Monday, May 12, 2008
FAR Future, Episode 32: Thanksgiving in the Midst of Disaster
Friday, November 29, 2013
Thanksgiving in the Midst of Disaster
I really liked what the prez had to say about Thanksgiving this year: “Make sure your neighbor has something to be thankful for.” Even Shotgun Sam, who tries to parse anything from that direction and turn it into a negative, said he had to agree with that one. Not that his listeners can count on having enough electricity to tune in anyway. In fact, he said something to the effect that more people are now listening to the download version (he doesn’t like the word “podcast” for some reason) than on the air. Of course, the “download version” has all the commercials intact, although it’s not difficult to fast-forward through most of them.
People want to know why we’re back to the rolling blackouts, after a couple months of constant power. Like anyone else, we have grid electricity mostly at night now. After a nice warm October, those early Arctic blasts have already taken their toll — you can’t run a furnace without electricity, and natgas production is going the way of oil, so gas-fired power plants are only running at night trying to conserve natgas for heating. People are trying to keep warm through the day any way they can… unfortunately, some of those ways don’t always leave survivors. The conspiracy sites are printing “leaked reports” that the government is expecting the death toll to be in the thousands — maybe hundreds of thousands — and are suppressing the studies “to avoid panic.” Hell, not even the talking yaps are picking this one up, and they’re the first to “expose secret reports” that leak out, so they might be in on the cover-up too. (Or perhaps I need to steer clear of the conspiracy media for a while.) From what I’ve seen around the blogosphere and heard from the news, people are coping the best they can. On Planet Georgia, with a somewhat milder climate, I have to admit we’re doing more like OK than most… we have plenty of wood, we closed off the upstairs so we don’t have to heat that, and the windmill gives enough juice during the day for essentials like lights, refrigerator, and a computer or two. While the Atlanta TV stations are mostly running a 10am to 2am schedule now, Mrs. Fetched still has her TV when the wind’s blowing (which is most of the time during the winter).
Daughter Dearest is spending the week with us, and I got a “Double Nickel” birthday cake along with Thanksgiving dinner. Keeping the presidential appeal in mind, we went around to the neighbors and suggested a community Thanksgiving dinner at FAR Manor — bring it if you got it, and don’t worry about it if you don’t. I think everyone came, or at least sent a representative along with a dish. There was, as is usual with these potlucks, more than enough to go around — I think everyone took home enough leftovers for a couple of square meals. I made rolls, and they disappeared really quick. We barely had to run the wood stove, with all the people in the house. The neighbors who have been trading us goat milk for other stuff are trying to make cheese, and they brought some to the dinner. It’s… unique. Pretty good on a salad, though. We’re going to try mooshing some garlic and herbs into it to see how it works as a cracker spread.
The motorcycle shop asked me to give another talk about winter riding tomorrow, like I did last year. They want to sell more gear, sure, but if you have to get out you might as well save gas, right? It’s stuff everyone should already know about: if it’s 40F out, and you’re going 55mph, it feels like 25F. I show people a wind-chill chart, talk about the importance of knowing how much cold you can tolerate, how to block wind at highway speed, and what kind of accessories can help in below-freezing weather (which we’ve already had way too many mornings of this month). I got a $50 gift certificate for my spiel last year, so it’s not like I’m doing it for free.
Speaking of motorcycles, the Big Four are supposed to be introducing some new scooters designed with commuting in mind come spring: beefed-up electrical systems for heated clothing, detachable fairing components for different times of year, more cargo space, great gas mileage (the “city” models are all-electric), less maintenance… sounds heavenly. If the job holds up, and I’m starting to wonder if it will, I’ll seriously give one of those some thought.
Winter started early… all I can hope for is that it ends early.