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Ambergris

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About Ambergris

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  • Birthday 08/09/1960

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    North Florida
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    Widespread. Activities? Not so much.

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  1. Ambergris and family had moved some electronics into a car for partial Faraday shielding. Planned to stick more under the house, but got distracted and didn't do that in time. The cage at the water pump didn't shield it enough. We still don't know how deep the well is, or if it's physically possible to lift water from whatever depth that is with a manual pump. The pilaus were not terribly well-attended, and everyone was acting weird, but it was worth it for the networking. Half the neighbors have been here for just a couple of years (or less), half have been here more than 15 years, and we knew hardly anyone. The couple with the laying hens and the three roosters got an awful lot of introductions. Someone came with a big smile and a bigger basket of collards from one of the two nearby farming co-ops. I think he was just scoping us all out, and saying as little as possible. The closest one-family farm did not send anyone. Possibly thought it was a ruse to leave their place short-handed. Well, I left someone hidden inside the house too. The next morning, almost everyone I caught sight of was digging, weeding, or gathering wood. A couple of friends came by, helped clean the house, set up where the greenhouse wall will go in the fall, and dug a couple of new vegetable gardens. They spent the night, then we all built a couple of bicycle carts (one for us, one for them) from some of the felled saplings, old bamboo, and scrap hardware. Wanted them to spend the night again, but they were pretty sure they could get home before dark. Nobody should be traveling after dark now. We rigged a second gate, across the drive just a few feet in from the road. It would be a lot harder to get the momentum to knock that one down. Moved the ship's bell to the dogwood tree down there to act as a doorbell.
  2. This is annoying. I backed up and lost the whole Day Six post. Okay, there are Mexicans pouring over the border wherever a road exists, and some where it doesn't. They are terrified and are jamming into any half-welcoming church or business. Mr. Annarchy gets a visit first thing in the morning from two men in sunglasses and cheap suits, asking about an inventory list and where are the 4473s kept? Euphrasyne's DD from PA comes in just before 9:00. She rode part of the way with a trucker couple who couldn't stop talking about the charred debris and slag that rained down on them in Long Island before dawn on Day Five. One of them is sure Groton and Rhode Island got nuked, the other saw a lot of missiles going by and thinks it might have been conventional only. Hard to tell. There's a mushroom cloud either way. She barely gets her hands washed for breakfast when the ground shakes.
  3. Mr. E wonders if the orders to bug out came down the chain of command, or through a hack. The only reason he can think of for that stupid a move is if the alternative were to have sitting ducks lined up for a pounding a la Pearl Harbor. Who would he ask about this? He walks around (yet again) assessing materials for constructing a hasty fallout shelter in the house. Jeepers hears a screaming match pretty close by, then a howl of agony that goes on and on. Annarchy sees smoke on the southern and western horizons, hears thunder or "thunder," and on several occasions sees a lot of helicopters like a swarm of hornets, south and west. A lot of people are on the road, heading east and north. I10 and I40 are choked with out-of-gas and broken down cars. Stranded travelers are demanding services, and breaking into homes and stores to get what they can. Mt Rider and the WE2s have a relatively quiet day. You can guess which one of you hears an old lady explaining to the kids how to jump rope and the rules of hopscotch. And the morning and the evening were the fifth day.
  4. The closer the mesh, the more effective (and the shadier), but a wider mesh works if it's made of very conductive materials. Got any gold or silver to melt? (Don't answer that.) If you're near a Waffle House (which is limiting servings to one scrambled egg, one strip of bacon or fried Spam, and crackers) they have a bulletin board. Desperately needed: canned milk for baby Is the tap water supposed to taste this nasty? ISO Ride from Kennedy Street downtown. HELP! Does anyone know what tea or EO works for measles? For swap: misc. bicycle parts. Bring offers Will work for food Wanted: Guard Dog--big and mean, good with cats Will work for smoke Needed: babysitter in evenings. Can watch your baby in afternoons. Needed: live-in care for disabled male. Must demonstrate facility with minimal restraint techniques. Will dig you're garden, leave address for estamets here. And so on.
  5. Any electronic and most electrical devices that were not sheltered on Day Four have been fried.
  6. Oh, nice. That's a load off.
  7. THIS fee is $1.75. But the next one? and the next next next? And when your license is suspended for not keeping up with them?
