Thur. Oct. 7, 2021 – headlong rush…

Hot and humid, but less of both as we head into Fall. We don’t get a lot of Spring and Fall here in Houston, but what we do get is generally very nice.

It was very nice yesterday, bordering on HOT in the sun. Everywhere it wasn’t sunny was great weather though. I got a bunch of stuff sorted, and a coupe of bins dropped off at my auctioneer. Stopped by one of the other auctioneers to pick up my lots (med stuff), and he’s slammed with stuff. He won’t be taking any of my lots for a while as he deals with a massive influx of estate and storage cleanout items. The auctioneer who sold the Pokeman and men’s shoes (and a lot of other stuff) took the rest of the summer off, so I’m hoping she comes back to work soon and I can place some lots with her. I’ve got some watches and jewelry that are well suited to her buyers.

Today is going to be a lot of stuff crammed into a few hours. We fly out this afternoon, leaving for the airport from the kids’ schools. I haven’t packed, prepped the house, or done my normal stuff. That’s all probably down to not really wanting to go. It isn’t a long trip, the kids are aging out of a bunch of things and we’ll lose the ‘magical’ years soon so I don’t want to miss it, but I really don’t want to be away from home at all.

I’m not looking forward to any part of it, not the flight, nor the Parks, except seeing the kids’ eyes light up. And even that will be tempered by chinaflu, as the character meet and greets are cancelled, and when they do appear, no autographs are allowed (which made my younger one cry when she found out as she considers that the best part of the Parks.) Add my sense of dread and the look in peoples’ eyes as they seem desperate to get one last party, one last visit, one more whatever in. There is a lot of tension out there.

A few months ago, everywhere I went people would drop a sarcastic remark, kind of a ‘nudge and wink’ thing, a shared black humor… This last week has been very different. Everywhere I go people look more focused, more intense, and very much more ‘not joking’. No ‘I don’t know what’s going on but we’re in it together’ kinda vibe. Now it’s ‘I’m filling my cart.’ There’s a sort of selfishness and self-interested-ness coming out. I think people are ‘hunkering down’ mentally.

I will often drop a comment when shopping or out, just to see. I’ve been saying stuff like ‘I’m just getting my Christmas shopping started early’ and almost everyone that responds says something like “Me too, might not be stuff here for Christmas.” It’s also weird how many people are getting started on Halloween early this year. There have been celebrities in the tabloids going to parties, dressing up, and I see it in my neighborhood too. There seem to be more, and more elaborate, and earlier displays this year than any I can remember. (and I’m going to be LATE with mine since I’m gone this weekend.)

I better get busy. 2pm is going to come very quickly.

Get out and survey your area. See if you see what I’m seeing. Share with the group.

Do it while you are buying some more preps 🙂 and keep stacking.

nick

Wed. Oct. 6, 2021 – well that didn’t go as planned…

Supposed to be beautiful. Pretty nice yesterday, so more of that would be welcome. It’s getting down to the mid to upper 60s at night which lets the tomatoes set fruit. Which they are doing. And it’s getting into the 90s by late afternoon. As long as the rain holds off, I’m happy.

Yesterday was a series of unfortunate incidents.

D2’s orthodontist appointment wasn’t. Got there, the door was locked. Receptionist came out and told us we were 2 weeks early. Bummer.

Dropped kid at school, headed to Costco. No Charmin blue. Some red, limit one bulk pack. Plenty of Kirkland, some Scott. No purchase for me, I decided I really don’t like those and I’ve got blue stacked. I’m just out at the house after restocking the bathroom cabinets. I did get one more black bin, and several “weatherproof” bins. We’ll see about that claim. Didn’t buy anything perishable as I was out of time to meet the teacher and do my volunteer driving. They had spiral sliced ham in stock for the first time in ages. $2/lb.

Met the teacher, picked up the truck, drove to the place, and hit a parked car. Ripped off the front end. I caught the bumper with mine while making a right turn. Lots of time spent on that I didn’t expect to spend. Eventually got loaded up and delivered to school.

