Mon. Mar. 22, 2021 – back to school, HAH HAH! /muntz voice

Cooler but also possibly wet.  National forecast has us on the edge of a system, and we usually don’t get the rain in that case, but I guess we could.  Yesterday was absolutely beautiful.   I got a sunburn on my neck while working in the yard.

And yes, the yard is very bright now that we removed the pecan tree in the middle.  On the plus side, my one garden bed should get much more light too.

Spent a couple hours in the yard playing with the wife and kids.  Did some archery.  Did some hitting of the heavy bag.  My 11yo mentioned some time ago that she was interested in learning more about fighting.  I had a kid sized heavy bag show up in the auctions, so I got it.  Took down the trapeze from the ‘play structure’ and hung up the bag today.   Funny how different girls are when throwing a ball or a punch.  I have to constantly remind her to straighten her wrists, but she’s getting it.  We’re going to be doing a lot of palm and elbow strikes and less punching once she gets comfortable.   The goal is to surprise any attacker and open up space to get away, not to win cage matches.

The younger child wanted to hit stuff too, but once she got started all she wanted to do was pester me with ‘what ifs’ and ‘but I want to turn my hand while punching’ and ‘ow that kinda hurts.’  It’s gonna be a bit more of a struggle with that one.  She’s a barracks lawyer in training and her brain goes a thousand miles an hour.

Part of ‘getting through this, whatever this is’ means getting the kids ready to make their way in the world.  They need some physical skills as well as mental, so I’m doing my best to head that way.  There’s always something more to do.

Changing subjects entirely, for the last couple of nights I spun the dial on the shortwave to see what the bands sounded like.   We’re supposed to get increased sunspot activity which improves ham and shortwave radio propagation, so I want to pay attention and see what the baseline is.   Well, nothing spectacular so far.  (and not expected either)   I did get a night with late evening great signal from Tennessee and Cuba, but it faded as it got later.   Usually 5mhz is better later, so that was a bit odd.  Otherwise, it’s been noisy and variable for several days.   Having a shortwave radio is kind of a prepper cliche’, but after years of tuning around and dozens of radios I was pretty sure that in anything short of the zombie apocalypse there wasn’t going to be much point in shortwave listening.

Most of the stations that are readily receivable are fringe religious broadcasters or state propaganda outlets.   Still, the religious stations have news and opinion programming, and even propaganda can give you some information, and tuning the bands to get a rough idea of band conditions is easier with shortwave, so I still recommended people have a good shortwave radio.   The recent increase in ‘cancelling’ conservative voices has changed my mind.   Alex Jones was one of the very first to be cancelled, and he is still on the air, on shortwave radio, getting his message out.  You may think little of his message, but he IS being heard.  The religious broadcasters are almost all VERY conservative when you can tell anything about them, and so some other conservative voices are showing up on their news segments, and in their editorial content.

If things online get worse, the only place you might find a conservative voice is on shortwave.  Hopefully, more people will take advantage of radio, and more of the existing broadcasters will leverage their platform so that there is an increase of opinions and news available.  Shortwave could see a renaissance.   One very good thing about shortwave, no one is tracking the listeners.  (yes, there are ways to confirm someone is listening but you have to know who they are first, generally, to target them.  Not so with online media.)  Get a radio and string up a wire, and get some practice in tuning around the dial.

I’ve talked about radios and what you might hear before.  So did RBT.  Use the keywords for amateur radio and radio and do some reading… especially in the comments.


Today should be spent doing all the stuff I didn’t do this weekend, especially getting more stuff out to auctions for sale.  Weather will determine which stuff moves up and down the list.  Getting the kids up and out the door will be the first challenge…

Back to normal life.  Stack it high!

 

nick

Sun. Feb. 21, 2021 – 02212021 – I guess I just never noticed the weird date numbers before

Cool but not cold.  Sunny and windy.   I think.

Yesterday got up into the 60s and it was chilly shirtsleeves temps out in the sun.  And I took the day off.  Did some cleaning and putting away, but mostly wasted time on the internet with my friends.   Checked on a couple of friends.  Mostly though, had a down day to recover.

