Wed. April 1, 2020 – and that ain’t no joke

Cool and beautiful, if it doesn’t rain.

Yesterday was very nice outside, and I spent far too much of the day inside.

I did get up on the roof to swap out one camera for a new one. The new one looks great. The old camera was state of the art when new, homeland security grade, and very expensive. The new one is very capable, pro-sumer quality, and cheap. The low light and IR capabilities are fantastic, and it’s 8 Mpx, so digital zoom looks awesome. As a bonus, it’s a dome and is a bit less visible and intrusive. Certainly more modern and streamlined than the enclosure on an arm it replaced.

Some other minor gardening, and cleanup, and one ebay sold item and that rounds out my day. NOT productive by any means.

Oh, I did use my new battery charger to charge up an old yellow top battery I have in a carrier with a medium sized inverter. The battery took a charge and ended up on Float charge. I forget the name but it’s one of the expensive ones, ultima? with the grey body and yellow top. Some have a red top. I wish I’d found a forklift battery or some reconditioned marine batteries before all this hit, but I’d only been looking for a short time. I would like to work on the solar array project, but I don’t really have batteries. Or for that matter a charge controller. Add it to the list.

I also desperately want to go to the range and put a box or two through a couple of toys. I really need to function test one, and I’ve never fired the other. One local range is open but I don’t want to risk the exposure.

It is a risk too. Every case in the ER in a week will have been contracted this week, most likely through community spread. Don’t go out and play in it.

Dinner was pork chops, a cheesy pasta side dish, and fresh asparagus. Dessert was the triple layer cake my 8yo made for her grandpa’s birthday. We ate it, he admired it on Facetime. It was bright red cake, dark chocolate frosting, and M&Ms inside and out. She did it all on her own from the various boxes, with very little oversight. Very visually striking 🙂

Kids had school video conferences today. They had fun seeing their teachers and friends. It was mainly a ‘work out the bugs and give this a try’ session. Seemed to go well after the slow start. The school uses Zoom. Borepatch noted on his site that WebEx is offering their video meeting product free for the duration. If you have a group you get together with, but have stopped for the wuflu, you might want to check out a group conference. Funny what happens when there is competition.

Lots of stuff needs doin’ today. I better get to it.

n

Tues. Mar. 31, 2020 – some stuff got done, but progress is slow

Cooler and possibility of rain.

Yesterday was overcast and partly sunny late, but didn’t rain. So humid that the concrete was wet though.

I did some work on the pile in the driveway, and cleaned out a couple of my “window box” planters on the fence. If they dry out today, I’ll get some new dirt in them and some veg planted later.

I did get the second potato tower planted, and my onion starters in the ground. I had to remove some chives and some grass that had invaded the bed.

I had a small tree with two trunks die on one half, so I got out the saw and trimmed that back. Looks like woodpeckers made holes, then ants got in. They started attacking the remaining trunk too, so I shaved away the loose bark and sprayed the wound with nursery sealer. Hopefully that will save what’s left. It’s a nice ornamental tree in front of the house and I don’t want to lose it.

While I had the saw out, I did some pruning and cut up some medium sized branches that were waiting for me to get to them. There are a bunch of crepe myrtles and japanese cherry trees in the back yard that constantly need cutting back. They are under the utility lines and grow fast. I try to do all that sort of thing at the same time, so even if it wasn’t top of my list, I needed to do the dead tree in the front, which means spending a bit of time in back too. It’s always something.

In other news.

If you haven’t looked at the numbers for the wuflu in a couple of days, please take a look. This thing is growing and spreading. We MAY be slowing the growth, but that only extends the time it will take to get to saturation, it doesn’t prevent it. NYFC went from one case to 100 to 67K with 1300 deaths so far. That’s like 1 in 100 diagnosed, and more deaths to come. People are not being smart about this. They lined up to see the hospital ship FFS. They are loading bodies into freezer trucks. In NYC. In the USA.

Aesop has had cases in his ER and more are coming. Several people here have mentioned one or two degree of separation cases. Meanwhile, TPTB are working their way through the CDC’s Pandemic Checklist. They haven’t gotten to the part where they bring staff families inside the perimeter and fort up, but they are headed down the list toward that. https://www.ttgnet.com/journal/2018/02/16/fri-feb-16-2018-pandemic-flu-preparedness/ Read that to see where this could be heading.

While I don’t think this is a panic engineered to allow the Deep State and tyranny to take over the US, it’s undeniable that certain people are using it to advance their long standing agendas, and the Constitution be damned. I encourage you all to push back against that without pushing any other agenda. Just point out the places where they are overstepping. And just in case, look to your arms. Figure out where you stand and what, if anything, you are not willing to tolerate.

