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Journal Journal: Almost there... 8

My copy of Nobots came in the mail today and it looks good. I'd think it was done by a professional if I hadn't written it myself.

The only thing left is a matter of the ISBN. I bought ten of them, and there's nowhere to tell Lulu what the ISBN is. As soon as that matter is cleared up it will be ready to release, I hope in a week or so. I suspect they want to sell me an ISBN, if so I'll have to go with a different printer and it will be a while longer before I loose it.

I would have liked a heavier paper stock, because its 161 pages (42042 words) is only half an inch thick, but what the hell. I'm pricing it at $24.95 for the hardcover. I don't expect to make any best seller lists and in fact will be happy if I make my $350 investment back; I'll have to sell 35 copies for that to happen.

I don't know how long it will be before I release a paperback; I'll have to reformat it for the smaller paper size and will probably have someone else print that. Lulu wants a ridiculous $9 before profit for a paperback, but no sooner than I'd bought ISBNs than I got a snail spam from a printer in St. Louis who wants $3.50 per book in lots of fifty. I guess I should haunt a new book bookstore to see what paperbacks are retailing for these days as it's been a long long time since I've bought a paperback; most of my paperbacks are falling apart (well, they are older than most slashdotters) while my hardcovers are still in great shape. The last couple dozen books I've bought have all been hardcover.

When it is done (in a week, fingers, toes, and eyes crossed) I'll make a journal entry, and the next day will submit it as a /. front page story. After all, it is a slashdot book. I'll be asking you guys to vote it up in the firehose when I do. PLEASE!!!

I'll also start putting the finished version both at my new web site and my slashdot journal, a chapter per week. Most chapters are twice as long and ten times as polished as the draft version I've already posted, but the first chapter has very few, very minor changes. I hope one of you guys will buy a copy and write up a review and submit it to slashdot.

I guess tonight I'll have to go into my domain host's setup page and set up email forwarding to forward mail to my rocketmail address.

I'm excited. I think I'll take it with me to Felbers (leaving as soon as I finish this joint). Patty might be home this weekend, I think I'll give her that first copy that came today.

It's kind of cool having a book with my name on the cover, even though there is as yet only one copy in existence.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Odds and Ends 9

Getting Nobots actually in print is almost as much work as writing it was. I guess I'm a publishing company now.

First I had to register the copyright in case I decide to sue somebody. Thirty five bucks.

Then I need an ISBN. One for $125 or ten for $250. I bought ten, knowing I'd need at least three; one for Nobots, one for the Paxil Diaries, and one for the new book that I wish someone would suggest a title for, "Whores in Space" doesn't seem to work for me.

It turns out you need an ISBN for each version; one for hardcover, one for paperback, one for e-pub, one for PDF... sheesh.

And I spent another $25 for a bar code for the first book. I wonder if there's an open source bar code writer? Anybody know?

So they email the ISBNs to me, now I have to attach the title, contents, and cover to the ISBN... damn. Finished the front cover last night, but I still have to finish the copyright page and attach it and the table of contents to the book without changing page numbers, so I'll need to stitch two PDFs together. Damn, how do I do that without sending dead presidents to adobe? I've already blown over three hundred bucks.

So I'm looking at other books' copyright pages for examples, and hmmm... Public email address for someone wanting to rent it commercially... Fuck it, I spent another fifteen bucks to buy mcgrewbooks.com. I posted the cover of Nobots there with a "coming soon".

It really is. I hope...

User Journal

Journal Journal: What a wonderous thing I have in my pocket! 2

To someone who is now five years old, it holds no wonder. What's the big deal?

When I was five, such a thing had never been envisioned by anyone.

When I was five, a telephone was a large, heavy, clumsy thing that hung on a wall or sat on a table, tethered to a wall. A phone in one's pocket was a fantasy even ten years later when The Man From Uncle had one like a pen. There was no such thing as the internet; indeed, only multimillion dollar organizations had computers at all, and they weren't networked.

When I was five, a camera, even a small one, was a bulky thing that usually sat in a closet or drawer until a vacation or a birthday party or some other special occasion came along. You would go to the drugstore, buy a few rolls of film, photograph what you wanted, send the film to be developed and photos would come back a week later.

This marvelous device will take a decent picture without film, instantly viewable in color, and can instantly sent to anyone in the entire world.

What's more, when I was five, nobody had sound recorders. Well, almost nobody -- Roger's dad worked at a radio station, and Roger had an old wire recorder that his dad had brought home from work. We were all amazed by it and had all sorts of fun with Roger's fart recorder. Even ten years later, my tape recorder was the size of a cigar box. A good one was the size of a small suitcase.

A movie was something you saw at a theater or on TV, or one a rich family had made of themselves with an eight millimeter film camera; very poor quality picture and no sound, unless you count he sound of the shutter clacking sixteen times a second. The camera and the projector were fairly large and clunky.

This device will make movies, with sound, in 720p (better than TV back when I was five). And send them instantly anywhere in the world.

It contains a library with more books than any one person could read in a lifetime. Read Tale of Two Cities? Just pull this marvelous device from my pocket, there are more books on it than a large metropolitan library (even if they aren't exactly "on" it).

It has the largest encyclopedia ever made. One can look up almost any fact one wishes. Want to read a newspaper? When I was five, someone threw a paper on the porch in the morning, which would be read and discarded. Now, just pull the device from your pocket, and almost every newspaper published is there.

Want to listen to the radio? When I was five there were radios that would fit (albeit not very comfortably) in a shirt pocket. They were full of static and would only pick up stations close by. This device will let me listen to almost any radio station on the planet.

Works of visual art by the great masters, all instantly available.

To a five year old, it's nothing special. These things were always around.

But the five year old is ignorant. The device in my pocket is indeed a wondrous thing. The wondrous things today's five year olds will see are beyond our imagination today, just as the phone in my pocket was something beyond imagination when I was five.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Tammy's book 1

Chapter One

        Bill shook my hand again and went back to his boat, and the docking retractors retracted the docking mechanism. Or something, I ain't went to college.
                I let him accelerate first, so he would be ahead if he had more trouble. Running on batteries... shit.
                Desire and me didn't bother with a movie. We went straight to bed.
                I woke up before her for once. I took a shit... hey, you wanted everything, right? Started the coffee because the robots really suck at making coffee, and got dressed. I was just taking my first sip whenthe doorbell rang. It was Tammy.
                "Hi, uh Destiny invited me for coffee."
                "Come in. She's still asleep, I'll get you a cup."
                "Uh," I said, handing her a cup, "Destiny says you're a psychologist and a, uh I forgot. You're not a whore, you're studying them.."
                "Did destiny tell you that?"
                "She didn't have to. I ain't went to college but I ain't stupid, I can add two and two and get something between three and five. It's obvious."
                "Is it?"
                "Yeah, I wondered how you got the money for a ticket, but shit, you got two doctorates. You ain't gotta look for work."
                "Nope. Want to know about my studies?"
                "Jesus, you're a dumbass. I'm studying drug abuse and prostitution and you have two hundred whores on board! Do you want an education, dumbass?"
                I felt like a dumbass. "Yeah, I guess it might help."
                "Here," she said, giving me a small memory chip.
                "What's this?"
                "Just read it. Don't worry, anything you don't understand I can explain."
                Shit, I hate reading. That's one thing where me and Destiny are different, she loves reading. "Well, you had me fooled when I met you."
                She laughed. "I study them, you don't know them at all. Don't let them know they're being studied or the study will be ruined."
                "I'm discrete. Guess I have some studying to do."
                "It'll save you a whole lot of trouble. I have some studying to do myself," Tammy said. "Tell Destiny to drop by when she wakes up. I'll be in the commons."
                "Sure thing," I said. I put the chip in the tablet and started reading.