Headed to one of my delayed auction pickups. Missed them by 1 hour.

Dropped my shipping at the PO, hit the bins on my way home. Scored a great vacuum for resale, realized I’d left my wallet on my desk at some point while talking to insurance agents. Paid cash, dropped the items at my storage, headed home.

Neighbor’s Night Out was in full swing at the end of the street but by the time I got unloaded, refreshed, and headed that way, most of the couples with young kids were headed home and all the real food was gone. Ate bean dip and cake. Best part of the whole day.

I did have a chance to chat with the neighbor who hunts and has a freezer full of meat. I’m giving him some of the pecan tree we cut down, and I expect he’ll trade me some meat in return. That was good. And after 6 years I finally got a solid indication of his politics, which are conservative. I was pretty sure, but for some reason the younger neighbors are all really tight lipped about politics. That generation must have learned to keep their opinions to themselves like the Soviets.

All this is a long and probably not that interesting way of saying “Things are NOT normal for me.” My life usually coasts along. Things go my way. I find what I need when I need it. I flow around problems like water in a stream flows around rocks. And while I was able to cope with everything today, it was definitely not the way my life usually works. So when I read a headline like “China says WW3 can break out any minute” on a day like yesterday, I really really mean it when I say “I hope WW3 doesn’t break out while I’m in Florida.”

In fact, I’d like it to not break out at all, but war IS the usual path out of the situation the world and the US are in, and it looks more likely every day.

At the risk of repeating myself, figure out what you need, and get it. STACK IT. HIDE IT. Be ready to defend it. And if the bad thing doesn’t happen, we can rejoice later. Bad things have a way of happening though.

So at the risk of repeating myself*, stack it high.

n

* 😉

Sun. Oct. 3, 2021 – maybe today will be a busy day

Humid. Very humid. Slightly less hot than summer, but humid. I don’t think it got above 80F yesterday but it was so humid I was dripping sweat just standing in the garage.

I slept late. I actually got up early but my back hurt, and I’d been up way too late, so I thought I’d lie down for another hour. Two hours later, I got up again. Back pain is weird, it’s more spread out than normal, is closer to the skin in some way, and sharper. Usually it’s very much down in the bones, and the tissues close to them. Weird.

Fed the kids breakfast (hash browns fried in bacon fat) and spent the day doing things that needed doing, but not getting out or to my secondary to work there. I’ll try again today. The auction pickups that would normally get me out the door didn’t happen because the auction host company has been down for 2 days so far as victim of a ransomware attack. All of their auction customers nationwide are affected, and so are THEIR customers. Lots of disruption to what are usually small, local businesses.

Cut the grass, restocked the house, did some ebay and auction stuff. Poked at the computer and kibitzed about the changes here as our unsung hero Rick bangs on the machinery trying to bend it to his will. He’s had some successes. The goal is increased reliability, which is worth some disruption. Chasing the internal server 500 errors was getting to be a big frustration for him and all of the commentors alike. We will likely continue seeing tweaks and changes for a while. Be kind. Assume positive intent. Remember it’s an unpaid and unloved job that he’s doing, and it’s not one I’m competent to do, nor do I have any desire to do it. It would be nice to have some backup for Rick so if you have the skills or interest, leave a note.

It would be nice to have some backup for ME, so if you have a comment that is going to be long and self contained, consider emailing it to me for use as a guest post. No promises, guarantees, warranties, or predictions, at my sole discretion. If I don’t want to use it as a separate post, you can still post the comment… and if you have something to say or contribute but would rather not say it yourself, email me and I’ll use it like Bob did when one of the prepper couples would email him. I’d love an update from anyone Bob featured that way too. Email is my first name at aol dot com.

