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Monday, September 15, 2008

FAR Future, Episode 51: In the Blink of an Eye

So begins the transition to the next sub-series…

Wednesday, May 25, 2016
In the Blink of an Eye…

…six months go by.

Well, sort of. Interesting that my last post was on my birthday, and this one is Mrs. Fetched’s birthday.

The junta obviously backed down on cutting off the net, for now — I think someone figured out how many people are working from home and how much fuel it would take to replace the net. But they’ve nanny-blocked just about everything but commerce. Ironic, when you consider that the Net originally disallowed commerce. The Favored Ones aren’t so restricted in their net usage, but more on that shortly.

Perhaps another factor was the number of people taking college classes from home. Christina has been doing that for a while now, mostly biochemistry and related subjects. She has some amazing brainpower, but her writing skills are closer to her chronological age and she needed to do a full-blown paper. Fortunately for her, technical writing is how I make a living, so I taught her what she needed to know: writing an abstract, structuring the paper, the conclusion… she also had plenty of examples from other papers in her field. I was pleased to find that there are things I can still teach her. ;-) She sort of hoped I’d write it for her once she told me what was needed, but I only agreed to help her structure and edit it. It turned out OK; she caught on soon enough and got a 3.2 (B-plus-ish) score on it. Most of what she got dinged for was the technical content, and the prof has no clue that she’s 12. She was a little bummed about that — she was hoping for a 3.5 at a minimum — but she found out later that nobody scored over 3.4 and only two people in her class got a higher score than hers. She plunged into her books, actually ignoring Kim for a while (and it was interesting to watch the mixed relief and dismay there), and vowed her next paper would be worthy of publication.

The Prophet has been flying under the radar for a while. I was starting to worry about him, even though I knew if the Pat-Riots had caught him they’d be shouting it from the rooftops, but he surfaced recently. It turns out he’s been helping to found a wallyworld between Decatur and Atlanta. Of course, they wanted to name it after him, and he wouldn’t have it. Nor would he allow them to call it “The Prophet’s Mission.” After some back and forth and left and right and give and take, they finally settled on calling it “Corettaville,” after Coretta Scott King. Junta symps, as you can guess, call it N-town (and no, they don’t pronounce it how I wrote it). A video might be available out on the West Coast, but all I managed to get was a series of photos that still tell a story of a seriously dedicated group of people. They’re tearing out the parking lot, and using the asphalt to build a security wall (there have been some vandalism attempts, what a surprise) and to build garden beds. They’re working hard to make the place self-supporting to a level that no wallyworld has yet achieved — their goals are no waste at all, and to be self-powered. The other spaces in the strip are becoming community kitchens, schools, a library, and whatever other services a small city might need. Someone donated a large-scale wind plant, and they’re working on installing it now. Solar panels on the roof, skylights, you name it, they’re doing it. Sewage goes into a fermentation chamber, built partially from the torn-out asphalt, to make methane and fertilizer (Christina’s paper was about large-scale digesters like this, and she’s wishing for a field trip). I doubt they can raise enough veggies to feed several hundred people, but they’re giving it the ol’ college try. Inside, they’re laying out streets and building individual apartments, two floors and a large open area for assemblies. I really hope they make it — but with The Prophet leading them, I imagine failing would be rather difficult.

Sammy had some less happy news — disturbing, actually — about the junta running a labor camp out in Colorado. Criminals, or anyone the junta finds inconvenient, end up mining shale. A “loyal opposition” member (someone like me, in other words, who doesn’t like the junta but has helped them out in the past) got appointed as an ombudsman of sorts at the camp. He didn’t stay long, but managed to smuggle out a few photos on his cellphone and told the story of what’s going on out there. I suppose it makes sense… you get to be a productive member of society whether you want to be or not. It’s not pretty, but I hope you can find his report or Sammy finds you with it. Sunshine is the best disinfectant, right?

On the lighter side, Sammy sent this list along recently.

You know it's TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) when…
- You get out a deck of cards to play solitaire.
- You actually *talk* on a phone.
- You've gotten to know these people called “your family.”
- A trip to town is something you dedicate most of the day to.
- You've had so many candlelight dinners, you forgot they're supposed to be romantic.
- You see more people walking somewhere than jogging nowhere.
- You say something about “bumper sticker logic” and your kids ask, “what's a bumper sticker?”
- You ride a bus every day, and you're not in school.
- You've been woke up at 3 a.m. when the power comes on and the bedroom lights up!
- Checking your mail means walking to the end of your driveway.

Heh. Remember when lists like this would be followed up with an exhortation to “pass it on”?

The local junta folks have caught on to me… or at least caught on that someone is out here borrowing bandwidth. I’ve been pretty careful with my Gadget, keeping the usage to a minimum and trying to be pretty random about which hotspots I hijack, but maybe I cut it too close. Or maybe just got a little unlucky.

I was sitting on a curb, pretending to talk on the Gadget while batching up some stuff for Sammy, when a Pat-Troll stopped. “Hang on a second,” I told my non-existant party, and did the two-finger double tap (which turns off the Wingnutistan mode). Probably a good move on my part.

“What’cha doin’, buddy?” one of the 'Riots asked me.

“Phoning home,” I said. To the phone I said, “Look: some Patriots stopped and want to chat. I’ll call you later. Bye.” To them, I said, “What’s up?”

“Just lookin’ out for funny business,” he replied. “Hey, is that an iPhone?”

“Yeah, one of the first-generation versions. I’m surprised it’s still working.” I stood and offered him the phone.

“Hm. Looks kinda beat-up.” He poked at it for a moment, but didn’t seem too enthusiastic about it. “Yeah,” he said, handing it back to me. “Thing’s practically an antique now, huh?”

“Yeah. I don’t like to throw out stuff that still works, though. It’s been a good little phone.”

“I bet. I’d like to have one of them new ones, but they don’t sell ’em here. I guess if you went to New York or something, you might get one.

“Well, you be careful. There’s someone out here breaking into people’s computers, and there’s a reward if you catch him. Keep your eyes peeled.” And they drove away. No problems, but a bit closer than I’d like… especially when I’m not on my own turf. I might have to read Sammy on paper for a while.



  1. Hey Far! ha! You know its TEOTWAWKI, when you get a deck of cards to play solitiare! ha! That's a good one! I remeber that! heh!

    Think there will still be mail? Gee, my Dad will hop into his vehicle drive the 100 yards to the mailbox, turn around and come back...Been doing it for years...

  2. Be careful Far. The feds, umm junta is probably watching here.

  3. Hey!

    Yooper, sure there will be mail. I doubt it will be daily delivery, and it may involve a horse-drawn wagon, but stuff still has to get from point A to point B. I've heard about people like your dad, but never saw one inaction [sic].

    Boran, every time they trace a post, it ends up coming from some Pat-Riot's house or the local government office. They might wonder whether they have a local mole problem.


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