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Monday, June 30, 2008 7 comments

FAR Future, Episode 40: What Comes Out of a Rump Congress?

Wow, episode 40… near the halfway point, I think. I appreciate everyone who’s stuck with it and left comments so far!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
What Comes Out of a Rump Congress?

About what you’d expect: crap. The oil companies are having a party though, after which they will start drilling pretty much anywhere they please. And to hell with environmental concerns, of course.

Their first act — and here’s something you didn’t need me to tell you — was to kill the rationing system. With gas taking a flying leap to $10/gallon, people aren’t exactly lining up at the pumps — it doesn’t stop gas stations from running out, though. The local stations are already putting purchase limits up: 5 gallons at a time for now, which of course is more than enough to fill a motorcycle…

We’re back to 4-hour rolling blackouts; with natural gas production falling, the junta wants to have it available for winter. I have to agree with that, but of course they’re simply continuing the policy of the legitimate government. Of course, I have to wonder whether they’ll actually follow through and deliver the goods. We went ahead and blew our budget to fill our gas tank, in case we need it for some reason this winter.

Are you seeing “Patriot Clubs” in your locales? Around here, they’re springing up like maggots on roadkill. “Upholding our nation’s moral standards,” which means they feel it’s their right to poke their noses in everyone’s business. They’re meeting in some of the local churches here, and Sammy says that’s pretty normal. We had a couple of them try to set up at our church, and I made enough of a stink about it that the board tabled it (permanently). That probably painted a big fat target on my back, but they know I’m somehow associated with the GCM, so they aren’t too keen on taking shots at me. Still, it’s a good thing Guillermo’s not huge… we took his truck down to the North Springs MARTA station, drained the last gallon out of the gas tank, and took the motorcycle (which rode down in the truck bed) back home with him on the back. Call it a hunch.

While most of us are lying low, The Prophet has emerged once more, saying what most don’t dare to say: “Alas for you, you Pharisees, you hypocrites! For you have more than a beam in your eye — how will you take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye when the whole roof is in yours? Woe unto you, for the judgement you visit on others will be paid back unto you as you stand before The Lord on that day! You accuse men, but God will accuse you! Repent of your pride and your false witness, come out of the belly of the wolf that wears the sheep’s clothing, and you will be forgiven. The wolf may devour you in his time, but you will stand with the worthy on The Day.” That has stirred up the local Pat-riots (as the opposition has started calling them) in no small way. I can’t count the number of times some Pat-riot Club has mowed down some poor black guy in Atlanta who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and crowed that they have taken “The Heretic.” This is not going to end well.

Speaking of not ending well, the big box chains are having serious financial issues. Stores are closing left and right — as much because they can’t get merchandise as not being able to sell it. In fact, the local Wal-Mart died (and there was much rejoicing, but quietly so as not to attract the Pat-riots). The only growth outside of food and fuel is RVs… sounds crazy until you learn that people are buying them, towing them to their parking lots at work, and living in them through the week so they don’t have to drive back to the burbs or wherever. The really popular sellers are “slot campers,” so called because they fit in a parking slot. The hitches retract or fold out of the way, and they’re comfortable enough (or can be made to be) for one or two. Some couples who are falling behind on their mortgages (yes, that’s still happening despite all the happy talk from official channels) are blowing off all their other payments long enough to pay cash for the RV, and leaving everything else behind. Sometimes intact, often not. Of course, you can about buy a used SUV for little more than what it would take to fill the gas tank, and some of the “drive-offs” are buying them to tow the RV to wherever it is they’re going. Often, they end up in the parking lots of closed big-box stores or vacated office buildings. Most office park managers let them stay if they don’t make trouble… in fact, the empty building next door to work has a couple dozen RVs in the parking lot and we have a dozen or so in our own lot.

Wonder of wonders, the cell network was up last night, and we were able to reach Daughter Dearest for her birthday. She now has official “refugee status,” which means she gets dibs on a cot in a gym, a shot at a residence (often an abandoned suburban house, shared by several refugees), and a job teaching in a refugee center outside of Seattle. There are several hundred kids in the school, and they organized it like the old one-room schoolhouses of old; the more responsible older kids help the teachers with the younger kids. There are a handful of other teachers, some are local and some are refugees like her. A few of the parents don’t have teaching degrees or skills, but volunteer as assistants… probably to give them something to do as much as any other reason. Refugees are still working their way west (or north), and the junta seems content to let them leave. Why not? Let the dissidents blow off steam from the outside, instead of making trouble at home, right?

