and I wouldn’t be entering into an adjustable rate mortgage at the moment either… nor would I ‘stretch’ to make a purchase that is outside what I can safely afford.  If I was renting, I’d be looking at long term leases to lock in monthly payments.  If I was the owner, I’d be looking at short term leases as much as possible.

Also consider what these changes and trends mean for fixed incomes and government assistance programs and the people dependent on them.   Food shortages almost always lead to riots.     In other words, I expect violence and lawlessness to increase.  It will be variable by area, but everyone will be affected.   And people will be fleeing to your safe semi-rural area when the cities get worse.  They’ve already started.

Time to really get busy getting ready.   Suck it up and stack it up.

n

Sun. Apr. 24, 2022 – sometimes, I just throw up my hands…

Possibility of rain today, with moderately warm temps.  Yesterday was fairly nice.   Sun, moderate temps, and not too humid.  Not many of those days left before summer really hits.

Slept in, didn’t get a whole lot done before I had to put my chef’s hat on.   Dinner was a success with the birthday girl, her friends were a  lot less enthusiastic about the lamb.  Which is a shame because it was pretty good.  I tried something different with the bread, and it worked out.  When I was in college, we’d sometimes eat at a steak restaurant attached to a wholesale butcher.  It was great food and cheap, and the meal came with “Roman Bread”.   I’ve been thinking of that bread for a while, and finally decided to try finding a recipe and making it.   The actual recipe from the restaurant was online, and it was straightforward.

It was as good as I remember, a hit with my wife, and the kids liked it.  The yeast I used wasn’t very vigorous (the packet was one year past best by date) but it’s a pretty flat bread anyway, and it rose enough.  The onions make it sweet, the rosemary makes it savory, and it has a great texture.  It’s not as simple as true flatbread or tortilla, and uses more energy and ingredients, but it’s about half way there between a loaf and flat…   I’ll be making it again, that’s for sure.   Variations might be great too, like grated cheese instead of onion, or chopped chives, or any number of other things.

The Roman Bread is a lot like fruit cobbler, in that little can go wrong, you can do variations, and prep time is minimal.


 

Someone mentioned it in comments, but I’ll repeat that the Texas preparedness tax holiday continues until Monday midnight.  As long as you order and pay before then, you get the tax back, or don’t pay it.   The list and limits are here.

 


The problem with my truck not starting may not have been the battery failing.   There was no juice, and the battery read 12.8v while connected, but a new battery failed to solve the problem.   Still no start, still not enough juice to run any accessories.   I will be troubleshooting that further today, I didn’t have time to look at it before, once I knew there was still an issue I just closed the hood and walked away.  Very weird though.

The rest of today will be me working the list.   And it gets bigger every day.

I encourage you, in the strongest possible way, to build up your food supplies.  Stack it high.

nick

Sun. Apr. 17, 2022 – Happy Feast of the Resurrection

Cool and damp this morning in Houston.   Dew is heavy on the ground.  I’m hoping for sunlight and warm soon.

 

To the readers who are believers and who follow this calendar, I wish you a glorious Feast of the Resurrection.   If you have to wait a bit, please remind me when the day comes so I can offer you good wishes as well.

 

If you are a believer of an older tradition… and celebrate Passover, I wish you well.

 

And if a believer of a still older tradition, Happy Feast of Hestia/Esther.

 

Whatever your faith or lack of faith, or even if you reject the idea of faith, I think we can all celebrate being alive, which is not guaranteed nor mandated, especially in these unsettled times.

 

If you are so inclined, don’t forget to prep you spirit, as well as mind and body.

 

nick

Sat. Mar. 5, 2022 – time keeps on slippin’ into the future….

Cool, overcast, damp, but not actually raining… except the forecast says possible rain.  I hope for some more clear time to move stuff around.

I did some of that yesterday.  Picked up stuff, and moved stuff.  Back was sore last night, and is sore again today.   I’ve been wearing some lightweight tactical boots and they have both good support and good cushioning.  It seems to be making a difference in how bad I feel after lifting and toting.

D2 has a function for her school club this morning.  Mom is going to take her.  I hope to sleep in a bit.  Not too much, I’ve got too much to do.

And some of it will get done.  Some of it will not.

I didn’t get to Costco on Friday, and I’m loathe to go on the weekend but needs must, if I can find the time.

I can use the extra stacks.   It’s feeling like that sort of a decade.

Stack something this weekend.  Or go all Scrooge McDuck on your piles, and check them over.   But do something.

 

nick

Sun. Jan. 23, 2022 – 01232022 – silly, I know.

Cold and clear.  Was 34F when I went to bed.  Didn’t get very warm during the day, probably won’t today either. Pretty sure we froze at some point, but I’ve got the citrus indoors, and I’m hoping nothing is negatively affected.

Did some more cleanup on the old family pc.  I’d previously upgraded it with an SSD and it breathed new life, along with making the RAM and adding a second drive for data… but the main reason for retiring it (technically anyway, the real reason was the newer $8 pc I picked up) was that the SSD was full and it’s a pain to manage where stuff goes on it.

Well.  I killed more than half the drive’s capacity which was taken up with LOG FILES from failed updates.  150GB of pure crap was filling the drive.  And windows ‘drive cleanup’ tool doesn’t even look for the files.  WinDirStat identified the biggest files, and where they were, and I deleted them.  Just like that the PC is usable again.   I went looking because windows update was failing with useless error messages.  It sure looked to me like the updates were failing when they tried to make a restore point, because the drive was full.

After making space, update found 23 more updates to apply under ‘safety and security’, so I did those and it updated without an issue.  Freaking windows storing cr@p and failing with useless errors.

