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Friday, May 30, 2008 1 comment

Weekend Cinema

The Committee Of One enjoyed the Memorial Day weekend, and hopes that everyone found sufficient time and money to visit your local theater. But $8 for a ticket? That's like two gallons of gas! If you live a ways from the theater, you might as well sit back and watch a quick flick here on Weekend Cinema.

Speaking of gas prices, tonight’s selection takes a poke at what they’re doing to the economy at large, depicting the job market of the near future. So huddle together, wait for the boss to come by, and see who gets The Job.

[Note: This was going around in email for a while, with the credits and some of the beginning/ending cut off. This is the full version, as the producer intended. Whoever does these hack jobs… cut it out. Or stop cutting it out.]

Wednesday, May 28, 2008 2 comments

Toodles, EJ!

EJ has found a job at a nursing home, close to his family, so he moved out. Unlike most of our boarders, this was a more amicable parting of ways. He’ll be back to visit The Boy, at least… if The Boy ever comes home, that is. I think he feels enough of an obligation toward Snippet that he’ll make sure she has a place to stay before coming back. Then again, if he finds her and him a place, he’ll just stay there until they wear out their welcome again.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008 2 comments

Weirdest. Memorial Day. Ever.

[If you don’t revisit older posts, go back to the graduation post for a portrait and an amusing part of the ceremony I left out originally.

All is quiet at FAR Manor. I haven’t taken the screen tent down in the front yard, because I’ve decided I like sitting out there to unwind when I get home from work. I took the heavy lining out of my riding jacket (hooray!!) this morning, leaving the windbreaker lining in, and rode to work today. I had my rain suit, which certainly helped me dodge the 40% chance of rain that didn’t materialize (unless you count six drops as “rain”).

But I’m not here to talk about today. I’m here to talk about yesterday.

It started out normally (by normal people’s standards) enough: Mom and Wicked Stepfather came over for breakfast. I’d made cinnamon rolls the night before, and The Boy and Snippet were nowhere to be seen — I think they were camping out somewhere. Anyway, it was quiet, and we ate, plotted a route back to NC that wouldn’t take them through Atlanta (TomTom likes interstates, it seems), and talked a bit. And waited for The Boy to show up; he knew they would be here at 8:30. Of course, he didn’t (TB03, and the last of the family departed.

The Boy showed up a couple hours later, of course. With Snippet in tow, of course. Now, I neglected to mention something important: we called the phone number we had for Snippet’s mom, got a friend, and found that she was in Alabama of all places. Seems like she suddenly goes to Elsewheresville when she’s supposed to pick up her own kid. We gave the friend a message: “Snippet is now homeless, as far as I know. She’s worn out her welcome here, anyway, so she needs to come get the kid.” Of course, the mom-unit didn’t call us back… she called The Boy. So the two of them were fired up, words were exchanged, and Snippet lobbed the F-bomb at Mrs. Fetched.

Daughter Dearest, who had been sitting quietly in a recliner up to this point, suddenly entered the fray — making a beeline for Snippet. The Boy made a brave move, inserting himself between her and Snippet (who is about half DD’s size, by the way, and is a lot more girly than DD has been in many years) — as it was, DD knocked him backwards into Snippet. Mrs. Fetched and I intervened quickly to prevent things from getting out of hand.

Discussion time, although these rarely resolve anything. There’s something going on between Snippet and her mom that the former isn’t willing to admit, perhaps to herself. As for The Boy, he’s resenting the big party (including my side of the family) that Daughter Dearest got for her graduation and he didn’t get for his GED (“One. Measly. Dinner,” is how he described his celebration). He also dropped a TB09, blaming everything/everyone but himself for his situation, and I gently tried to explain to him that he would never start moving forward with his life until he started taking responsibility for his own actions. He didn’t say anything, but he didn’t shake his head like he usually does when he wants to reject unpleasant input.

He left afterwards and hasn’t been back. Or maybe he has: all the lights were on in the detached garage, and I found my lip ring on my desk (where I leave my laptop). DD’s friend Sasquatch, who graduated with her, is looking for work and there’s always stuff needing to be done at the chicken houses. He’s going to ahem borrow the guest bedroom for a night or two, just to make sure Snippet doesn’t worm her way back in. As it turns out, that wasn’t necessary: The Boy is out working with the punk rock band he just joined and won’t be home tonight.

So DD celebrated her graduation (with our help).
The Boy celebrated joining an established band.
Mrs. Fetched celebrated her birthday.
I celebrate not having Snippet around.

Monday, May 26, 2008 1 comment

FAR Future, Episode 34: Is This Thing On?

