Saturday, April 30, 2022
Friday, April 29, 2022
Thursday, April 28, 2022
I've posted again
AI artwork that's the same
A post repeat I much regret
Causing me to fume and fret
Thanks be to Jeff
Who spots it when my effort's meagre
What can I do but
Add a poem
Woe is me
A repeat post
Overstaying its welcome
Wednesday, April 27, 2022
Tuesday, April 26, 2022
Monday, April 25, 2022
Sunday, April 24, 2022
Saturday, April 23, 2022
Friday, April 22, 2022
Thursday, April 21, 2022
Wednesday, April 20, 2022
When awareness comes, I'm sitting in a four-person cubicle, one person intended for each quarter. But there are only two other people here, two young women, one blonde, one brunette; the other quarter of the desk has no chair or equipment; it's given over to storage.
I'm wearing a suit, and I have a typewriter. There's a sheet in it, but it's blank.
I have no idea what I'm supposed to do. The two women pay no attention to me; they're focused entirely on their own work.
Bewildered, I rise. Our cubicle is but one in a sea of them, a sea that covers the expansive floor space entirely save for one walled office in a far corner. I make my way there through the narrow passages between the cubicles, certain that the office must have a supervisor.
The door is open. I rap gently on the doorframe, and a dark-haired woman in her mid-forties turns away from her conversation and looks at me blankly.
"Earl? What's up?"
"When you have a minute, can I talk to you?" I ask.
"Sure," she says, and goes back to her business.
On my way back to my cubicle, I take a closer look at my surroundings. Everyone is working on typewriters and using notepads. There are no computers, no monitors, no smartphones. I spot a Telex machine nestled into the corner opposite the office.
My heart starts to pound. Something's wrong here.
The dark-haired woman comes to collect me before I even reach my cubicle. "Let's go take care of that pitch meeting with the executive producer," she says.
She escorts me to an office I hadn't noticed before and shuts the door behind us. A grey-haired executive is leaning back in an expensive-looking wood and leather chair, feet propped up on an even more expensive-looking desk. The office is crammed full of books and magazines, with old movie posters on the wall.
"Who've you got for me today, Amanda?" the executive asks.
"This is Earl Woods. He has some ideas for the Star Trek movie that's been stalling us for so long."
I do? I think.
"Great, let's hear them. Can't be any worse than some of the other pitches."
It takes me a moment to collect my thoughts. Given the setting, I realize they must be talking about the first Star Trek movie to debut after the original show.
I reply with a bit of a stammer at first, but I find my footing quickly enough. "Let's say it's five years after the Enterprise has returned from its five-year mission. Captain Kirk is an admiral now, and Spock is the captain of the Enterprise. We have a bigger budget for effects than they did in the original show, so we can establish that the Enterprise has been refit - she's completely new, with the same basic shape, but she's sleeker, faster, more powerful."
I feel bad about stealing so much from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, but it's all I can think of at the moment. But maybe I can get creative from this point.
"There's a new first officer, Will Decker - the son of Commodore Decker from 'The Doomsday Machine.' You remember him. Spock is thinking of leaving Starfleet, and he intends to recommend Decker to command the Enterprise when the time comes.
"But there's a signal from a deep-space communications station. Their extreme-range scans have picked up evidence of a megastructure long imagined but never seen: a ringworld, a vast living space built in the habitable zone of a star, with a total surface area of millions of Class M planets. It's an incredible scientific discovery, and only the refit Enterprise has the advanced labs and sensors to do justice to an exploration mission.
"The Federation wants diplomatic and high-ranking Starfleet representation on this mission in case the ringworld is inhabited. Admiral Kirk ensures he's the Starfleet officer that gets to go, and as ambassador the Federation sends Ilia, an empathic Deltan gifted in the diplomatic arts.
"The journey to the ringworld will take months, even at warp speed, but we'll just cover the most important events: building our new characters, reintroducing our original characters, and showing the Enterprise crew preparing for the scientific and diplomatic aspects of the mission.
"When the Enterprise finally reaches the ringworld, it's important that we show the mind-boggling scale of the construct. The Enterprise is but a gnat compared to the ringworld; close up, it will look like a vast, flat wall in space. The ring's curvature can only be perceived with enough distance.