Now the actual recovery will commence.   Stuff needs to be cleaned, restocked, and put away.  Damage from freezing needs to be assessed and accounted for.   Then all the normal spring stuff needs to happen too.    I’ve got a tree coming down on Friday, and I need to clear a path, and set up a spot for the wood we’re keeping.  Eventually a plumber will install our instant hot water heater.  That was supposed to be this week but I wouldn’t pull him away from emergency calls even if I could.  I’ve got stuff to get to auction, and delayed pickups to make.  LOTS of organizing to do too.  And gardening…

Some other notes before I forget…

–those one pound bottles of propane are supposed to be removable and re-install-able, but I have about 1 in 3 leak slowly when removed.  That’s one reason not to store them indoors.  Squirt the top with soapy water and watch for bubbles.  Bubbles = leaking.

–the lithium jumper packs from Costco, with S in the name might not be great for jumping cars but they are excellent as power packs to recharge anything with a 5v USB charger.

–buckets rock.  You should have a bunch of empty food grade 5 gallon buckets and lids in storage.

–black plastic sheeting.  Clear plastic sheeting.  BOTH kinds of plastic sheeting.   You need at least one roll in storage.

–space heaters of various types could save the day, even if you wouldn’t ordinarily use them for anything.

— the traditional advice, “storm coming, fill the bathtub with water” is excellent advice.

–a working whole house generator would have made this whole thing almost a non-issue.  Water would have been my only concern.

–check your water.  check your preps.

— the traditional advice, “storm coming, fill your vehicle gas tanks” is excellent advice.

–get some CO monitors.  Then get a couple more.  You’ll sleep better with them than without them.

–I was too busy or too tired to run any radios.  I left the scanner off.   I didn’t need any info we weren’t getting from the neighborhood through texts or groups on FB.   I did notice the local 440mhz repeater that covers the whole city was offline.   I didn’t even try any HF.  Longer event and I probably would have started firing up radios, but my concerns were local local local, and tribe.

–cell coverage went down and stayed down for more than a day.  Voice coverage and data were spotty before and after.   Texts came through, but could be delayed.

–the Middle Earth version of Risk takes two days.  Like the regular version of Risk.  Two very long and frustrating days.  Like regular Risk.  It did keep the wife and kids out of the way– for two long days.  Puzzles have a LOT less angst and conflict.

–hot chocolate is a comfort food.  And we ran out.  Prepper fail.

–bad stuff can happen any time.   Worse stuff can happen during bad stuff.

–having extras to hand to people means you can help others without involving yourself intimately.    That’s good for them and you too.

–there are knock on effects too, ie. second and third and fourth order effects.  Pipes freeze and break.   EVERYONE needs a plumber.  No plumbers are available so everyone heads to the store to try and DIY.  No plumbing supplies are left in the stores.  Pipes break and flood (why?  Because people don’t know or think to turn off the water and NOT turn it back on without watching).   Flooring, walls and ceilings are ruined.   Houstonians know how to deal with wet stuff, you rip it out.  But that means no dumpsters are available.   No dumpsters means piles of debris in front of the house.  I’m going to buy a dumpster bag and add it to my preps.  When one becomes available…

–stuff and systems fail at the worst possible time, because that’s when they are stressed the most.   People too.

–it’s always something.

 

All good reasons to KEEP STACKING.

nick

Sun. Feb. 7, 2021 – the post titles rarely match the content

Cool but clear after some misty drizzle and locally spotty rain.

As I drove around yesterday I did hit some pockets of very light drizzle and I could see that some areas were getting heavier rain.    But it was mostly dry for most of Houston.

Got my errands run, did a bit of work at my secondary, but weather and exertion took their toll, and my back was killing me.  When it sends various jabs and pokes, and generally feels like a bundle of glass rods with some cracks and breaks, it’s time to take it a bit easier before I really hurt myself.  Getting old and decrepit is a b!tch.

As a note about how my life works, one of my pickups was three spools of filament for my uPrint 3D printer.  Gnu only knows why, but the proprietary support material, and the ABS filament in the original (chipped) cassettes showed up in an auction.  ~$15 each, when they sell for over $100 on ebay.  Since it’s an old machine, it requires the cassettes and the proprietary filament, which hasn’t been made or sold new in years.  It was really great to get some so cheap.

