This was going to be Episode 11, but the way things worked out I ended up swapping them. At least I have a post (mostly) ready for later.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
It was like flipping a switch here. One week, we were blacked out most of the daylight hours. The next… hardly a glitch. Fall weather has arrived at last, and brought some electricity with it! Of course, with summer gone, the windmill is turning, and the solar panels got delivered yesterday too. Oh well, at least I’ll have everything ready for next summer.
Another thing that fall has brought are tourists on bicycles. Last year, I finally setup the cyclist rest stop that I’ve been meaning to do, and it’s really getting used at the moment. Clubs organize group rides, but that usually means a bunch of small groups, where each group comes together from people riding the same pace… so there’s usually no more than 5 or 6 people there at a time, but they come & go through the day. I keep a water dispenser filled up, or try to these days — I left a sign showing where the outside water is if I’m slow, and the cyclists pretty much take care of it when I don’t. They do a good job of keeping the place clean too; I just change out the trash bags.
On my off-days, or days when not much is going on work-wise, I like to sit down there and talk with the people coming through. Most of the rides now are day/weekend things, but some of the really serious bikers are taking October off entirely and doing some long tours. Some of the weekenders camp out, which I don’t have a problem with. Mrs. Fetched was wary at first, but the clubs have put the word out: be nice to these guys. :-) I’ve brought up the idea of putting up a big pergola in the kudzu for shade, and got a bunch of people volunteering materials and labor. I wasn’t sure they were serious enough to actually follow through, but I just got an email from one of the bigger clubs about setting up a work day. I figure we can use it for a roadside produce stand next year, too.
A news article came down my Yahoo feed, about people who are letting their unused gas allotments expire instead of trying to sell them. Some don’t want to go through the hassle of transferring them, some are doing it out of principle (like the folks who buy carbon permits to take them off the market), and some are concerned about fraud. Shotgun Sam has been directed to talk up that last point, from the sound of it, and he might have finally found an anti-rationing topic with legs… either that, or using the faux-outrage that the wingies project so well as a cover, he managed to suggest several ways that his listeners could join the fun and get more fuel:
• Apply for a separate ration card under the wife’s maiden name, tacking an “apartment number” to the home address
• Lie about your occupation (everyone is a carpenter or farmer!)
• If you live near an abandoned house (and there’s a few of those in the burbs), use the name and address of the last occupant and snag the mail when it comes in
[Note to any NFRD enforcers reading this: I transcribed these suggestions from today’s “Shotgun Sam Weatherby’s Truthcast,” heard on AM750 from 2 to 4 on weekday afternoons and available on the Internet as a podcast. I’ve saved an MP3 if they delete or modify this particular episode. Don’t shoot the messenger.]
Now that I went and disinfected my fingers after typing the title of that show… Of the three, I’d say the last is the safest — the biggest risk is that someone gets the mail before you do, but you don’t have an illegal activity associated with your address (aka: plausible deniability). Sam’s (or rather, his patrons’) motives are obvious: game the system to death. Rationing is working, a bit too well for the cons in fact.
Come to think of it, that article left off another possible reason for allotments expiring: with summer over, people aren’t driving so much. Then again, the going rate on the exchange hasn’t dropped much, which makes me wonder whether people are buying and storing gas. Come to think of it, I’m seeing certain names turning up on the buy side quite a bit, buying up stale allotments and even offering to buy expiring (less than 4 days) allotments on the private exchange. I wonder if there’s any provisions for checking into those folks. On the other hand, if they only blow themselves up… like Larry Niven said, think of it as evolution in action.