"The science teams perform sensor scans as the Enterprise approaches this strange new world. But not long after the crew catches their first glimpse of the star-facing side of the ring--revealing vast seas, forests, cities, farmlands, mountain ranges, jungles--world after world after world, laid out flat on a giant ring--it happens.
"While Admiral Kirk, Ambassador Ilia, and the senior staff are discussing first contact protocols, Mr. Spock, Lieutenant Commander Uhura, Lieutenant Chekov, and Commander Scott vanish from existence.
"Admiral Kirk immediately takes command of the ship, much to the consternation of Commander Decker, who really should be next in line. Kirk says his experience on the five-year mission trumps Decker's greater familiarity with the Enterprise refit.
"Admiral Kirk hails the ringworld, but no one answers. Kirk orders all shuttles launched to perform sensor scans of different sections of the ringworld, but with such a massive amount of territory to cover, the effort could take years without the wildest stroke of luck.
"But on the ringworld, we, the audience, learn that Spock Uhura, Chekov, and Scott find themselves in the arid foothills of a desert mountain range...with no equipment. Atop one mountain is a spire that reaches toward the stars until it disappears, extending out of the atmosphere and into the darkness. With no other obvious clue to what they should do, they set out for the spire on foot..."
"I like it so far," the executive says. "Spend the weekend with it, finish it up. I have a golf game coming up."
I'm relieved, because I had no concept of an ending. But I do have more immediate concerns.
When we leave the executive's office, I ask Amanda to sit down with me in a little lounge area.
"Have you heard of DVDs or Blu-Rays?" I ask.
"No," she says.
I tell her that I have no memory of being hired, or what my job is. She looks concerned, and said I should get checked out for a concussion or amnesia.
"It's worse than that," I tell her, almost crying. "This is the part that's going to make me sound crazy. What year is this?"
"What year? It's 1976," she answers.
"Oh, god," I groan. "I'm from 2022. I'm not supposed to be here. Oh god, what's happening?"
Thankfully, I transition back to the other world, the one with Sylvia and COVID-19.
Tuesday, April 19, 2022
Just minutes ago I was involved in a group text discussion with Sean, Jeff, and Stephen, and there was some disagreement on acceptable pizza toppings. For the record, here's my comprehensive list of toppings I would and would not eat willingly:
My Favourite Toppings
Cheese (mozzarella, cheddar, feta)
Ham (including prosciutto)
Various savory herbs and spices
Toppings Good in Certain Combinations
Toppings I'll Choke Down to Be Polite or if I'm Really Starving
Mushrooms (though I will pick them out on the sly if I can do so unseen)
Steak (too chewy, plus risk of fat and gristle, eewwww)
Carrot slices (raw only)
Uncivilized Toppings Fit Only for the Demented
These choices seem reasonable to me, but when it comes to the human palate, tastes may, of course, vary.
Monday, April 18, 2022
Sunday, April 17, 2022
Saturday, April 16, 2022
Friday, April 15, 2022
Thursday, April 14, 2022
Wednesday, April 13, 2022
Tuesday, April 12, 2022
I can't take credit for the glowing rocks, as that's done with an LED.
Monday, April 11, 2022
"Clearly not, sir," the droid said. "But I'm programmed for over thirty secondary functions..."
"What I really need is a droid that understands the binary language of moisture vaporators."
The droid seemed to perk up, even though its metal face was eternally frozen.
"Vaporators! Why, my first job was programming binary load lifters, very similar to your vaporators in most respects."
This caught my interest. "Do you speak Bocce?" I asked.
"Of course I can, sir. It's like a second language for me..."
"All right, I'm sold. Uh, I need an astromech, too."
I was about to tell the Jawa salesthing that I wanted the robust-looking R5 unit, but it blew its motivator before I could get the words out. I quickly changed my mind, hoping that the only other alternative was in better shape. Almost as though he was reading my mind, the protocol droid piped up:
"Excuse me, sir, but that R2 unit is in prime condition. A real bargain."
"Yeah, sure, I'll take that one," I said with a shrug.
"I'm sure you'll be very pleased with that one, sir. He really is in first-class condition. I've worked with him before," he said.
