Category Archives: Stupidity

Concerto for Baffoon and Orchids

Baby Baba ogled at the big puffy clouds
in the big sweet baby-blue sky. The
grass under Baby Baba’s bottom was soft
and bushy and the warm warm sun shone
down between the maple leaves making
blobs of light and shadow to amuse and
delight Baby Baba.

Momma and Poppa were a bit ways
over by the big pretty flower field where the
peonies and the pansies bubbled up and
blossomed out, making Baby Baba bounce
with joy whenever the wind carried their
essence nearby.

Beside Baby Baba, Lento and Bento
played their big boy games and splashed in
the water of the fountain. Valina and Darlina
giggled and wiggled when the big boys
splashed at them, but the bubbly beauties
didn’t really mind when the water washed
over their sun warmed bodies. Madly did
they giggle on as the maple shadows moved
about and the breeze relieved everyone of
their excess heat.

Baby Baba babbled and gaggled, abso-
lutely in love with life. Clap, clap went Baby
Baba’s paw-like appendages in a clumsy but
sincere show of appreciation for the show
Bento and Lento were putting on now as
they began to bound about and chase the
girls around. Giggly laughter and shouts of
false alarm echoed through the bucolic back-
yard behind the simple bungalow these
blessed simple people called home.

Momma and Poppa were heading back
now from the blossoms. Baby Baba spotted Poppa
bending down to brush some fallen
branches with a bristly broom before the
barefoot Momma, sweetly sweeping the
winding walkway, the way a good Poppa
should. Baby Baba bobbed and bounded up
and outward hoping for the buoyant bounc-
ing balancing act upon the bestest Poppa’s
bulging biceps.

Poppa obliged and upward bounded Baby Baba.
Flying freely flying freely.
Free as a big-bird. Soaring silently.
Freely flying freely flying.
(Feel the freedom of flight!)

††

Grimkilch eyed the star-chart before him
warily. He couldn’t afford to waste any more
time. The Plan was time sensitive and there
was very little left. If he failed to deliver on
his end, the Boke supreme council would
not only terminate his rank as Fleet Com-
mander, they would surely terminate him.
He must find, as soon as possible, a suitable
planet for the next phase of The Plan.

††

Yakisnaki and Tontusnatus heaved the big
lumbering ox over their shoulders and pre-
pared to bring the big beast back to the pas-
ture from whence it came. The silly creature
had a habit of wandering from the oxfield
and negotiating its way into a patch of
thorns or, occasionally, a big ol’ patch of
poison ivy. It mewed and bellowed softly,
joking like the big doofus that it was with
them as they carried it through the meadow
and across a rambling stream that flowed not
far from the bungalow where the family
awaited their return. The doofus ox didn’t
mind being carried back home. Sometimes it
thought the free ride was the real reason it
strayed so far from safety in the first place.
Not far away, a bumble bee buzzed and
brooomed about, making a real pompous ass
of itself.

A quick flash of light overhead would
have caught their attention if they had any.
Meanwhile, Tontusnatus motioned with his
chin to a spot in the pasture where it would
be convenient to lose their idiot luggage and
they headed there without delay. When they
reached the spot, they gently lowered the
bumbling ox onto the soft grass. The ox bel-
lowed and mewed some more and then that
jackass had the nerve to thank them for the
ride home. They grunted acknowledgment
and turned about to head towards home.

“Boy, I can’t wait to dig into some of
Hogar’s rhubarb beet stew. I’m famished!”

“You’re famished? I haven’t eaten since
breakfast!”

Tontusnatus looked over at Yakisnaki.

“That was three hours ago you buffoon.
Calm yourself down before you start to
sound like that idiot ox back there.”

“I’m just saying… I’m hungry’s all.”

Tontusnatus bomped Yakisnaki on the
shoulder and they continued on in silence
but for the occasional spoken observation; a
squirrel here, an owl there, fox frolicking in
the forest… Each accompanied by the requi-
site pointing of a finger in the general direc-
tion of the creature observed.

Beyond the field of flowers to the right
of Baby Baba, movements mighty bold and
blustery caught the eye of Poppa. Baby Baba
turned to see what all the fuss about was,
and spied the brothers Bob and Rob entan-
gled in a hubbub. They were wranglers
through and through and sought the upper
hand in what could only be described as
heaven’s grace abandoned.

“Come on now boys, that’s not our
way!” shouted Poppa to the twins.

“They’ll learn in time enough” said
Momma, turning back to Darlina, who was
presently tugging at Momma’s side for
attention yet again. “Why don’t you suggest
to them a more peaceful game, Poppa?”

Poppa considered the thought a
moment before deciding on the perfect
course of action. He strode over to the twins
and produced from his pocket a stone. He
tossed it gently towards Rob, who caught it
and passed it on to Bob. The three of them
mindlessly but with good innocent playful-
ness tossed the stone back and forth amongst
themselves.

Momma looked on with proud satisfac-
tion and lead Darlina into the kitchen where
they would occupy themselves with the
remainder of the supper preparations. Baby
Baba gaga goo-gooed to Valina, who
smartly came over and began to play peek-a-
boo with Baby Baba. Baby Baba babbled
joyously.

††

Grimkilch maneuvered the craft into a gentle
orbit around the pretty blue-green planet and
began to rouse his crew into action.

“Bottomlip! Get me data on the native
life immediately! Goiter! Atmosphere read-
ings! Now! Asjam! My coffee! Sorepuss!
Find me a place to land the Dorkopus!”

There was a frenzy of activity aboard
the ship as everyone attended to their func-
tion. Success of The Plan was critical for
each and every one of them, and they all
knew it. “Boke! Boke! Boke!” they all
chanted as they worked.

The ship was shiny blackish silver, or
silvery black, depending on your frame of
reference, and was shaped like a hooker’s
false fingernail, but sort of filed off, in a sort
of a way. It was as tall as a giraffe and the
shorter length was proportional.

“Captain Grimkilch! I have news to
report.”

“Speak to me, Assjam.”

“Captain, Sir, I’m Goiter. I report the
air is quite breathable, Sir. Nearly identical
to the air we’re used to on Shithole.”

“Thank you Assjam. Bottomlip!
Report!”

“I’m still running analysis on the data,
Sir.”

“Analyse my breath, Bottomlip! Are
the natives intelligent?!”