        After reading for an hour and a half I had to put the tablet down. I was in trouble. No wonder they was paying me so good.
        Most of these girls were abused and sexually molested as children, most of them raised in foster care. Many and maybe most were children of criminal parents; thieves, often very violent. They were the kids society allowed to be ruined for life.
        It was sad. Most of them were droppers. There's a chemical name for drops in Tammy's book but I'd have to look it up.
        These girls hated sex, having a normal sex life was ruined in their childhoods when they were molested and abused. But drops made the whores enjoy getting fucked. Most of them had never had an enjoyable sexual experience until they put a drop in an eye before work.
        There were other psychoaffective (and yeah, I had to look that and lots of other shit up when I read that damned book) stuff. Her book had a lot of other big words like neurotransmitters and I just kind of glossed over them, I ain't went to college or nothing.
        I gathered the whores just stayed really fucked up.
        And the drug was highly addictive physically as well as in worse ways. It made the user the opposite of pissed off when under the influence. When that was taken away, well... it ain't pretty.
        âoeDamn,â I thought, âoeAddiction must be a bitchâ as I got another cup of coffee.
        It seemed I was in for serious trouble.

User Journal

Journal Journal: 4chan must DIE!! 9

I just got modded to -1 for calling out a stupid 4channer, and some idiot 4channer wasted all five of his mod points modbombing me.. like it will have any effect whatever. Idiots. Why in the hell do those idiots come to slashdot, to ruin it? Why in the hell do trolls troll? I just don't get it.

I have another chapter ready that I was going to post, but well, the modbombing idiots pissed me off too much. Maybe tomorrow.

I hereby declare war on 4chan. I wish I knew someone who worked at the NSA so I could take that sorry piece of shit off of the internet. Yes, I'm sure the NSA could if they had a reason, but they're no more friends than 4chan is.

Rather than posting a new chapter I'm metamoderating tonight since it's been fucking forever since I've had mod points, it seems that lately way too many people who are NOT nerds are getting mod points.

*calm down, mcgrew*

User Journal

Journal Journal: Um, what chapter is this?

Chapter One

        When I got back to my quarters, Destiny said "You should talk to Tammy."
                "Huh? Why?"
                "She's not a simple street hooker, she holds two PhDs, one in anthropology and one in psychology. She was studying the droppers when she got hooked."
                "How the hell could that happen?"
                "I don't know, ask her. "
                "I can't, I was kind of an asshole when I first met her. I had to of course, but that doesn't make me feel any better about it."
                "She likes you, John. She said that's one of the reasons."
                "Huh? She likes me because I was an asshole?"
                "She likes you because you aren't one of the knuckle draggers that would have let her on for a blow job. She said you had a good character, and I told her I wouldn't have been with you if you hadn't.
                "She's really nice, really. I like her. Lets have coffee with her tomorrow."
                "Uh, OK, I guess."
                The doorbell buzzed. "Who is it?" Destiny said.
                "Wild Bill Corpse. Jesus... them whores damned near killed me! But what a way to die!" he said, smiling wider than I'd ever seen anybody smile.
                "Did the robots finish moving the batteries?" he asked.
                "No," I said. "Is anybody but me hungry?"
                Bill grinned even wider. "I just ate! Damn, John, thanks! Hey, can I take a few with me?"
                "Get paper from the company and I'll do anything you want. But not without it, you know that."
                He laughed. "You thought I was serious? Damn, John, I'd never do anything to get you in trouble. Especially after tonight. God! This might be the highlight of my whole life!"
                "It'll be an hour before the robots finish," I said. "Lets eat something, I'm hungry. Come on, Bill, pussy isn't very filling. How about pizza?"
                "I could go for pizza," Desire said. "Bill?"
                "Sure. Got a beer to go along with it?"
                "Yeah, didn't I tell you? Have a beer and take a few cases with you."
                "Damn, John..."
                "Look, Bill, what you did for me on that Jupiter run... you know. I couldn't have a better friend. You could have been ruined but you stuck up for me anyway. Ain't many people I know would do that." I chuckled. "My Mom, um, probably wouldn't."
                A table with a sliced pizza and three beers rolled over to us.
                We talked and laughed and ate pizza and drank beer and had a good time and promised each other to keep in touch.
                Twenty minutes before they were scheduled to finish I went to the pilot room and turned the boats around and started accelerating. We had gravity again, even if it wasn't much gravity.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Bill's crippled boat