Official story: weekend uprisings in NYC and Boston quelled. Sammy’s side: a coalition of gang-bangers, cops, and random interested parties blew the junta right out of both cities. In Boston, they managed to capture three of the junta’s local leaders, and the “Northeastern Coordinator” escaped New York with possible gunshot wounds. They’re supposedly fanning out to eradicate any remaining junta activity (i.e. rounding up Patriot Clubs) throughout the NY/NE region, although I suspect borders will be fluid for a while. Of course, the southeast and much of the southwest is safe junta territory. Outside of those places, people are starting to realize that junta has little muscle to impose their will much outside of Washington (which might be the whole point of the Pat-riots).

The country is balkanizing. And I’m in the wrong piece.


Saturday, June 28, 2008 10 comments

Weekend Cinema: The Boy, in Concert

Welcome back to Weekend Cinema, where the time is short, movies are free, and you decide how entertaining it all is!

This time, we’re making an homage to Woodstock, with a home-grown concert video… but not just any concert. This is The Boy’s first performance with Ether, a local-ish punk rock band. Here they are: Ether at Gardner Lake (rather huge, sorry about the bandwidth issues for the dialup folks). The lyrics are… well, not suitable. But I know a lot of the regular readers don’t care too much about that.

The Boy is the one farthest from the camera, wearing white & playing the bass. I stood where I did because that’s where the lighting was best.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 7 comments

The Tale of a Temporary Boarder

Daughter Dearest and friendDaughter Dearest, like her mom, doesn’t do anything halfway. My online buddies hail from exotic places like South Carolina or Idaho… DD brings 'em in from Norway!

I have to wonder what impression someone visiting the US for the first time would get of the country by visiting one of its crazier corners. Late June on Planet Georgia, even a little less hot than normal, didn’t exactly agree with someone who is used to highs below 70°F in the summer. It was in the low 90s Friday afternoon when I got home and met him… I’d checked the forecast and when I told him this was the high for the week, he said, “Thank God!”

He was very quiet, almost too quiet. One good thing was that he got me to poke the G3 one more time, and this time I got Linux to come up (which made him happy). He’s not exactly an Apple fan, but I like Linux too so this was a quirk I could live with. He's in college, majoring in computer science… and like many CS majors, hacks for fun as well as credit.

DD’s friend Sasquatch was around a lot, and after they finished sizing each other up everyone got along pretty well. Those guys are nearly opposites; one's large and extroverted, the other slight and introverted.

But many things are a matter of perspective: I knew that our gas (even at $4/gallon) is cheap by comparison to Europe’s, but most everything else — food, restaurants, WalMart (can’t visit Planet Georgia without taking in the state religion) — was cheap to him as well. Even the $5 million price tag on a Lake Lanier estate didn’t faze him much… and at this point, Mrs. Fetched was ready to take him and DD to a justice of the peace…

I didn’t get to spend much time with him, which is probably how it’s supposed to be. At this point, I don’t know if he’ll come back or not. DD could probably tell more, if she’s willing. Or maybe she’s gearing up to receive a friend from Australia next!

Monday, June 23, 2008 12 comments

FAR Future, Episode 39: Our Glorious Nation

Drill now, drill everywhere… and we’ll all have magic ponies.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014
Our Glorious Nation

Bunch of lying so-and-sos. The grid never collapsed, the junta shut it down! I caught up with someone I know who works at the power company, and he gave me the scoop. He was on one of the trucks that went around shutting off power; a junta person rode with them and told them they were trying to reduce the load. He told me (constantly looking around and keeping his voice down) that he thought something was fishy, but couldn’t figure out what and didn’t want to be the first to speak up. Of course, Humpty Gridly was a little harder to put back together, and power is still flakier than usual (even for summer). That had been one of the rumors from Sammy, but it’s tough to pull facts out of all the noise at the moment. It’s hard to maintain a healthy level of outrage in this climate — but I don’t have to worry about boring you with the news… because a lot of you only get the junta’s side.

Between official pronouncements and what I’ve heard from Sammy, I think I’ve pieced together the story of the coup: Congress was out of session for the summer, and the President is (still) in Nigeria, where he was trying to negotiate some kind of treaty between the government and MEND (among others). A bunch of the hard-cores got their guns and made their way to Washington, knocked out power, blocked traffic in a couple of strategic areas, then stormed the White House and the Capitol. They then called the Joint Chiefs, and promised to “uphold the Constitution.” The military stood down, and that was pretty much it, until Pacifica (now calling itself The USA) seceded. When New England (much closer) and New York attempted to follow suit, things got dicey and the junta pulled the plug on just about everything to keep the rest of the country from hearing about it and getting any ideas. Presumably, they’re trying to take down the closer half of the rebel alliance (I’ve always wanted to say that) first. Most of the world hasn’t recognized the junta as the legitimate American government. Meanwhile, the President is arranging to leave Nigeria without getting intercepted by a junta goon squad, and will end up (God willing) in Pacifica before long.