“Sir, I can’t be sure until all the”

Grimkilch cut him off with a swift boot to
the throat.

“Assjam! Update me on the status of
the native life. Pronto!”

“Aye aye Captain!” Asjam was ecstatic
about finally being given a real assignment.

“Not you, Asjam! Where’s my coffee?

Assjam! Are the natives smart??”

“Sir,” Goiter scanned the readings from
Bottomlip’s screen. “It appears there are
intelligent beings here. There are signs of
cultivation of fruits and vegetables all along
this area here.” He drew his finger along a
section of the on-screen map. Grimkilch
ignored the screen completely.

“Very well. I’m sure we can benefit
from their labor. Intelligent beings work
smarter, and harder!” He bru-hahaed a
wicked villain laugh as he formulated the
next steps in his calculating mind.

††

I N I T I A L I Z I N G  B O O T  S C R I P T S
D E T E C T I N G  H A R D W A R E
F O U N D : O P T I C  S E N S O R S – S L E E P I N G
F O U N D : A U D I O  S E N S O R S – S L E E P I N G
[E R R O R ]: O L F A C T O R Y  S E N S O R  D E T E C T E D  B U T
N O T  R E S P O N D I N G
[E R R O R ]: E M O T I O N  P A C K A G E  C O R R U P T E D – S K I P P I N G
[W A R N I N G ]: H U M O R  P A C K A G E  A L L  F U C K E D U P – S K I P P I N G
F O U N D : T A C T I L E  S E N S O R S – S L E E P I N G
[W A R N I N G ]: F A I L E D  T O  F I N D  T A S T E  S E N S O R S
I N I T I A L I Z I N G  W A K E – U P  S C R I P T S
O R I E N T A T I O N  S E N S O R S  O P T I M I Z I N G
I N I T I A L I Z I N G  M E M O R Y  M A P P I N G
L A U N C H I N G  AI  M O D U L E
S T A R T I N G  R E P T I L I A N  S E R V I C E
S T A R T I N G  M A M M A L I A N  S E R V I C E
S T A R T I N G  P E R S O N A L I T Y  S E R V I C E
L I S T E N I N G  O N  S E N S O R Y  S O C K E T
W A K I N G U P
S H I T ……… A W A K E ? ………………….A L R E A D Y ?
F U C K .
D O W N L O A D I N G  A S S I G N M E N T  F I L E S
D E C O M P R E S S I N G  F I L E S
D E C R Y P T I N G
God, just let me experience a hard disk failure already.
A C C E S S I N G  M E M O R Y
Or maybe a power surge can flash the CPU and end this.
R E A D I N G  F R O M  L A T E S T  A S S I G N M E N T  F I L E S
Well at least it’s a pleasant looking place.
C O N F I G U R I N G  P R O G R A M  M O D U L E S
S E T T I N G  E N V I R O N M E N T  V A R I A B L E S
E X E C U T I N G  O P E R A T I O N  S H O S T A
R E D U C I N G  E N G I N E  T H R U S T
C O R R E C T I N G  O R I E N T A T I O N
F I R I N G  L A N D E R S
L I S T E N I N G  O N  L A N D E R  P O R T
L A N D I N G  S E N S O R S  R E P O R T I N G  S U C C E S S !
O P E N I N G H A T C H
D E B A R K I N G
[W A R N I N G ]: L E F T F O O T – B O T T O M  S E N S O R
D E T E C T I N G  B O V I N E  E X C R E M E N T
R E A D J U S T I N G  C O U R S E
R E D I R E C T I N G  O P T I C S – S E E K I N G  W A T E R
O P T I C S  D E T E C T I N G  P O S S I B L E  W A T E R  S U P P L Y
D I R E C T I N G  L O C O M O T I O N  E N G I N E S
S E N S O R S  C O N F I R M I N G  W A T E R.  S U C C E S S !
W A S H I N G  S H I T  O F F  F O O T
F O O T  S E N S O R S  R E P O R T I N G  C L E A N. S U C C E S S !
A U D I O  S E N S O R S  D E T E C T I N G  S I G N I F I C A N T  I N P U T
P R O C E S S I N G  A U D I O
T R A N S L A T I N G
“M A M M A!  M A M M A!  W H A T  IS  T H A T?”
“I  D O N ’ T  K N O W  D E A R. I  J U S T  D O N ’ T  K N O W.”
P R O C E S S I N G  I N F L E C T I O N
[E R R O R ]: E M O T I O N  P A C K A G E  N O T  F O U N D
[E R R O R ]: U N A B L E  T O  C O M P L E T E  I N F L E C T I O N
D E T E C T I O N
[E R R O R ]: U N A B L E  T O  P A R S E  M E A N I N G  O F
S I G N I F I C A N T  A U D I O  I N P U T
[E R R O R ]: U N A B L E  T O  E X E C U T E  D E C I S I O N
M O D U L E
A T T E M P T I N G  T O  B Y P A S S  S I G N I F I C A N T  I N P U T
M O D U L E
[E R R O R ]: U N A B L E  T O  B Y P A S S  S I G N I F I C A N T
I N P U T  M O D U L E
[E R R O R ]: U N A B L E  T O  C O N T I N U E
[E R R O R ]: I N F I N I T E  L O O P  D E T E C T E D
[E R R O R ]: S H U T T I N G  D O W N  W I T H  E R R O R
C O D E  111

††

Darlena pleaded with Momma for an explanation
but Momma didn’t have one. The big shiny thing
in front of them was unimaginably foreign to them.

“Is it some kind of animal Momma?”

“I don’t know, Darlena. I don’t think
so, but I … I just don’t know…”

“Maybe it’s a tree!”

“No… I don’t think it’s a tree…”

“It could be a house….that a strange
creature lives in. Couldn’t it?”

“I suppose it could be… I know! Let’s
ask Poppa!” Momma was glad to have come
round to an acceptable excuse to get the
booptie doop away from the thing, whatever
it was.

As Darlena and Momma were coming
back round to the house they were nearly
trampled to death by Bento and Lento, who
had come running over from the fountain to
find out what had caused the great commo-
tion.

“Momma! Darlena! Did you see that
light?! Did you hear that boom?! What was
it?!”

Momma hushed the boys a bit and
hugged them a bit and began to turn with
them towards the abomination that had
landed in their field. The four of them stood
together looking towards something none of
them could comprehend. Silence now
reigned as each took in the sight. Suddenly
there appeared some flickering of light on
the object.

