Category: guest post – nick

Mon. Aug. 15, 2022 – stress, truth, addiction, duty, love

Hot and humid.   ‘Natch…  as it has been with little relief.  But that’s Houston in the summer.

An observation.   8 more hours in the day to do things did not mean I got things done.


So, what happened, what has been learned?

1700 daily posts, with differing topics and amounts of effort over the course of more than four years.   Over 12000 comments.   When I last bothered to add it up, I figured over 1.5 million words on mostly prepping related stuff, mostly here but also in comment sections across the web.   Add a few more hundred thousand since then.    That’s  a graduate degree, maybe two.  That’s a dozen novels, maybe more.   At 8 hours a day (while doing other things, and spread out across the day) it’s 13000+ hours- well past the mythical 10K hours needed for mastery, and I didn’t start from zero with the skills.   All that is just to say that I’ve been doing this for a while now.  In another year, I’ll have the same number of posts as Bob (in this iteration of the site).

When Bob first asked me to contribute, I was flattered, and a bit nervous, but also, it wasn’t that different from posting long comments.   I liked it as I like sharing, teaching, and I think the material was and is important.   When Bob suddenly got sick, I had the access and the desire to help keep the doors open, so we’d all have a place to wait for him to get better and return.  So I did.  Barbara and Bob were both well aware of what we were doing here.   When Bob passed, and Barbara wanted to keep the site going, I was flattered and a bit awed that she let me continue, asking me to do more than just ‘open the door’ in the morning.

I felt a strong sense of duty as well, but I wasn’t just a caretaker for a memorial site, I felt a strong duty to contribute, to build on the knowledge, to keep the site as a living growing evolving site, so that new people could and would discover all the great stuff here, and the great group of people who hang out here.  The depth and breadth of the knowledge held by this group is astounding.   I felt, and still feel a strong sense of conservator-ship and I regularly re-read old posts and old comments to keep the continuity of tone and focus.

It’s Bob’s site.   He brought most of us here, and the environment he fostered kept most of us here.  I’m flattered that some people have  joined us since I started daily duties, and have chosen to keep coming back and to contribute when they can, or to ask for help when they needed it.  It’s inevitable that as I became more comfortable in the role, and had the ever increasing number of posts, that the daily blogging part of the site, the heart that is Daynotes Journal, should come to reflect me more than Bob.  I hope that the style and tone have continued to reflect what readers and commentors enjoyed coming here for.   I have made a conscious effort along those lines.

It was therefore quite a shock to discover that someone who I thought I understood seemed to  think little of everything I’ve done and tried to do for the last 4 plus years.   Not a certain troll.  I don’t actually care about him at all, only the disruption he causes.   But the stress on the system caused by the troll led to the revelation and it kinda blew my mind.  How could I be so blind?  Was I wrong about other things too?  Why the F was I spending 8 hours or more a day on something that didn’t matter?

So I closed my browser and walked away.

It was a busy couple of days.  School is starting today, new school for one kid, last year of Middle of the other.  Friday was the 4th anniversary of my father’s death.  Saturday was my non-prepping hobby meeting, and the last chance to plan for our yearly swapmeet/tradeshow/annual meeting which takes place in two weeks.  Plus all the normal things and FINALLY making some progress with contractors at the BOL.

It was hard to stay away.  I realized I miss my friends.  I miss sharing ideas and the stuff I’m doing.   I miss the collegiality, the conviviality of the group.  I’m in the habit of thinking “oh, that’s something I can build a post off of”, or “oh, that story will get people talking”, or “holy cr@p that went badly, someone will enjoy hearing about that mess….” but I had no outlet for it.   I also missed hearing about what you all were up to, what was happening in your lives.

I realized that the site is a labor of love, as well as a duty.  I realized that there were LOTS of people who do think what I’m doing and trying to do has value.  Barbara assured me that she is one of them and wants me to continue.  So I will.  The past few days have been longer than I’ve ever been away from the site, even as just a reader, since long before I started posting.   I read through the past days comments and I’m gladdened by what I saw, people communicating and hanging out, sharing, and helping.   Thank you to those of you who reached out privately too.