Plan for today is more stuff around the house, to include prep of the garden beds, but likely NOT planting.  Seems we’re going to get a bit more winter before we really get spring, so I’ll keep the little plants where they won’t freeze until the danger passes.  I guess my laziness busy-ness worked in my favor this time.

Played the Harry Potter version of Clue for family game night.  Really liked it.  It solves some of the problems inherent in the game play of the original, and has a couple of neat additions.   If you like Clue, and are at all fond of Harry Potter, you’ll probably like it.

My ‘rip all the DVDs’ project is continuing apace.  27 discs so far.  Maybe it won’t be next year before I’m done after all.  Next choice is whether to use Plex or something built into windows to serve the streams to appropriate devices…   No hurry on that though.

Listening to the scanner while I’m in my office doing other things and it continues to reveal the techniques, tools, and limitations that the police and other agencies are working with.   It also gives me a lot more information about what is going on around my area.  By no means is it telling me all that is happening, but it reveals stuff you won’t hear from your neighbors.  Listening regularly gives me a baseline too- a sense of operational pace.  Definitely recommended.

Information, skills, people, and stuff.  You need them all.  Get to stacking.

 

nick

Sat. Jan. 23, 2021 – busy day, making progress though

Cool and clear, I hope.   National map has us on the edge of a rainy area.  Usually the edge misses us.  I would like to get stuff done without getting rained on.

I spent some more time at my secondary  location doing clean up and throwing out stuff.   One of the things I un-buried was a shelving unit for my nearby storage unit.  I’ll be setting that up today if the rain holds off.  That will get some of my ebay stuff out of the house, without it being very far away.  Farther than I’d prefer, but keeping it here is not an option at this time.  Room needs to be made for GS cookies.

Yep, cookie season is almost here.  We thought it would be fully online this year, but I guess not.  Soon I’ll have hundreds of boxes of cookies in my foyer and living room.  Few of them for me, though.

My auction pickup yesterday was two ham radios.  Early 80s, solid units.   One was bringing crazy money on ebay.   I’ve got some work to do cleaning them up a bit and hopefully doing a little bit of testing.  Even as just a ‘parts’ machine, it should bring >$1100, which is nuts.  I am selling it, and not keeping it.   Need the money, have radios…   In fact, I’m toying with the idea of doing an auction in March of all the stuff I’d normally take to the hamfest.  I’ll talk to my local auctioneer and see what he thinks.

I’ve got a pickup in Conroe today, it’s stuff for building antennas.  I’m hoping to leverage some collapsible flagpoles into decent antennas.   They are always in that particular auction and go relatively cheaply.

There has been some discussion in various places regarding alternate comms and news sources.   Alex Jones led the way by having his show on shortwave for years.  Say what you will about him, a few of his darts have hit the board, and he was deplatformed before it was even a word.   He’s still around though.  I’m sure his shortwave show contributes to that.   In general, I thought the standard prepper recommendation to own a shortwave radio was not particularly useful.   The main broadcasters are religious based or state propaganda organs.  That said, many of the church people do news and talk too, and it’s possible to learn stuff from propaganda.   Given the crackdown on free speech in the US, I’m moving shortwave radio up the list a couple of notches.  Lots of good info about shortwave radios and listening on youtube.  (yes, evil youtube.  support the content creators that are making a living or living their dream on the platform.   Use patreon or whatever the creators like, and run adblockers to starve the beast.)

Compromise (or at least the appearance of ‘going along to get along’) is going to be the word-o-the day for a long time.  We need to maintain our ability to act, to support those that need support, and we need to get THROUGH this and out the other side, to wherever that may be.  There are times when that is not going to look very pretty.  I’m sure my tolerance for the necessary levels of compromise will vary and there may come a point where I can’t do it.  But given what that would cost  me, the current plan is pull back, pull in, and abide.    You may evaluate the situation and come to a different conclusion.   I may come to a different conclusion at some point too.  But I intend to survive this as intact as possible, and I’m PLANNING and provisioning to do that.

