Sat. Sept. 26, 2020 – still asleep if all goes to plan

Cooler, but nice out.  That’s the plan anyway.

Started heading that way yesterday.  It was sunny in places,overcast elsewhere and generally cooler than it had any right to be.  Still saturated though as my driveway still has standing water on it.

Ran my errands, and now have another alternative for Things That Go Bang(tm).  The current ammo situation points up the validity of having a couple of different systems in the safe.  556 or 762.  Why not both?  There was an argument to be made for .40S&W when 9mm was hard to get, and the agencies were all dumping 40s after the FBI changed… but I didn’t move on that.  I’ve always been bi-curious when it came to rifles though….

Enough of that tomfoolery 🙂

I’m at home all day.  My wife is off looking at another lake with a friend from the neighborhood who has decades on that lake and more than one property there.  That should mean I’m working in the driveway, garage, and garden.  I guess we’ll see.

And hopefully the females of the household let me sleep in today.  I’m been short of sleep and very run down.  Not a good place to be during a global pandemic.  If not, I’m making waffles for breakfast.

Maybe I’m making waffles for brunch…

So much to do and so little energy.  I better get started.

Tiny steps, big steps, doesn’t matter.  TAKE A STEP toward improving your position.  Stack something!

 

nick

Fri. Sept. 25, 2020 – month and week are almost gone by

Cool and overcast.

Thursday was both cooler and overcast.  I did some cleanup in the driveway, which mostly involved dumping out water from any place it accumulated.  I’m pretty confident that we got slightly more than 12 inches over the last few days.  Three different containers had that much water in them.

I managed to get a bunch of little things done.  Mostly cleaning and organizing, but also ordering some stuff.  I ordered the weird N size batteries for one of my night vision devices, and moved that case out of the house into the garage for storage.  I ordered the switch for the drain cleaner machine I bought.  I have to clear our main kitchen drain line twice a year.  The machine will pay for itself in one year or less.  I’m hoping the current snake is a good size to work with my pipes.  I’ll see when I use it I guess.  One less thing to call a specialist for, or make the trip to the rental yard.

I received the power switch for my new mower, just in time to cut the grass this weekend.  Hope that goes in without difficulty.

The national security situation continues to fluctuate locally.  The rioters in STL went right to shooting and firebombs this time.    That’s an escalation.  Riots in other uninvolved cities too.

I never did hear what our local disturbance was about.  The coppers did chase the guy around my neighborhood, and the FB group says “low speed chase”.     The disturbance at the neighbor’s house a couple of nights ago seems to have been a domestic.  His girlfriend was the one in the squad car, and she hasn’t been back around since.

I did a bit more research on the possible lake house, and surrounding area, looked at some historical topo maps and current maps.  There is a 2 acre lot for $24k with lake ‘view’ that also caught my eye.  There are smaller lots for $9-14K 1/4 and 1/2 acre, unimproved, in the same area.  If there are lots still around this lake, there are probably lots around others not too far away.  You might be surprised if you go looking.  Better to have somewhere definite to go, if you have to go…

Speaking of my lake house stay, I had a couple of lessons learned to share.

–the matches I’ve been carrying in a tube in my Dopp kit for the last few years didn’t light.  They weren’t damp exactly, but they weren’t dry either.  I didn’t have a lighter due to air travel restrictions.  I DID have a bunch of fire starting stuff in my wife’s car in the ‘bail out kit’.   The commercial fire lighter sticks that look like square slim jim sausages work very well, even if they are years old.  I will be adding some of the big brick of lighters to all sorts of places, including my carry on bag.

–I have been carrying one of those cheap hotel corkscrews for years.  Used it for the first time last weekend.  It was pretty flimsy, but got the job done.  Happy wife, happy life…

–I like to carry my little shortwave radio on trips to the country.  I forgot it.   I was a tiny bit disappointing.