So, I will continue to feed my addiction by coming here every day and sharing my life with you, and sharing in yours as well.

To make that happen, I have reassurance from Barbara that Bob wouldn’t have tolerated the sort of disruption that we’ve seen lately.  Anyone who claims to love Bob, or the way things were, has no standing to cause disruption as that is the OPPOSITE of what Bob would have wanted.    I have Rick as a partner on the technical side.   And I’ll deputize anyone willing and able to make things happen if that becomes necessary.

What does that mean?  I’ll do whatever is needed to preserve the tone and atmosphere  here as it has been for the last decade.   It means that there might be some ‘rough and tumble’ as we are all (to the best of my knowledge) adults and sometimes adults have exchanges that they later regret.  We’ve had those in the past and I expect we’ll have them again.  I think everyone knows how to disagree without being disagreeable.    It also means that most of us should “assume positive intent” when reacting to each other (as has been the case for almost 190K comments).

That does not apply to trolls.  They have demonstrated negative intent consistently, repeatedly, and willfully.    One will be deleted on sight.  The other has acted in bad faith by my reckoning but has the tiniest sliver of possibility left.  I have technical reasons to think they are not one in the same despite 90% or more congruence.   I’m putting him on notice here.   Do not push this.   If your whole story isn’t a thin tissue of lies then you know how to behave here.   Failure to do so will just prove your bad intent and ill will and we will all delete you on sight too.  And that goes for any new trolls too, we’ll assume bad intent and just delete them.

For reasons that are wider than this site and what Rick can easily do, blocking trolls a priori has challenges.  Therefore, Rick or I, or one of our deputies, will delete offenders and their comments as soon as we see them.  I don’t want to leave even a note in their place, as that is disruptive too, and takes more time and effort than is worth spending on it.  If there isn’t any interaction with them, removing them won’t leave anyone else scratching their heads wondering what they missed (hint)… and it may be that if I’ve deleted the original comment, I might delete the reply, especially if it quotes the original.  Unless it’s particularly clever, then I might leave it.  I’ve said before that I don’t need reasons other than my whim, and several of you have affirmed that.   If you make a reply and I delete it too, please don’t take it personally, I’m just trying to reduce the value of attempting to disrupt us, and the rewards he receives for doing so.   I definitely don’t want you guys competing for the cleverest response to a troll.  Seriously.  Engage as little as possible, and know it might all vanish.

If the trolls come around, our response won’t be seamless, but it will be final.  Have patience as we work on it.

It has been my honor and privilege to continue walking the path that Bob started on, and I expect to continue doing so for some time.


nick flandrey

(oh, forget about the drama and get back to stacking!)

Read the comments: 115 Comments

Fri. Apr. 8, 2022 – like a drunk lurching down a hallway…

Cool and clear?  Yesterday was, with a gusting blustery wind.   In the afternoon it was 81F in the sun, with only 19%RH.   Gorgeous.  I’d like some more of that please.

I did my one pickup, missed the others.   I’ll be getting those today.

I heard back from the septic engineer finally, and he can’t meet this weekend, so I will not have to dash up to the BOL.  It’s my non-prepping hobby meeting weekend so I’m really glad not to miss getting together with the guys.


It occurred to me that we move through time like a drunk lurching down a hallway.   The hallway is the constraints of what is possible.   Sometimes the hallway is wide and we don’t find the walls.  Sometimes the hallway is narrow and the drunk walks straight down the center.  Sometimes he slides down one wall or the other.  Sometimes, he bounces off the edge of what’s possible and moves backward for a short period before moving on down the hall.  Occasionally there is a doorway or an alcove and since the drunk is leaning on the wall as he moves, he gets stuck in the slight widening of the hall.  Often as not, he’ll spin around eventually and lurch down the main part of the hallway again.

