More Fall Ramblings
It feels like fall in New England for a change, with somewhat cooler, windier days, and cold nights. The leaves in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire are changing colors – bright reds, yellows, and oranges sandwiched between the greens of late changing foliage or evergreens. The down side to all of this is that the leaves are also falling off the trees which means that someone – in this case, me – will be busy over the next two weeks raking them from the yard, hauling them to the compost heap, and mowing the lawn one last time.
The ‘summer people’ are long gone. Though there are many boats still in their slips at the marinas here on the lake, many of their owners haven’t taken them out for a couple of weeks. I expect that will be different this weekend because all of the fall colors surrounding the lake. Goodness knows there have been a lot of leaf-peepers up here taking in the foliage. Despite the less than perfect weather up this way last week, the state tourism office figured that 500,000 people visited New Hampshire over the Columbus Day weekend. Figure a like number for Vermont and Maine.
At least the leaf-peepers aren’t nearly as troublesome as the summer people. They tend to stay here for a weekend (or maybe a long weekend), driving around and looking at the sights. They aren’t inclined to get drunk and cause trouble. They’re more likely to get cantankerous when they run out of film after taking dozens of snapshots of some picturesque scene that they’ve only seen on calendars or in Yankee Magazine
The only problem with this part of the season is the traffic. Many of the leaf-peepers take their time driving along the country roads, looking at the pretty leaves. Under normal circumstances something like that might piss me off, but I have oodles of patience when someone is admiring the beauty of the place I call home. They can take all of the time they want and spend as much money as they have.
All I ask is that once they’ve run out of money, they go home.
With the cooler weather, most of the outdoor activities have turned indoors. The political silly season is in full swing, with less than three weeks until the November 5th elections. One of the tighter national races is for one of New Hampshire’s U.S. Senate seats. 1st Congressional District Representative John E. Sununu defeated the incumbent, Republican Bob Smith, in the primaries. Sununu is running against Democrat Governor Jeanne Shaheen. You know it’s a tight race when NPR, MSNBC, FOX News, ABC and others are all looking closely at a contest that could decide control of the Senate. So far the polls show Sununu and Shaheen neck-and-neck.
It’s going to be an interesting, and dirty, fight.
There’s been so much talk about the shooter in the metro Washington, DC area. There are all kinds of theories about whom, how, why, and so on. One thing that many people assume is that the shooter is an American. They also assume that ‘he’ (a most likely assumption) has had military training. It could be. But if so, which
military trained him - ours, or someone else’s?
Some have wondered why the shooter hasn’t selected high profile targets. What’s the best way to spread terror amongst the populace, assuming that’s your goal?
Shoot ordinary people minding their own business, not politicians or police officers or religious leaders. If you shoot ordinary people, then the populace won’t be able to say, “Well, I don’t have to worry. I’m not a politician, etc.” Now everyone has to worry that they’ll catch a bullet going to the post office, gassing their car, loading groceries into their SUV, mowing the lawn, or sitting at a sidewalk café sipping on a double light decaf latte.
Have any of you out there (and I mean the 5 or 6 regular readers of this blog) ever wondered what it would be like to live out in the country? I hear this quite often from visitors to this state. Usually it’s from someone spending a week or two of their vacation time at the lakes, up in the mountains, at some campground in one of the many forests, or at one of the ski resorts. All they’ve seen or experienced of New Hampshire (or Vermont, Maine, or upstate New York) in the limited time they’re here is what is aimed at the tourist trade.
Many have no concept what it means to live someplace where pizza parlors and Chinese restaurants don’t deliver; where the nearest convenience store might be 20 miles away down a dirt road; where winters can be harsh and deadly; and where you haul your own trash to the dump. There are no Starbucks, Taco Bells, or tofu burgers. The closest thing to a Sak’s Fifth Avenue is the L.L. Bean outlet store in one of the shopping meccas in the heart of tourist country.
Most have never experienced cabin fever after being stuck inside for a week or more because of the brutally cold temperatures and heavy snowfalls in the winter. The same can also be said of mid-spring – the black flies are out in force making any time spent outside uncomfortable to an extreme.
