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Monday, April 06, 2009

FAR Future, Episode 80: White Valentine’s

Yeah, that was an April Fool’s joke on Wednesday. Ah well, I’ll have to rewrite this into a more traditional novel format before trying to pitch it anyway. Today’s post is sort of appropriate because there’s actually snow in tomorrow morning’s forecast…

Tuesday, February 14, 2036
White Valentine’s

Bobby and Martina are pretty good about not waking everyone up… they tend to be up before everyone, every morning, unless one of the adults is having trouble sleeping. But they couldn’t help themselves this morning.

I know Bobby slips downstairs a little after 5:30 in the morning, and Martina usually comes from across the driveway shortly after that. They usually don’t wake me up, but sometimes I’ll hear them. Maria wakes up for a bathroom run about 5, and if she doesn’t get right back to sleep after that she’ll hear them too. They do their homework and feed the firebox while they wait for the adults to start breakfast. This morning was a little different, since it started with 10 cm of snow on the ground… I hadn’t seen this much snow here in ages.

So when Martina stepped outside, she was the first to see it. She got all excited, and ran in to tell Bobby, and they both ran outside to play in it. They started piling it up on the slab, then got to flinging it at each other and then chasing each other around the manor, laughing and yelling. Needless to say, this woke up everyone — except Pat, who is like his mom in his antipathy toward mornings. But Ray came out and started squealing when he saw the snow, and got Pat up anyway.

Rene took one look at the fluffy white stuff and decided he’d stay inside and help his mom cook breakfast (Guillermo and Maria weren’t having any of it either). Serena, being a Wisconsin girl from way back, laughed at them and went out to play with the kids. Pat just stood gawking at the snow until Daughter Dearest and Ray started lobbing snowballs at him, then he finally got the idea. I joined the Smiths and Joneses, watching the fun and chatting. Ray and Pat challenged Bobby and Martina to a snowman contest, which gave Daughter Dearest the chance to call the neighbors to tell them that school was cancelled for the day. She gets to make the call for our school, after all.

The snowmen were interesting… none of the kids, including Pat, have ever seen enough snow to build a snowman before, and they didn’t know to pack a snowball and start rolling. I was going to give them some pointers, but Serena stopped me. “Let them do it their way,” she said. “See what they come up with.” That turned out to be… interesting. Pat (I’m sure it was Pat) got the idea to make a Snow Amazon: they piled and packed their snow, cut vertical grooves into it to look like dress pleats, then Pat boosted Ray up on his shoulders and they kept on piling. Eight feet high they went, and Pat lovingly sculpted a huge pair of boobs into it, at face level of course, while Ray etched a happy face up above.

As they were finishing up, Daughter Dearest joined me, looked at their work, and rolled her eyes. “Like grandfather, like grandson,” she said.

“You have to look up to her, though,” I said. “Or not… I could have quite a meaningful conversation with that chest!”

Tch. “Aren’t you getting a bit old for that sort of thing?”

I took a breath. “Still breathing.” Felt my chest. “Still have a pulse. Nope, not too old yet.” Sean and Mary laughed.

DD rolled her eyes again. “Yeah, but she doesn’t have a pulse. Isn’t that your primary criterion for being attracted to someone?” The Joneses joined in the laughter this time. “You. Are. Busted!”

“Ouch. You got me there… She’s probably a cold one, anyway.”

Meanwhile, Martina thought to grab a stepladder; she and Bobby were reaching for the stars. Or at least the eaves of the house. Bobby laughed at Pat’s breastworks, but they had a different idea… they were going to build a tower like the rook in our chess set. It took them a while, and they were having to scrounge for snow at the end, but I got a picture of them kneeling in the top of their tower looking down (and of course I got a pic of the Snow Amazon too).

Breakfast de las Cardenas provided a sort of halftime for the contest. Breakfast was good and hot, including plenty of hot tea and ersatz cocoa, and included a phone call from Christina.

“I heard it snowed up there,” she said on the speaker. “We got a little here in Atlanta too.”

“There’s a lot of it,” Rene told her. “Everyone else was outside playing in it while we fixed breakfast.”

“You didn’t go out in it?”

“Somebody needed to help Mama with breakfast!”

She laughed, and all of us did too. “You got pictures, right?” Kim asked.

“Of course. We’ll mail them tonight.”

“Oh yeah. They’ve de-restricted bandwidth for local access down here,” he said. “I forgot it’s not universal.”

“Yeah, rub it in,” I laughed. “They cache some of the primary news sites here, so we can get those pretty quick, but it’s like a newspaper… they don’t update through the day.”

Of course, by lunchtime the temps had climbed above freezing and the snow (especially where the kids had been scooping) was starting to melt. Pat and I were disappointed when the boobs fell off the Amazon, just as she was starting to warm up a little.

“Hey,” Daughter Dearest said, looking at the large but slumping tower. “Are you going to have any trouble getting the Heehaw around that?”

“No, it’s not in the way,” I said. “Besides, I could just back into it and knock it over. But nobody’s going anywhere anyway.”

Indeed… all of Sector 706, from reports on line and on the air, was pretty much shut down. Some of the mountain areas got 20 cm, although in most places it was 6 cm or less. It was quite the event… and Atlanta TV had people sending in photos and video. I sent a low-res pic of the kids on top of their tower, and they ran that one on the evening news (much to the delight of all). It has been a rather chilly winter; we’ve been going through firewood pretty steadily, although (like always) we’ve had a bunch of false springs that just make us wish for the real thing. Nobody knows if next winter will be like this one… again, ask 10 different climatologists what things will be like long term and get 20 different answers.



