Category: personal

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.




Thur. May 25, 2023 – ..until morale improves. Then the REAL fun begins.

Cool start to the day but should be sunny and hot later.   Yesterday turned out ok for us, no rain, no bright sun for most of the day.   It was a bit sunny in the later afternoon.  Hoping for similar today, but with a bit more sun.

Did my two pickups on the south side of town.   Found a neighborhood I didn’t expect, with a very ‘out in the country’ feel, right in between the ghetto and the ‘hood.   Big lots, old homes, real country boys… guy had a bunch of great older reference books on “rebuild society” topics.  Lots of tools, and clearly enjoyed his hobbies.   The other pickup was sort of “general merch” and is always good for some household item.

The pickup nearest to me was a heavy steel door for the BOL, a bookcase for D2, and some other misc. stuff for some other projects.   Pickup truck is about 1/3 loaded, waiting for the rest before heading up this weekend.

And I’ll load up later, as we haven’t decided whether to head up tonight or tomorrow.

Before that, I’ll  be spending some more time trying to get at least the expensive PTZ camera to work with the new NVR.   Even at my hourly rate, it’s worth poking at it for a while.   I can do some at home, but will really need to head out to the site to find out if I can make it work.

It would be nice to do some more cleanup and organizing this morning, but work slipped to today, so it is what it is.

I’ll be taking some more stuff to stack at the BOL.    If the SHTF, “they” will definitely come looking for “it” for whatever value of “it” you like.   If people are hungry, they’ll look for food.  If jones-ing, they’ll be looking for drugs or booze.   If it’s biggov, they’ll be looking for control, and we know what they’ll be coming for.   Split your stacks up.   Hide your tangibles.   Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.   Fallback positions are a good thing.  So is ‘hiding in plain sight.’   Harden your heart, and your house.  Be prepared to degrade gracefully.

And stack, what you can and while you can.


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.



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.



Thur. May 18, 2023 – where once again our hero fails to do stuff, while doing other stuff

Cooler, but still damp.   Rain later?  Dunno.  And neither does anyone else!  But we pretend because it gives us a feeling of control.   I do think we might get a smattering.   We’re in the zone for it nationally.   I never saw any moisture from the sky yesterday, but the clouds around here suggested that someone in Houston did.  I just had a nice day, shirtsleeves weather, with some clouds but mostly blue sky.   And I drove all the way across Houston to Baytown, so I really saw both sides of town too.  Didn’t get too far south or too far north, which is where the weather really changes.

I did one pickup on the east side.  Then I dropped some stuff at my secondary location, and stopped by my selling auctioneer.   He still can’t take more of my stuff.   I really might have to try another seller again to move some of it.

I ordered stuff for  my client’s place.  Besides the point to point wireless ethernet link, he pulled the trigger on a new network video recorder for the cams.  It won’t be in until some time next week but I’ll head to the house on Friday to do the P to P link and get ready for the NVR.   I was going today, but have kid stuff in the early afternoon that would cut short my work time.

I’ve still got a list of stuff to do around the house this week, as the week rapidly disappears into the past.    I feel like Paula Abdul this week.*

So today I have some pickups south of town that I have to get a jump on early.   Not too early, as they don’t even open until 10am, but earlier than my normal ‘leave the house at 1 or 2 pm.’   Until then it’s auction stuff, cleanup and put away, and maybe a maintenance item if I’m really motivated.  Need to do the ‘small’ grocery trip too.

Yep, I’m a slacker.   Been slack.  Am slack, will be slack.

That doesn’t mean YOU can’t stack some stuff…


*ah, the 80s

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,


Mon. May 15, 2023 – half way thru another month, still ok…

Warm and wet.   Damp and overcast for a while, then maybe some sun?  Just guessing, but that’s all the weather liars do.   They think they know, but not really, and especially not for Houston.  After all, the day finally cleared and  the sun came out in the late afternoon yesterday.

Did some cleanup and housework.   Made a nice dinner for Mother’s Day.   Watched movies as a family.   A good day.

Today I’ve got to kick @ss on some cleaning and organizing, if the rain stays away.   If not, it’s more piddlefarting around with maybe some pickups thrown in.   This week is looking like it’ll be pretty busy, with prepping for D1’s birthday, swim team, and all the normal things.  Plus I might have to make a quick trip to the BOL to meet with the septic guy.  All the rain has an alarm on the system activating, and I might need to get with him to resolve whatever is going on.  This weekend was the second time it’s tripped.  Time to figure out what the issue is.

School year is winding down for the kids.  Lots of testing, then a beach trip, then make work to run out the clock on the year…  I can’t believe it’s already summer.

I am glad for the time, as lately I am finding issues, gaps, and failures in my preps.   I was doing pretty well, but time and loss of focus took their toll.   Now I’m playing catchup again.  This is not where I want to be, so I better get busy changing it.

