Category: march to war

Sat. May 27, 2023 – a beautiful day

Cool but clear, 68F when I went to bed, and I’m expecting the same when I wake this am.  Damp, of course.   It was 82F in Houston last night, but only 72F on the water.   Sunny and hot during the day.  I think today will likely be the same.

Yesterday was weird.   I was feeling stressed and disconnected all morning.  Make several errors that I don’t usually make.  Took forever to get out of town, and then there were half a dozen accidents, one serious, on the way to the BOL.  Oh, and a grass fire on the freeway right of way too.   Heavy traffic in the usual places.

But I finally got here, and it was beautiful.   So I cut the grass.   Broke the mower.   I’ll fix it.   There is a bushing on the steering column that keeps the gears in alignment that was so worn the gear stripped a little bit.    It wasn’t a problem until it was…   No way to lube it, so I’m thinking it normally outlasts the mower.  Not in this case.   If I can find the part, I can easily replace it.  The damaged gear on the column is a bit harder.   I can shim it (remove the end play) and use a different part of the gear to contact the rack, if the bushing will hold it in alignment.

If I can’t find the part, it will be easy enough to make a replacement.   I’ll clean up the gear as best I can, and run with that.  It’s always something.   Worst case, I buy a new mower.  This one came with the house (we did buy it, but at a pretty good discount.  I would like to get some more use from it if possible.)

We did have a fire and roast s’mores.   Conditions were variable low clouds, so no observing.   Maybe tonight.   Shortwave had a lot of fading and noise.   Still nice to sit by the fire and listen to rock and roll oldies.

X1 is with us for the weekend and seems to be coming out of her shell a bit.  She wasn’t shy but there was a reserve.  She seems more natural this weekend.  Hope it’s helping.  Kids and wife were all in the water and out on the kayaks, so that was nice.    I can’t imagine we’ll get too many more weekends that aren’t sticky hot before summer starts in earnest.

My plan for the day is projects.  Always projects.   And maybe a little fishing.

Stacking up skills.   Do something this week you wouldn’t normally do.  Especially if it’s fixing something, cooking something, or learning something.


Lot of people here for the long weekend.  I hope to meet some more of the neighbors.   Meatspace, and meet-space.




Wed. May 24, 2023 – Bah. Humbug. Beatings will continue…

Cool and damp.   A tiny respite from the heat of summer.   It was actually a tiny bit of cool out in the country at my client’s house yesterday.   Still warm in the sun, and boiling in the attic, but under the overcast or in the shade there was a hint of coolness.   Today should be similar with a bit more sun.

I didn’t get finished at my client’s.   What should have been a slam dunk turned into a dumpster fire when the new NVR turns out to be riddled with bugs and issues.   Brand new firmware too.   Tech support was no help.   I got an RMA number.   Lots of issues, including me making a mistake setting the master password.  Because you are doing it blind, with a remote control and an onscreen keyboard, and they don’t show it to you or make you type it twice, I got it messed up.   It’s not what I wrote down or intended.  Only the first bit of bad software and gui design.

Long story short, I stayed with the same manufacturer because I didn’t want to replace cameras.   But the new NVR doesn’t open and display the cameras.   It works with the two oldest, but none of the others.   That’s despite identifying them, assigning IP addresses, and that they are all supposed to be standards compliant.  A standard this company championed btw…   And it is supposed to be ‘pro level’ gear, only sold through distributors for install by integrators and other pros, but there is no manual override or even a way to see what the automagic is trying to do.   I’m p!ssed, and disappointed in the company.   I should be done and invoicing, instead of trying to find a new solution and continuing this project into next week.

Now I have to decide.  Do I just get new cams that are on the tested and approved list?  Do I go with another manufacturer’s NVR and cams, or do I look at the ubiquiti cams and storage since we’ve moved almost all the networking to ubiquiti?    Gah,  I could have done all that BEFORE if I knew I would have to do it, and I could have prepped my client.  Now it’s last minute,and extra cost.   Yeah, I’m grumpy.   Standards.  You’d think they might in fact be standard.

Today I’ll be doing some more clean up and organizing.   Also some pickups.  I got a bookcase for D2, who seems to have ‘rescued’ every discarded library book at the school.  I got a high security exterior door that should work at the BOL on the garage or one of the outbuildings, and if not now, later when I build my shop.  And I need to start staging stuff for the trip to the BOL this weekend.

Other than that, I also need to address the cams/nvr issue for my client (including applying the unlock code that MIGHT come today and for which I had to submit a photo ID and request- there’s no ‘reset to factory defaults’ if you don’t know the master password), and get some shipping out the door.