No matter how this plays out politically, it’s already changing your local security situation. Jails are being emptied, and cops have stopped trying to control crime. They want to live through this as much as anyone, and I can understand that, even as I curse it. You may be much more responsible for your own safety and security than you are used to being. Get your mindset ready. Get your tools ready.

Whether a nothing burger or a society killer, this thing is here and the world around us has changed. I don’t know if we can get back to where we were, or even farther towards where we wish we were, but I know that right now, right here, it’s different. Get your head in the game and get used to the new rules.

Stay in, stay safe.

nick

Mon. Mar. 30, 2020 – another week, always more to do

Cooler and damp. Rain in the forecast. We’ll see.

I don’t think we got more than a tenth of an inch in the last two days, despite the forecast. I’ve been watering potted plants and the raised beds. I’ve got work to do on the sprinkler system before I can turn it on. Subsequently the grass in front doesn’t look great. The grass in back was so high and dense my mower was almost stalled by it, and I had to cut half widths.

If it doesn’t rain, I’ll be doing more in the driveway. If it does rain, maybe some inside work. Kids will be doing school makework, wife is still working from home.

I’m not used to having people in the house during the week. Everyone is making adjustments. It’s really hard to believe we’re in the middle of a slow motion disaster. Commander Zero is feeling the same weirdness over at his place. Lights are on, weather is nice, and that’s strange. Looking at news coming out of NYC and looking at New Orleans, as well as overseas, I’m still convinced this is the real deal. I can understand that people who haven’t been immersed in this and seen the run up might find it all hard to believe. Even if you don’t pay attention for a few days, the exponential growth can fool you.

It’s coming. It’s real. It will be devastating for the hospital system.

While there are promising leads, getting it bad still means risking death.

Stay in, stay safe.

nick

Sun. Mar. 29, 2020 – almost done with March

Cooler and wet.

Never really got rain yesterday but it stayed wet all afternoon and evening. Kids and wife ‘camped’ in a tent in the back yard. I hurt too much to do that if I don’t sleep in my bed.

I got some work done in the garden despite the heavy mist. Cleaned up an area next to a raised bed, transplanted 3 tomato plants, planted one trash bag potato tower.

My cabbage is currently thriving, but my broccoli has ‘bolted’. I cut it back and am hoping for a second growth.

Meyer Lemon tree has flowers already. We just picked the lemons a week or so ago.

Blueberry bushes flowered and look to be setting berries. I worked on the bamboo to support the bird netting. The bushes aren’t exactly thriving, but it’s neat to have some berries in season. The bird net means I’ll get them and not the thieving wildlife.

Old pepper plants continue to fruit. New peppers need transplanting. Maybe today.

No sign of sprouting for my radishes or turnips yet, nor the mixed herbs.

I need to get my onion sets in the ground and get some other veg in too. Maybe today.

If the weather clears I’ll be working in the driveway moving stuff around too.

Breakfast today is hillbilly donuts. Tube biscuits, cut with a shot glass to donuts and holes, fried up in peanut oil in my cast iron. Then shake in a bag of powdered sugar, cinnamon, or chocolate powder. Or do all three. Special treat for the family. Makes a mess with the oil, but I filter and save the oil just for donuts. It lasts a long time.

Dinner last night was spiral slice ham, baked potatoes, cabbage saute’d with onion, and mango cobbler for dessert. All but the cabbage and cobbler mix was from Costco.

I better get to it.

Stay in, stay safe. Get your garden started!

nick

Sat. Mar. 28, 2020 – the weekend. not much different from the week middle.

Cooler and windy. Rain in the forecast.

Yesterday was another hot beautiful day. Weather station said high 90s. Certainly in the sun that was possible. I got a bit overheated in the back yard. Didn’t feel well at all. Still on Cipro, and probably shouldn’t be in the sun at all. It was very nice in the shade in the late afternoon. Spent some time on the swing with the kids and on the porch with my wife.

Got some more shelving up. Had to order clips, but was able to steal some from other shelves to get started. You can pack a lot of food in a small space with some good shelves. When I get them all together, maybe I’ll share a picture. I don’t think it would be an OPSEC issue to see some shelves…

I posted a youtube link yesterday to one of my favorite guys, an old guy with a very clever mind and active hands… the link was for a potato tower made in a trash bag. I’ve wanted to do a tower but didn’t want to do the work to make one, and don’t have an extra barrel to use either. His is the first one I’ve seen that was so dirt simple. I’ve even been saving some of the heirloom potatoes to use as starters.

