Category: politics

Sat. Sept. 3, 2022 – plugging away

Hot and humid, but less so than Houston.    It was mostly in the high 80s low 90s yesterday.   Lots of humidity, but overcast kept it comfortable most of the day.  Unless one happened to be engaged in physical labor, then it was miserable soaked to the skin sweaty hot.

Like it was for me.   Every stitch of clothing soaked completely with sweat.   Lost track of the gatoraid I drank, and used my cool vest 3 times.   The gas line is in the trench, enters the garage, runs to a manifold.   I started work on the supply side of the water plumbing too.   Discovered I need 4 specific pex fittings that I don’t have.   May head into town to see if Tractor Supply has them, if not, I’ll work the other end of the system.

Family made it here safely.    Had dinner.

Brand new gallon of costco milk was sour when opened.  Seal was bad under the intact cap.   I might go into town for milk, and just stop by the hardware or TS store on the way.  I’m not the only one with milk going off before its time lately.   One more thing failing amongst many.

I REALLY am feeling pressure to have this place ready as a real refuge.   Politics are getting more divisive and the rhetoric is escalating.   Pretty sure the current president just declared war on more than half the population.  Since he said last week that we’d need more than guns, and finally stumbled around to saying we’d need F-15s, that sounds a lot like he intends to use the Armed Forces against us.    Wonder how that will work out?   Nice for the heads up though.

You aren’t stacking enough.   Get busy.

nick

Wed. Aug. 17, 2022 – aye, que loco

Slightly less hot today, but clearing with less chance of rain.

Kids start a full day of normal classes today.

After the late start yesterday, I got some stuff picked up.  Went by the Habitat reStore looking for stuff for the BOL.   The southside store used to have a great selection of doors, but they were pretty much all gone.  Their tile selection was meager too, and it used to be extensive.  Most of what they had appeared to be from a closed Ace Hardware.   The whole reStore system is dependent on donations, and it looked a bit sparse the last couple of visits.  Could be there is less slack in the system, could be people are being more careful so they don’t have excess to dispose of, or it could be people are buying the store out…

 

The thrift stores are looking a bit sparse too.   And I noticed a couple of closed strip joints, and in my neighborhood, a closed pawn shop.   I think things are probably worse than they look economically.    The closed auto dealerships and especially the little used car lots are another bad sign.   Even one of the big Ford dealers is still spreading cars and trucks out to fill the lot.

 

Today I’ve got fence to fix at the rent house, and a few more plumbing items to find for the BOL.   I’ve got stuff in deep storage that I need for there as well, including the pex compression tools I bought years ago, well in advance of need.  Later I need to get to the bank and have my septic permit application notarized so I can get it to my contractor this weekend.  Septic is the only thing you need a permit and inspection for at my BOL.  While that might make some things easier, remember that the  inspection is to protect you, the building owner.  It’s another set of eyes to make sure your contractor is doing the work to minimum standards.

I did notice that Lowes had 2×4 studs for just under $5, which is down from just under $8 not too long ago.   The reported record number of home buyers walking away from their contracts and the slowdown in home sales might be contributing to that.  Make of it what you will, but rising home prices make people feel good (owners and sellers) while falling prices make them nervous.   Some price lowering in general should help with inflation, but if it is really the beginning of deflation in the non-core sector, then bad times are right around the corner.   I mean, worse times.   Given the recent increase in crime and violence, and in costs,  I’d say we are already in bad times.

There is still food in the store and stuff to buy, and generally if you want to work you can.   That can change, and if it does it will change rapidly.  Preps are a cushion against rapid change, especially when it’s for the worse.

So stack it up.

nick

Thur. Jul. 21, 2022 – nope, nothing to see.

Hot and humid.   For a while yet too.  Because “summer in Houston’.   The rest of you might have some reason to complain with your unseasonably warm temps, but not us.  Not really.  Hot yesterday, hot today, hot tamale’.