  8. In the morning, one of Euphrasyne's neighbor's cars has "Save a cat--eat a PETAn" written on it. I'm assuming Mt Rider bought out the translator AFTER the St Elmo's Fire stops dancing. She hears nothing, not even static. You have a pretty good chance with VW Beetles before 1975, most diesel trucks from before about 1983, and nonsports/non luxury vehicles (Dodge, not Chrysler) made before the 1973 oil crisis. When you go outside, if you do, you realize that some of that hail was bits of metal. Up-Ridge got an earful just in time. California has been invaded by foot troops with no forewarning. The whole state is basically a no-fly zone. Nobody can agree on who the foreign troops are, or even what language they speak. The navy bombed a strike force to oblivion west of Hawaii, and planes were seen streaking low over the water, heading west. There was supposed to be a presidential address, but it was upstaged by the blackout. Mexico has also been invaded, and reports heavy hand-to-hand fighting between the cartel troops, augmented by SureƱos out of the US, the federales, and the invaders. The Mexican radio was initially yelling that they had been invaded by gabachos. Some of this was also on the short wave, before everything blinked out.
  9. The storm rolls in from the northwest, probably intensifying the flooding, if it's real, and damages trees and roofs where you are. There are clusters of tornadoes, here and there. If your fruit trees were blooming, kiss that crop goodbye. The rain beats down the riots looming around the edges of the cities. People huddle in empty stores, shivering and dripping and wondering, mostly quietly, where they are going to find food and a warm place to spend the night. It's going to get cold after this weather front passes. The babies are not quiet. Their wails echo off the walls and ceiling, driving some people back out into the rain to escape the noise. In other places, the babies are the ones driven out into the rain, but that's actually pretty rare. New York City goes black. Chicago blinks, but lines of power coming out of Great Lakes bring part of it back. The radio says both Indian Point nuclear power stations had to do an emergency shutdown. Reports coming out of Chicago are confused and confusing. People there are being told to stay home, go to inner rooms, tape the windows shut and tape the gaps around their doors. Mt Rider's neighbor, who went home right before the storm broke, sends her an alarm signal. Twenty minutes later, at the height of the storm, all electronic and most electric items in use in the eastern half of the country die abruptly at 5:08 Eastern. If anyone is in south Florida or North Maine, let me know. The center of the country, except the southernmost tip of Texas, goes dark one minute later. Then the west. Come evening, people who are now west of the storm can see flashes of light high in the sky, above the cloud layer. It's a little early in the year for heat lightning. And the morning and the evening was the fourth day.
  10. All night last night, when the radio waves traveled far and wide, AM and shortwave operators were talking about historic levels of flooding in Nebraska, or maybe Iowa, or maybe Illinois. Wherever, it's drowning cattle and people alike. But they said the same thing a couple of days ago, and then were saying the federal government had caused it by manipulating the dams, and you also heard plenty of people say "I'm in Nebraska now, and everything is fine. If you have supplies to spare, though, feel free to send them this way." Nobody seems to know what to believe. Some stations have people openly planning flash mobs to go out in the country and get cows to butcher. There's talk that rural areas are deliberately starving people in the cities. Per FM, the data breach is almost contained. Everyone will have to change all passwords, and carefully check their statements for unauthorized transactions, of course. Additionally, WIFI will no longer be allowed within 200 yards of any elementary school during the hours school is in session, as it has been found to cause significant health issues in children. This announcement cites French studies, and similar bans in France. The inactive reserves are called in, on pain of arrest for treason. The mayor of Chicago goes on the air to announce that while breakfast has been suspended, some kind of lunch will still be fed to all students, teachers, and other school personnel who report on time as scheduled. Students who show up at lunchtime without attending class will not be served. A few AM stations go off the air, sometimes in mid-sentence, during the night. One woman, who had previously been particularly informative, was heard saying "The police are here. They've broken down the door. They're on the stairs. I hear them. It's been--" Euphrasyne misses it, but a radio announcement goes out at 10:00 a.m. for everyone in her area to unplug everything and turn off all but one light bulb per house by noon. At noon, those light bulbs flicker on. Amazingly enough, most people had most things turned off this time. Word filters out that her area will have electricity for four hours until the next stage of ramping up. Mr. E comes home with a seven-pound large roast and promptly buries it in the back yard. These were just being given out on