Sat. July 17, 2021 – while the cat’s away, I’ll work I guess…

I purely suck at weather forecasting. Yesterday was nice all day and a bit cooler than I expected. There was a little bit of spotty rain in the late afternoon, but generally nice. I’m hoping for the same today.

Spent the morning running d2 back and forth to her day camp. Did some office stuff. Helped get ready for GS camp in the afternoon. Spent the evening watching a movie, Jumper, and it was pretty good. Just a well done movie with some pretty cool locations. Would have probably felt ripped off if I’d paid $18, but for a buck, it was an entertaining hour and a half. It’s been a long time since I sat down and watched a movie for adults.

Today after a slow start, I’m hoping to get some actual cleaning up done at my secondary location. I don’t know what I’m going to do with the puppy, can’t afford a week of day care, so I’ll probably bring him with and just mostly keep him in the crate. I’m not totally convinced about that yet. I’ve got plenty to do here if the weather cooperates.

Tested the replacement Dell curved monitor. Works great. Daughter 1 may be getting a new system with a big curved monitor… now I just have to call for a pickup on the return. Oh, and she found her phone. It was dead battery, under the couch. Technically her little sister found it. She was too enamored with the tragedy of losing it to look very hard. I hope that trait doesn’t get worse.

The canister vacuum I picked up cheap works well too, a Miele, the brand is famous for quality in Germany but mostly unknown here. My kitchen oven/microwave/convection combo is a Miele and it’s like a scientific instrument. I am keeping it, because my wife agreed that our next vacuum cleaner would be a canister, but selling it would make sense too. I make money by seeing what the other guy doesn’t see…

In any case, I’ll be cleaning and organizing something, somewhere today. So I have room for more stacking…


Fri. July 16, 2021 – ‘alf way thro’ teh month

Just like the weather liars, I was wrong about yesterday. I’ll probably be wrong about today too 🙂 The beauty is no one will be docking my pay! It was nice in the morning so d2 got her outdoor camp time. By about 2:30 it was overcast and threatening. In typical Houston fashion, it was very wet in some places, and dry others. During my driving around (mostly north side) I could see the thunderstorm cells and I ended up going through my share of water on the way out and back. There was some pretty dramatic lightning too.

I’m hoping for similar weather today. Less rain would be nice though.

Did my pickups. It was very little stuff actually. I’ve been bidding on a lot less and trying to only fill gaps. Of course, when some Steiner binos come up, and they are crazy cheap, I might have to pick up another pair. I’m trying to always upgrade the basics. I’ve got Tasco binos, and even Sears, but I’ve been upgrading to Nikon pairs and even a Fujinon when I can. Good glass makes a huge difference. I have them stashed all over the place.

That is kind of a general principal too- get some thing as a prep. Then upgrade it when you can. At least you have the first item, if you need it. You can always keep it as a backup, or to pass to someone who has none of the item. There are a lot of things where this strategy is very effective.

It’s why I don’t vilify anyone for “panic buying”. It’s just buying, and once they have the thing, they can pause, draw a breath, and upgrade or buy something that is a better fit for them than the original purchase. In the mean time, they at least have the item. It also goes along with my “just get started” idea. Don’t sit there paralyzed by choice or by the fear of getting the wrong thing. Get something. Improve on it later.

The imperfect prep in your storage is infinitely better than the perfect prep still at the store.


Fedex delivered my replacement Dell monitor last night. I’ll get it out and tested later today. That was crazy fast for a bigcorp. The 10 year old signed for it.

Now I just have to get the resin printer sorted out.

Oh, and sell all the things. So that I can keep stacking.