Spent most of yesterday doing other things.  Did pickup some stuff.  Did get the girls from their day camp leadership thing…

Today I’ve got more of the same, and some prep to do to head back to the BOL for another weekend.


Interesting that the Brits are changing their leadership, and now Italy looks about ready to change theirs.   We certainly wouldn’t mind changing ours.   Germany came pretty close to it in the last month or so too, didn’t they?  No coalition at the moment if I understand it.   Sri Lanka and soon Pakistan and maybe the Philippines too….

Sometimes, everything changes.

Stack up some insurance against the upheaval and uncertainty.

nick

Sun. Feb. 13, 2022 – Friday the 13th falls on a Sunday this month…

Cold again, and still damp.   I could barely walk yesterday morning.  And it was blowing to beat the band.  Today should be more of the same.

Did my stuff yesterday.   Been doing a lot of driving around so I’ve got various audio books in the vehicles to keep me interested and awake.  I am finding that I really like it, if I like the reader.   In the pickup, Frozen Heat, Richard Castle.  Melodrama in the pretend style of pretend author, spun off [or filled in?] from the TV show Castle.  Nathan Fillon in the original role, and I keep trying to hear his voice, but the reader does a good job despite not being Fillon.   It’s silly, and very much a ‘play within a play, within a play.’   Really liked the show, and I’m enjoying the silly book.  It has some easter eggs, like a cop duo named Malcom, and Reynolds and it doesn’t take itself seriously.

In the Expy, Einstein, Walter  Isaacson.  Well read, it’s a bio of Einstein along with an explanation of his ideas.  Very accessible, and I’m learning things.

Also in the Expy, when the kid is in the truck, The Magician’s Nephew, Chronicles of Narnia, CS Lewis.  Produced by Focus on the Family, it’s a dramatization and is fully produced with voice talent, sound effects, etc.   I read through the Chronicles many times, but don’t remember this one so it’s fun to hear it.  All of the discs in this set are well done, with the exception of a VERY strange vocal acting choice for Aslan.  Recommended if you liked the stories.

I ran out of the Louis Lamour stories, but I found some more of the Sherlock Holmes, and I’ve got a couple more of the Richard Castle books too.   Audiobooks on CD are cheap on ebay, and I’m really enjoying listening to them, which I really didn’t expect.  Beats the snot out of AM talk radio….

 

I’ve talked to a lot of people this week, during my errands.   Most of them thing wuflu is about over, and certainly treating it as a special ongoing disaster is D O N E done.    There is a broad awareness of coming hard times.  People see the shortages, they feel the pinch of the inflation.  Let’s Go Brandon got a return chorus from the group at my hobby club meeting when someone mentioned inflation.   There are a lot of retired technical specialists and small business owners in the group, but this is the first year there has been much mention of politics.  It’s normally a politely politics free space  focused on our common interest.   I spent about 10-15 minutes talking to one of the guys about lakehouses, rent houses, and how he’s selling stuff off and getting out of his investments.  He figures property is about as high as it’s really likely to go, and interest rates will kill it.  I’m kinda inclined to agree.  And everyone was talking about supply chain issues and scarcity impacts on construction, repair, and the economy.

 

Do your own research, draw your own conclusions, but I’m betting on “much worse before it gets better” and while I can’t pick a specific time, “soon” seems about right.   Stack all the things.   It’s gonna get sporty.

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

Thur. Aug. 26, 2021 – month is winding down

Hot and humid. Chance of rain. Almost a surety that it will rain SOMEWHERE in Houston. It got pretty hot yesterday. I think my weather station topped out at 104F in the sun. It was still over 80F at dinner time, and just 80F at midnight. I did drive through some rain during my errands too.

Did a lot of running around yesterday. Did some thrifting too, since I’ve got a guaranteed auction coming up and he’ll take the stuff to his warehouse. There were a couple of good scores.

Today I’ll be packing up stuff for my non-prepping hobby show this weekend. So far they haven’t asked me to help load a truck today, so it’s all my stuff to get ready. I really hope some or all of it sells.