Meanwhile, haven’t heard from some people in a while, so here’s a ping.   DadCooks, Miles_Teg, Jenny– welfare check!

Stack it up folks, things are going pear shaped.



Tues. May 23, 2023 – 052323 – sorta cool… out of the office today

Slightly cooler but sure to get hot later.  Mainly because I’m going to need to work in the attic.   National forecast has us in the clear so that sun will heat everything up.  It stayed cool in the shade yesterday but it was moist and hot in the sunlight, even with a light overcast.

I did one pickup, mostly home goods, but included 2 kindle paperwhites.   D1 cracked her screen a while ago.  I made her pay half for the replacement kindle.   I think I spent $30 each so it wasn’t a hardship, but bad decisions shouldn’t be rewarded.  Got a UV flashlight too.   Should come in handy.  It was $3, so I expect it to be less than pro level.

Went by the bins since I was in that part of town, didn’t find much of interest.   Some days it’s like that.   Nice pair of like new Vans,  if they fit D2 and she likes them, that will have made the stop worth while.  Spent some time at my storage unit going through stuff and sorting for the eventual auction. That’s where the late afternoon sun was beating down on me, even through the overcast.   Came home soaked in sweat.

Dinner was boxed Beef Stroganoff, one of the cheesy hamburger helper style meals.   Beef was in the freezer for over a year, in a vac bag.   Box meal was on the shelf for a year past its best by.   Milk was UHT shelf stable opened last week.   All was good.  No leftovers.(and I use 1 1/3 pounds of meat, instead of just a pound.)   Eat what you store, store what you eat.


Did some searching through surveillance video.   Fish is there at dusk on Saturday but never seen again.   That night a big tabby cat does come sniffing around, but walks off.   The rain started soon after that, and went on for 12 hours, so I don’t have great video, and I can’t see any time when the pond was disturbed at all.   Can’t figure out what got Mr Fish, but he’s gone daddy gone and has been for a week.   That’s kinda the worst part, that we didn’t notice for a few days and didn’t investigate for a few more (we feed him daily.)  I just figured he was hiding in the deep end.  So much for my situational awareness.


Today I’m headed to my client’s house to do the rest of the install.   The NVR came in, and I can get the rest of what I need on my way.   That’ll be later in the morning though.   I should still be able to waste time on the internet with my friends.  You know, get the day started right.

And then I should be able to  invoice and stack up the result.  ‘Cuz sometimes the best stacks are greenbacks.


Mon. May 22, 2023 – last week of school… what will we do?

Cool and damp, supposed to clear up though.   Temps in the mid 80s?  Yesterday was warm and overcast, which kept it from getting too hot.  I didn’t even break a sweat mowing the yard.  Today should be warmer, and sunnier.

I did a few things yesterday but mostly got ready for D1’s birthday stuff.   Met the “not a” boyfriend.   His parents came to the door when dropping him off, and picking him up.   Nice kid, kinda shy.  The friend group went out and did stuff together, ate, and went home.   D1 and X1 came back home and we had cake.  At least at Casa De Nick, the cake is not a lie.

Today I’ve got auction stuff to do, some pickups might happen.  Tomorrow I will probably head to my client’s house to finish up.  The NVR came in over the weekend, a full 5 days early, so I can get it installed and invoiced this week.  Client is coming back from  a trip overseas so I may give them a couple of days to settle back in to daily life.

This is the last full day of ‘learning’ for the year.   I don’t think there will be much ‘learning’ going on.  T, W, Th they have testing and half days.  Friday off… and we’re probably headed to the BOL for the long weekend.   Our rec association will be having their summer kickoff and neighborhood open day for the weekend, but we won’t be there.   We’re pretty disengaged from the association this year so far.  Got our own stuff going on.

I hope we have a quiet summer, but I expect the violence to get worse, and to get organized again.  We’ll see, and I want to be wrong, but if it’s a hot one, we’re going to  see a bunch.  Make your plans now with safety in mind.   Think a bit longer term and consider what changes you will make if it does get worse.  Figure out triggers for those changes, and make a plan.

Stack what you need to execute your plan so that you aren’t fighting with 10K others who have the same idea.  Get prepped.


(and globally, we’re sending fighter jets to Ukraine.  What could possibly go wrong?)

Sat. May 20, 2023 – finally a day without obligations… so I get to do my own

Cooler but warming later.  Some chance of rain.   Maybe clear later.   Yesterday was nice and hot, sunny too.   D1 had a good time at the beach.

