Letters to Holly

Thursday, September 25

Patiently Gassing

As my tank fell below half capacity, I started to plot. I have a number of stations along my commute, and I warned the boss that I might be late if I saw a gas line. But I didn't want to line up until my tank got lower. I couldn't bring myself to get in line with half a tank. I passed a few lines and got to work. In about an hour, a line stretched past our entrance as the Ingles station two stores over received a tanker. Again, I held off. A co-worker took advantage and got in line. He had a full tank in about an hour.

As the day progressed, I started to worry I may have missed my chance. Asheville announced that city offices will close Friday and Saturday. My boss offered to let me work from home tomorrow; I'll simply take my work PC when I leave tonight. As I drove home, I listened to the crackpot radio preacher as he fielded calls about local stations. He announced a tanker was on the way to a particular station. How he got the information, I don't know. Within 20 minutes, he announced the station had to shut down the pumps becuase the line was getting rowdy. Seven police cars were en route, he said. Fifty-five cars were waiting for gas already. He likes to exaggerate, you see. It ifts in with his perpetual end-days rhetoric. I didn't even try it.

I met Your Sister at the lib'ary for a board of education forum for the teachers. Virtually all the audience members were school employees, and the candidates answered questions with this demographic in mind. After, we trotted to the local Mexican restaurant, and the owner said the local Ingles had gas and long lines. The commute had knocked my tank down to a third capacity, and I left to line up.

I got there at 9:30. The line reached around the perimeter of a secondary parking lot and toward the grocery store. Emergency volunteer crews directed traffic, including splitting the line depending on which side our gas tank doors sat on. I got through in thirty minutes, got my eight gallons, and got home less than an hour after I left. I felt good about it. Now I can go to Spartanburg this weekend AND I'll work from home tomorrow.

As I drove to work today, that same store had a gas line, and two BPs had small lines. The good news is that the lines are getting shorter now. But yesterday, it was a bad sight.

This is from the Citizen-Times:

I'm too young to remember the gas shortages of the '70s. The crazy-ass radio preacher was convinced this surpassed that, but those shortages were nationwide. I don't think this panic qualifies. Some stores are offering free snacks for people in line, and that's the kind of PR you can't buy. They'll win over lots of folks.

Your Sis is worried the gas shortages might scuttle the Atlanta trip, but I assured her the gas stations should be better by the middle of next week.

During all this, I took back my bath towel and rug set to Sears (the colors didn't match my new art matting), and bought a new set at Bed, Bath and Beyond. The latter store, surprisingly, doesn't sell sets of towels and rugs, and color matching is a chore. I splurged for the set I settled on, and now I'm covered on this domestic front for the next ten years or so.

I'm using some of your South African curry tonight in my recipe. Don't know which one just yet.

In the News
I'm just saying: If Obama had suspended his campaign on the same day polls showed he had slipped behind by nine points, he'd be accused of cowardice. McCain claimed he was willing to lose and election to win the war. Is he willing to lose the election to rescue the economy? And why can't he debate in primetime when the Senate has adjourned for the day? Move the debates to D.C. if need be.

Tuesday, September 23

It's Dead, Jim

I had to buy a new PC about, wow, almost three years ago when my old PC suddenly refused to work. Windows ME crashed. It took months to meticulously copy files from that PC to the new one. I had hoped that I could at least use the old PC as a backup drive for my files. I loaded it with Windows XP this weekend in hopes of salvaging it, and I bought USB and ethernet cables to connect the two. But the old PC continues to freeze during the simplest functions. So it's worthless to me. I'm going to trash it, including bashing the hard drive to bits. It was a good PC while it lasted.

The gas situation is getting spooky. Atlanta is running dry. Nasheville is getting low. Mayberry has no gas to speak of, and the Asheville airport BP had a line stretching down the road. I'm supposed to go to South Carolina this weekend, and I hope I can get at least half a tank to get me there and back.

The restoration folks came back to the house to make an estiomate for drywall repair. Maybe they'll get started on the repair this week.

Picture of the Day
All cats is evil.

Monday, September 22

Out and About

Asheville won an ugly game against Mayberry. We walked to a local party and stood around a bonfire before getting home after midnight. After a surprisingly long sleep, we woke up and hit the road for time-killing shopping. I'm putting together a grab bag for a high-school friend whose birthday is this weekend. I think wine and chocolate will spoil her enough. She's a mom and a wife, but I don't want to get her anything that relates only to those relationships. She needs a gift just for her.

We watched Vicky Christina Barcelona Saturday night. I can't believe I got Your Sister to a Woody Allen movie. She's ethically repulsed by him, yet this viewing was her idea. I wasn't complaining. It's a good film, and solidly in his wheelhouse: people get in their own way to finding happiness. Also, she declared her desire for Javier Bardem. I, on the other hand, remained unmoved by Scarlet Johannsen. Years of celebrity news coverage have instructed me to want her, but it doesn't take. We ended the night with a pile of doughnuts.

Our town is out of gasoline. It's a problem that's also spread into South Carolina and Tennessee. I still intend to drive down this weekend to visit Mom; she wants a computer -- her first -- and I'll make sure she gets one with all the bells and whistles she's looking for. I installed Windows XP on my old PC and hope to move its files over to the newer PC. Then I might donate the old PC to Your Sister's school. I want to get the newer portable hard drives and save a copy of all my computer files off the PC.

I pulled up almost all of the garden. The squash vines withered to a pallor, and the lone pumpkin couldn't develop any further. We chucked it. We saved what few corn cobs we could and ate them last night. We still have tomatoes and peppers growing.

My Sith apprentice killed Rancors last night. This game is brilliant.

Picture of the Day
Help me, SuperPig. You're my only hope.