Comms, networks, information, all important, and all bear some additional thought. Might be that dial up BBSs come back in vogue. Takes more legally to mess with actual phone lines… but of course WROL that’s not much of a consideration. Might be worth looking at data over ham radio to mailing lists or BBSs… possibly some combination with the ip based linking and conference repeaters…hmm. Shortwave with a data stream embedded? Weather fax single sheets like the broadsheets of old? SSTV on ham freqs? Time, probably past time, to start thinking about long term and worst cases, at least as thought experiments. Alex Jones is certainly glad he has his show on shortwave radio, after being shut out of all other media. Just saying.

In the absence of orders, keep stacking.

nick

Sat. Oct. 2, 2021 – hoping for a busy day

Warm and wet. Possibly sunny. Probably not for the whole day. Friday we got rain on and off most of the day. Over an inch at my house, other parts of Houston got a whole lot more. The bayous were well up from their normal levels.

Did one pickup yesterday, mostly household items and some additional defensive gear. One well broken in pair of combat boots will be going into my truck with a heavy pair of socks. I often wear lightweight shoes or even sandals (granted that they are Teva brand and very sturdy and I’ve walked hundreds of miles in them over the years). However, if I had to walk a long way or over rough terrain, I’d prefer to do it in boots. Finally found a pair cheap enough, and sturdy enough, and slightly big, that I can just leave in the truck.

I unloaded and moved some stuff around at my secondary location. After my pickups today, I’ll be headed there to set up a couple more lots for my industrial auction.

Turns out, I’ve got less than a week before going out of town for a few days. Yup, making progress on my ebay and cleanup, so of course we’re going on vacation. WDW here I come. As much as it bugs me to keep interrupting my progress on other things, I do love the place and I love being there with the kids. Everything has a sort of “last run” feel to it right now too, so there is that consideration. Mom and one sibling will be joining us, and we’re staying in a resort I’ve never stayed at before. I’ll have a good time, but there are always tradeoffs.

It is interesting to see some other bloggers FINALLY getting it, and starting to seriously prep for bad times. Also a bit dumbfounding, as I’ve been doing it for so long now (even though I started fairly late) that it’s second nature and I thought the reasons were pretty self-evident. Well, better late than never, and there is still time. No one knows how much time, but using Venezuela as a model it could be another year or two. Or something could kick off tomorrow. If it did, it’s unlikely that things would be very bad for some time even then. Unless it’s something like 2008 only 3x as bad, or 9-11 only with a container nuke in a port city.

Even when China moves on Taiwan, I think it will have immediate negative impacts on us but we’ll dither… and there will be time for a ‘last run’ or two. We’ll probably even let them have it in a short sighted attempt to keep the chips flowing and the entire world economy from crashing. Then it will be up to China how fast they crack down, or start the extortion, and manage to kill the golden goose. And it WILL all crash down anyway, because China will be as heavy handed and brutal as always.

I’m not so worried about Russia in Ukraine, or Estonia, they don’t make the underpinnings of the entire world economy. Russia will move, we’ll let them, our oligarchs will maneuver to profit from it, and that will be that for us. It will suck for whoever the Russians move against, but it won’t make much difference to us. Taiwan on the other hand does make a difference. Since we’ve put chips into almost literally everything (my toaster brags that it is ‘microprocessor controlled’ on the front panel) we need to keep getting chips. No matter what China tries to do, there will be disruptions in the just in time flow of chips, and we’ve already seen some of the effects of disruptions in the chain… When NOBODY can get the chips they need, it WILL fall apart.

And that will be very ugly.

These are the Crazy Years. We celebrate madness, literal madness, when we celebrate the mental illness of trans people. We revel in debauchery that would have made the Romans blush as part of our public ‘culture’. We become more partisan, more divided as a people with every passing day. Our ‘leaders’ have become our rulers and the power relationship enshrined in our founding- that THEY work for US, that THEY are our SERVANTS- has been inverted. The barbarians aren’t at the gates anymore, they’re being bused and flown to cities well inside the empire. The gates have been flung open, and the flooding continues.