This scheduled-post thing is working pretty well, at least so far. I think it’s pure coincidence that I start talking about family while my family is around for Daughter Dearest’s (in real life) HS graduation this weekend. I wrote a lot of this before knowing when it would be posted, after all. :-)

Monday, February 24, 2014
Is This Thing On?

Looks like the Net is back up, finally. We managed to survive the week, although I was starting to get a little loopy with Net-withdrawal this weekend. Mrs. Fetched managed her TV-withdrawal somewhat better. Working was difficult; I had to go in twice instead of once last week. I think we came pretty close to just shutting down work for the week, with the power going up & down all day. At least there was enough uptime to keep the laptop batteries charged. I’m not sure if the execs are keeping up with what’s going on down in the cube-farm or the shop floor, but if they are they’ll probably shut the place down if it happens again. The kids helped a lot — they’re into everything when they’re not at school, poking around and marveling at how nice it is to not have to wear their jackets in the house (including bed) — so I spent a lot of time introducing the new inmates to the free-range insane asylum. They’ve each had their first motorcycle ride, in 20-degree weather, and both were grinning around chattering teeth afterwards. Their favorite place in the house is the living room, even when the TV’s off, because it’s always warm in there. They’ll read, doodle, or write (Serena wants to write plays like Shakespeare, of all things) when the power’s off. They’re really good about getting firewood, too.

Over the weekend, I got the phone call I’d been expecting: they found the parents. The surprise (to me) was, one of them was still alive at the time. Someone caught them trying to steal gas in Atlanta, guns were drawn… then fired. The women stayed down, but it didn’t do them much good in the end.

The police interviewed the survivor (Kim’s mother, judging from the last name) at the hospital — she was able to tell her story before she lost consciousness for the last time:

We were sharing a house up north — [Serena’s family] moved in with us when their house caught fire. We ran out of firewood a few days ago, just at the wrong time… it was either leave or freeze to death. We’d been saving up gas in case it came to that, and we’d pooled about 30 gallons. We had 20 in the trunk, anyway, and we were hoping to make it to Sarasota. We knew we wouldn’t make it on what we had, but we had some ration coupons and we were counting on buying some along the way. That didn’t pan out too good.

We got to Georgia, and there was a blockage of some sort on I-75 around Dalton [turned out to have been a tanker hijacking gone wrong —Farf] so we headed east on 52, hoping to find a way south. We still couldn’t find anyone who would sell us some gas, and we decided we’d have to steal some. We dropped off the kids at some farm, in case there was trouble — I guess that turned out to be for the best — and found a highway going to Atlanta. You know the rest.

I asked the cop if there was going to be a funeral, and she said “We just cremate them. No marker. They’re at the morgue through Monday.” Something told me I should do something — after all, they’d left me their most valuable possessions — so I hopped the commute bus to the MARTA station and took the train downtown. I found the morgue, told them who I was and who I was there to see (off), and they led me to the right place. Much to my surprise, someone was already there — a black man, praying. He looked familiar, then I realized…

When he finished his prayer and looked up, I asked him, “Aren’t you The Prophet?”

He smiled. “Some call me that.”

“So why are you here?”

“The Lord has called me to minister to those forgotten of man, for He has not forgotten them. Did you know these unfortunates?”

“No. They dropped their kids off at my place, before… this.”

“Then the Lord has placed a great responsibility on your shoulders. But He does not give us a task without giving us the tools to accomplish it.”

I nodded. “The kids have actually been a big help this week. I just need to know if I should tell them about…” I gestured to the body bags.

“They must know the truth,” he said, “but not right away. If they ask, do not lie, though — the Lord abhors lying lips.”

“Right.” I pulled the pictures I’d taken of the kids out of my shirt pocket. “Here’s their pictures. I thought… I don’t know, I thought maybe I could tuck each one in their mom’s bag, but I don’t know which ones are which.”

The Prophet smiled and took the pictures. “Turn around. If asked, you can honestly say you saw nothing.” I did what he told me, and I heard quick zipping noises, the rustle of paper, and two more zips. “Done. Now join me here, and we will provide a poor service for these forgotten ones.” He went through a funeral sermon, I said a few words about the kids, and that was it.

“They came to a bad end,” I said, as we stepped into the warmer hallway.

“Truly. But we honor their lives the best we can. That is the highest calling of anyone.”

“At least their kids will be all right. As long as we are.”

“And that is the highest honor you can give their parents,” The Prophet said. He stopped me and put a hand on my shoulder. “May God bless you and keep you. We both have long roads ahead of us, and none of us are righteous, ‘no not one,’ but we can rely on our faith — and Whom we have put our faith in.