Moving the stuff is the important part, getting some money is second. Hanging out with people who share an enthusiasm is pretty cool too.

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I got a funny phone call yesterday. Out of the blue, someone from the local Republican party called and asked if I wanted to be a precinct chair. It turns out the precinct is basically my neighborhood, and a couple of blocks around it. The duties seem to be trying to get out the vote, shaking hands and knocking on doors. I’m actually considering it, since I encourage all y’all to get involved with local politics. Well, if not involved exactly, at least familiar with the people and the process. IDK if I would be good at it, or want the exposure, or would be acceptable to them. Everything they said about Kavanaugh could have been said about me… only the names and places were different. The 80s were a great time to be coming of age…….. Anyway, no one’s had the position in years. This tells me that the local R’s might be trying to up their ground game.

That they think they can overcome fraud with effort is funny. And I don’t actually care about most of the R’s, since they turned out to be politicians first, deep staters or quislings second, and generally not people I’d put in charge of a Prom Committee, but they at least aren’t actively pushing socialism. We can continue to pretend things are normal for a while longer. And it might lead to some good insights… or a spot in front of a pock marked wall. That last being the important bit. Hard to be the grey man when people know you as part of a political machine.

I’ll put it in the ‘meatspace baby’ pile for now and give it some thought. I don’t see much upside to doing it, and a lot of potential downside.

We’ve still got some time, use it wisely. Stack all the things!

n

Wed. Aug. 25, 2021 – nut cuttin’ time is getting closer

Whoooeeeee, it shore got hot in the sun yesterday. Gonna happen today too, reckon. Oh, it’ll start out slow, but I’m betting on ‘hot’ and sunny later. At least the humidity was slightly lower. It wasn’t so low I didn’t sweat through my shirt in minutes outdoors, but it was better than the last few days.

Since I spent yesterday morning and early afternoon dealing with power issues here at Casa de Nick, I didn’t get very far on my list. Most of that will have to push to today. Also, most of the prep for my non-prepping hobby convention and swapmeet needs to happen today. I’ll be doing prep for my role in things Thursday, and actually doing the things Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Posting will be as normal but commenting will be light.

On the plus side, now that my service drop is replaced, my electrician buddy should be willing to do the gennie hookup.

On the minus side, there is a smell in the garage like the rat poison worked. No ratons in the traps, so he’s somewhere else. Unlike the house, he can get into the walls in the garage. I’m really hoping that isn’t the case. I’ll know more in a day… Whether I’ll be able to do anything about it is another question.

Whether the world holds together is starting to be a good question. Portland has another ‘autonomous zone’ taken over by antifa thugs. They seem to be entirely without introspection as they’ve named the area the “SSPAZ”. Maybe the ‘kids’ are so well conditioned that they never called anyone a spaz and they just don’t get the reference. Elsewhere shootings and public violence continue to increase. An example of the unequal application of the law has the leader of the Proud Boys facing jail for stealing and burning a flag, while looters, BLM thugs, and antifa punks roam free. Oh, and he had a “high capacity” magazine with him in DC, while antifa tries to literally blind cops and gets away with it.

As well to be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.

Disruptions to supply lines continue. Disruptions to the food supply continue. Remember last year when people were saying “don’t worry about the poor crops, we’ve got plenty of grain in storage…” well, this year that grain is probably mostly gone, and it looks like we aren’t going to have bumper crops.

People are talking and advocating for vax status to determine access to and level of medical care. Think about that one for a second. Now extend it out a year or two… what else will they want to use to discriminate against you? There will be shooting when that costs someone a loved one. And honestly, I don’t think it will take a year. You will need tribe and like minded folks to get access and resources. What will you bring to that exchange?