Most of us just want to be left alone to live our lives as we see fit, with as little contact with, and interference from our government as possible. I don’t think that is going to happen. They can’t let it happen, because as long as someone could point to us and say “well they’re doing ok without you” the whole lie falls apart. We must be brought into the fold, we must be forced to repent, and we must be punished for our sins.

Keeping our heads down and our profiles low might work. For some people, maybe most people, there will be an accommodation arrived at. But for some, it’s going to be violent, and destructive. People have argued that all we do when we bomb foreigners is create more people that hate us, and create the next generation of terrorists. WTF do those same people think will happen here to the children of THEIR political prisoners, or the people who will be killed by the state when this kicks off? What happened to the people who remember Waco, Ruby Ridge, Ashli Babbitt, LaVoy Finicum, and others killed by the state already?

Bad things. Bad times. Coming like a freight train. I keep asking for a reality check, asking if anyone sees a way to avoid it, and I keep getting no answer. It’s coming. People are gearing up in every sense of the word, and in every conceivable way. You can feel it. You can see it in their actions.

Stack it now, or wish you had later.

nick

Wed. Sept. 29, 2021 – “don’t be a fool, everyone knows sheep lie!”

Hot and wet, or maybe not but probably hot and wet. Yesterday was cooler with overcast, patchy clouds and occasional blue skies. It was very humid though, and the rain was actually a relief from the mugginess.

Of course the rain interfered with my plans, but I was able to work around it somewhat. Rain is a fact of life in Houston and you either figure out how to keep going or you get nothing done. Some days I pick a, some days I pick b…

I did get my drop off done, with promise of more later in the week. I did my northerly pickup for my non-prepping hobby. I’ll do my southerly pickups today.

I’m planning to do some more ebay listing and auction gathering during the morning, pickups in the afternoon, and then home to cook dinner. Depending on the weather, I might get some more work done on the patio, in the driveway, or at my secondary location.

The world situation continues to escalate. More spending, more disruptions, more supply chain difficulties, more violence, more rhetoric, more unrest. At home, the vax mandate is starting to hit people in the pocketbook and in their sense of self. It isn’t going to end well.

You know my advice, it makes me feel better to have food, tools, meds, and stuff. If there is something I haven’t mentioned or that you think I haven’t mentioned ENOUGH, comment below, especially if you are stacking it for your use.

And keep stacking.

n

*the title is the punchline for an old joke

Tues. Sept. 28, 2021 – not as productive as I’d hoped

Hot and humid again. Not quite “still” but again. Some overcast and I’m sure there was rain somewhere but my house stayed dry. Got pretty warm by late afternoon, and it was still 80F at bedtime. Today I expect some more patchy rain, some heat and humidity, and I’ll be out driving around in it.

Didn’t get as much done yesterday as I’d hoped. It’s a short work day because of picking up youngest daughter. She had a test she had to take online when she got home too, so we didn’t even get to do any work on our project. (She didn’t finish, and needed to be online proctored to finish. She’s up one grade and virtual for math rather than traveling to the middle school for the one class. For some reason on the teacher’s side, she needed more time outside of the day.) So that sucked but I did get more ebay stuff done.

I went through about 200 45 rpm records. They were jukebox records and they are almost all stuff I’d listen to at a bar. There were a couple dozen or more in the $1-3 range, most were in the $5-8 range, and a few were more than $10 sold on ebay. I’m sending them to local auction, and I’ll let him lot them. I didn’t want to miss a diamond, and I sorted them so he knows how much effort to put into each lot.

Cleaned a couple more small appliances. Listed a few items as I was going through the stuff. The phone app does make it easy to list. I have to catch myself just ID’ing stuff and putting it aside, and instead just take the pics and list it.

Today I’ve got a couple of pickups that I didn’t get to yesterday, and I’m dropping off at my local auction too. Getting stuff off the patio gets me more room for storing preps and stuff like gennies out of the direct weather. It helps me with domestic bliss, and with getting the cash I picked the stuff up for in the first place. Inventory for sales does me no good. I’m not stocking a store. I need the stuff listed and available for sale. Sounds pretty basic, but at some point I lost sight of that for a lot of the stuff. It’s a bit humbling to see stuff I put aside so long ago and didn’t do anything with it.