Chapter One

        Half of them were practically begging me to have sex with them. Man, if it weren't for Destiny I'd be having a hell of an orgy right now. I hurried through the inspection and got my ass back to my cabin as fast as I could.
                Destiny was sleeping, so I figured I'd go over the inventory list. The maid would be noisy in about ten minutes.
                Right before the noisy damned machine showed up an alarm went off. Damn. DAMN! Fucking whores!
                But this time it wasn't the whores, it was a distress call from another ship. "Knoll, here," I said to the tablet. "How can I help?"
                I didn't know how far away the other boat was but it would probably take at least a minute for the signal to get to it unless it was really close. I laid the tablet down and opened a beer. Hair of the dog, you know. Halfway through the beer I decided to return the favor for Destiny; she was going to want coffee when she woke up, so I made a pot.
                The rackity machine came in and started noisily cleaning. Destiny woke up. "Damn, that thing's noisy," she said. "Do I smell coffee?"
                I handed her a cup and sat down next to her. "Thanks," she said "What do you want to do today..."
                The tablet interrupted her. "Captain Knolls? Is that you, John? Kelly here. Thank God somebody's in range. I'm about thirty light seconds behind you and one of my engines shorted out. It didn't leave enough fuel for me to make the Mars landing. I'm just coasting, so I'm going to be weeks late. Can you spare a couple of batteries?"
                Hey, it was Bill Kelly, an old friend driving one of our company boats. I'd known Kelly for years. "Wild Bill" they'd called him, even though he wasn't very wild at all.
                "Hey, Bill, sorry about your luck. Yeah, of course I can spare a few batteries, you might even have enough charge that you won't be too late. I'll go dead stop for a while so you can catch me."
                "Boat captains sure are busy," Desire said.
                "Sorry, hon."
                I spoke into the tablet again. "Attention passenger and cargo. We will be enduring a short period of weightlessness, so be prepared. Captain Knolls out."
                "I don't think I've ever been weightless before," Desire said.
                I grinned. "Get a barf bag, it upsets some folks' stomachs. I have to go to the pilot room. I'll be back shortly." I kissed her, threw the beer can at the noisy maid and walked to the pilot room.
                It would be a couple of minutes before we were completely weightless. I swung the boat around and lowered the throttle. Gravity slowly went away as I dropped the throttle. The gauges said we were stationary so I killed the motors. Stuff started floating around.
                Shit, I forgot about the coffee. I flew back to my cabin "" and I mean literally, since there was no gravity. Destiny was floating above the couch. I pushed against the doorway towards her. "I like this," she said. "Lets make love, I've never been weightless before."
                "Well, I have, but I never had weightless sex before," I said.
                Having sex in zero G wasn't easy. Gravity makes almost everything easier.
                An hour and a half later my fone buzzed. "John? Bill here, I'm almost at you, can you adjust speed to match?"
                "Yeah, I'll be in the pilot room in a second." I set my fone to the shipwide speakers. "Attention, passenger and cargo. We will be experiencing low gravity shortly and then zero G again, so if you've been floating around with nothing to grab, now's your chance."
                I docked with Bill's ship. He called. "John, you want me to come over?"
                "You bet, old buddy. I ain't seen you in ages!"
                "See you in a minute."
                "I'm going to cargo," I said to Destiny. "Want to come along?"
                "And meet one of your friends? Try to stop me!"
                God, but I'd fallen in love with this woman. If it hadn't been for her the whores would have had me by now.
                We met Bill at the dock. "Bill, meet Destiny. She's, uh, I guess my best friend."
                Bill said "I thought I was your..." and looked at Destiny. "Oh. Damn I'm dumb. Pleased to meet you, Destiny. You hooked up with this guy? I thought astronomers were smart!"
                I laughed. "Fuck you, Bill. Want a beer?"
                "You have beer? I was wondering what you were hauling. I thiught you didn't do cargo runs any more?"
                "Well, this one's different. It ain't your normal cargo."
                "If beer ain't your cargo why do you have beer?"
                "I like beer! I have wine, too."
                "Hell... can you spare some, old buddy?"
                "Sure, I brought plenty. I can spare a few bottles of wine, too."
                Wow, thanks. No wonder I like you so much, you old asshole!" We both laughed. "So," he said, what's your cargo and why are you so rich right now."
                "I'm hauling whores. They gave me a fifty percent bump in pay to haul 'em."
                "Christ, you always get the good assignments! How the hell did you manage this one?"
                "Hell if I know, the fucking CEO himself called me into his office. Scared the shit outta me."
                "you must be livin' right!"
                I laughed. "Me? Damn, Bill, you know me better than that."
                "Uh, 'scuse me, Miss, uh..."
                "Name's Desire, Bill."
                "Uh, can I have a word in private with John?"
                She looked at me and winked. "Sure, Bill." She took off, knowing I'd tell her what happened later.
                "Ok, uh, look, John, I ain't been laid in like forever and you got hookers on board. Uh, you mind if I spend a little money on your boat?"
                "Bill, I am about to make your day. You're gonna get laid and it ain't gonna cost you a penny. These bitches are horny as hell. They'd pay you if they had any money. If you want an orgy, just go to my commons area. Meanwhile, I'll gradually accellerate for a while while those batteries are being moved to your bot and installed, no sense in both of us being late."
                "Damn, buddy," Bill said. "You're the best friend I ever had!"
                I winked at him. "All for the company's bottom line. Make sure that's in your report!"
                "Christ, John, of course!"
                "Look, Bill, have fun with the whores and I'll meet you in my quarters after you get your rocks off."
                Bill owes me! ...and, well, I guess I owe him, too. Maybe the whores will leave me alone for a while, I got Destiny. I don't need no fucking whores. They're just a pain in my ass. I want a raise! Fifty percent more ain't enough to put up with these bitches.
                It would have been a lot different without Destiny. The whores would have probably took over my boat by now.


Journal Journal: A routine insoection. With a hangover.


                As I walked back to my cabin I pulled out my phone and hailed the ship's communication stuff. "Attention, ladies," I said. "There has been a fire caused by someone really, really stupid. Pay attention, now. If I catch any open flames whatever, the lady with the fire is locked up 'til we get to Mars. So if you're going to try to make drugs, you damned well better not need fire to do it. And even if you don't use fire if I catch you with drugs you're alone until we get there. So be good."
                As I passed the commons there were two naked women having oral sex with each other. "Hey, you two. Get a room," I growled. What was wrong with these whores?
                They ignored me.
                "You wanna be locked up?"
                "Fuck off, Joe."
                "That's Captain Knoll to you," I said, and pulled out my taser.
                "You're an asshole."
                "Get. Both of you. You're alone the next twenty four hours."
                They weren't paying me enough for this shit. Fucking droppers!
                Well, Destiny would cheer me up, she always did. I was pretty cheerful when I got back.
                "Took you long enough," she said slyly.
                "Oh, them whores," I said. "I had to lock a couple up."
                "What did they do?"
                "They were eating each other, I told 'em to go somewhere else and they told me to fuck off. Look, hon, there's two hundred of them and they act like feral children. They'll take over if I let 'em."
                "Feral?" she grinned.
                "You're rubbing off on me, Brainiac!"
                She giggled. "Here, I got some cheese while you were gone."
                I picked up my glass. "To cheese!"
                She laughed. "I'll drink to that. Want to watch something?"
                "Nah, put on some music and we'll cuddle."
                "Well, I know where cuddling goes."

