still alive in El Paso

It’s been a weird month.

VA appointments

I’ve had a bunch of VA appointments. One of them required wearing a heart monitor for two weeks. One (spine doctor) ended up with a muscle relaxer Rx that is turning me into a zombie. Luckily it’s just for two weeks but I’ve already halved the dosage so I can stay awake in the daytime.

RedPocket EBB

My EBB phone line died again. At first I assumed it was the usual clusterfsck but CS says the line is inactive (?) and I’d need to submit another EBB application.

My guess is it’s one of three things:

  1. RP dorked it up
  2. I missed a “still want to keep your EBB line” email that RP sent from time to time
  3. changing my mailing address changed my eligibility

I’m not going to re-apply since the Visible (Verizon MVNO) line has been very stable and usable 95% of places I go. There were a couple kknock-on effects


I moved the Visible SIM back to the Cudy for maximal reception. My carry phone just has a grandfathered TMO voice sim in it ($10/yr) so I will continue to tap into wifi for data on it.


Tbird has been pissing me off; I can’t make it do what teh config specifies (delete mail from server when conditions are met). I’m going back to the gmail web interface until connectivity forces me to run Tbird again.

Gmail doesn’t expose the SPAM folder to POP3, which is why I thought I might have missed a redpocket email.

van CEL codes

The van threw a “mixture too rich” code, which some googling suggests I might have a dead 02 sensor. Going to try to get that addressed before I leave ELP.


In 2023 my Amazon Prime credit card collected $109.20 in cashback and I had $0 interest charges (paid in full monthly).

The affiliate program made <$600 so no tax doc was issued:

In 2023, you were paid less than $600 in non-employee compensation, which is the IRS threshold.

The actual income appears to be $208.06, which covers the virtual server, DNS, etc.

Muffin and the floorboard

When I was in DFW Muffin sat in the footwell of my sister’s car. I cleaned out the footwell in the van and put a blanket down there. She hasn’t gone there totally yet but appears to be sneaking up on it.

heating soup in the Instant Pot

I don’t think I’ve heated anything in the 3qt Instant Pot yet. So today for lunch I am heating up some soup that way to see what happens. It runs the IP at full blast AFAIK (~630w measured + inverter losses).

I was at the local mercado picking up tortillas where they are much cheaper/fresher/better than at Anglo markets. I saw a can of “white menudo” and thought I’d try it for lunch. To me menudo needs to be a very angry looking red-orange color so I wasn’t expecting much.

Verdict: it’s ok, maybe a B-. Mostly like menudo but less savory and more hominy.


I picked up an Aili-style battery monitor shunt to replace the 75A one I smoked last year. Not sure when I’ll get it installed. Probably after the Rx is used up and my brain starts to work again.

power generation the last week:

Solar numbers:

  • 1.64kWh
  • 1.54kWh
  • 1.71kWh
  • 1.50kWh
  • 1.82kWh
  • 1.52kWh
  • 1.49kWh

And if the pattern holds the alt also made another 10% over the solar numbers.

I finished Absorption each day so I know there was sufficient to get ~fully recharged. The last days I did not finish Absorption were just before I left cloudy NE Texas:

  • Jan 3 - 1.82kWh
  • Jan 4 - 2.18kWh

All those days were higher-usage so it probably says more about my loads than solar harvest proper.

Technically while I was driving to ELP the solar only made 0.53kWh - 1.01kWh per day because the alternator was doing most of the lifting.