Our hallway is very narrow at this moment.   We’re rushing down the hall, bouncing rapidly from wall to wall.   Some of us are spinning around with every bounce, trying to reorient on moving forward.  Some are holding a hand against one side to steady us as we go, but we are all becoming more and more constrained as we go along.

As a nation, a culture, a people, and as individuals, we are coming to a place where the hallway ends.  Is it a door that we can pass through and then continue down the same hallway?  Or is it a wall, and the door opens to our left or right and takes us in a different direction?  Do the walls just squeeze us down, like a cattle chute, until we can only go forward, in single file, pushed by the mass behind us?

I think I know where we are headed.   I don’t know how long the remaining hallway is, nor how we continue.   History says that “we” as a whole WILL continue, but not necessarily any specific one of the “we”.    The mass of people behind us in the hallway pushes us forward, even if we’d prefer to stop.  You can shelter in an alcove for a short while, but eventually the mass carries you on.   Just as I don’t know how long the hallway is, I don’t know how wide it still might be.

It feels pretty narrow, with very little room to lurch around.  It feels like we’re pretty close to the door, or the jog in the hall, or even the complete change of turning right or left.

My plan is to get me and mine through to what comes next.   I’ll move with the crowd down the hall, lurching a bit less, and focused on moving at my own pace, and not just getting carried by the force of the pushing masses, until we pass through and the door opens on a new hall, or the constraint of what is possible widens out again.


Stack the things you need, so that the crowd has fewer handles to grab as  they pull you along.


Read the comments: 86 Comments

Fri. June 18, 2021 – yep, missed it. Dang kids.

Well, never got any rain, or even any real overcast yesterday, and temps stayed high. Funny thing is we have a TS forming in the Gulf, and due to impact the “northern” Gulf today. Heavy rains possible, and all that. No evidence of it when I went to bed. I guess we’ll see. (This time for sure!)

Spent the day at home with the kids and the puppy. Didn’t get any of my auction set up, nor am I likely to complete any of that today. I would like to get my pickup dropped off for repair, since I’ll be gone for a week, this would be an excellent time to have the work done. To be honest, I have no desire to spend a week in Florida. Getting the kids there, and spending time with mom/grandma is a good thing, much to be desired though. So I’m going. Life is what happens while we are waiting for something else. The kids are excited, and my mom is about to pop, so that’s cool. Puppy will stay with friends who used to watch our other dog and various small rodents. He’ll have some other dogs to hang with for the week too.


Long time readers here will remember (if they cared enough to notice) that I have a fascination with infrastructure and why things are the way they are. OFD and a couple other frequent commentors did too, and we had some good recommendations for interesting books*. I’ve been involving the kids in my interest by pointing out stuff around us- the survey markers for underground utilities, the pipeline warning posts, antennas and cameras, sensors for traffic lights, that sort of thing. Or that the street layout in our neighborhood has weird angled streets, because there are pipelines that cross it, and they are ‘in between’ lot lines. In other words, the house lots and streets were laid out to avoid crossing over the pipelines. And then angled buildings got built on the odd shaped lots that sometimes resulted. If you didn’t know about the underground pipelines, you wouldn’t know why the buildings look like they do. I want the kids to understand that this stuff doesn’t and didn’t “just happen”, it almost always came to be the way it is because of other things, and sometimes what we see is the echo of something long gone, or the shape of something hidden.

The QWERTY keyboard layout is one of those. It was designed to slow down typists, because the mechanical hammers in typewriters would get jammed if you typed too fast. We’re still stuck with it, despite that reason going away long ago, even in mechanical typewriters when the selectric ball, or the daisy wheel were invented.