Thur. July 15, 2021 – time, ask me for anything but time…

I purely suck at weather forecasting, even when I’m just saying “today will probably be like yesterday.” Today will probably be like yesterday, which was not at all like I thought it would be. In fact yesterday was very nice, if horribly humid. It did rain later in the day, so I guess I wasn’t as wrong as I thought. Still. Today should be nice in the morning, then overcast and rainy later. I said it, now for it to be true…

Spent the morning yesterday driving all over and generally hurrying around. Got done what I hoped to do, so that was good. The afternoon was less productive. I did hear from Dell warranty support and they are shipping me a replacement monitor, with a FedEx tracking number and everything. That was SHOCKINGLY good service. It still has to actually get here, but all systems are go so far.

I don’t usually have recourse to warranty for most things, as I get them used or crazy cheap anyway, but I have done a few for work related things. Speco support and warranty service was very good (cams and NVRs). Kingston pc memory replaced sticks with almost no effort on my part. Ubiquiti replaced several wifi extenders that had lightning strikes nearby under warranty and the process was painless (after all the recovery attempts failed.) Another security cam company replaced a cam with a bad lens with just a phone call, and HP was very good with their business routers and advance replacement (at least 10 years ago). There are still companies supporting their products out there and I’m very glad they are.

Plan for today is pretty much just take care of the kids, and work on stuff around the house. Hope for a nice morning, and maybe no rain in the afternoon…

I’ve got a couple of auction things to chase, but they shouldn’t take long.

I spent some time last night looking at old posts here, and missing old friends. I also added category tags to the posts that came up in my searches. There was a lot of good stuff under the “weekly prepping” tag, that didn’t have any other categories.

Use the search widget at the top of the page, and the category keywords at the right side of the page to find stuff, even if it’s in the comments. Since so much of the good stuff is in the comments, it is worth reading through them if your search result isn’t what you thought it would be. I go back and add tags whenever I get good search results, but neither RBT nor I were consistent when applying the tags, and RBT rarely applied a tag when the subject was in the comments only, or after the day of the post. Tags are still a good starting place, and they get better as I add them to old stuff.

Funny thing is, a lot of the concerns from the old posts are still relevant, and some have come to pass. We’re all terrible at timing the markets, and our financial commentary might be just a bit off. But, in 2016 I mentioned “if” I was worried about a quarantine or martial law lockdown, I’d want xxx. Many of the concerns and prognostication about Trump’s election came to pass too, although it was 4 years later. Mostly, it’s very interesting to see how far we’ve come, how much things have changed while staying broadly the same, and how we’ve gotten used to the condition we find ourselves in. It’s also interesting how LONG it’s taken for stuff we thought was imminent to actual arrive. We apparently suck at timing EVERYTHING not just the financial markets.

However, if the last 6 years have taught me anything, it’s the prudence and advisability of having stuff stacked. I was wrong about the timing, but I wasn’t wrong about the need.

Keep stacking my friends.


Wed. July 14, 2021 – well, that didn’t go so well

Sunny with rain, high humidity, and heat. Probably 90s, and RH between 70 and 90. Kinda like yesterday.

Spent yesterday doing stuff. Drove youngest to day camp and back. She had a better day, with more activities. Doing that today too. Took oldest to the Doc in the Box, ended up with a strep test and positive diagnosis, so she’s started on amoxicillian. Which meant I went to the pharmacy too. No need for fish meds when the grid is up. I’ll take note of the scrip for the future though. The positive test means real questions about the weekend plan for GS activities, and next week’s sleep away camp. Dr said she should be fine for camp by Sunday. She’s hoping for Friday. Hmm. Don’t want to be that guy.

Spent time doing online chat with some indian fellows at Dell to get a replacement for the returns monitor that didn’t light up. The backlight comes on, but no image. No internal menus displayed either. The Dell warranty is pretty good for a $200-300 monitor. I don’t have the replacement yet, so, fingers still crossed.

Wife is home from the funeral trip. Thanks for all the condolences. Family gathered for the ceremonies, and my wife says they’re looking pretty shell shocked as you might imagine. She also took a hard look at her own parents and was a bit surprised to see them showing some frailness. They’re in a split level raised ranch style house with some stairs that wouldn’t meet current code because they are too steep. They are going to have to move if they want to stay in a normal house. They are not planning to move. There will be some reality smacking some heads at some point, hopefully not after a serious injury. Neither of us would be excited to have them move here. There will be more discussion another day. Guys, have a realistic plan for coping with the decline in your physical abilities.