Stack it high.  Stack it in a bunch of small piles scattered all over.  Stack it wherever you can.  But STACK up some resources, friends, and knowledge.

nick

 

Mon. Jan. 11, 2021 – so much happening so fast, where to start?

Cold.  Wet.  Wet.  Cold.

Yesterday was low 40s and mid 30s with non-stop drizzle or worse.  It was 35F when I went to sleep.

Didn’t get anything at all done yesterday.  Really somewhat overwhelmed by the pace of things happening in the world.  Still, gotta keep moving forward.  So.

We’re 11 days into the New Year, and consider how much things have changed, just since Christmas.  Holy cr@p sandwich Batman…  what can a person do?

Well, it’s not too late to do something but by starting late everything will be harder and cost more.   If, that is, you think time is getting short.   If everything is fine, then why do you feel like you might want a gun, or some extra food in the house “just in case?”  Those sorts of feelings are your brain trying to tell you something is wrong with the world around you.  People who pay attention and do something about it are called “preppers” nowadays, but used to be called other things including “prudent”.

Most of the folks here at Daynotes have been preppers or at least have been prepping for a while now, or I hope they have been to SOME extent.   This post is more along the lines of something you can point the ‘new kid’ toward when they ask about what they should do.

First off, prepping is NOT a fringe activity.  Millions of people in the US and elsewhere prep to varying degrees.   It is the official policy of the US Government, promulgated by FEMA, that the citizens should prepare themselves for dealing with emergencies on their own.  There is a lot of information available from ‘official’ sources, but most of it is watered down, ‘lowest common denominator’ stuff.  Officially, FEMA says that in the event of an emergency, you should have enough stuff to take care of your needs for 72 hours, that being their minimum response time to a major incident.  Note the word ‘minimum’.   After several recent drills, for some people in some places, the recommended time was increased to 2 weeks.   Most people who consider themselves to be preppers can easily meet the 72 hours goal, and rapidly move on to the next level goal, and when they’ve reached that, move to the next.   That assumes they actually START, and that there is time for that approach to work.   There are other approaches we’ll talk about later.

There are as many approaches to prepping as there are preppers and there is an overwhelming amount of data online.   Somehow it became fashionable to put up prepping guides a couple of years ago, that were little more than fluff and had very little actual information in them and often had really bad advice to boot.  Because the internet is forever, a whole lot of those clickbait articles will show up when you start looking into prepping.

Before letting yourself be overwhelmed though, it’s important to realize a couple of things.   Prepping is a journey, not a destination.  Everyone’s journey is different, and as the Chinese and other’s have noted, the journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step.   So take that first step.

The first step is a question.  What are you prepping FOR?  The answer to that will shape your journey, but doesn’t necessarily define it.  The beauty of prepping is that each step builds upon the next and by prepping for the big things, you should automatically have the littler things covered along the way.  In normal times the answers range from a localized or regional “ordinary” disaster, like a flood, hurricane, winter storm, train derailment, or some other thing that is a likely and real hazard in your area; to a big thing, like global societal and economic collapse, a worldwide pandemic, or the fictional combination of the two- the zombie apocalypse.  A quick side note, for people new to prepping the idea of zombies and a zombie apocalypse can seem crazy, foolish, bizarre, or off-putting, but it’s really just a sort of shorthand for ‘everything goes nuts, nothing works like it should, and you are on your own.’    If you prep towards surviving that, you should have everything else covered.

So what are you prepping for?  If you are just starting,  you are likely concerned by the recent riots and destruction in our cities.  You have of course been affected by the current worldwide pandemic, and the restrictions related to covid-19 to some degree or another.  You might have been caught short in the beginning and wish to avoid that happening again if the wuflu does get worse.*  Or it might just be the REACTION to wuflu that concerns you.   You might be concerned by the political polarization in America.  Believe me, people on both sides are fully convinced that people on the other side are just a hair’s breadth away from exploding into violence.   That tells me that it’s coming for sure.   I don’t care which side you are on, and my politics are evident in other posts, but shouldn’t put you off.  I’ll try to be non-partisan in the body of these posts about prepping.  Maybe you see an economic collapse in the future.  Or you just see hurricane season starting up in a few months and you just want to get a jump on it…   I’ll tell you a secret.  Unless you live in a hazard zone, the most common disasters to befall people are much more personal – the loss of a job followed by long term unemployment, or serious illness/death of a loved one.  Prepping will help tremendously with those too.