                I woke up with the worst hangover I had in years. Damn, that wine. I usually drank beer and I hadn't drank any in a few weeks.
                I didn't want to get out of the spinning bed, but I really had to pee bad. I staggered into the head and peed like forever. I wanted coffee. Damn, I was going to have to make coffee, the robots suck at making coffee. I hate robot coffee.
                I put on a robe and stumbled into the kitchen "" and smelled coffee. It took a few seconds for my hungover eyes that I hadn't really used since I woke up, and in fact maybe I was still asleep to see Destiny and two cups of coffee on the table.
                What a woman!
                "You're not hung over?" I said.
                "Hungover? I'm still drunk."
                I sipped my coffee. "What time is it?"
                The table said "The present time is..."
                "I wasn't talking to you, computer."
                Desire laughed. "I don't know what time it is. Tuesday, maybe?"
                "Waiting for input."
                Who programs these stupid things, anyway? "What damned time is it?"
                "The damned time is oh eight fifty seven."
                Shit, who programs... SHIT, I got three minutes to get to the pilot room.
                "Shit!" I said. "I'm sorry, honey, I have to run."
                "Shouldn't you put some pants on first?"
                "I'm wearing a robe, I gotta go." I kissed her. "Bye." I ran to the pilot room, coffee mug in hand.
                I got there with two minutes to spare. All the readouts were nominal, which is egghead space talk for "everything is normal." At least, I think that's what it means.
                I went back to my quarters, kissed Destiny, put on some pants, filled my mug back up, and went on the morning inspection while little men with jackhammers were busy inside my head.
                The reduced gravity didn't make my head less light or my stomach less queasy.
                I inspected the passengers' quarters first, since they were up front. Except Tammy's, of course. Passengers deserved privacy.
                After the little incident with the explosion I checked the rooms a little closer than I had been. Yeah, the doors stay locked but who knows what these drug-addled whores know? I couldn't even tell a whore from a real woman, look at Destiny, I thought she was a whore at first, just because she was cargo.
                I'd billited Destiny in the closest cargo quarters to the passengers, but it hadn't mattered since she'd only went there for the takeoff. She's been in my quarters since.
                This was the part I hated. I knocked on the door. Hell, I didn't have to since they were cargo but I don't want to be any more of an asshole than I have to. In some situations you have no choice, you got to be an asshole.
                I'm a boat captain, I'm used to being an asshole. I don't like it, but it's a shitty part of a great job.
                "Who is it and what do you want? I ain't got no drops, bitch."
                "It's Captain Knoll. I'm doing ship inspection. May I come in?"
                "No. Fuck off, asshole."
                "Door, open." The door opened and I went in. She was naked. "I don't have to be polite, dumbass. I just am. I'll skip it from now on if you prefer assholes."
                "I ain't got no drops, bitch."
                Gee, I've been hearing that a lot lately, and usually from one whore to another. "I ain't looking for drops. Just routine, damage or danger of damage."
                "I ain't got no drops, bitch."
                As I left for the next apartment two naked whores passed me, laughing. It was the two Thai chicks laughing about the fat blonde whose name I can never remember. Hell, there's two hundred of 'em and I ain't went to college or nothing.
                Lately it had gotten to where the only people on the boat who wore clothes were me, Destiny, and that Tammy girl.
                Nobody else was home, except Kathy and Dawn, who just yelled "come in" when I knocked and kept on playing with each other's pussy while I did my inspection.
                I'd skipped the infirmary and commons, I'd check them when I got back. They were between cargo and passenger quarters.
                Next was the engines, and they never had anything wrong with them. They should keep them in a vacuum, I thought, because I never once found a problem during an inspection and it didn't keep the engines on that Saturn run going.
                That Saturn run... that's why I stopped doing cargo. Lot of good my inspections did there. Jesus, that's a long time to be alone, I almost went crazy. I almost quit, but headquarters said I'd have passenger runs.
                I checked out all of the shit my tablet told me to check out and walked back to the infirmary. Next time I'm on Earth I'm getting a bicycle or something, this is a big damned boat.
                "Hi, Billie."
                "Um, yeah, I am" she said, looking at the IV tube.
                "Don't get too used to it," I said. "You won't be in here long."
                "Well, I guess if I want to get high I'll hurt myself!"
                "Nope, that's up to me. Next time it's naproxin."
                While I was there I got some naproxin myself; my head was still throbbing but my stomach wasn't as bad. Now to inspect the commons.
                The commons area was huge, an eighth the size of the entire passengers deck with a full automated kitchen.
                It was full of naked whores.


Journal Journal: Fire!! 3

I'd brought a bottle of wine from the storeroom and almost dropped it. "Destiny! Oh God, no! Not you!"
                "Huh?" she said with a concerned look on her face. "What's wrong, John?"
                "What's wrong? You're a dropper! Oh, God"¦" I was devastated.
                She looked at the dropper and laughed. "These aren't angel tears, silly, they're antibiotics."
                "Antibiotics? What, you got pinkeye?"
                She laughed. "Don't worry, I don't have any diseases. I had lens implants put in my eyes before we left. I have to put these in my eyes once a week for six months. It was three times a day for the first week and once a day for the first month. It's just to prevent infection."
                "Why did you have to get Implants?"
                "I was nearsighted, my vision was 20/40. I had a little astigmatism, too. These new lenses are great, they're like having strong binoculars and a built in microscope. I never would have believed how sharp and clear everything would be. I can see a blood cell, and the doctor said I should be able to see Earth's moon from Mars if the planets' orbits are close."
                "Wow. Did it hurt?"
                "Did what hurt?"
                "The surgery."
                "No, it's painless. You don't feel a thing."
                "Still," I said, "I'd have just worn contacts rather than let somebody stick needles in my eyes."
                "Well, I used to wear them but they said they'd get in the way on Mars. And I can see so good now"¦ I'm really glad I had the procedure."
                Procedure. Folks who went to college talk like that.
                "Is that for me?" she said, looking at the wine.
                "It's for us. Got a screw and glasses?"
                "Robot, screw and glasses" she said. A square box with rounded corners wheeled across the room with two wine glasses sitting on top of it. I set the bottle on it and the thing opened and poured the wine. I started to take a sip.
                "You have to let it breathe," she said.
                "I gotta what?"
                She laughed. "Let it sit for a couple of minutes. It'll taste better."
                "You never did tell me why you were going to Mars," I said.
                "I'm an astronomer. There's too much light on Earth, there hasn't been a useful telescope there for a century. So it was the moon or Mars, and they have plenty of people on the moon. Mars isn't just short of women, it's short of everything. Almost everybody there is a scientist; there's no unemployment on Mars at all. It needs more robots, too. It needs more everything. It's a real frontier, I think it's really exciting, like an adventure."
                Adventure? It was old hat to me. I'd made the Mars trip lots of times. Now Saturn, that was an adventure. I'd been on my way back from Titan one trip and the damned engines quit and the robots couldn't fix them. I had to wait six damned months for a tow tug and I'd almost made it home when the boat crapped out on me.
                Mars was usually a six month trip, but it was on the opposite side of the sun and we were going to be gone a year and a half. That's a long time to put up with dropless whores.
                Destiny raised her glass. "To Mars!" she said.
                "Nah," I replied. "To us."
                She smiled. "I'll drink to that!"
        An alarm went off. It never fails. I grabbed my tablet.
                Shit, a fire.
                "Shit!" I said. "A fire! Oh, hell!" I took off running toward the burning cabin. I heard screams as I approached the door, and the screams abruptly stopped.
                The door wouldn't open. "Computer," I said to the tablet. "Open that damned door, there's someone in there that's hurt."
                "Unable to comply," it said.
                "Danger to the ship and cargo, crew, and passenger."
                "GOD DAMN IT!" I yelled. "There's a woman dying in there."
                "Containment in approximately two minutes." This must be a bad one for the automatic suppression to take hold "" but of course, since the cabin was occupied it couldn't just let all the air out like if the engine room had caught fire.
                A cot rolled up behind me and the door opened, air rushing into the smoke-filled quarters, its pressure already lowered but not enough to harm a person. The cot lifted the woman, who I recognized as the Billie whore, on itself. It put a mask over her face and a needle in her arm and left for the infirmary.
                I walked around and saw what caused the fire "" the stupid whore was trying to make an ancient drug called "methamphetamine". Even on Earth making that shit is dangerous, in space it's a fucking crazy menace. I guessed that since she couldn't get angel tears she figured she'd make a substitute, as if all drugs were alike or something. Dumb whore.
                My phone buzzed; it was Destiny. "Is everything OK?"
                "Yeah, sugar, just one of those stupid whores trying to get high. Blew up her quarters and burned herself up pretty good."
                I went outside. As soon as I closed the door I could hear the smoky air being blown out to space. Maids were already waiting outside the door to clean up the mess. I started walking back home. A dozen whores were coming down the hallway towards me. "What's going on?"
                "Billie blew herself up trying to make drugs," I said. "I catch anybody else doing that and they're in deep shit. Now excuse me."
                "Wait! Is she OK?"
                It was that one broad, the one that was fighting with Billie the first week. Apparently they'd not only made up, but were lovers. Lesbian hookers? That don't make no sense to me, but I ain't went to college. The bunch of them went on to the infirmary and I went back to drink some wine with Destiny.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The Eyedropper On Board