I was looking for a safety monitor to watch out for me in the attic at my client’s place.   It was REALLY hot in the attic.   Fortunately I did all the hard and sweaty crawling around last time.  All I had to do was enter, and connect cabling.  Still, last time I measured the attic temps in summer, I got 142F iirc.   I might take a thermometer back with me on Monday or Tues. just to see.   In any case it was dangerously hot.

I didn’t get any one thing done over there either.   Got the camera rebooted.   Tried adding the new cam, but firmware and OS on the NVR were too old.   I’m replacing it all next week anyway so I didn’t update anything.   Did some maintenance on the ubiquiti Cloud Key appliance that works as a manager and dashboard for the system.   Didn’t update any firmware in the system either, as I didn’t have time to recover if anything broke.  Did get new hardware added.

Got the NanoStation 5AC loco added, and configured as an access point.  I confirmed there is signal at the gate opener and keypad.   If I have to, I can add the other one, a switch at the gate, and config it all as a wire replacement.   More gear, more time, more effort, so I’m hoping that I’ve done enough with wifi coverage.  I couldn’t quite finish, as I needed to locate a PoE injector in the attic, and I didn’t have what I needed with me to plug everything in.  I’ll bring that back next week and finish that.

And I got the control gear installed, the piece I had to wait most of a year to find on ebay as normal channels are dry.   It’s configured but not complete as the controls programmer hasn’t done his part yet.  He wants me there when he connects and sets it up.  I’ll need to test it in any case.

So a lot got done, but nothing got done.

Today I should be doing more cleaning, and taking stuff out of the house and to storage.  It’s piling up while waiting for an auctioneer, but it needs to be out of the foyer and living room.  I’ve been doing other stuff, and making the piles higher as I organized.   If it isn’t raining, today is the day that organizing will bear fruit as the stuff goes away.

Oh, all the normal weekly domestic bliss needs to happen too.   Joy.

It’s a great life, if you don’t falter.

Stack something, even if it’s a small stack.


Fri. May 19, 2023 – It’s a cruel, crazy, beautiful world… {it’s your world so live in it}

Cool, maybe raining.   Hope not, because it’s D1’s school beach day…   I hope it’s like yesterday, which got hot and sunny, before finally cooling off with some big fat rain drops after dark.  I guess we’ll see.

Did my errands yesterday, interrupted and bracketed by school events.   6th grade honors in the morning, 8th grade in the evening.  Oh, and an eye exam for D2 in the afternoon.  Some days, the more I have to do, the more I get done, some days it’s the opposite.

I did a bit of social study during the school stuff.   What did the teachers value for their teacher’s choice awards?  (quiet, tries hard, uses all the resources available, kind, helpful)   Why were girls featured at about a 3:1 or more ratio in all the pix and video?  (they might actually outnumber the boys)  Why if so?  (no sports might mean boys self select to not attend this school)  30% of 8th graders were taking dance classes.  Only one was male.  Salud and valedictorians were all girls.  3rd year for one of the girls.   Couple kids had three years of straight As, 95% or better As at that.  Pretty much everyone in the school would have been on the honor roll in a regular district school, so they made the honor roll harder, and made another level above that too.   Interesting stuff.

Saw a couple of parents I haven’t seen in a while, since we didn’t do swim team with them last year.  Our pool’s team was a great crossroads for several neighborhood groups.  In theory, we’re doing swim team this year, but D2 isn’t going to enough practices, so I don’t think it will happen.  I miss seeing some of the other dads at practices and meets.  It would be nice to see them again.

Today I’m trying to head to my client’s place.  At least do some work.   No kid stuff with afternoon appointments on the calendar.  I usually spend the afternoon there, and into the evening when my client comes home and we meet.  He’s out of town though, so I should be able to ‘down tools’ and head home at a decent time.  We’ll see.  Hope to get some stuff done.

And maybe stack some greenbacks.   They are as much a prep as anything, and I’ve been using stacks to buy some needful things lately.  Need to replenish what got used.

Stack some resources.  They always come in handy.



Wed. May 17, 2023 – Not much for ‘hump’ day, but today is giving me the hump

Warm and damp transitioning to hot and damp, with a touch of rain… not unlike yesterday.   The rain held off until the kids were back from the beach, but then  it came and got everything wet.

I got  a few things done during the day.  Slept in my chair most of the evening.   Made pork chops for dinner.   Tasty pork.   Kid had brownies in the oven when I got home, so I put the chops in too.   The brownies are what pulled the plug on my consciousness after dinner.

Today I’ve got local stuff, and I might try to get to my client’s place.   He can’t see one of  the cams remotely, and I can start getting some of the upgrades installed.   I think the cam is probably lightning damage.   I have one that appears to be too.   We’ve had quite the big storms this week.