Black market, grey market, secondary market, informal market, whatever you call it and whatever nuances there are between them, start looking. Start practicing. Swapmeets. Yard sales. Garage sales. A guy who knows a guy. You might find yourself locked out of the main economy. Yeah, things would have to be pretty bad before that could happen. Illegals already live that way though. It’s not that big a step and the legal framework went in years ago. There were articles about it, and the pretext was ‘extremism’, but they promised not just to lock you out but also anyone who would do business with you. I don’t know where such a scenario fits on a risk matrix, but it’s on there. And we are in the middle of a global pandemic, and the early stages of a civil war. Just sayin’. Planning. Some preps. Some people. Some practice. Just sayin’.

And stacks. Tall stacks.

nick

Wed. Aug. 18, 2021 – Did something change?

Hot and humid again, although less so. Same prediction of rain in the afternoon or evening. Which is how yesterday went. We had sun and rain at the same time for part of the afternoon… so we didn’t get clobbered, but I think we’re 4 for 4 on rain in the afternoon now.

Spent the day moving stuff from one bin to another, getting ready to drop off some auction stuff today. Then I went to Costco to get TP and whatever else struck me as a good deal.

Hmm. Spent almost $800 and didn’t get much meat, and got no TP. The TP area was BARE except for one or two pallets of Scott. No paper towels either. The napkins I like were on sale so I got some of those. They were bringing out about 10 pallets of kirkland TP, but I don’t need to mess with that. If they haven’t restocked Charmin Blue, I’ll pull some from my secondary location. It’s not that I don’t have any, I just am getting low at the house.

What I did get was some of the stuff I haven’t bought in a year or more. 3 boxes of ziplok bags for example. Dishwasher pods. $40 in black bins for the auction. And lots of prepared meals. They are very convenient with the kids and with me being out of the house in the late afternoon. They’re not cheap, or a great value, but they are tasty and convenient. I also doubled up some purchases to get ‘caught up’ on some stuff I’d let run down. Butter. Cheese. Potstickers. Cereal. Our eating habits have changed and I’ve got stuff on the shelves that is just sitting there that would have turned over twice a year ago.

There were some gaps. No lamb rib chops, so I couldn’t compare today’s price with 2019. No lamb convenience meals either. Still no spiral sliced ham- I don’t think it’s coming back at this point. They marked down the pallet of Community brand coffee. They had switched flavors from what was selling well (and what I bought) to a lighter blend, and it looks like it didn’t sell at all. I hope they go back to the dark roast, and don’t drop the company completely. There was one Mountain House box on an otherwise empty pallet. People must have been buying today. The black bins were sold out on the floor, so I grabbed some from the second shelf. No flip top bins at all.

There was still rice in different sized bags and a couple of different varieties, but nothing like pre-wuflu. It was more like 70c/lb than 50c. That could be brand, or seasonal variation, or it could be inflation. Oh, and no Breathe Rite strips in the store… weird. Lots of indian food displacing the chinese and korean, lots of stuff I’ve never seen in the store before, but all in smaller quantities. All the canned veg was national brands, not kirkland.

There seemed to be a good assortment of cheap wine options, 8-12$ bottles. More selection at the low end than I remember them having pre-wuflu, and confirms what I saw last time. There were a lot of discounted items too, which almost seemed back to normal. It wasn’t crowded at 4:00-5:30pm while I was there, but they must have had a pretty busy day. Storms headed this way, and political storms brewing might do that.

It’s not just foreign actors that will be testing Bidden and the US. Our own politicians will be looking to exploit his weakness and mistakes too. That will give our enemies even more encouragement as we continue fighting amongst ourselves. Don’t look for peace, prosperity, and stability. It’s going to get a lot worse before we get back to those.

Prep as best you can for whatever threat you see coming. If you feel like you’ve got to lower your profile, don’t just drop off the air here. Let us know you’re going to be ‘spending more time with family’… so we don’t worry. Or change your nickname… although that won’t stop us from noticing your old nick isn’t coming around anymore. Thanks for the support for Ray and his wife, especially from those of you we don’t hear from that often. Glad to know you are still coming by.