One last thing before getting started.   This is going to be based on my approach, and my beliefs.    This website was Robert Bruce Thompson’s and he spent a lot of time talking about prepping issues, and his ideas shaped my own prepping journey.    He was a published author, a scientist, and a really smart guy who was very detail oriented and thorough.  I encourage anyone at any stage of their prepping journey to use the keywords at the right and read what Bob (RBT) said in his own words, as well as the discussion it engendered.  I’ll talk about his approach and link where appropriate.   I am not Bob, I’m not writing a book to serve as a reference manual, and I don’t think there is a lot of time to get YOU up to speed and taking the first step.   My approach is very quick and dirty compared to Bob’s well researched approach.  I usually go with the first thing that mostly works, rather than search for the perfect or complete solution.  I feel VERY STRONGLY that you should DO SOMETHING.  Preferably with guidance, and consideration, but I’d choose action over inaction in most cases.  Paralysis by analysis, or ‘overthinking’ is a real risk in prepping as in most complex endeavors.   The imperfect preps you actually have are infinitely better than the ‘perfect’ preps you DON’T have.

Ok, one more last thing.  I’m just a guy on the internet.  If something I suggest or advocate doesn’t seem right to you, do some more research.  There are as many different approaches and attitudes as there are people.  There are a LOT of good people out there writing about prepping and related subjects.   I’ll refer to them where I can.  I won’t generally be linking or footnoting everything.  You are sitting at a computer, connected to the internet- use that to your advantage if you need to see a reference or a link.  Consider too that my approach might not be a good fit for you, but you can hopefully still benefit from what I write, even if just by the negative example.   There are lots of people here to help me and to help you too, by keeping a sharp eye on me and what I’m writing.

So, today’s question.  What are you prepping for?  That will determine the extent of your preps, and your timeline, but mostly under my approach, it will determine when you STOP.  If you don’t know what you’re prepping for, just do what preppers do and say “zombie apocalypse.”

Today’s lesson, to get started, just do a little bit more than you usually do.  Buy more food that you normally buy.  Buy an extra of whatever home repair item you are buying.  Do a bit more cleaning.  A bit more exercise.  Fill your gas tank sooner than you might normally.  Get something fixed before it breaks more.  Along with that, go through your home and look at what resources you already have.   Look for things that aren’t going to help, that you no longer use/need/want.  Look for stuff that could be sold or traded or given to someone so that you can improve your situation, or theirs.

Figure out where you are starting from, so you know what you can build on.  Do you have tools?  A garden?  Generator?  Food in the pantry?  Camping equipment?  Medical knowledge but no supplies?  Any reference library?  What skills do you have?  If it helps you, make a list.

My approach is modular, builds off the previous level, and is a bit opportunistic.   Be open to things happening out of sequence.  Be prepared to take advantage of any opportunities that present themselves.

First goal- be able to stay in your home completely isolated, without changing your lifestyle or routine significantly, for 72 hours- 3 days.  And at the end of those days, you are not desperate or in need of aid, but you can continue your normal life, and replace what got used up.

We’ll talk about how to get there, and the next step later.


*I’ve been calling it wuflu from the beginning.  I know it’s not a ‘flu’ but it rolls off the tongue and is intended to remind the reader that this virus originated in Wuhan China.


======================================================

What do you guys think?  Is it worthwhile for me to continue with this idea for a while?  Not every day, but at least a couple of times a week?  Maybe on a separate page?  Too chatty?  Too presumptuous?  Too general?  Already been done?  Too ambitious?  Unnecessary?

Let me know what you think, and in your own lives, keep stacking.

 

nick

Sun. Dec. 27, 2020 – even fewer days left in the year

Cold in the morning, warming throughout the day.  Sunny and clear.  We all hope.  52F and breezy at midnight.

