Fri. June 14, 2019 – stuff to do, always…

75F and 93%RH. Forecast for sunny and clear, high in low 90s, which would be really nice.

I’ve got a mixed bag of tasks moved to the top of the list today, and I’ve got the kids at home.

Headlines were relatively quiet this morning. I guess everyone wants to slide into the weekend.

Not much prepping got done.

The garden is still growing. I need to spray the grapevines again, as something is eating them. The same raised bed that had the beans last year, the one that all the plants slowly bleached out to white and died looks like it is killing the zukes planted there. They are slowly bleaching to white this year too. No idea what’s going on there.

The cukes in the side bed are growing. The Meyer Lemon is heavy with fruit, and I found the one fruit on the orange tree. I guess it didn’t get eaten after all. Peach is finally fully leafed in, no flowers or fruit this year. Apple trees had flowers, and seem to be leafed in. I think I should pinch off any fruit this year but I’ll have to check the book. Small child picks a dozen blueberries every other day and loves them.

I got one tomato, smaller than a tennis ball, and I think that’s it for that plant. There are a couple of tiny Roma’s ready on the other plant, but they are cherry sized. That will probably be the crop for that plant too. It gets too hot for tomatoes is what I’m told.

If I was counting on the garden for food, I’d be hungry. LONG steep learning curve if you aren’t blessed with great conditions. In other news, food is cheap, widely available, and packaged for storage- stock up now!


Posted in Random Stuff | 43 Comments

Thur. June 13, 2019 – Friday the 13th comes on Thursday this month

71F and 92%RH.  Yesterday was absolutely gorgeous in the afternoon.  Sure it was hot, but not boiling in the shade and I was driving with the windows open.  FEMA has us forecast as on the edge of a storm system, openweathermap has us sunny and clear.  My money is with openweathermap.

Aesop posted about Ebola getting out of DRC, and I put some links and additional info in the comments.  Particularly interesting is this pdf which details the FedGov plan for dealing with Ebola.

Basically, have frontline healthcare rapidly identify a potential case and isolate.  Transfer to a hospital that can treat them while waiting for confirmation.  Then transfer to a hospital for care.  Backed up by 10 regional Ebola Treatment Centers.  The pdf lists the hospitals tapped for that duty.  In Houston, it’s in Galveston.  Of course, the plan will likely fall apart with the first case.  It’s all well and good to say you’ll take patients when they are offering big money for training and upgrades, something else when your staff walks out the back door.

Note that the updates say the kid’s younger brother and grandmother have both since died.  The rest of the family group is sick too.  They were in the end stages shedding bodily fluids and virus like crazy.  There is ZERO chance they didn’t come in contact with anyone until they were admitted.  So expect some native Ugandan cases soon.  (and thank the rapacious drug companies for the vaccine, which might contain this new outbreak.


Elsewhere, things are proceeding with IRAN–

2 Tankers Damaged After Torpedo Attack Near Strait Of Hormuz; Oil Soars”  

Accusations and denials to follow…

Getting sporty out there guys. Get ready to take care of yourself and your loved ones.  Everyone else is going to be too busy to care much about you and yours, if they’re not actively persecuting you.


Posted in ebola, march to war | 45 Comments

Wed. June 12, 2019 – Wednesday already?

70F and 90%RH. I suppose it doesn’t have to get hot today, but I bet it will….

Inventor camp for the kids is even less inventive than last year. The kids really like it, but they are not inventing, or even really ‘making’. They mostly use junk to decorate other junk. No electronic tear downs at all this year, and no electronic or electro-mechanical work at all.

Some discussion about teaching the last couple of days. My feeling is that for kids from traditional western culture (basically white middle class kids with parents) we know very well what works. We put a man on the moon with slide rules and skull sweat (as the old SF writers would say.) Repetition to learn facts. Algorithms to apply a problem solving method using those facts. For the kids with an interest and aptitude, teach the theory that powers the algorithms. This results in some small but not insignificant fraction of kids who can ‘stand on the shoulders of giants’ and develop NEW theory, applications, and new facts.

The issue in modern schools is that liberalism won’t let them believe those traditional methods will work with brown people (see Jaime Escalante’s story for example), and they don’t work without the social and cultural foundation of middle class western civ.

Kids from chaotic cultures need MORE structure in school, not less. But almost all of the ‘new’ methods reject structure (because the liberal hippies rejected it *as adults*). The ‘noble savage’ mythos and the ‘natural man’ mythos feed into the problem too. Since so many of the children of the 60s culture think of themselves as unacknowledged geniuses, and have been told they are full of potential just waiting to be unlocked, they believe that all they have to do is remove “barriers” to learning and the kids will express their inner Einsteins without teachers having to teach them- they just guide them on their ‘learner’s journey’…

This flies in the face of everything we know about humans. Half are below average. Few are geniuses. Chaos breeds chaos. Entropy increases without localized energy expenditure. Most humans will do “just enough” to get by (and this might be an inherited survival trait in a resource constrained world.)

We as a society need to figure out what to do about it. Never mind the 2/3 that don’t speak english, or the ones who are already criminals, or the ferals who are only there because they are forced by law… the kids who can learn and want to learn are the ones we need to find and encourage because those are the ones who build the world.

But I’m late getting the kids up for their camp, perhaps more later.


Posted in Random Stuff | 43 Comments

Tues. June 11, 2019 – vertical, sort of.

75F and mostly saturated. Yesterday cooled down a bit at the end, when some storm cells blew through. The lower temps and the breeze were much appreciated by the swimmers and their families.

It made for a long day, a short night,, and me sitting here, barely awake and zoning out. The inescapable truth is “I’m not young anymore.” Sucks.

Arrgg. Zoned out again.