There’s only so many ways I can say “get prepped” but despite all the time Bob spent saying it, and I spent saying it, some of you were still caught short last March. Don’t let that happen again. For REALZ this time, get prepped! Anyone with specific questions, ask them. It will give me something specific to write about, or it’ll let the other experts here chime in, like battery discussion does.

And let’s not forget that life does go on, even in the middle of a global pandemic, and the coming civil war, and the world wide rearrangement. Ordinary stuff needs doin’ too. I’m not the only one with kids (or grandkids) and we have an obligation to them too. They’ll be the ones that come out the other side of this, and they’ll need a good foundation to build off of. They sure aren’t getting that in school, they need to get it from us. Building the next generation is the biggest prep of all.

And of course, keep stacking. Piles of stuff, a head full of knowledge and hands full of work, and a few stout friends, and you’ll have what you need to get through, and even thrive.

At least, that’s what I am hoping, and building toward.

nick

-title question referred to mood, or zeitgeist. You tell me if you are seeing it.

Fri. Aug. 13, 2021 – Friday the 13th falls on a Friday this month

Hot and humid, some rain somewhere in town. Yesterday I managed to miss all the rain. Wherever I was it was sunny and hot, but I could see the T storm cells in the distance. Two of them parked over neighborhoods near mine for a while. LOTS of rain came down in a short time.

I spent my morning taking the puppy to the vet for the last of his vaccinations. He was very sore afterwards, and he really doesn’t like the rectal thermometer 🙂

Then I did some pickups, and spent some time talking with one of the auctioneers about taking a bunch of my stuff. He’s game. I told him about a box truck worth, and he seemed ok with that. We talk again on Monday. That would be awesome to get a huge whackload of stuff out of here at one go.

I’m really getting concerned about unloading as much as I can as quickly as I can. The pace of our slide toward violence and civil disorder/war seems to be accelerating. There are blue check mark people (ie real people) on twitter calling for the un-vaxxed to be lined up in front of ditches and machine gunned. They are saying that society should be making the unvaxxed lives miserable until they lose heart and give in. I note that they are saying these things expecting pats on the head and agreement. On the other side, parents are chasing school board members to their cars yelling at them that ‘we know where you live and we’ll find you.’ IN PERSON and on video.

Petty and violent crime are up all over the country, and respect for the law is at lows we haven’t seen in decades. That might be partly because we are no longer ruled by law, and people are waking up to that. Criminals will always see it first and act first to take advantage of it. Ordinary people, who are growing madder by the day, will start soon. Every crime or slight will carry the death penalty WROL. (or without EFFECTIVE rule of law anyway.)

Extremists are getting more extreme. Rhetoric is heating up. Interpersonal violence and official violence are increasing. Add in an invasion of literally ‘the great unwashed’ to the tune of over 1 million, all of them legally criminals, many undoubtedly actual “criminal” criminals. The world political and economic situation continues to deteriorate. When was the last time you saw an article about Greece and its financial issues? When did the EU banks have their last stress test? Anyone think those situations have been made better by the last year and a half of lockdowns and trade disruptions? Is Paris burning cars this summer? How is Venezuela doing? Cuba? How about the failed narco-state to our south?

Then look to our own issues of governance. Even the edges of the mainstream are starting to question Biddn’s mental state. His wastrel son’s laptop is the gift that keeps on giving and someone is doing mental scale balancing of Biddn’s perceived power vs. the money to be made off the scandal. No one wants to be Epsteined, but recognizing the lion is toothless makes people bolder.

Our economic situation hasn’t improved. In every other instance in history, writing a bunch of checks you can’t cover except by running the printing presses has led to inflation. History HASN’T ended. We are seeing inflation. We expect inflation. Why is it so hard to BELIEVE in the bad things inflation brings? Your fixed income becomes ZERO. Your life savings becomes ZERO. Your wages quickly drop to near zero. And in the middle of this, TPTB have decided to fire at least 30% and possibly as much as 50% of their staff with vaccine mandates. Isn’t everyone complaining about a labor shortage? How does reducing the pool of available labor help that? People have lost their minds, and are not making rational decisions. That is a VERY BAD SIGN.