Saturday was a bit of a mixed bag, wrt to getting stuff done.  I had a guy I was supposed to meet to sell a 3d printer, but he stood me up.  Flakes.  Had to reschedule for Tuesday.  So I did some other small stuff around the house.   I took the package I couldn’t ship on the 24th to UPS.  I took a small item I sold on ebay to the USPS and dropped it in the box at the station.  That’s two sales in 3 days.  I hope things are picking up.

I did a little bit more yard work.  Poked around in the garage a bit, trying to fix a couple of minor things.  Put one of the new batteries on the smart charger to top it up.

After dinner played “Pit” with the kids.  The new hearing protectors came in handy for that…

Took two bins of pool stuff to storage.  Still need to take the pool itself out of the house, but won’t have anywhere to put it until I get rid of more stuff.

That is the plan for today.   Head over to the secondary location and get rid of stuff.   More cutting and trashing is in order.   I have to make room for my forklift before January.  And get stuff out of the house to keep my promise to my wife.  So I will be AFK for most of the afternoon.


In the course of my travels, I drove past our local mall.  Not particularly busy.  No lines of cars waiting to turn into the parking lot.  Not much going on at the strip/cluster development around our ‘big’ HEB, or the Lowes/BestBuy/costco development across the street.    Traffic was light too.  I don’t think there was much ‘day after Christmas’ shopping going on.  That doesn’t bode well for the economy.

The explosion in Nashville is very strange.  Disgruntled employee?  Proof of concept?  Opening shot?  We may never know, but we did learn that some of the infrastructure is a lot more vulnerable than one might expect.  You can work that info from at least two different perspectives…..  Several people have taken first pass looks at the event with what’s currently known.   If you can’t find them on your own, I’ll post some links later in the comments.

And you need to think about second and third order effects.   You might want some ham radio.  You might want a sat phone.  You might want to join with some local hams and get a mesh network up in your area.  You might want a cell that uses a different carrier’s network than your primary phone.  (I carried sprint and att when I was traveling for work both before and after 9-11, and my Skytel satellite pager.  On 9-11 in NYMetro area only Skytel worked.  I don’t have that level of redundancy anymore.  Might need to order the sim for my satphone.   We’ll see if this happens again.)   You might want something like goTenna to keep your family cells working as more than flashlights.

Alternate  comms and a disaster comms contact list should already be part of your plan.  Time to check through the plan again.

Been a while since the muzzies attacked something too…

And winter is happening in the north and northeast.

Lots of reasons to keep stacking.

nick

 

Sun. Nov. 29, 2020 – still raining, still plodding along

And still raining.  Ground is SATURATED.  Bayous are full.  Some people are going to have a problem soon.

Slept late after being up all night with the power outage and restore.  Followed by an Amber alert.  Felt worse after sleeping until 10 than if I’d just gotten up at a normal hour.

I went out to do a pickup- got a 440mhz ham antenna for very cheap.  Turned out I missed the guy’s estate sale with all the radios and gear.  The house still had 3 big antennas, a multiband HF yagi on a crank up tower, a set of 144 and 440 yagis for EarthMoonEarth on a rusty old tower, and a multiband vertical ground mounted.   I asked, and she wanted $100 for all but I needed to take them down and take them all.   Closer inspection, I realized the crank up tower was cranked up.  The guy had been gone for a long time.  If the tower was still in the up position, it probably didn’t COME down… I offered on the ground mount, but she turned me down.  I don’t want the project or the risk of taking down a broken tower.  I sure would have liked those antennas though.  (The HF yagi was 35 feet across and 60 feet up.  The EME yagis are about 10 ft long.)

Got home and went to work putting up the range hood.  Finally finished that around 10pm.  Still need to get up in the attic and hook up the power and the duct.  It looks great, but ended up about 4 inches too close to my face.  I’ll either get used to it or not.

Did go through another bin of stuff for the auction.  Arranged to meet the plumber at the rent house on Tuesday.  So I got some stuff done but it still didn’t feel like a lot.

And everyone’s bedtime is now messed up.

Today’s plan is more of the same.  Finish the range hood.  More auction stuff.  Cleaning.   MAYBE some Christmas decor if the rain stops.

And of course, keep working on skills, keep building community, keep stacking.

nick

Wed. Nov. 11, 2020 – Veterans’ Day

Overcast, damp, but hopefully cool.