I'd been with Desire for a month and a half now. We were talking over coffee before I had to go to work.
                Yeah, my job is work. I have to go to the pilot room and make sure we weren't going the wrong way, then I have to inspect the whole ship, and I have a pretty big boat. You think the people part is big? It's tiny. Yeah, the cabins are like apartments but storage and machinery takes up ninety percent of boats.
                And I had to inspect all of it except the passenger quarters, and I only had one passenger. Twice a day. It's a lot of walking, believe me. Even though we only have three quarters gravity; we get the gravity from acceleration. When we get more than halfway there the boat will turn around and we'll have Mars gravity until we get there.
                Anyway, I asked her if she was really going to be a hooker. She giggled. "You're not going to turn me in to the company, are you?"
                Shit. "Uh, what? I mean, turn you in for what?"
                "You'll keep it a secret? If you can't we're done."
                Shit Shit Shit Shit Shit.
                "Yeah." Sweat was running down my cheek.
                "Ok, John, I have no intention of becoming a hooker. I just signed up because it was the cheapest way to get to Mars."
                "But your contract..."
                "Cheaper to break than buying passage. I have a pretty good lawyer, John. She teaches me stuff."
                "Well, OK" I said. "As long as nobody knows, I don't know. Kinda wish you hadn't told me."
                "I don't want to keep secrets from you, John. I think I'm in love."
                "Lets get married!"
                "Lets take it a little slower, OK, John?"
                "I guess," I said. "Better go to work."
                "See you, lover," she said, kissing me. God but I liked this woman.
                The pilot room was close to the Captain's quarters, of course. Hah! Captain! My crew were a bunch of robots and other machines, I only had one passenger and my cargo was whores.
                While I was walking through the boat I heard cats. What the hell? There weren't supposed to be any cats in my boat, but it sounded like two of them were in here fighting. I ran toward the sound, which was coming from the Commons.
                It wasn't cats. It was Lek and Lek, two whores from Thailand. Lek could talk English OK but Lek only spoke pidgin Englist. Wouldn't you know it, two people from the same country with the same names. I couldn't pronounce either of their last names.
                And they were in the throes of violence. Lek punched Lek so hard she flew all the way across the room and hit a wall. It was like some of the ancient 20th century movies me and Desire like to watch. Of course, those movies were silly and the boat's at low gravity. So it looked really silly when that whore knocked the other whore across the room.
                I'd talked to Lek before, the one who spoke English pretty good. It seems that in Thailand, prostitutes are revered for their service to humanity. I'm sure all those horny guys on Mars will agree wholeheartedly.
                I think she's full of shit.
                "OK," I said, "What the hell is this all about?"
                "I don't know," said the semi-fluent one. "She just attacked me!"
                "You drops! Me ow!" the other one said.
                "She thinks I have drops and she wants some. I guess she ran out."
                Uh, Oh. "There are drops on my boat?"
                "You stupid? Chai. O'course, Everybody got 'em."
                She laughed. "Come find 'em," she said with that twinkle in her eye that, well, I saw in most of them when they boarded.
                I gave the less fluent Lek an hour of confinement. Kids, you gotta ground 'em sometimes. I didn't have a clue what to do about the drops. I should have went to college.
                I went and inspected the engines... shit, I had no idea how they worked but I was supposed to inspect them? OK, just follow the checklist on my tablet and I don't have to have a clue.
                        A robot was working on one, and I noted it. Standard procedure. Even though there's always a robot working on one, seems like.
                I was still chuckling about the Thai chick flying across the room in the boat's reduced gravity. We could do one G but the bean counters say it would cost too much, so I fly 'em like they tell me to. Times like that I'm glad gravity is reduced, that was hilarious!
                See, they tell me the gravity is from propulsion, we're always burning fuel. Or acceleration or something, I ain't never went to college.
                I walked back to our quarters. I opened the door -- and saw her with an eyedropper.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Fifteen yars ago this month... 3

PC Gamer died
and then respawned again. This is probably the only place on the web with a good link for the next few days.
        What is it with these web Gypsies? PC Gamer, Immy, Zaphod, Flamey... Look, guys, nobody's going to call you a "camper" for keeping the same URL!!
        I've never, in three years of subscribing, seen anything about PC Gamer that sucks. Until now. Their new cgi is a fraggin pain in the ass. It's damned near impossible to get to PC Gamer without going through IGN. Once you get there, nearly every link takes you back. Get a grip, CM! GEES!!!

Kilroy died
        WTF??? Last month I asked for submissions of servers and/or players that suck. Here's a prime example of both. What a m0ron!!! This guy wants to kick/ban you from his crappy server for the dumbest of reasons. Using the name "m0ron" would get you kicked. Neither Immortal, Zaphod, anybody at AOL, Netserve, or Compuserve are welcome there. I don't even know the server's name or IP; in a long, flaming dissertation it isn't mentioned once. What the dumbass does say is, "we don't care about you, your exploits in Quake, your skills, or anything, we don't give a shit."
        If you want to see the whole boring and offensive page, you'll have to go to Llamanet first, 'cause there's no way in hell I'm pointing you directly there. I think I'll change my Quake name to something like "tSuBa cAn SuCk iT" just to make sure I don't get there accidentally from GameSpy. For all I'm concerned those guys can go play with themselves some more.
        Sorry about the uncharacteristic language, kiddies, but that page really PISSED ME OFF.

Steve Frags Links
        I got word that Coconut Monkey hurled himself into a lava pit because he couldn't get on the Fragfest links page. Good thing for us CM fans you can respawn in Quake (he was happier when learned that PC Gamer is, and he's linked from there).
        For those of you that aren't linked from PC Gamer, don't jump off that bridge. There is now a "Search for Quake" page with all the major search engines, indexes, and "topsites" pages. Get there through the Links page.
        Clicking on one of the search engines or indexes takes you directly to their list of Quake sites. Infoseek has over 100,000, counting news stories about earthquakes and sex pages. Chances are your page is one of them.
        If your "topsites" page isn't listed, drop me an email.

CIH frags Gamers
        If you were on Mplayer or Wireplay last week and had your PC on Monday the 26th, you're probably not reading this right now, since your PC doesn't work any more. If you were on either of these services the week before the 26th and didn't have your PC on that day, disinfect it right now. Don't even finish the page! It's that serious.
        A third unknown company found the virus before posting an infected file on the internet.
        "I am positive that I got it [CIH] from mplayer.com," said one Quake player, who asked to remain anonymous, via e-mail to Ziff Davis. "Over ten friends have gotten it as well. Mplayer obviously isn't going to say anything." Don't trust a piece of software just because it's shrink wrapped. Run a good antivirus program after installing anything. And stay the hell away from Warez!
        If I used those paid subscription gaming places like Mplayer, I'd be demanding my money back. Use GameSpy instead!