I spent some time getting one of my new surveillance cams config’d and ready to mount. I was up on the roof and think I’d like to mount it on my fireplace chimney. There is a great clear view toward the open end of my street. It won’t be subtle, but that has pluses too. I’m pretty sure I have an appropriate mounting arm somewhere in the stack. If not, under the eve it goes. I picked a spot for the other to look toward the other end of my street too. I’m just going to replace the cam that points that way now. I need to find the IR emitter for the back yard too, and finally get that installed. Backyard is likeliest avenue of approach for bad guys, and is dark as a tomb at night.

Listening to the scanner, there has been a lot more encrypted traffic on the tactical channels than usual. Can’t do SIGINT, but can do traffic analysis. I’d try for some HUMINT in normal times, but sitting at home doesn’t bring me into contact with any of the guys I know in LE. Seem to be a lot of choppers in the air lately too. Filed under Hmmmm.

I’ve been sleeping late. I’ve been really tired, so I’ve been letting myself. This is not the time to be getting run down and vulnerable. Still, it feels like slacking. I had a sense of urgency for the last week before locking down, and now it feels like settling in for a long haul.

I better do something to get started on the day’s list…

Stay safe, stay in.

nick

Fri. Mar. 27, 2020 – still plugging away

Warmer, and possibly a bit drier.

Yesterday got HOT in the sun. My weather station said 99F. It’s in a heat island, but will accurately reflect the temps in the driveway. So I avoided the driveway.

Moved stuff, gathered in some more stuff, and cleaned up pollen stuff from the trees. Between the tree pollen and the leaf mold, I’m not feeling great. And that is problematic because I’m monitoring for signs of sickness. Daughter 2 is suffering from a runny nose and sore throat too. No fevers for anyone in the house.

It’s been beautiful weather, and eerily quiet outside. The highway noise is significantly reduced and the lack of airplanes is noticeable. Feels like there should be chainsaws and generators running… but it’s not that sort of disaster.

It’s a disaster for sure. One unfolding in slow motion for the nation, and in super quick time for New Orleans and NYFC. From ‘nothing to see, go on about your business’ – to stacking bodies in freezer trailers in 3 weeks… that’s pretty quick.

It also points out the absurdity of the numbers from China.

That’s absurdity that will end up costing lives in the rest of the world, and appears to have probably cost a whole lot of Chinese lives too. Round two is getting underway and it will be interesting to see what their curve looks like this time around.

Interesting but not really helpful. Which is my feeling about a whole lot of reporting on speculation and models and expert opinion, especially expert opinion AFTER the fact. We’re at the point now where there is no way through but forward. And still the best advice I’ve seen is “try damn hard NOT to get this.”

Stay in, stay safe.

nick

Thur. Mar. 26, 2020 – home now, and for a while

Warm, trending to hot, and still somewhat damp.

Yesterday got pretty hot. High 80s, maybe low 90s, certainly in the sun. I was sweating almost instantly.

Made my last run to my secondary storage. Grabbed almost everything, except the weird medical and medical PPEs. I’ll donate those if they need them and will accept them. No one should have a complaint if I’m driving to get med supplies.

Now I have to get the piles sorted, and shelve the stuff. I’ve got a lot of paper goods to find a home for.

I opened a 5 pound bag of sugar with expire date of 2016. Tiny black spots. Not a lot, and only dead bugs but some, tiny little bugs. I got a second bag from the same tub, and it was 1/2 fine. One half had little black spots. Sugar doesn’t go bad, but it might have bugs…

I’ll spot check the rice and flour as needed. This was my DEEP backup from the ebola ’14 scare, and I expected that I’d have failures. So far I’ve found fewer than I expected. Cool, dark, consistent temps, and fairly dry storage conditions certainly help.

Once I’ve got everything put away, I need to continue with the generator projects and rotating the stored water. I should have all I need for the parts I’m doing. I’ve also got a couple of cams to get up. Then all the other projects that don’t involve trips to Home Depot need to be done.

Lots of cleaning and sorting, and I guess I’ll try listing stuff on ebay too. As long as people have money and hope, they’ll probably keep buying. I expect that window is short and will close soon.

Security issues are my next concern.

I hope all of you are where you need to be, or will get there soon. It’s time to pull up the drawbridge.

Stop going out and playing in it. Stay home, stay safe.

nick

Wed. Mar. 25, 2020 – gonna go out, despite lockdown

Warm and damp.