The relationship between film reels, the 33 1/3 RPM and album size chosen for LP records, and the length of pop songs (until recently) is another chain of choices that shapes the world around us, while the original reasons are gone. (The speed and size of LP records were chosen to hold the amount of sound needed to match a movie film reel – which itself was probably sized by other arbitrary factors. Pop songs were the length they were because that’s what fit on a 45 RPM single, which is what jukeboxes used, and you wouldn’t have a hit if people couldn’t play it on the jukebox…)

There are a ton of other things like that just in the music business (like the CD hole being the same size as a 5 pfenig coin, because that’s what the engineer thought looked about the right size, and then DVDs followed the same form factor, and blurays too, with all kinds of tricks played to fit the content onto them…) If you are old enough to remember when CDs came in tall sleeves, do you also remember when people started to complain about how wasteful the ‘excess’ packaging was? Well, the packaging was designed that size to fit in the same bins and fixtures that record stores used to hold vinyl LP albums in. As the stores phased out the vinyl and the bins, the CD packaging shrunk to its current form. DVD packaging fits on the same shelves VHS tapes used to fit on in the stores and the rental places….

These sorts of things happen in the built environment too, with past decisions echoing down through time, shaping the world around us in ways that we no longer recognize. I’ve been occasionally listening to a podcast called 99% Invisible, about just those sorts of things in design and the world around us. There is a book “The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design” that complements the podcast too.

James Burke’s Connections was the first thing that made me aware of these sorts of chains of events, leading to something that is very different from, but completely shaped by what came before. Connections also made it clear that you couldn’t just “drop back” to the lower level of technology, because the systems that supported that lower level wouldn’t be there. The older systems or design constraints were removed when no longer needed, but the influence remained.

I’ve been thinking about how to look at the larger world through the same lens, and also the smaller world of people and relationships. We know some of what shaped our world from history books. WHICH books, and which stories have left their marks on us is important. (I had no idea until relatively recently in my life that Lincoln wasn’t universally regarded as the hero President of the Civil War. Heck, I had only a vague notion that people in the South had reasons other than racism, and being ignorant, for fighting at all…) Some of those constraints and influences become embodied in our cultures, our shared history, our worldview, and our prejudices.

The people we know, our own relationships, the organizations around us, they are all shaped by those constraints and pressures and perfectly good choices (or bad choices) that came before, but that might now be completely arbitrary or even detrimental.

Looking for those things, identifying them, EVALUATING them, and discarding them if needed – that’s what we need to do to make our way in this world, to get through this period of great change. All of the crazy around us is there because of something. All of the things and people around us have been influenced and shaped by those prior events and decisions. We don’t HAVE to let the echos of the past remain unseen and unknown, shaping us without our knowledge or consent, in ways we wouldn’t choose if given a choice. Knowing that there is a ‘why’ is a place to begin. Look for those echos in yourself, your relationships, your institutions, your culture, and your beliefs. Choose consciously to accept or reject their influence. Try something new.

And of course, keep stacking.


–I can’t find the one OFD recommended, but this one is good-
‘A Field Guide to Roadside Technology’ by Ed Sobey
–‘Connections’by James Burke — the book and dvds.
–I’ve watched a couple of this guy’s vids, and this one caught my attention last night.
“Why do hurricane lanterns look like that?” youtube channel — presenter is kinda annoying but his content is top notch.

Read the comments: 90 Comments

Fri. Sept. 20, 2019 – so I learned some things…

77F and wet.  Probably.

Boy did we get some rain yesterday.  And I got stuck at the kids’ school, where I was able to help out, and everything worked out ok, but…

Turns out there are some holes in my vehicular preps, and in aspects of my current habits and lifestyle.  NB-I don’t typically carry a BOB or GHB or any other specific bag in my truck.  I’ve got a couple of totes in the back with extra stuff, and my EDC.  I thought that was pretty good, and it is.

I usually have some additional supplements like energy bars tucked away, but I ate them.  Day before yesterday and I didn’t replace them.  I usually refill my gas tank whenever there is a storm coming, and whenever it gets low.  I didn’t notice the level on Wednesday, and it beeped at me on the way to school- 50 miles to empty.  No problem, I’ll fill up on the way home.  Except what if I get stuck in the water on the way and need to wait out the flooding?  Not enough gas to do that.  My friend took 3 hours to get home with his kids.   I certainly didn’t have 3 hours worth of gas, to go less than 5 miles.