I’ll be ‘fluid’ today, trying to get the most out of the day, while still doing the kid stuff that is on the calendar.  Can I keep the plates spinning?????

Stack something,


Tues. May 16, 2023 – stuff and nonsense

Humid and warm, chance of more rain.   Sun came out yesterday and it got HOT…  like summertime hot…  so I think Spring has sprung, and Summer is here.   Just a bit earlier than usual, perhaps.

Didn’t do much yesterday, despite the sunshine.   Spent the morning doing auction stuff, spent the afternoon on the same, and waiting for D2.   She had an eye appointment, but missed it.   Forgot to come home, if you can believe it.  Rescheduled.

Dinner out had more impact on the wallet than I expected.   The prices were higher.   Still get a lot of food, but prices definitely increased.   Which is what we expect due to real inflation being somewhere around 30%.   I just thought they would hold the line a bit longer.

Today has ‘drive around and pickup things’ written all over it.  Then I’ll stack things.

Stack some of your own.


Fri. May 12, 2023 – my brain is stuffed full of trivia

Warm.  Damp.  Maybe wet.   We had overcast with the threat of rain all day, until late afternoon when the sun actually came out.   ‘Course it was hot and humid.   I expect more of the same today.

Spent the day doing sorting and cleaning.   I’m making a little progress on some of the piles around the house.  Not much mind you, but some.   I had some things to say over at Aesop’s place and at Peter’s

Today I have a couple of things to get- two pickups, and some stuff in storage that I want to take to my swapmeet/sale.  I’d also like to do some shipping.  I’ve got stuff that has been sitting here waiting to ship to my mom since Christmas, and some stuff for a friend that has been here even longer.  Finally shipping it would get it to people that can use it, and get it out of here.

I took 3 bankers boxes full of dvds that I’d ripped to store at my secondary location along with some other stuff when I had the wife’s minivan.   I’ve still got several boxes of dvds and CDs to rip.   It really goes surprisingly fast when you just keep loading a new one every time one finishes.  If I’m sitting at my desk I can get a dozen done in a day.  If I’m doing CDs, they go a lot faster.  I can get a couple dozen ripped in between ripping DVDs.  They are much more accessible when ripped to a server.

The school year is drawing to a close.   The kids are doing their mandatory testing.  In theory I like the idea of consistent testing.   You can’t measure what you don’t test.   Yes, you do get ‘teaching to the test’ but if the test is well designed, and encompasses the whole requirement for each grade, isn’t that what you want?  No time for flights of fancy or indoctrination, if they are busy teaching what will be tested.  Of course, the tests are NOT well designed to test a comprehensive and appropriate grade level worth of learning.   The format pretty much boils it all down to a reading comprehension test at its base.   If they can’t understand the question, they can’t answer it.  And there is a lot of specific stuff that is ‘surplus to requirements.’   The learning is specific, wide, and shallow.  Not a lot of foundation, and it’s very glib for lack of a better word.  It’s better than a lot of places, most even, if half of what I read online is true.

Education is a prep for the future.  Learning how to learn is the best prep of all.  Make sure your kids/grandkids are actually learning something.

And keep learning yourself.   It will keep you sharp, and might save you time, money, or even your life.


Stack it up.


Thur. May 11, 2023 – more weather for Houston?

Cool and wet.   Supposed to keep raining off and on.    Which it did yesterday.   Parts of town got absolutely hammered.   I caught it in a couple different places as I drove around.

Bayous are high, some road flooding occurred, and various places lost power, including the kids’ school.

I was driving all over town, from the NW side of town to near IAH, then down to HOU then back out west… and I got caught in a downpour that could have stripped paint.  Fortunately I was in the wife’s minivan so all the stuff stayed dry.   She worked from home and I borrowed her car.  It’s great to be bourgeois.   To  bad it won’t last.

D1 is feeling better, so will return to school today.  No wuflu.  I’m a bit headache-y so I’ll be taking it easy for a couple of days.  No desire to get sick.  Between Mother’s Day and school stuff we’ll be home this weekend so I better start planning for  that.  It’s actually easier to load the truck and head to the BOL, and the task list is more straightforward.

I will spend today continuing to sort, clean, and make ready for sale a bunch of stuff… and if I get to it, continue household chores as well.   The rain helps by narrowing the choices I have.

Prices continue to rise.   Social conditions continue to deteriorate.   Tens of thousands of invaders are poised on the border, ready to descend on our cities and towns like locusts.   Supply chain issues continue, and the banks are getting sketchier by the day.

Stack what you can.   All the classics, and then some.   I don’t think you’ll regret it.



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