Humor died
        And then it respawned again.
        A month or so ago, I pulled my humor page. It's (No! Please no!!) back. In a feeble attempt to provide a few chuckles, I've reinstated a new humor page with all new original content (or what passes as "content"). Find out how many Stroggs it takes to screw in a lightbulb, when you need a new Quake name, a new Quake server, or a new computer. Plus; Sonic, something for campers, and what Quake and StarCraft have in common.

Steve trips on his own grenade
        If you're wondering where Zaphod went... he didn't go anywhere. I screwed up the link somehow. It's fixed. So when you're "dun" here, go to Lag City, where I found out that MicroSoft has released a new version of their DUN software. Zaphod says it helps, I haven't tried it yet (it's still downloading).

Immy died
        But he respawned again. He's got a new URL (the second in less than three months). He's still Insane!
        Quake 2 players can't escape Lyco's grenade
        "Your search for quake 2 returned no results. Search words were not found. Please check your spelling or search again using different words (nouns and verbs). Or click here for search help."
        Nothing like a good search engine! At least not on Lycos.

Id Frags Quake
        Id reports that Quake III Arena (the now official name) will ship next year. They promise that it will be to Quake 2 what Quake 2 was to Quake 1.

Saved games can't escape Id's super shotgun
        A beta version of the 3.18 patch is out. Here's a list of the changes from 3.17. The beta patch, COMPLETELY UNSUPPORTED BY ANYBODY, is there, too.
        Most servers won't use the beta version, the new patch will be available here when the final version is released.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Uh, three? 7

What chapter is this, I've lost track. It will change, anyway.
Chapter One
Part, uh, three?

        Three days after liftoff I was watching a movie, Desire cuddled in my arm. God, I liked this woman. She was like a female me, only refined, she'd went to college.
                Of course, the tablet had to ruin the mood, damn it. I had to go to the commons area.
                Right now the commons area was a bar and the robots summoned me because there was a damned bar fight.
                I like having company but I hate being a babysitter.
                Tables were overturned, two women were fistfighting so I tasered and handcuffed both of the dumbasses. "OK," I said, "Who are you girls and what's this about?"
                "I'm Billie and that bitch called me a cunt so I hit her," the blonde with the black eye said.
                "I'm Sparkle," the other one said. "And I was just defending myself from that cunt."
                I sighed. "Look, bitches, there ain't gonna be no violence on my boat, get it? Billie, you're confined to quarters, and that means the door's locked, for twenty four hours. It happens again and you're locked up for the rest of the trip. Got it? That shit don't happen on my boat.
                "Sparkle, you get two hours and you better stay out of trouble." I escorted them to their quarters and removed their handcuffs, locked the doors and returned to Desire.
                If I'd gone to college maybe I'd known about drops.
                As I was going back to Desire's, Tammy walked up. Tammy, my sole passenger. "Trouble?" She asked.
                "Nope, just a couple of pissed off whores," I said. Yeah, I held this woman in contempt. A dropper whore was... well, you don't want to know one. Believe me.
                "That's what happens when they don't get their drops." she said.
                "Huh?" I hadn't known whores or droppers. But I knew I didn't want to.
                "Droppers get violent when they don't get their drops."
                "Best not fuck with me, asshole."
                Shit, no wonder the company gave me a raise. Droppers and no drops.
                I was in trouble.
                    Or maybe not. It was a month before another such incident occurred, and was quickly quelled; I didn't have to ground the kids this time.
                When I say "babysitter" I'm not kidding. These fully grown women acted like spoiled children. It's like they weren't raised right, I don't know.
                Hey, can I go to the bathroom? Thanks.
                OK, where was I? Oh, yeah, drops.
                I knew those damned things were addictive, but I didn't know that withdrawal from them caused violence. And, it seemed, every time. I was in trouble and didn't know it.

User Journal

Journal Journal: More of the new book 11

As soon as I get an ISBN I'll publish the finished version of "Nobots". Meanwhile, I'm working on a new one. Here is the first crude draft of the beginning. This crude draft continues. I have no idea what will happen after this chapter, suggestions are of course welcomed. Like the last, this is a slashdot book.

What got me interested was the fact that they were whores! I was going to have a boatload of horny whores!
                See, I'm not good with women. What I mean by that is women use me and I'm too damned stupid to see it. And I was too damned stupid to realize that whores are women.
                What happened earlier, you know, led to my stupidity. Well, except the stupidity of not realizing whores are women, that was incredibly stupid.
                Did I tell you about women? They've made my life hell. Look at the week before they handed that Mars assignment, for instance. No, never mind, you don't want to hear it.
                Most of what I learned about women I learned from the powers of Evil. What I mean is, women taught me about women.
                For instance:

  • The one thing that will attract a woman, more than any other thing, is another woman on your arm
  • A woman doesn't want you unless she can take you away from another woman
  • A woman isn't impressed by a big dick, but if you have one she'll brag about it to her friends and if you don't she'll make fun of it
  • A woman is incapable of putting anything back where she found it.
  • Women will bitch about the very aspects of their men that attracted them in the first place
  • Most women prefer the sexual vibrators manufactured by the Harley-Davidson corporation
  • A woman will throw the things you want to keep away, and keep the things you want to throw away. She'll throw out the "useless junk" your late great grandfather left you but leave the ball of lint and empty soap box on the dryer.
  • A woman will rearrange your shit so she can bitch about your asking where it is. "Well LOOK for it!"
  • A woman can never get enough sex, but she can get too much sex
  • There is no good answer to the question "is my ass too big?"
  • You're most attractive to any woman right after you've had sex with a different one

                Being stupid, I was happy. I guess that's the secret to happiness - Be stupid. But stupid pays later.
                I went home, took a shower, and checked out Ol' Miss before I went out single party partying.


                I woke up sitting on the couch with the doorbell screaming at me, a full whole warm beer on the table. What damned time is it? Five? In the morning? What the hell. I picked up my tablet. "Who is it and what in the hell do you want at this ungodly hour?" I growled.
                "Tamatha Winters, who are you?" the woman pictured on the tablet said.
                "I'm the captain of this damned boat. What in the hell do you want?"
                "I'm part of your cargo."
                "Christ, woman," I said, still irritated but noting that she wasn't bad looking. "We don't leave until Monday and it's only Saturday. At five o'clock in the God damned morning! Damn it, woman, I wanted to sleep late!"
                "I'm sorry, but I don't have anywhere else to go," she said.
                So I'm perplexed again. Or still. Or something. No place to go? A decent looking hooker? "So why not?"
                "Shit, an addict?"
                "Yeah," the picture of the woman on the tablet said. "I heard there ain't no drops on Mars and I'm sick of the life. You think I like sucking dicks for... well, it ain't a living. More like a dying. I can't seem to stop on Earth, and they want women on Mars so I'm going."
                "They don't want women, they want whores. You'll still be a whore."
                "Maybe," she said. "We'll see. Are you going to let me in?"
                "I have to check the roster to see if you're authorized."
                "Why? Isn't it your ship?"
                "Look, lady," I said, "it's the company's ship. I just live here and drive it where they tell me to. I can't let you on unless I have you on the manifest. Let me look." I looked, there wasn't any Tamatha Winters or record of her face. "Sorry, lady, you ain't on the list."
                "What?!" She said. "Of course I am! Here's my papers," she said, holding out a fone.
                "Sorry, lady," I said. "You'll have to straighten it out with the company. Bye."
                "Wait!" the tablet exclaimed. "I can't go home! There's drops there and I won't make the liftoff!"
                "Sorry, lady, I ain't gonna screw up a good job. I can actually buy shit instead of having crappy printed out shit and I ain't gonna mess it up. GoodBYE!" I said, disconnected, and went to bed. At least the cunt had me in more comfortable sleep, my couch sucks to sleep on.

