Cider Press Hill

Fuel Prices - 8/31/05

Wednesday, 5:46 pm

By Kate

Aug

31

2005

light cloud

After reading a number of incidences of gas shortages across the east coast, I thought it might be a good idea to fill up before it hits here. So far, everyone in town has enough fuel to sell, but can’t say how long that will last. The prices have taken quite a leap in the aftermath of Katrina. I’m sure the oil companies’ profits are still doing just fine.

Interesting to note that Global gas, supposedly the cheapy gas in town, is now the most expensive.

(Figures in parentheses are prices as of last check on August 21)

Global
Regular: $2.99 (2.59)
Mid-Grade: $3.15 (2.69)
Premium: $3.27 (2.79)

Citgo
Regular: $2.85 (2.65)
Mid-Grade: $2.95 (2.75)
Premium: $3.05 (2.91)

Mobil
Regular: $2.75 (2.67)
Mid-Grade: $2.89 (2.81)
Premium: $2.99 (2.91)

Shell
Regular: $2.81 (2.68)
Mid-Grade: $2.91 (2.80)
Premium: $3.03 (2.93)

Sunoco
Regular: $2.79 (2.66)
Mid-Grade: $2.89 (2.79)
Premium: $2.99 (2.89)

What I haven’t heard explained yet is what good releasing oil from the strategic oil reserves will do if the refineries are still offline without power. And just how much damage was done to the rigs in the Gulf?

While it may seem crass to focus on oil and gasoline while so many people are suffering and dying in the Gulf coast region, I suspect that as the gas prices and shortages increase, it will finally occur to many, many people that the tragedies along the Gulf coast are not just regional. It is a tragedy that affects everyone across this country. Perhaps that would help mobilize a little more interest in getting something done? I’m appalled at the slowness of the Federal response.



 

Peeps

Tuesday, 3:29 pm

By Kate

Aug

30

2005

light rain

Peepster, our tiny Chihuahua, died this afternoon at about 3:30. He was stricken with his third bout of pneumonia in a year. The last bout did tremendous damage to his lungs and permanently weakened him. This time his entire body was ravaged by the infection. And I don’t think he wanted to fight it anymore. He gave up and let it take him rather quickly. I could sense that almost from the moment he got sick. While we hoped, I told the lad that this was probably it. We were with him when he gave his last shuddering breath.

We’re holding up, but the the lad’s heart is broken. He and his little dog grew up together. It’s a harder loss for him.

It’s been a tough year. First Stinky and now Peeps, important and beloved members of our family.


Peeps, 1996-2005



 

Katrina

Sunday, 2:50 pm

By Kate

Aug

28

2005

light cloud

I hadn’t been paying attention to Katrina—the last I’d heard it was a small hurricane and no one seemed too worried about it. All of a sudden it is a monster storm and bearing down on New Orleans. The worst possible city.

There are too many people left in NO. They can’t get out. And with the city below sea level and the levees not designed to take this kind of storm, what’s going to be left tomorrow? The flooding will be extreme with the pumps all under water. Between the wind and the flooding, it’s terrifying to think of the potential loss of life. And it’s horrible to contemplate what will happen to one of the most wonderful cities in the country.

My thoughts, prayers, and every good wish for the people of that beautiful city.

Let a miracle happen. Just one good one.



 

Discovering Cormac

Saturday, 7:03 pm

By Kate

Aug

27

2005

partly cloudy

So this morning I woke up early and didn’t really want to get up, so I reached over the side of the bed and fished around for something in my reading pile. Up came the August issue of Vanity Fair. I’d already read James Wolcott’s column, which is what I bought the magazine for. Looking over the offerings listed on the cover didn’t particularly inspire me.

Martha Stewart’s big post-prison interview. Eh.
How Elle McPherson went from Bikini Queen to Lingerie Mogul. Big Eh.
The Bitter Battle over the Jimmy Choo Shoe Empire. eh.
The Brawl that Shook the Guggenheim. Possibility.
Has Tom Cruise Lost his Marbles? snicker.
The NYPD Cops Accused of Killing for the Mob. Eh.

Well, I leafed through the magazine, kind of enjoying the ads, at least. And then I opened to a page with a familiar face staring out. Turns out the August issue holds only the second ever interview with Cormac McCarthy. And it’s not on the front cover???

Let me say that I have never read anything by Cormac McCarthy. He was a blip on my awareness scale and I know that he authored the book behind the Matt Damon movie a while ago (All the Pretty Horses). That, I have to admit, didn’t inspire me to read Cormac McCarthy.

The interview? Well, that’s a whole different universe. What a fascinating guy. A genius, I’d guess, hanging out with the intellectual elite at the Santa Fe Institute. A conservative curmudgeon among latter-day-hippie scientists, by the sounds of things. And they all get along just dandy and respect each other’s work and contribute to it, as well. He sounds like a genius who happens to write pretty well, too. Maybe even better than Faulkner.