I led the droids over to the garage. "My wife will drop in to say hello soon, I'm sure," I told them. "In the meantime, give yourselves some maintenance and an oil bath. I'll take you out to the sand fields after lunch.
"You can lead a droid to water, sir, but you can't make him drink! That's a little joke," the protocol droid said. "Because we don't drink water, you see."
I raised my eyebrows. "I imagine it's funnier in Bocce," I said.
I met Sylvia in the kitchen. "Any luck?" she asked.
"I think so," I said. "See what you can make of them."
She took a swig of blue milk and put the empty glass in the dishwasher. One day we'd farm enough moisture to justify a 'washer that used water, but sandblasting would have to do for at least another season--assuming they stayed that long.
"You left something for the Lars, I hope?"
I winced. "To be honest, it was pretty slim pickings. I think we might have gotten the best of the lot."
"Well, make sure you let Owen and Beru know they can borrow the droids when they need them."
"Sure, sure," I said, rifling through the cupboard for some bantha flakes.
"I'm going to go see what our credits bought," she said. "Maybe I'll take them out to see the fields."
"Shouldn't I do that?"
"You go talk to the neighbours. You could use the walk."
Well, that was fair. Generally life on Tatooine kept you pretty thin, but the last couple of harvests had been pretty decent and I'd definitely put on a few pounds thanks to overindulging in blue ice and beskar in a pan.
When I returned from my visit with the Lars, Sylvia was waiting for me in the courtyard with the droids.
"This little robot claims he belongs to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Do you think he means old Ben Kenobi?"
"Oh, man. I hope not. Otherwise I just threw away 250 credits and probably contributed to the sale of stolen goods. Argh, those jawas..."
"Well, we'd better ask him," Sylvia said.
I wasn't keen on driving into the Jundland wastes, but Sylvia was right--we had an obligation to ask if old Ben had been a victim of droid theft. So we piled into the landspeeder and jetted over to the Kenobi homestead, a modest little place.
The trip went by without incident, thankfully, but at first Ben denied ever having owned a droid. The R2 unit went mildly apoplectic, rocking back and forth on its stubby legs and whistling and hooting like a thing possessed.
"Artoo insists he has an important message for you from Princess Leia," the protocol droid--C3PO, Sylvia had informed me--translated. This prompted an even more raucous response from the astromech. "Well, you didn't tell me I shouldn't say that in front of Master Earl and Mistress Sylvia!" Threepio protested.
"It's fine, it's fine," the old man said, waving a hand. "Let's see your message, little one."
"We don't want to intrude," Sylvia said. "We should be getting back."
"Sure," I added. "If this isn't your R2 unit, we can come back for it later. Threepio, stay here in case Mr. Kenobi needs your help translating."
The old man smiled beatifically at us as we took our leave.
"Princess Leia? Isn't she a senator from Naboo?" Sylvia asked as we pulled away from the Kenobi home.
"Alderaan," I said. "Who would have thought Ben Kenobi would have connections like that?"
"Well, it's none of our business. At least it looks like we'll probably get the astromech back," Sylvia said.
"And then just a couple more seasons until we've saved up enough money to buy a little ship that can take us someplace far, far away from the Empire," I replied. "It'll be a long, hard couple of years, but after that we can finally relax and be free."
"If the Force is with us," Sylvia said.
I was an atheist, but I nodded anyway--I wouldn't turn away divine intervention if it could get us out from under the Imperial heel. Maybe we could take old Ben and the Lars and their nephew with us. They were all good people...
Well. Time would tell.
Sunday, April 10, 2022
Saturday, April 09, 2022
Friday, April 08, 2022
Thursday, April 07, 2022
Wednesday, April 06, 2022
Tuesday, April 05, 2022
Monday, April 04, 2022
Sunday, April 03, 2022
This is fun: at wombo.art, you can type up to 100 characters in a prompt, and an AI will generate a painting based on that prompt. The results range from grotesque to uncanny to somewhat pleasing. I don't think human artists have much to worry about yet.
Saturday, April 02, 2022
Friday, April 01, 2022
Michelle Yeoh is a wonderful actress and I love parallel universe stories. But the main reason I'm excited to see this is how quickly it's jumped to the top of Letterboxd user ratings before it's even been released. I hope it's as good as they're claiming!