My plan for today is to get out of the house, leaving oldest alone for a couple of hours while I do needful things elsewhere. I have to do a pickup on the other side of town and while I’m out, I need to move the piles of trash at my secondary from the place I stacked it to the dumpster. Then back to get youngest home, and nursemaid the sick one.

And getting some of the stuff here out of the house or better organized would be good too. I got more stuff ready for auction,but I still have to get an auction set up. Or three.

All that while working to improve my position, and topping up the stacks.

It’s a great life if you don’t weaken. Keep stacking.

Tues. July 13, 2021 – more camp, more cleaning and organizing

A bit cooler, wet, humid, hot, and probably all at the same time. Yesterday was sunny but then ended with rain. I didn’t get a ton of time to work on the patio, but at least the rain held off while youngest was at camp.

Her camp is a nature walk outdoors in the woods, so better if there isn’t rain in the morning. She was very aggrieved that the other kids weren’t serious about learning and disrespected the councilors and the animals by talking loudly and not listening. They also spent a lot of the time walking off the paths. Drove my little OCD kid nuts. Then last night while we were getting her stuff ready for the morning, we had a yelling fight about bug spray. The stuff I sent her with didn’t work. I pulled out 3 other brands, but they were all “poison” and she didn’t want them. FFS, what other house has 4 different kinds of bug repellent on the shelf?? If you don’t want to use the good stuff, don’t complain about getting bit. (I don’t get bit so I don’t often use the stuff, but when I do, it’s the stuff with DEET. But that’s POISON. Which is the point, kid.) After talking to my wife, it turns out there is a 5th kind in the house. That was what the kid wanted. Jeez.

The other child had a dime sized abrasion on her ankle for the last 3 days, dirty from camp and hiding under a bandaid. Got that cleaned up and smeared with ABX cream. Had a chat about infection and sepsis and that a dime sized abrasion can kill you if not taken care of. Oh, and threw out a box of walgreens bandaids. F that noise. Bandaid brand flexible fabric bandaids stick. Generics do not. It’s not worth the “savings” to later throw them away. Buy the good stuff.

I spent the afternoon organizing and going through auction stuff. So much more to do. No word back from the auction house on the trashed 3d printer. I’ll try them again today. And then back to cleaning and organizing, and chauffeuring… maybe to the Dr’s office.

Oldest isn’t feeling well. That’s a couple of days now. No fever, but generally feels unwell. Scratchy throat, some coughing. If her throat is red, white, or some other color I guess we’ll be going to the doc in the box for some swabbing a bit later. Might as well use it while we still have it.

That should be a motto, use it while we still can. And of course, keep stacking.


Mon. July 12, 2021 – day camp, work, more work

More rain in the forecast, but we’re sorta on the edge of the zone, so I’m hoping for more sun. Like yesterday. We did have overcast for a lot of the day, but the sun came out for most of the afternoon and evening. Temps got into the low 90s and while the humidity was lower, the air can hold a lot of moisture at 92F…

So I decided to do some outdoor work. I ended up soaked to the skin with sweat, but I got the back yard mowed, some weeds pulled up in the garden, and some cleanup and reorg in the stored stuff on the patio. I’m not done yet, but I did make a start. I even got the shop vac out and cleaned up some more of the glass chunks from when I broke the back door. That was what, two years ago? I don’t know where all those chunks were hiding, but they have started to appear in earnest in the last week or so. Strange.