I have shirts, sweatshirts, pullover windbreakers, and long pants in the truck.  I’ve got hat and mittens when it’s cold.  I’ve got yellow plastic rain gear, ponchos, and even a set of FroggToggs.  No socks.  No dry shoes.  That’s a big oversight.

I don’t carry my ‘daddy bag’ anymore, so I don’t have a change of clothes for the kids.  It’s been a long time since one had an ‘accident’.

A couple of days ago, I had a case of Mountain House in the truck.  Yesterday I had only two expired MREs (the date doesn’t bother me) and USCG approved lifeboat survival bars.  Plenty of water, soda, and cans of flavored water… and I’d even added instant iced tea to put in the plain water.  I did so and drank that during the afternoon.  Had we been stranded at school overnight (and we have school friends in walking distance, so that was EXTREMELY unlikely) the kids and I would have eaten MREs in the truck while everyone else dined on microwave popcorn.  I did share a big Costco bag of candy that I was taking to my gunstore buddy.  Daughter used it to earn points with her friends.

The biggest problem is that there are only two real driveable ways into the school’s neighborhood, and BOTH are subject to flooding.  If we were desperate, I would have taken the chance on the deeper intersection.   I could see vehicles making it through and had a good idea of depth, but I also couldn’t get good info about the next step in my route.  I retreated to safety and comfort, deciding that the unknown and risk was not worth it to sit at home for the afternoon.

The situation might have been different if I was trying to GET to school and pick them up in an emergency.  This was not an emergency.  No one should have wrecked a car in an attempt to pick up the kids from a fully functional school, in the middle of the day.

It’s amazing the speed and reckless regard with which some people entered the high water.  They didn’t even wait to see how the guy in front of them made out.  Some pulled out around me, while I was watching the other guy go, and sped on ahead.  No way could they have seen the other guys success or failure before entering.  Dumb doesn’t even begin to cover it.

This being Houston, one of the items in my tote is a professional personal flotation device, designed for people who work on the water.  It will auto inflate, but most of the time stays out of your way.  It’s the first item in the tote.  If there ever came a day when I felt compelled to enter high water, I can at least gear up first.  I have a short rescue rope on top too.

My Expy is currently full of cr@p to the point I couldn’t have taken 2 extra kids with me, only one.  I’ve got a lot of auction stuff piled in the back and on the back seat.  That stuff needs to get out of my truck.

I need to add some Mountain House, durable snacks, and kid clothes to the tote.  I need to move a pair of sturdy shoes and a good pair of socks to the tote.   I may even set up a 3 gallon bucket as a toilet for the truck, and leave it in there.   (the 5 gallon with the seat only goes with us when I think or know we’ll want it.  Like 4 hours in a parking lot, watching fireworks,  It’s too big to live in my truck 24/7.)

The kids have grown, and I haven’t changed my truck pack much.

Meanwhile, my wife was stuck at her work.  I reminded her that there were at least a couple of powerbars in the ‘resource kit’ in her minivan.  She decided to stay at work, where they had food, light, AC, and work to do, rather than move through flooded streets.  Maybe I’ll be able to stash a bit more in her vehicle, ‘for the children’ now.  (FWIW, the thing we’ve used most often from her kit is fire starter and matches.)  She waited for clear streets and drove home without incident.

We’re supposed to get more rain.  I hope not, but I guess we’ll see.  This was a good opportunity to find holes in my preps without any resulting drama…and I’m going to use the gift to get better.


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Fri. April 26, 2019 – driving all day, so some links

Supposed to be clear and nice today and tomorrow. I’ll update that before I leave the house.   [59F and not quite saturated]

I’ve got a pickup in San Marcos, so I’ll probably swing by Austin as well and hit the surplus store. Depends on the time and how long everything takes. Minimum, I’m on the road for 5 hours, with an hour or so between cities at the far end. That means I won’t be here.