“Our nation will be broken like a potter breaks a faulty pot, and many will not live to see it restored. There will be war, and rumors of war, and neighbor will be pitted against neighbor. And there will be those who see that their neighbors want not, and there will be peace. But He will watch over you, as long as you remain under His loving gaze. Go forth, and show God to those who need Him most.” He turned away, leaving me gaping like a fish. I think I got it all down, what he said… I hope I did, anyway.

Then again, John remembered a whole book and wrote down his Revelation. If he could do that, surely I can remember a few paragraphs.


Saturday, May 24, 2008 3 comments

Daughter Dearest Graduates [UPDATED, new text & photo]

DDiplomaIt’s been a long day (long week is more like it). Graduating class sizes are rapidly overrunning the facilities they have to put on graduation, so they’re trying different things. Some of them work less well than others.

For example, they had the ceremony outdoors. It’s still a little cool for late May, but “a little cool for late May” on Planet Georgia means 80 degrees and lots of sunlight (I took my little niece on her first motorcycle ride, and it was warm enough to ride without needing a jacket). Many of the grads were suffering from sunburn acquired earlier in the week during rehearsal. The sun was over the kids, so those of us in the stands got the brunt of it. Dad & I wore hats and thus did pretty well, but a lot of people were leaving as soon as their kids got their diploma… and some of them didn’t last that long. Mrs. Fetched and I were doing video from the stands, avoiding lens flare and dealing with a supercilious pair of geezers who are misrepresenting themselves as being “hired by the school” to do video. We’re getting everyone who usually wants video from us and then some, though.

The funny part was at the beginning, where the principal asked the audience to refrain from making excessive noises when their grad’s name was called. “This is a solemn occasion that deserves dignity.” Riiiiiiiiight. This is Planet Georgia: people are going to cheer for their kids because they know a lot of people (perhaps themselves) who didn’t get this far. A couple of the kids let their joy show through, in a couple mild displays of exuberance… only natural and none of them over the top.

DD's portraitThe fun began after we got home — I fired up the grill and started in on the burgers & brats, the ladies had the side dishes prepared, and everyone went NOM NOM NOM. Other Brother brought some real beer (Hoegaarten), which tasted much better than the Bud Light I swiped from The Boy (who shouldn’t be buying beer anyway). DD’s friend Sasquatch also graduated and he (and his family) came to celebrate with us. Another graduate is a friend of The Boy’s, who also happens to be like a third cousin on his mom’s side; he came by but had left his cap & gown at home so I didn’t get a chance to get a pic of him.

All my family is heading home early tomorrow afternoon, and I get Monday to recover (maybe).

Monday, May 19, 2008 7 comments

FAR Future, Episode 33: Starting Over. Sort Of.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Starting Over. Sort Of.

I want to scream with rage. I want to weep a flood. But I don’t want to wake them up.

Jesus. Only You are going to be able to help me get through this.

I suppose I’d better explain. I’d been plotzing away at my job all day, out on the back porch to catch the breeze (unseasonably warm for this time of year, and after all the cold blasts we’ve had) and give the cats some company. I had a lot to do, and I was feeling really productive, so I hadn’t gotten up much except to grab water or the occasional bathroom break. But my 4pm walk time rolled around, and I got up to get my daily dash of exercise.

And found… two kids sitting under the mailbox. A boy and a girl, both maybe 7 or 8. Buster T. Butthead, who’s getting old but still loves kids and adults and everyone in between, was sitting between them and getting loved on. He gave me a big doggie grin. The kids just looked at me.

“Hey kids. What’s up?” I said after getting over my surprise and looking around for parents, whom I assumed would be nearby.

“Waiting on our parents,” the girl said. The boy just stared and nodded.

“Oh. How long have you been here?”

“Since this morning.”

Now I was really floored. “That long? Why here?”

“They said wait here, they’d go get some food and come back for us,” she explained. “But they didn’t come back. And we’re hungry.”

I sighed. “Give me two minutes.” I ran back to the house, grabbed a piece of paper and a pen, and wrote: Your kids are inside, I fed them. What the HELL were you thinking, you assholes? Then I ran back and caught a corner of the note in the mailbox so they could see it, told the kids it was a note for their parents telling them they were in the house, and led them up to the manor. I hadn’t realized they were each sitting on a bag, and in my confusion it didn’t register.

I had no reason to doubt the kids were lying, and the way they wolfed the sandwiches I made for them only confirmed it. Mrs. Fetched came up from the garden area out back, getting some turnip greens, and I had to explain the situation all over again (leaving out the exact wording of the note to not disturb her or the kids). She agreed to keep an eye on them, while I took the phone outside and called the sheriff’s office.