  1. Thanks for the latest installment of FAR Future, Mr FARf. It was most timely given the pre-Easter snow that us in the east are expecting.

    I was very relieved to find out FAR Future going offline was an April Fool's joke. Your timing is excellent as I'd recently voted that your wonderful saga is the main reason I visit your site, although I do enjoy your posts about what's happening around the true-life homestead.

    Keep 'em coming! Mondays wouldn't be the same without FAR Future


  2. Hiya FAR,

    Great story telling as usual. Your story telling sort of reminds me of cooks that say, "I only us locally grown stuff." Whereas local stuff and day to day things seem to weave throughout your stories. Wonderful.

    Hope you have a good week in front of you.

  3. Hi all!

    Bri2K, thanks much. Mondays will continue for a while, anyway.

    FM, it can be exhausting trying to imagine an entire world! But "local stuff and day to day things" is kind of the whole point… a lot has changed, but a lot of familiar things still happen: people play, get sick, fall in love, all that. I don't expect it to change.

  4. Hay Far, aren't things supposed to be getting warmer? I guess that Far Manor just goes its own way on these things. ;-)

  5. Boran, winter is still winter. I doubt we'll ever see palm trees in Buffalo, no matter how globally warm it gets.

    Actually, the big dash of cold water has lowered ocean temperatures, which is giving the future a temporary reprieve from global warming. When the going gets weird, the weather's a pro. ;-)

  6. Hey Far! I'm glad to see the "U.S." has finally seemed to have scrapped the standard measurement and converted to metric! ha! I try to do this on every job, I'm on... So much easier! Can't seem to get this by the carpenters though! We should have done this back in the 70's!! Especially when most can't even get to the 10th in the field!

    About the only thing good the standard measurement was the "step" or foot and the "pace" or 3 feet, for a quick estimate (how primtive). But I suppose, not everybody can add/subtract and multiply/divide in 16ths and 12's... Maybe that's why they keep me around?!!! That just drives in insane!!! ha! ha!

    Btw, what's a heehaw"?

  7. Hey Yooper! Future FARf says, "You noticed the metric, huh? Yup, we started the transition in 2025 and finalized it in 2029. For a while, the holdout junta-symps would insist on using the English measurements, but they finally gave it up.

    "Heehaw is slang for a Harlow-Easton Hauler, a light truck built at the old GM plant in Chamblee (ironically, using a Ford design, the RE100D aka 'Red100'). The nickname spread, and now the rest of the country calls any truck based on the Ford designs a Heehaw. I'll be talking about it more a little later."

  8. Great 'sode, Far, and let me join them who said they're glad the series isn't disappearing offline. Besides, the publishers are doing bad these days ~ I know this. A few of them have stopped taking in new manuscripts, which is totally daft IMHCFNO since that's what starts the process of them selling books which is what makes them successful. (For instance, the publisher that handled the Harry Potter series has benefited greatly in a financial fashion.) But, oh well, some people take “downsizing” too seriously. (I fantasize about starting up a publishing biz someday, but it would have to fit into the textile thing somehow.)

    Metric = good. Most people can't do fractional math in their heads anyway, let alone on paper and with much mumbling.

    I am wondering what might happen if our great cultural leveler, err, mindwasher (television) were to be suddenly turned off. Those of us who've researched this stuff are aware that television is responsible for the utterly-batshit-insane lifestyle expectations of too many people, the damping-down of local & regional accents everywhere, the shrinking of our world (aka the New Jersey effect: “what exit do you live at?”), the act of making every little place look almost just like a million or so other lumps of Applebees, Prole*Marts, CVS, Homeless Depot, Amberzombie & Bitch, Homegoods, OfficeMax, Linens&Crap, etc.

    Note to the shitheads in charge of urban planning: NO ONE LIKES EVERYPLACE LOOKING JUST LIKE EVERYPLACE ELSE! Not only is it the sort of blandness that makes you want to gouge out your eyes (after first checking the GPS to see what state you're in), but it's Totally. Farking. Boring. It makes it quite the chore to find the places that do NOT look like everyplace else.

    (apologies for the caps please!)

  9. Nudge, it seems to me if publishers are not taking *any* new MSS, they're basically getting ready to shut down. I've often said that there's no social problem in the US that couldn't be solved by cutting off all the TVs… maybe that's an exaggeration, but not by much.

    Wonderful rant… I agree with it all.

  10. Sorry to rant .. didn't quite intend to go off the deep end .. but I'm glad you liked it :)

    I got rid of the television back in 2002. The basic cable, which had been left on accidentally when the previous tenant moved out, was suddenly cut, so that was my cue to ditch the boob tube. Took the thing to the Salvation Army, with the remote taped to the back.

    There are a few shows I watch (mainly Lost and the Sarah Connor Chronicles) but for the most part, watching them online is benign. Between takes, there's only 1 ad break of perhaps 30 seconds. And you can get streaming HD over a 100K connection just fine.

    Uggh, I hate the television effect. It turns potentially decent/useful people into zombies. But that's a rant I should do for real someday.


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