Some hard core prepper links (that I haven’t read yet) to keep you occupied. From one of my EMgmt newsletters.

Preppers and doomers always talk about how quickly our Just In Time based world will fall apart and how fragile it is. Here are a couple of links that address that very thing.

Aligning Public and Private Supply Chains Following Disasters

PrepTalks GraphicDr. Jarrod Goentzel’s PrepTalk, “Aligning Public and Private Supply Chains for Disaster Response”, demonstrates how the private sector has far more capacity to respond than the public sector, explains the role of emergency managers in supporting private sector supply chain restoration, and shows how analysis of supply chains can help with strategic and tactical preparedness and operational collaboration during a crisis.”

Private Sector Resilience: It is All in the Supply Chain

PrepTalks GraphicDr. Yossi Sheffi’s PrepTalk, “Private Sector Resilience: It is All in the Supply Chain”, explains the modes of failure in supply chain networks, explores new ways to think about disruptions, and showcases a General Motors case study on the complexities of supply chain management.”

So what can you do before disaster strikes???

These taxpayer funded FEMA resources exist to answer that question. And might provide the basis for some PA novel, if you were inclined that way…

Strategic and Operational Planning

The purpose of this page is to provide information on strategic and operational planning. The National Incident Management System is intended to be used by the whole community. The intended audience for this page is individuals, families, communities, the private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations, and Federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial governments.

And for the really detail oriented…

CPG 101, Developing and Maintaining Emergency Operations Plans, Version 2

How to Use This Guide CPG 101 is designed to help both novice and experienced planners navigate the planning process. Used in its entirety, this Guide provides information and instruction on the fundamentals of planning and their application. Chapters 1 and 2 lay the foundation for planning efforts by providing information on the basics of planning (Chapter 1) and the environment within which planners function (Chapter 2). With an understanding of these fundamentals, the Guide then transitions from theory to practice by discussing the different plan formats and functions (Chapter 3) and moving into an explanation of the planning process (Chapter 4). A detailed checklist, building upon Chapters 3 and 4, is provided in Appendix C. Because Appendix C provides a set of detailed questions to consider throughout the planning process, users are encouraged to copy or remove this checklist and employ it as they work through the planning process in Chapter 4.”

There are a BUNCH of interesting looking PREPtalks in the left hand sidebar on the pages linked above. This is going to be a time suck soon…

Until then, I’m on the road and will only be checking in periodically.

Tell me what you did this week to plan, or prep.


Read the comments: 48 Comments

Wed. Sept. 12, 2018 – big storm coming

75F and damp in Houston

It’s about to get very windy and wet in a day or two.

In all seriousness, there is a truly massive storm headed for a good percentage of our population. A population that hasn’t had a big storm in a while. A population that is much more accessible to the NYC based news orgs than the hicks and racists along the Gulf Coast….(-endsarc) so expect to see more coverage. Which is a good thing, because it is likely to be very bad.

If you are anywhere to the left of where Florence is expected to come ashore, or anywhere north or south of it, you ARE going to be affected, if only because your neighbors are.

Remember that the effects of the storm have a much wider area of impact than the ‘cone of uncertainty’ shown on TV. The cone shows where it might land, not how wide the storm’s area is, nor does it show WHEN the first effects will get there. That will be much earlier than landfall itself.

Let us all hope that it gets pushed out to sea, and that it grazes the coast rather than hits it straight on.

Knock-on effects will be widespread too. Air travel is likely to be messed up for days. What joy that I’m traveling with my family on Thur, and Sunday. EVERYTHING is going to be disrupted- gasoline delivery, food delivery, air travel, shipping…

Make what arrangements you can at this late date. Hopefully everyone reading this is well prepared.


Read the comments: 48 Comments

Sat. Aug. 18, 2018 – transitions

70F, overcast, clammy here in the not so secret location.

This is a transitional time for the world, for the USA, for my family, and for me personally.

Clearly the world’s geopolitical landscape is shifting- Russia, China, the UK and Europe- old relationships are changing, new relationships are being forged, and the (relatively) stable world order is shifting.