–one of the neighbors was a ham with a big antenna setup.  They aren’t subtle, if it ever turns out to be a liability.  If I needed help, I would consider a fellow ham before random strangers.  Conversely, I’d be willing to help if approached by another ham.

–I know NOTHING useful about fishing in Texas.  I need someone to help me go through all the fishing gear I’ve accumulated and help set me up for salt and fresh water fishing.  Some lessons would be useful too.  The kids have expressed interest in fishing, and I’d like to be able to encourage that.

–Modern kayaks are inexpensive and fun.  I looked at a map once and discovered that I could get from my folk’s house south of Chicago, all the way to Peoria IL and beyond by water… probably all the way to New Orleans although I didn’t map that.

–there are pipelines everywhere.  If you know what to look for while driving you will see the markers, and the cuts through the forest.  Pipeline rights of way might be an easier and less traveled path if you ever had to walk out, or ride a dirt bike, or atv.  Look for them if you think things might get that bad.

–I had no cell service at all in the rental house, except one room upstairs.  My wife has a wifi calling app so she barely noticed.  I don’t.  It was radio silence for me.  I don’t think I’ll be ebaying the cell booster I have sitting here at the house.

–I’ve been stacking stuff for a second home for a long time.  It would be nice to actually use it.  This lockdown has proven the wisdom of having stuff, and backups to the stuff, to me and to my wife (not that I needed convincing, but she’s always been skeptical past a certain point.)

Well, that’s it for now, I’ve got auction pickups and gardening and repairs to do.  Maybe I’ll get some of it done…

Meanwhile, keep improving your position, and keep stacking.

 

nick

Wed. Sept. 23, 2020 – kids have tests today

Cool with more rain.

Rained all day yesterday, and all night.    I don’t know how many inches we got here at the house but it was a bunch.

I was stuck in the house all day and not at all productive.   Eyes have been aching a bit.  Glasses were covered in a light film but I didn’t notice.  And I spent a lot of time in front of the computer.

Mostly I messed around with sketchup and the lake house, and watched auctions close.  Did help daughter 1 with some math problems.  The whole school was virtual due to the rain and flooding, and some people were not prepared, having left their stuff at school.  That’s why it’s a laptop folks, so you can take it with you.

Today both children will be going to the school to take a test.  There were online versions available, but we were told that the proctoring requirement was very onerous.  So the kids will be masking up and going in.  Assuming the rain doesn’t cancel school again.  Writing this in advance and going to bed.

I’ve been crazy tired lately, due to short night’s sleep.  I’m falling asleep in my office chair several times a day.  I’m trying to get to bed early, but it never seems to work out.

Other people have been full of energy- Bloomburg is buying votes in FLA, handing out $20M to clear the debts of convicted felons so they can have their voting rights restored.    Don’t worry, we’ll be able to use the ballot box in November… and the election will be completely honest and above board.

Anything short of a Trump landslide and I see the right picking up arms.  Anything short of a Biden Presidency, and the left will.  The great middle will try to keep their heads down, but will be forced to choose.    Add a stock market crash and there will be shooting and riots in the streets.

I’m hoping to stay home and keep my head down.  So I’m continuing to stack.  And continuing to beat the drum for you to do so too.  Even if I sound like a broken record, broken record, broken record.

n

Mon. Sept. 21, 2020 – back home, back at it…

Less hot and humid, but hurricane coming?  Who knows anymore.

Spent the weekend on a small lake about 2 1/2 hours north of Houston.  Kind out in the country.  Still within one tank of gas, so not ideal for avoiding mutant biker zombies, but judging by the number of Trump flags, the zombies might find it a tad inhospitable come the day.

And now we are really actually ramping up to find somewhere to GTFO to…  ‘cuz my wife is a pretty smart cookie and while we sometimes take different routes, we usually end up in the same place.   And that place says, having somewhere to go that isn’t in a potential riot zone is a Good Idea ™.