The maid woke me up about noon. I hate that damned thing, always noisy as hell. Why does it have to clean at noon?
                "Coffee," I growled. A couple of minutes later a table with a cup of coffee on it rolled to me. Why are those damned things so slow? Anyway, I don't know why I'm putting this in my report except I don't want to get in trouble for leaving anything out.
                I took a shit and drank another cup of coffee.
                I switched on the video and turned to the news. Tornadoes, floods, fires, shootings, robberies, political corruption... Why do they call it "news"? It's never new, it's the same shit all the time. Bored, I switched through the channels. Shit, all boring. I'll get a beer. So I locked up the boat and hailed a taxi with my fone and went to the nearest bar, which was five miles away. Why ain't there no bars near spaceports, I wondered. It was like that everywhere.
                I sat down and ordered a beer. "I'm sorry, sir," the bartender said, "but this says you're underage."
                "What? Christ, lady, I'm forty five!"
                "Well, this says 'underage', no ID carried."
                "Shit," I said, and got out my fone and turned on GPSID. "Try it again."
                "OK," she said, "It worked that time." I checked my balance - wow, beer wasn't cheap here.
                "Hi, Captain."
                "Huh," I said, startled. "Oh," I said, seeing who it was. "The woman that wanted on my boat. Gonna buy me a drink, lady?"
                "The name's Tamitha. You can call me Tammy. If I buy you a drink are you going to let me on?"
                "Buy your own booze, loser."
                "Fuck you," I retorted. "I ain't cheap like you droppers."
                "I told you, I want to get away from that shit. That's why I haven't gone home, even though I really, really want to. Come on, please, I'll fuck you all the way to Mars!"
                I laughed. "Yeah, you and two hundred other hookers."
                "You're an asshole," she said.
                "So what, cunt," I replied. "Get outta my face."
                "What did you call me?" she demanded.
                "Are you good for anything but putting a dick in?" I asked.
                "OOOOH!!" She shouted, and stomped off. I got another expensive beer. Damn, I should have had the taxi take me to a cheaper part of town, even if the fare would have been more. I guess I could have took the bus, but hell, I got money, I don't need no bus.
                A blonde sat down next to me. "Hi," she said. "I overheard, why did she call you captain? Are you on the Mars boat?"
                "Yeah," I said. "Why?"
                "I'm going to Mars."
                "Yeah? That's what she said. She's not on the manifest."
                "I am."
                "Yeah?" I said, pulling out my phone and checking out the manifest. Of course, as soon as I activated it her face and information was shown. "Why, pleased to meet you, uh..." I glanced at the manifest, "Destiny. Is that your real name?"
                She giggled. "Yeah, it is. Buy you a drink, Captain?"
                "Call me John," I said, shaking her extended hand. "So why do you want to go to Mars?"
                "I want to see what it's like to be a hooker."
                I choked on my beer; women kind of fuck my brain up sometimes. "Huh?"
                "I want to experience everything!"
                She grabbed my crotch. "No charge for you," she said before locking lips with me.
                Wow. I was really looking forward to this trip!

                We shared a taxi to the boat, and there were twenty women waiting when we got there. I had to check them all. "Sorry, Destiny," I said. "You can drop by my quarters when I'm done here."
                "No," she said, and winked. "You can come to mine."
                The fucking women just wouldn't stop coming, and most of them acted horny, a sure sign they were high on drops. Most of them hit on me, none too subtly.
                This was going to be a good trip! At least, if I could get all those whores inside the boat. No sooner than I'd start walking to Destiny's quarters the damned bell rang. It kept up all weekend. Finally, maybe midnight Sunday, I got what I thought was going to be eight hours sleep. I'd had maybe four all weekend.
                I got two more before the doorbell rang. It was that damned Tammy. "You ain't getting' in. Now go away before I call the cops" I said.
                "Check your manifest."
                I checked it. "You aren't on it."
                "Look at the passengers list."
                Passengers? Huh? Ok, I checked. Damn, she was there. I unlocked the airlock. "17 C", I said, and went to Destiny's cabin.
                I got some sleep, finally... an hour later.
                I think I like Destiny.


                I woke up to the smell of bacon and coffee and the sound of a woman saying "Good morning, Johnnie."
                It took me a second or two to figure out who was talking. I was a little hungover. "Mmmh," I said. "Mornin', Destiny." I got lucky, I usually suck at remembering names but hers was so different it was easy.
                "Come have some eggs before they get cold, John."
                "You made breakfast? Damn, I think I'm in love!"
                She laughed. "Slow down, cowboy."
                I laughed. "Don't worry, I'm a snail. I thought you liked me too?
                She grinned sheepishly. "I do. That's the problem. I didn't want to like you, I wanted to use you. But I can't, I like you.
                "I might even be falling in love, damn it. Shit, I shouldn't have said that."
                I was glad she did. I thought I was falling in love, too. Never happened before, I don't know why I married my ex. But I might be...
                My brain exploded again.
                It was a little awkward but I had a way out. I sighed. "Time to secure passengers and cargo for liftoff. I guess you're first, lover."
                Her eye twinkled. "Lover?"
                She smiled. "Yeah."
                I strapped her in and started on the other two hundred women.


                "Ten... Nine... Eight... Seven... Six... Five... Four... Three... Two..."
                I braced myself for the Gs. "One. Ignition. Liftoff."
                God but I hate liftoff. Hey, you wanted this report to complete, didn't you? Then shut up and let me talk. Jesus, guys.
                Anyway, after we were in orbit I unleashed Destiny, and she helped me unleash the rest. In fact, most helped unleash the rest. I was impressed, maybe the whores weren't as depraved as I thought?
                It turned out that that was completely wrong.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Now, this is strange... 5

I woke up early this morning, poured a cup of coffee and opened slashdot on the notebook and made a few comments in this thread. The laptop's 3 years old and the battery dies after an hour, so I plugged it in and turned on the TV, still sipping coffee. Nothing on but infomercials and rasslin' so I turned on the big computer, started MP3s up and got back on slashdot on my phone without logging in -- I'm not going to try commenting on a phone, and the batteries in the big computer's keyboard are dead.

The bank robbery thread didn't have many comments when I'd read it, so I popped that one back up to read more coments.