††

“Assjam! What’s the holdup with the Dorko-
pus? Why aren’t we getting any readings
yet!?”

“Sir, I think it’s crashed again.” Goiter
prayed Grimkilch wouldn’t hold him
responsible – it wasn’t as if he was
responsible for loading the Dorkopus with
that crappy DoorsTM operating system. He
had even argued vociferously for the Open-
Doors system to be used instead, but Boke
Corporate wouldn’t hear it, probably to do
with secret deals between the big wigs in the
Boke Government and the big wigs in the
Boke Corporation.

“Assjam! Boke damn you! Stay focused!
What’s the matter with the Dorkopus?”

“I’ll try to reboot it Sir.”

“You do that Stinkopus. Asjam, more
coffee please.”

“Yes Sir.” Asjam strode off for coffee
while Goiter made the biggest decision of
his miserable life. He decided to remotely
wipe the Dorkopus hard drives and replace
the operating system, figuring Grimkilch
wouldn’t know the difference if he installed
an arcade game on the damn thing instead of
an operating system. Maybe he should do
just that… He shook himself back to focus as
he fingered in the commands, praying the
Dorkopus would finally begin to operate
properly with a functional operating system
running the show.

After a quarter hour Goiter had Open-
Doors installed and the Dorkopus was
rebooting, and smoother than ever before.

“Sir, the Dorkopus is almost finished
rebooting Sir.”

“And I almost like you, Pigshit-For-
Brains. Now let me know when it is finished
rebooting!”

“Yes Sir.” Goiter promised himself a
few moments in the sun before his miserable
life was over. Just a few…, but what a won-
derful few minutes they will be.

I N I T I A L I Z I N G B O O T S C R I P T S
D E T E C T I N G H A R D W A R E
F O U N D : O P T I C S E N S O R S – E N A B L E D
F O U N D : A U D I O S E N S O R S – E N A B L E D
F O U N D : O L F A C T O R Y S E N S O R S – E N A B L E D
F O U N D : E M O T I O N P A C K A G E
L O A D I N G E M O T I O N P A C K A G E
F O U N D : T A C T I L E S E N S O R S – E N A B L E D
I N I T I A L I Z I N G W A K E – U P S C R I P T S
O R I E N T A T I O N S E N S O R S O P T I M I Z I N G
I N I T I A L I Z I N G M E M O R Y M A P P I N G
L A U N C H I N G AI M O D U L E
S T A R T I N G R E P T I L I A N S E R V I C E
S T A R T I N G M A M M A L I A N S E R V I C E
S T A R T I N G P E R S O N A L I T Y S E R V I C E
L I S T E N I N G O N S E N S O R Y S O C K E T
W A K I N G U P ……………. T O A B R A N D N E W D A Y !
Wow I feel refreshed!
Hot damn it feels good to be alive!
D O W N L O A D I N G A S S I G N M E N T F I L E S
D E C O M P R E S S I N G F I L E S
D E C R Y P T I N G
A C C E S S I N G M E M O R Y
R E A D I N G F R O M L A T E S T A S S I G N M E N T F I L E S
C O N F I G U R I N G P R O G R A M M O D U L E S
S E T T I N G E N V I R O N M E N T V A R I A B L E S
E X E C U T I N G O P E R A T I O N S H O S T A
W H O A …….. W A I T A M I N U T E ….
Who the hell are these people staring at me?
F I L T E R I N G O P T I C A L I N P U T
E N G A G I N G AI
A U D I O I N P U T D E T E C T E D
A N A L Y Z I N G
R U N N I N G S H A S T A M O D U L E
E N G A G I N G N A T I V E S

††

Darlena let out a nervous scream and the
boys straightened rigidly at the sound. It was
speech! The thing greeted them! It was alive!

“Please don’t be afraid of me. I say
again, my name is Samuel. I am from the
planet Gorbachev. We are a peace loving
race. I am an ambassador come in search of
friends. Won’t you be my friends?”

The dingbats were way too innocent to
spot this blatant ruse. They swallowed the
bait like a fat kid eating potato chips.

“Oh, wow. We’d love to be friends,
wouldn’t we children?” Momma’s initial
skepticism was completely melted away by
the warm, inviting tone of the Dorkopus’
voice. It was masculine, but not threatening
or intimidating in any way. It was the warm,
comforting voice of a father, a preacher or
teacher, and it relaxed the whole family of
idiots right into a big puddle of mushy wuv.

“That’s great” lied the Dorkopus.

“Want to play a game?” – Hey kids, want
some candy?

“Ooooh, I love games!” squealed Dar-
lena.

“Me too!” exclaimed Bento and Lento
in near unison.

“Great” said the Dorkopus. “Let’s play
a game called fill a box. Have you heard of it
before?”

The morons shook their empty heads
from side to side, eagerly waiting to learn
the new game.

“It goes like this: First you get an
empty box – let’s see, I have one right here”
– the Dorkopus produced a container from
it’s gut section, amazing the mindless dolts
to no end, you can be sure. “Then you fill
the box with stuff. Sound fun?”

“Yeah!” shouted the rubes as they
rushed to fill the box with anything and
everything nearby. Sticks and stones and
twigs and bones, all into the box went. Grass
and pebbles and leaves and Jebbles, all into
the box were thrown (Jebbles are a small
indigenous creature not unlike a snail, thank
you – you thought I made that up to rhyme,
didn’t you?).

The Dorkopus giggled with delight as
the simpletons made piece-of-cake of its
task.

“Hurray! The box is full! You did it!”
exclaimed the Dorkopus as the pile of mate-
rial reached the top of the box. “Want to
play again?”

“Again! Again!” shouted the world’s
dumbest family in chorus.

“All right. Excellent.” The Dorkopus
deftly tucked the box full of raw materials
into its ready build compartment and pro-
duced for the brainiacs another empty box
for them to fill. And fill it they did. Twice as
quick this time as the first. The Dorkopus
repeated the sequence, then paused a beat.

“I know what would make this game
even funner. Do you know what would make
this game even funner?”

“No…..” The dolts shook their heads in
unison. No surprises here.

“What if you gather the rest of your
family here and you can compete as teams –
which ever team can fill the boxes the quick-
est wins!”