We got a bare dusting of rain in the early morning yesterday, and it was still sitting on stuff at 6pm.  THAT’S how damp it was in Houston.  You sweat just standing still, even at 76F.

I did one pickup, of stuff for the house mainly.  I did get 3 partial jugs of smokeless powder for reloading.  Not something I do, but I’ve got most of what I’d need to reload shotgun… or I’ll sell it as a bundle and hopefully get more than I would for just the pieces.

Today I need to rent a trailer to get all the things.  Mainly I bought 2 pallets of fiberglas batt insulation.  I am going to finish my bathroom project this fall/winter/spring.  It was 2/5 the price of lowes, and that’s a pretty big discount.  I really only needed one pallet, but for the first time in months, the pallets went for less than $200 and my ‘safety placeholder’ bid won.    I’ll use it up in the attic over the kitchen where the existing insulation is minimal.

I’ve got another pickup before that one.  I won some shotgun ammo in a local estate sale.  It went for much less than the crazy high prices the rifle and pistol ammo brought.  Shotty will work just fine, come the day.

Before all that though, daughter 1 has an orthodontia appointment this morning.   I’ll be taking her to that, then back to school.

After all my other tasks, then I’ll use the trailer to move one more thing in the late afternoon/evening and I’ll be done running around for the day.


The local and regional PD have been working overtime on surveillance and arrests.   The other night a massive task force went after the street racers.  Then there was some drug surveillance involving DEA and their aircraft.  Today it was auto theft and armed robbery.    They followed the bad guys and grabbed them as soon as it started to go down.  Had the helo up in case the guys ran.   Some other thing was running too, involving ATF as one of the partner agencies.

The interesting thing for me is that the bad guys still manage to lose the good guys  lot of the time.  Or they spot some of the surveillance and avoid doing any crimes in front of those units, but they can’t help themselves and still commit crimes in front of the others.  Often, the good guys will use a marked unit to make the stop, almost always after establishing probable cause so the target never even knows they were being watched.  I can’t believe how many crooks have broken tail lights, or do really stupid stuff in traffic.   I’d say that 99% of the stuff the local PD and the task forces do never even gets noticed by the press.  Get a scanner and start listening.  It’s enlightening and well worth just having it on while you’re doing other things.

So much to do, I better get busy.   Keep getting ready, keep stacking.

 

nick

Fri. Oct. 16, 2020 -busy day

Hot and humid?  Or the cold front gets here and it’s cool and humid.  Either way, humid.

 

edit–  cold.  61F and misty drizzle at 7am.

Thursday was mostly nice, with some nasty moments of humidity.   I got all of my antennas back up, which meant I was up on the roof.   Even in the shade, with dead calm the humidity had me dripping sweat off my nose.

I cleared some shelves and moved several bins of auction stuff out of the house and onto the shelves.  I can’t have it just sit there while waiting to go to auction.  I’ll take the cleaning supplies and paper goods back to my secondary location.    It helped.   There are 4 bins that aren’t sitting in the foyer…

I did some small things in the garage.  Had to make some adjustments to the roll up door.  Somehow the cables got off their guide grooves on one side and the door wasn’t closing parallel to the ground.  It only took a half hour, but it’s always nerve wracking working around that spring.  Slow and steady, carefully considered- that’s the way to do it.

One advantage of working on stuff is getting a much clearer idea how it really works.  The first time working on the door had a bunch of discovery.  This time, I saw what was wrong very quickly and just fixed it.

I had to do a bit of repair on my discone scanner antenna.  Somehow during handling it I broke off two of the ‘cone’ elements.  They are hollow tubes with a threaded stud inserted into one end.  The stud pulled out of the tube.  I couldn’t re-crimp the tube, so I silver soldered them back together.  Worked well, and that’s another thing I bought far in advance of need.  I have no idea where or when I got the silver solder and flux, but I knew it was exactly what would be needed to fix something.  The antenna probably would still be 90% without the two elements, but it didn’t take long to fix them, and I had the stuff ready.  I’ll screw them back into the antenna today or tomorrow.  I’m listening to the scanner now, so some degradation didn’t make too much difference.