The relationship between the US and the world is shifting too. Internally, the relationship of the people to the government is, in some aspects, already the mirror of what it was. See the militarized police, and the rise of a paternalistic and socialist government as examples.

My family is undergoing a transition as we have lost our patriarch, father, husband, brother, cousin, uncle, and friend. It wasn’t completely unexpected, it’s been coming for years. But it was still sudden. One minute your life is continuing, pretty much the same as always, then, suddenly, it’s different.

That’s the transition. Fraught with danger and opportunity. With things starting to move, the smallest pressure can make a big change.

In the past, the death of one man has changed the order of the world, the fate of kingdoms. In the present, the death of one man also changes the lives of all those he touched, some in the most minor ways, some in the most profound.

I’m writing here because of the death of one man. I’m writing this because of the death of another.

We’re in a time of transition. Choose where you apply your pressure very carefully.


Read the comments: 30 Comments

Fri. Aug. 10, 2018 – prepper fail!

Back in the swamp, I mean Tree City USA, I mean Bayou City, I mean… Houston. 80F at 8am.

So. Prepper fail.

Yep. I left my carry on bag at the house we were staying at. My airline ‘bug out bag’. My ‘get home bag’. I left it. Sitting on the bedroom floor. Didn’t realize until returning the rental car, and that was too late. I’ll get it UPS’d to me next week, but I was NAKED for my flight.

What didn’t I have?

No change of shirts and underwear
No ‘one day’ of meds
No reading glasses
No blow out kit
No boo boo kit
No first responder IDs (CERT, ham radio, Constable’s program)
No snacks or water bottle
No electronics- 2 kindles and a tablet
No chargers or batteries
No noise cancelling headphones
No shortwave radio or dual band ham radio
No backup money, $1000 in cash, 1 oz gold in coins, extra clean credit card
No loyalty cards
No toys for the kids (2x nintendo DS)
No rain jacket

Like I said, NAKED.

And I made it home fine. I was almost caught by irony as there was a hail storm in Houston that could have messed up my travel, exactly the sort of thing my bag is meant to make more tolerable. Imagine that I needed all that crap for once and didn’t have it because I’m an idiot. Fortunately it didn’t.

Home safe, but VERY weird to be on an airplane without the comfort and convenience stuff I’ve become accustom to.

Because I AM a prepper, I did have my ID, money, phone, and FLASHLIGHT. I always carry that on my person. Especially on a plane, you need that base level of stuff on you. DON’T put it in your bag. If you have to get off the plane in a hurry, you won’t be allowed to bring your bag. Then you’ll be sitting in a shelter area without your id, money, or phone.

LEARN from my stupidity! Double check. Even a seasoned traveler can have a lapse.


Read the comments: 105 Comments

Sun. July 1, 2018 – open

Whew, slept in. Kids are now fed, the dad is fed, the wife is fed, and the kids are squabbling so the dad is also fed up! (now there is crying)

Only 96F at 11am, so not quite following Nick’s rule of tens for a hot day in Houston…. 70 at 7am, 80 at 8am, 90 at 9am, 100 by 10am…

Got a lot of work done at the rental but ran out of material and still have to go back today. Wife got all the remaining cleaning done. We should have it back on the rental market in a week. Pure laziness on my part to have let it go this long. We’ve lost 10k in rental revenue while dragging our feet. That was super stupid. I have a line on a management company with a very affordable rate. If they are taking customers, I think we’ll sign up. This was super stupid. (did I mention this was stupid?)

Drank half a gallon of gatoraid while working, and another half gallon of water and tea before and after. Then drank some more. Peed once and woke thirsty. No headache or hangover today though.

WRT the previous discussion on revenue and wages being down, my ebay sales continue to limp along. I have never had sales this low since starting to take it seriously. I do have a bunch of high value inventory to list, but almost nothing is selling, my views have dropped way off, and my watchers are mostly at zero. I don’t know if it is the economy in general, my vacation hiatus killing my search results placement, or the move to an ebay ‘store’. I think I’ll be calling ebay’s business ‘consultant’ next week to ask about my store move, since that seems most likely to be the culprit.