So I visited my favorite bookstore this afternoon with the intention of correcting my Cormac McCarthy oversight. His newest hardcover book was there, No Country for Old Men, but I wanted to start nearer the beginning. I wanted Blood Meridian: Or the Evening Redness in the West and The Border Trilogy (All the Pretty Horses, The Crossing, Cities of the Plain).

After hunting for a while, I asked one of the staff if there were any Cormac McCarthy books in the store, aside from his new one. She said there might be one in the used book section, but since the Vanity Fair interview and the release of his new book, McCarthy’s older books have been flying off the shelves faster than they can restock. There’s a new batch coming in later next week.

I did find the third book of the trilogy in the used book section. As far as I know, these are easily read as stand alone books and, since it was only $4.75, I grabbed it.

After only one chapter (81 pages), I am in love with Cormac McCarthy. The man doesn’t cotton much to commas and quotation marks. The longest run on sentences connected with a string of ‘ands’ that I’ve seen in a while. But can that man write. Beautiful words and an enormous vocabulary all strung together like liquid poetry. Turning violent subjects and death into...what? From what I’ve heard, his stories emotionally wring his readers out like a sponge, and they can’t wait for more. I’m thinking now that maybe I should wait for the new books to come in so I can start from nearer the beginning. At least with the book considered his career and writing turning point —Blood Meridian. I think I want to savor these books in order.



 

Time management

Saturday, 2:31 pm

By Kate

Aug

27

2005

sunny

The lad went grudgingly off to work this afternoon. Still working at the grocery store and counting the days until his resignation’s effective date—the day after Labor Day, I believe. The store is making good use of his time until he leaves. In fact, they’ve taken the liberty, a number of times in the last three weeks, to schedule him without his knowledge or consent. And then that phone call arrives inquiring after his whereabouts and off he goes in a high state of snit. But, he likes the people he works with, particularly the floor managers who he thinks have one of the most thankless jobs on the planet and he doesn’t want to cause them grief. When an employee on their shift doesn’t show up or calls in sick, they take the heat for it. Not exactly fair, but that’s the way it works. His job has been a good introduction to the politics of the work place.

He’ll be leaving his job with good feelings all around. He’s been told that the Gold Star will be affixed to his file—which means that any time he wants to come back during vacations or next summer, his application gets first priority and immediate acceptance.

His Dad and I both argued that he needed to keep his job for as long as possible. Aside from the earnings perspective, it was just good experience. But now that the new school year is about to start, it’s time to curtail some activities. His senior year is going to be a killer with four AP classes and a couple of required electives, including drama. Plus cross-country. It’s the drama class that will eat up way too much time in relation to its value, but so it goes. I don’t think he will see the light of day until he graduates now. It is going to be a time management tightrope.

But we’ve been practicing. The one thing that he has resisted is keeping a day planner. For reasons completely unknown, he has insisted that the day planner system doesn’t work for him. It wasn’t until about mid-way through last year that he began to concede that maybe it would work if he’d try it and maybe he needed to try it. And he did with remarkable success. It’s one of those things you can tell a person until you’re blue in the face, but until they discover it on their own, it’s all a lot of wasted breath.

So now that he’s figured out the merits of day-planning, we’re working on breaking a day into blocks for various activities. Instead of entering activities and appointments into designated time slots on his day-planner, he’s experimenting with blocking off chunks of time for the coming week. It seems to be a significant enough change in process that makes the whole thing click for him.

One of the things that helped was finding my old day planner from college (yes, I keep everything). I’ve been a time block chunker from way back. It was fun for him to go through my day planner for the last two years of college to see not only what I was doing, but how I did it—how I used the syllabi to plan a semester out in advance and how I blocked off time to accommodate regular assignments, research projects, work, daily life, studying for exams, and FREE TIME. Up until this point, his attitude toward a syllabus has been that it’s just another piece of paper to deal with. “No,” I said, “it’s a free time management gift from the teacher. Treasure it.”

So, I think he’s going into the new year with some new skills and I’m hopeful. We’ll see how it works out.



 

A passel of whores

Friday, 10:24 am

By Kate

Aug

26

2005

partly cloudy

I’ve been out and about in the blog fields this morning and I came face to face with the realization that my mother’s fetish for word propriety rubbed off on me. She would smile.

The word of the day is whore. I’ve come across self-described blog whores, book whores, music whores, food whores, and a coffee whore.

But not one in-the-biblical-sense whore to my knowledge.

Because, I am sure, these fine folks would wither at the thought of calling themselves in-the-biblical-sense whores.

But attaching a qualifier to the word lends it a certain naughty dash.

I read it. I understand it. I even see a certain humor in it. But the expression still jars me no matter how qualified it is. Stodgy me, I suppose, but there it is.



 

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