Lots of people out there preaching that it’s long past time to get out of the cities.  The argument is getting more compelling by the day, and there are a lot of people out there, and a lot of them are paying attention.    The little lake we were on had more than 5 houses for sale last month.  This month, there is one left.  It’s been on the market for over a year with no takers.  As we left yesterday, there was another couple looking at it.

A short while ago I shared the thought that if the economy got worse, people would have to start selling off their toys.  I’m seeing that in the auctions.  LOTS of collections coming up for sale.  I thought that people under money stress would sell vacation homes, and that there might be a decrease in prices, and THAT’S when I’d swoop in.  What I didn’t consider is that there are a lot of people paying attention.  It looks like they are quietly acting like preppers, even if that whole idea is foreign to them.  Or maybe, because of hurricanes, BLM, and a whole lot of stuff coming to a head, it’s REALLY FREAKING OBVIOUS to anyone right of center on the bell curve– getting out of the cities is a REALLY GOOD IDEA all of a sudden.

The upshot is, I’m feeling like we already missed the boat.  I feel like I’m looking at the last package of TP on the shelf and I REALLY don’t like that feeling.   Inventory is shrinking before my eyes.

Sometimes this whole blogging and prepping thing can get to feeling pretty insular.  You all feel like a small circle of friends, especially the group of frequent commentors.  I get a little boost when someone who doesn’t comment frequently shares something and I remember that this thing is bigger than it feels, that there are a lot of you still coming by and hanging out.  (Thanks by the way, I am humbled and grateful that people still keep coming by, I credit that to the larger community that exists here in the readership and comments.)

Anyway, the pace of whatever is coming seems to be picking up.  There is a sense I’m getting that the herd is starting to stir and get restless.  I keep asking people to rebut the idea that we’re headed for worse, but no one does.  That adds to my sense of unease.   No one on either side of the political spectrum is saying “you’re nuts, better times are right around the corner.”  It seems to me that there is a large element of ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ to this sort of thing.  Once the momentum builds to a certain point, people are just going to say “F it, let’s go” and then the dark age starts.

I don’t know what the timeline will be.   I’m not thinking deeply enough about second and third order effects.  I don’t want to see the country continue down the current path.  And I don’t have enough of anything for what’s coming.

Start stacking.  Keep stacking.  Move your stack somewhere safer.  Do more.  It feels like time is getting short.

nick

Wed. Sept. 16, 2020 – nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen,….

Hot and humid.  Storm and rain possible.

Yesterday it never did rain on me, and it got stinking hot in the afternoon sun.  So I mostly hid from sun and work.

Pickup went well.  Everything needs some little thing to be complete, but given the money saved, I’m happy enough.  Really F’d up though, the way people are stealing through returns fraud.  One of the things I picked up was a Glock G19 factory magazine.   Got it today and someone stole the guts out of it.  They split open the cardboard  of the blister pack, stole the spring, follower, and base plate and re-sealed the cardboard.  It was a bit wrinkled but looked fine, like the packaging was crumpled.  Then they returned it to wherever they bought it, and it ended up in the auction.  Looked like an unopened package to me and everyone else.  I’ve got a couple of items now, I’ll take them with me next time I go to that auctioneer and see what he’s willing to do, if anything.  Technically it’s all sold as is, where is, with buyer responsible for doing an in person inspection before bidding.  Usually though, if not as described, the house will take it back.

One of my security trade magazines noted that retail “shrink”, ie theft by insiders and shoplifting, was up dramatically.   I’m guessing that as things get tougher for more people, theft and fraud will go up dramatically in all sectors.