Garden is growing. The bush and pole beans are growing like crazy, with neat little purple flowers, but no beans yet. Zukes are still hanging in there, with flowers but no fruit yet. The grape vine that didn’t fruit yet has suddenly started growing like crazy. One was red, the other purple, both table varieties. I think this one is the purple. Maybe it has later fruit? Got a shot glass full of blueberries, and was happy to save that much. No peaches again this year. Beets are doing well. Onions seem to be getting bigger, so I’m letting them grow. Would be starving if I needed the garden to eat. Something to keep in mind.

Finished reading the Oregon Trail cookbook. You can make a lot of different things from flour, corn meal, bacon, fat, sugar, and salt. You can make a cake with almost no ingredients. Not sure that any of it was much more than ‘iron rations’, but the breads and pastries sounded pretty good when they had the spices. Bear fat in a lot of dishes. Bears must have been a staple of their hunting and foraging. The main idea is that you can vary your diet, and survive with almost no veg or fruit. LOTS of fat for flavor and energy in EVERYTHING. One of the PA novels has a group slowly starving despite plentiful deer and fish, because they aren’t eating enough fat. Pigs used to be more valuable on the homestead for their fat content than their meat, and the heirloom varieties are all MUCH fatter than current. Something to keep in mind if our situation were to devolve.

Hit one sale this weekend on my way to the gas station. Grabbed a new camelback bladder and sippy hose for $2. Still had the plastic on it. Got a couple other useful things for no money last week. I’m getting more selective as I get my ‘stuff’ topped up.

And that’s the week that was….


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Fri. May 11, 2018 – again?

72F and humid, but clear skies. Should be another hot sweaty day here in Houston.

Friday again. More school activities. More stuff to do around the house. More, more, more…

This week I ordered (and received some) parts to rebuild the Portacool cooler I pulled from the trash. It should help me work outside in the heat, so I’m calling that a prep. It’s the reciprocal of making sure you have heat in the winter for those of us in a warm climate.

I think I won this round with the caterpillars that would eat my grape vines. I’ll keep an eye on them. Not sure what to do if you don’t have the right pest control. Soapy water and picking them off by hand seem to be the recommendation. Growing food takes a lot of time and effort if you don’t have access to modern tools. There’s a reason farm employment is down to like 1% of the population here.

The rats continue to make their presence known. I’m VERY reluctant to re-establish my shelves of food while I know there are some around. So the food sits in big black bins in stacks in the driveway. Even though it’s not as much food as I’d like, it still takes up more space than you’d think, stacked in the driveway. It’s also more difficult to USE the food when it’s in random stacked bins.

What have I learned from the rats? For canned food, a simple sheet of cardboard on top of the flat of cans would have kept the rat ‘debris’ off the can tops.

For boxed food, I’m not buying any more unless the contents are in plastic bags. The packaging can get ‘wet’ or otherwise damaged, and the food stays usable. Cheap pasta seems to be the biggest issue, with the pasta just in the treated cardboard.

For cases of plastic containers, like fruit cups, rotation is key. The damnable rats ate into the case from the rear, ate out the contents, and I never saw an indication… but when I went to pick up the case, it was nothing but an empty box, filled with empty cups and ‘debris’.

Rats are smart, adaptable, and seem to communicate. You probably won’t be able to get them with the same trick twice. This means lots of different control strategies.

Be aggressive in your response. I was tepid, let them get established, and they ate some very expensive food (and a ton of cheap food too). I’m still fighting them. They will eat your cooking oil, flavor packets, sauce mixes, shelf stable, pouch meals, boxed food, and anything else they can get their teeth through. They will ruin you cans if it goes on too long, even if they can’t eat them. Man up and KILL the little thieves.

So, what have you done or learned this week?


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