base. Something weird is going on there. Everything that wasn't in drydock left last night, and some vessels left dry dock when they were no-wise ready to do so. Most of them were not fully manned by their own crews. People assigned to those ships, but who were spending the night ashore, were left behind unless the SP rounded them up. Seamen in one very large brightly lit, prominently open bar were rounded up and put on the ships and boats without regard to who belonged where. Today, everyone in his section was served a really spicy lunch at work. Would he have eaten it? In the lit areas, the last grocery stores are cleaned out and closed down. In unlit areas, you can still buy with cash at the front door of at least one place per town, but you can't buy much. The radio says to fill your kids up with water. It also says not to drink the water. There was an announcement of food and water being distributed by FEMA at noon at the elementary school that is closest to you. Some of you will show up with the advised two shopping bags apiece, because that's what everyone within walking distance is doing. The FEMA people start distributing wheat in some places and yellow field corn in others, and the hundreds and hundreds of people who have been milling around for a couple of hours to get a meal instead of an ingredient turn the truck over and forcibly stuff handfuls of the grain into the driver and the driver's disarmed guard. The grain is scattered in the street . Most people walk on it or kick it into the gutters. Some people are seen filling shopping bags and then stripping off their shirts and scooping handfuls of grain into them. Some of those people are beaten by the mob. The mob breaks into a nearby house that has a little greenhouse and a tilled front yard. The owner comes out and yells, and someone somewhere fires a shot. A fire seems to start by itself, and houses are broken down to feed it. Within an hour, the block looks like a tornado hit it. In most places, the few LEOs who show up just try to contain the area of destruction. In some, they just watch. In a few places, they fire on the mob. And they are out of rubber bullets. You who showed up probably left as soon as things started going south. You don't get out of earshot before the screaming and crying starts. All of you, there or at home, see huge billowing black clouds of smoke. FM tells people to take pets they can't feed to the shelters rather than release them to prey on wildlife. AM tells people that there is plenty of room at all the animal shelters right now, and that they hear no barking at all around there. The occasional howl or yip, but no barking. Some people who took refuge in hotels start coming home on foot, having sold the gas out of their cars for hamburgers. Some people who haven't had electricity in days try to walk toward the lit areas. They meet on highways, or in the suburbs; they are hungry and afraid, and a lot of them are armed.
  11. I've seen those, and always wondered how they worked.
  12. On Wednesday, DS1 dropped me off at work just as the lights went out. At work, some of my co-workers went out to Dunkin Donuts, while the rest of us hung out at the picnic tables until the power returned. Someone mentioned earlier blackouts in New England, but I had my head full and wasn't listening. My beau and DS1 both called when the power outage moved west. I called DS2, at his house, but he was working. His dad actually reached him before I did. The beau, who has Wednesdays off, ditched our regular Wednesday lunch date, at my insistence, to gas up all his family vehicles, taking his dad with him because the old man won't stop chatting in a reasonable amount of time, and he didn't know if there was time to chat. DS1 ordered a Prime Pantry box and storm box from my Amazon wish list (marked "hurricane order), and coded it to go on Visa (this is mighty close to the end of a lean month). Then he printed out that list, siphoned his gas tank into that of my parked car, and came to pick me up. We got a tank of gas and filled the gas can while the getting was good, and picked up a supply of most items on the list plus some things you just don't buy on Amazon. Dropped in at the propane store and ordered a refill of the big tank, plus picked up a couple of five-gallon tanks. (And some good barbecue too--they were doing a demo.) Stayed on our side of town the whole time, with me trying to pull news off Google as he drove, and watched the blackout move west. The panic really hit, jamming the gas stations first, when it moved one step further west. Got home and started the canners, one on the propane and one on the kitchen stove, and the electric pressure cooker on the back porch doing jars of water. Also spread out frozen items in the dryers, which locked my back up but good. By sunset, we agreed this had been a hacker's practical joke, which is what DS2 had said from the start. Left the dryers going, though, because once started it's not an easy thing to change plans on. The freezers were not empty, and the kitchen was an absolute wreck, but we had some beautiful jars of soup, fruit butter, and meat. On Thursday, DS1 dropped me off at work a little early, both of us talking about how to rearrange our finances with those big buys yesterday--but neither of us regretting it enough to cancel