“You’re not the first,” the dispatcher told me. “If we find their parents at all, they’ll probably be dead. They’re coming from up north, dropping off their kids at farms, and moving on to die.”

“What? But what do I do with them? I don’t have custody or anything—”

“I’ll put you through to DFACS. They’re keeping this quiet, but if you don’t object they’ll assign you as a permanent guardian.”

Sure enough, DFACS took names and original addresses — I went back inside, to find Mrs. Fetched had already taken care of that oversight — then registered them as wards under our custody. We’re supposed to get paperwork to sign, probably on Friday. They’ll have the kids’ SSNs, copies of birth certificates, and anything else that might be useful later on.

Mrs. Fetched thinks I’m being callous about the kids. I’m not. I’m 55, and hadn’t planned on raising kids again, but lots of people older than me have had to raise their grandchildren. I’m just worked up at the thought of people dropping off their kids in front of a complete stranger’s house, like a litter of puppies — even if they’re doing what’s best for them. I don’t want them to let their kids die off too but good God! What’s this country coming to?

The kids aren’t brother & sister, but they were neighbors and the two families knew each other. I called the cop-shop again, giving them the parents’ names and addresses (they came from near Racine, Wisconsin, almost directly across Lake Michigan from where I grew up), and they said they’d keep the info in case they needed it. I suspect a hunter will find the abandoned car soon, and maybe the bodies later on. Nobody’s off searching for them. Kim is the boy, and Serena is the girl. Daughter Dearest is going to pull a few strings to get them transferred to the school in town (they’ll start next week). Mrs. Fetched told them a comfortable load of bull — she said their parents had called and asked if we could keep them for a “little while” — then put them to work in the garden. They seem happy to help, although I think they know what’s really going on and don’t want to admit it.

I went and got my note off the mailbox, and tried to get back to work. Needless to say, this put a big ol’ hole right through the middle of my productivity. At least I was mostly done for the day.

Look on the bright side, Farf: they won’t be teenagers for five or six years.


Saturday, May 17, 2008 No comments

Weekend Cinema: We Carry On

I been at this blog for 3 years now. Our Weekend Cinema selection is dedicated to FAR Manor itself:

So far away we wait for the day
For the light source so wasted and gone
We feel the pain of a lifetime lost in a thousand days
Through the fire and the flames we carry on

Friday, May 16, 2008 4 comments

Daughter Dearest, LOLhooman

She’s such a good sport, letting me post this:

I haz a bizkit/OM NOM NOM

If you're reading this, she has finished her last day of school! Graduation is next weekend.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 2 comments

Three. Two. One…

Stand by for Snippet launch!

The Boy didn’t believe we’d follow through. He, Snippet, and even her mom have been trying various tactics, but it looks like she’ll be gone tomorrow. She’s already been bumped from the guest bed: M.A.E.’s aunt has come up to see the new baby, and she’s staying with us. Snippet’s staying on the couch tonight. I don’t know where she’ll be tomorrow night, but it won’t be FAR Manor.

I’ve gotten sort of busy in meatspace, trying to get the manor ready for all the family coming to Daughter Dearest’s graduation — so of course I’ve suddenly become unblocked on FAR Future. What little free time I’ve had, I’ve been writing. The next two episodes are already up in scheduled posts for the next two Mondays, and I think I’m pretty clear on the next three episodes after those. I’m gonna write while Olga’s crackin’ the whip, so if I’m not around much you’ll know why.

Monday, May 12, 2008 8 comments

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.


Friday, May 09, 2008 4 comments

One (or two) for the Road

A couple of cellphone shots to wrap up the week…

Besides the huckleberries, we have some higher blueberry bushes growing wild on the place. They run a couple weeks behind the huckleberries, for whatever reason. Last year, I was waiting for them to get ripe and then they… disappeared. I guess the birds were waiting too, and they got there first. I was bummed out, but hopeful that we’ll get some of them this year. Maybe I’ll get some cheese cloth or hang some tinfoil around the area to keep them out.

On the way home from work, I took a ride out a back road that I knew dead-ended at a river. I just wondered how far it went and what was out there. Looks like it might have been a bridge at one time.

Well, that’s the end of the road for the flower pix, at least for now. FAR Future episodes will be posted at least on the next two Mondays, and I should be able to make it three. I hope things will continue to work out that way.

Thursday, May 08, 2008 8 comments

The Fruited… whatever.