Now I’ve got to look for the same sorts of things on this, my primary desktop.  I bet it’s full of cruft too.

— spent the evening watching Bukaroo Bonsai with D1.  She laughed and enjoyed it.

The at bedtime we had a long philosophical discussion.   Kid’s smart but since we’re not religious, she doesn’t  have a framework she can fit the more mystical workings of the universe into…  And old movies give us plenty to discuss regarding PC language, wokeness, and changing times.  She’s anti-wokeness.  The kids are starting to back lash against it.  They’re tired of saying the opposite of what their eyes tell them.  Interesting times.

Took some stuff to my secondary, and spent some time stacking stuff on a pallet for auction.   Monday I’ll be talking to another auction company about consigning a truck full of stuff with them.  They definitely do ‘estate sale’ type stuff, and it sells, if not always for highest dollar.   They just moved to a bigger, and empty warehouse space so the time to strike is now.

Ordered some powdered cream for the stacks.   It was finally back in stock.   The powdered cream, butter, and cheese all do age out.  They get hard and lumpy, and get an ‘old’ flavor, so I need to rotate them, even if it means wasting them.  I won a ‘seed display’ in one auction too.  It looks like it’s about half flowers, half veg.  We’ll see if it was worth the money when I pick it up.  Seeds aren’t cheap.

Don’t forget to stack up  the little things that make all the other things better, like butter and cream.   Stack the things.

 

nick

Fri. Jan. 21, 2022 – or 01212022 – another week slid by, yet this month is really long…

Cold, but I don’t know yet how cold it will get, or how cold it got.  It was 35F when I went to bed.  It is supposed to be clear today anyway, and tomorrow as well.

Mostly spent yesterday poking at things.  I did get to the grocery store, and noted in comments that  there were big gaps in the shelves in several areas.   Cat food and cold and flu OTC meds being the most prominent.

Today should be more auction and ebay stuff. If the weather stays clear I’ll go to my storage unit and clean and sort.  If not, I’ll do some more ebay stuff here at the house.  I’ve got stuff to test and clean and list.   Last night I had stuff sell in the auction by the guy who changed his mind about taking all of my stuff.   I think I did well with LPs and with books, of all things.  There were a couple of collectibles that didn’t do badly, and there was some stuff that sold for $1, but  at least it’s gone.

I hope he’ll be happy and take another load right away.

This afternoon and evening, my wife and D2 will be joined by the rest of her troop and they’ll be off to GS camp for a Gymkana, whatever that is.   The hope is sports on horseback, and related to horses.  Hard to be sure from the GS description.  Friday and Saturday night away, home Sunday afternoon.  That leaves me with D1 and a bunch of work to do.  We’ll see how that goes.  Cookie season is in a week or two, so the last bits have to be out of the house to make way.  Of course that was supposed to have already happened, but …  plans vs reality.

While I was at the grocery, I did add a flat of canned peas to the stacks,  6 pounds of bacon, and some pork chops and loin.  Beef was in short supply and none was on sale.  A little voice keeps poking me to add alternatives to fresh milk.  I have a bunch of Lido powdered full fat, and we don’t use as  much as we did a year ago, but I think I’ll add more.   It keeps fairly well.   I should open an old can and see how it’s doing.  For science or something.   But seriously, when I get little pokes from the universe like I’ve been getting about the milk, I ignore it at my peril.   YMMV but I’ll be checking the old and adding some new.

Anyone else getting weird vibes or feel short of something?

If you do, stack it up.

nick

 

BTW, I’ve now been doing this officially for 4 years ( a bit longer if you count the days I was just filling in for Bob while he was sick), without missing a day that I can remember.  Some days the end product was pretty weak, but at least the lights were on and the door unlocked.  All y’all are the reason I do it, to keep this unique thing that Bob built alive.  Thanks for sticking around and making this place somewhere I enjoy spending my time.  And thank you Barbara for letting us, and Rick for making it all work.  We’ve got a rocky road ahead, but we’re all better prepared for it than we were, and we will get through it.

n

 

Wed. Dec. 15, 2021 – the dreams are pretty good

But I really need to stop falling asleep in my chair at my desk.

Warm and damp. Maybe rain. Blah all day.

More work at my client’s. His patience is wearing thin, but I am not getting the brunt of it. My cams work remotely. I can get in through the port forwarding. The problem has to be with his stuff.

So short shrift, both on this, and all day.

Decide what needs stacking, and do it.

nick

Sun. Nov. 21, 2021 – some of my neighbors have Christmas lights out already

Cool and damp again. It’s been pretty nice for the last week, so I guess I’ll spend next week in the path of a big storm. ‘Cuz why not?

Especially considering I’m flying on Monday and Black Friday during the shakedown for wuflu mandates with TSA and other airport/airline workers. What could possibly go wrong?

Yesterday I spent the morning learning about the Ubiquiti gear I have to support, and the afternoon poking at it. In the middle I caught my 10yo hiding what she was reading online from me. Mostly fanfic webcomics, but they do have comment sections and she was commenting. That is going to bear some additional scrutiny before she gets the lappy back and the sites unblocked. The titles of the comics look objectionable but the content might not be that bad. My wife will do the looking. I knew the little sneak was bosskey-ing me.

Did make some very small progress with the ubiquiti switch. It took nuking my side, and reinstalling the controller software, and a lot of factory restoring on the box side. I eventually got one switch and one access point enrolled in the cloud management tool and configured. I cobbled the theater together so they can at least watch movies in there for the next week. I hate half assing stuff but some is better than none in this case.

Today will be getting ready for travel and family visit. Joy.

Keep your head on a swivel and your awareness up, and keep stacking while you can.

nick

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.

nick

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.

nick