Coffee, need coffee.


Posted in Random Stuff | 50 Comments

Mon. June 10, 2019 – swim meet today

78F and pretty well saturated. Heck of a way to start the day. Yesterday stayed hot, and I stayed inside. It was legitimately over 100F in the shade and was still over 90F at midnight.

Swim meet tonight, so I’ll be busy all day getting ready for that, and most of the evening with the meet. Meatspace. Yeah. Meh. 🙂

I did find time to open a spigot on the rainwater barrel for the side garden yesterday. Didn’t find the time to CLOSE it…. I suppose the cukes and zukes will appreciate the 50 gallons of water…. and I can raise the barrel another half concrete block, as long as it’s empty. Most of my barrels are one one block high foundations, but going a bit higher will make it easier to water the raised beds. As it is, the spigot is a little lower than the beds.

We’ve had some drama in the neighborhood with a car on the street being burglarized early Saturday morning. A backpack full of ID documents was stolen. I spent some time reviewing footage, and discovered more weakness in my camera setup. I made some adjustments and hopefully I’ll be capturing more useful images. The cam with the best view of the car was triggered constantly by motion of the water in my wife’s water feature (fountain.) That meant too much recording, and the internal card had already recycled over the relevant times. The other cam wasn’t capturing movement in the street, and was triggering infrequently without enough pre-roll to get whatever caused the trigger. I also couldn’t D/L the footage from the cam. I ended up updating camera firmware to fix that problem (the cams have the best image recorded internally on SD card.) My iSpy NVR software needs tweeks too. That deserves a whole post as the latest update has been a POS. Long story short, check your preps. In the case of your security cams, review what’s getting recorded, and try to get it off for a police investigation or archiving.

An aside – HPD didn’t care at all that these folks lost all of their travel docs for their whole family. The Constable sent two units to investigate. That’s why we have a contract with the Constable’s office, and why I like them. The Deputy also said several other people had reported thefts from motor vehicles in our neighborhood the same night. Someone will have good video of the perps. In general, with school out for the summer, we are all seeing a seasonal rise in property crimes.

Now to wake the kraken and get them off to Invention Camp, so I can get some work done.


Posted in Random Stuff | 43 Comments

Sun. June 9, 2019 – finally up

96F and 56%RH at 9 am is HOT.

Slept in. So did the kids. Feel like sleeping some more.

Still think I’m coming down with something. Throat is scratchy and head is a bit stuffy.

Stuff to do today so I better get started.


Posted in Random Stuff | 31 Comments

Sat. June 8, 2019 – another week gone by

72F and 96%RH.  Beautiful day yesterday, getting hot later, but starting off awesome.  More of the same forecast for today.

I’ve got my “non-prepping hobby” meeting this morning, and NO sportsball with the kids to cut it short or take up the rest of the day.  It’ll probably be a short meeting with nothing interesting to do.  ‘cuz that’s how my life works some days.

Lots of small tasks got accomplished this week.  I feel like progress was made, although not on any of the big jobs.  Purchases were limited to a few small things, mostly for the household.  Ebay sales were non-existent.

Garden is still growing, although the one orange on the tree disappeared.

New water barrel is in place but still needs to be plumbed.  No chainsaws are actually running yet, but my hopes are high.  Just need some small pieces of fuel line, some cleaning, and one or two small parts (primer bulb, missing nut.)

I made a couple of small changes to my office, and I can walk into it again.  Not <i>clean</i> by any stretch, but I’m working on it.

More work to do later today, but now I’m off to meet with actual people.  (some of whom are hams, one of whom introduced me to the ham lunch group-  meatspace baby! and I’m not talking about the deli counter) I’m going to see if I have time to bring baked goods.


Posted in Random Stuff | 16 Comments

Fri. June 7, 2019 – …these are the days of our lives

72F and saturated. Occasional spotty ‘water from the sky’ yesterday late. I could see localized raining and thunderstorms, but our neighborhood just got the occasional spatter of drops.

Anyone else here wish they’d bought gold in the 70s? Just a little every month?

Or start learning a martial art? Or an instrument? If you’d started at the turn of the century, you’d have almost 20 YEARS of practice in. Pretty much anything other than golf or bridge, if you’ve been “doing it for 20 years” you’re probably pretty good at it and certainly an ‘oldtimer’.

Incrementalism can work in our favor too. Get started. There is time left.

These are the ‘good ole days’. Enjoy them, and use the time wisely.


Posted in Random Stuff | 46 Comments

Thur. June 6, 2019 – anniversaries…

Today is the anniversary of the birth of Robert Bruce Thompson.

It’s also the anniversary of D-Day– the Normandy Invasion… my wife has a relative buried there as do far too many.

Today raise a toast to “Absent friends”.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.



Posted in Random Stuff | 40 Comments

Wed. June 5, 2019 – like grains of sand through an hour glass…

75F and raining.  Probably not getting super hot today.  Yesterday was hot and humid enough for two days.   Sun was out until late, when we got a quick and quiet shower.  The radar maps had us getting rain late in the night and so we have been.  My weather station says we’ve gotten 0.85 inch since midnight.

Did not sleep well last night.  Weird dreams.  Woke dreaming of working for 0.1%-ers in Chicago or some other old and big city.  The gap between the wealthy and the not keeps getting bigger.  Our Lords are not tied to the land, but the serfs still are.  Methinks that sometime soon, we’ll have a lot fewer Lords, but times will be terrible for the serfs too.  Will we see a return of families throwing their daughters out on the water like a lifeline?  Will the nouveau riche scramble to find alliances to save their fortunes through their kids?  If so, the old money will definitely have the edge, what with all those centuries of practice…



Posted in Random Stuff | 48 Comments