But people need to eat, drink, and stay cool this time of year, so the junta couldn’t keep things shut down for more than a few days without starting riots. At least the “last mile” stuff for cable and DSL has been upgraded to run on batteries for large parts of the day, and they’ve always had backup power at the other end. So once some juice started flowing again, the net was back on line… and Sammy was ready. Supposedly, Russian or Romanian crackers (some of whom might be old enough to remember Soviet-era news controls) have been deploying their assets to bypass our new dictators. Suddenly, there are plenty of anonymizing relays out there, gateways to a shadow Net, easy to find and use. It’s how I’m getting this posted now. A little slow, but it works and might keep me out of trouble.

For their part, the junta is finding enemies everywhere, and a few are actually not imaginary. The biggest technology and media companies are on the west coast — Apple, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, and Hollywood — and the sheer numbers of zombie Dozeboxes around the country could be considered a fifth column. Some of the news orgs in Pacifica have started releasing a daily news capsule as a 10-minute podcast; they compress it hard so it downloads quickly and you can use them with any music player. One group out of San Fran have picked up on the “Sammy” thing, mixing news and entertainment but keeping the primary focus on the news.

Speaking of which, Shotgun Sam has ended up in an interesting bind. So much of his show depended on callers to fill time and provide a sounding board. He’s a dutiful junta mouthpiece, but after the second show last week he had to stop taking callers — even people who would otherwise support the junta want to know if (for example) about heating assistance for the winter, fuel deliveries, and so on… and getting agitated when he can’t give them a straight answer. I really don’t think he knows the answers. So he’s gone from a one-hour talk show to twenty minutes (maybe) of junta-approved news with a little opinion on the side, and he obviously isn’t enjoying himself.

Life at FAR Manor mostly goes on as usual. The kids were worried about things, probably picking up vibes from the adults, but we’ve all settled back into our normal routines. There's the garden to work, berries to pick, firewood to gather, and off to the creek in the evening. Guillermo and I have constructed a little hidey-hole, just in case it’s needed, but other than that we haven’t done much about the situation. Nobody knows whether school will start in September now or not, so we’re working up our own home-school curriculum. Biochemistry, writing (Maria handles the Spanish end of that, and I’m trying to learn enough Spanish to deal), math, all ought to keep them busy. Serena is catching up to the other kids with her Spanish, and they’ve created a sort of Spanglish to speak among themselves. Mrs. Fetched didn’t like that, but it might come in handy with the current situation as it is.

Most of the “99 percent’ers” have been invited to convene as a rump Congress. I got a laugh out of that, because “rump” in that sense means “an unimportant remnant.” Indeed. The news said that congressional elections will still be held this November, but I (and Sammy) suspect that the only candidates on the ballot will be junta-approved. For all the bad-mouthing they do at Iran, they act just like the mullahs.


Saturday, June 21, 2008 2 comments

Weekend Cinema

Welcome to Weekend Cinema, where you don’t need much time or any money to catch a flick!

This weekend’s selection is a little longer than usual, and I’m probably going to go to Basement Cat for laughing at it, but wotevr. Fire up your chat warez and check out the tale of two kids who got totally pwn3d by the starz: Romeo and Juliet (l33tsp33k tranzlation).

Wednesday, June 18, 2008 13 comments

Flowers of FAR Manor: Allium (and a random road weed, and other stuff)

The allium is continuing to tantalize us with a verrrrry slow opening. But the color is looking nicer all the time. Given the size of the clusters — the largest is bigger than a baseball now — it could well be a Giganteum as IVG was hoping.

I ended up staking the thing because it was looked close to falling over — like I said before, the tallest one stands close to 6 feet tall, and the clusters are getting huge and heavy. It still has an onion/garlic smell.

Daughter Dearest is officially an international beauty — a guy came all the way from Norway (Norway!!!) to see her. He was happy to find that my old Mac G3 had Linux lurking on a partition somewhere, and immediately hooked up to the cluster (he said) under his bed back home. I’m having a great time driving DD nutz by describing him as “some guy she picked up on the Internet.” >8-} He doesn’t like MacOS, but at least he’s not a Doze-nut. I can live with that.

And finally:

Campaign signThis roadside weed caught my eye. The perfect campaign slogan immediately (and I mean immediately) came to mind: Republican Light — screwing a third less poor people than our regular Republican!

Such is Historic Forsyth Country these days. Be goplet or be gone.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008 5 comments

FAR Future, Episode 38: Coup Coup Land

Yet another echo from the FAR Future: Suburbs de-gentrifying. It would be a shame, wouldn’t it, if those “pot houses” and the like were to catch fire? Goodbye pot house, goodbye graffiti, hello space for a community garden…

Friday, August 1, 2014
Coup Coup Land

They finally decided to start fixing some of the fuel, power, and and Internet problems. Not a moment too soon… it’s kind of hard to get food when the delivery trucks can’t run to the supermarkets, and it’s hard to get any work done without access to the office LAN. Saying these dudes have serious control issues is an understatement, and one that’s likely to get you chucked in the slammer if you say it aloud.