I finally got the feed line attached for my UHF antenna that I intend to use to D/L weather maps from the satellites.  (That’s the plan anyway.)  All the talk of using the SDR dongle for other things motivated me (since I was up on the roof anyway) to complete that antenna install.  Now I just have to get a PC set up with the software and get the dongle running again.

I got my Instacart grocery deliveries today too.  I found some cuts of beef on sale, although not the killer deal of the last couple of times.  More food in the freezer makes me feel better.  I added frozen fruit and vegetable mix as well as more bread.   My wife is making smoothies for breakfast and likes the frozen fruit for that.  Now that I have the additional freezer space, I can accommodate her.  (frozen fruit is a definite  luxury in prepping terms, if push comes to shove, I’ll reclaim the freezer space for meat or other protein.)

Today I’ll be doing some auction pickups.  I got a bunch of household stuff, and what I believe to be an RV sized battery charger/inverter.  It was $3 so worth the gamble.  I also got a small Dometic camping toilet, suitable for in vehicle use and at least part of a Dakota Alert driveway monitor.  There was a lot of camping stuff in the auctions this week, but I’m full up.  I’m actually looking to sell several coleman lanterns and maybe a stove or two.  I’m a whole lot less interested in keeping them in my “here you go, here’s a disaster kitchen” boxes than I was.  My teats are running dry of the milk of human kindness at the moment.

I’ll leave you with that unfortunate image burning in your brain, and suggest that you take what time and resources you have, and keep improving your position.  The easiest way is to keep stacking!

 

nick

Sat. Mar. 7, 2020 – Hamfest today, also regional convention…

Cool, sunny, and probably windy.

Yesterday was gorgeous. Cool, breezy and sunny. I’ve got a bit of sunburn or wind burn from being out all afternoon. I’ll probably have worse by the end of today.

Spent the morning getting ready, taking calls, and having the roof looked at. Spent the afternoon hitting two storage units and my secondary location to get a bunch of stuff together for the hamfest. I’ll spend today standing in a parking lot selling a bunch (hopefully) and trying not to get sick.

Speaking of getting sick… get prepped. It doesn’t matter whether you think this is nothing or the end of the world. YOUR NEIGHBOR can get sick, and then you are confined to your home with no warning. Get some food etc in and be ready. Make your last run to the store and then step back from the edge.

Lots of people are getting sick. Telling me that it’s just every adult in my life and the kids’ grandparents who are the only ones seriously at risk ISN’T comforting BTW. It smacks of the arrogance of youth. Just saying.

And with that, I’m headed out. Wife and second daughter are at away camp. First daughter is with friends. I’m gonna go hang with one of my tribes.

n

And KEEP STACKING.

added- Divemedic has a disturbing anecdote — http://street-pharmacy.blogspot.com/2020/03/flash-we-are-being-misled.html Ask yourself how many others like that are in FL. Where they have a HUGE incentive to keep the numbers down.

Also this- St Cecilia’s Church is about 3.5 miles away. We have one friend that attends there but not on Ash Wednesday.

“Important Message from St. Cecilia Regarding Coronavirus:

Today, late in the afternoon, Harris County Public Health made us aware that an individual who tested positive for the coronavirus, attended the 5:30 pm Ash Wednesday Mass on February 26th here at St. Cecilia. Harris County Public Health also told us this individual received ashes and had communion in the hand; the person did not receive communion from the cup. We were informed that the individual sat in the last pew on the left side of the Church at this service. If you sat in the last 3 rows on the left side of the Church at the 5:30 p.m. Ash Wednesday Mass, you are asked to contact Harris County Public Health at 713-439-6000. We also urge anyone experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus to seek medical attention immediately.

St. Cecilia has taken the following to help protect its parishioners:
• We drained and sanitized the baptismal fonts; it will not be filled for the remainder of the Lenten season
• We sanitized pews, door handles, and bathrooms
• We are providing hand sanitizers at all the church entrances

If you are unwell or uncomfortable coming to mass or in crowded places, please stay home and join us in prayer. In addition, please keep those who have been affected by the coronavirus in your prayers.”