Time is getting short. Rhetoric on both sides is getting more threatening. Something bad will happen and there is no telling when.

Stack stuff, but make it good and useful stuff. And then stack it high.

nick

Fri. Sept. 24, 2021 – feels like it should be a significant date

Should be cool and sunny today. It was gorgeous yesterday. AbFab weather. Hooray cold front.

I spent most of the day fixing things for ebay. I did 3 different coffee makers. They sell surprisingly well, and are fairly simple. One needed internal cleaning and ‘descaling’. One needed an O ring to stop a leak. One didn’t need anything but a good scrub. I got them listed this evening.

I also cleaned and listed a couple of other things too. Cut the grass in the back yard.

Set up a fitness tracker. I don’t care about how many steps I’ve taken, but there is supposed to be some insight available about sleep patterns. That I do have an interest in. Of course I need to wear the stupid thing in bed, which might be a deal breaker. I’ll give it a try for a while anyway.

D2 had a school open house which cut my afternoon short. Nice to see the teachers, and a couple of the kids recognized me. I miss my science volunteering. It was very gratifying to see the signs for “Bleeding Control Kit” next to the signs for the AEDs in the school. Every AED cabinet has the equivalent of an IFAK in it, district wide. They rolled that out just as covid hit. I’d been advocating for it for at least a year, maybe two and they did it.

D1 has another GS sailing camp this weekend so she’ll be leaving for that late in the afternoon. I’m hoping my wife will take her, but I might be roped into the drive. We’re doing as much normal stuff as we can. Feels a bit frantic, but the world is getting ready for something.

China is flexing on Taiwan. They’ve got Hong Kong under the boot, so they can move on to the next target on the list.

At home, polls are showing regret and a growing unhappiness with Slow Joe.

Australia is going full jackboot.

The Towelie-ban is doing exactly what you’d expect them to do.

Invaders keep pouring over our border, and dispersing into the country.

Money people are still playing games with the money.

And people are angry, emotional, and lashing out.

I think it would be typical for the actual kickoff to come out of left field and surprise everyone. Something is coming. You can feel it building.

Stack. And stack some more.

nick

Fri. Sept. 17, 2021 – another week gone in a flash…

Slightly cooler, still humid, maybe rain. Had overcast most of yesterday and some threatening clouds, but never did rain where I was. It’s lot easier to do auction pickup with the pickup truck but then I need to be fairly confident that it won’t rain.

Pickups are the order of the day, at least the order of the afternoon…

Yesterday’s pickup went well. Got stuff for my non-prepping hobby, including something to flip. In the late afternoon, I finally got together with the craigslist flake and did a deal. Sold my $5 auction purchase for $250. I wish I had more of them… I do have more high value items to sell, I just need to get busy with listing them.

I am starting to see a difference in my house, my office, and my secondary location. It’s just slow going.

And I want to go faster, because the decline is accelerating. The latest is fedgov limiting the drugs that 7 southern states will get to treat covid. We’re using up too much, what with our not vaxxing, and not cowering, so they need to save some for the others, who might need it later, because we’ve been BAD and don’t DESERVE the EXPENSIVE treatment. So, people in Florida and Texas can just suffer and die. If there’s anyone thinking that “well they should hold some back for the other people who might need them later” contrast this action with NY Governor sending State Troopers to other parts of the state to seize ventilators for NYC’s use in the early lockdown days.

The uniparty intends to bring us to heel. I don’t think that is going to work out like they think.

USE the time that’s left. Always be improving your position. And stack stuff. Lots of stuff.

nick

Sun. Sept. 12, 2021 – big storm coming, better get ready

Nice day in the forecast for today. Cooler and sunny, not crazy hot. Sat. was similar, although it did get hot in the afternoon.

