Just for grins, this is what I had to contend with getting gas on the way home. BJs (a competitor to Sams) was selling gas for $3.49 to members today, and it’s anywhere from $3.55 to $3.79 at other stations nearby. (Who ever thought people would line up for $3.50 gas???)
Just to make life even more interesting, the pumps were running veerrrrrrrrryyyyy slloooooowwwwwwwllllyyyy. I didn’t have to stand around by myself, though; people want to talk to the guy with that strange-looking motorcycle.
Of course, half the vehicles at the pumps were trucks or SUVs, none of the cars were the size of my Civic, and I was the only one on a motorcycle… and on a beautiful day, no less. I suppose gas will have to go even higher to get people to really change their ways… although the guy in the Mustang GT in front of me was talking about getting his Shadow out of mothballs. He ought to — my DRZ gets over twice the gas mileage of his car.
Back to the story… FINALLY.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
Whew. The phone calls and emails are finally tapering off. My 15 minutes of fame are running out, and not a moment too soon. While the job offers from various news services have been more interesting, none are offering what I’m making on my day job. But I could have all the extra income I want as a stringer.
What’s not so fun is how everyone is using my work for ends that have little to do with water conflicts. A-list bloggers say “we” (as if I’m an A-lister… who’s this “we”?) have “schooled the tradmed” once again. The tradmed, perhaps as a little payback, has developed a narrative that identifies me as a “press secretary for the GCM.” Ick! And of course the fringers are spinning the whole thing as the True Militia defeating the National Guard (implication: “false militia”) in armed combat.
I don’t want to go on too long about this, but I have to admit that my opinion of the GCM as a bunch of armed yahoos was a bit off. Yeah, there are plenty of those folks — but there’s a core group, officers and foot soldiers, and they’re sharp. Plenty of military experience, and a few active reservists. It calls to mind the business owners in the Smokies and other rural places, who carefully cultivate an “ignert” front… all the better to fleece the “sophisticated” tourists. One of the officers is a state
Anyway, all that is finally slipping into my past. While the phone calls and such are cooling off, it has been plenty warm at FAR Manor for an October, with no cool-down in sight. A Bermuda high has stalled out and is pushing warm air up this way. The garden has been happy, especially since there’s been plenty of moisture coming up with the warm air. I’m thinking we might have moved our bed off the porch a little too soon. But we celebrated Daughter Dearest’s birthday earlier this week; The Boy came to stay the weekend too. First time in a number of years that we’ve all been together at the manor, and it was kind of nice. Well… no “kind of” about it. The Boy helped me finish up the firewood; we should have enough to get through the winter once it gets started. It helped that we had a few days of dry weather this week.
The warm weather has everyone hoping for a really short and/or mild winter. Natural gas utilities have admitted they aren’t sure they have enough stocks to get through a severe winter… in other words, they could run out if things get really cold. A lot of people are planning to heat with wood, not all of it scrap lumber, and that’s putting a lot of pressure on forest managers to keep poachers from cleaning them out — the smart ones aren’t waiting for things to get cold. Most places allow taking out deadfall, but with fuel rationing there’s only so far into the woods you can go to find it before it isn’t worth the effort (although it probably won’t be long before people start using a horse & wagon again). Some people are likely to burn pine, because they have plenty of that and not so much hardwood, so fire departments are gearing up for dealing with an expected huge increase in chimney fires this winter. Most communities are encouraging people to double up families for the winter (like many did last year); it’s a lot easier to heat one house than two and some cities are offering free assistance for emptying water pipes and generally buttoning up a house for several months. A lot of people are balking, what with looters stripping abandoned houses last year and eventually tearing them down for firewood, although it’s likely that a lot of the people worried now were part of the problem back then, grabbing free firewood where they could. The survival instinct is a funny thing like that.
As always, there are people out to make an honest living by the opportunities found in any crisis: chimney sweeps (“only we can prevent chimney fires” is one of the slogans), plumbers (guaranteeing unbroken pipes come spring), and security. Others are looking at less-honest ways to turn a buck: professional arsonists, burglars, looters (taking pieces of the house rather than the contents), and fuel fraudsters who guarantee natural gas or fuel oil all winter for an up-front fee then disappear after collecting the money. We’ve already had a couple of the latter types leave lengthy ads on our answering machine (a violation in itself), and I’m getting peeved enough to set up a sting operation. Mrs. Fetched is against it, as she is with any idea I come up with at first, but she’ll probably come around when she thinks about the consequences — to me, that’s nothing short of indirect murder. I gave the contact information to the local cops anyway; they said they would check it out so maybe I won’t have to do much about it.
On the other hand, investigative journalism is probably a lot less hazardous than the embedded variety!