The junta (that seems to be the right word) has really clamped down on the media, but they’re not as airtight as they’d like — the cell networks are mostly up, and good ol’ Sammy gets the word out. Not too many people here ever heard the word samizdat, but they know Sammy (and Sammy’s Data Service). Sheets packed with text and the occasional picture, left here and there. Cutting senryu printed on stickers and slapped on doorways and other high-traffic areas at eye level. Text messages on cellphones, “from” the White House press office. Daughter Dearest was in Seattle on 7/11 when the coup hit, and there she is now. Because of that happy accident, I can confirm the “rumor” that the West Coast states (and Hawai’i) have seceded and formed the Republic of Pacifica. Alaska has reluctantly thrown in with Pacifica, seeing as they were cut off by the breakaway states and a less-than-friendly (to the junta) Canada. Rumors about New England are a little harder to substantiate, but even the junta’s approved news organs (mainly the yap radio dorks and some religious networks) have hinted at pitched battles in NYC. With the power out, they're getting radio stations up somehow, 7 to 8 p.m., to deliver the daily propaganda news. I guess they’ve got some kind of power up to the radio stations, and at least pieces of the Internet now. Sammy doesn’t have radio, unless you count the occasional staticky Canadian radio station that bounces in, but he gets his side of the story heard one way or another. People with wind-up radios or homegrown power are the only ones getting either Sammy or the junta, though.

But enough about rumors for now. What I know for sure is this: Fuel is nearly impossible to get, except for emergency services and those with connections (and money). Commerce has all but shut down, and everyone is living off their gardens and barter. Or hunting — even out of season, squirrels and rabbits have gotten really scarce lately. We butchered a cow (with Mrs. Fetched’s parents supervising, but Lord what a mess) and took the meat into town in several coolers with a little ice. It was gone in an hour, and we got everything we wanted in trade except for fuel. Except for that run, which used half a gallon of gas, we haven’t gone anywhere since.

The electrical grid, or large portions of it, collapsed a few days after the coup. The junta, of course, blames “liberal terrorists” for that and just about anything else… including the weather. Whatever. The only electricity we have is what we make ourselves, anyway. They’re going to try to bring the grid back up this month, they say, starting with the hydro plants and wind farms. I’m not sure how the nuke plants held up… maybe they ran some minimal amount of power to keep their support systems going. Supposedly, fuel deliveries will resume shortly after the power’s up.

Sammy says thousands of people have met the Four Horsemen and didn’t live to tell the tale. War, famine, pestilence, and death cleaning up behind. Daughter Dearest said that Pacifica has the power on most of the time, and is busy setting up refugee camps. I can imagine that lots of people are heading west or north (to Canada). Not a peep about either one from the “official” news source, naturally.

Closer to home… the GCM is obviously some part of the junta, but not the only part or even a major part… visibly, anyway. Col. Mustard knew what was coming, and I have to thank him for the heads-up. Sammy said there was some major chaos down in Atlanta, but now there’s food and water coming in. Barely enough, and the ’burbs get the bigger half, but it’s enough to keep the lid on. A text message came around that is supposedly a message from The Prophet: “Hold fast, Jerusalem, for you will be delivered on the Day of the Lord. Bring aid and comfort to your neighbor, that the Lord may also bring aid and comfort to you. Fear not those who say, ‘the Lord is with us, not you,’ for they will be made to confess their sin. For today, the servants of the Lord must hide away, but tomorrow they will come forth with the Holy Word. Fear not, and again I say, fear not, for in this evil time the Lord will purify his people; those who persevere will be given a crown.” I hope he’s OK. Lord knows the junta will be hunting him.

I’ve got a lot to say, but it’ll have to wait. The net is only up for a few minutes at a time, and I want to get this uploaded the first try.


Monday, June 16, 2008 6 comments

FAR Future, Episode 37: Dubbayou. Tee. Eff?

A couple more “life imitates FAR Future” items:

An Outside View column calls for gas rationing.

Companies are considering a four-day work week.

On with the story. This one’s short, and leads into a longer post later this week. I originally had said “tomorrow,” but I had even less time than usual over the weekend to finish it. Some time this week.

Thursday, July 10, 2014
Dubbayou. Tee. Eff?