Went to my meeting, had a good time. Went shopping. Came home.

Plan for today is sleep in, then either do some stuff around the house, or sort stuff in storage and get it ready to take to the auction.

There is a big storm coming. Both literally and figuratively as it turns out. The Gulf Coast of Texas, Louisiana, and even parts further east are about to get up to 20 inches of rain if the forecasts are right. That’s several days of downpour and flooding with lots of damage.

So I’ll be topping up the day to day and getting ready to not have my pickup truck for moving stuff that can get wet.

In the figurative sense, we’ve been talking about the coming troubles for a while. I don’t see any way to avoid it at this point, and these things tend to kick off with very little warning. Use what time you have well. Hey, maybe it will be months or years. Good. Our stacks will be higher.

I quoted author Larry Correia yesterday, and I think one part of his advice bears repeating. Make yourself useful to your community. I’ve been slowly coming around to the importance of this. RBT thought he could position himself as resident wizard, but I thought that trying to do this AFTER the Fall was pretty difficult. (We had one discussion about this wrt ham radio.) He did get out into the community more at the new house than he ever mentioned at the old.

Other people in the blogosphere have been hammering on ‘tribe’ and community for a while, and on the folly of being a ‘lone wolf’. In our isolated and fragmented and mobile lives, it’s a difficult thing to do- becoming part of a group, part of a community IRL… we’ve found online substitutes but too often neglect the local, local, local aspects.

Hence part of my push for meatspace activities, real world training opportunities, group activities, and civic participation. We don’t have lodge brothers anymore. We don’t have high school friends nearby, or even poker buddies. Use what opportunities arise. Get out there and meet some people. Leverage what you have.

And stack it high and deep.

nick

Fri. Sept. 10, 2021 – some days these write themselves, others? Not so much.

Probably hot and humid, although if we’re lucky we’ll get a little less of each. Yesterday started cool but ramped up to over 105F in the sun at my house… that is pretty hot. It was less in the shade, but still, pretty hot.

Did my pickups. Had to get D1 from school. She stayed after for some math tutoring and the bus situation for late buses isn’t great. That cut my day short. I did get stuff into appropriate bins and I have an appointment to drop off those bins at my auctioneer today. I have to load up a few at my storage unit too.

I did a small amount of additional cleanup of my patio pantry shelves. Another box of instant oatmeal, and two more big round cardboard canisters of regular oatmeal went in the trash. There will be some more spoilage when I get the shelves fully cleaned. I’m sure there is another ugly surprise in the garage shelves too, when I get to them.

There was some discussion of Best By dates and stored food longevity over at Borepatch’s blog. I made a comments about some of my successes and losses. This week we ate ham I froze a year and a half ago, Knorr pasta in a ‘sorta’ foil pouch from 6 years ago was fine, and 5 yo cake mix tastes great. IDK when the crumbled bacon is from, nor the butter. It lives in the freezer until needed, and I’ve got a lot of it to rotate through. I’ve let some stuff draw down a bit, and I’ll be fixing that in the next couple of weeks. I already am ahead of replenishment on several items once again. Still, balancing is needed.

Other stuff needs to be looked at and rotated or refreshed too. Gasoline is my biggest question mark and I need to spend the time to go through all the cans and check on their condition. I’m pretty sure I will need to siphon the gas off the top and leave the water behind in several cans. Getting the dual fuel kit for my Honda inverter gennie would take some of that pressure off, but it’s one more thing to do.

Oh and I’ll be doing plumbing today. Got the shower part too late in the day to do the repair last night. Hey, it did get here in one day, just too late in the day on that one day…

Gotta get a bunch of work done so I don’t feel bad about doing my normal monthly non-prepping hobby meeting tomorrow. My biggest observance for 9-11 is living my life NORMALLY for that day. And remembering the dead. But trying for normal.

Keep working on your stacks. Might want some extra buckets. There’s a plastic shortage headed our way. And buckets are crazy useful.

Stack all the things!

nick