I know. I’m doom and gloom. It comes with the territory. But. Show me the alternative. Make the case that things are getting better.

And if you can’t, you need to start acting. Nothing irrevocable. But there is a lot you can do before it gets to that point. People are moving. Sarah Hoyt (who we sometimes link) has. Our own Jenny saw the possible very local bad things coming and acted. RBT did several years ago. Several other bloggers I read have moved too. Lynn has his gennie installed. Others of you have taken steps too. A fair number of you have casually moved in the last couple of years…

It probably deserves more thought and a lot more words written, but I think we are past the point where a ham radio license and some Baofeng radios will help. Alternative comms ARE going to be needed, but I don’t know what it will look like yet. Alternative food, water, power, sanitation, and healthcare are going to be higher on the list. Alternative income. Alternative security arrangements. Alternatives to going to work every day. Those are the things to prioritize now.

The more stuff you have stacked, the more skills, knowledge, and trustworthy friends you have, the more ALTERNATIVES you will have.

Keep stacking what you need.

Keep your head on a swivel and your options open.

nick

Fri. Aug. 6, 2021 – this time for sure…

Hot and humid, chance of rain. Again. Like Thursday. Overcast all day, then some sprinkles, and it got cooler later in the day.

Wife and kids hit the road for the airbnb lakehouse, and I set out on my errands. First stop was my mechanic with my Ranger. I have the feeling it’s going to be a bunch of money. All the rubber bushes are ‘perished’. I’ve got a stuck caliper. I’m guessing new rotors and pads all around, and at least one caliper. I’ll know more Monday.

Then it was switch vehicles and off to my buddy’s gun store. Had a couple of people in waiting for their checks to come back, and a couple of random ‘concerning’ people. Crazy angry chicks that talk a lot can take up a lot of your attention. I lost track of a HUGE sketchy guy when I got distracted. Fortunately it was because he got done casing the joint and left. Lot of people case the place, none come back. I guess I should add “so far”. They had a few guns in inventory, but not many. No ammo.

Then it was on to my secondary where I spent about 4 hours moving stuff around and literally stacking some stuff. I can see floor, which is a big change. I intend to head over there today and do some more too. I want to be able to lot up some pallets of stuff next week.

I am hoping that my newest possibility of an auctioneer will be back from his mom’s funeral and back at work next week also. That way I can move a whole bunch of stuff to his place and out of my places. Having some sales from that would be nice too.

At some point during the day, I’ll head home, shower and hit the road for the lake. After all, it’s possible (I rate it ‘unlikely’) that I’m wrong and the world isn’t about to puke up its guts and rearrange things for the next period of about 70 years. I wish I could ask my grandmother how it felt in 1939, or ’40, or ’41. How she felt about the world, and if all the preparation and groundwork the government was doing affected her. I wonder if she saw what was happening in Europe and recognized that big change wasn’t done yet. I’ve got a feeling that these are ‘the good old days’ and I need to do my best to be sure the kids know what ‘good times’ look and feel like. Yeah I know, sounds overly dramatic and maudlin. But the US Civil War happened. The nazziz rose to power in Germany. Mussolini rose to power. Japan made their hubris filled miscalculation… there is absolutely no reason why similar things can’t happen again. History hasn’t stopped and humans are pretty much the same as they were 70, 700, or 2000 years ago.

The pace of change and the vitriolic rhetoric seem to be heating up. I’ve been feeling some urgency for the last couple of years to get all my unnecessary stuff out of here and the rest sorted out, but now I’m REALLY feeling it. Nobody is going to be buying any of this stuff if the world suddenly goes pear shaped. And it will be sudden.

Use the time you have to get squared away. Stack needful things.

n

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