Speaking of trade mags, one of the things I watch as an indicator of the health of the broader economy is the thickness of trade magazines.  If it’s a reliable indicator of supplier sentiment (you don’t spend money on ads when you’re broke, so the trade mags can’t afford to print the same number of pages) then we are majorly F’d.  Machine Design is down to less than 40 pages, and is just center stapled instead of bound.  Electrical Design is the same.  EC&M is as thin as I’ve ever seen it.  Some mags for the material handling, pipeline, and plant equipment industries are thinner than that.  Even Military & Aerospace is thin, but it’s still bound, not just stapled.  The mags are all thinner than I remember them being at any other time, even in the aftermath of 2008.  The publishers also tend to send out more mags and to more marginal recipients (like me) when times are tough.  They are trying to pump up their circulation numbers and capture more of the reduced business… I started getting some mags I’d never seen before just a few months ago, and re- started getting mags I’d stopped getting when times were great.  All in all, not good indicators of the state of American businesses.

And all the more reason to stock up if you can.  Manufacturers and suppliers are going to fail.  Their warehouses and existing stock will be blown out at auction, and then there won’t be any more.  In the last month, I’ve seen two large local wholesaler/distributors come through my auctions, a ship chandler, and a general industrial distributor.  There are two Chuck E Cheez stores being liquidated this week.  One auction has the contents of several CVS stores- which is especially telling, as that stock would normally just be redistributed to other stores, they must not want it.  Heck, a month ago, a major jewelry store chain had the contents of two stores seized and sold off to pay their school district tax bill here in town.

Everywhere I look I see signs of real trouble headed our way, outside of the trouble in the news.  Certainly there are going to be bright spots.  The rush to get out of the cities is producing some local boom times in some areas.  UHaul is probably making money.   Bankruptcy auctions are picking up.  Auto parts stores and used car lots will probably do well.  Optional services like housecleaning and yard maintenance will likely do poorly.  Repair should do well in general.    A lot of cleaning, repair, and remodeling already happened though.   And the secondary economy/grey market/resale is booming as people look for bargains, and sellers are unloading excess or closing out stock.

It’s gonna be important to keep your economic head on a swivel too, so to speak…

And keep stacking.  That will likely help, no matter what.

nick

Tues. Sept. 15, 2020 – still hacking away at the list

Hot and humid.  We’ll see about the rain, but with a hurricane in the Gulf we should get some.

I’ve got a pickup today that I really don’t want to do in the rain.  Every thing that has to ride in the bed of the truck will be ok if it gets wet, but it’s just a bigger mess to deal with.  I guess it beats 105F and sunny….

Yesterday I had lunch with frequent commentor and friend of the blog Ray and his wife.  It was a bit weird ‘de-cloaking’ from the semi-anonymity of the web, but I had a great time meeting them.

It was the first time I’ve been in a restaurant since March.  People seemed to be coping and accommodating themselves to the current situation.  No way would I call the pace of business in the place “brisk” but there were customers, and it was only a Monday afternoon.  For a place that mostly did a business lunch trade, I’d say that was ok for conditions.

Still overall, traffic is light, business volume is clearly down.  If the rest of the country is even worse off than Texas, the ‘new normal’ is going to settle out into a deep depression-absent a world war to encourage production and then destruction of all that production…

Or hey, after a Trump landslide, when he has the mandate of the people, maybe we’ll see a glorious renaissance and explosion of growth…  or get plunged into a civil war for the very nature of our country…  I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to guess which one I think is more likely.

Food, water, shelter, security, skills, companions, resources.  You need more.  Keep stacking.

 

nick

Mon. Sept. 14, 2020 – another week, another list of things to do

Hot and humid, but definitely less so.  Couple storms headed vaguely our way should make things interesting.   I do think that we are on the downhill slide toward fall though.

And since fall is coming, it’s time to get the fall garden in.

Yesterday I got the beds ready.  The one with the cabbage had no surviving crops, so that just got turned and fertilized.   The one under the grape vines still has a couple of broccoli plants which I left in place but I turned and fertilized the rest.  The attached herb garden got turned and broadcast seeded with a handful of mixed herbs.  I don’t think we’ll see anything from it, but it was worth a shot.  Of the two remaining beds, one has a single volunteer melon growing, so I left that but turned the rest.  The other has brusselsprouts and a pepper plant.  I can sneak some carrots and maybe some peas in around them.