I started cleaning up around the front and side of the manor over the weekend, and re-discovered the huckleberry (blueberry) clump. The plants themselves are about twice the size they were last year, and promise to give much more than the handful of small (but quite sweet) fruit this time around. All I have to do is keep the birds away (fat chance).

Mrs. Fetched is pretty sure that we’re seeing them now because we had some timber people remove many/most of the pines around the manor grounds two summers ago (they were getting pine beetles & they paid us to take care of the problem). It makes sense.

I’m thinking that once they finish doing their thing this year, I'll dig up and transplant some of these to give them all some more room to grow. But prolific producers like this guy? I’ll leave completely undisturbed, to make sure they have the room they need. I don’t think I’ll worry about having nice regimented rows like many blueberry farms have; I’ll just give them all some space.

That was the side. Around front, across from the driveway, there’s a pretty good stand of blackberries. I debated about mowing them down, then thought better of it — I won’t have to walk very far to pick them. This stand should be good for half a gallon of berries.

I like to get at least two gallons of blackberries every year. Mrs. Fetched’s mom helps to make jelly & jam, and I got like 14 pints last year. When January comes around, I open a jar and spread some on toast… and remember just how dang hot it was on July 4 weekend when I was picking them. :-P

Wednesday, May 07, 2008 6 comments


The sage is absolutely covered with these purple blooms now. Up close, they look like tiny iris flowers, don’t they? As long as it’s blooming like this, I really can’t cut it back. Clever little beastie.

I like the lighting in this second shot. The detail, not so much.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008 4 comments

Rhododendron InSAnItY!

I needed an excuse to try out Blogger’s new “scheduled post” feature, so I went out and took pix of some of the stuff sproinging up around the manor. We’ll see how it works over the next few days.

The rhododendron out front of the garage is, to say the least, happy. Then again, it doesn’t care what time of year it is — it’s either blooming or about to. It runs down the long side of the garage and is clearly visible from the kitchen window (about 20 feet long). But this spring, it’s even crazier than usual. This particular cluster is about the size of a child’s head.

Click for larger versions, of course. I’m pretty happy with this shot; the IBs are pretty clear (although the rhodo is a bit of an exhibitionist in that regard).

I couldn’t decide which shot to post… so I posted both!

Saturday, May 03, 2008 3 comments

An M.A.E. (Re-)Production, and Other Stuff

Well, as I Twitter'ed the other night, M.A.E. (as they say on El Reg) dropped a sprog yesterday morning. An M.A.E.-let named Emma Renee, to be precise. The new mom & new baby are both doing fine; Mrs. Fetched and some others went to go visit them at the hospital. If Mrs. Fetched gets a picture, I’ll post it here later. M.A.E. told me “I’m glad it’s over with,” and “I can’t wait to get out of here and get home.” Her & the dad are supposed to be getting married soon… I just wonder why they didn’t get married first and then plan the kid. Ah well. Planet Georgia and logic have not often been closely associated.

According to Mrs. Fetched, Snippet’s mom is going to whisk her away on the 15th now. I’m not exactly holding my breath, given what happened to the last “gone in two weeks” promise. The Boy, meanwhile, seems hell-bent on violating any requirement we give him as a condition of his continuing to live at FAR Manor. First thing he did was take off with Snippet (and a car) Wednesday night and not return until very late. Due to many glitches in the Matrix — the DSL has been down since Tuesday night, there was a funeral Thursday afternoon that the choir was asked to sing at, I got new tires on my car and a new battery (replaced under warranty, thanks Moto 400) — I ended up calling out of work because I just wasn’t going to get anything done anyway. We got back from the funeral, The Boy was outside, and Mrs. Fetched said something about getting to the chicken houses.

“Don’t worry about it,” he said. “It’s done.”


“Yeah. I did the chicken houses already. Checked the medicators and all that.”

After that, tossing him would have seemed ungrateful to both myself and Mrs. Fetched. OTOH, we have another chance — he left Thursday night and didn’t come back until really late agaiin, and he & Snippet were sleeping on the couch in the detached garage this morning. I’m all for getting him out now, although if Snippet actually goes he’s likely to leave as well.

So he alternates between being helpful and being a PITA… which, I suppose, is an improvement over just being a PITA.

Friday, May 02, 2008 6 comments

FAR Future, Episode 31: Quiet

First off, apologies for the long delay. My DSL crapped out Tuesday evening, and it was just fixed today.

Gas line #1Gas line #2Just 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 reprehensible representative, and I get the impression that many of the other leaders are politically connected as well. To describe the GCM as a covert branch of the state government might be paranoid, but it might also be true. Now if the “real” media would start ferreting out those connections and figure out just what’s going on…

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!



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