Get pretty warm yesterday and had a nice breeze in the afternoon. I was sweating like crazy loading my truck.

Much to do today. Stuff to stack and organize. Stuff to retrieve from storage.

I will be in and out throughout the morning and then gone in the afternoon.

I looked at TX numbers last night and we were ~1000 cases. Wasn’t I b!tching about suspiciously low numbers in the 50s and 60s just a week ago? THAT’s how fast this thing is. And a little birdy told me there are SO MANY patients that are presumed but not tested and identified yet…

Take a look at the responder numbers — https://iafc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/3813d2f872224d8a93c52f05cd392b8c drill down to YOUR area. Watch the trend.

Harken back to my review of the CDC pandemic advice to hospitals, and the points about when EMS fails, when they make decisions in the field to NOT transport, etc. Think about the other points too. That’s what’s coming.

Stay in, stay safe.

nick

Tues. Mar. 24, 2020 – lockdown coming for me…

Cool, damp.

Had a couple of hours of really gorgeous day yesterday. Blue sky and sunny, nice breeze, not too hot… then more overcast. Still pleasant though.

Harris County, the main one that Houston is in, will apparently go on lockdown at midnight tonight. That’s made my decision for me- head to my secondary and grab my stuff. I could probably get through any issues without it, but I’ll feel better with it. I could also probably move around if I had too, one of the reasons I’ve got the IDs and credentials was to give me an edge if I needed one. I’ve also got masks I can hand out if it comes to that.

Gonna be busy all day, so I’ll leave monitoring the deteriorating situation to you guys for a while.

I note that India went on lockdown and halted all flights in. Hong Kong halted flights too, and China is reporting new cases (blamed on ‘foreigners’ but likely from sending everyone back to work too soon). Spain has sick people on the floor in the hallways, and the UK will soon. We won’t be far behind.

There is or will soon be an antibody test and that should answer two questions, who’s had it, and is anyone getting it again? Both questions that it would be very handy to have an answer for.

A quick pinprick or swab test would be great too.

In a week, even the staunchest denier should be able to see it’s not just the old, or the sick, or men, or asians, or foreigners, or whatever lets them sleep at night. It’s everyone and everywhere and it’s getting worse before it gets better.

Avoid people. Avoid the virus. Count your blessings.

nick

Mon. Mar. 23, 2020 – School days, school days, dear old …..

Cooler and still wet.

Got up to the 80s yesterday but stayed mostly overcast all day.

I did get some stuff done, but slept in and lost the whole morning.

Today my plan is to leave the house. I’ve got to go to my secondary and pick stuff up. We might get locked down at any point and I’ve got stuff there I’d rather have here. Can’t get to it, then I don’t own it. Also worried about protecting it over there. It’s only about 10 miles, but it’s into town. Not the direction I want to go if things get bad. I might leave water jugs and Mountain House there as backup, because there isn’t more than a couple of weeks of MH, and staying there means we’re near the end anyway.

I’d also like to make one last run through the Home Depot and Lowes stores. I would like more garden. Call me paranoid, but I want to actually eat out of the garden this year. That means more soil, lots more. Also some stuff for the gennie, and a couple of things for security upgrades around the house.

If I’m risking it, I might try for some fresh milk and cream and veg while I’m at it. Not high on the list, but if possible maybe at a CVS or somewhere without crowds. Not sure if anywhere will be crowd free, if we’re gonna be locked down. No way I was going out on Sunday though.

If I’m out, it might be the last time for a while. I’m curious, but not enough to actually shop or just go looking, if I don’t have to. And I really don’t have to, truth be told. It will help the family though.

Speaking of family, kids are supposed to be getting back to school today. Well, learning anyway. ISD sent out what we were hoping would be a lesson plan, but it’s just a bunch of websites. F me, that’s what I hated about their NORMAL plan. Can’t pin them down on what to teach in what order. FFS, why would that be different this year from last? Or the last 10 years? Do they really not have anything? We can’t even ‘teach to the test’ because the test is a big mystery. Or the email could just be poorly designed and what I want is there somewhere that I’ll find with a better read through. I’m not betting on that though.

I’ll be carrying a new tool while out and about. I picked up a cheap stun gun disguised as a flashlight. I wanted a non-lethal alternative. I haven’t tried it on myself, but it makes impressive noise and arcs. Hopefully, like my pistol, I’ll never need it. Nice to have choices though.

Wish I could be sure I was making smart choices today….

Start settling in for the long term. Get your security posture straight. Get set for the new normal.

nick