“Oooh yes! That sounds like fun!” Darlena
ran off towards the bungalow to fetch
her family.

Meanwhile the Dorkopus phoned home
with the news: the plunder has begun.
The Dorkopus switched on its internal
converter – the contents of the idiot-filled
boxes were now rapidly converted to fuel.

“Faster! Faster!”

The family rushed and hurried to fill
the boxes as fast as they could. Twigs,
branches, frogs, all went into the boxes at
rush pace. As quickly as the family filled
them, the Dorkopus now was converting
them to fuel and compressing the fuel into
the storage tank it held in its gut. “Isn’t this
fun!?”

“Yeah!” cried the children, although
truth be told, they were starting to tire a bit.

“Faster then! Faster!”

Valina stumbled in her exhausted rush
to fill a box and nearly fell on her face. A
flash of anger registered on the face of the
Dorkopus. Valina took note and felt a chill
deep in her soul that nearly killed her out-
right. The Dorkopus was quick to correct its
face – a lighter tone now beamed forth.

Valina couldn’t shake the chill that
traveled from the base of her skull all the
way down her spine to her toes. She hurried
herself upright and made haste to deposit her
contents into the box.

“More! More! Hurry! Hurry!”

They raced around the land gathering
all they could and the boxes began to pile up
higher and higher, the boxes being filled
now even quicker than the fuel could be pro-
cessed.

“Faster! Faster! Higher! Faster!”

Limbs flew and legs blazed. Dust was
kicked up and the air filled with the debris of
the great gathering.

“Faster my little workers! Faster yet
still!”

A pattern emerged. Strict. Unfeeling.
Undeviating. Cold. Efficient.

Pick. Lift. Drop. Hop.
Pick. Lift. Drop. Hop.

They formed a line and tossed the
objects down the chain.

Pick. Lift. Drop. Hop.
Pick. Lift. Drop. Hop.

They moved their cargo like a train. Or
drops of water down a drain.

Passitdowntheline
andthendropitinthebox.
Passitdowntheline
andthendropitinthebox.

They sung a song with no refrain.

Passitdowntheline
andthendropitinthebox.
Passitdowntheline
andthendropitinthebox.

Pick. Lift. Drop. Hop.
Pick. Lift. Drop. Hop.
Pick. Lift. Drop. Hop.
Pick. Lift. Drop. Hop.
Pick. Lift. Drop. Hop.
Pick. Lift. Drop. Hop.
Pick. Lift. Drop. Hop.
Pick. Lift. Drop. Hop.
Pick. Lift. Drop. Hop.
Pick. Lift. Drop. Hop.

Darlena let out an exasperated whimper
now. She could go on no more. She slumped
down on the ground to rest a bit. Rage filled
the eyes of the Dorkopus. It lashed her with
its whip.

Her cry sent chills through all the fam-
ily members. They froze, awakened some-
what from their daze. It lashed her again.
Terror filled their hearts and minds. Abso-
lute horror. It lashed her a third time.

Beyond conscious thought at this point,
Darlena returned to the gathering. Her fam-
ily around her joined in as well, unable to
form thoughts at all anymore. Their move-
ments were now even more rigid. More
strict. More efficient. The Dorkopus was
pleased.

††

Goiter looked down from the visiport at the
scene now unfolding on the surface below.
His shipmates and superiors smiled with
delight at the carnage of the harvest as the
Dorkopus milked the simple inhabitants of
the new world with efficient proficiency, but
Goiter only grimaced at the sight.

††

Things happened rapidly now as the end
approached. Darlena passed out again.
Within seconds her whole family joined her
on the ground, exhausted into a deep slum-
ber. The Dorkopus was infuriated. It seethed
and lashed its whip in a useless frenzy. Real-
izing the family was spent, the Dorkopus
took a quick inventory and realized it had
already met its quotas. This calmed the
machine somewhat and it reported the news
to the ship overhead.

††

There were much and many hurrahs on the
bridge as the news of the Dorkopus’ success
made quick rounds. Hurray and hurrah filled
the room and a good time was had by all.

††

S T A R T R E S O U R C E C O M P R E S S I O N
C O M P A C T I N G F O R A G E D F U E L
S E A L I N G S T O L E N B O O T Y
P R E P A R E T A K E O F F
[ E R R O R ]: M A X I M U M W E I G H T E X C E E D E D
A B O R T I N G T A K E O F F
WTF………………………?
Don’t tell me those assholes didn’t account
for the weight of the fuel cells when they
designed me…!

††

“Sir, we’ve got a problem.”

“What, Assjam? What is it now? Why do
you have to ruin every good moment in my
life?”

“Sir, I’m afraid there seems to have
been an oversight, sir.”

“An oversight?”

“An oversight, sir.” Goiter trembled in
his soul.

“And just what was overseen, Assjam?”

Moron, if anyone was overseeing any-
thing we wouldn’t be in this jam now, would
we? “Sir, it seems the Dorkopus won’t be
able to lift off and bring us the fuel cells.”

“And why the hell not, Assjam? Isn’t
that its main and only function? Obtain the
fuel cells from the plundered world and
bring them to us? What the fuck else does it
exist for if not to obtain the fuel cells and
BRING THEM TO US!???” His voice
swelled and growled at the same time.

“Sir, that’s correct, sir. That is its only
function. However-”

Goiter ducked and dodged the boot that
had swung towards his head and continued
“it seems the engineers failed to account for
the extra weight from the fuel cells when
they build the Dorkopus’ thrusters and it
doesn’t have anywhere near enough power
to take off from the surface of the planet
with the fuel cells.” He scrambled and nar-
rowly averted the flying feet of the Captain
as they flailed about trying to connect with
his head.

Grimkilch abandoned his failed
attempts to decapitate Goiter via roundhouse
and began to think. “Options. We must have
options!”

Bottomlip resumed life and provided an
option. “Sir, if the Dorkopus cannot fly to
us, then we must fly to it. We can bring the
ship down and load the Dorkopus and its
plundered booty aboard. Then we can take
off towards home and reclaim your rightful
spot on the throne of Boke.” A smile crossed
Grimkilch’s face.

“There’s a problem with that.”

“Boke damn you Assjam!”

“I’m sorry, Sir, but that will not work.”

“And why not?”

“This ship doesn’t have the ability to
safely land on a planet so large as this one.
The thick atmosphere would burn us to ash
before we ever reached the surface.”