As nice as it was with just Mrs. Fetched and I at the creek the last couple of summers, it’s even better with a couple more adults and four enthusiastic kids. We’ve moved a screen tent down there with a few chairs, and we eat supper down there quite a bit now. Everyone takes turns on one end of the cooler or the other, then the kids bolt their chow and go straight for the water. The boys, like The Boy before them, have a great time diving for crawdads, and they all enjoy getting cold in July.

Shortly after we got back in this evening, I got a call from an old “friend” — Col. Mustard. “Just wanted to tell you,” he said, “Don’t panic. You’re being looked after. We don’t forget favors.”

“What?” Right there on top of things, that’s me.

“I can’t tell you anything more. You’ll find out. Everything will be fine.” Click.

I don’t have a good feeling about this.


Thursday, June 12, 2008 6 comments

Bad Product Names

Bowl BlasterI happened to notice this sitting under the bathroom sink one night, as I was — oh, I have to say it! — doing my own bowl blaster.

Mrs. Fetched was the one who bought it. Me, I would have laughed heartily and left it on the supermarket shelf. On the other hand, it’s more fun seeing it at home.

I see at least three double-entendres on the label. Sing out, everyone, 'cause maybe there’s more!

Monday, June 09, 2008 14 comments

FAR Future, Episode 36: Political Storm

Life imitates fiction: people hoarding gas set fire to their apartment.

Saturday, May 3, 2014
Political Storm

The government seems to be embroiled in a perfect storm as May rolls in, and temperatures (atmospheric and political) start rising. Between the thousands of people that didn’t make it through the winter (one estimate said it was close to a million), the electrical grid almost collapsing in February, and the “Rationgate” thing that broke last week (not to mention the fuel ration reduction announced just before), the cons have been having a field day. It’s not like they could get control of Congress or anything in November, but they could end up causing a lot of mischief.

It was heartening, though, to hear the Speaker not taking any crap. “The gentleman from Texas ‘deplores the loss of life over the winter’ and wants to lay the blame at the feet of the President and the Congressional leadership,” she said. “But I find that ironic, coming from a primary co-sponsor of a bill to defund heating assistance — if he and his party had their way, those thousands could have been millions. And he would have sanctimoniously blamed the victims for not saving enough to buy heating fuel or a house in the tropics.”

I’m not going to complain about the ration cut — the 8.5 gallons per week we get now is more than most other people got before, and we don’t use it all anyway — but it sure has caused some turmoil on the exchange. Like so many former OPEC countries, ration “exporters” suddenly became “importers.” It was almost embarrassing, what we got for two lousy gallons of stale rations yesterday. I hope things work themselves out pretty soon, or I might sell locally on the private exchange from now on.

The Rationgate thing… jeez. That was just ridiculous. You would have expected it from Bush-league’s appointees, but this administration has been holding itself to a higher standard (not that it would take much effort to do that, mind you). You get one political appointee who decides to “help out his friends” (by jiggering their accounts to make them unlimited) and it can tarnish the whole shootin’ match. If the so-called “friends” had been smart about it, and only bought what they really needed (or even wanted), it wouldn’t have made a difference… but noooooo. They went around selling enough “spare” rations to trigger an inspection, and were busily hoarding more. Until one of them burned down his house, of course. Too bad stupidity isn’t a crime — then again, if you’re stupid enough you’ll eventually do something blatantly illegal, so maybe its indirectly criminal. Hm.

In the “unexpected expense” department, my little motorcycle spit a valve early in the week. I’m hoping to have a replacement motor in before I have to go back to the office, but I might have to bite my lip and take the car. I’d really like to get one of those Yamaha Commuter Scooters, but the waiting list is long and the dealers are getting a stiff premium for them. Someone had his stolen right out of the parking lot at work two weeks ago. The security cameras showed a pickup truck with a lift backing up to it, picking it up, and driving off with the bike dangling off the back. The company is signing everyone up for 15-minute “watch” shifts to prevent that from happening again; if everyone takes a turn, we’ll each have to do it once a week. If that.

The kids finally got up the nerve to ask about their parents last night. You think you’re ready for it, you know you’re not, but you have to do your part. I told them what happened, and how we learned about it. The tears didn’t stop Serena from finally asking, “Were our parents bad people?”

“Of course not,” Mrs. Fetched said. “They wanted what was best for you, and made sure you’d be cared for.”

“They did — or tried to do — something bad,” I pointed out. “You can’t justify armed robbery, after all. But they weren’t bad people, just desperate.”

“And with God’s help, we won’t have to worry about you guys,” Mrs. Fetched said.