Also spent some time sorting through 5 pounds of costume jewelry I picked up at Goodwill. There was some nice stuff in there, and one name brand piece. There are a couple of pieces that I’ll have to test but that sure look like silver. I’ll put about half of it back in auctions, keep a few broken pieces for the GS jewelry making craft session, and let the kids have a couple of other pieces. I really don’t understand why the T shirt people don’t grab any jewelry that’s in the bins. It’s $1.19/ pound. There pretty much HAS to be $2 worth of jewelry in a pound… I’ve found James Avery silver, nice vintage necklaces, bakelite bracelets, and even a few watches that brought ~$5 – 10 each. I’m glad they leave it for me I guess.

Today I’m taking small child to a week long day camp at the local nature center. Surly proto-teen will be home this week, skulking around the house and shirking her chores. At least she’ll be watching the puppy so I can do stuff.

There’s lots of stuff needs doing too, and since my wife’s away, I’m stuck home, and anything I do that reduces the piles here will have an outsized impact. The days will be start and stop, what with dropping off and picking up younger child, but I hope to get something done in between.

It feels like time is getting short. I’m not sure what comes next but I want to be ready. Or at least try. That means stacking stuff, and for me that means getting rid of unneeded stuff, to provide space and funds for needed stuff.

Keep stacking.

Sun. July 11, 2021 – family all together, briefly…

I’ll have a go… sunny and warm, possibly hot, with high humidity, possibly up to 100%RH. I can be just as wrong as the weather liars, and saves the hassle of looking it up and making fancy maps. Saturday was actually pretty nice, sunny but not boiling hot, RH below 60%, mild breeze.

I took youngest child with me to my hobby meeting, where she charmed the whole group, while mostly sitting in a corner reading. I learned some things about my hobby, and had a great time talking with some other members of the group that I don’t always get a chance to chat with.

My wife retrieved the oldest child from Girl Scout camp. Child had a good time, met some new girls and made friends. One big difference between my childhood and kids today, we seemed to be a lot more willing to make ‘friends of the moment’ with kids we just happened to be together with for some reason. What I see in today’s kids is less of that, and a more inward focus. I’m glad she went and met some new kids. Wife is leaving later today for the funeral and related stuff back east. I’ll be kid wrangling by myself for a couple of days.

On the way home from my meeting, I swung by one of my local auctioneers and picked up a check. Turned out I was owed a bit more than I thought. About $350 more, so I’m a happy boy. He’s still pushing me off for the next round of sales though. His current facility is full, and he hasn’t closed the deal for more space yet. My other, industrial auction doubled his space, and has a couple of storage containers. One of my other surplus (old school traditional) auctioneers reorganized after the death of the patriarch, and split into several independent houses, and started doing franchise deals with several more new startups. The auction business is booming. SOMEONE has to dispose of all the cheap chinese cr@p that gets returned to the online retailers when it becomes obvious just how cheap and sh!tty it is… and someone has to try to get some value out of all the returns fraud. If I was feeling uncharitable, I’d say that someone has to pick over the bones of our society too.

I also did a pickup at another new seller and we had a chat. He got burned buying and pallets of returns. He mentioned whole pallets without anything but garbage in the boxes. I bought a Dell 30″ curved monitor for $35 from him. I’m pretty sure he was looking for more. Many of his items didn’t sell either, because they were just cheap junk. I’ll fire up the monitor today and see if I got a deal or got punked. He didn’t test any of the electrical items, and I’m pretty sure it’s because he’s working out of a storage unit with no power available. I guess $400/ month for the unit is cheaper than office/warehouse, but it’s not cheap enough, if you can’t sell the items.

A guy I used to read, the Head Druid for North America, writing as The Archdruid Report (iirc) talked a lot about ‘catabolic collapse’- when during the decline of society, we eat our seed corn so to speak. The auction business, selling bankruptcy assets, surplus, etc. performs a vital function in a healthy society that gets those assets back into circulation, and at a low price that helps the next round of businesses succeed. John Michael Greer was describing something else though. He was describing selling off the assets that made our culture and society possible, and the collapse inevitable. I think I’m seeing it happen in real time with some of my sellers.