If you aren’t where you want to be, YOU better get busy too.  No one knows the what or when but we can be certain that there will be something.  It’ll be better to meet it with a stack of preps.   So get stacking.



Sun. May 14, 2023 – Mother’s Day (US)

A bit cooler, but still wet.  Forecast is for more rain, possible storms…  but still just on the edge of any serious weather.   Like yesterday.  Just wet enough to keep me inside most of the day.

Did my swapmeet/sale/non-prepping hobby meeting.   Good turnout, maybe double our normal?  And a couple of new club members from last month came back for more.  It’s hard to grow a club.   The ham magazine is full of advice, which tells me most clubs aren’t growing and don’t know what to do about it.   Attrition is a factor in most of the clubs I’m interested in.  Tempus fugit, momento mori, and all that.   No one gets out alive.   It’s nice to share an enthusiasm with other people.  We are social creatures after all.   It’s also important to mix with people outside your normal day to day groups, so you can get a wider picture of what is going on in the world.

After the meeting I mostly piddlefarted around  the house.   Domestic bliss- cleaning and laundry, cooking dinner, etc… and auction stuff.  I did do a bit of tech.  I found a ubiquiti Nanostation Loco M2 I’d removed from service and decided to see if it was recoverable to use at the BOL.   It wasn’t.  Deader than a  dead parrot.  I opened it up and looked at the board, but didn’t find any smoke releasing components.   Lightning killed it, and left no trace.   So I ordered a pair of new Nanostation M5s.   We’ll see how they work.

Today is Mother’s Day, so I will be working on that all day.  I think we’ll be cooking a beef ribeye roast, potatoes, asparagus, and homemade bread for dinner.   I hope the one I had in the freezer is big enough.   Dang kids are eating me out of house and home.

It used to be the case, don’t know if it still is, that Mother’s Day had the heaviest call volume of any day of the year.   Don’t let it pass unused.

Stack something, use something from your stacks.  Say Hi to Mom, if you still can.



Sat. May 13, 2023 – Friday the 13th falls on a Saturday this month…

Warm and damp.   Sun came out and it got hot yesterday and I see no reason that can’t happen again today.  National forecast has us on the edge of some bad stuff, but that’s just par for the course.

Yesterday ended up nice.   Overcast to start, but sunny in the afternoon.   I spent the morning working on auction stuff, mainly vintage audio gear, then went to do my pickup.   Hit the goodwill bins, since I was right there.   Got two pairs of expensive vintage cowboy boots as the main score.  Got a campstove toast rack too!   Now I can burn bread over a Coleman stove.   Lots of DVDs too.  It’s hard to believe that there are still DVDs I want but don’t have.

Stopped by my storage unit and got some stuff for my non-prepping hobby club meeting today.  I hope some stuff sells.   It would be nice to not bring it all home.  There are days when it feels like the joke about the two antique dealers alone on a deserted island.  One is having a ‘going out of business’ sale, the other is buying up ‘inventory’…   It’s always fun to spend time with people who enjoy the same stuff you do, even if they aren’t buying.

So that’s how I’m spending the morning, amongst fellow enthusiasts.   I’ll spend the afternoon doing house stuff, or auction stuff.   There’s always more to do.

Hopefully I’ll be stacking up a little money today.  Nothing else is likely to be added to the piles.  YOU should stack something though.  Water treatment or food, your choice this week 😉



Sun. May 7, 2023 – as the world turns…

Slightly cooler, but still damp with a chance of rain.   We did get some overnight yesterday that I forgot to mention.  I hope we don’t get any overnight last night.  I guess overnight is better than during the day  when I want to be doing stuff, but we could take a couple of days off of rain… It did end up pretty nice yesterday, if a bit on the humid side.  Wife and child got a brief and light shower shortly after arriving at camp but it didn’t dampen their spirits.

I spent the morning driving to the waste of time ‘man stuff’ estate sale.   Hit the bins for a quick walk through on my way home, then did taxi service for the teens.   Did some sorting while waiting for them to need the Nick Taxi, Nixi? and of course someone shot up a mall… yeah, I don’t even like going to the mall and I left my kid at one.  This whole idea of striving to give them as much of a childhood as I had is very trying.  (the mall is less than 10 minutes from the house)

Took the kid out for dinner, then called it an early night.

I really need to clean and organize the house today before W1 and D2 return.  Or I’ll be looking for W2 shortly.   My auctioneer put me off for another week as he’s having trouble clearing space.  I might need to send a load to another auctioneer in the mean time.  Maybe some of the lesser quality stuff since the guy I have in mind doesn’t get great prices.

I still need to do more cleanup in the stacks too.   Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…


And stacking, keep doing that too.  Even if it’s just a little bit.


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