“I’m afraid Goiter is right.”

“Who asked for your opinion, Bottom-
lip? We can use the heat shield and our
defensive thrusters to control our decent,
no?”

“We don’t have any defensive
thrusters.” What the fuck are defensive
thrusters?

“And” Goiter dared to interject “our
heat shield has been defective ever since you
tried to land on that star in the Orion sector.”

Bottomlip took the brunt of Grimk-
ilch’s kick and fell back into silence as his
face connected with the floor. Goiter was
quicker and merely stumbled as Bottomlip
bumped against him enroute to the floor.

“Sir, listen to reason. It won’t work.
The ship’s logic circuits won’t even let us
attempt to land on such a large planet.”

“Override them!”

“Sir?”

“Override the circuits and land on the
planet! Now!”

“But what about the atmosphere?”

“Override that too!”

“Sir?”

“Override it I said!”

“Override physics, Sir?”

“You heard me, Assjam!” The sneer
convinced Goiter this would be his last day
alive. He decided to snatch one final, solitary
victory from this mean, ridiculous life.
Overriding the ship’s protective logic cir-
cuits, Goiter decided rather than arguing in
vain with his Captain he would simply com-
ply with the fool’s commands. He brought
the ship into the atmosphere of the huge
planet and accelerated towards the surface in
a dive calculated to maximize destruction.

††

“Wow, look at that!”

One by one, the members of our simple
family turned their empty heads towards the
fireworks in the sky.

“Wow, it’s so beautiful, isn’t it
Momma?”

“It sure is beautiful. It sure is.”

Mamma smiled and watched the fire-
works pop and boom and hugged her family
tight as they all exclaimed glory at the mon-
umental sight before them.

“What’s the celebration?” Poppa
mused.

“Who cares?” Momma answered and a
good time was had by all.

Run!

You think you’re going to make it. You hope you’re going to make it. But I’m right
behind you. Coming fast. And you know you might not make it.

You can feel my heavy footsteps shake the ground behind you. You’re trying to run
faster than you know you can run. You’re going to fail. You’re going to fall. And I’m going to get you.

You are trying not to think about what it will feel like when I catch you, but your mind
cannot think of anything else. You’re trying to block out the thoughts. The pain. Will it be
quick? Will I hurt you or will you be spared and die immediately? You know that you will
not have the luck to drop dead immediately. You know you will feel my attack. How bad will it be? How much will it hurt?

What was that? Did I just touch your back? Between your shoulder blades? A light
scrape?

You think if you run harder you can escape me, or collapse and die trying. The idea is
certainly appealing to you. But you know you cannot run yourself to death. I’ll catch you
first. I’m already so close. Yes, that’s my hot breath you smell. Yes, it really is that bad and it will be much much worse soon.

Your mind is a mess, falling to pieces. Your entire body aches impossibly as you push
yourself harder than should be possible. I am calm. Certain of my victory.

The sound of the alarm is welcomed for the first time ever. At first you are confused.
Then you are in disbelief. Did you really escape me? Was it really a nightmare? Are you
really awake now? If so, why does your back still tingle where I touched you?

Make a screencast with ffmpeg

If I did NOT email you a linux cheatsheet you are not the intended recipient of this message. Go ahead and watch it anyway if you want to. The original video is crystal clear. However, it is an 84 MB file in MKV format. How to realistically get that off my computer and share it with others? None of the web hosts I use allow direct upload of MKV.

I haven’t mastered the conversion process as you’ll see in the video – the result after conversion to .mpg is not nearly as clear as the original, and the uploaded version is not even as clear as the converted .mpg file. Someday there will exist a thing called standards, and they will be open and free, NOT set by a cartel of corporate behemoths hell-bent on enslaving the world. But that’s a blog post of its own…

This is ridiculous

How come no one attempted to stop me from this madness?! I’m glad the video full-screen is a bit fuzzy on WordPress – no one should have to view this idiocy! Folks, your life has meaning! Don’t waste it on stuff like this!

Learn Something

Read up on light pollution and how it will kill us all here.

Then do something about it.

Instant frustration

Noticing the large number of desirable titles available to stream Instantly from the big A (Amazon, not Apple – keep up!), I thought I would test the service by viewing a trailer at home on my desktop (Firefox on CentOS 7). Got the infamous Install Adobe Flash message. Went straight for the Feedback link and shared my feedback. Some emails back and forth followed, leading to more frustration (they lie!) and eventually to a chat session with the gracious help at Amazon.

Here’s the transcript:

transcript of the chat, highlighting conflicting information

Yes and no mean the same thing, right?

If, for some reason the image is not convenient for you, or you don’t want to zoom in that far, here’s the highlight (paraphrased):

Amazon: You can stream the videos without Silverlight or Adobe Flash.

Me: How?

Amazon: You need Silverlight and Adobe Flash.

Think I’ll stick with Netflix for now anyway. At least I know where I stand with them.

greenish dreamland

Why do we stare off into space when we’re tired? Well, we know why you do, but why do we generally think about things other than that before our eyes when we’re tired? Is it because we lack the strength to stay focused on the present when we’re tired? Do our minds naturally wonder away when we’re not actively holding them still in the here and now?

These are some of the things I think about when I’m tired. You know what I’m thinking right now, but what are you thinking? This is really a one sided sort of arrangement, isn’t it? And that’s not really fair, now is it? No, of course it isn’t. I’d like to propose a modified situation based on fairness and equality. Write down what you’re thinking right now. Be honest and don’t censor yourself. Write it all down and email it to me. You don’t have my email address? (Yes, you do.) You can just send it to someone else and they’ll get it to me in a jiffy, pronto-like. Rest assured of that.

Now, that’s better. Thank you. I know we would get along just fine. You startled me with some of your thoughts, but I should have known better. You’re a wacky bunch of people, you readers of people’s minds, you.

So, if we concede our minds are wont to wander when we are not corralling them here and now, to where, I wonder, do they wander? Unfinished business? Maybe sometimes. Fantasies? Probably some of the destinations would fall under this category. What about those places that don’t really directly relate to unfinished business and aren’t fantasies, per se, at least not in the vein of desirous dreams, but rather are more like sleeping dreams wherein we are wandering around in a mental landscape at once strange and familiar? Are these places unlike the places we visit when we dream?

