Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Review continued

There has been something of a review going on lately.  Reviewed the blog, and now it is time for a bit of a review of my preparations for the move out West.

In keeping with that, I've been going over a few things here at the apartment.

It seems that the shower device will require at least one gallon of water to do the most basic of cleaning.  In order to fully clean, it may take much more.  This isn't new, but it is worth reviewing.  I used it for a quick cleanup just now.  The battery needed recharging.  So, the batteries that I have around need to be reviewed as well.

Battery inventory:
  • 1 35 amp hour 12 volt battery.  Status: recently checked
  • 1 jump starter recharger type battery.  Capacity not known.  Currently regularly used.
  • 2 batteries for electric scooter.  Capacity: somewhat less than the 35 amp hr battery above.  Status: unchecked for weeks.
  • various other batteries for devices that are contained within their devices.  Amongst these are some used phones.  The batteries should still be good.
Besides the batteries, I checked my sleeping bag.  I simulated a preparation for sleep, and then rolled it back up.  It can keep you warm down to 40 degrees Farenheit, it says.  I'd say that is accurate based upon my trip.

While checking the bag, I deployed the chair like I was going to sleep in it.  This is the system that plan on using for sleep.  Since 40 degrees has been tested, what about lower temps?  Must have a plan for that, too.  Thinking of using an electric blanket.  The downside of that is the battery drain.  Still is quite demanding on electricity use even though it should be a lot less than a space heater.

There is a 2 cycle gas powered electric generator that has never been used.  It could possibly run a 500 watt space heater.  This might be handy on a really cold night on the property.

Plans should include a wall that faces north so as to block the cold north wind.  This is a part of the plan of construction of the "quadrangle".

There's a general outline of the plans in the Table of Contents for the entire series, as well as subseries that includes
  • Water
  • Food
  • Construction
  • Power
  • General topics
There are just under six months left for the earliest possible departure date.  This date is unlikely though.  Much is still to be done.

While I review that, I can also review my reasons for doing this.  It appears that it won't be the best option for me if the idea is to live as cheaply as possible.  There is another way.  But somehow, the cheaper way doesn't do it for me.  I am sticking with this even if it is harder and more expensive.  Why?  Not sure why, and I may regret this decision.  I've certainly gotten more than I bargained for so far, already.

Stretch wrap

Want to remember this link because it may be an easy way to cover a quonset hut.  This stuff is used to wrap pallets all the time.  These pallets are used to ship things, which is what my job is about.  So, I was wondering how do you get this stuff?

Why, just google it up, and here it is.

A beautiful thing, as Rush used to say.  Maybe he still says it, but I don't listen much to the show anymore.


While I'm thinking about what I don't want to forget, let's remember this one.  I want to put something over the back windows of the van.  This would allow me to see out, but nobody to see in.  Reason is privacy.

Obligatory, 10.7.15; Car dolly trailer

I will be needing one of these in order to carry my car around with me.  This is an alternative that I'm considering for the "moonshot".  The moonshot is what I call this project of moving out of Houston to my land out near El Paso, Texas.  It's a moonshot also in the sense that it is a very big, very risky type project.

One problem with the land is that it's so far away.  I've made 5 trips out there so far in order to attempt to do something with it.  It is always a disappointment because of the time element as well as the expense.  With a move out to El Paso, I will be within a couple hours drive of it, at least.  I can still work in town, and then access my land without having to make a big project out of it each time I go out there.

The idea of using a car dolly trailer is just to take my car with me as well as my van.  The van will provide shelter and the car will provide an opportunity to make a buck as a "taxi" service.  On my last trip, I found out the necessity to keep earning money, as money disappears pretty fast when you don't have any coming in.

Also, the tow around idea enables me to avoid renting space to store the vehicle.  The disadvantage is the need to drive more, since I'd like to avoid driving that old van a lot.  Perhaps once a month to El Paso to an RV place I located won't be too much of a strain on the van.

The van has to be converted to an RV so that I can live out of it.  The proposed plan is to rent out an RV space when I'm in town, and then when I'm finished making money for the month, go back to the property and live on the land.  The car would come with me.


Something to remember about the RV conversion---the windows.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Quick post: 10.6.15; Negative rate 90 day TBills

Ann Barnhardt tweets that the 90 day TBill may go to negative rates soon.  If that's happens, it is an inverted yield curve on the short term side.  If it fully inverts, it would mean that the entire yield curve goes below zero.  Most unlikely, but that also means that to raise Fed Funds rate any at all runs the risk of fully inverting the yield curve.  Significance?  Inverted yield curves almost always tend to accompany recessions.

The Fed is painted into a corner.  Can't raise rates and can't cut rates, unless you want to risk even more damage.  Why would this be damaging?  Because capital formation requires savings, and savings are eaten up by a negative yield, it means less capital formation.  Economic growth becomes more difficult, if not impossible.  Collapse could be inevitable.