The comments I'd posted all had my name in orange with an orange star next to them. Only my comments, and I wasn't logged in although I would have still had the same IP, since the phone was on my network.

Does anybody know what's up with that? My curiosity has been piqued.

User Journal

Journal Journal: The phone

About a year ago Amy drunkenly and absentmindedly walked off with my phone. She gave it back with the screen broken off. Which meant no internet, texts, voicemail, pictures, nothing left but speakerphone, which mean it could no longer live in my pocket. It was in essence a 1970s landline.

I went to one of the local Boost stores for a replacement. I liked that phone and wanted another just like it. No such luck -- they'd stopped making it. I'd have to buy a stripped down dumbphone or carry a purse or holster because all the new non-dumb phones were way too big to fit comfortably in a jeans pocket.

So I got out my older phone and tried to get it reconnected. Its battery had died which is why I'd replaced it, but the broken phone had an identical battery so it would be fine.

Again, no luck. The site informed me that the old phone wouldn't work on my "shrinkage" plan. Shit. So I haven't had a cell phone for a year now.

When Patty came to visit, I noticed that her iPhone wasn't humungous like the Androids, and it would actually fit in a pocket not too uncomfortably.

A couple of weeks later (last Saturday) when I went to pay the bill online, one of the usual ads for phones their site always has caught my eye -- they had a Kyocera Edge for what seemed like a ridiculously low price, just a little over a hundred dollars. I looked into it further. The same size as Patty's iPhone, gorilla glass, waterproof, GPS, wi-fi, Bluetooth, a CPU as fast as my three year old notebook, 2 gigs of memory (in the early eighties only mainframes sported so much memory), 5.5 megapixel camera, Android 4.4... I got out my credit card and ordered one, completely forgetting about my phone bill.

Sunday's email had a confirmation of the order. Two smartphones would be there in three working days. Two? God damn it, I'm trying to get my credit number higher and try not to use that card too much (high balances lower your score). I emailed them, and the response was that I'd have to call Monday.

This was the first time Boost had pissed me off. I credited the error to Murphy and Hanlon. I headed to Felbers for a beer. Mike asked how I was doing. "Except for the damned phone company, pretty good."

"Tell me about it," he said. Felbers hadn't had a phone, a working juke box, or wifi for weeks. Some long distance company he'd never heard of was tacking extra charges on his AT&T bill. Their customer support said after he paid the bill they'd refund the charges and he'd told them to fuck off. He'd gotten wifi and the jukebox back (maybe he switched to ComCast, he didn't say).

Monday the lady at the help desk said to just drop the unopened phone off at a FedEx office. Damn it, what's the point of internet shopping if you still have to drive?

Wednesday evening when I got home from work there was a box on my front porch. Yay! I had a phone again! The old Motorola was going to live in a drawer in the kitchen as a backup in case the Kyocera got broken or stolen.

I went online to activate it, and the site was clunky like it was being slashdotted or DOSed. It said that I would have to make a slight adjustment to my plan. I deselected the extra $5 per month international calling; never had it before and have no use for it now. When the process was done it still wouldn't activate. Damn! I'd forgotten to pay the bill. So I got out my credit card again.

It still wouldn't activate it, even though the site now said that my bill wasn't due until next month, because I'd just paid it. It also said I'd been charged that five dollar international calling fee.

Never attribute to stupidity when greedy self-interest explains.

The next morning I called Boost again, from work, because I didn't have a working phone at all. I was on the phone with the guy for two hours trying to get it to work, and he finally said that the phone must be defective. He at least got that extra fiver off my bill and credited to my account.

I went home on break to get the phone I was going to return. I opened it, swapped batteries with the defective phone and called Boost again. Ten minutes later I had a working phone.

That interface is going to take some getting used to, and although I've been thinking about getting a tablet, I changed my mind. Leila had wanted a tablet so I bought her an Android for her birthday. Typing on that flat screen is even harder than typing on the old phone's tiny qwerty keyboard. I'll stick to my old notebook.

I went to the Google Play store to get an app that would let me listen to KSHE on it, and gave up -- too much damned typing registering an account. I'll just have Leila download it for me when I see her tomorrow, she has an account already. So when I listen to KSHE I'll probably get ads for video games and anime.

Some of the settings are damned hard to find. What you get from "settings" varies according to where you are when you set it. Frustrating.

I'd liked how it gave the temperature as well as the time, except this morning I pulled it out before my break to see how warm it was getting. It said 88 degrees, which couldn't possibly be right -- that was the high temperature yesterday. So I pulled up the Weather Channel on the computer. It was 64.

I'd shut off the GPS, which it needed for the weather widget because I think Google stalking me is just spooky. Now I can't figure out how to turn it back on.

Oh, well, it's better than my old phone's interface, that I think was designed by a bunch of drunken thirteen year olds. Even Microsoft has better programmers than Motorola!

OK, it's Sunday now. The phone thinks I'm Leila and I can't figure out how to change it, how to delete a bookmark, and it looks like Boost has really locked it down because they've removed the ability to sideload apps. I have a lot of learning to do, the skimpy manual is worthless, and the Android site will tell you what you can do with it but not how to. I'm still searching for a real manual.

After lunch yesterday I took Leila home, slipped the adaptor into the car's cassette player (it's 11 years old, no bluetooth or wifi, just radio, tape, and CD) and plugged it into the phone. KSHE sounded hollow and tinny, like an old Real Audio file played over good speakers and headed to Felbers, where Oakie was slated to be DJing.

I got a beer and went out to the beer garden; the weather was beautiful yesterday. The phone wasn't very loud so I got the little sound bomb out of the glove box.

PJ has no permanent home. He does construction work but spends all his money on booze and drugs. In the winter he usually works for landlords getting houses ready to rent and crashes there. He was hauling stuff out of the box trailer when Rachel showed up. She's Mike's daughter and part owner. "Rearranging the furniture in your house, PJ?" she said.

PJ laughed. "Nah, I'm cookin' for Mike today." The grills were stored in the shed-like trailer.

I got another beer and looked at the phone - the battery was holding up pretty good. About the time the grills stopped smelling like lighter fluid Oakie showed up, dragging another box trailer behind his giant Ford pickup truck and started hauling out equipment. Wow, that's a lot of amps and speakers for a DJ system; two racks of four amps each.

I finally figured it out when they started assembling the drum kit.

Oakie's band was pretty good. I videoed about three songs before completely filling up the phone. 720p video takes a lot of storage!

After I had a few cups of coffee this morning Kyocera's web site said that with Windows all I had to do to transfer files from the phone was to connect them with USP and it would show up as a drive, so I plugged the phone into the notebook. It saw that the phone was a drive, but it wanted me to insert a disk into the phone. Figures.

So I tried bluetooth. There's a bluetooth dongle in the Linux box and it had no trouble pairing with the old Motorola. It saw the phone just fine but tried to pair seemingly forever. I'll see if the tether works on the Linux box, but the tether is only a yard long so the phone will have to be on top of the computer.

I'll dig out that other dongle later and see if it will pair with the notebook. I'll try again with the Linux box, it's been a while since I used that feature.

I'm probably holding it wrong. Oh, wait, it's not an Apple...

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