Indeed. They took it pretty hard, as expected, but Kim said later that they figured something had happened to them but were afraid to ask. Rene and Christina cried with them, and they were all pretty quiet last night. But I went upstairs this morning to find them, as usual most weekend mornings, sprawled around in the same room. At least they didn’t have to get up and go to school. They'll be out after next week, and the school system is wisely letting the kids have an entire summer so they don’t have to run the air conditioning in the school buildings. Things will still be warm by Labor Day, but it won’t be that brutally oppressive heat we’ll be getting all too soon. Daughter Dearest is going to hop the train and see what she can of the country while it’s still possible, mostly the northern half. I’m hoping that when she gets to Seattle, we can get a video linkup with her granddad from the place where he was on the ship when the Japanese surrendered. Talk about good timing on his part.

So this was a little stream-of-consciousness tonight. Life’s like that sometimes, going in several directions at once.


Saturday, June 07, 2008 9 comments

I Really Don’t Need This

Friday night, as usual, started at El Rio (one of several local Mexican restaurants). I was on the bike, whose odometer turned to 5000 miles on the way. But on the way home, I saw coming the other way: an ambulance (with no lights), Mrs. Fetched’s mom’s van, and an Emergency Services truck. That’s not a good sign, I thought. I got home, called down to the house, and Daughter Dearest answered the phone.

“Is everything OK?”

“No,” she said, “but we’ll be home in a few minutes and tell you what’s going on.”

It turned out to be Mrs. Fetched’s granny, visiting from Rome (Georgia). At age 95, she’s been doing pretty well except for short-term memory and some of the other things that come with aging. She was getting pale and having chest pains, so they called 911. Her blood pressure was also pretty high, plus an irregular heartbeat to go along with that, so off to the hospital in Gainesville with her. After the obligatory repair at the chicken houses, we gathered up some things and headed over there. Granny was in pretty good spirits, considering a very real possibility that she would be leaving the place feet first (the cardiologist gave her 50-50 odds). Fluid in her lungs added another complication. Fortunately, they were able to figure out it was a congestive heart failure issue, so they put her on Lasix and some medication for the blood pressure. In a matter of hours, she looked her old self again — considering that it was 1:30 a.m. by this time, that was quite a feat. They’ll be moving her out of ICU tonight or tomorrow, and into a private room for at least a day or so.

With that out of the way, we got moving waaaay too early. The girlies went to the chicken houses; I went and hunted up some more huckleberries then made pancakes & bacon for their eventual return. I also put some pop rivets in the composter so it wouldn’t come apart, and mowed the lawn. Then I went guy-shopping with my father-in-law while the girlies napped this afternoon: he wanted to go to Tractor Supply for sprayer parts; I needed to get oil & a filter for the bike and an air filter for the car.

It was barely 5 p.m. and I was pretty hungry; high-carb breakfasts don’t stick around very long. I fired up the grill and did some burgers, then back to the chicken houses for more repair work after supper. While we were there, a car belonging to one of The Boy’s band-buddies went out and then in. “Let’s go down and see what they’re doing,” Mrs. Fetched said.

There were four cars parked near where The Boy has built a fire ring… and The Boy and J were in the middle of a beer-chugging contest. After Mrs. Fetched’s dad told him that no drinking was to be going on down there. He didn’t even stop when we pulled up, and should have been able to hear us coming from a long way off because the truck has a perforated exhaust manifold. His excuse, “It was only one.” (TB05) The only one we saw, anyway.

We left, and Mrs. Fetched decided to let her dad know about it. Then she dumped on me the job of riding down there with her dad… she’s really good about letting me take the heat for her decisions. Whatever. He ranted at The Boy for a while, then drove the long way around the pond (perhaps looking for other signs of trouble) and left. This is the guy who wants to put up campsites around the pond — a no-alcohol policy won’t exactly attract lots of paying customers, IMO, but I’m not going to waste my breath.

So The Boy calls the house. “I just wanted to say thanks for ruining Cousin Splat’s birthday party.” (TB09)

You ruined it. You knew not to bring beer down there.”

“It was only one.” (as if there wouldn’t have been more… lots more… if they were going to have a birthday party there) “But I don’t understand why you have to make a big deal out of it.”

“I didn’t. But don’t try putting this on me. You were the one down there drinking, not me.”

“Oh, it’s on you alright.” (TB09 again) I guess the next time you see me, I’ll be coming to get my $#!+, because you have to be effing a$$h0l3s.”

Very little useful information was exchanged after that. But I’m done with him. I’m even done talking with him, at least until he can apologize and start taking responsibility for his own actions. We’ve also nobbled the Pontiac so it won’t start, not like there’s any gas in it anyway, until we get the key back.

Friday, June 06, 2008 3 comments

Weekend Cinema

When it costs $40 to fill up a Civic, you know it’s time to forget about driving to a theater. Weekend Cinema brings you the entertaining, the offbeat… and above all, the brief.