The stock market rose yesterday.  The Dow was up 300 points.  Yeah, right.  Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we may be in the deepest doo-doo.

Obligatory: 10.6.15; More Moonshot

There was some slack time yesterday, even though it was a busy day.  Finished late, by the way, so there was no opportunity to write once I got back home.  With the slack time I did have, I gave some thought about the van to RV conversion project.  One thing about that, though.  Once that gets started, the van cannot be used for anything like I'm doing now.  So, a lot of this thought is just in the planning stage.

The sleeper cannot go on top because that makes the van too tall.  I may want to keep it in storage someplace.  Let's say I rent out a storage location where one of the vehicles is always there.  The van goes out on the property, but the car stays in town.  Let's say the car stays in Van Horn.  I drive the van in from the property, swap vehicles, and drive the car into El Paso to work a bit.  Then come back to Van Horn, store the car, and swap vehicles, and drive back to the property.  With a plan like that, both vehicles need to fit into the same spot.  If the van is too tall, there's a problem.

But something needs to go on top of the van in order to get more space for the lower side.  I can use that upper side for storage, then.  Make it only about a foot high, and store things there.  Storage can be built in on top of the wheel wells, too.

An idea struck me yesterday to place the sleeper crossways right behind the driver area.  But this would be a very tight fit.  I would like to keep the freezer, too.  If so, it could go on top of the sleeper.  If it did, I would have to enter the sleeper from the side, which would be interesting, to say the least.  Opening the door to get out may be tricky.  The sleeper would be a tight fit against the side doors of the van, so to reach the door handle from a lying position could be difficult.  May need to rig something that would allow the door handle to be operated from down below.

The sleeper gives platform for storage for the freezer as mentioned.  But there's a little more room, so a microwave oven can go next to it.  Above the microwave can be some extra shelving, for food.  Plus shelving along the sides on top of the wheel wells, as mentioned.  There, clothes can be stored.

Thus, the previous idea of putting a quonset hut type construction up top is ruled out.  The van would be used as before, but there would be a bit more space built in to it.  It would not be built to stay at an RV spot, although it could.  It's primary function would be to get on and off the property without having to drive too far each time.  It would depend upon having some facilities built on the property that would make it a bit more livable.  It would need to be livable in order to stay for longer periods of time.

An earlier idea involved putting some facilities for growing things in the van.  That should be ruled out.  It is being made as simple as possible.  Growing things in the van implies long stays at an RV spot.

Changes were necessary in order to reflect upon the realities of the situation.

The realities are that the van has a lot of miles.  Don't want to spend a lot of money on projects for it.  Don't want to drive it too much, either.  This plan would allow it to last a longer time, because it will need to last as long as possible.  The van will be needed for access to the property.  The car cannot be used for that.

The car is necessary in order to make money, as the necessity for money still exists, and will exist for the foreseeable future.

One more reality is that plans are tentative.  Things happen that could render all this discussion moot.


I had a good solution.  Just use that chair.  It worked out there on the trip.  No need for a "coffin" ( sleeper), unless the idea is to use it for climate control.  Seems like there could be another way for climate control.  The sleeper takes up valuable space.  The chair can be folded up and stored on the topside.


An alternative to renting out a storage place is given here.

This post goes into the construction subseries of the off-the-grid main series of posts.

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Monday, October 5, 2015

Quick post, 10.5.15: Moonshot

My very own "moonshot".  That's in reference to the land I bought out West.  It seems that I don't have very many posts about that anymore.  Not that I haven't thought about it.

One thing that I thought was how much time do I need to take off the property in order to make some bucks so I can live on it.  This idea conflicts with the general purpose of the land in the beginning of this project.  In the beginning, I was to minimize my need for money.  But what I found out when I went out there is how fast that money can disappear out there.  So, there's going to be a need for money.  At the very least, there will be a need for money in the beginning.  Eventually, maybe I can wean myself off the money dependency.  But for now, no chance.  Since that is the case, how much time can I devote to my property?  This will depend largely on how much money I need and what it will take to earn it.

This leads to when I can leave.  There's less than six month now on this current lease.  Perhaps I can leave then.  However, the sooner I leave, the greater the risk.  How much risk do I want to take?  Eventually, the risk will have to be significant, as living out there can be hazardous in some ways.

Well, it seems that's all I have the time for.  This post has to end here.

Obligatory 10.5.15--- News v. Truth

Have you noticed that more people are interested in causes than truth?   People seem driven towards causes.  That  could be the case even if the cause isn't truth itself.

Something like that is what the late Ben Bradlee seems to have noticed.  By the way, Ben Bradlee was the editor of the Washington Post.  Bradlee said he wasn't interested in news, only causes.  Why would he say that?  It's business, that's why.

Now, in order for the Washington Post, or any newspaper to succeed, it must attract an audience.  If what Bradlee was saying was correct, and it must be, because the Post hired him as editor, then might one generalize that to be the case in general?  That is to say, that any "news" entity isn't going to be about news; rather, it is going to be about a cause of some kind.  It is necessary for success as a business entity.

