Looking for writing-related posts? Check out my new writing blog, www.larrykollar.com!

Friday, May 02, 2008

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!



  1. Hey Far! Gee, I've be back "quitely listening". My heart goes out for you buddy.. My life is so tranquil, Arlene has to pinch me once in awhile to see if I'm still alive!

    I'd like you to know Far, that you have my deepest respect, in bringing forth "FAR Fture". This is a very believeable, realistic scenario, that can only come from a mind that is capable of putting "all of this" together. Your orginal ideas are superb, a real fresh breath of air from the dull drums of other writters commenting on ideas from others. Not only are you an outstanding writer but an outstanding person as well, in the way you present a difficult message.....

    This is more than I can say for some of the speakers that will be attending the Grand Rapids conference... I've been very hard on Sharon Astyk and Kurt Cobb, lately... Neither one of these birds have any conception on what the future might bring, let alone present this to the public. Perhaps, you can think about this? As for myself, like John, this kind of format (the conference) I would have a very hard time being apart of. Messages from me are better coming from the hill to people like yourself. They're that bitter for most people to stomach and they don't have a face to look at, while it's being delievered. However, as the public gets more "peak oil" aware, quality speakers will be in demand.

    Anyway excellent article! Btw, I don't think Planet Georiga's forest is going anywhere soon! ha!

    Thanks, yooper

  2. Far, This stripping of houses has the disturbing ring of truth. Mad Max made real. I guess that in such a scenario there would also likely be a raiding of gardens for veggies, also disturbing. All too real.

  3. Hey guys!

    Yooper, tranquility is nice. But I suppose it gets boring after a while, eh? :-) Thanks for the kind words, too.

    Grand Rapids conference? Did I miss something crucial? A peak oil conference? Sounds like fun!

    Boran, raiding chicken coops was done so often in the Depression that it became a running gag. "Nobody in heah but us chickens."

  4. Hey Far! Yup, it's been highlighted over at the drum. Well now, I've been very hard on the Archdruid.(Been hard anyway, check this out).
    Professional writters have a responsibility to the public that they "serve". Being "up front" and honest, is a very important virtue to me. Excepting mistakes made in the process and correcting them, should be put forth, before anyone's career. Especially, when other people are involved who may get hurt in that process...

    Too often, "reporter's" paint pictures that are unrealistic, just so the public can digest it...

    Thanks, yooper

  5. People line up to save 20¢ per gallon, figuring if your big SUV held 30 gallons you would save $6.00. WOW! My time is worth a hell of a lot more than trying waiting in line for 10 to 15 minutes to save $6.00. The average mentality of this country really scares me.

  6. Yooper, I saw that… and your pull-back at Archdruid's place. One good thing about being a technical writer is that you get your work reviewed (and bashed on) fairly often. ;-)

    Solar-bro! Yeah, I agree that if you're doing it to just save a few bucks (or in the case of the bike, a few cents), it's a massive waste. I kind of like the break, though — I get to watch everyone jockey around, talk to people who want a excuse to gawk at the bike… TV doesn't have anything nearly as interesting, especially when you get to be part of the action.


Comments are welcome, and they don't have to be complimentary. I delete spam on sight, but that's pretty much it for moderation. Long off-topic rants or unconstructive flamage are also candidates for deletion but I haven’t seen any of that so far.

I have comment moderation on for posts over a week old, but that’s so I’ll see them.

Include your Twitter handle if you want a shout-out.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...