Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Goodbye, Old Friend

I got a snazzy LCD flat screen whatever computer screen. Quite recently. Approximately fifty hojillion years after the whole CRT monitor technology had become obsolete. That meant I had to dispose of my current monitor, a behemoth, 19" Samsung Syncmaster 900NF. Weighs about 40 pounds and has the dimensions of a early CAT scan machine.

A google here and a clicky there and apparently there's a depot nearby that will take it. Situated in a byzantine maze of twisty turvy streets that have never heard of a 90 degree junction. A place where entire businesses and thrive or die or live a kind of half-life that crushes the dreams of anyone who tries to work there. Marble counter top re-installation? Got that. Double Decker bus storage? Yup. One gets  a sense of how many different sorts of things there are that people do to get food on the table. An entire life worrying about 'Industrial Outdoor Deck Design and Repair'.

I'm not usually a sentimental guy about stuff. I don't think I am, anyways. I'm cheap, which is why I hold onto stuff until mere molecules are left of it, past thread-bare, past donation. My Steam games library is made up of mostly $5 and cheaper games (made by Czech developers who are most famous for doing the conversion module for Quicken 2005) that seem like a good bang for my buck even though 99% of my gaming time is spent on games I've spent more than $20 on.

What I'm getting at is that I'm frugal, shop for clothes at Costco, books at Value Village and usually avoid spending money. So I guess i don't have alot of opportunity to get rid of stuff, as I have very little of it to get rid of.

I'm also not sentimental about technology, either. I watched that almost good movie, AI, and never once got hooked into the OH POOR ROBOT BOY sentiment that Spielberg was swinging for with all the subtleness of a $100 million budget under the aegis of the guy who used a robotic fricking shark in 1975.

But it could be this new kick I'm in, listening to Folk Rock, which is apparently a music genre.
And, foolishly, I was listening to this song.

 I grew up listening to John Denver and Simon and Garfunkel and this sorta of music is kinda ingrained in my DNA, for good or for bad. And after I heft the  behemoth of monitory goodness on the plastic dolly, I fire up this song. The man starts to dissemble it as I'm driving away, removing the stand. There was something about the way he kinda pushed it onto its side. Brusquely. Something inside me whimpered.

All around are palettes filled with other monitors, TVs, CRTs, massive projection TVs that might have featured in a Connery Bond film. All going to the grave. And there I'm thinking. There she goes. I'm driving out, and I'm watching my poor monitor being given up to the dead. To be sucked of it's component parts and rendered in such a way that will damage the earth the least.

I'd had that monitor for about 10 years. My not unconsiderable computer leisure time has been spent in front of that thing. Ill-thought out novels and laughable short stories and hours and hours of gaming.

I almost tear up, leaving there, but am struck by a nearby business, as I pull out of the parking lot,  'Hot Tub Reweathering', that's a thing?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

You Can't Afford To Lose Me, I'm The 37th Best Pilot In The Fleet

You can't ground me. I know you want to, I know in that hardened heart of a five star space admiral with oak clusters that you want to bust me down to private first class, have me bustling K-Rations across the fleet in the crappiest rust-bucket you can get out of mothballs.

Well, guess what, you can't. You can't afford to lose me. I'm your 37th best pilot.

Sure, after Stryker and Killion and Raybird, I mean, their kills together dwarf the next 150 pilots down the roster combined. Everybody knows that. And yeah, okay, number 34th on the list, Lieutenant Caberron, from the Xarglaac Nebula isn't exactly a fighter pilot but can fly a really mean intra-fleet transport, isn't exactly a slouch.

Okay, I get it. You got me. But how many pilots do you have like me?

Not counting number 36th and 38th and the fact that pilots 38-179 are separated by the thinnest scintilla of statistics which would hardly hold up to closer scrutiny.

So how many? That's right, one.

Well, sure, there are plenty of rookies that supposedly could replace me. Whose test scores and simulator results make me wake up in a cold sweat every night. But who would have my imp-- my physical fitness regimen? Not quality, sure. But quantity! Twenty years, Admiral. They can hardly accumulate that many mandatory physical checkups in that time. That many ANNUAL checkups. That's right, they can't. Physically impossible.

And what about that time I saved Stryker and Touchdown from that nasty brushup with the Anptwerk Empire? I think pointing out that I was piloting a battle cruiser at the time and I had warped in to save them with three Starreach frigates, a galaxy class IV Techrion Warlord, and a small sortie of Hyperion star-fighters is being nitpicky, don't you? The fact of the matter was that i was first on the. Yes, by 2 seconds. But 2 seconds, 2 weeks, what does it matter. 2 seconds can get you killed in space.

Which brings me to my ne-- oh, KP duty for a week? That sounds reasonable.