It can be an opportunity to stack some things at reduced cost, assuming we’ll be able to use them later. The key will be deciding which things are just magpie things, shiny and useless, and which are a little bit of our civilization to hold onto just a bit longer.

Choose wisely, and stack it high.


Sat. July 10, 2021 – non prepping hobby day

Cooler, rainier, and more of a mess than yesterday? Maybe. Yesterday ended up being in the low 70s with rain off and on all day. It was cooler for the stuff I needed to do, but the 100% humidity made it just as miserable as if it was hot.

Yesterday, I parked the child and the dog so I could do several hours of continuous and uninterrupted work. I was able to get some done, but it’s grains of sand on a beach…

Small steps are still steps, right??

Today I’ve got my monthly non-prepping hobby meeting. I’m probably taking child two with, as she doesn’t want to ride with mom to get child one from GS camp. Oh, what a *joyous* noise there will be in the house again, as the two sisters pick up where they left off. Child two will sit quietly and read during the meeting, she’s accompanied me before. She even sometimes takes an interest in the meeting. Of course the old guys are all charmed by the power of ‘teh cute.’ It’s a potent force to unleash on what is basically a room full of grandfathers.

Maybe I’ll get some more work done in the afternoon, if only around the house. That will depend mostly on the weather.

Doggie continues to grow. He’s noticeably longer than he was. He’s got the power of the cute too. Grown women collapse in spasms of baby talk and scoop him up to snuzzle with him. Men too. Perhaps it’s because he’s a bit of pure joy and love in this crazy sour world? Don’t know, don’t care, as long as he’s licking my nose.

Don’t forget to stack some stuff for your four legged friends. And if you already are, keep stacking!


Fri. July 9, 2021 – hopefully working today

Spotty rain, humid and hot. It was a little cooler yesterday with the off and on rain helping to keep temps down. Still plenty hot, and uncomfortable though.

Rain kept me from working outside, so I mostly did auction stuff. Also did the tiniest bit of cleanup in the house, and of course puppy time.

Today though, I’m taking the child to day camp at the rock gym, the puppy to the dog sitter for doggie day care, and I’m headed to my secondary to clear some stuff out.

I’ve also got a couple of auction things to pick up- bought a 3d resin printer, and some housewares. I’m hoping the printer didn’t have the resin stolen… and that it works. 1/3 retail, I was willing to take the chance. The level of fine detail you can get on small parts is incredible, and it’s self contained, so I’m hoping the kids will be fired up to learn to use it. Their favorite modeler on youtube, Luke Towan, uses his all the time. The guy I like who does cheap table top gaming stuff uses his with a subscription service to create mini-figs for painting and gaming. I’ve wanted one for a long time.

It would be nice to have the time to actually play with all the maker stuff I’ve got. Perhaps I’ll get to that point if I can get some of the other cr@p out of here.

I’ve got a filament printer, a laser sintering powder printer, the new resin printer, mini CNC lathes and mini CNC mills, full sized manual lathes and manual mills, and all the normal workshop stuff too. A CNC router and a thermal cutter would round out the list nicely, because I don’t think a waterjet cutter is going to fall into my lap. Oh, and a lasercutter/engraver would be nice too. The thing about tools is there is always one more thing you could use…so collecting tools becomes a hobby in itself. I’ve actually printed the test file for the filament printer 🙂

I’ve spent the last couple of decades stacking tools so that I would end up in a position to build or repair most things. And, like the medical preps, having the stuff without the skills can be dangerous, but also allows for the chance that someone with the skills but not the gear can use the stuff to good effect, if I can’t. Of course the goal is that I learn to use everything to at least a passable level. Until then, I’ll have more tool than I can use.

Think about the tools you need to maintain the stuff you have. Think about the tools you might need to make some of the things you haven’t thought of. Hand tools, “primitive” tools, simple tools, those will fill a need if things get really bad. But if things get just bad, so that replacements and the original things themselves might not be easily obtainable, having higher level tools might save the day, or provide some extra income, or just build goodwill where you need it.