the Amazon boxes. (#1 He's been in war zones. #2 he's gotten pretty good at humoring me.) When the lights went out again, he probably broke a few laws speeding back to get me. Not EMP, so what? Nobody knows. Everyone was sent home from my office, as we would be for storm flags. DS2 offered to quit his job if not allowed to go home, and after some very loud and very vulgar words, was allowed. The entire town was powerless. People were lined up at gas pumps waiting for the power to come back on. Deputies were directing traffic. DS1 and I talked about dropping by the pet store where he used to work, see if they would let him write a counter check for more cat food and stuff (guinea pigs, I was thinking--but not saying) but we instead went home to work on hunkering down. Put the dehydrator on battery power and the freeze-dryer on generator. Amazingly enough, UPS delivered the first of our Amazon boxes right before sunset. We both slept in recliners in the den, half sitting and half lying down, rather than use battery power on our breathing machines. Slept poorly, but we did sleep. On Friday, DS2 picked up some Tractor Supply ducklings for me and chicks for him, and some more of the Amazon boxes from the UPS hub--all while running some version of his regular route. We met at the Waffle House for sausage and grits. Grits are not on my diet, but they had the hurricane menu in effect. Besides, I had a feeling I was about to embark on a see-food diet. DS2 loaded the boxes into DS1's car. We loaded him with my bigger pressure canner (with a trot line, a Kindle, and a few books inside it). Told him to pick up a deep-cycle battery if he could. He said he probably wouldn't get off until after eight tonight. I don't like him driving an armored car, or the hours he works, but when he got the job, it beat the alternatives. Back home, we cleaned the kitchen and set up the ducklings in a bathroom. Once my back gave out, DS1 walked the fence line and watered the cuttings we're trying to root. When I could move a bit, I sorted out some of the seeds to try to start in cups, and some for him to plant out in the ground. Sorted out a few items, including seeds, to cache in case something happened that meant we lost possession of the house. Kept the wind-up radio on all day, but couldn't get anything audible until sunset. Then got plenty of AM, but didn't know what to make of any of it. On Saturday, finally got on line and exchanged some emails with a friend in a lit area, who said she had been about ready to saddle up and come find me. Made me smile, and that was a smile I needed. Shockingly enough, the rest of the Amazon boxes did not make it. Who would have guessed? DS1 and I stayed home, talked to a few neighbors over the fence, and agreed that a pilau would be a great idea. Made up several dozen little origami envelopes. Put a few of the older garden seeds in each one, with identification and very (very, very) basic instructions on how to grow them. With our odd-shaped bit of land, we have a lot of adjacent neighbors, most of whom have at least half an acre per house. My best interest requires them to have their own gardens producing their own food, to the extent possible. The fellow who broke our fence in the fall, while dumping hurricane debris out of his yard, has repaired the fence. Good--that means we don't have to. Assuming we even could.
  13. Messed up the timeline, haven't I? Let's fix it like this: Saturday is Day Three. Friday was Day Two. Thursday was Day ONE. Wednesday was the 40-minute rolling blackout. By Saturday, you will have found out that the places with full power (once the transformers are repaired/replaced/bypassed) include most of the Boston-Washington corridor down to near Euphrasyne. Some places in that corridor, including Staten Island, are dark. Chicago has power. The Miami-area coastline is normal. Parts of Orlando area are lit, and the Disney radio channels are in operation. The beach half of Jacksonville (east of I-17) got back power really fast, while the west half is dark and ... dark. Atlanta and Phoenix don't seem to be hurting, except for the robberies, but when there's talk of martial law, it seems to start there. Dallas/Ft Worth has some dark and some lit sections, but people there have been begging relatives to send food since the end of Day Two. Houston is in chaos, but seems to have at least some power. Columbus, Ohio, has power in most places, but rumor says there's a hostage situation at Riverside Methodist Hospital. Speaking of hospitals, Cleveland has several that are all over the airwaves pleading for generator fuel. Corpus Christi has power. A strip of California from San Diego up through Los Angeles mostly has power, as does a lot of the San Jose/San Francisco area, but there are rumors that good/repairable transformers were forcibly removed from more rural areas to replace the damaged ones in the cities. The military base in Charleston is the only lit part of South Carolina. Seattle/Tacoma has power as a rule, but Portland is dark. Jackson, Mississippi, is lit, oddly enough. Almost all of Tennessee is lit, along with the cities closest to it in Alabama and Mississippi. Savannah is lit. Las Vegas is open for business. And so on. If you need to know a specific city, ask.
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