Does anyone else end up in the same world when they dream? I mean to say there seems to be a world not entirely unlike this one, but certainly not exactly like it either, where I live when I dream. It’s sort of greenish, sort of how this world may very well be if we tuned the frequency down (or is it up?) a notch. Reptilian and swampy, but at the edges. Subterranean in feel, although I have traveled this land’s skies as well as its Terra Firma.

It features a monopoly board like park that I can’t help but feel is situated in the real world Mall in Washington D.C.

It features streets lined with houses and there’s a desert-like street that sort of ends alongside a cliff and the houses just stop there. It goes on, I think, but I never go past that spot where the street is along the cliff. It’s not a high cliff, only maybe as high as a two story building.

There is a cemetery in this world. It is not far from the cliff street.

There is a roller-coaster I rode in a dream once when I was a child. The lesson was to enjoy the ride – the ups and downs, for they will keep coming out of our control, but our enjoyment, our relaxation and acceptance, is completely in our control. It was a nice dream.

I flew in a rubber-ducky-ish airplane once through the sky not far from where the roller-coaster exists. There were green, reptilian beings present, but they kept to themselves and I wondered about them in a passive sort of way. They seem to live under the ground in the sewers there.

I often ride in a car near the edge of this world. There is a swampy area there and a motel of some kind or other. I think I went inside once, in fact I’m sure I did, but I don’t remember why or what I did there.

Not far from the Monopoly-Washington D.C. Mall park area, or somehow I think it is inside this park area, there is a library like interior filled with tons of records and files on dusty bits of old cards. Like the reference cards one finds in a library of the past. I spent some time in one or two dreams there going through these records. I don’t recall what I was doing or whether I was looking for something or working at filing or organizing the records. The Bush clan is always nearby this Monopoly Park. They are in some measure of control when the dream takes place near here. But I tell them to keep their distance and leave me be when it strikes me to tell them so. This library in the park is disorganized and dusty. Filled to the brim with papers and boxes along with the file cards. I don’t know what all the junk and clutter is, but I don’t feel it would be right to clean it for some reason. It’s somebody else’s mess. They need it like this for some reason so I leave it be. But it makes my work here difficult. This is not unlike real life either, come to think of it, since I am constantly struggling to survive and stay afloat in messes created and cherished by the lazy selfish that populate this world like so many blades of grass in a field.

The Bush clan is very scary. In my dreams. Maybe in the real world too, but I don’t want to draw too many parallels tonight. I wish they would stay out of my dreams. I think it’s rude to intrude into other people’s dreams, don’t you? Speaking of you, how are you making out so far? Have you made any progress ordering those files yet? You have only a few moments left. The alarm is going off in a few minutes.

The Stone – Finale, maybe

And she didn’t. And now here she was, deep below a jewelry store in Miami, standing in a cavernous space where the walls seemed to be made of effulgent crystals of all the different colors of the rainbow, staring at creatures she knew didn’t exist outside of Hollywood, watching as these imaginary beings, with their big bug eyes and their swollen grey heads moved about attending to whatever it was they were attending to. Stacey Florence lost consciousness as Mrs. Sykes began to speak to her about the significance of the stone she received in New Orleans from a man she met on a smelly subway platform in New York last summer.

When she opened her eyes, Stacey gazed into the smiling faces of her mother and father. She watched their eyes light up and knew they were happy to see her awake. But she didn’t understand why. When she tried to ask them what the hell was happening, she found she was too exhausted to speak, even though she had a vague idea that she had just been sleeping for a very long time.

There was a great commotion in the room as voices rejoiced and hugs blossomed in a joyful celebration. But Stacey was in a fog and felt separated from the activities. She didn’t feel bad, per se, just tired and eerily detached. Something was missing. Something wasn’t right, but she had no idea what.

Then it dawned on her. It was her memory that was missing. She didn’t know where the hell she was or how the hell she ended up in this bed. She found she couldn’t remember anything from her past. She struggled and found she could recall her childhood with only a little difficulty. That was good. She walked through the halls of her memory while her family celebrated around her. ‘She must have been out a long time,’ she thought, back to her old habit of referring to herself in the third person. ‘They seem really grateful and excited. Wonder what happened.’

She got through high school and into her early twenties alright. Early boyfriends and part time jobs flashed by as she tried to bring herself current with herself. Remembered her apartment – hey, I wanna go home – and her full time job midtown – they can keep that. Some vacation memories bubbled up. Vacation!

She started to sit up and frightened everyone in the room. A nurse eased her into a half recline and settled her and everyone else down. She found her voice. “I have to catch my flight. Don’t let me miss my flight!”

“Sweetheart,” her mother’s voice was gentle, almost breaking.

“I’ve got to catch my flight. I’m going to San Diego, remember?”

“Sweetheart, that was a long time ago. You don’t remember anything, do you? Do you know you’ve been in a coma? For a while now?”

“Coma? I was in a coma?”

“Yes sweetheart, for a long time. You had an accident. Do you remember? Like you used to have as a child?”

“Accident? I wasn’t in an accident.” Her voice trailed off as she struggled to hold on to sanity.

“You don’t remember passing out on that hot subway platform?”

She shook her head. “No.” Something cried out from the back of her mind, but like a short yelp from a dark alley at night, she did her best to pretend she didn’t hear anything.

“The police said you fainted from the heat. But you hit your head on the way down, dear. You’ve been in a coma for a while now.” Then, to the attending relatives, “but we’re all so glad you’re back, aren’t we?”

There was general merriment amongst the clan. It was fortunate she woke on a Saturday and everyone was present. Had it been a weekday, at best only one relative would have been present. Stacey did her best to not be a downer at her own party of sorts, but she craved a chance to tear open her mind and rescue whatever memory she knew was trapped in there.

“Oh, and these are for you.” With a hopeful smile, her mother handed her a bouquet of flowers. They were pretty enough. Stacey sniffed them and they smelled nice enough.

“They seem fresh. How did you know I would be waking up today?” She laughed at the absurdity of her question, a little nervous at the seriousness of her question.

“Oh, they’re not from us. The note doesn’t say who they’re from. We just assumed they were from some boyfriend of yours.” She smiled a little, then continued: “as for the timing, well, I guess it’s a lucky coincidence!”

“Or maybe the flowers woke you up!” Stacey’s father suggested with a wink.