Stack tools, and the skills to use them. Stack the inputs to the tools (raw materials) too. In fact, Stack ALL THE THINGS!!! 😛


Thur. July 8, 2021 – flyin’ by…

Hot and humid, chance of rain. Might be sunny. Yadda yadda. Well, yesterday started cool, got hotter, got sunnier, and then ended hot and sticky. Lots of mosquitos in the yard too.

We are working on housebreaking the new puppy, which means sitting outside while he sniffs the entire yard looking for the perfect spot to NOT do his business, until we give up and let him back in the house. Then within a minute, he’ll have soiled something… so I’m getting reacquainted with sitting in the sun in the yard, swatting bugs. Joy.

Spent the day mostly not getting stuff done. I did get pickups done at two different auctions. One was half household stuff, the other half stuff for my non-prepping hobby, the other was all household. Got a tiny little dog life jacket for the new little guy. Fits him, and is even a bit big. He doesn’t like it at all, but if we ever find some lake property, we’ll need it. Got some pink safety glasses for the girls in my wife’s troops. If they’re gonna do woodworking with saws, hammers, and screwguns, they need safety gear. Got some small sized gloves for them too.

I did not get daughter two signed up for a day at the rock climbing gym today, but will get her in for tomorrow. She likes the gym and they had lots of day camps there the summer before wuflu. I will try to send the puppy to day care too. That should break me loose to actually do some work. And I REALLY need to get some auction stuff ready.


Meanwhile, I think I’m starting to see the shape of the rest of the summer. The Dems in DC are establishing offices in other states for the DC police. Federal police force expansion cued up in 3, 2, 1 …

Chicago will ask for fedgov police or troops as the murders and lawlessness continue to get worse. They already have gangbangers trying to kill each other in the street with ARs firing 3 rnd bursts from 100 rnd Beta mags in broad daylight. I watched the video with my own eyes. Cops are saying “F this noise” and leaving or retiring on the job.

If Chicago falls, NYFC will be the next to ask for help. Cops in NYC are doing the same thing as cops in Chicago and elsewhere. Ie, leaving.

Whoever DC sends will just be more targets for the ‘bangers and revolutionaries who are already targeting cops (at least 3 that I can think of off the top of my head before the triple shooting in Chicago this week.)

NYC and Chicago are already blaming legal gun owners, and the gun manufacturers for the “gun” violence. The word they should be using starts with a “g” but rhymes with “bang”, and not “fun”. They’ll try to crack down even harder on the people who traditionally have just shut up and taken it. Only I don’t think they will this time.

Which should lead to even more sportiness, which the pro agitators will be sure to take advantage of. Their cadre has been blooded now, cycled away from the ‘front’ to share their experiences, and to gear up for the next wave. They haven’t gone home to tend their gardens and make war no more. They’re waiting, organizing, and equipping for the next skirmish.

Then there is the question of outside interference. Some people are concerned that China has used the foreign exchange student programs to pre-position tens of thousands of troops here already. We have a failed narco state to our south, that can move drugs, people, and guns over our border with impunity. THEIR fifth columnists are fully emplaced, dispersed to every city and town in the US, ready to provide an organized force either directly or as harassers. They are savage and have an ideological framework based on the Reconquista, and La Raza movements. If and when they are unleashed, the streets will run with blood and cities will burn.

There are many forces at work, they sense the weakness. Some of them have worked to create the weakness for decades. They’re looking at the fat, bloated, drug- addled Elvis, and they’re ready to kill the King and divide up the kingdom. My only hope is that we’ve been getting ready too, and no matter how much family fights, they all turn on the outsider.

The economy isn’t going to survive something like that. Personal violence is going to go through the roof. The economic engine of the world will stop, and then the whole world is in a world of hurt.

The elephants are dancing. I hope all the mice have a nice little bolt hole ready to hide in. If they don’t, what’s stopping you? Get to stacking.