The rain started up while I was working on the beds, so I packed it in.

I’ve still got to get the window boxes turned and planted.  Some of them are a solid mass of roots holding the soil in blocks the same shape as the boxes.  I guess that’s why nothing grew last time.  The first year I got some good beets.  I’d like to get some turnips and radishes.  I’ve still got one or two of the onions surviving in one of the boxes.

I’ve also got some tubs that I’d like to use on  the driveway as container gardens.  We’ll see if I get that far.

I still have to decide which beds get what seed too.


I did get the Honda gennie running well enough for now.   It will run on idle or full throttle with only minor hiccups.  Fueled it up and put it aside. That’s two running generators.  I’ve got to get the whole house running next.


The insurrection is heating up.  Cops targeted in LA and a crowd emboldened to the point that they are mocking the cops outside the hospital.   That is pretty damn bold.  Those people do not fear any consequences.  I wonder how long it will be before the death squads are visiting in the middle of the night, and which side will start first…


Prepare yourself for hard times, in mind, body, and spirit.  They are coming.  How hard remains to be seen, but they will come.  If you see a path where they don’t, please share, ‘cuz I don’t see us going back to ‘normal’ without passing through the fire.


Whatever you think you’ll need, I’m suggesting you get it now, rather than later.  And stack it high.

nick

Tues. Sept. 8, 2020 – now that we’re past the socialist day, time to get to work

Cooler today?  Maybe, but I bet it’s just as humid.  And two storms shaping up for later.  Rain in the national forecast, but sure to be “locally heavy” here in Houston.

Didn’t make much forward progress yesterday.  My sciatica has responded well to stretching, and I’m feeling almost normal there, so of course I woke up with a serious crimp in my neck.   That kept me from going gangbusters all day.  Kids watched movies.  Wife cleaned house.  I drained the pool cover, twice.  Tried to cut the grass but the gas I put in the mower was about 1/3 water, and then the rain came.  High wind, heavy downpour, then it all just ended.   Drained the mower, refilled with clean gas (one storage can was contaminated and I didn’t notice) and started it right up, but by then it was too late to mow and the grass was too wet.

I did fix a couple of toys.  Super glue is my friend.  I also did a tiny bit of clean up in the garage.  Pulled some things out of the pile to address domestic bliss.  Child two wanted a wallet for her cash money.  Daddy do you have any spare wallets?  Why yes child I do.  (wife looking on in completely inscrutable fashion, is she pleased? Pissed? Astounded?  No idea, but I solved child’s problem in minutes.) The other thing was some particular cables for whatever my wife is doing with the kids’ computers.

I’ve been picking up leather objects when they are so cheap as to be free, so I’d have some leather for crafting and a couple of projects I want to try.  I’ve got a nice bin full of different leather stuff, old purses, bags,  wallets, portfolios, belts,  etc. from the Goodwill or estates.  The wallet was Coach, had a great patina, and cleaned up in a few minutes.  Really it was too nice to cut up anyway.  You can get a lot of leather from a coat, or a computer bag… and where else would you go to get some small pieces of leather?

 


 

It’ll be interesting to see if the insurgents took their socialist holiday off of rioting… but I bet not.  I’ve only seen a couple of reports of violence over the weekend but most reporters probably took the long weekend off.

I don’t think the genie will be going back into the bottle,  there is too much fun in breaking stuff, and too few consequences.

It’s a lot harder to build than break and once broken, there’s a lot of stuff that won’t ever be put back together.  There’s a lot of stuff that is only still here because of inertia that can’t be put back.  Social trust being one of those things.   BLM is doing a good job of ‘scaring the straights’.  I don’t think they’re going to like it when fear turns to anger.  And a whole bunch of otherwise good folks are going to be hurt when that happens, because it’s easy to see skin color.  On the other hand, it’s a bit like muslim terrorists, if you don’t want to be tarred with the same brush, you better stand up and get loud.