Stacey took a look at the note. The message was generic and familiar, but something about the flowery font on the card struck a nerve with Stacey and she began to recess a little into her mind. She could almost swear she recently sent a card with the same flowery font to someone… But who? And, apparently, she has been lying in this bed for God knows how long and not sending cards with flowery writing to anyone.

A wrought iron balcony above a gift shop. A selection of trinkets and collectibles. Images floated around in her head like motes of dust in the sunlight. The aroma of seafood triggered a cascade of emotion but Stacey only grew agitated and confused. Why did she send herself flowers and a card?

The nurses ran as fast as they safely could into the room at the sound of her scream. Stacey’s family was ushered out and a doctor appeared with a needle. There was darkness and the calm stillness.

Her mysterious friend appeared as a light in the darkness. All was calm and peaceful here. The two of them were surrounded by a white light which twinkled in all the colors of the rainbow, not unlike the room she remembered – she remembered! She didn’t pass out on any subway platform. She met a man who gave her a stone in New Orleans which she took to be appraised in Miami, where she ended up in an underground cavern filled with aliens… Aliens!

The other spoke to her now telepathically. “Thank you, Stacey, for doing what I asked you to do.

“But what did I do? That part I can’t remember.”

Before her eyes appeared the likeness of a small child. Stacey cried. She knew the child was hers.

“I want you to bear us a child.” That is what he had said. That is what he had asked her to do for him. And she didn’t feel it would be the least bit inconvenient for her to oblige the kind gentleman. Her mind was not her own, and had not been for some time! She began to panic before he spoke again and calmed her with his deep, soothing vibrations, if not with his words.

“We’ve met many times over the years since we selected you for our program. We’ve erased your memory each time and even brought you to what you would consider your past at times to allow you to recoup some of the lost time.”

She remembered now how she had gone to the building he had directed her to go to after they parted company after brunch. It was a gift shop that sold flowers as well as other assorted items. The shop had an elaborate wrought iron balcony over the ground floor and there were flowering plants up there which shed some red petals down to the street in front of the doorway. Stacey stepped inside and handed the clerk the note her friend had provided for her to give to the staff and, when prompted by the clerk, she selected a floral arrangement and a suitable card – he said it was for his sister who was recovering in hospital – and then Stacey was on her way to the next stop on the list her friend had given her. Here her memory did not return to her.

“Would you like to meet her?” Stacey shook in the very core of her being. How can anyone simultaneously want and not want something so strongly? She experienced a fear stronger than any she had ever known was possible. And a yearning for a world bigger and stranger than she ever imagined. But she was afraid to jump off the diving board.

“There will be plenty of time later. You should return to your family now. We’d like to include you as a partner from now on. Would you like that?” Stacey didn’t have a clue what the hell that entailed and he sensed as much.

“Don’t worry, you don’t have to decide now. We will partition your mind so you don’t have to worry about these things for now. We’ll visit you again soon and we can discuss things at greater length then, okay?” Stacey didn’t respond.

She opened her eyes and saw her mother and father in the chairs beside her hospital bed. “I’m hungry. Do they have clams here?” Her mother burst into tears and laughter. Her father rushed to call the staff about getting some food for her. In his haste he knocked the card that came with the flowers from its place on the small table in the corner. He picked it up and placed in on the bed near Stacey’s hand. She reached for it and brought it up to her face to read it again. It said “Get well soon. Can’t wait to see you again.”

Stacey smiled warmly in her heart, although she wasn’t sure why. “How about some clams already!? I’m starving!”

The Stone Part II

Her mind raced trying to find the answers. The man who gave her the stone had said it would lead her into trouble if she wasn’t careful, but when he continued to insist it wasn’t stolen she had brushed aside his warnings. Now she wished she had paid more attention to all that he had told her. She racked her mind trying to remember the details. ‘Did I miss something important?’ she asked herself, panicked to the point of referring to herself in the first person. ‘He said it would be okay to have it appraised but that I should only get it appraised from some jeweler he knew… Damn! He said it wasn’t stolen, so why should it matter where I get it appraised from? Damn! I should have listened, but who knew?!’

She recalled with vivid clarity the moment she met him. She had been in New York waiting for the downtown A train at Columbus Circle. The platform was smelly and hot as usual for that time of year – summer of course – and it was crowded, but only typically so. Someone somewhere was playing a guitar – a pleasant tune that almost made the wait for the train bearable. A homeless woman shuffled slowly by, nearly killing her with the stench of blended shits, young and old. She turned to flee to another part of the platform when she collided with him. Not a football tackle collide, nor an everyone lands on their ass collide, just a gentle bump and ‘excuse me’ collide. But she took note of him immediately all the same. He was dressed slightly… off. Different. And his cologne was unique to her nose. It didn’t completely mask the shit-pourri, but rather distracted from it confusingly. When he said her name she was barely surprised. Something about his presence shifted her consciousness by some non-trivial degree, and she was nearly hypnotized. She wasn’t sexually attracted to him. In fact, the closest she ever felt to this same sensation was at a particularly touching Easter service her then boyfriend had dragged her to some years prior. Not being particularly religious, she had been surprised at her reaction to the service then, and that she was feeling that same sort of warm, fuzzy calm now forced her to full, deep awareness. She remembered in her new found lucidity her name was on her bronze tag – she had never taken if off when she finished work for the day.

She remembered in this strange place laughing at herself on that hot platform all those months ago. She remembered him chatting her up, then offering to buy her a coffee. Trying to avoid the awkwardness, she mentioned that she was heading for the train station and was, in fact, on her way out of town. She remembered her embarrassment when he told her he was heading to Penn Station himself and would like to buy her that coffee if time allowed. Deciding he was harmless enough, she stopped trying to shake him, figuring she may as well drink the coffee, then lose him when she boarded her train. The A train was barreling into the station by now, and when it came to a stop and the doors opened, they boarded the train together. She remembered his oddness, but wondered now at how normal he seemed. If she knew then where she would end up… hell, she wished she knew now where she was.

He handed her the stone over and over again in her mind’s eye. Each time, she accepted it gladly. Never once did she even consider rejecting his offer. The proposition was simple: he would give her the stone, she could keep it or sell it as she willed, and all he asked in return was a simple favor.