Memorial Day is behind us. The presidential primaries are behind us, leaving us with a choice between a young charismatic black guy and some geezer backed by a massive character assassination apparatus. So… let’s put the gravitas behind us for a little while; plenty of time to be campaigning come fall and we could use a little light entertainment.

So thank Daughter Dearest for finding this and sharing it with us all. Watch two guys put on a very clever magic show.

First Fruits

blueberriesI was kind of surprised to see the huckleberries/blueberries getting ripe already. There were only a few ripe ones, but there’s a lot more where that came from. I think there will be enough by Saturday morning to have blueberry pancakes.

In a couple weeks, they’ll really come on the pipe and we’ll have to figure out what to do with them. Probably a pie or two.

The blackberries will be ripe in another month, and I shouldn’t have any trouble getting all we want and then some.

Thursday, June 05, 2008 8 comments

Flowers of FAR Manor: Lilies

Mrs. Fetched was pleased to see these guys blooming out front.

Like the rhodo’s, they don’t have much modesty, sticking their IBs out for all to see.

[Another smellphone shot, taken 6/1]

Wednesday, June 04, 2008 9 comments

TB01? Again?

Maybe. Maybe.

The Boy was late coming in last night, since his new band suddenly landed a gig for this weekend and they wanted him to go over some of the songs (they thought they were going to have some time since their next scheduled gig was the 14th). Mrs. Fetched was a little cranked about the situation, especially since she needed to go over some financial issues (insurance, license plate, phone) with him before bedtime. Fortunately, he had to come by the manor before going to practice anyway, probably to grab the bass guitar, and he agreed to come in and hear/discuss the situation.

As they were wrapping up (as usual, I was mostly an observer), he dropped some news: “Oh. Me and [two band members] and [other friends] are going to rent a house in town together, starting this weekend. I can walk to school.”

This could actually work out, since he has a job (landscaping, J got him on) that doesn’t have a problem working around his classes and pays reasonably well for the skill levels involved. It would also solve the Snippet problem; she’s been bouncing around and ended up here a couple nights. Funny: he told her today that she needed to stop dinking around and get a job. She’s helping Big V with her horses at the moment, but that pays in rides.

So things could once again get a little quiet around here. Sasquatch comes by pretty often, but he’s here as much to help with the chickens as to see Daughter Dearest… or maybe the one gets him the other. He’s also quiet (except when he’s being klutzy) and not looking for trouble.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008 6 comments

Getting a Little Behind

…unfortunately, just in my reading. :-P

I have in my queue, in order:

July 2008 issue of Asimov’s

Kelly McCullough’s CodeSpell (3rd book; WebMage and Cybermancy are fantastic, go get ’em if you haven’t already)

A double-preview booklet: one side is Maria Lima’s Blood Bargain (the sequel to Matters of the Blood, which was pretty darn good even if it’s half romance :-) — the other side is a preview of Brimstone Kiss by Carole Nelson Douglas (new author to me). If you could judge a book by its cover, I’d be… well, never mind what I’d be doing.

And that’s just pleasure reading. For work, I have a 180-page spec and an article about DITA to read. The latter is sort of optional; consultants (who make big $$$ off support packages for complex XML systems) think it’s the Second Coming of Something or Other but I don’t see what it can do that I can’t do at least as well with groff and some scripts.

And… I have a FAR Future episode to get done this week. Read or write? Tough decision sometimes.

Flowers of FAR Manor: Thistle

To follow up on the alien onion, until I have something else to talk about, I will post pictures of the flowers currently blooming around FAR Manor this week.

ThistleThis thistle was actually in the pasture on the way to the chicken houses. It’s kind of like a rose — it has pretty flowers and nasty thorns — but as Mrs. Fetched puts it: “Cows won’t try to eat roses. They’ll eat thistles, and choke on ’em. You should have sprayed it after you took that picture.”

I suppose I could have peed on it.

[Taken with the smellphone, 5/31]

Monday, June 02, 2008 5 comments

FAR Future, Episode 35: Spring is Sprung

Friday, March 28, 2014
Spring is Sprung

And not a moment too soon. Winter came in early and hard, then showed signs of leaving early. It’s been nice for the last week or so now. Spring might be here, but the population of FAR Manor has continued to grow even before we’ve had a chance to start planting. Besides Kim and Serena, Guillermo and his family are the newest inmates at the free-range insane asylum. He and his son Rene came walking up the driveway one rainy afternoon last week. The kid acted as translator; Guillermo can carry on limited conversations in English, but didn’t want a misunderstanding (and I’m sure there was some strategic value in having a kid front for you). I found that I had an unexpected ringer of my own, though: Kim heard the Spanish, came to the door, and started chattering with Rene… turns out he’s fairly good at it.

Guillermo and I both goggled at the boys, looked up, and grinned. He pointed through the woods. “Cows… are yours?”