But is a cause the truth itself?  Is a belief true?  People's causes become like their church.  You are going to believe in your cause, but what if your cause is wrong?  Generally speaking, people don't want their causes to be wrong.  They can't believe that their church is wrong.

What about the truth for its own sake?  If there is any cause for this blog, could it be that?

But that doesn't guarantee any success.  Otherwise, Ben Bradlee was wrong.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

After five years of blogging regularly...

The question still remains unanswered.  Who am I and what I am doing here?

One question has been answered.  There's little chance of getting out of the basement.  The basement meaning that this blog will remain pretty much unknown.

Something happened between 2004 and 2009.  Back in 2004, things weren't quite so commercialized.  Once something gets commercialized, the barriers to entry go up.  Established blogs take up all the oxygen in the room, so to speak, so a unknown blog like this can't get traction.  Actually, that might be an excuse, but still, there's some truth in it.

Donald Trump is taking up all the oxygen in the room, so to speak, so he's likely to win the GOP nomination.  You see.  Someone established will get all the attention, whereas a newcomer or unknown will remain so.  That's how it all works, unfortunately.

An individual who is really gifted may crack open a space and get noticed.

However, looking at it another way though, maybe not.  Peter Diamandis once told the story about an inventor during the Roman Empire Era who created a method to mine and refine what we know today as aluminum.  He showed his invention to the Emperor Tiberius, who was impressed.  However, Tiberius didn't reward the man.  He had him executed because he was a threat to Tiberius' interests.  Talking about a barrier to entry.

And that sums up the problem with this blog, too.  It can be generalized to the entire country.  Nothing can really improve if the barriers to entry are too high.  Those who have a vested interest in the status quo will effectively block anything new and innovative.

Hence, we don't get molten-salt reactors.  We don't get nuclear thermal rockets.  We don't get cold fusion.  We don't get hot fusion.  In the end, we may not get anything new at all.  There will be calls for rationing, as supplies of goods get more scarce.  People start to feel the "limits to growth".  There's no more growth in the economy.  Nobody believes anymore that their children will have it better than they did.  Seems like this story was told before.  Like the fall of the Roman Empire.

For many years now, people have sensed that something is wrong.  The polls show it.  Now the question is this:  can anybody do anything about this, or are we doomed to repeat history?

This blog has been a quest to search for some answers.  Perhaps, after over 9000 posts, and over 5 years, I may finally have the answer.  Or, maybe not.  The truth is a slippery thing.

Federalist Papers v Anti-Federalist Papers

It could well be, that in times like we are living in, it could be profitable to look at how we got to this point.  With respect to the US Government, the adoption of the US Constitution was not seen as a universally good thing.  There was significant opposition.

After seeing this link in the Free Republic, my eyes fastened upon this paper written back at the time of the ratification of the Constitution.  There was indeed a civil war.  But why?  Because of the outcome of a Presidential Election that wasn't accepted by a significant portion of the country.  Was that not so?  It was indeed the reason given for the secession of the Southern states at that time, and thus must be so.  Yet today, most people focus on the slavery issue, but it was Lincoln's election that was the catalyst for the secession.  It was Lincoln's conduct that assured that there would be a war, as Lincoln could have allowed the Southern states to leave peacefully--- but he did not.

The presidency under the Constitution is too powerful.  There is simply too much at stake for one person to have so much power.  Therefore, the presidency should be weakened, so that the temptation to increase the powers of the state won't become too strong, and that the country won't fall into despotism.  If by opposing despotism creates the conditions for a civil war, that potential outcome can be avoided.

The Constitution as it constructed, seemed to allow at least for some policing to occur that would prevent despotism.  Yet, these safeguards are falling away.  There is no real check and balances anymore.  It is as if there is some conspiracy amongst the politicians, in and out of power, to continue increasing the power of the government at the expense of liberty.  That wasn't the original intent of the framers.  However, original intent, though it often being cited, seems rarely enforced.  Meanwhile, the government just grows and grows---and nothing much gets done about it.

The only thing that could stop the federal government now is an Article V convention.  Yet those who want a smaller, less intrusive government, seem too timid to try it.  At this point, it would seem that there's little choice.  You may get a good president, but the bad ones seem more troublesome, and it is getting worse.

Elections won't fix a systemic problem like this.  It seems that the Anti-Federalists may have had a point.  Better a weak government that preserves liberty than a strong government that destroys it.  Those people who want a strong president run the risk of a future tyrant getting into power.  They cannot lay claim on being for small government if they insist upon having a strong presidency.  These two things don't go together.

If a war develops over an Article V, it was going to happen anyway.

Trump v. Meet The Press

It was a hostile interviewer, no question in my mind.  ( Can you see him questioning a Democrat this way?) Trump handles him with aplomb.  I'd like a firmer answer to gun control, though.

Trump will win the nomination unless something unusual happens that would change that.