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>Dream? Nightmare?

28 May

>I have got to get more sleep — otherwise things like this happen when I sit down to write:

It’s Too Early For This
When I walked into the control room, John M—-, the Star Pilot for this Jump, had a steaming mug sitting on the console in front of him and was methodically dunking what I took to be a teabag. It didn’t seem to have a tag on the end of the string but the sodden lump on the other end of the string was about the right size and color.

The Jump Co-ordinator and Preset Tech were staring at him in horror, their eyes following each slow dunk as if hypnotized.

John lifted the teabag a little higher and it twisted at the end of the string, suddenly no teabag at all, curling up towards his hand to reveal bright, mad-looking eyes and a tiny mouth filled with sharp teeth. “Oh, no you don’t” he exclaimed, hastily returning it to the hot water. He looked over at the producer. “There’s nothing like the smell of a wet mouse in the morning,” he said, as if that were explanation enough.

Lifting the creature back out of the mug, he gave it a narrow look. “That ought to learn you,” he told it. “Now stay…out…of…my…lunch!” On the last word, he flipped it toward the door, narrowly missing me. It landed in the hallway, bounced once, and tore off down the hall like — well, like a mouse who’d just been waterboarded and wanted to get as far away as possible, as quickly as possible.

And people wonder why I avoid the early shift!

It’s only a nightmare. The mouse problem in the Tech Core has never been that bad.

Plus, you can’t have open containers in the Jump Bridge, especially not when Lupine is bumping her way in and out of normal spacetime.


>Do Not RUN

16 Jan

30 GOTO 10
40 END

Just promise me the offspring won’t be allowed to run wild. Kthxbye.

(Cybrus suggests an expansion, thusly:
40 GOTO 10
100 END
I have to point out that if you encounter an immortal kangaroo, you’re still stuck in a loop. Also it requires a non-standard version of BASIC.)

It has been suggested that this is cleaner programming:

(…identical to beta s/w from here to END…)

>What A Difference A Word Makes

29 Dec

>My ISP’s home page has a news and features feed that occasionally coughs up items of interest; but you do have read the headlines, not just let them flicker by, or you’ll see:
UK Tourists Must Wait To Wax Royal Kate
Instead of:
UK Tourists Must Wait For Wax Royal Kate
Under which we learn, “Madame Tussauds wax sculpture museum said it will try to book a sitting with Middleton after her wedding on April 29 and it would then take sculptors up to four months to make the model.” Oh, that. What a relief!

>It’s Saturday?

20 Nov

>H’mm, guess it is. Everyone overslept at Roseholme Cottage this morning, even the cat. Tam tells me she’s got a massive headache; mine woke me up about 0300, but I was able to take enough analgesic to nip it in the bud.

Update: Readers were worried about carbon monoxide. I’ve been meaning to get a detector anyway and now seemed like a really good time, so I got one.

It’s plugged in and running. We’re clean and green. Remember, “headache” is pretty much my default state, since about 1996.

>The New Math

31 Oct

>So, I’m at BigBox Office Supply with $22.53 in notebook, paperclips, repositionable index tabs and drafting erasers to buy; I hand Fresh-Faced Young Man at the checkout $30 American, he rings it up and I suddenly remember I have a surplus of pennies. I rapidly dig out three cents, figuring the way my 47 cents change is now a half-dollar is a no-brainer.

Alas, it’s not. He vaporlocks. Takes the three cents and stands there, lips moving, as he attempts to take the derivative of the curve I’ve just thrown him, dy and dx circling sharklike in his brain, slashing at his thoughts while on the periphery, venerable, furious Asian men wave abacuses and yell at him, cheered on by crewcut geeks with slide rules and long-haired ones with fat, button-studded calculators. His manager’s at the other register and it’s just registered with her that Post-Teenaged Sidekick has ground to a halt. She turns and asks, “What’d she give you?” She gives me a suspicious look, thinking I have handed him a 5-Zloty* note, 14 dinars, six $2 bills and a subway token and am demanding my change in kopecks and loonies, right now.†

“Unh, thirty dollars. An’ three cents.”

“How much was it? Twenty-two fifty-three?” She disfavors him with a witheringly disgusted look, but his back is to her and I’m pretty sure he’s immune anyway. “Where do you start?”


“Put the three cents in the drawer. Now, take–“

He drops the pennies in their bin, fumbles out a one, drops it, grabs it and gives me a sheepish look.

“No! Take two quarters. Now, what’s left?”

“Er, five?

“And…? Two ones?”

Comprehension seems to dawn; he ends up holding $7.50, which he hands to me in one lump without the traditional chant of ‘Fifty makes twenny-three, two ones is twenny-five and five is thirty; with your three cents, we’re even.’

Y’know, there’s a reason for doing that, two reasons in fact, and there’s a reason why he can’t; one is to force a kind of rolling recalc and the other is to hand over the minimum number of bills by filling to the nearest five, then the nearest ten and twenty and so on. At one time, nearly every transaction ended in that comforting ritual, unless some inconsiderate high-roller was writing a check. Any more, that nifty little card-slideola right out there for the customer’s convenience allows all but the greenest of stockboys hoping to move up to get a chance helping out at the registers…as long as no one with a pocketbook fulla cash comes along and has the nerve to round up the transaction after he’s already rung the total.

…Which was a rotten trick; I can’t claim I wasn’t a bit of a jerk there but I really did think it was trivial.
* The Poles have always had some good-lookin’ paper money; they’ve mostly been able to avoid the candy-bar wrapper look in favor of serious, quality engraving.

† This list, thunk up at random, adds up to $33.48 in USD, or pretty close ($33.53 as of 0722EST 31OCT2010, the Jordanian dinar having gone up a tick or two) assuming the monetary value of the subway token is zero. My change would be, oh, ten loonies, 23 Russian rubles and 98 kopecks. Wrong! Inverted the loonie/greenback ratio. It would be eleven loonies, six Russian rubles, 14 kopecks. Or the loonies and simply 614 kopecks: 12 50s, a ten and four ones. Aw, math is hard.

>Promises, Promises

24 Oct

>Haggis could vanish due to climate change!

>Fortunes Of War?

10 Sep

>”All your base are belong to us,” the commanding officer announced, as his troops took control of the baking soda factory….