Mi familia,” I said. We both laughed, Guillermo prodded his son and said something.

“We need a place to live,” he said. “We can work for it.” I looked at Kim, who nodded.

I kind of figured that, I thought to myself. “Is it just you two?”

“No. My Mother and sister are in the truck.”

“Bring them. We should all talk.” Rene went back to get the others, and I sent Kim to tell Mrs. Fetched what was going on.

We gathered around the dining table, including the kids. Serena’s Spanish isn’t nearly as good as Kim’s, so the kids stuck with English except when translating. To my surprise, Mrs. Fetched was more receptive than I’d expected to adding to our collection — probably because her parents are getting too old to do much gardening or ranching. She peppered both adults with questions about being able to work a garden, tend to cattle, and so on, getting the answers we expected.

Finally she asked, “Why us?”

“We’ve been to four or five places already,” Rene said without waiting for his dad. “They all said no. Some of them said bad words.” Guillermo spoke up, and Rene continued: “We want to get back to Mexico, but we can’t buy enough gas to get us there. Besides, things may be bad here, but they’re even worse at home.”

“Really? I figured… well, there’s not so much to lose…”

Maria spoke up. “No petrol,” she said through Rene. “The government is giving the oil to the campesinos to grow food and get it to the cities. The rich get the rest. Everyone else…” She shrugged. “Our family at home said to stay here if we can.”

“You’ll have to learn English,” Mrs. Fetched said. “The kids will have to be in school, you know.”

“The parents nodded. “We have green cards,” Guillermo said. “They were in school in Gainesville.”

Just to be safe, I called around to verify what we’d been told and that there weren’t outstanding arrest warrants or other trouble, but everything came up clean. Guillermo takes care of the cattle; we got a horse from Big V and he’s a natural on horseback — he’s training the horse to deal with cattle, and is working with the in-laws’ new dog. Maria is helping Mrs. Fetched with the house.

The kids — all four of them — are in hog heaven. Until we were done using the insert last week, they all camped out in the living room and would whisper, giggle, and shush each other until one of the adults told them to settle down. Each night. Now that we’re past the coldest weather, we put them in the upstairs rooms. Girls in one, boys in the other, of course… but we hear them wandering back and forth at night and talking. Serena is picking up Spanish in a big hurry, and the kids are starting to use their own Spanglish dialect with each other. Through the day, when they’re not in school they’re helping out around the place. Daughter Dearest got the newest kids transferred in, and that was fairly easy because she just had to get the transcripts from next door, so to speak. They all meet the bus at 6:30 a.m., and they’re pretty good about letting me work when they get home.

It’s kind of nice, having some people around who are happy to be here and wanting to help. We had to plant a lot of extra stuff this year, but there were more people to help with the planting. In some ways, FAR Manor is really becoming a manor.


Sunday, June 01, 2008 9 comments

Some Sunday Musings

Unidentified plantThis plant kind of sums up my feelings about many events at FAR Manor: it came up in an odd place, nobody has any idea where it came from, cutting it down just seems to encourage it, and after a while you just want to sit back and see what it’s going to do.

To give an idea of the scale, the highest part is nearly six feet high. It sprang up from under the cross-ties between the driveway and the back yard, and it doesn’t look like anything else we’ve planted. The bulbs like of look like onions until they tear open, and it’s obvious that it’s some kind of flower.

Same plant, close up of opening clusterNow that I’ve given up trying to kill it, I’m looking forward to seeing what it looks like when it opens up. It would be nice to know what it is, though. Help?

Speaking of weird things, The Boy had his first public performance last night. He’s officially part of the band after their concert last night, but they had him come along and do a solo piece by way of introduction. He wanted us to be there, we wanted to be there (and get video for his Myspace page), but as usual the chicken houses got in the way. He called just before he was to go up on stage, and Mrs. Fetched said he sounded really excited. He’s supposed to have an outing in the 'burbs later this month, so we’re going to go to it.

Chicken houses… what would a weekend be without them getting in the way? They’re bringing a new flock in tomorrow morning (as in, early tomorrow morning) and so there are certain things to be done to prepare. One of those is to run feed — and it would have really helped if they’d brought feed Friday night like they were supposed to instead of 5 p.m. yesterday. We managed to run feed through one last night (which is why The Boy had to perform without us), and everyone else is over there doing the other three now. Being the song leader at church sometimes has its advantages; I can’t just blow off church.

I’ve been needing to do some drill work, and Mrs. Fetched reclaimed the drill I put together when cleaning up the fireplace insert, so I’ve been needing to do something. Home Despot had a sale on Ryobi drills (with two batteries) for the same price as it would have cost to order a new battery online for my Skil, so I went ahead & got it. I hate doing that, but I can still get a Skil battery later.


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