Few are cut out for small town life, where everybody knows your business. For some of us hardy Yankees, it’s no big thing. But for others it can be quite trying. Up here, neighbors watch out for neighbors, even if that neighbor lives on the other side of town.
Some people have trouble with the concept of town meeting, where the residents of the town gather once a year to decide how the town will or will not spend their tax dollars. It can be a very personal thing, town meeting. Though it is local government at its best, people also have to contend with egos, feuds, and the ubiquitous anti-flatlander mentality. Most new folks make the almost fatal mistake their first time speaking at town meeting by starting their remarks with, “Back where I come from….”. Most folks at town meeting could care less about where you come from or what you did there, unless you’re going to use the reference to show how something the town is thinking of doing is a bad idea. Then they might
let you get away with it. Maybe.
Something many others moving to the country end up learning the hard way is this: Never
piss off the Town Clerk, the Road Agent, or the Police Chief (assuming the town actually has a police department). Getting on their bad side can make living in a small town an extremely uncomfortable and frustrating experience.
One thing anyone wanting to move out to the country will have to get used to is guns. Lot’s of folks around here own guns for hunting, protection, or just plain plinking. By association, they’ll also have to get used to the various hunting seasons. Getting all misty-eyed about the Big Bad Hunters out stalking Bambi so they can carve him in to venison steaks will earn you no points up here. It’s more likely to get you talked about.
And one other thing: You are expected
to take responsibility for your own actions. It’s not ‘society’s fault’. It’s not because your mother didn’t breastfeed you. It’s not because you ate too many Twinkies. That kind of pseudo-psychological BS won’t fly out here in the sticks. Folks out in the country don’t have time for it. We’re too busy making a living, raising our kids, working on our homes, and paying our taxes.
If all of that sounds appealing to you, then we’ll welcome you with open arms. Otherwise, don’t even think
of moving to any place like this. You’ll hate it.
Sometimes there’s an advantage to being somewhat knowledgeable about computers. Other times it’s a pain in the butt. This past week was one of those pain-in-the-butt times.
My friend Jane phoned me last weekend, her voice stressed in a barely controlled panic.
“My computer won’t boot. There’s something wrong!”
“Oh?” asked I, “What do you mean it ‘won’t boot’? “
“It gets to the Windows 2000 flash screen and stays there. I can’t even boot to Safe Mode.”
Oops. This didn’t sound good.
After continued Q&A, I was finally able to pinpoint the problem -- Norton Utilities.
It appears that Jane was having problems with the anti-virus application and couldn’t fix it by re-installing it. So she did the worst possible thing she could have done with Norton Utilities – she uninstalled it. Of course she had every intention of reinstalling it, but the damage was done. From that point on, her machine was unusable.
I’ve heard horror stories from others about uninstalling Norton from their machines and it always ends the same way – the machine won’t boot.
Even using the Emergency Repair Disk and backed up registry files won’t help. The uninstallation process for Norton does some nasty things to some of the system files. It’s almost as if it’s Norton’s way of saying, “Uninstall us, will you? We’ll show you
So now I have opened her computer, backed up all of her work files, and started a low-level format of her disk drive. I’ve got to reinstall everything from scratch. Once everything is done I’ll get her machine back to her.
I’ll give her the same warning I’m going to give you: “Don’t install Norton Utilities unless you believe you’ll really
need them, otherwise I’ll break every one of your fingers. If you do install it, then never
uninstall it. Disable it, Yes. Uninstall it, No!
The ever-popular Eddy Parents are here from south of the border (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut ‘south of the border’, not the Mexico kind) for one of their many regular visits. In case you wonder where my brother and I get our wonderful senses of humor, our political bent, and our intolerance of idiotarians, you need look no further than Mom and Dad Eddy. Well, you could
look further, but you’d need someone like John Edward
to channel the Eddy Grandparents to get an even better idea of how our respective outlooks came to be.
Though the Eddy Parents are here to visit the Brothers Eddy and enjoy the foliage, they are also here to scout out a future town of residence. They haven’t had a chance to visit their area of interest, but yours truly that will guide them through their reconnaissance. They have a list of towns they want to visit, and fortunately for me they are all in the same part of the state.
Stay tuned for further developments.