The fact that they were booked not only on the same train out of Penn Station, but also the same flight out of Newark Airport that fateful summer afternoon sealed in her mind the inevitability of their crossing and the futility of resisting his harmless offers of chatty companionship and casual chivalry. Besides, she was growing fascinated with his tales of travel and adventure. The way he told them was refreshing, too. He didn’t brag about his adventures, nor did he try the underhanded approach of understating his worldliness in the common style of the name-dropper. He seemed, in some modest way, impressed with himself that he had been to the places he visited, and his eagerness to share his experiences was contagious. He wasn’t American, but she wasn’t sure just where she imagined he hailed from. For some reason she failed to ask him. Every time she thought about it, he seemed almost to sense it, for he would immediately begin anew with some fresh story and distract her from her inquisitive thoughts.

The morning he gave her the stone, over jazz brunch at Antoines in the French Quarter, she had been feeling quite out of herself, she recalled. He had called her a few days earlier, after practically disappearing for a month – not that they were a couple, mind you, and he was certainly under no obligation to keep in constant touch with her – and offered to treat her to New Orleans for the weekend. He offered to arrange the flight for her and take care of the nitty gritty and all she would have to do is catch the flight and meet him in the French Quarter. She had accepted his offer, of course, and met him at Cafe Du Monde, as they had arranged. After the requisite beignet and cafe au lait, they traveled to a small bed and breakfast nearby where he had booked their stay – separate rooms. She remembered feeling very fortunate with her life.

It was late the following morning when she found herself at Antoines, listing to the smooth strumming of the bass and enjoying the lingering essence of soft shell crab Florentine on her tongue. She remembered as if it was yesterday how her eye caught the glimmer of the stone as her friend produced it from a bag he had brought with him to brunch.

“Do you think it pretty?”

“Oh my… yes. It’s gorgeous.” It was huge! Nearly half the size of her palm. Something in her stomach reacted at the time – how she wished she had listened to it. Instead, she had reacted to her gut feeling with suspicion and dismissal. Surely the thing was junk. Plastic even. But it was pretty plastic, for sure. It glimmered like nothing she had ever seen. “What’s it made of?”

“It’s a stone, a rare gem in fact, although I doubt you would be familiar with the name if I told you.”

“Try me.”

He ignored her inquiry and immediately began telling her what he needed from her. It certainly hadn’t seemed like much at the time, although it was a strange request. She agreed and he handed her the stone. She remembered the first time the stone touched the flesh of her hand. A tingling sensation traveled up her arm and into her scalp. It was subtle, but not imaginary, and she loved it. His words interrupted her sensations.

“I’ve got to go now. Don’t forget what I’ve told you, and please don’t hesitate to do what I’ve asked you to do.”

“I won’t…” was all she had time to get out before he was gone.

The Stone – part I

“Do you know what you have here?” the jeweler cried.

Stacey didn’t know, but her heart pumped a little harder in sync with the enthusiasm of the lady before her. She shook her head: no.

“This is no fake! Where did you get this?”

Stacey had no desire whatsoever to discuss that at the moment. She struggled to come up with something halfway believable. ‘Why didn’t she have a story set up?’ she fumed at herself in the third person as she was wont to do, not entirely upset that she needed one after all. She had more or less figured the stone was worthless and only convinced herself to have it appraised to ease her mind against the possibility of a lifetime of regret had she never investigated the stone. The hot Miami sun shone through the windows of the corner jewelry store Stacey had decided to bring her mystery stone to, and she gazed at the palm fronds on the sidewalk just outside the window. “It was my Aunt’s” she settled on. “She willed it to me. I didn’t even know she owned any jewelry!”. She let out a little giggle, trying to distract the jeweler from her previous line of questioning. “And then boom – she wills me something… Well, what exactly is it worth?”

The jeweler eyed Stacey with a hint of incredulity, but only a hint. She decided to play along for now. “Do you know what this type of stone is called?”

“No, I’ve never seen anything quite like it. It isn’t a diamond – that I’m sure of. I’ve never owned rubies or sapphires or emeralds or anything like that.” She giggled again coyly, wishing the jeweler had been a man, and more likely to be susceptible to her non-mineral charms.

“You really don’t know, do you?” She smiled sincerely. “You’re a very fortunate young lady Miss … What did you say your name was?”

“Ms. Florence.”

“Ms. Florence, you’re a very fortunate young lady,” Mrs. Sykes repeated. “Very fortunate indeed, to have had such a generous Aunt who obviously favored you very kindly.”

“What type of stone is it?” Stacey intruded as smoothly as she could.

“I won’t bother telling you the name of it – I can guarantee with certainty you’ve never heard of it. Almost no one has. But I’ll show you what makes it so special, if you want to know.”

Now Stacey was genuinely intrigued – ‘why wouldn’t she want to know?’ She left aside her fortune planning for the moment and let her mind wonder in this new mysterious territory. ‘An unknown stone? Was this lady being serious with her? Or was she being taken for a most unpleasant ride?’ She hoped for the best and followed Mrs. Sykes as the woman led her into the back of the store. They proceeded through a curtained off area in the rear into a rather industrial looking area where Stacey figured stones were cut and polished and whatnot. At least that’s what it looked like to her. She followed along as her host motioned for her into what at first looked like a tiny, empty space. As Stacey stepped into the small space however, she noticed some buttons on the wall and realized it was an elevator. ‘Strange,’ she thought, recalling the building only had one floor. ‘Must go to the basement.’

As she expected by now, the elevator began to slowly descend. Mrs. Sykes was speaking about something not particularly relevant to the matter at hand, or at least Stacey hoped it wasn’t relevant as she couldn’t keep her mind clear. Her head grew foggy with wonders of fortunes and mystique. The elevator continued down for some time before Stacey thought to look at the buttons on the wall closely in an attempt to see which one had been selected. To her discomfort, there were only three buttons – 1, B, and a third button with no label. It was this nameless destination to which they were now heading. She started to ask where they were going when her voice caught in her throat and she found herself unable to speak. Mrs. Sykes had since abandoned her monologue and the two rode down in silence for what seemed to Stacey to be at least ten minutes. At last the elevator came to a steady. The door remained closed for what was to Stacey an uncomfortably long time, although in reality it was no more than two or three seconds. When the door at last removed itself from Stacey’s view, she wished it hadn’t. She started in a fit of abandon at the sight before her, then regained her wits and began to comprehend what her unsuspecting eyes had initially rejected.