I don’t see much in the way of reconciliation until after the bloodbath.

So keep stacking, and stay away from crowds.

nick

 

 

Sun. Sept. 6, 2020 – more of the same

Hot and humid  but definitely less so than a week ago.

Hot and humid yesterday too, especially with the rain or sprinkles depending on where I was.

I did my pickup, all household stuff, and took 3 packs of paper towels to my secondary location.  While I was there, I took a pickup load of stuff to the dumpster.  If I do some every time I go there, I’ll eventually make a dent.  Taking the paper products back there frees up some shelf space at home.  That will get my auction items, until I can take them to the sale.  Off the patio, out of the house– and into the driveway.  Not ideal, but an improvement.

Today if the rain holds off I’ll cut the grass and do some more stuff in the garage.  I’ve got parts to put on the Honda gennie too.  I ordered the new petcock and fuel filter, and I could wait and do it all at once, but if I do it a bit at a time, I’m making progress, and getting stuff out of the house (and onto the gennie.)

I didn’t see a ton of news about the protests scheduled for last night.  I caught the end of something on the scanner about a guy shot 14 times by the Sheriff’s office, but no context.  There were supposed to  be protests in downtown Houston.  Didn’t notice if they happened.

Of course Portland is still a war zone.  There was a bit more fire in the pix from the 100th day of rioting.  Almost a third of this year the insurgents have been practicing terror and gearing up their cadre.  They’re building their organization, practicing tactics, and hardening their troops.  What is the right doing?

I feel the need for a grocery order.

Stack it high.

 

nick

Sun. Aug. 30, 2020 – daily grind, and not the delicious arabica kind

Hot and humid.  So much of both.

It was a little bit less hot and humid yesterday, with thunder, lightning, and some light rain late in the day.

I did some work on the Honda gennie.  Cleaned the carb, checked out the starting system, but didn’t solve the ‘runs for about a minute then dies’ problem.

Spent some time cleaning the pool, naturally, since it’s a pool.

Didn’t cut the grass or work on the gardens.  I’ll do that today.  There is always something to do around the house.

I really want to get at least one gennie running.  I’ve got a lot of food and money in freezers…  I do have the batteries and various and sundry inverters to run stuff if I need to but I’d prefer less of a rigged up solution.  I’m mentally moving the solar panel project up the list too.

Pulled some stuff out of the stacks to solve issues for wife and kids this week.  That’s satisfying, I can tell you 🙂


Thanks to the alt-media and blogs, the MSM has had to start at least flirting with the truth of the Kenosha events.   The original perp did have a knife.  There is a pic of him holding it during the arrest.   His background as a real scumbag and the reasons he and the cops were all there (he violated a restraining order) have come out.  The kid who shot the rioters is finally getting aggressive defense with truths coming out about the scumbags who attacked him too.  There is a ton of video and once you get walked through the video, it’s pretty clear what really happened.   If people can be convinced to actually watch the vids, the kid has a chance.

In MN, the Coroner’s report has come out and casts a different light on the situation leading to Floyd’s death.  The cop might get a break too.  I am not a proponent of a lot of the things that the cops have done, and this looked really egregious, but the reality of the series of events may turn out to be quite different than the initial story.  The community anger and the destructive power of the mob will remain though.

I’m not the only one who has noted the seeming increase in people ‘losing their sh!t’ over seemingly minor stuff.  If you’re going out, Remain Calm.  De-escalate and move away.  If you can’t, be prepared to act violently and decisively.  Pay attention so you have time to make a choice.  Have an exit plan, don’t get boxed in.  Carry.  Better to have it and not need it, than the opposite.  Best case, don’t be there.

And keep stacking…

 

n